The Urbinate and what if I dared add,
Even his master, yea the Cortonese,
I mean the accomplished Ciro Ferri, Sirs!
(Did not he die? Ill see before I print.)
Thus then, just so and no whit otherwise, (120)
Have I,engaged as I were Ciros self,
To paint a parallel, a Family,
The patriarch Pietro with his wise old wife
To boot (as if one introduced Saint Anne
By bold conjecture to complete the group)
And juvenile Pompilia with her babe,
Who, seeking safety in the wilderness,
Were all surprised by Herod, while outstretched
In sleep beneath a palm-tree by a spring,
And killedthe very circumstance I paint, (130)
Moving the pity and terror of my lords
Exactly so have I, a month at least,
Your Fiscal, made me cognisant of facts,
Searched out, pried into, pressed the meaning forth
Of every piece of evidence in point,
How bloody Herod slew these innocents,
Until the glad result is gained, the group
Demonstrably presented in detail,
Their slumber and his onslaught,like as life.
Yea and, availing me of help allowed (140)
By law, discreet provision lest my lords
Be too much troubled by effrontery,
The rack, law plies suspected crime withal
(Law that hath listened while the lyrist sang
Lene tormentum ingenio admoves,
Gently thou joggest by a twinge the wit,
Plerumque duro, else were slow to blab!)
Through this concession my full cup runs oer:
The guilty owns his guilt without reserve.
Therefore by part and part I clutch my case (150)
Which, in entirety now,momentous task,
My lords demand, so render them I must,
Since, one poor pleading more and I have done.
But shall I ply my papers, play my proofs,
Parade my studies, fifty in a row,
As though the Court were yet in pupilage
And not the artists ultimate appeal?
Much rather let me soar the height prescribed
And, bowing low, proffer my pictures self!
No more of proof, disproof,such virtue was, (160)
Such vice was never in Pompilia, now!
Far better say Behold Pompilia!(for
I leave the family as unmanageable,
And stick to just one portrait, but life-size.)
Hath calumny imputed to the fair
A blemish, mole on cheek or wart on chin,
Much more, blind hidden horrors best unnamed?
Shall I descend to prove you, point by point,
Never was knock-knee known nor splay-foot found
In Phryne? (I must let the portrait go, (170)
Content me with the model, I believe)
I prove this? An indignant sweep of hand,
Dash at and doing away with drapery,
And,use your eyes, Athenians, smooth she smiles!
Or,since my client can no longer smile,
And more appropriate instances abound,
What is this Tale of Tarquin, how the slave
Was caught by him, preferred to Collatine?
Thou, even from thy corpse-clothes virginal,
Lookst the lie dead, Lucretia! (180)
Thus at least
I, by the guidance of antiquity,
(Our one infallible guide) now operate,
Sure that the innocency shown is safe;
Sure, too, that, while I plead, the echoes cry
(Lend my weak voice thy trump, sonorous Fame!)
Monstrosity the Phrynean shape shall mar,
Lucretias soul comport with Tarquins lie,
When thistles grow on vines or thorns yield figs,
Or oblique sentence leave this judgment-seat!(190)
Forpaint Pompilia, dares my feebleness?
How did I unaware engage so much
Find myself undertaking to produce
A faultless nature in a flawless form?
Whats here? Oh, turn aside nor dare the blaze
Of such a crown, such constellation, say,
As jewels here thy front, Humanity!
First, infancy, pellucid as a pearl;
Then, childhoodstone which, dew-drop at the first, (200)
(An old conjecture) sucks, by dint of gaze,
Blue from the sky and turns to sapphire so:
Yet both these gems eclipsed by, last and best,
Womanliness and wifehood opaline,
Its milk-white pallor,chastity,suffused
With here and there a tint and hint of flame,
Desire,the lapidary loves to find.
Such jewels bind conspicuously thy brow,
Pompilia, infant, child, maid, woman, wife
Crown the ideal in our earth at last! (210)
What should a faculty like mine do here?
Close eyes, or else, the rashlier hurry hand!
Sermocinando ne declamem, Sirs,
Ultra clepsydram, as our preachers say,
Lest I exceed my hour-glass. Whereupon,
As Flaccus prompts, I dare the epic plunge
Begin at once with marriage, up till when
Little or nothing would arrest your love,
In the easeful life o the lady; lamb and lamb, (220)
How do they differ? Know one, you know all
Manners of maidenhood: mere maiden she.
And since all lambs are like in more than fleece,
Prepare to find that, lamb-like, she too frisks
O the weaker sex, my lords, the weaker sex!
To whom, the Teian teaches us, for gift,
Not strength,mans dower,but beauty, nature gave,
Beauty in lieu of spears, in lieu of shields!
And what is beautys sure concomitant,
Nay, intimate essential character, (230)
But melting wiles, deliciousest deceits,
The whole redoubted armoury of love?
Therefore of vernal pranks, dishevellings
O the hair of youth that dances
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