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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
The Afternoon Call
By Giuseppe Parini (1729–1799)
 
From ‘The Day,’ from ‘Modern Italian Poets’ by William Dean Howells

AND now the ardent friends to greet each other
Impatient fly, and pressing breast to breast
They tenderly embrace, and with alternate kisses
Their cheeks resound; then clasping hands, they drop
Plummet-like down upon the sofa, both        5
Together. Seated thus, one flings a phrase,
Subtle and pointed, at the other’s heart,
Hinting of certain things that rumor tells,
And in her turn the other with a sting
Assails. The lovely face of one is flushed        10
With beauteous anger, and the other bites
Her pretty lips a little; evermore
At every instant waxes violent
The anxious agitation of the fans.
So in the age of Turpin, if two knights        15
Illustrious and well cased in mail encountered
Upon the way, each cavalier aspired
To prove the valor of the other in arms,
And after greetings courteous and fair,
They lowered their lances and their chargers dashed        20
Ferociously together; then they flung
The splintered fragments of their spears aside,
And, fired with generous fury, drew their huge
Two-handed swords and rushed upon each other!
But in the distance through a savage wood        25
The clamor of a messenger is heard,
Who comes full gallop to recall the one
Unto King Charles, and th’ other to the camp
Of the young Agramante. Dare thou, too,
Dare thou, invincible youth, to expose the curls        30
And the toupet, so exquisitely dressed
This very morning, to the deadly shock
Of the infuriate fans; to new emprises
Thy fair invite, and thus the extreme effects
Of their periculous enmity suspend.        35
 
 
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