« AnteriorContinuar »
A VENETIAN STORY.
« Rosalind. Farewell, Monsieur Traveller : look, you lisp, and wear strange suits; disable all the benefits of your own country; be out of love with your nativity, and almost chide God for making you that countenance you are; or I will scarce think that you have swam in a gondola.»
As You Like It, Act IV, Sc. I.
Annotation of the Commentators. That is, been at Venice, which was much visited by the young English gentlemen of those times, and was then what Paris is now—the seat of all dissoluteney.-S. A.
'T is known, at least it should be, that throughout
All countries of the catholic persuasion,
The people take their fill of recreation,
However high their rank, or low their station, With fiddling, feasting, dancing, drinking, masking, And other things which may be had for asking.
The moment night with dusky mantle covers
The skies (and the more duskily the better), The time less liked by husbands than by lovers
Begins, and prudery flings aside her fetter; And gaiety on restless tiptoe hovers,
Giggling with all the gallants who beset her; And there are songs and quavers, roaring, humming, Guitars, and every other sort of strumming.
And there are dresses splendid, but fantastical,
Masks of all times and nations, Turks and Jews, And harlequins and clowns, with feats gymnastical,
Greeks, Romans, Yankee-doodles, and Hindoos; All kinds of dress, except the ecclesiastical,
All people, as their fancies hit, may choose,
You'd better walk about begirt with briars,
Instead of coat and small-clothes, than put on
Although you swore it only was in fun;
Of Phlegethon with every mother's son,
But, saving this, you may put on whate'er
You like by way of doublet, cape, or cloak, Such as in Monmouth-street, or in Rag Fair,
Would rig you out in seriousness or joke;
With prettier names in softer accents spoke,
This feast is named the Carnival, which being
Interpreted, implies « farewell to flesh :»
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 'T is as we take a glass with friends at parting, In the stage-coach or packet, just at 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, A thing which causes many « poohs » and « pishes,
And several oaths (which would not suit the muse) From travellers accustom'd from a boy To eat their salmon, at the least, with soy;
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