~ 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 X

octaves: 3-6, 8-10, 12, 33-34, 47, 50-51, 53-54, 56-58,
60-61, 64-65, 69-70, 72, 75, 78, 81-88, 93, 95-96 101-103, 106-109


Despite the late hour, the streets are still crowded for the celebration, and this is the ideal time for Rome's young rascals to shoot the fire crackers known as zaganelle.



3 - 6

Si fan queste di carta un po' grossetta,
Che di polvere s'impe, e poi si piega;
Come in s, si raggruglia una serpetta,
Cos questa, in s stessa si ripiega.
Perche poi stia, ben riquadrata, e stretta
Con un spago nel mezzo allor si lega,
E fattone, 'sto modo, un fagottino,
C' in cima, et esce fora, el su' stuppino.

Ne fanno li regazzi un capitale,
Che pi dir non si p; pare uno scrocco
Chi assai non ne crompa, e ogn'una vale
Ò due quatrini, al pi mezzo baiocco;
Hanno un genio maligno, di far male;
M, fanno spavent chalche marrocco,
Con vederzi attacc foco alli panni,
M le donne, co' strepiti assai granni.

Un de 'sti ghinaldelli, ecco s'abbassa;
Quasi vicino terra, e prestamente
La zaganella appiccia, e poi la lassa,
Dove st ferma, e folta pi la gente.
Doppo, via, presto scivola, e trapassa
Pe' la folla con impeto, e ti mente,
M per da lontano, e st vedne
La zaganella, se si porta bene.

Questa, di l un pezzetto, e foco piglia,
E sbalza via de fatto, e salta, e scoppia;
Quanno st, pe' fin, forza ripiglia,
Le scoppiature, e i zompi allor raddoppia.
La gente, ecco si slarga, e si scompiglia,
E colui, come quaglia in te la stoppia
Tr la folla appiattatosi, se tratta,
Che tr di s, di ridere si schiatta.

8 - 9

In pi lochi, insolenze de 'sta sorte
Fanno i regazzi, e l'un, dall'altro impara,
E nel zaganell, maniere accorte
D'haver procura ogn'un di loro gara.
C' spesso, chi li tozzola assai forte,
Et allor s, ch'assai gli costa cara
La loro insolentaggine, che molti
Nel fatto, cavaliere, ce so' colti.

Et oh! quanto costoro gli st bene,
Che ci sia chalched'un, che li rifili,
Perch' assai gran ardir, e non conviene
Far alle donne atti cos incivili.
Di zaganelle, haver le mani piene,
E annar facenno spari puerili,
ver, che Meo gli dette ampla licenza,
M non di far ad altri, impertinenza.

C' chalchhomo de garbo, e risentito,
Che gira con le fglie e con la moglie;
Che non habbano affronti st avvertito,
E mai da 'sto penzier non si distoglie;
Ecco, con zaganelle un frasca ardito
Ce sarrisica, e quello ce lo coglie,
E quanno giusto st, pe' fa' la botta,
Te lo schiaffeggia, e te lo scappellotta.

12

M lesto, la f netta, e non c' colto;
M buscia gli riesce, e ci h dei guai
E da i compagni, dov' il popol folto,
Si f 'sta giocarella pur assai.
M lassamoli fa', che poco, molto
Ci han dei crostini, e dir si senton: Ahi!
Perche gli d, chi h rabbia soprafina,
Pugni, che fanno rimbomb la schina.


3 - 6

These are made of slightly thick paper,
Filled with powder, and then rolled up;
As a small snake curls up,
This one too is folded in the same way.
To keep it neatly square and tight,
It is tied in the center with a string,
And once a small bundle has been made,
Its wick sticks out from the top part.

The kids keep them as a treasure,
In such a way; not buying a load of them,
One is frowned upon as a niggard, and they cost
Either two quattrini, or half baiocco each;
They have a special gift for causing damage,
Either frightening a simpleton,
Who realizes that his clothes caught fire,
Or women, who give very loud cries.

One of these young scoundrels bends down,
Almost lying on the ground, and quickly
Sets fire to the zaganella, and leaves it there,
Where the people cram and stand more still.
Then he swiftly leaves, pushing his way
Through the crowd, keeping in mind where it is,
But from afar, and watches
Whether the zaganella does a good job.

After a short while, the latter catches fire,
And blasts off, skimming and cracking;
When it seems to be extinguished, it starts again,
Skimming and cracking twice as before.
The crowd now opens up and scatters,
And the rascal, like a quail in the hay,
Disguises himself amidst the crowd,
As he dies with laughter.

8 - 9

Boys play this insolent game in many places,
And each of them learns from others,
And they compete in shooting zaganelle
In the most clever ways.
Often, they get beaten pretty hard,
In which case they pay a high price
For their insolence, as many of them
Are caught red-handed.

And oh! how it serves them well
To find somebody who gives them a good lesson,
Because they are very bold, and it's bad
To do such rude things to women,
To go with their hands full of zaganelle,
And do this childish shooting.
It is true that Meo granted them plenty of liberties,
But not to be ill-mannered to others.

There is some renowned gentleman,
Who goes strolling with his wife and children;
He stays alert that nobody annoys them,
And never distracts himself from this thought;
Here comes a daring kid with zaganelle,
Who ventures in trying, and he catches him,
And just before the cracker explodes,
He slaps him, and cuffs him on the head.

12

Sometimes he gets away with it, not being caught;
Sometimes he fails, and finds trouble;
Yet friends play this game a lot,
Where the people are more numerous.
But let them do so, as they get beaten,
Little or much, and they are heard go: Ouch!
Because who's really angry punches them
Hard enough to make their backs resound.

Among the many acts inspired by the Turks theme is a long procession, in which a mock Great Vizier is dragged in chains; the mob takes active part, by insulting him and throwing at him all sorts of trash. The prisoner is played by a daft peasant called Togno, while his wife Marzocca follows the procession from behind.



43 - 44

Vestito poi da Turco commandante,
E pi d'ogn'altro incatenato forte,
Veniva il Gran Vissir, quasi spirante,
Parenno giusto un condannato morte.
Annava col cotogno tremolante,
Con occi piagnolosi, e guance smorte,
Et fa' 'sta funzion capato s'era
Un secco, un smunto, un di cattiva cera.

Villano era costui, m sciotarello,
E bign, ch'un tal homo si capasse,
Perche, fargli strapazzi, e questo, e quello
Potesse, e queto lui li sopportasse:
Stava cavallo sopra un ciucciarello,
E ogni poco pareva che cascasse,
Che pe' natura assai sguajato annava,
E poi, con arte ancor, ce s'ajutava.

47

'Sta coppia villanesca era venuta
A cavallo, in citt commodamente,
Havevano per testa orecchiuta
Le bestie loro sumarescamente.
Sul basto era la femmina seduta,
M l'homo, usanza della maschia gente,
E l'asino di Togno, quello stesso,
Sopra del quale ci cavalca adesso.

50 - 51

La moglie, che ciamavase Marzocca
Pe' sopranome, essenno assai bocciacca,
Del su' marito, gnente meno sciocca,
Come lui, v sciattona, e assai zambracca.
St intontita guard, senza apr bocca,
Mentre il sozzo gabbano, e la casacca
Si leva Togno, e addosso se gli ficca
Una giubba assai nobbile, assai ricca.

Vedenno Togno suo, cos addobbare,
(Che lei, cosa magnifica la crese)
Si lass facilmente inzampognare,
M adesso, adesso imparar su' spese.
Pe' raccont 'sto fatto le commare,
Non vede l'hora, de torn al paese,
E dir, che in Roma, e in festa s sforgiata,
annato su' marito in cavalcata.

53 - 54

Et ecco che incominzano li guai
E i malanni di Togno el poveraccio,
Che maltratt si sente, et horamai
Quasi tutto gl'ammaccano il mostaccio,
Non si tirano scorze a' Tumellai,
Perche avvezzato il romanesco braccio
A ben sajoccol; quello che tira
V giusto dove si pigli la mira.

Pel continuo strill della marmaglia,
Non p sent Marzocca le battute,
Che, come si suol far s 'na muraglia,
Si fan di Togno sulle spalle ossute.
Anzi la pacchiarotta assai si sbaglia,
Perche da lei, ch' gonza, son credute
Grolie le sbeffe, et i plebbei schiamazzi
Apprausi lei li stima, e so' strapazzi.


33 - 34

Dressed as a Turkish commander,
And tightly bound with chains more than any other,
Came the Great Vizier, almost in agony,
Looking as if he had been sentenced to death.
He proceeded with a trembling head,
With watery eyes, and pale cheeks;
To play this character
A thin, wan, ill-looking man had been chosen.

He was a countryman, but ingenuous,
And such a person was to be chosen,
So that he would have endured
Any kind of mistreatment received:
He rode a donkey, and he kept looking
As if on the point of falling down,
As his posture was naturally rough,
And he emphasized it on purpose.

47

This country couple had come to town
With a steed, comfortably,
But the ears of their steed
Were those of a donkey;
The woman sat on the pack-saddle,
While her husband rode as men do.
And Togno's donkey is the same one
He is riding right now.

50 - 51

His husband, whose nickname was Marzocca
Due to her considerable overweight,
Was not less daft than her husband,
And in a similar way looks untidy and dirty.
She stared, without saying a word,
While Togno was taken off
the filthy cloak and overall, and was given
A very rich and precious jacket.

Seeing that Togno was being adorned in such way,
(What she thought was a wonderful thing),
She easily let herself be deceived,
But now she'll be taught a lesson at her expense.
She just can't wait to return to her own village,
To tell her neighbours about this fact,
Letting them know that in Rome, her husband
Paraded on horseback, during a rich pageant.

53 - 54

And soon for poor Togno
the problems and the suffering begin,
As he realizes that he is being mistreated,
And he gets hit almost all over his face;
The people do not pretend to hurl rinds at him,
Because the arms of the Romans are well trained
In hitting the target, and whatever is thrown
Lands exactly where it had been aimed at.

Since the mob kept shouting,
Marzocca could not hear the blows
That Togno was enduring on his skinny shoulders,
As if a wall was being beaten.
The fat woman indeed misunderstands the situation,
Because she, who is a simpleton, thinks
That the mockeries are hails, that the mob's cries
Are applauses, while he's being in fact ill-treated.

Then an incredible mistake seriously puts Togno's life at threat.



56 - 58

Un certo Marangone forestiero,
Che non havea ciarvello per un grillo,
Venne ved 'ste feste, con penziero
D'osserv tutto, e casa sua ridillo.
F alloggiato costui da un locandiero,
E curze alla finestra al primo strillo
D'una truppa di gente, et in vedella
Domanna, che cos', che buglia quella.

Sente da tutti dire: Ò bene! bene!
Il Gran Vissir, il Gran Vissir questo;
Come carico tutto di catene!
E come in faccia sfigurato, e mesto!
Lo scialo, gnente allora s'intrattiene;
M un schizzetto da caccia, presto, presto
Caricato palline in mano prese,
Che s'era gi portato dal paese.

Schiaffa drento una palla, e pien di stizza
Ritorna alla finestra, e messo fora
El cacafoco, inverzo gi l'addrizza,
Pe' poi sparallo, quanno sar l'hora.
Un certo error del su' penzier l'attizza
Contro quell'infelice, e perche mora,
Di farci li su' sforzi gi disegna,
E stima, il farli, un'opera assai degna.

60 - 61

Spara alla volta sua; fischia la palla;
M, fosse il moto del villano, il caso,
Solo di sbiescio gli tocc 'na spalla,
Le migliarole poi le guancie e 'l naso.
Il ferito, dall'asino traballa,
Resta col capo pennolone e raso,
Che l'havevan gi toso, e in tel piegasse,
Bign be', ch'il turbante gli cascasse.

Perche gi non tracolli, uno l'abbraccia;
Lui smonta, e sbalordito si spaventa,
Gli v colanno el sangue pe' la faccia,
E come un morto, pallido diventa.
Ogn'un s'accosta, innanzi ogn'un si caccia;
Si f 'na buglia granne, e non lenta
La man di molti (mentr' lui svenuto),
Nel mettelo sed, nel dargli ajuto.


56 - 58

A certain Marangone, a stranger,
Who was as stupid as a dunce,
Had come to see these celebrations, in the hope
Of watching everything and, once back, tell others.
He had been given accomodation by an inn-keeper,
And as soon as he heard a group of people shouting
He rushed to the window, and asked
What was happening, what was all that commotion.

He heard everybody saying: Oh well! Oh well!
The Great Vizier, this is the Great Vizier:
What a load of chains he is bound with!
And what a grim, sad face he wears!
The fool did not wait a second,
And straight away grabbed a hunting rifle
Loaded with birdshot,
Which he had taken with him from his village.

He loads it and, full of rage,
Goes back to the window, and sticking out the rifle
He points it downwards, taking aim,
Waiting to fire it at the right time.
He is stirred by a wrong thought
Against that poor fellow, and already has in mind
Of taking the utmost care in killing him,
As he reputes this to be a very noble deed.

60 - 61

He fires against him; the bullet whizzes;
But, either because he was moving, or by chance,
The birdshot only grazed his shoulder,
Then his cheeks and his nose.
The wounded man on horseback wobbled,
And kept his head dangling, and bald,
Having been previously shaved, and in leaning
His turban easily fell off.

Not to let him tumble, somebody holds him;
He dismounts and, stunned, he gets frightened,
As the blood keeps trickling down his face,
And turns as pale as a corpse.
Everybody comes up, making his way in front;
There is a great commotion, and many people
(While he's lost consciousness)
Quickly help him sit, and give him assistance.

When Togno's wife realizes that her husband has been wounded, she falls in despair.



64 - 65

Un dolor improviso il cor gl'afferra;
Non s, s' verit, non s s' sogno,
Quel, ch'antivede. Ah' ch'il pensier non erra;
M puro de ciarissene h bisogno.
Arriva, e vede un, che seduto in terra;
Pi s'accosta, e conosce alfin ch' Togno,
E visto il viso scolorito, e guasto,
Non scese n, precipit dal basto.

À sfogane incominza el su' travaglio
Con un sospiro, foggia di sbaviglio,
M il fiato suo, tanto sapeva d'aglio,
Ch'il fetor si sent lontano un miglio.
Allor le trecce sue mette sbaraglio,
Facenno de capelli un gran scompiglio,
E mentre, te gle d strappate fiere,
Gle ne restan in man le fezze intiere.

69 - 70

Ò qu si sgraffia el viso, qu si sbatte;
Qu s, che fa di lacrime una troscia,
Di Togno le fattezze scontrafatte,
Pe' poi meglio osserv, pi allor s'accoscia.
Lui volta l'occhi, e in quei di lei s'imbatte,
Dice, con voce, assai sfiatata, e moscia,
Che giusto par d'un moribondo sia:
Aiutami, se pi, Marzocca mia .

Mentre costoro favono 'sti fiotti,
Sul solito cavallo, tutto corzo
Meo se ne vi, che par, che d'ira abbotti,
E alle carriere sue d pi rinforzo.
Mostra, turbato in viso, che gli scotti
Il ved, che dal popolo qu accorzo
L'incominzata festa s'intrattenga;
Vi sap se il difetto, da chi venga.

72

Dice al barbiero, ch'in quel punto arriva,
Ch'il vada presto, medic in bottega,
Se l in terra il ferito assai pativa,
E in te la strada, non vu pi 'sta bega.
Marzocca allora, morta pi, che viva,
Che voglia farlo ben cur, lo prega.
Lui glel promette, e poi, vu, che si faccia,
Da dui guitti, una sedia con le braccia.

75

Poi si porta in due slanci alla locanna,
De dove gi colui fece il delitto;
Come il patron di quella si domanna,
E dove st, gl'havevano gi ditto.
Arriva appena, e al locandier commanna,
Che pe' 'sto caso stava tutto afflitto,
Che dica, dove ann, dove si trova
Quel traditor, ch'ard, de fa' 'sta prova.

78

In sent questo se ne vi lo scioto,
Ma stralunato assai, con bocca aperta,
Stolido, teso teso, e resta immoto,
Allora, che di Meo fa la scuperta.
Lo crede un gran signor, (che non gl' noto,
Chi sia 'sto Coram Vobis), e proferta,
Non fu da 'sto Martufo n men sola,
Di Patacca alla vista, una parola.

81 - 88

Poi timido risponne: ver che quello,
Ch'in terra gi butt colui, son io,
M stimo d'haver fatto un colpo bello,
Se per, sbaglio non stato il mio;
Sento dalla finestra un gran bordello;
Del popolo rimbomba un mormoro,
Dice pi d'un, (lesto sentirlo io fui):
- questo il Gran Vissir, certo ch' lui. -

Io, ch' quel Turco cane, quel tiranno
Havevo un odio tal, da che sentivo,
Che fece Vienna, e far volea, gran danno,
Ch'a f me lo sara magnato vivo;
Subbito allora mi ricordo, quanno,
Tanto, per causa sua mi spaurivo,
Mi vi la rabbia, e non gle la perdno,
M, preso l'archibuscio, gle la sono.

Io cresi, e credo ancora, e l'h per vero,
Che sia questo il Vissirre sciagurato,
Ch'assedi Vienna, e me ven in penziero,
Che schiavo in Roma stato sia menato;
Poco f mi diceva il locandiero,
Ch'in credere tal cosa, h assai sbagliato,
E che questo un de' nostri, che procura,
Rappresentar di quello la figura.

Gi che, voi mio Signor! veniste qua,
Vi prego, quanto mai pregar vi s,
Che mi vogliate dir la verit,
Se quello il Gran Vissirre, s, n.
Io v'h detta la cosa, come st,
E gnente di busca messo non ci h;
Propio, per Turco, da m preso f,
E credendolo tal, lo buttai gi .

Meo, bench faccia el fiero, e 'l brusco in viso,
E con lo sguardo fulmini spaventi,
In sent 'sta sciotaggine, di riso
Gle vi voglia, m serra i labbri, e i denti.
Non vu par, con fa' chalche sorriso,
De vol sopport 'sti tradimenti,
M si rimette in serio, e f del sodo;
S'aggruma, e allo scioto parla 'sto modo.

Appena l'occi addosso, io te mettei,
Ch'in un subbito tutto te squatrai,
E cos ben conoscerti sapei,
Che t stesso di t, farlo non sai,
Gi t'h annasato, ch'un drittone sei,
E pe' cucc la gente, il gonzo fai;
M t impicciala pur, di' quel, che vuoi,
Non puoi 'sto fusto inzampogn non puoi .

(S'era Patacca molto ben accorto,
Che pe' semplicit, n pe' malitia
Err costui;) m pur lo guarda torto,
E minaccianno v la su' furbizia.
Poi dice: Quel villan volevi morto,
Perche forzi ci havevi nimicizia;
Di dir la verit, ti torna conto,
Parlami schietto, e non ci fa' del tonto .

M perche fece in realt lo sbaglio,
Et oper da semplice, non muta
Il su' parl colui; bens h travaglio,
D'hav la cosa del villan saputa;
El penz, che f messa repentaglio
La vita di quest'homo, (conosciuta
L'innocenza di lui) gli d sconforto,
E gran dolore havria, se fusse morto.


64 - 65

A sudden pain seized her heart,
Unable to tell whether what she saw before her
Was the truth, or a dream. Ah! She was right,
But she needed to make sure.
On approaching, she saw a man sitting on the floor;
She came closer, finally realizing it was Togno,
And in seeing his face so pale and wounded,
Rather than dismounting, she fell off the saddle.

She then started expressing her grief
With a sigh, very much like a yawn,
But her breath smelled of garlic so much
That the stink could be smelled a mile away.
So she ruffled her plaited hair,
Making a great mess of it,
And as she fiercely pulled her hair,
Whole tufts of it remained in her hands.

69 - 70

Now she scratches her face, she beats herself,
Now she sheds a flow of tears;
She then crouches further down
To take a better look at Togno's ghastly face.
He turns his eyes, and meets hers,
And says with a feeble and breathless voice,
That seems that of a dying man:
Help me if you can, my dear Marzocca .

While they kept whining in this way,
Meo comes along at full speed
Riding the usual horse, full of rage,
Thus urging his steed even more.
Grim in the face, he reveals his discontent
For having the people who had gathered here
Interrupted the celebrations in progress;
He is told about the mishap and who caused it.

72

He tells the barber, who had stepped up,
To take the man to his shop and treat him at once,
Since he was still in pain, lying on the floor,
Not wanting this commotion to go on in the street.
So Marzocca, more dead than alive,
Begs him to have her husband well cured.
He gives her his promise, then tells two commoners
To cross their arms so to make a stretcher.

75

Then, Meo rushes to the inn,
Where the man had committed the crime;
He had already been told the owner's name,
And where the place was.
As soon as he arrives, he orders the inn-keeper,
Who was quite sad for what had happened,
To tell him where was the foe
Who had dared do such thing.

78

In hearing this, the simpleton stepped up,
Completely stunned, with an open mouth,
In a daze, very tense, without making a move
In discovering that Meo is there.
He mistakes him for a noble, (as he ignores
Who this leader of the pack may be),
And in seeing him, the fool
Does not utter a single word.

81 - 88

Then he shily replies: It is true,
I'm the one who shot down the guy,
But I think that I did a good job,
Unless I was mistaken;
I heard a big bustle out of the window,
The crowd was murmuring,
More than one said, (I was quick in hearing this):
- This is the Great Vizier, of course it's him. -

Hating so much that damn Turk, that tyrant,
Since the day I had heard about the trouble
That he had planned to cause in Vienna,
I would have indeed eaten him alive.
I immediately recalled
The times I was so frightened by him;
I went on a rage, I did not want to forgive him,
So I grabbed the rifle, and gave him a taste of it.

I believed, and I still do, and I'm convinced,
That this is the wicked Vizier
Who sieged Vienna, so I thought
That he had been taken to Rome in chains;
The inn-keeper has just told me
That my thought was completely wrong,
And that he is one of our people,
Who was dressed up and played this part.

Since you, my Lord, came here,
I beg you as much as I can,
To let me know the truth,
Whether that man is the Great Vizier, or not.
I told you how things went,
Without adding lies to the story;
I really believed he was a Turk,
And being convinced of this, I shot him down .

Meo, despite acting as a brave, with a stern face,
Fiercely staring at him, in hearing such nonsense
Was on the point of bursting with laughter,
But he kept his lips and teeth well shut.
He wanted to avoid giving the impression
That, by smiling at him, he trusted his fake story.
So he put on a serious expression, acting roughly,
He frowns, and speaks to the fool in this way.

As soon as I glanced at you,
I could immediately tell by sight
What kind of person you are,
Even better than you could ever do with yourself.
I know you well, you're a sly devil,
Who plays the fool to swindle others;
Use your tricks, say whatever you want,
For sure, you can't hoax me .

(Patacca had perfectly realized
That his mistake was due to foolishness,
Not to malice); yet he keeps looking at him sternly,
Threatening him because of his slyness.
He then said: You wanted to kill that countryman
Because you two are enemies;
It's better for you to tell the truth,
Don't tell lies, and don't pretend to be stupid .

But since the man had been really mistaken,
And had acted as a simpleton, he did not change
His position, but turned very sad
In learning about the countryman;
As he realizes that the life of this man
Was put at risk (considering he was innocent),
He feels concerned, and if the man was to die
He would certainly be terribly sorry.

Meo goes back to the shop where Togno is being treated, taking along with him the man who had injured him.



93

Dice Patacca Togno: Ò t che resti
Vivo, (m non s come,) se passasti
Un risico s granne, e sorte havesti,
Ch'a quel colpo, de fatto, non sballasti,
Dimmi, se mai costui t cognoscesti,
Se mai tr voi venissivo contrasti,
Che, se stati ci son de i tiritosti,
Io voglio, ch'a costui cara gli costi.

95 - 96

Hora sappi, - cos Meo gli raggiona, -
Questo, esser quello, che col su' schizzetto,
Pigli in mira, e colp la tu' perzona;
Ma lo fece pe' sbaglio el poveretto .
Pi non volze sent quella marcona
Della moglie di Togno, ch'a dispetto
Della bocciacchera, che far gliel vieta,
Fece un salto da terra, alto tre deta.

Al grugno di colui, ecco s'allancia,
E le mani rannicchia, come uncini,
In quest'atto, che f, pare una grancia,
Quanno v rimenanno i su' zampini:
E mentre quello, e l'una, e l'altra guancia
Sgraffigna, dice: Ah razza d'assassini!
Traditor! che mi di tanto cordoglio,
Con queste mani mie strozz ti voglio .


93

Patacca tells Togno: You, who managed
To remain alive (I wonder how), surviving
Such a great risk, and lucky enough
Not to die, having been shot,
Tell me whether you know this guy already,
Whether you two ever had some kind of dispute,
Because if you ever quarrelled with him,
I want him to be given a lesson.

95 - 96

You ought to know, - Meo told him, -
That he is the one who, with his rifle,
Aimed at you, and shot you;
But the simpleton did so by mistake .
No later these words had been spoken,
Togno's fat wife jerked, despite her overweight
Should have made this impossible,
Making a leap off the ground.

She flung at his face,
Clutching her fingers like hooks;
In doing this, she looks like a crab
In the attitude of waving its claws:
And as she scratches both his cheeks,
She tells the man: Ah, you killer!
You fiend! You caused me such grief
That I want to strangle you with my own hands .

Meo settles the problem with both sides. He gives order to his men to find a suitable accomodation for the couple, near the barber's shop, and to find a safe shelter for the shooter, in order to avoid any trouble with the police. Then he sets off.
But right then, a foe comes up. Envious of Meo's prestige, he tries to slander him, to make him lose his moral authority.



101 - 103

Partito appena, et ecco (oh cosa strana!)
Un certo sgherro della Cappellina,
Che girava de fora alla lontana,
Subbito, alla bottega s'avvicina.
Entra, e perch c' gente, alla villana
Col gomito, d chiotto, un'urtatina;
De fatto si rivolta la buzzona
Guarda, n s, chi sia 'na tal perzona.

Lui gle dice pian piano: Monna quella,
Di grazia non ve spiaccia, l'ascoltamme;
Troppo gonza voi sete, e crederella,
Se dar volete fede, quel rasciamme;
Delle sfavate, assai ve ne spiattella
Costui, che f il riccone, et il Quamquamme,
Sbrascia nelle promesse, et uno scrocco,
N ve dar l'aiuto d'un baiocco.

Chi lo cognosce, f, che non gli crede,
S, ch' un riggirator qual sempre stato;
M, che part di qu, chi pi lo vede?
Dov', che manco un giulio, v'h lassato?
Io gi s quello, che v'h da succede:
(E direte, ch'appunto io ci h azzeccato,)
Vi far fa' di molte spese, e poi,
Toccher certo di pagalle voi.

106 - 109

Famo una cosa per adesso famo,
Et su' tempo un'altra ne faremo;
Tutta 'sta notte de pass lassamo;
Domani all'alba qu ci trovaremo.
Allora vi dir quello, che tramo,
E ripesc costui ce n'anneremo,
Se farete mi modo, certo stimo,
Che 'sto gabbacompagni, noi ciarimo .

Io, poveraccia me! non s che dirmi,
E solo posso voi raccomandarmi ,
Colei rispose, e se vorr tradirmi,
(Come voi dite) io non sapr che farmi.
Habbiate carit, di sovvenirmi,
E quello, c'h da fare, d'insegnarmi.
Ecco, ch'a voi sol tocca, in cura havermi,
E secondo il bisogno, provedermi .

Io v'h gi preso - dice il Farinello -
Lassate pur di tutto m 'l penziero,
Che col mortific 'sto squarcioncello
Di Meo Patacca io conzolarvi spero .
Cos parl costui, che contro quello
Haveva un odio malignesco, e fiero,
Sol perche (conosciutolo un poltrone,)
Nol volze accett Meo pe 'l su' squatrone.

S'era gi nella mente figurato,
Perche di vendicarzi h gran prorito,
Di fa' rest Patacca svergognato,
Acci pi d'un, l'habbia mostrar dito.
Vu, che da 'sta bifolca sia trovato
In chalche loco pubrico, e assalito
Con gran chiassate, acci sia Meo tenuto
Per un busciardo, e ingannator creduto.


101 - 103

He has just set off, and (oh, how strange!)
A certain cunning brave,
Who was prowling at some distance,
Immediately approaches the shop.
He comes in and, since people are there,
He slightly prods the countrywoman with his elbow.
The fat lady turnes round,
Looking at him, yet ignoring who this man is.

He tells her in a whisper: Madam,
Be kind enough to listen to me;
You are too gullible, and ingenuous,
In trusting that old fox.
He boasts his great feats,
He pretends being a rich man and a hero,
He makes great promises, but he's a niggard,
Nor he will give you a penny.

Who knows him, indeed does not trust him,
Knowing he's a cheater, as he has always been;
Now that he's gone, you'll never see him again.
Where is he, after having left you no money at all?
I already know what will happen to you:
(And you'll see whether my guess is right);
He will make you spend lots of money, and then
Certainly you'll be the one who has to pay.

106 - 109

For the time being, let's do one thing,
And when the right time comes, we'll do another;
Let's wait until the night is over;
We'll meet again here at dawn.
I'll tell you about my plan,
And we'll go and look for him.
If you do as I tell you, I'm convinced
That we'll make this cheater be discovered .

Pity me! I don't know what to say,
I can only rely on your help ,
She replied, and if he cheats me
(As you say), I won't know what to do.
Please be so kind to give me advice,
And to tell me what can I do.
Now only you are the one who takes care of me,
Helping me with my needs .

I've understood you, - said the sly guy -
Let me take care of every detail,
As I hope to cheer you up
By abashing Meo Patacca the boaster .
So spoke this guy,
Who hated Meo so badly
Only because, (once realized this man's a sluggard),
He had refused to let him join his squadron.

Eagerly seeking for revenge,
He had already hatched a plot
So to let Patacca fall into disgrace,
And be pointed at, in shame, by many people.
He wanted the countrywoman to find him
In a public place, and attack him
Making a great noise, so that Meo
Would be labelled as a lier and a cheater.