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Then found I did not fit his foot,
So let me out to any one;
And thus at last in the first comer's hands He leaves me, and for boot-hook only stands.
A German braggart with the priest
Played pikes to put his heel in me;
Full many a time I've seen him flee.
Unworn for one whole age or more,
Then pulled on by a merchant plain, He greased me fresh, and made me trot To the Levant and back again.
Unpolished, true; but not one jot I failed,
The merchant throve; then thought it right
But lost my old consistency.
Change followed change, that now I plainly see That my first nails were far the best for me.
I had nor rip nor wrinkle then;
When from the west a pilfering oaf
But comfortably there he could not stay;
'Mongst ultramontane amateurs
A certain King of Spades essayed, With feet and hands to put me on;
But like Berlicche there he stayed,
When jealous of the roost a Capon crowing,
My ruin to complete just then,
Or maybe later, an M. D.,
Leaving his drugs and shop, rushed forth;
To help my case devised intrigues and lies,
He polished, gimcracked me all o'er,
And he who had me next in care
Thus tossed about from hand to hand,
Who played the "Devil and Baker's" game. Don Quixote proved at length the lucky wight; But rent and ridiculed he held me tight.
Who saw me on the Spaniard's foot
Say that I sat " malissimo,"
Though greased and varnish-daubed, and styled,
But on the sly he used the file so sore,
Thenceforth each one at his own will
Rogues, bullies, barons, great and small,
Thus shuffled on from hoof to hoof
Of that upright, well-planted foot,
On which, without one single crooked tread, The circuit of the Universe I made.
O wretched boot! I must confess
When it was time to use my own;
And more than this, the madness most unmeet, Of hoping change of luck from change of feet.
With tears I say it; for I feel
Myself all shattered and awry;
Earth seems to shake beneath my tread
By dint of letting bad guides lead me so,
But my worst foes have been the priests,
I'd have at certain poets too
Who count their bead-roll nowadays, Christ goes for nothing; the Decretal puts A veto 'gainst the priesthood wearing "boots."
Torn and neglected now I lie,
And pawed by every dirty hand,
To fill my wrinkles, make me stand;
A certain great man's once I tried,
Who, had he not goue strolling forth,
But snow-storms, on his crooked course one day,
Refitted on the ancient last
And subject to the knife again,
Though once of mighty worth and weight,
And as for patching holes both new and old,
The cost is dear, the labor long;
You must patch over piece by piece; Brush off the dirt in ancient mode,
Drive nails and brads; then by degrees The calf and upper-leathers all remake : But to the cobbler go, for Heaven's sake!
Find me but out some man; he'll do,
I find myself upon his foot,
Should some kind sir, like former men, Presume with me in the old way to treat, We'll give him a sound kick on honor's seat. Giuseppe Giusti. Tr. Anon.
TO LORD HALIFAX.
WHILE you, my Lord, the rural shades admire,
And from Britannia's public posts retire,
Nor longer, her ungrateful sons to please,
And still I seem to tread on classic ground;