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He was a man as dusky as a Spaniard,
Sunburnt with travel, yet a portly figure; Though colour'd, as it were, within a tanyard
He was a person both of sense and vigour A better seaman never yet did man yard:
And she, although her manners show'd no rigou: Was deem'd a woman of the strictest principle, So much as to be thought almost invincible.
But several years elapsed since they had met;
Some 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.
"Tis 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 knce, He left this Adriatic Ariadne.
And Laura waited long, and wept a little,
And thought of wearing weeds, as well she might; 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 man some women like, and yet abuse
A coxcomb was he by the public voice; A count of wealth, they said, as well as quality, And in his pleasures of great liberality.
And then he was a count, and then he knew
Music, and dancing, fidding, French and Tuscan; The last not easy, be it known to you,
For few Italians speak the right Etruscan. He was a critic upon operas, too,
And knew all niceties of the sock and buskin; And no Venetian audience could endure a Song, scene, or air, when he cried „seccatura.“
His ,bravo" was decisive, for that sound
Hush'd „academie,“ sigh'd in silent awe; The fiddlers trembled as he look'd around,
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 Must surely yield the palm to that which France
has; 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; His heart was one of those which most enamour us,
Wax to receive, and marble to retain. He was a lover of the good old school, · Who still become more constant as they cool.
No wonder such accomplishments should turn
A female head, however sage and steadyWith scarce a hope that Beppo could return,
In law he was almost as good as dead, he