Eugene Field

2 September 1850 - 4 November 1895 / St Louis / Missouri / United States

Bambino (Corsican Lullaby)

Bambino in his cradle slept;
And by his side his grandam grim
Bent down and smiled upon the child,
And sung this lullaby to him,--
This 'ninna and anninia':

'When thou art older, thou shalt mind
To traverse countries far and wide,
And thou shalt go where roses blow
And balmy waters singing glide--
So ninna and anninia!

'And thou shalt wear, trimmed up in points,
A famous jacket edged in red,
And, more than that, a peak├Ęd hat,
All decked in gold, upon thy head--
Ah! ninna and anninia!

'Then shalt thou carry gun and knife,
Nor shall the soldiers bully thee;
Perchance, beset by wrong or debt,
A mighty bandit thou shalt be--
So ninna and anninia!

'No woman yet of our proud race
Lived to her fourteenth year unwed;
The brazen churl that eyed a girl
Bought her the ring or paid his head--
So ninna and anninia!

'But once came spies (I know the thieves!)
And brought disaster to our race;
God heard us when our fifteen men
Were hanged within the market-place--
But ninna and anninia!

'Good men they were, my babe, and true,--
Right worthy fellows all, and strong;
Live thou and be for them and me
Avenger of that deadly wrong--
So ninna and anninia!'
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