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AN HISTORICAL TALE OF THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY, OR THEREABOUTS.
TRANSLATED FROM THE ORIGINAL ITALIAN OF BENNI.
BY LAURENTIUS LITTLE ARMIGER.
WHEN granite is split by wedges of wood,
As Whigs rend the rock whereon Liberty stood
When Palmerston's ears are o'erhung by his wig,
And Russell's rheumatics are running their rig -
When dallied Dalilah with Samson's brow,
And Absalom dangled beneath the green bough-
When your corns have sung out as if stung by a fairy-
That's Attraction, which Faraday calls capillàry.
Pope Gregory sat in St. Peter's chair,
“ Deus terrestris," “ the sky's lord-mayor"-
His throne was a little the worse for the wear,
And so were his keys,
Which could open with ease
The Great Bramah's lock, or its antipodes,
The portals of bliss or the gates of despair,
As quickly as Vidocq or Robert Macaire
Could " tool" sécrétaire, bureau, portecocher,
In the Champs Elysées or the Place de l'Enfer;
Or as smoothly and glib
As a thundering fib
Is announced to the Chamber by Master Thiers.
Mournfully nods the pontifical noddle,
Dolefully drops the vicegerent jaw –
Rises the pope, as if going to toddle,
With a visage as if he had swallowed the twaddle
Emetic of Sec. at War Babble Macaw ;
Then he sits down again with a sardonic grin,
And unconsciously looks at his starboard fin,
Where, shining as brightly as phosphorent ling,
The forefinger flashes the Fisherman's ring;
By virtue of which
He could feather and pitch
For an auto-da-fé every wizard and witch-
Walk in à la Spring
To the conjuror's king-
Make even Old Ilal diminutely to sing,
Should the Evil One dare, with his powers of the air,”
To look on this world as his Donnybrook Fair -
Play off his wild pranks
On all orders and ranks,
Greek, Trojan, or Tyrian, Esquimaux, Manx,
Heathen and Heretic, Moslim and Franks ;
On th' Himalay mountains or Amazon's banks ;
By the Geysers of Iceland or Araby's tanks,
In short, every where, from Cape Finisterre,
To Lin's Gibraltars of China ware!
But not over pray'r
Sits Gregory there;
Nor to eat, though before him smokes daintiest fare ;
Nor to drink, though all liquors from tokay to cider
Are there ; nor to sleep, though the cushions are eider:
No! Grim is his stare,
Like a wolf in his lair,
Laid up with lumbago. His triple tiare
Is flung at his feet ; and the Chantrey of care
Hath chisellid his nose
To a shape lachrymose-
The busses have crush'd out the gout from his tocs.
And as for his cheeks (most diaphanous pair!),
Ye gods! they would scare from his pole the Great Bear!
If there for one night
You had placed the Bude light,
The moon would soon fling up her reins in affright-
The galaxy Grey
Would be all curds and whey-
The comets would tear off their tails in dismay;
The Star of the Day would retire on half-pay,
And let the pope's bull have it all his own way.
A QUESTION IS ASKED.
Why sitteth Gregorius,“ servus servorum,"
Thus in a brown study with demons cerulean?
Why banquets he not on those plats epicurean?
Those viands delicious
Would tempt an Apicius,
Or the stomach silicious of our Dionysius,
LL.D., Stincomal. Arbiter Morum.
Those cheeses Etrurian, and boarheads Apulean-
Those flasks of Falernian, and cans cerevicious
Those haunches and hams,
Pies, jellies, and jams,
Would charın a Vitellius' pharynx, or Lamb's,
The premier of Britain, who gloriously crams
With a power of pantophagy ultra-Herculean.
Why dines not the pope à la mode Romanorum ?
Why dips not his spoon in that soup à la Julienne ?
The xeres and port
Are of the right sort'Twould puzzle Lord Brougham to say, “ Utrum horum." Why sitteth Gregorius, “ servorum servus," Gazing on vacancy? - id est, the face
Of Lord Cardinal Sec.,
Who is craning his neck
Like Tantalus, waiting in vain for the grace.
Per Bacco !_twould make an arch-anchorite nervous
To view for a moment the blush of that Jorum :
Even famed Father Mathew
Would sing out, “ Have at you !"
And kick from his niche St. Aquarius' statue,
The burly Hibernian
Would swear the Falernian
Was the well of fair Truth and the fountain of Hope-
Would gloriously tope,
Like a genuine pope,
And give all Teetotallers the end of a rope !
THE FOREGOING QUESTION IS ANSWERED.
“ Cospetto !" burst out the vicegerent at last,
And the words from his thorax came fiery and fast ;
“ By our Dame of Loretto,
I'd cheerfully set-to
With Lucifer's self, could I cure what is past ;
For, in Heaven's good truth,
I have loved the poor youth More than any I know from the Po to the Pruth.
And my nephew, forsooth!
Sans genius or ruth,
Infected by Envy's most poisonous tooth,
As pretty a boy as you'd find in Maynooth,
Proud, ignorant, rash,
Thought proper to dash
In my architect's face the vile gauntlet and lash!
Ay! smote him within my own palace, because
The spirit of genius had soar'd o'er the laws
Of the world, and dared to behold in the eyes
Of fair Leonora the light of the skies.
They fought in my palace—my nephew is slain !
Antonio pines in St. Angelo's cell !
He dies on the morrow! Does no hope remain ?
Corpo di Bacco! I'm puzzled amain."
And the jaw of his holiness wofully fell.
The Lord Cardinal Sec.
No longer could check His lingua Toscana, but ventured a spec, As the dinner was rapidly going to wreck : “May I utter a syllable ?" “Speak out, Carino !" " A column is found in the Campo Vaccino.”
'T is a cloudless day, and the wandering breeze
Floats on th' wavelets of Italy's seas;
The bright blue waves which break on the shore,
In sighs for the land which they love and deplore.
Merrily trills the lark o'er the hills
Of Apennine, joyously sparkle the rills;
The cheek of the peasant is fresher in bloom,
The gondolier basks in his Sunday costume.
Flaunts, all perfume, lace, trinkets, and plume,
Mossignior, a butterfly over a tomb;
Furl'd is the mill-sail, and silent the loom,
E'en the brow of the brigand has banish'd its gloom!
Hark! 't is a thousand bells ringing their chimes
In the city — th' eternal Medea of crimes ;
And a myriad of censers are clouding the air
Before the Madonna and God-child fair.
"T is a bright noonday, but not in the cells
Of St. Angelo's mound, where the captive dwells;
Where all is one unchanging night,
Until the eye gains an unnatural sight,
And darkness itself proves the parent of light.
There in the iron embrace of the law,
Antonio sleeps on his dungeon-straw;
He dreams of the beautiful vision he saw
And loved soon as seen,
His spirit's own queen,
For whom he is doom'd to the death-axe keen.
Now a bright smile o'er his pale cheek flashes,
While a pair of huge rats,
With tails like the cats
Of Kilkenny, are ogling his nascent moustaches !
Now he dreams that old Hadrian asks, “ Why his tomb
Has been changed to a prison? Why a pope should presume
To call it St. Angelo's castle ? Quel bete!
As if angels could ever give him tête-à-tête,
As Egeria gave Numa Pompilius, the bilious,
But cut all connexion with Tullus Hostilius.”
Changes the vision. The sleeper sighs,
As memory calls the heart's dew to his eyes.
He dreams of the days
Of his childhood; he prays
By the knees of his mother; and now he essays
To strike down a foe;
But on whom does the blow
Descend? On the fair Leonora ? Not so!
He springs from his straw with a terrible shout,
His visage is sour
As a twenty-Whig power,
When writhing beneath the Conservative knout;
He fetches the snout
Of the pope such a clout,
Then asks, “ If his mother had known he was out ?”
“ Diavolo!" roar'd out ola Pontifex Max,
I little expected such welcome; but, Pax
Vobiscum! to-morrow, your Saint Mary Are
Must cut our connexion
And spoil your complexion —
Stop all the supplies by a vertical section.
So . paucis te volo,' as Terence would say,
Hope has not withdrawn her last flickering ray;
You still have the ghost of a chance for your life —
Nay, more, Leonora may yet be your wife.
(The charming ragazza !)
If to the Piazza
You bring by the 24th day of June (that's a
Month from this day), a huge column of grey
Granite, deep buried 'mong ruins and clay,
As my cardinals say, in the Forum Romanum.
Let it tower to the sky
From a pedestal high,
Poke fun through the eye of Cleopatra's needle ;
Look 'odi profanum,'
Nor care a solanum
For every pillar from Tiber to Tweeddale !"
Thus Gregory spake, with the tone of a Cato,
The good man kept nothing malicious in petto;
Though his swoll'n nose blush'd like a Yorkshire potatoe
Who answer'd his holiness, “ Corde agitato:-
From th' effects of the blow
Dealt by Antonio,
Santissimo Padre! first, lowly I crave
For that blow thy forgiveness, and next I accept
Thine offer. The promise shall truly be kept.
Thy words have the clouds of despondency swept
From my spirit ; and eyes that in anguish have wept,
Now o'erflow with gladness. Oh! 't is not the grave,
The dungeon, the gyve, or the headsman's glave,
That daunts me. It is the heart-crushing shock
Leonora must feel, when she knows that the block
Awaits me; but now".
Hope lights up his brow!
His necklace, and bracelets, and anklets enow,
Are struck from his person ; his carcere duro,
The darkest you'd find from Calcutta to Truro,
Is tenantless. Opes the jolly old pope's
Breast to embrace him ; and cries, “ Tibi juro!"
Barbone the gaoler
Melts soft as a sailor, Antonio is free as a loyal repailer ;
Though close at his heels
The pope's sbirro steals,
As at Whiggery's kibes sneaks the surveillant tail-er.
Bless'd be the sun's all-vital glow,
The free-born waves and the jocund earth ; Thrice bless'd they are to the heart which wo
Corroded in slavery's clanking berth,
When the maniac laugh'd in his ghastly mirth, And the life-blood froze in its creeping flow; Mocking, not feeding, the desolate dearth
Of the hopeless cheek, as cold and as wan
As the dungeon's marble it rested upon.
How joyous in spirit, how buoyant in limb,
Is the freed man! An Eden must earth be to him
Who emerges to light from the dungeon foul,
Where nothing was seen but the confessor's cowl;
Naught heard save despair's blaspheming howl;
Naught felt but the rat and the vampire owl.
Ay! freedom is sweeter in Hottentot kraal
Than slavery crouching in emperor's hall;
Sweeter to breathe her breath on the heath,
Than be crown'd with the wreath of the sovereign of Gaul.
But freedom with Love! Description must fall
Confoundedly short on that subject. Look small,
As Russell when Stanley commences the maul ;
When the Mendicant big
Dishevels his wig,
And the Penenden hero is splitting to squall.
In such case, as in ours, the best tact, by the powers,
Were to say not a word on the subject at all.
So, Viamos! the signor is buoy'd up by hopes :
An hundred rude wagons, some myriad of ropes,
In a moment are ready; the populace girds
Their loins up for action; assemble in herds
From the high Barberini,
To those pretty boys hight the Trasteverini,
Who would whip a knife into a man for a guinea.
They drive at the work with spade, shovel, and fork,
With an energy such as would 'stonish a Turk,
From the dawn of the morn to midnight murk.
Merry as sparrows, with crows and wheelbarrows,
Rooting and shooting like harrows and arrows.
The task of the architect rapidly narrows,
Till the column is seen
As mighty I ween
As ever had been in the land of the Pharaohs.
And at the last, on the vigil of St. John's Day,
The column is raised from the spot where it lay;