on 18/9/03 8:18 AM, Martin John Walker at [log in to unmask] wrote:
> what is "A Tocatto" when it's at home?
In a few days time I will be reading aloud in the National Gallery of
Victoria's big Charles Conder exhibition a few lines from Browning's 'A
Toccata of Galuppi' to link with his painting of the same name (along with
other more or less relevant and read-out-able scraps, to entertain
passers-by), so here are some lines...set of course in Renaissance Italy -
Venice: 'A Toccata of Galuppi's': from line 10 to to the end, line 45 (as I
look at them again I can sense any listeners giving up and going back to the
pictures; this needs further abridgment)...they're here for you all now so
you can COUNT THE SYLLABLES and pronounce on metre...
Did young people take their pleasure when the sea was warm in May?
Balls and masks begun at midnight, burning ever to mid-day.
Was a lady such a lady, cheeks so round and lips so red
On her neck the small face buoyant, like a bellflower on its bed,
O¹er the breast¹s superb abundance where a man might base his head?
Well, and it was graceful of them they¹d break talk off and afford
- She, to bite her mask¹s black velvet he, to finger on his sword,
While you played Toccatas, stately at the clavichord?
those lesser thirds so plaintive told them something? Must we die?¹
those commiserating sevenths Life might last! We can but try!¹
Were you happy?¹ Yes¹ And are you still as happy?¹ Yes. And you?¹
Then, more kisses!¹ Did I stop them, when a million seemed so few?¹
Then they left you for their pleasure: till in due time, one by one,
Some with lives that came to nothing, some with deeds as well undone,
Death stepped tacitly and took them where they never see the sun.
.as for Venice and her people, merely born to bloom and drop,
Here on earth they bore their fruitage, mirth and folly were the crop:
What of soul was left, I wonder when the kissing had to stop?
Dust and ashes!¹ So you creak it, and I want the heart to scold.
Dear dead women, with such hair, too what¹s become of all the gold
Used to hang and brush their bosoms? I feel chilly and grown old.
thank you, Robert Browning circa 1847 (Men and Women 1855)
Max Richards, elocutionist extraordinaire, Melbourne