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Thou lively town, that wouldst with gladness see
On thy long bridge the sports of rustic glee,
And nimble dancers bounding to the strain,
Didst thou not fear the rotten props would throw
Thy tottering bridge into the marsh below,
Ne'er from its muddy bed to rise again;


One boon, one sight, to raise my laughter, grant;
And may a bridge so strong supply thy want,
That the wild Salii's dance can nothing hurt.
I ask that one, a townsman of thine own,
May only from thy bridge be headlong thrown,
And neck and shoulders plump into the dirt.


It should be there, where lies the deepest mud,
And greenest mire of all the stagnant flood.
The Man's a senseless dolt, whom nought can warm.
His wit or sense no rivalry can hold
With any boy, who is but two years old,
And rock'd to sleep upon his father's arm.


His wife's a girl in blooming beauty's dawn,
More soft and tender than the youngling fawn;
Like ripest grapes demanding gentlest care.
He lets her rove uncheck'd her giddy way,
Where'er, with whom she lists, to jest and play,
Nor values all her charms a single hair.


Life, for his only care himself, he keeps,
Dull as the axe-fell'd alder tree, that sleeps
In some remote Ligurian ditch confined:
He scarcely seems to know he has a wife;
And doses on his lethargy of life
Deaf to her accents, to her beauty blind.


E'en while he breathes, while strong his life-blood flows,
Whether he lives or not he scarcely knows.
Oh, let him from thy bridge be headlong cast,
Plunged deep with all his stupor in the flood;
And his dull soul in the congenial mud,
Like the mule's iron shoe, leave sticking fast!