~ 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 VIII

octaves: 10-14, 16-18, 28-30, 32, 37-39, 42-43, 44, 47-59, 62, 68-71, 76, 78-79, 80-85, 88-91, 94


Rome wakes up still dazed by the unexpected news that came from Vienna; some people even show themselves sceptic, and fear that this might be a hoax, but not Meo.



10 - 14

Meo per la gran nova h per sicura,
E par, ch'a lui la sigurt ne facci
Il cor, ch' tutto allegro, e gi procura
D'ammann feste, carri e focaracci.
Pe' poi venire 'sta manifattura,
Bigna ch'altra pecunia si procacci,
Che quella, ch'abbusc non la vu spenne:
Stima, che giusto sia, l'annarla renne.

M prima vu ved, se p riuscigli
Una botta da mastro; che sara
Un colpo bello assai, che poi servigli,
Pe' fa' cose maiuscole potra.
Vu ann da chi gi fece l'ovo, e digli
Con garbata e gentil rasciammera
Se rivu le monete, pur se queste
L'h da impieg, pe' celebr le feste.

Pe' dar principio all'opera, v in giro,
Et a ristituir quel ch'hebbe in dono
Prontissimo si mostra, e 'sto riggiro,
civile, onorato, e c' del bono.
Cos, co' 'sta drittura, f un bel tiro,
Perche li gnori, che garbati sono
Non vonno gi, (s'animo granne h Meo)
Ch'in cortesia li vinca un huom plebo.

Chi gle li dona, e chi gli d licenza,
Che se li sfrusci co' li sgherri sui,
Chi dice, ch'a 'ste cose pi non penza,
E che ne faccia quel che pare lui.
Non ci fu, chi mostrasse renitenza
Alla proposta fatta da costui;
Tutti cortesi, altro cerc non stettero,
M gli lasciorno in man quel che gli dettero.

D per Meo parola, e ce s'impegna,
Che pe' le feste e machine tamante,
Ch'in te le strade e piazze far disegna,
Tutto ci spender, sino un spicciante.
Par quelli par cosa assai degna
'Sta nobbile penzata, e pi contante
Dette chalch'uno dette, acci pi cose
Si potessero fne, e pi scialose.

16 - 18

M perche molte cose si figura,
E il modo poi non s, come si fanno,
N mai studiante f d'architettura,
Si vu inform da quelli, che ne sanno.
E li trova, e gli parla, et drittura
Li mena l dove le piazze stanno,
E le strade famose, e qu con loro,
Gran cose inventa, e gl'ordina il lavoro.

Poi se l'intenne con li bottegari,
Che stanno l vicino, e li richiede,
Che molti, e crapicciosi luminari,
Quanno el tempo sar, faccino vede.
Vorria, che si sentissero pi spari
Di razzi, e cacafochi, e gli concede,
Che se chalch'uno, machine e figure
Vu fne spese sue, le facci pure.

Dati gi tutti l'ordini, s'aspetta
Della vittoria la conferma, e arriva
Pi d'un curiero e pi d'una staffetta,
E ciarisce chi al ver non consentiva;
Pericolo non c', che pi si metta
La cosa in dubbio da chi prima ardiva
Far lo svogliato credere, se trova
Che vera, anzi verissima, la nova.


10 - 14

Meo, though, takes this great news for sure,
And his same heart seems to reassure him,
Because he feels so gay, and has in mind already
To organize celebrations, floats and bonfires.
To carry out such projects
He ought to collect more money,
As he does not want to spend the sum he was given:
He thinks it would be right to give it back.

But at first he wants to try
A masterstroke, that is a very clever trick,
That may turn useful to him
For doing something great.
He thinks of going to those who gave him money,
And, with polite shrewdness, ask these people
Whether they want their coins back, or whether
He can use them for holding the celebrations.

To get the work started, he goes around,
And shows himself ready to return
What he had been given, and this ploy
Is honest, decent, and there's some good in it.
Acting so cunningly, he hits the mark,
Because the lords, who are polite,
(Being Meo so generous), have no intention
Of showing themselves less kind than a plebeian.

Some tell him to keep them, others give him
Permission of enjoying them with his own men,
Others say they don't care any longer,
And tell him to do what he likes with them.
None of them, on his request, showed himself
Contrary to his proposal;
All of them were kind, and raised no objection,
And they all left him the sum they had given him.

But Meo gives his word, and promises,
That he will spend up to the last penny
On celebrations and special structures,
To be set in the city's streets and squares.
The lords reputed such noble thoughts
To be quite honourable, and some of them
Gave further cash, so that more could be done,
And more lavishly too.

16 - 18

Since he has many projects,
But has no knowledge for carrying them out,
Nor was he ever taught in architecture,
He thinks of inquiring with those who know.
He finds them, he speaks to them,
And he even takes them to the very squares,
And famous streets, and together with them
He devises great things, and orders them the work.

Then he goes to see the shop-owners
In the surroundings, and asks them
To display many fancy lightings,
When it will be the right time.
He would like to hear the shots
Of many flares and arquebuses, and tells them
That those willing to set up any kind of apparatus
At their own expense, are free to do so.

Once all arrangements have been made, he awaits
For the news of the victory to be confirmed,
And more than one messenger and courier arrive,
Clearing any doubt to those who were sceptic;
There is no longer risk that anybody
Who had previously dared to doubt about the news
May raise any further issue,
In seeing that it is true, absolutely true.

The streets in Rome are now decorated with lanterns, lamps, torches, candles, and everybody takes part to this merry atmosphere by burning everyday's objects.



28 - 30

La vista ce patisce, e se sbarbaglia,
E pur da' gusto da' 'sto patimento;
poi scialo maggior della marmaglia,
Delle botti ved l'abbrusciamento;
Queste son piene di fascine e paglia,
Acci 'l foco s'appicci in t'un momento!
Son vecchie e muffe, e i fonni pi non hanno,
Posano in s tre sassi, e ritte stanno.

Si f posta si f 'sta po' d'alzata,
Quanto che sotto pozza entr una mano,
Pe' poterce da' foco, e accomodata
Una dall'altra st poco lontano.
In dove hanno i palazzi la facciata,
Innanzi alli portoni, mano, mano,
Quanno pare che il giorno ormai s'annotti,
Filastrocche si fanno de 'ste botti.

Dove un gran foco pi adattato il posto,
Dove le strade non so' gnente strette;
N il vicinato a' danni sottoposto,
S'uno spazio assai granne s'intramette,
Tre botti, e ritte e pare, stanno accosto,
E un'altra, ritta pur, s ce se mette;
Acci la fiamma sbarlanz se pozzi,
Ne i larghi se ne fan pi montarozzi.

32

Una botte pi botti sopraposta
Non sforgio da tutti, e parl ciaro,
Chalche cosetta 'sta faccenna costa,
N ponno molti spenne 'sto denaro.
Per chi gi le spiana, e chi l'imposta,
Chi tre, chi quattro, chi ne mette un paro;
Brusciano l'artiggiani poverelli
Barili, barilozzi, e caratelli.

37 - 39

Mentre le botti son mezz'abbrusciate,
E da una parte cascareccie stanno,
Con un diluvio di saioccolate,
Vanno i regazzi tozzolarle, vanno,
Accompagnano a' i rocci le fischiate,
E danno gusto alla brigata, danno,
E di saioccolarle mai non lasciano,
Sin che gi non tracollano, e si sfasciano.

Ò allora s, che strillazz si sente,
Sguazzanno in tel baccano la plebbaglia;
Chi gira intorno, e chi assai pi valente
Verzo il foco con impeto si scaglia;
Zompa da parte parte, e francamente,
Poi ritorna, e rizompa, e mai non sbaglia,
Perche 'ste prove molto ben s falle,
De salt s le fiamme, e non toccalle.

M poi c' chalched'uno un po' marmotto,
Che pretenne mostr la su' bravura;
Bench habbia 'na vitaccia da fagotto,
Pi s'arrisica fa' 'sta zompatura.
Si vede mal partito poi ridotto,
Perche, slarganno el passo, la misura
Giusta non piglia, e libero non scampa,
Dal foco, e c'urta almen, con una zampa.

42 - 43

Poi si d 'l sacco ai gi cascati avanzi,
Et ecco nova buglia in campo scappa;
Chi verzo el foco v, chi curre innanzi,
Chi rubba i cerchi, e chi le doghe aggrappa.
Currono in furia e fan ch'ogn'un si scanzi,
Perche s'a urtarli chalched'uno incappa,
Nel moto, il foco piglia vento e intanto
Pu sul grugno schizz di chi gl' accanto.

Parte alfine 'sta gente rompicolla,
E cert'altra ne vi, m adascia adascia,
S'accosta allora, che non c' pi folla,
Cercanno l'util suo, che non pascia.
Quella, de zompi solo si satolla,
M questa poi, se porta via la brascia
E n'impe un scallaletto, una padella,
La smorza in casa, e ne f carbonella.


28 - 30

The eyes are stricken, and dazzled,
Yet such overwhelming is a great fun;
The mob enjoys even more
To see the barrels set on fire;
The latter are stuffed with twigs and hay,
So that they catch fire in one second!
They are old and mouldy, and are bottomless;
They stand up straight, resting upon three stones.

They are raised above the ground on purpose,
Enough to insert a hand beneath them,
So to set them on fire, and they are arranged
Each one at a short distance from the other.
By the front of the buildings,
Before their main doorways, little by little,
When the daylight turns to dusk,
Long rows of these barrels are set.

Wherever a place is more suitable for a great fire,
Where the streets are not at all narrow,
Nor are the neighbors at risk of being harmed,
Because there's enough free space in between,
Three upright barrels are laid neatly, side by side,
With a further one standing on top of them;
In open spots where the flames can freely flare,
Such heaps are set in great number.

32

A barrel rested over other barrels
Is not something that everyone can show off with,
And to be frank, this job has a certain cost,
Nor many people can afford it.
Nevertheless, the people keep piling them,
Some put three, some four, others put a couple;
The poorer craftsmen burn
Barrels, and casks of smaller sizes.

37 - 39

When the barrels are half burnt,
And start leaning on one side,
The boys go and tumble them
With a shower of stones.
As they throw their stones, they whistle,
To make their party more gay,
And they never stop hitting the barrels
Until they break up and collapse.

At that point, the screams indeed turn high,
And the mob enjoys the big commotion;
Some walk around the fire; others,
More courageusly, dash towards the flames,
And jump from one side to the other;
And then they jump again and again, and never fail,
Being very clever in doing this feat,
That is, to leap over the fire without touching it.

But there is also somebody more foolish,
Who wants to show how clever he is;
In spite of looking like a rag-bag,
He takes the risk of making this jump.
But he has to endure the consequences,
Because taking longer steps than needed,
He fails in measuring the distance, and cannot avoid
The fire, touching it at least with one leg.

42 - 43

Then the barrel's remains are sacked,
And a further commotion takes place;
Some go towards the fire, others run forward,
Some steal the hoops, other take hold of the staves.
They dash furiously, trying to avoid each other,
Because should anybody bump into them,
The flames, blown by the wind,
Might blaze into the face of a bystander.

These breakneck people finally leave,
And others come along, but very calmly;
They get close when the crowd has gone and,
Not being fools, they search for something useful.
The first people were happy with their jumps,
But these ones take away the burning ashes,
Filling with them a bed-warmer or a pan,
Letting it cool down at home, and using it as coal.


The most awaited moment of the celebration is the firework display held at Sant'Angelo Castle. During this famous event, known as la Girandola ("the Catherine wheel"), a great number of devices were fired from the castle, while a huge crowd gathered in the surrounding district, enjoying the performance.



44

L'abbruscio delle botti, ecco fornito,
Et ecco tutto il popolo rivolto
À uno spasso maggior, ch' gi ammannito:
Ch' pi sfavante assai, che piace molto.
Si f nell'Alto, e assai famoso 'l sito,
F qu Adriano Imperator sepolto,
E da lui prese il nome, e poi bel bello
Lo perze, oggi ciammannose Castello.

47 - 59

Di lanternoni in giro, il maschio pieno,
H la loggia di torcie il su' filaro,
E con questo gran lume in ciel sereno
Par, che voglian le stelle, annar del paro.
Piantati i mortaletti in sul terreno,
Ch' drento, gi cominzano lo sparo;
Fan botte, darne giusto il paragone,
Pi d'un moschetto, e meno d'un cannone.

Fatto di bronzo ferro il mortaletto,
Grosso, corto, assai greve, e materiale,
E voto in mezzo, e come un boccaletto,
M senza panza, da per tutto uguale;
Verzo il fonno da fianco c' un buscietto,
E de fora, el su' manico badiale;
Questo puro massiccio e grossolano,
E largo quanto ce pu entr una mano.

Cos, facil si renne, maneggiallo,
Ritto si posa in terra, e ci vu doppo
Un che pratico sia pe' caricallo,
Che faccenna non da falla un pioppo;
Di polvere si rimpe, e bigna fallo,
Perche pi strepitoso sia lo schioppo;
À forza di mazzate, e con gran stento,
Di legno un tappo se gli caccia drento.

Di questi gi, fatta se n' una spasa
Nel prato, e accanto al buscio piccinino,
Dove asciucca la terra, e d'erba rasa,
Di polvere si mette un montoncino;
Quanno tempo, e la gente esce de casa,
Pe' fa' verzo Castello el suo cammino,
Col miccio in s una canna, come l'uso,
D foco il bombardiero, e volta il muso.

Et ecco 'sta sparata f la spia,
Ch'hora mai poco 'l tempo, che ce resta,
E che ogni cosa in ordine gi stia,
Pe' fa' della Girannola la festa;
Ecco si spara allor l'artigliara,
Ecco de prescia el selcio si calpesta
Dal popolo, ch'il loco pigli viene,
Dove 'ste cose p ved pi bene.

Strade, piazze, finestre, loggie, e tetti
Son gi rempite d'affollate genti;
Dove c' pi bel posto, e folti e stretti
Molti da molti son urtati e spenti:
Perche poi senza tedio ogn'uno aspetti,
Si f 'na sorte di trattenimenti,
Che se p mette tr le cose belle,
Et lo sparo delle pignattelle.

Di queste, ogn'una h forma d'una palla,
Di canavaccio, assai calcata, e dura,
Drento si mette prima d'inserralla,
Di polvere e di solfo una mistura.
C' uno stuppino poi, per appiccialla,
Che quanno bruscia, un bel pezzetto dura;
M foco ancor non gle se d, che prima
Metterla bigna, un certo coso in cima.

Sparata in man, fara de' brutti scrizzi,
E per allor propio nisciun la tocca,
M perche da s stessa il volo addrizzi,
St s un canal di bronzo in s la bocca.
Acci in aria con impeto poi schizzi,
De sotto h un mortaletto che la scocca,
In quel canale c' una porticella
Gi abbasso, e il mortaletto entra per quella.

H quest'ordegno il nome di mortaro,
Bench'a un mezzo cannon sia somigliante;
St in s voltato, acci in tel fa' lo sparo
Dritta la palla sbigni via frullante.
Se ne smaltisce un mezzo centinaro,
Una in tempo dall'altra un po' distante;
Allo stuppin de sopra, in primo loco,
Poi sotto, al mortaletto, si d foco.

Sbalza questo la palla, e giusto quanno
Schizza lei dal mortaro, f una botta
Forzi pi d'un moschetto, e in s volanno,
Striscia di foco f, gnente interrotta;
V in alto assai, poi gi precipitanno
Torna, e appunto com'un quanno borbotta,
F uno strepito f sommesso e roco,
Che cresce pi, quanto pi cala il foco.

Se nel casc a drittura, a caso piomba
S chalche tettarello, lo sfragassa,
S' debbole, perche pesa, che spiomba,
E talvolta il soffitto ancor trapassa;
Pe' le stanze lo strepito rimbomba,
E quel male che p, di far non lassa;
Chi ci abbita, assai granne h la paura,
E se c' danno rimedi procura.

Mentre che s le loggie si racconta,
Qual casa habbia patita la burrasca,
Un'altra pignattella ecco s'affronta,
Che sopra il ciel d'una carrozza casca.
Chi c' drento, in un attimo gi smonta,
Ch'a rest fermo l non gli ricasca;
Il caso vero che si manna in zurla,
M in realt non cosa da burla.

E puro strilli, e schiamazzare aiosa
si sentono, e fischiate 'ste perzone,
M si f buglia pi ridicolosa,
Se casca tra le femmine pedone;
Allor s, che si spazza la calcosa;
Chi strepita, chi fugge; in un portone
Chi si salva, chi drento 'na bottega,
Chi per entracce, il bottegaro prega.

62

Ecco alfin della festa principale
Vi 'l tempo, e la Girannola ammannita,
Gi da lontano se ne d 'l segnale,
E la gente ce st ben avvertita.
Si sparano sul Monte Quirinale
Altri pezzi, e 'na torcia comparita
S una loggia, s'aspetta d'osservarzi
Un popolo di razzi in aria alzarzi.

68 - 71

Allo scuperto in sopra della loggia,
Tavolato majuscolo disteso,
Che h sotto i su' puntelli, e ce s'appoggia,
In maniera che stabbile s' reso;
largo e longo, e fatto quasi foggia
D'un cimbolo, ch'in gi quanto pi steso
Pi stregnenno si v; m differente,
Che nella coda non storto gnente.

Fatto cos di tavole 'sto piano,
Tutto tutto quant' di busci pieno,
Ce se mettono i razzi, mano mano,
Che di quelli non son n pi n meno.
Sol per le cannuccie indrento al vano
Passano delli busci, m il ripieno,
Ch' il razzo stesso, perch' un po' grossetto,
Non passa, e l'impedisce il buscio stretto.

S 'sto palco una selva ecco apparisce
Di razzi, et un canneto sotto pende,
Poi di polvere il piano si rempisce,
Ch'accanto alli stuppini si distende.
Principio allor si d, dove fornisce
Il tavolato, e il foco l s'accende,
Arde de posta la materia arsiccia,
E la stuppinera tutta s'appiccia.

Ecco un spruzzo di razzi, e basso e stretto
In tel principio, e poi s'alza e si slarga;
D'una fontana giusto f l'effetto,
Che sbruffanno all'in s sempre s'allarga;
Pi che crescenno v, pi d diletto
La spampanata risplennente e larga;
Vien gi massa di lumi, e rimpe l'occhio,
E ogni razzo in cal, ce f 'l su' scrocchio.

76

Ci son poi certi razzi mazzocchiuti,
Che vanno s per aria, lenti lenti,
E quanno un certo segno son venuti,
In gi se ne ritornano pesenti;
Scoppiano e partoriscono, minuti,
Pi razzetti in un sbruffo, e partorenti
Puro questi son doppo, e in modi ignoti,
Nascon da un razzo sol, figli e nipoti.

78 - 79

Oltre ai gi detti, un'insolente razza
Ancor ce n', ch'a pochi la perdona.
Scurrenno v, come una cosa pazza,
E salta, e gira, et piu d'un la sona:
V serpeggianno, e par che dia la guazza
À questo e quel. M verzo una perzona
S'avvia, m verzo un'altra el corzo addrizza,
Poi torna arreto, e in altro loco schizza.

Questi son certi razzi posta fatti,
Pe' mettere in bisbiglio i circostanti,
El nome se gli d di razzi mazzi
Perche so' sregolati e stravaganti;
Fanno ben spesso, che la gente sfratti
Da dove stava, e dove p si pianti.
Chi smarrisce il compagno, e chi 'l parente,
E chi fiott, chi schiamazz si sente.


44

The burning of the barrels is now over,
And everybody turns towards
An even greater entertainment, ready to start,
Much more lavish, a people's favourite.
It is held high above, by a very famous site;
Here emperor Hadrian was buried,
And the place was named after him, and then
It lost this name, now being called the Castle.

47 - 59

Many big lanterns hang all around the keep,
And the balcony has its own row of torches,
And the stars, in the clear blue sky,
Seem to be shining as bright as these lightings.
The mortaletti, mounted in the grounds
Inside the castle, now begin to be fired;
Their blast, to make a comparison,
Is louder than a musket, and less than a cannon.

The mortaletto is made of bronze or iron;
Thick, short, rather rough and irregular,
And hollow in the center, as a small jug,
But without a bulge, straight all around;
Towards the end, there's a small hole on its side,
And on the outside it has a practical handle;
Also the latter is thick and rough,
Wide enough to insert a hand in it.

So, it can be handled easily;
It is stood on the ground upright, and then
Somebody confident must load it,
As this is not a fool's job;
It is filled with powder, and this has to be done
For making it blast louder;
By striking it with a mallet, with great effort,
A wooden plug is forced inside.

A large number of these devices is already arranged
In the field, and by their small hole,
Where the soil is dry, and the grass is cut,
A small pile of powder is placed;
When time has come, and the people set out
And move towards the Castle,
The bombardier, by means of a fuse on a rod,
As it is customary, fires them, and turns his face.

And this volley is a signal
That the time has almost come
For everything to be ready
To celebrate the ignition of the Girandola;
So the artillery is then fired,
And the people hasten their footsteps,
As they come to take place
Where the viewing point is more favourable.

Streets, squares, windows, balconies, and rooftops
Are already crowded with people;
The best spots are crammed with people,
Who push and bump into many others;
Not to get bored during the wait,
A sort of entertainment takes place,
Which can be mentioned among the nice things,
That is, the firing of the pignattelle.

Each of these has the shape of a ball,
Made of rags, strongly pressed and hard;
A mixture of powder and sulphur
Is placed inside them, before they are rolled.
It also has a wick, for setting fire to it,
Which, once ignited, burns for a while;
But fire is not set to the ball
Before placing it at the end of a certain device.

If fired while held in hand, it would be harmful,
And really nobody would touch it,
But in order to make it fligh straight by its own,
It is placed by the opening of a bronze cylinder,
So that it can violently shoot into the air;
Beneath it, a mortaletto is placed, to propel it;
The cylinder has a small door in its lower part,
Through which the mortaletto is inserted.

This device is called a mortar,
Despite it looks like a half cannon;
It is pointed upwards, so that with the blast
The ball is shot, and whistles away;
Some fifty of these are fired,
At given intervals, one from the other;
First the wick above is ignited,
Then the mortaletto below.

The ball is thrusted away, and
In leaving the mortar it produces a blast,
Maybe louder than a musket, and flying up above,
It leaves an unbroken stream of fire;
It goes very high, then it drops down again,
And, as people do when they grumble,
It makes a subdued and hoarse sound,
That grows louder, as much as the fire dies out.

As it falls down at random, if it lands
On a small flimsy roof, it smashes it,
Due to its weight in coming down fast,
And sometimes it even passes through the ceiling;
The blast echoes through the rooms,
Making as much harm as possible;
It's a terrible fright for those who live there,
Who do their best to fix the damages, if any.

While on the balconies the people talk
About the house that suffered the damage,
Here comes another pignattella,
That lands on the roof of a carriage.
Who is inside, dismounts at once,
As remaining there is not really a good thing;
The incident is indeed taken for fun,
But, in fact, it is no joke at all.

And also lots of cries and din are heard,
And these people are teasingly booed at;
But an even funnier commotion takes place
If it falls among women going on foot;
The street turns indeed desertic;
Some of them yell, some run away; some others
Seek for shelter in the hall of a building,
Some in a shop, some beg the owner to let them in.

62

Finally, the times comes for the main happening,
And the Girandola is ready;
The signal is now given from afar,
And the people pay attention to it.
On the Quirinal Hill, other devices are shot,
And a torch, that appeared on a balcony,
Is now waiting to witness
A croud of flares rise towards the sky.

68 - 71

In the open air, above the balcony,
A large wooden platform is set,
With supports below, on which it is lain,
In order to make it steady;
It is wide and long, almost in the shape
Of a harpsichord, as in the rear part
It is tapered more and more; but it is different,
Because its bottom makes no curve at all.

This platform, made of planks,
Is all covered with holes;
The flares are placed in them, one by one,
As these come in the same number as the holes.
Only their thin supports, though,
Ar housed in the holes, but the large part,
That is, the flare itself, being slightly thicker,
Is stopped by the narrow hole.

On this stage, a sea of flares is seen,
While a forest of supports hangs below;
Then the surface is covered with powder,
Placed close to the wicks.
The start is then given where the platform ends,
And the fire is set there;
The inflammable material goes ablaze abruptly,
And all the wicks catch fire.

There goes a spray of flares,
Low and narrow at first, then higher and broader;
It gives the impression of a fountain
That spouts upwards, broadening more and more;
The further it grows, the more its broad part,
Bright and large, amuses the spectators;
A sea of lights comes down, filling the eyes,
And each flare, in falling, makes a crack.

76

And there is also a variety of large flares,
That go up into the air, slowly slowly,
And once they've reached a certain height,
They come down again, heavily;
They blast and give off a bunch
Of several tiny flares, and later on
These ones too do the same, so that, prodigiously,
From one same flare, sons and grand-sons are born.

78 - 79

Besides the aforesaid ones, there is
A further variety that is really vicious.
This type soares in a crazy way,
And it keeps jerking, turning, annoying quite a few:
It moves like a snake, almost teasing the people.
Now it flies towards somebody,
Now it changes course towards another person,
Then it goes back, and darts somewhere else.

These are flares made on purpose
To create excitement among the crowd,
They are called crazy flares
Because they are unpredictable and bizzarre;
They often cause the people to move
From their standpoint, and from where they end up.
Some lose their friend, some lose a relative,
Some are heard whining, some others shout.

Meo has the opportunity of doing one more good deed. A young lady named Tolla gets lost in the crowd, and he protects her from the mob, offering himself as a chaperon.



80 - 85

C'era una giuvenotta capo ritto
Co' scuffie e sfettucciate in sul crapino,
E bench havesse un abbito un po' guitto,
Del capo il conciamento era zerbino.
In quel gran parapiglia, tutto afflitto,
Il marito, ch'a quella era vicino,
Lontano spinto fu. Fece 'sta cosa
Un'ondata di gente impetuosa.

Lui gira, e cerca, e in mezzo della folla
Pe' poterci pass, f le su' prove,
Rifibbia gomitni, e te l'azzolla,
S'incoccia chalched'uno, e non si move.
Chiama, e strepita forte: Gnora Tolla!
E dove sete gnora Tolla? e dove?
Lei non lo sente, e lui s'impazientisce,
Quanto la cerca pi, pi la smarrisce.

Pur si tribbola assai quella meschina,
Che fra la gente st smarrita, e sola;
V sguercianno qu e l la poverina,
E non s'arrischia profer parola.
Smorta, com'una rapa, si tapina,
Poi fatta roscia, com'una brasciola,
Chiama il marito nome, e il chiama invano
Che lo port la calca assai lontano.

Come attorno alla trippa il gatto sgnavola,
Che st un ciodo attaccata, e lui discosto,
Come fanno le mosche in s una tavola
Dove zuccaro, mele f riposto,
Come i moschini attorniano la cavola
D'un caratel, che pieno sia di mosto;
Cos del caso accortosi, furne
Gira intorno costei pi d'un moscone.

Patacca l vicino attento stava,
Sol pe' ved, se quanno se forniva
Lat el foco, e perche assai durava,
Ce pativa aspettanno ce pativa.
Subbito che 'sta festa si spicciava,
Dell'altre alla comparza si veniva:
Di mette in mostra quel, che lui teneva
Di gi ammannito, l'hora non vedeva.

Bisbigli sente intanto i formicotti,
Ch'attorno Tolla favano spasseggio
E dal foco d'amor gi mezzi cotti,
Di quella tutti annavano al corteggio;
S'accosta, e la pastura tanti jotti
Penza lev, che non p hav per peggio,
Che quanno se n'accorge, che gl' detto,
Che si perda alle femmine il rispetto.


80 - 85

There was a proud young lady,
Who wore a bonnet, and ribbons on her head,
And despite her dress was a bit cheap,
Her hairdo was elegant.
Her husband, in great concern,
Was standing next to her, amidst the commotion,
But then he was pushed away. This was caused
By an impetuous crowd of people.

He goes around, seeks for her, he tries his best
To pass through the crowd;
He makes his way with his elbows,
He bumps against somebody, and barely moves.
He calls, crying out loud: Mistress Tolla!
Where are you Mistress Tolla? Where?
She can't hear him, and he loses his cool;
The more he searches, the more he fails to find her.

Yet the poor lady is very worried,
As she's alone, and lost in the crowd;
The poor thing keeps looking in every direction,
And does not dare to speak a word.
As pale as a turnip, she's in despair;
Then she turns as red as a pork chop,
She calls her husband's name, but invane,
Because the crowd has pushed the man quite afar.

Like a cat that miaows by a piece of tripe
Hanging from a hook, as it stands nearby,
Like flies that alight on a table
On which sugar or honey has been placed,
Like gnats that surround the tap
Of a cask filled with new wine,
In a similar way, more than one wooer,
Aware of the situation, now buzzes around her.

Patacca, nearby, was on the watch,
Only wishing to find out when the fire was over,
Because it was lasting long,
And he was very eager.
As soon as this event had ended,
The others were to start:
He just couldn't wait to show off
With what he had previously arranged.

Meanwhile, he hears the lady's admirers whispering,
As they kept walking around Tolla,
And, half burnt by the flames of love already,
Each one of them was courting her;
Meo walks up, and thinks of abducting the pray
From those seekers, as nothing upsets him worse
Than to realize, or to be told,
That a woman is not being payed respect.

Meo approaches the lady, and learns from her what has happened. So he offers to accompany her to Tuzia's house, since it is nearby, while he goes looking for her husband.



88 - 91

Gli chiede in grazia, ch'a cerc glie vada
El su' marito Titta scalpellino,
Che star tr la folla in quella strada,
Perche perzo se l'era l vicino;
Che l'havra cognosciuto ad una spada
Che haveva alla turchesca, un barettino
Da marinaro e camisciola gialla,
À un mazzo di fettuccie in s 'na spalla.

Non accurre vogliate affatigarvi,
- Disse allor Meo, - nel darmi i contrasegni,
Ch'io lo cognosco, e pozzo assicurarvi,
Che bisogno non c', che me s'insegni;
M non cosa sola qu lasciarvi
Vostrodine pe' tanto, non si sdegni
Di venir via con m, che non conviene
De fa' pi qu 'sta fiera, e non st bene.

Non voglio propio che restiate sola,
E da una ciospa, ch' de garbo assai,
Che h qu vicina la su' rampazzola,
Ve mener pe' favvi usc de guai.
Starete da 'sta bona donnicciola,
Che col penziero gi ricapezzai,
Fin che qu torno, e de trov m'ingegno,
Vostro marito, e lui vi riconsegno .

Sent la donna, e un bel pezzetto, incerta,
Considera penzosa i fatti suoi,
M riflettenno s cortese offerta
Disse: Far, quel che volete voi .
'Sta bona volont lui, c'h scuperta,
Dice alla gente: Ogn'un si scanzi. À noi!
Cos' 'sta buglia? . Tutti si slargorno,
Tolla e Patacca liberi passorno.

94

Serve costei de bravo, e gle f scorta
Patacca, che scarpina con la gnora,
V dov'abita Tutia, e gi alla porta
La f ven fischiandogle de fora.
Lei gnente si tratti, ch'assai gl'importa
À Patacca ubbidir; lui dice allora:
Vi consegno 'sta giovane, tenete,
Et il perch, da lei lo saperete .


88 - 91

She asks him to please go and look
For her husband, Titta the stone-mason,
Who should be amidst the crowd in the same street,
As she had lost him nearby;
He would recognize him by a sword
In the Turkish fashion, which he carried,
By a seaman's cap and a yellow shirt,
And by a bunch of ribbons he wore on a shoulder.

There is no need to worry,
- Meo then said, - about giving me a description,
As I know him, and you can take for granted
That there is no need to instruct me;
But to leave you here alone is not a good thing;
So please be so kind
Of walking away with me, as it is inconvenient
To cause this commotion, and it is not nice either.

I really don't want you to remain alone,
So to get you out of trouble
I will take you to an old woman,
Who is very kind, and whose house is nearby.
You will stay with this good lady,
Whom I just recalled, until I am back,
And I have managed to find your husband,
Under whose charge I'll leave you again .

The woman heard his words, remaining uncertain
For a while, alone with her thoughts,
But having pondered over this kind proposal,
She said: I'll do as you wish .
On learning that the woman complied with him,
He tells the people: Get out of the way. Come on!
What's all this noise? . Everbody moved aside,
And Tolla and Patacca could freely pass.

94

Patacca acts as a brave to her, and escorts her,
As he walks along with the lady;
He heads to where Tuzia lives, and calls her
By the doorway, whistling to her from outside.
She comes at once, as it is her intention
to obey Patacca; he then says:
I put this young woman under your protection,
You'll know why by her own words .

Meo goes in search of Tolla's husband, leaving the young lady with Tuzia, not knowing that also Nuccia is there with her.