~ language and poetry ~
- 4 -

Giuseppe Berneri
MEO PATACCA


index
CANTO I
CANTO II
CANTO III
CANTO IV
CANTO V
CANTO VI
CANTO VII
CANTO VIII
CANTO IX
CANTO X
CANTO XI
CANTO XII


CANTO II

octaves: 3-4, 12, 21-23, 25-28, 31-34, 39-40, 47-50, 63-64, 66-68, 70, 75, 77-78, 80


After holding his speech, Meo Patacca returns home and has a meal.



3 - 4

Gnente per pe' prima havea crompato
Da sbattere col dente, se il penziero
Era tutto alle guerre rivoltato,
e in casa c'era sol zero via zero.
Trov dopp d'hav rimuscinato,
Un tozzo secco, e non gli par vero,
Si messe poi, pe' non magnallo asciutto,
A rosicne un osso di presciutto.

M, tr, ch'era salato e pizzichente,
Tr, che lui si scalm per parl tanto,
Tr 'l Sole, che f troppo impertinente
In tel fagli prov caldo tamanto;
Era cos assetato, che pe' gnente
Havuto havria, de beve giusto, quanto
F un cacciator' che rotta la bottiglia
Gir, senza mai bevere, pi miglia.


3 - 4

But earlier, he hadn't bought anything
To eat, since his thoughts
Were all addressed to the fight,
And in his house there was absolutely nothing.
After having looked around, he found
A piece of dry bread, which made him rejoyce,
And, not to eat it bare,
He started nibbling on a ham bone.

But since it was salty and spicy,
Since he had got excited with his speech,
Since the Sunshine was so impertinent
In making him feel very hot,
He felt so thirsty that it would have been
Impossible for him to drink moderately,
As a hunter whose flask is broken,
And has walked many miles without drinking.

He falls asleep, and has a strange dream, whose meaning he does not understand.
Next to him lives a woman called Calfurnia, who claims to be a foreteller.


12

C'era una ciospa, un po' gobbetta e lusca,
Longa di naso e corta assai di vista,
Crespa in fronte e di faccia alquanto brusca,
Si spacciava una brava gabbalista;
Annava spesso di merlotti in busca,
Che d'una volpe veccia era pi trista;
I sogni ad altri interpretare ardiva,
E lei manco sapeva, s'era viva.


12

There was a shady old woman, a bit hunchbacked,
With a long nose, and a very short sight,
With a wrinkled forehead and a frowning face,
She claimed to be a clever foreteller;
She often sought for ingenuous people,
Being more cunning than an old fox;
She dared to interpret others' dreams,
Yet she could barely tell whether herself was alive.

Meo calls her at his house, and tells her about his dream, to have it explained.



21 - 23

Me pareva de sta' nel mezzo a un campo,
Che poi me diventava horto e giardino,
Ed ecco allora da lontano allampo
Fiorite piante, et io pi m'avvicino.
In t'uno sterpo all'improvviso inciampo,
E quasi casc volzi a capo chino,
Mi ritengo, e m'accorgio, e f stupori,
Ch'eran quei, ch'io vedei, cavoli fiori.

Ci h gusto a 'sta comparza, e ce n' uno,
Che pare tr li cavoli un gigante;
Nisciun di questi al paragon, nisciuno
Ce n', che non sia cavolo birbante.
Voglia me vi d'haverne chalcheduno,
M sopra tutti, questo pi scialante;
In gi, pe' sradicallo el braccio io slongo,
E all'improvviso me diventa un fongo.

Cos fan tutti l'altri, e si rannicchia
Ogni cavolo in fongo, e gi s'appiatta;
Allora la vendetta al cor mi picchia,
E vu, che sia la fongara disfatta.
El sangue in te le vene me salticchia,
E pe' sfongar la cavolesca schiatta,
Al ferro, che sta' al fianco, d de piglio
Voglio tagli; m intanto, ecco mi sviglio .


21 - 23

I felt like I was in a field,
Which then turned into an orchard and a garden,
And from afar I caught sight of
Flowery plants, and I went closer.
Suddenly I stumbled over a twig,
And I almost fell face down,
But I avoided this, and to my great surprise,
I realized that those I saw were cauliflowers.

I felt pleased with this, and there was one
Among others that looked like a giant;
Compared to this one, no other was
As large and perfect.
I wanted to take a few,
But, above all others, this gorgeous one;
I lowered my arm for picking it,
And all of a sudden it turned into a mushroom.

All the other cauliflowers did so, shrinking
into mushrooms and flattening down;
So revenge stung my heart,
Demanding the downfall of the mushrooms.
Blood pounded in my veins,
And to uproot the stock of cauliflowers,
I grabbed the sword by my side
Willing to cut; but meanwhile, I woke up .

Calfurnia thinks that all the changes in his dream reveal that he is an inconstant person, whose actions turn out unreliable. But Meo has a wild reaction.


25 - 28

Figlio! per t c' 'na cattiva nova,
E ti sar, in sentirla, dolorosa;
Dir vu, il campo, ch'in horto si rinova,
Ch'una ne penzi, e poi fai 'n'altra cosa;
Senti questo di pi, ch'ogni tua prova
T'habbia da riusc pericolosa,
segno certo, e assai per m'accora,
Quell'inciamp, che t facesti allora.

I cavoli che scambiano apparenza,
E fanno in fonghi subbito mutanza,
Dimostrano per dirla in confidenza,
C'hanno i negozij tui gran incostanza;
Che mentre assai, da t acquist si penza,
Alfin poi ci sar poca sustanza,
E cercanno verdura, e ricche piante,
Troverai solo robba da birbante.

Mi spiego meglio. T ci sei cascato
À fa' l'amor con qualche brighinella,
E ti sei nella mente figurato,
Perche vista non l'hai, ch'assai sia bella;
Per esserne poi meglio assicurato,
T vuoi far viaggio, e andar verso di quella;
La stimi un sole, e dirtelo bisogna,
Sar una schifosissima carogna .

Pi dir volea, m te gle d un urtone
Meo, ch'allora con impeto s'arrizza,
E poco manca, non gle dia un sgrugnone,
E che del naso non ne faccia pizza.
In tel sent gi gli ven el foione,
E dice tutto rabbia, e tutto stizza:
Ah razza indegna fra le razze sporche!
Va' in malora se vuoi, va' s le forche.

31 - 34

Pi non pozzo hav flemma, gi me sale
La mosca al naso e t qu incocci ancora?
Te d 'no sganassone sul guanciale,
Te f schizz quei pochi denti fora.
V, che se n, te butto pe' le scale,
E d'ubbid te verr voglia allora .
Lei non se move, e fa di piagner finta
E lui de posta te gle d una spinta.

Bello stolz fece la ciospa allora
Da quella sedia in dove assisa stava.
Schiopp in terra de fatto, e peggio ancora
Poteva hav, se via non scivolava.
Fece zompi le scale, e mezza fora,
E mezza drento della porta stava,
Perch'era un po' socchiusa; alfin poi scappa,
con furia, e in tell'uscir, tutta si strappa.

S'accorge allor, ch' un pianellon 1 restato
À mezze scale, e che cammina zoppa;
Vorria 2 torn a pigliallo, m infoiato
Vede Patacca, ch'all'in gi galoppa;
Vorria strill, m non gle serve el fiato,
E Meo la mira addrizza in s la groppa, 3
Mentre dice: T, piglia, vecchia becca .
Con la pianella in s la gobba azzecca.

F uno strillo Calfurnia cos orrenno
Che s'affacciano tutti li vicini,
Porta in man le pantofole currenno,
E non se cura d'imbratt i scarpini;
Se n'entra in casa sua, sempre temenno,
Che Patacca gle dia novi grostini.
Perche dubbio di ci non gle rimanga,
Serr la porta, e ce mett la stanga.


25 - 28

Young lad! there's bad news for you,
And it will cause you pain in hearing it;
The field that changes into a cultivated yard means
That you think in one way, and then act differently;
And there's more; every feat
Will turn out dangerous for you,
The undoubtful sign of this, I'm sorry to tell you,
Is that stumbling of yours.

The cauliflowers that change their look,
Suddenly turning into mushrooms,
Show that, I'll speak frankly,
Your deeds are very inconstant;
That while others expect something great from you,
In the end you will do very little,
And looking for vegetables and valuable plants,
You will only find cheap ones.

I'll explain this better. You ended up
Making love to a young trollop,
And in your mind you picture
That she's beautiful, not having looked at her;
Then, to make yourself sure of this,
You want to set off and go towards her;
You think she's a beauty, but you ought to know
That she'll turn out a rotten cow .

She would have continued, but Meo
Abruptly shoves her, standing up in a fit,
Almost giving her a blow
That would have crushed her nose.
In hearing this, his temper had already risen,
And in a rage he angrily says:
Oh you worthless among the loathsome races!
Get lost, may you be hung.

31 - 34

I can't refrain myself any longer, my rage
Is already surging, and you are still here!
I'll give you a blow in the face,
And make you lose those few teeth of yours.
Go, or I'll throw you down the stairs,
You'll rather obey me then.
She doesn't move, and pretends to weep
And he intentionally shoves her.

With this, the old woman indeed jerked
From the chair where she was sitting.
She fell down abruptly, and much worse
Could have happened to her, hadn't she swept away.
She leapt down the stairs, standing half inside
And half outside the doorway,
Partly open; finally she runs away in a frenzy,
And in doing so she tears all her dress.

She then realizes that she has left behind one clog
Along the stairs, and that she's walking funny;
She'd like to go back and collect it, but she sees
Patacca furious, who is rushing downstairs;
She would scream, but her breath is not enough,
And Meo straightens his aim towards her back,
While saying: Take this, old idiot .
And hits her with the clog right on her hunchback.

Calfurnia gives such a horrible cry
That all the neighbours come to their windows;
She runs holding the clogs in her hands,
Without taking care of soiling her footware;
She enters her house, still afraid
That Patacca may beat her again.
To clear any doubt of this,
She locked the door up, and barred it.

Meo calms down, and tries to give his own interpretation of the strange dream.



39 - 40

Lat al campo, ver che c'inciampai,
M per l'onor mio non ce perdei,
Perche in piede assai lesto ce restai,
Gnente per questo gi m'intrattenei.
Altro che Turchi non ponn'esser mai
I fonghi, che gi cavoli vedei,
E l'osservalli sol, prova bastante,
Perche il fongo un Turchetto col turbante.

Quel cavolo, che l'altri alla statura
Fa' parer regazzini, e lui pedante,
Giusto del gran Vissir la figura,
Che delli Turcaccioli il commannante.
Non voglio altro sap, ci m'assicura,
Che l in guerra far prove tamante,
S'a trinci fonghi in sogno hebb'io penziero,
Questo co' i Turchi io poi far da vero.


39 - 40

There in the field indeed I stumbled,
But I did not lose my honour,
Because I promptly manage to stand,
I did not lose time in doing so.
The mushrooms I first saw as cauliflowers
Can be nothing else but Turks,
And their look is a proof of this,
Because a mushroom is a Turk with his turban.

That cauliflower whose remarkable size
Makes others seem small,
Is in fact the shape of the Grand Vizier,
Who is the commander of the loathsome Turks.
Nothing else I need to know, this reassures me
That at war my feats will be great,
If in my dream I thought of chopping mushrooms,
Against the Turks I will do this for real.

Meanwhile, the news that Meo wants to defend Vienna spreads around, and also the girl who is in love with him, Nuccia, comes to know. She is worried about Meo's intentions, so she decides to go and see him, and find out whether this news is true.



47 - 50

D'annar a trov Meo s' risoluta,
Che vu sap, se vera la partenza,
Perche h spirito granne, et braguta,
V per non dargli di partir licenza.
La donna d'accompagno gi venuta,
Tuzia se ciama e non ne vmai senza;
Zerbina Nuccia, m se l'altra vedi,
T'accorgerai, che non ha scarpe in piedi.

Spesso in citt se fanno de 'ste scene:
Comparisce un'amazzone vestita
Con drappi marlettati, con catene,
Con perle, e gioje, e tutta ingalantita.
Co' sfarzo alla damesca se ne viene,
Gle vdereto, lacera, e scuscita,
Ciospa, che penne cenci, e ogni perzona
S'accorge ch'una guitta la patrona.

Cos Nuccia ce fa la squarcioncella,
M poi si s ch' rancichetta e sbriscia.
Pur cammina alla moda, e ce sverzella,
E pe' serva, men se vu la griscia.
Pe' soprannome detta Nuccia bella.
Come se picca, e come entra in valiscia,
Se cos non la ciamano le genti
Guai a lor, se l'havesse fr li denti.

H vintott'anni, e dirlo non si cura,
Che fa' la pupa tra le giovanette.
Bench li mostri al viso e alla statura,
Non ne confessa pi che diciassette;
Alta di vita, e stretta di centura,
Brunettina, h le guancie un po' roscette,
Riccio e bruno il capello, il viso allegro,
Assai bianchi li denti, e l'occhio negro.


47 - 50

She has decided to go and see Meo,
As she wants to know whether he will really leave,
Since she is witty, and a good arguer,
She goes to him not to give her consent to leave.
The woman who accompanies her is already there,
Her name is Tuzia, she never goes without her;
Nuccia is quite elegant, but if you saw the other,
You would notice that she has no shoes on her feet.

You often see such things in the city:
A lady on horseback appears,
Dressed in laced fabrics, wearing chains,
With pearls, and jewels, with such an elegant look.
She comes along with ostentation, as a dame,
And is followed by an old woman,
Dressed in rags, all ripped and torn, and everybody
Realizes that her mistress is really a commoner.

In a similar way Nuccia puts on airs,
But the people know that she is a humble girl.
Yet she follows the fashion, and shows off,
And carries with her the old woman as a servant.
Her nickname is good-looking Nuccia.
How touchy she is, and how peevish she turns
If people don't call her in this way,
It would be trouble if only she got hold of them.

She is twenty-eight, and she doesn't mention it,
As she acts as a young girl among the youngsters.
Despite her face and height show her age,
She won't confess more than seventeen;
Her waist is high and thin,
She is a brunette, her cheeks are reddish,
Her hair is curly and dark, her face is gay,
Her teeth are very white, and her eyes are black.

The two women reach Meo's house, and Nuccia expresses her worry to him.



63 - 64

Voltasi Nuccia allora Meo Patacca,
Cos gli parla: Emb che nova questa,
Che di t sento dir cos bislacca,
Ch'a questo cor saria troppo molesta?
Dimmi, s' avviso vero, nova stracca,
Ch'a t un crapiccio sia saltato in testa,
D'andar senza raggion, senza consiglio,
Ad incontrare in guerra il tuo periglio .

E che? Forzi non h raggion da vennere ,
Rispose Meo, e non s'havr commattere
Contro del Turco infame, che pretennere
Ce vu, de pigli Vienna, e i nostri abbattere?
Giuro a Baccone che ne voglio stennere,
Quanti con io 5 l se verranno a imbattere.
Patacca non sar, non sar quello,
Se de frabutti non ne f un macello .


63 - 64

Then Nuccia, turning towards Meo Patacca,
Speaks to him in this way: So, what weird news
Is this I heard about you,
That would be too harmful to my heart?
Tell me, whether it is a true news or a fake,
That a whim crossed your mind,
Without a reason, without advice,
Of going to war and face danger .

Why? Haven't I more than enough reasons ,
Meo replied, and shouldn't I fight
The evil Turks, who have the nerve
To capture Vienna, and kill our men?
By Bacchus, I swear that I want to kill
As many as I find along my way.
I will no longer be Patacca,
If I don't slaughter these crooks .

Nuccia and Tuzia try to convince him to quit his project.



66 - 68

Da capo a' piedi io gi stremir mi sento,
E gi i spasimi al cor mi son venuti,
Pensando, che vuoi far combattimento
Con quella razza d'asini forzuti.
E a chi non metteriano spavento
Quei brutti ceffi d'homini baffuti?
In vederli dipinti il cor mi salta,
Per la paura, e allor tremo tant'alta .

Pur troppo verit! da fianco scappa
La ciospa, e dice: Eh! Date orecchio, figlio
Alla signora Nuccia che non sfrappa,
M vi d con giudizio un bon consiglio;
Scuro quel poveraccio che c'incappa....
Pi seguit non pu perche un sbaviglio,
Che fece longo longo l'impedisce;
Poi cominza toss, n mai finisce.

Ripiglia 1 intanto Meo: Non pi parole!
Ciarlate proprio come sarapiche.
Un par mio non d retta a donnicciole,
Che son di grolia e di valor nemiche.
S, che ci voglio ann, (dica chi vuole),
In guerra sbaragli squadre nemiche:
T parli per amor, (vorria scusarte),
M quest'amor, bigna, che ceda a Marte .

70

Me la merito s, me st pur bene
Questa, ch'al cor mi di si cruda stretta,
Et il gran gusto ch'hai delle mie pene,
Se troppo nell'amarti io corzi in fretta.
M senti quel ch'a t operar conviene,
Prima d'andar de i Turchi, a far vendetta:
T di t stesso vendicar ti dei,
Se con Nuccia, che t'ama, un Turco sei .

75

Quietati, - dice, - Nuccia, perche hai torto,
A fa' con me tante frollosare.
Vuoi sol della partenza il disconforto,
E gnente penzi alle vittorie mie,
E non sai, ch'alla guerra io far 'l morto,
E buscher delle galantarie?
Sappi, che i Turchi, ( m gi par d'haverle),
À iosa ne i turbanti hanno le perle .

77 - 78

S'altri doni non ho, - risponne Nuccia, -
Di quei che t mi porti, io star fresca!
Ò ritorni appoggiato a una cannuccia,
Quanno salv la vita ti riesca,
Ò pur, se ricco venghi, una fettuccia
Manco mi donaresti, e non t'incresca,
Ch'il dica, perche s, dal duol trafitta,
Che pi nel libro tuo non ci st scritta.

Se fuor della citt un sol passo di,
Allor di me, t subbito ti scordi,
Come se vista non m'havessi mai,
E pi del mio dolor non ti ricordi,
E mentre il sodo et il guerrier ci fai,
Forse con altra far l'amor t'accordi.
Sar di m pi bella, io posso dirti,
M non di m pi pronta nel servirti .

80

Piagneva intanto Nuccia, et il songozzo
Gl'annava intrattenenno li sospiri,
E puro chalchedun gle n'esce smozzo
Tra l'affannati, e languidi respiri.
Questi (tacer la verit non pozzo)
Son della donna soliti riggiri,
Se vu, ch'in cor d'un homo, amor rinasca,
F quattro lagrimuccie, e il gonzo casca.


66 - 68

My whole body is already growing faint,
And my heart is already in pain,
Thinking that you want to go and fight
Against those brawny dunces.
Who on earth is not scared
Of those horrible men with a moustache?
My heart pounds even in seeing their picture,
Afraid as I am, and I shiver so much.

It's only too true! from aside
The old woman says: Oh! My dear, listen
To miss Nuccia, she's not exaggerating,
She's wisely giving you a good advice;
Unlucky he who runs into them....
She can't go on because
A very long yawn interrupts her;
Then she starts coughing, and cannot stop.

Meanwhile Meo speaks again: No more words!
Both of you annoy me like pests with your prattle.
A man like me won't pay attention to silly women,
Who are hostile to glory and valour.
Whatever anybody may say, of course, I want to go
To war and defeat the enemy squads:
You speak out of love, (I would excuse you),
But this love must yield to Mars .

70

Indeed, I deserve this, to be given my heart
such a bitter pang, it serves me right,
And to give you such a pleasure with my pain,
For having hurried too much in loving you.
Now listen what you should do
Before going and take revenge upon the Turks:
You should take revenge upon yourself,
For being a Turk to Nuccia, who loves you .

75

Quiet, Nuccia, - he says, - because you are wrong
In making so much fuss with me.
You only worry about my departure,
And you don't care for my victories;
Don't you know that at war I'll gather a loot
And I'll obtain precious things?
The Turks, you know, (I feel like I had them
already) have pearls galore on their turbans .

77 - 78

If I won't obtain other gifts - Nuccia replies, -
Than the ones you bring back, pity me!
You will either come back leaning on a crutch,
Provided you manage to have your life spared,
Or, should you return rich, not even a ribbon
You would give me, and don't feel bad
If I say this, because I am aware, stabbed by pangs,
That I am no longer written in your book.

If only you take a step out of the city,
You forget me at once,
As if you had never known me,
And you lose memory of my suffering,
And while you act as a tough, brave man,
Maybe you'll make plans to love to another girl.
She may be prettier than me, I can tell you,
But not as willing to serve you as I am.

80

Meanwhile Nuccia cried, and her sobs
Kept breaking her sighs,
And a few she heaves are in fact broken,
While she breathes anxiously and languidly.
These (I can't help telling the truth)
Are typical trickeries by women:
Wanting love to revamp again in a man's heart,
They shed a few tears, and deceive the simpleton.