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You 'd better walk about begirt with briars,

Instead of coat and small-clothes, than put on
A single stitch reflecting upon friars,

Although you swore it only was in fun :
They 'd haul you o'er the coals, and stir the fires
Of Phlegethon with every


son, Nor say one mass to cool the cauldron's bubble That boil'd your bones, unless you paid them double.

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 ;
And even in Italy such places are,

With prettier names in softer accents spoke,
For, bating Covent-garden, I can hit on
No place that 's call'd “Piazza" in Great Britain.

This feast is named the Carnival, which, being

Interpreted, implies, “ farewell to flesh :"
So callid, 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
'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

6. 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

By any means least liable to loss),
Ketchup, Soy, Chili-vinegar, and Harvey,
Or, by the Lord ! a Lent will well nigh starve ye;

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 ragout-
Dine, 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, For dance and song, and serenade, and ball,

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 expressions 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 balcony, 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 ’T is 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 model must have been the same :
A thing that you would purchase, beg, or steal,

Were 't not impossible, besides a shame :
The face recals some face, as 't were with pain,
You once have seen, but ne'er will see again :


when we

One of those forms which flit by us,

Are young, and fix our eyes on every face ;
And, oh! the loveliness at times we see
In momentary gliding, the soft

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, seen no more below.


I said that like a picture by Giorgione

Venetian women were, and so they are,
Particularly seen from a balcony

(For beauty 's sometimes best set off afar); And there, just like a heroine 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!

XVI. For glances beget ogles, ogles sighs,

Sighs wishes, wishes words, and words a letter, Which flies on wings of light-heeld Mercuries,

Who do such things because they know no better ; And then, God knows what mischief may arise,

When love links two young people in one fetter : Vile assignations, and adulterous beds, Elopements, broken vows, and hearts, and heads.

XVII. Shakspeare described the sex in Desdemona

As very fair, but yet suspect in fame, And to this day, from Venice to Verona,

Such matters may be probably the same, Except that since those times was never known a

Husband whom mere suspicion could inflame To suffocate a wife no more than twenty, Because she had a cavalier seryente."

XVIII. Their jealousy (if they are ever jealous)

Is of a fair complexion altogether, Not like that sooty devil of Othello's,

Which smothers women in a bed of feather : But worthier of these much more jolly fellows,

When weary of the matrimonial tether, His head for such a wife no mortal bothers, But takes at once another, or another's.

XIX. Didst ever see a gondola? For fear

You should not, I 'll describe it you exactly ; 'T is a long covered boat that 's common here,

Carved at the prow, built lightly, but compactly; Row'd by two rowers, each call’d“ gondolier,"

It glides along the water looking blackly,
Just like a coffin clapt in a canoe,
Where none can make out what you say or do.


It may

And up

and down the long canals they go, And under the Rialto shoot along, By night and day, all paces, swift or slow ;

And round the theatres, a sable throng, They wait in their dusk livery of woe;

But not to them do woful things belong,
For sometimes they contain a deal of fun,
Like mourning-coaches when the funeral 's done.

But to my story.—'T was some years ago,

be thirty, forty, more or less, The Carnival was at its height, and so

Were all kinds of buffoonery and dress ; A certain lady went to see the show,

Her real name I know not, nor can guess, And so we 'll call her Laura, if

you please, Because it slips into my verse with ease.

She was not old, nor young, nor at the years

Which certain people call a certain age,
Which yet the most uncertain age appears,

Because I never heard, nor could engage A person yet, by prayers, or bribes, or tears,

define by speech, or write on page, The period meant precisely by that word, Which surely is exceedingly absurd.

Laura was blooming still, had made the best

Of time, and time return'd the compliment,
And treated her genteelly, so that, drest,

She look'd extremely well where'er she went : A pretty woman is a welcome guest,

And Laura's brow a frown had rarely bent ; Indeed she shone all smiles, and seem'd to flatter Mankind with her black eyes for looking at her.

To name,

She was a married woman; 't is convenient,

Because in Christian countries 't is a rule
To view their little slips with eyes more lenient;

Whereas if single ladies play the fool (Unless, within the period intervenient,

A well-timed wedding makes the scandal cool), I don't know how they ever can get over it, Except they manage never to discover it,

XXV. Her husband sail'd upon the Adriatic,

And made some voyages, too, in other seas ; And when he lay in quarantine for pratique

(A forty days' precaution 'gainst disease), His wife would mount, at times, her highest attic,

For thence she could discern the ship with ease :
He was a merchant trading to Aleppo,
His name Giuseppe, call’d more briefly, Beppo.'

He was a man as dusky as a Spaniard,

Sunburnt with travel, yet a portly figure ;
Though colour'd, as it were, within a tan-yard,

He was a person both of sense and vigourA better seaman never yet did man yard :

And she, although her manners show'd no rigour,
Was deern'd a woman of the strictest principle,
So much as to be thought almost invincible.

But several years elapsed since they had met;

Soine people thought the ship was lost, and some That he had somehow blunder'd into debt,

And did not like the thoughts of steering home ; And there were several offer'd any bet,

Or that he would, or that he would not come, For most men (till by losing render'd sager) Will back their own opinions with a wager.

XXVIII. 'T is said that their last parting was pathetic,

As partings often are, or ought to be, And their presentiment was quite prophetic

That they should never more each other see (A sort of morbid feeling, half poetic,

Which I have known occur in two or three), When kneeling on the shore upon her sad knee, He left this Adriatic Ariadne.

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