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Arrested by a second surprise not in harmony with the first, he is thereupon precipitated into meditations more or less profound, though a little mixed, as they say.

Flattered along by following cheers
We sped; I musing here in mind,
Beshrew me, needs be overdrawn
Those shocking stories bruited wide,
In England which I left but late,
Touching dire tyranny in Naples.


True freedom is to be care-free!
And care-free seem the people here
A truce indeed they seem to keep
Gay truce to care and all her brood.
But, look: what mean yon surly walls?
A fortress? and in heart of town?
Even so. And rapt I stare thereon.
The battlements black-beetling hang
Over the embrasures' tiers of throats
Whose enfilading tongues seem trained
Less to beat alien foemen off
Than awe the town. “Rabble!” they said,
Or in dumb threatening seemed to say,
“Revolt, and we will rake your lanes!”
But what strange quietude of wall!
While musing if response would be
Did tourist on the clampt gate tap
Politely there with slender cane—
Abrupt, to din condensed of drums
And blast of thronged trumps trooping first,
Right and left with clangor and clash
The double portals outward burst
Before streamed thronged bayonets that flash
Like lightning's sortie from the cloud.
Storming from the gloomy tower
Tempestuous thro' the caverned arch,
Like one long lance they lunge along,
A thousand strong of infantry!


The captains like to torches flaring,
Red plumes and scarlet sashes blown,
Bare sword in hand audacious gleaming;
While, like ejected lava rolled,
The files on files are vomited forth
Eruptive from their crater belched!
Sidelong, in vulpine craven sort,
On either flank at louring brows
Of tag-rag who before their sortie
Divide in way how all unlike
Their parting late before my wheels!
Who makes this sortie? who? and why?
Anon I learned. Sicilians, these—
Sicilians from Palermo shipped
In meet exchange for hirelings lent
From Naples here to hold the Isle;
And daily thus in seething town
From fort to fort are trooping streamed
To threaten, intimidate, and cow.
Flaunting the overlording flag,
Thumping the domineering drum,
With insolent march of blustering arms
They clean put out the festive stir,
Ay, quench the popular fun.
The fun they quench, but scarce the hate
In bridled imprecations pale
Of brooding hearts vindictive there,


The deadlier bent for rasping curb,
Through mutterings like deep thunder low,
Couched thunder ere the leaping bolt,
The swaggering troops and bullying trumpets go.
They fleet—they fade. And, altered much,
In serious sort my way I hold,
Till revery, taking candor's tone
With optimistic influence plead:
Sad, bad, confess; but solace bides!
For much has Nature done, methinks,
In offset here with kindlier aim.
If bayonets flash, what vineyards glow!
Of all these hells of wrath and wrong
How little feels the losel light
Who, thrown upon the odorous sod
In this indulgent clime of charm
Scarce knows a thought or feels a care
Except to take his careless pleasure:
A fig for Bomba! life is fair
Squandered in superabundant leisure!
Ay, but ye ragamuffs cutting pranks
About the capering mountebanks
Was that indeed mirth's true elation?
Or even in some a patched despair,
Bravery in tatters debonair,
True devil-may-care dilapidation?


Well, be these rubs even how they may,
Smart cock-plumes in yon headstalls dance,
Each harness with ribbons flutters gay,
I see at pole our wreath advance:
Inodorous muslin garland—true:
Impostor, but of jocund hue!
Ah, could one but realities rout
A holiday-world it were, no doubt.
But Naples, sure she lacks not cheer,
Religion, it is jubilee here—
Feast follows festa thro' the year;
And then such Nature all about!
No surly moor of forge and mill,
She charms us glum barbarians still,
Fleeing from frost, bad bread, or duns,
Despotic Biz, and devils blue,
And there's our pallid invalid ones,
Their hollow eyes the scene survey;
They win this clime of more than spice,
These myrtled shores, to wait the boat
That ferries (so the pilots say),
Yes, ferries to the isles afloat,
The floating Isles of Paradise
In God's Ægean far away!
O, scarce in trivial tenor all,
Much less to mock man's mortal sigh,
Those syllables proverbial fall,
Naples, see Naples, and—then die!
But hark: yon low note rising clear;
A singer!—rein up, charioteer!