MINUET:The Masque of the Ghosts

THE colored dancing shadows creep
Like ghosts from a mysterious street;
And Venice wakens out of sleep
At the sound of their feet.
Here Pulcinello solemn stands,
And the pale patient Pierrot shakes
His shivering shanks and starving hands,
And Columbine awakes.
She has forgotten him, and gay,
Runs past him towards the colonnades
Where the immortal masquers stay,
Unhappy shades.
Their aching hearts beneath their masks
Palpitate like caught butterflies;
They move in their appointed tasks
With disappointed eyes.
The music of a minuet
Beckons to their unwilling feet;
The light loves, they would fain forget,
The stately measures slowly beat.
Dear disappointed shades of joy
That lived merrily without thought,
Your hearts are turned into a toy
To be tossed and caught.
Venice, the tyrant of the years,
Commands you to perpetuate,
With listless feet and weary tears,
The sunken splendors of her stale.


CAPRICCIO: Barcarolo

Love is brittle:
Love me a little!
The gondola sways
And we are carried
By the water-ways
Into silence.
All loves fade
Into a shade:
The gondola slides
Under a dark arch.
Let us put aside
A thing so uncertain
As love.
Why feign
When love’s so plain ?
The canal is wider,
We are in daylight;
How far away,
We, together
Are, one from another ?
Love me a little
Though love is brittle
And as tortuous
As the water-way.