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Rosalind. Farewell, Monsieur Traveller: Look, you lisp, and wear strange suits: disable all the benefits of your own country; be out of love with your Nativity, and almost chide God for making you that countenance you are; or I will scarce think that you have swam in a Gondola.

As You Like it, Act IV. Sc. 1.

Annotation of the Commentators.

That is, been at Venice, which was much visited by the young English gentlemen of those times, and was then what Paris is now — the seat of all dissoluteness. S. A.


"Tis known, at least it should be, that throughout
All countries of the Catholic persuasion,
Some weeks before Shrove Tuesday comes about,
The people take their fill of recreation,
And buy repentance, ere they grow devout,

However high their rank, or low their station,
With fiddling, feasting, dancing, drinking, masquing,
And other things which may be had for asking.


The moment night with dusky mantle covers
The skies (and the more duskily the better),
The time less liked by husbands than by lovers
Begins, and prudery flings aside her fetter;
And gaiety on restless tiptoe hovers,

Giggling with all the gallants who beset her;
And there are songs and quavers, roaring, humming,
Guitars, and every other sort of strumming.


And there are dresses splendid, but fantastical, Masks of all times and nations, Turks and Jews, And harlequins and clowns, with feats gymnastical, Greeks, Romans, Yankee-doodles, and Hindoos; All kinds of dress, except the ecclesiastical,

All people, as their fancies hit, may choose, But no one in these parts may quiz the clergy, Therefore take heed, ye Freethinkers! I charge ye.


You'd better walk about begirt with briars,
Instead of coat and smallclothes, than put on
A single stitch reflecting upon friars,

Although you swore it only was in fun;
They'd haul you o'er the coals, and stir the fires
Of Phlegethon with every mother's son,
Nor say one mass to cool the caldron's bubble
That boil'd your bones, unless you paid them double.


But saving this, you may put on whate'er

You like by way of doublet, cape, or cloak, Such as in Monmouth-street, or in Rag Fair, Would rig you out in seriousness or joke; And even in Italy such places are,

With prettier name in softer accents spoke, For, bating Covent Garden, I can hit on

No place that's call'd "Piazza" in Great Britain.


This feast is named the Carnival, which being
Interpreted, implies "farewell to flesh:"
So call'd, because the name and thing agreeing,
Through Lent they live on fish both salt and fresh.
But why they usher Lent with so much glee in,
Is more than I can tell, although I guess
'Tis as we take a glass with friends at parting,
In the stage-coach or packet, just at starting.


And thus they bid farewell to carnal dishes,
And solid meats, and highly spiced ragouts,
To live for forty days on ill-dress'd fishes,

Because they have no sauces to their stews,
A thing which causes many "poohs" and "pishes,"
And several oaths (which would not suit the Muse),
From travellers accustom'd from a boy

To eat their salmon, at the least, with soy;

Lord Byron. II.



And therefore humbly I would recommend

"The curious in fish-sauce," before they cross The sea, to bid their cook, or wife, or friend, Walk or ride to the Strand, and buy in gross (Or if set out beforehand, these may send By any means least liable to loss), Ketchup, Soy, Chili-vinegar, and Harvey, Or, by the Lord! a Lent will well nigh starve ye;


That is to say, if your religion's Roman,
And you at Rome would do as Romans do,
According to the proverb, - although no man,
If foreign, is obliged to fast; and you,
If Protestant, or sickly, or a woman,

Would rather dine in sin on a ragout –
Dine and be d-d! I don't mean to be coarse,
But that's the penalty, to say no worse.


Of all the places where the Carnival

Was most facetious in the days of yore,
For dance, and song, and serenade, and ball,
And masque, and mime, and mystery, and more
Than I have time to tell now, or at all,

Venice the bell from every city bore,
And at the moment when I fix my story,
That sea-born city was in all her glory.


They've pretty faces yet, those same Venetians,

Black eyes, arch'd brows, and sweet expressions still; Such as of old were copied from the Grecians,

In ancient arts by moderns mimick'd ill; And like so many Venuses of Titian's

(The best's at Florence see it, if ye will,) They look when leaning over the balcony, Or stepp'd from out a picture by Giorgione,


Whose tints are truth and beauty at their best;
And when you to Manfrini's palace go,
That picture (howsoever fine the rest)
Is loveliest to my mind of all the show;
It may perhaps be also to your zest,

And that's the cause I rhyme upon it so: 'Tis but a portrait of his son, and wife, And self; but such a woman! love in life!


Love in full life and length, not love ideal,
No, nor ideal beauty, that fine name,
But something better still, so very real,

That the sweet model must have been the same;
A thing that you would purchase, beg, or steal,
Wer't not impossible, besides a shame:

The face recalls some face, as 'twere with pain,
You once have seen, but ne'er will see again;


One of those forms which flit by us, when we
Are young, and fix our eyes on every face;
And, oh! the loveliness at times we see
In momentary gliding, the soft grace,
The youth, the bloom, the beauty which agree,
In many a nameless being we retrace,

Whose course and home we knew not, nor shall know,
Like the lost Pleiad* seen no more below.


I said that like a picture by Giorgione
Venetian women were, and so they are,
Particularly seen from a balcony,

(For beauty's sometimes best set off afar)
And there, just like a heroine of Goldoni,
They peep from out the blind, or o'er the bar;
And truth to say, they're mostly very pretty,
And rather like to show it, more's the pity!


Quæ septem dici sex tamen esse solent.". Ovid.

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