Daily Speculations

The Web Site of Victor Niederhoffer and Laurel Kenner

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"The Art of Slander," Don Basilio's Aria from The Barber of Seville (Gioacchino Rossini, 1815)

Let me teach you the art of slander,
So ethereal you scarcely feel it.
Not a motion will reveal it,
Till it gently, o so gently,
Almost imperceptibly begins to grow.
First a murmur, slowly seeping,
Then a whisper, slowing creeping,
Slyly sneaking, softly sliding,
Faintly humming, smoothly gliding.
Then it suddenly commences,
Coming nearer, reaching people's ears and senses.
First a mere insinuation,
Just a hinted accusation,
Slowly growing to a rumor,
Which will shortly start to flow.
What began as innuendo
Soon is swelling in crescendo;
Gossip turning into scandal,
Stopping nowhere, hard to handle;
Louder, bolder, brazen sounding,
Stomping, beating, thumping, pounding,
Shrieking, banging, booming, clanging,
Spreading horror through the air.
Rising higher, overflowing,
Whipped to fury, madly growing,
Like a stream of lava pouring,
Like a mighty cannon roaring.
A tremendous tempest raking,
A tornado splitting, shaking,
Like the day of judgment breaking,
Pandemonium ev'rywhere!
And the victim, poor accused one,
Wretched, slandered and abused one,
Has to slink away in shame
And wish he never had been born.