Where Was I?

By Sarah Bagby

It's a Fra Lippo Lippi lipogram.  Each numbered set of lines corresponds to
three lines in the Browning poem "Fra Lippo Lippi," rewritten so as to leave
out exactly one letter that appears in the original lines.  The omitted 
letters, arranged in the order indicated by the string of numbers at the end of
the puzzle, give the clue phrase CELLIST YO-YO NEVADA CITY PLUCK = SEA, 
which in turn leads to the sea MA + RENO + STRUM => MARE NOSTRUM.

The original (with deleted originals in italics and rewrites in parentheses)

1. (lines 4-6) C
    What, 'tis past midnight, and you go the rounds,
    And here you catch (TRAP) me at an alley's end
    Where sportive ladies leave their doors ajar?

2. (lines 25-27) E
    He's (THAT'S) Judas to a tittle (BUTTON), that man is!
    Just such a face (FROWN)!  Why, sir, you make amends (ASK PARDON).
    Lord, I'm not angry!

3. (lines 27-29) K
                         Bid your hang-dogs go
    Drink (POUR) out this quarter-florin to the health
    Of the munificent House that harbours me...

4. (lines 64-66) T
                         Down I let (LOWERED) myself,
    Hands and feet (HAND OVER HAND), scrambling somehow, and so dropped,
    And after them (FOLLOWED HARD).

5. (lines 75-77) V
    You snap me of the sudden.  Ah, I see!
    Though your eye twinkles still, you shake your head---
    Mine's shaved (TONSURED)---a monk, you say---the sting's in that!

6. (lines 85-87) O
                         One (A) fine frosty (CHILLY) day,
   My stomach (BELLY) being as empty as your (THAT) hat,
   The wind doubled me up (BATTERED ME) and down I went (I TUMBLED).

7. (lines 97-99) Y
           Brief, they (THE BROTHERS) made a monk of me;
    I did renounce the world, its pride and greed,
    Palace, farm, villa, shop, and banking-house...

8. (lines 136-138) S
    "Nay," quoth the prior, "turn him out, d'ye say (WOULD YOU)?
    In no wise (NO HOW)!  Lose (LET GO) a crow and catch a lark.
    What if at last we get (WE FINALLY HAVE) our man of parts (PRODIGY)..."

9. (lines 166-168) U
    The monks closed in a circle and praised loud (HEARTILY)
    Till checked, taught (TOLD) what to see and not to see,
    Being simple bodies---

10. (lines 199-201) P
      A fine way to paint (LIMN) soul, by painting (DAUBING) body
      So ill, the eye can't stop (REST) there, must go further
      And can't fare worse!

11. (lines 231-233) A
      And yet (YET STILL) the old schooling sticks, the old grave (SEVERE OLD) eyes
      Are (KEEP) peeping over my shoulder as (WHILE) I work,
      The heads shake (BROWS FURROW) still---

12. (lines 270-272) D
      You understand (FOLLOW) me:  I'm a beast, I know.
      But see, now---why, I see as certainly
      As that the morning-star's about to shine...

13. (lines 290-292) N
                          What's it all about?
      To be passed over, despised?  or dwelt upon (MULLED OVER),
      Wondered (MARVELED) at?  oh, this last of course!---you say...

14. (lines 320-322) I
      What need of art at all?  A skull and bones,
      Two bits of stick (SLATS OF WOOD) nailed crosswise (MOUNTED CROSSWAYS), or, what's best,
      A bell to chime the hour with (PEAL UPON THE HOUR), does as well.

15. (lines 364-366) L
      Mazed, motionless (UNMOVING), and moonstruck---I'm the man!
      Back I shrink---what is this I see and hear?
      I, caught up with my monk's-things by mistake...