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Florentine Pilgrim by Robert William Service
'I'll do the old dump in a day,'
He told me in his brittle way.
'Two more, I guess, I'll give to Rome
Before I hit the trail for home;
But while I'm there I kindo' hope
To have an audience with the Pope.'
We stood upon the terraced height
With sunny Florence in our sight.
I gazed and gazed, too moved to speak
Until he queried: 'What's that creek?'
'The Arno, sir,' I said surprised;
He stared at it with empty eyes.
'It is,' said I, 'the storied stream
Where Dante used to pace and dream,
And wait for Beatrice to pass.'
(Oh how I felt a silly ass
Explaining this.) With eyes remote
He asked: 'Was Beatrice a boat?'
Then tranced by far Fiesole
Softly I sought to steal away;
But his adhesiveness was grim,
I could not pry apart from him:
And so in our hotel-ward walk
Meekly I listened to his talk.
'Bologna! Say, the lunch was swell;
Them wops know how to feed you well.
Verona! There I met a blonde'
Oh how that baby could respond!
Siena! That's the old burg where
We soused on Asti in the square.
'Antiquity! Why, that's the bunk -
Statues and all that mouldy junk
Will never get you anywhere . . .
My line is ladies' underware,
And better than a dozen Dantes
Is something cute in female scanties. . . .
'One day in Florence is too small
You think, maybe, to see it all.
Well, it don't matter what you've seen -
The thing is: you can say you've been.'