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She almost lost all appetite for victual,
And could not sleep with ease alone at night ; She deem'd the window-frames and shutters brittle
Against a daring house-breaker or sprite, And so she thought it prudent to connect her With a vice-husband, chiefly to protect her. She chose, (and what is there they will not choose,
If only you will but oppose their choice ? Till Beppo should return from his long cruise,
And bid once more her faithful heart rejoice,
A coxcomb was he by the public voice;
Music and dancing, fiddling, French and Tuscan ; The last not easy, be it known to you,
For few Italians speak the right Etruscan.
And knew all niceties of the sock and buskin;
Hush'd “ academie,” sigh'd in silent awe;
For fear of some false note's detected flaw.
Dreading the deep damnation of his “bah !”
He patronized the Improvisatori,
Nay, could himself extemporize some stanzas,
Wrote rhymes, sang songs, could also tell a story;
Sold pictures, and was skilful in the dance as Italians can be, though in this their glory [has;
Must surely yield the palm to that which France In short, he was a perfect cavaliero, And to his very valet seem'd a hero. Then he was faithful, too, as well as amorous ;
So that no sort of female could complain, Although they're now and then a little clamorous,
He never put the pretty souls in pain ;
Wax to receive, and marble to retain.
Nay, smile not at my sullen brow;
Alas! I cannot smile again : Yet Heaven avert that ever thou
Should'st weep, and haply weep in vain. And dost thou ask, what secret woe
I bear, corroding joy and youth ? And wilt thou plainly seek to know
A pang, even thou must fail to soothe ? It is not love, it is not hate,
Nor low Ambition's honours lost, That bids me loathe my present state,
And fly from all I prized the most. It is that weariness which springs
From all I meet, or hear, or see: To me no pleasure Beauty brings ;
Thine eyes have scarce a charm for me.
It is that settled, ceaseless gloom
The fabled Hebrew wanderer bore; That will not look beyond the tomb,
But cannot hope for rest before. What exile from himself can flee?
To zones, though more and more remote, Still, still pursues,
where'er 1 be,
And taste of all that I forsake;
And ne'er, at least like me, awake!
With many a retrospection curst; And all my solace is to know,
Whate'er betides, I've known the worst. What is that worst ? Nay do not ask
In pity from the search forbear : Smile on-nor venture to unmask
Man's heart, and view the hell that's there.
That Italy's a pleasant place to me,
And vines (not nailed to walls) from tree to tree Festooned, much like the back scene of a play,
Or melodrame, which people flock to see, When the first act is ended by a dance
copied from the south of France. I like on Autumn evenings to ride out,
Without being forced to bid my groom be sure
My cloak is round his middle strapped about,
Because the skies are not the most secure; I know too that, if stopped upon my route,
Where the green alleys windingly allure, Reeling with grapes red waggons choke the way,-In England 'twould be dung, dust, or a dray. I also like to dine on becaficas,
To see the Sun set, sure he'll rise to-morrow, Not through a misty morning twinkling weak as
A drunken man's dead eye in maudlin sorrow, But with all heaven ť himself; that day will break as
Beauteous as cloudless, nor be forced to borrow That sort of farthing candlelight which glimmers Where reeking London's smoky caldron simmers. I love the language, that soft bastard Latin,
Which melts like kisses from a female mouth, And sounds as if it should be writ on satin,
With syllables which breathe of the sweet south, And gentle liquids gliding all so pat in,
That not a single accent seems uncouth, Like our harsh northern whistling, grunting guttural, Which we're obliged to hiss, and spit, and sputter all. I like the women too (forgive my folly),
From the rich peasant-cheek of ruddy bronze, And large black eyes that flash on you a volley
Of say a thousand things at once,
But clear, and with a wild and liquid glance,
Italian beauty! didst thou not inspire
Raphael, who died in thy embrace, and vies
With all we know of heaven, or can desire,
Though flashing from the fervour of the lyre,
Was large and dark, suppressing half its fire
Flash'd an expression more of pride than ire, And love than either; and there would arise
A something in them which was not desire, But would have been, perhaps, but for the soul Which struggled through and chasten'd down the
whole. Her glossy hair was cluster'd o'er a brow
Bright with intelligence, and fair and smooth; Her eyebrow's shape was like the aerial bow,
Her cheek all purple with the beam of youth, Mounting, at times, to a transparent glow,
As if her veins ran lightning ! she, in sooth, Possess'd an air and grace by no means common : Her stature tall—I hate a dumpy woman.
JULIA IN LOVE.
And tremulously gentle her small hand
A little pressure, thrilling, and so bland And slight, so very slight, that to the mind
'Twas but a doubt; but ne'er magician's wand