Do I speak ambiguously? The glory, I say, (120)
And the beauty, I say, and splendour, still say I,
Who, a priest, trained to live my whole life long
On beauty and splendour, solely at their source,
God,have thus recognised my food in one,
You tell me, is fast dying while we talk,
Pompilia,how does lenity to me,
Remit one death-bed pang to her? Come, smile!
The proper wink at the hot-headed youth
Who lets his soul show, through transparent words,
The mundane love thats sin and scandal too! (130)
You are all struck acquiescent now, it seems:
It seems the oldest, gravest signor here,
Even the redoubtable Tommati, sits
Chop-fallen,understands how law might take
Service like mine, of brain and heart and hand,
In good part. Better late than never, law!
You understand of a sudden, gospel too
Has a claim here, may possibly pronounce
Consistent with my priesthood, worthy Christ,
That I endeavoured to save Pompilia? (140)
You were wrong, you see: thats well to see, though late:
Thats all we may expect of man, this side
The grave: his good isknowing he is bad:
Thus will it be with us when the books ope
And we stand at the bar on judgment-day.
Well then, I have a mind to speak, see cause
To relume the quenched flax by this dreadful light,
Burn my soul out in showing you the truth.
I heard, last time I stood here to be judged, (150)
What is priests-duty,labour to pluck tares
And weed the corn of Molinism; let me
Make you hear, this time, how, in such a case,
Man, be he in the priesthood or at plough,
Mindful of Christ or marching step by step
With whats his style, the other potentate
Who bids have courage and keep honour safe,
Nor let minuter admonition teaze?
How he is bound, better or worse, to act.
Earth will not end through this misjudgment, no! (160)
For you and the others like you sure to come,
Fresh work is sure to follow,wickedness
That wants withstanding. Many a man of blood,
Many a man of guile will clamour yet,
Bid you redress his grievance,as he clutched
The prey, forsooth a stranger stepped between,
And theres the good gripe in pure waste! My part
Is done; i the doing it, I pass away
Out of the world. I want no more with earth.
Let me, in heavens name, use the very snuff (170)
O the taper in one last spark shall show truth
For a moment, show Pompilia who was true!
Not for her sake, but yours: if she is dead,
Oh, Sirs, she can be loved by none of you
Most or least priestly! Saints, to do us good,
Must be in heaven, I seem to understand:
We never find them saints before, at least.
Be her first prayer then presently for you
She had done the good to me
There, I was born, have lived, shall die, a fool!
This is a foolish outset:might with cause
Give colour to the very lie o the man,
The murderer,make as if I loved his wife,
In the way he called love. He is the fool there!
Why, had there been in me the touch of taint,
I had picked up so much of knaves-policy
As hide it, keep one hand pressed on the place
Suspected of a spot would damn us both.
Or no, not her!not even if any of you (190)
Dares think that I, i the face of death, her death
Thats in my eyes and ears and brain and heart,
Lie,if he does, let him! I mean to say,
So he stop there, stay thought from smirching her
The snow-white soul that angels fear to take
Untenderly. But, all the same, I know
I too am taintless, and I bare my breast.
You cant think, men as you are, all of you,
But that, to hear thus suddenly such an end
Of such a wonderful white soul, that comes (200)
Of a man and murderer calling the white black,
Must shake me, trouble and disadvantage. Sirs,
You might at the beginning stop my mouth:
So, none would be to speak for her, that knew.
I talk impertinently, and you bear,
All the same. This it is to have to do
With honest hearts: they easily may err,
But in the main they wish well to the truth. (210)
You are Christians; somehow, no one ever plucked
A rag, even, from the body of the Lord,
To wear and mock with, but, despite himself,
He looked the greater and was the better. Yes,
I shall go on now. Does she need or not
I keep calm? Calm Ill keep as monk that croons
Transcribing battle, earthquake, famine, plague,
From parchment to his cloisters chronicle.
Not one word more from the point now!
Yes, I am one of your body and a priest.
Also I am a younger son o the House
Oldest now, greatest once, in my birth-town
Arezzo, I recognise no equal there
(I want all arguments, all sorts of arms
That seem to serve,use this for a reason, wait!)
Not therefore thrust into the Church, because
O the piece of bread one gets there. We were first
Of Fiesole, that rings still with the fame
Of Capo-in- Sacco our progenitor: (230)
When Florence ruined Fiesole, our folk
Migrated to the victor-city, and there
Flourished,our palace and our tower attest,
In the Old Mercato,this was years ago,
Four hundred, full,no, it wants
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