A TOCCATA OF GALUPPI'S
Oh Galuppi,° Baldassaro, this is very sad to find! °
I can hardly misconceive you; it would prove me deaf and blind;
But altho' I take your meaning, 'tis with such a heavy mind!
Here you come with your old music, and here's all the good
What, they lived once thus at Venice where the merchants were
Where St. Mark's° is, where the Doges used to wed the
sea with rings°? °
Ay, because the sea's the street there; and 'tis arched by
... what you call
... Shylock's bridge° with houses on it, where they kept
the carnival: °
I was never out of England--it's as if I saw it all.
Did young people take their pleasure when the sea was warm
Balls and masks begun at midnight, burning ever to mid-day,
When they make up fresh adventures for the morrow, do you
Was a lady such a lady, cheeks so round and lips so red,--
On her neck the small face buoyant, like a bell-flower on
O'er the breast's superb abundance where a man might base
Well, and it was graceful of them: they'd break talk off
--She, to bite her mask's black velvet--he, to finger on his
While you sat and played Toccatas, stately at the clavichord°?
What? Those lesser thirds° so plaintive, sixths°
diminished sigh on sigh, °
Told them something? Those suspensions,° those solutions°--"Must
we die?" °
Those commiserating sevenths°--"Life might last!
we can but try!" °
"Were you happy?"--"Yes."--"And
are you still as happy?"--"Yes. And you?"
--"Then, more kisses !"--"Did _I_ stop them,
when, a million seemed so few?"
Hark, the dominant's persistence till it must be answered
So, an octave struck the answer. Oh, they praised you, I
"Brave Galuppi! that was music! good alike at grave and
I can always leave off talking when I hear a master play!"
Then they left you for their pleasure: till in due time,
one by one,
Some with lives that came to nothing, some with deeds as well
Death, stepped tacitly and took them where they never see
the sun.° °
But when I sit down to reason, think to take my stand nor
While I triumph o'er a secret wrung from nature's close reserve,
In you come with your cold music till I creep thro' every
Yes, you, like a ghostly cricket, creaking where a house
"Dust and ashes, dead and done with, Venice spent what
The soul, doubtless, is immortal--where a soul can be discerned.
"Yours, for instance: you know physics, something of
Mathematics are your pastime; souls shall rise in their degree;
Butterflies may dread extinction,--you'll not die, it cannot
"As for Venice and her people, merely born to bloom
Here on earth they bore their fruitage, mirth and folly were
What of soul was left, I wonder, when the kissing had to stop?
"Dust and ashes!" So you creak it, and I want the
heart to scold.
Dear dead women, with such hair, too--what's become of all
Used to hang and brush their bosoms? I feel chilly and grown