Poor mite, I think he must be really ill
– what else would make his eyeballs go skew-whiff? –
but all the Doctor does is wonder if
it's psychological, or some such swill.
He's weeping, agitated, always sighing,
he flips his lid all hours – it's the disease –
and when his fits come on him, all he sees
is coffins, priests, the devil and the dying.
Well as for me, I tell my mistress straight:
"Beg pardon ma'am, but surely there must be
some medicine that can improve his state?"
But no, she shrugs her shoulders silently,
and carries on – not heeding me at all –
embroidering the flowers on her shawl.
Giuseppe Gioacchino Belli
Translation by Mike Stocks