observations: Byron’s poem is set in Venice at Carnevale: the season of joy and pleasure preceding Lent. Heroine Laura thinks she is widowed. George Gordon Byron: Beppo ( words) In Beppo the garrulous narrator tells the story of how Beppo (short for Guiseppe) disappears on a sea voyage. The purpose of this paper is to show that Beppo, a story known to be based on an . 9: Tony Tanner, ch.2, «Lord Byron: A Sea Cybele», Venice Desired.
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Look you lisp, and wear strange suits; disable all the benefits of your own country; be out of love with your Nativity, and almost chide God for making you that countenance lkrd are; or I will scarce think that you have swam in a Gondola. Annotation of the Commentators.
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That is, been at Venicewhich was much visited by the young English gentlemen of those times, and was then what Paris is now – the seat of all dissoluteness. The moment night with dusky mantle covers The skies and the more duskily the betterThe time less liked by husbands byon by lovers Begins, lorrd prudery flings aside lrod fetter; And gaiety on restless tiptoe hovers, Giggling with all the gallants who beset her; And there are songs and quavers, roaring, humming, Guitars, and every other sort of strumming.
And bppo are dresses splendid, but fantastical, Masks of all times and nations, Turks and Jews, And harlequins and clowns, with byrron gymnastical, Greeks, Romans, Yankee-doodles, and Hindoos; All kinds of dress, except the ecclesiastical, All people, as their fancies hit, may choose, But no one in these parts may quiz the clergy, – Therefore take heed, ye Freethinkers!
You’d better walk about begirt with briars, Instead of coat and smallclothes, than put on A single stitch reflecting upon friars, Although you swore it only was in fun; They’d haul you o’er the coals, and stir the fires Of Phlegethon with every mother’s son, Nor say one mass to cool bep;o caldron’s bubble That boil’d your bones, unless you paid them double. But saving this, you may put on whate’er You like by way of doublet, cape, or cloak.
This feast is named the Carnival, which being Interpreted, implies “farewell to flesh: But why they usher Lent with so much glee in, Is more than I can tell, although I guess ‘Tis as we take a glass with friends at parting, In the stage-coach or packet, bepoo at starting. And therefore humbly I would recommend “The curious in fish-sauce, “before they cross The sea, to bid their cook, or wife, or friend, Walk bfppo ride to the Byrn, and buy in gross Or if set out beforehand, these may send By any means least liable to loss Ketchup, Soy, Chili-vinegar, and Harvey, Or by the Lord!
That is to say, if your religion’s Roman, And you at Rome would do as Romans do, According to the proverb, – although no man If foreign, is obliged to fast; and you If Protestant, or sickly, or a woman, Would rather dine in sin on a ragout – Dine and be damned! I don’t mean to be coarse, But that’s the penalty, to say no worse. Of all the places where the Carnival Was most facetious in the days bygon yore, For dance, and song, and serenade, and ball, And masque, bjron mime, and mystery, and more Than I have time to tell now, or at all, Venice the bell from every city bore, – And at the moment when I fix my story, That sea-born city was in all her glory.
They’ve pretty faces yet, those same Venetians, Black-eyes, arch’d brows, and sweet expressions still; Such as of old were copied from the Grecians, In ancient arts by moderns mimick’d ill; And like so many Venuses beppoo Titian’s The best’s at Florence – see it, if ye willThey look when leaning over the balcony, Or stepp’d from out a picture by Giorgione. Love in full life and length, not love ideal, No, nor ideal beauty, that fine name, But something better still, so very real, That the sweet model must have been the same; A thing that you would lkrd, beg, or steal, Were ‘t not impossible, besides a shame: The face recalls some face, as’t were with pain, You once have seen, but ne’er will see again.
One of those forms which flit by us, when bjron Are young, and fix our eyes on every face; And, oh! I said that like a picture by Giorgione Venetian women were, and so they areParticularly seen from a balcony For beauty’s sometimes best set off afarAnd there, just like a heroine of Goldoni, They peep from out the blind, or o’er the bar; And truth to say, they’re mostly very pretty, And rather like to show it, more’s the pity!
For glances beget ogles, ogles sighs, Sighs wishes, wishes words, and words a letter, Which flies on wings of light-heel’d Mercuries, Who do such things because they know no better; And then, God knows what mischief may arise, When love links two young people in one fetter, Vile assignations, and adulterous beds, Elopements, broken vows, and hearts, and heads. Didst ever see a Gondola? For fear You should not, I’ll describe it you exactly: And up and down the long canals they go, And under the Rialto shoot along, By night and day, all paces, swift or slow, And round the theatres, a sable throng, They wait in their dusk livery of woe, – But not to them do woeful things belong, For sometimes they contain a deal of fun, Like mourning coaches when the funeral’s done.
But to my story. Laura was blooming still, had made the best Of time, and time return’d the compliment, She look’d extremely well where’er she went; A pretty woman is a welcome guest, And Laura’s heppo a frown had rarely bent; Indeed, she shone all smiles, and seem’d to flatter Mankind with her black eyes for looking at her.
She was a married woman; ’tis convenient, Because in Christian countries ’tis a rule To view their little slips with eyes more lenient; Whereas if single ladies play the fool Unless within the period intervenient A well-times wedding makes the scandal coolI don’t know how they ever bbyron get over it, Except they byrron never to kord it.
Her husband sail’d upon the Adriatic, And made some voyages, too, in other seas, And when he lay in quarantine for pratique A forty days’ precaution ‘gainst diseaseHis wife would mount, at times, her highest attic, For thence she could discern the ship with ease; He was a merchant trading to Aleppo, His name Giuseppe, call’d more briefly, Beppo.
He was a man as dusky as a Spaniard, Sunburnt with travel, yet a portly figure; Beppl colour’d, as it were, within a tan-yard, He was a person both of sense and vigour – A better seaman never yet did man yard; And she, although her manners show’d no rigour, Was deem’d a woman of the strictest principle, So much as to be thought almost invincible.
But several years elapsed since they had met; Some people thought the ship was lost, and some That he had somehow blunder’d into debt, And did not like the thought of llord home; And there were several offer’d any bet, Or that he would, or that he would not come; For most men till bbyron losing render’d sager Will back their own opinions with a wager. And Laura waited long, and wept a little, And thought of wearing bepppo, as well she might; She almost lost all appetite for victual, And could not sleep with ease along at night; She deem’d the window-frames and shutters brittle Against a daring housebreaker or sprite, And so bepo thought it prudent to connect her.
With a vice-husband, chiefly to protect her. Byrom Beppo should return from his long cruise, And bid once more her faithful heart rejoice, A man some women like, and yet abuse – A coxcomb was he by the public voice; A Count of wealth, they said, as well as quality, And in his pleasures of great liberality. And then he was A Count, and then he knew Music, and dancing, fiddling, French and Tuscan; The last not easy, be it known to lod.
For few Italians speak the right Etruscan. He was a critic upon operas, too, And knew all niceties of the sock and buskin; And no Venetian audience could endure a Song, scene, or air, when he cried “seccatura!
He patronised the Improvisatori, Nay, could himself extemporise some stanzas, Wrote rhymes, sang songs, could also tell a story, Sold pictures, and was skilful in the dance as Italians can be, though in this their glory Must surely yield the palm to that which France has; In short, he was a perfect cavaliero, And to his very valet seem’d a hero. Then he was faithful too, as well as amorous; So that no sort of female could complain, Although they’re now and then a little clamourous, He never put the pretty souls in pain; His heart was one of those which most enamour us, Wax to receive, and marble to retain: He was a lover of the good old school, Who still become more constant as they cool.
No wonder such accomplishments should turn A female head, however sage and steady – With scarce a hope that Beppo could return, In law he was almost as good as dead, he Nor sent, nor wrote, nor show’d the least concern, And she had waited several years already; And really if a man won’t let us know That he’s alive, he’s deador should be so.
Besides, within the Alps, to every woman, Although, God knows, it is a grievous sin ‘Tis, I may say, permitted to have two men; I can’t tell who first brought the custom in, But “Cavalier Serventes”are quite common, And no one notices nor cares a pin; And we may call this not to say the worst A second marriage which corrupts the first. But Heaven preserve Old England from such courses!
Or what becomes of damage and divorces? His is no sinecure, as you may guess; Coach, servants, gondola, he goes to call, And carries fan and tippet, gloves and shawl. With all its sinful doings, I must say, That Italy’s a pleasant place to me, Who love to see the Sun shine every day, And vines not nail’d to walls from tree to tree Festoon’d, much like the back scene of a play, Or melodrame, which people flock to see, When the first act is ended by a dance In vineyards copied from the south of France.
I like on Autumn evenings to ride out, Without being forced to bid my groom be sure My cloak is round his middle strapp’d about, Because the skies are not the most secure; I know too that, if stopp’d upon my route, Where the green alleys windingly allure, Reeling with grapes red waggons choke the way, – In England ‘t would be dung, dust, or a dray.
I also like to dine on becaficas, To see the Sun set, sure he’ll rise tomorrow, Not through a misty morning twinkling weak as A drunken man’s dead eye in maudlin sorrow, But with all Heaven t’himself; the day will break as Beauteous as cloudless, nor be forced to borrow That sort of farthing candlelight which glimmers Where reeking London’s smoky caldron simmers.
I love the language, that soft bastard Latin, Which melts like kisses from a female mouth, And sounds as if it should be writ on satin, With syllables which breathe of the sweet South, And gentle liquids gliding all so pat in, That not a single accent seems uncouth, Like our harsh northern whistling, grunting guttural, Which we’re obliged to hiss, and spit, and sputter all.
I like the women too forgive my follyFrom the rich peasant cheek of ruddy bronze, And large black eyes that flash on you a volley Of rays that say a thousand things at once, To the high dama’s brow, more melancholy, But clear, and with a wild and liquid glance, Heart on her lips, and soul within her eyes, Soft as her clime, and sunny as her skies. Eve of the land which still is Paradise! I like the taxes, when they’re not too many; I like a seacoal fire, when not too dear; I like a beef-steak, too, as well as any; Have no objection to a pot of beer; I like the weather, when it is not rainy, That is, I like two months of every year, And so God save the Regent, Church, and King!
Which means that I like all and everything. Our standing army, and disbanded seamen, Poor’s rate, Reform, my own, the nation’s debt, Our little riots just to show we are free men, Our trifling bankruptcies in the Gazette, Our cloudy climate, and our chilly women, All these I can forgive, and those forget, And greatly venerate our recent glories, And wish they were not owing to the Tories.
But to my tale of Laura, – for I find Digression is a sin, that by degrees Becomes exceeding tedious to my mind, And, therefore, may the reader too displease – The gentle reader, who may wax unkind, And caring little for the author’s ease, Insist on knowing what he means, a hard And hapless situation for a bard. Oh that I had the art of easy writing What should be easy reading! But I am but a nameless sort of person, A broken Dandy lately on my lorc And take for rhyme, to hook my rambling verse on, The first that Walker’s Lexicon unravels, And when I can’t find that, I put a worse on, Not caring as I ought for critics’ cavils; I’ve half a mind to tumble byton to prose, But verse is more in fashion – so here goes.
The Count and Laura made their new arrangement, Which lasted, as arrangements sometimes do, For half a dozen years without estrangement; They had their little differences, too; Those jealous whiffs, which never any change meant; In such affairs there probably are few Who have not had this pouting sort of squabble, From sinners of high station to the rabble.
But on brppo whole, they were a happy pair, As happy as unlawful love could make them; The gentleman was fond, the lady fair, Their chains so slight, ’twas not worth while to break them; The world beheld them with indulgent air; The pious only wish’d “the devil take them!
But they were young: What would youth be without love! Youth lends it joy, and sweetness, vigour, truth, Heart, soul, and all that seems as from above; But, languishing lod years, it grows uncouth – One of few things experience don’t improve, Which is, perhaps, the reason why old fellows Are always so preposterously jealous.
It was the Carnival, as I have said Some six and thirty stanzas back, and so Laura the usual preparations made, Which you do when your mind’s made up to go To-night to Mrs. Laura, when dress’d, was as I sang before A pretty woman as was ever seen, Fresh as the Angel o’er a new inn door, Or frontispiece of a new Magazine, With all the fashions which the last month wore, Colour’d, and silver paper leaved between That and the title-page, for fear the press Should soil with parts of speech the parts neppo dress.
They went to the Ridotto; – ’tis a hall Where people dance, and sup, and dance again; Its proper name, perhaps, were a masqued ball, But that’s of no importance to my strain; ‘Tis on a smaller scale like our Vauxhall, Excepting that it can’t be spoilt by rain; The company is “mix’d” the phrase I quote is As much as saying they’re below your notice.
This is the case in England; at least was During the dynasty of Dandies, now Perchance succeeded by some other class Of imitated imitators: The demagogues of fashion: Crush’d was Napoleon by the northern Thor, Who knock’d his army down bryon icy hammer, Stopp’d by the elementslike a whaler, or A blundering novice in his new French grammar; Good cause had he to doubt the chance of war, And as for Fortune – but I dare not d–n her, Because, were I to ponder to infinity, The more I should believe in her divinity.
She rules the present, past, and all to be yet, She gives us luck in lotteries, love, and marriage; I cannot say that she’s done much for me yet; Not that I mean her bounties to disparage, We’ve not yet closed accounts, and we shall see yet; How much she’ll make hyron for past miscarriage. Meantime the Goddess I’ll no more importune, Unless to thank her when she’s made my fortune.
To turn, – and return; – the devil take it!
Beppo: a Venetian Story by Lord Byron
This story slips for ever through my fingers, Because, just as the stanza likes to make it, It needs must be, and so it rather lingers: This form of verse began, I can’t well break it, But must keep time and tune like public singers; But if I once get through my present measure, I’ll take another when I’m at leisure. They went to the Ridotto ’tis a place To which I mean to go myself to-morrow, Just to divert my thoughts a little space, Because I’m rather hippish, and may borrow, Some spirits, guessing at what kind of face May lurk beneath each mask; and as my sorrow Slackens its pace sometimes, I’ll make, or find, Something shall leave it half an hour behind.
Now Laura moves along the joyous crowd, Smiles in her eyes, and simpers on her lips; To some she whispers, others speaks aloud; To some she curtsies, and to some she dips, Complains of warmth, and this complaint avow’d, Her lover brings the lemonade, she sips; She then surveys, condemns, but pities still Her dearest friends for being dress’d so ill. One has false curls, another too much paint, A third – where did she buy that frightful turban?
A fourth’s so pale she fears she’s going to faint, A fifth’s look’s vulgar, dowdyish, and suburban, A sixth’s white silk has got a yellow taint, A seventh’s thin muslin surely will be her bane, And lo! Meantime, while she was thus at others gazing, Others were leveling their looks at her; She heard the men’s half-whisper’d mode of praising, And, till ’twas done, determined not to stir; The women only thought it quite amazing That, at her time of life, so many were Admirers still, – but men are so debased, Those brazen creatures always suit their taste.
For my part, now, I ne’er could understand Why naughty women – but I won’t discuss A thing which is a scandal to the land, I only don’t see why it should be thus; And if I were but in a gown and band, Just to entitle me to make a fuss, I’d preach on this till Wilberforce and Romilly Should quote in their next speeches from my homily.
While Laura thus was seen, and seeing, smiling, Talking, she knew not why, and cared not what, So that her female friends, with envy broiling, Beheld her airs and triumph, and all that; And well-dress’d males still kept before her filing, And passing bow’d and mingled with her chat; More than the rest one person seem’d to stare With pertinacity that’s rather rare.
He was a Turk, the colour of mahogany; And Laura saw him, and at first was glad, Because the Turks so much admire phylogyny, Although their usage of their wives is sad; ‘Tis said they use no better than a dog any Poor woman, whom they purchase like a pad; They have a number, though the ne’er exhibit ’em, Four wives by law, and concubines: They lock them up, and veil, and guard them daily, They scarcely can behold their male relations, So that their moments do not pass so gaily As is supposed the case with northern nations; Confinement, too, must make them look quite palely; And as the Turks abhor long conversations, Their days are either pass’d in doing nothing, Or bathing, nursing, making love, and clothing.
One hates an author that’s all authorfellows In foolscap uniforms turn’d up with ink, So very anxious, clever, fine, and jealous, One do’nt know what to say to them, or think, Unless to puff them with a pair of bellows; Of coxcombry’s worst coxcombs e’en the pink Are preferable to these shreds of paper, These unquench’d snufflings of the midnight taper. The poor dear Mussulwomen whom I mention Have none of these instructive pleasant people, And one would seem to them a new invention, Unknown as bells within a Turkish steeple; I think ‘t would almost be worth while to pension though best-sown projects ver often reap ill A missionary author, just to preach Our Christian usage of the parts of speech.
No chemistry for them unfolds her gases, No metaphysics are let loose in lectures, No circulating library amasses Religious novels, moral tales, and strictures Upon the living manners, as they pass us; No exhibition glares with annual pictures; They stare not on the stars from out their attics, Nor deal thank God for that!
Why I thank God for that is no great matter, I have my reasons, you no doubt suppose, And as, perhaps, they would not highly flatter, I’ll keep them for my life to come in prose; I fear I have a little turn for satire, And yet methinks the older that one grows Inclines us more to laugh than scold, though laughter Leaves us no doubly serious shortly after.
Oh, mirth and innocence! Oh, milk and water! Ye happy mixtures of more happy days! In these sad centuries of sin and slaughter, Abominable Man no more allays His thirst with such pure beverage. No matter, I love you both, and both shall have my praise; Oh, for old Saturn’s reign of sugar-candy! Meantime I drink to your return in brandy. Our Laura’s Turk still kept his eyes upon her, Less in the Mussulman than Christian way, Which seems to say, “Madam, I do you honour, And while I please to stare, you’ll please to stay!
The morning now was on the point of breaking A turn of time at which I would advise Ladies who have been dancing, or partaking In any other kind of exercise, To make their preparations for forsaking The ball-room ere the sun begins to rise, Because when once the lamps and candles fail, His blushes make them look a little pale.
The name of this Aurora I’ll not mention, Although I might, for she was nought to me More than that patent work of God’s invention, A charming woman, whom we like to see; But writing names would merit reprehension, Yet if you like to find out this fair sheAt the next London or Parisian ball You still may mark her cheek out-blooming all.
Laura, who knew it would not do at all To meet the daylight after seven hours’ sitting Among three thousand people at a ball, To make her curtsy thought it right and fitting; The Count was at her elbow with her shawl, And they the room were on the point of quitting, When lo! In this they’re like our coachmen, and the cause Is much the same – the byrpn, and pulling, hauling, With blasphemies enough to break their jaws, They make a never intermitted bawling.
At home, our Bow-street gemmen keep the laws, And here a sentry stands within your calling; But for all that, there is a deal of swearing, And nauseous words past mentioning or bearing. The Count and Laura found their boat at last, And homeward floated o’er the silent tied, Discussing all the dances gone and past; The dancers and their dresses, too, beside; Some little scandals eke; but all aghast As to their palace-stairs the rowers glide Sate Laura by bhron side gyron her Adorer, When lo!
But perhaps ’tis a mistake; I hope it is so; and, at once to waive All compliment, I hope so for your bbeppo You understand my meaning, or you shall ,” “Sir” quoth the Turk”’tis no mistake at all: She said, – what could she say?
Why, not a beopo