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THE MAY-DAY QUEEN This is of Lappo Lappi, called by his friends the careless, the happy-go-lucky, the devil-may-take-it, the God-knows-what. Called by his enemies drinker, swinker, tumbler, tinker, swiver. Called by many women that liked him pretty fellow, witty fellow, light fellow, bright fellow, bad fellow, mad fellow, and the like. Called by some women who once loved him Lapinello, Lappinaccio, little Lappo. Called now in God as a good religious should be, Lappentarius, from a sweet saint myself discovered--or invented; need we quibble?--in an ancient manuscript. And it is my merry purpose now, in a time when I, that am no longer merry, look back upon days and hours and weeks and months and years that were very merry indeed, propose to set down something of my own jolly doings and lovings, and incidentally to tell some things about a friend of mine that was never so merry as I was, though a thousand times wiser; and never so blithe as I was, though a thousand times the better man. For it seems to me now, in this cool grim grayness of my present way, with the cloisters for my kingdom and the nimbused frescoes on the walls for my old-time ballads and romances, as if my life that was so sunburnt and wine-sweetened and woman-kissed, my life that seemed to me as bright, every second of it, as bright ducats rushing in a pleasant plenteous stream from one hand to another, was after all intended to be no more than a kind of ironic commentary on, and petty contrast to, the life of my friend. He and I lived our youth out in the greatest and fairest of all cities that the world has ever seen, greater a thousand times than Troy or Nineveh, or Babylon or Rome, and when I say this you will know, of course, that I speak of the city of Florence, and we lived and loved at the same time, lived and loved in so strangely different a fashion that it seems to me that if the two lives were set side by side after the fashion of Messer Plutarch of old days, they would form as diverting a pair of opposites as any student of humanity could desire for his entertainment. I shall begin, with the favor and permission of Heaven, where I think the business may rightly be said to begin. The time was a May morning, the morning of May-day, warm and bright with sunlight, one of those mornings which makes a clod seem like a poet and a poet seem like a god. The place was the Piazza Santa Felicita, with the Arno flowing pretty full and freely now between its borders of mud. I can see it all as I write, as I saw it yesterday, that yesterday so many years ago when Lappo Lappi was young and Lappentarius never dreamed of. There is no lovelier day of all the years of days for Florence than May-day. On that day everybody is or seems to be happy; on that day the streets of the city are as musical as the courses of the spheres. Youths and maidens, garlanded and gayly raimented, go about fifing and piping, and trolling the chosen songs of spring. I think if a stranger should chance to visit Florence for the first time on a May-day, with the festival well toward, he might very well think that he had fallen back by fortunate chance into the youth of the world, when there was nothing better nor wiser to do than to dance and sing and make merry and make love. I have heard Messer Brunetto Latini declare, with great eloquence, that of all the cities man has ever upbuilded with his busy fingers, the dear city of Cecrops, which Saint Augustine called the dear City of God--in a word, Athens, was surely the loveliest wherein to live. But with all respect to Messer Brunetto, I would maintain that no city of Heathendom or Christendom could be more beautiful than Florence at any season of the year. What if it be now and then windy; now and then chilly; now and then dusty? I have talked with a traveller that told me he had found the winters mighty bitter in Greece. But I think that in all the history of Florence there never was a May-day like that May-day. It was gloriously green and gold, gloriously blue and white, gloriously hot, and yet with a little cool, kissing breeze that made the flaming hours delectable. And, as I remember so well, I sat on the parapet of the bridge of the Holy Felicity

Detalhes do Produto

    • Ano de Edição: 2015
    • Ano:  2015
    • País de Produção: Canada
    • Código de Barras:  2020102922244
    • ISBN:  9781465512291

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