~ 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 XI

octaves: 2-5, 7-13, 18-19, 23-30, 33-35, 70-72, 75-76, 81, 83-88, 92-98, 102, 104-106, 110-112, 116-119, 131





2 - 5

S'ogn'un gir quasi la notte intiera,
Bigna b, che poi ronfi la mattina,
Dorme solo Patacca alla leggiera,
Parendogli, ch'in core habbia una spina.
Penzanno quel, che nella nova sera
Da far s'haveva, smania, e s'ammuina;
Un'hora di riposo gli par troppa,
Si leva all'alba, e sfaccenn galoppa.

M 'l su' primo penzier, (chi 'l crederia!
Oh che gran dabenaggine!) f quello,
D'ann a ved, l nella barberia,
Se come stava Togno el poverello.
Si vu cav si vu 'sta fantasa,
E dal barbiero stesso vu sapello;
V quella volta, e di buon passo tocca,
Et ecco, da lontan, vede Marzocca.

Sopra d'un banco s'era lei seduta,
Che teneva el barbiero l de fora;
Per aspett lo sgherro, era venuta,
Che gl'impromesse de torn bon'hora.
Piagnosa, malinconica, e musuta,
Stava penzanno quel che pi l'accora,
Che l'habbia Meo gabbata, e gran disturbo
Gle d, l'haver inteso, essere un furbo.

Patacca arriva, e te gle d il bond.
Dice, in vedella piagnere: Che c'?
Cos' 'sta novit? Che fate qu?
Non dubitate; dite tutto me:
M voi non risponnete? E che? Mor
Forze sta notte Togno vostro? Ahim!
Troppo mi spiaceria; non state pi;
Dite, s' morto, vivo, che ne f? .

7 - 13

Cos Marzocca, se gi perzo crede,
E Meo Patacca, e 'l su' promesso aiuto,
El danno, che p hav tutto antivede,
E lo spasimo al cor gl' gi venuto.
Se tribbola, se sbatte, e appena il vede,
Che si sdolora, e in rendergli 'l saluto,
Si mesticano lagrime, e sorriso,
Si slarga 'l cor, si rasserena el viso.

Poi gli parla cos: Togno st bene,
Quasi affatto guarito, dal su' male.
Di ritorn al paese si trattiene,
Per paura, che Voi l'habbiate male.
Senza vostra licenza, non conviene
De fa' 'sta cosa, e poi gran capitale
Delle promesse vostre noi facemo,
N senza Voi, di qu partir potemo .

Ci h gusto, et arcigusto, che guarisca
Togno, - lui dice, - m non sia mai vero
Ch'alla partenza sua io consentisca,
Se non vi assicurato dal barbiero;
E perche poi nel viaggio non patisca
Io, di ben provedello havr penziero,
M, poco f, che cosa v'ammuinava?
Quel piagne, quel fiott dite, in che dava?

Non f gnente , lei dice. Come gnente?
- Ripiglia Meo, - Ci sar be' chalcosa,
Eh' ditemela puro schiettamente,
E nn ci state fa' la rincresciosa.
Spicciamola de grazia, ch'altrimente,
Non s, com'anner ; lei paurosa,
Sott'occhio il guarda, e china poi la testa,
Si stregne nelle spalle, e muta resta.

Meo pi s'insoppettisce, e allor pi monta
In collera, sbravicchia, e la spaventa;
Colei si mostra, ad ubbid gi pronta,
Perche di farle ben, lui non si penta.
La cosa dello sgherro gli racconta,
M, mezza bocca, acci non si risenta,
Ch'assai gle spiacera, che se venisse
Per le su' ciarle, fa' garbugli, e risse.

M lui, che non un'oca, e la s tutta,
Et h gran saputaggine, e cervello,
Tanto v interroganno 'sta margutta,
Fin ch'ogni cosa gle f dir bel, bello.
Marzocca quanto s, gonza, ributta,
E cos scrope di quel bricconcello
La maligna profidia, e gli dice anco,
Che lo stava aspett l su quel banco.

Meo, sentita che l'h, brusco la guarda,
Poi gli parla cos: Dunque si crede
A gente baronissima, e busciarda,
E alle promesse mie, non si d fede?
Havete una testaccia assai bajarda,
Sete una coticona, e ben si vede,
Che, chi vi d pastocchie, assai stimate,
E, di chi dice il ver, conto non fate .


2 - 5

After hanging around almost for the whole night,
In the morning everybody needs to sleep;
Only Patacca is simply snoozing,
As if he had a pain in his heart.
Thinking of what has to be done
On the following evening, he is restless and anxious;
A single hour of rest seems too much for him,
So he gets up at dawn, and sets off to his duties.

But his first thought (would you believe it!
What a righteous person!)
Was to go and see, at the barber's shop,
How was Togno, the poor guy.
He wants to make sure of this,
And wants to know directly from the barber;
He goes in that direction, walking at good pace,
And from afar he sees Marzocca.

She was sitting on a table
That the barber kept outside;
She had come to see the brave,
Who had promised to come back at an early hour.
With watery eyes, sad and frowning,
She was thinking of what caused her more pain,
That Meo had cheated on her, and she's very upset
After having been told that he is a sly fellow.

Patacca reaches her, and greets her good morning.
In seeing her weep, he tells her: What happened?
What is this? What are you doing here?
Trust me, tell me everything;
Why don't you reply? Did your husband Togno
Die during the night? Alas!
I would be terrible sorry, come on: tell me,
Is he dead, or alive, or what else happened? .

7 - 13

So Marzocca, in thinking that both Meo Patacca
And the help he had promised her, had gone lost,
Foresaw all the damage she was to suffer,
And her heart was already in pain.
She's in despair, disheartened, and in seeing him
She feels relieved, and in replying to his greeting
Her tears mingle with her smile,
Her heart rejoyces, and her face turns happy again.

Then she tells him: Togno feels better,
He has almost recovered from his problems.
He is refraining from going back to the village,
In the fear that this might disappoint you.
Without your permission, it is not correct
To do so, and we also kept your promises
In great consideration,
Nor can we leave from here without you .

I'm happy, very happy that Togno
is recovering, - he says, - but I will never
Give my consent to his departure
Without being reassured by the barber;
And I'll take care of providing him well,
Not to make him suffer during his travel;
But what was wrong with you a minute ago?
Those tears, those whines, what caused them? .

It was nothing , she says. Nothing what?
- Meo keeps saying, - There must be a reason.
Come on! Tell me frankly,
And don't feel bad about it.
Let's not waste time, otherwise
I don't know what might happen . Fearsome,
She steals a glance at him, and lowers her head,
She shrugs, and remains silent.

Meo becomes more suspicious, and gets angry,
Threatening and scaring her;
She shows herself ready to follow his will,
Not to make him change his mind, and lose his help.
She tells him about the brave,
But almost blubbering, not to upset him,
Because she would be sorry if her words
Were to bring up brawls and fights.

Be he, who is not stupid, and understands at once,
And has great brains and a great mind,
Keeps asking this daft woman,
Until she tells him everything.
Marzocca blurts out all she knows,
And Meo learns about the evil wickedness
Of that scab, and she also tells him
That she was waiting for him, sitting on that table.

Meo, once heard her words, frowns at her,
And tells her: So you rely
On such a wicked lier,
And do not trust my own promises?
You are really a blockhead,
A bumpkin, and it's so evident,
Since you appreciate very much who tells you lies,
While you disregard who tells the truth .

Meo forgives her. He pays the barber for having cured Togno, and gives the woman a sum of money to cover her expenses.



18 - 19

Ammascate un po' in grazia 'ste monete,
Son quarantadue pavoli lampanti;
Quel ch'io ne voglia fa', voi non sapete,
De 'sta non poca somma di contanti.
Ma sappiatelo adesso: ecco, tenete,
Ve li d Meo Patacca tutti quanti,
Acci facciate a Togno bone spese,
E in un calessio lui torni al paese .

Lustra l'occhi Marzocca, e dice: Oh questo,
Signor, troppo! . quel che far io devo ,
Risponne Meo, cos f manifesto
El mi' trattare, e ogni timor vi levo.
Pigliate qu, ve dico, e fate presto;
A posta, perch darveli volevo,
Qu venni, e voi cognoscerete adesso,
S'attenno pi di quel che v'ho promesso .


18 - 19

Take a look at these coins,
They are forty-two paoli;
You don't know what I have in mind to do
With this considerable sum of cash.
But I'll tell you now: here, take them,
Meo Patacca gives them all to you,
So that you may buy something good for Togno,
And he may return to his village in a chaise .

Marzocca's eyes shone, saying: Oh Sir,
This is too much! . It's what I ought to do ,
Meo replies, in this way I give proof
Of how I treat you, freeing you from any fear.
I'm telling you to take them, and be quick;
Since I wanted to give them to you,
I came here on purpose, and now you'll realize
If I keep my word even more than what I promise .

Then Marzocca sees in the distance the other brave, who is coming to meet her. She warns Meo not to be seen there with her, so he hides inside the barber's shop.



23 - 30

Ecco arriva lo sgherro, et a Marzocca
Dice: Bon giorno, ho gusto, ch'ammannita
Voi stiate, a voi mortific sol tocca
Quel barone di Meo, che v'ha tradita.
Saressivo, pe' dilla, una marrocca,
Se doppo che di tutto io v'ho avvertita,
Rimedi non sapessivo a quel danno,
Che vi v quell'infame apparecchianno .

Promessi, - dice lei, - fin da ier sera
Di far quello, ch'a voi fosse piacciuto,
Et io nella medesima maniera
Vi parlo m, che sete qu venuto.
Bench quel signor Meo non m'habbia cera
Di tristo, pur a voi tutto ho creduto .
Eh zitta! - lui risponne, - peggio assai,
Di quel ch'io dissi e dir potessi mai.

S' messo in testa, da fa' da patrone,
Pretender vu de commann alla gente,
Si vanta homo de garbo, et un cialtrone,
Anzi, uno spaccia frottole e un pezzente;
F l'abbottato, el granne, el faccennone,
El sodo, el guida popolo, el sapiente,
Et un parabolano, un ignorante,
Un vano, un gonfia nuvole, un birbante .

In sent Meo 'sta ciufolata abbotta
De rabbia, e tra s dice: Io pi non pozzo
Hav flemma. O che smania! Se non sbotta
La mi' collera fora, io gi me strozzo .
Ma l'haver cognosciuto assai gli scotta,
Quel birbo, che da tutti Bagarozzo
Pe' sopranome era ciamato, e solo
Per esser un ranocchio e un topacciolo.

Lesto Meo d de piccio ad un rasore,
Se lo ti con la man dreto a la schina,
E camminanno senza fa' rumore,
Pian piano a Bagarozzo s'avvicina.
Seguita questo a dire: un truffatore,
Un che la gente a pi pot assassina,
Con chiacchiere e riggiri, uno ... Qu 'l fiato
Perde in voltarzi e Meo vederzi al lato.

Conforme avviene a un vil servitorello,
Che si diletta di gioc de mano,
Se in casa solo, con un grimaldello,
Apre li tiratori a un cantarano.
Mentre aggranfia monete el ladroncello,
Torna el patron, che poco era lontano,
E in vedello colui, sopravenuto,
Resta intontito, spaventato, e muto.

Cos appunto si vede interezzito,
Per orror Bagarozzo, e come un liescio
Senza apr bocca se ne sta scionito,
Mentre lo guarda Meo con occhio sbiescio.
Questo, pel collarino inviperito
L'afferra, e poi pe' fagli in faccia un sfrescio,
Alza el rasore, ma per aria alquanto
Tratti 'l colpo e la mano, e parla intanto:

Ce sei guitto, ce sei! chi p salvarti
Da 'ste mie mani? Chi? Lingua scorretta!
Busciardo! Indegno! poco lo sfresciarti,
Bigna tagliatte il grugno, a fetta a fetta.
Ma la f da par mio, col perdonarti,
E dico, che in materia di vendetta,
attion da galanthomo il minacciarla,
Il mostr che p farzi, e poi non farla.

33 - 35

Via, via! dice Patacca, e allor gli dnno
Tutti lo strillo, e un impeto d'urtoni
Fora lo caccia, e certi poi gli fanno
L'onor di regalallo di sgrugnoni;
Marzocca tutta rabbia v cercanno
Di tirargli chalcosa, e pe' i cantoni
Guarda della bottega, e qui ci vede
Un lucernaro longo col su' piede.

A due mani lei subbito l'afferra,
Poi resce in strada, e a seguit se mette
Colui, che f currenno un serra serra,
Ma ridicole so' 'ste su' vendette.
L'alza, e lo tira al fine, e quasi in terra
Volze la bocca dar, tanto spignette
Quel coso, e puro non ann lontano,
Quanto sarebbe un passo di villano.

Si fece qu 'na sghignazzata, e lei
Gli minacci col deto, e fu finita
Cos 'sta buglia, e Meo dette a costei
Il bond; doppo ognun fece partita.
Gira Patacca pe' cinque hore o sei,
Prima de pranzo, e poi, fin ch' compita
La giornata, pe' fa' quel che gli tocca,
Che gli premon le feste, e no Marzocca.


23 - 30

Now the brave comes up, and tells Marzocca
Good morning, I'm happy to find you ready,
It's up to you to mortify
That treacherous Meo, who deceived you.
Actually, you would be a fool
If, after having been warned about everything,
You were not able to prevent the plot
That the loathsome guy is arranging .

Since yesterday, - she says, - I promised
To do as you please,
And now that you are here
I speak to you the same words.
Despite mister Meo did not seem to me
An evil-doer, I trusted you in everything .
Oh, come on! - he replies, - he's much worse
Than what I said and what I could ever say.

He's made up his mind to act as a master,
He claims to have authority over the people,
He claims to be graceful, and he's a bungler,
Better, a lier and a wretch;
He boasts to be important, busy, grand,
A tough guy, a leader, a wise man,
While he's a fibber, he's ignorant,
A swaggerer, a braggart, a yokel .

Meo, in hearing this bunch of humbug
Cringes with rage, and says to himself:
I can no longer hold myself. I'm in a frenzy!
If I don't vent out my rage, I'll burst .
But he's upset in having recognized
That scab, whom everybody knows
By the nickname Cockroach,
Because he was small and squatty.

Meo quickly grabs a razor,
Holding it in his hand behind the back,
And walking without making a sound
Step by step approaches Cockroach.
The latter keeps saying: He's a cheater,
A guy who stabs people with his tricks and lies,
a guy... But he remains breathless
In turning round, and seeing Meo beside him.

It's just as when a humble servant,
Who is light-fingered,
Left alone in the house,
Opens the drawers of a chest with a jemmy.
While the crook steals the coins,
The master, who was nearby, returns,
And in being caught, overwhelmed,
He remains dazzled, fearsome and wordless.

In the same way, Cockroach finds himself
Frozen with terror, and as a dunce
He stays there with his mouth shut, stunned,
While Meo turns his frowning eyes on him.
He clutches him by the collar, furious,
And lifts the rasor, to gash him in the face,
But he holds his hand above his head
Long enough, while he speaks:

You're in for it, you rogue! Who could
Ever save you from me? Who? Backbiter!
Lier! Disgrace! To gash you is not enough,
I should cut your face, slice by slice.
But I'll follow my standard, I'll forgive you,
Because I say that (when it comes to revenge)
A gentleman should threaten to take vengeance,
Showing that this can be done, and then refrain.

33 - 35

Go away, go away! says Patacca, and everybody
Yells at him, while he's shoved off
By the crowd, and some reward him
By giving him blows in the face;
Marzocca, in a fit, goes looking for something
That she can throw at him, and searches
Around the barber's shop, here finding
A long lantern with its stand.

At once, she grabs it with both hands,
Goes out in the street, and starts chasing
The guy, who is hastily running away,
But her revenge is ridiculous.
She lifts it up, and finally throws it,
Almost falling face down for her effort,
Yet it lands very close to her,
As far as a peasant could walk by taking one step.

Everybody laughed at this, and she
Pointed her warning finger at him, and this brawl
Was finally over, so Meo greeted her goodbye;
Then, everybody left.
Patacca kept going around for five or six hours
Before lunchtime, and then until the day was over,
To finish his errands, because it's not Marzocca
Whom he cares for, but the celebrations.

The celebrations continue throughout the day, and among the events is a tournament held on top of the Capitolium hill, particularly crowded.




70 - 72

L dove, in sul Tarpeo si slarga, e stenne
À foggia di teatro un spazio tonno,
De lumi c' tal quantit, che renne
All'occhio uno spettacolo gioconno.
Pare una scena allor, quanno risplenne
Da' fianchi, illuminata, insino al fonno,
I tre palazzi in luminosa gara
Hanno fr tutti, torcie centinara.

Granne qu s de' Nobbili el concorzo,
E 'l popolo minor gi abbasso sparzo,
F tumulto, perche troppo n' accorzo,
M Meo l'acqueta, appena l comparzo.
Non vu impedito a' giostratori el corzo,
Cavalcanno, col solito suo sfarzo,
Da qual sempre gi fu, gnente diverzo,
Usa rigor, da vero, e non da scherzo.

Gi molti dei su' sgherri, m pedoni,
Assai per tempo, erano l venuti,
Pe' fa' st arreto tutti, co' i spuntoni,
(Che havevan gi da Meo l'ordini havuti)
M il posto manten non furno boni,
Che all'urtate, dell'homini forzuti,
Gli bigna cede, e allor confusamente
Il campo tutto si remp di gente.


70 - 72

On the Tarpeian rock, on the spot
Where a round space spreads as a theatre,
There is such a multitude of lights
That the lively view catches the eye.
It looks like a scenery, as it glitters,
Lit up from the sides down to the bottom end;
The three buildings, as in a lighting competition,
Have hundreds of torches all together.

A crowd of aristocrats attend above the hill,
While the common people, scattered below,
Roar in turmoil, because too many have come,
But as soon as Meo arrives, he calms them down;
He doesn't want the competitors to remain jammed;
Proceeding on horseback, with his usual boldness,
As he ever did before,
He acts sternly for real, not as a joke.

Many of his braves had already arrived there,
But they had come on foot, in due time,
(Having received this order by Meo)
So to keep everybody back with their spikes.
But they had not been able to keep their position,
Having been shoved by strong men
They had yielded, and with this great confusion,
All the field had filled up with people.

Meo and the other braves manage to free the field from the great crowd, so the tournament can begin.
Some of the competitors are not too skilled...



75 - 76

Stava in cima 1 al teatro il Saracino,
Et era questo un pupazzon di legno
Col busto senza braccia, e col crapino,
Col viso, ch'h fisonoma di gnegno.
Il turbante alla granne, e ricco, e fino,
Che fusse il Gran Vissir, ne dava segno,
St sopra un perno, in modo tal, che basta,
À farlo circol, l'urto d'un asta.

Otto sgherri scialanti, e Meo con loro
Compariscono in abbiti guerrieri,
Bande, e fettuccie h ogn'un, di color d'oro,
E d'alte piume carichi i cimieri.
S sfarzosi cavalcano costoro,
Che paron giusto tanti cavalieri.
Teso, e fermo st Meo, quanto pi ple,
Sopra un cavallo, che f crapiole.

81

Nell'aspett, la gente st con pena,
Che 'sta curza ved gli v fasciolo;
M dato il segno dalle trombe appena,
Si move il primo sgherro, adascio, e solo;
Par, ch'abbia il su' corzier, ch' tutto lena,
Voglia, de fa' la gran Carriera, volo.
M lo tratti, chi sopra, e malo stento
Te lo lassa venir passo lento.

83 - 88

Mentre il cavallo, adascio assai, zampetta,
Colui, ch' sopra, che lo tiene in briglia,
Gli d 'na spironata, et una stretta,
Et ecco l'animal la curza piglia.
Cos veloce v, ch' 'na saetta,
Quanno dall'arco scappa, s'assomiglia,
Inverzo el Saracin la lancia abbassa
El giostrator; m non l'azzecca, e passa.

Vedenno, che zarata h la percossa,
Si mortifica questo, e cotto, cotto,
Pe' vergogna entraria drento una fossa,
M se la coglie, et nisciun f motto.
Ecco gi s'ammannisce un'altra mossa,
Ecco il seconno sgherro; m de trotto
Vi un cavallaccio, ch'h trovato adesso,
Mancatoglene un bono, lui promesso.

Cos adasciata se ne v la rozza,
Che quanno ci stia sopra anch'un regazzo,
Puro, cosa da credere, che pozza
Facilmente azzeccne in tel pupazzo.
Sbrigliate te gle d, te la sbarbozza
Arrabbiato colui, ne f strapazzo,
La scotola, la sfianca, la spirona,
E quella tanto pi, vi moccolona.

Pianta un bel colpo, al Saracin in petto
Con la lancia lo sgherro; m la mira
Ci pigli, con tal flemma, che in ristretto
Fece una cosa, che nisciun l'ammira.
F fatto da pi d'un chalche ghignetto,
Un po' burlesco, e quello si ritira
In altra parte, e da s stesso il sente,
Che pi sbeffe, che lodi h dalla gente.

Il terzo, come un fulmine si slancia;
H un cavallo, che curre al par del vento,
Abbassa il cucuzzol, drizza la lancia,
E vi di tutta fuga, attento, attento.
Urta, m raspa al Saracin la guancia,
Che il colpo non d in pieno, e mal contento
Resta lo sgherro, cos poca botta;
Pur c' chalch'un, ch' favor suo ciangotta.

Il quarto un galantissimo schiavetto,
Ch' tutto foco, e lo cavalca un frasca,
Che ci f in sella del cacazzibetto
Di qu, e di l le belle figlie ammasca:
Alza la lancia, e ci vu fa' un fioretto
Col giralla sul capo; m gli casca
De fatto in terra, e in tel ved 'sta scena
Il popol fece una risata piena.

92 - 98

Il sesto non gonzo, e puro lui,
De razzo, se ne vi con gran carriera;
E ancor nisciuno dei compagni sui
Cavalc cos ben, visto non s'era.
M poi, come del farlo, habbia costui,
Cos aggiustata, e nobbile maniera,
(Se chalch'un vu sap) gle lo dich'io:
Un scozzona cavalli era su' zio.

Fava ancor lui di pi quest'esercizio,
E fatigava alla cavallerizza,
M fatto poi gl'haveva un gran servizio,
El ved spesso l curre alla lizza.
E tra 'sta cosa, e tra che havea giudizio,
Vi lesto, lesto, e la su' lancia addrizza;
Sul grugno al Saracin pianta una botta,
E in cento pezzi v la lancia rotta.

In ved con un modo s gentile,
Fatto, dal bravo sgherro, un colpo tale,
Con la gente pleba, la signorile
Te gli fece un apprauso univerzale.
Il settimo ten vorria lo stile
Di questo; m in saper gl' disuguale;
Pur si sforza imitarlo, e gle ne cresce
La voglia; m per non gli riesce.

Procura, forza di spiron battuto,
Ch'il su' cavallo ancor venga fugato,
Lo tormenta alla peggio, e f 'l saputo,
E mai di cavalc non h imparato.
M l'animal, ch'a zompi era venuto,
In vederzi al pupazzo avvicinato,
E s'adombra, e s'impenna, e tanto s'alza,
Che lo sgherro da sella in aria sbalza.

Strilli, fischiate, e sbeffature iosa
Co' 'no strepito granne si sentirno,
À 'na cascata s pericolosa
Risero tutti, e non la compatirno.
M non maraviglia, che 'sta cosa
antica usanza, e spesso si sentirno
Fatte, senza piet, grasse risate,
D'altri all'inciampamenti, scivolate.

M fu uno sbalzo, e non inciampatura
Questo del nostro sgherro, e pur cascanno,
Fece, senza smarrirzi, una bravura,
Che fatta non l'havria manco un Orlanno.
Tenne forte la lancia, et drittura
Sempre di quel pupazzo, e giusto quanno
Stava pe' tocc terra, al Saracino
La tira, e pur, lo vi, tocc un tantino.

Piacque assai 'sto ripiego, e f sentito
El biasimo, mutarzi in bella lode;
Lo sgherro s'arrizz, bench indolto,
Assai lesto, e la rabbia il cor gli rode;
Si vergogna; m in essere appraudito
Ripiglia fiato, s'anima, e ce gode;
M d al cavallo, che dal loco scanza,
Sbrigliate al grugno, e calci in te la panza.


75 - 76

At the bottom of the place stood the Saracen,
That was a big wooden puppet
With an armless bust, and a head,
And a foolish-looking face.
The ornate turban, rich and refined,
Was the sign that it depicted the Great Vizier.
It was mounted over a pivot, so that
A spear strike was enough to make it revolve.

Eight braves, and Meo among them, come into sight
With ostentation, dressed as warriors;
Each of them wears golden bands and ribbons,
And helmets covered with tall feathers.
They come along on horseback with such pomp
That they look like a team of cavaliers.
Meo keeps still and stiff as much as he can
On his horse, that keeps jibbing.

81

The people await very eagerly,
As they are very fond of this competition;
As soon as the trumpets give the signal,
The first brave comes up, moving slowly, and alone;
It seems as if his steed, full of vigour,
Would like to fly along the track.
But the rider is barely able to hold it,
And lets it come forward at a slow pace.

83 - 88

As the horse comes trotting, very slowly,
The rider, who keeps the reins well tight,
Gives him a spurring and a tug,
And so the animal dashes off.
It runs as fast as an arrow does
When it leaves the bow;
The rider lowers his spear towards the Saracen,
But he misses it, and rides past it.

In realizing that his thrust has gone off target,
He feels ashamed, so deeply embarassed
That he would hide himself in a hole in the ground,
But he goes away, without uttering a word.
The second turn is already up,
Here comes the second brave; he mounts
A jade, in replacement for a good horse
Promised to him, which had turned unavailable.

The worn-out horse toddles so slow,
That even a boy, riding it,
Would likely hit the target
Without too much effort.
The brave urges the horse with the reins,
Beats it in anger, mistreats it,
He shoves it, works it, spurs it,
But the jade keeps tottering, slower than before.

The brave thrusts a good blow with his spear
Into the Saracen's chest; but taking it
Too easy in aiming at the target,
He does something that nobody appreciates.
Most of the public slightly grins mockingly,
And he leaves the ground
Moving aside, realizing by himself how the people
Tease him more than they praise him.

The third brave hurls himself like a thunderbolt;
He has a horse that runs like the wind;
He lowers his head, straightens his spear,
And comes dashing, taking the maximum care.
His blow lands, but scratches the Saracen's cheek,
As he is not exactly on the target, and the brave
Remains disappointed with such a scarce result;
Still, somebody blubbers something in his favour.

The fourth one is an elegant small horse,
Full of vigour, ridden by a young boy,
Who shows off and boasts his pride,
Eyeing at the pretty girls, here and there;
He raises his spear, willing to do a clever trick
By swirling it over his head, but actually
He drops it down, and in seeing this incident
The people burst into laughter.

92 - 98

The sixth is not a simpleton, and he too
Comes dashing like a shot;
None of his companions had been seen yet
Ride as well as he does.
But how the guy managed to become
So clever and smart in this practice
(If anybody wants to know), I'll tell him:
His uncle was a horse-tamer.

And he too had the same job,
Working at the riding-school,
But it had been particularly useful to him
To watch quite often the horse races there.
Due to this, and also being a wise fellow,
He comes very fast, and straightens his spear,
Landing a blow on the Saracen's face,
And the spear cracks into a hundred pieces.

In seeing such a good strike,
So smartly performed by the clever brave,
Both the common people and the aristocrats
Rewarded him with a great applause.
The seventh competitor wishes he were as smart
As him, but his skills are not the same;
Yet, he tries to imitate him,
He would really like to, but he's not able.

By spurring his horse,
He too makes his own steed run fast,
He urges it as mush as he can, boasting his skill,
Despite having never learned how to ride.
But the animal, that had flown along the track,
In seeing the puppet come closer and closer,
Goes out of control, and rears, lifting itself so much
That the brave is thrown from the saddle into the air.

Plenty of yells, boos, and jeers
Were heard, making a loud noise;
In seeing such a dangerous fall
Everybody laughed, without any pity for him.
But this should not surprise, because
To do so is an old custom, and very often
Merciless bursts of laughter are heard,
When others either stumble, or slip.

But he was thrown off, it wasn't a tumble,
So that, despite the fall,
He still managed to perform a clever trick
That would outclass even the best knight.
He kept hold of his spear, pointing it
Towards the puppet, and just before
Landing on the ground, he threw it at the Saracen,
Touching it a little.

This expedient was very appreciated,
And the jeers turned into a warm praise.
The brave quickly stands up,
Despite aching all over, his heart is full of rage;
He is ashamed, yet in receiving an applause
He feels relieved, and cheers up;
But in moving his horse away from the ground,
He roughly tugs the reins, and kicks it in the belly.

At last, Meo's turn comes. He does better than the other braves, and wins the tournament, at the same time amazing the public with a new firework show.



102

Se ne v passo, passo, e non abbada,
Che te l'osserva ogn'un con maraviglia;
Par, che via dal teatro se ne vada,
E voglia abbandon la su' squadriglia;
M del cerchio, arrivato, mezza strada,
Si volta all'improvviso, e 'l corzo piglia,
D un colpo al Saracin, stimato assai,
Colpo, ch'in giostra, non f visto mai.


102

He rides slowly, without caring
That everybody is looking at him in awe;
It seems as if he was walking away from the place,
Abandoning there his squad;
But at about half way along the track,
He suddenly turns round, and dashes off;
He hits the Saracen with an excellent thrust,
The best one ever seen in a tournament.

Meo's strike tilts the Saracen off its stand. But also this is actually a trick that had been arranged for the public, which conceils a firework device.



104 - 106

M quel, che poi, sopra ogni cosa piacque
F, che del Saracin giusto in tel loco,
(Come da un fonte, in s, schizzano l'acque)
Cos v in aria un turbine di foco.
Per lo stupore, attonito ogn'un tacque,
Vedenno all'improviso un s bel gioco,
Senza sap, come il bamboccio caschi,
Come dalla cascata il foco naschi.

Prima, che 'sta faccenna incominzasse,
E la gente in teatro si mettesse
Volze Patacca, che si congegnasse
L'ordegno, pe' fa' poi quel, che successe;
Ordin che un cert'homo si colcasse,
E dreto al Saracin si nascondesse,
Et allor, ch'a colpillo lui venisse,
Che lo facesse gi casc, gli disse.

Sotto al perno aggiust fece una fossa
M per in tempo, che nisciun l'avverta,
E questa da una tavola ben grossa
E ben fortificata, era cuperta.
In loco poi, di quella terra smossa
C'erano i razzi, e stava l'homo all'erta
Pe' lev della tavola l'impiccio,
Foco gi dando, con acceso miccio.


104 - 106

But what the public appreciated most
Was that, on the very spot where the Saracen stood,
A whirl of fire rose up
(Just as water spouts from a spring).
Everybody stood in silence, stunned,
In suddenly seeing such a beautiful trick,
Unable to realize how the puppet had collapsed,
And how this had triggered the fire.

Before the opening of the event,
While the people had not yet arrived there,
Patacca had arranged a device,
In order to produce the aforesaid effect.
He gave orders to a man to stoop
And hide behind the Saracen,
And told him to tilt the puppet down
When his own turn to strike it had come.

He had a hole dug in the ground, below the pivot,
Early enough, so that nobody would notice it,
And then had it covered
With a thick and sturdy wooden plank.
In place of the removed turf,
The flares had been set, and the man on guard
Was ready to remove the wooden cover,
And shoot them by lighting a fuse.

Meo, hailed by the people, is awarded the prize of the tournament, two hand-guns, and he offers them to Nuccia, who had come to see him compete.



110 - 112

Cos fu suo l'onor, e cos ottenne
El viva univerzal, che se gli dette
Dai giudici, e cos dato gli venne,
El nobil premio delle due terzette:
Ricevute, che l'hebbe, in man le tenne,
Giranno pel teatro se n'annette;
Guard pi donne, e dimostr, in guardalle,
Che cercava coll'occhio, chi donalle.

Poi, stabbilito il suo penzier, si spicca,
E v in tel mezzo; m nisciun c'azzecca
À indovin, se dove ann gli cricca,
Ò da chalche signora, chalche cecca;
C' pi d'uno, che innanzi, allor si ficca,
Pe' veder tutto, et il cervel si becca,
Pe' saper dove v; m tutte dua,
Lui don le terzette, Nuccia sua.

Stava costei, m queta, come l'oglio,
Con altre donne in sopra al piedestallo,
Che regge, in mezzo giusto, al Campidoglio
Di bronzo il famosissimo cavallo;
Si trov, nel salirci, in chalche imbroglio,
Che pe' disgrazia messe un piede in fallo
S 'na scala piroli, e dette un crollo,
Che poteva, in casc, romperzi el collo.

116 - 119

Dubbit Nuccia assai, che non piacesse
À Meo Patacca, che l s lei stasse
Arrampicata, e in compagnia sedesse
Di donnicciole, e di perzone basse;
E solo, acci, che lui non la vedesse,
E de 'sta cosa poi, non gle gridasse,
Zitta, e mezza nascosta, star s'indusse,
Perche, intesa, da lui vista non fusse.

M gi Patacca, che non un tarullo,
Allampata l'haveva, e la fintiva,
Di non haverla vista, un su' trastullo.
Per, da Nuccia, alla sfilata, arriva;
Gle sporge le terzette, e lei 'no sgrullo
Fece allor con la vita, e non ardiva,
D'accett il dono, et alla fin, pian, piano
Stese, m prima si basci la mano.

Lui disse allora: Queste, non son cose,
Che pozzino alle femmine piacere,
Che, per loro, son armi spaventose,
E chalch'una, n men, le vu vedere;
M cos porta el caso . E lei rispose:
Io, signor Meo, l'accetto volentiere.
Per m fanno, e direte forzi un d
C'hebbi raggione, di parlar cos .

Gode intanto, vedenno, che disgusto
Non hebbe Meo, che preso havea quel posto;
E 'l bel regalo si pigli con gusto,
N l s stette allor, pi di nascosto;
Gle s'accost gran popolo, che giusto
S'era in quel punto, tutto gi scomposto.
Disse chalch'un, penzanno fine onesto:
Che Meo sposar la voglia, indizio questo .

131

Meo pe' la grolia ch'h parte brioso,
E ancor, perche haver gran nominanza;
Nuccia, che lo desidera pe' sposo,
Conzolata rest nella speranza.
V ogn'altro casa, pe' pigli riposo;
Cos finirno, e non le p bastanza
La lingua raccont, scriver la penna,
Le feste, che si fecero pe' Vienna.


110 - 112

So he had the honour, and obtained
The unanimous praise of the judges,
And was given the noble prize
Of the two hand-guns:
After having received them, he held them
In his hands, as he went all around the place;
He looked at several women, showing that he
Was seeking for someone whom to give them to.

Then, after making his mind, he hurries up,
And goes straight in the centre, but nobody
Can guess towards whom he has decided to go,
Either a refined lady or an uncouth woman.
Several people push their way in front,
To watch all this, and rack their brains
Trying to know where he is going; but he
Gave both guns to his beloved Nuccia.

She stood, in perfect silence,
Together with other women, above the pedestal
On which, in the very centre of the Capitolium,
The renowned bronze horse rests;
She had some trouble in getting up there,
Having unfortunately slipped
While climbing a ladder, and in falling down
She could have broken her neck.

116 - 119

Nuccia had indeed feared that Meo
Might have disliked her to stand up there,
Together with trivial women
And people of the mob;
Not to be noticed by him,
And not to be scolded by him for this,
She had decided to remain almost hidden,
So that he would have not seen her, nor heard her.

But Patacca, who is not a fool,
Was already aware of her, and to pretend
Not to see her was a game he played.
However, he swiftly reaches Nuccia,
He hands her the hand-guns, and she shrugged,
Not daring to accept the gift;
Finally, she slowly stretched out her hand,
But before doing so, she kissed it.

He then said: These are not things
That women may appreciate,
As they consider them frightening weapons,
And some of them even refuse to look at them,
But this was a matter of chance . And she replied:
Mister Meo, I am happy to receive them.
They are fit for me, and maybe one day you'll say
That I was right in telling you this .

Meanwhile, she felt happy in seeing that Meo
Was not upset about her choosing that standpoint;
So she gladly accepted his gift,
And no longer remained hidden up there;
Many people came near her, as on that same spot
The crowd was already scattering.
Reputing the gift a honest intent, somebody said:
This is a sign that Meo wants to marry her .

131

Meo sets off happily, having achieved glory,
And also because his name will be renowned.
Nuccia, who longs for him to be her bride,
Cheers herself up with good hopes.
Everybody returns home, to take a rest;
So the celebrations for Vienna,
That no words nor pen could describe enough,
Came to an end.