Oh, a day in the city square, there is no such pleasure in life!

I

Had I but plenty of money, money enough and to spare,

The house for me, no doubt, were a house in the city square;

Ah, such a life, such a life, as one leads at the window there!

II

Something to see, by Bacchus, something to hear, at least!

There, the whole day long, one’s life is a perfect feast;

While up at the villa one lives, I maintain it, no more than a beast.

Up at the Villa – Down in the City (As distinguished by an Italian person of quality) – Browning

Of course instead of admiring Browning’s deft and accurate way with a persona all I really wanted to know is how this dual text ed. I’ve got translates the line ‘Bang-whang-whang goes the drum, tootle-te-tootle the fife’.

Here goes…

‘Tan-tan tan-tan tan-tan fa il tamburo, perepé perepé perepé la trombetta’

So the translator used ‘trumpet’ because they needed something to rhyme with the next line, which ends ‘è questo il piacere piú grande della vita!’ And I guess as in the original the tan-tan, tan-tan, and perepé perepé nicely match the contrast between the Italian’s excitability about the city square, and pompous gloom about the country villa. But when the Italian word for fife is ‘il piffero’ surely another way could’ve been found. Il piffero!

Rome btw, funny place. Nice asparagus.

Il piffero, il piffero. Can’t stop saying it.

Il piffero. Tootle-te-tootle.

Poetry, eh. Rum business.

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