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Chapter 55

Wherein Babbalanja Comments Upon The Speech Of Alanno


As we lingered in the precincts of the temple after all others had
departed, sundry comments were made upon what we had seen; and having
remarked the hostility of the lunatic orator toward Dominora,
Babbalanja thus addressed Media:--

"My lord, I am constrained to believe, that all Vivenza can not be of
the same mind with the grandiloquent chief from Hio-Hio. Nevertheless,
I imagine, that between Dominora and this land, there exists at bottom
a feeling akin to animosity, which is not yet wholly extinguished;
though but the smoldering embers of a once raging fire. My lord, you
may call it poetry if you will, but there are nations in Mardi, that
to others stand in the relation of sons to sires. Thus with Dominora
and Vivenza. And though, its majority attained, Vivenza is now its own
master, yet should it not fail in a reverential respect for its
parent. In man or nation, old age is honorable; and a boy, however
tall, should never take his sire by the beard. And though Dominora did
indeed ill merit Vivenza's esteem, yet by abstaining from
criminations, Vivenza should ever merit its own. And if in time to
come, which Oro forbid, Vivenza must needs go to battle with King
Bello, let Vivenza first cross the old veteran's spear with all
possible courtesy. On the other hand, my lord, King Bello should never
forget, that whatever be glorious in Vivenza, redounds to himself. And
as some gallant old lord proudly measures the brawn and stature of his
son; and joys to view in his noble young lineaments the
likeness of his own; bethinking him, that when at last laid in his
tomb, he will yet survive in the long, strong life of his child, the
worthy inheritor of his valor and renown; even so, should King Bello
regard the generous promise of this young Vivenza of his own lusty
begetting. My lord, behold these two states! Of all nations in the
Archipelago, they alone are one in blood. Dominora is the last and
greatest Anak of Old Times; Vivenza, the foremost and goodliest
stripling of the Present. One is full of the past; the other brims
with the future. Ah! did this sire's old heart but beat to free
thoughts, and back his bold son, all Mardi would go down before them.
And high Oro may have ordained for them a career, little divined by
the mass. Methinks, that as Vivenza will never cause old Bello to weep
for his son; so, Vivenza will not, this many a long year, be called to
weep over the grave of its sire. And though King Bello may yet lay
aside his old-fashioned cocked hat of a crown, and comply with the
plain costume of the times; yet will his, frame remain sturdy as of
yore, and equally grace any habiliments he may don. And those who say,
Dominora is old and worn out, may very possibly err. For if, as a
nation, Dominora be old--her present generation is full as young as
the youths in any land under the sun. Then, Ho! worthy twain! Each
worthy the other, join hands on the instant, and weld them together.
Lo! the past is a prophet. Be the future, its prophecy fulfilled."


Herman Melville