May 20, 2023

MAY 20 (2023), singable satire: Steve Goodman sings "The Tourguide Known as VIRGIL" (Inferno, Canto 1b)


ORIGINAL SONG: "The City of New Orleans" Steve Goodman, 1970, as performed by Arlo Guthrie (also covered by Woody Nelson, many others)
ORIGINAL POEM: "Inferno" by Dante Alighieri
PARODY COMPOSED: Giorgio Coniglio, April 2015.
PARODY-SONGLINK: To find ukulele and guitar chord-charts to help you accompany "The Tour-guide Known As Virgil" on your favorite instrument, click HERE.

Virgil and Dante
"The Onlookers"
A-W Bouguereau

"The Thinker" from "The Gates of Hell"
 by Rodin may represent Dante 


(to the tune of "City of New Orleans", Guthrie version)

Morning meet-up, tour to Paradiso
Guide is that poet, Limbo-dwelling Virge 
Credit-card prepaid by Beatrice-oh! 
Helluva trip from everything I’d heard.

Poi che ho posato il corpo lasso 
Ripresi via per la piaggia diserta,
 Il piè fermo sempre era’l più basso
Ed ecco quasi al cominciar de l’erta.

Resting til my body was less weary
Started to climb, with Monday-morning blahs.
Suddenly where the path grew steep and dreary -
Three apparitions that could really make you pause. 

Mi porse tanto di gravezza, perdei speranza de l’altezza 
Mi ripignei dove’l sol tace – la cagione? 
Dinanzi al volto, impedivan mi’ cammino
Una lonza, una lupa, e un leone.

Lost hope of gaining the crest, each effort hiked my level of stress,
So I rolled back into the shadows, gave up tryin’
Cause right before my face, with no chance to leave that place,
Stood a leopard, a she-wolf and a hungry lion. 

Temp’era dal principio del mattino
E’l sol montava ‘n su con queste stelle
Ch’eran con lui quando l’amor divino
Mosse di prima queste cose belle.

Good morning fiendish guard-dogs! How are you? 

The sun is rising on this naïve son, 

Divine love may have set all this in motion

But I’d drive five hundred miles for a trusty gun.

Quando vidi uno in silenzio nel diserto

“Miserere di me” gridai a lui
“Qual che tu sii, ad ombra od omo certo!”
Rispuosemi “Poeta, poeta già fui”

A form appeared, from silence nearly faded 
I cried to him, “Have pity on poor old me,
Whether you’re a real guy or one shaded.” 
He said, “Way back when, I used to write poetry.”

Or sei tu quel Virgilio, nato a Roma sub Iulio,
Quella fonte che parla si largo fiume?
Tu se’l mio autore, vagliami’l grande amore;
De li altri poeti onore e lume.

I asked - Hey, you Roman geezer from the time of Julie Caesar,
Are you the font whose speech creates a river?
We think your rhythm’s really neat, we’re rockin’ to your gentle beat
Your Virgil-rap sets poets’ hearts a-quiver. 

Voglio campar d’esto loco selvaggio
Vedi la bestia per cu’io mi volsi
Aiutami da lei, famoso saggio,
Ch’ella me fa tremar le vene e i polsi.

Can’t wait to wave this crazy wood ‘Good riddance’.
You saw that beast who made me turn and veer,
Please help me famous wise-man with your kindness,
Don’t believe my T-shirt ‘tho it boasts ‘No Fear’

Quest’invidiosa bestia dell’inferno
Non lascia passar per la sua via
Per lo tuo me’ penso e discerno
Che tu mi segui e io saro tua guida.

This hellish beast, you see is quite tenacious
Won’t let anyone get more than halfway home
If you hope to get to Memphis or to Heaven
I’ll guide you there, no charges while you roam. 

Udrai spiriti dolenti e color che son contenti
Perche speran a le beati genti venire.
Se vorrai salire in questa regna, un’anima piu di me degna 
Con lei ti lascerò nel mio partire.

You’ll hear Inferno’s spirits vent, and later those who seem content
While waiting out their stints in Purgatory,
When the Big Guy’s Realm is nearing, this tour-guide is disappearing,
For me no sweet refrain – that’s another story. 

Che tu mi meni là dov’or dicesti
Si ch’io veggia la porta di san Pietro
E color cui tu fai cotanto mesti.
Allor si mosse, e io li tenni dietro.

Hey poet, I will follow where you lead me; 
It’s a good five hundred clicks to Peter’s gate;
To see my Bea, I’ll follow in behind thee.
It’s a heck of a trek, but it should be a heavenly date.  

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