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In a few words he told their hapless story,
Hail'd a strange brig; Corpo di Caio Mario!
But if the Sultan has a taste for song,
"The prima donna, though a little old, And haggard with a dissipated life,
And subject, when the house is thin, to cold,
Has some good notes; and then the tenor's wife,
By carrying off Count Cesare Cicogna
"And then there are the dancers; there's the Nini,
And made at least five hundred good zecchini,
(1) [MS." If the Turks have a soul, she's sure to answer."]
"As for the figuranti, (1) they are like
The rest of all that tribe; with here and there A pretty person, which perhaps may strike,
The rest are hardly fitted for a fair;
There's one, though tall and stiffer than a pike,
Yet has a sentimental kind of air
Which might go far, but she don't dance with vigour; The more's the pity, with her face and figure.
"As for the men, they are a middling set; The musico is but a crack'd old basin, But being qualified in one way yet,
May the seraglio do to set his face in,(2) And as a servant some preferment get;
His singing I no further trust can place in : From all the Pope (3) makes yearly 't would perplex To find three perfect pipes of the third sex.
"The tenor's voice is spoilt by affectation, And for the bass, (4) the beast can only bellow; In fact, he had no singing education,
An ignorant, noteless, timeless, tuneless fellow,
(1) [The figuranti are those dancers of a ballet who do not dance singly, but many together, and serve to fill up the background during the exhi bition of individual performers. They correspond to the chorus in the GRAHAM.]
(2) [MS."To help the ladies in their dress and lacing."]
(3) It is strange that it should be the Pope and the Sultan, who are the chief encouragers of this branch of trade-women being prohibited as singers at St. Peter's, and not deemed trust-worthy as guardians of the harem.
(4) [The gravest and deepest of the male voices. - GRAHAM.]
But being the prima donna's near relation,
Who swore his voice was very rich and mellow, They hired him, though to hear him you'd believe An ass was practising recitative.
""Twould not become myself to dwell upon
"Our baritone (2) I almost had forgot,
A voice of no great compass, and not sweet,
Forsooth, scarce fit for ballads in the street; In lovers' parts his passion more to breathe, Having no heart to show, he shows his teeth."
Here Raucocanti's eloquent recital
Was interrupted by the pirate crew,
Who came at stated moments to invite all
The captives back to their sad berths; each threw
$ (1) [Rauco-canti - may be rendered by Hoarse-song.]
(2) [A male voice, the compass of which partakes of those of the common bass and the tenor, but does not extend so far downwards as the one, nor to an equal height with the other.]
A rueful glance upon the waves, (which bright all From the blue skies derived a double blue, Dancing all free and happy in the sun,)
And then went down the hatchway one by one.
They heard next day—that in the Dardanelles,
It seems when this allotment was made out,
With Raucocanti lucklessly was chain'd
(1) [MS.- "Was fetter'd to a most enchanting visage."]
Sad strife arose, for they were so cross-grain'd,
That each pull'd different ways with many an oath, "Arcades ambo," id est-blackguards both. (1)
Juan's companion was a Romagnole,
But bred within the March of old Ancona,
With eyes that look'd into the very soul (2)
And through her clear brunette complexion shone a Great wish to please - a most attractive dower, Especially when added to the power.
But all that power was wasted upon him,
For sorrow o'er each sense held stern command; Her eye might flash on his, but found it dim; And though thus chain'd, as natural her hand Touch'd his, nor that—nor any handsome limb (And she had some not easy to withstand) Could stir his pulse, or make his faith feel brittle; Perhaps his recent wounds might help a little.
No matter; we should ne'er too much enquire,
We will omit the proofs, save one or two:
(1) MS."That each pull'd different ways and waxing rough, Had cuff'd each other, only for the cuff."]
(2) [MS." With eyes that seem'd to look you through the soul."]