A Countess (so they tell the tale)
Who dwelt of old in Arno's vale,
Where ladies, even of high degree,
Know more of love than of A.B.C,
Came once with a prodigious bribe
Unto the learned village scribe,
That most discreet and honest man
Who wrote for all the lover clan,
Nor e'er a secret had betrayed
Save when inadequately paid.
'Write me,' she sobbed-'I pray thee do
A book about the Prince di Giu
A book of poetry in praise
Of all his works and all his ways;
The godlike grace of his address,
His more than woman's tenderness,
His courage stern and lack of guile,
The loves that wantoned in his smile.
So great he was, so rich and kind,
I'll not within a fortnight find
His equal as a lover. O,
My God! I shall be drowned in woe!'
'What! Prince di Giu has died!' exclaimed
The honest man for letters famed,
The while he pocketed her gold;
'Of what'?-if I may be so bold.'
Fresh storms of tears the lady shed:
'I stabbed him fifty times,' she said.