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This feast is named the Carnival, which being
Interpreted, implies „, farewell to flesh :“ So call'd, because the name and thing agreeing, Through Lent they live on fish both salt and
fresh. But why they usher Lent with so much glee in,
Is more than I can tell, although I guess "Tis as we take a glass with friends at parting, In the stage-coach or packet, just af starting.
And thus they bid farewell to carnal dishes,
And solid meats, and highly spiced ragouts, To live for forty days on ill-dress’d fishes,
Because they have no sauces to their stews,
And therefore humbly I would recommend
The curious in fish-sauce," before they cross The sea, to bid their cook, or wife, or friend,
Walk or ride to the Strand, and buy in gross (Or if set out beforehand, these may send
By any means least liable to loss), Ketchup, Soy, Chili-vinegar, and Harvey, Or, by the Lord! a Lent will well nigh starve
That is to say, if your religion's Roman,
at Rome would do as Romans do, According to the proverb, - although no man,
If foreign, is obliged to fast; and you, If protestant, or sickly, or a woman,
Would rather, dine in sin on a ragoutDine, and be d-d! I don't mean to be coarse, But that's the penalty, to say no worse.
Of all the places where the Carnival
Was most facetious in the days of yore;
And masque, and mime, and mystery, and more Than I have time to tell now, or at all,
Venice the bell from every city bore, And at the moment when I fix my story, That sea-born city was in all her glory.
They've pretty faces yet, those same Venetians, Black eyes, arch'd brows, and sweet expres
sions still, Such as of old were copied from the Grecians,
In ancient arts by moderns mimick'd ill; And like so many Venuses of Titian's
(The best's at Florence-see it, if ye will,) They look when leaning over the baleony, Or stepp'd from out a picture by Giorgione,
Whose tints are truth and beauty at their best;
And when you to Manfrini's palace go, That picture (howsoever fine the rest)
Is loveliest to my mind of all the show; It may perhaps be also to your zest,
And that's the cause I rhyme upon it so, 'Tis but a portrait of his son, and wife, And self; but such a woman! love in life!
Love in full life and length, not love ideal,
No, nor ideal beauty, that fine name, But something better still, so very real, That the sweet inodel must have been the
same; A thing that you would purchase, beg, or steal,
Wer't not impossible, besides a shame : The face recals some face, as 'twere with pain, You once have seen, but ne'er will see again;
One of those forms which flit by us, when we
Are young, and fix our eyes on every face; And, oh! the loveliness at times we see
In momentary gliding, the soft grace, The youth, the bloom, the beauty which agree,
In many a nameless being we retrace, Whose course and home we knew not, nor shall
know, Like the lost Pleiad I seen no more below.
I said that like a picture by Giorgione
and so they are; Particularly seen from a balcony,
(For beauty's sometimes best set off afar) And there, just like a heroinc of Goldoni,
They peep from out the blind, or o'er the bar; And, truth to say, they're mostly very pretty, And rather like to show it, more's the pity!