Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Peasant Defecates

Antonio Beccadelli, The Hermaphrodite. Edited and Translated by Holt Parker (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2010), pp. 49, 51 (I.xl = To Crispus; How the Author Broke Off Writing His Praises When a Peasant Took a Shit, footnotes omitted):
There is a tree most pleasing in the middle of a green field,
  On one side stands a clear stream, on the other a wood.
A bird came to it, and sang beneath the lovely tree,
  Both grove and wave were soothed by the sound.
Here came I as is my custom, I was getting ready to compose verses.
  Clio had been summoned and stood ready by my pen.
I began to write about your blameless morals, Crispus,
  how you excel in prose, how in verse you excel,
and how you are going to become the leading citizen in your town,
  and how your virtue will have its reward.
Meanwhile, a bloated peasant comes up to relieve himself
  on the grass. He places his cloak on the ground nearby,
then opens his pants and pulls out his cock and balls:
  and the breeze gently lashes his naked buttocks.
He bent his knees and curled up into a circle,
  placing his elbows on his thighs and his hands on his cheeks.
Seeming to rest his heels on the back of his thighs,
  he squeezes, loosens his bowels, and then shits.
At that from his talkative asshole windy thunders
  break forth; the whole field is stricken by the crack.
I was shaken, my pen fell, the goddess betook herself to the breezes,
  the bird fled terrified by the rumble of the fart.
I pray, evil peasant, that you first plant your vines,
  after, when you're very thirsty, that you not drink their wine.
Peasant, may you plant seeds in the furrowed earth,
  and have no bread to eat, wretch, when you're hungry.
Farewell, and when the tuneful bird returns,
  then I'll go on to write your praises, Crispus.

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