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Behind a span whose cheery pace
Accorded well with gala trim—
Each harness, in arch triumphal reared,
With festive ribbons fluttering gay;
In Bomba's Naples sallying forth
In season when the vineyards mellow,
Suddenly turning a corner round—
Ha, happy to meet you, Punchinello!
And, merrily there, in license free,
The crowd they caper, droll as he;
While, arch as any, rolled in fun,
Such tatterdemalions, many a one!
We jounced along till, just ahead,
Nor far from shrine in niche of wall,
A stoppage fell. His rug or bed
In midmost way a tumbler spread,
A posturing mountebank withall;
Who, though his stage was out of doors,
Brought down the house in jolly applause.


“Signor,” exclaims my charioteer,
Turning, and reining up, the while
Trying to touch his jaunty hat;
But here, essaying to condense
Such opposite movements into one
Failing, and letting fall his whip,
“His Excellency stops the way!”
His Excellency there, meanwhile—
Reversed in stature, legs aloft,
And hobbling jigs on hands for heels—
Gazed up with blood-shot brow that told
The tension of that nimble play—
Gazed up as martyred Peter might;
And, noting me in landeau-seat
(Milor, there he opined, no doubt)
Brisk somersetted back, and stood
Urbanely bowing, then gave place;
While, tickled at my puzzled plight,
Yet mindful that a move was due,
And knowing me a stranger there,
With one consent the people part
Yielding a passage, and with eyes
Of friendly fun,—how courteous too!
Catching an impulse from their air,
To feet I spring, my beaver doff
And broadcast wave a blithe salute.
In genial way how humorsome
What pleased responses of surprise;
From o'er the Alps, and so polite!
They clap their hands in frank acclaim


Matrons in door-ways nod and smile
From balcony roguish girls laugh out
Or kiss their fingers, rain their nosegays down.
At such a shower—laugh, clap, and flower—
My horses shy, the landeau tilts,
Distractedly the driver pulls.
But I, Jack Gentian, what reck I,
The popular hero, object sole
Of this ovation!—I aver
No viceroy, king, nor emperor,
Panjandrum Grand, conquistador—
Not Caesar's self in car aloft
Triumphal on the Sacred Way,
No, nor young Bacchus through glad Asia borne,
Pelted with grapes, exulted so
As I in hackney-landeau here
Jolting and jouncing thro' the waves
Of confluent commoners who in glee
Good natured past before my prow.