PEPE. O, brother Lanciotto!—O,
If this thing lasts, I simply shall go mad!
[Laughs, and rolls on the ground.]
O Lord! to think my pretty lady puss
Had tricks like this, and we ne’er know of it!
I tell you, Lanciotto, you and I
Must have a patent for our foolery!
“She smiled; he kissed her full upon the mouth!”—
There’s the beginning; where’s the end of it?
O poesy! debauch thee only once,
And thou’rt the greatest wanton in the world!
O cousin Lanciotto—ho, ho, ho! [Laughing.] Can a man die of laughter? Here we sat; Mistress Francesca so demure and calm;
Paolo grand, poetical, sublime!—
Eh! what is this? Paolo’s dagger? Good!
Here is more proof, sweet cousin Broken-back.
“In thoughts of love, we’ll lay our weapons by!”
That’s very pretty! Here’s its counterpart:
In thoughts of hate, we’ll pick them up again!
[Takes the dagger.]
Now for my soldier, now for crook-backed Mars!
Ere long all Rimini will be ablaze.
He’ll kill me? Yes: what then? That’s nothing new,
Except to me; I’ll bear for custom’s sake.
More blood will follow; like the royal sun,
I shall go down in purple. Fools for luck;
The proverb holds like iron. I must run,
Ere laughter smother me.—O, ho, ho, ho! [Exit, laughing.
A Camp among the Hills. Before LANCIOTTO’S tent. Enter, from the tent, LANCIOTTO.
LANCIOTTO. The camp is strangely quiet.
Not a sound
Breaks nature’s high solemnity. The sun
Repeats again his every-day decline;
Yet all the world looks sadly after him,
As if the customary sight were new.
Yon moody sentinel goes slowly by,
Through the thick mists of evening, with his spear
Trailed at a funeral hold. Long shadows creep,
From things beyond the furthest range of sight,
Up to my very feet. These mystic shades
Are of the earth; the light that causes them,
And teaches us the quick comparison,
Is all from heaven. Ah! restless man might crawl
With patience through his shadowy destiny,
If he were senseless to the higher light
Towards which his soul aspires. How grand and vast
Is yonder show of heavenly pageantry!
How mean and narrow is the earthly stand
From which we gaze on it! Magnificent,
O God, art thou amid the sunsets! Ah!
What heart in Rimini is softened now,
Towards my defects, by this grand spectacle?
Perchance, Paolo now forgives the wrong
Of my hot spleen. Perchance, Francesca now
Wishes me back, and turns a tenderer eye
On my poor person and ill-mannered ways;
Fashions excuses for me, schools her heart
Through duty into love, and ponders o’er
The sacred meaning in the name of wife.
Dreams, dreams! Poor fools, we squander love away
On thankless borrowers; when bankrupt quite,
We sit and wonder of their honesty.
Love, take a lesson from the usurer,
And never lend but on security.