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Mon. Liar!

Inten. Strike me? Ah, so might a father chastise! I shall sleep soundly to-night at least, though the gallows await me to-morrow; for, what a life did I lead! Carlo of Cesena reminds me of his connivance, every time I pay his annuity; which happens commonly thrice a year. If I remonstrate, he will confess all to the good bishop-you!

Mon. I see through the trick, caitiff! I would you spoke truth for once. All shall be sifted, however— seven times sifted.

Inten. And how my absurd riches encumbered me! I dared not lay claim to above half my possessions. Let me but once unbosom myself, glorify Heaven, and die!

Sir, you are no brutal dastardly idiot like your brother I frightened to death: let us understand one another. Sir, I will make away with her for you—the girl-here close at hand; not the stupid obvious kind of killing; do not speak-know nothing of her nor of me! I see her every day-saw her this morning: of course there is to be no killing; but at Rome the courtesans perish off every three years, and I can entice her thither-have indeed begun operations already. There's a certain lusty blue-eyed florid-complexioned English knave, I and the Police employ occasionally. You assent, I perceive-no, that's not it -assent I do not say-but you will let me convert my present havings and holdings into cash, and give me time to cross the Alps? 'T is but a little blackeyed pretty singing Felippa, gay silk-winding girl. I have kept her out of harm's way up to this present; for I always intended to make your life a plague to

you with her. 'T is as well settled once and for ever. Some women I have procured will pass Bluphocks, my handsome scoundrel, off for somebody; and once Pippa entangled!—you conceive? Through her singing? Is it a bargain?

[From without is heard the voice of PIPPA, singingOverhead the tree-tops meet,

Flowers and grass spring 'neath one's feet;
There was nought above me, nought below,
My childhood had not learned to know:
For, what are the voices of birds

-Ay, and of beasts, but words, our words,
Only so much more sweet?

The knowledge of that with my life begun.
But I had so near made out the sun,
And counted your stars, the seven and one,
Like the fingers of my hand:

Nay, I could all but understand

Wherefore through heaven the white moon ranges;
And just when out of her soft fifty changes
No unfamiliar face might overlook me-
Suddenly God took me.

[PIPPA passes.

Mon. [Springing up.] My people-one and all— all-within there! Gag this villain-tie him hand and foot! He dares . . I know not half he dares-but remove him-quick! Miserere mei, Domine! Quick, I say!

PIPPA'S Chamber again. She enters it.

The bee with his comb,
The mouse at her dray,

The grub in its tomb,

Wile winter away;

But the fire-fly and hedge-shrew and lob-worm, I pray,
How fare they?

Ha, ha, thanks for your counsel, my Zanze!
"Feast upon lampreys, quaff the Breganze!"
The summer of life so easy to spend,
And care for to morrow so soon put away!
But winter hastens at summer's end,
And fire-fly, hedge-shrew, lob-worm, pray,
How fare they?

No bidding me then to . . what did Zanze say?
"Pare your nails pearlwise, get your small feet shoes
"More like" (what said she?)-"and less like

How pert that girl was!—would I be those pert
Impudent staring women!

It had done me,

However, surely no such mighty hurt

To learn his name who passed that jest upon me:
No foreigner, that I can recollect,

Came, as she says, a month since, to inspect
Our silk-mills-none with blue eyes and thick rings

Of raw-silk-coloured hair, at all events.

Well, if old Luca keep his good intents,

We shall do better, see what next year brings!
I may buy shoes, my Zanze, not appear

More destitute than you perhaps next year!
Bluph... something! I had caught the uncouth


But for Monsignor's people's sudden clatter
Above us-bound to spoil such idle chatter
As ours: it were indeed a serious matter
If silly talk like ours should put to shame

The pious man, the man devoid of blame, ah but-ah but, all the same,

The ...

No mere mortal has a right

To carry that exalted air;

Best people are not angels quite:

While not the worst of people's doings scare
The devil; so there's that proud look to spare!
Which is mere counsel to myself, mind! for
I have just been the holy Monsignor:
And I was you too, Luigi's gentle mother,
And you too, Luigi!-how that Luigi started
Out of the turret-doubtlessly departed
On some good errand or another,

For he passed just now in a traveller's trim,
And the sullen company that prowled
About his path, I noticed, scowled
As if they had lost a prey in him.
And I was Jules the sculptor's bride,
And I was Ottima beside,

And now what am I?-tired of fooling.
Day for folly, night for schooling!
New year's day is over and spent,
Ill or well, I must be content.

Even my lily's asleep, I vow:

Wake up-here's a friend I've plucked you!
Call this flower a heart's-ease now!
Something rare, let me instruct you,
Is this, with petals triply swollen,
Three times spotted, thrice the pollen;
While the leaves and parts that witness
Old proportions and their fitness,
Here remain unchanged, unmoved now;
Call this pampered thing improved now!

Suppose there's a king of the flowers
And a girl-show held in his bowers-
"Look ye, buds, this growth of ours,"
Says he, "Zanze from the Brenta,
"I have made her gorge polenta
"Till both cheeks are near as bouncing
"As her . . . name there's no pronouncing!
"See this heightened colour too,

"For she swilled Breganze wine

"Till her nose turned deep carmine;

""T was but white when wild she grew.

"And only by this Zanze's eyes

"Of which we could not change the size,
"The magnitude of all achieved
"Otherwise, may be perceived."

Oh what a drear dark close to my poor day!
How could that red sun drop in that black cloud?
Ah Pippa, morning's rule is moved away,
Dispensed with, never more to be allowed!
Day's turn is over, now arrives the night's.
Oh lark, be day's apostle

To mavis, merle and throstle,

Bid them their betters jostle

From day and its delights!

But at night, brother howlet, over the woods,

Toll the world to thy chantry;

Sing to the bats' sleek sisterhoods

Full complines with gallantry:

Then, owls and bats,

Cowls and twats,

Monks and nuns, in a cloister's moods,

Adjourn to the oak-stump pantry!

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