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Franco Sacchetti

(c. 1335 – c. 1400 / Florence)

On a Wet Day


As I walked thinking through a little grove,
Some girls that gathered flowers came passing me,
Saying -- "Look here! look there!" delightedly.
"O here it is!" "What's that?" "A lily? love!"
"And there are violets!"
"Farther for roses! O the lovely pets!
The darling beauties! O the nasty thorn!
Look here, my hand's all torn!"
"What's that that jumps?" "O don't! It's a grasshopper!"
"Come, run! come, run!
Here's bluebells!" "O what fun!"
"Not that way! Stop her!"
"Yes! this way!" Pluck them then!"
"O, I've found mushrooms! O look here!" "O, I'm
Quite sure that farther on we'll get wild thyme."

"O, we shall stay too long; it's going to rain;
There's lightning; O! there's thunder!"
"O shan't we hear the vesper bell? I wonder."
"Why, it's not nones, you silly little thing!
And don't you hear the nightingales that sing --
Fly away, O die away?"
"O, I hear something; hush!"
"Why, where? what is it then?" "Ah! in that bush."
So every girl here knocks it, shakes and shocks it:
Till with the stir they make
Out scurries a great snake.
"O Lord! O me! Alack! Ah me! Alack!"
They scream, and then all run and scream again,
And then in heavy drops comes down the rain.

Each running at the other in a fright,
Each trying to get before the other, and crying,
And flying, and stumbling, tumbling, wrong or right; --
One sets her knee
There where her foot should be;
One has her hands and dress
All smothered up with mud in a fine mess;
And one gets trampled on by two or three.
What's gathered is let fall
About the wood, and not picked up at all.
The wreaths of flowers are scattered on the ground,
And still as, screaming, hustling, without rest,
They run this way and that and round and round,
She thinks herself in luck who runs the best.

I stood quite still to have a perfect view,
And never noticed till I got wet through.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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