Hilaire Belloc

(27 July 1870 – 16 July 1953 / La Celle-Saint-Cloud)

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Tarantella


Do you remember an Inn,
Miranda?
Do you remember an Inn?
And the tedding and the spreading
Of the straw for a bedding,
And the fleas that tease in the High Pyrenees,
And the wine that tasted of tar?
And the cheers and the jeers of the young muleteers
(Under the vine of the dark veranda)?
Do you remember an Inn, Miranda,
Do you remember an Inn?
And the cheers and the jeers of the young muleteers
Who hadn't got a penny,
And who weren't paying any,
And the hammer at the doors and the din?
And the hip! hop! hap!
Of the clap
Of the hands to the swirl and the twirl
Of the girl gone chancing,
Glancing,
Dancing,
Backing and advancing,
Snapping of the clapper to the spin
Out and in--
And the ting, tong, tang of the guitar!
Do you remember an Inn,
Miranda?
Do you remember an Inn?

Never more;
Miranda,
Never more.
Only the high peaks hoar;
And Aragon a torrent at the door.
No sound
In the walls of the halls where falls
The tread
Of the feet of the dead to the ground,
No sound:
But the boom
Of the far waterfall like doom.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002
Edited: Thursday, September 04, 2008

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Read poems about / on: remember, guitar, girl, dark, dance

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  • Arnav Gogoi (8/15/2013 12:11:00 PM)

    Awesome poem...The rhythm of the poem is tantalizing and the words make it good to read and enjoy...You can savour the poem to its full succulence... (Report) Reply

  • Immanuel Santos (8/15/2012 1:21:00 PM)

    And the hip! hop! hap!
    Of the clap
    Of the hands to the swirl and the twirl
    Of the girl gone chancing,
    Glancing,
    Dancing,
    Backing and advancing,
    Snapping of the clapper to the spin
    Out and in-

    beautifully made! 10++ (Report) Reply

  • Carlos Echeverria (8/15/2012 11:11:00 AM)

    How wonderfully, ironically prescient that the words hip! hop! are in this poem-for it has a true funky rhythm. (Report) Reply

  • Bselvey Selvey (7/12/2012 2:20:00 AM)

    I learned this by rote aged 12. I loved it then and love it now. It is so evocative of the flamenco beat and mourns the loss of a friend/dancer. i used to think that it was linked to the Spanish Civil war in some way-but that was only a child's imagination (Report) Reply

  • Ramesh T A (8/15/2011 3:36:00 PM)

    A light weight poem made joyful to read by the play of words is an art only Hilaire Belloc can do better ever! (Report) Reply

  • Adair Cross (2/9/2010 2:07:00 PM)

    I have always believed that this poem was about a girl who was bitten by a tarantula.(Tarentella dance-it was thought that by dancing the spiders venom would wear off) .It has always been a favourite of mine and I won an eisteddfod with it at the precocious age of 10! (Report) Reply

  • Kevin Straw (8/15/2009 5:00:00 AM)

    The poem is full of the the adventuresome joie de vivre of young men on their travels. (Report) Reply

  • Christopher Honey (12/2/2008 6:35:00 AM)

    This is a magnificent poem: it has mystery, rhythm, atmosphere and pace and is the work of a poet who has mastery of the language. The speculation is stimulates - who was or is Miranda? when and why is he recollecting the scene and asking her about it? - are all part of the enjoyment. (Report) Reply

  • Fabian Wayman-hales (6/11/2008 8:06:00 AM)

    I had always understood that Miranda was the DONKEY that accompanied Belloc on his Pilgrimage to Rome - tghough why a donkey should remember the taste of the wine escapes me. One of my favourite poems but one I can never commit to memory [- always missing out lines or getting them in tghe wrong order when I try to declaim them to myself (Report) Reply

  • Gary Witt (1/26/2007 11:09:00 PM)

    In response to Mr. Hoare, below, the answer is 'yes and no.' Yes, the writer is referring to a specific inn, but no, he does not mean to say 'the inn.' In a sense, he is being coy. He wants her to remember a specific inn, perhaps among several at which the two of them stayed. But he does not want to say there was only one. In a sense his coyness is related to the title of the poem, Tarantella, which is technically a circular dance. He is dancing around the real object of his questioning. The irony is, by the time he has finished his own dance he has given so many clues that if she fails to 'get it, ' he is probably talking to the wrong woman. (Report) Reply

  • Alice Collins (10/28/2005 5:33:00 AM)

    I think that this poem is wonderful, I first heard it when I was about 10 and it's been my favourite ever since. It seems to have such an atmosphere about it, very lively and yet also very sad at the end. It has a nice reminiscient feel about it. (Report) Reply

  • Chris Hoare (5/22/2005 11:04:00 AM)

    More of a question: surely the poem should read 'do you remember the Inn, Miranda? '? Isn't the writer, Belloc, is referring to a specific inn, not inns in general. (Report) Reply

Read all 16 comments »

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