Count Guido Franceschini
I feel I can stand somehow, half sit down
Without help, make shift to even speak, you see,
Fortified by the sip of why, tis wine,
Velletri,and not vinegar and gall,
So changed and good the times grow! Thanks, kind Sir!
Oh, but one sips enough! I want my head
To save my neck, theres work awaits me still.
How cautious and considerate aie, aie, aie,
Not your fault, sweet Sir! Come, you take to heart (10)
An ordinary matter. Law is law.
Noblemen were exempt, the vulgar thought,
From racking, but, since law thinks otherwise,
I have been put to the rack: alls over now,
And neither wristwhat men style, out of joint:
If any harm be, tis the shoulder-blade,
The left one, that seems wrong i the socket,Sirs,
Much could not happen, I was quick to faint,
Being past my prime of life, and out of health.
In short I thank you,yes, and mean the word. (20)
Needs must the Court be slow to understand
How this quite novel form of taking pain,
This getting tortured merely in the flesh,
Amounts to almost an agreeable change
In my case, me fastidious, plied too much
With opposite treatment, used (forgive the joke)
To the rasp-tooth toying with this brain of mine,
And, in and out my heart, the play o the probe.
Four years have I been operated on
I the soul, do you seeits tense or tremulous part (30)
My self-respect, my care for a good name,
Pride in an old one, love of kindredjust
A mother, brothers, sisters, and the like,
That looked up to my face when days were dim,
And fancied they found light thereno one spot,
Foppishly sensitive, but has paid its pang.
That, and not this you now oblige me with,
That was the Vigil-torment, if you please!
The poor old noble House that drew the rags
O the Franceschinis once superb array (40)
Close round her, hoped to slink unchallenged by,
Pluck off these! Turn the drapery inside out
And teach the tittering town how scarlet wears!
Show men the lucklessness, the improvidence
Of the easy-natured Count before this Count,
The father I have some slight feeling for,
Who let the world slide, nor foresaw that friends
Then proud to cap and kiss the patrons shoe,
Would, when the purse he left held spider-webs,
Properly push his child to wall one day! (50)
Mimic the tetchy humour, furtive glance
And brow where half was furious half fatigued,
O the same son got to be of middle age,
Sour, saturnine,your humble servant here;
When things go cross and the young wife, he finds
Take to the window at a whistles bid,
And yet demurs thereon, preposterous fool!
Whereat the worthies judge he wants advice
And beg to civilly ask whats evil here,
Perhaps remonstrate on the habit they deem (60)
Hes given unduly to, of beating her
Oh, sure he beats herwhy says John so else,
Who is cousin to George who is sib to Teclas self
Who cooks the meal and combs the ladys hair?
What? Tis my wrist you merely dislocate
For the future when you mean me martyrdom?
Let the old mothers economy alone,
How the brocade-strips saved o the seamy side
O the wedding-gown buy raiment for a year?
How she can dress and dish uplordly dish (70)
Fit for a duke, lambs head and purtenance
With her proud hands, feast household so a week?
No word o the wine rejoicing God and man
The less when three-parts water? Then, I say,
A trifle of torture to the flesh, like yours,
While soul is spared such foretaste of hell-fire,
Is naught. But I curtail the catalogue
Through policy,a rhetoricians trick,
Because I would reserve some choicer points
O the practice, more exactly parallel (80)
(Having an eye to climax) with what gift,
Eventual grace the Court may have in store
I the way of plaguemy crown of punishments.
When I am hanged or headed, time enough
To prove the tenderness of only that,
Mere heading, hanging,not their counterpart,
Not demonstration public and precise
That I, having married the mongrel of a drab,
Am bound to grant that mongrel-brat, my wife,
Her mothers birthright-licence as is just, (90)
Let her sleep undisturbed, i the family style,
Her sleep out in the embraces of a priest,
Nor disallow their bastard as my heir!
Your sole mistake,dare I submit so much
To the reverend Court?has been in all this pains
To make a stone roll down hill,rack and wrench
And rend a man to pieces, all for what?
Whymake him ope mouth in his own defence,
Show cause for what he has done, the irregular deed,
(Since that he did it, scarce dispute can be) (100)
And clear his fame a little, beside the luck
Of stopping even yet, if possible,
Discomfort to his flesh from noose or axe
For that, out come the implements of law!
May it content my lords the gracious Court
To listen only half so patient-long
As I will in that sense profusely speak,
Andfie, they shall not call in screws to help!
I killed Pompilia Franceschini, Sirs;
Killed too the Comparini, husband, wife, (110)
Who called themselves, by a notorious lie,
Her father and her mother to ruin me.
Theres the irregular deed: you want no more
Than right interpretation of the same,
And truth so faram I to understand?
To that then, with convenient speed,because
Now I consider,yes, despite my boast,
There is an ailing in this omoplat
May clip my speech all too abruptly close,
Whatever the good-will in me. Now for truth! (120)
I the name of the indivisible Trinity!
Will my lords, in the plentitude of their light,
Weigh well that all
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