FAVOURITE CLASSICS :
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THE WORKS OP SHAKESPEARE.
In 40 Volumes.
SELECTED POEMS OP ALFRED,
LORD TENNYSON. In 7 Volumes.
THE PLAYS OF R. B. SHERIDAN.
In 3 Volumes.
SELECTED POEMS OP MATTHEW
ARNOLD. In 2 Volumes.
POEMS OF SAMUEL TAYLOR COLE-
RIDGE. In 1 Volume.
SELECTED ESSAYS OP CHARLES
LAMB. In 2 Volumes.
SELECTED ESSAYS OP JOSEPH
ADDISON. In 1 Volume.
THE LYRICAL POEMS OP EDGAB
ALLAN POE. In 1 Volume.
PIPPA PASSES. By ROBERT BROWNING.
In 1 Volume.
OMAR KHAYYAM. Translated from the
Persian by EDWARD FITZGERALD. In
To be followed by further volumes
at short intervals
LONDON : WILLIAM HEINEMANN
21 Bedford Street, W.C.
BY ROBERT BROWNING
WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY
and a Portrait of BROWNING
by J. C. Armytage
Edinburgh: T. and A. CONSTABLE. Printers to His Majesty
IN the preface to Paracelsus, Browning said : ' I do not
very well understand what is called a Dramatic Poem ,
wherein all those restrictions only submitted to on
account of compensating good in the original scheme
are scrupulously retained, as though for some special
fitness in themselves, and all new facilities placed at
an author's disposal by the vehicle he selects, as
pertinaciously rejected.' 'The canons of the drama,'
he declared, ' are well known, and I cannot but think
that, inasmuch as they have immediate regard to stage
representation, the peculiar advantages they hold out
are really such, only so long as the purpose for which
they were at first instituted is kept in view.' Pippa
Passes is a dramatic poem, and is perhaps open to
Browning's own criticism. It may equally be defended
by other words of his, in the dedicatory letter which he
added in 1863 to Bordello. ' My stress lay on the
incidents in the development of a soul : little else
is worth study : I, at least, always thought so.' The
form of Pippa Patses, in which there are elements of
the play and elements of the masque, is a wholly
original one : a series of scenes, connected only by the
passing through them of a single person, who is outside
their action, and whose influence on that action is
unconscious. ' Mr. Browning,' says Mrs. Sutherland
Orr in her Handbook, ' was walking alone in a wood
near Dulwich, when the image flashed upon him of
vi PIPPA PASSES
some one walking thus alone through life ; one
apparently too obscure to leave a trace of his or her
passage, yet exercising a lasting though unconscious
influence at every step of it ; and the image shaped
itself into the little silk-winder of Asolo, Felippa, or
Pippa.' The action takes place during the morning,
noon, afternoon, and evening of a single day ; and
between each of the four scenes there is an interlude of
' talk by the way,' through which Pippa passes. Each
scene represents the turning-point in a life, and, at
each moment of crisis, ' from without is heard the
voice of Pippa, singing.' Something in the song, ' like
any flash that cures the blind,' awakens pity or
memory, or the sense of God's presence, in the souls
of those whom Pippa has thought to be ' the happiest
four in Asolo.' Each decides suddenly ; each, accord-
ing to the terms of its own nature, is saved.
The poetry of Browning, says Walter Pater in a
passage of subtle and essential criticism, ' is pre-
eminently the poetry of situations. The characters
themselves are always of secondary importance ; often
they are characters in themselves of little interest ;
they seem to come to him by strange accidents from
the ends of the world. His gift is shown by the way
in which he accepts such a character, and throws it
into some situation, or apprehends it in some delicate
pause of life, in which for a moment it becomes ideal.'
Each of the scenes of Pippa Passes contains such a
situation, and, by a unique experiment in construction,
all are strung upon a single thread, and, as Pater,
speaking of a single poem, continues, the poem 'has
the clear ring of a central motive ; we receive from it
the impression of one imaginative tone, of a single
Pippa Posset was first published by Browning in 1841,
as Part I. of Bells and Pomegranates. In reprinting it in
the two volume edition of his Poems in 1849 he rewrote
it throughout, making considerable alterations, and
putting it into practically its present form. In the
three volume edition of his Poetical Works, published
in 1863, only minute changes were made ; and it is
from this edition that the present text has been
printed. The variations between the text of 1863
and the final text are few and unimportant ; for
the most part the change of an ' a ' into a ' their,' of
a ' while ' into a ' though/ of ' an earth's to cleave '
into f an earth to cleave,' of ' Shall I meet Lutwyche '
into 'Meet Lutwyche, I?' in order to get rid of the
double ending. Only two changes are of importance.
The last line of the scene between Ottima and Sebald
read in the original text, as it reads now :
' Not me to him, O God, be merciful ! '
In the edition of 1863 it is changed for the worse, with
an evident though awkward attempt to be more
explicit, into :
' Not to me, God to him be merciful ! '
One line, equally needless, is introduced for the same
reason into the last lines of the poem, where it remains
without a rhyme :
'Though I passed by them all, and felt no sign.'
In later editions this line quietly drops out.
In writing Pippa Passes, more perhaps than in any-
thing he ever wrote, Browning wrote to please himself.
He created a form of his own, and he filled that form
with an abounding and not excessive energy of life,
that energy which is beauty. The scene between
Ottima and Sebald has been called Elizabethan : it is
viii PIPPA PASSES
modern, but it is on the level of the best Elizabethan
work in drama. The blank verse throughout is the
most vivid and yet dignified, the most coloured and
yet restrained, that Browning ever wrote ; and he
never wrote anything better for singing than some of
Pippa's songs. I am not sure whether Pippa Passes can
be justly called Browning's masterpiece ; but I do not
know any other of his works which seems to me so
MY BEST INTENTIONS, IN THIS POEM,
ADMIRINGLY TO THE AUTHOR OF ' ION/
MR. SERJEANT TALFOURD
London, 1841. R. B.
LUIGI, and his MOTHER
MONSIGNOR, and his Attendants
NEW YEAR'S DAY AT ASOLO IN THE TREVISAN. A
large, mean, airy chamber. A girl, PIPPA, from
the silk-mills, springing out of bed.
Faster and more fast,
O'er night's brim, day boils at last ;
Boils, pure gold, o'er the cloud-cup's brim
Where spurting and supprest it lay
For not a froth-flake touched the rim
Of yonder gap in the solid gray
Of the eastern cloud, an hour away ;
But forth one wavelet, then another, curled,
Till the whole sunrise, not to be supprest,
Rose, reddened, and its seething breast
Flickered in bounds, grew gold, then overflowed
Oh, Day, if I squander a wavelet of thee,
A mite of my twelve-hours' treasure,
The least of thy gazes or glances,
(Be they grants thou art bound to, or gifts above
4 PIPPA PASSES
One of thy choices, or one of thy chances,
(Be they tasks God imposed thee, or freaks at thy
My Day, if I squander such labour or leisure,
Then shame fall on Asolo, mischief on me !
Thy long blue solemn hours serenely flowing,
Whence earth, we feel, gets steady help and
Thy fitful sunshine-minutes, coming, going,
As if earth turned from work in gamesome mood
All shall be mine ! But thou must treat me not
As the prosperous are treated, those who live
At hand here, and enjoy the higher lot,
In readiness to take what thou wilt give,
And free to let alone what thou refusest ;
For, Day, my holiday, if thou ill-usest
Me, who am only Pippa, old-year's sorrow,
Cast off last night, will come again to-morrow
Whereas, if thou prove gentle, I shall borrow
Sufficient strength of thee for new-year's sorrow.
All other men and women that this earth
Belongs to, who all days alike possess,
Make general plenty cure particular dearth,
Get more joy, one way, if another, less :
Thou art my single day, God lends to leaven
What were all earth else, with a feel of heaven,
Sole light that helps me through the year, thy
Try, now ! Take Asolo's Four Happiest Ones
And let thy morning rain on that superb
Great haughty Ottima ; can rain disturb
Her Sebald's homage ? All the while thy rain
Beats fiercest on her shrub-house window-pane,
He will but press the closer, breathe more warm
Against her cheek ; how should she mind the
And, morning past, if mid-day shed a gloom
O'er Jules and Phene, what care bride and
Save for their dear selves ? 'Tis their marriage-
And while they leave church, and go home their
Hand clasping hand, within each breast would be
Sunbeams and pleasant weather spite of thee !
Then, for another trial, obscure thy eve
With mist, will Luigi and his mother grieve
The Lady and her child, unmatched, forsooth,
She in her age, as Luigi in his youth,
For true content ? The cheerful town, warm,
And safe, the sooner that thou art morose,
Receives them ! And yet once again, outbreak
In storm at night on Monsignor, they make
Such stir about, whom they expect from Rome
To visit Asolo, his brothers' home,
And say here masses proper to release
A soul from pain, what storm dares hurt his
6 PIPPA PASSES
Calm would he pray, with his own thoughts to
Thy thunder off, nor want the angels' guard !
But Pippa just one such mischance would spoil
Her day that lightens the next twelvemonth's toil
At wearisome silk-winding, coil on coil !
And here I let time slip for nought !
Aha, you foolhardy sunbeam caught
With a single splash from my ewer !
You that would mock the best pursuer,
Was my basin over-deep ?
One splash of water ruins you asleep,
And up, up, fleet your brilliant bits
Wheeling and counterwheeling,
Reeling, broken beyond healing
Now grow together on the ceiling !
That will task your wits !
Whoever quenched fire first, hoped to see
Morsel after morsel flee
As merrily, as giddily . . .
Meantime, what lights my sunbeam on,
Where settles by degrees the radiant cripple ?
Oh, is it surely blown, my martagon ?
New-blown and ruddy as St. Agnes' nipple,
Plump as the flesh-bunch on some Turk bird's
Be sure if corals, branching 'neath the ripple
Of ocean, bud there, fairies watch unroll
Such turban-flowers; I say, such lamps disperse
Thick red flame through that dusk green universe !
I am queen of thee, floweret ;
And each fleshy blossom
Preserve I not (safer
Than leaves that embower it,
Or shells that embosom)
From weevil and chafer ?
Laugh through my pane, then; solicit the bee ;
Gibe him, be sure ; and, in midst of thy glee,
Love thy queen, worship me !
Worship whom else ? For am I not, this day,
Whate'er I please ? What shall I please to-day ?
My morning, noon, eve, night how spend my day ?
To-morrow I must be Pippa who winds silk,
The whole year round, to earn just bread and milk :
But, this one day, I have leave to go,
And play out my fancy's fullest games ;
I may fancy all day and it shall be so
That I taste of the pleasures, am called by
Of the Happiest Four in our Asolo !
See ! Up the Hill-side yonder, through the
Some one shall love me, as the world calls love :
I am no less than Ottima, take warning !
The gardens, and the great stone house above,
And other house for shrubs, all glass in front,
Are mine ; where Sebald steals, as he is wont,
To court me, while old Luca yet reposes ;
And therefore, till the shrub-house door uncloses,
8 PIPPA PASSES
I ... what, now ? give abundant cause for prate
About me Ottima, I mean of late,
Too bold, too confident she '11 still face down
The spitefullest of talkers in our town
How we talk in the little town below !
But love, love, love there 's better love, I know !
This foolish love was only day's first offer ;
I choose my next love to defy the scoffer :
For do not our Bride and Bridegroom sally
Out of Possagno church at noon ?
Their house looks over Orcana valley
Why should not I be the bride as soon
As Ottima ? For I saw, beside,
Arrive last night that little bride
Saw, if you call it seeing her, one flash
Of the pale, snow-pure cheek and black bright
Blacker than all except the black eyelash ;
I wonder she contrives those lids no dresses !
So strict was she, the veil
Should cover close her pale
Pure cheeks a bride to look at and scarce touch,
Scarce touch, remember, Jules ! for are not
Used to be tended, flower-like, every feature,
As if one's breath would fray the lily of a creature ?
A soft and easy life these ladies lead !
Whiteness in us were wonderful indeed.
Oh, save that brow its virgin dimness,
Keep that foot its lady primness,
Let those ankles never swerve
From their exquisite reserve,
Yet have to trip along the streets like me,
All but naked to the knee !
How will she ever grant her Jules a bliss
So startling as her real first infant kiss ?
Oh, no not envy, this !
Not envy, sure ! for if you gave me
Leave to take or to refuse,
In earnest, do you think I 'd choose
That sort of new love to enslave me ?
Mine should have lapped me round from the
As little fear of losing it as winning !
Lovers grow cold, men learn to hate their
And only parents' love can last our lives.
At eve the son and mother, gentle pair,
Commune inside our Turret ; what prevents
My being Luigi ? while that mossy lair
Of lizards through the winter-time, is stirred
With each to each imparting sweet intents
For this new-year, as brooding bird to bird
(For I observe of late, the evening walk
Of Luigi and his mother, always ends
Inside our ruined turret, where they talk,
Calmer than lovers, yet more kind than friends)
Let me be cared about, kept out of harm,
And schemed for, safe in love as with a charm ;
10 PIPPA PASSES
Let me be Luigi ! If I only knew
What was my mother's face my father, too !
Nay, if you come to that, best love of all
Is God's ; then why not have God's love befall
Myself as, in the Palace by the Dome,
Monsignor ? who to-night will bless the home
Of his dead brother ; and God will bless in turn
That heart which beats, those eyes which mildly
With love for all men : I, to-night at least,
Would be that holy and beloved priest !
Now wait ! even I already seem to share
In God's love: what does New-year's hymn
What other meaning do these verses bear ?
All service ranks the same with God :
If now, as formerly He trod
Paradise, His presence Jills
Our earth, each only as God wills
Can rvork God's puppets, best and worst,
Are we ; there is no last nor first.
Say not ' a small event ! ' Why ' small ? '
Costs it more pain that this, ye call
A ' great event,' should come to pass,
Than that ? Untwine me from the mass
Of deeds which make up life, one deed
Power shall fall short in, or exceed I
And more of it, and more of it ! oh, yes
I will pass by, and see their happiness,
And envy none being just as great, no doubt,
Useful to men, and dear to God, as they !
A pretty thing to care about
So mightily, this single holiday !
But let the sun shine ! Wherefore repine ?
With thee to lead me, O Day of mine,
Down the grass-path grey with dew,
Under the pine-wood, blind with boughs,
Where the swallow never flew
As yet, nor cicala dared carouse
Dared carouse !
[She enters the street.
Jp ike Hill-side, inside the Shrub-house. LUCA'S
Wife, OTTIMA, and her Paramour, the German
SEB. ['ng*.] Let the matching lids wink !
Day 's a-blaze with eyes, think
Deep into the night, drink !
OTTI. Night ? Such may be your Rhine-land
nights, perhaps ;
Jut this blood-red beam through the shutter's
We call such light, the morning's : let us see !
blind how you grope your way, though ! How
'Jaked geraniums straggle ! Push the lattice
Behind that frame ! Nay, do I bid you ? Sebald,
t shakes the dust down on me ! Why, of course
The slide-bolt catches. Well, are you content,
Or must I find you something else to spoil ?
iss and be friends, my Sebald ! Is it full morning ?
Oh, don't speak then !
SEB. Ay, thus it used to be !
Ever your house was, I remember, shut
Fill mid-day I observed that, as I strolled
16 PIPPA PASSES
On mornings through the vale here : country girls
Were noisy, washing garments in the brook,
Hinds drove the slow white oxen up the hills,
But no, your house was mute, would ope no eye !
And wisely you were plotting one thing there,
Nature, another outside : I looked up
Rough white wood shutters, rusty iron bars,
Silent as death, blind in a flood of light.
Oh, I remember ! and the peasants laughed
And said, 'The old man sleeps with the young
This house was his, this chair, this window his !
OTTI. Ah, the clear morning ! I can see St.
That black streak is the belfry. Stop, Vicenza
Should lie ... There 's Padua, plain enough, that
Look o'er my shoulder, follow my finger.
SEB. Morning ?
It seems to me a night with a sun added.
Where 's dew ? where 's freshness ? That bruised
plant, I bruised
In getting through the lattice yestereve,
Droops as it did. See, here 's my elbow's mark
In the dust on the sill.
OTTI. Oh shut the lattice, pray !
SEB. Let me lean out. I cannot scent blood here,
Foul as the morn may be.
There, shut the world out!
How do you feel now, Ottima ? There, curse
The world and all outside ! Let us throw off
This mask : how do you bear yourself? Let 's out
With all of it !
OTTI. Best never speak of it.
SEB. Best speak again and yet again of it,
Till words cease to be more than words. ' His
For instance let those two words mean 'His
And nothing more. Notice, I '11 say them now,
OTTI. Assuredly if I repented
SEB. Repent ? who should repent, or why ?
[What puts that in your head? Did I once say
[That I repented ?
OTTI. No, I said the deed
SEB. 'The deed/ and 'the event' just now it
[' Our passion's fruit ' the devil take such cant !
I Say, once and always, Luca was a wittol,
|[ am his cut-throat, you are
OTTI. Here is the wine ;
brought it when we left the house above,
jAnd glasses too wine of both sorts. Black?
white, then ?
SEB. .But am not I his cut-throat ? What are
OTTI. There, trudges on his business from the
18 PIPPA PASSES
Benet the Capuchin, with his brown hood
And bare feet always in one place at church,
Close under the stone wall by the south entry.
I used to take him for a brown cold piece
Of the wall's self, as out of it he rose
To let me pass at first, I say, I used
Now, so has that dumb figure fastened on me,
I rather should account the plastered wall
A piece of him, so chilly does it strike.
This, Sebald ?
SEB. No the white wine the white wine !
Well, Ottima, I promised no new year
Should rise on us the ancient shameful way,
Nor does it rise : pour on ! To your black eyes !
Do you remember last damned New Year's day ?
OTTI. You brought those foreign prints. We
looked at them
Over the wine and fruit. I had to scheme
To get him from the fire. Nothing but saying
His own set wants the proof-mark, roused him up
To hunt them out.
SEB. 'Faith, he is not alive
To fondle you before my face !
OTTI. Do you
Fondle Sue, then ! who means to take your life
For that, my Sebald ?
SEB. Hark you, Ottima,
One thing 's to guard against. We '11 not make
One of the other that is, not make more
Parade of warmth, childish officious coil,
Than yesterday as if, Sweet, I supposed
Proof upon proof was needed now, now first,
To show I love you yes, still love you love
In spite of Luca and what 's come to him
Sure sign we had him ever in our thoughts,
White sneering old reproachful face and all !
We '11 even quarrel, Love, at times, as if
We still could lose each other, were not tied
By this conceive you ?
OTTI. Love !
SEB. Not tied so sure !
Because though I was wrought upon, have struck
His insolence back into him am I
So surely yours ? therefore, forever yours ?
OTTI. Love, to be wise, (one counsel pays
Should we have months ago when first we
For instance that May morning we two stole
Under the green ascent of sycamores
If we had come upon a thing like that
Suddenly . . .
SEB. ' A thing ' there again ' a thing ! '
OTTI. Then, Venus' body, had we come upon
My husband Luca Gaddi's murdered corpse
Within there, at his couch-foot, covered close
Would you have pored upon it ? Why persist
In poring now upon it ? For 'tis here
20 PIPPA PASSES
As much as there in the deserted house :
You cannot rid your eyes of it. For me,
Now he is dead I hate him worse I hate . . .
Dare you stay here ? I would go back and hold
His two dead hands, and say, I hate you worse
Luca, than . . .
SEE. Off, off; take your hands off mine!
'Tis the hot evening off! oh, morning, is it ?
OTTI. There 's one thing must be done ; you
know what thing.
Come in and help to carry. We may sleep
Anywhere in the whole wide house to-night.
SEE. What would come, think you, if we let
Just as he is ? Let him lie there until
The angels take him : he is turned by this
Off from his face, beside, as you will see.
OTTI. This dusty pane might serve for looking-
Three, four four grey hairs ! Is it so you said
A plait of hair should wave across my neck ?
No this way !
SEE. Ottima, I would give your neck,
Each splendid shoulder, both those breasts of
That this were undone ! Killing ? Kill the
So Luca lives again ! ay, lives to sputter
His fulsome dotage on you yes, and feign
Surprise that I returned at eve to sup,
When all the morning I was loitering here
Bid me dispatch my business and begone.
I would . . .
OTTI. See !
SEB. No, I '11 finish ! Do you think
I fear to speak the bare truth once for all ?
All we have talked of is, at bottom, fine
To suffer there 's a recompense in guilt;
One must be venturous and fortunate :
What is one young for, else ? In age we '11 sigh
O'er the wild, reckless, wicked days flown over;
Still, we have lived ! The vice was in its place.
But to have eaten Luca's bread, have worn
His clothes, have felt his money swell my purse
Do lovers in romances sin that way ?
Why, I was starving when I used to call
And teach you music, starving while you plucked
These flowers to smell !
OTTI. My poor lost friend !
SEB. He gave me
Life, nothing less : what if he did reproach
My perfidy, and threaten, and do more
Had he no right ? What was to wonder at ?
He sat by us at table quietly
Why must you lean across till our cheeks touched ?
Could he do less than make pretence to strike
'Tis not for the crime's sake I 'd commit ten
22 PIPPA PASSES
Greater, to have this crime wiped out, undone !
And you O, how feel you ? feel you for me ?
OTTI. Well, then, I love you better now than
And best (look at me while I speak to you)
Best for the crime ; nor do I grieve, in truth,
This mask, this simulated ignorance,
This affectation of simplicity,
Falls off our crime ; this naked crime of ours
May not, now, be looked over; look it down,
Great ? let it be great ; but the joys it brought,
Pay they or no its price ? Come : they or it !
Speak not ! The Past, would you give up the Past
Such as it is, pleasure and crime together ?
Give up that noon I owned my love for you ?
The garden's silence ! even the single bee
Persisting in his toil, suddenly stopt ;
And where he hid you only could surmise
By some campanula's chalice set a-swing :
Who stammered ' Yes, I love you ? '
SEB. And I drew
Back ; put far back your face with both my hands
Lest you should grow too full of me your face
So seemed athirst for my whole soul and body !
OTTI. And when I ventured to receive you
Made you steal hither in the mornings
I used to look up 'neath the shrub-house here.
Till the red fire on its glazed windows spread
To a yellow haze ?
OTTI. Ah my sign was, the sun
Inflamed the sere side of yon chestnut-tree
Nipt by the first frost.
SEB. You would always laugh
At my wet boots : I had to stride thro' grass
Over my ankles.
OTTI. Then our crowning night !
SEB. The July night ?
OTTI. The day of it too, Sebald !
When the heaven's pillars seemed o'erbowed with
Its black-blue canopy seemed let descend
Close on us both, to weigh down each to each,
And smother up all life except our life.
So lay we till the storm came.
SEB. How it came !
OTTI. Buried in woods we lay, you recollect ;
Swift ran the searching tempest overhead ;
And ever and anon some bright white shaft
Burnt thro' the pine-tree roof, here burnt and
As if God's messenger thro' the close wood screen
Plunged and replunged his weapon at a venture,
Feeling for guilty thee and me : then broke
The thunder like a whole sea overhead
SBB. Yes !
OTTI. While I stretched myself upon you,
24 PIPPA PASSES
To hands, my mouth to your hot mouth, and
All my locks loose, and covered you with them
You, Sebald, the same you !
SEE. Slower, Ottima
OTTI. And as we lay
SEB. Less vehemently ! Love me !
Forgive me ! take not words, mere words, to
Your breath is worse than wine. Breathe slow,
speak slow !
Do not lean on me !
OTTI. Sebald, as we lay,
Rising and falling only with our pants,
Who said, 'Let death come now! 'tis right to
Right to be punished ! nought completes such
But woe ! ' Who said that ?
SEB. How did we ever rise ?
Was 't that we slept ? Why did it end ?
OTTI. I felt you,
Tapering into a point the ruffled ends
Of my loose locks 'twixt both your humid lips
(My hair is fallen now : knot it again !)
SEB. I kiss you now, dear Ottima, now, and
This way ? Will you forgive me be once more
My great queen?
OTTI. Bind it thrice about my brow ;
Crown me your queen, your spirit's arbitress,
Magnificent in sin. Say that !
SEE. I crown you
My great white queen, my spirit's arbitress,
Magnificent . . .
[From without is heard the voice of PIPPA,
The year 's at the spring,
And day 's at the morn ;
Morning's at seven;
The hill-side 's den-pearled ;
The lark 's on the wing ;
The snail 's on the thorn ;
God 's in His heaven
All 's right tvith the world !
[ PIPPA passes.
SEB. God 's in His heaven ! Do you hear that ?
Who spoke ?
You, you spoke !
OTTI. Oh that little ragged girl !
She must have rested on the step : we give them
But this one holiday the whole year round.
Did you ever see our silk-mills their inside ?
There are ten silk-mills now belong to you.
She stoops to pick my double heartsease . . . Sh !
She does not hear : call you out louder !
SEB. Leave me !
Go, get your clothes on dress those shoulders !
26 PIPPA PASSES
OTTI. Sebald ?
SEB. Wipe off that paint. I hate you !
OTTI. Miserable !
SEB. My God ! and she is emptied of it now !
Outright now ! how miraculously gone
All of the grace had she not strange grace once ?
Why, the blank cheek hangs listless as it likes,
No purpose holds the features up together,
Only the cloven brow and puckered chin
Stay in their places and the very hair,
That seemed to have a sort of life in it,
Drops, a dead web !
OTTI. Speak to me speak not of me !
SEB. That round great full-orbed face, where
not an angle
Broke the delicious indolence all broken !
OTTI. To me not of me ! ungrateful, perjured
A coward, too : but ingrate 's worse than all !
Beggar my slave a fawning, cringing lie !
Leave me ! Betray me ! I can see your drift !
A lie that walks, and eats, and drinks !
SEB. My God !
Those morbid, olive, faultless shoulder-blades
I should have known there was no blood beneath !
OTTI. You hate me, then ? You hate me, then ?
SEB. To think
She would succeed in her absurd attempt,
And fascinate by sinning ; and show herself
Superior Guilt from its excess, superior
To Innocence ! That little peasant's voice
Has righted all again. Though I be lost,
I know which is the better, never fear,
Of vice or virtue, purity or lust,
Nature, or trick ! I see what I have done,
Entirely now ! Oh, I am proud to feel
Such torments let the world take credit thence
I, having done my deed, pay too its price !
I hate, hate curse you ! God 's in His heaven !
OTTI. Me !
Me ! no, no, Sebald, not yourself kill me !
Mine is the whole crime do but kill me then
Yourself then presently first hear me speak
I always meant to kill myself wait, you !
Lean on my breast not as a breast ; don't love
The more because you lean on me, my own
Heart's Sebald! There there both deaths
SEB. My brain is drowned now quite drowned :
all I feel
Is ... is, at swift-recurring intervals,
A hurrying-down within me, as of waters
Loosened to smother up some ghastly pit :
There they go whirls from a black, fiery sea !
OTTI. Not to me, God to him be merciful !
28 PIPPA PASSES
Talk by the rvay, while PIPPA is passing from the
Hill-side to Orcana. Foreign Students of Paint-
ing and Sculpture, from Venice, assembled
opposite the house of JULES, a young French
IST STUDENT. Attention ! my own post is
beneath this window, but the pomegranate clump
yonder will hide three or four of you with a little
squeezing, and Schramm and his pipe must lie flat
in the balcony. Four, five who 's a defaulter ?
We want everybody, for Jules must not be
suffered to hurt his bride when the jest 's found
2ND STUD. All here ! Only our poet 's away
never having much meant to be present, moon-
strike him ! The airs of that fellow, that Gio-
vacchino ! He was in violent love with himself,
and had a fair prospect of thriving in his suit, so
unmolested was it, when suddenly a woman falls
in love with him, too ; and out of pure jealousy he
takes himself off to Trieste, immortal poem and all
whereto is this prophetical epitaph appended
already, as Bluphocks assures me ' Here a
mammoth-poem lies, Fouled to death by butterflies.'
His own fault, the simpleton ! Instead of cramp
couplets, each like a knife in your entrails, he
should write, says Bluphocks, both classically and
intelligibly. jEsculapius, an Epic. Catalogue of
the drugs : Hebe's plaister One strip Cools your lip.
Phoebus' emulsion One bottle Clears your throttle.
Mercury's bolus One box Cures . . .
SRD STUD. Subside, my fine fellow ! If the
marriage was over by ten o'clock, Jules will
certainly be here in a minute with his bride.
SND STUD. Good! Only, so should the poet's
muse have been universally acceptable, says
Bluphocks, et canibus nostris . . . and Delia not
better known to our literary dogs than the boy
IST STUD. To the point, now. Where's Gott-
lieb, the new-comer? Oh, listen, Gottlieb, to
what has called down this piece of friendly
vengeance on Jules, of which we now assemble to
witness the winding-up. We are all agreed, all in
a tale, observe, when Jules shall burst out on us in
a fury by-and-by : I am spokesman the verses
that are to undeceive Jules bear my name of
Lutwyche but each professes himself alike in-
sulted by this strutting stone-squarer, who came
singly from Paris to Munich, and thence with a
crowd of us to Venice and Possagno here, but
proceeds in a day or two alone again oh, alone,
indubitably ! to Rome and Florence. He, for-
sooth, take up his portion with these dissolute,
brutalised, heartless bunglers! So he was heard
to call us all : now, is Schramm brutalised, I
should like to know ? Am I heartless ?
GOTT. Why, somewhat heartless ; for, suppose
Jules a coxcomb as much as you choose, still, for
30 PIPPA PASSES
this mere coxcombry, you will have brushed off
what do folks style it ? the bloom of his life. Is
it too late to alter ? These love-letters, now, you
call his I can't laugh at them.
4>TH STUD. Because you never read the sham
letters of our inditing which drew forth these.
GOTT. His discovery of the truth will be frightful.
4-TH STUD. That 's the joke. But you should
have joined us at the beginning : there 's no doubt
he loves the girl loves a model he might hire by
the hour !
GOTT. See here ! ' He has been accustomed,' he
writes, f to have Canova's women about him, in
stone, and the world's women beside him, in flesh ;
these being as much below, as those, above his
soul's aspiration : but now he is to have the real.'
There you laugh again ! I say, you wipe off the
very dew of his youth.
IST STUD. Schramm ! (Take the pipe out of his
mouth, somebody.) Will Jules lose the bloom of
his youth ?
SCHRAMM. Nothing worth keeping is ever lost in
this world : look at a blossom it drops presently,
having done its service and lasted its time ; but
fruits succeed, and where would be the blossom's
place could it continue ? As well affirm that your
eye is no longer in your body, because its earliest
favourite, whatever it may have first loved to look
on, is dead and done with as that any affection is
lost to the soul when its first object, whatever
happened first to satisfy it, is superseded in due
course. Keep but ever looking, whether with the
body's eye or the mind's, and you will soon find
something to look on ! Has a man done wonder-
ing at women ? There follow men, dead and alive,
to wonder at. Has he done wondering at men ?
There's God to wonder at: and the faculty of
wonder may be, at the same time, old and tired
enough with respect to its first object, and yet
young and fresh sufficiently so far as concerns its
novel one. Thus . . .
IST STUD. Put Schramm's pipe into his mouth
again ! There, you see ! Well, this Jules ... a
wretched fribble oh, I watched his disportings at
Possagno, the other day ! Canova's gallery you
know : there he marches first resolvedly past great
works by the dozen without vouchsafing an eye :
all at once he stops full at the Psiche-fanciulla
cannot pass that old acquaintance without a nod of
encouragement ' In your new place, beauty ?
Then behave yourself as well here as at Munich
I see you ! ' Next he posts himself deliberately
before the unfinished Pietd for half an hour with-
out moving, till up he starts of a sudden, and
thrusts his very nose into I say, into the group ;
by which gesture you are informed that precisely
the sole point he had not fully mastered in
Canova's practice was a certain method of using
the drill in the articulation of the knee-joint and
that, likewise, has he mastered at length ! Good-
32 PIPPA PASSES
bye, therefore, to poor Canova whose gallery no
longer needs detain his successor Jules, the pre-
destinated novel thinker in marble !
STH STUD. Tell him about the women : go on to
the women !
IST STUD. Why, on that matter he could never
be supercilious enough. How should we be other
(he said) than the poor devils you see, with those
debasing habits we cherish ? He was not to
wallow in that mire, at least : he would wait, and
love only at the proper time, and meanwhile put
up with the Psiche-fanciulla. Now I happened
to hear of a young Greek real Greek girl at
Malamocco ; a true Islander, do you see, with
Alciphron's ' hair like sea-moss ' Schramm knows !
white and quiet as an apparition, and fourteen
years old at farthest, a daughter of Natalia, so
she swears that hag Natalia, who helps us to
models at three lire an hour. We selected
this girl for the heroine of our jest. So,
first, Jules received a scented letter somebody
had seen his Tydeus at the academy, and my
picture was nothing to it a profound admirer
bade him persevere would make herself known to
him ere long (Paolina, my little friend of the
Fenice, transcribes divinely). And in due time,
the mysterious correspondent gave certain hints of
her peculiar charms the pale cheeks, the black
hair whatever, in short, had struck us in our
Malamocco model : we retained her name, too
Phene, which is by interpretation, sea-eagle.
Now, think of Jules finding himself distinguished
from the herd of us by such a creature ! In his
very first answer he proposed marrying his moni-
tress : and fancy us over these letters, two, three
times a day, to receive and dispatch ! I concocted
the main of it : relations were in the way secrecy
must be observed in fine, would he wed her
on trust, and only speak to her when they
were indissolubly united? St st Here they
6xH STUD. Both of them ! Heaven's love, speak
softly ! speak within yourselves !
STH STUD. Look at the bridegroom ! Half his
hair in storm, and half in calm, patted down over
the left temple, like a frothy cup one blows on to
cool it ! and the same old blouse that he murders
the marble in !
SND STUD. Not a rich vest like yours, Hannibal
Scratchy ! rich, that your face may the better set
GTH STUD. And the bride ! Yes, sure enough,
our Phene ! Should you have known her in her
clothes ? How magnificently pale !
GOTT. She does not also take it for earnest, I
IST STUD. Oh, Natalia's concern, that is ! We
settle with Natalia.
GTH STUD. She does not speak has evidently
let out no word. The only thing is, will she
34 PIPPA PASSES
equally remember the rest of her lesson, and
repeat correctly all those verses which are to break
the secret to Jules ?
GOTT. How he gazes on her ! Pity pity !
IST STUD. They go in now, silence! You
three, not nearer the window, mind, than that
pomegranate just where the little girl, who a few
minutes ago passed us singing, is seated !
Over Orcana. The House of JULES, tvho crosses its
threshold with PHENE : she is silent, on which
Do not die, Phene ! I am yours now, you
Are mine now ; let fate reach me how she likes,
If you '11 not die so, never die ! Sit here
My work-room's single seat. I over-lean
This length of hair and lustrous front ; they turn
Like an entire flower upward : eyes lips last
Your chin no, last your throat turns 'tis their
Pulls down my face upon you ! Nay, look ever
This one way till I change, grow you I could
Change into you, Beloved !
You by me,
And I by you ; this is your hand in mine,
And side by side we sit : all 's true. Thank God !
I have spoken : speak, you !
O, my life to come !
My Tydeus must be carved, that 's there in clay ;
Yet how be carved, with you about the chamber ?
Where must I place you ? When I think that
38 PIPPA PASSES
This room-full of rough block-work seemed my
Without you ! Shall I ever work again,
Get fairly into my old ways again,
Bid each conception stand while, trait by trait,
My hand transfers its lineaments to stone ?
Will my mere fancies live near you, my truth
The live truth, passing and repassing me,
Sitting beside me ?
Now speak !
See, all your letters ! Was 't not well contrived ?
Their hiding-place is Psyche's robe ; she keeps
Your letters next her skin : which drops out fore-
Ah, this that swam down like a first moonbeam
Into my world !
Again those eyes complete
Their melancholy survey, sweet and slow,
Of all my room holds ; to return and rest
On me, with pity, yet some wonder too
As if God bade some spirit plague a world,
And this were the one moment of surprise
And sorrow while she took her station, pausing
O'er what she sees, finds good, and must destroy !
What gaze you at? Those? Books, I told you
Let your first word to me rejoice them, too :
This minion, a Coluthus, writ in red
Bistre and azure by Bessarion's scribe
Read this line . . . no, shame Homer's be the
First breathed me from the lips of my Greek girl !
My Odyssey in coarse black vivid type
With faded yellow blossoms 'twixt page and page,
To mark great places with due gratitude ;
' He said, and on Antinous directed
' A bitter shaft "... a flower blots out the rest !
Again upon your search ? My statues, then !
Ah, do not mind that better that will look
When cast in bronze an Almaign Kaiser, that,
Swart-green and gold, with truncheon based on
This, rather, turn to ! What, unrecognised ?
I thought you would have seen that here you sit
As I imagined you, Hippolyta,
Naked upon her bright Numidian horse !
Recall you this, then ? ' Carve in bold reh'ef '
So you commanded ' carve, against I come,
' A Greek, in Athens, as our fashion was,
' Feasting, bay-filleted and thunder-free,
' Who rises 'neath the lifted myrtle-branch :
* " Praise those who slew Hipparchus," cry the guests,
'" While o'er thy head the singer's myrtle waves
' " As erst above our champions' : stand up, all !"
See, I have laboured to express your thought !
Quite round, a cluster of mere hands and arms,
(Thrust in all senses, all ways, from all sides,
Only consenting at the branch's end
They strain toward) serves for frame to a sole face,
40 PIPPA PASSES
The Praiser's, in the centre who with eyes
Sightless, so bend they back to light inside
His brain where visionary forms throng up,
Sings, minding not that palpitating arch
Of hands and arms, nor the quick drip of wine
From the drenched leaves o'erhead, nor crowns
Violet and parsley crowns to trample on
Sings, pausing as the patron-ghosts approve,
Devoutly their unconquerable hymn !
But you must say a ' well ' to that say, ' well ! '
Because you gaze am I fantastic, sweet ?
Gaze like my very life's-stuff, marble marbly
Even to the silence ! why, before I found
The real flesh Phene, I inured myself
To see, throughout all nature, varied stuff
For better nature's birth by means of art.
With me, each substance tended to one form
Of beauty to the human archetype.
On every side occurred suggestive germs
Of that the tree, the flower or take the fruit,
Some rosy shape, continuing the peach,
Curved beewise o'er its bough ; as rosy limbs,
Depending, nestled in the leaves; and just
From a cleft rose-peach the whole Dryad sprang.
But of the stuffs one can be master of,
How I divined their capabilities !
From the soft-rinded smoothening facile chalk
That yields your outline to the air's embrace,
Half-softened by a halo's pearly gloom ;
Down to the crisp imperious steel, so sure
To cut its one confided thought clean out
Of all the world. But marble ! 'neath my tools
More pliable than jelly as it were
Some clear primordial creature dug from depths
In the earth's heart, where itself breeds itself,
And whence all baser substance may be worked ;
Refine it off to air, you may, condense it
Down to the diamond ; is not metal there,
When o'er the sudden specks my chisel trips ?
Not flesh, as flake off flake I scale, approach,
Lay bare those bluish veins of blood asleep ?
Lurks flame in no strange windings where, sur-
By the swift implement sent home at once,
Flushes and glowings radiate and hover
About its track ?
Phene ? what why is this ?
That whitening cheek, those still-dilating eyes !
Ah, you will die I knew that you would die !
PHENE begins, on his having long remained silent.
Now the end 's coming ; to be sure, it must
Have ended sometime ! Tush, why need I speak
Their foolish speech ? I cannot bring to mind
One half of it, besides ; and do not care
For old Natalia now, nor any of them.
Oh, you what are you ? if I do not try
To say the words Natalia made me learn,
To please your friends, it is to keep myself
42 PIPPA PASSES
Where your voice lifted me, by letting it
Proceed : but can it ? Even you, perhaps,
Cannot take up, now you have once let fall,
The music's life, and me along with that
No, or you would ! We '11 stay, then, as we are :
Above the world.
You creature with the eyes !
If I could look for ever up to them,
As now you let me, I believe, all sin,
All memory of wrong done or suffering borne,
Would drop down, low and lower, to the earth
Whence all that 's low comes, and there touch and
Never to overtake the rest of me,
All that, unspotted, reaches up to you,
Drawn by those eyes ! What rises is myself,
Not so the shame and suffering ; but they sink,
Are left, I rise above them. Keep me so,
Above the world !
But you sink, for your eyes
Are altering altered! Stay 'I love you, love
you' . . .
I could prevent it if I understood :
More of your words to me : was 't in the tone
Or the words, your power ?
Or stay I will repeat
Their speech, if that contents you ! Only, change
No more, and I shall find it presently
Far back here, in the brain yourself filled up.
Natalia threatened me that harm would follow
Unless I spoke their lesson to the end,
But harm to me, I thought she meant, not you.
Your friends, Natalia said they were your friends
And meant you well, because, I doubted it,
Observing (what was very strange to see)
On every face, so different in all else,
The same smile girls like us are used to bear,
But never men, men cannot stoop so low ;
Yet your friends, speaking of you, used that smile,
That hateful smirk of boundless self-conceit
Which seems to take possession of this world
And make of God their tame confederate,
Purveyor to their appetites . . . you know !
But no Natalia said they were your friends,
And they assented while they smiled the more,
And all came round me, that thin Englishman
With light, lank hair seemed leader of the rest ;
He held a paper ' What we want,' said be,
Ending some explanation to his friends
'Is something slow, involved and mystical,
' To hold Jules long in doubt, yet take his taste
' And lure him on, so that, at innermost
' Where he seeks sweetness' soul, he may find
' As in the apple's core, the noisome fly :
' For insects on the rind are seen at once,
'And brushed aside as soon, but this is found
' Only when on the lips or loathing tongue.'
And so he read what I have got by heart
I '11 speak it, ' Do not die, love ! I am yours ' . . .
44 PIPPA PASSES
Stop is not that, or like that, part of words
Yourself began by speaking ? Strange to lose
What cost such pains to learn ! Is this more right ?
/ am a painter who cannot paint ;
In my life, a devil rather than saint,
In my brain, as poor a creature too :
No end to all I cannot do !
Yet do one thing at least I can
Love a man, or hate a man
Supremely : thus my lore began.
Through the F alley of Love I went,
In its lovingest spot to abide,
And just on the verge where I pitched my tent,
I found Hate dwelling beside.
(Let the Bridegroom ask what the painter meant,
Of his Bride, of the peerless Bride /)
And further, I traversed Hate's grove,
In its hatefullest nook to dwell ;
But lo, where I flung myself prone, couched Love
Where the deepest shadow fell.
(The meaning those black bride' s-eyes above,
Not the painter's lip should tell /)
* And here,' said he, ' Jules probably will ask,
' You have black eyes, love, you are, sure enough,
' My peerless bride, so, do you tell, indeed,
' What needs some explanation what means this ? '
And I am to go on, without a word
So, I grew wiser in Love and Hate,
From simple, that I was of late.
For once, when I loved, I mould enlace
Breast, eyelids, hands, feet, form and face
Of her I loved, in one embrace
As if by mere love I could love immensely I
And when I hated, I would plunge
My sword and wipe with thejirst lunge
My foe's whole life out, like a spunge
As if by mere hate I could hate intensely !
But now I am wiser, know better the fashion
How passion seeks aid from its opposite passion,
And if I see cause to love more, or hate
Than ever man loved, ever hated, before
And seek in the Valley of Love,
The spot, or the spot in Hates Grove,
Where my soul may the sureliest reach
The essence, nought less, of each,
The Hate of all Hates, or the Love
Of all Loves, in its Valley or Grove,
I find them the very warders
Each of the other's borders.
I love most, when Love is disguised
In Hate ; and when Hate is surprised
In Love, then I hate most : ask
How Love smiles through Hate's iron casque,
Hate grins through Love's rose-braided mask,
And how, having hated thee,
I sought long and painfully
To wound thee, and not prick
The skin, but pierce to the quick
46 PIPPA PASSES
Ask this, my Jules, and be answered straight
By thy bride how the painter Luttvyche can
Lutwyche ! who else ? But all of them, no doubt,
Hated me : they at Venice presently
Their turn, however ! You I shall not meet :
If I dreamed, saying this would wake me !
What 's here, this gold we cannot meet again,
Consider and the money was but meant
For two years' travel, which is over now,
All chance, or hope, or care, or need of it !
This and what comes from selling these, my casts
And books, and medals, except ... let them go
Together, so the produce keeps you safe,
Out of Natalia's clutches ! If by chance
(For all 's chance here) I should survive the gang
At Venice, root out all fifteen of them,
We might meet somewhere, since the world is
[From without is heard the voice of PIPPA,
Give her but a least excuse to love me !
Horn can this arm establish her above me,
If fortune Jixed her as my lady there,
There already, to eternally reprove me ?
(' Hist ' said Kate the queen /
But ' Oh ' cried the maiden, binding her tresses,
''Tis only a page that carols unseen
' Crumbling your hounds their messes ! ')
Is she wronged ? To the rescue of her honour,
Is she poor ? What costs it to be styled a donor ?
Merely an earth 's to cleave, a sea 's to part !
But that fortune should have thrust all this upon
(' Nay, list,' bade Kate the queen ;
And still cried the maiden, binding her tresses,
' ' Tis only a page that carols unseen
' Fitting your hawks their jesses ! ')
What name was that the little girl sang forth ?
Kate ? The Cornaro, doubtless, who renounced
The crown of Cyprus to be lady here
At Asolo, where still the peasants keep
Her memory ; and songs tell how many a page
Pined for the grace of one so far above
His power of doing good to, as a queen
' She never could be wronged, be poor/ he sighed,
' For, him to help her ! '
Yes, a bitter thing
To see our lady above all need of us ;
Yet so we look ere we will love; not I,
48 PIPPA PASSES
But the world looks so. If whoever loves
Must be, in some sort, god or worshipper,
The blessing or the blest one, queen or page,
Why should we always choose the page's part ?
Here is a woman with utter need of me,
I find myself queen here, it seems !
How strange !
Look at the woman here with the new soul,
Like my own Psyche's, fresh upon her lips
Alit, the visionary butterfly,
Waiting my word to enter and make bright,
Or flutter off and leave all blank as first.
This body had no soul before, but slept
Or stirred, was beauteous or ungainly, free
From taint or foul with stain, as outward things
Fastened their image on its passiveness :
Now, it will wake, feel, live or die again !
Shall to produce form out of unshaped stuff
Be Art and, further, to evoke a soul
From form, be nothing ? This new soul is mine !
Now, to kill Lutwyche, what would that do ? save
A wretched dauber, men will hoot to death
Without me, from their laughter ! Oh, to hear
God's voice plain as I heard it first, before
They broke in with that laughter ! I heard them
Henceforth, not God.
To Ancona Greece some isle !
I wanted silence only : there is clay
Everywhere. One may do whate'er one likes
In Art : the only thing is, to make sure
That one does like it which takes pains to know.
Scatter all this, my Phene this mad dream !
Who, what is Lutwyche, what Natalia's friends,
What the whole world except our love my
Own Phene ? But I told you, did I not,
Ere night we travel for your land some isle
With the sea's silence on it ? Stand aside
I do but break these paltry models up
To begin Art afresh. Shall I meet Lutwyche,
And save him from my statue's meeting him ?
Some unsuspected isle in the far seas !
Like a god going through his world there stands
One mountain for a moment in the dusk,
Whole brotherhoods of cedars on its brow :
And you are ever by me while I gaze
Are in my arms as now as now as now !
Some unsuspected isle in the far seas !
Some unsuspected isle in far-off seas !
Talk by the nay, while PIPPA is passing from Orcana
to the Turret. Two or three of the Austrian
Police loitering with BLUPHOCKS, an English
vagabond, just in view of the Turret.
BLUPHOCKS. 1 So, that is your Pippa, the little
girl who passed us singing ? Well, your Bishop's
1 ' He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and
sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.'
60 PIPPA PASSES
Intendant's money shall be honestly earned :
now, don't make me that sour face because I bring
the Bishop's name into the business we know he
can have nothing to do with such horrors we
know that he is a saint and all that a Bishop
should be, who is a great man besides. Oh 1 were
but every norm a maggot, Every fly a grig, Every
bough a Christmas faggot, Every tune a jig ! In
fact, I have abjured all religions; but the last I
inclined to, was the Armenian for I have
travelled, do you see, and at Koenigsberg, Prussia
Improper (so styled because there 's a sort of bleak
hungry sun there,) you might remark over a vener-
able house-porch, a certain Chaldee inscription ;
and brief as it is, a mere glance at it used absolutely
to change the mood of every bearded passenger.
In they turned, one and all ; the young and light-
some, with no irreverent pause, the aged and
decrepit, with a sensible alacrity, 'twas the
Grand Rabbi's abode, in short. Struck with
curiosity, I lost no time in learning Syriac (these
are vowels, you dogs, follow my stick's end in
the mud Celarent, Darii, Ferio /) and one morning
presented myself spelling-book in hand, a, b, c,
I picked it out letter by letter, and what was the
purport of this miraculous posy ? Some cherished
legend of the Past, you '11 say ' How Moses hocus-
pocust Egypt's land with fly and locust,' or, ' How
to Jonah sounded harshish, Get thee up and go to
Tarshish,' or, ' How the angel meeting Balaam,
Straight his ass returned a salaam.' In no wise !
' Shackabrach Boach somebody or other Isaach,
Re-cei-ver, Pur-cha-ser and Ex-chan-ger of- Stolen
Goods ! ' So, talk to me of the religion of a bishop !
I have renounced all bishops save Bishop Bever-
idge mean to live so and die As some Greek
dog-sage, dead and merry, Hellnard bound in Charon's
wherry With food for both worlds, under and upper,
Lupineseed and Hecate's supper, And never an
obolus . . . (Though thanks to you, or this Inten-
dant through you, or this Bishop through his In-
tendant I possess a burning pocket-full of zwan-
zigers) ... To pay the Stygian ferry !
IST POL. There is the girl, then ; go and
deserve them the moment you have pointed
out to us Signor Luigi and his mother. (To
the rest) I have been noticing a house yonder,
this long while : not a shutter unclosed since
SND POL. Old Luca Gaddi's, that owns the silk-
mills here : he dozes by the hour, wakes up, sighs
deeply, says he should like to be Prince
Metternich, and then dozes again, after having
bidden young Sebald, the foreigner, set his wife
to playing draughts : never molest such a house-
hold, they mean well.
BLUP. Only, cannot you tell me something of
this little Pippa, I must have to do with ? One
could make something of that name. Pippa
that is, short for Felippa rhyming to Panurge
52 PIPPA PASSES
consults Hertrippa Believ'st thou, King Agrippa ?
Something might be done with that name.
2ND POL. Put into rhyme that your head and a
ripe musk-melon would not be dear at half a
zrvanziger ! Leave this fooling, and look out : the
afternoon 's over or nearly so.
SRD POL. Where in this passport of Signer
Luigi does our Principal instruct you to watch him
so narrowly ? There ? what 's there beside a
simple signature ? (That English fool 's busy
2ND POL. Flourish all round ' Put all possible
obstacles in his way' ; oblong dot at the end
' Detain him till further advices reach you ' ;
scratch at bottom 'Send him back on pretence
of some informality in the above' ; ink-spirt on
right-hand side, (which is the case here) ' Arrest
him at once.' Why and wherefore, I don't con-
cern myself, but my instructions amount to this :
if Signer Luigi leaves home to-night for Vienna,
well and good the passport deposed with us for
our visa is really for his own use, they have mis-
informed the Office, and he means well ; but let
him stay over to-night there has been the pre-
tence we suspect, the accounts of his correspond-
ing and holding intelligence with the Carbonari are
correct, we arrest him at once, to-morrow comes
Venice, and presently, Spielberg. Bluphocks
makes the signal, sure enough ! That is he,
entering the turret with his mother, no doubt.
Inside the Turret. LUIGI and his Mother entering
MOTHER. If there blew wind, you 'd hear a long
The utmost heaviness of music's heart.
LUIGI. Here in the archway ?
MOTHER. Oh no, no in farther,
Where the echo is made, on the ridge.
LUIGI. Here surely, then.
How plain the tap of my heel as I leaped up !
Hark ' Lucius Junius ! ' The very ghost of a voice,
Whose body is caught and kept by ... what are
Mere withered wallflowers, waving overhead ?
They seem an elvish group with thin bleached hair
Who lean out of their topmost fortress looking
And listening, mountain men, to what we say,
Hands under chin of each grave earthy face :
Up and show faces all of you ! * All of you ! '
That's the king's dwarf with the scarlet comb;
, now hark
Come down and meet your fate! Hark 'Meet
your fate !'
66 PIPPA PASSES
MOTHER. Let him not meet it, my Luigi do
Go to his City ! putting crime aside,
Half of these ills of Italy are feigned:
Your Pellicos and writers for effect,
Write for effect.
LUIGI. Hush ! say A. writes, and B.
MOTHER. These A.'s and B.'s write for effect, I
Then, evil is in its nature loud, while good
Is silent ; you hear each petty injury,
None of his daily virtues ; he is old,
Quiet, and kind, and densely stupid. Why
Do A. and B. not kill him themselves ?
LUIGI. They teach
Others to kill him me and, if I fail,
Others to succeed ; now, if A. tried and failed,
I could not teach that : mine 's the lesser task.
Mother, they visit night by night . . .
MOTHER. You, Luigi?
Ah, will you let me tell you what you are ?
LUIGI. Why not? Oh, the one thing you fear
You may assure yourself I say and say
Ever to myself ; at times nay, even as now
We sit, I think my mind is touched suspect
All is not sound : but is not knowing that,
What constitutes one sane or otherwise ?
I know I am thus so all is right again !
I laugh at myself as through the town I walk,
And see men merry as if no Italy
Were suffering ; then I ponder ' I am rich,
' Young, healthy ; why should this fact trouble me,
'More than it troubles these?' But it does
No^trouble 's a bad word for as I walk
There 's springing and melody and giddiness,
And old quaint turns and passages of my youth
Dreams long forgotten, little in themselves
Return to me whatever may amuse me,
And earth seems in a truce with me, and heaven
Accords with me, all things suspend their strife,
The very cicale laugh ' There goes he, and there !
' Feast him, the time is short ; he is on his way
' For the world's sake : feast him this once, our
friend ! '
And in return for all this, I can trip
Cheerfully up the scaffold-steps. I go
This evening, mother !
MOTHER. But mistrust yourself
Mistrust the judgment you pronounce on him.
LUIGI. Oh, there I feel am sure that I am
MOTHER. Mistrust your judgment, then, of the
Of this wild enterprise : say, you are right,
How should one in your state e'er bring to pass
What would require a cool head, a cold heart,
And a calm hand ? You never will escape.
LUIGI. Escape to even wish that, would spoil all!
68 PIPPA PASSES
The dying is best part of it. Too much
Have I enjoyed these fifteen years of mine,
To leave myself excuse for longer life
Was not life pressed down, running o'er with joy,
That I might finish with it ere my fellows
Who, sparelier feasted, make a longer stay ?
I was put at the board-head, helped to all
At first; I rise up happy and content.
God must be glad one loves His world so much !
I can give news of earth to all the dead
Who ask me : last year's sunsets, and great stars
That had a right to come first and see ebb
The crimson wave that drifts the sun away
Those crescent moons with notched and burning
That strengthened into sharp fire, and there stood,
Impatient of the azure and that day
In March, a double rainbow stopped the storm
May's warm, slow, yellow moonlit summer nights
Gone are they, but I have them in my soul !
MOTHER. (He will not go !)
LUIOI. You smile at me ! 'Tis true,
Voluptuousness, grotesqueness, ghastliness,
Environ my devotedness as quaintly
As round about some antique altar wreathe
The rose festoons, goats' horns, and oxen's skulls.
MOTHER. See now : you reach the city, you
His threshold how ?
LUIOI. Oh, that 's if we conspired !
Then would come pains in plenty, as you guess
But guess not how the qualities most fit
For such an office, qualities I have,
Would little stead me otherwise employed,
Yet prove of rarest merit here, here only.
Every one knows for what his excellence
Will serve, but no one ever will consider
For what his worst defect might serve ; and yet
Have you not seen me range our coppice yonder
In search of a distorted ash ? it happens
The wry spoilt branch 's a natural perfect bow !
Fancy the thrice-sage, thrice-precautioned man
Arriving at the palace on my errand !
No, no ! I have a handsome dress packed up
White satin here, to set off my black hair.
In I shall march for you may watch your life out
Behind thick walls, make friends there to betray
More than one man spoils everything. March
Only, no clumsy knife to fumble for.
Take the great gate, and walk (not saunter) on
Thro' guards and guards 1 have rehearsed it
Inside the Turret here a hundred times !
Don't ask the way of whom you meet, observe !
But where they cluster thickliest is the door
Of doors ; they '11 let you pass they '11 never
Each to the other, he knows not the favourite,
60 PIPPA PASSES
Whence he is bound and what 's his business
Walk in straight up to him ; you have no knife :
Be prompt, how should he scream ? Then, out
with you !
Italy, Italy, my Italy !
You 're free, you 're free ! Oh mother, I could
They got about me Andrea from his exile,
Pier from his dungeon, Gualtier from his grave !
MOTHER. Well, you shall go. Yet seems this
The easiest virtue for a selfish man
To acquire ! He loves himself and next, the
If he must love beyond, but nought between :
As a short-sighted man sees nought midway
His body and the sun above. But you
Are my adored Luigi ever obedient
To my least wish, and running o'er with love
I could not call you cruel or unkind.
Once more, your ground for killing him? then
LUIGI. Now do you ask me, or make sport of
How first the Austrians got these provinces . . .
(If that is all, I '11 satisfy you soon)
Never by conquest but by cunning, for
That treaty whereby . . .
MOTHER. Well ?
LUIGI. (Sure he 's arrived,
The tell-tale cuckoo: spring's his confidant.
And he lets out her April purposes !)
Or ... better go at once to modern times.
He has . . . they have ... in fact, I understand
But can't restate the matter ; that 's my boast :
Others could reason it out to you, and prove
Things they have made me feel.
MOTHER. Why go to-night ?
Morn 's for adventure. Jupiter is now
A morning star. I cannot hear you, Luigi !
LUIGI. ' I am the bright and morning-star,' God
And, ' to such an one I give the morning-star ! '
The gift of the morning-star have I God's gift
Of the morning-star ?
MOTHER. Chiara will love to see
That Jupiter an evening-star next June.
LUIGI. True, mother. Well for those who live
through June !
Great noontides, thunder-storms, all glaring
Which triumph at the heels of the god June
Leading his revel through our leafy world.
Yes, Chiara will be here.
MOTHER. In June : remember,
Yourself appointed that month for her coming.
LUIGI. Was that low noise the echo ?
MOTHER. The night-wind.
She must be grown with her blue eyes upturned
62 PIPPA PASSES
As if life were one long and sweet surprise :
In June she comes.
LUIGI. We were to see together
The Titian at Treviso there, again !
[From without is heard the voice of PIPPA,
A king lived long ago,
In the morning of the world,
When earth was nigher heaven than now :
And the king's locks curled
Disparting o'er a forehead full
As the milk-white space 'twixt horn and horn
Of some sacrificial bull
Only calm as a babe new-born :
For he was got to a sleepy mood,
So safe from all decrepitude,
Age with its bane, so sure gone by,
(The Gods so loved him while he dreamed,)
That, having lived thus long, there seemed
No need the king should ever die.
LUIGI. No need that sort of king should ever die !
Among the rocks his city was :
Before his palace, in the sun,
He sat to see his people pass,
And judge them every one
From its threshold of smooth stone.
They haled him many a valley-thief
Caught in the sheep-pens robber-chief,
Swarthy and shameless beggar-cheat
Spy-prowler or rough pirate found
On the sea-sand left aground ;
And sometimes clung about his feet,
With bleeding lip and burning cheek,
A woman, bitterest wrong to speak
Of one with sullen, thickset brows :
And sometimes from the prison-house
The angry priests a pale wretch brought,
Who through some chink had pushed and pressed,
On knees and elbows, belly and breast,
Worm-like into the temple, caught
At last there by the very God,
Who ever in the darkness strode
Backward and forward, keeping watch
O'er his brazen bowls, such rogues to catch /
And these, all and every one,
The king judged, sitting in the sun.
LUIGI. That king should still judge sitting in
the sun !
His councillors, on left and right,
Looked anxious up, but no surprise
Disturbed the king's old smiling eyes,
Where the very blue had turned to white.
' Tis said, a Python scared one day
The breathless city, till he came,
With for ky tongue and eyes onjlame,
Where the old king sat to judge alway ;
But when he saw the sweepy hair,
Girt with a crown of berries rare
64 PIPPA PASSES
Which the God mil hardly give to near
To the maiden rvho singeth, dancing bare
In the altar-smoke by the pine-torch lights,
At his wondrous forest rites,
Beholding this, he did not dare
Approach that threshold in the sun,
Assault the old king smiling there.
Such grace had kings when the world begun I
LUIOI. And such grace have they, now that
the world ends !
The Python in the city, on the throne,
And brave men, God would crown for slaying him,
Lurk in bye-corners lest they fall his prey.
Are crowns yet to be won, in this late time,
Which weakness makes me hesitate to reach ?
'Tis God's voice calls, how could I stay ? Farewell !
Talk by the way, while PIPPA is passing from the
Turret to the Bishop's brother's House, close to
the Duomo S. Maria. Poor Girls sitting on the
IST GIRL. There goes a swallow to Venice the
stout seafarer !
Seeing those birds fly, makes one wish for wings.
Let us all wish ; you, wish first !
2ND GIRL. I ? This sunset
SRD GIRL. That old somebody I know,
Greyer and older than my grandfather,
To give me the same treat he gave last week
Feeding me on his knee with fig-peckers,
Lampreys, and red Breganze-wine, and mumbling
The while some folly about how well I fare,
To be let eat my supper quietly :
Since had he not himself been late this morning
Detained at never mind where, had he not . . .
' Eh, baggage, had I not ! '
SND GIRL. How she can lie !
SRD GIRL. Look there by the nails !
2ND GIRL. What makes your fingers red ?
SRD GIRL. Dipping them into wine to write bad
On the bright table : how he laughed !
IST GIRL. My turn.
Spring 's come and summer 's coming : I would
A long loose gown, down to the feet and hands,
With plaits here, close about the throat, all day :
And all night lie, the cool long nights, in bed
And have new milk to drink apples to eat,
Deuzans and junetings, leather-coats . . . ah, I
This is away in the fields miles !
SRD GIRL. Say at once
You 'd be at home : she 'd always be at home !
Now* comes the story of the farm among
The cherry orchards, and how April snowed
White blossoms on her as she ran : why, fool,
66 PIPPA PASSES
They've rubbed out the chalk-mark of how tall
Twisted your starling's neck, broken his cage,
Made a dunghill of your garden !
IST GIRL. They, destroy
My garden since I left them ? well perhaps !
I would have done so : so I hope they have !
A fig-tree curled out of our cottage wall ;
They called it mine, I have forgotten why,
It must have been there long ere I was born :
Cric eric I think I hear the wasps o'erhead
Pricking the papers strung to flutter there
And keep off birds in fruit-time coarse long
And the wasps eat them, prick them through and
SRD GIRL. How her mouth twitches ! Where was
I ? before
She broke in with her wishes and long gowns
And wasps would I be such a fool ! Oh, here !
This is my way I answer every one
Who asks me why I make so much of him
(If you say, you love him straight 'he '11 not be
' He that seduced me when I was a girl
Thus high had eyes like yours, or hair like
Brown, red, white,' as the case may be that
See how that beetle burnishes in the path
There sparkles he along the dust ! and, there
Your journey to that maize-tuft 's spoilt at least !
Isx GIRL. When I was young, they said if you
Of those sunshiny beetles, that his friend
Up there, would shine no more that day nor next.
SND GIRL. When you were young ? Nor are you
young, that 's true !
How your plump arms, that were, have dropped
Why, I can span them ! Cecco beats you still ?
No matter, so you keep your curious hair.
I wish they'd find a way to dye our hair
Your colour any lighter tint, indeed,
Than black : the men say they are sick of black,
Black eyes, black hair !
4-TH GIRL. Sick of yours, like enough !
Do you pretend you ever tasted lampreys
And ortolans ? Giovita, of the palace,
Engaged (but there 's no trusting him) to slice me
Polenta with a knife that had cut up
SND GIRL. Why, there ! is not that Pippa
We are to talk to, under the window, quick,
Where the lights are?
IST GIRL. No or she would sing;
For the Intendant said . . .
SRD GIRL. Oh, you sing first
Then, if she listens and comes close ... I '11 tell
68 PIPPA PASSES
Sing that song the young English noble made,
Who took you for the purest of the pure,
And meant to leave the world for you what fun !
SND GIRL. [Sings.]
You '11 love me yet ! and I can tarry
Your love's protracted growing :
June reared that bunch of flowers you carry,
From seeds of April's sowing.
I plant a heartfull now : some seed
At least is sure to strike,
And yield what you '11 not pluck indeed,
Not love, but, may be, like !
You '11 look at least on love's remains,
A grave's one violet :
Your look ? that pays a thousand pains.
What 's death ? You '11 love me yet !
SRD GIRL. [To PIPPA who approaches.] Oh, you
may come closer we shall not eat you ! Why,
you seem the very person that the great rich
handsome Englishman has fallen so violently in
love with ! I '11 tell you all about it.
The Palace by the Duomo. MONSIGNOR, dismissing
MON. Thanks, friends, many thanks. I chiefly
desire life now, that I may recompense every one
of you. Most I know something of already.
What, a repast prepared ? Benedicto benedicatur . . .
ugh . . . ugh ! Where was I ? Oh, as you were
remarking, Ugo, the weather is mild, very unlike
winter-weather, but I am a Sicilian, you know,
and shiver in your Julys here. To be sure, when
'twas full summer at Messina, as we priests used
to cross in procession the great square on Assump-
tion Day, you might see our thickest yellow
tapers twist suddenly in two, each like a falling
star, or sink down on themselves in a gore of wax.
But go, my friends, but go ! [7V> the Intendant]
Not you, Ugo ! [The others leave the apartment] I
have long wanted to converse with you, Ugo !
MON. . . . 'guccio Stefani, man ! of Ascoli, Fermo,
and Fossombruno ; what I do need instructing
about, are these accounts of your administration
of my poor brother's affairs. Ugh ! I shall never
72 TIPPA PASSES
get through a third part of your accounts : take
some of these dainties before we attempt it, how-
ever. Are you bashful to that degree ? For me,
a crust and water suffice.
INTEN. Do you choose this especial night to
question me ?
MON. This night, Ugo. You have managed
my late brother's affairs since the death of our
elder brother: fourteen years and a month, all but
three days. On the 3rd of December, I find
him . . .
INTEN. If you have so intimate an acquaintance
with your brother's affairs, you will be tender of
turning so far back : they will hardly bear look-
ing into, so far back.
MON. Ay, ay, ugh, ugh, nothing but dis-
appointments here below ! I remark a considerable
payment made to yourself on this 3rd of Decem-
ber. Talk of disappointments ! There was a
young fellow here, Jules, a foreign sculptor, I did
my utmost to advance, that the Church might be
a gainer by us both : he was going on hopefully
enough, and of a sudden he notifies to me some
marvellous change that has happened in his notions
of Art; here's his letter, 'He never had a
clearly conceived Ideal within his brain till to-day.
Yet since his hand could manage a chisel, he has
practised expressing other men's Ideals ; and, in
the very perfection he has attained to, he foresees
an ultimate failure : his unconscious hand will
pursue its prescribed course of old years, and will
reproduce with a fatal expertness the ancient types,
let the novel one appear never so palpably to his
spirit. There is but one method of escape con-
fiding the virgin type to as chaste a hand, he will
turn painter instead of sculptor, and paint, not
carve, its characteristics/ strike out, I dare say,
a school like Correggio : how think you, Ugo ?
INTEN. Is Correggio a painter ?
MON. Foolish Jules ! and yet, after all, why
foolish ? He may probably will, fail egregiously ;
but if there should arise a new painter, will it not
be in some such way by a poet, now, or a musician,
(spirits who have conceived and perfected an Ideal
through some other channel) transferring it to
this, and escaping our conventional roads by pure
ignorance of them ; eh, Ugo ? If you have no
appetite, talk at least, Ugo !
INTEN. Sir, I can submit no longer to this course
of yours: first, you select the group of which I
formed one, next you thin it gradually, always
retaining me with your smile, and so do you
proceed till you have fairly got me alone with you
between four stone walls. And now then ? Let
this farce, this chatter end now : what is it you
want with me ?
MON. Ugo !
INTEN. From the instant you arrived, I felt your
smile on me as you questioned me about this and
the other article in those papers why your
74 PIPPA PASSES
brother should have given me this villa, that
podere, and your nod at the end meant, what ?
MON. Possibly that I wished for no loud talk
here : if once you set me coughing, Ugo !
INTEN. I have your brother's hand and seal to
all I possess : now ask me what for ! what service
I did him ask me !
MON. I would better not I should rip up old
disgraces, let out my poor brother's weaknesses.
By the way, Maffeo of Forli, (which, I forgot to
observe, is your true name,) was the interdict
ever taken off you, for robbing that church at
INTEN. No, nor needs be : for when I murdered
your brother's friend, Pasquale, for him . . .
MON. Ah, he employed you in that business,
did he ? Well, I must let you keep, as you say,
this villa and that podere, for fear the world should
find out my relations were of so indifferent a
stamp ? Maffeo, my family is the oldest in
Messina, and century after century have my pro-
genitors gone on polluting themselves with every
wickedness under Heaven : my own father . . .
rest his soul ! I have, I know, a chapel to support
that it may rest : my dear two dead brothers were,
what you know tolerably well ; I, the youngest,
might have rivalled them in vice, if not in wealth,
but from my boyhood I came out from among
them, and so am not partaker of their plagues.
My glory springs from another source ; or if
from this, by contrast only, for I, the bishop,
am the brother of your employers, Ugo. I hope
to repair some of their wrong, however ; so far as
my brother's ill-gotten treasure reverts to me, I
can stop the consequences of his crime ; and not
one soldo shall escape me. Maffeo, the sword we
quiet men spurn away, you shrewd knaves pick
up and commit murders with ; what opportunities
the virtuous forego, the villanous seize. Because,
to pleasure myself, apart from other considera-
tions, my food would be millet-cake, my dress
sackcloth, and my couch straw, am I therefore
to let you, the off-scouring of the earth, seduce
the poor and ignorant, by appropriating a pomp
these will be sure to think lessens the abominations
so unaccountably and exclusively associated with
it ? Must I let villas and poderi go to you, a
murderer and thief, that you may beget by means
of them other murderers and thieves ? No if my
cough would but allow me to speak !
INTEN. What am I to expect ? you are going to
punish me ?
MON. Must punish you, Maffeo. I cannot
afford to cast away a chance. I have whole
centuries of sin to redeem, and only a month or
two of life to do it in ! How should I dare to
say % ..
INTEN. ' Forgive us our trespasses ' ?
MON. My friend, it is because I avow myself a
very worm, sinful beyond measure, that I reject
76 PIPPA PASSES
a line of conduct you would applaud, perhaps.
Shall I proceed, as it were, a-pardoning ? I ?
who have no symptom of reason to assume that
aught less than my strenuousest efforts will keep
myself out of mortal sin, much less, keep others
out. No : I do trespass, but will not double that
by allowing you to trespass.
INTEN. And suppose the villas are not your
brother's to give, nor yours to take ? Oh, you are
hasty enough just now !
MON. 1, 2 N 3 ! ay, can you read the sub-
stance of a letter, N 3, I have received from
Rome ? It is precisely on the ground there
mentioned, of the suspicion I have that a certain
child of my late elder brother, who would have
succeeded to his estates, was murdered in infancy
by you, Maffeo, at the instigation of my late
brother that the Pontiff enjoins on me not
merely the bringing that Maffeo to condign
punishment, but the taking all pains, as guardian
of that infant's heritage for the Church, to recover
it parcel by parcel, howsoever, whensoever, and
wheresoever. While you are now gnawing those
fingers, the police are engaged in sealing up your
papers, Maffeo, and the mere raising my voice
brings my people from the next room to dispose
of yourself. But I want you to confess quietly,
and save me raising my voice. Why, man, do I
not know the old story ? The heir between the suc-
ceeding heir, and that heir's ruffianly instrument,
and their complot's effect, and the life of fear and
bribes, and ominous smiling silence? Did you
throttle or stab my brother's infant ? Come, now !
INTEN. So old a story, and tell it no better?
When did such an instrument ever produce such
an effect ? Either the child smiles in his face, or,
most likely, he is not fool enough to put himself
in the employer's power so thoroughly : the child
is always ready to produce as you say howso-
ever, wheresoever, and whensoever.
MON. Liar !
INTEN. Strike me ? Ah, so might a father
chastise ! I shall sleep soundly to-night at least,
though the gallows await me to-morrow ; for what
a life did I lead ! Carlo of Cesena reminds me
of his connivance, every time I pay his annuity ;
which happens commonly thrice a year. If I
remonstrate, he will confess all to the good
bishop you !
MON. I see through the trick, caitiff! I would
you spoke truth for once. All shall be sifted, how-
ever seven times sifted.
INTEN. And how my absurd riches encumbered
me ! I dared not lay claim to above half my
possessions. Let me but once unbosom myself,
glorify Heaven, and die !
Sir, you are no brutal, dastardly idiot like your
brotKer I frightened to death : let us understand
one another. Sir, I will make away with her
for you the girl here close at hand; not the
78 PIPPA PASSES
stupid obvious kind of killing ; do not speak
know nothing of her or me ! I see her every day
saw her this morning : of course there is to be
no killing; but at Rome the courtesans perish
off every three years, and I can entice her thither
have, indeed, begun operations already. There 's a
certain lusty, blue-eyed, florid-complexioned Eng-
lish knave, I and the Police employ occasionally.
You assent, I perceive no, that's not it assent
I do not say but you will let me convert my
present havings and holdings into cash, and give
me time to cross the Alps? Tis but a little
black-eyed, pretty singing Felippa, gay silk-wind-
ing girl. I have kept her out of harm's way up to
this present ; for I always intended to make your
life a plague to you with her ! 'Tis as well
settled once and for ever : some women I have
procured will pass Bluphocks, my handsome
scoundrel, off for somebody ; and once Pippa
entangled ! you conceive ? Through her singing ?
Is it a bargain ?
[From without is heard the voice of PIPPA,
Overhead the tree-tops meet,
Flowers and grass spring 'neatk one's feet ;
There was nought above me, and nought below,
My childhood had not learned to know :
For, what are the voices of birds
Ay, and of beasts, but words our words,
Only so much more sweet ?
The knowledge of that with my life begun !
But I had so near made out the sun,
And counted your stars, the Seven and One,
Like thejingers of my hand :
Nay, I could all but understand
Wherefore through heaven the white moon ranges ;
And just when out of her softjifty changes
No unfamiliar face might overtook me
Suddenly God took me I
MON. [Springing p.] My people one and all
all within there ! Gag this villain tie him
hand and foot ! He dares ... I know not half
he dares but remove him quick ! Miserere met,
Domine ! quick, I say !
PIPPA' s Chamber again. She enters it
The bee with his comb,
The mouse at her dray,
The grub in its tomb,
Wile winter away ;
But the fire-fly and hedge-shrew and lob-worm,
How fare they ?
Ha, ha, best thanks for your counsel, my Zanze
' Feast upon lampreys, quaff the Breganze '
The summer of life 's so easy to spend,
80 PIPPA PASSES
And care for to-morrow so soon put away !
But winter hastens at summer's end,
And fire-fly, hedge-shrew, lob-worm, pray,
How fare they ?
No bidding me then to . . . what did she say ?
'Pare your nails pearlwise, get your small feet
' More like . . . (what said she ?) and less like
How pert that girl was ! would I be those pert
Impudent staring women ! it had done me,
However, surely no such mighty hurt
To learn his name who passed that jest upon me :
No foreigner, that I can recollect,
Came, as she says, a month since, to inspect
Our silk-mills none with blue eyes and thick
Of English-coloured hair, at all events.
Well, if old Luca keeps his good intents,
We shall do better : see what next year brings !
I may buy shoes, my Zanze, not appear
More destitute than you, perhaps, next year !
Bluph . . . something ! I had caught the uncouth
But for Monsignor's people's sudden clatter
Above us bound to spoil such idle chatter
As ours ; it were, indeed, a serious matter
If silly talk like ours should put to shame
The pious man, the man devoid of blame,
The . . . ah, but ah, but, all the same,
No mere mortal has a right
To carry that exalted air ;
Best people are not angels quite :
While not the worst of people's doings scare
The devil ; so there 's that proud look to spare !
Which is mere counsel to myself, mind ! for
I have just been the holy Monsignor !
And I was you too, Luigi's gentle mother,
And you too, Luigi ! how that Luigi started
Out of the Turret doubtlessly departed
On some good errand or another,
For he pass'd just now in a traveller's trim,
And the sullen company that prowled
About his path, I noticed, scowled
As if they had lost a prey in him.
And I was Jules the sculptor's bride,
And I was Ottima beside,
And now what am I ? tired of fooling !
Day for folly, night for schooling !
New year's day is over and spent,
111 or well, I must be content !
Even my lily 's asleep, I vow :
Wake up here 's a friend I 've pluckt you !
See call this flower a heart' s-ease now !
And something rare, let me instruct you,
Is this with petals triply swollen,
Three times spotted, thrice the pollen,
While the leaves and parts that witness,
The old proportions and their fitness,
Here remain, unchanged, unmoved now
82 PIPPA PASSES
So, call this pampered thing improved now !
Suppose there 's a king of the flowers
And a girl-show held in his bowers
' Look ye, buds, this growth of ours,'
Says he, ' Zanze from the Brenta,
I have made her gorge polenta
Till both cheeks are near as bouncing
As her . . . name there 's no pronouncing !
See this heightened colour too
For she swilled Breganze wine
Till her nose turned deep carmine
'Twas but white when wild she grew !
And only by this Zanze's eyes
Of which we could not change the size,
The magnitude of what 's achieved
Otherwise, may be perceived ! '
Oh what a drear, dark close to my poor day !
How could that red sun drop in that black cloud !
Ah, Pippa, morning's rule is moved away,
Dispensed with, never more to be allowed !
Day's turn is over : now arrives the night's.
Oh, Lark, be day's apostle
To mavis, merle and throstle,
Bid them their betters jostle
From day and its delights !
But at night, brother Howlet, far over the woods,
Toll the world to thy chantry ;
Sing to the bats' sleek sisterhoods
Full complines with gallantry :
Then, owls and bats, cowls and twats,
Monks and nuns, in a cloister's moods,
Adjourn to the oak-stump pantry !
[After she has begun to undress herself.
Now, one thing I should like to really know :
How near I ever might approach all these
I only fancied being, this long day !
Approach, I mean, so as to touch them, so
As to ... in some way . . . move them if you please,
Do good or evil to them some slight way.
For instance, if I wind
Silk to-morrow, my silk may bind
[Sitting on the bedside.
And broider Ottima's cloak's hem.
Ah, me and my important part with them,
This morning's hymn half promised when I rose !
True in some sense or other, I suppose,
Though I passed by them all, and felt no sign.
[As she lies down.
God bless me ! I can pray no more to-night.
No doubt, some way or other, hymns say right.
All service is the same with God
With God, whose puppets, best and worst,
Are we : there is no last norjirst.
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^218 Pippa passes