Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953): Tarantella – Lipogram

Translated by Timothy Adès

So You Forgot That Inn, did you, Miranda?
by Hilarious Blloc (with admiration and an apology)

Do you remember an Inn,
Miranda?
Do you remember an Inn?
And the tedding and the spreading
Of the straw for a bedding,
And the fleas that tease in the High Pyrenees,
And the wine that tasted of tar?
And the cheers and the jeers of the young muleteers
(Under the vine of the dark verandah)?
Do you remember an Inn, Miranda,
Do you remember an Inn?
And the cheers and the jeers of the young muleteeers
Who hadn’t got a penny,
And who weren’t paying any,
And the hammer at the doors and the Din?
And the Hip! Hop! Hap!
Of the clap
Of the hands to the twirl and the swirl
Of the girl gone chancing,
Glancing,
Dancing,
Backing and advancing,
Snapping of a clapper to the spin
Out and in —
And the Ting, Tong, Tang, of the Guitar.
Do you remember an Inn,
Miranda?
Do you remember an Inn?
Never more;
Miranda,
Never more.
Only the high peaks hoar:
And Aragon a torrent at the door.
No sound
In the walls of the Halls where falls
The tread
Of the feet of the dead to the ground
No sound:
But the boom
Of the far Waterfall like Doom.
So you forgot that inn, did you,
Miranda?
So you forgot that inn? Probably not!
And a smoothing-down of a lot
Of straw for a cot
And a scrat
Of a gnat
On Mount Ararat
And a Bacchic jar with a flavour of tar?
And callow mahouts
Laughing and scoffing with mirthful shouts
On a plum–drunk balcony, far
Away from old Karaganda?
So you forgot that inn, did you,
Miranda?
So you forgot that inn? Probably not!
And callow mahouts with mirthful shouts
Who hadn’t a sou
And who would not pay, not a button or two
And that dunning on doors, what a din!
And a Hip! Hop! Hap!
Of a clap
Of hands to a twirl and swirl
Of a girl spun chancing,
Glancing,
Dancing,
Backing and advancing,
Snap clap clapping to a spin
Out and in —
And a Ting, Tong, Tang, of a Guitar.
So you forgot that inn, did you,
Miranda?
So you forgot that inn? Probably not!
Not again, Miranda, nor
A Jamaican station on Bodmin Moor!
Only Hyrcanian high crags hoar,
Cascading of Aragon at my door.
No sound
Within walls
Of halls! It falls,
That fatal footfall clocks cold ground:
No sound
But a boom,
A Niagara Falls
Of doom.
Translation: Copyright © Timothy Adès
Said at Troubadour, Old Brompton Road, London S.W.

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