(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Children's Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "Stories of Boccaccio (The Decameron)"

This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project 
to make the world's books discoverable online. 

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject 
to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books 
are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover. 

Marks, notations and other marginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the 
publisher to a library and finally to you. 

Usage guidelines 

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the 
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing this resource, we have taken steps to 
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying. 

We also ask that you: 

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for 
personal, non-commercial purposes. 

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine 
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the 
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help. 

+ Maintain attribution The Google "watermark" you see on each file is essential for informing people about this project and helping them find 
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it. 

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just 
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other 
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of 
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner 
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe. 

About Google Book Search 

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers 
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web 



at |http : //books . google . com/ 



THE GORDON LESTEk FOftD 

COLLECTION 

FROM EMJLY E F StCtLL 

IN MEMORY OF 

ROSWELL SKfEL.jK 

AND THEIR FOtiR PAKENTS 



u^<-i 




[roswell^emilyefskeel] 




^.^iv^^ 



|,vl^^ 



d^ 



S^' 



1 



^ 



- ,,f^ 






\- 



iK 



^i)"^^ 




\ "A , 



•i ■ : ...1.. • 








GIOVANNI BOCCACCIO 

Author of the 

•DECAMERONE, OR HUNDRED TALES' 

( Commedia Urn ari a ) 









1 N .^^ 



i s U L ■ - 



•. - "1 ' 



f» " ,— - 






I ,:^ f T ' i I ' A 



STORIES 



OP 



U 



BOCCACCIO 

(77ie Decameron) 



WITH ALL THE POEMS (MANY OF WHICH ARE OMITTED IN OTHER 
EDITIONS); AND WITH NOTES TO EACH STORY, GIVING VALU- 
ABLE HISTORICAL DATA AND SHOWING THE INFLUENCE 
OF THE DECAMERON ON THE LITERATURE OF 
EUROPE IN ANCIENT AND MODERN TIMES- 
FORMING, IN MANY INSTANCES, A KEY 
TO THE PERSONAGES OF THE STORY 



INCXUDING ALSO YE MERRY TALE 
Now first done Into Engtish 



JOHN PAYNE 



PRINTED FOR 
THE BIBLIOPHILIST LIBRARY 



i:\ !'■ ;■ '.:;Y 



23r^ 



A. : . .. • . . y:) 

K ì94-d [ 



Copyright, 1903, by Edward Hugele 



PREFACE. 



For the first time the great work which produced so 
marked an effect on the romantic literature of modern 
Europe, is laid before the reader in a garb which at least 
does not misrepresent its original features. 

" There are few works," says Dunlop, in his history of 
Fiction, "which have had an equal influence on literature 
with the Decameron of Boccaccio. Even in England its 
effects were powerful. From it Chaucer adopted the notion 
of the frame in which he has enclosed his tales, and the 
general manner of his stories, while in some instances, as 
we have seen, he has merely versified the novels of the 
Italian. In 1566, William Paynter printed many of Boccac- 
cio's stories in English, in his work called the Palace of 
Pleasure. This first translation contained sixty novels, and 
it was soon followed by another volume, comprehending 
thirty-four additional tales. These are the pages of which 
Shakespeare made so much use. From Burton's Anatomy 
of Melancholy we learn that one of the great amusements 
of our ancestors was reading Boccaccio aloud, an entertain- 
ment of which the effects were speedily visible in the litera- 
ture of the country. The first English translation, however, 
of the whole Decameron, did not appear till 1620. In 
France, Boccaccio found early and illustrious imitators. 
In his own country he brought his native language to 
perfection, and gave stability to a mode of composition 



PREFACE. 

which before his time had only existed in a rude state in 
Italy ; he collected the current tales of the age, which he 
decorated with new circumstances, and delivered in a style 
which has no parallel for elegance, naivete, and grace. 
Hence his popularity was unbounded, and his imitators 
more numerous than those of any author recorded in the 
annals of literature." 

A translation of the Decameron which appeared in 1741, 
has been reproduced in all subsequent editions, with only a 
partial attempt at revision in 1804. The task which was 
then but imperfectly, has now been most carefully, per- 
formed. Every page, almost every line, has undergone 
considerable modifications : large omissions have been sup- 
plied; and brief critical and historical notices have been 
appended to most of the novels. In many instances these 
will be found interesting to the English student, as indicat- 
ing the parentage of some of the choicest portions of our 
early literature, 



CONTENTS. 



Pagb. 
Introduction, i 

FIRST DAY. 

Novel I. — Chappelet imposes upon a holy friar by a sham confes- 
sion, and dies ; and, although a very ivicked fellow, comes " 
afterwards to be reputed a saint, and called St. Chappelet, . . 13 

Novel II. — Abraham the Jew, at the instigation of Jeannot de 
Chivigni, goes to thcT court of Rome, and seeing the wickedness 
of the clergy there, returns to Paris, and becomes a Christian, 22 

Novel III. — Melchizedeck, a Jew, by a story of three rings, escapes 

a most dangerous snare, which Saladin had prepared for him, 26 

Novel rV. — A Monk having committed an offence, for which he 
ought to have been punished, saves himself by wittily proving 
his Abbot guilty of the very same fault, 28 

Novel V. — The Marchioness of Monferrat, by a repast consisting 
of hens, and a wilty reply, cures the King of France of his dis- 
honourable love, 31 

Novel VI. — A plain honest man, by a casual jest, very shrewdly 

reproves the hypocrisy of the clergy, 33 

Novel VII. — Bergamino, by telling a tale of a certain witty person 
named Primasso, very handsomely reproves the avarice which 
had lately appeared in Messer Cane della Scala, 35 

Novel VIII. — Gulielmo Borsiere, by a few smart words, checks the 

miserable covetousness of M. Ermino de' Grimaldi, .... 38 

Novel IX. — The King of Cyprus was so much affected by the 
words of a gentlewoman of Gascogne, that from being a worth- 
less prince he became very virtuous, 40 

Novel X. — Master Albert, of Bologna, puts a lady to the blush, 
who thought to have done as much by him, because she per- 
ceived him to be amorously inclined towards her 41 

SECOND DAY. 

Novel I. — Martellino, feigning to be a cripple, pretends to be cured 
by being laid upon the body of Saint Arrigo ; but hh roguery 
being discovered, he gets soundly beaten, and is afterwards 
apprehended, and in danger of being hanged, but escapes at - 
last, 47 



Il CONTENTS. 

Pack. 
Novel II. — Rinaldo d'Asti having been robbed, comes to Castle 
Guiglielmo, where he is entertained by a widow lady, makes 
good his -loss, and returns safe home 50 

Novel III. — Three young gentlemen squander their fortunes, and 
a nephew of theirs returning home in as desperate a condition, 
falls in company with an Abbot, whom he afterwards finds to 
be the King of England's daughter. She marries him, and 
makes good his uncle's losses, reinstating them in their former 
prosperity, 53 

Novel IV. — Landolfo RufTolo, falling into poverty, became a pirate, 
was taken by the Genoese, and suffered shipwreck, but saved 
himself upon a cask of jewels, was taken out of the sea by a 
woman at Corfu, and afterwards returned home very rich, . . 61 

Novel V. — Andreuccio, of Perugia, coming to Naples to buy horses, 
meets wiih three perilous adventures in one night ; from all 
which he escapes, and returns with a ruby of value, .... 65 

Novel VI. — Madam Beritola was found on an island with two goats, 
having lost her two sons. She went thence to Lunigiana, 
where one of her sons became servant to the lord thereof, and 
being found with his daughter, was sent to prison. After- 
wards, when Sicily rebelled against King Charles, that same 
son was discovered again by his mother, and was married to his 
master's daughter; and his brother being found likewise, they 
both rose again to great estate and credit 75 

Novel VII. — The Sultan of Babylon sends one of his daughters to 
be married to the King of Algarve, but, by divers accidents in 
the space of four years, she falls into the hands of nine differ- 
ent men in different places. At length being restored to her 
father, she goes to the King of Algarve as a maid, and becomes 
his wife, as at first intended, 86 

Novel VIII. — The Count d'Angiers, being falsely accused, is ban- 
ished from France, and leaves his two children in different 
parts of England. Returning afterwards privately out of Ire- 
land, he finds them settled in great repute. Thence he goes 
as a common servant into the King of France's army, and his 
innocence being made public at last, he is restored to his for- 
mer dignity, 103 

Novel IX. — Bernard of Genoa is imposed upon by one Ambrose, 
loses his money, and orders his wife, who is quite innocent, to 
be put to death. She makes her escape, and goes in man's 
dress into the service of the Sultan ; there she meets with the 
deceiver ; and, sending for her husband to Alexandria, has Am- 
brose punished : she then resumes her former habit, and re- 
turns with her husband, in wealth, to Genoa, 114 

Novel X. — Paganino de Monaco carries away the wife of Signor 
Ricciardo di Chinzica, who, understanding where she was, goes 
^thither, and growing acquainted with Paganino, he demands 



CONTENTS. "1 

Pags. 
her back, which the other consents to, provided she is willing : 
she refuses to return ; and upon Ricciardo's death becomes the 
wife of Paganino, 123 

• 
THIRD DAY. 

Novel I. — Masetto da Lamporecchio, pretending to be dumb, is 
taken in to be gardener to a convent of nuns : what happens in 
consequence 133 

Novel II. — An equerry belonging to King A^lulf lay with his 
queen ; of which the king making a secret discovery, set a mark 
upon him, by shearing the hair off his head ; upon which, he 
wnowas so shorn, cut that of his fellow-servants in like manner, 
and so escaped further punishment, 138 

Novel III. — A lady, under pretence of confessing, and a pure con- 
science, being in love with a young gentleman, makes a sanctifitd 
friar bring them together, without his knowing anything of 
her intention, 142 

Novel IV. — A young scholar, named Felix, teaches one Puccio how 
he may be saved, by performing a penance which he shows him : 
this he puts into execution, and in the meantime Felix amuses 
himself with his wife, 149 

Novel V. — Ricciardo, sùmamed the Beau, makes a present of a fine 
horse to Francesco Vergellesi, upon condition that he should 
have the liberty of speaking to his wife ; and she making him 
no reply, he answers for her, which accordingly has its effect, • 152 

Novel VI. — Ricciardo Minutolo is in love with the wife of Philip- 
pello Fighinolfi ; and knowing her to be jealous of her husband, 
makes her believe that the latter was to meet his wife that night 
at a bagnio. Accordingly she goes thither, and, imagining she 
was with her husband ail the time, finds herself at last with 
Ricciardo 156 

Novel VII. — ^Tedaldo, having a misunderstanding with his mistress, 
leaves Florence ; he returns thither afterwards in the habit of a 
pilgrim, and makes himself known to her ; when he convinces 
ner of he^ mistake, and saves her husband from being put to 
death for his murder, for which he had been condemned. He 
then reconciles him to his brethren, and lives upon good terms 
with her for the future, 162 

Novel VIII. — Ferondo, by taking a certain drug, is buried for dead, 
and the abbot, who has an intrigue with his wife, takes him out 
of the grave and puts him into a dungeon, where he is made to 
believe that he is in purgatory. Being raised up again, he rears 
a child as his own, which the abbot had got by his wife, . . . 172 

Novel IX. — Gillette de Narbon ne cures the King of France of a 
complaint, and demands the Count de Roussillon in marriage, 
as her reward ; he marries her against his will, and goes in a 
pet to Florence, where he falls in love with a young lady, and 



IV COKVENTS. 

I'AGK. 

lies with his own wife, thinking himself with his mistress. She 
has two sons by him, and, by that meaivj, matters are accom- 
modated at last between them, 179 

Novel X. — Alibech, a ^oung convert to Christianity, goes into the 
desert of the Thebaid, where Rustico, a pious hermit, teaches 
her how to put the devil in hell, 185 

FOURTH DAY. 

Novel I. — Tancred, Prince of Salerno, puts his daughter's lover to 
death, and sends his heart to her m a golden cup; she pours 
poison upon it, which she drinks, and die's, 193 

Novel II. — Friar Albert makes a woman believe that an angel is in 
love with her, and in that shape deceives her. Afterwards, for 
fear of her relations, he throws himself out of the window, and 
takes shelter in a poor man's house, who exposes him the next 
day in the public market-place, in the form of a wild man, when 
he is discovered by two friars, and put into prison, .... 201 

Novel III. — Three young men fall in love with three sisters, and 
fly with them into Crete. The eldest destroys her lover out of 
jealousy ; and the second by consenting to the Duke of Crete's 
desires, is the means of saving her sister's life : afterwards her 
lover kills her, and goes away with the eldest sister. The third 
couple is charged with her death, which they confess, then 
bribe their keepers, make their escape, and die at Rhodes at 
last in great misery, 208 

Novel IV. — Gerbino, contrary to a treaty made by King William, 
his grandfather, fought with a ship belonging to the King of 
Tunis, with a design to take away his daughter ; who being slain 
by the ship's crew, he slew them likewise, and was afterwards 
beheaded for it 213 

Novel V. — Isabella's brothers put her lover to death ; he appears 
to her in a dream, and shows her where he is buried. She 
privately brings away his head, and, putting it into a pot of 
basil, and other sweet herbs, laments over it every day. At 
length they take it away from her, and she soon after dies of 
grief, 217 

Novel VI. — A young lady, named Andrevuola, is in love with Gabri- 
otto ; they relate to each other their dreams, and he falls down 
dead in her arms. As she and her maid are carrying him out, 
they are apprehended by the officers of justice ; she relates how 
the affair happened, and afterwards, the magistrate would force 
her,. but she resists ; at length her father hears of it, and as 
her innocence is clear, has her set at liberty. From that period 
she grows weary of the world, and becomes a nun, .... 219 

Novel VII. — Pasquino is in love with Simona; and, being in a gar- 
den with her, he happens to rub his teeth with a leaf of sage, 
and immediately di«s. She is brought before the judge, when. 



CONTENTS. V 

pAcr. 
being aesirous of showing him the cause of Pasquino's death, 
she rubs her teeth with the same herb, and meets with a similar 
fate 225 

Novel VIII. — Girolamo is in love with Salvestra, and is obliged by 
his mother to go to Paris ; on his return he finds her married ; 
and getting privately into her house, he breathes his last by her 
side. On his being carried thence to a church to be buried, she 
dies likewise upon his corpse, 227 

Novel IX. — Gulielmo Rossiglione gave his wife to eat the heart of 
Gulielmo Guardastagno, her gallant, whom he had slain ; as 
soon as she knew this, she threw herself out of a window, and, 
dying, was buried along with him, 231 

Novel X. — A doctor's wife puts her gallant into a chest, imagining 
him to be dead, which chest is stolen by two usurers, and car- 
ried home. He comes to himself, and is taken for a thief; 
whilst the lady's maid informs the magistrates that she had 
put him into a chest, which the usurers had carried away, 
upon which he escapes, and they are fined a sum of money, . 234 

FIFTH DAY. 

Novel I. — Cymon becomes wise by being in love, and by force of 
arms wins Iphigenia, his mistress, upon the seas, and is im- 
prisoned at Rh(xles. Being delivered thence by Lysimachus, 
with him he recovers Iphigenia, and flies with her to Crete, 
where he is married to her, and is afterwards recalled home, . 244 

Novel II. — Constantia is in love with Martuccio Gomito ; and 
hearing that he was dead, out of despair goes alone into a 
boat, which is driven by the wind to Susa : finding him alive 
at Tunis, she makes herself known ; whilst he, being a great 
favourite of the king's there, marries her, and returns home 
with her to Lipari, very rich, 252 

Novel III. — Pietro Boccamazza, running away with his mistress, 
is set upon by thieves, whilst the lady makes her escape into a 
forest, whence she is conducted to a castle. He is taken, but 
escapes by some accident, and arrives at the same castle, where 
they are married, and return thence to Rome, 257 

Novel IV. — Ricciardo Manardi is found by Lizio along with his 

daughter, whom he marries, and they become reconciled, . . 262 

Novel V. — Guidotto da Cremona dying, left a daughter to the care 
of Giacomino da Pavia. Giannole di Severino and Minghino 
di M ingole are both in love with her, and fight on her account, 
when she is found to be Giannole's sister, and is married to 
Minghino, 266 

Novel VI. — Gianni di Procida is discovered with a young lady, for- 
merly his mistress, but then given to King Frederick, for 
which he is condemned to be burnt with her at a stake, when 
being known by Ruggieri dell* Oria, he escapes and marries 
her, , 27a 



VI CONTENTS. 

Pace. 
Novel VII. — Teodoro is in love with Violante, his master's daughter; 
she proves with child, for which he is condemned to be hanged : 
when being led out to execution, he is recognised by his father, 
set at liberty, and afterwards marries her 274 

Novel VIII. — Anastasio, being in love with a young lady, spent a 
good part of his fortune without being able to gain her affec- 
tions. At the request of his relations he retires to Chiassi, 
where he sees a lady pursued and slain by a gentleman, and 
then gixien to the dogs to be devoured. He invites his friends, 
alone with his mistress, to come and dine with him, when they 
see the same thing, and she, fearing the like punishment, takes 
him for her husband, 279 

Novel IX. — Federigo being in love, without meeting with any 
return, spends all his substance, having nothing left but one 
poor hawk, which he gives to his lady for her dinner when she 
comes to his house ; she, knowing this, changes her resolution, 
and marries him, by which means he becomes very rich, . . 284 

Novel X. — Pietro di Vinciolo goes to sup at a friend's house ; his 
wife, in the mean time, has her gallant ; Pietro returns, when 
she hides him under a chicken coop. Pietro relates, that a 
young fellow was found in Ercolano's house, where he supped, 
who had been concealed by his wife. Pietro's wife blames very 
much the wife of Ercolano : meanwhile an ass happening to 
tread on the young man's fìngers, who lay hidden, he cries out. 
Pietro runs to see what is the matter, and finds out the trick. 
At length they make it up 288 

SIXTH DAY. 

Novel I. — A certain knight offers a lady to carry her behind him, 
and to tell her a pleasant story by the way ; but, doing it with 
an ill grace, she chose rather to walk on foot, 297 

Novel II. — Cisti, the baker, by a smart reply, makes Signor Ceri 

Spina sensible of an unreasonable request, 298 

Novel III. — Madam Nonna de' Pulci silences the Bishop of Flor- 
ence, by a smart reply to an unseemly piece of raillery, . . . 300 

Novel IV. — Chichibio, cook to Currado Gianfiliazzi, by a sudden 
reply which he makes to his master, turns his wrath into 
laughter, and so escapes the punishment with which he had 
threatened him, 302 

Novel V. — Forese da Rabatta and Giotto the painter, coming from 

Mugello, laugh at the meanness of each other's appearance, . 304 

Novel VI. — Michael Scalza proves to certain young gentlemen, 
that the family of the Baronci is the most honourable of any in 
the world, and wins a supper by it, 305 

Novel VII. — Madam Filippa, being surprised with her gallant by 
her husband, is accused and tried for it, but saves ber'-elf by 
her quick reply, and has the laws moderated for the lutuze, . 30) 



CONTENTS. VII 

Pagb. 

Novel VIII. — Fresco advises his niece, that if she could not endure 
to look at any disagreeable people, she should never behold 
herself, 309 

Novel IX. — Guido Cavalcanti neatly reprimands the folly of some 

Florentine gentlemen, who came unawares upon him, . . . 31a 

Novel X. — Friar Onion promises some country people to show 
them a feather from the wing of the Angel Gabriel, instead of 
which he finds only some coals, which he tells them are the 
same that roasted St. Laurence 312 



SEVENTH DAV. 

Novel I. — Gianni Lotteringhi hears a knocking at his door, and 
wakes his wife, who makes him believe it is a spirit, and they 
both go to conjure it away with a certain prayer, after which 
the noise ceases, 323 

i^ovEL II. — Peronella puts her gallant into a tub on her husband's 
coming home, which tub the husband had sold ; she conse- 
quently tells him that she had also sold it to a person who was 
then in it, to see if it was sound. Upon this the man jumps 
out, makes the husband clean it for him, and carries it home, . 326 

Novel III. — Friar Rinaldo has an affair with a lady in the neigh- 
bourhood, and he makes the husband believe that he is busy 
about a charm to cure their child of the worms, 329 

Novel IV. — Tofano shuts his wife one night out of doors, and 
she, not being able to persuade him to let her in, pretends to 
throw herself into a well, and drops a big stone in ; he runs 
thither in a fright ; she slips into the house, and, locking him 
out, abuses him well, 332 

Novel V. — ^A jealous man confesses his wife under a priest's habit, 
who tells him that she is visited every night by a friar ; and, 
whilst he is watching the door, she lets her lover in at the 
house-top 336 

Novel VI. — Isabella, being in company with her gallant, called 
Leonetto, and being visted at the same time by one Lamber- 
tuccio, her husband returns, when she sends Lambertuccio 
away with a drawn sword in his hand, whilst the husband 
escorts Leonetto safely to his own house, 341 

Novel VII. — ^Lodovico being in love with Beatrice, she sends her 
husband into the garden, disguised like hecself, so that her 
lover may be with her in the mean time; and he afterwards 
goes into the garden and beats the husband 344 

Novel VIII. — A woman who had a very jealous husband, tied a 
thread to her great toe, by which she informed her lover 
whether he should come or not. The husband found it out, 
and whilst he was pursuing the lover, she put her maid in her 
place. He takes her to be his wife, beats her, cuts off her hair, 
and then fetches his wife's relations, who find nothing of what 
he had told them, and load him with reproaches, 34I! 



VI CONTENTS. 

Page. 
Novel VII. — Teodoro is in love with Violante, his master's daughter; 
she proves with child, for which he is condemned to be hanged : 
when being led out to execution, he is recognised by his father, 
set at liberty, and afterwards marries her, 274 

Novel VIII. — Anastasio, being in love with a young lady, spent a 
good part of his fortune without being able to gain her affec- 
tions. At the request of his relations he retires to Chiassi, 
where he sees a lady pursued and slain by a gentleman, and 
then gi^^n to the dogs to be devoured. He invites his friends, 
along with his mistress, to come and dine with him, when they 
see the same thing, and she, fearing the like punishment, takes 
him for her husband 279 

Novel IX. — Federigo being in love, without meeting with any 
return, spends all his substance, having nothing left but one 
poor hawk, which he gives to his lady for her dinner when she 
comes to his house ; she, knowing this, changes her resolution, 
and marries him, by which means he becomes very rich, . . 284 

Novel X. — Pietro di Vinciolo goes to sup at a friend's house ; his 
wife, in the mean time, has her gallant ; Pietro returns, when 
she hides him under a chicken coop. Pietro relates, that a 
young fellow was found in Ercolano's house, where he supped, 
who had been concealed by his wife. Pietro's wife blames very 
much the wife of Ercolano : meanwhile an ass happening to 
tread on the young man's fingers, who lay hidden, he cries out. 
Pietro runs to see what is the matter, and finds out the trick. 
At length they make it up 288 

SIXTH DAY. 

Novel I. — A certain knight offers a lady to carry her behind him, 
and to tell her a pleasant story by the wav ; but, doing it with 
an ill grace, she chose rather to walk on foot, 297 

Novel II. — Cisti, the baker, by a smart reply, makes Signor Ceri 

Spina sensible of an unreasonable request 298 

Novel III. — Madam Nonna de' Pulci silences the Bishop of Flor- 
ence, by a smart reply to an unseemly piece of raillery, . . . 300 

Novel IV. — Chichibio, cook to Currado Gianfiliazzi, by a sudden 
reply whicli he makes to his master, turns his wrath into 
laughter, and so escapes the punishment with which he had 
threatened him 302 

Novel V. — Forese da Rabatta and Giotto the painter, coming from 

Mugello, laugh at the meanness of each other's appearance, . 304 

Novel VI. — Michael Scalza proves to certain young gentlemen, 
that the family of the Baronci is the most honourable of any in 
the world, and wins a supper by it 305 

Novel VII. — Madam Filippa, being surprised with her gallant by 
her husband, is accused and tried for it, but saves bef-elf by 
her quick reply, and has the laws moderated for the lutuie, . 307 



CONTENTS. VII 

Pagr. 

Novel VIII. — Fresco advises his niece, that if she could not endure 
to look at any disagreeable people, she should never behold 
herself, 309 

Novel IX. — Guido Cavalcanti neatly reprimands the folly of some 

Florentine gentlemen, who came unawares upon him, . . . 310 

Novel X. — Friar Onion promises some country people to show 
them a feather from the wing of the Angel Gabriel, instead of 
which he finds only some coals, which he tells them are the 
same that roasted St. Laurence, 312 

SEVENTH DAV. 

Novel I.— Gianni Lotteringhi hears a knocking at his door, and 
wakes his wife, who makes him believe it is a spirit, and they 
both go to conjure it away with a certain prayer, after which 
the noise ceases, 3^3 

^OVEL II.— Peronella puts her gallant into a tub on her husband's 
coming home, which tub the husband had sold ; she conse- 
quently tells him that she had also sold it to a person who was 
then in it, to see if it was sound. Upon this the man jumps 
out, makes the husband clean it for him, and carries it home, . 326 

Novel III.— Friar Rinaldo has an affair with a lady in the neigh- 
bourhood, and he makes the husband believe that he is busy 
about a charm to cure their child of the worms. 329 

Novel IV.— Tofano shuts his wife one night out of doors, and 
she, not being able to persuade him to let her in, pretends to 
throw herself into a well, and drops a big stone in ; he runs 
thither in a fright ; she slips into the house, and, locking him 
out, abuses him well, 33^ 

Novel V. — A jealous man confesses his wife under a priest's habit, 
who tells him that she is visited every night by a friar ; and, 
whilst he is watching the door, she lets her lover in at the 
house-top 336 

Novel VI. — Isabella, bein^ in company with her gallant, called 
Leonetto, and being visted at the same time by one Lamber- 
tuccio, her husband returns, when she sends Lambertuccio 
away with a drawn sword in his hand, whilst the husband 
escorts Leonetto safely to his own house, 341 

Novel VII. — Lodovico being in love with Beatrice, she sends her 
husband into the garden, disguised like hecself, so that her 
lover may be with her in the mean time ; and he afterwards 
goes into the garden and beats the husband, 344 

Novel VIII. — ^A woman who had a very jealous husband, tied a 
thread to her great toe, by which «she informed her lover 
whether he should come or not. The husband found it out, 
and whilst he was pursuing the lover, she put her maid in her 
place. He takes her to be his wife, beats her, cuts off her hair, 
and then fetches his wife's relations, who find nothing of what 
he had told them, and load him with reproaches, 34I! 



vili CONTENTS. 

Pacb. 
Novel IX. — Lydia, the wife of Nicostratus, being in love with 
Pyrrhus, did three things which he had enjoined her, to con- 
vince him of her affection. She afterwards used some famil- 
iarities with him before her husband's face, making him 
believe that what he had seen was not real, 354 

Novel X. — Two inhabitants of Siena love the same woman, one of 
whom was godfather to her son. This man dies, and returns, 
according to his promise, to his friend, and gives him an account 
of what IS done in the other world, 36 

EIGHTH DAY. 

Novel I. — Gulfardo borrows a sum of money of Guasparruolo, in 
order to give it his wife for granting him a favour ; he after- 
wards tells Guasparruolo, in her presence, that he had paid it 
to her, which she acknowledges to be true 366 

Novel II. — The parson of Varlungo receives favours from a 
woman of his parish, and leaves his cloak in pawn. He after- 
wards borrows a mortar of her, which he returns, and demands 
his cloak, which he says he left only as a token. She mutinies, 
but is forced by her husband to send it, 368 

Novel III. — Calandrino, Bruno, and Buffalmacco go to Mugnone, 
to look for the Heliotrope ; and Calandrino returns laden with 
stones, supposing that he has found it. Upon this his wife 
scolds him, and he beats her for it ; and then tells his compan- 
ions what they knew better than himself, 372 

Novel IV. — The provost of the church of Fiesole is in love with a 
lady who has no liking to him, and he, thinking that he is in 
bed with her is all the time with her maid, and her brothers 
bring the bishop thither to witness it, 377 

Novel V. — Three young sparks play a trick with a judge, whilst he 

is sitting upon the bench hearing causes 380 

Novel VI. — Bruno and Buffalmacco steal a pig from Calandrino, 
and make a charm to find out the thief, with pills made of gin- 
ger and some sack ; giving him, at the same time, pills made of 
aloes : thereby they make it appear that he had furtively sold 
the pig, and they make him pay handsomely, for fear they 
should tell his wife, 3^3 

Novel VII. — A certain scholar is in love with a widow lady named 
Helena, who, being enamoured of another person, makes the 
former wait a whole night for her during the midst of winter, 
in the snow. In return, he afterwards contrives that she shall 
stand naked on the top of a tower, in the middle of July, ex- 
posed to the sun and all manner of insects 3^7 

Novel VIII. — Two neighbours are very intimate together, when 
one making verv free with the other's wife, the other finds it 
out, and returns the compliment, whilst the friend is locked up 
in a chest all the time, 4^3 



CONTENTS. IX 

Pagk. 
Novel IX. — Master Simon, the doctor, is imposed upon by Bruno 
and Buffalmacco, and made to believe that he is to be one of 
the company of rovers, and afterwards they leave him in a 
ditch 406 

Novel X. — A certain Sicilian damsel cheats a merchant of all 
the money he had taken for his goods at Palermo. After- 
wards he pretends to return with a greater stock of goods 
than before ; when he contrives to borrow a large sum of money 
of her, leaving sham pledges for her security, 417 



NINTH DAY. 

Novel I. — Madam Francesca having two lovers, and liking neither 
of them, rids herself of both, by making one go and lie down 
in a person's grave, and sending the other to fetch him out, . 427 

Novel II. — An abbess going in haste, and in the dark, to surprise 
one of her nuns, instead of her veil puts on the priest's breeches. 
The lady accused makes a just remark upon this, and so es- 
capes, 431 

Novel III. — Master Simon, the doctor, with Bruno, and the rest, 
make Calandrino believe that he is with child. The patient 
gives them fowls and money, to compound a medicine for 
him, and he recovers without being delivered, 433 

Novel IV. — Fortarrigo played away all that he had at Buoncon- 
vento, as also the money of Angiolieri, who was his master ; 
then running away in his shirt, and pretending that the other 
had robbed him, he caused him to be seized by the country peo- 

{>le, when he put on his clothes, and rode away upon his horse, 
eaving him there in his shirt, 436 

Novel V. — Calandrino is in love with a certain damsel ; Bruno pre- 
pares a charm for her, by virtue of which she follows him, and 
they are found together by his wife, . . . . 439 

Novel VI. — Two young gentlemen lie at an inn, one of whom goes 
to bed to the landlord's daughter ; whilst the wife, by mistake, 
lies with the other. Afterwards, he that had lain with the 
daughter, pets to bed to the father, and tells him all that had 
pas^, thmking it had been his friend: a great uproar is 
made about it ; upon which the wife goes to bed to the daugh- 
ter, and very cunningly sets all to rights again, 444 

Novel VII. — Talano di Molese dreams that a wolf tore his wife's 
face and throat ; and he bids her take care of herself ; she dis- 
regards his advice, and it happens as he had dreamed, • . . 448 

Novel VIII. — Biondello imposes upon one Ciacco with regard to a 
dinner ; who revenges himself afterwards, and causes the other 
to be soundly beaten, 450 

Novel IX. — Two young men go to King Solomon for his advice ; 
the one to know how he is to behave in order to be beloved ; 



X CONTENTS. 

rAor. 
the other how to manage an untoward wife. To the first, Ke 
replies, Love ; to the second. Go to Goosebridge, 452 

Novel X. — Donno Granni undertakes to transform his gossip Pie- 
tro's wife into a mare, at his request ; but when it comes to 
putting on the tail, Pietro cries out, and spoils the whole 
bui>iness, 456 

TENTH DAY. 

Novel I. — A certain knight in the service of the king of Spain 
thinks himself not sufficiently rewarded. The king gives a 
remarkable proof that this was not his fault so much as the 
knight's ill-fortune, and afterwards nobly requites him, . . . 46c 

Novel II. — Ghino di Tacco takes the Abbot of Cligni prisoner, 
cures him of a pain in his stomach, and then sets him at liberty. 
The abbot returns to the court of Rome, and through his 
mediation Ghino is reconciled with Pope Boniface, and made 
prior of a hospital, 463 

Novel III. — Mithridanes envies the generosity of Nathan, and 
goes to kill him, when, conversing with him, but not knowing 
him, and being informed in what manner he may do the deed, 
he goes to meet him in a wood, as Nathan had directed. There 
he recognises him, is ashamed, and becomes his friend, . . 466 

Novel IV. — Signor Gentil de* Carisendi takes a lady out of her 
grave, whom he had loved, and who was buried for dead. She 
recovers, and is brought to bed of a son, which he presents along 
with the lady to her husband, 171 

Novel V. — Dianora recjuires Ansaldo to present her with a garden 
in January as beautiful as in May. He engages a necromancer 
to do it. Her husband, upon this, gives her leave to keep her 
word with Ansaldo, who nearing of her husband's generosity, 
acquits her of her promise, and the necromancer likewise takes 
nothing for his trouble 476 

Novel VI. — King Charles the First, surnamed the Victorious, being 
in love with a young lady, and ashamed afterwards of his folly, 
marries both her and her sister much to their advantage, . . 480 

Novel VII. — King Pietro, knowing that a lady was love-sick for 
him, makes her a visit and marries her to a worthy gentle- 
man ; then, kissing her forehead, calls himself ever afterwards 
her knight 484 

Novel VIII.— Sophronia believing herself to be the wife of Gisip- 
pus, is really married to Titus Quintus Fulvius, who carries her 
to Rome, where Gisippus arrives some time after in great dis- 
tress, and, thinking himself despised by Titus, confesses himself 
guilty of a murder, in order to put an end to his life. Titus 
recollects him, and, to save him, accuses himself, which, when 
the murderer sees, he delivers himself up as the guilty person. 
Finally, they are all set at liberty by Octavius, and Titus marries 
Gisippus to his sister, and gives him half his estate 4^9 



CONTENTS. Xi 

Page. 
riOTSL IX. — Saladin, disgnising himself like a merchant, is gen- 
erously entertained by Signor Torello, who, going upon an ex- 
pedition to the Holy Land, allowed his wife a certain time to 
marry again.* In the mean time he is taken prisoner, and being 
employed to look after the hawks, is recognised by the Soldan, 
who shows him great respect. Afterwards Torello falls sick, 
and is conveyed by magic art, in one night, to Pavia, at the very 
time that his wife was to have been married ; when he makes 
himself known to her, and returns with her home, .... 5C3 

I'OVEL X. — The Marquis of Saluzzo, having been prevailed upon by 
his subjects to marry, in order to please himself in the affair, 
made choice of a countryman's daughter, by whom he had two 
children, which he pretended to put to death. Afterwards, 
seeming as though he was weary of her, and had taken another, 
he had his own daughter brought home, as if he had espoused 
her, whilst his wife was sent away in a most distressed condi- 
tion. At len^h, being convinced of her patience, he brought 
her home agam, presented her children to her. who were now 
of considerable years, and ever afterwards loved and honoured 
her as his lady, 517 



INTRODUCTION. 



TO THE LADIES. 

When I reflect how disposed you are by nature to com- 
passion, I cannot help being apprehensive lest what I now 
offer to your acceptance should seem to have but a harsh and 
offensive beginning; for it presents at the very outset the 
mournful remembrance of that most fata! plague, so terrible 
yet in the memories of us all. But let not this dismay you 
from reading further, as though every page were to cost you 
sighs and tears. Rather let this beginning, disagreeable as it 
is, seem to you but as a rugged and steep mountain placed 
before a delightful valley, which appears more beautiful and 
pleasant, as the way to it was more difficult : for as joy usually 
ends in sorrow, so again the end of sorrow is joy. To this 
short fatigue (I call it short, because contained in few words) 
immediately succeeds the mirth and pleasure I had before 
promised you ; and which, but for that promise, you would 
scarcely expect to find. And in truth could I have brought 
you by any other way than this, I would gladly have done it ; 
but as the occasion of the occurrences, of which I am going 
to treat, could not well be made out without such a relation, 
I am forced to use this Introduction. 

In the year then of our Lord 1348, there happened at 
Florence, the finest city in all Italy, a most terrible plague; 
which, whether owing to the influence of the planets, or that 
it was sent from God as a just punishment for our sins, had 
broken out some years before in the Levant, and after passing 
from place to place, and making incredible havoc all the way, 
had now reached the west. There, spite of all the means 
that art and human foresight could suggest, such as keeping 
the city clear from filth, the exclusion of all suspected per- 
sons, and the publication of copious instructions for the 
preservation of health ; and notwithstanding manifold humble 
supplications offered to God in processions and otherwise; 
it began to show itself in the spring of the aforesaid year, in 

B 



2 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. 

a sad and wonderful manner. Unlike what had been seen 
in the east, where bleeding from the nose is the fatal prog- 
nostic, here there appeared certain tumours in the groin or 
under the arm-pits, some as big as a small apple, others as 
an egg; and afterwards purple spots in most parts of the 
body ; in some cases large and but few in number, in others 
smaller and more numerous — both sorts the usual messengers 
of death. To the cure of this malady, neither medical 
knowledge nor the power of drugs was of any effect ; whether 
because the disease was in its ow.n nature mortal, or that the 
physicians (the number of whom, taking quacks and women 
pretenders into the account, was grown very great) could form 
no just idea of the cause, nor consequently devise a true 
method of cure; whichever was the reason, few escaped; but 
nearly all died the third day from the first appearance of the 
symptoms, some sooner, some later, without any fever or 
accessory symptoms. What gave the more virulence to this 
plague, was that, by being communicated from the sick to 
the hale, it spread daily, like fire when it comes in contact 
with large masses of combustibles. Nor was it caught only 
by conversing with, or coming near the sick, but even by 
touching their clothes, or anything that they had before 
touched. It is wonderful, what I am going to mention ; and 
had I not seen it with my own eyes, and were there not many 
witnesses to attest it besides myself, I should never venture 
to relate it, however worthy it were of belief. Such, I say, 
was the quality of the pestilential matter, as to pass not only 
from man to man, but, what is more strange, it has been often 
known, that anything belonging to the infected, if touched 
by any other creature, would certainly infect, and even kill 
that creature in a short space of time. One instance of this 
kind I took particular notice of: the rags of a poor man just 
dead had been thrown into the street ; two hogs came up, 
and after rooting amongst the rags, and shaking them about 
in their mouths, in less than an hour they both turned round 
and died on the spot. 

These facts, and others of the like sort, occasioned various 
fears and devices amongst those who survived, all tending to 
the same uncharitable and cruel end ; which was, to avoid 
the sick, and every thing that had been near them, expecting 
by that means to save themselves. And some holding it best 
to live temperately, and to avoid excesses of all kinds, made 
parties, and shut themselves up from the rest of the world ; 
eating and drinking moderately of the best, and diverting 



INTRODUCTION. 3 

themselves with music, and suclf other entertainments as they 
might have within doors ; never listening to anything from 
without, to make them uneasy. Others maintained free living 
to be a better preservative, and would baulk no passion or 
appetite they wished to gratify, drinking and revelling inces- 
santly from tavern to tavern, or in private houses (which were 
frequently found deserted by the owners, and therefore com- 
mon to every one), yet strenuously avoiding, with all this 
brutal indulgence, to come near the infected. And such, at 
that time, was the public distress, that the laws, human and 
divine, were no more regarded ; for the officers, to put them 
in force, being either dead, sick, or in want of persons to 
assist them, every one did just as he pleased. A third sort 
of people chose a method between these two : not confining 
themselves to rules of diet like the former, and yet avoiding 
the intemperance of the latter ; but eating and drinking what 
their appetites required, they walked everywhere with odours 
and nosegays to smell to ; as holding it best to corroborate 
the brain : for the whole atmosphere seemed to them tainted 
with the stench of dead bodies, arising partly from the dis- 
temper itself, and partly from the fermenting of the medicines 
within them. Others with less humanity, but perchance, as 
they supposed, with more security from danger, decided that 
the only remedy for the pestilence was to avoid it : persuaded, 
therefore, of this, and taking care for themselves only, men 
and women in great numbers left the city, their houses, 
relations, and effects, and fled into the country : as if the 
wrath of God had been restrained to visit those only within 
the walls of the city ; or else concluding, that none ought to 
stay in a place thus doomed to destruction. 

Thus divided as they were in their views, neither did all 
die, nor all escape ; but falling sick indifferently, as well those 
of one as of another opinion ; they who first set the example 
by forsaking others, now languished themselves without pity. 
I pass over the little regard that citizens and relations showed 
to each other ; for their terror was such, that a brother even 
fled from his brother, a wife from her husband, and, what is 
more uncommon, a parent from his own child. Hence num- 
bers that fell sick could have no help but what the charity 
of friends, who were very few, or the avarice of servants 
supplied; and even these were scactce and at extravagant 
wages, and so little used to the business that they were fit 
only to reach what was called for, and observe when their 
employer died ; and this desire of getting money often cost 



4 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. 

them their lives. From this desertion of friends, and scarcity 
of servants, an unheard-of custom prevailed ; no lady, how- 
ever young or handsome, would scruple to be attended by a 
man-servant, whether young or old it mattered not, and to 
expose herself naked to him, the necessity of the distemper 
requiring it, as though it was to a woman ; which might 
maie those who recovered, less modest for the time to come. 
And many lost their lives, who might have escaped, had they 
been looked after at all. So that, between the scarcity of 
servants, and the violence of the distemper, such numbers 
were continually dying, as made it terrible to hear as well as 
to behold. Whence, from mere necessity, many customs 
were introduced different from what had been before known 
in the city. 

It had been usual, as it now is, for the women who were 
friends and neighbours to the deceased, to meet together at 
his house, and to lament with his relations ; at the same time 
the men would get together at the door, with a number of 
clergy, according to the person's circumstances; and the 
corpse was carried by people of his own rank, with the 
solemnity of tapers and singing, to that church where the 
deceased had desired to be buried. This custom was now 
laid aside, and, so far from having a crowd of women to lament 
over them, great numbers passed out of the world without a 
witness. Few were they who had the tears of their friends 
at their departure ; those friends were laughing and making 
themselves merry the while ; for even the women had learned 
to postpone every other concern to that of their own lives. 
Nor was a corpse attended by more *han ten or a dozen, nor 
those citizens of credit, but fellows hired for the purpose ; 
who would put themselves under the bier, and carry it with 
all possible haste to the nearest church ; and the corpse was 
interred, without any great ceremony, where they could find 
room. With regard to the lower sort, and many of a mid- 
dling rank, the scene was still more affecting ; for they staying 
at home either through poverty or hopes of succour in distress, 
fell sick daily by thousands, and, having nobody to attend 
them, generally died : some breathed their last in the streets, 
and others shut up in their own houses, where the stench 
that came from them made the first discovery of their deaths 
to the neighbourhood. And, indeed, every place was filled 
with the dead. Hence it became a general practice, as well 
out of regard 'to the living as pity for the dead, for the 
neighbours, assisted by what porters they could meet with, 



INTRODUCTION. 5 

to clear all the houses, and lay the bodies at the doors ; and 
every morning great numbers might be seen brought out in 
this manner, to be carried away on biers, or tables, two or 
three at a time ; and sometimes it has happened that a wife 
and her husband, two or three brothers, and a father and 
son, have been laid on together. It has been observed also, 
whilst two or three priests have walked before a corpse with 
their crucifix, that two or three sets of porters have fallen in 
with them; and where they knew but of one dead body, 
they have buried six, eight, or more : nor was there any to 
follow, and shed a few tears over them ; for things were come 
to that pass, that men's lives were no more regarded than the 
lives of so many beasts. Thus it plainly appeared, that what 
the wisest in the ordinary course of things, and by a com- 
mon train of calamities, could never be taught, namely, to 
bear them patiently, this, by the excess of calamity, was now 
grown a familiar lesson to the most simple and unthinking. 
The consecrated ground no longer containing the numbers 
which were continually brought thither, especially as they 
were desirous of laying every one in the parts allotted to 
their families, they were forced to dig trenches, and to put 
them in by hundreds, piling them up in rows, as goods are 
stored in a ship, and throwing in a little earth till they were 
filled to the top. 

Not to dwell upon every particular of our misery, I shall 
observe, that it fared no better with the adjacent country; for, 
to omit the different boroughs about us, which presented the 
same view in miniature with the city, you might see the poor 
distressed labourers, with their families, without either the 
aid of physicians, or help of servants, languishing on the 
highways, in the fields, and in their own houses, and dying 
rather like cattle than human creatures. The consequence 
was that, growing dissolute in their manners like the citizens, 
and careless of everything, as supposing every day to be 
their last, their thoughts were not so much employed how to 
improve, as how to use their substance for their present sup- 
port. The oxen, asses, sheep, goats, swine, and the dogs 
themselves, ever faithful to their masters, being driven from 
their own homes, were left to roam at will about the fields, 
and among the standing com, which no one cared to gather, 
or even to reap ; and many times, after they had filled them- 
selves in the day, the animals would return of their own 
accord like rational creatures at night. 

What can I say more, if I return to the city? unless that 



6 DECAMERON or BOCCACCIO. 

such was the cruelty of Heaven, and perhaps of men, thai 
between March and July following, according to authentic 
reckonings, upwards of a hundred thousand souls perished 
in the city only ; whereas, before that calamity, it was not 
supposed to have contained so many inhabitants. What 
magnificent dwellings, what noble palaces were then depopu- 
lated to the last inhabitant I what families became extinct ! 
what riches and vast possessions were left, and no known 
heir to inherit them! what numbers of both sexes, in the 
prime and vigour of youih, whom in the morning neither 
Galen, Hippocrates, nor iEsculapius himself, would have 
denied to be in perfect health, breakfasted in the morning 
with their living friends, and supped at night with their 
departed friends in the other world ! 

But I am weary of recounting our late miseries ; therefore, 
passing by everything that I can well omit, I proceed to say, 
that the city being left almost without inhabitants, it hap- 
pened one Tuesday morning, as I was informed by persons 
of good credit, that seven ladies, all in deep mourning, as 
most proper for that time, had been attending Divine 
service in the church of Santa Maria Novella, where they 
formed the whole congregation. The youngest of these 
ladies was in age not less than eighteen, the eldest did not 
exceed twenty-eight ; they were all relations or near friends ; 
all discreet, nobly descended, and perfectly accomplished, 
both in person and behaviour. I do not mention their 
names, lest any of them should be put to the blush by some- 
thing herein after related of them ; for the limits of allowed 
disport are much narrower in our day than they were in those 
times, when, for the reasons already mentioned, they were 
very ample indeed, not only for persons of their age, but for 
those of much maturer years. Neither would I give a handle 
to ill-natured persons, who carp at everything that is praise- 
worthy, to detract in any way from the modesty of these 
worshipful ladies by injurious reflections. But that I may 
relate all that occurred without confusion, I shall affix names 
to every one, bearing some resemblance to the quality of the 
person. The eldest, then, I call Pampinea, the next to her 
Fiammetta, the third Filomena, the fourth Emilia, the fifth 
Lauretta, the sixth Neifile, and the youngest Eliza. These 
seven being got together, by chance rather than any appoint- 
ment, into the comer of the church, and there seated in a ring, 
after a while left off sighing and saying their paternosters, 
and began to converse concerning the nature of the times. 



INTRODUCTION. 7 

This continued for some time, and presently Pampinea thus 
began : 

" My dear girls, you have often heard, as well as I, that 
we do no wrong to any one, when we only make an honest 
use of our own reason : now reason tells us, that we are to 
preserve our lives by all possible means : and, in some cases, 
at the expense of the lives of others. If then the laws, 
which regard the good of the community, allow this, may 
not we much rather (and all that mean honestly as we do), 
without giving offence to any, use the means now in our 
power for our own preservation ? Every moment, when I 
think of what has passed to-day, and every day, I perceive, 
as you may also, that we are all in pain for ourselves. Nor 
do I wonder at this ; but much rather, as we are women, do 
I wonder that none of us should look out for a remedy, when 
we have so much reason to be afraid. We stay here for no 
other purpose, that I can see, but to observe what numbers 
come to be buried, or to listen if the monks, who are now 
reduced to a very few, sing their services at the proper times ; 
or else to show by our habits the greatness of our distress. 
And if we go hence, it is either to see multitudes of the dead 
and sick carried along the streets ; or persons who have been 
outlawed for their villanies, now facing it out publicly, in 
safe defiance of the laws ; or the scum of the city, enriched 
with the public calamity, and insulting us with ribald ballads. 
Nor is anything now talked of, but that such a one is dead, 
or dying; and, were any left to mourn, we should hear 
nothing but lamentations Or if we go home — I know not 
whether it fares with you as with myself — when I find out of 
a numerous family not one left, besides a maid-servant, I am 
frightened out of my senses ; and go where I will, the ghosts 
of the departed seem always before me ; not like the persons 
whilst they were living, but assuming a ghastly and dreadful 
aspect Therefore the case is the same, whether we stay 
here, depart hence, or go home ; especially as there are few 
left but ourselves who are able to go, and have a place to go 
to. Those few too, I am told, fall into all sorts of debauch- 
ery; and even cloistered ladies, supposing themselves en- 
titled to equal liberties with others, are as bad as the worst. 
Now if this be so (as you see plainly it is), what do we here ? 
What are we dreaming of? Why are we less regardful of 
our lives than other people of theirs ? Are we of less value 
to ourselves, or are our souls and bodies more firmly united, 
and so in less danger of dissolution? It is monstrous to 



S DECAMERON OP BOCCACCIO. 

think in such a manner ; so many of both sexes dying -a* 
this distemper in the very prime of their youth afford as 
an undeniable argument to the contrary. Wherefore, lest 
through our own wilfulness or neglect, this calamity, which 
might have been prevented, should befall us, I should think 
it best (and I hope you will join with me) for us to quit the 
town, and avoiding, as we would death itself, the bad ex- 
ample of others, to choose some place of retirement, of which 
every one of us has more than one, where we may make our- 
selves innocently merry, without offering the least violence 
to the dictates of reason and our own consciences. There 
will our ears be entertained with the warbling of the birds, 
and our eyes with the verdure of the hills and valleys; with 
the waving of cornfields like the sea itself; with trees of a 
thousand different kinds, and a more open and serene sky ; 
which, however overcast, yet affords a far more agreeable 
prospect than these desolate walls. The air also is pleas- 
anter, and there is greater plenty of everything, attended 
with few inconveniences: for, though people die there as 
well as here, yet we shall have fewer such objects before us, 
as the inhabitants are less in number ; and on the other part, 
if I judge right, we desert nobody, but are rather ourselves 
forsaken. For all our friends, either by death, or endeavour- 
ing to avoid it, have left us, as if we in no way belonged to 
them. As no blame then can ensue from following this 
advice, and perhaps sickness and death from not doing so, 
I would have us take our maids, and everything we may be 
supposed to want, and enjoy all the diversions which the 
season will permit, to-day in one place, to-morrow in another ; 
and so continue to do, unless death should interpose, until 
we see what end Providence designs for these things. And* 
of this too let me remind you, that our characters will stand 
as fair by our going away reputably, as those of others will 
do who stay at home with discredit." 

The ladies having heard what Pampinea had to offer, not 
only approved of it, but had actually began to concert meas- 
ures for their instant departure, when Filomena, who was a 
most discreet person, remarked : " Though Pampinea has 
spoken well, yet there is no occasion to run headlong into 
the affair, as you are about to do. We are but women, nor is 
any of us so ignorant as not to know how little able we shall be 
to conduct such an affair, without some man to help us. We 
are naturally fickle, obstinate, suspicious, and fearful; and I 
doubt much, unless we take somebody into our scheme to 



INTRODUCTION. $ 

manage it for us, lest it soon be at an end ; and perhaps, little 
to our reputation. Let us provide against this, therefore, 
before we begin." 

Eliza then replied : " It is true, man is our sex's chief or 
head, and without his management, it seldom happens that 
any undertaking of ours succeeds well. But how are these 
men to be come at ? We all know that the greater part of 
our male acquaintance are dead, and the rest all dispersed 
abroad, avoiding what we seek to avoid, and without our 
knowing where to find them. To take strangers with us, 
would not be altogether so proper : for, whilst we have regard 
to our health, we should so contrive matters, that, wherever 
we go to repose and divert ourselves, no scandal may ensue 
from it." 

Whilst this matter was in debate, behold, three gentlemen 
came into the church, the youngest not less than twenty-five 
years of age, and in whom neither the adversity of the times, 
the loss of relations and friends, nor even fear for themselves, 
could stifle, or indeed cool, the passion of love. One was 
called Pamfilo, the second Filostrato, and the third Dioneo, 
all of them well bred, and pleasant companions ; and who, 
to divert themselves in this time of affliction, were then in 
pursiiit of their mistresses, who as it chanced were three of 
these seven ladies, the other four being all related to one or 
other of them. These gentlemen were no sooner within view, 
than the ladies had immediately their eyes upon them, and 
Pampinea said, with a smile, *' See, fortune is with us, and has 
thrown in out way three prudent and worthy gentlemen, who 
will conduct and wait upon us, if we think fit to accept of 
their service." Neifile, with a blush, because she was one 
that had an admirer, answered : " Take care what you say, I 
know them all indeed to be persons of character, and fit to be 
trusted, even in affairs of more consequence, and in better 
company; but, as some of them are enamoured of certain 
ladies here, I am only concerned lest we be* drawn into some 
scrape or scandal, without either our fault or theirs." Filo- 
mena replied : " Never tell me what other people may think, 
so long as I know myself to be virtuous ; God and the truth 
will be my defence ; and if they be willing to go, we will say 
with Pampinea, that fortune is with us." 

The rest hearing her speak in this manner, gave consent 
that the gentlemen should be invited to partake in this ex- 
pedition. And, without more words, Pampinea, who was 
related to one of the three, rose up, and made towards them, 



IO DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. 

as they stood watching at a distance. Then, after a cheerful 
salutation, she acquainted them with the design in hand, and 
entreated that they would, out of pure friendship, oblige them 
with their company. The gentlemen at first took it all for a 
jest, but, being assured to the contrary, immediately answered 
that they were ready ; and, to lose no time, gave the necessary 
orders for what they wished to have done. Everything being 
thus prepared, and a messenger dispatched before, whither 
they intended to go, the next morning, which was Wednesday, 
by break of day, the ladies, with some of their women, and 
the gentlemen, with every one his servant, set out from the 
city, and, after they had travelled two short miles, came to 
the place appointed. 

It was a little eminence, remote from any great road, 
covered with trees and shrubs of an agreeable verdure ; and 
on the top was a stately palace^ with a grand and beautiful 
court in the middle : within were galleries, and fine apart- 
ments elegantly fitted up, and adorned with most curious 
paintings ; around it were fine meadows, and most delightful 
gardens, with fountains of the purest and best water. The 
vaults also were stored with the richest wines, suited rather 
to the taste of copious topers, than of modest and virtuous 
ladies. This palace they found cleared out, and everything 
set in order for their reception, with the rooms all graced with 
the flowers of the season, to their great satisfaction. The 
party being seated, Dioneo, who was the pleasantest of them 
all, and full of words, began ' " Your wisdom it is, ladies, 
rather than any foresight of ours, which has brought us hither. 
I know not how you have disposed of your cares; as for 
mine, I left them all behind me when I came from home. 
Either prepare, then, to be as merry as myself (I mean with 
decency), or give me leave to go back again, and resume my 
cares where I left them." Pampinea made answer, as if she 
had disposed of hers in like manner : " You say right, sir, 
we will be merry ; we fled from our troubles for no other 
reason. But, as extremes are never likely to last, I, who first 
proposed the means by which such an agreeable company is 
now met together, being desirous to make our mirth of some 
continuance, do find there is a necessity for our appointing a 
principal, whom we shall honour and obey in all things as 
our head ; and whose province it shall be to regulate our 
diversions. And that every one may make trial of the 
burthen which attends care, as well as the pleasure which 
there is in superiority, nor therefore envy what he has not 



INTRODUCTION. IX 

yet tried, I hold it best that every one should experience 
both the trouble and the honour for one day. The first, I 
propose, shall be elected by us all, and on the approach of 
evening, shall name a person to succeed for the following 
day: and each one, during the time of his or her govern- 
ment, shall give orders concerning the place where, and the 
manner how, we are to live," 

These words were received with the highest satisfaction, 
and the speaker was, with one consent, appointed president 
for the first day : whilst Filomena, running to a laurel-tree 
(for she had often heard how much that tree has always been 
esteemed, and what honour was conferred on those who were 
deservedly crowned with it), made a garland, and put it upon 
Pampinea's head. That garland, whilst the company con- 
tinued together, was ever after to be the ensign of sovereignty. 

Pampinea, being thus elected queen, enjoined silence, and 
having summoned to her presence the gentlemen's servants, 
and their own women, who were four in number : " To give 
you the first example," said she, "how, by proceeding from 
good to better, we may live orderly and pleasantly, and con- 
tinue together, without the least reproach, as long as we 
please, in the first place I declare Parmeno, Dioneo's serv- 
ant, master of my household, and to him I commit the care 
of my family, and everything relating to my hall. Sirisco, 
Pamfilo's servant, I appoint my treasurer, and to be under 
the direction of Parmeno ; and Tindaro I command to wait 
on Filostrato and the other two gentlemen, whilst their serv- 
ants are thus employed. Mysia, my woman, and Licisca, 
Filomena's, I order into the kitchen, there to get ready what 
shall be provided by Parmeno. To Lauretta's Chimera, and 
Fiammetta's Stratilia, I give the care of the ladies' chambers, 
and to keep the room clean where we sit. And I will and 
command you all, on pain of my displeasure, that wherever 
you go, or whatever you hear and see, you bring no news 
here but what is good." These orders were approved by all; 
and the queen, rising from her seat, with a good deal of gaiety, 
added: "Here are gardens and meadows, where you may 
divert yourselves till nine o'clock, when I shall expect you 
back, that we may dine in the cool of the day." 

The company were now at liberty, and the gentlemen and 
ladies took a pleasant walk in the garden, talking over a 
thousand merry things by the way, and diverting themselves 
by singing love songs, and weaving garlands of flowers. 
Returning at the time appointed, they found Parmeno busy in 



12 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. 

the execution of his office : for in a saloon below was the table 
set forth, covered with the neatest linen, with glasses reflect- 
ing a lustre like silver : and water having been presented to 
them to wash their hands, by the queen's order, Parmeno 
desired them to sit down. The dishes were now served up 
in the most elegant manner, and the best wines brought in, the 
servants waiting all the time with the most profound silence ; 
and being well pleased with their entertainment, they dined 
with all the facetiousness and mirth imaginable. When 
dinner was over, as they could all dance, and some both play 
and sing well, the queen ordered in the musical instruments. 
Dioneo took a lute, and Fiammetta a viol, in obedience to the 
royal command ; a dance was struck up, and the queen, with 
the rest of the company, took an agreeable turn or two, whilst 
the servants were sent to dinner ; and when the dance was 
ended, they began to sing, and continued till the queen thought 
it time to break up. Her permission being given, the gentle- 
men retired to their chambers, remote from the ladies* lodg- 
ing rooms, and the ladies did the same, and undressed 
themselves for bed. 

It was little more than three, when the queen rose, and 
ordered all to be called, alleging that much sleep in the day- 
time was unwholesome. Then they went into a meadow of 
deep grass, where the sun had little power ; and having the 
benefit of a pleasant breeze, they sat down in a circle, as the 
queen had commanded, and she addressed them in this 
manner : — " As the sun is high, and the heat excessive, and 
nothing is to be heard but the chirping of the cicalas among 
the olives, it would be madness for us to think of moving 
yet: this is an airy place, and here are chess-boards and 
back-gammon tables to divert yourselves with; but if you 
will be ruled by me, you will not play at all, since it often 
makes the one party uneasy, without any great pleasure to 
the other, or to the lookers-on ; but let us begin and tell 
stories, and in this manner one person will entertain the whole 
company ; and by the time it has gone round, the worst part 
of the day will be over, and then we can divert ourselves as 
we like best. If this be agreeable to you, then (for I wait to 
know your pleasure) let us begin ; if not, you are at your own 
disposal till the evening." This motion being approved by 
all, the queen continued, " Let every one for this first day 
take what subject he fancies most :" and turning to Pamfilo, 
who sat on her right hand, she bade him begin. He readily 
obeyed, and spoke to this effect, so as to be distinctly heard 
by the whole company. 



NOVEL I. J THE FIRST DAY. I3 



THE FIRST DAY. 

NOVEL I. 

Chappclet imposes upon a holy friar by a sham confession, and dies ; and, 
alihough a very wicked fellow, comes afterwards to be reputed a saint, 
and cadled St. Chappelet. 

It is most meet and right, dear ladies, that everything we 
do should be begun in the name of Him who is the Maker of 
all things. Therefore, as I am to entertain you first, I shall 
relate an instance of his marvellous ways, which may direct 
us to place all our hopes in him, as the only unchangeable 
being, and evermore to praise him. Certain it is, that all 
earthly things are transitory and mortal ; attended with great 
troubles, and subject to infinite dangers ; which we who live 
embroiled with them, and are even part of them, could neither 
endure, nor find a remedy for, were it not for the especial 
grace of God that enables us, — a blessing which we are not to 
expect through our own merits, but his goodness, and the 
intercession of those saints, who, having been once mortal men 
like ourselves, and done his will whilst on earth, now enjoy 
happiness and immortality in heaven. To them, as to fit 
agents, informed of our frailties by their own experience, we, 
not daring, perhaps, immediately to address ourselves to so 
great a Judge, offer up our prayers for what we want. And 
we find his mercy the greater, forasmuch as, not being able 
to pry into the secrets of his Divine will, we may sometimes 
make choice of a mediator before him, who is banished 
eternally from his presence : and yet he from whom nothing 
is hidden, having regard to the purity of the supplicant, rather 
than to his ignorance, or the situation of the person to whom 
he applies himself, hears those who pray in this manner, as if 
that mediator were really a saint. All this will most plainly 
appear from the following story ; I say most plainly, not with 
reference to the judgment of God, but of man. 

There lived in France a person named Musciat ; who, from 
a wealthy merchant became a courtier, and went into Tuscany 
with Charles, sumamed Lackland, brother to the King of 
France, who was instigated to that expedition by Pope 
Boniface. This gentleman, finding his affairs in a very com- 
plicated state, as is usual with persons in trade, and being 
moreover unable to adjust them himself, without a good deal 



14 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [noVEL L 

of time and trouble, resolved to employ several agents for their 
arrangement. By this means he settled everything to his 
mind, excepting some debts which were outstanding from 
persons in Burgundy. The reason was, he had found them 
to be a set of perverse, ill-conditioned, rascally fellows, and hq 
could not for his life conceive where a man might be met with 
bad enough to match them. After much thinking about it, 
he at last called to mind one Ciappelletto da Prato, who used 
to come much to his house at Paris; and he being a little 
pragmatical fellow, the French, pot knowing the meaning of 
his true name, which was Capperello, but thinking him to 
have been called Cappello, gave him the diminutive name of 
Ciappelletto, or Chappelet, that is, ** garland," by which he 
was generally known there. 

Now the character cf the man was this : being by trade a 
scrivener, he was really ashamed if any writings of his (he 
did not draw many indeed) were found without some fault 
or flaw ; and would do that sort of work for nothing, with 
more pleasure than a just thing that he was to be well paid 
for. He was glad at all times of being a false witness, whether 
it was required of him or not ; and, as great regard was had 
to an oath in France, he, who made no scruple to forswear 
himself on every occasion, was sure of every cause that 
depended on his single testimony. To foment quarrels and 
disputes was his utmost pleasure, especially amongst friends 
or relations; and the more mischief he occasioned, the 
greater was his satisfaction. Was a man to be dispatched at 
any time, he was the person to undertake it, and would do 
it with his own hands. He was a great blasphemer of God 
and his saints, swearing and cursing on every occasion. He 
went to church at no time, but spoke always of the holy 
sacraments in the same abominable terms as he would do of 
the vilest things in the world ; on the other hand, he was 
eternally at taverns, and places of bad repute. Of women 
he was as fond as a dog is of a stick ; but to unnatural vice, 
no wretch so abandoned as himself. He would pilfer and steal 
with as much conscience as others give to charity. He was 
a glutton and drunkard, to the ruin of his constitution. He 
was also a most notorious gamester ; making use always of 
false dice. And, to sum up his character in few words, 

Eerhaps his equal in wickedness has not yet been born. Yet, 
ad as he was, he had all along been screened by the favour 
and interest of Musciat, as well from the resentment of private 
persons, whom he had often injured, as from that of the 
court, to which he gave daily provocation, 



NOVEL I.] THE FIRST DAY. 15 

This man came into Musciat's thoughts at last, who being 
no stranger to every part of his life, concluded him to be 
such a one as the tempers of the people he had to deal with 
required. Sending for him, therefore, he addressed him thus: 
** Master Chappelet, you know that I am about to leave this 
country, and as I have affairs to settle with some people 
of Burgundy, who are full of quirks and deceit, I do not 
know any one that I can employ so fit to manage them as 
yourself; you have a good deal of spare time, and if you 
will undertake it, I will procure you recommendatory letters 
from court, and allow you a reasonable part of what you 
recover." Chappelet, who found himself much embarrassed 
in the world, and likely to be more so when his great friend 
was gone, without hesitating at all about it, answered that he 
was willing. They agreed upon terms ; Musciat gave him a 
deputation, procured him letters he had promised, and he 
set out for Burgundy, where, being quite a stranger, he en- 
»!eavoured, contrary to his former manner, to do the business 
he came about by fair means, reserving a different behaviour 
to the last. He lodged with two brothers, who were usurers. 
They entertained him well on Musciat's account, and on his 
falling sick there, they had physicians to see him, and servants 
to attend him ; nor was anything omitted that could be of 
service, but all in vain ; for this worthy good man, who was 
advanced in years, and had been also an irregular liver, 
grew worse and worse in the judgment of the physicians; so 
that he was looked upon as a dead man; at which the 
brothers were greatly concerned. 

One day, being near the chamber where he lay, they began 
to have some talk together about him : " What shall we do 
with this fellow ?" said one to the other ; " we have a fine 
affair upon our hands, on his account. For to turn him out 
in this condition would afford matter for reproach, and also 
be a proof of our want of understanding ; the people seeing 
us receive him before into our house, and supply him with 
physic, and all things necessary ; and now seeing us turn him 
out whilst he is dying, without his having been able to do any- 
thing that we ought to be offended at. On the other hand, 
he has been such a vile fellow always, that he will never be 
brought to confess, and to receive the sacraments of the 
Church ; and should he die without them, no church will 
receive his body ; but he most be put into the ground like a 
dog. Or should he confess, his sins will appear so enormous, 
that the like were never known ; nor can any priest be found 



l6 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. f NOVEL L 

that will give him absolution, and without that he must still 
be thrown into a ditch : and should this happen, the people 
>f this country, who think ours an iniquitous trade, and are 
daily reviling us, would be apt to raise a mutiny, and declare 
publicly that they will no longer bear with these Lombards, 
these extortioning villains, whom the Church disdains to 
receive into her bosom. They will make that a pretence to 
plunder us of all we are worth, and abuse our persons into 
the bargain ; so that it will be bad for us on all sides, should 
this man die." 

Chappelet, who, as we have said, lay not far off, heard all 
this, for sick people are often quick of hearing, and calling 
them to him, said : " I would have you be in no doubt or 
fear of harm to yourselves on my account ; I have heard 
what you have been talking about, and am confident the 
thing would happen as you say, were everything to be as you 
suppose ; but I will take care that it shall happen otherwise. 
I have been guilty of so much wickedness in my lifetime, 
that to add one sin at my death, will not make the sum 
much greater : therefore send for the most able and pious 
priest you know of, if a pious one can be found, and I will 
take such care of your affairs, as well as of my own, that you 
shall have reason to be satisfied." The brothers expected 
no great matters from this ; they went however to a convent, 
and desired that some learned and holy person would come 
and take the confession of a Lombard, who was sick in their 
house. Accordingly, a venerable old friar, of great sanctity 
and learning, and much reverenced by the whole city, was 
ordered to go with them, who on coming into the room, 
seated himself by the sick man's bedside, and began, after 
some heavenly consolations, to inquire of him, how long it 
was since he had last confessed. Chappelet, who had never 
confessed in his whole life, replied : 

" Holy father, it has been usual with me always to confess 
once a week at least, and sometimes oftener ; but it is true, 
since I have been sick, my affliction has been such, that I 
have not confessed at all." 

" That is well, my son," said the friar, " thus you should 
always do ; and I perceive as you have confessed so often, 
that I shall have but little trouble, either in hearing or asking 
you questions." 

"Good father, do not say so," cried Chappelet: "I have 
never so often confessed, but that I would always mention 
every sin that I could recollect from the hour I was bom. 



NOVEL I.] THE FIRST DAY. 1 7 

Therefore I beg you will examine me as particularly,*as if I 
had never confessed at all ; and do not regard my languish- 
ing condition ; for I had much rather do what may disoblige 
the flesh, than, by consulting the ease of my body, bring 
damnation on my soul, which my Saviour has purchased 
with his most precious blood." 

The good old man was ravished with these expressions, 
esteeming them proofs of a well-disposed mind ; and having 
commended his piety, he asked him whether he had ever 
offended God by the knowledge of women. Chappelet, 
fetching a deep sigh, replied : *' I am ashamed to speak the 
truth, lest I should be thought to offend by vain-glory." — 
" Speak out boldly," said the priest, '* for there can be no 
harm in telling truth, whether at confession or any other 
time." — "Since you make me easy on that score," quoth 
Chappelet, " I will speak out. I am as pure, in that respect, 
as when I first came into the world." 

"God bless my son," said the friar, "you have done well; 
and this is so much the more meritorious, as you have liber- 
ties far beyond us, of doing otherwise; but," he added, 
" were you never given to'gluttony ?" Chappelet answered 
with a groan, '** Yes, very often ; for besides fasting in Lent, 
as all devout persons do, I have accustomed myself to live 
three days in a week, at least, on bread and water ; and I 
have drunk the water sometimes, especially if I have been 
fatigued with praying, òr performing a pilgrimage, with as 
much pleasure as drunkards drink wine ; and sometimes I 
have wished for salads, and have eaten my bread with more 
pleasure than a person ought, who fasts out of devotion." 

" My son," replied the friar, " these are very natural and 
trivial' errors, and I would not have you burthen your con- 
science more than is necessary : all men, be they ever so 
holy, eat with a good appetite after fasting, and drink with 
pleasure when they have been fatigued." 

" Do not tell me these things to comfort me only," said 
Chappelet ; " you know I cannot be ignor^jmt, that whatever 
relates to the service of God, should be done sincerely, and 
with a ^;ood will, otherwise we are guilty of sin." — "I am 
well satisfied," returned the friar, "in your being of that 
opinion, and much approve the purity of your conscience : 
but tell me, have you not been guilty of the sin of covetous- 
nesSy desiring more than was fit, or detaining what was not 
your due?" 

" I would not have you think so," said Chappelet, "because 



l8 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. f^OVEL J. 

you see me in the house with these usurers : I have no con- 
cern with them, but came purely to persuade them to leave 
off that abominable way of living; and I believe I might have 
prevailed, had it not pleased God to visit me in this manner. 
My father left me a plentiful fortune, and I immediately dis- 
posed of the greater part of it to religious uses ; and betook 
myself to trade for a maintenance, and to have it in my 
power to relieve the poor in Christ : I cannot say, indeed, 
that I have not been desirous of gain ; but I always gave half 
to the poor, and kept the other part for my own necessary 
occasions ; and God has so far blessed me, that my affairs 
have always prospered.*' 

" You have done well," said the confessor, " but have you 
not been often transported with anger and passion ? " " Very 
often truly ! " answered the penitent, " but who can forbear, 
seeing the common degeneracy of mankind, who are every 
day breaking the commandments of God, and are not kept 
in awe by his judgements ? . I could rather choose to be out 
of the world, than to see youth run after vanity, swear and . 
forswear, haunt taverns, neglect going to church, and follow 
the ways of the world before those of God." 

" My son," said the friar, " passion here is commendable ; 
nor shall I enjoin you any penance for it : but have you been 
transported by rage at no time, to murder, or use indecent 
expressions, or to do any other injury ? " 

"Alas, sir!" answered Chappelet, "how can you, who 
appear to be so good a man, mention any such thing ! Do 
you believe, had I ever entertained such thoughts, that God 
would have suffered me to live ? these are the actions of rob- 
bers and villains, whom I never look upon without offering 
up a prayer to God for their conversion." 

" God bless you again, my dear child," said the good old 
man : " but have you never borne false witness against, or 
spoken ill of another, or taken away that from him which 
properly belonged to him ? " 

" Yes, reverend,.father," answered he, " I must needs con- 
fess I have spoken ill of another, for I had once a neighbour, 
who used to beat his wife without cause ; and I gave him a 
bad character to her parents ; so much did I pity the poor 
woman, who was always ill treated by him, as often as he got 
drunk." 

" But," said the friar, " you tell me you have been a mer- 
chant, did you never cheat any person, as is common for 
them to do ? " 



NOVEL I.] THE FIRST DAY. 1 9 

"Yes, in good truth, sir," he replied, "but I know only of 
one person, who, having brought the money for a piece of 
cloth which I had sold him, I put it into a bag without 
counting it, and at the month's end, when I came to tell it 
over, I found fourpence too much ; but as I was not able to 
find the owner again, after keeping it a year, I gave it to the 
poor." 

"This is a mere trifle," said the friar, "and you did well 
to dispose of it in that manner." He then put some other 
questions, which Chappelet answered as he had done the 
rest ; and just as he was proceeding to absolution, Chappelet 
cried out, " There is another thing hangs upon me, which I 
have not confessed." The priest inquired what it was; and 
he answered, " I remember once making my maid clean the 
house on a holiday ; and I have not showed that regard for 
the Lord's day which I ought." " Oh ! " said the friar, " that 
is a small matter, my son." " Do not call it so, dear father," 
quoth the other, " Sunday is a day much to be reverenced, 
being the day on which our Lord rose from the dead." 

" Well," said the priest, " is there anything more ?" 

" Yes," answered he, " I remember, once in my life, to 
have spat in the house of God." The friar smiled, and said, 
" My son, that is not to be regarded ; we ourselves spit there 
every day." "And you are much to blame for it," returned 
he, " for nothing should be kept so clean as the temple of 
God, where we offer sacrifice." In short, he told him many 
more things of that kind, and at last, as he could weep when 
he pleased, he fell groaning and sobbing, as though he would 
burst his very heart. " My son, what is the matter ? " said 
the friar. " Alas, sir ! " he answered : " there is one sin left 
behind, which I could never endure to confess, the shame to 
mention it is so great, and as often as I recollect it I lament 
in the manner you now see ; nay I am convinced that God 
will never forgive it." 

" Go, go, my son," quoth the friar, " what is that you say ? 
I tell you, that if all the wickedness that ever was committed 
by man, or can be committed whilst the world endures, was 
to be amassed in one person, if that person was thoroughly 
penitent, as I see you are, so great is God's mercy, that upon 
confession, it would all be forgiven him ; tell me then what 
it is." 

"Alas! father," said Chappelet, shedding abundance of 
tears, " my sin is so heinous, that I despair altogether of par- 
don, unless you assist me, and move God by your prayers." 



20 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL 1 

" Speak out, then," said the friar, "and I promise to inter- 
cede for you." Chappelet still kept weeping, and would say 
nothing ; the priest exhorting him all the while to clear his 
conscience. At last, after the penitent had held his confessor 
some time in suspense, he fetched a deep sigh, and said : 
" Since you have promised to pray for me, I will disclose it, 
you must know then, that when I was a child, I once cursed 
my mother;" and here he began to lament afresh in a most 
grievous manner. 

" My good son," said the friar, " does this seem so great a 
sin ? men are cursing God every day, yet he pardons them 
upon repentance ; and do you think you shall never be for- 
given ? weep not : but let this be your comfort, that though 
you had even a hand in nailing Christ upon the cross, yet 
would that sin be forgiven on such a repentance as yours." 

" What do you say ? " quoth Chappelet ; " what ! to curse 
my dearest mother, who bore me day and night in her womb 
for nine months, and suckled me many hundreds of times at 
her breast ! No, the sin is so great, that I must inevitably 
perish, unless your prayers prevent it." 

The friar finding he had no more to say, absolved and gave 
him his benediction ; and, supposing that he had spoken truth 
all the while, thought him the most pious man living. And, 
indeed, who could think otherwise, having it all from a dying 
man ? He afterwards said to him, " Master Chappelet, by 
God's assistance you will soon recover; but if it should 
please the Almighty to take your blessed and well-disposed 
soul unto himself, will you give leave for your body to be 
buried in our convent ? " 

" I would have it laid nowhere else," he answered, " both 
because you have promised to pray for me, and as I have 
always had a great regard for your order ; therefore, when 
you go home I beg you will take care, that the real body of 
our Lord, which was consecrated at your altar this morning, 
may be brought to me ; for, unworthy as I am, I intend, with 
your leave, to receive it, and after that extreme unction ; so 
that though I have been a great sinner all my life, I may die 
at least like a Christian." The holy man was much pleased, 
told him that he said well, and promised that it should be 
brought that day ; and so it was. 

The brothers being a little suspicious that he intended to 
impose upon them, had posted themselves behind a partition 
of the room, where they heard all that passed ; insomuch 
that they could scarcely refrain from laughing; and said one 



NOVEL I.] THE FIRST DAY. 21 

to another, " What a strange fellow this is ! whom neither age, 
sickness, fear of death, which is at hand, nor of God, at 
whose tribunal he must shortly appear, is sufficient to deter 
from his wicked courses, or to prevent his dying as he has 
always lived ! " But as he had obtained burial in the church 
by that means, they cared no farther. 

Chappelet then received the sacrament, and growing worse 
and worse had extreme unction, and died the evening that 
he had made this extraordinary confession. The brothers 
took immediate care that he should be honourably interred, 
and sent forthwith to the convent to desire they would come, 
as was usual, and perform vigils and matins for the deceased : 
and the friar, to whom he had confessed, went upon this 
notice to the prior, and had a chapter called, when he in- 
formed them how holy a person Chappelet was, as he could 
easily perceive by his confession: and hoping that God 
would work many miracles by him, he urged them to receive 
his body with all due reverence and devotion. To this the 
prior and the credulous brotherhood all consented, and that 
night they came in a body to the place where the corpse lay, 
and sang the great and solemn vigils ; and in the morning 
they all went for the body in their hoods and surplices, with 
books in their hands, and the cross carried before them, 
singing all the way. They brought it with the utmost 
solemnity to their church, being followed by the whole city ; 
and having set it down there, the good confessor mounted a 
pulpit, and told them wonderful things concerning the life 
of the deceased, his fastings, charity, simplicity, innocence, 
and sanctity; speaking more particularly of that great crime, 
which he had confessed with so much concern, as scarcely 
to be persuaded that God would forgive him. Thence he 
took occasion to reprove his audience, exclaiming : " Yet 
you, wicked as you are, make no scruple to curse God, the 
holy mother of God, and all the host of heaven, for the least 
trifle." He flourished" much concerning his truth and purity ; 
and worked so far upon them by his discourse, to which all 
yielded an implicit faith, that when the service was ended 
they pressed forward to kiss the hands and feet of the de- 
ceased; and the funeral clothes were immediately rent to 
pieces, every one thinking himself happy who could get a 
single rag. All that day he was kept, so that every one 
might see and visit him ; and at night he was most honourably 
interred in a marble sepulchre. On the following day there 
was a great procession of devout persons, to worship at his 



22 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL It 

shrine with lighted tapers, and to offer the waxen images 
which they had vowed. And such was the fame of his sanc- 
tity, and people's devotion towards him, that nobody in time 
of trouble would apply to any other saint but him, calling 
him St. Chappelet, and affirming, that God had wrought 
many miracles by him, and still continued to work them for 
such as recommended themselves devoutly to him. 

Thus lived and died master Capperello da Prato, and 
became a saint, as you have heard, of whom I will not pro- 
nounce it impossible that he may be happy ; for though his 
whole life could not be worse, it is not impossible, but, before 
the hour of his death, he might be such a penitent, that God 
should have mercy on him, and receive him into his king- 
dom. But as this we know nothing of, we have much more 
reason, from what appears, to conclude that he is more 
probably in the hands of the devil in purgatory, than 
amongst the angels in Paradise. And if it be so, great is 
God's mercy towards us ; who, not regarding our errors, but 
the purity of our intention, whenever we make choice of an 
improper mediator, hears us as well as if we had applied to 
one truly a saint. And therefore, that this grace may pre- 
serve us in our present calamity, and in this cheerful and 
agreeable society, let us praise his name, as we first began ; 
recommending ourselves to him in time of need, with a full 
assurance of being always heard. 



NOVEL II. 

Abraham the Jew, at the instigation of Jeannot de Chivigni, goes to the 
court of Rome, and seeing the wickedness of the clergy there returns to 
Paris, and becomes a Chnstian. 

Some parts of Pamfilo's story made them laugh heartily, 
and the whole was much commended by the ladies, who had 
been very attentive ; and, as it was now ended, the queen 
ordered Neiphile, in the next seat to her, to go on in the 
manner prescribed. That lady, being as affable in behaviour 
as her person was beautiful, very cheerfully complied, and 
began in this manner : 

Pamfilo has showed us, in his novel, the great goodness of 
God in not regarding any errors of ours, which proceed from 
the blindness and imperfection of our nature. I intend to 



KOVEL II.j THE FIRST l>Ay. 23 

set forth in mine, how the same goodness of God displays 
itself in the most plain and evident manner, by bearing with 
the vices of those persons, who, though bound to give testi- 
mony concerning it, both in their words and actions yet do 
the reverse — a truth by which we may be taught more stead- 
ily to persevere in what we believe. 

At Paris there lived, as I have been told, a great merchant, 
and worthy man called J eanno t de Chi vigni, a dealer in silk, 
and an intimate friend to a certain rich Jew, whose name was 
Abraham, a merchant also, and a very honest man. Jeannot, 
being no stranger to Abraham's good and upright intentions, 
was greatly troubled that the soul of so wise and well-mean- 
ing a person should perish through his unbelief. He began, 
therefore, in the most friendly manner, to entreat him to 
renounce the errors of Judaism, and embrace the truth of 
Christianity, which he might plainly see flourishing more and 
more, and as being the most wise and holy institution, gain- 
ing ground, whereas the religion of the Jews was dwindling 
to nothing. Abraham answered, that he esteemed no religion 
like his own ; he was bom in it, and in it he intended to live 
and die ; nor could anything make him alter his resolution. 
All this did not hinder Jeannot from beginning the same 
arguments over again in a few days, and setting forth, in as 
awkward a manner as a merchant must be supposed to do, for 
what reasons our religion ought to be preferred ; and though 
the Jew was well read in their law, yet, whether it was his 
regard to the man, or that Jeannot had the spirit of God 
upon his tongue, he began to be greatly pleased with his 
arguments; but continued obstinate, nevertheless, in his own 
creed, and would not suffer himself to be converted. Jean- 
not, on the other hand, was no less persevering in his earnest 
solicitations, insonmch that the Jew was overcome by them 
at last, and said: " Look you, Jeannot, you are very desirous 
I should become a Christian, and I am so much disposed to 
do as you would have me, that I intend in the first place to 
go to Rome, to see him whom you call God's vicar on earth, 
and to consider his ways a little, and those- of his brother 
cardinals. If they appear to me in such a light that I may 
be able to comprehend by them, and by what you have said, 
that your religion is better than mine, as you would persuade 
me, I will then become a Christian ; otherwise I will con- 
tinue a Jew as I am." 

When Jeannot heard this he was much troubled, and said 
to himself: " I have lost all my labour, which I thought well 



24 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVKL IL 

bestowed, expecting to have converted this man ; for should 
he go to Rome, and see the wickedness of the clergy there, 
so far from turning Christian, were he one already, he would 
certainly again become a Jew." Then addressing Abraham, 
he said : " Nay, my friend, why should you be at the great 
trouble and expense of such a journey ? Not to mention the 
dangers, both by sea and land, to which so rich a person as 
yourself must be exposed, do you think to find nobody here 
that can baptize you ? Or if you have any doubts and scru- 
ples, where will you meet with abler men than are here to 
clear them up for you, and to answer such questions as you 
shall put to them ? You may take it for granted that the 
prelates yonder are like those you see in France, only so 
much the better as they are nearer to the principal pastor. 
Then let me advise you to spare yourself the trouble of this 
journey, until such time as you may want some pardon or 
indulgence, and then I may probably bear you company." 

"I believe it is as you say," replied the Jew; "but the 
long and the short of the matter is, that I am fully resolved, 
if you would have me do what you have so much solicited, 
to go thither ; else I will in no wise comply." 

Jeannot seeing him determined, said, " God be with you ! ' 
and, supposing that he would never be a Christian after he 
had seen Rome, gave him over for lost. The Jew took horse, 
and made the best of his way to Rome, where he was most 
honourably received by his brethren, the Jews ; and, without 
saying a word of what he was come about, he began to look 
narrowly into the manner of living of the pope, the cardinals, 
and other prelates, and of the whole court ; and, from what 
he himself perceived, being a person of keen observation, 
and from what he gathered from others, he found that, from 
the highest to the lowest, they were given to all sorts of 
lewdness, without the least shame or remorse ; so that the 
only way to obtain anything considerable was, by applying 
to prostitutes of every description. He observed, also, that 
they were generally drunkards and gluttons, and, like brutes, 
more solicitous about ^eir bellies than anything else. In- 
quiring farther, he found them all such lovers of money, that 
they would not only buy and sell man's blood in general, but 
even the blood of Christians, and sacred things, of what kind 
soever, whether benefices, or pertaining to the altar; that 
they drove as great a trade in this way, as there is in selling 
cloth and other commodities at Paris ; that to palpable 
simony they had given the plausible name of procuration. 



NOVEL nj THE FIRST DAY. 2$ 

and debaucheries they called supporting the body ; as if God 
had been totally unacquainted with their wicked intentions, 
and, like men, was to be imposed upon by the names of 
things. These and other things which I shall pass over, 
gave great offence to the Jew, who was a sober and modest 
person ; and now thinking he had seen enough, he returned 
home. 

As soon as Jeannot heard of his arrival he went to see him, 
thinking of nothing so little as of his conversion. They 
received one another with a great deal of pleasure ; and in 
a day or two, after the traveller had recovered from his fatigue, 
Jeannot began to inquire of him what he thought of the holy 
father, the cardinals, and the rest of the court ? The Jew 
immediately answered: "To me it seems as if God was 
much kinder to them than they deserve ; for, if I may be 
allowed to judge, I must be bold to tell you, that I have 
neither seen sanctity, devotion, or anything good in the clergy 
of Rome ; but, on the contrary, luxury, avarice, gluttony, 
and worse than these, if worse things can be, are so much in 
fashion with all sorts of people, that I should rather esteem 
the court of Rome to be a forge, if you allow the expression, 
for diabolical operations than things divine ; and, for what I 
can perceive^ your pastor, and consequently the rest, strive 
with their whole might and skill to overthrow the Christian 
religion, and to drive it from off the face of the earth, even 
where they ought to be its chief succour and support. But 
as I do not see this come to pass, which they so earnestly aim 
at; on the contrary, that your religion gains strength, and 
becomes every day more glorious ; I plainly perceive that it 
is upheld by the Spirit of God, as the most true and holy of 
all. For which reason, though I continued obstinate to your 
exhortations, nor would suffer myself to be converted by 
them, now I declare to you, that I will no longer defer being 
made a Christian. Let us go then to the church, and do you 
take care that I be baptized according to the manner of your 
holy faith." 

Jeannot, who expected a quite different conclusion, was the 
most overjoyed man that could be ; and taking his friend to 
our Lady's church at Paris, he requested the priests there to 
baptize him, which was done forthwith. Jeannot being his 
sponsor, gave him the name of John, and afterwards took care 
to have him well instructed in our faith, in which he made 



20 DECAl^EROl^ OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL lit 

a speedy proficiency, and became, in time, a good and holy 
man. 

[This story is related as having really happened, by Benvenuto dk 
Imola, in his ' Commentary on Dante/ which was written in 1376» but 
none of which was ever printed, except a few passages quoted by Muratori 
in his Italian Antiquities.] 



NOVEL III. 

Melchizedeck, a Jew, by a story of three rings, escapes a most danger- 
ous snare, which Ssdadin had prepared for him. 

This novel having been universally applauded, Filomena 
thus began : — Neiphile's story put me in mind of a ticklish 
case that befell a certain Jew ; for as enough has been said 
concerning God and the truth of our religion, it will not be 
amiss if we descend to the actions of men. I proceed, there- 
fore, to the relation of a thing, which may make you more 
cautious for the time to come, in answering questions that 
shall be put to you. For you must know, that as a man's 
folly often brings him down from the most exalted state of 
life to the greatest misery, so shall his good sense secure him 
in the midst of the utmost danger, and procure him a safe 
and honourable repose. There are many instances of people 
being brought to misery by their own folly, but these I 
choose to omit, as they happen daily ; what I purpose to 
exemplify, in the following short novel, is the great cause 
for comfort to be found in the possession of a good 
understanding. 

Saladin was so brave and great a man, that he had raised 
himself from an inconsiderable station, to be Suhan of 
Babylon, and had gained many victories over both Turkish 
and Christian princes. This monarch, having in divers wars, 
and by many extraordinary expenses, run through all his 
treasure, some urgent occasion fell out that he wanted a 
large sum of money. Not knowing which way he might 
raise enough to answer his necessities, he at last called to 
mind a rich Jew of Alexandria, named Melchizedeck, who 
let out money at interest. Him he believed to have where- 
withal to serve him ; but then he was so covetous, that he 
would never do it willingly, and Saladin was loath to force him. 
But as necessity has no law, after much thinking which way 
the matter might best be effected, he at last resolved to use 
force under some colour of reason. He therefore sent for 



KOVEL III.] THE FIRST 1>AV. ^7 

the Jew, received him in a most gracious manner, and mak- 
ing him sit down, thus addressed him: "Worthy man, I 
hear from divers persons that thou art very wise and knowing 
in religious matters ; wherefore I would gladly know from 
thee which religion thou judgest to be the true one, viz., the 
Jewish, the Mahometan, or the Christian ?*' The Jew (truly 
a wise man) found that Saladin had a mind to trap him, and 
must gain his point should he exalt any one of the three 
religions above the others ; after considering, therefore, for 
a little how best to avoid the snare, his ingenuity at last 
supplied him with the following answer : 

" The question which your Highness has proposed is very 
curious; and, that I may give you my sentiments, I must 
beg leave to tell a short story. I remember often to have 
heard of a great and rich man, who among his most rare and 
precious jewels, had a ring of exceeding beauty and value. 
Being proud of possessing a thing of such worth, and desir- 
ous that it should continue for ever in his family, he declared, 
by will, that to whichsoever of his sons he should give this 
ring, him he designed for his heir, and that he should be 
respected as the head of the family. That son to whom the 
ring was given, made the same law with respect to his 
descendants, and the ring passed from one to another in 
long succession, till it came to a person who had three sons, 
all virtuous and dutiful to their father, and all equally be- 
loved by him. Now the young men knowing what depended 
upon the ring, and ambitious of superiority, began to entreat 
their father, who was now grown old, every one for himself, 
that he would give the ring to him. The good man, equally 
fond of all, was at a loss which to prefer ; and, as he had 
promised all, and wished to satisfy all, he privately got an 
artist to make two other rings, which were so like the first, 
that he himself scarcely knew the true one. When he found 
his end approaching, he secretly gave one ring to each of 
his sons ; and they, after his death, all claimed the honour 
and estate, each disputing with his brothers, and producing 
his ring; and the rings were found so much alike, that the 
true one could not be distinguished. To law then they went, 
as to which should succeed, nor is that question yet decided. 
And thus it has happened, my Lord, with regard to the three 
laws given by God the Father, concerning which you pro- 
posed your question : every one believes he is the true heir 
of God, has his law, and obeys his commandments; but 
which is in the right is uncertain, in like manner as with the 
rings." 



28 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL IV. 

Saladin perceived that the Jew had very cleverly escaped 
the net which was spread for him : he therefore resolved to 
discover his necessity to him, and see if he would lend him 
money, telling him at the same time what he had designed 
to do, had not that discreet answer prevented him. The 
Jew freely supplied the monarch with what he wanted ; and 
Saladin afterwards paid him back in full, made him large 
presents, besides maintaining him nobly at his court, and 
was his friend as long as he lived. 

[This novel probably originated in some rabbinical tradition. We 
are told, in the ' Menagiana,* that some persons believed that Boccaccio's 
story of the rings gave rise to the report concerning the book *De 
Tribus Impostoribus/ about which there has been so much controversy. 
Boccaccio*s novel furnished the foundation for the plot of Nathan the Wise, 
the masterpiece of Lessing, the greater founder of the German drama.] 



NOVEL IV. 

A Monk having committed an offence, for which he ought to have been 
punished, saves himself by wittily proving his Abbot guilty of the very 
same fault. 

Thus ended Filomena, when Dioneo, who sat next to her 
(without waiting the queen's order, as knowing that he was 
to follow in course), spoke as follows : 

If I understand you right, ladies, we are assembled here 
to amuse ourselves by telling stories : whilst nothing, then, 
is done contrary to this intention, I suppose every one has 
liberty to relate what he thinks will be most entertaining : 
therefore, having heard how, by the pious admonitions of 
Jeannot de Chivigni, Abraham the Jew w^as advised to his 
soul's salvation ; and also how Melchizedeck, by his good 
sense, saved his wealth from the designs of Saladin ; I shall 
without fear of reproof, show, in a few words, how cunningly 
a monk saved his bones from the punishment intended him. 

There was once, in the territories of Lunigiana, a monas- 
tery, better stored both with monks and religion than many 
are now-a-days ; and among its inmates was a young monk, 
whose lusty vigour neither fasting nor praying could mortify. 
Now it chanced one day, about noon, whilst his brethren 
were all asleep, that taking a walk about their church, which 
stood in a lonesome place, he cast his eye upon a good look- 
ing wench, some labourer's daughter apparently, who was 



THE ABBOT'S PARTICIPATION 
FIRST DAY ^ ^ ^ NOVEL IV 




NOVEL IV.] THE FIRST DAV. 29 

gathering herbs in the fields. Assailed at the first glance 
by carnal concupiscence, he went up and accosted her, and 
talked to such purpose that she agreed to go to his cell with 
him, before anybody was stirring abroad to see them. But 
whilst they were diverting themselves together, with more 
eagerness than caution, it happened that the abbot woke up, 
and hearing, as he passed the cell, the noise made by the 
pair within, he laid his ear to the door to listen, and plainly 
distinguished a woman's voice. At first he was inclined to 
command that the door should be opened; but on second 
thoughts he returned to his chamber to wait till the monk 
should come out. 

The latter, meanwhile, though highly delighted with his 
companion, could not help being a little suspicious of a dis- 
covery ; and fancying that he heard footsteps at the door, he 
peeped through a crevice, saw the abbot standing to listen, 
and knew that he was detected, and should be soundly pun- 
ished. This caused him extreme uneasiness ; yet, without 
showing anything of it to the girl, he set his wits to work to 
contrive how he might get clear of the affair, and at last hit 
on a stratagem which succeeded to his heart's desire. Pre- 
tending that he could stay no longer — " I must go," he said 
to the girl, " and will contrive a way to get you off without 
being seen ; lie still, then, till I return." — He then locked the 
door after him, carried the key to the abbot, as is usual with 
the brethren when they go out of doors; and, putting a 
good face on the matter, — " My Lord," he said, " I could not 
get all my wood home this morning, and if you please, I will 
go now and fetch the remainder." The abbot, readily infer- 
ring that the young monk was unconscious of having been 
detected, was glad to have such an opportunity to make a 
more perfect discovery ; accordingly he took the key, and 
gave the required leave. No sooner was the other departed, 
than he began to consider what he had best do in this case ; 
whether to open the door in presence of all the monks, that 
so, the offence being known to all, they could have no room 
to murmur when he proceeded to punishment : or, whether 
he should not rather inquire of the damsel herself, how she 
had been brought thither. Supposing, also, that she might 
be the wife or daughter of some one whom he would not 
have disgraced in that public manner, he thought it best to 
see first who she was, and then come to some resolution. So 
stepping very softly to the cell, he went in, and locked the 
door after him. 



30 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. fNOVEL iV. 

The girl, on seeing him, was in great confusion, and fell a 
weeping; whilst our abbot, finding her to be young and hand- 
some, was seized (old as he was) with the same desires as the 
young monk had been, and began to reason thus with himself: 
" Why should I not take a little pleasure when I may have it? 
for of plague and trouble I know enough every day. She is 
handsome, and nobody can ever know it. If I can persuade 
her, I see no reason why I should not. Who will ever be the 
wiser? nobody ; and a sin concealed is half forgiven. Such 
another chance may never fall in my way, and I hold it best 
to take what heaven sends whilst I can have it." Upon this, 
his original purpose being quite changed, he drew nearer to 
the girl, and began to comfort her, desiring her not to weep. 
Making some farther advances, he acquainted her, at last, 
with his intention; and she, who was made neither of flint 
nor steel, readily allowed the abbot to have his will. So after 
hugging and kissing her, his lordship lay down first on the 
monk's bed — by way of encouraging her no doubt, and in 
tender consideration for her youth, lest she should be over- \ 

whelmed by the weight of his dignity — and then he gently 
drew her down over him. 

The monk, meanwhile, who under pretence of going to the 
wood, had concealed himself in the dormitory, on seeing the 
abbot go alone to his chamber, began to have great hopes of 
the success of his scheme ; but felt certain of it when he saw 
his lordship lock the door behind him. Then coming out 
cautiously from his hiding place, he heard and saw through a 
chink in the door all that passed between them. 

At last, the abbot, after he had stayed as long as he 
thought fit, came out, locked the door again, and returned to 
his chamber ; and supposing the monk to be now come from 
the wood, he resolved to reprimand and imprison him, so that 
his lordship might have the girl all to himself. He sent, 
therefore, for the culprit, gave him a severe rebuke, and 
ordered him to prison. The monk answered, very readily, — 
" My lord abbot, I have not been so long of the Benedictine 
order, as to be yet acquainted with its rules in every particu- 
lar : your lordship instructed me well in the observance of 
fasts and vigils ; but never told me ^^at monks ought to yield 
the pre-eminence to women, and humble themselves beneath 
them. However, as you have so lately set me an example, I 
promise, if you will forgive me, to follow it, and always to do 
in future as T have seen you do." The abbot being quick 
of apprehension, found the monk knew more than he ex- 



( 



NOVEL V.j THE FIRST DAY. 31 

pected ; and being ashamed to punish him for a crime of 
which himself was known to be guilty, he pardoned him on 
condition of his silence. They then had the girl conveyed 
privately out of the monastery, and the story goes that they 
afterwards found means many a time to have her in again. 



NOVEL V. 

The Marchioness of Monferrato by a repast consisting of hens, and a 
witty reply, cures the King of France of his dishonourable love. - 

Dioneo *s story at first put all the ladies to the blush ; but 
looking at each other as he went on, they could hardly keep 
from bursting out laughing. They refrained, however, and 
when he had done, they intimated to hiip, with a gentle 
reprimand, that such tales should not be told in the presence 
of ladies. The queen then nodded to Fiametta, who sat 
next, to take her turn, which she did most cheerfully as fol- 
lows : — It is no little joy to me, to find the force of smart and 
witty replies so well set forth in what has already passed 
among us. Now, as it is accounted a mark of good sense in 
men, to aim at ladies of superior quality to themselves ; so 
it is no less a token of the greatest discretion in women, to 
take care never to be surprised in love by men of higher 
degree. For which reason I shall now relate, how a woman 
by her wit and address may ward off an attack of that kind, 
when there is a design upon her honour. 

The Marquis of Monferrat was a person of great valour, 
and being standard-bearer to the church, had gone abroad 
in a general crusade of the Christian princes against the 
Turks. One day, as they were discoursing of his prowess at 
the court of Philip, surnamed the Short-sighted, who was 
preparing in France for the like expedition, a courtier said, 
in the king's presence, that the whole world had not so 
accomplished a pair as the marquis and his lady; for as 
much as he excelled other cavaliers in valour, so much was 
she superior to the rest of her sex in worth and beauty. 
These words so affected the king, that, from that very 
moment, though he had never seen Her, he began to be pas- 
sionately in love. He resolved to go by land as far as Genoa, 
that he might have an honourable pretence for paying her a 
visit, thinking that, as the marquis was absent, he could not 
fail of accomplishing his desires. AVith this design, having 



32 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL f 

Bent the greatest part of his company before him, he set for. 
ward with a small retinue, and being come within a day*i 
journey of the lady's abode, he sent her word, that on the 
morrow she might expect his company at dinner. The lady 
very cheerfully replied, that she should esteem it a singular 
favour, and would make him heartily welcome. For a Iciig 
while she could not conceive why so great a prince should 
come to see her, when her husband was from home ; but sup- 
posing at last that the fame of her beauty must have drawn 
him thither, she resolved nevertheless, as she was of a noble f 

spirit, to show him due respect : for which purpose she sum- i 

moned the principal gentry, who were left in the country, to 
consult them about what was necessary for his reception, 
reserving the entire management of the feast to herself. 
Then, buying up all the hens that were in the country, she 
ordered the cooks to get nothing else for his majesty's dinner, 
but to dress them in as many different ways as possible. 

Next day the king came, and was received by the lady 
with great joy, and had all due honor paid him ; and find- 
ing her exceed even what had been said before in her favor, 
he was greatly astonished. He then retired awhile into the 
apartments, which had been provided for him, to repose 
himself ; and when dinner was ready, his majesty and the 
lady sat down at one table, and their attendants at other 
tables, all placed according to their respective qualities. 
Here the king was served with dishes one after another, and 
with the mcst costly wines, feasting his eyes yet more with 
;:he sight of the lady ; and highly delighted he was with his 
entertainment. But observing at last that all the different 
courses, however dressed up and variously cooked, were 
nothing but hens, he began to wonder much, for he knew 
that the country about was well stored with venison and 
wild fowl, and he had signified his intention time enough for 
them to have provided both. Turning, therefore, a merry 
countenance to the lady, ** Madam," he said, "are hens only 
bred in this country, and no cocks ? " The lady, who well 
understood the meaning of his question, now thinking that 
she had a fit opportunity of letting him know her sentiments, 
boldly answered • " Not so, my lord ; but women, however 
they may differ in dress and titles, are the same here as in 
other places.*' The king hearing this, immediately found 
out the meaning of the entertainment; as also what virtue 
lay couched under her answer. And being sensible that 
words would be spent in vain on such a lady, and force he 



NOVEL VI.] THE FIRST DAY. 33 

could not use, he therefore judged it more becoming his 
honour to stifle his ill-conceived passion ; and so, without 
more words (as being afraid of the lady's replies), when din- 
ner was over, that he might shadow his dishonourable coming 
by a hasty departure, he thanked her for the honour he had 
received, took his leave, and posted away to Genoa. 



NOVEL VI. 

A plain honest man, by a casual jest, very shrewdly reproves the hypoc- 
risy of the clergy. 

Emilia, whose turn came next (the witty reproof given by 
the marchioness to the king of France, being approved by 
the whole assembly), began in this manner: — I will not 
conceal a most stinging reproof given by an honest simple 
man to a most sordid and avaricious monk, which you will 
both commend and laugh at. 

There was, not long since, a friar belonging to the Inqui- 
sition, who, though he laboured much to be righteous and 
zealous for the Christian faith, had yet a much keener eye 
after those who had full purses, than after those who held 
heterodox opinions. By his great diligence in this way, he 
soon found out a person better stored with money than sense. 
This man, not so much out of profaneness as want of thought, 
and perhaps overheated with liquor into the bargain, unluck- 
ily said to one of his companions, that he had better wine 
than Christ himself ever drank. This was reported to the 
inquisitor, and he, understanding that the man's estate was 
large, and that he was full of money, sent all his myrmidons, 
had him seized, and began a prosecution, not so much with 
a design to amend him in matters of faith, as to ease him of 
part of his money, as he soon did. The man being brought 
before him, he inquired whether that was true which had 
been alleged against him. The poor man immediately 
answered, that it was, and told him in what manner the words 
were spoken. Thereupon the most holy inquisitor (devoted 
to St. John with the golden beard) retorted : " What ! dost 
thou make Christ a drunkard, and curious in the choice of 
wines, like common sots and frequenters of taverns ? and 
now wouldst thou excuse it as a small matter ? It may seem 
so to thee; but I tell thee, should I proceed with the rigour 
of justice, thou wouldst be burnt alive for it." With these 

2* 



34 DECAMERON OK BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL VL 

and such-like words, as if he had to do with a downright 
«atheist, he so terrified the poor wretch, that he was forced to 
have recourse to a little of St. John's golden grease, — a most 
sovereign remedy (although it be not mentioned by Galen In 
his book of medicines) against the pestilential avarice of the 
clergy, especially of the lesser friars, who are forbidden the 
use of money. With that unguent the poor man anointed 
the inquisitor's hands to such purpose, that the fire and fag- 
got, with which he had been threatened, were changed into 
a cross, which, being yellow and black, seemed like a banner 
designed for the holy land. The money being paid, he was 
to stay there for some time, being ordered, by way of pen- 
ance, to hear mass in the church of the holy cross every 
morning, to visit the inquisitor also at dinner-time, and to do 
nothing the rest of the day but what he commanded ; all 
which he performed punctually. One morning it happened, 
that, during mass, the gospel was read, wherein were these 
words : — " You shall receive a hundred for one, and so pos- 
sess eternal life ; " words of which he kept fast hold in his 
memory. That same day he waited on the inquisitor at din- 
ner-time, as he had been commanded, and the latter asked 
him, whether he had heard mass that morning. " Yes, sir," 
replied the man very readily. " Hast thou heard anything 
therein," quoth the inquisitor, ** as to which thou art doubtful, 
or desirous to ask any questions .^ " ** No, surely," said the 
honest man, *' and I believe all that I have heard most stead- 
fastly; only one thing I remember, which occasions great 
pity in me for you and the rest of your brethren, as to what 
will become of you in the other world." — "And what are 
those words, which make you pity us so much ? " — "O, good 
sir," said the man, " do you remember the words of the 
gospel ? * You shall receive a hundred for one ? * " — " Well, 
what of them ?" quoth the inquisitor. " I will tell you, sir — 
ever since I have been here, have I seen sometimes one, and { 

sometimes two great cauldrons of broth, given out of your 
great abundance every day to the poor, after you and your 
brethren have been sufficiently regaled. Now, if for every 
one of these you are to receive a hundred, you will all of 
you be drowned in broth ! " This set the whole table in a 
roar, and the inquisitor was quite confounded, knowing it to 
be a satire upon their great hypocrisy; and were it not that 
he had been much blamed for his former prosecution, he 
would have given the man more trouble : he ordered him, 
therefore, in a rage, to go about his business, and not come 
near him any more. 



NOVEL VII.] «"HE FIRST DAY. 35 



NOVEL VII. 

Bergamino, by telling a tale of a certain witty person named Primasso, 
very handsomely reproves the avarice which had lately appeared in 
Messer Cane della Scala. 

Emilia's pleasant manner, and her agreeable story, made 
them all laugh heartily, and they highly commended the 
novel idea struck out by the crusaders. After which Philos- 
trato, who was to speak next, began : — It is a commendable 
thing, most worthy ladies, to hit a fixed mark ; but more so, 
to see a thing suddenly appearing, as suddenly hit by an 
archer. The scandalous and most wicked lives of the clerg)', 
furnish matter enough for reproach and raillery, to such as 
are so disposed, without much thinking upon the matter: 
jind, therefore, though the honest man did well in touching 
master inquisitor to the quick, with a shaft pointed by the 
hypocritical charity of the' friars, who give that to the poor 
which they would otherwise either throv away, or give to the 
hogs ; yet is he more to be commended, of whom the last 
story puts me in mind to speak. This was one who reproved 
Messer Cane della Scala, a most magnificent person hereto- 
fore, of a sudden and unusual kind of avarice, which had 
lately appeared in him, figuring by other persons in a pretty 
novel, as follows, that which he intended to say concerning 
themselves : 

Messer Cane della Scala was known all over the world, as 
well for the wealth with which fortune had blessed him, as for 
his being one of the greatest and most magnificent lords that 
had lived in Italy since the days of the emperor Frederick 
II. He had determined to make a most sumptuous feast at 
Verona, to which people began to flock from all parts, those 
especially of the best fashion ; when, on a sudden, whatever 
was the cause, he altered his mind, and making such as came 
some little amends for their trouble, he sent them away. 
One person only remained unsatisfied, whose name was Ber- 
gamino, a man of incredible wit and ready tongue, who was 
still in hopes that things would at length turn out to his 
advantage. But Messer Cane della Scala (having been 
made to understand, that whatever was given to him was 
entirely thrown away) neither spoke to, nor took the least 
notice of him. Bergamino waited some days, and perceiving 
that no account was made of him, and finding his stock 
grew low with the expense of horses and servants at the inn, 



3^ DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL VII. 

he became melancholy, yet thought it better to wait a while 
longer. He had brought three costly suits with him, which 
had been given him by other lords, for his more splendid 
appearance at this feast ; and as the landlord began to grow 
importunate, he first pawned one, and staying a little longer, 
a second, ?ind he had now begun to live upon the credit of 
the last, resolving when that was spent, to go away. In the 
meantime it happened that he met with Messer Cane della 
Scala at dinner, where he presented himself before him with 
a sorrowful countenance. The other observing this, said, 
out of mockery, rather than to take any delight in what 
should come from him : " What is the matter. Bergamino, 
thou seemest melancholy; what is it all about .^" Bergamino, 
without any premeditation, yet as if he had thought long 
upon the matter, made a pat reply in the following story: — 
"You must understand, sir, that Primasso was a person 
well skilled in grammar, as well as a good and ready poet, 
by which means he became so famous, that though his 
person was not universally known, his fame and character 
were in every one's mouth. Now it came to pass, that being 
once at Paris, in a poor condition, as his virtue met with no 
fortune, being little encouraged by such as were the most 
able, he heard much talk of the abbot of Cligni, who, next 
to the pope, was reputed to be the richest prelate of the 
church: of him it was said, that he always kept a most 
grand and hospitable court, and all were entertained freely 
that came thither, provided it was whilst the abbot was at 
dinner. Primasso hearing this, and being desirous of seeing 
great and worthy persons, resolved to be a witness of the 
magnificence of this abbot. He inquired, therefore, how far 
he dwelt from Paris? Being answered, about six miles, he 
supposed that, if he set out early in the morning, he should 
be able to reach thither by dinner. Accordingly he asked 
the way, and, having nobody to keep him company, lest 
he should mistake the road, and so come to a place where 
no victuals could be had, he took three loaves with him, 
depending upon finding water enough (for a little served 
him) wherever he went. The loaves he put in his bosom, 
and he nicked his time so well, that he arrived at the abbot's 
exactly at the hour of dining ; and entering into the great 
hall, and beholding the number of tables which were laid 
forth, and the vast preparations making in the kitchens, and 
everything else getting ready for dinner, he said to himself 
*This man is as truly generous as he has always been 



NOVEL VII.J THE FIRST DAY. 37 

reported.' Whilst he was considering these things attentively, 
the steward of the household ordered water to be brought, 
and they washed their hands, and sat down every one at his 
respective table. 

** Now it happened that Primasso was placed facing the 
door where the abbot was to make his entrance. It was the 
custom in that court, that neither wine, bread, nor any man- 
ner of food whatever should be served at any of the tables, 
till the lord abbot himself was seated. At last the steward, 
having all things in readiness, acquainted his lord, that 
nothing now was wanting but his presence. The abbot 
ordered the door to be thrown open, and, as he was entering 
the hall, the first person he chanced to cast his eye upon, 
was Primasso, who being a stranger, and but meanly appar- 
elled, an ungenerous, as well as an unusual thought came 
into the abbot's mind. * Behold,' said he to himself, to whom 
I give my substance to be consumed ! * And turning back, 
he ordered the door to be shut again, and inquired of the 
people within, whether they could give any account of that 
mean fellow, that sat over against the door : they all answered 
that they could not. Primasso, who had a kind of a travel- 
ler's appetite, and had not been used to fast so long, seeing 
the abbot did not yet come, took one of the loaves out of 
his bosom, and began to devour it. The abbot, after he had 
waited a considerable time, sent one of his servants to see 
whether the fellow was gone; the servant brought word that 
he stayed, and was eating bread, which he seemed to have 
brought with him. * Let him eat of his own,' replied the 
abbot, *if he has it, for he shall taste none of mine to-day.' 
Gladly would the abbot have had him go away of himself, 
for he did not think it right to turn him out. 

" Primasso had now finished one loaf, and finding the abbot 
did not yet come, he began with the second, which was again 
reported to his lordship, who had sent to inquire as before. At 
length, the abbot not coming, and Primasso having eaten up 
his second loaf, he now attacked the third. When this news 
was carried to the abbot, he began to consider with himself 
in this manner : * What strange fancy has possessed me to- 
day ? What means this avarice, this scorn that I now show ? 
And who is it that I thus disdain ? For many years have I 
entertained all comers, gentle or simple, poor or rich, and as it 
has sometimes happened, the most paltry fellows imagmable ; 
yet never before did I grudge it to any, as I do now to this 
person : surely avarice should have no influence over me in 



38 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO- [noVEL Vili. 

the case of a poor man. For aught I know, he may be a 
most extraordinary person, mean as he appears, and however 
unwilling I have hitherto been to show him respect.' Hav- 
ing argued thus with himself, he would needs know who the 
stranger was, and, finding him to be Primasso, who was come 
only to behold his grandeur, and knowing him to be a learned 
and worthy person, he became quite ashamed, and was de- 
sirous of making amends for his illiberal behaviour, by 
showing him all possible respect. Having feasted him, 
therefore, to his heart's content, he ordered him to be sump- 
tuously apparelled, and putting money into his pocket, he 
made him a present of a horse, and left him at full liberty 
either to stay with him, or to depart at pleasure : wherewith 
Primasso, being highly satisfied, gave him his most hearty 
thanks, and returned to Paris on horseback, although he had 
come thence on foot." 

Messer Cane della Scala, who was a man of good under- 
standing, without any farther explanation, easily understood 
what Bergamino meant to say, and, smiling upon him, replied : 
" Well have you set forth your necessities and virtue, as well 
as my avarice ; and truly I never found myself so overpow- 
ered with that vice, as now in your case : but I will drive it out 
of me with the stick with which you have supplied me." So 
he ordered Bergami no's landlord to be paid his full charges, 
put on him a suit of his own best clothes, gave him money 
in his pocket, and a good horse to ride, and left it to his own 
choice whether to depart, or stay there with him. 



NOVEL VIII. 

Gulielmo Borsiere, by a few smart words, checks the miserable covetous- 
ness of M. Ermino de' Grimaldi. 

Lauretta, who sat next to Filostrato, hearing them com- 
mend Bergamino's wit and perseverance, and knowing that 
it was now her turn, without waiting for any command, 
began in this manner : — The last story puts me in mind how 
a witty courtier reproved, to good purpose, the covetousness 
of a certain rich merchant. The story, although it may 
resemble the other, will not be the less agreeable, as it tends 
to as good an end. 

There lived, some time ago, at Genoa, a gentleman named 
Signior Ermino de' Grimaldi, who, as was generally believed 



NOV£L Vili.] THE FIRST DAY. 39 

suipassed all the people of Italy in estate and wealth ; and» 
as no Italian could equal him in riches, so neither v/us there 
in the whole world one like him for greediness and sordid 
arance. For, so far was he from being a friend to others, 
that he even denied himself common necessaries ; contrary 
to the custom of the Genoese, who delight to dress and live 
well. On which account he had lost his true name of Gri- 
naldi, and was now known by no other than that of Ermino 
Avarìzia. It came to pass, that, whilst by spending nothing, 
he went on accumulating wealth, there came to Genoa, 
Gulielmo Borsiere, a well-bred and witty gentleman, one 
wholly unlike the debauched reprobates of the present day, 
who would fain be reputed fine gentlemen, but should more 
properly style themselves asses, their breeding being that of 
the filth and sink of mankind, rather than of courts. And 
whereas, in former days, they spent their time in making up 
differences between gentlemen, or in bringing about alliances 
by marnage, affinity, or friendship ; and would divert them- 
selves, and those about them, with facetious and witty rep- 
artees, and at the same time, like kind fathers, reprove and 
lash such as deserved it, although with little recompense : 
these upstarts of the present age employ their whole life, in 
speaking ill of their neighbours, and sowing dissentions 
among them, in lying and slandering, and what is worse, 
doing this in the presence of any one ; for they allege all 
sorts of shameful misdeeds of everybody, true or not true, 
upon the least occasion; and, by their false and deceitful 
flatteries, they bring gentlemen at last to everything that is 
vile and wicked. We see, too, that he is most caressed by 
the untoward nobles of our day, who uses the most wicked 
expressions and commits the vilest actions, to the eternal 
shame of the present age, and a manifest proof that virtue 
is gone out from among us, and has lefl us wallowing in the 
sink of debauchery. But to return from this digression into 
which a just resentment has led me farther than I intended. 
This Gulielmo, whom I before mentioned, was much re- 
spected and gladly welcomed by the better sort of people at 
Genoa. He once made some stay here, and hearing much 
talk of Ermino's sordidness, he became desirous of seeing 
him. Now Ermino had been informed of Gulielrao's worthy 
character, and having, with all his covetousness, some small 
sparks of gentility, he received him in a very courteous man- 
ner. After some discourse, he took his visitor, and some 
Genoese who came along with him, to see a fine house which 



40 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL IX. 

he had Lately built ; and when he had showed every part of 
it, " Pray, sir," he said, *' can you, who have heard and seen 
so much, tell me of something that has never yet been seen, 
to have painted in my hall Ì " To this absurd question, 
Gulielmo replied, " Sir, I can tell you of nothing which has 
never yet been seen, that I know of, unless it be sneezing, or 
something of that sort ; but, if you please, I can tell you of 
a thing which, I believe, you never saw." "Do, pray," said 
Ermino (little expecting such an answer as he received), 
"let me know what that is." Gulielmo immediately replied, 
" Paint Liberality." When Ermino heard this, such a sud- 
den shame seized him, as wrought a complete change in his 
disposition. " Sir," he said, " I will have her painted in such 
a manner, that neither you, nor any one else, shall be able to 
say, hereafter, that I am unacquainted with her." And from 
that time, such effect had Gulielmo's words upon him, he 
became a most liberal and courteous gentleman, and was the 
most respected, both by strangers and his fellow-citizens, of 
any in Genoa. 



NOVEL IX. 

The King of Cyprus was so much affected by the words of a gentle- 
woman of Gascogne, that from being a worthless prince he became 
very virtuous. 

The queen's last command rested on Eliza, who, without 
waiting for it, began in this manner : — It often happens that 
a desirable change, which much pains and many reproofs 
have failed to effect, is happily brought about by a word 
thrown in by chance, and without any such design. We 
. have had an instance of this in the novel recited by Lauretta; 
and I purpose, also, in a very short story, to demonstrate the 
same thing. A good saying may often be of service, and 
ought to be duly regarded, whoever the person be that 
utters it. 

During the reign of the first King of Cyprus, after the 
conquest of the Holy Land, by Godfrey of Boulogne, it hap- 
pened that a gentlewoman of Gascogne went on a pilgrimage 
to visit the holy sepulchre, and, on her return home, being 
arrived at Cyprus, she was ill-treated by a parcel of villains. 
Having made her complaint without receiving any redress, 
she resolved at length to go to the king, but was told, that 
she would only lose her labour, for he was so careless in 



NOVEL X.] THE FIRST DAY. 41 

every respect, and so little of a man, that, far from avenging 
the injuries done to others, he suffered an infinite number of 
the most shameful affronts to be offered to himself; insomuch 
that whoever were offended at him might vent their resent- 
ment at any time in the most opprobrious language. On 
hearing this she entirely despaired of redress ; nevertheless 
she proposed, as some comfort to herself in her calamity, to 
upbraid the King for his meanness of spirit. Coming, there- 
fore, all in tears before him she said, ** My lord, I appear in 
your presence not expecting to be revenged for the injuries 
I have sustained : but this small satisfaction I entreat, that 
you would tell me how you can bear those which I hear are 
committed towards yourself, that I may thence be instructed 
patiently to bear my own, which, God knows, were it in my 
power, I would willingly consign to you, since you endure 
such things so well." The king, who till that hour had been 
dull and inactive, as if now he had been roused from a long 
sleep, began, with avenging that lady's wrongs in the strictest 
manner, and from that time forward he was most zealous 
in the punishment of every one who dared to do anything 
contrary to the honour of his crown. 



NOVEL X. 

Master Albert, of Bologna, puts a lady to the blush, who thought to have 
done as much by him, because she perceived him to be amorously 
inclined towards her. 

After Eliza had finished, the last tale remained to be told 
by the queen, who, in the most becoming manner, began as 
follows: — Most virtuous ladies, as the stars are the ornament 
of heaven when the air is clear, and as flowers embellish the 
meadow in the spring, so lively sallies and appropriate 
anecdotes constitute the charm of polite conversation ; and 
these are, from their very brevity, better suited to women 
than men, forasmuch as many words, when fewer would 
serve the purpose, are more unbecoming in our sex than in 
them, rt is true there arc few women now who understand 
anything that is smart and witty when they hear it; or, if 
they do understand, they scarcely know how to make a 
reply; which is much to the disgrace of our sex. Kor that 
culture which adorned the minds of women in former times, 
is devoted in our days to the body; and she whose h*ibit '^ 



^2 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [novK» X. 

most gaudy, and set off with embroideries and fantai;tic 
ornaments, is most esteemed, not cousiaerit^g that, weie you 
to load an ass with that finery, it would be able to carry more 
than any women, and, therefore, in that particular, they 
deserve not so much respect as the ass. I am ashamed to 
mention these things, because, whilst I censure other women, 
I am taxing myself. Such showy painted things, what are 
they else but statues, dull and insensible ? or if they answer 
a question, they had better have been silent. Truly, they 
would have you think, that their not knowing how to con- 
verse with men of sense proceeds from their simplicity and 
purity of mind, and therefore they call their own foolishness 
by the name of modesty ; as if there were no other honest 
woman but she who converses with her chambermaid, laun- 
dress, or kitchen-women ; and as if nature designed them 
no other kind of conversation. Most sure it is, that in this, 
as well as in other things, you are to consider when, where, 
and with whom, you speak : for sometimes it happens, that a 
man or woman, intending by some jest or other to put a 
person to the blush, without having compared their strength 
of wit with that of the other person, may find it recoil upon 
themselves. Therefore, that we may be always upon our 
guard, and not verify the proverb which is in every one's 
mouth. That women always choose the worst, I desire that 
this day's last novel, which is to come from myself, may 
make us all wise ; to the end that, as we are distinguished 
from others by birth and quality, we may not be behind them 
in discreetness of behaviour. 

It is not long since there was living at Bologna (and 
perhaps he may be there still), a physician of extraordinary 
note in his profession, called Master Albert, one of so 
sprightly a disposition, though he was nearly seventy years 
old, that notwithstanding his natural heat and vigour had 
quite forsaken him, yet disdained he not to receive the 
sparks of love. For having seen, at an entertainment, a 
most beautiful lady, a widow, called, as some say. Madam 
Malgherida de* Ghisolieri, he was no less smitten than if he 
had been a younger person : nor could he rest at nights, 
unless he had seen the fair one by day. This made him 
pass backwards and forwards, sometimes on foot, and some- 
times on horseback, so often before her door, that she, and 
some other ladies of her acquaintance, could not help taking 
notice of it ; and would often make themselves merry to see 
a person of his years and learning so ridiculously amorous; 



NOVEL X.J THE FIRST DAY. 43 

supposing love to be a passion peculiar to young people. 
Master Albert continuing his marches to and fro by the 
house, it happened, on a festival, that this lady was sitting 
at the door with some of her friends, and seeing him come 
at a distance, they all agreed to receive him handsomely, 
and afterwards to rally him on his passion. They rose up, 
therefore, and invited him into a pleasant room, where he 
was entertained with rich wine and sweetmeats; and at 
length they began to inquire of him, as modestly as possible, 
how he could ever think of being in love with so fine a lady, 
seeing how much she had been solicited by many brisk, gay 
young gentlemen. Master Albert, perceiving that they had 
drawn him in among them, only to make a jest of him, put 
a merry countenance on the matter, and replied : • 

" Madam, it should seem no strange thing to any consider- 
ate person, that I am in love, especially with you, because 
you so well deserve it. And though the power be. taken 
away by age, yet is the will remaining, as also the judgment 
to distinguish those who are most worthy of our affection ; 
and this in a greater degree, as age has more knowledge than 
youth. The hope that prompted me, who am old, to love 
you, who are courted by so many younger persons, is this ; I 
have often, at an afternoon's collation, observed ladies eating 
lupines and leeks, and though in the leek there be no good- 
ness at all, yet is the head least hurtful, as well as most 
agreeable to the taste: but you, guided by a wrong appetite, 
will generally hold the head between your fingers, and eat 
the stalk, which is not only good for nothing, but has also a 
bad relish. Suppose, therefore, you choose a lover in the 
same manner; I shall be the happy person, and the rest of 
your lovers all discarded." The lady was in some confusion, 
as well as her companions ; and she said to him, " Sir, you 
have given us a very just and reasonable reprimand : I shall 
always value your respect, as that of a learned and worthy 
person ; and you may ever, as far as is consistent with my 
honour, command me." Master Albert rose, gave the ladies 
thanks, took his leave very merrily, and departed. Thus the 
fair dame, never considering whom she jested with, met with 
her match; of which, if you are wise, you will hereafter 
be careful. 

The sun was now descending in the west, and the heat of 
the day much abated, when the novels were all ended ; upon 
which the queen pleasantly said, '* Nothing more remains to 



44 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO, [NOVEL X- . ^ 

be done during my administration for the present day, but ^- . 

to give you a new queen for to-morrow, who must take her -^.ij 

turn, according to the best of her judgment, in ordering -,.j. 

everything that may be necessary for the continuance of our £, 

mirth. And though the day ought to continue till it is night; • J", 

yet, unless you take time a little beforehand, you cannot so ".'| 

well provide for what is to come ; therefore, that there may ^ ^ 

be time enough to prepare whatever the queen shall think "^^ 

proper for the next day, I think the following days ought to "J[ 

begin at this hour. In regard then to Him, by whom all ^' 

things live, and for our own well-doing, I appoint Filomena 
to be queen the second day." When she had thus spoken, 
she rose from her seat, and having taken the crown from her 
own head, she reverently placed it on Filomena's, humbly- 
saluting her first herself, and afterwards the rest of the com- j;" 
pany did the same, submitting themselves cheerfully to her ' 
government. — Filomena saw herself crowned with a gentle ;Ì^ 
blush ; and calling to mind what Pampinea had just said, 1 
that she might not seem remiss in her duty, she confirmed [, 
all the officers whom Pampinea had appointed; then she 
ordered the morrow's provision, as also the supper, so near 
approaching (they being to continue where they were), and 
afterwards spoke in this manner 

" My dear friends, although Pampinea, more through her 
own courtesy than any merit of mine, has made me your 
queen, yet am I not disposed to follow my own judgment 
as to our manner of living, but rather to join my opinion 
with yours ; and, therefore, that you may know what I intend 
to do, and so alter it at your pleasure, I shall declare it in 
few words. If I have well considered the method that has 
been taken to-day, it seems agreeable enough, and till we 
either grow weary, or find it inconvenient, I resolve not to 
change it. Continuing then as we have begun, we will rise 
and divert ourselves awhile by walking ; when the sun is down 
we will sup in the open air, and after we have had some songs 
and other diversions, it will be time to go to bed. To-mor- 
row morning whilst it is cool and pleasant, we will rise and 
take a walk, where we like best ; and return, as we have done 
to-day, about dinner-time, and dance ; then, after reposing 
as before, we will come here again to continue our novels, 
which to me seem equally entertaining and useful. There 
are some things, indeed, which Pampinea could not accom- 
plish by reason of her late promotion, which I propose to 
pertect, namely, to keep you within the bounds of some 



T5' 



L X.J THE FIRST DAY. 



45 



particular subject, to which your novels are all to relate, and 
which is to be given you beforehand, that you may have time to 
think of some pretty story to the purpose ; which, if you please, 
shall be this : As from the beginning of the world, people 
have been all along conducted by fortune through the vari- 
ous chances of life, an J will be so to the end of it; you are 
all of you to relate a case where a person, after going through 
a variety of troubles, at last meets wi:h success beyond all 
hope and expectation." 

They all approved the order that was given, and deter- 
mined to obey it; Dioneo only excepted, who, after the rest 
were silent, said : " Madam, I approve your order as the 
rest have done, and think it both pleasant and commendable; 
but one special favour I beg may be granted me, whilst this 
company continues together; namely, not to let me be con- 
strained by the law you have made, to relate a story accord- 
ing to the given theme, unless I please; but that I may 
choose something I like better. And that you may not think 
that I request this, as if I were unfurnished with discourses 
of this kind, I am content to be the last in every day's exer- 
cise." The queen, knowing him to be a merry companion, 
and well considering that he would not have moved this 
request, but wit i a design to make the company laiigh, when 
they were weary of any particular subject, agreed to what he 
desired with the consent of all. 

They now rose and went to a crystal stream, which fell 
from a little hill into a vale shaded with trees ; where, wash- 
ing both their hands and their feet, much mirth passed 
among them, till supper drawing near made them return to 
the palace. When that was over, the queen ordered the 
musical instruments to be brought, and that Lauretta should 
begin a dance, Emilia singing to her, and Dioneo playing 
upon the lute ; with which Lauretta immediately complied, 
and Emilia sang the following song in a very fascinating 
manner: 

SONG. 

I. 

With my own charms so blest am I, 

Each other passion I defy ; 

For ever as I ^aze, I find 

That good which still contents the mind ; 

Nor former flame, nor future love. 

The dear enjoyment can remove. 



40 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL X. 



Nor does the good I thus possess 
Become by long admiring less ; 
No — greater far 's the joy I feel, 
Than heart can think, or tongue reveal; 
How great it is, they only know, 
Who long have sweetly languish'd so. 

III. 

And I (the more I fix my eyes, 
And feel the pleasing passion rise) 
Each thought direct, and wish confine. 
To make the promised blessing mine. 
And hope ere long a greater joy : 
Where is the nymph so blest as I? 

All joined in the song, though the words occasioned some 
speculation; and after this and a few other little sonnets, a 
good part of the night being now spent, the queen thought 
proper to put an end to the first day ; lights being conse- 
quently called for, she ordered every one to their respective 
chambers, to repose till the next morning. 



THE SECOND DAY. 



* That is, the ninth hour from matins, or about three o'clock in the 
afternoon. 



( 

I 



I 



Already had the sun ushered in a new day, the birds 
upon the blooming branches attesting it with their merry 
songs, when the ladies and gentlemen arose, and went into 
the garden. There they spent some time in walking, and 
weaving chaplets of flowers ; and, as they had done before, . 

after taking a repast in the open air, and dancing, they re- ' 

posed till the clock struck nones ; * at which time they took 
their places, as the queen had appointed, in the same pleasant 
meadow, around her. She being of a most graceful person, 
and having on her head a crown of laurel, looked around in 
a most cheerful manner on the whole assembly, and then 
motioned to Neiphile, who, without offering any excuse, 
began as follows : f 



NOVEL I.] THE SECOND DAY. 47 



NOVEL I. 

Martellino, feigning to be a cripple, pretends to be cured by being laid 
upon the body of Saint Arrigo ; but his roguery being discovered, he 
gets souodly beaten, and is afterwards apprehended, and in danger of 
being hanged, but escapes at last. 

It often happens, that he who endeavours to ridicule other 
people, especially in things of a serious nature, becomes 
himself a jest, and frequently to his great cost. Of this you 
will have proof in what I am now going to relate, in obedi- 
ence to the queen's command. It is an affair which had a 
very unlucky beginning, and which, beyond all expectation, 
ended happily enough to one of our city. 

There lived, not long since, at Triers, a German, called 
Arrigo, who was a poor man, and served as a porter, when 
any one pleased to employ him ; yet was he reputed a person 
of a good life ; on which account (whether it be true or false 
I know not) it was affirmed by the people of Triers, that, at 
the very instant of his death, the bells of the great church 
rang of their own accord, which was accounted a miracle, 
and all declared that this Arrigo was a saint. They flocked 
to the house where the corpse lay, and carried it as a sancti- 
fied body to the great church ; bringing thither the halt, lame, 
and blind, in expectation that, by the touch of it, they would 
all recover. In so great a concourse of people, it happened, 
that three of our own city arrived there, one of whom was 
named Stecchi, another Martellino, and the third Marchese ; 
persons that frequented the courts of princes, to divert them 
as buffoons and mimicks. Having none of them ever been 
there before, and seeing the great crowd of people running 
from all parts of the city, they were much surprised ; and hear- 
ing the cause, they were very desirous of seeing the corpse. 
They left their baggage therefore at the inn, and Marchese 
said, " We will see this saint ; but I do not know how we 
shall contrive to get near enough, for the street is full of 
soldiers and persons in arms, whom the governor has sta- 
tioned there, to prevent any tumult in the city ; and besides, 
the church is so thronged with people, that it will be impos- 
sible to get in." Martellino, who was eager to be a spectator, 
replied, * I will find a way, notwithstanding, to get close to 
the very body." — " How," said Marchese, "is that possible? " 
— ^** 1*11 tell you," answered Martellino : " I intend to coun- 
terfeit a cripple, whilst thou shall support me on one sidp, 



4^ DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL 1 

and Stecchi on tb otb^, as if I were unable to walk by 
myself, bringing me towards the saint to be cured ; and you 
will sec everybody make way for us to go on. 

The other two were much pleased with the contrivance., and 
they all went accordingly into a private place, where Martel- 
lino distorted his hands, fingers, arms, legs, mouth, eyes, and 
his whole countenance, in such a manner, that it was frightful 
to behold ; and nobody that saw him would have imagined 
but that he was really so lamed and deformed. Being carried 
in that guise by Marchese and Stecchi, they directed their 
way to the church, crying out in a most piteous manner all 
the way, to make way for God*s sake ! which the people did 
with great readiness. In a little time they attracted the eyes 
of every one, and the general cry was Room ! room ! till at 
length they came where the body of St. Arrigo lay. Martel- 
lino was then taken from his friends by some persons that 
stood around, and laid all along upon the body, to the end 
that he might, by that means, receive the benefit of a cure. 
All the people's eyes were now upon him, expecting the 
event ; when he, who was master of his business, first began 
to stretch his fingers, then his hands, afterwards his arms, and 
at last his whole body; which, when the people saw, they set 
up such shouts in praise of St. Arrigo, that a clap of thunder 
would hardly have been noticed in the din. 

Now it happened that a Florentine was not far off, who, 
knowing Martellino very well (not while his body was dis- 
torted, but after his pretended cure), burst out laughing, and 
cried " Good God ! who would not have taken him to have 
been really a cripple.^ " Some of the bystanders hearing this, 
immediately said, " And was he not so ? " — " No," answered 
the other, "as God is my judge, he was always as straight as 
any person here ; but he has the art, as you have now seen, 
of turning his body into what shape he pleases." 

There needed nothing more to set them all on fire ; they 
therefore pressed on most violently, crying out to " seize the 
villain, that blasphemer of God and his saints, who being in 
no wise disordered, comes here to make a jest of our saint 
and us." Whereupon they dragged him by the hair of the 
head, and threw him upon the ground, kicking him, and 
tearing the clothes off his back ; nor was there one that did 
not endeavour to give hint a blow ; whilst Martellino kept I 

crying out for God's sake to have mercy ; but all to no pur- t 

pose, for the blows fell thicker and faster upon him. f 

Marchese and Stecchi now began to be in some pain for 



NOVEL I.] THE SECOND DAY. 49 

themselvesy and not during to help iiim, they cried out with 
the multitude, " Kill him ! kill him ! " contriving all the time 
how to get him out of their hands : nevertheless he had cer. 
tainly been murdered, but for the following expedient. Mar- 
chese, knowing that the officers of justice were at the door, 
ran to the lieutenant that commanded, crying out, " Help, 
sir, help ! for God's sake ; here's a fellow that has picked my 
pocket of a hundred florins ; I beg you will assist me in get- 
ting them back again." And immediately twelve of the 
Serjeants ran to where Martellino was in the utmost jeopardy, 
and with the greatest difficulty got him away, all trodden 
under foot and bruised as he was, and carried him to the 
palace, followed by many of the people who had been in- 
censed against him, and who now hearing that he was taken 
up for a cut-purse, and seeing no other way of revenging them- 
selves, declared that they had also been robbed by him. 

On hearing these complaints, the judge, who was an ill- 
tempered man, took him aside and examined him; whilst 
Martellino answered him in a jesting manner, making no 
account of their accusations. This so incensed the judge, 
that he ordered him to be tied by the neck, and soundly 
lashed, that he might make him confess the crimes he was 
charged with, in order to hang him afterwards. Martellino 
being therefore bound down to the ground, ^and the judge 
asking him if those things with which he was accused were 
true, and telling him it would be in vain to deny them ; he 
made answer, " My lord, I am ready to confess the truth ; but 
please first to orde» all my accusers to say when and where 
I robbed them, and I will then tell you truly what I am guilty 
of, and what not." The judge readily consented, and hav- 
ing summoned some of them before him, one said he had 
picked his pocket eight days ago, another four days, and 
some averred that he had robbed them that same day. Mar- 
tellino replied, " My lord, they are all liars ; for I had not 
been here many hours (and would to God I had never come 
at all !) before I went to view this saint, where I got abused 
as you now see. That this is true, the officer who keeps 
your book of presentations, as also my landlord, will testify 
for me ; therefore I beseech you not to torture and put me 
to death at the instance of these people." 

When Marchese and Stecchi heard what passed before the 

judge, and that their friend was severely handled, they began 

to be in great fear about him, saying to themselves, that they 

had taken him out of the frying-pan, to throw him into the 

Z 



5° DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL II. 

fire : and they ran from place to place, to find out their land- 
lord, whom they acquainted with what had happened. The 
landlord, laughing heartily at their story, took them to one 
Alexander Agolanti, a person of great interest in the city, to 
whom they related the whole affair, entreating him to have 
pity on poor Martellino. Alexander, after much laughter, 
went to the governor of the town, and prevailed upon him 
to have Martellino brought into his presence. The mes- 
senger that went for him, found him standing before the judge 
in his shirt, all terrified, because his worship would hear 
nothing in his favour, having an aversion perhaps to our 
country people, and being probably resolved to hang him at 
all events ; and he refused to deliver him up, till he was com- 
pelled. Martellino being brought before the governor, told 
him everything that had happened, and entreated him as a 
special favour, that he would let him go, saying, that till he 
came to Florence, he should always think he had the rope 
about his neck. The governor was highly diverted with the 
story, and ordering every one of the three a suit of apparel, 
they escaped, beyond all their hopes, from the most immi- 
nent danger, and got hon e safe and sound. 



NOVEL II. 

Rinaldo d'Asti having been robbed, comes to Castle Guiglielmo, where he 
is entertained by a widow lady, makes good his loss, and returns safe 
home. • 



The ladies all laughed immoderately at Martellino's ad- 
venture, as did the gentlemen likewise, but more especially 1 
Filostrato, who, as he sat next to Neiphile, was ordered by | 
the queen to begin his novel, and he immediately complied 
as follows:-*-! am going to relate a story, consisting partly 
of misfortunes, end partly of love, which may be of use to 
such as walk in love's uncertain paths ; in which it happens 
to those who have not said the Pater Noster of St. Julian, 
that they often get a bad night's rest, though they lie in a 
good bed. 

In the time of Azzo, marquis of Ferrara, a certain mer- 
chant, named Rinaldo d'Asti, came to Bologna to transact 
some affairs of his own, which being despatched, and being 
on his return home, it chanced, as he was riding from Fer- 
rara towards Verona, that he fell in with some persons, who 



I 

I 



NOVEL n.] THE SECOND DAY. 51 

seemed to be merchants, also, but were in reality highway- 
men, and he unguardedly joined them. They, finding him 
to be a merchant, and supposing, therefore, that he must 
have money about him, resolved to rob him as soon as an 
opportunity offered ; and, that he should have no suspicion, 
ihey rode on discoursing with him like persons of reputation 
and character, showing themselves extremely complaisant 
and courteous, insomuch, that he thought himself happy in 
meeting with such good company, as he had with him only 
one servant. 

Talking of various things, they began at last to speak of 
prayers, and one of the rogues, there being three in number, 
turned towards Rinaldo, and said, " and pray, sir, what sort 
of prayer do you use when you are upon a journey ? " " In 
good truth," answered Rinaldo, " I know little of those mat- 
ters, and am master of very few prayers ; but I live in an 
old-fashioned way, and can tell that twelve pence make a 
shilling ; nevertheless, I always use, when I am upon a jour- 
ney, before I go out of my inn, to say one Pater Noster and 
one Ave Maria for the souls of the father and mother of St. 
Julian, and after that I pray to God and St. Julian to send 
me a good lodging at night. And let me tell you, sir, very 
often have I met with great dangers upon the road, from all 
which I still escaped; and when night drew on I always 
came to a good lodging, which favour I firmly believe St. 
Julian, to whose honour I speak it, hath obtained of God for 
me : nor do I think I should ever travel securely, or succeed 
in my lodging at night, were Ito forget this prayer." — " Then," 
said the other, " of course you offered up that prayer this 
morning? " — " Most certainly I did," answered Rinaldo. Said 
the rogue to himself, having determined now to handle him, 
" Thou wilt have need enough of it ; for, if I mistake not, 
thy lodging is like to be none of the best :" and afterwards 
he added, " I have travelled much myself, yet did I never say 
that prayer, though I have heard it often commended, and I 
have always fared well ; and now this night shall you see 
which of us will get the better lodging. I must own, how- 
ever, that instead of it I have used the Dirupisti^ or the 
TfUenurata^ or the De profundis^ which, as my grandmother 
was wont to tell me, are of singular virtue." 

Thus they travelled along, discoursing upon many subjects, 
and the rogues waiting for a fit time and place to put their 
wicked purpose in execution. At length the hour growing 
late, they arrived at a lonely place, closely screened from 



52 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL IL 

view, just at the ford of a river near Castle Guiglielmo. 
There they made their assault, robbed and stripped Rinaldo 
to the shirt ; and leaving him there on foot, they said to him, 
" Go, see if thy St. Julian will provide as good a lodging for 
thee to-night, as we shall have : " so, passing the river, away 
they went. The servant, like a rascal as he was, seeing his 
master attacked, rode away without offering the least assist- 
ance, and never stopped till he came to Castle Guiglielmo, 
where, it being late when he got in, he took up his lodging 
without giving himself any further trouble. Rinaldo re- 
mained in his shirt, without shoes or stockings ; the weather 
was extremely cold, and it snowed incessantly. Not knowing 
what to do, the dark night coming on apace, and he all over 
in a tremble, with his teeth chattering for cold, he now began 
to look round for some shelter under which he might con- 
tinue that night, for fear of being frozen to death ; but he 
saw none (the whole country being laid waste by the late 
war), and being forced away by the cold, he trudged on to- 
wards Castle Guiglielmo, not knowing whether his servant 
was gone thither or elsewhere ; but supposing, if he got ad- 
mittance, that he should meet with relief. But before he 
came within a mile of the town, it grew quite dark ; and it 
was so late when he got thither, that the gates were already 
locked, and the bridge drawn up, and he could obtain no 
entrance. Grieving much at this, and now quite disheart- 
ened, he looked wo fully about to see if he could find a cover 
from the snow ; when by chance he spied a house projecting 
a little way over the walls of the castle, under which he pro- 
posed to stand till daylight. There he found a door in the I 
wall, but fast locked, and gathering some straw together | 
which was lying about, he sat down thereon, all pensive and 
sad, and making loud complaints to St. Julian, telling him, 
that this was not according to the confidence he had always . 
reposed in him. I 
But St. Julian, who had a regard for him, soon provided a ■ 
better lodging. There was a widow lady in that castle, of 
great beauty, whom the Marquis Azzo loved as his life, and 
kept in that house under which Rinaldo had taken shelter. 
That very day the marquis was come to stay all night with 
her, she having secretly provided a bath for him, and a most 
elegant supper. Everything being now ready, and only the 
marquis's company wanting, an express arrived with dis- 
patches, which required him to take horse instantly: he 
therefore sent to the lady to excuse him, and posted away* 



I 



NOVEL 11.] THE SECOND DAY. 53 

She was much concerned at this, and not knowing how to 
pass her time, she resolved to go herself into the bath which 
she had provided for the marquis, and then to sup and go to 
bed. Now it happened that the bath was near the door 
where poor Rinaldo was sitting ; so that she could hear him 
moaning and chattering his teeth at such a rate that one 
would have thought he had a stork's beak instead of jaws. 
Whereupon she called her maid, and ordered her to look 
over the wall and see who was that at the door, and what did 
he want. The servant went, and by the clearness of the sky 
could just discern Rinaldo sitting in the manner before de- 
scribed. To her question, Who was he, he made answer as 
well as he could, trembling all the while so much that she 
could scarcely understand him, telling her how he came 
thither, and entreating her not to let him perish with cold. 
The girl was moved to compassion, and hastened to relate 
the whole story to her mistress, who had pity on him like- 
wise; and recollecting that she had the key of the door, 
which served for the private admission of the marquis, she 
said, " Go and open the door gently : we have victuals enough, 
and nobody to sit down, and we may also spare him a lodg- 
ing." The maid commended her great charity, and having 
opened the door and found Rinaldo almost frozen to death, 
she said, "Make haste, good man, and get into this bath, 
which is yet warm." He immediately complied without 
waiting for any farther invitation, and found himself so much 
refreshed by the warmth, that he seemed restored from death 
to life. Then the lady sent him some clothes, which had 
been her husband s, and which fitted him as well, in all 
respects, as if they had been made for him. Expecting her 
further commands, he began to thank God and St. Julian, 
who had delivered him from the prospect of a most terrible 
night, and brought him at last where he was likely to meet 
with good entertainment. 

The lady, having now reposed a little, ordered a great fire 
to be made in the hall, and coming thither, she inquired 
concerning the honest man, what sort of a person he was ? 
The maid replied, " Madam, now he is clothed, he is a hand- 
some man, and appears to be very well bred." — *'Go then," 
said the lady, " and bid him come to the fire, and he may 
also sup with me, as I know he has had no supper." When 
Rinaldo came into the hall, and sa\y the lady, who appeared 
to him to be a woman of consequence, he made her a very 
low bow and thanked her in the wannest and most respect 



54 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL n. 

fui terms he could find for the favours he had received at 
her hand. The lady, finding him to answer to the report 
made of him by her maid, received him graciously, made 
him sit down familiarly by the fireside with her, and inquired 
concerning the misfortunes which had brought him thither. 
Of these he gave her a faithful account, to which she readily 
gave credit, having previously heard something of the 
servant's adventure. She then told him what she knew of 
the matter, and how the fellow was to be met with in the 
morning. 

Supper being now served up, they washed their hands, and 
sat down together. He was tall in person, agreeable enough 
both in countenance and behaviour, and in the prime of life. 
The lady's eyes took frequent note of all this ; and it by no 
means tended to allay certain emotions which the marquis's 
visit had bootlessly excited. As soon, therefore, as supper 
was ended, she advised with her maid whether she might not 
fairly (since the marquis had put such a slight upon her) 
make use of the opportunity which fortune had thrown in 
her way. The girl, who knew how to please her mistress, 
readily concurred. The lady now returned to the fire, where 
she liad left Rinaldo by himself, and, looking pleasantly at 
him, she said, " Why so thoughtful, Rinaldo ? does the loss 
of your horse and a few clothes affect you so much ? com- 
fort yourself, you are in your own house; and I can tell 
you farther, that, seeing you in my late husband's clothes, I J 

could not help thinking, several times to-night, that he him- I 

self was present. I was more than once on the point of J 

embracing and kissing you, and but for my fear of offending j 

you, I should certainly have done so." Rinaldo was too 
great a connoisseur in love-matters not to take her meaning. ' 

The affair, therefore, was soon settled, and to bed they went, J 

and were as happy as the night was long 

In the morning, to prevent the least suspicion, she gave I 

him some old clothes, filled his pocket with money, begging J 

of him to keep the matter secret ; and having directed him 
where to find his servant, she let him out of the door he had 
come in at. As soon, therefore, as it was broad day, he 
entered into the castle as if he had come from a great way 
off, found his servant, and soon clothed himself out of his 
portmanteau. Just as he was going to mount his man's 
horse, it happened by great fortune that the three rogues, 
who had robbed him the day before, were brought into the f 

castle, having been taken up on some other account. In 



I 



NOVEL III.] THE SECOND DAY. 55 

consequence of their own confession, he got back his horse, 
clothes, and money, and lost nothing but a pair of garters, 
of which the robbers could give no account. Rinaldo now 
thanked God and St. Julian, and, mounting his horse, arrived 
safe at his own house; and the very next day the three 
villains were exhibited in public, dancing on nothing. 

[St. Julian was eminent for providing his votaries with good lodging : 
in the English title of his legend he is called the gode Herbejour; and 
Chancer, in his 'Canterbury Tales/ bestows on the Frankelein, on 
account of his luxurious hospitality, the title of St. Julian. It is this 
novel of Boccaccio that has given rise to ' L'oraison de St. Julien' of 
Lafontaine, and ' Le Talisman/ a comedy» by I.a Motte. There is also 
some resemblance between it and part of the old English comedy ' The 
Widow/ which was produced by the united labours of Ben Jonson, 
Letcher, and Middleton. (See ' Dodsley's Collection/ vol. xii.)] 



NOVEL III. 

Three young gentlemen squander their fortunes, and a nephew of theirs 
returning home in as desperate a condition, falls in company with an 
Abbot, whom he afterwards finds to be the King of England's daugh- 
ter. She marries him, and makes good his uncles' losses, reinstating 
them in their former prosperity. 

The kdies listened with great admiration to the adventures 
of Rinaldo d'Asti, and commended his devotion, giving thanks 
to God and St. Julian who had succoured him in his great 
necessity. Nor did they blame the lady (though they did not 
care to speak out) for having had the wit to take the good 
that heaven had sent her. Whilst the rest were pleasantly 
engaged in talking over the agreeable night which Rinaldo 
must have had, Pampinea, finding that she was to speak next, 
after considering a little what she was to say, and receiving 
the queen's command, began at last in this manner: 

The more we talk of the freaks of fortune, the more, to 
such as consider them attentively, there remains to be said 
on the subject. At this none need wonder, who consider 
that all things, which we foolishly call our own, are in her 
power; and that she blindly wills them from one to another 
incessantly, and without any rule or method that can be dis- 
covered by us. Though this is a truth evinced every day 
and in everything, and though it has been already illustrated 
in some of the previous tales, nevertheless, as the queen is 



56 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL III. 

pleased that this should be our present subject, I shall add a 
story to what has been said already, which I think you will 
not dislike. 

There dwelt, formerly, in our city, a knight named Tebaldo, 
who, as some report, was of the family of the Lamberti ; 
though others say he belonged to the Agolanti : but, be that 
as it may, he was the most wealthy knight of his times, and 
had three sons ; the eldest was called Lamberto, the second 
Tebaldo, and the third Agolante ; all handsome young gal- 
lants ; though the eldest was not above eighteen when their 
father died, leaving them in possession of his vast wealth. 
Finding themselves so rich, and having nobody to control 
them, they began to spend apace, by keeping vast numbers of 
servants, and fine horses, and dogs, and hawks, with open 
house for all comers, making continual tilts and tournaments, 
and sparing no diversions that belong to gentlemen ; indulg- 
ing themselves besides in every youthful lust and passion. 
They had not led this life long, before their riches began to 
waste, and their rents not being sufficient to defray their 
current expenses, they mortgaged and sold first one estate, 
and then another; so that they saw themselves coming to 
nothing, and then poverty opened their eyes, which had hith- 
erto been kept shut. One day, therefore, Lamberto called his 
two brothers together, and set forth to them the great repute in 
which their father had lived, the wealth he had left them, and 
how much they were now impoverished, through their inor- • 

dinate expenses ; advising them, in the best manner he was f 

able, that, before matters grew worse, they should sell the Ì 

little that was left, and retire from that quarter. 1 

His advice was followed, and, without taking any leave, or ? 

making the least stir, they left Florence, and set sail directly I 

for England. Coming to London, they took a little house, I 

and lived as frugally as possible, letting out money at interest. \ 

And fortune was so kind to them, that in a few years they got 
a great deal of money : by which means, it happened, that 
first one, and then another, returned to Florence, where they 
recovered back a great part of their estates, purchased others, 
and got married ; and keeping on their banking trade still in 
England, they sent a nephew thither, whose name was Ales- 
sandro, to manage their business. The three brothers, there- ( 
fore continued at Florence; and forgetting to what misery j 
they had been reduced by their former extravagance, and I 
notwithstanding they all had families, they began to spend h 
immoderately, having large credit from the merchants. Their ' 



! 



i 



NOVEL UI.T THE SECOND DAY. 57 

expenses were also supported for some years by returns from 
Alessandro, who had let out money to the barons upon their 
castles and other estates, which turned to good account. 
Whilst the three brothers continued spending in this manner, 
and borrowing whenever they stood in need, placing their 
whole dependence upon returns from England, a war broke 
out there, contrary to every one's expectation, between the 
king and his son ; which divided the whole kingdom, some 
taking part with one, and some with the other. The conse- 
quence was that all the barons' castles were taken out of 
Alessandro 's hands, and nothing now was left him that turned 
to any profit : but living in hopes of peace every day, and 
then that he should have both principal and interest, Ales- 
sandro still continued in the kingdom, whilst the three breth- 
ren at Florence abated nothing of their extravagance, but 
continued borrowing more daily. But, when year after year 
passed away* without any money coming, as was expected, 
they lost all their credit, and people being desirous of getting 
what was their due, their effects were seized, which not being 
found sufficient, they were thrown into prison for the remain- 
der, and their wives and children dispersed up and down 
the country, in a most distressed condition, with no prospect 
but of misery for the rest of their lives. 

Alessandro, after waiting some years, and finding no likeli- 
hood of peace in England, but that he continued there to 
no purpose, and in danger of his life, resolved to return to 
Italy. He set out all alone ; and as he was going out of 
Bruges, he overtook a young abbot, clothed in white, and 
attended by a great train of monks, servants, and baggage. 
Two aged knights, related to the king, followed the cavalcade. 
These Alessandro joined ; and being known to them, was 
well received. Travelling in their company, he modestly 
inquired who those monks were that rode before, with such 
a retinue, and whither they were going ? " He that rides 
first," replied one of the knights, "is a young gentleman, a 
relation of ours, who has lately been made abbot of one of 
the richest abbeys in England ; and, because he is younger 
than is required by the law for such a dignity, we are going 
to Rome to entreat our holy father to dispense with his want 
of years : but this is to be a secret." The new abbot riding 
sometimes before his company, and sometimes behind (as is 
usual with persons on the road), got sight at last of Alessan- 
dro, who was a graceful, well-behaved young gentleman, and 
was so taken with him at the very first view, that he never 
3* 



58 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL III. 

saw any one he liked better : and having called him to his 
side, he inquired who he was, whence he came, and whither 
he was going ? Alessandro answered him very ingenuously, 
and, at the same time, made him an offer of his little service. 
The abbot was much pleased with his modest and graceful 
manner of speaking and behaviour, and especially at findings 
though his business was mean, that he was a gentleman. 
And being full of compassion for his losses, he began to 
comfort him in a friendly manner, bidding him to be of good 
courage, for if he were* a worthy man, God might exalt him 
to a higher pitch than that from which fortune had cast him 
down. He desired him, too, as he was going towards Tus- 
cany, to make one in his company, for he himself was like- 
wise travelling thither. Alessandro returned thanks for the 
encouragement given him, and professed himself entirely at 
his lordship's service. 

The abbot riding on (having got some new fancies in his 
head since the sight of Alessandro) chanced, after some days' 
travelling, to come to a country village, which afforded but 
bad accommodations ; and, because the abbot had a mind 
to halt there, Alessandro made him alight at the house of a 
person with whom he was acquainted, and provided him a 
bed in the least incommodious part of the house. Being 
now become steward of the household, as it were, to the 
abbot, he disposed of the company in different parts of the 
town, in the most convenient manner he was able. After the g 

abbot had supped, it being now midnight, and every one 1 

gone to rest, Alessandro inquired of the landlord where he * 

was to lie ? " In good truth, sir," replied the man, " you see I 

my house is quite full, so that I and my family must be forced 
to sleep on benches ; yet there are some granaries in the 
abbot's chamber : I can carry a pallet-bed for you thither, 
and you may rest as well as you can." — " But, landlord," 
quoth Alessandro, '^ how can I be in the abbot's chamber, it 
being so small that there is no room for any of his monks ? 
If I had thought of it before the curtains were drawn, the 
monks should have lain in the granaries, and I would have 
gone where the monks are." " The case is this," said the 
host, " you may lie there, if you please, as well as anywhere 
in the world : the abbot is asleep, and his curtains drawn ; I 
can convey a little bed thither softly, and you may rest very 
comfortably." Alessandro, finding that it might be done 
without disturbing the abbot, consented, and accommodated 
himself there with as little noise as possible. 




-.^^*- '--o^. ]/-•-'' 




NOVEL III.] THE SECOND PAY. 59 

The abbot, whom his new desires kept awake, heard what 
passed between Alessandro and his landlord; and finding 
that Alessandro was there, he began to reason with himself in 
this manner : " I have now a fit opportunity to compass my 
desires ; if I let this pass, the like may never offer again." Re- 
solving, therefore, to make use of it, and supposing that all was 
<|uiet in the house, he called, with a low voice, " Alessandro ! " 
and bade him come and lie down by him ; and Alessandro, 
after many excuses, undressed, and did as he was desired. 
The abbot then laid his hand upon the other's breast, as a 
lover would do ; which Alessandro was much surprised at, 
and began to fear that he had some bad design. As soon as 
the abbot perceived this, he could not help smiling; and 
having laid his bosom bare, he took Alessandro 's hand and 
put it upon it, saying, " Be not afraid : convince yourself of 
what I am." Alessandro laid his hand there, and found two 
breasts smooth and delicate like polished ivory, which con- 
^nced him that it was a woman : and he was going to have 
been more familiar; when she interrupted him, saying, "Be- 
fore you come nearer to me, observe what I am going to say : 
I am a woman, and not a man, as you see, and was now 
travelling to the pope, for him to dispose of me in marriage : 
but whether it be your good fortune, or my unhappiness, 
since I first saw you, the other day, I could not forbear lov- 
ing you as much as woman ever loved a man ; I am therefore 
determined to marry you in preference to any other person ; 
but if you will not accept of me, go hence at once, and return 
to the place you came fn.m." Though she was unknown to 
Alessandro, yet, when he considered the company that was 
with her, he judged that she must be a lady of distinction, 
and her person he saw was beautiful; therefore, without 
much consideration, he declared, that if she was willing, he 
should be highly pleased. She then rose up in bed, and 
turning towards a crucifix that stood upon the table, gave a 
ring into his hand, and made him espouse her ; and there, 
locked in each other's arms, they passed the hours that re- 
mained till dawn, in great mutual delight. In the morning, 
after concerting measures for the continuance of their secret 
meetings, Alessandro rose and stole out of the room, without 
any one knowing where he had passed the night. 

They proceeded on their route, Alessandro enchanted with 
the abbot and his company, and after several days* journey 
they arrived in Rome. Soon afterwards the abbot, with the 



66 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO, [nOVEL III. 

two knights and Alessandro, was introduced to his holiness, 
and, after the customary reverences, thus addressed him : 

" Holy father, you know better than anybody that they 
who desire to live honestly and well should avoid, as much as 
in them lies, all occasions which may lead them to act other- 
wise. For which reason have I fled, in the garb you behold, 
with a great part of the treasure of my father, who is King 
of England, and was about to marry me, young as I am, to 
the King of Scotland, who is very old, and I am come hither 
to beg that your holiness would dispose of me in marriage. 
Nor was it the age of the King of Scotland that made me 
fly, so much as the fear of doing, through the frailty of my 
youth, were I married to him, what should be contrary both 
to the laws of God and to the honour of our royal house. 
As I was coming with this intention, Providence set before 
my eyes him whom, in its mercy, it destined I should accept 
as my husband. It was this young gentleman (here she 
pointed to Alessandro), whose merit and behaviour make him 
worthy of the greatest princess, although his family be less 
noble. Him have I chosen, nor will I think of any other, 
however it may seem to my father or any one else. The 
principal inducement then to this journey is removed : but I 
chose to proceed, that I might visit the holy places with 
which this city abounds, and also your holiness, to the end 
that the contract of marriage, made only in the presence of 
God, may be declared in yours, and so made public to the 
world : wherefore I humbly entreat your blessing, to make 
us more capable of pleasing Him, whose vicar you are, that 
we may live together to the honour of God and of you, and 
at length die so. " 

Great was Alessandro's surprise and joy when he heard 
that his wife was the King of England's daughter ; but the 
knights were enraged beyond measure, and, had it not been 
in the pope's presence, they had certainly offered violence to 
Alessandro, and perhaps to the princess likewise. On the 
other hand, the pope was in amaze, both at her dress and the 
choice she had made ; but, seeing that what was done could 
not be undone, he was willing to satisfy her request. Having 
consoled the two angry and astounded knights, and made 
peace between them and the lady and Alessandro, he gave 
orders for what he would have done; and when the ap- 
pointed day was come, he made the lady appear most royally 
dressed before all the cardinals, and other great personages, 
who had been invited to a most magnificent feast, where she 



NOVEL IV.] THE SECOND DAY. 6 1 

appeared so beautiful and courteous, that every one was 
charmed with her. In like manner was Alessandro richly 
apparelled ; in his aspect and behaviour being»more like a 
prince than a person brought up to trade, and he was much 
honoured by the two knights. The pope saw the marriage 
celebrated with all imaginable grandeur ; and, after receiving 
his benediction, the bride and bridegroom took their leave. 

Alessandro and his lady were desirous, when they left 
Rome, of seeing Florence, whither fame had already carried 
the news of their marriage ; and they were received there 
with the utmost respect. She immediately took the three 
brothers out of prison, paying all their debts, and settled them 
and their wives in their former estates. This gained them 
the goodwill of every one ; and departing thence, they took 
Agolante with them, and came to Paris, where the king re- 
ceived them in a most honourable manner. Thence the two 
knights went to England, where they prevailed so far with 
the king that he forgave his daughter, and received them with 
all possible demonstration of joy, making his son-in-law a 
knight, and creating him Earl of Cornwall. Alessandro 's 
behaviour and conduct were such, that he accommodated 
matters between father and son, which was of great service 
to the kingdom, and gained him the love and esteem of every 
one. Agolante recovered all that was due to him, and re- 
turned to Florence immensely rich, being first knighted by 
Count Alessandro, who lived happily with his princess ; and 
it is reported that, through his prudence and valour, and 
the assistance of his father-in-law, he made a conquest of 
Scotland, and was crowned king of that realm. 



NOVEL IV. 

Landolfo Ruffolo, falling into poverty, became a pirate, was taken by the 
Genoese, and suffered shipwreck, but saved himself upon a cask of 
jewels, was taken out of the sea by a woman at Corfu, and after- 
wards returned home very rich. 

When Pampinea had finished her tale, Lauretta, who sat 
next her, at once began thus : — Most kind ladies, there is no 
greater freak of fortune, in my opinion, than to see one of 
low condition arrive at princely dignity, as Pampinea has 
just showed us in the case of Alessandro. Now since it is 
ruled that each of us is to narrate something having direct 
reference to the prescribed theme, I shall not scruple to 



62 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL IV. 

relate a story comprising greater hardships than the former, 
but not having, indeed, so glorious an end. I am sensible 
that, in this respect, I shall be listened to with the less inter- 
est ; but, as I am able to give you no better, I hope you will 
excuse me. 

It is generally admitted, that the sea coast from Reggio to 
Gaeta is the pleasantest part of Italy ; that part of it near 
Salerno, which the inhabitants call the Coast of Malfi, is full 
of little towns, gardens, rivulets, and abounds with rich people 
expert at merchandise. Amongst the rest there is a town 
called Ravello, in which were many wealthy persons, and one 
especially, called Landolfo Ruffolo, who, not content with his 
great store, but willing to make it double, was near losing all 
he had, and his life also. This man, having settled his aifairs, 
as other merchants are used to do, bought a large ship, and 
freighting it all on his own account, set sail for the island of 
Cyprus. He there found many ships laden with the very 
same commodities as his own, consequently it was necessary 
for him not only to make a quick market of his goods, but 
also, if he meant to dispose of them at all, to sell them for a 
trifle, to his great loss and almost ruin. Grieving much 
thereat, and hardly knowing what to do, seeing that from great 
wealth he was reduced almost to poverty, he resolved either 
to die, or to repair his losses by plunder, rather than go back 
a poor man to the home from which he had come away so 
wealthy. Meeting with a purchaser for his great ship, with 
the money made of that and his merchandise he bought a 
light little vessel fit for a pirate, and armed and furnished it 
with everything suitable, intending to make other people's 
goods his own, and especially those of the Turks. Fortune 
was abundantly more favourable to him in this way of life 
than she had been in trade ; for, in the space of a year, he 
took so many Turkish prizes, that he found he had not only 
got his own again, but made it more than double. 

Being now comforted for his former loss, and thinking he 
had enough, he resolved, for fear of a second disaster, to 
make the best of his way home with what he had acquired; 
and, as he was still fearful of trade, he had no mind to 
employ any more of his money that way, but set sail in the 
little vessel in which he had gained it. He was now in the 
Archipelago, when at nightfall a sirocco, or great south-east 
wind, arose, directly contrary to their intended course, which 
made such a sea that the ship could not bear up against it. 



NOVEL IV,] THE SECOND DAY. 63 

and they were glad to get into a bay under the cover of a 
little island» to wait for better weather. 

Landolfo had just entered the harbour when tyo Genoese 
caracks came in from Constantinople to avoid the same storm ; 
and, as soon as the men in them saw the small bark, they 
blocked her in, and on ascertaining that she belonged to an 
owner whom they knew to be very rich; as men addicted to 
plunder and rapine, they resolved to make her their prize. 
Landing some of their men, therefore, well armed with cross- 
bows and other weapons, they posted them so as to prevent 
any of the crew issuing out of the bark, unless at the cost of 
their lives; whilst the rest getting into the long-boat, and 
the sea being favourable, soon boarded Landolfo 's vessel, and 
took all his people, and everything in it, without the loss of 
a man, leaving him nothing but a waistcoat ; and after they 
had cleared out the vessel, they sank her. The day following, 
the wind having shifted, they made all sail for the west, and 
had a good voyage all that day; but night coming on, the 
wind became boisterous again, and the storm was such that 
the two caracks were parted, whilst that wherein poor Landolfo 
was, drove with the utmost violence upon the coast of Cepha- 
lonia, and was smashed like a glass flung against a wall. 
The sea being covered in a moment with all sorts of mer- 
chandise, and with chests, tables, and fragments of the wreck, 
all those of the crew who could swim strove, in spite of the 
darkness and the fury of the waves, to lay hold of such 
things as chanced to float near them. Amongst these was 
the unfortunate Landolfo, who, though he had wished for 
death a thousand times the day before, rather than return 
home a beggar, was terrified now that he saw death at hand, 
and got hold of a plank, like the rest, in hopes that if his 
fate were delayed, God would send him some means for his 
escape. Bestriding the plank as well as he could, and driven 
to and fro by the wind, he supported himself till daylight ; and 
then looking around him he could see nothing but clouds and 
water, and a chest driving towards him, to his great alarm, 
for sometimes it cam.e so near that he was afraid it would 
dash against him, and then he would endeavour, with the 
little strength he had left, to put it by with his hand ; at length 
a great blast of wind sent it with such violence against the 
plank on which he floated, as to overset it, and plunge him 
over head and ears into the water. He rose again, however, 
and swimming with the strength of fear rather than with his 
own, he found himself at such a distance from the plank that 



64 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL IV. 

he was afraid he could not recover it. Getting therefore to 
the chest, which was nearer, he laid his breast upon it as well 
as he could, and used his arms for paddles. In this manner 
was he carried up and down, with nothing to eat, but drink- 
ing more than he desired, neither knowing where he was, nor 
seeing anything but water for a day and a night. 

The next morning (whether it was through God or the 
force of the winds) Landolfo, who was well nigh become a 
sponge, grappling the chest with both arms, with the usual 
tenacity of drowning men, drew near to the island of Corfu, 
at a spot where, by good fortune, a poor woman was scouring 
her dishes with salt water and sand. When she saw him 
approach, and could discover in him nothing in the shape of 
man, she screamed, and started back in terror. He was too 
exhausted to be able to speak, and scarcely could he see 
much ; but as the waves carried him towards the shore, the 
woman could distinguish the shape of the chest. Looking 
more narrowly, she saw an arm laid over it, and then a face, 
and knew at once what was the matter. Moved by compas- 
sion, she stepped a little way into the sea, which was now 
calm, and seizing the half drowned wretch by the hair of his 
head, drew both him and the chest to land, where, with much 
trouble, she unfolded his arms from the chest, which she set 
upon the head of her daughter, who was with her. She her- 
self carried Landolfo like a little child to the town, put him 
on a stove, and chafed and washed him with warm water, by 
which means the vital warmth began to return, and his 
strength partially revived. In due time she took him from 
the stove, comforted him with wine and good cordials, and 
kept him some days till he knew where he was; she then 
restored him his chest, and told him he might now provide 
for his departure. 

He had forgotten all about the chest, but took it from the 
hands of the woman, supposing that, small as its worth might 
be, it might serve for his support for a short time. Finding 
it very light, he was somewhat disheartened ; however, whilst 
the good woman was out of the way, he broke it open, and 
found a great quantity of precious stones, some of which 
were polished and set. Having some judgment in such 
matters, and seeing that these gems were of immense value, 
he was now thoroughly comforted, and praised God for not 
having yet forsaken him. However, as he had been twice 
buffeted by fortune already, and was fearful of a third mishap, 
he judged that great caution was requisite to bring these 



NOVEL v.] THE SECOND DAY. 6$ 

things safe home; he wrapped them up, therefore, in old 
rags, as well as he could, and told the woman that he had no 
further use for the chest, but that she might keep it if she 
would give him a sack in its stead, which she was very glad to 
do. And now, returning her a thousand thanks, he departed 
with his sack over his shoulder, and passed over in a bark to 
Brundisi, and thence to Trani, where he met with merchants 
of his own town, who clothed him out of charity, after he 
had told them all that had befallen him, only omitting all 
mention of the cask of jewels. They also lent him a horse, 
and sent company with him to Ravello, whither he said he 
wished to return. Arriving there in safety, he gave thanks 
to God ; and now he inquired more narrowly into his sack 
than he had done before, and found so many valuable jewels, 
that, rating them at the lowest prices, he was twice as rich 
as when he left home. Finding means, therefore, to dispose 
of them, he sent a sum of money to the woman at Corfu, 
who had taken him out of the sea, and treated him so kindly ; 
and also to the merchants at Trani for clothing him; the 
remainder he kept, without having any more mind to trade, 
and lived handsomely upon it the rest of his life 



NOVEL v. 

Andreuccio, of Perugia, coming to Naples to buy horses, meets with three 
perilous adventures in one night ; from all which he escapes, and returns 
with a ruby of value. 

The jewels found by Landolfo put me in mind, said 
Fiammetta, whose turn it was now to speak, of a story as 
full of perils as the last, but with this difference, that in the 
one case they happened in the course of some years, whereas 
in the other they fell out in the space of one night, as you 
shall hear. 

There lived, as I have heard, at Perugia, a young man 
named Andreuccio di Pietro, a dealer in horses, who, hear- 
ing that they were cheap at Naples, put five hundred florins 
of gold into his purse ; and leaving home for the first time 
in his life, in company with some other dealers, arrived in 
that city on a Sunday evening. Having consulted with his 
landlord, he went into the market next morning, where he 
saw many horses to his mind, and cheapened some as he 
went up and down, without coming to any bargain ; but to 



66 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL V. 

show people that he came with an intent to buy, he unad- 
visedly pulled out his purse on all occasions. The conse- 
quence was, that a very pretty Sicilian damsel (who was at 
every one's service for a small matter) got sight of the purse, 
without being observed by its owner : and said she to herself, 
as she passed on, "Who is there that would be my betters, if 
that purse were mine ?" Along with her was an old woman of 
Sicily likewise, who, as soon as she saw Andreu/rcio, ran and 
embraced him ; which the young woman observing, without 
saying a word, stepped aside to wait for her. Andreuccio 
recognised the old woman, spoke to her with great cordiality, 
and having made her promise to come to his inn, he parted 
from her and went on about his business, but bought nothing 
all that morning. The young woman, who had taken notice 
first of the purse, and then of her friend's knowledge of the 
owner, began to inquire of her, as cautiously as might be, by 
way of contriving how to come at the money, in whole or in 
part, who that man was, whence he came, what was his busi- 
ness, and how she happened to know him. These questions 
the old woman answered in every particular, as fully as he 
himself could have done, having lived a long time with his 
father in Sicily, and afterwards at Perugia, and having heard 
from him the cause of his coming to Naples, and when he was 
to return. Thinking herself now sufficiently instructed con- 
cerning the man's kindred and their names, the young woman 
laid her plans in the most artful manner possible ; and going 
home, she sent the old woman out upon business for the 
whole day, that she might have an opportunity of seeing 
Andreuccio again. In the meantime, towards evening, she 
despatched a young woman, well trained for such services, 
to his inn, where the messenger found him sitting alone at 
the door, and inquiring of him whether one Andreuccio, of 
Perugia, lived there, he made answer, that he was the man. 
She then took him a little aside, and said, " Sir, a gentle- 
woman of this city would gladly speak with you, if you 
please." On hearing this, he began to consider the matter; 
and, as she seemed to be a creditable girl, he concluded that 
the lady must be in love with him, being in his own eyes as 
handsome a man as any in Naples. He answered, therefore, 
that he was ready, and asked where and when the lady would 
speak with him. " She expects you," said the girl, " at her 
own house, as soon as may be agreeable to you." Without 
saying a word then to the people of the inn, he bade her 
show him the way; and she brought him to her house, in a 



NOVEL v.] THB, SECOND DAY. 67 

certain street famous for such sort of inhabitants ; but he, 
knowing nothing of the matter, nor at all suspecting but that 
he was visiting a place of repute, and a lady that had taken 
a fancy to him, went into the house, and going up-stairs 
(whilst the girl called out to her mistress that Andreuccio 
was there), found her at the top, waiting for him. She was 
young, had a fine face and figure, and was very well dressed. 
Running down two or three steps with open arms to meet 
him, and clasping his neck, she stood some time without 
speaking a word, as if overpowered by her emotions; at last, 
showering tears and kisses on his face, she faltered out, *^ O, 
my Andreuccio! you are heartily welcome." Quite aston- 
ished at being caressed in such a manner, he replied, 
" Madam, I am proud of the honour to wait upon you." She 
then took him by the hand, and led him, without saying a word 
more, through a large dining-room into her own chamber, 
which was perfumed with roses, orange-flowers, and other 
rich odours, and where there was also a fine bed, and other 
rich furniture, far beyond what he had ever seen before, 
which convinced him that she was some great lady. When 
they had sat down together upon a couch at the bed's feet, 
she addressed him thus : 

'* I am very sure, Andreuccio, you must be under great 
astonishment both at my tears and embraces, as being unac- 
quainted with me, and perhaps never having heard of me 
before ; but you will now hear what will surprise you more, 
namely, that I am your sister ; and I assure you, that since 
God has indulged me with the sight of one of my brothers — 
how I wish I could see them all ! — I could die contented this 
very moment. If you are unacquainted with the particulars 
of my story, I will relate them. Pietro, my father and yours, 
as I suppose you must know, lived a long time at Palermo, 
where he was much respected for his integrity and good- 
nature, and is so still, by all that knew him. But of all his 
friends, none loved him so well as my mother, a widow lady, 
who, notwithstanding the regard due to her father and 
brothers, as well as to her own honour, cohabited with him, 
till at length I was bom, and am now what you see. Having 
occasion afterwards to retire from Palermo, and to return to 
Perugia, he left me there an infant, with my mother, and from 
that time, as far as I can learn, took no more notice either of 
me or her ; which, were he not ray father, I could blame him 
for ; considering what ingratitude he showed to my mother, 
to say nothing of the love he owed to me, his child, bom to 



68 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL V. 

him by no vile prostitute, but by one who, out of her abun- 
dant love, had put herself and all her wealth into his hands, 
without having any farther knowledge of him. Well, well ! — 
ill actions, done so long since, are easier blamed than 
amended : yet so it was ; he left me, as I said, at Palermo, an 
infant, where, when I grew up, my mother, who was rich, 
married me to one of the family of the Gergenti, who, out of 
regard to me and her, came and lived at Palermo, where, 
being an ardent Guelph, and having begun to treat with our 
King Charles, he was discovered by Frederick, King of Arra- 
gon, before his scheme could take effect, and was forced to 
fly from Sicily, at a time when I expected to have been the 
greatest lady ever known in the island. Taking with us 
what few effects we could (I call them few, in comparison 
with the abundance we were possessed of), and leaving our 
estates and palaces behind us, we came at length to this place, 
where we found King Charles so grateful, that he has made 
up to us, in part, the losses we had sustained on his account, 
giving us lands and houses, and paying my husband, and your 
kinsman, a pension besides, as you will hereafter see. Thus 
I live here, where, thanks be to Heaven, and not to you, my 
dearest brother, I now see you." Having so said, she wept, 
and tenderly embraced him again. 

Andreuccio, hearing this fable so orderly, so artfully com- 
posed, and related without the least faltering or hesitation ; 
remembering, also, that his father had lived at Palermo, and 
knowing, by his own experience, how prone young fellows 
are to love; beholding, too, her tears and affectionate ca- 
resses, he took all she had said for gospel ; and when she had 
done speaking, he replied : " Madam, it should not seem 
strange to you that I am surprised ; for, in truth, whether it 
was that my father, for reasons best known to himself, never 
mentioned you or your mother at any time; or, if he did, 
that I h^ve forgotten it, I had no more knowledge of you 
than if you had never been bom. Tnily it is the more pleas- 
ing to me to find a sister here, as I the less expected it, and 
am also alone : nor is there any man, however high he may 
be, who would not value you ; much more myself, who am 
but a mean trader. But one thing I beg you would clear up 
to me, that is — How came you to know that I was here ? " 

" A poor woman," she replied, " whom I often employ, told 
me so; for she lived, as she informed me, with our father a 
considerable time, both at Palermo and Perugia ; and were it 
r.ot that it appeared more reputable that you should come to 



NOVEL v.] THE SECOND DAY. 69 

my house, than that I should visit you at another's, I would 
have come directly to you." She then inquired of him par- 
ticularly, and by name, how all their relations did ; to all 
which he answered her fully, his belief in her story becoming 
the stronger in proportion as there was the more reason for 
suspicion. Their conference having lasted a long time, and 
the weather being sultry, she ordered some Greek wine and 
sweetmeats for him ; and when he made an offer afterwards 
to depart, because it was supper-time, she would by no means 
suffer it; but seeming to be under great concern, she em- 
braced him, and said, " Alas ! now I plainly see how Mttle 
account you make of me ; that, being with a sister whom you 
never saw before, and in her house, which you should always 
make your home, you should yet think of going to sup at an 
inn. Indeed you shall sup with me ; and though my hus- 
band be abroad, which I am- much concerned at, I will con- 
trive, as well as a lady may, to pay you some little respect." 
Not knowing what else to say to this, Andreuccio replied, 
" I love you as much as it is possible for me to love a sister ; 
but it will be wrong not to go, because they will be expecting 
me to supper all the evening." " Lord, bless me ! " she ex- 
claimed, " have I no one here that I can send to tell them 
not to expect you ? But you would oblige me more, and do 
as you ought, if you would send to invite your friends hither 
to supper, and afterwards, if you chose to go, you might all 
of you go together." Andreuccio would not trouble her that 
evening, he said, with his companions, but for himself, she 
might dispose of him as she pleased. She now made a pre- 
tence of sending to his inn, to tell them not to expect him 
to supper, and, after much other discourse, they sat down to 
a choice and copious repast, which she contrived to protract 
till it was quite dark. When they rose from table, Andreuccio 
again wanted to go away ; but she would by no means suffer 
it, for Naples, she declared, was not a place to walk in after 
dark, especially for a stranger ; and she had sent word to the 
inn that he would sleep as well as sup abroad. Believing 
this to be true, and glad also of being with his sister, he was 
easily prevailed upon to stay. After supper, she purposely 
prolonged the conversation to a late hour in the night, when 
she left him in her own chamber to take his repose, with a 
boy to wait upon him, she herself retiring with her women 
into another room. 

It was very hot weather, on which account Andreuccio, 
seeing himself alone, stripped to his doublet, and pulling off 



7© DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL ▼. 

his breeches, laid them under his bolster. Having occasion 
to retire, he asked the boy to show him a conveniency ; the 
boy pointed to a comer of the room where there was a door, 
and desired him to enter it. In he went, without the least 
suspicion, and setting his foot upon a board, which was not 
nailed at the other end to the rafter on which it was laid, it 
flew up, and down they went, board and man together. 
Heaven was merciful to him, however, for he was not hurt 
by the fall, though the height was great, but he was horribly 
daubed with the filth, of which the place was full. That you 
may better understand this, and what followed, I shall describe 
the place to you. In a narrow alley, such as you may often 
see between two houses, on two beams reaching from one 
house to the other, some boards and a place to sit upon were 
laid, and it was one of these boards that fell down with him. 
Finding himself now at the bottom, he called in great distress 
to the boy ; but the latter, the moment he heard him fall, ran 
off to tell his mistress, who hastened to the chamber to see 
if Andreuccio's clothes were there. Finding both them and 
the money, which he, out of a foolish mistrust, always carried 
about him, and having now got hold of that for the sake of 
which she had laid this snare, pretending to be of Palermo, 
and the sister of this Perugian, she took no farther heed of 
her dear brother, but made the door fast, out of which he 
passed, when he fell. Andreuccio, finding the boy made no 
answer, bawled out louder and louder, but to no purpose ; 
and now, beginning to suspect the trick when it was too late, 
he climed over a low wall which parted the alley from the 
street, and went to the door, which he knew full well ; there 
did he knock and shout in vain, for a long time ; lamenting 
much, and seeing plainly his calamity: "Alas! "quoth he, 
" in how little a time have I lost five hundred florins, and a 
sister besides ! " 

After many more wailings, he began again to batter the 
door, and to bawl so loudly that he roused many of the 
neighbours out of their beds. Among the rest, one of the 
courtesan's women, pretending to be half asleep, opened the 
casement, and called out, " Who's that making such a noise 
there ? " — " Oh ! " cried Andreuccio, " don't you know me ? 
I am Andreuccio, brother to my lady Fiordaliso." " Prithee, 
honest fellow,** replied the woman, " if thou hast had too 
much liquor, get thee to bed, and come to-morrow. I know 
nothing of Andreuccio, nor what thy idle tale means ; please 
to go about thy business, I say again, and let us rest." — 



KOVSL v.] THE SECOND DAY. 7I 

" What ! " said he, " don't you know what I say ? you know 
well enough, if you will ; but if our Sicilian relationship be 
so soon forgotten, give me my clothes which I left with you, 
and ni go with all my heart." " The man is dreaming," she 
replied, with a contemptuous laugh, and instantly shut the 
casement. 

Andreuccio, now too well assured of his misfortune, be- 
came outrageous in his sorrow ; and, resolving to obtain by 
force, what he had failed to get by fair words, he took a great 
stone, and banged at the door harder than ever. Many of 
the neighbours whom he had waked up, supposing that he was 
some spiteful fellow, who did this to annoy the woman, and 
provoked at the intolerable noise he made, called out, one 
and all (just as dogs in the street all join in barking at a 
strange cur), " It is a shameful thing to come to a decent 
woman's house at this time of night, with these idle stories : 
get away, in God's name, and let us sleep ; if thou hast any 
business with her, òome to-morrow, and do not disturb us 
now." Encouraged, perhaps, by these last words, a bully in 
the house, whom Andreuccio had neither seen nor heard of, 
came to the window, and with a most rough and terrible 
voice, cried out, " Who is that below ?" Andreuccio, looking 
up at this, beheld an ill-looking rascal, with a great black 
beardy yawning and rubbing his eyes, as if he was just awaked 
out of his sleep. He made answer, therefore, not without a 
good deal of fear, " I am brother to the lady within :" but the 
other (never waiting to let him make an end of his speech) 
replied, " I don't know what should stop me from coming 
down and cudgelling thee as long as thou canst stand, for a 
troublesome drunken beast as thou art, disturbing everybody's 
rest in this manner;" and with that he closed the window. 
Hereupon some of the neighbours, who knew more of the 
fellow's character, called out softly to Andreuccio, "For 
Heaven's sake, honest man, go away, unless thou hast a mind 
to lose thy life ; it will be much the best for thee." 

Terrified by the bully's voice and aspect, and persuaded 
by these people, who seemed to speak out of mere good will, 
the woe-begone Andreuccio now gave up all hopes of recov- 
ering his money, and wended his way towards that part of 
the city whence he had been decoyed by the girl the day 
before. But unable to endure the scent he carried about 
him, and purposing to have a good wash in the sea, he turned 
to the left, through a street called Catalana. He had now 
reached the higher part of the city, when he saw two people 



72 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [NOVEL V. 

coming towards him with a lantern, and fearing that they 
were the watch, or some ill-disposed persons, he stepped into 
an old house that was near, to hide himself. It happened 
that these people were going into the very same place ; and 
one of them having laid down some iron tools there, which 
he carried over his shoulder, they began to examine nhem 
together. While they were talking about them, said one to 
the other, " There is the most confounded stink here that ever 
I smelt in my life, what can it be ?" Then, turning the lan- 
tern this way and that, they spied unfortunate Andreuccio, 
and, in a good deal of amazement, demanded who he was ? 
He made no answer; and, drawing nearer with the light, 
they asked what he did there in such a pickle ? He then 
related to them his whole adventure ; and they, easily guess- 
ing where the thing had happened, said to one another, 
" This must certainly have been in the house of Scarabon 
Firebrand." Then, turning towards him : " Honest man," 
said one of them, " you ought to be very thankful that you 
fell down, and could not return into the house, for otherwise 
you would certainly have been murdered as soon as ever you 
went to sleep, and so have lost your life as well as your 
money. But what signifies lamenting? You may as soon 
pluck a star out of the firmament, as recover one farthing ; 
nay, you may chance to be killed, should the man hear that 
you make any words about it." Having admonished him in 
this manner, they said, " See, we have pity on you, and if 
you will engage with us in a certain affair which we are now 
about, we are very sure that your share will amount to more 
than you have lost." Andreuccio, like a desperate man as 
he was, told them he was willing. 

That day had been buried Signor Philippo Minutolo, 
Archbishop of Naples, in rich pontifical robes, and with a 
ruby on his finger worth upwards of five hundred florins of 
gold. His body they proposed to strip and rifle, and they 
made known their intention to Andreuccio, who, more covet- 
ous than wise, went with them towards the cathedral. As 
they were going along, he smelt so badly, that one said to 
the other, " Can we contrive no way to wash this man a little, 
so as to make him stink less infernally ?" " Why not ! " said 
the other, " we are not far from a well, where there are usually 
a pully and a great bucket; let us go there, and we may 
make him clean in an instant." Coming to the well, they 
found the rope, but the bucket was taken away ; they there- 
fore agreed to tie him to the rope, and let him down ; and 



NOVEL v.] THE SECOND DAY, 73 

when he had well washed himself, he was to shake the rope, 
and they would draw him up. Now it happened that, after 
they had let him down, some of the watch, being thirsty with 
the heat of the weather and a sharp run they had had after 
some rogue or another, came to that well to drink, and as 
soon as the two men saw them, they took to their heels : the 
watch, however, saw nothing of them. Andreuccio had by 
this time washed himself thoroughly at the bottom of the 
well ; and the watch having laid down their casques and hal- 
berds upon the ground, began to draw up the rope, thinking, 
from its weight, that the bucket was fastened to it, and full 
of water. As soon as Andreuccio found himself at the top, 
he let go the rope, and clung fast to the edge of the well ; the 
watch immediately dropped the rope on seeing him, and ran 
away, frighted out of their wits, which greatly amazed him ; 
and had he not held fast, he would have fallen to the bottom, 
and perhaps lost his life. Getting out, however, and be- 
holding their weapons, which he knew belonged not to his 
companions, he wondered the more ; and not knowing what 
to make of it, he went away without touching anything. As 
he was walking along, not knowing whither, he met with his 
companions, who had returned to help him out of the well. 
Greatly surprised to see him, they asked who had helped 
him out. He replied, that he could not tell, and related to 
them the whole affair, and what he had found by the well- 
side: whereupon, laughing heartily, they acquainted him 
with the reason of their running away, and who they were 
that had drawn him up. 

Without wasting more time in words, it being now mid- 
night, the three confederates hastened to the great church, 
entered without difficulty, and went straight to the arch- 
bishop's tomb, which was of marble, and of great size. With 
their levers they raised up the cover, which was very heavy, 
so high that a man might go under and prop it ; which being 
done, said one, "Who shall go in?"— "Not I," cried the 
other. — ^'* Nor I," said the first, "but Andreuccio shall."— 
"I will not go in," quoth Andreuccio; when they both 
turned towards him, and said, "What! you won't go in? 
We will beat your brains out this moment, if you don't." 
Terrified at their threats, he consented, and being now within, 
he began to consider with himself in this manner : " These 
fellows have certainly forced me in here to cheat me, and so 
when I have given them everything, and am endeavouring to 
get out again, they will run away, and I shall be left empty 
4 



74 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL V. 

handed." Accordingly, he resolved to make sure of his part, 
beforehand; and, remembering the precious ring he had 
heard them speak of, as soon as ever he got into the vault, 
he took it oflf the archbishop's finger, and secured it. Then 
he gave his companions the pastoral staif, mitre, and gloves, 
and after stripping the prelate's body to his shirt, he told 
them there was nothing else. They insisted that there was 
a ring, and bade him seek everywhere for it. He assured 
them that he could find nothing of the sort, and, pretending 
to look carefully about, he kept them some time waiting for 
him ; at length they, who were fully as cunning as himself, 
calling to him to search diligently, suddenly drew away the 
prop which supported the cover, and left him shut up in the 
vault. You may easily suppose what condition he was in 
now. Many times did he endeavour with his head and shoul- 
ders to raise up the heavy slab, but in vain ; till, overcome 
with grief, he fell down upon the dead body ; and whoever 
had seen them then, could scarcely have said, whether there 
was more life in the one than the other. When at last he 
came to himself, bitter were his lamentations, seeing that he 
was now brought to this dreadful dilemma, that he must 
either die there with hunger, and the stench of the dead 
carcase, if no one came to help him out, or be hanged for a 
thief, should any one happen to find him in that place. 

While he was in this perplexity, he heard the noise of 
many persons in the church, who, he supposed, were come 
to do what he and his companions had been about, and this 
greatly added to his fear ; but after they had raised up the 
lid and propped it, a dispute arose which should go in ; and 
none caring to do it, after a long contest, said a priest, 
"What are yau afraid of.^ Do you think he will eat you.? 
Dead men cannot bite ; I will go in myself." And immedi- 
ately resting his belly on the edge of the vault, he attempted 
to slide down feet foremost ; which, Andreuccio perceiving, 
he stood up and caught fast hold of one of the priest's legs, 
as if he meant to pull him in. The priest upon this making 
a most terrible outcry, scrambled out immediately ; and the 
whole party, leaving the vault open in their terror, ran for 
their lives, as if they had been pursued by a hundred thou- 
sand devils. Andreuccio, little expecting this good fortune, 
got out of the vault, and the church, as quickly as he could. 

Day-light had now begun to appear, and wandering, with 
the ring on his finger, he knew not whither, he came at last 
to the sea-side, and found the way leading to his inn. There 



NOVEL VI.] THE SECOND DAY. 75 

he met with his companions and his landlord, who had been 
in pain all that night for him; and having related to them all 
that had passed, he was advised to get out of Naples with all 
speed. He instantly complied with that advice, and returned 
to Perugia, having laid out his money on a ring, whereas the 
intent of his journey had been to buy horses. 

[The first part of this story has been imitated in many tales and 
romances, particularly in ' Gil Bias/ where a deceit, similar to that prac- 
tised by the Sicilian damsel, has been adopted. One of the tableaux of 
the Trouvcurs, entitled * Borvin de Provins ' (Barbazan, iii, 357), is the 
origin of all those numerous tales in which the unwary are cozened by 
courtesans assuming the character of lost relations.] 



NOVEL VI. 

Madam Beritola was found on an island with two goats, having lost her 
two sons. She went thence to Lunigiana, where one of her sons 
became servant to the lord thereof, and being found with his daughter, 
was sent to prison. Afterwards, when Sicily rebeU^ against King 
Charles, that same son was discovered again by his mother, and was 
married to his master's daughter ; and his brother being found likewise, 
they both rose again to great estate and credit. 

The ladies and gentlemen were much diverted with the 
adventures that befell Andreuccio, as related by Fiammetta ; 
when Emilia, perceiving the story to be at an end, began, by 
the queen's order, in this manner : — Very sad and grievous 
are the changes oif fortune ; yet, whenever we talk of them, 
they serve to arouse and awaken our understandings, which 
are but too easily enchanted by her flatteries ; 'and I am per- 
suaded, that to hear them recounted, must be acceptable 
both to the happy and the wretched, as tending to make the 
former cautious, and affording matter of consolation to the 
latter. Wherefore, though great things have been already 
treated of, yet do I purpose to relate a story no less true 
than lamentable, which, though it ended well, was yet full 
of such bitter thwartings, that one would scarcely imagine 
they could ever be sweetened by any subsequent joy. 

You are aware, dear ladies, that after the death of the 
Emperor Frederick II., Manfredi was crowned king of Sicily. 
At the court of that sovereign, and standing very high in his 
favour, was a Neapolitan gentleman, Arrighetto Capece by 
name, who had for his wife, Beritola Caracciola, a most 



76 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL VL 

beautiful and worthy lady of* Naples. This gentleman had 
the government of the island in his hands at the time when 
King Charles I. gained the battle of Benevento, in which 
Manfredi was slain, and he had the grief to find that the 
whole kingdom had revolted to the conqueror. Reposing 
then but little trust in the scanty faith of the Sicilians, and 
not being willing to become a subject to the enemy of his 
former master, Arrighetto prepared secretly to leave the 
place; which being discovered by the inhabitants, he and 
many other of Manfredi's friends and servants were delivered 
up to King Charles, along with the possession of the island. 

In this sudden change of affairs, the lady Beritola, not 
knowing what was become of her husband, and fearful of 
the worst, left everything behind her, to escape dishonour ; 
and taking only a child of eight years old, called Goffredi, 
and being with child of another, she embarked, in the utmost 
distress, in a little vessel, for Lipari. There she brought 
forth another son, whom she called Scacciato, or the Expelled^ 
and having provided a nurse, they went on board again with 
a design to return to her relations at Naples. But it hap- 
pened contrary to her expectation; for the vessel, which 
was bound for Naples, was carried by a contrary wind to 
the island cff Ponzo ; where, getting into a little harbour, they 
waited for a more favourable season to pursue their voyage. 
There they went on shore, and finding a solitary place, she 
sat down all alone, to lament the fate of her dear Arrighetto, 
and this she did every day. 

Now it happened, that whilst she was thus employed one 
day, without any of the ship's crew knowing where she was, 
their vessel was surprised by a pirate ship, and carried off 
with all on boaM. The lady Beritola, when her daily lamen- 
tation was ended, returned, as usual, to see her sons, and 
was surprised to find nobody; but suspecting what must have 
happened, and casting her eye towards the sea, she saw the 
ship at no great distance, dragging her little vessel after it ; 
on which she plainly perceived that she had lost her children, 
as well as her husband ; and seeing herself there poor and 
desolate, and never expecting to meet with any of them again, 
she fell down in a swoon upon the shore, calling upon her 
husband and her children. There was no one near, either 
with cold water, or any other means, to bring her to herself; 
so that her spirits might the more freely wander at their 
pleasure ; but when she was a little recovered, then did her 
tears and lamentations break out afresh, whilst she called out 



NOVEL VI.] THE SECOND DAY. 77 

for her children, and ran to every cavern to find them : till, 
perceiving at last it was all to no purpose, and that dark 
night was drawing on, yet hoping still, without knowing why, 
she began to take some care of herself, and, leaving the sea* 
shore, returned to the cave where she was used to make her 
lamentation. 

She passed that night not without infinite pain and grief; 
and day-light appearing, she, who had eaten nothing the 
evening before, being now pinched with hunger, fed upon the 
green herbs as well as she could, sadly considering what 
would become of her for the rest of her life. Whilst she 
was full of these melancholy reflections, she beheld a goat 
enter a cave near her, and, after some little stay, come out 
again and go into the woods : upon that she arose, went in 
where she saw the beast issue forth, and found two young 
kids, yeaned perhaps that very day, which she thought at 
that time the prettiest things in the world. Having milk yet 
in her breasts from her late delivery, she took them carefully, 
and applied them to her bosom, and they sucked as naturally 
as if she had been their mother, and from that time made no 
distinction between the one and the other. So the lady, 
thinking that she had now met with company in this soli- 
tary place, feeding also on herbs, and drinking water, 
and lamenting her husband and children so often as she 
reflected on her past life, became at length disposed to live 
and die there, growing as familiar with the goat as with its 
offspring, and herself becoming almost a wild creature by 
this way of life. 

After some months it chanced that a vessel from Pisa 
arrived at the island, and continued many days, having on 
board a gentleman named Conrado de' Malespini, with his 
most virtuous lady. They had been upon a pilgrimage to 
visit all the holy places in Puglia, and were now returning 
home. To divert themselves, they went on shore with their 
servants and some dogs, and not far from the place where 
Beritola was, the dogs fell in with the two kids, which being 
now large, were feeding abroad, and, as they were closely pur- 
sued, fled for refuge to her in the cave. On seeing this, she 
started up, and getting a stick, beat the dogs off": in the mean- 
while Conrado and his lady, who were following the dogs, 
came upon her, and beholding her all swarthy, meagre, and 
hairy, they were greatly surprised, and she much more so. 
When Conrado had called off his hounds, at her entreaties, 
they desired she would acquaint them who she was, and what 



78 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL VI. 

she did there : whereupon she related to them all that had 
happened to her, and her resolution to stay. Conrado, who 
knew her husband very well, was moved with pity at her sad 
story, and endeavoured, by many arguments, to draw her 
from her cruel design, offering either to send her home, or to 
keep her at his own house, where she might wait for better 
times, and promising to treat her, in the meanwhile, as if she 
were his sister. When she would not comply with these 
kind proposals, he left his wife with her, desiring that she 
would order victuals to be brought, let the wild lady put on 
some of her clothes, because her own were all ragged, and 
endeavour, by every possible means, to bring her away. 
The lady continued with her, and lamented her misfortunes, 
until the victuals and clothes were brought, when she pre- 
vailed upon her to clothe herself, and to eat ; and after much 
entreaty, she declaring that she would never go any more 
where she was known, she was at last persuaded to depart 
with them for Lunigiana, together with the two kids and the 
goat, which had meanwhile come back, and fondled her 
most lovingly, to the great wonder of the other lady. 

As soon as the weather was favourable, Madam Beritola 
went on board with Conrado and his lady, being followed by 
the goat and kids ; and, because she wished to be known by 
nobody else, she would be called by no other name than that 
of the Goatherdess. The wind was favourable, and soon 
brought them into the river Magra, where they got on shore : 
and went to Conrado's castle, where Madam Beritola lived 
with Conrado's wife, in a widow's dress, as a lady in waiting, 
behaving herself with all obedience and humility, still loving 
and nursing her goats. 

Let us now return to the pirates, who had seized upon the 
little bark at Ponzo, which brought Beritola thither. After 
leaving her there, unseen by them, they carried the rest of 
the people away to Genoa, where, when the booty came to 
be divided among the owners of the ship, it happened that, 
amongst other things, the nurse and two children fell to the 
share of one Guasparrino d'Oria, who sent them to his own 
house, to be kept as servants. The nurse was exceedingly 
sorrowful at the loss of her mistress, and the low state of 
life to which she saw herself and the children now reduced. 
She wept long and bitterly ; but seeing that tears were of nò 
avail, and that they were slaves together, she comforted her- 
self in the best manner she was able, for though a poor 
woman, yet was she wise and prudent. In the first place, it 



NOVSL VI.] THE SECOND DAY. 79 

occurred to her that if the two boys were known it might 
turn to their disadvantage; and then she hoped besides 
that their affairs might take a new turn, and they regain 
their former condition. For these reasons she determined 
not to disclose their names to anybody, unless she saw a 
proper time for it ; and she told every one who inquired 
about them, that they were her sons. The eldest she called 
not Goffredi, but Giannotto di Procida ; as for the younger, 
she did not think it necessary to change his name. She told 
Gofifredi, frequently, the reason why she had done so in his 
case, and to what dangers he would be exposed should he 
be known : lessons which the child, who was sensible enough, 
carefully observed. 

They continued in the house of Guasparrino many years, 
poorly clad, and worse shod, employed in the most servile 
offices, all which they bore with great patience ; but Gian- 
notto, being now in his sixteenth year, and having a spirit 
much beyond the condition of a servant, was disgusted with 
the meanness of his station, left Guasparrino, went on board 
the ships which were bound for Alexandria, and voyaged to 
divers parts, but without being able in any way to advance 
himself. At last, about three or four years after his depar- 
ture from Guasparrino, being grown tall and comely in per- 
son, he ascertained that his father, whom he had supposed 
to be dead, was yet alive, but kept in prison by King Charles. 
Despairing now altogether of his fortunes, he wandered up 
and down as a vagabond, till he came to Lunigiana, where 
by chance he became servant to Conrado de Malespini, and 
was much liked. He seldom saw his mother, she being com- 
monly with Conrado's wife, nor did he know her any more 
than she recognised him ; so much had time altered both 
since they last saw one another. 

While he was living thus in the service of Conrado, it 
happened that a daughter of his, whose name was Spina, 
being the widow of one Nicholas de Grignano, returned 
home to her father's, and being a very pretty agreeable young 
lady, and not much more than sixteen years of age, she soon 
cast her eyes on Giannotto, and he on her, in such wise that 
they became intensely enamored of each other. Their mu- 
tual desires were not long without being carried into effect, 
and their intercourse continued for many months before it 
was discovered. The consequence was that, growing too 
confident, they were now not so cautious as they ought to 
have been in such an affair. One day, as they were walking 



8o DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL VL 

through a pleasant grove, they left the rest of their company 
behind, and turned aside amongst the trees, where, suppos- 
ing that the others were far enough off, they made choice of 
a fine bed of flowers for their amorous amusement. Dally- 
ing there too long, though the time seemed short to them, 
they were surprised first by the mother, and afterwards by 
Conrado himself, who, being incensed beyond measure, 
ordered ftiree of his servants to seize and carry them bound 
to a certain castle of his, resolving, in his extreme rage and 
passion, to put them both to a shameful death. The mother, 
though she was much troubled, and thought her daughter 
worthy of the severest chastisement for the crime she had 
committed, yet, perceiving what her husband's intention was, 
she could not bear that he should proceed to such extrem- 
ities, and begged that he would not, in his old age, be so far 
hurried away with passion, as to murder his own daughter, 
and stain his hands with the blood of a servant ; but rather 
show his resentment in a different manner, by committing 
them to close imprisonment, there to pine and lament the 
folly they had committed. By these and other persuasions 
the good lady prevented his putting them to death ; and he 
now gave orders to have them sent to separate prisons, where 
they should be well watched, and kept with little food and 
great severity, till he should farther resolve what to do with 
them. What their life now was in captivity and continual 
tears, with more fasting than was needed for them, any one 
may easily imagine. 

Giannotto and La Spina remaining in this comfortless con- 
dition, and a whole year having passed without Conrado 
taking any farther notice of them, it happened that Peter, 
king of Arragon, by means of Gian di Precida, caused the 
island of Sicily to revolt, and gained it from King Charles. 
On this account Conrado, who was of the Ghibelline faction, 
made great rejoicings, which Giannotto being informed of 
by some of his keepers, heaved a deep sigh, and said, "Alas ! 
for these fourteen years have I been wandering through the 
world, waiting only for this event ; and now the thing is 
come to pass, that I may be destitute of all hope, I am in 
prison, from which I never expect to depart with life ! " — 
"And what," said the keeper, "hast thou to do with the 
affairs of princes ? Or what business hast thou with Sicily ? " 
" My heart is fit to burst," he replied, " when I call to mind 
the rank n<y father held there ; for though I was but an infant 
when I fled thence, I can very well remember his being gov- 



NOVEL VI.] THE SECOND DAY. 8 1 

emor under King Manfredi." — "And who was thy father, 
then ? " continued the keeper. " My father," replied he, ** I 
may now safely make known, since I am already fallen into 
the danger I apprehended from such a discovery. His name 
was, and is still, if he be living, Arrighetto Capece ; and I 
am not Giannotto, but Goffredi ; and I make no doubt, if I 
was at liberty, but by returning to Sicily I might obtain 
great promotion." 

The honest man, without asking any more questions, 
reported all this, as soon as he had an opportunity, to Con- 
rado, who, seeming to the keeper not to take the least notice 
of it, went directly to Madame Beritola, and inquired of her 
whether she ever had a son by Arrighetto, who was called 
Goffredi. The lady replied, in tears, that if her eldest son 
was living, he was so called, and was now twenty-two years 
of age. Conrado hearing this, immediately concluded it 
must be the same person; and if this should prove so, a 
method occurred to him by which he might at the same time 
show mercy, and take away his daughter's disgrace and that 
of his family, by making her Goffredi's wife. 

He consequently called Giannotto secretly before him, and 
examined him particularly with respect to his past life; and 
finding, by many manifest tokens, that he was truly Goffredi 
the son of Arrighetto Capece, he thus addressed him : 

" Giannotto, you know how great an injury you have done 
me in the person of my daughter; for, as I always treated 
you well, you ought to have considered my honour and 
interest in all things as became a servant : many people there 
are, who, had they been used by you in this manner, would 
have put you to an ignominious death, which my pity for you 
would not permit. Wherefore, seeing, as you inform mc, 
that you are honourably descended both by father and mother, 
I will put an end to your trouble, if you yourself are willing, 
and, releasing you from your captivity, restore at once both 
your honour and my own. You know that my daughter 
La Spina, whom unluckily for you both, I found in dalliance 
with you, is a widow, and of a good fortune : you are no 
stranger either to her temper or family; concerning your own 
circumstances at present, I shall say not a word. Therefore 
I am disposed, if you are so inclined, that as you have dis- 
honourably made her your mistress, you now make her hon- 
ourably your wife ; and, accepting you for my son. 1 >tive you 
leave to remain with me as long as you both please.' 

Imprisonment had made great alteration in the person of 
4* 



82 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL VL 

Giannotto; but the greatness of mind which he possessed 
from his birth, was not at all impaired, any more than the 
affection he bore towards his mistress : and though he most 
earnestly desired what Conrado had now so frankly offered, 
and saw himself entirely in his power ; yet could he by no 
means dissemble what his brave soul prompted him to speak 
on this occasion, and therefore he replied in this manner : 
** Sir, neither a desire of power, a thirst of wealth, nor any 
other motive, could ever induce me to plot like a traitor 
against your life or estate. I have loved your daughter, do 
still, and always shall love her, because I hold her worthy of 
it, and if I have committed a crime, it is a crime inseparable 
from youth. Would people but once call to mind that they 
have been young themselves, and compare our offences with 
their own, those offences would appear less grievous. I have 
always wished for what you now offer, and should have re- 
quested it long since, could I have thought it would have 
been granted me ; it is now the more pleasing, as it was less 
expected ; but if you intend nothing of what you say, feed 
me no longer with expectation, but rather send me back to 
my prison, where, use me as you please, I shall always love 
and honour you for her sake." 

Conrado was astonished at hearing this, and esteeming him 
to be of a generous disposition, and fervent in his affection 
towards the lady, he valued him the more; wherefore he 
raised him up and embraced him, and without more delay 
sent for his daughter, whose confinement had made her pale 
and meagre, and quite a different person from what she used 
to be, and, by mutual consent, the espousals were solemnized 
on the spot. After a few days, without anybody knowing 
what had been done, he at once furnished them with every- 
thing that was proper, and now thinking it a fit time to please 
the two mothers, he called his own wife and the Goatherdess 
together, and to the latter he said, "What would you say 
now, if I should show you your eldest son married to one of 
my daughters ? " She replied, " I can only say this, that I 
shall think myself more obliged to you, if possible, than I am 
at present, as you will restore to me what is dearer than my 
own life : and by doing it in that manner, you will in some 
measure recall all my lost hopes ; " and with these words she 
began to weep. To his wife he then said, "And what will 
you think if I show you such a son-in-law ? " — " Whether he 
fcr. A gentleman OX a peasant," answered she, " if you like it 



NOVEL VI.] THE SECOND DAY. 83 

I shall be pleased." — "Well," replied Conrado, "I hope in a 
few days to make you two happy women." 

When the young couple had in a measure recovered their 
former looks, and had furnished themselves with suitable 
apparel, he one day asked GofTredi, if it would not add 
greatly to his joy could he have a sight of his mother ? "I 
cannot believe," replied he, "that her misfortunes have suf- 
fered her to live so long; but if it should be so, nothing could 
be more desirable; for, by her assistance, I might reasonably 
expect to recover my estate in Sicily." Conrado then sent 
for both the ladies, who expressed the utmost satisfaction at 
beholding the bride, wondering nevertheless what inspiration 
had guided Conrado to this extraordinary courtesy in marry- 
ing her to Giannotto ; whilst Beritola, considering what she 
had heard from Conrado, began to observe him very atten- 
tively, and moved by a hidden virtue, which had aroused in 
her some remembrance of her son's features in his infancy, 
without waiting for any other proofs, she threw her arms about 
his neck, whilst excess of maternal joy and pity denied her 
the power of utterance; but, as if they had locked up all 
her senses, she swooned away in his arms. He, remember- 
ing to have seen her often in the castle without knowing her, 
was all amazement; yet now, by mere instinct of nature, 
immediately called her to mind, and, blaming himself for 
his long insensibility, embraced her in a most tender and 
affectionate manner. Beritola had no sooner recovered her 
senses, by the help of Conrado's wife and daughter, who 
administered cold water and other necessary helps for such 
purpose, but she again began to embrace her son, using 
many kind and tender expressions full of maternal affection ; 
he likewise expressing the same dutiful reverence to her. 
These affectionate greetings were repeated over and over, to 
the great joy of the beholders, whilst they recounted for each 
other their several misfortunes ; and Conrado, having signi- 
fied to his friends, who heard it with great joy, the new 
alliance made by him, and appointed a magnificent enter- 
tainment, suitable to the occasion, Goffredi addressed him 
in the following manner : 

" Sir, you have made me a happy man on many accounts, 
and treated my mother always with the utmost respect; 
wherefore, that nothing may be left undone which is in 
your power to do, I humbly beg you would oblige my mother 
and myself, and grace our entertainment with the presence 
of my brother, who now lives as a servant in the house of 



84 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL VL 

Signor Guasparrìno d'Oria, who as I told you before, took 
us as a privateer; and at the same time, that you would also 
send a proper person to Sicily, to learn the state of the 
country, and to inform himself concerning my father, whether 
he be alive or dead. If he be alive, then to know fully in 
what state or condition he is, and to come afterwards to u?, 
and give us an account." 

The proposal made by GofTredi was so pleasing to Conrado, 
that without more delay he sent two discreet persons, one to 
Genoa, and the other to Sicily: he who went to Genoa, 
having met with Guasparrino, entreated him, on the part of 
Conrado, to send home Scacciato, or the Expelled^ and his 
nurse; relating everything that Conrado had done with 
regard toGoffredi and his mother; which, when Guasparrino 
had heard, he was greatly su prised, and replied : " True 
it is, that I am ready to oblige Signor Conrado to the utmost 
of my power; I have had such a boy as you speak of, and 
his mother, about fourteen years, whom I shall willingly 
send him ; but tell him from me not to be too hasty in giving 
credit to what Giannotto shall say (who calls himself Gof- 
fredi), because he is a more wicked boy than he may 
imagine." Having said this, and made the messenger wel- 
come, he sent privately for the nurse, and questioned her 
about the thing; who, having heard of the rebellion in 
Sicily, and understanding that Arrighetto was yet living, now 
laid all fear aside, and told him everything as it had hap- 
pened, and the reason for her acting in the manner she had 
done. Guasparrino, finding the accounts which the nurse 
and messenger gave to be entirely the same, began now to 
give credit to it ; and inquiring more narrowly into all the 
circumstances, for he was a very cautious person, and find- 
ing them to fall exactly right, he grew ashamed of himself 
for his vile treatment of his captive, and to make him 
amends, since he knew of what consequence his father had 
been, and now was, he gave him his daughter in marriage, a 
beautiful young lady of about eleven years of age, and with 
her a very large fortune. The time of feasting being over, 
he went on board a galley, well armed, taking with him his 
son and daughter, with the messenger and nurse, and arrived 
at Lerici, where he was received by Conrado, and conducted 
thence, with all his attendants, to a castle of his, which was 
at no great distance, where a most noble banquet was pre- 
pared for them. 

Now, as to the joy of the mother in meeting again with 



NOVEL VI.] THE SECOND DAY. 85 

her son; of the two brethren in seeing one another; and of 
all three, in beholding their faithful nurse ; as well as the 
satisfaction which was manifested by all towards Guasparrino 
and his daughter, and by them again to the whole company, 
and by the whole company to Conrado, his wife, children, 
and friends : this was beyond expression, and therefore I 
refer it to your more able imagination. And, that it might 
be rendered still more complete, it pleased God, a most 
liberal giver when he makes a beginning, to add the good 
news of the life and prosperity of Arrighetto Capece : for 
even as they were feasting, and the concourse great, both of 
lords and ladies, it chanced that the first course was scarcely 
set upon the table, before the messenger arrived who had 
been despatched to Sicily, and brought an account, amongst 
other things, concerning Arrighetto, that, being closely con- 
fined by King Charles, when the insurrection first began in 
the country, the people ran to the prison, and having slain 
the guards, they set him at liberty, and appointed him their 
leader, he being Charles's principal enemy ; and under his 
conduct they afterwards routed and slew many of the French, 
on which account he became a great favourite with King 
Peter, who had reinstated him in all his former possessions. 
The messenger further announced that he was received with 
the utmost joy by him, for the most welcome news, concern- 
ing his wife and son, of whom he had not received the least 
intelligence since he had been a prisoner, and that he had 
sent a yacht to bring them back, which was now at hand, 
with a great number of gentry on board to bear them 
company. 

This was most welcome news ; and Conrado immediately 
rose, with some of his friends, and went to meet the gen- 
tlemen and ladies, who were sent to Beritola and Goffredi, 
and after giving them a most hearty welcome, he introduced 
them to the banquet, which was not half over ; there they 
were beheld by the lady and by Goffredi with such joy, that 
the like was scarcely ever known : and before they would 
sit down, they paid their compliments on the part of 
Arrighetto in the best manner they were able, both to Con- 
rado and his lady, for the honour conferred on his wife and 
son, as well as upon himself, with the offer of anything that 
lay in his power which they might please to command. 
Turning also to Guasparrino, whose kindness came unlooked 
for, they assured him, that as soon as Arrighetto knew what 
he had done for the Expelled^ similar acknowledgments 



86 DECAMERON OP BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL VII 

would be made to him. After which they sat cheerfully 
down with the new-married people. Nor was it that day 
only that Conrado feasted his son-in-law with all his rela- 
tions and friends, but he continued to do so for some time, 
till at length they desired to depart ; and taking leave in a 
most affectionate manner of Conrado and his lady, and of 
Guasparrino, they went on shipboard together, namely, 
Beritola and the two new-married couples, with their attend- 
ants ; and the wind proving fair, they soon got to Sicily, 
where they were received by Arrighetto with incredible joy; 
and it is reported that they lived for a long period together 
in the utmost felicity, with thankful hearts to Heaven for the 
mercies received by them. 



NOVEL VII. 

The Saltan of Babylon sends one of his daughters to be married to the 
King of Algarve, but, by divers accidents in the space of four years, 
she falls into the hands of nine different men in different places. At 
length being restored to her father, she goes to the King of Algarve as 
a maid, and becomes his wife, as at first intended. 

Had the novel related by Emilia been but a little longer, 
she would have seen all her audience moved to tears of com- 
passion for the misfortunes that had befallen Beritola; but it 
being now ended, the queen ordered Pamfilo to follow ; and 
he, in obedience to her commands, proceeded thus : — It is 
no easy matter for us, most gracious ladies, to know what is 
good for us. How many, supposing if they were rich that 
they should then live securely and at ease, not only offer up 
their prayers to God, but studiously incur all kinds of danger 
to become so ; which, when effected, has been the occasion 
of their losing their lives by the covetous hands of those, 
who, before they had attained to riches, were their entire 
friends. How many from a low estate have made their way 
to a throne, amidst a thousand dangers, and through the 
blood of their brethren and friends, expecting to find supreme 
felicity there, and have endured the infinite cares and anx- 
ieties incident to that station, but to find to their cost, at last, 
that poison is often mingled in ^he golden cups of princes. 
Many there are who covet some bodily advantage, as strength, 
beauty, etc., with which they who are endowed are taught, 
that death, or a most calamitous life, is often occasioned 
thereby. But not to speak in detail of all our frail desires, 



NOVSL VII.] THE SECOND DAY. 87 

I date affirm, that there is not one of them which we can fix 
upon with any certainty of being happy in that choice. The 
safest way then is to leave all to the good providence of God, 
who best knows our wants, and is most able to supply them. 
Men offend in coveting many things; but you ladies sin 
chiefly in one point, namely, in the desire of beauty ; inso- 
much, that not bein^ satisfied with that share of it given you 
by nature, you call m the assistance of art, to improve it. It 
is upon this account that I shall relate what happened to a 
beautiful Saracen lady, who, in the space of four years, was, 
for her beauty, married nine several times. 

It is now a long time since there lived a sultan of Babylon, 
called Beminedab, who was highly fortunate in all his affairs. 
Amongst other children, both male and female, he had a 
daughter named Alatici, who, in the opinion of all that saw 
her, was the fairest lady in the whole world. Now forasmuch 
as the king of Algarve had afforded him great assistance in 
a defeat he had inflicted on a most numerous army of Ara- 
bians that had assailed him, and had afterwards demanded 
Alatici in marriage, he consented as a most special favour : 
and providing a ship, well equipped for the purpose, with all 
necessary provisions, and sending an honourable train both of 
lords and ladies to bear her company, he commended her to 
the protection of Heaven, and sent her to his ally. The 
sailors, as soon as a fit opportunity offered, hoisted their sails, 
and leaving the port of Alexandria, sailed prosperously many 
days ; when, having passed the island of Sardinia, and now 
seeming to be near the end of their voyage, on a sudden 
contrary winds arose, which were so boisterous, and bore so 
hard upon the ship, that they often gave themselves over for 
lost. Nevertheless, for two days together, they bravely tried 
all the means they could devise to weather it out; but all to 
no purpose, for every blast was worse than the former. 
Unable by any mode of reckoning to calculate where they 
were, or to see to any distance, on account of the clouds and 
darkness, the ship sprang* a leak by night, not far from Ma- 
jorca. Perceiving no hopes of escaping, and every one 
caring for himself only, they lowered a small boat into the 
sea, choosing rather to trust their lives to it than to the sink- 
ing ship. All the men that were in the ship crowded into 
the boat one after another; although those who were iirst 
down made strong resistance with their drawn weapons 
against other followers : and the consequence was, that think- 
ing to avoid death by this means, they ran directly into it; 



88 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL VIL 

for the boat, not being able to bear them all, sank at once to 
the bottom, and all on board of it perished. 

The ship being driven furiously by the winds, though it 
was leaking and half full of water, was at last stranded near 
the island of Majorca, no other person remaining on board 
but the lady and her women, all lying as it were lifeless, 
through the terror occasioned by the tempest. The ship 
struck with such violence, that it was fixed in the sand about 
a stone's throw from the shore ; where it continued all that 
night, the winds not being able to move it. When day-light 
appeared, and the storm was somewhat abated, the lady, 
almost dead, lifted up her head, and began, weak as she was, 
to call first one and then another of her servants ; but all to 
no purpose, for those she called for were far out of hearing. 
Receiving no answer, and seeing no one, she was greatly 
astonished ; and raising herself up as well as she could, she 
beheld the ladies that were of her company, and some other 
of her women, lying all about her ; and trying first to rouse 
one, and then another of them, she scarcely found any that 
had the least understanding left ; so much had sickness and 
fear together affected them. This added greatly to her con- 
sternation; nevertheless, constrained by necessity, seeing 
that she was alone, she knew not where, she shook those that 
were living till she made them get up ; and perceiving that 
they were utterly ignorant of what had become of all the 
men, and seeing the ship driven upon the sands, and full of 
water, she began with them to lament most grievously. 

It was noon-day before they could descry any person on 
shore, or elsewhere, to afford them the least assistance. At 
length, about that time, a gentleman, whose name was Pericon 
da Visalgo, passing that way, with many of his servants, on 
horseback, upon seeing the ship, guessed what had happened, 
and immediately sent one of them on board, to see what 
was remaining in her. The servant got into the ship with 
some difficulty, and found the lady with the little company 
that was left her, who had all htdden themselves, through 
fear, under the deck. As soon as they saw him, they begged 
piteously for mercy ; but finding that he did not understand 
their language, nor they his, they endeavoured, by signs, to 
inform him of their misfortune. The servant carried the 
best account he could of what he had seen, to his master, 
who ordered the ladies, and everything that was in the ship 
of any value, to be brought on shore, and conveyed to one 
of his castles, where he endeavoured to comfort them under 



NOVEL VII.] THE SECOND DAY. 89 

their misfortunes by the most generous entertainment. From 
the rich dress of the princess, he inferred that she was some 
person of great consequence, in which opinion he was con- 
firmed by the great respect paid to her by all the women; 
and although she was pale and in disorder, through the great 
fatigue she had sustained, yet was he much taken with lUr 
beauty, and he resolved, if she had no husband, to make her 
his wife ; or, if he could not have her as such, still not to 
lose her entirely. Pericon was a man of stem looks, and 
robust person ; and having treated the lady well for some 
time, by which means she had recovered her beauty, he was 
grieved that they could not understand each other, and that 
he was unable to learn who she was ; yet, being passionately 
in love, he used every engaging art he could devise to bring 
her to a compliance, but all to no purpose ; she refused all 
familiarities with him, which but inflamed him the more. This 
the lady perceived, and finding, after some stay there, by 
the customs of the place, that she was among Christians, 
and in a land where, to make her rank known, even if she 
knew how, would be of no great service to her ; supposing 
also, that, at last, Pericon would gain his will, if not by fair 
means, yet by force, she resolved, with a true greatness of 
spirit, to vanquish her evil fortune, and she enjoined her 
women, of whom she had but three now alive, never to dis- 
close her quality, unless there should be hopes of regaining 
their liberty. She exhorted theni to maintain their chastity, 
and declared her own fixed resolution never to yield her 
person to any one besides her husband ; for which they all 
commended her, promising to preserve their honour as much 
as lay in their power. 

Every day did Pericon *s passion increase so much the 
more as the thing desired was near, and yet unattainable : 
wherefore, perceiving that entreaty was to no purpose, he 
resolved to try what art and contrivance could do, reserving 
force to the last. Having once observed that wine was 
pleasing to Alatici, as a beverage she had not been accus- 
tomed to, it being forbidden by her country's law, he deter- 
mined to surprise her by means of this minister of Venus. 
Affecting now to have given over his amorous pursuit, which 
she had used her best endeavours to withstand, he provided 
one night an elegant entertainment, at which she was pres- 
ent, when he gave it in charge to the servant who waited 
upon her, to serve her with several wines mingled together, 
which he accordingly did. Alatici, suspecting no such 



9o DECAMEkOK OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL VIL 

treachery, and pleased with the rich flavour of the wine, 
drank more than was consistent with modesty, and, torget- 
ting all her past troubles, became gay and merry ; so that, 
seeing some women dance after the custom of Majorca, she 
also began to dance after the manner of the Alexandrians ; 
4lèich, when Pericon observed, he supposed himself in a fair 
way of success, and plying her still with more wine, con- 
tinued this revelling far into the night. At length, when the 
guests departed, he went with the lady into her chamber, and 
she being despoiled of modesty for the time, by the fumes of 
wine, undressed before him, as if he had been one of her 
women, and got into bed. He instantly followed, caught her 
in his arms, and took his fill of pleasure, without encounter- 
ing any resistance on her part. Alatici, who till then had 
never had a notion of that sort of pastime, liked it so well 
that she repented of not having yielded sooner to Pericon 's 
solicitations ; and thenceforth, so far was she from waiting to 
be pressed, that she often invited him to the sport, not by 
words, indeed, since she could not speak his language, but by 
acts which were quite as much to the purpose. 

At length fortune, not content with having brought it to 
pass that she who was to have been the wife of a king, should 
become the mistress of a nobleman, prepared for her a more 
barbarous and cruel alliance. Pericon had a brother, twenty- 
five years of age, of a most commanding person, called 
Marato; who, having seen her, flattered himself, from her 
behaviour towards him, that he was not displeasing to her. 
Supposing, also, that nothing obstructed his happiness, ex- 
cept the watch which his brother kept over her, he conceived 
a most atrocious design, nor was it long before he carried it 
into effect. There chanced to be a ship in the haven at that 
time, laden with merchandise, bound for Chiarenza in Roma- 
nia. Two young Genoese were the masters, and as they only 
waited for the first fair wind to go out, Marato made a con- 
tract with them, to receive him with the lady the fpllowing 
night. When the time came, having ordered how the thing 
should be managed, he went openly to the house, nobody 
having the least mistrust of him, and took with him some 
trusty friends, whom he had secured for that service, and 
whom he concealed about the place. Then, in the middle 
of the night, he opened the door to them, and they murdered 
Pericon as he was asleep in bed with the lady, and threatened 
to kill her too, if she made the least noise. Then, carrying off 
everything of value they could lay hands on, they hastened 







MISADVENTURE OF THE SULTAN'S DAUGHTER 
SECOND DAY J« J« J< j< j< J< J< NOVEL VH 



THE FL^NCEE OF 




^^^!Z^ THE KING 

OF ALGARVE 



NOVEL VII.] THE SECOND DAY* gt 

without discovery to the harbour, where Marato and the lady 
instantly went on board, whilst his companions returned 
about their business. The wind was fair, and the ship went 
to sea at once. The lady seemed for awhile sunk in hope- 
less grief under this second blow of misfortune ; but her 
ravisher had a talisman endowed with great consoling virtues, 
and he employed it so well that by and bye she began to 
have the same affection for him as she had entertained for his 
brother. 

And now all seemed to go smoothly, when fortune, as if 
not content with what she had already suffered, visited her 
with new sorrows. Her beauty and loveliness were such, as 
to enamour the two masters of the ship, who neglected all 
other business to serve and please her ; taking care, all the 
while, that Marato should have no cause to suspect it. Being 
apprized of each other's love, they had a consultation to- 
gether about it, and agreed to have her in common between 
them, as if love, like merchandise, admitted of partnership. 
But observing that she was narrowly watched by Marato, and 
their design thereby frustrated, they took the opportunity one 
day, as he was looking over the stem, while the ship was 
under full sail, to go behind and throw him overboard ; and 
the ship had sailed on a full mile before he was missed. As 
soon as the lady heard that he was lost beyond recovery, she 
was plunged into fresh sorrow, lamenting her lost husband as 
much on her own account as his. The two lovers did all 
they could to console her, using many kind and tender ex- 
pressions, which she did not understand; and after some 
little time, imagining that she was sufficiently comforted, they 
fell into a dispute together which should be the fìrst to enjoy 
her. Each obstinately insisting on his own claim, high words 
arose, presently their knives were out, and before the ship's 
crew could part them, one lay dead, and the other desper- 
ately wounded. This occasioned fresh uneasiness to the lady, 
who now saw herself alone, without any one to advise and 
help her ; she was fearful, also, of the resentment of the two 
masters' relations and friends; but the entreaties of the 
wounded survivor, and their speedy arrival at Chiarenza, 
saved her from the danger of death. 

She went on shore with the wounded man, and they con- 
tinued together at an inn ; whilst the fame of her beauty was 
spread all over the city, till it reached the ears of the Prince 
of Morea, who was then by chance at Chiarenza. He was 
impatient to get sight of her; and after he had seen her, he 



92 DECAMERON Of BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL Vlt. 

was so charmed, that he could think of nothing else. Being 
told in what manner she came thither, he began to contrive 
means how to obtain her; which, when the man's relations 
understood, they immediately sent her to him, to his great 
joy, and hers too, for she now thought herself freed from all 
danger. The prince, perceiving her rare accomplishments, 
joined to a matchless person, though he could have no infor- 
mation concerning her, yet concluded that she must be nobly 
descended; and such was his fondness for her, that he 
treated her not as a mistress, but a wife. She now recol- 
lecting what she had already suffered, and being pretty well 
satisfied with her present situation, began to be easy and 
cheerful, whilst her charms increased to that degree, that 
she was the chief subject of discourse throughout Romania. 

Hereupon the Duke of Athens, a young and gay person, a 
relation also to the prince, had a mind to see her ; he came, 
therefore, one day to Chiarenza with a noble retinue, under 
pretence of visiting his kinsman, as he had often done be- 
fore, and was handsomely entertained. Some days after his 
arrival, contriving to turn the conversation to the subject of 
the lady's great beauty, the duke asked whether it was such 
as fame had reported. " Far greater," replied the prince, 
" but let your own eyes convince you, and not my bare asser- 
tion." The duke soliciting the prince very earnestly to 
gratify his curiosity, they went into Alatiel's apartment 
together, when she received them with great affability and 
cheerfulness, being apprized of their coming. Though they 
could not have the pleasure of conversing together, as she 
understood little or nothing of their language, yet they gazed 
upon her, the duke more especially, as a prodigy of nature, 
scarcely believing her to be a mortal creature ; and, without 
perceiving how much amorous poison he imbibed through 
his eyes, and thinking only to gratify himself with the sight 
of her, he soon became over head and ears in love. 

After they had parted from her, and he had time to reflect, 
he began to think the prince the happiest person in the uni- 
verse, in being possessed of such a beauty ; and, after much 
musing upon it, having more regard to his lust than to his 
honour, he resolved at all hazards to deprive him of that 
bliss, and secure it for himself. Having a heart to put what 
he had resolved in speedy execution, he set all reason and 
justice aside, and bent all the powers of his mind to devise 
a fit stratagem for his purpose. 

On-r day, therefore, according to a most wicked agreement, 



NOVEL VII.] THE SECOND DAY. 93 

which he bad made with the prince's valet de chambre, one 
Ciuriaci, he gave secret orders to have his horses and things 
got ready for a sudden departure; and that night, himself 
and a friend, both armed, were stealthily admitted by the 
servant into the prince's chamber. There they found the 
lady fast asleep, and the prince standing naked at a window 
that looked towards the sea, to take the cool air, the weather 
being very hot. Having previously instructed his friend 
what he would have done, the duke went softly up to the 
window, stabbed his kinsman with a dagger through the 
small of his back, and threw him out. Now the palace was 
seated upon the sea-shore, and very lofty; and the window 
at which the prince had stood, wa^ directly over a spot little 
frequented, and covered by the ruins of some houses which 
the waves had beaten down ; there was, therefore, no great 
likelihood, as the duke had foreseen, of the body being soon 
discovered. When that part of the work was over, the 
duke's companion took a cord, which he carried with him 
for that purpose, and making believe as if he was going to 
caress Ciuriaci, he threw it about his neck, drew it so tight 
as to prevent his crying out, and the duke coming to his 
assistance, they soon dispatched the fellow, and threw him 
down after the prince. This being done, and plainly per- 
ceiving that they were not heard or seen by the lady, or any 
one else, the duke took a light in his hand, and going softly 
to the bed, where she lay in a sound sleep, he gently uncov- 
ered her from head to foot, and stood beholding her for 
some time with the utmost admiration. If she had appeared 
so charming before in her clothes, what was she now in her 
naked loveliness ? Fired with still hotter desire, reckless of 
the guilty deed he had just committed, he crept into bed to 
her, with his hands yet reeking with blood, she taking him 
all the while for the prince. After he had been with her for 
some time, he ordered his people to carry her off in such a 
manner that she could make .no outcry ; and going out at 
the same back door at which he had entered, he set her on 
horseback, and bore her away towards Athens. But, as he 
was married, he did not choose to bring her thither, but left 
her at one of his country seats on the sea shore, a little way 
out of town. There the unhappy princess was secretly 
detained a prisoner, but with strict orders to her attendants 
to gratify her wishes in every other respect. 

The prince's servants waited that morning till nine o'clock, 
expecting his rising ; but hearing nothing of him, they opened 



94 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL VII. 

the chamber doors, which were not locked, and finding no- 
body within, they concluded that he and the lady were gone 
privately to some other place to divert themselves for a few 
days, and therefore they thought no more about the matter. 
The next day it happened, by great chance, that a fool going 
amongst those ruinous houses where the dead bodies were 
lying, took hold of the cord that was about Ciuriaci's neck, 
and dragged him along after him. The body was recognised 
by many astonished beholders, who, by fair words and much 
persuasion, prevailed upon the fool to show them where he had 
found it ; and there, to the great grief of the whole city, they 
saw the prince's body also, which they caused to be interred 
with all due pomp and reverence. Inquiring afterwards who 
could have committed so horrid a deed, and perceiving that 
the Duke of Athens was not to be found, but was gone pri- 
vately away, they judged that he had done it, and taken the 
lady away with him. Immediately they elected the prince's 
brother to be their sovereign, inciting him to revenge the 
atrocious murder, and promising to assist him to the utmost 
of their power. The new sovereign, having ascertained be- 
yond doubt the truth of these surmises, collected together all 
his relations, friends, and vassals, and mustering a powerful 
army, marched against the duke, who had no sooner heard of 
these preparations than he too levied a great army. Many 
princes and lords also came to his aid ; amongst the rest, 
Constantine, son of the Emperor of Constantinople, and 
Emanuel, his nephew, attended by a goodly body of troops. 
They were gladly received by the duke, and still more so by 
the duchess, who was daughter to the emperor. 

Things tending every day more and more to actual war, 
the duchess had her brother and her cousin one day into her 
chamber, where, with abundance of tears, she recounted to 
them the whole history and occasion of the war, and the ill- 
usage she had received from the duke on account of this 
woman, whom she believed he kept privately : and she con- 
jured them very earnestly, for bis honour as well as for her 
own ease and comfort, to give her their best assistance. The 
two young lords knew all this matter before, and therefore, 
without asking many questions, they comforted her as well as 
they could, and after ascertaining where the lady was kept,, 
they took their leave. Hearing much talk of her beauty, 
they became very desirous of seeing her, and entreated the 
duke to afford them that pleasure : and he, never considering 
wKat liad happened to the prince, promised to do so. Next 



NOVEL VII.] THE SECOND DAY. 95 

day he ordered a magnificent entertainment to be prepared 
in a pleasant garden belonging to the palace where the lady 
was kept, and took the two princes and some more friends 
to dine with her. Constantine was no sooner seated with her 
at table than he began to gaze upon her with intense admira- 
tion, inwardly declaring that he had never seen anything like 
her, and that the duke, or any other person, was excusable, 
who, to possess so rare a beauty, should commit any act of 
baseness or treachery. Gazing still more and more upon her, 
and evermore with growing wonder and delight, it happened 
to him just as it had done to the duke ; for, going away quite 
enamoured of her, he had given over all thoughts of the war, 
contriving only how to steal her away from the duke, at the 
same time that he concealed his love from every one. 

Whilst he was in this agitation, the prince was advancing 
near the duke's territories, whereupon the latter, with Con- 
stantine and the rest, marched out of Athens to secure the 
frontiers, and to prevent the prince's passing any further. 
After remaining with the army for some days, Constantine, 
whose heart was still set upon the lady, and who thought that 
he might more easily compass his intent now that the duke 
was absent, feigned himself extremely sick, and, with the 
duke's consent, leaving the command of his troops to Eman- 
uel, returned to Athens to his sister. Presently, after having 
led the latter to talk of her husband's baseness in keeping a 
mistress, he told her that if she would give her consent, he 
would rid her of that trouble, by removing the lady out of 
the way. The duchess, supposing that this was spoken out 
of pure regard to her, and not to the lady, replied, that she 
. should be very glad if it could be done in such a manner 
that the duke should never know that she was any way acces- 
sory ; this Constantine fully promised, and she accordingly 
agreed that he should do it as he thought most advisable. He 
provided, therefore, a light vessel, with all secrecy, and sent 
it one evening near to the garden where the lady was kept, 
having first informed some of his people that were on board, 
what he would have them do. Taking others with him to 
the house, he was respectfully received by the servants in 
waiting there, and also by the lady herself, who walked with 
him at his request, their servants following them into the 
garden. There, drawing her aside towards a door which 
opened to the sea, as if he had business to communicate from 
the duke, on a signal being given, the bark was brought close 
to the shore, and sh^ was seized and carried to it, whilst he^ 



96 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL VIL 

turning back to the people that were with her, said — " Let 
no one stir or speak a word at the peril of their lives ; for 
my design is not to rob the duke of his lady, but to take 
away the scorn he casts upon my sister." None being hardy 
enough to return .an answer to this, Constantine went on 
board the vessel, and bade the men ply their oars stoutly, 
which they did to such effect that they reached Egina by the 
next morning. There they landed, and he enjoyed himself 
awhile with the ftdy, who had so much reason to deplore her 
fatal beauty. Thence they went to Chios, where, for fear of 
\is father's anger, and to prevent her being taken away from 
him, he chose to abide as in a place of security : and though 
she seemed uneasy for a time, yet she soon recovered, as she 
had done before, and the consolations afforded her by Con- 
stantine, reconciled her to her new lot. 

In the meantime Osbech, king of the Turks, who was con- 
stantly at war with the emperor, came by chance to Smyrna, 
and hearing how Constantme was leading a lascivious life at 
Chios, with a mistress he had stolen, and with no provision 
made for his safety, he went privately one night with some 
armed vessels, and made a descent on the island, surprising 
many people in their beds before they knew of his coming 
upon them, and killing all that stood upon their defence ; and 
after he had burnt and destroyed the whole country, he put 
the prisoners and the booty which he had taken on board, 
and returned to Smyrna. Upon inspecting his captives, 
Osbech, who was a young man, saw Alatici, and knowing 
that she was Constantine *s mistress, because she was found 
asleep in his bed, he rejoiced greatly, and took her for his 
own wife, and they lived together very happily for several 
months. 

Before this happened, the emperor had been making a 
treaty with Bassano, King of Cappadocia, who was to fall on 
Osbech on one side, whilst he attacked him on the other; 
but they could not come to a full agreement, because Bassano 
stipulated for some things which the emperor was unwilling 
to grant ; but now, hearing of what had befallen his son, and 
being in the utmost concern, he immediately closed with the 
King of Cappadocia, requesting him to march with all expe- 
dition against Osbech, whilst he himself was preparing to 
fall upon him from another quarter. When Osbech heard 
of this, he assembled his army before he should be surrounded 
by two such mighty princes, and marched to meet the King 
of Cappadocia, leaving his lady behind, with a faithful ser- 



KOVEL VII.] THE SECOND DAY. 97 

vant of his, at Smyrna ; and a battle soon ensued, in which 
Osbech's army was entirely routed, and himself slain. 

Bassano advanced victorious to Smyrna, the people making 
their submission to him all the way as he went. But now 
Osbech's servant, Antiochus, who had the lady in charge, 
although he was in years, yet, seeing her so beautiful, and 
forgetting the regard which was due to his lord, soon became 
in love with her himself; and, as he understood her lan- 
guage, it was a great comfort to her, because she had been 
forced to live for some years like a deaf and dumb person? 
for want of understanding other people, or being understood 
by them. This gave him great advantages, and whilst his 
master was warring abroad, he spared no pains to gain her 
consent, in which he succeeded so well, that from amicable 
intercourse they soon advanced to amorous dalliance. On 
hearing, however, that Osbech was slain, and that Bassano 
was carrying all before him, they did not wait for his coming 
upon them, but fled privately to Rhodes, taking with them 
everything of value belonging to Osbech. They had not 
been there long before Antiochus was taken extremely ill. 
There happened to be with him a merchant of Cyprus, who 
was a great friend of his, and finding himself at the point of 
death, he resolved to bequeath to him his wealth, and the 
care of his dear lady. Calling them both to him, therefore, 
he said : — " I find myself declining apace, which grieves me 
much, because I had never more pleasure in living than at 
present; yet one thing is a great comfort to me, namely, that 
I shall die in the arms of those two persons whom I love and 
value beyond all the rest of the world, that is to say, in yours, 
my dearest friend, and in that lady's, whom I have loved, 
ever since I have known her, more than my own life. I am 
uneasy, indeed, when I consider that I leave her here a 
stranger, and destitute both of help and advice, and should 
be infinitely more so if you were not with us, who, I know, will 
take the same care of her, on my account, as you would of 
myself. Therefore I entreat you, in case I should die, to 
take my affairs, and her too, under your protection, and to 
act, with regard to both, as you think will be most for the 
comfort of my departed soul. — And you, my dearest love, 
let me beg of you never to forget me, that I may boast, in 
the next world, that I have been beloved by the fairest lady 
that ever nature formed ; assure me of these two things, and 
I shall die satisfied." 

The merchant and lady were both much concerned, and 
5 



98 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL VII. 

promised to fulfil his desires, if he should chance to die ; and 
soon afterwards he departed this life, when they took care to 
have him decently interred. This being done, and the mer- 
chant having despatched all his affairs, and wanting to return 
home in a Catalan ship that was there in port, he questioned 
the lady, to know what, she intended to do, because it be- 
came necessary for him to go back to Cyprus. She was 
willing, she said, to go with him, hoping that for the love he 
bore towards his friend he would regard her as his own sister. 
He replied, that he was ready to oblige her in everything; 
and, that he might the better defend her from all injuries 
whatever, till they came to Cyprus, he suggested that she 
should rather call herself his wife than his sister. Going 
then on board ship, they had a cabin and one little bed 
allotted them, agreeably to the account they had given of 
themselves, by which means that thing was brought about, 
which neither of them intended when they came from Rhodes ; 
for they forgot all the fine promises they had made to Anti- 
ochus, and before they reached Baifa, where the Cyprian 
merchant dwelt, they began to consider themselves as man 
and wife. 

Now a certain gentleman happened to arrive at Baffa about 
that time, on his own private affairs, whose name was Anti- 
gono, one advanced in years, and of more understanding than 
wealth ; for by meddling much in the affairs of the King of 
Cyprus, he had found fortune very unkind to him. One 
day, when the merchant was gone about his business into 
Armenia, Antigono happened to pass by the house where 
Alatiel lodged, and seeing her at the window, he took more 
than ordinary notice of her, on account of her beauty: till 
at length he began to recollect that he had seen her some- 
where before, but could by no means remember where. 
She, also, who had long been the sport of fortune, and 
knew not that the time was now drawing near when her 
sorrows were to have an end, as soon as she saw Antigono, 
remembered that she had seen him in no mean station in 
her father's service at Alexandria. Having now great hopes 
of regaining her former dignity by his advice and assistance, 
she took the opportunity of the merchant's absence to send 
for him. On his coming to her, she modestly asked him 
whether he was not Antigono of Famagosta, as she really 
believed. He answered, that he was, and added, — " Madam, 
I am convinced that I know you, but I cannot call to mind 



NOVEL Vn.] THE SECOND DAY. 99 

where it is that I have seen you ; therefore, if it be no offence, 
let me entreat you to tell me who you are." 

The lady, perceiving him to be the same person, wept very 
much, and throwing her arms about his neck, asked him at 
last, as one confounded with surprise, if he had never seen 
her at Alexandria ? Then he immediately knew her to be 
Alatiel, the sultan's daughter, whom they supposed to have 
been drowned ; and being about to pay homage to her, she 
would not suffer him to do it, but made him sit down. He 
then, in a most humble manner, asked her where she had 
been, and whence she now came ? because for some years it 
had been believed, through all Egypt, that she was drowned. 
She replied, " I had much rather it had so happened than to 
have led such a life as I have done; and I believe my 
father, if he knew it, would wish the same." With these 
words the tears ran down her cheeks in great abundance. 
"Madam," he replied, " do not afflict yourself before it is 
necessary to do so ; tell me only what has happened to you ; 
perhaps it may be of such a nature that, by the help of God, 
we may find a remedy." "Antigono !" replied the fair lady, 
" I think when I see you that I behold my father : moved, 
therefore, with the like duty and tenderness that I owe to 
him, I shall reveal to you what I might have kept secret. 
There are few persons that I should desire to meet with 
sooner than yourself to advise me ; if, therefore, when you 
have heard my whole story, you think there is any probabil- 
ity of restoring me to my former dignity, I must beg your 
assistance ; if you think there is none, then I conjure you 
to tell no person living that you have either seen or heard 
anything about me." 

After this preamble, she gave a full account of what had 
befallen her, from the time of her shipwreck to that very 
hour, shedding abundance of tears during the whole relation. 
Antigono manifested sincere concern at what he had heard, 
and after thinking some little time about it, " Madam," he 
said, " since it has never been known, in all your misfortunes, 
who you were, I will restore you to your father, to whom you 
shall be more dear than ever, and afterwards you shall be 
married to the King of Algarve." On her inquiring how 
that could be brought about, he let her know in what manner 
he intended to do it ; and to prevent all danger from delay, 
he returned directly to Famagosta, and waiting upon the 
king, thus addressed him: — "My liege, you may, if you 
please, do great honour to yourself, and service to me, who 



o^GUCOB 



lOO DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL VII. 

am impoverished on your account, and that, too, without 
incurring any expense." The king desiring to know by what 
means, Antigono answered : " A young lady is just come to 
Baifa, daughter to the sultan, who was generally thought to 
have been drowned, and who, to preserve her honour, has 
undergone great calamities, and is now in poverty, and desir- 
ous of returning to her father : if, therefore, your majesty will 
deign to send her home under my conduct, it will redound 
greatly to your honour, and prove much to my advantage, 
nor can the sultan ever forget the favour." The king 
moved by a truly royal spirit, replied, that he was well 
pleased with the proposal, and immediately had Alatiel 
brought in great state to Famagosta, where she was received 
with all honour and respect, both by himself and the queen ; 
and being questioned by them concerning her misfortunes, 
she made such answers as she had been taught beforehand 
by Antigono. 

A few days afterwards, at her own request, she was sent 
with a great retinue both of lords and ladies, and conducted 
all the way by Antigono, to the sultan's court ; where, with 
what joy they were all received, it is needless here to men- 
tion. When they had rested awhile after their journey, the 
sultan became desirous to know how it happened that his 
daughter was now living, and where she had been all this 
time, without his being ever able to hear a word about her. 
Thereupon Alatiel, who had all Antigono's lectures perfectly 
by heart, gave her father the following narration : 

** You must know, my dear father, that about twenty days 
after my departure from you, our ship was split in the night 
by a violent tempest, and driven on the western coasts ; nor 
did I ever learn what befell the men that were in it : I only 
remember this, that when daylight appeared, and I seemed 
recovered, as it were, from death to life, certain peasants 
of the country spying the v/reck, came to plunder it; whilst 
I was carried first on shore, with two of my women, who 
were immediately borne away by some young fellows, and 
taken different ways, so that I could never learn what 
became of either of them. I also was seized by two of them, 
making the best defence I could ; and as they were dragging 
me towards a wood by the hair of my head, four persons on 
horseback came riding by, when they immediately left me 
and fled. Then the gentlemen on horseback, who appeared 
to possess some authority, came to me, and we spoke to each 
other, without either knowing what the other said. At last, 



i^OVEL VII.] THE SECOND DAY. lOI 

after conferring together, they sat me upon one of their horses, 
and carried me to a monastery of religious women, accord- 
ing to their laws, where I was kindly received, and always 
treated with honour; and there I joined them in paying great 
devotion to a certain idol of theirs, called San Cresci in Val 
Cava,* which is held in the highest esteem by the women of 
that country. After I had been there for some time, and 
learnt a little of their language, they began to inquire of me 
who 1 was, and whence I came ; and I (fearful of telling the 
truth, lest they should turn me out as an enemy to their 
religion) made them believe that I was daughter of a gentle- 
man of Cyprus, who sending me to be married to one of 
Crete, we happened to be driven thither by ill weather, and 
shipwrecked. Conforming to their customs in many things, 
for fear of the worst, I was asked, at length, by the chief 
among them, whom they call Lady Abbess, whether I desired 
to return to Cyprus ? I answered, that there was nothing I 
desired more. But she, tender of my honour, would never 
trust nxe with any persons that were going to Cyprus, till, 
about two months ago, certain French gentlemen with their 
ladies came that way, one of whom was related to the abbess ; 
and, understanding that they were going to visit the holy 
sepulchre at Jerusalem, where he whom they believe to be 
God was buried, after he had been put to death by the Jews, 
the abbess recommended me to them, and desired that they 
would deliver me to my father at Cyprus. What respect and 
civilities I received both from the gentlemen and their ladies, 
would be needless to mention. Accordingly we went on 
ship-board, and came in a few days to Baifa, where I arrived 
a stranger to every person, and not knowing what to say to 
these gentlemen, who were to present me to my father ; when 
behold (by the great providence of God), the first person I 
met with upon the shore was Antigono. I called to him in our 
own language (that none of them might understand us) and 
desired him to own me as his daughter. He easily under- 
stood my meaning, and showing great tokens of joy, enter- 
tained them as well as his narrow circumstances would allow, 
and brou^t me to the King of Cyprus, who received and 
sent me hither, with such marks of respect as I am no way 

* This saint is not in the calendar — perhaps because his rites are per. 
formed in secret His attributes are implied in his name. 



I02 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL VII. 

able to relate: if there be anything omitted in this rela- 
tion, Antigono, who has often heard the whole from me, will 
report it." 

Antigono, then turning to the sultan, said, "My lord, 
according both to her own account, and the information of 
the gentlemen and their wives, she has said nothing but truth. 
One part only she has omitted, as not suiting with her great 
modesty to report, namely, what the gentlemen and their 
ladies told me of the most virtuous life that she led amongst 
those religious women, and their great concern at parting, 
which, if I were fully to recount to you, would take up 
both this day and night too. Let it suffice, then, that I 
have said enough (according to what I could both hear and 
see) to convince you that you have the fairest as well as the 
most virtuous daughter of any prince in the world." 

The sultan was overjoyed with this relation; begging, 
over and over, that God would pour down his blessings on all 
who had showed favour to his daughter; and particularly 
the King of Cyprus, who had sent her home so respectfully. 
Having bestowed great gifts upon Antigono, he gave him 
leave to return to Cyprus ; and sent letters, as also a special 
ambassador to the king, to thank him on her account. And 
now, desiring that what he had formerly proposed should 
take effect : namely, that she should be married to the King 
of Algarve; he wrote to give him a full relation of the whole 
matter, adding, that he should send for her, if he desired the 
match to proceed. The king was much pleased with the 
news, and sent in great state, and received her as his queen ; 
whilst she, who had passed through the hands of eight men, 
now came to him as a pure virgin, and lived happily with 
him all the rest of her life : — so true is the old saying, " Kissed 
lips lose no favour, but renew themselves like the moon." 

[This story is taken from the romance of Xenophon Ephesius, and has 
furnished La Fontaine with his tale of * La Fiancee du Roi de Garbe.'J 



NOVEL Vili.] THE SECOND DAY. 



103 



NOVEL VIII. 

The Count d'Angicrs, being falsely accused, is banished from France, and 
leaves his two children in different parts of England. Returning after- 
wards privately out of Ireland, he Hnds them settled in great repute. 
Thence he goes as a common servant into the King of France's army, 
and his innocence being made public at last, he is restored to his 
former dignity. 

The ladies sighed very much upon hearing the various 
accidents that had befallen the fair lady ; but who can say 
what it was that gave occasion to those sighs? Perhaps 
there were some ladies present who sighed more because 
they had not been so often married as she, than out of any 
pity for the poor woman. But, be that as it may, after they 
had laughed much at Pamfilo's conclusion, the queen next 
called upon Eliza, who began in this manner: — We have 
chosen a most spacious field for the subject of this day; nor 
is there one among us who could not run ten courses in it 
as well as one; so copious are the great and wonderful 
changes of fortune ! And, therefore, amongst such an infin- 
ity of things, as I am to recount one, let it be as follows : 

When the Roman empire passed from the French to the 
Germans, an utter enmity and continual war arose between 
the two nations ; wherefore the King of France and his son, 
as well for the defence of their own* kingdom, as the annoy- 
ance of their adversaries, raised a great and powerful army, 
consisting of all their kindred and allies, besides the force of 
their own kingdoms, to go against the enemy. But before 
they set out upon their expedition, they chose not to leave 
the state without a governor ; and knowing Gaultier, Count 
d'Angiers, to be a wise and worthy person, and one entirely 
devoted to. their interests, and also expert in military affairs, 
although he seemed rather designed for a life of ease and 
inactivity than martial toils, they made him viceroy during 
their absence, and then set forwards on their expedition. 

The count began to execute his office with all due care 
and discretion, conferring, on all occasions, with the queen 
and her daughter-in-law, and honouring them as his mis- 
tresses and superiors, although they were left subject to his 
guidance and authority. Now he had a very graceful per- 
son, was about forty years of age, and as good-natured and 
agreeable as man could be; nor could the world show a 
more complete gentleman in all respects than himself. Whilst 
the king, therefore, and his son were employed in the war, 



104 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL Vili. 

it happened that Gaultier's lady died, leaving him two chil- 
dren, a boy and a girl ; and he being much at the ladies' 
court, consulting with them on the affairs of the kingdom, 
the king's son's wife cast her eyes upon him, and being 
struck both by his person and his manners, conceived a vio- 
lent passion for him in secret. Considering her own youth, 
and his widowed state, she concluded that her desires would 
be the more readily gratified, and that she had no impedi- 
ment to apprehend but the shame of making the discovery, 
which she soon overcame. 

Being one day alone, and thinking it a fit opportunity, she 
sent for the count under pretence of business. The count, 
who was far. from suspecting her intentions, came immedi- 
ately to her, and sitting down beside her on a couch, by her 
desire, begged to know her commands. He repeated his 
question twice without receiving any answer ; at last, incited 
by her passion, trembling and blushing, her eyes moist with 
tears, and with broken and confused words, she thus began : 
** My dear lord and friend, it cannot have escaped your most 
acute judgment, how great is the frailty of both the sexes, 
and, for divers reasons, how much more it displays itself in 
one individual than another ; therefore the very same offence, 
before an equitable judge, will be differently punished accord- 
ing to the different quality of the offenders. Besides, who 
will deny that a poor man or woman, who has no other sub- 
sistence but what is earned by his or her daily labour, is 
more blameable, should either be seduced and carried away 
by love, than a lady of wealth and leisure, who has nothing 
to think of but how to divert and please herself? Every 
one must allow the distinction : this will be a sufficient ex- 
cuse, therefore, for a lady who gives way to such a passion, 
supposing her, at the same time, to make choice of a wise 
and worthy person on whom she fixes her affection. These 
circumstances, thus concurring in myself, not to mention my 
youth, and the absence of my husband, plead strongly in my 
behalf, and if they have their due weight with you, I may 
expect that you will afford me that advice and assistance I 
now require from you. I must confess, that, not being able, 
on account of my husband's distance from me, to resist my 
most earnest desires, living also a life of ease and indolence, 
as you see, I have suffered myself to be quite led aside by 
them ; which, though it would redound but little to my credit 
should it be known, yet, so long as it is a secret between us, 
there can be no room for reproach, and let me tell you, that 



NOVEL Vili.] THE SECOND DAY. I05 

love has been so gracious to me, that far from taking away 
my understanding, it has rather enlightened it, by presenting 
you to me as an object worthy of my affection, a person 
whom I esteem as the most accomplished nobleman this day 
in France, and one at present without a wife, as I am with- 
out a husband ; wherefore I entreat you, by the tender regard 
I have for you, that you would vouchsafe to show the same 
towards me, and pity my youth, which consumes for your 
sake, even as ice melts before the fire." 

The tears now poured down her cheeks so fast that she 
could say no more ; but overcome with emotion, she let her 
head sink upon his bosom. The count being a person of 
the strictest honour, began to reprimand her fond and idle 
love ; and when she would have thrown her arms around his 
neck, he pushed her from him, protesting that he would be 
cut in pieces before he would so wrong his lord and master 
himself, or suffer others to do it. 

At this unexpected reply, the lady forgot all her love, and 
shrieked out in a most vehement rage, "Villain! shall my 
request be despised by thee in this manner? As thou 
wouldst have me die, so help me God, I will bring thee to 
death, or force thee to fly thy country." And with these 
words, tearing her hair and clothes, she cried out most vio- 
lently, " Help ! help ! the Count d'Angiers would force me." 

The count, fearing that his conscience would not counter- 
vail the envy of the court, and that more credit would be 
given to the princess's wicked story than to his own inno- 
cence, hastened out of the chamber as fast as he could, fled 
to his own house, set his children on horseback without 
delay, and made the best of his way to Calais. 

At the lady's cries, many persons rushed in, who, seeing 
her in that condition, and hearing the cause of her outcry, 
not only believed what she told them, but concluded that 
the count's debonnaire appearance and demeanour at court 
had been assumed expressly to effect his guilty purpose; 
they ran, therefore, in the utmost fury to his house to seize 
him, and not finding him there, they stripped it of every- 
thing of value, and pulled it down to the ground. This dis- 
agreeable news soon reached the ears of the king and prince 
in the camp, and they being greatly incensed at it, sentenced 
the offender and all his descendants to perpetual banishment, 
offering a reward to that person who should deliver him up 
alive or dead ! The count, who grieved to think that by 
his flight he had seemed to confess his guilt, arrived at 
5* . . 



Io6 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL VIII. 

Calais with his children, without making himself known to 
any person ; thence he went direct to England, and arrived 
in London in mean apparel, having by the way taught his 
children these two things; first, to bear patiently the poverty 
to which fortune had reduced them without any fault of 
theirs: and secondly, to be exceedingly cautious never to 
reveal whence they came, or whom they belonged to, if they 
had the least regard for his life. His son, named Louis, was 
about nine years of age, and his daughter Violante seven; 
and they both attended more to their father's admonition 
than could have been expected from their youth, as will 
appear by the sequel. Thinking it best for their greater 
security to change their names, he called the boy Pierrot, 
and the girl Jeannette, and they went about the city asking 
charity like common French beggars. 

Now it happened, that, as they were waiting at a church 
door one morning, a certain great lady, who was wife to one 
of the king's principal officers of state, cast her eyes upon 
them, and asked the father where they came from, and were 
those his children ? He replied, that he came from Picardy, 
and that the misbehaviour of his eldest son, who had turned 
out very badly, had obliged him to quit his country with 
these two other children. The lady, who was of a compas- 
sionate temper, was pleased with the looks of the girl, and 
she said to him, " Honest man, if thou be content to leave 
thy daughter with me, I like her countenance so much that 
I would willingly take her ; and if she behave well, I will in 
due time provide her a husband, so that she shall live com- 
fortably all her life." He was rejoiced at the offer, and with 
tears in his eyes resigned the child up to the lady, recom- 
mending her to her in the most affectionate manner. 

Having thus disposed of his daughter, and well knowing 
to whom, he resolved to stay there no longer, but begging 
his way all across the island, and his son along with him, at 
length, not without the utmost fatigue, being unused to 
travel on foot, he came into Wales, where dwelt another 
great lord, an officer also and servant of the king. To his 
palace, which afforded relief to all, they repaired for support 
It happened just then that the lord's son and somie other 
young noblemen were diverting themselves with running, 
leaping, and some other youthful exercises; and Pierrot, 
making one among them, outdid them all in every sport. 
The nobleman, seeing this, was mightily pleased with the 
boy, and inquired whom he belonged to? and being told 



NOVEL Vni-l THE SECOND DAT. I07 

that he was a poor man's son. who came there to beg alms, 
the lord asked the father to give the boy to him. The count, 
who desired nothing so much, freely consented, though their 
parting was a little grievous ; and having now provided for 
both his children, he determined to stay no longer in Eng- 
land, but, as soon as he had an opportunity, he passed into 
Ireland, and came to Stanford, where he hired himself to a 
certain knight, who belonged to the retinue of an earl in that 
country, and there he did the duty of a common servant 
for many years. 

In the meantime Violante, now called Jeanuette, who con- 
tinued with the lady at London, increased in beauty, and 
every accomplishment, as well as in stature; insomuch that 
she beoame the delight both of the lord and lady, as well as 
of every one that knew her. Whilst the lady, who had no 
other notion of her quality than what she had received from 
herself, was thinking of marrying her according to her sup- 
posed rank, God, the just re warder of merit, seeing that she 
was nobly born, and punished only for other people's wicked- 
ness, was pleased to order it otherwise. The lady had an 
only son by her lord, of whom they were both exceedingly 
fond, and deservedly so, on account of his excellent dispo- 
sition and character. He was about six years older than 
Jeannette, and beholding her extraordinary beauty and merit, 
he was so much in love, that he cared for no other woman. 
Supposing, however, that she was of low extraction, he was 
afraid to demand her of his father and mother, and, through 
fear of being reprimanded for placing his affections so low, 
he kept them smothered in his breast ; for which reason they 
preyed more upon him than if he had divulged them, till at 
length he fell into a grievous fit of sickness. Hereupon 
several physicians were sent for, who had regard to one 
symptom after another, till, not being able to make out what 
his disorder was, they gave him over. This occasioned the 
utmost affliction both to his father and mother, who were 
continually requesting him to tell them the secret cause of 
his malady ? to which he either made no answer but by sighs, 
or said that he found himself continually wasting. 

Now, one day it happened that a certain young but pro- 
foundly skilful physician was sitting by his bedside, and 
feeling his pulse, when Jeannette, who attended carefully 
upon him, out of respect to his mother, chanced to come 
into the room. Upon seeing her, the young gentleman, 
without uttering a word, or making one sign, conceived 



Io8 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL VIIL 

more strongly in his heart the passion of love, and his 
pulse began to beat higher than usual; which the phy^ 
sician perceiving with surprise, kept his fingers some time 
upon it, to see how long that difference would last. As 
she went out of the room again the pulse abated ; where- 
fore, thinking that he had now found out in some measure 
what the disorder was, the physician pretended that he 
wanted to speak to Jeannette, and had her called back, he 
still holding his patient by the hand : she returned instantly; 
the pulse beat as before, and subsided at her departure. 
The physican, now fully satisfied, got up, and taking the 
father and mother apart, spoke to them in this manner : — 
"The welfare of your son is not in the power of physi- 
cians, but it lies in the hands of Jeannette, whom I find, by 
certain tokens, that he is desperately in love with ; although, 
by what I can perceive, she knows nothing of it. You see 
now what you have to do, if you value his life." 

The lord and lady were well enough pleased to hear 
there was one way to save their son's life, though the fear 
of being obliged to do what they most dreaded gave them 
concern: namely, their marrying her to him ; therefore, after 
the physician was departed, they went together to their son, 
and the lady said to him as follows: "I could never have 
believed, my dear, that you would have concealed any of 
your wants from me, especially since your not being grat- 
ified in that respect has been attended with such evil con- 
sequences ; for you might have been confident, as you may 
still, that there is nothing which I would not do for your 
ease and welfare, as much as for my own. But since you 
have done so, God has been more merciful to you than you 
would be to yourself, for I now know that it is all occa- 
sioned by love, whoever the person is : and why should you 
have been ashamed to tell me? It is natural to one of 
your age ; and were you a stranger to love, I should think 
you of little worth. Then lay yourself open to me, and 
cast away all that drooping and melancholy, which has 
brought this disorder upon you, assuring yourself, that 
there is nothing you can desire of me, wherein I will not 
gratify you to the utmost of my ability, for I love you as 
dearly as my own life. Away then, witn this bashfulness, 
and tell me plainly if I can be of service regarding this love 
of yours ; and if you find me not in earnest, then believe 
me to be the most cruel of mothers." 



NOVEL Vili.] THE SECOND DAY. IO9 

The young gentleman changed colour at hearing these 
words; but considering afterwards that none could sooner 
serve him than his mother, he spoke to her without the least 
reserve. "Madam," he said, "nothing has made me keep 
my love a secret so much as what I have observed in many 
people when they grow into years; they forget that they 
ever were young : but now I find you considerate in that 
point, I shall not only confess your suspicion to be true, 
but will also name the person to you, provided you will, 
according to promise, use your best endeavours in my behalf; 
and by that means you may save my life." The lady, think- 
ing to serve him in a different manner from what he himself 
intended, bade him speak out, and she would endeavour 
that he should have his will. He then replied: — "Madam, 
the beauty and agreeable behaviour of J eannette, and her 
not pitying me, or being even sensible how much I love her, 
which I have yet revealed to no person living, have brought 
me to this condition. If, therefore, you make not your 
word good to me, you may depend upon it my life is short." 
She, thinking it a more proper time to comfort than reprove 
him, said, with a smile, "And have you then languished so 
long for this ? Have a good heart, and when you grow 
better leave the matter to me." 

The young spark, full of hopes, began now to show speedy 
symptoms of amendment, to the great comfort of his mother, 
who was contriving how to perform her promise ; and one 
day, calling J eannette to her, she began, by way of discourse, 
to ask her if she ever had a sweetheart ? The girl blushed, 
and replied, " Madam, it ill becomes a poor young woman 
like myself, who is driven from her own house, and subject 
to other people's will and pleasure, to think of love." Her 
mistress then rejoined: "If you have no lover, I will pro- 
cure one for you, that you may live with some comfort; for 
so pretty a girl as you are should never be without one." 
" Madam," said Jeannette, " as you have taken me from my 
father, and brought me up like your own child, I am bound 
to do all in my power to please you : but in this particular I 
think I am in the right not to do it. If you mean to give 
me a husband, him I shall respect,, but no one else. For, 
of all that my ancestors possessed, there is nothing now re- 
maining to me but their virtue, and this I intend to keep 
as long as I live." This was quite contrary to the lady's 
intention in the promise she had made her son; however, 
Uke a most prudent lady, she affected to commend her for 



no DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL VIII. 

it, and said, " But if the king, who is young, should have a 
fancy for you, would you deny him ?" " His majesty might 
use force," J eannette immediately replied ; "but he should 
never have my consent, but upon terms of honour." The 
lady, seeing what her resolution was, said no more; but 
resolved to put her to proof; saying to her son, that, when 
he got well, she would put them into a room together, and 
he might do with her as he pleased; for it was performing a 
base office for her to proceed any farther in that way for 
him. This was by no means pleasing to the young gentle- 
man, who relapsed immediately upon it: which the lady 
perceiving, she laid open her intention to J eannette, and 
found her more resolute than ever. Her husband being 
made acquainted with the whole matter, it was agreed now 
by them (though much against their inclinations), that he 
should marry her ; they preferring their son's life, with a wife 
much beneath him, to his death without one. This was soon 
put in execution, to the great joy of Jeannette, who gave 
thanks to Heaven for its mercy vouchsafed towards her : but 
all the while she would make no other discovery of herself, 
than that she was daughter to a person in Picardy. They 
lived afterwards very happily together. 

Let us now return to Pierrot, whom we left in Wales with 
a great officer belonging to the King of England : he grew 
much in favour with his lord, and being graceful and manly 
in person, and more expert at all military exercises than any 
one in the country, was known every where by the name of 
Pierrot the Picard ; and as God had been gracious to his 
sister, so was he no less kind and merciful to him : for the 
plague happened to break out in that country, which swept 
away half the people, and a great part of those who were left 
had fled for refuge into other lands; so that the nation 
appeared quite desolate. In this mortality, the lord and 
lady, with their son, brethren, nephews, and near relations, all 
died, and there was none of the family left besides an only 
daughter, just of age to marry, and a few servants. As feoon 
as the plague was over, she took him for her husband, on 
account of his extraordinary merit, and made him lord of 
all her inheritance. And it was not long before the King of 
England, hearing of the late lord's death, and knowing 
Pierrot's worth and valour, substituted him in his place, and 
gave him the same power and command. Such was the fate 
of the two innocent children of Count d'Angiers, whom he 
had left destitute. 



NOVEL Vin.] THE SECOND DAY. IH 

It was now eighteen years since he had fled from Paris. 
He had suffered great hardship during his abode in Ireland, 
and as he was now grown old, he was desirous to know what 
was become of his children. Being quite altered as to his 
person, and fìnding himself become more robust by exercise 
than he had been in his youth, which he had spent in ease 
and indolence, he left the service where he had been for so 
long a time, and set forward in a mean dress for England. 
Arriving at the place where he had left Pierrot, he found 
him to be a great and mighty lord, and in perfect health, 
which gave him the utmost satisfaction; but yet he was 
resolved not to discover himself, till he should know what 
was become of Jeannette. Travelling still on for London, 
and inquiring cautiously there concerning the lady with 
whom he had left his daughter, he discovered that Jeannette 
was married to her son, which pleased him infinitely, esteem- 
ing all his past sufferings as nothing, since he had found 
both his children alive, and in prosperity. Desirous now of 
seeing her, he repaired to the house like a poor man, and 
was taken notice of by James Lamiens (for that was the 
name of Jeannette's husband), who had pity on him, and 
ordered one of his servants to give him relief. Jeannette 
had several children, the eldest of whom was about eight 
years old, all very beautiful ; and seeing the count begin to 
eat, they all came about him, and were as much pleased with 
him, as if by some secret instinct they had known him to be 
their grandfather : whilst he, knowing them to be his grand- 
children, showed a thousand little fondnesses towards them, 
which made them unwilling to leave him, when their tutor 
would have called them away. On hearing this, Jeannette 
came out of her chamber, and threatened to whip them, if 
they would not obey their master; this set the children cry- 
ing, and they said, they had much rather stay with the 
honest man, who loved them better than their master did ; 
which made the lady and count both laugh heartily. 

The count arose, not as a father, but like a poor man, to 
pay his reverence to his daughter, as to a great lady ; feeling 
great pleasure at the sight of her, whilst she had not the 
least knowledge of him : so much was he altered, having 
grey hairs, a long beard, and a swarthy, meagre countenance, 
that he was nothing like the same person. The lady, now 
seeing how unwilling the children were to go away, ordered 
their master to let them stay a little. In the mean time, her 
husband's father came home, and being told this circum- 



112 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL VIIL 

stance by the master, and holding her always in great con- 
tempt, he said, " Let them stay, with a mischief to them ! 
they only shew whence they are descended ; they are beg- 
gars by their mother's side, therefore no wonder they herd 
with beggars." The count was much grieved at hearing 
these words, but was forced to bear this injury, as he had 
done many others. The lady's husband had taken notice 
all this time of the children's fondness towards the count, 
and was uneasy at it ; yet so tender was he of them, that 
rather than make them uneasy, he gave orders that if the 
honest man was willing to stay in his service, he should be 
received. He replied that he should be glad of it, but was 
only able to look after horses, which he had been used to 
all his life. He had a horse assigned him, therefore, to 
take care of, and when his business was over, he used to 
play with the children. 

Whilst fortune had thus disposed of the Count d'Angiers 
and his children, it came to pass, that, after making many 
treaties with the Germans, the King of France died, and was 
succeeded by that son, whose wife had occasioned the count's 
banishment ; and the last truce being now expired, a bloody 
war broke out afresh, when the King of England, who was 
his kinsman, sent him large supplies of soldiers, under the 
command of Pierrot, one of his generals, and James Lamiens, 
son to another of his generals, with whom the count went as 
a servant, when he did more service, both by his valour and 
good counsel, than was expected from him. In the course 
of the war, the Queen of France chanced to be taken ill, 
and finding herself past all hopes of recovery, made a con- 
fession of all her sins to the Archbishop of Rouen, esteemed 
by all as a most holy person ; and, amongst other things, she 
mentioned the great wrong she had done to the Count 
d'Angiers ; nor was she content with speaking this to him 
only, but she also declared it before many other worthy 
persons; desiring their intercession with the king, that, if 
the count or his children were any of them living, they 
might be restored to their former condition. Soon after 
this she died, and was honourably interred. 

This confession being reported to the king, after much 
concern for the injury done to so great a man, he issued a 
proclamation, that if any person could give tidings of the 
count, or his children, they should be well rewarded, since 
the queen had declared him innocent of the crime for 
which he had fled his country ; and that his majesty meant 



NOVEL Vili.] THE SECOND DAY. II3 

to exalt him to the same, or even greater honours than he 
had before. When the count heard this, he went imme- 
diately to James Lamiens, and desired him to go along with 
him to Pierrot ; saying, he would then show them what the 
king desired. Being aJl met together, the count declared to 
Pierrot that he was now resolved to discover himself; for, 
" Pierrot," says he, " James Lamiens, who is here present, 
has married your sister, and has had no fortune with her : 
therefore I intend that he shall have the benefit of the king's 
proclamation, for producing first yourself, as son to the 
Count d'Angiers, secondly. Violante your sister and his wife, 
and lastly myself, who am the Count d'Angiers and your 
father." Pierrot, hearing this, and looking steadfastly upon 
him, soon recognised him, and fell down with tears at his 
feet: whilst James Lamiens was overcome with so much 
wonder and joy together, that he scarcely knew what to say ; 
and blushing for the little respect he had showed him, 
he hurnbly asked pardon, which the count readily granted. 
When they had talked over their several fortunes, some- 
times in tears, and then again in joy, they would have had 
the count put on suitable apparel, which he would by no 
means consent to, being desirous that James Lamiens should 
first secure the reward, and, by presenting him in that garb, 
make the shame for his ill usage so much the greater. 

James thereupon went with the count and Pierrot before 
the king, offering for the promised reward to produce both 
the count and his children. The king then ordered a most 
magnificent present to be brought, telling him it was his own 
upon those conditions. James then stepped back a little, and 
presented the count as his servant, and Pierrot, saying, "Be- 
hold, sir, the father and son ; as for the daughter, she is my 
vife ; but, with the leave of Heaven, you shall see her be- 
fore it is long." The king, on hearing this, looked ear- 
nestly at the count, and, notwithstanding his being so much 
changed, soon recognized him, and with tears in his eyes 
raised him from the ground, on which he was kneeling, and 
kissed and shook him by the hand: he welcomed Pierrot 
also in a most friendly manner, and ordered that the count 
should have clothes, servants, horses, and everything suit- 
able to his quality, which was accordingly done. The king 
showed great respect also to James Lamiens, and inquired 
particularly about everything that had befallen the families. 
After James had received the promised reward, the count 
said to him : " Receive this royal bounty at the hands of his 



114 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL IX. 

majesty, and remember to tell your father, that your children 
and my grandchildren are not meanly descended by the 
mother's side." James received the presents, and sent for 
his wife and mother to Paris; Pierrot also brought his lady, 
and they were received with the utmost joy by the count, to 
whom the king restored all he had lost, with large addi- 
tions of fortune. They had afterwards permission to return 
home, leaving the count at Paris, where he continued to his 
dying day in more repute and glory than ever. 

[The revenge taken by the French princess for a slighted passion, is as 
old as the story of Joseph and Potiphar's wife, or as that of Bellerophon, 
though it has been directly imitated by Boccaccio from that of Perdella 
Broccia and the Lady of Brabante, in Dante. The physician's discovery 
of the young Englishman's love for Jeannette is taken from Plutarch's 
story of Antiochus and Stratonice.] 



NOVEL IX. 

Bernard of Genoa is imposed upon by one Ambrose, loses his money, 
and orders his wife, who is quite innocent, to be put to death. She 
makes her escape, and goes in man's dress into the service of the Sul- 
tan ; there she meets with the deceiver ; and, sending for her husband 
to Alexandria, has Ambrose punished ; she then resumes her former 
habit, and returns with her husband, in wealth, to Genoa. 

Eliza having discharged her duty by the last moving 
story, the queen, who was of a most graceful person, taking 
the next turn upon herself, spoke with a smile to this effect: 
— We must make good our agreement with Dioneo; and 
therefore, as only he and I remain to speak, I shall begin with 
my story, and leave him to the last, as he has desired. It is 
a common saying, that the deceiver lies at the mercy of the 
deceived ; which I think can only be proved true by circum- 
stances of that kind, which have happened in the world; 
this, then, I propose to show you, hoping a relation of this 
sort will not be disagreeable, to the end you may be upon 
your guard against such as would deceive you. 

There happened together in an inn at Paris some Italian 
merchants, who had come thither upon their different occa- 
sions; and meeting at supper one night, and conversing 
merrily of one thing after another, they came at last to talk 
of their wives, whom they had left behind them : when one 
of them said, in a jesting way, " I do not know what my wife 



NOVEL IX.] THE SECOND DAY. II5 

does with herself, but I am sure if I meet with anything that 
pleases me, I forget my love for her, and make use of the 
opportunity." — " And so do I," quoth another; "for whether 
I believe it or not, my wife will do as she pleases." A third 
was of the same opinion, and all seemed to agree that their 
wives at home lost no time in their absence. Only one man 
among them all, named Bernard Lomellin, of Genoa, avowed 
the contrary ; declaring, that he had a wife, in whom were 
centred all the virtues that could adorn either sex ; that she 
was young and beautiful in her person ; that she was mistress 
of her needle; that no man-servant waited with more dex- 
terity at his master's table, than he was served by her, she 
being thoroughly discreet and well bred ; that, besides her 
skill in horsemanship, and the management of a hawk, there 
was no merchant understood accounts better ; and coming at 
length to what began the dispute, he declared, with an oath, 
that no woman upon earth could be more virtuous and 
chaste than she was ; for he firmly believed, were he to be 
absent from her for ten years, she would have to do with no 
other person. 

Amongst the merchants who had been talking upon this 
subject, was a young fellow called Ambrose of Piacenza, who 
made the greatest fun in the world of what Bernard said last 
in praise of his wife, asking him, whether the emperor had 
given him this privilege, exclusive of the rest of mankind ? 
Bernard, a little agitated, said, " Not the emperor, but God 
Almighty, who was something more powerful than the 
emperor, had bestowed this favour upon him." Ambrose 
replied, " I make not the least doubt, but that you think you 
speak truth: but in my opinion, you have not enough con- 
sidered the nature of things; for if you had, I do not believe 
your understanding so mean as not to find many reasons to 
make you think more coolly of the matter. Wherefore, that 
you may not imagine that we, who have spoken so much at 
large concerning our wives, suppose them of a different make 
from yours, but that we have merely regard to the natural 
propensity of all, I shall beg leave to reason a little with you 
on this subject. I have always understood that man is the 
most noble of God*s creatures, and that woman is in the 
next degree to him : now as man is allowed to be more per- 
fect, he must consequently have more resolution and con- 
stancy. In like manner, women are always more wavering 
and fickle, as I could show by several reasons, which I shall 
omit at present. If, therefore, man, who is allowed to have 



Il6 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL IX 

the most stability, cannot — I will not say resist a woman 
that should entreat him, but cannot even help desiring and 
doing all that lies in Kis power to get into the company of a 
woman that he likes, and this not once in a month, but a 
thousand times every day, what can you think a woman, 
naturally weak, can do against the entreaties, flatteries, gifts, 
and a thousand other means, which an artful lover knows 
how to use ? Do you think she can resist ? Affirm it as you 
will, I can never think you in earnest. You say your wife 
is flesh and blood, and therefore subject to the same desires 
as other women, and her strength to resist those desires must 
be the same : be she then ever so virtuous, it is possible for 
her to do like other women : and if it be possible, you 
should never have denied it in that positive manner, and 
maintained the contrary, as you have done." 

"I am a merchant, and not a philosopher," Bernard 
replied, " and shall answer you as such ; I tell you, therefore, 
that what you say may be the case of women of little under- 
standing, and who have no sense of shame ; but such as are 
wise have such anxious regard for their honour, that they 
become more firm than men, who are not so tender on that 
point ; and such a one is my wife." 

"Truly," said Ambrose, "if for every fault of this kind 
they were to have a horn spring out of their foreheads, to 
bear testimony against them, I believe few would be guilty : 
but so far from having a horn grow, if they be wise, there is 
nothing to make the least discovery : and as shame and loss 
of character happen only when things are made public, 
therefore what they can accomplish in secret they rarely fail 
to do : or, if they abstain, it is through their folly. Take 
this then for a rule — that woman only is chaste who has 
never been asked ; or she who herself has asked and been 
refused. And though I am convinced of this by natural and 
just reasons, yet I should not speak as I do, if 1 had not 
tried the humours and aff'ections of many different women. 
Let me also tell you, that if I was in company with your most 
virtuous wife, I should not doubt my obtaining the same 
favour from her that I have gained from many others." 

Bernard was provoked at this, and said, " There is no end 
of disputing; you assert, and I assert, which is all nothing: 
but since you say they are so easily warped, and have such 
an opinion of your own power that way : to convince you of 
my wife's virtue, I will forfeit my head, if you ever bring her 



NOVEL IX.] THE SECOND DAY. ZIJ 

to a compliance, upon condition that, if you should not 
prevail over her, you only lose a thousand florins of gold." 

Ambrose replied, with a good deal of warmth, " Of what 
use will your life be to me, if I should win it ? but if you 
have a mind to put the thing to the trial, stake five thou- 
sand florins, which are of less value than your life, against 
one thousand of mine ; and as you fix no time, I will oblige 
myself to go to Genoa, and in less than three months from 
the day of my departure to gain my will of your wife, and 
to bring such tokens thereof back with me as you yourself 
shall confess to be just; provided you will give me your 
word, that you will neither come to Genoa in that time, nor 
write to her about the matter." 

Bernard said he liked the wager ; and though the other 
merchants endeavoured all they could to prevent it, as well 
knowing what mischief might ensue, yet the two merchants 
were so warm, that, in spite of all their friends could do, they 
immediately signed the articles to that purpose. Bernard, 
therefore, stayed behind, whilst Ambrose made the best of his 
way to Genoa. There he continued a day or two, informing 
himself, as cautiously as possible, of the name of the street 
where the lady lived, as also of her character, when he soon 
heard all that Bernard had related to be true, and a great deal 
more ; which made him conclude that he had come thither on 
a very foolish errand : but meeting with a poor woman who 
frequented the house, to whom the lady was very kind, he 
wrought so far upon her, by means of a bribe, that he was 
carried in a chest, made according to his own directions, not 
only into the house, but even into the lady's bed-chamber, 
where it was to be left for some days, for the greater security, 
as if the good woman was going abroad. 

When night came, and the lady, as he supposed, was asleep, 
he opened the chest with certain instruments which he had 
carried with him for that end, and went softly into the room, 
where a light was burning, by which he observed carefully 
the form and situation of the chamber, and also the pictures, 
and everything remarkable in it, which he endeavoured to 
keep in his memory. Coming then to the bedside, and see- 
ing the lady and a little girl that was in bed with her, both 
fast asleep, he found her as beautiful as if she had been 
dressed; but yet he could perceive no sign to carry away 
concerning her, unless it was a mole upon her left breast; 
with which being pretty well satisfied, and not daring, from 
the lady's known character, to presume farther; after being 



Il8 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL IX. 

• there the greatest part of the night, he took a purse, and also 
a gown, and a ring and girdle; all which he put into his 
chest, and went into it again, making it fast as before; and 
there he continued two nights, without the lady's perceiving 
anything of the matter. The third day the woman came for 
the chest, according to her appointment, and carried it back ; 
when Ambrose satisfied her according to promise, and has- 
tened away to Paris with these tokens before the limited 
time. 

He then summoned the merchants together who were 
present when the wager was laid, declaring to Bernard that 
he had won ; having brought the tokens which he had prom- 
ised to produce. First, then, he described the chamber and 
the paintings, and showed those things, which he said he had 
received from herself. Bernard owned that the chamber was 
as he had described it; and he remembered, also, that the 
things which he had brought belonged to his wife ; but he 
added, that the other might have had an account of the 
room, as well as procured the other things, from some of the 
servants; therefore, if he could say nothing more, this did 
not seem sufficient to entitle him to the wager. Then 
Ambrose replied, "Truly this ought to satisfy you; but since 
you would have me say something more, know then, that 
Madam Ginevra, your wife, has a mole upon her left breast." 
When Bernard heard this, he was struck to the very heart, 
and his countenance changed in such a manner, as to con- 
vince them, if he had not said another word, that Ambrose 
spoke truth ; and after some time he replied : " Gentlemen, 
what Ambrose says is true ; and, as I own myself to have 
lost, he may come when he pleases, and I will pay him." 

The money, therefore, was paid the next day, and Bernard 
set out for Genoa, most cruelly incensed against his wife ; 
and being come to a country-house of his, about twenty miles 
off, he sent a servant whom he could trust, with a couple of 
horses and a letter to her ; wherein he acquainted her with 
his return, and that he would have her come away along with 
the servant, whom he had charged, at the same time, as soon 
as he came to a fit place, to put her to death, and repair to 
him. The servant delivered the letter to his mistress, who 
received the news with great joy ; and the next morning she 
set forwards with him. As they travelled along, talking of 
divers things by the way, they came into a solitary vale sur- 
rounded with trees, which the servant thought a fit place for 
the execution of his master's orders ; therefore, drawing a 



NOVEL IX.] THE SECOND DAY. II9 

knife out of his pocket, and taking the lady by the arm, he 
said, "Madam, commend your soul to God, for here you 
must die." She, in the utmost astonishment, begged for 
God's sake that, before he put her to death, he would tell her 
what she had done to offend him in that manner. " Madam," 
said the servant, " you have done me no harm ; and as to 
your husband, I can say only this, that he ordered me to kill 
you by the way, without showing you the least mercy ; threat- 
ening otherwise to hang me up. You know full well my 
obligations to him, and that I must not resist his commands ; 
I am sorry for you, God knows, but I cannot help it." The 
lady wept, and said, '* Alas ! do not murder me, who have 
never injured you, for the sake of another person : God is 
my witness, who knoweth all things, that I never did any- 
thing to deserve this from my husband ; but, setting that 
aside, you may, if you please, serve God, your master, and my- 
self, in this manner ; namely, do you take my clothes, leaving 
me only your hat and doublet, and carry them to my lord and 
yours, telling him that you have killed me ; and I swear, by 
that life for which I shall be indebted to you, that I will go 
where neither he, you, nor any person in this country, shall ever 
hear more concerning me." The servant, who was loth to 
put her to death, was easily prevailed upon ; and leaving her 
his coat and hat, and some money which she had about her, 
and entreating her not to make any stay, went straight to his 
master, telling him that he had obeyed his commands, and 
left the body to be devoured by wolves. After some time 
Bernard returned to Genoa, and the fact being discovered, 
he was much blamed for what he had done. 

The lady being left alone, as soon as night came on, she 
disguised herself as well as she could, and went to a neigh- 
bouring village, where she procured what she wanted of an 
old woman, and she mended and cut the doublet shorter, and 
turned her shift into a pair of trowsers ; and having cut her 
hair, and appearing in every respect like a common sailor, 
she went to the sea-side, where she met a Catalonian gentle- 
man, named Senor Encararch, who being just come on shore 
to refresh himself at a spring of fresh water, she fell into dis- 
course with him, and, agreeing to enter into his service, went 
on board, calling herself Sicurano da Finale. There she 
obtained better clothes, and she proved so expert and diligent 
a servant, that he was greatly pleased with her. Soon after- 
wards this gentleman sailed to Alexandria, carrying with him 
a number of falcons as a present to the sultan, who often 



I20 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL IX. 

entertained him at his table ; and taking particular notice oi 
the behaviour of Sicurano, who waited always upon hei 
master, he begged her of the gentleman much against his will ; 
and in a little time she was in as great favour with the sultan 
as she had been with her former master. 

Now at a certain time of the year there was to be a fair at 
Acre, which was under the dominion of the sultan, and where 
was a great resort both of Christian and Turkish merchants, 
for whose greater security the sultan used to send one of his 
ordinary officers with a band of soldiers. And the time now 
drawing near, he resolved to send Sicurano for that purpose, 
as being well skilled in the languages ; and she arriving at 
Acre as captain of the guard for the merchants, discharged 
her duty with great care and diligence, conversing daily with 
Sicilian, Pisan, Genoese, Venetian, and other Italian mer- 
chants, whom she chiefly was acquainted with, because they 
were of her own country. As she was one day therefore 
in a shop belonging to some Venetian merchant, amongst 
some other toys, she cast her eyes upon a purse and girdle, 
which she soon knew to be her own ; but without making 
any such discovery, she asked whom they belonged to, and 
whether they were to be sold ? Now it happened that 
Ambrose was come thither with a great stock of goods, and 
hearing the captain of the guard make inquiry whom those 
things belonged to, he stepped forwards, and said, with a 
laugh, " Sir, they are mine, and not to be sold ; but if you 
like them, they are at your service." Sicurano seeing him 
laugh, supposed it was at some action or behaviour of hers, 
and therefore, with a more settled countenance, she said, " I 
suppose you laugh to see me, a man professing arms, inquir- 
ing after such womanish toys." — "Sir," replied Ambrose, "I 
do not laugh at that; but I laugh only at the manner by 
which I obtained them." Sicurano then replied, " Good sir, 
if it be not too much trouble, tell me how that was." " Sir," 
quoth Ambrose, " a lady of Genoa, called Ginevra, wife to 
one Bernard Lomellin, gave them to me one night when I 
lay with her, and desired I would keep them for her sake. I 
laugh therefore, at Bernard's folly, who laid me five thousand 
florins to one thousand, that I could not obtain my will of 
her: which I did, and won my wager, whilst he, who de- 
served to have been punished for his brutality more than 
she, who did no more than what all women do, returned to 
Genoa, and by what I can find, had her put to death."' 

Sicurano had now found out the grounds of Bernard's dis- 



NOVEL IX.] THE SECOND DAY. 121 

pleasure ; and as she perceived that this man had been the 
cause of it, she determined not to let him go unpunished : 
but seeming to be pleased with his story, she became more 
acquainted with him ; and when the fair was ended, she took 
him with her to Alexandria, made him hire a shop, and 
lodged money in his hands, which turned to such account, 
that he was very willing to stay there. Sicurano, desirous of 
making her innocence appear to her husband, agreed with 
some Genoese merchants, under some pretence or other, to 
have him brought thither ; and he being come in a poor and 
wretched plight, she had sent him privately to a friend's 
house to be taken care of, till it should be time to put her 
purpose in execution. Now Sicurano had made Ambrose 
tell the story before the sultan, who seemed pleased with it; 
but as soon as her husband was come, she determined to wait 
no longer; and taking a fit opportunity, she prevailed upon 
the sultan to send for Ambrose and Bernard both before him, 
and in the presence of Bernard, to make the other confess 
by force, if he would not own it otherwise, how the affair was, 
which he had so boasted of concerning Bernard's wife. Ac- 
cordingly they were brought face to face, and the sultan, with 
a stem countenance, commanded Ambrose, before a number 
of people to speak the truth, namely, how he had won of 
Bernard the five thousand florins. Sicurano also, who was 
present, and in whom Ambrose put a good deal of confidence, 
declared with a great deal of anger in her looks, that he 
should be severely chastised, if he did not. Being terrified, 
therefore, on both sides, and in some measure compelled ; 
expecting also to restore only the five thousand florins with- 
out any other punishment, he related the whole affair. Which 
being done, Sicurano, as minister to the sultan, turned to 
Bernard, and said, " What did you then do to your wife, on 
account of this lie ? " He replied, " Being outrageous with the 
loss of my money and the shame to which I was exposed, 
for the injury I thought I had sustained from her, I ordered 
one of my servants to murder her, and, as he informs me, she 
was immediately devoured by wolves." 

These things being related in the presence of the sultan, 
and many other witnesses, without his knowing Sicurano's 
purpose, she said : " My lord, you now see plainly what great 
reason the poor woman has to boast of her gallant and her 
husband ; for the one deprives her of her good character with 
lies, and ruins her husband at the same time ; whilst the other, 
showing greater regard for that person's falseness than to the 
6 



122 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL IX. 

virtue of his wife (of which he might have been assured from 
long experience), has her murdered, and devoured by wolves. 
Besides, such is the respect that they both bear towards 
her, that she is now known to neither of them, though they 
have been long entertained by her. But that you may more 
perfectly understand what both have deserved, and if, at my 
request, you will punish the deceiver, and excuse the person 
who was deceived, she shall forthwith appear before you and 
them." The sultan, who was disposed to show favour to 
Sicurano in everything, agreed that the lady should appear ; 
at which Bernard was much surprised, supposing she was 
dead ; whilst Ambrose, foreseeing what was likely to happen, 
began to think of something worse than repayment of the 
money, not knowing whether he had most reason to fear or 
hope in consequence of her appearing there ; and he waited 
her coming with the utmost consternation. 

The sultan having thus given leave, Sicurano threw herself 
at his feet, and, laying aside her manly voice and demean- 
our, she said, " My lord, I am the miserable and unfortunate 
Ginevra, who, for the space of six years have wandered over 
the world in man's disguise, being most basely aspersed by 
that villain Ambrose, and given up to a servant by that most 
cruel and unjust man, to be murdered and devoured by 
wolves." And showing her breast, she made it appear that 
slie was the same woman. Turning then to Ambrose, she 
resolutely demanded, when it was that he had lain with her, 
as he had formerly vaunted.^ But he knowing her again, 
was so struck with shame, that he could not utter a word. 
The sultan, who had all along taken her for a man, was so 
surprised at what he heard and saw, that it appeared to him 
more like a dream than truth ; but upon recollecting himself, 
and seeing everything plainly made out, he most highly 
commended the life, constancy, and behaviour of Ginevra, 
heretofore called Sicurano ; and ordering proper apparel and 
attendants for her, he pardoned Bernard, at her request, 
and spared him the death he had justly merited ; while he, 
now knowing her again, knelt down and begged pardon, 
which she readily granted, however unworthy he was of it, 
and embraced him as her husband. The sultan then or- 
dered Ambrose to be fastened to a stake, in the most emi- 
nent part of the city, and his naked body smeared over with 
honey, and that he should hang there till he should drop in 
pieces ; which sentence was soon put in execution. He 
next gave charge that all the culprit's substance should be 



NOVEL X.] THE SECOND DAY. 1 23 

given to Ginevra, which did not amount to less than ten 
thousand double ducats: and making a most sumptuous 
feast, in honour of Bernard, as her husband, and Ginevra, as a 
most worthy lady, he presented her with plate and money to 
the amount of ten thousand ducats more; and providing a 
ship for them, when the feast was over, he gave them leave 
to depart for Genoa, which they did with great joy, and 
were received with the utmost respect, especially Ginevra, 
who was thought to be dead ; and the same esteem was con- 
tinued towards her as long as she lived. As for Ambrose, 
he was not only destroyed the very day he was impaled, by 
wasps and hornets, with which the country abounds, but he 
was eaten to the very bones, which being bound together by 
the sinews, remained hanging there for some time, as a testi- 
mony of his villany. And thus it is, that the deceiver lies at 
the mercy of the deceived. 

The origin of this tale is unknown. It has in part been closely fol- 
lowed by Shakespeare in his ' Cymbeline.'J 



NOVEL X. 

Paganino de Monaco carries away the wife of Signior Ricciardo di Chin- 
zica, who, understanding where she was, goes thither, and growing 
acquainted with Paganino, he demands her hack, which the other con- 
sents to, provided she is willing : she refuses to return ; and upon Ric- 
ciardo's death becomes the wife of Paganino. 

All the company commended the queen's story, and es- 
pecially Dioneo, who was the only person left to speak for 
that day ; and having said much in praise of it, he began to 
this effect: — Ladies, part of the queen's novel has made me 
change my intention with regard to what I meant to relate : 
what I allude to is the brutishness of Bernard (though it 
turned out well for him), and of all such as himself, who 
think as he did ; namely, that whilst they are travelling about 
from place to place, and diverting themselves sometimes 
with one lady and sometimes with another, they conclude 
that their wives are sitting with their hands before them all 
the while, as if we did not know to the contrary. I shall 
therefore show you how great the folly is of all such people, 
and of those especially, who, supposing themselves to be 
more powerful than nature hath really formed them, think 
to cover all by fabulous demonstrations, and endeavour to 



124 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL X, 

make other persons' constitutions and tempers square with 
their own, however contrary it may be to their natural bent 
and inclination. 

There once lived at Pisa, a certain judge, endowed with 
greater genius of mind than bodily ability, whose name was 
Signior Ricciardo di Chinzica. Being possessed with a no- 
tion that it would cost him no greater efforts to content a 
wife than to perform his judicial duties, he determined, as 
he was very rich, to have a wife who should be very young 
and very handsome; two things which he ought to have 
shunned, had he known how to advise himself as well as he 
did other people. He had his wish, however, for Signior 
Lotto Gualandi bestowed on him his daughter Bartolomea, 
one of the briskest and most beautiful ladies in all Pisa, 
though there are few among them all that are not as yellow 
as a kite's foot. The worthy judge brought his bride home 
in great state, and gave a sumptuous wedding entertainment, 
but only summed up once in the course of the night, and even 
then was near breaking down in his harangue ; and after all he 
was obliged to recruit his exhausted spirits with malmsey 
and cordial confections before he could return to his ordinary 
avocations. Being a better judge now of his own strength, 
he began to teach his wife a calendar, formerly printed at 
Ravenna, for the use of children learning to read. With 
that document in his hand, he showed her that there was 
scarcely a day in the year but what was dedicated to some 
saint or other, and some days had more saints than one : in 
reverence to whom, as he proved by many reasons, a man 
and his wife ought to. keep asunder at those times. To these 
he added the fast days, the four terms, the vigils of the 
Apostles, and a thousand other saints, with Fridays, Satur- 
days, and Sundays, and all Lent ; also certain seasons of the 
moon, and many other exceptions ; and in short he seemed 
to think it fit that a dies non should be as frequent an occur- 
rence in the conjugal bed as in the courts of law. In this 
manner he lived with his lady, to her great discontent, 
scarcely conversing with her once a month, and keeping a 
«trict watch over her, for fear some other person should 
teach her what belonged to working-days, as he had done 
with respect to holidays. 

In the meantime it happened that, the season growing 
extremely hot, Messer Ricciardo went for recreation to spend 
a few days at one of his country-seats, near Monte Nero, 
taking his lady with him ; and, to make it more agreeable 



NOVEL X.] THE SECOND DAY. 1 25 

to her, they went out fishing together one day, he and the 
fishermen being in one boat, and she in another, along with 
some ladies, who went to see the sport. Thinking of noth- 
ing but their diversion, they had insensibly drifted out many 
miles to sea, without perceiving it, when on a sudden they 
were surprised, in the midst of their sport by a galliot be- 
longing to one Paganino da Monaco, a famous pirate of 
those days. They tried hard to escape, but in spite of all 
their efforts, the pirate captured the boat which had the 
women on board, and struck by the beauty of the judge's 
wife, he carried her into his own ship in sight of her hus- 
band, who had now reached the shore ; and, without med- 
dling with anything else, sailed directly away. How sorrowful 
Ricciardo was at seeing this you may easily imagine, he who 
was jealous of the very air itself. Loud and long were the 
complaints he made, both at Pisa and elsewhere, of the vil- 
lany of these corsairs; but all in vain, for he knew not 
who it was that had taken his wife, or whither she was 
carried. 

As for Paganino, he was delighted to have made prize 
of a lady so young and so handsome ; and, being without a 
wife, he resolved to keep her in lieu of one. He began by 
soothing her alarm with all sorts of tender expressions, and 
as these had not all the effect he desired, when night was 
come he proceeded to administer more practical consolation ; 
for he had lost his almanac, and had clean forgotten all dis- 
tinction between workdays and holidays. His charitable 
efforts were so successful, that long before the lady reached 
Monaco, the judge and his laws were quite gone out of her 
head, and she lived with all the comfort in the world with 
Paganino, who, besides the consolation he bestowed on her 
by night and by day, treated her with the respect and con- 
sideration due to a wife. 

After some time, it came to Messer Ricciardo's ears what 
had become of his wife, and he set off, with the utmost 
impatience, to fetch her back, supposing no other person so 
proper for that business as himself, and fully resolved to give 
any sum of money for her ransom. Arrived at Monaco, he 
saw her, and she him ; and that night she told Paganino of 
it, informing him what she meant to do. The next morning 
Messer Ricciardo meeting with Paganino, they soon became 
acquainted together; the pirate pretending all the time to 
know nothing of him, but waiting to see what he meant to 
do. As soon as a fit opportunity offered, Messer Ricciardo 



120 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL X. 

began to set forth the occasion of his coming thither, and, in 
as handsome a manner as he could, to desire that the other 
would take what ransom he thought fit, and restore him his 
wife. Paganino answered very courteously — " Sir, you are 
heartily welcome ; but the case, in short, is this : I have a 
young woman in the house with me, though whether she 
is your wife, or any other person's, I cannot tell; for I 
neither knew you nor her before she lived with me. If you 
are her husband, as you say, I will bring you to her, since 
you seem to be a very civil gentleman, and she must certainly 
know you. If she agrees with your story, and is willing you 
should take her away, your behaviour has been such, that I 
shall desire no other recompense than what you are pleased 
to give me. But if it should prove otherwise, I must tell 
you, that you offer me great wrong to attempt to take her 
from me : for I am a young man, and know what to do with 
a wife as well as another person, especially such an one as 
she, who is the most agreeable woman I ever saw." " Most 
certainly, sir, she is my wife," Messer Ricciardo replied, 
" and, if you please to take me to where she is, you will soon 
be convinced of it, for she will immediately throw her arms 
about my neck : therefore I desire it may be as you have 
proposed." — " Let us go then," quoth Paganino. 

When they were come into the house, and sat down 
together in the hall, Paganino ordered the lady to be called, 
and she being dressed, and ready for that purpose, came to 
them, but took no more notice of Messer Ricciardo, than she 
would have done of any other stranger who should come into 
the house with Paganino. The judge, who had expected to 
be received by her with the utmost joy, was much surprised 
at this, and thought to himself, " Surely the grief I have sus- 
tained for the loss of her, has so changed my looks, that she 
does not know me again." He therefore said to her, "My 
love, it has cost me dear to take you fishing, for I was never 
so grieved in my whole life, as since I lost you : and yet you 
seem not to know me ; so cruelly are you silent. Do not you 
see that I am your Ricciardo, come to pay whatever ransom 
the gentleman may demand, in v^^ose house we are now 
together, to have you back with me ? And he is so kind as 
to offer to restore you at what price I shall fix myself." — "Do 
you speak to me, sir ?" said the lady, turning to him with a 
smile. " Take care you do not mistake my person, for I do 
not remember ever in my whole life to have seen you before." 
" Do you take care what you say," he replied, " look well at 



NOVEL X.] THE SECOND DAY. 1 27 

me ; if you will recollect yourself, you may plainly see that I 
am your husband Ricciardo di Chinzica." The lady made 
answer, " You will excuse me, sir, it is not so modest as you 
may suppose, to gaze much upon you ; but I have looked 
enough to know, that I never saw you in my whole life till 
now." Ricciardo supposed that she did this only through 
fear of Paganino, and that she was unwilling to confess before 
him ; for which reason he desired, as a favour, to talk alone 
with her in the chamber. Paganino consented on condition 
that he would not offer to kiss her against her will ; and bade 
the lady to go up stairs with Messer Ricciardo, hear what he 
had to say, and answer him as she thought proper. 

She complied, and when they were seated together, the 
judge again addressed her, " Alas ! my life, my soul, sweet ob- 
ject of all my wishes ! " he exclaimed, " do you not know your 
Ricciardo, who loves you more than himself? How can this 
be ? Am I so altered, my jewel.? Look upon me a little." 
She began to laugh, and without letting him proceed farther, 
said, " I am not so forgetful, you must be aware, as not to 
know that you are Ricciardo di Chinzica, my husband ; but 
during the time I was with you, it very ill appeared that you 
had any knowledge of me : for were you really as wise as 
you would be thought, you must have perceived that I was 
young and lively, and consequently you ought to have be- 
thought you that young wives have need of something else 
besides food and raiment, though modesty forbids them to 
mention it. If you were fonder of the study of the laws than 
of a wife, you ought never to have married : though, in truth, 
you seem rather a proclaimer of feasts and fasts, than a judge ; 
yet, let me tell you, should you allow your labourers in the 
field as many holidays as you take yourself at home, you 
would never reap one grain of corn. Heaven, in its merci- 
ful consideration for my youth, has made me fall in with a 
person whom I like very well, who keeps none of your Fri- 
days and Saturdays, nor your feasts, vigils, and long Lents: 
him, therefore, I intend to abide with while my youth con- 
tinues, and let the fasting part alone till I grow old. There- 
fore the sooner you go about your business, in God's name, 
the better, and keep as many fast days without me as you 
please." 

The poor judge was wofuUy discomfitted by this speech, 
and said, after she had done speaking, *^ My dear love, what 
words are these that I hear from you ? Have you no regard 
for your parents' honour, and your own ? Had you rathei 



128 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL X. 

abide here in a mortal sin, as this man's harlot, than at Pisa 
as my wife ? He will soon grow weary of you, and turn 
you off with great contempt; but I shall always love you, 
and when I die, leave you mistress of my house. Can an 
inordinate and shameful appetite make you careless of your 
honour, and of me, who love you more than my own life ? 
Do not say so, my dearest ! Go along with me : now I 
know what the grievance is, I will strive to do better. My 
joy ! my treasure ! change your mind and depart with me, 
for I have never known a happy day since you were taken 
from me." 

" Sir," she replied, " I desire nobody to be careful of my 
honour but myself : my parents should have had regard to 
that when they made me your wife ; and if they were care- 
less of me at that time, why should I now be mindful of 
them ? And as for my living in a mortal sin, never trouble 
your head about that : I am here considered as Paganino's 
wife, but at Pisa I was more like your baggage ; there was so 
much to do between us with respect to the times of the 
moon, the quadratures and conjunctions of the planets; 
whereas here we mind no such thing. Paganino cuddles me 
all night in his arms, and hugs, and kisses, and bites me, and 
the Lord knows what besides. But you say you will strive 
to do better ; it is impossible, our complexions are so widely 
different. Go home, therefore, and try to keep yourself 
alive, for that is as much as you are able to do : and as for 
his discarding me, should that ever happen (which at present 
seems far from his thoughts), I will never return to you, for, 
if you were squeezed in a press, one could not get a spoon- 
ful of juice out of your dry body. No, I have had vexation 
enough with you already, and for comfort I would look else- 
where. In the meantime, I tell you once more, that here we 
have no feasts and fasts, and here I intend to stay ; there- 
fore, either go directly about your business, or I will call out 
that you design to force me." 

The judge, now utterly confounded, and aware at last of 
his folly in marrying so young a person, left the room, and 
had some talk with Paganio, which came to nothing. In 
the end, therefore, he was forced to leave his wife, and he re- 
turned to Pisa, where he ran raving about the streets, making 
no answer to any friend that accosted him, except that his 
strumpet would keep no holidays; and soon afterwards he 
died. The news came no sooner to the ears of Paganino, 
than he married the widow, knowing the love she had for 



NOVEL X.] THE SECOND DAY. 1 29 

him; and they lived happily together, banishing all fasts, 
Lents, and such things from their house. Wherefore, it 
seems plain to me, my dear ladies, that Bernard quite mis- 
took the case in his dispute with Ambrose. 

This story made them laugh till their sides ached, and all 
agreed that Dioneo was in the right, and that Bernard was an 
ass. And now the queen, seeing that her reign was at an end, 
took the garland from her own head, and put* it upon Nei- 
file's, saying pleasantly to her, " To you, dear friend, belongs 
henceforth the government of this little people." Neifile, 
blushing at the favour done her, looked like a rose in the 
dewy dawn of an April day, her eyes, though a little down- 
cast, yet sparkling like the morning star. After the murmur 
of the applauding company was a little abated, and she had 
resumed her courage, she spoke to this effect: "As I am 
now your queen, I shall keep to the method which has been 
hitherto observed, and which you have approved of by your 
concurrence, and will tell you in a few words what I would 
farther have done. You all know that to-morrow will be 
Friday and the next Saturday, both of which are incon- 
venient days, on account of laying in provisions. Moreover, 
Friday is a day to be reverenced, on account of our Saviour's 
passion : therefore I hold it fit that we rather pray that day, 
than attend to novels. As for Saturday, it is usual to make 
everything clean on that day : many people also observe it 
as a fast, in honour of the holy Virgin, as well as the ensuing 
sabbath, on which day no work may be done. Wherefore, 
as we cannot go on exactly in the same manner as we first 
began, I hold it best to suspend the relation of any more 
novels : and as we shall then have been here four days, it 
will be convenient to go to another place, which I have 
already fixed upon, and where I have made provision for 
you, if we would avoid admitting some new guests, who 
might probably come to see us. When we shall be there 
assembled, let our next argument still be the mutability of 
fortune, as exemplified in the adventures of such persons as 
have acquired, by their diligence, something greatly wanted 
by them, or else recovered what they had lost. Let every one 
think of something to say upon this subject, which may be 
useful, or at least entertaining ; saving always his privilege 
to Dioneo." 

They all commended what the queen had ordered, and 
agreed it should be done ; she afterwards called the master 
6* 



130 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. 

of the household, to give directions for that night's enter- 
tainment, and for what else was necessary during her royalty : 
and then she gave the company leave to go wherever they 
pleased. They took a walk, therefore, into the garden, where 
they amused themselves till supper-time : and having supped 
with great cheerfulness and mirth, and being risen from table, 
Emilia began a dance, by the queen's command ; whilst the 
following song was sung by Pampinea, the rest joining in a 
chorus. 

SONG. 

Of all I want or wish possest. 

Which of us here should sing but I, 
Come, gentle Cupid, heavenly guest. 

The constant source of all my joy ! 

And teach my late desponding lyre 
No more in plaintive notes to mourn. 

But mirth and am'rous joy inspire, 
Whilst in your pleasing flames I bum. 

You first before my eyes have plac'd 

An ardent lover, ^y and young ; 
With every manly virtue grac'd, 

And soft persuasion on his tongue. 

But what crowns all my hope is this. 

Our hearts and wishes fondly join ; 
That mutual and the same our bliss. 

His love sincere, and fix'd as mine. 

Cupid, 'tis to your gift I owe 

That in this world I'm amply blest ; 
May Heav'n, in whom I trust, bestow 

In that to come, eternal rest ! 

They sang many more songs also, and led up several more 
dances, playing divers kinds of music ; but the queen judg- 
ing that it was now time to go to bed, they went with a light 
before them to their respective chambers, bestowing the two 
following days in the manner, which she had before pre- 
scribed to them ; and waiting with impatience for Sunday. 

[La Fontaine's ' lUilendrier des Vieillards* is an imitation of this story. 
The concluding incident corresponds with one in the story of * D*un 
Tailleur et de sa J^'emme/ in the ' Con^^s T^rps/J 



THE THIRD DAY. 13X 



THE THIRD DAY. 

The rising sun had now changed the complexion of the 
morning from scarlet to yellow, when the queen rose on Mon- 
day, and had all her company called up. The master of the 
household had long before sent* many things that were neces- 
sary, as also people to do whatever was required : and seeing 
the queen now upon the march, he had everything else packed 
up, and removed bag and baggage ; the ladies and gentlemen 
following behind. The queen marched on with an easy pace, 
attended by her ladies and the three gentlemen, and con- 
ducted by the music of nightingales and other tuneful birds, 
along a path not much frequented, but enamelled with vari- 
ous flowers, which began to open their bosoms to the ascend- 
ing sun ; and, directing her course full west, chatting merrily 
with her company all the way, in a little more than two miles 
she brought them to a most beautiful palace, seated upon an 
eminence in the middle of a large plain. When they had 
entered, and had seen the great hall and the chambers, most 
elegantly fitted up, and furnished with everything that was 
proper, they greatly extolled it, judging its lord to be truly 
a magnificent person. Going afterwards below stairs, and 
observing the spacious and pleasant court, the cellars stored 
with the richest wines, and delicate springs of water every- 
where running, they commended it yet more. Thence they 
went to rest themselves in an open gallery (which overlooked 
the court) set out with all the flowers of the season ; whither 
the master of the household brought wine and sweetmeats 
for their refreshment. 

They were now shown into the garden, which was on one 
side of the palace, and walled round about. It seemed 
so full of beauties at their first entrance, that they were the 
more attentive in viewing every part. All round and through 
the midst of it were broad straight walks flanked with vines, 
which seemed to promise a plenteous vintage ; and being all 
in blossom, they gave so delicious a scent, joined with other 
flowers then blowing in the garden, that they thought them- 
selves amongst the spiceries of the east. The sides of these 
walks were closed with white and red roses and jessamine, 
in such a manner as to exclude the morning and even the 
mid-day sun. What was the variety of plants, and how ele- 
gantly disposed, it would be needles^ to mention, since there 



132 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. 

was nothing belonging to our climate which was not there in 
great abundance. In the middle of this garden, what seemed 
more delightful than anything else, was a plot of ground 
like a meadow ; the grass of a deep green, spangled with a 
thousand different flowers, and set round with orange and 
cedar trees, whose branches were stored with ripe fruit and 
blossoms, at the same time affording a most pleasing object 
to the eye, as well as a grateful odour to the smell. In the 
centre of this meadow was a fountain of white marble, beau- 
tifully carved ; and (whether by a natural or artificial spring 
I know not) from a figure standing on a column in the midst 
of the fountain, a jet of water spouted up, which made a 
most agreeable sound in its fall : the water which came thence 
ran through the meadow by a secret passage ; when, being 
received into canals, it appeared again, and was carried to 
every part of the garden, uniting in one stream at its going 
out, and falling with such force into the plain, as to turn two 
mills before it got thither. The sight of this garden, its form 
and contrivance, with the fountains and the spring proceed- 
ing from it, pleased the gentlemen and ladies so much, that 
they spared not to say that if there was a paradise on earth, 
it could be in no other form, nor was it possible to add any 
thing to it. While they were walking about, therefore, divert- 
ing themselves with weaving chaplets of flowers, and listen- 
ing to the various melody of the birds, who seemed to vie 
with each other, a new beauty presented itself to them, which 
they had before taken no notice of; they perceived the gar- 
den to be full of a hundred different creatures : in one place 
they saw rabbits issuing forth; from another quarter they 
saw hares : here were goats lying down, and there were deer 
grazing, with many others passing backwards and forwards 
at their pleasure, as though they were tame. When their 
senses had sufficiently feasted on these several beauties, the 
table was spread by the side of the fountain, and, after half 
a dozen songs and some dances, they sat down to eat, being 
served in a sumptuous manner with everything that was 
dainty and elegant ; and when they had done feasting, they 
began again to sing and dance, till the queen commanded 
them to give over, and permitted such as were so disposed 
to take their ease. Accordingly some departed ; and others, 
charmed with the pleasantness of the place, stayed to read 
or play at chess. At nine they arose, and went into the 
meadow at the fountain-side, and being seated there as usual, 
they waited for the time when they should begin their novels 



NOVEL I.] THE THIRD DAT. 133 

upon the subject which the queen had proposed. The first 
who was ordered to speak was Filostrato, who thus addressed 
them: — 



NOVEL I. 

Masetto da Lamporecchio, pretending to be dumb, is taken in to be 
gardener to a convent of nuns : what happens in consequence. 

There are many people, fair ladies, so simple as to im- 
agine, that, after a young lady has put on the white veil, and 
the black hood, she ceases to have the feelings and passions 
of a woman, as if by becoming a nun she was converted into 
stone. If these people hear anything contrary to this 
opinion, they are as much offended as though some very 
heinous and unnatural crime was committed ; never think- 
ing of themselves, who cannot be satisfied, although they 
have the liberty of doing as they will ; nor considering the 
prevalency of leisure and solitude. In like manner, there are 
others who think that the spade and pick-axe, with hard 
labour and gross feeding, quench all lustful appetites, de- 
priving the people of all sense and understanding ; but how 
much they are both mistaken, I shall, at the queen's com- 
mand, now show you, keeping close to the subject which she 
has given us. 

There was formerly in our neighbourhood (and may be 
still) a convent of nuns, famous for their sanctity. In this 
convent (which shall be nameless, because I would not lessen 
the characters of its pious inmates), there were only eight 
young ladies, with an abbess ; there was also a gardener to 
look after their fine garden, who, not being satisfied with his 
salary, made up his accounts with their steward, and returned 
to Lamporecchio, whence he came. Amongst many others 
who came to welcome him home, was a fine strapping young 
* fellow named Masetto, who inquired of him where he had 
been to all that time ? The honest man (whose name was 
Nuto) told him. The other inquired again in what capacity 
be served the convent ? "I had care of the garden," he 
replied, " and used to go to the wood for faggots ; I drew water 
for them also, with such-like services ; but my wages were 
so small that they would scarcely find me shoes; and besides 
they are all so young and giddy, that I could do nothing to 
please them ; for when I have been in the garden, one would 
cry do this, and another do that, and another would take 



134 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL L 

the spade out of my hand, and tell me * that thing is in a 
wrong place,' and they have given me so much trouble 
altogether, that I have left them. The steward desired, at 
my departure, if I met with a proper person, to send him ; 
but hang me if I do any such thing." 

When Massetto heard this, he had a great desire to get 
among those nuns, guessing from what Nuto had said, that 
he might be able to gain his ends. But lest his purpose 
should be defeated, if he let the other into the secret, he 
said to him, " You did very right to come away : what has 
a man to do among so many women ? He might as well be 
with as many devils : for it is not once in ten times they 
know what they would be at." After they had done talking 
together, Masetto began to contrive what method he should 
take to get introduced ; and being assured that he could do 
all the work that Nuto had mentioned, he had no fears upon 
that account: all the danger seemed rather to be in his 
youth and person : whether he might not be rejected. After 
much reflection, he reasoned thus with himself: " I live far 
enough off and nobody knows me : suppose I feign myself 
dumb, they will certainly receive me then." 

Resolved on this, without saying a word to any one about 
where he was going, he took an axe on his shoulder, and 
went like a poor man to the convent ; and finding the steward 
in the court-yard, he made signs like a dumb person for a 
little bread, and that he would cleave wood if they bad any 
occasion. The steward gave him something to eat, and after- 
wards shewed him divers pieces of wood, which Nuto was 
not able to rend, but which Masetto, in a little time (being 
very strong), split all to pieces. The steward, having occa- 
sion to go to the wood, took him with him ; where he made 
him fell several trees, load the ass with them, and drive it 
home before him : this Masetto did very well ; and the steward 
wanting him for other things, he continued there for several . 
days, till at length the abbess saw him, and asked the stew- 
ard what the man did there? "Madam," he replied, "this 
is a poor man, deaf and dumb, who came the other day to 
ask charity, which I gave him, and he has done many things 
for us since : I believe, if he knows anything of gardening 
and could be prevailed upon to stay, that he might be of 
good service ; for we want such a person, and he is strong, 
and will do what work we please : besides, there will be no 
fear of his seducing any of the young ladies." — " Why, truly," 
quoth the abbess, ** you say right : sec if he knows bow to 



NOVEL I.] THE THIRD DAY. 135 

work, and if so, try to keep him ; make much of him, give 
him a pair of shoes, and an old coat, and let him have his 
fill of victuals." This the steward promised to do. Masetto, 
who was at no great distance, but seemed busy in sweeping 
the court, heard all this, and said merrily to himself, " Yes, 
if you let me stay here, I'll do your business as it never was 
done before." The steward, who was aware that he knew 
how to work, now inquired of him by signs whether he was 
willing "to stay : and Masetto having made signs that he was, 
the steward took him into the garden, shewed him what he 
wished to have done, and left him there. 

Now the nuns used to come every day to tease and laugh 
at the deaf ^nd dumb gardener, and would say the naughtiest 
words in the world before him, imagining that he did not 
hear them : whilst the abbess took no notice of all this, think- 
ing perhaps that as the man could not wag his tongue, he 
was equally harmless in other respects. One day when he 
had lain down to rest himself, two nuns, who were walking in 
the garden, came to the place where he pretended to be 
asleep : and as they stood looking at him, one, who was a 
little more forward than the other said, " Could I be assured 
of your secrecy, I would tell you of a thought I have often 
had in my head, which might be of service to yourself." 
" You may speak safely," said the other, " for I will never 
disclose it." Then said the first nun : "We are kept here in 
strict confinement, and not a man suffered to come near us, 
but our steward, who is old, and this dumb man. Now I 
have many and many a time heard from ladies who have come 
to see us, that all the other delights in the world are noth- 
ing to what a woman enjoys in a man's arms. I have often 
therefore had it in my mind to try the experiment with this 
dumb fellow, since no other is to be had ; besides he is the 
fittest in the world for our purpose, being such an idiot, that 
he cannot expose us if he would ; what is your opinion ? — 
"Alas!" quoth the other, "what is that you say? Do not 
you know that we have promised our virginity to God?" 
"Oh! but sister," she replied, "how many things do we 
promise every day, which we never perform ? If we have 
promised, there will be others found that shall be more 
punctual." — " But, if we should be with child, what would 
become of us then ?" — " You think of the worst before it 
happens : it will be time enough to talk of that when it 
comes : there are a thousand ways of managing in such a 
case, that nobody will ever be the wiser unless we ourselves 



136 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL I. 

make the discovery." — " Well, then," said the second nun, 
who was even more curious than her friend to know what 
sort of an animal a man might be ; " how shall we contrive 
this matter?" — "You see," replied the other, "it is about 
midday, and I believe our sisters are all asleep ; let us look 
round the garden, and if nobody be in it, what have we to 
do, but for one of us to lead him into yonder arbour, whilst 
the other keeps watch. He is such a fool that we can do 
what we like with him." 

Masetto heard all this, and was quite ready to gratify the 
ladies, but waited until one of them should come and rouse 
him from his pretended sleep. The two nuns having assured 
themselves that nobody could see them, she who had been 
the first to move in the affair went and shook the gardener. 
He got up ; the nun playfully took him by the hand, and led 
him, grinning and laughing like an idiot, to the arbour, where 
without giving her much trouble to explain her wishes he did 
what she wanted. Her curiosity having been satisfied, she 
made way for her companion, to whom Masetto, fool as he 
seemed, behaved equally well. Before they left him, each of 
them repeated the experiment once more, and they agreed in 
declaring that the result surpassed all that they could have 
imagined. After this it may easily be guessed how frequent 
were their visits to the arbour, and how punctually they 
availed themselves of the fitting hours to take their diversion 
with the good natured mute. 

It chanced, however, one day that their proceedings were 
observed by one of the sisterhood, who immediately brought 
two others to witness them. At first the trio were for in- 
forming the lady abbess, but afterwards they changed their 
minds, entered into an arrangement with the detected pair, 
and became jointly interested with them in Masetto 's ser- 
vices. There now remained but three nuns who were not 
privy to the secret ; but in course of time they too came in 
various ways to share in it with the rest. 

Finally the Abbess, who as yet had no notion of these do- 
ings, was taking a walk all alone in the garden one very 
sultry day, and found Masetto stripped to his shirt and asleep 
on the broad of his back, under an almond tree, having, it 
seems, not much to do that day, because he had been hard at 
work all the night before. Just then the wind fluttered the 
loose end of his single garment, and the Abbess saw what 
immediately gave her a fit of the complaint then prevalent 
in the convent Waking. up Masetto she took him to her 







THE GARDENER OF THE CONVENT 
THIRD DAY ^ ^ ^ NOVEL I 




NOVEL I.] THE THIRD DAY. I37 

chamber, where she kept him close for some days, to the 
great mortification of the nuns, who complained loudly that 
the gardener did not come to his daily labour. She let him 
go at last, but often had him back again, and altogether 
engrossed more than her fair share of his attendance. Mas- 
etto began to find it no easy task to please so many mistresses, 
and was strongly of opinion that things would come to a bad 
pass with him if he continued dumb much longer. One 
night then, when he was with the abbess, his tongue was 
suddenly untied, and said he, "I have often heard say, 
madam, that one cock can do very well for ten hens, but that 
ten men can hardly with their best endeavours satisfy one 
woman, whereas I have to serve nine. I can't stand it any 
longer. I*m fairly worn out with what I have done already ; 
so please either to let me go my way in God's name, or put 
this matter to rights somehow." 

The abbess was astounded to hear him speak. "Why, 
how is this?" she said, "I thought you were dumb." — "So 
I was, madam, but not by nature. I had a long disorder 
which deprived me of my ^eech ; and it was only this very 
night, thanks be to God, that I felt it come back to me." 
The abbess believed this tale, or feigned to do so, and asked 
him what he meant by saying that he had nine women to 
satisfy. Masetto explained the whole case to her ; and she, 
like a discreet abbess, instead of sending him away, resolved 
to come to an understanding with her nuns, and devise with 
them how they might keep such a good gardener without 
incurring any scandal. A full and unreserved explanation 
soon took place between all parties, and the old steward 
happening to die very opportunely, Masetto was, with his 
own consent, unanimously chosen to fill the vacant place, 
and his duties were so apportioned that he could discharge 
them without inordinate fatigue. At the same time the peo- 
ple of the neighbourhood were made to believe that through 
the prayers of the sisterhood, and through the merits of the 
saint to whom the convent was dedicated, the man who had 
been so long dumb had been recovered his speech. Under 
the Bew steward's management the convent became a little 
nursery for the propagation of the monastic order, but every- 
thing was so quietly done that there never was any talk 
about it until after the death of the abbess, when Masetto, 
being now in years and wealthy, was desirous of returning 
home. 

His desire was readily complied with : and thus, taking no 



138 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL II. 

care for his children, but bequeathing them to the place 
where they were bred and born, he returned a wealthy man 
to his native place, which he had quitted with nothing but 
an axe over his shoulder, having had the wit to employ the 
season of his youth to good purpose. 

[Boccaccio took this story from the * Cento Novelle Antiche/ but sub- 
stituted an abbess and her nuns for a countess and her camerarie. He in 
his turn has been followed, with some slight modifications, by La Fon- 
taine, in his ' Mazet de Lamporechio.'] 



NOVEL II. 

An equerry belonging to King Agilulf lay with his queen ; of which the 
king making a secret discovery, set a mark upon him, by shearing the 
hair off his head ; upon which, he who was so shorn, cut that of his 
fellow-servants in like manner, and so escaped further punishment. 

FiLOSTRATO having concluded his novel, which made the 
ladies sometimes blush and sometimes smile, the queen or- 
dered Pampinea to follow ; and she began pleasantly in this 
manner: — There are some people so indiscreet as to mani- 
fest that they know what they had better be unacquainted 
with, and who think that by bringing to light other people's 
offences, they lessen their own shame ; whereas they make 
that all the greater. This I shall show to be true, by its 
contrary ; setting forth the craft which a certain fellow (of 
no more account than Masetto) made use of to outwit a 
very wise and worthy prince. 

Agilulf, king of Lombardy, fixed the seat of his kingdom, 
as his predecessors had done, at Pavia ; having taken to wife 
Teudelinga, the widow of Vetari, his predecessor ; a beauti- 
ful and most virtuous lady, but unhappy in having a lover. 
The affairs of the kingdom being now in a prosperous way, 
by the good management of King Agilulf, it happened that 
one of the queen's equerries fell immoderately in love with 
her. Though a man of the lowest extraction, he was in 
other respects far above the station in which he was placed; 
comely and graceful, and in person not unlike the king him- 
self. His low rank did not prevent his having sense enough 
to sec the inconvenience with which this passion might be 
attended ; therefore he was so wise as to make discovery of it 
to no one ; not even so much as by his looks to the queen 
herself. But though he lived without the least hopes of 



NOVEL II.] THE THIRD DAY. I39 

ever attaining his desire, yet he could not help glorying in 
having fixed his affections so high : and being entirely capti- 
vated, he took more than ordinary care (far beyond the rest 
of his fellow-servants) to do everything that he thought 
would please her. Whence it happened that if the queen 
had a mind to ride out at any time, she oftener rode the 
horse that he had the care of than any other ; which he es- 
teemed a singular favour, never stirring from the stirrup ; and 
could he but touch her clothes, he was then the happiest man 
in the world. But as we often see that love is most violent 
where there is the least probability of success, so it happened 
to this groom ; for his passion was such, he being without the 
least hope whatever, that he often resolved, as he was unable 
to disclose it, to die. Considering in what manner he should 
quit the world, he resolved at length that it should be so as 
to convince her that it was for her sake, and at the same time 
so as to enable him to try his fortune, if it were possible to 
obtain his desire in whole or part. He had no thought of 
speaking, or even writing to the queen (for he knew both 
were to no purpose), but chose rather to attempt her bed 
by stratagem : and the only feasible stratagem to that end 
was in some way or other to personate the king, and so get 
admittance into her chamber. 

In order then to see how dressed and in what manner his 
majesty used to go to the queen, he hid himself often in the 
night in a great room in the palace, that was between the 
king's apartment and that of the queen; and one night he 
saw the king come out of his chamber, wrapped in a large 
mantle, with a lighted torch in one hand, and a wand in the 
other, and go to the queen's bed-room, where without speak- 
ing a word, he knocked two or three times at the door with 
his wand, and it was immediately opened, and the torch taken 
out of his hand. The groom having observed all this, and 
having seen the king return in like manner, determined to do 
the same. Accordingly, he procured such a mantle as the 
king's, with a torch and wand, and having first washed him- 
self very clean, that the smell of the stables might not be 
offensive to the queen, or make her discover the trick, he hid 
himself as usual till every one was asleep, which he thought 
a fit time either to succeed in his desires, or to bring upon 
himself, by a most daring deed, that death he had long 
wished for. He struck a light, therefore; he kindled his 
torch, and folding himself well in the mantle, went to the 
door, and rapped twice with his stick. The door was imme^ 



I40 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL li. 

diately opened by a damsel half asleep, who took the light 
out of his hand, and set it in a comer of the room, while he 
stripped off his mantle, and got into the queen's bed. There 
he had the full gratification of his wishes, without a word 
being spoken on either side (for he knew the king's temper 
at certain times, and especially when he was disturbed, was 
such, that he would neither speak himself, nor be spoken to) ; 
and having stayed as long as he thought it was safe to stay, 
he took his mantle and torch, and stole softly to his own 
bed. 

He had scarcely got into it before the king came to the 
queen's chamber, at which she was much surprised, and made 
bold to say to him, " My lord, what is the meaning of your 
returning so quickly ? It is but this moment that you left 
me, and then you stayed longer than usual." The king, on 
hearing this, concluded that she had been imposed upon by 
somebody or other, who had assumed his person and manner : 
but, like a wise man, when he found that she was entirely 
ignorant of it, as well as every one else, he resolved that she 
should continue so : not like a great many simple people, who 
would have been apt to say, " I never was with you to-night 
before : who was it that was here ? How did he come ? In 
what manner did he go away ? " All which must have given 
the lady great uneasiness, and the thing would have been in 
every one's mouth: whereas, by his discreet silence, he 
avoided both the one and the other. Seeming then more at 
ease in his looks and talk, than he was really in his mind, he 
said to her, " And is my coming again to you so soon dis- 
agreeable ? however, I will leave you for to-night." 

Highly incensed against the villain, who had dared to do 
him that injury, he now left the room, resolving to find him 
out, if it were possible ; for he concluded he must be in the 
house, as there seemed no way for him to have got out. 
Taking a small light, therefore, in a lantern, he went into a 
long chamber over the stables, where all his domestics lay in 
different beds : and supposing, whoever he was, that he should 
find a difference in the beating of his heart and pulse, he 
began to examine them all from one end to the other. They 
were every one asleep, except that person who had been 
with the queen ; and he seeing the king come into the room, 
and guessing the reason, thought it best to counterfeit sleep, 
and see what he meant to do. His majesty had now laid 
his hand upon many of them, without finding cause to sus- 
pect any one, till coming to that person, he immediately said 
to himself, *'This is th: jnan." Being desirous that nobody 



NOVEL II.] THE THIRD DAY. I41 

should know anything of his design, he for the present did 
nothing more than just cut off, with a pair of scissors he had 
brought with him, a part of the man's hair, which they wore 
very long at that time, in order to know him again the next 
morning ; and having done this, he returned directly to his 
chamber. The man was wise enough to know what was the 
intent of this ; therefore, without delay, he took a pair of 
scissors which they used for their horses, and clipping all the 
people's hair above their ears in like manner, went to bed 
again, without being perceived by any one. 

In the morning the king rose, and ordered, before the 
palace gates were opened, that all his domestics should come 
before him, which accordingly they did, standing with their 
heads uncovered ; when he began to inspect them one after 
another, in order to find out the person whom he had marked; 
and perceiving that many of them had their hair cut alike, 
he began to wonder, and said to himself, "This fellow, 
though he be of low condition, is of no common understand- 
ing." Therefore, seeing that he could in no way find out 
the person, without making a great stir and noise; and un- 
willing also to incur a shame of that sort, for the sake of a 
little revenge, he thought it best to let the person know, by a 
word or two, that he was observed, and to admonish him for 
the future. So turning to them all, he said, " Whoever he is, 
let him do so no more ; and all of you go about your busi- 
ness." Another person would have put them to the rack, to 
find out what would be much better concealed, and any 
revenge for which would, instead of lessening, have enhanced 
the disgrace, and brought dishonour upon the lady. The 
domestics all wondered at the king's words, and asked one 
another what could be the meaning of them : but nobody 
was wise enough to understand them, except the man aimed 
at ; who kept his knowledge to himself as long as the king 
lived, never daring to run the like risk any more. 

[In the 40th chapter of the * Gesta Romanonim/ said to be from 
Macrobius, a wife's infidelity is discovered by feeling her pulse in conver- 
sation ; but a story much nearer to that of Boccaccio occurs in Heber's 
French metrical romance of 'the Seven Sages,' though, according to 
Dunlop, it is not in the original Syntipas. The tale, however, has been 
taken immediately from the 98th of the * Cento Novelle Antiche,' and it 
has been imitated in turn in the * Palfrenier' of La Fontaine. Giannone, 
in his ' History of Naples,* has censured, not without some reason, the 
impertinence of Boccaccio in applying this story, without right, truth, or 
pretence, to the pious Queen Theudelinda.] 



142 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL III. 



NOVEL III. 

A lady, under pretence of confessing, and a pure conscience, being in 
love with a young gentleman, ini3ces a sanctified friar bring them 
tc^ether, without his knowing anything of her intention. 

The boldness and great subtlety of the groom having been 
as much commended as the king's extraordinary discretion, 
Filomena, at the queen's desire, next began as follows: — I 
design to acquaint you with a trick, that a certain lady put 
upon a grave friar, which will be so much the more agreeable 
to us lay-people, as such folk think themselves both better 
and wiser than the rest of mankind, whereas they are quite 
the reverse, being for the most part persons who are unable 
to raise themselves in the world, and therefore fall back upon 
a profession which insures their being fed like swine. I shall 
tell this story then, ladies, in compliance with the order I 
have received, and show you, that even the clergy them- 
selves, to wjiom we over-credulous women yield too implicit 
a faith, may be, and often are, tricked and imposed on, not 
by men only, but even by our own sex. 

In our city (more full of craft and deceit than of friend- 
ship and faithful dealing) there lived not long since a lady, 
who, in point of beauty, high bred deportment, and subtle 
wit, was not inferior to any of her sex ; her name, as well as 
that of every other person concerned in this novel, I shall 
beg leave to conceal, out of regard to some persons who might 
be offended, but who may now let the story pass with a 
smile. This lady, knowing herself to be nobly descended, 
and being married to a clothier, could by no means bring 
down her spirit, which made her look upon a tradesman, 
however rich he might be, as unworthy to mate with a gen- 
tlewoman. She saw with disgust that her husband, for all 
his wealth, had not the least understanding in anything out 
of his own business, and she determined not to admit of his 
embraces any farther than she was obliged, but to make 
choice of a gallant that should be more worthy of her. Ac- 
cordingly she fell in love with a gentleman, of suitable years, 
to that degree, that unless she saw him every day, she could 
get no rest at night. But he, knowing nothing of the matter, 
had not the least regard to her; whilst she was so cautious, 
that she would trust neither to letters nor messages for fear 
gf dan|;er. Finding, however, that the object of her choic? 



NOVEL III.] THE THIRD DAY. I43 

was much acquainted with a certain friar, one of a gross 
person, yet esteemed by all as a very religious man, she 
judged that he would be the fittest agent to go between her 
and her lover. After maturely considering which would be 
the best method to take, she went one day to that church to 
which the friar belonged, and having called him aside, she 
told him that, when he was at leisure, she had a mind to 
confess. 

The friar, seeing her to be a person of distinction, imme- 
diately heard her confession, and when that was over, she 
said, " Father, I require your advice and assistance upon a 
matter I will explain to you. I have told you of my relations 
and my husband, who loves me more than his own life, and 
who, as he is very rich, obliges me in everything that I ask 
for; for which reason I love him more than I do myself; and 
were I capable so much as of harbouring a thought, not to 
speak of doing an act, which should be contrary to his 
wishes and his honour, I should deem no woman more de- 
serving of death than myself. Now there is a person whose 
name I am a stranger to, but who seems to be of some figure, 
and is, if I mistake not, an acquaintance of yours, a tall 
handsome man, very elegantly dressed in brown, who, b%ing 
unacquainted, perhaps, with my upright intentions, seems to 
lay constant wait for me. I can never stir out of doors, or 
so much as go to the window, but he is always there : I 
wonder he is not after me now ; which givA me infinite con- 
cern, because such things often bring unmerited scandal 
upon virtuous ladies. Sometimes I have thought of letting 
my brothers know; but then I considered that men fre- 
quently deliver messages in such a manner, that words ensue, 
and from words, blows ; therefore, to prevent both scandal 
and mischief, I have hitherto held my tongue, resolving to 
acquaint you, rather than any other person, both because 
you are his friend, and because it is your duty to correct 
such abuses, not only in friends, but also in strangers. I 
entreat you then, for God's sake, that you would exhort him 
to leave off those ways ; there are other ladies enough, who 
may be of that stamp, and would be proud of a gallant ; but 
I am another sort of person, and such a thing gives me the 
greatest uneasiness." Having said this, she hung down her 
head, as if she was going to weep. 

The holy father immediately understood who was the per- 
son she meant; and having commended her for her good 
disposition, believing it was all true that she said, he prom- 



144 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL III. 

ised to take care that she should have no more disturbance 
of that kind ; and knowing her to be rich, he concluded by 
recommending to her works of charity and alms-giving, not 
forgetting to mention his own particular necessities. The 
lady then said, " I beg of you, sir, if he should deny it, to 
tell him without any scruple, that I informed you myself, 
and am very uneasy about it." Having now confessed, and 
remembering what he had told her concerning charity, she 
put a sum of money into his hand, desiring he would say 
mass for the souls of her deceased friends; and rising from 
before his feet, she departed to her own house. In some 
little time the gentleman came according to custom, to the 
friar, who, after talking awhile to him upon indifferent mat- 
ters, took him aside, and reproved him in a gentle manner 
for his design upon the lady. The other was much sur- 
prised, having never taken any notice of her, and but seldom 
passed by the house, and he would have excused himself, 
but the friar would not suffer him. " Never pretend to be 
surprised," he said, " nor spend your breath in denying it, 
for it is to no manner of purpose : this is no common re- 
port ; I had it from her own lips. Such behaviour is very 
unb*ecoming in you ; and, let me tell you, if there is a woman 
.in the world averse to such follies, it is she : therefore, for 
her comfort, and your own credit, I exhort you to refrain, 
and let her live in quiet." The gentleman, more quick of 
apprehension than the friar, easily took the lady's meaning, 
and pretending to be out of countenance, promised to con- 
cern himself with her no more. He then left the friar, and 
went straightway towards the lady's house. There she was, 
looking out for him at the window, as usual, and she ap- 
peared so gracious and well pleased at the sight of him, 
that he found himself not mistaken : and from that time he 
used frequently to pass that way under pretence of business, 
to her great satisfaction. 

After some time, when the lady perceived that she was as 
agreeable to him as he was to her, she had a mind to give 
him some farther proofs of her affection. To the friar she 
went again, and throwing herself at his feet in the church, 
began to lament most grievously. Thereupon he asked, with 
a great deal of concern, what new unpleasantness had hap- 
pened.? She replied, "It is only that accursed friend of 
yours, of whom I complained to you the other day: I think, 
in my conscience, he is bom to be a perpetual plague to me, 
and to make mc do what I should never think of otherwise ; 



NOVEL III.] THE THIRD DAY. I45 

nor shall I ever dare afterwards to lay myself at your feet." — 
"What," said the friar, "does he continue still to give you 
trouble ?" — " Indeed, sir," quoth she, " since I made my com- 
plaint to you, he seems to do it out of mere spite ; and for 
once that he used to come our way before, he now passes at 
least seven times. And would to God those walks and wan- 
ton gazings would content him ; but he is now growing so 
audacious and impudent that no longer since than yesterday, 
he sent a woman to my house with his nonsense, and a present 
of a purse and girdle, as if I had wanted purses and girdles; 
at which I was, and am still, so much offended, that, had not 
the fear of God, and regard to you, prevented me, I had 
certainly done some wicked thing or other. But I kept my* 
temper, nor would I do or say anything till I had first made 
you acquainted. Moreover, I returned those things to the 
woman that brought them, bidding her carry them back, and 
I sent her away with a flea in her ear ; but fearing afterwards 
lest she might keep them herself, and tell him I had received 
them, as I am told those people often do, I called her back, 
and took them out of her hand in a passion, and here I 
have now brought them to you, that you may give them to 
him again, and tell him, that I want nothing that belongs to 
him; for, thank God and my husband, I have purses and 
girdles enough. Therefore, good father, I now tell you, that 
if he does not desist, I will immediately acquaint my husband 
and my brothers ; for, happen what may, I had much rather 
that he should suffer, if it must be so, than that I myself 
should bear any blame on his account." 

Having said this, she took a rich purse and a very pretty 
girdle from under her gown, shedding abundance of tears, and 
threw them into the friar's lap ; and he, believing all she had 
told him, was incensed beyond measure. " I do not wonder, 
daughter," said he, " that you make yourself uneasy for these 
things, nor can I blame you ; but I much commend you for 
following my instructions. I reproved him the other day, 
and he has ill performed what he promised ; however, I will 
give him such a reprimand for what he has done before, and 
now also, that he shal be no more a plague to you. For 
Heaven's sake then, do not suffer yourself to be hurried 
away by passion, so as to tell any one ; because it may be of 
bad consequence. Never fear any blame to yourself, for I 
will bear testimony to your virtue before God and man." 

The lady seemed to be a little comforted ; and changing 
the subject, as one who well knew the covetousness of him 
7 



146 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL III. 

and his brethern, " Holy father," she said, " for some nights 
past many of my relations have appeared to me in a vision, 
demanding alms ; especially my mother, who seemed to be 
in such affliction, that it was terrible to behold. I believe 
it comes of her concern to see me in all this trouble, through 
this most wicked fellow. Therefore I desire, for the sake of 
their souls, that you would say the forty masses of St. 
Gregory, that God may deliver them from that fiery pen- 
ance;" and having said this, she put a gold florin into his 
hand. The holy father received it very cheerfully, con- 
firmed her devotion by good words, and divers examples, 
and, having given her his blessing, let her depart. 

When she was gone, never thinking how he was imposed 
upon, he sent for his friend, who, finding him a little out of 
temper, supposed he had been discoursing with the lady, and 
waited to hear what he would say. The friar accordingly 
reiterated his former reproofs, chiding him severely for what 
the lady had now complained of concerning his offered 
present. The honest gentleman, who as yet could not tell 
to what all this tended, but faintly affected to deny his send- 
ing a purse and girdle, that he might pot be entirely dis- 
credited by the good man, if it should have happened that 
the lady had given him any such thing. But the friar cried 
out in a passion, " How can you deny it, you wicked man Ì 
Behold, here it is ; she herself brought it me with tears : see 
if you know it again." The gentleman appeared quite 
ashamed, and said, " Yes, indeed, I know it : I confess that I 
have done very ill, and, I promise you, now I know her dispo- 
sition, that you shall hear no more complaints upon that 
score." After many such words, the simple friar gave him 
the purse and girdle ; and, exhorting him to do so no more, 
let him go about his business. 

The gentleman, now convinced of the lady's good will 
towards him, and that this was her present, went overjoyed 
to a place where he cautiously contrived to let the lady see 
both the purse and girdle in his possession, which gave her 
great satisfaction, as her scheme seemed now to take effect. 
Nothing was wanting now to complete it but the husband's 
absence, and it fell out soon after, that he was obliged to go 
to Genoa. 

No sooner had he mounted his horse, and departed^ than 
she went again to the holy man, and, after making great 
complaints and lamentations, she said, " Good father, I tell 
you plainly that I can no longer suffer this ; but, as I prom* 



NOVEL UI.] THE THIRD DAY I47 

ised to do nothing without first consulting you, I am come 
to excuse myself to you ; and, to convince you that I have 
great reason to be uneasy, I will tell you what your friend, 
that devil incarnate, did this very morning. I know not by 
what ill fortune he came to know that my husband went to 
Genoa yesterday, but so it is, this morning he came into my 
garden, and got up by a tree to my window, that looks into 
the garden, opened it, and woiild have come into the cham- 
ber, only I jumped up, and was beginning to cry out, and 
certainly should have done so, had he not begged of me, for 
Heaven's sake and yours, to be merciful ; telling me who he 
was : upon which I ran and shut the window. Now judge 
you if these things are to be endured ; it is upon your ac- 
count only, that I have suffered them so long." The friar 
was the most uneasy man in the world at hearing this: — 
**And are you sure," said he, "that it was that person, and 
no other?" — "Bless me! " quoth she, "do you think I could 
be so mistaken ? I tell you it was he ; and if he should 
deny it, don't believe him." — " Daughter," quoth the friar, 
** I can say no more than that it was a most vile, audacious 
action, and you have done your duty : but I beg of you, as 
God has preserved you hitherto from dishonour, and you 
have followed my advice twice before, that you would do so 
now : leave it then to me, without saying a word to any of your 
relations, and see if I cannot manage this devil unchained, 
whom I always took for a saint. If I can reclaim him from 
this lewdness, it will be well; if not, along with my best 
benedictions, I shall give you leave to do as you shall think 
most proper." — " For this once, then," quoth she, " I will give 
you no trouble ; but do you take care that he be not offen- 
sive for the time to come, for I promise you I will come no 
more to you upon his account ;" and, without more words, 
she went away, apparently very angry. 

She was scarcely got out of the church, when in came the 
gentleman. The friar instantly took him aside, and assailed 
him with all the opprobrious language that could be used to 
a man, calling him villain, perjurer, traitor ; whilst he, who 
had twice before found himself none the worse for these 
rebukes, listened very attentively, and endeavoured, by affect- 
ing great perplexity, to draw out the friar, and maice him 
come to the point. "Why, what have I done," he said, "to 
deserve this treatment ? " " Done ! " cried the friar, " Mark 
the impudence of the fellow ! he speaks for all the world as 
though these things had happened years ago, and were now 



148 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL III. 

quite out of his mind. Pray, have you forgotten whom you 
insulted this morning? Where were you a little before day- 
break ?"—" That I cannot tell," replied the other; "but you 
soon heard of it, wherever I was." — "You smy right," quoth 
he, " I did hear of it : I suppose you thought yourself sure, 
now the husband is from home ? A very pretty fellow, truly ! 
he gets into people's gardens in the night, and climbs up the 
walls by the help of the trees ! You think, I suppose, that 
you will be able to seduce the lady by your importunity, 
that you get up to the windows at nights in that manner. 
There is nothing she so much detests as yourself^ and yet 
you will persist. Truly, you are much the better for what 
has been said to you ; but I assure you, she has hitherto 
held her peace purely at my request, and not out of the 
least regard to you : but she will conceal it no longer ; and 
I have now consented, if you give her any farther disturb- 
ance, to let her take her own course. What would become 
of you, should she tell her brothers ? " The gallant now 
perceived what he had to do, and, having quieted the friar 
with large promises, he bade him adieu. That night he got 
into the garden, and so up by the tree to the window, which 
was open, and where the lady stood expecting him. She 
received him with much joy, giving many thanks to the holy 
father for showing him the way; and from that time forth 
they had frequent opportunities of being together, without 
standing any farther in need of such a mediator. 

[This story is related in Henry Stephens* introduction to the * Apology 
of Herodotus.' It is told of a lady of Orleans, who in like manner em- 
ployed the intervention of her confessor, to lure to her arms a scholar of 
whom she was enamoured. The tale of Boccaccio has suggested to 
Molière his play of ' L'Ecole des Maris," where Isabella enters into cor- 
respondence, and at length effects a marriage with her lover, by com- 
plaining to her guardian, Sganarelle, in the same manner as the clothier's 
wife to her confessor. Otway's comedy of the * Soldier's Fortune/ in 
which Lady Dunce employs her husband to deliver the ring and letter to 
her admirer, Captain Belguard, also derives its origin from this talc] 



KOVEL IV.] TMB THIRD DAV. 149 



NOVEL IV. 

A young scholar, named Felix, teaches one Puccio how he may be saved, 
by performing a penance which he shows him : this he puts into exe- 
cation, and in the meantime Felix amuses himself with his wife. 

When Filomena had finished her story, which was much 
commended by Dioneo, the queen, casting her eyes on 
Pamfìlo, said : '* Continue this amusement by some agreeable 
story." He replied, that he was very willing, and began 
thus : — Some people there are, who, whilst they endeavour 
to get to heaven themselves, inadvertently send others 
thither, which was the case of a neighbour of ours, as you 
shall hear. 

Near to St. Brancazio, as I am informed, there lived an 
honest man, and one of good substance, whose name was 
Puccio di Rineri, who, being spritually minded, and having 
much converse with the Franciscans, was usually called 
Friar Puccio. This man, I say, regarding only his religious 
affairs, and having no family besides a wife and a maid-servant, 
used constantly to be at church, spending his whole time in 
saying Pater Nosters, hearing sermons, and going to masses; 
and for fasting, and all kinds of holy discipline, he was as 
devout as the best. What with his devotion, and perhaps his 
age, his wife, whose name was Isabella, a lady of about 
twenty-eight years of age, as fresh and fair and plump as an 
apple, had a great deal more fasting than she thought good 
for her, and many a time would gladly have been asleep or 
otherwise employed, when he was recounting to her the holy 
life of our Lord, the preachings of Father Anastasius, the 
lamentations of Mary Magdalen, and so forth. 

Now at that time there returned from Paris a monk 
belonging to he convent of St. Brancazio, a comely young 
man, of good parts and learning, with whom our Puccio con- 
tracted an acquaintance ; and as he was able to solve all his 
scruples, and appeared to be very religious, Friar Puccio 
would frequently invite him to his house, both to dine and 
sup, whilst his wife shewed him great civility on her hus- 
band's account. 

Coming often to the house in this manner, he soon cast his 
eye upon Puccio 's wife, and perceiving that he was nowise 
disagreeable to her, he took the first opportunity of making 
a discovery of his inclinations; but, though he found her dis- 
posed to compliance, he could in no way contrive the means, 



I5Ó DECAlilEROl^ O^ BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL IV. 

for she would go nowhere out of her own house, and there it 
could not be, for Puccio was never far from home, which 
threw the young monk into a kind of despair. At last it 
came into his head how the thing might be carried on in the 
house, without any suspicion, though the husband was there 
all the time. Being one day alone with Puccio, he began in 
this manner : " I understand. Brother Puccio, that all your 
desire is to become holy, but it seems to me as if you took 
quite a round-about way, whilst there is a much shorter path, 
which the pope and the other great prelates know and follow, 
yet they are unwilling it should be divulged, for the sake of 
the clergy, because they live chiefly on the charities of the 
people, who in that case would have no further need to give 
them alms. Now as you are my friend, and have entertained 
me well at your house, if I thought you would tell nobody, 
and would practise this way I am speaking of, I would reveal 
it to you." Puccio was extremely impatient to know the 
secret swearing, by all that was sacred, never to divulge it 
without the monk's consent, and promising, if possible, to 
observe it ; " As you make this promise," quoth the other, 
"I will tell you." 

" You must understand, then, that the holy doctors of the 
church maintain, that penance in the manner I am going 
to lay down, is necessary to saintly beatitude. But take 
notice, I do not say that, after this penance, you will be no 
more capable of sinning. No ; but all the sins committed 
before that time will be forgiven, and the sins committed 
afterwards will not be numbered to your damnation ; but 
you may wash them away with holy water, as now you may 
do by venial sins. A man, then, must begin this penance 
by a strict confession of all his sins ; after which fasting and 
abstinence are necessary for forty days ; during which space 
you must refrain, not to say from women only, but even 
from your own wife. Besides this, you must have some 
place in your own house where you may look towards heaven 
all night long. Thither you are to go in the evening, and 
there you must have a very large table fixed in such a man- 
ner, that, as you stand upon your feet, the small of your 
back may lean upon it, whilst your arms are extended like 
a crucifix ; and if you can make them reach to any peg of 
wood, so much the better. In this manner you are to gaze 
towards heaven, without altering your posture till the morn- 
ing. If you had been a scholar, you should have repeated 
some prayers which I would have taught you ; but as you 



NOVEL IV.] THE THIRD DAY. 151 

are not, you must say three hundred Pater Nosters, with as 
many Ave Marias, in honour of the Trinity; and, fixing 
your eyes upon heaven, you are still to remember God, the 
Creator of heaven and earth, and to bear in mind Christ's 
passion, standing in the manner that he was nailed to the 
cross ; and, when the bell sounds in the morning, you may 
throw yourself upon your bed to sleep. You must after- 
wards go to church, and hear three masses at least, and say 
fifty Pater Nosters, and the like number of Ave Marias; 
and when this is done, you may go fairly and honestly about 
any business you may have to do ; afterwards get your din- 
ner, and be at church in the evening, where you must say a 
few prayers which I shall give you in writing, without which 
all would signify nothing; and in the evening return as 
before. If you follow this method, as I have formerly done, 
I hope, before the expiration of your penance, that you will 
perceive wonderful things of the eternal beatitudes; sup- 
posing, at the same time, that you are thoroughly devout." 

Friar Puccio replied : " This is no such long and grievous 
affair, and with God's permission I will begin next Sunday;" 
and leaving his friend, he went and related the whole to his 
wife. She knew well enough what the monk meant by that 
standing still in one spot till the morning, and thinking it a 
very good plan, she told her husband that she was satisfied 
with that, or anything else that he should do for the good of 
his soul; and, to render his penance more efiectual, she 
meant to keep him company with fasting, but with nothing 
else. So far they were agreed : and when Sunday came, he 
entered upon his course, whilst the monk came every eve- 
ning to sup with her, bringing with him plenty of meat and 
drink, and he stayed with her always till morning, when it 
was Puccio 's time to come to bed. 

Now the room he had fixed upon for his penance was 
next to that where the lady lay, and divided from it only by 
a very thin partition. One night, when he had just got 
through a hundred of his Pater Nosters, he heard a noise in 
the next room ; and, making a full stop, he called out to his 
wife, to know what she was doing. The lady, who was full 




heartily, as well she might ; " have not I heard you say a 
thousand times that there is no resting in bed with an empty 
stomach ? " Poor Puccio imagined that her not sleepmg 



152 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL IV. 

was really occasioned by her going to bed without her sup- 
per, and said to her, in the simplicity of his heart, " I told 
you, my dear, not to fast ; but since you would do it, even 
try and rest as well as you can : you make the very floor 
shake under my feet." — "Never mind: attend to what you 
are about, and I will do as well as I can." Puccio said no 
more, but resumed his Pater Nosters. 

After that night the lady and the monk found out another 
part of the house, where they diverted themselves as long as 
the penance lasted. In the morning, when the monk was 
gone, Isabella used to return to her own bed, before her hus- 
band came to lie down. Things continuing in this way 
during the time that Puccio was qualifying himself for saint- 
ship, Isabella often said to the roguish monk, " Is it not a 
good joke, that you have put Puccio upon a penance by 
which we have gained paradise ? " She liked it, indeed, so 
well, and was so fond of the good cheer supplied her by the 
monk, after the long time she had been kept on low diet by 
her husband, that even when the forty days of penance were 
out she found means to meet the monk elsewhere, and feast 
with him without stint. Thus I have made good the truth 
of what I said at the beginning of my story, for you see 
that whilst poor Friar Puccio thought of winning paradise 
by his hard penance, he only opened its doors to his wife 
and to the monk who had shown him the short cut thither. 



NOVEL V. 

Ricciardo, suraamed the Beau, makes a present of a fine horse to Fran- 
cesco Vergellesi, upon condition that he should have the liberty of 
speaking to his wile ; and she making him no reply, he answers for 
her, which accordingly has its effect 

The ladies all smiled at Pamfilo's story, when the queen 
laid her next commands upon Eliza, . who began pretty 
smartly, according to her usual manner, to the following 
effect: — There are many people who know so much, that 
they think others know nothing at all ; and who, whilst they 
are designing to overreach others, are themselves outwitted ; 
therefore, I hold that person very unwise, who puts another 
man's wits to the test, without any occasion : but as all of 
you may not be of my opinion, I will tell you what happened 
to a knight of Pistoia. 

In the town of Pistoia there lived, not long since, a knight 



NOVEL v.] THE THIRD DAY. 153 

named Francesco, of the family of the Vergellesi ; a rich 
and prudent man in all respects, but covetous beyond meas- 
ure. Being made provost of the city of Milan, and having 
furnished himself with everything necessary for such a 
high office, excepting a fine horse, he was at a loss where to 
meet with one that should please him. In the same town 
lived also a young gentleman, called Ricciardo, of no great 
family, but rich enough ; a person so neat always and exact 
in his dress, that he was called the Beau ; and who had long 
admired and followed the lady of Francesco, but hitherto 
without success. Now he was possessed of one of the most 
beautiful horses in all Tuscany, which he set a high value 
upon ; but as it was known what a respect he bore towards 
Francesco's wife, Francesco was given to understand, that, 
if he would ask it of him, the other would gladly make him 
a present of the horse upon that account. He, therefore, 
moved by his avarice, requested the beau to sell him his 
horse, expecting, at the same time, that he should receive it 
as a gift. The other was much pleased with this, and said, 
"Sir, all you have in the world could not purchase that 
horse ; but you may have him for nothing, provided I may 
first have leave to say a word or two to your wife in your 
presence, at such a distance from every one that I may not 
be overheard." Francesco, overswayed by his covetous 
temper, and thinking to make a fool of the other, answered, 
that he was willing, as soon as he pleased ; and leaving him 
in the hall, he went upstairs to his wife, to tell her how easily 
he was going to get the horse, and to enjoin her to hear 
what the beau had to say, but to make him no answer, little 
or much. She blamed him for it, but, being bound to obey, 
went with him into the hall, to hear what the other had to 
offer. The beau, then leading her to a seat at the farthest 
part of the room, began in this manner : 

" I make no doubt, most worthy lady, but that you have 
long perceived how great a slave I am to the force of your 
beauty, which far exceeds that of all the ladies I ever be- 
held ; not to mention your personal accomplishments, enough 
to vanquish the most resolute and insensible of men : there- 
fore, it would be needless to tell you by words, that my love 
is the most fervent that a man can possibly have for a wo- 
man ; and so it shall continue whilst life shall actuate these 
frail limbs ; and even to eternity, if we love in the next 
world as we do in this. Be assured, then, that you can call 
nothing your own, so much as me and mine : and to give 
7* 



154 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL V. 

you proof of this, I should take it as a singular favour, if 
you would command me such a service as it is possible for 
me to perform, seeing there is nothing I should refuse for 
your sake. To you, therefore, whose I am, and on whom all 
my peace and happiness depend, I address myself for relief; 
humbly hoping, as I am wounded to the heart by your 
beauty, that your merciful goodness will not suffer me to 
perish. For suppose I should die, you could not help saying 
to yourself, — Alas ! why did I not show some pity to my 
poor beau ? which remorse would be greatly to your disquiet. 
Think, therefore, before it is too late ; for it is in your power 
to make me either the happiest or most miserable of men. 
I hope, however, that the love I bear you will not be re- 
warded with death; but that you will speak one word of 
comfort to raise my drooping spirits, which are ready to 
take flight, whilst I am now before you." Here he ended, 
and with tears streaming from his eyes, and heaving deep 
sighs, sat expecting the lady's answer ; whilst she, who had 
been hitherto unmoved, notwithstanding all his tilts, balls, 
serenadings, and such-like gallantries, was now heartily 
affected with his last most tender expressions ; and began to 
feel that passion to which she had been hitherto a stranger ; 
and though she was silent, out of regard to her husband's 
commands, yet could she not avoid disclosing, by her sighs, 
what she had much rather have declared by words. 

The beau, having waited some time, and finding she made 
no answer, at first wondered very much ; but he soon began 
to suspect that it was a trick of her husband's : and looking 
earnestly at her, and observing the sparkling of her eyes, 
cast now and then towards him, and some secret sobbings 
which she strove in vain to stifle ; he began to take courage, 
and immediately hit on a new method, namely, to answer 
himself in the same manner as if she had spoken ; which he 
did to this effect : — " Dear sir, I have most assuredly been a 
long witness of the great love you bear towards me, and am 
now farther convinced of it from your words, with which I 
am well satisfied, as indeed I ought : and if I appealed dis- 
pleased or hard-hearted, do not imagine that I was really so; 
I always loved you far beyond every other person, but that 
behaviour was necessary, for fear of other people, and to 
preserve my own character : the time is now come when I 
have it in my power to repay your love : then be of good 
cheer ; in a few days my husband goes to be provost at Milan, 
and as you have given him your favourite horse for my sake, 



NOVEL vj tHE TlflRD DAV. 1$^ 

I promise you, upon my word, that then you shall have ad- 
mittance, and (that I may have no occasion to speak to you 
again upon the subject, till the very time) take notice, that, 
as soon as you shall perceive two handkerchiefs hanging out 
of the window, which looks toward the garden, you must be 
careful nobody sees you, and come to me through the door, 
into the garden, where I shall be expecting you." 

Having said this, as for the lady, he answered in his own 
person as follows: ** Dear madam, I am so transported with 
your reply, that I scarcely know how to return you due 
thanks ; but, were I able, no time would be sufficient to do 
it in the manner I could wish, and as I ought : I leave it 
therefore for you to imagine, as I find it impossible to de- 
scribe : you may depend, however, on my being punctual to 
what you have proposed, and I shall always have a due sense 
of the great favour conferred upon me. Nothing now re- 
mains, my dearest love, but till that time to bid you adieu." 
All this while the lady said not one word. Ricciardo then 
stood up, and made towards the knight, who, coming to meet 
him, said with a smile, " Well, what think you, sir, have I 
performed my promise or not ? " — " By no means," replied 
the beau, "for you promised that I should speak to your lady, 
and you have given mc a statue to talk to." The knight was 
much pleased with this, and if he had a good opinion of his 
lady before, he had now a better. Afterwards he said, ** You 
allow, I suppose, that the horse is mine." The beau replied, 
" Most certainly I do ; but could I have thought no better 
success would have ensued on the bargain, I would have 
given him without any consideration, for as it is, you have 
bought him, and I not sold him." The knight laughed 
heartily, and being now provided with a horse, he set out, in 
a few days, for Milan, and entered upon his office. 

The lady, being then at liberty, began to think a little of 
the beau's words, and the regard he had for her ; and seeing 
him often pass by her house, she said to herself, *' What am I 
about ? Why do I lose all this time ? My husband is at 
Milan, and will not return these six months, and when shall 
I meet with such another lover ? There is none here that I 
need to be afraid of. I do not see why I should not make use 
of the opportunity, whilst I have it. Nobody will know it, 
or if they should, it is better to do it and repent, than to re- 
pent and not do it." Having made up her mind, therefore, 
she put two handkerchiefs out of the window, as the beau 
had said. This he saw with a great deal of joy, and that 



15^ DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL VL 

very night went privately to the garden-door, which was open, 
as was also the door into the house, where he found the lady 
waiting for him : and though this was their first meeting, it 
was not the last, for, during the husband's stay at Milan, and 
even after his return, they found means of being frequently 
together, to their great mutual joy. 

[La Fontaine's ' Magnifique/ and a drama by La Motte, have been 
taken from this tale. It seems also to have suggested a scene in Ben 
Johnson's comedy, ' The Devil is an Ass,' where Willepol makes a present 
of a cloak to a husband, for leave to pay his addresses to the wife for a 
quarter of an hour.] 



NOVEL VI. 

Ricciardo Minutolo is in love with the wife of Philippello Fighinolfi ; and 
knowing her to be jealous of her husband, makes her believe that the 
latter was to meet his wife that night at a bagnio. Accordingly she 
goes thither, and, imagining she was with her husband all the time, 
finds herself at last with Ricciardo. 

Eliza had now concluded her story, and the queen, hav- 
ing commended the beau's ingenuity,, laid the next charge 
upon Fiammetta, who began, with a smile, as follows: — It 
may be convenient to quit our own city at present, which, as 
it abounds in everything, is no less fruitful in examples relat- 
ing to most subjects, and to recount, as Eliza has done, what 
has come to pass in other countries. Therefore, passing over 
to Naples, I shall set forth how one of those sanctified ladies, 
who seemed averse to all love intrigues, was, by the dex- 
terous management of her lover, brought to taste the fruits 
of love, before she had known the flower of it ; which will 
both divert you as to what is already past, and caution you, 
in certain points, for the time to come. 

There lived at Naples, one of the most ancient and pleas- 
ant cities in all Italy, a young gentleman of great wealth, as 
well as nobly descended, called Ricciardo Minutolo ; who, 
notwithstanding he had a beautiful lady for his wife, was 
enamoured of another, who was thought to surpass all the 
women in Naples. This lady was called Catella, and was 
the wife of a young gentleman named Philippello Fighinolfi, 
whom she loved and valued above all things. Now Ricciardo 
being in love with her, and doing everything which he 
thought might gain her affections, but to no manner of pur 



NOVEL VI.] THE THIRD DAY. 157 

pose, fell into despair; and as he was unable to get the 
ascendency over his passion, he had no pleasure in living, 
and yet no wish to die. Continuing in this disposition, he 
was one day advised, by the ladies of his acquaintance, to 
give over his vain pursuit, seeing that Catella regarded noth- 
ing so much as her own husband, of whom she was so jealous, 
that she was fearful of every bird that flew over his head, lest 
it might snatch him from her. Ricciardo hearing of this 
jealous disposition, began now to conceive hopes of success ; 
but pretending to lay all such views aside, he gave it out that 
he had taken a fancy to another lady, towards whom he 
practised the same gallantries as he had before offered to 
Catella; and in a little time it was universally believed, that 
Catella was no longer the object of his passion, but this sec- 
ond lady ; insomuch, that the former began now to put off 
that reserve which had hitherto appeared in her behaviour, 
and to treat him with the same openness and affability as her 
other neighbours. 

Now it happened, the season of the year being sultry, that 
some companies of gentlemen and ladies went to divert them* 
selves on the sea-shore, where thev were to dine and sup ; 
and Ricciardo knowing that Catella was gone thither with a 
party of people, went likewise with a set of his friends, and, 
after much importunity, as if he had no mind to remain there, 
he was persuaded to join the company of Catella and her 
friends. Presently all the ladies, Catella among the rest, 
began to banter him concerning this new love of his, at which 
he affected to be so much nettled that they talked all the 
more upon that subject. At length the members of the party 
being dispersed up and down, as is usual on such occasions, 
and Catella remaining only with a few friends where Ric- 
ciardo was, he dropped a hint of some intrigue of her 
husband's, which gave her a violent fit of jealousy, and she 
burned with impatience to know the truth. In a little time, 
therefore, she began to entreat Ricciardo, that, for the sake 
of the lady whom he loved most, he would make that matter 
clear to her, relating to Philippello. 

"You have conjured me," Ricciardo replied, by a person, 
on whose account I can refuse nothing that is asked me, only 
you must promise never to speak a word to him, or any other 
person about it, till you find it really so, which I will shew 
you how you may be satisfied of, as soon as you please." She 
was now more strongly possessed of the truth of the matter, 
and promi^d to be silent. Taking her then apart, that they 



158 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL VL 

might not be overheard, he thus addressed her : ** Madam, if 
I now loved you in the manner I formerly did, I could not 
endure to tell you what must give you so much uneasiness; 
but as that is at an end, I shall be less fearful of making a 
full discovery. I do not know whether your husband was 
provoked at my loving you ; or whether he had any suspicion 
of my being loved by you : but be this as it may, he has 
taken an opportunity, when I had the least cause to be 
jealous, of attempting to do by me, what he might suspect I 
meant to do by him ; namely, to seduce my wife ; for which 
purpose he has tried frequent messages, with which she has 
constantly made me acquainted, and returned such answers 
to them as I directed her. This very morning I found a 
woman in close conference with her, and imagining who she 
was, I asked my wife what the woman wanted ? She told 
me that she came from Philipello ; * who, from such answers,' 
continued she; * as you have made me send, from time to 
time, begins to have hopes of prevailing ; and he now says, 
that he wants me to come to a resolution, and that he can so 
order it, that we may meet privately at a bagnio. He begs 
. and entreats me most earnestly to be there; and were it not 
that you have made me hold him in suspense with such 
frivolous answers, I should have dealt with him in such a 
manner, that he should never have troubled me more.* I 
bore all the rest patiently, but now he has proceeded too far, 
and accordingly I resolved to tell you, that you might see 
how he has rewarded your most faithful love, for which I 
was just at death's door; but, lest you should think all this 
groundless, and that yourself may be an eye witness of it, I 
ordered my wife to tell the woman that she would meet him 
there to-morrow at nones, when everybody would be asleep ; 
with which answer the messenger went away well pleased. 
Now I would not have you suppose that I intend to send her 
thither, but, were I in your place, I would go instead of her, 
and after you have been some time together, I would then 
make a discovery of myself to him ; by which means you 
would shame him from being ever guilty of the like practices 
hereafter, and at the same time prevent the injury which is 
designed both to yourself and me." 

Catella, without considering who it was that told her this, 
or what his designs might be, gave credit to it, as jealous 
people usually do to such stories ; and calling to mind other 
circumstances to confirm it, she said, with a great deal of 
passion, that she would certainly do so, and that she would 



NOVEL VI.] THE THIRD DAY. 159 

SO confound him, that he should never more dare to look a 
woman in the face. 

Ricciardo was highly pleased ; and now thinking that his 
scheme was likely to take effect, he confirmed her in that 
resolution, desiring her, nevertheless, not to mention what 
she had heard, which she accordingly promised. The next 
morning, then, he went to the woman who kept the bagnio, 
which he had mentioned to Catella, and begged her assist- 
ance in the affair, which she easily agreed to ; and they con- 
trived how it might be best effected. There was a dark 
room in the house, where she made up a bed, as he had 
directed her, and as soon as he had dined, he went thither 
to wait for Catella ; whilst she, giving more credit to his words 
than she ought, returned home full of spleen. Philippello 
came home likewise, and, as it happened, in a very thought- 
ful mood, so that perhaps he did not show that fondness 
towards her that he usually did. This made her suspect him 
all the more ; and she said to herself, " Truly he is taken up 
with thinking of the lady whom he is to meet to-morrow, 
but I will prevent it:" and she was considering all night 
long what she should say to him at their meeting. In a word, 
at the hour of nones she took a friend with her, and went 
directly to the bagnio and seeing the good woman, she in- 
quired if Philippello was there. The woman having learned 
her lesson from Ricciardo, said, " Are you the lady that is to 
speak to him here?" Catella answered, "I am.*'— " Then," 
said she, " go in there." Catella, who went to seek what she 
would not willingly have found, entered the room where 
Ricciardo lay, her face being covered by a veil, and locked 
the door behind her. Ricciardo, taking her in his arms with 
transport, whispered, " Welcome, my soul ;" whilst she, the 
better to sustain her assumed character, embraced and kissed 
him with great demonstrations of good will, but never said a 
word for fear he should recognise her. The room having no 
window was extremely dark, which suited both parties very 
well, nor could they see at all even after they had been there 
some time. Ricciardo led her to the bed without betraying 
himself by his speech, and there they remained together 
for a long time, with more delight to the one than to the 
other. 

At length, when Catella thought it fit time to shew her 
resentment, she broke out in the following manner : " Miser- 
able lot of women ! How ill placed is the love we bear to 
our husbands ! For these eight years have I loved you more 



l6o DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL VL 

than my whole life; whilst you, most wicked man, give your- 
self up entirely to another woman. Whom do you think 
you are now with ? You are with her, whom you have so 
often deceived with your false flatteries, pretending affection, 
when you had placed it elsewhere. Perfidious villain ! I am 
Catella, and not Ricciardo 's wife. Do you know niy voice or 
not? I am, I tell you; and I think it long till I bring you 
into the light, to confound you with shame as you deserve. 
Alas ! whom have I loved in this manner for so many years ! 
Whom but this wretch, who, supposing himself in bed with 
another woman, has shewn more fondness than he ever did to 
me since we were married. Brisk enough you have proved 
yourself to-day, you renegade dog, that are so feeble and 
good for nothing at home. But, thank Heaven, it is in your 
own vineyard you have been labouring, not in another's, as 
you fancied. No wonder you did not come near me last 
night ; you wanted to husband your strength that you might 
display all your prowess in another field. But once more, 
thank Heaven and my own foresight, the water has run in 
its regular channel, as it ought. Why do not you answer, 
you villain ? Are you struck dumb with what I have said ? 
I have a good mind to pull your eyes out of your head. 
You thought it had been all a secret; but you were mis- 
taken." Ricciardo was greatly amused to hear her talk thus, 
and returned no answer but by his caresses; whilst she, re- 
suming her complaints, exclaimed, " If you think to wheedle 
me in this manner you are mistaken ; I will never rest till I 
have exposed you to all our neighbours and friends. Am I not 
as handsome as the wife of Ricciardo ? Am I not as good 
a gentlewoman as she ? Hands off; touch me not ; you have 
performed exploits enough for one day. And now that you 
know who I am, whatever you might do would be all forced ; 
but if I live you shall often be fain to ask, and get No ! for 
your answer. I see no reason why I should not send to 
Ricciardo, who once loved me passionately, and yet could 
never boast that I vouchsafed to give him one kind look ; 
and who knows what mischief may then ensue? You 
thought you had been with his wife all this time, and you 
are equally guilty as if you really had : therefore, were I to 
prove criminal with him, you could not blame me." 

Her complaints were long and outrageous ; till at length he 
began to think that if she was suffered to depart in this mood, 
mischief would certainly ensue ; therefore he resolved to un- 
deceive her: and holding her so fast in his arms,, that she 



NOVEL VI.] THE THIRD DAY. l6l 

could not get away, he said to her, " My life, do not make 
yourself uneasy ; that which I could not have by dint of love, 
I have obtained by stratagem; I am your Ricciardo." She 
hearing this, and knowing his voice, would have leaped out 
of bed, but could not ; and as she was going to cry out, he 
laid his hand upon her mouth, and said, " Madam, what has 
been now done cannot be undone were you to cry all your 
life long; and if it be made public by any means, two things 
must happen. The first, which is of great concern to you, 
is, that your honour and good name will be called in ques- 
tion ; for though you should allege your being deceived, I 
will contradict it, and say that you came hither for reward, 
and because I would not give you as much as you expected, 
for that reason you made all this disturbance ; and you know 
people are always more ready to believe what is bad, than 
what is good, of another, on which account my story would 
find the most credit. In the second place, a mortal enmity 
must ensue betwixt me and your husband ; and things may 
be carried so far, that he may kill me, or I him, which would 
give yon great uneasiness : therefore, my dearest life, do not 
lessen yourself and make mischief between us. You are 
not the first, nor will be the last, that has been imposed upon. 
It is not to deprive you of your honour, but it is the abundant 
regard I have for you that has put me upon using this device : 
and from this time forth myself, and all I am worth, shall be 
at your service. As you are discreet then in other things, I 
hope you will be so in this." 

She expressed the utmost grief whilst he was speaking 
these words; but having listened so far to what he said, as to 
be convinced that it was reasonable, she replied, "I do not 
know how God will enable me to bear both the injury and 
the trick you have put upon me ; I will make no noise here, 
where I have been brought by my own foolishness and over 
great jealousy ; but this you may depend upon, that I shall 
never be at rest till I see myself revenged one way or other: 
therefore let me go ; you have gained your point, and have 
done what you pleased ; it is time to leave me, leave me then 
I beseech you." Ricciardo, who saw the anguish of her 
heart, resolved not to part with her before he made peace ; 
using, therefore, all the kind and tender expressions he could 
think of to mollify her, he begged and prayed so earnestly 
that at last he made his peace, and they remained together a 
long while, with equal good will on both sides, and with 
great mutual delight. In fine, the lady having experienced 



102 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL VII. 

how much more racy were the lover's kisses than the hus- 
band's, her former cruelty to Ricciardo was changed into the 
warmest passion. She loved him ever after, and many a time 
were they happy in each other's arms. Heaven send us all 
the like good fortune. 

[I do not think, says Dunlop ('History of Fiction'), that this story 
occurs either in the selections of Tableux published by Barbazan, or Le 
Grand, but I have little doubt that it exists among those vhich have not 
been brought to light. The incident has been a favourite one with subse- 
quent novelists. For example, it corresponds with one of the tales of 
Sacchetti, and with the fourth of the Fourth Decade of Cinthio. It has 
also been versified by La Fontaine, in his * Richard Minutolo.'J 



NOVEL VII. 

Tedaldo, having a misunderstanding with his mistress, leaves Florence ; 
he returns thither afterwards in the habit of a pilgrim, and makes him- 
self known to her ; when he convinces her of her mistake, and saves 
her husband from being put to death for his murder, for which he had 
been condemned. He then reconciles him to his brethren, and lives 
upon good terms with her for the future. 

Fiammetta, who had been commended by all, was now 
silent ; when, to prevent loss of time, the queen gave imme- 
diate orders to Emilia, who began thus : — I choose to return 
to our own city, which the two ladies who spoke last have 
departed from ; and to relate how one of our own citizens 
regained his lost mistress. 

There lived at Florence a young nobleman, called Tedaldo 
Eie, who was in love with a lady named Monna Ermellina, 
wife to one Aldobrandino Palermini, and well did his good 
qualities deserve success. But ill fortune was still in his 
way ; for the lady, after shewing a liking to him, all at once 
refused to see him, and would receive no more messages 
from him, which threw him into utter despair ; but, as his 
love was a secret, the cause of his melancholy was unknown. 
Divers means he used to regain the love, which had been 
lost without any fault of his ; but, finding all in vain, he 
resolved to separate himself from the world, that he might 
deprive her, who had been the cause of his malady, of the 
pleasure of seeing him in that condition. Getting together, 
therefore, what money he could privately raise, without say- 
ing a word of his intention to more than one friend, he went 



NOVEL VII.3 THE THIRD DAY. 163 

away, and came to Ancona, calling himself Phillippo di 
Sanlodeccio, and hired himself to a merchant, with whom he 
went on shipboard to Cyprus, and who was so taken with 
his behaviour, that he not only allowed him a good salary, 
but took him into partnership, intrusting to him the manage- 
ment of the greater part of his affairs. These he ordered so 
discreetly, that, in a few years, he became a wealthy and 
famous merchant. 

Whilst he was in this employ, though he would sometimes 
call to mind his cruel mistress, and be desirous of seeing 
her again, yet so firm was his resolution, that for six years 
together he got'the better of his passion in this conflict. At 
last it happened, one day, whilst he was at Cyprus, that he 
heard a song composed by himself sung there, in which was 
largely set forth the mutual love which they bore to each 
other, whence it was inferred, that it was impossible she 
should ever forget him. That song inspired him with such 
a desire to see her, that he could no longer resist it; and, 
settling his affairs, he departed with only one servant to An- 
cona, consigned all his effects to a merchant at Florence, an 
acquaintance of his old friend at Ancona, and went off pri- 
vately with his servant in the guise of a pilgrim just returned 
from the holy land. On arriving at Florence, he went to an 
inn which was kept by two brothers, near where his mistress 
lived ; and the first thing he did was to go to her house, and 
endeavour to see her ; but he found the windows and doors 
all made fast, which made him suspect that she was either 
dead or else changed her dwelling. Thence he turned his 
steps in a sorrowful manner towards the house where his 
brothers lived, and there he saw four of them standing at the 
door, dressed in mourning. This surprised him very much ; 
and knowing he was so much altered since he had been 
away that he could not be easily known again, he applied to 
a shoemaker, and inquired the reason of their being in 
black. The shoemaker replied, " About fifteen days ago a 
brother of theirs, called Tedaldo, who has been long absent, 
was murdered ; and I understand they have proved in court 
that he was killed by one Aldobrandino Palermini, who is 
arrested for it, because he had taken a fancy to his wife, and 
returned privately to be with her." 

Tedaldo wondered much that any one should be so like 
himself as to be mistaken for him ; and he was grieved for 
Aldobrandino. Finding that his mistress was alive and 
well, it being now night, he returned full of thought to his 



104 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL VIL 

inn, where having supped along with his servant, he was put 
to bed in a garret. There, what with his trouble, the bad- 
ness of the bed, and perhaps his light supper, he was kept 
awake till about midnight ; when he thought he heard some 
persons come from the top of the house, and he saw a light 
gleaming through the chinks of the door. Going softly, there- 
fore, to peep, he saw a pretty young woman holding a candle, 
whilst three men were coming towards her, down stairs ; and 
after some laughing together, one of them said, " We are 
now safe, God be thanked, since Tedaldo's death is proved 
by his brethren upon Aldobrandino Palermini, who has also 
confessed, and sentence is now passed : but yet it behoves us 
to keep it private ; for should it be known, hereafter, that we 
are the persons, we should be in the same danger that he is 
in now." Having said this to the young woman, who seemed 
well pleased with it, they came down stairs and went to bed. 
Tedaldo, upon hearing what had passed, began to reflect 
how great and many were the errors to which the mind of 
man was subject; first, thinking of his brethren who had 
mourned for a stranger, and buried him by mistake for him- 
self, and had afterwards taken up an innocent person upon a 
bare suspicion, who was accordingly condemned through false 
witnesses ; and next, considering the blind severity of the law, 
and the ministers and dispensers of it, who, whilst they are 
solicitous to find out the truth, do often, by their horrid tor- 
tures, confirm a falsity; and instead of serving the cause of 
God and justice, are rather the ministers of iniquity and the 
devil. After this, he thought of Aldobrandino, and what was 
to be done to save his life. 

In the morning, then, he went alone to the lady's house, 
and by chance finding the door open, he entered, and beheld 
her sitting upon the ground floor, in a little room, making a 
sad lamentation. " Madam," said he to her, " do not trouble 
yourself; your peace is at hand." She looked up, and replied ' 
with tears, " Honest man, thou seemest to be a stranger, what 
knowest thou either of my peace or my affliction ? " " Madam," 
he replied, " I am a messenger sent by God from Constanti- 
nople, and am just now arrived, to turn your tears into joy, 
and to save your husband's life." "If you are but now 
arrived," she made answer, '* and are come from Constanti- 
nople, what do you know either of me or my husband ? " He 
then related to her the misfortune that had befallen her hus- 
band, how long they had been married together and many 
other circumstances, to which she was no stranger; where- 



NOVEL VII.] THE THIRD DAY. 165 

upon she fell down upon her knees, in amazement, beHeving 
him to be a prophet, and praying Lim, if he was come for 
Aldobrandino's sake, to make all possible dispatch, for the 
time was short. The pilgrim, assuming the aspect of a very 
holy personage, said, " Rise, madam, and attend to what I 
am going to say. This tribulation is now come upon you, 
on account of a sin formerly committed ; therefore you must 
take care how you do the like for the time to come, lest a 
greater calamity befall you." — "Alas, sir!" quoth she, "I 
have been guilty of more sins than one ; then tell me partic- 
ularly what sin you mean, and I will do all in my power 
to amend." " Madam," returned he, " I know what sin it 
is ; I do not ask for information : but only that you may 
have the greater remorse by confessing. But to come to the 
point: — Had you ever a lover?" The lady was in great 
amaze at this, supposing nobody had known anything of the 
matter ; though from the time that person was slain who had 
been buried for Tedaldo, something of that kind had been 
talked of, occasioned by words imprudently let fall by 
Tedaldo 's friend, whom he had intrusted with the secret, 
** I perceive that Heaven," she said, sighing deeply, "has re- 
vealed to you all the secrets of mankind, therefore I shall 
make no scruple of telling you mine. I did love, I confess, 
that unhappy young man whose death is now laid to my hus- 
band's charge, and which has given me also infinite concern ; 
for though I might appear a little harsh to him, yet neither 
his parting, his long absence, nor his miserable death, has 
been able to drive him from my heart." — " The poor man 
who is dead," said the pilgrim, "never loved you, though 
Tedaldo did. But tell me what was the reason of your 
quarrelling with him ? Did he ever give you any offence ? " 
— " Most certainly he did not," she replied, " but it was all 
owing to a wicked friar, who, after I had mentioned to him, 
at confession, my love for that person, and our familiarity 
together, dinned such things into my ears that I am terrified 
still to think of them. He told me that if I did not desist 
the devil would carry me in his mouth to the bottom of hell, 
and put me into everlasting fire. I was so frightened, that 
I immediately resolved to break off all intimacy with my 
lover, and from that time I would no longer receive either 
his letters or his messages : though I really think, that had 
he persisted a little longer (for I suppose he went away in 
despair) I might have relented at last, because I had a true 
value for him." 



l66 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL Vlt 

" Madam," quoth the stranger, " this is the sin which now 
sticks close to you. It was of your own accord that you 
first loved Tedaldo; there was no force in the case; you 
were agreeable to each other, and acquaintance begot more 
love. Why, therefore, was he discarded in such a cruel 
manner ? These things should always be considered before- 
hand ; and you should never engage when you are likely to 
repent. Now, with regard to these friars, you must under- 
stand that, being one of them, I must be supposed to know 
something of their ways ; and therefore, if I speak a little 
more freely concerning them, it will be more excusable, as 
it is all for your good. Formerly they were religious, good 
men; but they who call themselves so now-a-days, and 
would be thought such, resemble the others in nothing but 
their hoods ; nor in those things entirely ; for the first friars 
wore them coarse and scanty, to show their great contempt 
of all temporal things, when they wrapped their bodies in 
such a mean habit ; but now they are made full, shining, 
and of the finest cloth that can be got ; and, resembling in 
their cut the pontifical robes, they strut with them, like so 
many peacocks, in churches and all public places ; and as a 
fisherman strives to take as many fish as possible with one 
cast of his net, so do these with their large folds envelop and 
captivate young maids, who have vowed chastity, widows, 
and other simple people : and this is their whole care and 
study ; so that, to speak properly, they have not preserved 
the hoods of their predecessors, but only the colour of them. 
Formerly, also, they were solicitous for people's salvation, 
but now they desire only women, and as much money as 
they can get ; for which purpose they terrify the ignorant 
with idle stories, making them believe that their sins are all 
to be purged away with alms-giving and saying of masses ; 
for which purpose one sends bread, a second wine, and a 
third money, all for the souls of their departed friends. It 
is most certain that prayers, and giving charities, are both 
pleasing to God ; but if people knew what sort of folks they 
were bestowed upon, they would sooner throw what they 
part with in that manner to the hogs. They know full well, 
that rich people are not so manageable as the poorer sort, for 
which reason they are for engrossing all wealth to themselves. 
They cry down luxury, whilst they wallow in all kinds of 
debauchery. They condemn usury and unjust gains, in 
order to purchase some great benefice or bishoprick, with 
what is given them by way of restitution ; and which, being 



KOVEL VIT.J THE THIRD DAV. 167 

detained from them, would occasion (they say) that person's 
damnation. And when they are told of these, and many 
other of their wicked practices, all the answer they make is, 
"Z><? as we say^ not as we do ;" as if it were possible for the 
sheep to have more resolution and constancy than the shep- 
herd. But they would have you do as they say, namely, fill 
their purses with money ; entrust them with all your secrets; 
be chaste, patient, forgivers of injuries ; and never speak an 
ill word, which are all very good things ; but for what rea- 
son ? why, truly, that they may then do what, if we acted 
otherwise, they could not do ! We all know, without money, 
there can be no sloth or idleness. If you spent your money 
for your own diversion, they could not have it for their 
maintenance : if you make free with the women about you, 
they would want the opportunity of being with them them- 
selves : unless you were patient, and a forgi ver of injuries, 
they would not dare to come into your house to cor- 
rupt your family. But why do I go through so many 
particulars? Let them first set the example, and then 
teach others. Suppose, however, what the friar told you to 
be true, namely, that it is a great crime to break the matri- 
monial vow : — Is not murder as bad ? If, then, after Tedaldo 
had fallen into such despair as to leave his country, he had 
laid violent hands upon himself, would not you have been 
the occasion of it Ì Now, by your own confession, he de- 
served no such usage at your hands. This, therefore, is the 
crime, which is attended with its due punishment ; for, as 
you broke your engagement with Tedaldo without reason ; 
in like manner, without reason, is your husband in danger of 
his life upon his account, and yourself in great trouble. All 
that you can do, then, to be free, is to promise, and to be as 
good as your word, that if ever Tedaldo returns from his 
long banishment you will reinstate him in the favour he 
enjoyed before you were over-persuaded by that mischievous 
friar." 

When the pilgrim had finished his long address, to which 
Ermellina listened with great attention, strongly impressed 
with the truth of what he said, she replied : " Holy man, I 
know that what you say is true, and I begin to see that the 
monks and friars are a set of very bad people, though hith- 
erto I had a quite different opinion of them : I own myself 
also much to blame with regard to Tedaldo, and would do as 
you say, but how is it possible Ì He is dead ; and what 
need is there then of making any promise about him ? " 



l68 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL VIL 

The stranger made answer, " Madam, I know that he is not 
dead, but alive and well, provided he has your good graces." 
"Be careful of what you say," she replied, "I saw him 
before our door, stabbed in several places, and I lamented 
much over him; which, I suppose, gave occasion to the 
scandalous story that was raised about us.'* — " Madam, say 
what you please, I assure you he is not dead ; and if you 
will promise what I desire, I hope you will very soon see 
hhn."— "That," she replied, "I will do with all my heart; 
nothing could give me greater pleasure than to see my hus- 
band at hberty, and Tedaldo living." Thinking it now a 
fit time to discover himself, and to give her more assurance 
concerning her husband, "Madam," he said, "for your 
greater comfort, I have one secret to entrust you with, which 
you must keep as you value your husband's life." Then 
taking a ring out of his pocket, which she had given him 
the last night of their being together, he shewed it to her, 
saying, "Madam, do you know this.?" She instantly re- 
membered it, and replied, " Yes, sir, I gave it formerly to 
Tedaldo." — "And do you know me.?" he said, raising from 
his seat, and throwing off his hood. Recognising Tedaldo, 
she started as if she had seen a ghost ; and looking upon him 
not as one returned from Cyprus, but as newly risen from 
the dead, she would have fled from him; but he stopped her, 
saying, " Doubt not. Madam ; I am your Tedaldo, alive and 
well ; I never was dead, as you and my brothers believe." 
The lady began now to be a little better reconciled to him, 
and, throwing her arms about his neck, she cried, " Welcome 
home, my dear Tedaldo." He kissed her, and said, " Madam, 
we have no time now for these greetings ; I must go and take 
care of your husband, of whom I hope that before to-morrow 
you will hear such newls as will please you ; and if I succeed 
according to my expectation, I will come and spend this even- 
ing with you ; when I shall be able to give you a more full 
account than my time will permit at present." Resuming his 
former habit, therefore, taking his leave of her, he went to 
the prison to Aldobrandino, who lay expecting nothing but 
death ; and being admitted by the favour of the keeper as a 
confessor, he sat down by him, and spoke in this manner : 
" I am a messenger from God (who has regard to your inno- 
cence) to bring you tidings of your deliverance ; for his sake, 
then, I request one little favour which, if you grant, I make 
no doubt but that before to-morrow night you will hear of a 
pardon." Aldobrandino replied, "Sir, you are a stranger to 



NOVEL Vll.l THE THIRD DAY. 169 

me, but I must suppose you to be a friend, since you are so 
solicitous about my deliverance. With regard to this deed, 
however, which has been sworn upon me, I am entirely inno- 
cent ; I may have been bad enough in other respects, for 
which this may be a judgment upon me. Ask, then, what 
you please ; be the request of ever such consequence, 1 
promise to grant it, if I can obtain my liberty." "What I 
require," said the pilgrim, " is only a pardon for Tedaldo's 
four brothers, whenever they ask it of you, for having brought 
you into this trouble, under the belief that you were con- 
cerned in murdering their brother." Aldobrandino replied, 
" No one knows the sweets of revenge, and how eagerly it is 
coveted, but they who have received the injury ; neverthe- 
less, I forgive them, and if I obtain a pardon, I will do it in 
such a manner as shall be most agreeable to you." The 
pilgrim was pleased with this, and bid him have a good heart, 
for that before the next day at night he should be assured 
of his liberty. 

Leaving the prisoner, the pilgrim then went straight to 
the signiory, and taking one of the lords aside, said to him, 
** Sir, it is the business of every one to endeavour to find out 
the truth, especially such as are in your station, in order that 
people may not suffer wrongfully; and that they who deserve 
punishment may have it; and this is what now brings me 
before you, with a view to your own honour and the con- 
fusion of the guilty. You know you have proceeded with 
severity against Aldobrandino, thinking you had proved upon 
him the murder of Tedaldo. This I aver to be false, as I 
shall prove to you before midnight, delivering the very mur- 
derers into your hands." The worthy lord, who was under 
great concern for Aldobrandino, gave ear to the stranger's 
story, and about midnight the two innkeepers and their maid 
were taken by his orders, by officers, let into the house by 
the pilgrim. Being threatened with the torture, they all con- 
fessed that it was they who had slain Tedaldo Eie without 
knowing him. Being asked the reason, they declared that 
it was because he would have forced one of their wives 
when they were abroad. Having obtained this information 
he retired, with the Signor's permission, and went privately 
to the lady Ermellina's house, to give her a full account of 
what had passed ; and after giving her such joyful intelli- 
gence he spent the night with her, and happily ratified their 
thorough mutual reconciliation. 

In the morning, having acquainted her with what he meant 
8 



170 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL Vlt 

to do, and enjoined secrecy, he went to attend to the affair 
of Aldobrandino; and the lords, after a full inquiry, re- 
leased him, and sentenced the others to lose their heads on 
the spot where the murder was committed. Aldobrandino 
being discharged, and knowing that it was all owing to the 
stranger, he and his friends invited him to their houses, to 
make what stay he pleased, and shewed him all possible 
respect, the lady especially, who knew well to whom she was 
so obliging. And now, thinking it time to bring about a 
reconciliation between Aldobrandino and his brothers, who 
had incurred so much ill will since his discharge, that they 
were forced to go armed, the pilgrim claimed the fulfilment 
of the promise made him. Aldobrandino answered, that he 
was willing. The pilgrim therefore made him provide a 
great entertainment to which his relations and their wives 
were to be invited, and the four brothers with their wives, 
adding that he himself would ask the latter, as to his own 
feast. Accordingly he went to the four brothers, and after 
much entreaty prevailed upon them to ask pardon, in order 
to regain Aldobrandino's friendship; and when that was 
settled, he invited them to dine there the next day, giving 
them his word for their security. At dinner-time, therefore, 
the next day, Tedaldo's four brothers, all in mourning, with 
some of their friends, came first to Aldobrandino's house, 
who was expecting them; when, laying their arms down 
upon the ground, in presence of all the guests who had been 
invited to bear them company, and offering themselves to 
his mercy, they humbly asked his pardon. He received 
them with tears, and saluting them one after another, for- 
gave the injury he had suffered. After this the sisters and 
their wives came also, and were graciously received by Er- 
mellina and the other ladies. 

The entertainment was now served up, and everything 
was agreeable, excepting a confirmed silence, occasioned by 
the late sorrow, which was represented by the habit of Te- 
daldo's relations ; on which account the stranger's contriv- 
ance and invitation appeared unseasonable to many people. 
This he soon perceived, and resolved to remove when he 
saw a fit time; accordingly, when the dessert was served 
up, he rose, and said, ** Nothing seems wanting to make this 
a merry meeting but the presence of Tedaldo, whom, as you 
have had him so long with you without knowing him, I mean 
now to show you." — Throwing off then his monk's disguise, 
he appeared in a green silk doublet, and his features were 



NOVEL VII.] THE THIRD DAY. I71 



^. recognised by all to their great surprise, though they gazed 

upon him for a considerable time before they could be con- 
vinced that he was the very person ; which he perceiving, 
-. related many circumstances concerning both themselves arid 

him for their farther satisfaction. Upon this his brothers 
V. and the rest of the men, all ran and embraced him, as did 

r;; all the women except Ermellina ; which, when Aldobrandino 

- saw, he said, "What is the meaning of this, Ermellina.? 

1. Why don't you welcome Tedaldo home, when everybody 

r else has done it?" She replied, in the hearing of them all, 

g that no one could rejoice more sincerely than herself, as she 

^ was obliged to him for her husband's life ; but the scandalous 

words that had been given out concerning her, when that 
person was taken for Tedaldo, had made her cautious. Aldo- 
brandino replied, "Away with these idle stories; do you 
think I regard them ? He has sufficiently cleared himself 
by his regard for my life; do then as the rest have done." 
She desired nothing better, and was therefore not slow in 
obeying her husband's order. Aldobrandino's liberality was 
so agreeable to all present, both men and women, th^t their 
former misunderstanding was quite forgotten. After Tedaldo 
then had received every one's compliments, he tore the 
mourning oflF all his kindred, and ordered other clothes to 
be immediately brought ; and having put them on, they con- 
cluded the feast with singing, dancing, and the like diver- 
sions Thence they went to Tedaldo's house, where they 
supped, and they continued feasting many days. 

Still the people for some time looked upon him with the 
utmost amazement, as one risen from the dead ; and perhaps 
his very brethren might have yet entertained some doubt 
about him, if one thing had not happened which made it 
clear who the person was that was slain. It was this : — Some 
sorry fellows of Lunigiana were going one day past the 
house, and seeing Tedaldo at the door, they stopped, and 
said, " How do you do. Fati volo ?" Tedaldo replied, before 
some of his brothers, " You mistake your man." They hear- 
ing him speak, were out of countenance, and asked pardon, 
saying, " Never two people were more alike than you and a 
companion of ours, named Fativolo da Pontrimoli, who came 
hither fifteen days ago, and we can't learn what has befallen 
him. We wondered, indeed, how he came by this dress, for 
he was a soldier, as we are." • The eldest brother, hearing 
this, inquired more particularly as to the clothes of the mur- 
dered man, and finding all the circumstances agree, it now 



172 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL Vili. 

appeared plainly that it was Fativolo, and not Tedaldo, that 
was slain, and this set every one right with regard to that 
affair. Thus Tedaldo returned home rich, and continued 
his acquaintance with the lady, without any further interrup- 
tion. May the like good fortune happen to us all ! 



NOVEL VIII. 

Ferondo, by taking a certain drug, is buried for dead, and the abbot, who 
has an intrigue with his wife, takes him out of the grave and puts him 
into a dungeon, where he is made to believe that he is in purgatory. 
Being raised up again, he rears a child as his own, which the abbot had 
got by his wife. 

Emilia's long novel (though it did not appear long to the 
company, on account of the variety of incidents with which 
it was stored) was now brought to a conclusion, when the 
queen gave a nod to Lauretta, who began in this manner : — 
I am going to relate a thing which has more the appearance 
of fiction than of truth, and which I call to mind from what 
has just been told us, of one person's being mourned for, 
and buried instead of another. I purpose, then, to tell you 
how a living person was buried as though he had been dead ; 
how, afterwards, it was believed by himself, as well as other 
people, that he was risen from the dead, and not actually 
living all the time ; and how another obtained the name of a 
saint upon that score, and was adored as such, when he de- 
served rather to have been severely punished. 

There was in Tuscany, and is still, an abbey situated in a 
retired spot, as is commonly the case with such establish- 
ments. Its newly appointed abbot was a man of holy life in 
every respect, save in the matter of woman, and this he man- 
aged so well, that he was never suspected ; therefore was he 
universally regarded as godly, pious and righteous in all 
points. Now it happened, that among the abbot's many ac- 
quaintances was a rich countryman, named Ferondo, a gross 
blockhead, whom the abbot admitted into his society only to 
make sport of the dullard's simplicity. In the course of 
their acquaintance, the abbot found that the rustic had a 
very handsome wife, with whom he grew so violently in love, 
that day or night he could think of nothing else ; but being 
informed that Ferondo, however stupid in other things, was 
cunning enough in watching over her, he almost despaired 



NOVEL Vili.] THE THIRD DAY. 1 73 

of success. He managed, however, so artfully, that he pre- 
vailed upon Ferondo to bring her sometimes for their amuse- 
ment to his gardens at the abbey, when he would discourse 
to them of the beatitudes of eternal life, and of the pious 
works of many righteous people departed hence. This had 
such an eflFect upon the lady, that she had a great desire to 
confess to him, and asked leave of her husband, which was 
granted. Coming, then, to confession, greatly to the abbot's 
satisfaction, and sitting at his feet, she began, before she en- 
tered upon her subject, to this effect — 

*' Sir, if God had given me a different sort of a husband. 
or if he had given me none at all, perhaps with your instruc- 
tion it would be easy for me to pursue the path which you 
have pointed out to eternal life : but when I consider what 
sort of a person I am tied to, I must look upon myself as a 
widow, and yet worse than married, in respect that I can 
have no other husband as long as he lives. Besides, he is so 
unreasonably jealous, that I live in constant misery with him : 
therefore, before I proceed to confession, I must beg a little 
of your advice in this particular ; for till I find some remedy 
in this respect, confession or any other good work, will be of 
little effect." 

This touched the abbot in the most sensible part ; and now 
thinking that fortune had opened a way to what he had so 
long aimed at, he replied : — " Daughter, I can easily believe 
how grievous it is for a pretty young lady, as you are, to have 
a fool for her husband, and it is worse to have a man that is 
jealous ; therefore, you must suffer extremely, that have both 
one and the other. But, to be plain with you, I see no advice 
that can avail, or remedy, but one; namely, to cure Ferondo 
of that jealousy. The remedy, in such a case, I know well 
how to apply, provided you will keep it a secret. — "Father," 
quoth the lady, "never fear; I would die before I would 
make a discovery contrary to your injunction ; but how is it 
possible ? " The abbot replied, " If we desire he should 
be cured, it will be necessary for him to go first into pur- 
gatory." — "What, go there alive.?" — "He must die first, 
and then go thither; and when he shall have suffered quite 
enough to cure him of his jealousy, we shall use a few 
prayers to bring him to life again, and it shall be done." — 
" Then I must remain a widow ? " — " For a time, and you 
must be exceedingly careful not to be prevailed upon to 
marry elsewhere, for that would be a very bad thing, and as 
you must return to Ferondo when he comes to life again, he 



174 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL Vili 

would be more jealous than ever." — "Well, so long as there 
is a cure, and I am not to be a prisoner all my life, do as 
you will, I am content." — "But," said the abbot, "what 
reward shall I have for this service ? " — " Fath er, whatever 
lies in my power to give ; but what can such a one as my- 
self offer worthy the acceptance of a person like you ? " — 
" Madam, it is in your power to do as much for me, as it is 
in mine to do for you. As I am ready, then, to perform 
what shall be for your ease and comfort, so should you be 
mindful of me in a point where my life and welfare are both 
concerned." — " If it be so, I am ready and willing." — "Then 
you must grant me your love, for which I entirely languish." 

She was startled at this, and said, " Alas ! my father, what 
is it you would have ? I took you always» for a saint. Do 
holy men request such favours of ladies who come to them 
for advice ? " — " My dearest life, let not this surprise you," 
replied the abbot ; " my sanctity is not the less on this ac- 
count, because that abides in the soul, and what I now ask 
of you is only a sin of the body. But be that as it may, the 
force of your beauty is such that it constrains me to do thus : 
and I tell you, that you may be proud of it above all other 
women, since it captivates the saints, who are used to behold 
the beauties of heaven. Besides, although I am an abbot, I 
am a man, like others, and as you see, not old. Nor should 
you think much of this matter, but rather be desirous of it, 
for all the time Ferondo is in purgatory I will supply his 
place, and it will never be so much as suspected, because 
every one has the same opinion of me that you yourself just 
now declared. Do not refuse the grace that heaven sends 
you ; there are enough that would be glad of what you may 
have, and shall have, if you wisely follow my advice. More- 
over, I have jewels both rich and rare, which I intend shall 
all be yours. Do, therefore, my dearest love, what I would 
willingly do for you." 

The lady had her eyes fixed on the ground, not knowing 
how to deny him, and yet to grant the favour seemed not so 
well. The abbot, perceiving that she had listened and did 
not immediately reply, considered the conquest half made, 
and continued using such arguments as before, till he had 
convinced her that it would be a good action. So, at last, 
she said, with a blush, that she was willing to comply, but 
not till her husband was sent to purgatory. The abbot was 
well enough satisfied with this, and replied, " He shall go 
thither directly ; all you have to do is to see that he comes 



NOVEL Vili.] THE THIRD DAY. 175 

hither to-morrow, or next day, to make some stay with me." 
Saying this he put a fine ring on her fìnger, and dismissed 
her. She was overjoyed with the present, supposing she 
should have many more such ; and returning to her friends, 
related wonderful things of the abbot's great sanctity, after 
which her husband and she went home together, 

A few days afterwards Ferondo went to the abbey, and as 
soon as the abbot saw him he prepared a drug, which had 
been given him in the Levantine countries by a great prince, 
who assured him it was the very powder which the Old Man 
of the Mountain was in the habit of using whenever he had 
a mind to throw any one into a trance, in order to send him 
into his paradise or take him out of it. By giving more or 
less he could, without doing them any harm, make them 
sleep as long as he pleased : insomuch, that, whilst its effect 
lasted, you would never imagine but that thev were dead. 
Of this drug the abbot took as much as woula operate for 
three days, and mixing it up with a glass of wine, wfthout 
Ferondo^ perceiving it, gave it to him to drink. He after- 
wards walked with him into the cloisters with several of the 
monks, and they began to be merry together as usual. In 
some little time the drug began to work'; Ferondo was taken 
with a sudden drowsiness, he nodded as he stood, and at 
last fell down in a profound sleep. The abbot seemed much 
concerned at the accident, making them unbutton his collar, 
and throw cold water in his face, in order to bring him to 
himself, as though it had been occasioned by some fumes 
from his stomach, or such like disorder: but when they 
found all was in vain, and perceived, on feeling his pulse, no 
signs of life remaining, it was concluded by all that he was 
certainly dead. Accordingly they sent to acquaint his wife 
and relations, who came immediately, and after they had 
lamented over him for a time, he was buried by the abbot's 
direction, with his clothes on, in one of the abbey vaults. 
His wife went back to her own house, giving out, that she 
resolved never to stir a step from a little son that she had by 
Ferondo ; and continuing there, she took upon herself the 
management of the child, as well as of the estate he had left 
behind. The abbot, when night came, took with him a 
monk of Bologna, whom he could trust, and who was just 
come thither upon a visit; and together they carried Ferondo 
out of the vault into a dungeon, which served as a prison for 
the monks when they had committed any fault. Then, strip- 
ping him of his clothes, they dressed him in the habit of a 



176 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO, [nOVEL Vili. 

monk, and left him upon a bundle of straw, till he should 
come to himself; whilst the monk, being instructed by the 
abbot, as to what he would have done, was to wait there 
without anybody's knowing anything of the matter, till the 
sleeper came to his senses. 

The next day the abbot went, attended by some of his 
monks, to pay his visit of condolence to the widow, whom 
he found in her weeds, very sorrowful; and, after a little 
consolation, he put her softly in mind of her promise. She, 
finding herself now at liberty, and seeing another valuable 
ring on his finger, gave her consent, and it was agreed that 
he should come the next night. When that time came, there- 
fore, he put on Ferondo 's clothes, and taking his faithful 
monk along with him, went thither, and stayed till the morn- 
ing; and this practice he followed so long, that he was 
frequently seen passing backwards and forwards by the 
neighbours, who all agreed, that it was Ferondo who walked 
there,* doing penance; and many strange stories were re- 
ported among the simple country people about it, and were 
carried to the lady, who knew full well what kind of ghost it 
was. 

The Bolognese monk, as soon as he perceived Ferondo 
growing a little sensible, come in, making a most terrible 
noise ; and having a bundle of rods in his hand, began to 
chastise him severely. Ferondo, crying and howling, could 
say nothing but, " Where am I ?" The monk replied, " Thou 
art in purgatory." — "How!" said Ferondo, "and am I 
dead then ?" — " Most surely," answered the monk. There- 
upon Ferondo began to lament for himself, his wife, and 
child, uttering the strangest things in the world. The monk 
then gave him something to eat and drink, which Ferondo 
seeing, "What!" said he, "do dead people eat!" The 
monk replied, " Yes ; and what I now bring, thy wife sent 
this morning to church, to have mass said for thy soul." — 
"God bless her!" quoth Ferondo, "I was very fond of her 
before I died, to that degree that I hugged her all night in 
my arms, and did nothing but kiss her, and sometimes the 
other thing when I had a mind." Then, finding himself 
hungry, he began to eat and drink, and the wine being very 
bad, he said, "God confound her! why did she not give the 
priest some wine from the cask next the wall ? " No sooner 
had he filled his belly than he had the same discipline over 
again ; when, roaring out amain, he said, " What is all this 
for ?" The monk answered, " Because thou art jealous of 
thy wife, who is one of the best of women." — "Alas! you 



NOVEL Vili.] THE THIRD DAY, 1 77 

say true ; she was a most dear creature : but I did not know 
that it was a sin to be jealous, or I would not have been so." 
— ^** Oh ! you should have taken care of that whilst you were 
in the other world ; and if it should happen that you return 
thither, remember what I now say, and be jealous no more." 
— ** Then, do people ever return thither again, after they have 
been dead .?"—" Yes, if God so pleases."— "Oh! " quoth 
Ferondo, " if that should be my case, I would be the best 
husband in the world ; I would never beat her, or say an 
angry word, unless it were for the bad wine she has sent me, 
and letting me have no candles, that I am forced to eat in 
the dark." — " She sent candles enough," answered the monk, 
"but they are all burnt out at the mass."— "Well," quoth 
Ferondo, " you say very true, and when I go back she shall 
do as she pleases: but pray tell me who you are that do all 
this to me ? " The monk replied, " I am now dead ; but I 
was of Sardinia, and am condemned to this penance, to give 
you food and drink, and two whippings a day, because I 
formerly commended a certain master of mine for being 
jealous." — "But," said Ferondo, "is there nobody here be- 
sides us two ? " — " Yes, thousands ; but you can no more 
see or hear them, than they can hear or see us." " Then," 
quoth Ferondo, " how far may we be distant from our own 
countries.^ " — " Many millions of leagues." " Why truly that 
is far enough," quoth Ferondo, " then we must certainly be 
out of the world." 

In this manner was Ferondo kept there for ten months, 
whilst the abbot continued his visits to the wife ; till at last 
she proved with child, when it was thought convenient that 
her husband should be delivered out of purgatory, that he 
■ might father the child. The next night, therefore, the abbot 
went into the dungeon, and called upon Ferondo, with a 
counterfeited voice, saying, "Take courage, Ferondo; it is 
now the will of God that thou return into the other world, 
when thou shalt have a son by thy wife, whom thou shalt 
name Benedict; because, through the prayers of thy holy 
abbot, and thy most virtuous wife, and the intercession of St, 
Benedict, this favour is granted thee." Ferondo was overjoyed 
at hearing this, and said, " Thanks be to God and to St. Ben- 
edict, and to the abbot and to my precious wife." In the 
next wine that was sent him, the abbot mingled as much of 
the former drug as would make him sleep four hours ; and 
then they put his own clothes upon him, and carried him into 
the vault where he had been interred. 
8* 



178 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL Vili. 

By break of day Ferondo came to himself, and seeing 
through a crevice of the vault a glimmering of light, which 
he had been utterly deprived of for ten months, he began to 
think himself alive, and shouted, " Let me out, let me out." 
At the same time he lifted up the cover with his head, it 
being of no great weight, and was making his way out, when 
the monks, having just ended their morning service, ran 
thither, and knowing Ferondo 's voice, and seeing him rise 
out of the vault, they were so terrified that they fled to tell 
the abbot. The holy man, who seemed to them to be just 
risen from prayer, said, " Fear not, my sons ; take the cruci- 
fix and holy water, and follow me, that we may see what 
kind of miracle this is." Ferondo was quite pale, as might 
be supposed, having been so long confined without seeing 
any light ; but as soon as the abbot appeared, he fell at his 
feet, saying, " Your prayers, most holy father, as it has been 
revealed to me, and those of St. Benedict, and my wife, have 
delivered me out of purgatory, and brought me to life again, 
for which I pray God to send you all sorts of good luck now 
and always." — " Blessed be the power of God ! " quoth the 
abbot ; " go, then, my son, as this mercy is bestowed upon 
you, and comfort your wife, who has been in the utmost 
trouble ever since you departed from us ; and be henceforth 
a faithful servant of God." — "That's very good advice your 
reverence gives me," said Ferondo. " Never fear but 1*11 
kiss her ever so much when I see her, I'm so fond of her." 
Away then he went, and the abbot, left alone with his monks> 
affected to» regard this miracle with great veneration, and or- 
dered them devoutly to sing the Miserere, 

In the mean time, Ferondo returned to his house, where 
every one that saw him fled, as if they had beheld some ter- 
rible sight, affirming that he was risen from the dead. His 
wife also expressed the utmost consternation. In some little 
time, however, after they were convinced of his being alive, 
they began to ask him all sorts of questions, which he was 
never at a loss to answer, for he seemed to have come back 
quite a clever fellow from the other world ; he told them news 
concerning the souls of their departed friends, and strung 
together out of his own head the finest stories in the world 
about purgatory, not forgetting to relate to them, in full as- 
sembly, what had been revealed to him by the mouth of the 
Hangel Bagarel just before his resurrection. In fulfilment 
of that prediction Ferondo's wife bore him a son whom they 
called Benedict Ferondi. Ferondo's resurrection, and what 



NOVEL IX.] THE THIRD DAY. 179 

he himself reported about it, every one giving entire credit 
to his words, added greatly to the renown of the abbot's ex- 
traordinary sanctity. Ferondo also remembered the many 
sound whippings he had got for his jealousy and was cured 
of it for ever, as the abbot had promised he should be ; and 
his wife lived very happily with him from that time forth, 
and had the pleasure of the abbot's company, as often as 
they could conveniently meet together. 



NOVEL IX. 

Gillette de Narbonne cares the King of France of a complaint, and de- 
mands the Count de Roussillon in marriage, as her reward ; he marries 
her against his will, and goes in a pet to Florence, where he falls in 
love with a young lady, and lies with his own wife, thinking himself 
with his mistress. She has two sons by him, and, by that means, mat- 
ters are accommodated at last between them. 

There remained now only the queen to speak (saving his 
privilege to Dioneo); therefore she began, without being 
called upon, in this manner : — Who can say anything now to 
please, since we have heard Lauretta's story ? It is well for 
most of the company she was not the first ; for few would 
have been thought so agreeable after her ; and so I believe 
it will be with regard to such as are yet to speak ; however, 
I shall keep to the subject, and give you my story, such as 
it is. 

There lived in France a gentleman named Isnard, Count 
de Roussillon, who, because he was in a bad state of health, 
always kept a physician in his house, called Master Gerard 
de Narbonne. Now the count had an only son, whose name 
was Bertram, a fine youth, who had been brought up along 
with other children of his own age, amongst whom was a 
daughter to this physician, called Gillette, who had for him an 
infinite esteem and love, more than is common for one at such 
an age. His father's death, and his being left to the king's 
care, obliged him to go to Paris, which gave her the utmost 
concern. Shortly afterwards, her own father dying also, she 
would gladly, if she could have found a fit pretence, have 
gone thither to see Bertram ; but such care was taken of her, 
because she was an heiress, that it was impossible. Being 
now of an age to marry, and being unable to forget her first 
love, though she had many suitors, on one of whom her 
guardians would willingly have bestowed her, she rejected 
them all, without assigning any reason. 



l8o DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL IX. 

In the meantime, her love growing more violent every 
day, being fed by the admirable reports she heard of Ber- 
tram, news was brought that the King of France had a 
dangerous ailment, which succeeded an ill-cured swelling in 
his breast, and gave him extreme anguish ; nor could he 
meet with a physician, though he had tried many, who was 
able to heal it ; on the contrary, they had made it worse, 
insomuch that he was determined to have no more advice. 
This was agreeable enough to the young lady, not only as it 
afforded a pretence for her going to Paris, but also she had 
great hopes, if the disorder proved of the kind suspected, of 
getting Bertram for her husband. So, mixing up such drugs 
as her father was wont to use in cases of that nature, she 
hastened away to Paris. The first thing she did, after she 
had obtained a sight of Bertram, was to wait upon the king, 
and desire he would acquaint her with his malady. His 
majesty most graciously condescended to grant her request , 
when she was instantly convinced she was able to make a 
cure, and said, " Sir, if you will give me leave, I hope, with- 
out any pain or trouble, to restore your health in eight days." 
The king could not help making a jest of this, saying to 
himself, " What ! shall a woman undertake to do that which 
has baffled all the best physicians in the world?" He 
thanked her, therefore, for her good intention, and told her 
that he was resolved to try no more medicines. " Sir," re- 
plied the lady, " you ridicule my art because I am young, 
and a woman ; but I must remind you that I do not pretend 
to this from my own knowledge ; but I rely upon the help of 
God, and the judgment of Master Gerard de Narbonne, who 
was a most eminent physician in his time, and my father." 

The king, hearing this, said to himself, " Perhaps she is 
sent from God to my assistance ; why should I not, therefore, 
make trial of her, as she promises to cure me, without any 
trouble, in so short a time ?" Then turning to her, " But 
suppose you should prove mistaken, wh^t would you forfeit 
for making us break our resolution ?" She replied, " If your 
majesty pleases, you may set a guard upon me ; and if you 
are not cured in eight days, then burn me alive : but if I 
succeed, and you get well, what reward am I then to have?" 
" You are a maiden, it appears," said the king : " we will 
dispose of you in marriage to a person of great account." — 
" Sir," quoth she, " I accept your offer of a husband, but I 
will name the person, excepting all of your royal house." 
He immediately promised, and she began to administer her 



NOVEL IX.] THE THIRD DAY. l8l 

medicines ; and before the limited time she had wrought a 
thorough cure. The king then said, " Fair maid, you have 
well earned a husband." — " Then, sir," she replied, " I have 
gained the Count de Roussillon, whom I have loved ever 
since I was a child." 

The king thought her demand very great, but, as he had 
given his word, he would not depart from it. He sent for 
the count, therefore, and said to him, " Bertram, you are 
now of age to take upon you the government of your own 
country ; it is our will that you return thither, and take a 
wife whom we shall recommend to you." — "And who is the 
lady, my liege .^" replied Bertram. "It is she," said the 
king, "who has cured us with her medicines." Bertram 
knew and liked her well enough, only that he thought her 
birth too low for his quality ; so he said, with some disdain, 
"And does your majesty then mean to give me a doctress 
for ray wife? Surely I may do much better for myself." — 
" Then," quoth the king, " would you have us to be worse 
than our word ? She requested to have you, and we prom- 
ised, upon condition that we were made well." — " My liege," 
replied Bertram, " you may take away what I now possess, 
or you may add to it if you please ; but this I assure your 
majesty, that I will never consent to such a match." — " It is 
our pleasure to have it so," continued the king; "she is a 
prudent and beautiful lady, and you may be happier with her, 
than if you were married to one of greater quality." 

Bertram then held his peace; and the king ordered a 
magnificent entertainment in honour of the nuptials, and, 
when the day came, Bertram espoused Gillette, much against 
his will, in the king's presence, which being done, he took 
his leave of his majesty, as if he was going to keep his 
wedding in his own country; but, instead of that, he went 
a quite different way, and came to Tuscany. Finding that 
the Florentines were at war with the Sienese, he willingly 
joined them, and, having a command given him, he con- 
tinued some time in their service. The bride, not at all 
pleased with his behaviour, went to Roussillon, in hopes of 
gaining his affections by her prudent mai^agement, and was 
received by his people as their lady and mistress. Finding 
everything in disorder, on account of her husband's long 
minority, she used such care and diligence in restoring all 
to its wonted tranquillity, that she gained the favour and 
good-will of her subjects, who blamed the count highly for 
his neglect of her. When that was done, she sent two knights 



1 82 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL IX. 

to him, desiring to know if it was on her account he stayed 
away from home; and bidding them tell him that she was 
willing to go elsewhere to please him. But he answered 
roughly, that she might use her pleasure ; " For," said he, " I 
will go to her only when she shall have this ring upon her 
finger, and a son, begotten by me, in her arms." Now he 
valued the ring at a high rate, and never parted with it from 
his finger, because of some secret virtue which he supposed 
it to have. The knights looked upon the condition as im- 
plying two impossibilities ; and, perceiving that he was not 
to be moved from his resolution, they returned, and reported 
his answer. 

The lady was much afflicted at this, and began to consider, 
if there were no way to effect these two points, and conse- 
quently regain her husband. Taking her measures then 
accordingly, she assembled all the principal people of the 
country, when she recounted to them, in a most tender and 
affectionate manner, all that she had done for the love of the 
count, and what ensued thereupon ; and she let them know, 
that it never was her intention, by staying amongst them, to 
keep him in perpetual banishment; therefore was she re- 
solved to spend the remainder of her life in pilgrimage, for 
the good of her soul ; and her desire was, that they would 
take the government upon them, and inform the count that 
she had quitted possession, and left the country with a design 
never more to return. As she was speaking these words, 
they all began to weep, and they entreated her much to 
change her resolution, but to no purpose. Taking her leave, 
then, and being attended only by a maid-servant and a rela- 
tion, they set forward together like pilgrims, having provided 
themselves well with money and jewels ; and, without any- 
body's knowing whither they were gone, they made no stop 
till they came to Florence. There, by chance, they met with 
an inn that was kept by a widow, where she stayed, with a 
desire of learning some news concerning her lord. 

The next day it happened, that he passed by the house on 
horseback, along with his troops, when, though she knew him 
very well, yet she asked the landlady who he was ? " It is a 
gentleman, a stranger," answered she, "one of the best- 
natured men in the world, and much respected in this 
country, who is in love with a gentlewoman of small fortune 
in this neighbourhood : she bears a good character, but is yet 
unmarried, on account of her scanty circumstances, and 
lives with her mother." The coiintess, upon hearing this, 



NOVEL IX. 1 THE THIRD DAY. 183 

be^an to consider more fully what she should do. Having 
learned the young lady's name, and where she lived, she 
went one day to the house, and, after the usual salutation, 
told the mother, that she had a mind to speak to her : the 
other rose, and said, with all her heart. They then went 
into a chamber by themselves, and, sitting down together, 
the countess began in this manner : " Madam, you seem to 
be as little obliged to fortune as myself; but perhaps it is 
now in your power to do us both a kindness." The other 
replied, that she should be very willing, if it could be done 
honestly. The countess rejoined, " I put myself entirely 
into your hands ; if you deceive me, you frustrate the pur- 
poses of both." — "Speak out," said the lady; "you shall find 
I never will deceive you." 

The countess then related her whole story, from beginning 
to end, part of which the old lady had heard from common 
report: and she added, "You hear the two things which 
I am to compass to gain my husband, with regard to which 
there is no person in the world can serve me besides your- 
self, if it be true, as I am told, that he is violently in love 
with your daughter." — "Madam," quoth the lady, "there 
is some appearance of the count's liking my daughter ; but 
whether there be anything real, that I cannot pretend to say. 
But what has this to do with your affair ? "— " That," an- 
swered she, " I shall soon tell you. But you must first hear 
what I intend to do in consideration of this service of yours. 
I understand that you have a daughter, of age to marry, 
whom you are forced to keep at home with you, for want of 
a fortune to give her : now my design is, to advance such a 
sum of money as you yourself shall think sufficient to marry 
her reputably." The lady liked the offer very well, but yet, 
having the spirit of a gentlewoman, she replied : " Tell me 
what you want to have done, and if it appear fair and hon- 
est, I will do it most willingly, and leave the reward to 
you." 

The countess then said, " You must give the count to un- 
derstand, by some person whom you can trust, that your 
daughter is ready to oblige him, as soon as she can be assured 
that he has that real love for her which he pretends, and 
which she knows not how to credit, unless he sends her the 
ring that he usually wears, and which, she hears, he sets such 
a value upon. This ring you must give to me, and then you 
may let him know that your daughter is at his service, and 
that he may come privately hither as soon as he pleases, 



X84 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL IX. 

when you must put me to bed to him instead of your daugh- 
ter. Perhaps, by God's grace, I may prove with child; so 
that, by having his ring on my finger, and a son of his in 
my arms, which were the two conditions required, I may live 
with him afterwards as my husband, and you be the happy 
instrument of it." The lady hesitated at first, fearing some 
scandal might befall her daughter ; but considering afterwards 
how fit it was that the good lady should have her husband, 
she not only promised her assistance, but in a few days ob- 
tained the ring, much against the count's will, and afterwards 
put the lady to bed to him, instead of her daughter. Accord- 
ingly it happened, that she became with child of two sons, 
as the event made manifest. Nor was it once only that the 
lady afforded the countess the enjoyment of her husband's 
embraces, but many <imes, taking her measures so secretly 
that the count never knew a word of it, but always thought 
he was with his mistress, not with his wife. 

At last, when the countess found herself pregnant, not 
wishing to give the lady more trouble, she said to her, 
" Madam, my end is now answered, I have nothing more to 
do butto satisfy you for your trouble." She replied, "If 
you are contented, it is well ; I did it out of no expectation 
of reward, but only as it appeared to me quite a right 
thing." " Madam," continued the countess, "I am entirely 
pleased, and I intend to make you a recompense suitable to 
your great merit." She then, moved by her necessity, desired, 
but with the utmost modesty, a hundred pounds for her daugh- 
ter's portion ; whilst the other, knowing her great worth, ar.d 
hearing her humble demand, gave her five hundred, and 
jewels to the amount of as much more, for which she was 
very thankful; and, to take away all pretence of the count's 
coming any more to her house, the lady removed with her 
daughter to her friends in the countr}'. 

After some time, Bertram, hearing that his countess had 
departed out of his territories, went thither, at the request 
of his subjects, whilst she stayed at Florence, till her time of 
labour came, when s»he was brought to bed of two sons, very 
like their father. She took care to have them well nursed, 
and, in due time, without being discovered by any person, 
she came to Montpelier, where she made some stay to rest 
herself, and to make inquiry concerning her husband. Hear- 
ing, at last, that he was to make a great feast at Roussillon, 
on the day of All Saints, she went thither in the same pil- 
grim's dress as she first set out in ; and, just as the guests 



NOVEL X.] THE THIRD DAY. 185 

were going to sit down at table, she pressed forwards, through 
the midst of the crowd of gentlemen and ladies, with her 
two children in her arms, till, coming where the count was, 
she threw herself at his feet, saying, with tears, " My lord, I 
am your unhappy wife, who have undertaken a long pilgrim- 
age, in order that you might return to your own house. I 
conjure you, in the presence of God, that you abide by the 
two conditions enjoined me by the two knights whom I sent 
to you. Behold, not one son only of yours in my arms, but 
two ; and, see, here is the ring." The count was confounded 
with admiration, recognising the ring, and the children too, 
they were so like him, and said : — " How can this have hap- 
pened ? " The countess then related the whole story before 
all the company ; whilst he, knowing her to speak the truth, 
perceiving also her constancy and good management, and 
beholding two such pretty children, was moved to fulfil his 
promise, as well as to oblige the whole company, who re- 
quested him to take her as his wife : upon all these consid- 
erations, I say, he laid his inveterate hatred aside, raised her 
up, and saluted her, acknowledging her for his lawful 
countess, and the two babies for his children : he ordered 
also suitable apparel to be brought for them, to the great 
joy of the whole court ; whilst the feasting continued not 
that day only, but many others: and from that time he 
shewed her all due respect, and they continued happy 
together as long as they lived. 

[Shakespeare's 'All's Well that Ends Well ' is based on this story.] 



NOVEL X. 

Alibech, a young convert to Christianity, goes into the desert of the 
Thebaid, where Rustico, a pious hermit, teaches her how to put the 
devil in hell. 

Dioneo, who had listened attentively to the queen's novel, 
seeing it was now his own turn, did not wait to be called 
on, but began at once with a smile. " Perhaps you never 
heard, fair ladies, how the devil is to be put into hell ? I 
will, therefore, without departing much from the tenor of all 
that has been said to-day, tell you how the thing is done. 
Peradventure it may be for the good of your souls to know 
it ; and at the same time you will learn that although Love 
more willingly abides in gay palaces and luxurious chambers 



l86 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL X. 

than in the hovels of the poor, yet none the less doth he 
whiles make his power felt midmost thick forests and rugged 
mountains and in desert caverns ; whereby it may be under- 
stood that all things are subject to his puissance. 

To come, then, to the fact, I say that in the city of Capsa 
in Barbary there was aforetime a very rich man, who, among 
his other children, had a fair and winsome young daughter, 
by name Alibech. She, not being a Christian and hearing 
many Christians who abode in the town mightily extol the 
Christian faith and the service of God, one day questioned 
one of them in what manner one might avail 'to serve God 
with the least hindrance. The other answered that they best 
served God who most strictly eschewed* the things of the 
world, as those did who had betaken them into the solitudes 
of the deserts of Thebais. The girl, who was maybe four- 
teen years old and very simple, moved by no ordered desire, 
but by some childish fancy, set off next morning by stealth 
and all alone, to go to the desert of Thebais, without letting 
any know her intent. After some days, her desire persist- 
ing, she won, with no little toil, to the deserts in question 
and seeing a hut afar off, went thither and found at the door 
a holy man, who marvelled to see her there and asked her 
what she sought. She replied that, being inspired ofGod, she 
went seeking to enter into His service and was now in quest 
of one who should teach her how It behoved to serve Him. 

The worthy man, seeing her young and very fair and fear- 
ing lest, an he entertained her, the devil should beguile him, 
commended her pious intent and giving her somewhat to eat 
of roots of herbs and wild apples and dates and to drink of 
water, said to her, " Daughter mine, not far hence is a holy 
man, who is a much better master than I of that which thou 
goest seeking ; do thou betake thyself to him ; *' and put her 
in the way. However, when she reached the man in ques- 
tion, she had of him the same answer and faring farther, 
came to the cell of a young hermit, a very devout and good 
man, whose name was Rustico and to whom she made the 
same request as she had done to the others. He, having a 
mind to make a trial of his own constancy, sent her not away, 
as the others had done, but received her into his cell, and 
the night being come, he made her a little bed of palm- 
fronds a»!*^; bade her lie down to rest thereon. This done, 
temptations tarried not to give battle to his powers of resist- 
ance and he, finding himself grossly deceived by these latter, 
turned tail, without awaiting many assaults, and confessed 



NOVEL X.] THE THIRD DAY. 187 

himself beaten ; then, laying aside devout thoughts and 
orisons and mortifications, he fell to revolving in his memory 
the youth and beauty of the damsel and bethinking himself 
what course he should take with her, so as to win to that 
which he desired of her, without her taking him for a de- 
bauched fellow. 

Accordingly, having sounded her with sundry questions, 
he found that she had never known man and was in truth as 
simple as she seemed ; wherefore he bethought him how, 
under color of the service of God, he might bring her to his 
pleasures. In the first place, he showed her with many 
words how great an enemy the devil was of God the Lord 
and after gave her to understand that the most acceptable 
service that could be rendered to God was to put back the 
devil into hell, whereto He had condemned him. The girl 
asked him how this might be done ; and he, * Thou shalt 
soon know that ; do thou but as thou shalt see me do.* So 
saying, he proceeded to put off the few garments he had and 
abode stark naked, as likewise did the girl, whereupon he 
fell on his knees, as he would pray, and caused her abide 
over against himself.* 

* La jeunette lui demanda comment cela se faìsoit. A laquelle Rus- 
tique dit : ** Tu le S9auras tantost ; et pour ce tu feras ce que tu me 
verras faire." Si commen9a à dépouiller ce peu d'habillemens qu'il 
avoit vestus, et demeura tout nud, et autant en fit la filette, puis se mit 
à fenoux comme s*il Teust voulu adorer, et tit mettre tout incontinent la 
fille vis-a-vis de lui. £n estant ainsi Rustique échauffé, et brùlant plus 
que de van t, pour la voir ainsi toute nue et belle, la resurrection eie la 
chair va venir, laquelle regardant Alibech toute émerveillée, dit : " Rus- 
tique, quelle chose est-ce que ie te vois qui pousse si fort en avant, et je 
ne l'ai point ? " " O, ma fille, dit Rustique, " ceci est le diable, dont le 
t*sd parie, et vois-tu maintenant, il me donne tei tourment qu'à peine le 
puis-je soufifrir." Alors dit la jeune fille : " Ho, loué soit Dieu que je 
vois que je suis mieux que toi de n'avoir point ce diable.*' Rustique 
dit : *' Tu dis vrai, mais tu as une autre chose que je n'ai pas, et Tas en 
échange de cette-ci." " Eh, auoi ? " dit Alibech. Rustique repondit : 
" Tu as l'enfer, et je te veux oien dire que je croi que nostre Seieneur 
t'sdt ici envoyée pour le salut de mon ame, parce <^ue si ce diable me 
veut toujours donner cet ennui, et qu'il te plaise avoir tant de compas- 
sion de moi, que de souffrir que je le remette en enfer, tu me donneras, 
une très-granae consolation, et feras un très-grande service à Dieu, et 
grand plaisir, au moins si tu es venue ici pour faire ce que tu dis." La 
jeune nlle à la bonne foi repondit : " O mon pére, puisque j'ai Penfer, 
mettez-y le diable quand il vous plaira." Alors dit Rustique : " Ma 
fille, tu sois de Dieu benite, allons done et Vy mettons, afin qu'il me 
labse en paix : " et ceci dit, mena la fille sur un de leurs petits lits, et lui 
enseigna comme elle se devoit mettre pour imprìspnner ce maudit diable. 
La jeune fille, qui jamais n'avoit mis aucun diable en enfer, sentit pour 
la première fois un peu de mal : par quoi elle dit à Rustique : '* Pour 



l88 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [NOVEL X. 

Matters standing thus and Rustico being more than ever 
inflamed in his desires to see her so fair, there came the 
resurrection of the flesh, which Alibech observing and mar- 
velling, " Rustico," quoth she, " what is that I see on thee 
which thrusteth forth thus and which I have not ? '* " Faith, 
daughter mine," answered he, " this is the devil thereof I 
bespoke thee ; and see now, he giveth me such sore annoy 
that I can scarce put up with it." Then said the girl, " Now 
praised be God ! I see I fare better than thou, in that I 
have none of yonder devil." *'True," rejoined Rustico; 
" but thou hast otherwhat that I have not, and thou hast it 
instead of this." "What is that?'' asked Alibech; and 
he, " Thou hast hell, and I tell thee methinketh God hath 
sent thee hither for my souls health, for that, whenas this 

certain, mon pere, ce diable doit estre une mau valse chose, el véritable- 
ment ennemie de Dieu, puisqu'à I'enfer mesme il fait mal quand on Vy 
remet." Rustique repondit : " II n*en adviendra pas toiijours ainsi," et 
pour faire au'il n*advint plus, ils I'y remirent par six fois avant de des- 
cendre de aessus de lit, tant que pour cette nuit ils lui tirerent tellement 
I'orgueil de la teste, qu*il demeura volontiers en paix. Mais y retour- 
nant plusieurs fois less jours suivans, et la jeune fille obéissante toujours 
à le lui tirer, advint c|ue le jeu lui commen9a à plaire : par quoi elle dit : 
** Rustique, bien voi-ie qu'il est vrai ce que disoient ces gens de bien de 
Capse, que le servir a Dieu estoit si douce chose, et pour certain je n^ai 
aucune souvenance que rien que je fìsse jamais fust si plaisant, comma 
de remettre le diable en enfer, et par ce je juge que toute personne qui 
pense à autre chose qu'à servir Dieu, est une grande beste : " par quoi 
elle alloit souvent à Rustique, et lui disoit : ** Mon pére, je suis ici 
venue pour servir à Dieu et non pour demeurer oisive. Allons remettre 
le diable en enter." Faisant laquelle chose, elle disoit aucune fois : 
" Rustique, je ne S9ai pourquoi le diable s'enfruit d'enfer, car s*il y de- 
meuroit aussi volontiers comme Tenfer le re9oit et le tient, il n*en sorti- 
roit jamais." Ainsi done la jeune fille invitant souventefois Rustique et 
le confo rtant au service de Dieu, lui secoua tellement la bourse de son 
pelisson, que telle heure il se sentoit froid ou un autre eust sue ; et par 
ainsi commen9a à dire à la fille, qu'il ne falloit point chastierle diable, ni 
le remettre en enfer, sinon quana par orgueil il levoit la teste ; et par la 
grace de Dieu ils Tavoient tant chastie, qu*il prioit nostre Seigneur qu'on 
le laissast en paix ; et ainsi il imposa un peu de silence à la jeune fille, 
laquelle quand elle vit que Rustique ne la requeroit plus de remettre le 
diable en enfer, lui dit un jour : " Rustique, pourtant si ton diable est 
chastié, et ne te donne plus d'ennui, mon enfer ne me laisse point en 
paix ; par quoi je te prie qu*avec ton diable tu aides à oster la ra^e à 
mon enfer, comme j*ai aide avec lui à tirer Torgueil du tien." Rustic^ue 
qui ne vivoit que de racines, d'herbes, et d'eau, pouvoit très-mal satisfaire 
à la poste de la jeune fille, et lui dit qu*il fauclroit trop de tables pour 
oster la rage à un enfer, mais qu'il feroit ce qu'il pourroit ; et ainsi au- 
cunefois la contentoit, mais c'estoit si peu, que ce n'estoit autre chose 
que jetter une febve en la gueule d'un lion, dont la jeune fille (lui estant 
avis qu'elle ne servoit pas à Dieu autant comme elle eust bien vanlu) 
murmuroit. 



NOVEL X.] THE THIRD DAY. 189b 

devil doth me this annoy, an it please thee have so much 
compassion on me as to suffer me put him back into hell, 
thou wilt give me the utmost solacement and wilt do God a 
very great pleasure and service, so indeed thou be come into 
these parts to do as thou sayst." 

The girl answered in good faith, " Marry, father mine, 
since I have hell, be it whensoever it pleaseth thee ; " where- 
upon quoth Rustico, " Daughter, blessed be thou ; let us go 
then and put him back there, so he may after leave me in 
peace." So saying, he laid her on one of their little beds 
and taught her how she should do to imprison that ac- 
cursed one of God. The girl, who had never yet put any 
devil in hell, for the first time felt some little pain ; where- 
fore she said to Rustico, " Certes, father mine, this same 
devil must be an ill thing and an enemy in very deed of God, 
for that it irketh hell itself, let be otherwhat, when he is put 
back therein." " Daughter," answered Rustico, ** it will not 
always happen thus ; " and to the end that this should not 
happen, six times, or ever they stirred from the bed, they 
put him in hell again, insomuch that for the nonce they so 
took the conceit out of his head that he willingly abode at 
peace. But, it returning to him again and again the ensuing 
days and the obedient girl still lending herself to take it out 
of him, it befell that the sport began to please her and she 
said to Rustico, " I see now that those good people in Capsa 
spoke sooth, when they avouched that it was so sweet a thing 
to serve God ; for, certes, I remember me not to have ever 
done aught that afforded me such pleasance and delight as 
putting the devil in hell ; wherefore methinketh that whoso 
applieth himself unto aught other than God His service is a 
fool." 

Accordingly, she came ofttimes to Rustico and said to 
him, " Father mine, I came here to serve God and not to 
abide idle ; let us go put the devil in hell.*' Which doing, 
she said whiles, " Rustico, I know not why the devil fleeih 
away from hell ; for, and he abode there as willingly as hell 
receiveth him and holdeth him, he would never come forth 
therefrom." The girl, then, on this wise often inviting 
Rustico and exhorting him to the service of God, so took 
the bombast out of his doublet that he felt cold what time 
another had sweated ; wherefore 'he fell to telling her that 
the devil was not to be chastised nor put into hell, save 
whenas he should lift up his head for pride ; " and we," 
added he, "by God's grace, have so baffled him that he 



190 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [ NOVEL X. 

prayeth our Lord to suffer him abide in peace ; " and on this 
wise he for awhile imposed silence on her. However, when 
she saw that he required her not of putting the devil into 
hell, she said to him one day, " Rustico, and thy devil be 
chastened and give thee no more annoy, my hell letteth me 
not be ; wherefore thou wilt do well to aid me with thy 
devil in abating the raging of my hell, even as with my hell 
I have helped thee take the conceit out of thy devil." 

Rustico, who lived on roots and water, could ill avail to 
answer her calls and told her that it would need overmany 
devils to appease hell, but he would do what he might 
thereof. Accordingly he satisfied her bytimes, but so seldom 
it was but casting a bean into the lion's mouth ; whereat 
the girl, herseeming she served not God as diligently as she 
would fain have done, murmured somewhat. But, whilst 
this debate was toward between Rustico his devil and Ali- 
bech her hell, for overmuch desire on the one part and lack 
of power on the other, it befell that a fire broke out in Capsa 
and burnt Alibech's father in his own house, with as many 
children and other family as he had ; by reason whereof she 
abode heir to all his good. Thereupon, a young man called 
Neerbale, who had spent all his substance in gallantry, hear- 
ing that she was alive, set out in search of her and finding 
her, before the court had laid hands upon her father's estate 
as that of a man dying without heir, to Rustico's great satis- 
faction, but against her own will, brought her back to Capsa, 
where he took her to wife and succeeded, in her right, to the 
ample inheritance of her father. 

There, being asked by the women at what she served Go'd in 
the desert, she answered (Neerbale having not yet lain with 
her) that she served Him at putting the devil in hell and 
that Neerbale had done a grievous sin in that he had taken 
her from such service. The ladies asked, " How putteth 
one the devil in hell ? " And the girl, what with words and 
what with gestures, expounded it to them ; whereat they set 
up so great a laughing that they laugh yet and said, " Give 
yourself no concern, my child ; nay, for that is done here 
also and Neerbale will serve our Lord full well with 
thee at this." Thereafter, telling it from one to another 
throughout the city, they brought it to a common saying 
there that the most acceptable service one could render 
to God was to put the devil in hell, which byword, 
having passed the sea hither, is yet current here. Where- 
fore do all you young ladies, who desire to have the grace of 



NOVEL X.] THE THIRD DAY. Ipl 

God, learn to put the devil in hell, because it is very a<y>;pN 
able to God, highly agreeable to both parties concerned, and 
much good may grow out of it and follow it. 

[This is the * Diablc d'Enfer' of La Fontaine.] 

Dioneo having finished his story, and the queen knowing 
her sovereignty to be now at an end, took the crown from 
her heady and placed it on that of Filostrato, saying, " We 
shall soon see whether the wolves govern the sheep, bettei 
than the sheep have hitherto governed the wolves." He re- 
plied, with a smile, "If my advice had been taken, the wolves 
would have taught the sheep to put the devil in hell, just a» 
Rustico taught Alibech ; so do not call us wolves, since you 
yourselves have not been sheep. However, I take upon me 
the command." Givirfg the proper orders, then, to the stew- 
ard, as to what he would have done, he turned to the ladies, 
and said : — " It has beei my misfortune, ever since I was 
able to judge of anything, to be always in love with one or 
other of you ladies ; nor has it availed me in the least that 
I have been humble, obedient, and desirous of pleasing to 
the utmost of my power ; for I have constantly been dis- 
carded at last for some other lover, going still from bad to 
worse, and so I expect to continue till I go to my grave. 
Therefore I intend that our subject for to-morrow shall be 
something suitable to my own case ; namely, concerning per- 
sons whose amours have had an unfortunate conclusion." 
Having said this, he gave them leave to depart. The gar- 
den was so pleasant, that every one chose to walk thither, 
especially as the sun was going down, where some diverted 
themselves with observing and running after the kids, rab- 
bits, and other creatures, that were skipping about them. 
Dioneo and Fiammetta sat singing together the song of 
Guilielmo and the Lady of Vergiù. Filomena and Pamfilo 
played at chess. And thus they were all differently employed 
till the time of supper, which came upon them a little unex- 
pectedly ; when, the table being spread by the side of the 
fountain, they supped with a great deal of pleasure. As 
soon as the cloth was taken away. Filostrato, not to go out 
of the path which had been followed by the queens who had 
gone before him, commanded Lauretta to begin a dance 
with a song. She replied, " May it please your majesty, I 
know nothing of other people's songs, nor any of my own at 



19^ DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL X. 

present, which would please so agreeable a company ; but, 
if you will accept of such a one as I can call to mind, I will 
sing it with a great deal of pleasure." The king made an- 
swer, " Nothing of yours can be disagreeable : sing such as 
you have." She then began, with a musical voice, but ia a 
desponding manner, thus : — 

SONG. 

CHORUS. 

Who can with so much cause complain, 
As I, who love and sigh in vain ? 

He whose Almighty word hath taught to move 
The heavens, and every star above ; 

Hath made me as you see, 
All brisk and debonair, that I might be 
A pattern of perfection priz'd ; 
Yet I'm despis'd. 
Who can, &c. 

I heretofore' 
Was by a fond admirer made to prove 
The soft persuasive force of love ; 
Swift pass'd the hours of transport thus divine. 
Whilst all his wishes, all his thoughts, were mine \ 
But he's no more. 
Who can, &c 

One more morose and vain 

Next made his court ; 

But from report, 
He jealous soon became ; 
And falsely left me in distress, 

Tho* conscious then I was, 
That charms like mine, for genVal view design'd* 
Were to that lover's wishes still confined. 
Who can, &c. 

For ever be that day accurst. 

When, to commence a bride, 

I laid my sable weeds aside, 
Wliich dress so well became me first; 

Thrice happy damsel, had I died 

Before that fatal change I tried. 
Who can, &c. 

And thou, my dearest lover, once, and friend. 

Who, with the saints above, 
Enjoy'st the fruits of virtue and of love. 
My pray'r attend 



NOVEL I.] THE FOURTH DAY. 1 93 

Amidst the sweet repose, which now you find, 
Think on me, poor distressed maid ; 
And nature's final debt when paid, 
May we then meet, and be for ever join'd ! 
V/ho can with so much cause complain, 
As I, who love and sigh in vain? 

When the song was ended, lighted torches were brought, 
and set upon the grass ; and they continued, till the stars 
began to go down, singing and making merry. Then the 
king thought it time for them to depart, and, wishing one 
another a good n»'ght, they retired to their respective 
chambers. 



THE FOURTH DAY. 

The sun had now driven all the stars from the heavens, 
and dispelled the vapours of the night from the earth, when 
Filostrato arose, and ordered all the company to be called. 
They walked then into the garden, and dined, when the time 
came, where they had supped the preceding night. Taking 
a nap afterwards, whilst the sun was at its height, they re- 
turned at the usual time to the fountain side. Here Filos- 
trato commanded Fiammetta to begin, who spoke in a soft 
agreeable manner, as follows. 



NOVEL I. 

Tancrcd, Prince of Salerno, puts his daughter's lover to death, and sends 
his heart to her in a golden cup; she pours poison upon it, which she 
drinks, and dies. 

Our king has given us a most melancholy subject for this 
day's discourse ; considering, that we who came hither to be 
merry, must now recount other people's misfortunes, which 
cannot be related without moving compassion, as well in 
those who tell, as in those who hear them. Perhaps it is 
designed as an alloy to the mirth of the preceding days. 
But whatever his reason may be for it, I have no business to 
make any alteration in what he has been pleased to decree. 
I shall, therefore, mention an unhappy story to you, wortHy 
of your most tender compassion. 
Q 



194 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. L'^OVEU. 

Tancred, prince of Salerno, was a most humane and 
generous lord, had he not in his old age defiled his hands 
in a lover's blood. Through the whole course of his life he 
had only one daughter ; and happy had he been not to have 
possessed her. No child could be more dear to a parent 
than she was, and so loath was he to part with her, that she 
had been many years of marriageable age before he could 
bring himself to bestow her on a son of the Duke of Capoa. 
But she was soon left a widow, and came home again to her 
father. She was a lady of great beauty and understanding, 
and continuing thus in the court of her father, who took no 
care to marry her again, and it seeming not so modest in her 
to ask it, she resolved at last to have a lover privately. Ac- 
cordingly she made choice of a person of low parentage, 
but noble qualities, whose name was Guiscard, with whom 
she became violently in love, as he did with her. Such 
being their secret feelings, the lady who desired nothing so 
much as to be with Guiscard, and did not dare to trust any 
person with the affair, contrived a new stratagem in order to 
apprize him of the means. She wrote a letter, wherein she 
mentioned what she would have him do the next day for her; 
this she put into a hollow cane, and giving it to him one day, 
she said, pleasantly, " You may make a pair of bellows of 
this, for your servant to blow the fire with this evening." 
He took the cane, supposing very justly that she had some 
covert meaning, and, opening it at home he found the letter, 
which filled him with the utmost joy; and he immediately 
took measures to meet her in the manner she had directed 
him. 

On one side of the palace, and under a mountain, was a 
grotto, which had been made time out of mind, and into 
which no light could come but through a little opening dug 
in the mountain, and which, as the grotto had been long in 
disuse, was grown over with briars and thorns. Into this 
grotto was a passage, by a private stair-case, out of one of 
the rooms of the palace, which belonged to the lady's apart- 
ment, and was secured by a very strong door. This passage 
was so far out of every one's thoughts, having been disused 
for so long a time, that nobody remembered anything about 
it : but love, whose notice nothing can escape, brought it 
fresh into the mind of the enamoured lady. To keep this 
thing entirely private, she laboured all alone some days 
before she could gee the door open; when, having gone 
down into the cave, and observed the opening, and how 



NOVEL I.] THE FOURTH DAY. I95 

high it might be from the bottom, she acquainted Guiscard 
with these details. He then provided a ladder of cords; 
and casing himself well with leather, to defend him from the 
thorns, he fixed one end of the ladder to the stump of a tree 
which was near, and slid down by the help of it to the bot- 
tom, where he stayed, expecting the lady. The following 
day, therefore, having sent her maids out of the way, under 
pretence that she was going to lie down, and locking herself 
up alone in her chamber, she open the door and descended 
into the grotto, where she met her paramour to their intense 
mutual satisfaction. Thence she shewed him the way to her 
cliamber, where they were together the greatest part of the 
d-iy, and, after they had taken proper measures for the time 
to Qome, he went away through the cave, and she returned 
to her maids. He did the same the next night ; and he fol- 
lowed this course for a considerable time, till fortune, as if 
she envied them their happiness, thought fit to change their 
mirth into mourning. 

Tancred used sometimes to come into his daughter's 
chamber, to pass away a little time with her. Going thither, 

?[uite unperceived, one day after dinner, whilst Ghismond 
that was the lady's name) was with her maids in the gar- 
den ; and, not wishing to take her from her diversion, find- 
ing also the windows shut, and the curtains drawn to the 
feet of the bed, he threw himself down in a great chair, 
which stood in a corner of the room, leaned his head upon 
the bed, drew the curtain before him, as if he concealed 
himself on purpose, and fell asleep. In the mean time, 
Ghismond, having made an appointment with her lover, left 
the maids in the garden, and came into her chamber, which 
she secured, not thinking of any person being there. Then 
she went to meet Guiscard, who was in the cave waiting for 
her, and brought him into her chamber; when her father 
awoke, and was a witness to all that passed between them. 
This was the utmost affliction to him, and he was about to 
cry out, but upon second thoughts he resolved to keep the 
matter private if possible, that he might be able to do more 
securely, and with less disgrace, what he had resolved upon. 
The lovers stayed together their usual time, without perceiv- 
ing anything of Tancred, who, after they were departed, got 
out of the window into the garden, old as he was, and 
went, without being seen by any one, very sorrowful to his 
chamber. 



196 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL I. 

The next night, according to his orders, Guiscard was 
seized by two men as he was coming out of the cave, and 
carried by them in his leathern doublet to Tancred, who, as 
soon as he saw him, said, with tears in his eyes, " Guiscard, 
you have ill requited my kindness towards you, by this out- 
rage and shame which you have biought upon me, and of 
which this very day I have been an eye-witness." Guiscard 
made no other answer but this : " Sir, love has greater 
power than either you or I." Tancred then ordered that he 
should be kept in secret custody. The next day he went to 
his daughter's apartment as usual (she knowing nothing of 
what had happened), and, after locking the door, said to her, 
weeping, " Daughter, I had such an opinion of your modesty 
and virtue, that I could never have believed, had I not seen 
it with my own eyes, that you would have violated either, 
even so much as in thought. The recollection of this will 
make the pittance of life that is left very grievous to me. 
As you were determined to act in that manner, would to 
Heaven you had made choice of a person more suitable to 
your own quality; but this Guiscard is one of the very 
meanest persons about my court. This gives me such con- 
cern, that I scarcely know what to do. As for him, he was 
secured by my order last night, and his fate is determined. 
But with regard to yourself, I am influenced by two different 
motives ; on one side, the tenderest regard that a father can 
have for a child ; and on the other, the justest vengeance 
for the great folly you have committed. One pleads strongly 
in your behalf; and the other would excite me to do an act 
contrary to my nature. But, before I come to a resolution, 
I would hear what you have to say for yourself." And 
when he said this, he hung down his head, and wept like a 
child. 

She, hearing this from her father, and perceiving that 
their amour was not only discovered, but her iover in prison, 
with difficulty refrained from breaking out into loud and 
grievous lamentations, as is the way of women in distress ; 
but she conquered this weakness, and putting on a settled 
countenance, resolved firmly in her own mind not to outlive 
her Guiscard, who she supposed was already dead. With 
the utmost composure, therefore, she spoke to this effect : 
** Father, it is not my purpose either to deny, or to entreat; 
for as the one can avail me nothing, so I intend the other 
shall be of little service. I will by no means bespeak your 
love and tenderness towards me ; but shall first, by an open 



NOVEL I.] THE FOURTH DAY. igj 

confession, endeavour to vindicate myself, and then do what 
the greatness of my soul prompts me to. It is most true 
that I have loved, and do still love, Guiscard; and whilst I 
live, which will not be long, shall continue to love him; and 
if such a thing as love be after death, I shall never cease to 
love hinci. To this I was induced, not so much by female 
frailty, as by his superior worth, and the little care you took 
to marry me again. It ought to have been plain to you that, 
as you are made of flesh and blood, your daughter was not 
stone or iron, and you should have remembered,- though 
now you are old, what is the nature and force of youth- 
ful passions; and as your best years have been spent 
in part in the toils of war, you should the better have 
known what are the effects of ease and indulgence, not 
alone on the young, but even on the old. I am then a 
creature of flesh and blood ; I am still young ; and for both 
reasons possessed with desires which have become the more 
intense because having been married I have known the 
pleasure derived from gratifying them. Unable, then, to 
resist their force, I determined to obey their impulse ; and, 
with all the power of my soul, I resolved, that so far as in 
me lay, no shame should befall you or me from that to which 
a natural weakness impelled me. In this I was favoured by 
Love and Fortune, who showed me a very secret way by 
which, unperceived by any one, I attained my wishes ; and 
this, whoever disclosed it to you, or however you came to 
know'it, I do not deny. I did not take up with Guiscard by 
accident, as many do, but I chose him deliberately before 
all others, admitted him to my chamber with settled fore- 
thought, and with resolute perseverance on his part and 
mine, I long enjoyed my desires. It appears from what you 
say, that you would have been less incensed if I had made 
choice of a nobleman, and you bitterly reproach me for hav- 
ing condescended to a man of low condition. In this you 
speak according to vulgar prejudice, and not according to 
truth ; nor do you perceive that the fault you blame is not 
mine, but fortune's, who often exalts the unworthy, and leaves 
the worthiest in low estate. But, not to dwell on such consider- 
ations, look a little into first principles, ancl you will see that we 
are all formed of the same materials, and by the same hand. 
The first difference amongst mankind, who are all born equal, 
was made by virtue ; they who were virtuous were deemed no- 
ble, and the rest were all accounted otherwise. Though this 
law, therefore, may have been obscured by contrary custom, 



198 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL L 

yet is it discarded neither by nature nor good manners. li 
then you regard only the worth and virtue of your courtiers, 
and consider that of Guiscard, you will find him the only 
noble person, and the others a set of poltroons. With re- 
gard to his worth and valour, I appeal to yourself. Who 
ever commended man more for everything thai was praise* 
worthy, than you have commended him ? and deservedly, in 
my judgment; but if I was deceived, it was by following 
your opinion. If you say, then, that I have had an affair 
with a person base and ignoble, I deny it ; if with a poor 
one, it is to your shame, to let such merit go unrewarded. 
Now, concerning your last doubt, namely, how you are to 
deal with me, use your pleasure. If you are disposed to 
commit an act of cruelty, I shall say nothing to prevent such 
a resolution. But this I must apprize you of, that unless 
you do the same to me, which you either have done, or mean 
to do to Guiscard, my own hands shall do it for you. Leave 
tears then to women ; and if you mean to act with severity, 
cut us off both together, if it appear to you that we have 
deserved it." 

The prince knew full well the greatness of his daughter's 
soul ; yet he could by no means persuade himself, that she 
would have resolution enough to do what her words seemed 
to threaten. Dismissing, then, all thoughts of doing her 
hurt in person, and intending to wean her affection from her 
lover by taking him off, he gave orders to the two men, "who 
guarded Guiscard, to strangle him privately in the night, 
and to take his heart out of his body, and bring it to him^ 
They executed his commands, and the next day Tancred 
called for a golden cup, and putting the heart into it, he had 
it conveyed by a trusty servant to his daughter, with this 
message: "Your father sends this present to comfort you 
with what was most dear to you ; even as he was comforted 
by you in what was most dear to him." She had remained 
unshaken in her resolution since her father left her, and 
therefore had prepared the juices of some poisonous plants, 
which she had mixed with water, to be at hand if what she 
feared should come to pass. When the servant had deliv- 
ered the present, and the message, she took the cup, without 
changing countenance, and seeing the heart therein, and 
knowing by the servant's words that it must be Guiscard 's, 
she looked steadfastly at the man, and said, " My father has 
done very wisely ; such a heart as this requires no worse a 
sepulchre than one of gold." Then she lifted it to her 



NOVEL 1.] THE FOURTH DAY, 199 

mouth and kissed it, saying : " All my life long, even to this 
last period of it, have I found my father's love most abun- 
dant towards me ; but now, more than ever : therefore re- 
turn him in my name the last thanks that I shall ever be 
able to give him for such a present." Looking then to- 
wards the cup, which she held fast in her hand, she said : 
" Alas ! dearest end and centre of all my wishes ! Cursed 
be the cruelty of him, by whom these eyes now see you ; 
although my soul hath long viewed and known you. You 
have finished your course; such a one indeed as fortune 
has thought fit to allot you ; you are arrived at the goal to 
which we all tend ; you have left the miseries of this world 
far behind, and have obtained such a sepulchre from your 
very enemy, as your merit required. Nothing remained to 
make your obsequies complete, but the tears of her who was 
so dear to you whilst you were living ; and which, that you 
should not now want, Heaven pi*t it into the mind of ray re- 
lentless father to send you to me. And you shall have them, 
though I had purposed to die unmoved, and without shed- 
ding a tear ; and when I have done, I will instantly join my 
soul to yours ; for in what other company can I go better 
and safer to those unknown regions, where, I doubt not, your 
soul is now expecting mine." When she had done speaking, 
she shed a flood of tears, kissing the heart a thousand times ; 
whilst the damsels who were about her knew neither what 
heart it was, nor what her words imported ; but being moved 
with pity they joined with her, begging to know the cause of 
her grief, and endeavouring all they could to comfort her. 

After she had lamented as long as she thought fit, she 
raised up her head, and wiping her eyes, said, " Thou heart 
most dearly beloved ! All my duty is now performed towards 
thee ; nothing more remains, but for my soul to accompany 
thine." Upon this she bade them reach the vessel of water, 
which she had prepared the day before, and pouring it into 
the cup with the heart, which she had sufficiently washed 
with her tears, she drank it all off without the least dread or 
apprehension, and threw herself upon the bed with the cup 
in her hand, composing her body as decently as she could, 
and pressing her lover's heart to hers, she lay without utter- 
ing a word more, expecting death. 

The maids, when they saw this, though they knew not 
what it was she had drunk, sent to acquaint Tancred, who, 
fearing what had really happened, came into the room soon 
after she had laid herself down, and finding it was too late, 



200 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL L 

began to lament most grievously. " Sir," she said to him, 
"save those tears against worse fortune that may happen, 
for I want them not. Who but yourself would mourn for a 
thing of your own doing ? But If any part of that love now 
remain in you, which you once had for me, the last request 
I shall make is, that since you would not suffer us to be 
happy together whilst living, our two bodies (wherever you 
have disposed of his) may be publicly interred together 
when dead." Extreme grief would not suffer the prince to 
reply. Presently finding herself drawing near her end, she 
strained the heart strongly to her breast, saying, " Receive 
us. Heaven, I die!" Then closing her eyes, all sense for- 
sook her, and she departed this miserable life. Such an end 
had the amours of Guiscard and Ghismond, as you have 
now heard ; and the prince, repenting of his cruelty when it 
was too late, had them buried in one grave in the most 
public manner, amid the general grief of all the people of 
Salerno. 

[No tale of Boccaccio has been so often translated and imitated as this 
one. It was translated into Latin prose, by Leonard Aretine ; into Latin 
elegiac verse, by Filippo Beroald, the commentator on Apuleius ; and 
into Italian ottava rima, by Annibal Guasco de Alessandrus. It forms the 
subject of not fewer than five Italian tragedies ; one of which, ' La 
Ghismonda,' obtained a momentary fame by being falsely attributed, by 
its real author, to Torquato Tasso. An English drama, by Robert Wil- 
mot, which is also founded on this story, was acted before Queen 
Elizabeth, at the Inner Temple, in 1568 (Dodley's ' Collection of Old 
Plays,' vol. ii). The story appeared in French verse, by Jean Fleury ; 
and in the English octave stanza, by William Walter, a poet of the reign 
of Henry VII. In this country it is best known by the ' Sigismanda 
and Guiscardo ' of Dryden. The old English ballad of * Sir Cauline and 
the Daughter of the King of Ireland,' has a strong resemblance to this 
ballad of Boccaccio, in the secret meeting of the lovers, and the discovery 
of their transgression ; the catastrophe, however, is entirely different. 
The fine arts have also added lustre and celebrity to the tale. There is 
a beautiful painting attributed to Correggio, in which Sigismunda is rep- 
resented weeping over the heart of her lover. It was this picture that 
Hogarth tried to copy and rival, an attempt for which he was severely 
ridiculed. " The 'Sigismunda' of Hogarth," says Horace Walpole, "is 
the representation of a maudlin strumpet, just turned out of keeping, 
with eyes red with rage, tearing off the ornaments her keeper had given 
her." See also Churchill's * Epistle to Hogarth.*] 



NOVEL II.] THE FOURTH DAY. aoi 



NOVEL n. 

Friar Albert makes a woman believe that an angel is in love with her, 
and in that shape deceives her. Afterwards, for fear of her relations, 
he throws himself out of the window, and takes shelter in a poor man's 
house, who exposes him the next day in the public market-place, in 
the form of a wild man, when he is discoverea by two friars, and put 
into prison. 

The story related by Fiammetta drew tears several times 
from the eyes of all the company ; but it being now finished, 
the king, looking gravely, said,* " I would have given my 
life willingly to have enjoyed but half the pleasure which 
those lovers met with. Nor need you wonder at that, 
because I undergo a thousand deaths daily, without the least 
pleasure whatever in return. But, letting my fortune alone 
for the present, it is my will that Pampinea proceed; who, 
if she goes on as well as Fiammetta has begun, I shall ex- 
pect to receive some small degree of comfort more to my 
affliction." Pampinea, finding herself fixed upon for the 
next novel, and having more regard to the inclination of the 
company, which she very well knew, than to the king's com- 
mand, and being more desirous of diverting them than of 
satisfying his melancholy temper, chose a novel which should 
make them laugh, though she still kept to the subject pro- 
posed : — It is a common saying, said she, that a wicked man,' 
who has the reputation of being virtuous and good, may do 
many things, and nobody believe it. This affords ample 
matter for discourse, and a fit handle for me to shew how 
great the hypocrisy is of some of the religious, who have 
their garments long and large ; their faces made pale arti- 
ficially, and on purpose; their language so meek and hum- 
ble, to get men's goods from them ; yet are sour and harsh 
enough in reproving them of vices, of which they themselves 
are guilty; whilst they pretend that they merit heaven just 
as much by receiving, as the others do by giving. Who also, 
not as if they were to get thither by their own endeavours, 
but as though they were the possessors and lords of it, por- 
tion out to every person that dies, a better or a worse place 
therein, according to the amount of money bequeathed to 
them ; thus deceiving themselves, in the first place, if they 
really mean what they say, and afterwards those who put 
their trust in them. Of whom, might I have the liberty of 
speaking all I know, I could quickly disclose to many simple 

9* 



202 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. ^VOYKL IL 

people, what wickedness is too often concealed under that 
holy habit. I could wish, however, that the same success 
might attend the hypocrisy of them all, as befell a certain 
friar, who was concerned in some of the best families in 
Venice ; the relation of which may prove some diversion to 
you, after your grief for the death of Ghismond. 

There lived at Imola a man of a very bad life, called Berto 
della Massa, whose evil deeds had gained him such a charac- 
ter there, that nobody could believe him even when he spoke 
the truth. Finding, therefore, that all his quirks and cun- 
ning would stand him ii\. no further stead at Imola, he 
removed, in a kind of despair, to Venice, the common re- 
ceptacle of every sort of wickedness, and resolved to manage 
matters in a quite different manner from what he had done : 
and, as if he felt some remorse of conscience for his past 
life, pretending also to be seized with uncommon zeal and 
devotion, he turned friar, calling himself Father Albert of 
Imola. In this habit he seemed to lead a mighty sanctified 
life, highly commending penance and abstinence, and eating 
no flesh and drinking no wine; but then it was when he 
could get neither to please him. Besides this, when he was 
officiating at the altar at any time, if he saw he was 
taken notice of by many people, he would be sure to weep over 
our Saviour's passion, having tears enough at command when- 
ever he chose. In short, what with his preaching and cry- 
ing together, he had so far insinuated himself into the good 
graces of the people of Venice, that there was scarcely a will 
made but he was left executor ; he had the care also and 
disposal of many people's money; and was adviser and 
confessor to the greatest part both of the men and women ; 
so that from a wolf he became the shepherd, and the fame of 
his sanctity was greater than ever was that of St. Francis 

Now it happened, that a vain simple lady, named Lissetta 
da Ca Quirino, wife to a merchant, who was gone a voyage 
to Flanders, came one day, with some other women, to con- 
fess to this holy friar : and being asked, as she was confessing, 
if she had a lover ? she replied, putting on an angry counte- 
nance, "What! father, have you no eyes in your head.? 
Where do you see a woman so handsome as myself.? I could 
have lovers enough ; but my beauty is designed for none of 
them; it is fit only to appear in heaven itself." And many 
more things she said of the same sort, enough to give any 
one a surfeit to hear them. Father Albert immediately saw 
her blind side and thought her fit game for his net, but 



HOVEL li.] THE FOURTH DAY 303 

deferred using any flattering speeches till a more convenient 
opportunity : to shew himself, however, holy for that time, he 
began to reprove her, telling her all this was vain-glory, and 
so forth. The lady, in return, called him a brute, and told 
him he could not distinguish beauty when he saw it. He 
then, not to provoke her too far, took her confession, and 
dismissed her. 

A little time after, taking a friend with him whom he could 
trust to the house, he went with her to one side of the hall, 
where nobodv could see them, and falling down upon his 
knees, said, "Madam, I must beg, for Heaven's sake, that 
you will forgive me for blaspheming your beauty, as I did 
last Sunday; since I was so chastised the following night for 
it, that I could not rise out of my bed before to-day." — "And 
who," quoth the foolish lady, " chastised you in that man- 
ner.?" — "I will tell you. As I was saying my prayers that 
night, as usual, suddenly a great light shone around me. I 
turned about to see what it was, and beheld a beautiful youth, 
with a staff in his hand, who took hold of my hood, threw 
me down upon the floor, and beat me in such a manner, that 
I was almost killed. Upon my asking what all that was for ? 
he made answer, * Because thou didst so saucily presume to 
reprove the celestial beauty of Madam Lisetta, whom I love 
above all things in the world,' — *And who are you ?' I de- 
manded. * I am the angel Gabriel,' he replied. * O, my 
Lord,' then said I, * I beseech you to forgive me.' He an- 
swered, * I do forgive thee, upon condition that thou goest the 
very first opportunity to her, and obtain her pardon : and 
unless she thinks fit to excuse thee, I shall return, and give 
thee such discipline as thou shalt feel as long as thou shalt 
live.' What he said more I dare not speak, unless I have 
your forgiveness." 

My lady windbag, who had something of a sweet tooth in 
her head, gave ear to this ridiculous story, and said, " I told 
you. Father Albert, that my beauties were of the celestial 
kind ; I am sorry for what you have suffered, and forgive you, 
if you will tell me truly what the angel said besides." — " That 
I will," said he; "but one thing I must enjoin you, namely, 
that you tell it to no person living, unless you have a mind 
to ruin all ; for you are certainly the happiest woman upon 
the face of the earth. This angel Gabriel told me, then, 
that he had such a regard for you, that he should frequently 
have come to pass the night with you, if he thought you 
would not be too much terrified. He bid me tell you, there- 



204 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO [nOVEL II. 

fore, that he should come some night, and stay a while with 
you ; and seeing that he is an angel, and that you could not 
touch him if he were to come in that shape, he will put on 
a human appearance for your sake, and would know from 
you when you would choose to see him, and whose form 
and person you would have him assume." The conceited 
woman said she was very happy to hear that the angel Ga- 
briel loved her, for indeed she loved him, and never failed 
to set up a full candle wherever she saw him painted. At 
any hour he might please to come he should be welcome, and 
would find her alone in her chamber : but on this condition, 
that he should not forsake her for the Virgin Mary, of whom 
it was said he was very fond ; and, indeed, so it appeared, 
for he was everywhere to be seen on his knees before her. 
Furthermore, he might come in any form he pleased, pro- 
vided he did not frighten her. " Madam," said the friar, "you 
talk very sensibly, and I will arrange with him as you desire ; 
but I have a great favour to beg, which will cost you noth- 
ing ; it is that he may put on my person. I will tell you why 
I ask this. It is because he will take my soul out of my 
body and put it in paradise, and will enter into me ; and as 
long as he is with you, so long will my soul be in paradise." 
"I consent with all my heart," answered she ; " it will be some 
amends for the blows you have received." — "But," said he, 
" the door must be open, otherwise, as he comes in human 
shape, he would not be able to enter your house." She 
promised it should be done. Friar Albert then took leave of 
her, and she remained in such a transcendant state of exal- 
tation, that she did not know which way her sitting parts 
hung, and thought every moment a year till the angel Gabriel 
should come to her. 

By way of preparation for the part he had to play that 
night. Friar Albert fortified himself with provocatives and 
lots of good things ; and, when it was dark, he went with a 
companion to the house of a woman, who used to accommo- 
date him when he had such affairs on hand. Having there 
put on his angelic accoutrements, he went to the lady's house, 
found the door on the latch, and stepped up into her cham- 
ber. When Lisetta beheld that shining white apparition, she 
knelt down before it ; the angel gave her his benediction, 
raised her from the ground, and made a sign to her to go to 
bed. She obeyed with cheerful alacrity, and the angel lay 
down beside his votary. Friar Albert was a fine lively fel- 
low; Lisetta was a dainty bit of flesh; and he soon let her 



NOVEL II.] THE FOURTH DAY. 205 

know the difference between an angelic bedfellow and hei 
husband. Many a flight he took that night without wings; 
the lady fairly screamed with delight ; and between whiles he 
told her many things of the glories of heaven. Just before 
daybreak he went away as he had come, after making ar- 
rangements for his return, and rejoined his comrade, whom 
the good woman had kindly taken into her own bed lest he 
should be frightened if he lay alone. 

As soon as Lisetta had dined, she set off with her companion 
to see Friar Albert, and told him all about the angel Gabriel, 
what she had heard from him about the glories of heaven, 
how he was made, and a thousand marvellous stories of her 
own invention. " I don't know, madam," replied the friar, 
" how you fared with him ; but well I know that after he 
came to me last night, and I gave him your message, he 
suddenly transported my soul into a place of such exquisite 
pleasure as never was known, where it remained till this 
morning ; as for my body I know not what became of it." — 
"Donatiteli you!" said Lisetta; "your body lay all night 
in my arms with the angel Gabriel ; and if you will not be- 
lieve me, look under your left breast where I gave the angel 
— oh ! such a kiss, that you'll bear the marks of it for some 
days to come." — "Well," said the friar, "I will do what I 
have not done for a long time past, that is, strip myself and 
see if what you say is true." After much more talk of this 
kind, Madam Lisetta went home; and the angelic Francis- 
can continued his visits to her for a long time without im- 
pediment; but at last her silly babble spoiled all. 

One day it chanced that, being with an acquaintance, the 
conversation turned on female beauty, and Lisetta to exalt 
herself above all others, must needs say, " If you but knew 
what a conquest I have made, you would say no more about 
other women." Her friend, who was eager to draw her out, 
replied, " That may be very true ; and yet anybody but my- 
self might hesitate to believe it, not knowing who is the per- 
son in question." — "I ought not to name him," said the vain 
creature, " but as I have no secrets from you, I will tell you 
that it is the angel Gabriel ; and he loves me better than 
himself, as the finest woman to be found, so he tells me, in 
the whole world or within the lagoons." The friend could 
hardly help laughing out, but refrained that she might hear 
more. " By my faith, my dear," she said, " if the angel 
Gabriel is your lover, and told you this, of course he knows 
best; but I had no idea that angels did such things." — "You 



2o6 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL IL 

were mistaken, my dear, I give you my word my husband s 
but a fool to him ; and he tells me that they make love in 
heaven just the same as here, but he fell in love with me 
because there is none equal to me up there; nay, he comes 
down very often to be with me ; what do you say to that ?" 

It seemed an age to the friend till she could get away 
from Lisetta and have her fill of laughter. In the evening 
she had a bevy of ladies at an entertainment, and told them 
the whole story. They, again, told it to their husbands and 
to other ladies, and these to more, so that in less than two 
days it was known all over Venice. Lisetta's brothers-in-law 
heard of it amongst the rest, and without saying a word to 
her on the subject, they kept watch for several nights to- 
gether to discover this angel and see if he could fly. Some 
inkling of the matter also reached the ears of Friar Albert, 
and one night he went to reprimand her for making it pub- 
lic, but had no sooner got into the apartment, and stripped 
himself, than he heard the brothers-in-law at the door. 
Jumping up at once, and seeing no other way to escape, he 
opened the casement that was over the great canal, and 
threw himself directly into it. As the water was deep, and 
he was a good swimmer, he received no harm : and espying 
a house on the other side, with the door open, he rushed 
into it, and entreated the honest man to save his life, telling 
him a thousand lies concerning the reason of his coming 
there in that manner, and at that time. The man, being 
moved with pity, and having some business which called him 
away for a time, desired him to go into his bed, and lie there 
till he should return; he then locked him up in the house, 
and went about his business. The brothers-in-law, upon 
coming into the lady's chamber, found that the angel Gabriel 
had left his wings there, and flown away without them. 
They gave her, therefore, a tremendous rating, and left her 
disconsolate, carrying ofl^ the angel's implements along with 
them. 

In the mean time, the sun having risen, the man had re- 
paired to the Rialto, where he heard the whole story how 
the Angel Gabriel had been to spend the nignt with Ma- 
donna Lisetta, and how he was discovered by her relations, 
and forced to leap into the canal, and nobody knew what 
was become of him ; whence the cottager concluded it must 
be the same man that he had safe and fast at home. Find- 
ing, upon his return, that this was the fact, after some 
discourse together he made the friar send home for five 



THE ANGEL GABRIEL IMPERSONATED 
FOURTH DAY jit ji jH ji ji ji Jt NOVEL U 




NOVEL II.] THE FOURTH DAY. 207 

hundred ducats, threatening otherwise to deliver him up to 
the woman's friends. When the money was brought, and 
the friar was desirous of getting away, the honest man said 
to him, '* I see no way for your escape but one. To-day we 
make a great rejoicing, when one person is to bring a man 
clothed like a bear, another like a wild man, and so on ; and 
in that manner people are to come under different disguises 
into St. Mark's Place, as to a hunt ; and when the diver- 
sion is over, every man leads away the person that he brings, 
to what quarter he pleases. Now, if, before any one knows 
that you are here, you will consent to be led in one of these dis- 
guises, I will carry you afterwards where you will ; otherwise 
I do not see how you can get away without being observed ; 
for the relations, guessing that you are somewhere here- 
abouts, are everywhere upon the scout for you." This 
seemed a hard sentence to the friar ; but his fear of being 
discovered was so great, that he at last consented. Accord- 
ingly he was besmeared all over with honey, and covered 
with feathers ; a chain was put about his neck, and a mask 
upon his face, with a great stick in one hand, and a couple 
of butcher's mastiffs in the other; and a man was privily 
sent before to the Rialto, to make public proclamation, that 
all who had a mind to see the angel so much talked of, might 
repair to St. Mark's Place : which was a Venetian trick at 
best. 

When that was done. Father Albert was led forth, and all 
the way as he was carried along, there was a great outcry of 
the people, wondering what thing it was : and being brought 
into the great square, what with the people that followed, 
and those that flocked thither, upon hearing the proclama- 
tion, the crowd was immensely great. The fellow then tied 
his wild man to a pillar, pretending to wait till the sport 
began ; in the meantime, as he was bedaubed with honey, 
the flies and wasps began to grow exceedingly troublesome 
to him. Perceiving, at last, the square sufficiently crowded, 
under a pretence of turning his wild man loose, the man 
took off the mask, and said, "Gentlemen, as I find we are 
to have no other sport to-day, I intend to show you the angel 
who comes down from heaven o'nights to comfort the Vene- 
tian ladies." No sooner was the mask removed, than all 
present recognized Father Albert, and there was a most 
terrible outcry against him, every one pelting him with what- 
ever filth came to their hands, till at length the news reached 
the convent, when two of his brethren came, and, throwing 



2o8 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [NOVEL ITL 

a gown over him, carried him away with the utmost diffi- 
culty to their monastery, where he was thrown into prison, 
and ended his days in a miserable manner. Thus did this 
man's hypocrisy and wickedness meet with their due reward ; 
and may the like fate attend all his kind. 

[The numerous tales founded on that species of seduction practised by 
Alberto da Imola, may have originated in the incident related in all the 
romances concemini^ Alexander the Great, where Nectanebus predicts to 
Olympias that she is destined to have a son by Ammon, and afterwards 
enjoys the queen under the appearance of that divinity. But they have 
more probably been derived from the story related by Josephus (lib. xviii, 
c. xiii)i of Mundus, a Roman knight in the reign of Tiberius, who having 
fallen in love with Paulina, wife of Saturninus, bribed a priestess of Isis, 
to whose worship Paulina was addicted, to inform her that the god Ana- 
bis, being enamoured of her charms, had desired her to come to him. In 
the evening she accordingly proceeded to the temple, where she was met 
by Mundus, who personated the Egyptian divinity. Next morning she 
boasted of her interview with Anabis to all her acquaintance, who sus- 
pected some trick of priestcraft ; and the deceit having come to the 
knowledge of Tiberius, he ordered the temple of Isis to be demolished, 
and her priests to be crucified. Similar deceptions are also common in 
eastern stories. Thus, in the History of Malek, in the * Persian Tales,* 
the ad\enturer of that name, under the semblance of Mahomet, seduces 
the Princess of Gazna. A fraud of the nature of that employed by 
Alberto da Imola is frequent in the French novels and romances, as in 
'L'Amant Salamandre,' and the 'Sylph Husband,' of Marmonlel. It is 
also said to have been oftener than once practised in France, in real life, 
as appears from the well-known case of Father Girard and Mile. 
Cadière.] 



NOVEL III. 

Three young men fall in love with three sisters, and fly with them into 
Crete. The eldest destroys her lover out of jealousy ; and the second, 
by consenting to the Duke of Crete's desires, is the means of saving 
her sister's life : afterwards her lover kills her, and goes away with thd 
eldest sister. The third couple is charged with her death, which they 
confess, then bribe their keepers, make their escape, and die at Rhodes 
at last in great misery. 

When Filostrato heard the conclusion of Pampinea's 
novel, he stood some time in suspense, and at last, turning 
towards her, said, " There was something good in the end of 



NOVEL III.] THE FOURTH DAY. 209 

your Story, but the beginning was much too ludicrous." 
Then, pointing to Lauretta, he added, " Do you go on with a 
better if you can." She replied, with a smile, "You are too 
hard upon poor lovers, to desire that their affairs should end 
unfortunately. Nevertheless, I shall, in compliance with your 
orders, give an account of three persons who were equally 
unhappy that way ; and thus I proceed : — Every vice, as you 
very well know, may turn not only to the disadvantage of 
such as are subject to it, but of others also : and of all vices 
anger is that which hurries us along most blindly to our ruin. 
Now this passion seems to be a sudden and rash emotion, 
raised in us by an injury received ; which, driving away all 
sense and reason, and veiling the eyes of our understanding, 
kindles in our souls a most violent fury. And whereas men 
are governed by it too often, though some more than others, 
yet it is of worse consequence in women, as it is more easily 
kindled in them, and burns also with a more fierce and last- 
ing flame. Nor is this to be wondered at ; for fire, in its own 
nature, is apt to take hold the soonest of such things as are 
of the lightest consistence; and our texture, we know, is 
much more delicate than that of men. Seeing, therefore, 
how prone we are to it naturally; considering, also, that 
nothing can recommend us more to the good esteem of the 
men, with whom we are to spend our lives, than mildness and 
good nature ; and, on the contrary, that anger is attended 
with infinite danger and trouble ; I shall, for your greater 
defence and security in this respect, relate the loves of three 
young men, and as many ladies, who all became miserable, 
through the fury of one. 

Marseilles, you know, is an ancient and famous city in 
Provence, situated on the sea-coast, and was better stored 
formerly with rich citizens and wealthy merchants than it is 
at present. Amongst these was Namald Claude, a man of 
low birth but fair character, and immensely rich, who, besides 
his other children, had three daughters ; the two eldest, who 
were twins, were about fifteen years of age, and the other 
fourteen; and there was nothing wanting to the disposing of 
all three in marriage but the return of their father, who was 
gone on a trading voyage to Spain. The names of the two 
elder were Ninetta and Magdalena, and of the younger 
Bertella. Now there was a worthy young gentleman, but of 
small fortune, named Restagnone, in love with Ninetta, and 
she having the same inclination for him, their mutual wishes 
were soon consummated, and the affair was carried on for 



2 IO DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL IIL 

some lime between them, without any body's knowing any- 
thing of the matter. In the meantime, two other young 
gentlemen, who were both rich, their fathers being just dead, 
fell in love with the other two sisters ; the one whose name 
was Folco, having made choice of Magdalena, and the other, 
called Ughetto, of Bertella. Restagnone being apprized of 
this by Ninetta, contrived a way to make up his want of 
wealth by their love. Having cultivated an intimacy with 
them by accompanying them, sometimes singly, sometimes 
both together, to see their mistresses and his own, he took 
occasion one day to invite them to his house, where he 
spoke to them in this manner : " Gentlemen, our acquaint- 
ance for some time past may have convinced you of the 
great esteem I have for you, so as to have your interests at 
heart equally with my own ; I shall now acquaint you, therc' 
fore, with a thought which has just come into my mind, and 
you may do afterwards as you shall think proper. It plainly 
appears that you have the utmost regard and value for the 
two young ladies, and I have the same for the third .sister. I 
think, if you will consent to it, that I have found out an ex- 
pedient agreeable enough, which is as follows : you are both 
very rich, and I am otherwise ; make then one joint stock, and 
let me come in a partner with you ; resolve on what part of 
the world we shall go to, to live happily together, and I will 
undertake that the three sisters shall bear us company, with 
a good part of their father's wealth ; so that every one of us 
may have his mistress, and we live like brethren together, the 
happiest men on earth. What say you to this ?" 

The young gentlemen were so much in love, that they 
gave themselves very little time to reflect upon what was 
proposed ; but declared, that, happen what would, they were 
ready to comply. Restagnone accordingly took the first 
opportunity that offered of being with Ninetta, which was no 
easy matter to compass, when he made the same proposal to 
her, enforcing it by divers reasons, which he might have 
spared, because the scheme was entirely to her liking. She 
told him, therefore, that she consented for her own part, and 
would persuade her sisters; and that, in the meantime, he 
should get everything in readiness for such an expedition. 
He returned then to his two friends, who were impatient to 
know the result, and told them that everything was in readi- 
ness on the part of the ladies. Proposing to go to Crete, 
they sold all their estates under pretence of turning merch- 
ants, and bought a light frigate, which they armed and 



NOVEL III.] THE FOURTH DAY. 21 \ 

victualled with great secrecy against the time appointed. In 
the meantime, Ninetta, who was no stranger to her sisters' 
inclinations, had wrought so far upon them by her fine per- 
suasions, that they longed for nothing so much as their 
departure. The night being come, therefore, when they 
were to embark, the three ladies opened their father's cabinet, 
and took out a great quantity of money and jewels, with 
which they stole away to meet their lovers, who were waiting 
for them at the place appointed, when they immediately set 
sail, and made no stop anywhere till they came to Genoa the 
next night, where they consummated their several nuptials. 
Thence they sailed from port to port, till in eight days they 
arrived at Crete, where they purchased estates and fine 
houses, and lived like noblemen, keeping great numbers of 
servants, horses, dogs, etc., for their diversion ; so that none 
seemed to enjoy more real pleasure and satisfaction than 
themselves. 

Passing their time away in this manner, it happened (as it 
happens every day, that things, however coveted by us, nau- 
seate by over great plenty), that Restagnone, who had an 
ardent affection for Ninetta before she was in his power, 
began now to be much more cool in this respect; for, being 
at a feast one day, he met with a lady, with whom he became 
violently in love, and he began to give treats and entertain- 
ments for her sake, till his wife grew so jealous that he could 
never stir a step' but she took notice of it, and expressed the 
utmost uneasiness both in her words and behaviour to him 
on that account. But as plenty always cloys, and as to have 
what we want denied us whets the appetite, so did this 
vexation of hers increase the flame of his love. Whether it 
was that he had really accomplished his desires or not, 
Ninetta, whoever told her so, believed it: and she conse- 
quently fell into such a fit of sorrow and fury that her love for 
her husband was exchanged into the most inveterate hatred ; 
and she resolved to revenge the wrong she had sustained 
by his death. Meeting, then, with an old Grecian woman, 
who was skilled in all sorts of poisons, she engaged her, by 
presents and large promises, to prepare a deadly water, which 
she gave him without hesitation, one evening when he was 
very thirsty; and its virulence was such, that he died 
before morning. Folco and Ughetto, with their wives, 
knowing nothing of Restagnone's dying of poison, lamented 
over him very much along with Ninetta, who had him hon- 
ourably buried. 



212 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL III- 

But not many days afterwards the old woman was taken 
up for some other crime, when she confessed this one among 
others. Thereupon the Duke of Crete, without saying a 
word to any person concerning it, had Folco 's palace beset 
one night, and Ninetta brought quietly away a prisoner ,* and 
she, without being tortured, confessed the cause of Restag- 
none's death. The duke privately acquainted Folco and 
Ughetto with the cause of Ninetta*s arrest, and they used all 
their interest with him to prevent her being burnt, which 
they understood was likely to be her sentence, but all to no 
purpose ; the duke seemed determined to have justice done. 
Hereupon Magdalena, a very beautiful lady, and whom the 
duke had long conceived an affection for, though hitherto to 
no purpose, supposing now, that by obliging him she might 
save her sister's life, sent privately to let him know that she 
would now comply with his entreaties, upon two conditions : 
the one was, that her sister should be liberated ; and the 
other, that the whole should be kept secret. The duke liked 
the message, and agreed to what was proposed ; wherefore, 
keeping Folco and Ughetto prisoners, one night by her con- 
sent, as if he wanted some further information, he went 
privately to Magdalena. He had previously given out that 
he had caused Ninetta to be put into a sack, and thrown 
into the sea, and now he took her along with him to the 
sister, to whom he gave her up, according to their agreement, 
and charged Magdalena to send her out of the way, to pre- 
vent all blame and censure, and lest he should be compelled 
to proceed with rigour against her. 

The next morning Folco and Ughetto were told that their 
sister was put to death, and being released, went home to 
comfort their wives for the loss of her. Magdalena endeav- 
oured, as much as possible, to keep her concealed, yet Folco 
had some suspicion that she was in the house, and was at 
last convinced of it, which occasioned him some jealousy, as 
he knew the duke's regard for his wife : therefore he asked 
her, how it happened that Ninetta was there ? She then 
began a long story, to which he gave but little credit, and 
forced her at last to confess the whole truth. Upon which, 
being provoked to the last degree, he drew his sword, and 
stabbed her to the heart, she begging in vain for mercy. 
Fearing, afterwards, the duke's resentment, he went into the 
room to Ninetta, and said cheerfully to her, " Let us go away 
directly, according to your sister's appointment, for fear you 
should fall into the hands of the duke." She was desirous 



NOVEL VI.] THE FOURTH DAY. 213 

of getting away, and accordingly, without taking any leave 
of her sister, went off in great haste along with him. He 
took^ only what money was at hand, which was but little ; 
the two went on shipboard together, and it was never known 
whither they were carried. Magdalena being found dead 
the next day, some persons, out of ill-will to Ughetto, carried 
the news instantly to the duke, who came in all haste to the 
house, as he had an excessive love for her, and seized upon 
Ughetto and his lady, and put them to the rack, by which 
means he made them confess what they were entire strangers 
to ; namely that they were equally concerned in her death 
with their brother, who was fled. After this, finding that 
there was no other prospect of saving their lives, they bribed 
their keepers with a large sum of money, which they always 
had in readiness for any extraordinary occasion, and went 
inunediately on board a ship, without being able to take any 
of their effects, and fled to Rhodes, where they died some 
time after in great distress and poverty. To such an end 
did the foolish love of Restagnone and the ungovemed fury 
of Ninetta bring both themselves and others. 



NOVEL IV. 

Gerbino, contrary to a treaty made by King William, his grandfather, 
fought with a ship belonging to the King of Tunis, with a design to 
lake away his daughter ; who being slain by the ship's crew, he slew 
them likewise, and was afterwards beheaded for it. 

Lauretta had now concluded her novel, when the com- 
pany expressed their different opinions concerning the fate 
of these unhappy lovers ; this person saying one thing, and 
that another, till at length the king, raising up his head, as if 
from a profound study, made the next signal to Eliza, who 
began as follows: — There are many people who are per- 
suaded that love is only kindled at the eyes, and laugh at 
those who maintain the possibility of people's being enam- 
oured by report ; but how far they are mistaken will be seen 
in the following story; wherein will be shown, not only the 
power of fame in that respect, but that it has brought divers 
persons also to a miserable death. 

Guiglielmo, the second king of Sicily (as their histories 
relate) had two children, a son named Ruggieri, and a daugh- 
ter called Constantia. Ruggieri died before his father, leav- 



4 14 DECAMEROIl OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL IV. 

ing a son, called Gerbino, whom his grandfather took care to 
bring up, and he became a most accomplished prince ; nor 
did his fame confine itself within the bounds of hi^ own 
country, but was echoed through numerous parts of the world, 
especially in Barbary, which was then tributary to the King 
of Sicily. Amongst others, who had heard of his singular 
worth and character, was a daughter of the King of Tunis, 
who, in the opinion of all that ever saw her, was as beautiful 
a woman as ever lived, with a soul equally noble and perfect. 
The lady, inquiring always after people of worth, received 
from all hands a most extraordinary account of Gerbino's 
merit and noble exploits, which were so pleasing to her, that, 
conceiving within her own mind the idea of his person, she 
became violently in love, and was never more pleased than 
when he was the subject of discourse. On the other hand, 
no less had her fame reached Sicily, as well as other coun- 
tries, and was particularly agreeable to the prince, who had 
conceived the same love for her. Being desirous above all 
things of seeing her, he charged some of his friends, till he 
could obtain leave from his grandfather to go himself to Tunis, 
to make his love known privately to her, in the best manner 
they were able, and to bring him some tidings concerning 
her. This was managed very dexterously by one of them, 
who went under the character of a jeweller. The princess 
received him with great cheerfulness and satisfaction, de- 
claring a mutual regard for the prince, and as a proof of it, 
she sent him a present of one of her richest jewels. He re- 
ceived it with great joy, and wrote several letters, present- 
ing her with things of great value, and pledging himself 
to wait upon her in person, when fortune afforded him an 
opportunity. 

Things being carried so far, and farther than ought to have 
been, it happened, that the princess's father promised her in 
marriage to the King of Granada, to her infinite sorrow, and 
could she have found opportunity, she would gladly have 
fled from her father to the prince. He, in like manner, 
hearing of this contract, was afflicted beyond measure, and 
resolved, if it should happen that she was sent by sea, to take 
her away by force. The King of Tunis hearing something of 
Gerbino's love, and what he designed, and well knowing his 
resolution and great valour, when the time came that she was 
to depart, sent to the King of Sicily to acquaint him with 
his design, and to desire a safe conduct ; and that monarch, 
knowing nothing of his grandson's affections towards the lady, 



NOVEL I V.J THE FOURTH DAY. 215 

nor thinking that the safe conduct was desired upon that 
account, readily granted it, in token whereof he sent one 
of his gloves to the King of Tunis. The latter then fitted 
out a stately ship at Carthage, and providing it with every- 
thing necessary to transport his daughter to Granada, waited 
only for the time that had been appointed. The young lady, 
who was aware of all this, sent one of her servants in secret 
to Palermo, to acquaint the prince that she was to sail in a 
few days, and that it would now appear whether he was a 
person of such valour as had been always reported, or had 
that love for her which he had often declared. The mes- 
sage was faithfully delivered ; and the prince knowing, at the 
same time, that his grandfather had granted a safe conduct, 
was at a loss how to act; but reflecting upon the lady's 
words, and that he might not appear a dastard, he hired two 
light ships at Messina, which he took care to have well 
manned, and sailed with them to the coast of Sardinia, ex- 
pecting that the ship which had his mistress on board must 
take that course. In a few days that expectation was an- 
sweredf and he saw the ship sailing with a light wind near 
the place where he was stationed. Thereupon he thus ad- 
dressed his companions: 

" Gentlemen, if you are the men I take you to be, there is 
none of you, I imagine, but must have felt the extraordinary 
power of love, without which, as I judge by myself, there can 
be no valour or worth in mortal. If then you have ever 
bec^, or are now in love, you will the more easily comprehend 
the nature of my design. It is love that makes me call upon 
you ; and the object of it is in the ship before you. Besides 
that, there is store of riches, which, if you fight manfully, 
you may easily obtain. For my part I desire nothing but the 
lady, for whose sake I have taken up arms ; everything else 
shall be yours. Let us go then boldly to the attack ; fortune 
seems to favour our undertaking ; they lie still, unable to get 
along for want of wind." 

The prince had no occasion to make use of such an ex- 
hortation; for his people, eager for rapine, were ready 
enough to his orders. They declared their approbation 
then with a great shout, whilst the trumpets sounded, and 
they all armed themselves, and rowed towards the ship. In 
like manner the other ship's crew, seeing two galleys come 
towards them, and that there was no possibility of escaping by 
flight, stood resolutely upon their defence. The prince being 
come sufl&ciently near, ordered that the masters of the vessel 



2l6 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL IV. 

should come on board, unless they meant to fight. The 
Saracens understanding who the assailants were, and what 
their demand was, told them, that it was contrary to treaty, 
to the royal faith plighted to them, in token of which they 
showed king Guiglielmo's glove; and they flatly declared, 
that they would neither surrender themselves, nor part with 
anything in the ship till they were forced to do so. The 
prince, now seeing the lady upon deck, whose charms ex- 
ceeded all he had dreamed of them, replied, " Show your 
glove to your hawks when you fly them, it is of no use here ; 
either deliver up .the lady, or prepare for fight." Then they 
began slinging darts and stones on both sides ; battering one 
another for a considerable time, to the great damage of 
both. At length, when the prince saw that little good was to 
be done that way, he took a small pinnace which he had 
brought with him from Sardinia, and setting it on fire, towed 
it with his two galleys alongside of the ship. The Saracens 
being now assured that they must either surrender or perish, 
had the lady brought from below, where she was all in tears ; 
then they shouted to Gerbino, and murdered her before his 
face, whilst she begged in vain for mercy and help, and 
threw her into the sea, saying, "Take her, such as we now 
give her to thee : and such as thy breach of faith has de- 
served." He, seeing their cruelty, and not caring now what 
became of his own life, in spite of all the darts and stones 
that were thrown at him, came up close with the ship, and 
boarded her; and, as a famished lion, when he gets among a 
heard of cattle, gives a loose to his fury before he satisfies 
his hunger, so did the prince slay all that came in his way, 
whilst the fire getting a-Jiead in the ship, he ordered the 
sailors to save what booty they were able for themselves, and 
returned to his galley little pleased with so dear a conquest. 
Afterwards, having recovered the lady's body out of the sea, 
and lamenting heartily over it, he returned to Sicily, and had 
it buried in Ustria, a little island over against Trapani, and 
then he came home the saddest man on earth. 

The King of Tunis, upon hearing the news, sent ambassa- 
dors all in deep mourning to the King of Sicily, complaining 
of the breach of faith, and relating in what manner it had 
been done. Guiglielmo was much concerned at this, and 
seeing no way by which he could deny them the justice they 
demanded, he had his grandson seized, and notwithstanding 
the intercession of every one of his barons, ordered his head 
to be struck ofi" in his presence ; choosing rather to be with- 



NOVEL v.] THE FOURTH DAY. 217 

out a grandson, than to be thought a king without honour. 
So miserable was the end of these two lovers within a few 
days of each other, without tasting the least fruit of their 
loves. 

NOVEL V. 

Isabella's brothers put her lover to death ; he appears to her in a dream^ 
and shows her where he is buried. She privately brings away his head, 
and, putting it into a pot of basil, and other sweet herbs, laments over- 
it every day. At length they take it away from her, and she soon after 
dies of grief. 

Eliza having concluded her novel, which was commended 
by the king, Filomena was then ordered to begin. Full of 
pity for the two unhappy lovers last mentioned, she heaved 
a deep sigh, and said : — " My novel will not be concerning 
people of such high rank as those of whom Eliza has spoken, 
but perhaps it may be equally moving ; and I am led to it 
from her mentioning Messina, where the thing happened. 

There lived at Messina, three young merchants, who were 
brothers, and left very rich by their father : they had an only 
sister, named Isabella, a lady of worth and beauty, who, 
whatever was the reason, was yet unmarried. Now they had 
in their employ a young man of Pisa, called Lorenzo, who 
managed all their affairs. He was a young man of very 
agreeable person and manners, and being often in Isabella's 
company, she loved him, and he forsook all others for her 
sake ; nor was it long before their mutual desires were con- 
summated. This affair was carried on between them for a 
considerable time, without the least, suspicion ; till one night 
it happened, as Isabella was going to Lorenzo's chamber, 
that the eldest brother saw her, without her knowing it. 
This afHicted him greatly; yet, being a prudent man, he 
made no discovery, but lay considering with himself till 
morning, what course was best to take. He then related to 
his brothers what he had seen, with regard to their sister and 
Lorenzo, and, after a long debate, it was resolved to seem to 
take no notice of it for the present, but to make away with 
him privately, the first opportunity, that they might remove 
all cause of reproach both to their sister and themselves. 
Continuing in this resolution, they behaved with the same 
freedom and civility to Lorenzo as ever, till at length, under 
a pretence of going out of the city, upon a party of pleas- 
ure, they carried him along with them, and arriving at a 
10 



2l8 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL V. 

lonesome place, fit for their purpose, they slew him, unpre* 
pared as he was to make any defence, and buried him on 
the spot. Then, returning to Messina, they gave it out, that 
they had sent him on a journey of business, which was easily 
believed, because they frequently did so. 

After some time, Isabella, thinking that Lorenzo made a 
long stay, began to inquire earnestly of her brothers concern- 
ing him, and this she did so often, that at last one of them 
said to her, " What have you to do with Lorenzo, that you 
are continually teazing us about him? If you inquire any 
more, you shall receive such an answer as you will by no means 
like." This grieved her exceedingly, and fearing, she knew 
not why, she remained without asking any more questions; 
yet all the night would she lament and complain of his long 
stay ; and thus she spent her life in a tedious and anxious 
waiting for his return ; till one night it happened, that, hav- 
ing wept herself to sleep, he appeared to her in a dream, 
all pale and ghastly, with his clothes rent in pieces, and she 
thought that he spoke to her thus : " My dearest Isabel, thou 
grievest incessantly for my absence, and art continually call- 
ing upon me ; but know that I can return no more to thee, 
for the last day that thou sawest me, thy brothers put me to 
death." And, describing the place where they had buried 
him, he bade her call no more upon him, nor ever expect to 
see him again ; and disappeared. 

Isabella woke up, implicitly believing the vision, and wept 
bitterly. In the morning, not daring to say anything to her 
brothers, she resolved to go to the place mentioned in the 
dream, to be convinced of the reality. Accordingly, having 
leave to go a little way into the country, along with a com- 
panion of hers, who was acquainted with all her affairs, she 
went thither, and clearing the ground of the dried leaves, 
with which it was covered, she observed where the earth 
seemed to be lightest, and dug there. She had not searched 
far before she came to her lover's body, which she found in 
no degree wasted ; this informed her of the truth of her 
vision, and she was in the utmost concern on that account ; 
but, as that was not a fit place for lamentation, she would 
willingly have taken the corpse away with her, to give it a 
more decent interment; but, finding herself unable to do 
that, she cut off the head, which she put into a handkerchief, 
and, covering the trunk again with mould, she gave the head 
to her maid to carry, and returned home without being per- 
ceived. She then shut herself up in her ch^^ber, and 



NOVEL VI.] THE FOURTH DAY. 219 

lamented over her lover's head till she had washed it with 
her tears, and then she put it into a flower-pot, having folded 
it in a fine napkin, and covering it with earth, she planted 
sweet herbs therein, which she watered with nothing but rose 
or orange water, or else with her tears, accustoming herself 
to sit always before it, and devoting her whole heart unto it, 
as containing her dear Lorenzo. 

The sweet herbs, what with her continual bathing, and the 
moisture arising from the putrefied head, flourished exceed- 
ingly, and sent forth a most agreeable odour. Continuing 
this manner of life, she was observed by some of the neigh- 
bours, and they related her conduct to her brothers, who had 
before remarked with surprise the decay of her beauty. Ac- 
cordingly, they both reprimanded her for it, and, finding that 
ineffiectual, stole the pot from her. She, perceiving that it 
was taken away, begged earnestly of them to restore it, which 
they refusing, she fell sick. The young men wondered much 
why she should have so great a fancy for it, and were resolved 
to see what it contained : turning out the earth, therefore, 
they saw the napkin, and in it the head, not so much con- 
sumed, but that, by the curled locks, they knew it to be 
Lorenzo's, which threw them into the utmost astonishment, 
and fearing lest it should be known, they buried it privately, 
and withdrew themselves thence to Naples. The young lady 
never ceased weeping, and calling for her pof of flowers, till 
she died : and thus terminated her unfortunate love. But, in 
some time afterwards, the thing became public, which gave 
rise to this song — 

Most crael and unkind was he, 
That of my flowers deprived me, etc. 

[Keats's beautiful poem, 'The Pot of Basil/ has made this story 
familiar to the English reader.] 



NOVEL VI. 

k young lady, named Andrevuola, is in love with Gabriotto ; they relate 
to each other their dreams, and he falls down dead in her arms. As 
she and her maid are carrying him out, they are apprehended by the 
officers of justice ; she relates how the affair happened, and after- 
wards, the map^strate would force her, but she resists ; at length her 
father hears of it, and as her innocence is clear, has her set at liberty. 
From that period she grows weary of the world, and becomes a nun. 

The ladies were all pleased with Filomena's novel, because 
they had often heard the song, but were unacquainted with 



220 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL VL 

the reason of its being made. The king laid his next com- 
mands on Pamfilo, who began thus: — The dream in the 
preceding story puts me in mind of another, in which men- 
tion is made of two different dreams, that shewed what was 
to happen, as the last did what had already come to pass; 
and which were no sooner related than the effect as suddenly 
followed. You must know, then, that it is a general passion 
in all people to see many things in their sleep, which appear 
real at that time, and when we wake we judge some of them 
to be so, some to be barely probable, and others to be utterly 
false, many of which do yet come to pass. For this reason 
we see many persons pay the same regard to a dream, as they 
would do to anything which they saw whilst they were really 
awake ; insomuch, that they find constant matter of joy or 
trouble therein, according to their different hopes or fears ; 
on the contrary, there are others who will believe nothing of 
that kind, until they fall into the very danger of which they 
have been in that manner forewarned. Of these, I com- 
mend neither the one nor the other; for, as all dreams are 
not true, neither are they all false. That all are not true, we 
may each of us have frequently observed ; and yet that all 
are not false, appears from Filomena's novel, and will be far- 
ther shown by mine. Therefore, I am of opinion, that in a 
virtuous life and a good cause you need regard no dream, so 
far as to forego any good intention ; and, on the contrary, 
that in bad actions, although your dreams seem to be favour- 
able, and to promise success, yet should you give no credit 
to these any more than to the others. But to proceed with 
my story. 

In the city of Brescia there lived a gentleman, called 
Signor Negro da Ponte Carraro, who, besides his other 
children, had a daughter named Andrevuola, a young and 
beautiful lady. Now she had taken a fancy to a neighbour, 
whose name was Gabriotto, a man of mean extraction, but 
excellent qualities, as well as graceful person ; and, by her 
maid's assistance, she had managed so, that he was not only 
made acquainted with it, but they had frequent interviews 
together in her father's garden, to- the mutual satisfaction of 
both parties. And, that nothing but death should part their 
affection, they were privately married. 

Continuing their meetings in this manner, it happened one 
night, that she dreamed they were in the garden together, 
and, as she had him in her arms, she thought she saw, arising 
out of his body, something black and frightful, the form of 



NOVEL VI."! THE FOURTH DAY. 221 

which she could not well comprehend, which took him by 
force from her, and went with him under ground; and from 
that time she could neither see the one nor the other. This 
caused her the utmost distress, and glad she was, upon wak- 
ing, to find it otherwise : yet she had some dread still upon 
her on account of the dream. The next night, therefore, 
on her husband's desiring to meet her, she endeavoured 
all she could to excuse herself: but seeing him resolute, and 
fearing to disoblige him, she received him as usual. After 
they had diverted themselves with gathering flowers, and 
had sat down by a fountain side, he inquired the reason 
why she would have prevented his coming that night. She 
then related her dream, and the apprehensions it had occa- 
sioned ; which made him laugh, and tell her that it was a 
folly to mind dreams, which proceeded, for the most part,- 
from the stomach being either too full, or too empty, and 
which we every day see to be of no significancy : " But," 
added he, " had I showed any regard to dreams, I should not 
have come here, not so much for the sake of yours, as one 
of my own last night, which was this : I thought I was hunt- 
ing in a most delightful forest, and that I had taken a beau- 
tiful young hind, as white as snow, which in a little time 
became so tame that it never left me ; and I, fearing I might 
lose it, put a collar of gold about its neck, which I held by 
a golden chain in my hand. Afterwards, as it couched 
down by me, with its head in my bosom, on a sudden came 
rushing upon us, but whence I could not imagine, a grey- 
hound, as black as jet, apparently half starved, and mon- 
strously ugly. At me it made full speed, thrust its snout 
into my bosom, on my left side, and griped me to my very 
heart, which I thought it tore away from me, and which gave 
me such pain, that I instantly awoke, clapped my hand on 
my side, to feel if anything was amiss ; and could not help 
laughing afterwards at my own weakness for doing so. 
What can be said, then, in such cases ? I have had as bad 
or worse dreams, and nothing ever happened to me : then 
let us think of something else." 

The lady was still more dismayed at hearing this, but con- 
cealed her thoughts as much as possible, for fear of giving 
him uneasiness ; yet every now and then would she cast her 
eye down the garden, to see if anything monstrous appeared. 
At length her husband, fetching a deep sigh, embraced her, 
and said, " Alas, my life, help me, I am dying ! " and, having 
said that, he fell upon the ground. She immediately drew 



222 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. f NOVEL VI. 

him into her lap, and weeping, said, " My dearest love, what 
is it that you feel?" He made no answer, but gasping 
vehemently, and perspiring inordinately, he soon expired. It 
is easy to conceive how grievous this was to the lady, who 
loved him more than her own life. She called upon him by 
name, over and over again, and wept for a considerable 
time ; but, seeing that he was certainly dead, and not know- 
ing what to do, she ran, all in tears, to call her maid, who 
had been intrusted with the secret, and, after they had 
lamented over him for some time together, she said to her — 
" Since Heaven has taken away my love from me I mean to 
live no longer myself; but, before I put my design into 
execution, I would take the most effectual means to preserve 
my honour, by concealing the affection that has existed 
between us ; I desire then to have this body first interred, 
whose dear soul is now departed." " My dear lady," the 
maid replied, " do no talk of destroying yourself; for, by 
doing an act of that kind, you will lose him in the other 
world also : a soul like his must be happy, and you would 
send yours to endless misery : you had better compose your- 
self, and think how you may be of service, by offering up 
some few prayers in his behalf, if by chance he should stand 
in need of them, for any sin he may have committed. With 
regard to his interment, that may easily be done in this 
garden, because it was never known that he came hither; 
or, if you will not agree to that, we will carry him out, 
and leave him there: he will be found in the morning, 
and conveyed home, when his relations will take care 
to bury him." The lady, though she was overwhelmed 
with grief, listened attentively to the maid's advice ; and not 
approving of the former part of it, she said, with regard to 
the latter, " Heaven forbid that I should ever suffer a youth 
so dearly beloved by me, and my husband too, either to be 
buried like a dog, or left in the street: he has had my 
prayers, and shall have those of his friends and relations. I 
am now resolved what to do." And immediately she sent 
the maid for a piece of rich silk she had in her cabinet, 
which being brought, she spread it upon the ground, and 
they laid the body upon it, with the head on a pillow ; and 
closing his eyes and mouth, with abundance of tears, putting 
a garland of roses on his head, and strewing others over his 
body, she said to her maid, "It is not far to his house, 
whither we can easily carry him, as he now is, and we will lay 
him before the door ; it will soon be day, and then he will be 



NOVEL VI.] THE FOURTH DAY. 223 

found ; and though it will be a sad sight to his friends, to 
me, in whose arms he died, it will be a satisfaction." Hav- 
ing said this, she hung down her head over him, and wept 
for a considerable time ; till, being reminded by her servant 
that daybreak was at hand, she raised herself up, and taking 
the ring from her finger, with which he had espoused her, 
she put it upon his, saying, " My dear lord, if thy soul has 
any knowledge of my tears, or if there be any sense or un- 
derstanding left after that is departed from the body, receive 
this last gift from her who was once so dear to thee : " and 
at these words she fell down in a swoon. In some little time 
she came to herself, when they took up the silk, on which 
the body was laid, and went with it out of the garden, to- 
wards his house. 

As they were going along, it happened that they were met 
by some of the provost's officers, who were out upon another 
affair, and who seized them as they were carrying off the 
corpse. Andrevuola, coveting death at that time more than 
life, said freely to them, "I know who you are, and that it 
would be in vain to think of escaping ; I am ready then to go 
before the magistrates, and to relate all I know concerning 
this matter ; but let none of you dare to touch me, because 
I offer no resistance ; nor touch anything belonging to this 
body, under pain of being accused himself" Accordingly 
it was carried untouched to the provost's hall, and, when 
notice of it was given to him, he arose, and she being brought 
before him he began to question her how, and by what 
means, this thing had happened. Physicians also were sent 
for to give their opinions, whether it was done by poison, or 
any such way: they all declared the contrary, affirming that 
sonie vein near the heart had burst, which had suffocated 
him. The provost hearing this, and perceiving her inno- 
cence, pretended to make a matter of favour of it, and told 
her that he would set her at liberty, upon condition that she 
would yield herself to his pleasure, which she refusing, he 
was base enough to try force. But she, fired with a noble dis- 
dain, defended herself with great courage and resolution. 

It being now broad day, and the news being carried to 
Signor Negro, he went, full of grief, to the hall, attended by 
many of his friends, and, being informed of his daughter's 
innocence, he demanded her from the provost, who, choosing 
rather to mention himself what had happened, than to allow 
her to accuse him, began, with great commendation of her 
constancy and virtue, owned his designs towards her, and 



224 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL VL 

offered to marry her, nothwithstanding the meanness of her 
former marriage, if it was agreeable to her father and herself. 
Whilst he was speaking, Andrevuola entered, and falling 
down on her knees before her father, said, " My dear father, 
I suppose I need not tell you either of my boldness or of 
my misfortune, as you must certainly have heard of both : 
therefore I most humbly beg your forgiveness for having 
married without your knowledge, the person whom I most 
loved ; and this I do with no view to a pardon, but that I 
may die as your daughter, and not as an enemy." 

Signor Negro was advanced in years, and, being one of a 
courteous and gentle disposition, could not refrain from 
tears at these words, and, raising her tenderly from the 
ground, he said, " Daughter, I should have been more glad 
if you had taken such a husband as I had approved of; yet, 
if you married to please yourself, this ought to please me. 
But to conceal it entirely, gives me concern for the little 
confidence you repose in me ; especially as he died before I 
knew anything of the matter : but since it is so, the respect, 
for your sake, that I would have showed him, as my son-in- 
law, whilst he was living, I mean to express now he is dead." 
Then, turning to his children and friends, he ordered them 
to get everything in readiness for a solemn and magnificent 
funeral. 

By this time Gabriotto 's friends and relations had assem- 
bled, as well as great crowds from all parts of the city ; and, 
the corpse being set in the middle of the court in the manner 
she had before adorned it, great lamentation was made over 
it, by all the relations and others present ; and thence it was 
carried to the grave with the utmost honour and respect, not 
like that of an ordinary citizen, but as of a person of quality, 
upon the shoulders of some of the most eminent citizens. 
A few days afterwards, the provost renewed his request, and 
Signor Negro recommended it to his daughter, who would 
hear nothing of it ; and he, willing to content her, sent both 
her and her maid into a monastery of great devotion, where^ 
after a long course of time, they ended their lives. 



NOVEL VII.] THE FOURTH DAY. 225 



NOVEL VII. 

Pasquino is in love with Simona ; and being in a garden with her, he hap« 
pens to rub his teeth with a leaf of sage, and immediately dies. She is 
brought before the judge, when, being desirous of showing him the 
cause of Pasquino's death, she rubs her teeth with the same herb, and 
meets with a similar fate. 

Pamfilo had finished his novel, when the king, seeming to 
be under no concern for Andrevuola, turned to Emilia, and 
desired her to begin, which she did accordingly in this man- 
ner : — Pamfilo's story puts me in mind of another, which is 
only like it in this respect, that, as Andrevuola lost her lover 
in a garden, so she of whom I am going to speak, was taken 
up in the same manner, as Andrevuola was, and delivered 
from the hands of justice, neither by force nor virtue, but by 
unexpected death. And though we have said before, that 
love makes his habitation in the houses of great people, yet 
does he not disown all influence over the poorer sort. On 
the contrary, all powerful as he is, he shows his power over 
them, as well as over the rich, as will appear in a great meas- 
ure from my novel, which brings me back again to our city, 
whence we have so far strayed to talk of other subjects that 
have happened in different parts of the world. 

There lived not long since at Florence, a young woman, 
agreeable enough, for her rank in life, but descended of mean 
parents, whose name was Simona; and though she earned 
her bread by spinning, yet she was not beneath the passion 
of love, with which she was inspired by the pleasing conver- 
sation and behaviour of a young man of the same condition 
as herself, who used to bring her wool to spin for his master, 
a clothier. From this youth, whose name was Pasquino, she 
received the amorous flame, ever wishing, but not expecting 
anything farther; whilst still, as her wheel went round, she 
sent forth a thousand sighs, calling him then to mind who 
had brought her the wool. He, on the other hand, being de- 
sirous that his master's work should be well done, used to 
call oftener upon Simona than upon any one else, as if her 
spinning was to make up the whole piece ; whence the one 
continuing to solicit, and the other desiring to be solicited, 
it happened, that the first began to assume more courage 
than he used to have, and the second lost a good deal of her 
fear and bashfulness, so that they seemed at last to have 
come to a tolerable understanding. 



226 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL VIL 

This mutual good will of theirs continuing for some lime, 
and every day increasing, he said to her one day, that he 
desired of all things to meet her in a certain garden, where 
they might talk together with greater freedom and less sus- 
picion. She assured him that she was willing; and telling 
her father, one Sunday after dinner, that she was going for 
a pardon to St. Gallo, she went along with a companion of 
hers, called Lagina, to the place appointed. There she 
found Pasquino with a friend of his, named Puccino, though- 
more usually called Stramba. Stramba and Lagina soon be- 
came acquainted, and each drew to one end of the garden, 
whilst Pasquino and Simona were at the other. In that part 
where this couple was, grew a large bush of sage, near which 
they seated themselves, and having talked about a feast, 
which they intended to have some holiday in that garden, he 
plucked a leaf of the sage, and began to rub his teeth and 
gums with it, saying, that nothing cleansed the teeth better 
after eating than sage; and when he had done, he returned 
to his former subject of the feast, when immediately he be- 
gan to change countenance, his sight and speech both failed 
him, and he suddenly expired. 

When Simona saw this she began to lament, and scream 
for help to the other two, who instantly ran up, and seeing him 
not only swollen, but full of black spots, Stramba immediately 
cried out, "Oh! thou vile woman, thou hast poisoned him." 
He made such an uproar, that he was heard by many of the 
neighbours, who flocked thither, and finding the man dead and 
swollen, and hearing Stramba lament and accuse Simona of 
his death, whilst grief for the loss of her lover, and astonish- 
ment together, had so confounded her, that she scarcely made 
any defence, they supposed it was as he said. Upon this the 
poor creature was carried before a magistrate ; when Stramba, 
and two other friends of Pasquino, being her accusers, the 
judge took immediate cognizance of the case, and not being 
able to see any malicious intent in Simona, or that she was 
in the least guilty, he wished to view the dead body, as well 
as the place and manner of the occurrence, because there 
were some things which he could not well understand from 
her account. Coming, then, without any great bustle to the 
garden, where Pasquino *s body lay puffed up like a tun, the 
judge was surprised, and inquired particularly how it hap- 
pened. Simona went to the bush of sage, and having related 
the whole affair, that he might have a perfect account, rub- 
bed her teeth with a leaf, as Pasquino had done. Stramba 



• NOVEL VIII.J THE FOURTH DAY. 227 

and the rest looked upon this as a frivolous and vain pre- 
tence, and called out violently to the judge to have her 
burnt for her wickedness; whilst she (miserable wretch!) 
grieved for the loss of her lover, and terrified to death with 
their threats, having rubbed her teeth with the same sage 
that he had used, dropped down dead in a similar manner, 
to the wonder of them all. 

Happy souls ! to end both their loves and their lives on 
the same day. More happy still, if they went together to 
the same place! Happiest, if they love one another as 
much in the other world as here ! But happiest of all, at 
least in our judgment, is the soul of Simona, whose inno- 
cence fortune would not leave at the mercy of such witnesses, 
and therefore found a way, by her dying the same death 
with her lover, for her to escape their slander, and to follow 
the soul of her beloved Pasquino. The judge was lost in 
amazement at this accident, as well as the rest of the com- 
pany ; and upon recollecting himself at last, he said, " This 
sage is plainly venomous ; therefore, that nobody else may 
suffer by it, let it be cut up by the roots, and burnt." This 
was done by the gardener in his presence, when the cause of 
the lovers' deaths plainly appeared. Under the sage was a 
monstrous overgrown toad, with whose breath it was judged 
to be infected. And none being hardy enough to go near 
it, they made a circle of stubble round it, and burnt it along 
with the sage. So ended the process upon the death of poor 
Pasquino, whose body, as well as that of Simona, was inter- 
red by Stramba and the rest of the people present, in St. 
Paul's church, to which parish they were said to belong. 



NOVEL vin. 

Girolamo is in love with Salvestra, and is obliged by his mother to go to 
Paris ; on his return he finds her married ; and getting privately into 
her house, he breathes his last by her side. On his being carried thence 
to a church to be buried, she dies likewise upon his corpse. 

Emilia's novel was concluded, when, by the king's order, 
Neifile began as follows: — There are some people, most 
worthy ladies, who think they know more than other folks, 
and yet know less ; and who upon this presumption not only 
oppose their opinions to the general sense of mankind, but 
even to the very nature of things ; whence proceed frequently 



228 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. f NOVEL Vili, 

great inconveniences, and never any good. Amongst nat- 
ural causes, that which the least brooks any advice or oppx^^ 
sition is love, the nature of which is such, as more easily to 
wear away of itself, than to be removed by any admonition. 
I intend to relate a story of a lady, who, being willing to 
appear wiser than she really was, or than the thing, in which 
she would have shewed her good understanding, required ; 
by endeavouring to drive away that passion from a heart, in 
which it was firmly implanted, deprived her son both of life 
and love at the same time. 

In our city, as it is reported, there lived a great and 
wealthy merchant, whose name was Lionardo Sighieri, who 
by his wife had an only son called Girolamo. Lionardo died 
soon after his son was born, and the infant's guardians along 
with his mother took all possible care both of him and his 
affairs. As he grew up, amongst the other children of the 
neighbourhood, he used to play with a tailor's daughter much 
about the same age; in time that acquaintance changed 
into love, which became so vehement, that he was never easy 
unless he was in her company, and certainly her love was no 
less warm for him. His mother observed this, and would 
frequently reprimand and chastise him for it. Finding that 
ineffectual, she complained to his guardians; and thinking, 
on account of his wealth, that she might work impossibilities, 
she said to them, " This boy of mine, who is but fourteen 
years old, has taken such a fancy to a tailor's daughter, and 
unless we remove him he will marry her privately some time 
or another, which will be death to me ; or else he will pine 
and consume himself away, if he sees her married to another 
person; for which reason I think it best to send him a dis- 
tance off, to some of our factors, in order by his absence to 
put her out of his thoughts, and afterwards we may provide 
a more suitable wife for him." They agreed with her that 
it would be right to do so, and promised her all the service 
that lay in their power. Calling him then into the counting- 
house, one of them spoke kindly to him in this manner : 
** Voung gentleman, as you are now of considerable years, it 
is fit that you should begin to look after your own affairs ; 
for which reason we consider it proper that you go and re- 
side some time at Paris, where you will see how a great part 
of your trade is carried on ; besides, you will have greater 
opportunities there of improving yourself than you can have 
here, and after you have conversed with persons of quality 
and distinction, of whom there are great numbers at Paris, 



NOVEL Vili.] THE FOURTH DAY. 229 

and learned their breeding and elegant accomplishments, it 
will then be time for you to return." He listened very atten- 
tively, and replied in a few words, that he would not consent, 
because he thought it full as^ell to stay at Florence. They 
reproved him a little for it; but finding they could get no 
other answer, they acquainted his mother. She was in a 
violent passion, and gave him hard words, not on account of 
his refusing to go, but for his love affairs ; and this availing 
nothing, she began to use gentler means, entreating him in 
the mildest terms that he would oblige his guardians; and 
she prevailed so far, that he consented to go and stay one 
year there, and no more, and accordingly he went. 

Being sent thus to Paris, over head and ears in love, his 
return was put off from one day to another, until he was kept 
there at last two years ; when coming home, more enamoured 
than ever, he found, to his bitter grief, that his mistress was 
married to a young man, a tent-maker. Seeing, however, 
that the thing could not be remedied, he endeavoured to bear 
it patiently ; and finding out the place where she lived, he 
began, as is usual with young lovers, to walk frequently by 
the house, supposing that she could no more have forgotten 
him, than he had forgotten her. But the case was otherwise : 
she remembered him no more than if she had never seen him, 
at least it seemed so by her behaviour, which gave him great 
trouble; yet, notwithstanding, he tried all means to make her 
call him to mind ; but, finding it in vain, he resolved to speak 
to her, though it cost him his life. Having made himself 
acquainted, through a neighbour, with the interior arrange- 
ment of the house, he got into it privately one night, when 
the husband and wife were gone to spend the evening with 
some friends, and hid himself in their chamber, behind some 
sail cloths, where he waited until they returned and were in 
bed ; and when he thought the husband fast asleep, he went 
softly to her side, and laying his hand upon her breast, said 
gently to her, " My dear life, are you asleep ? " She, happen- 
ing to be awake, was going to cry out, when he immediately 
added, ** For God's sake make no noise ; I am your old lover, 
Girolamo." She, hearing this, replied, all in a tremble, 
** Dear sir, go about your business ; the time when we might 
love one another is past ; you see I am married, and there- 
fore am only to regard my husband ; I entreat you, then, to 
depart ; for if he should know of it, supposing nothing worse 
to happen, I should be miserable as long as I live, and our 
lives hitherto have been very comfortable together." The 



230 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL VITI. 

youth was extremely troubled at these words, and though he 
put her in mind of past times, and used many arguments and 
fair promises to persuade her, yet it was all in vain. At last 
he desired, that, as a recompense for all his love, she would 
only let him lie by her side till he had warmed himself a 
little, for that he was quite chilled while waiting for her, 
promising neither to speak or touch her, and when he grew 
warmer, go away. She, having some compassion left for him. 
gave leave upon those conditions. He then lay down by 
her, and calling to mind his long passion, and her inflexible 
cruelty, as one destitute of all hope, he resolved to die ; and 
holding his breath strongly, he clenched his hands, and 
expired by her side. 

After some little time, she being surprised at his lying so 
still, and fearing lest her husband should wake, began to say- 
to him, " Alas I sir, why do you not go away ? " Perceiving 
that he made no answer, she supposed he was asleep, and 
putting her hand out to jog him, found him quite cold; 
being greatly amazed at this, and shaking him more strongly, 
sli * perceived he was certainly dead. Affected beyond meas- 
ure, she lay a considerable time, not knowing what course to 
take. At length she resolved to sound her husband, by mak- 
ing it another person's case; awakening hirc^ therefore, she 
proposed it to him, as having happened to somebody else, 
and then asked him what he would do in such an affair. 
The honest man replied, that he would have him carried 
privately home, without the least resentment to the woman, 
because she seemed to be in no way in fault. " Then," said 
she, " we must do so now : " and taking hold of his hand, 
laid it upon the dead body. He arose in a great fright, and, 
lighting a candle, immediately took the corpse upon his 
shoulders, having first put all its clothes upon it and relying 
upon his innocence, carried it to the mother's door, and left 
it there. When it was found in the morning there was a 
great uproar about it, and the body was examined all over, 
and no wound or bruise appearing, the physicians declared 
that he had d ed for grief, and such was really the case. 
The corpse was then carried to the church, attended by 
the sorrowful mother, and other friends and relations to la- 
ment over it, according to the custom of our city; and 
whilst this was doing, the honest man, in whose house he 
had died, said to his wife, " Go, veil yourself, and hasten to 
the church, and hear among the women what they say 
about it, and I will do the same amongst the men, by which 



NOVEL IX.] THE FOURTH DAY. 23 1 

means we shall know whether they have any suspicion of 
us." The woman, who had some pity for him when it was 
too late, grew desirous of seeing him dead, to whom, whilst 
living, she would not vouchsafe the favour of one kiss, and 
went directly thither. 

Wondrously inscrutable are the powerful workings of love. 
That heart which was proof against the prosperous fortune 
of Girolamo, was now pierced by his adversity ; and the old 
flames of love, which were revived, had such an effect upon 
her, that, veiled as she was, she still pressed forwards to the 
corpse, when uttering a most terrible shriek, and falling down 
with her face upon it, she shed but a few tears, for the very 
instant almost that she touched it, grief deprived her of life, 
as it did Girolamo. Instantly the women began to comfort 
her, not knowing who she was, and to desire her to rise, but 
perceiving that she did not stir, they lifted her up, when they 
knew her to be Salvestra, and beheld that she was quite dead. 
Overcome, then, as it were by a double compassion, they set 
up a greater lamentation than before. The news being carried 
through the church, soon came to the cars of Salvestra's 
husband. He was deeply affected, and having related to 
some that stood by the whole affair of the preceding night, 
the cause of both their deaths plainly appeared, and they 
were generally lamented. They then took the dead lady, 
and laid her by his side upon the same bier, and they were 
buried with the greatest lamentations in the same grave. So 
this pair, whom love could not join together in their lifetime, 
were united inseparably by death. 



NOVEL IX. 

Gulielmo Rossiglione gave his wife to eat the heart of Gulielmo Guarda- 
stagno, her giÉiUant, whom he had slain ; as soon as she knew this, she 
threw herself out of a window, and, dying, was buried along with 
him.. 

There being an end of Neifile's novel, not without the 
greatest compassion expressed by the whole company, the 
king, who meant not to infringe upon Dioneo 's privilege, as 
there was nobody else left to speak, began thus : — I now call 
to mind a story, which, as you are upon sorrowful subjects, 
will move you no less than the last, as the persons concerned 
were of greater figure, and the event more cruel. 

You must know, then, that in Provence were two noble 



232 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL IX. 

knights, who had each of them castles of their own, and 
vassals under their subjection; one of these knights was 
called Gulielmo Rossiglione, and the other, Gulielmo Guard*- 
astagno; and, being both persons of great prowess, they took 
a great delight in military exploits, and used to go together 
to all tilts and tournaments, and appeared always in the same 
colours. Though they lived ten miles asunder, yet it hap- 
pened, that Rossiglione having a very beautiful wife, the 
other, notwithstanding the friendship that existed between 
them, became violently in love, and by one means or other 
he soon let her know it. He being a valiant knight, this was 
not at all displeasing to her, and she began to entertain the 
same respect for him, so that she wished for nothing so 
much as that he should speak to her upon that subject, which 
in some little time came to pass, and they were together 
more than once. Being not so discreet as they ought to 
have been, the husband soon perceived it, and he resented 
it to that degree, that the extreme friendship he had enter- 
tained for Guardastagno was turned into the most inveterate 
hatred ; but he was more private with it, than they had the 
prudence to be with their amour, and was fully bent upon 
putting him to death. Continuing in this resolution, it fell 
out, that a public tilting match was proclaimed in France, 
which Rossiglione immediately signified to Guardastagno, 
and sent to desire his company at his castle, when they would 
confer together about going, and in what manner; Guarda- 
stagno was extremely pleased with the message, and sent 
word back that he would sup with him the next night without 
fail. 

Rossiglione hearing this, thought it a fit opportunity to 
effect his design, and arming himself the next day, with some 
.of his servants, he went on horseback into a wood about a 
mile from his castle, through which Guardastagno was to 
pass, where he lay in wait for him. After a long stay, he 
beheld him coming unarmed, with two servants unarmed 
likewise, as not apprehending any danger; and, when he 
saw him in a fit place for his purpose, he ran with his lance 
at him, with the utmost malice and fury, saying, ** Villain, 
thou art a dead man ! " and the very instant he spoke the 
word, the lance passed out behind through his breast, and 
he fell down dead, without uttering a word. .The servants, 
not knowing who had done this, turned their horses, and fled 
with all possible haste to their lord's castle. Rossiglione 
now dismounted from his horse, and with a knife cut Guar- 



NOVEL IX.] THE FOURTH DAY 233 

dastagno's breast open, and took out his heart, and, wrapping 
it in the streamer belonging to his lance, gave it to one of 
his servants to carry. Then commanding them not to dare 
to speak of it, he mounted his horse, and, it being now night, 
returned to his castle. 

The lady, who had heard of Guardastagno's supping there 
that night, and longed muv^h to see him, finding that he did 
not come, was a good deal surprised, and said to her hus- 
band, *• Pray, what is the reason that Guardastagno is not 
here?" He replied, "I have just received a message from 
him that he cannot be with us till to-morrow ;" at which she 
seemed very uneasy. As soon as he alighted from his horse, 
he sent for the cook, and said to him, "Here, take this boar's 
heart, and be sure you make it as delicious as possible, and 
send it up to the table in a silver dish. Accordingly, he took 
and minced it very small, dressing it up with rich spices, 
and making it a sort of high-seasoned forced meat. 

When supper-time came, they sat down, and the dishes 
were served up ; but Rossiglione could not eat much for 
thinking of what he had done. At last the cook having 
sent up the forced meat, he set it before his lady, pretending 
himself to be out of order, but commending it to her as a 
nice dish. She, who was not at all squeamish, began to 
taste, and liked it so well that she ate it all up. When he 
saw that she had made an end, he said, " Madam, how do 
you like it?" she replied, "In good truth, sir, I like it 
much."— "As God shall help me," quoth the knight, "I be- 
lieve you ; nor do I wonder that it pleases you so much now 
it is dead, which, when living, pleased you above all things." 
She made a pause at this, and then said, — "Why, what is it 
that you have given me ? " He replied, " It is really the 
heart of Guardastagno, whom you, base woman, loved so 
well : be assured it is the same, for these very hands took it 
out of his breast, a little time before I returned home." 

When the lady heard this of him whom she loved above 
all the world, you may easily imagine what her anguish 
must have been. At last she replied, " You have acted like 
a base villain as you are; for if I granted him a favour of 
my own accord, and you were injured thereby, it was I, and 
not he, that ought to have been punished. But let it never 
be said that any other food ever came after such a noble 
repast as was the heart of so valiant and worthy a knight." 
Then, rising up, she instantly threw herself out of the win- 
dow. It was a great height from the ground, and she was 



234 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL X 

in a manner dashed to pieces. He, seeing this, was a good 
deal confounded, and being conscious of having done a base 
action, fearing also the country's resentment, he had his 
horses saddled, and fled directly away. The next morning 
the whole story was known all round the country, when the 
two bodies were taken and buried together with the utmost 
lamentation in one grave in the church which had belonged 
to the lady ; and verses were written over them, signifying 
who they were, as "well as the manner and cause of their 
deaths. 

[Some commentators on Boccaccio have believed the tale to be taken 
from the well-known story of Raoul de Conci, who, while dying of wounds 
received at the siege of Acre, ordered his heart to be conveyed to his 
mistress, the Lady of Fayel : but this singular present being intercepted 
in the way, was dressed by command of the exasperated husband, and 
presented at table to his wife, who having incautiously partaken «f it, 
vowed never to receive any other nourishment. But as Boccaccio himself 
informs the reader that his tale is given according to the relation of the 
Provencals, it seems more probable that it is taken from the story of the 
Provencal poet Cabestan, which is told by Nostrodamus, in his * Lives of 
the Troubadours.' Besides, the story of Cabestan possesses a much closer 
resemblance to the novel of Boccaccio than the fiction concerning Raoul 
de Conci and the Lady of Fayel ; indeed it precisely corresponds with 
the Decameron, except in the names, and in the circumstance that the 
lady stabs herself, instead of leaping from the window. 



NOVEL X. 

A doctor's wife puts her gallant into a chest, imagining him to be dead, 
which chest is stolen by two usurers, and carried home. He comes to 
himself, and is taken for a thief; whilst the lady's maid informs the 
magistrates that she had put him into a chest, which the usurers had 
carried away, upon which he escapes, and they are fined a sum of 
money. 

Dioneo was the only person now left to speak, who ac- 
cordingly began, by the king's order, as follows : — " The mis- 
eries of unfortunate lovers, which have been related by you, 
have so affected both my eyes and. heart, that I have long 
wished there might be an end of such tales. We may now 
be thankful that they are all over, unless I should add one 
to their number, which is no part of my design; I mean 
therefore to shift the scene, and to present you with a little 
mirth after all this sorrow, and which may serve as a good 
arijument for to-morrow's discourse. 



NOVEL X.] THE FOURTH DAY. 235 

You must understand, then, that not long since there lived 
at Salerno a famous doctor in surgery, called Master Mazzeo 
della Montagna, who in his old age had married a young 
and beautiful wife, of the same city. There being such a 
disproportion in their years, he spared no cost for clothes 
and jewels, and gratified her in all such things to the utmost 
of her wishes ; so that in that respect she was far better off 
than any other lady in the city. But she was not to be so 
satisfied ; and looking out amongst the young gentlemen of 
Salerno, she at last fixed upon one, on whom she settled her 
entire hope and affection ; and he being made sensible of it, 
shewed the same regard for her. He was named Ruggieri da 
Jeroli, and came of a noble family, but had always been of 
a rakish disposition, on which account he had displeased all 
his friends so far, that none of them would see him, and he 
was now branded all over Salerno for everything that was 
vile and wicked. This had no weight with her, and by her 
maid's assistance they were brought together, when she re- 
proved him for his past conduct, and desired, that, for her 
' sake, he would leave off those wicked courses ; and to take 
away all temptation, she supplied him from time to time 
with money. The affair being carried on in this manner 
between them with a good deal of caution, it happened that 
the doctor had a patient in the meantime, who had a bad 
leg ; this, he told the person's friends was owing to a de- 
cayed bone, which he must take out to make a cure, otherwise 
the patient must either lose his leg, or his life ; but in every 
way he looked upon it as a very doubtful case. The friends 
bade him do as he thought proper. Now the doctor, sup- 
posing that the patient would never be able to endure the 
pain without an opiate, deferred the operation till the even- 
mg; and in the meantime, ordered a certain water to be 
distilled, which, being drunk, would throw a person asleep 
as long as he judged it necessary in this particular case. 
This water being brought home to him, he set it in his 
chamber window without saying what it was. 

Now \n the evening when he was to perform this opera- 
tion, a messenger arrived from some very considerable per- 
sons at Malfi, who were his friends, charging him to come 
away instantly, for that there had been a great fray among 
them, in which many people were wounded. The doctor 
then put off the operation on the man's leg till the morning, 
and went in a boat directly to Malfi : whilst the lady know- 
ing that he would be out all night, had her gallant brought 



2^6 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL X. 

privately into her chamber, where she locked him in, till cer- 
tain persons of her family were gone to bed. Ruggieri, 
waiting thus in the chamber, expecting his mistress, and 
being extremely thirsty, whether from fatigue, or some salt 
meat that he had eaten, or rather from a bad habit which he 
had of drinking, happened to cast his eye upon the bottle of 
water, which the doctor had ordered for his patient, and im- 
agining it something pleasant to drink, he took it all off at a 
draught, and in a little time he fell into a profound doze. 
The lady made what haste she could to her chamber, and 
finding him fast asleep, began, with a low voice, to try to 
wake him ; but he making no reply, nor even stirring, she 
was much vexed, and shook him roughly, saying, " Get up, 
sluggard ! If thou art disposed to sleep, thou shouldst have 
stayed at home, and not come to sleep here." He being 
pushed in that manner, fell down from a chest, on which he 
was sitting, upon the ground, and shewed no more sense or 
feeling than if he had been really dead. She was now under 
greater concern, and began to pull him by the nose, as well as 
twinge him by the beard, but it was all of no service ; the ■ 
enchantment was too strong. On this she really suspected 
him to be dead, and pinched and burned his flesh with the 
candle, till, finding all to no purpose, and being no doctress, 
although her husband was a doctor, she took it for granted 
he was a corpse. 

You may easily suppose what her grief now must be, as 
she loved Ruggieri beyond all the world. Not daring to 
make any noise, she for some time continued silently deplor- 
ing her calamity: till fearing at last lest dishonour should 
follow, she thought some means must be contrived to convey 
him out of the house. Not knowing how to manage it her- 
self, she called her maid and advised with her about it. The 
girl was in great surprise, and trying all means to rouse Rug- 
gieri to no purpose, agreed with her mistress that he was 
certainly dead, and that it was best to get him away. *' But 
where can we carry him," said the lady, " that it may never 
be suspected to-morrow, when he shall be found, that he was 
brought from this house?" — "Madam," replied the maid, 
" I saw late this evening a good large chest, standing before 
a joiner's shop in our neighbourhood. If it be not taken 
into the house again, we may put him in there well enough, 
giving him two or three slashes with a pen-knife ; whoever 
finds him will scarcely imagine that we should put him there 
rather than anywhere else ; on the contrary, it will rather be 



NOVEL X.] THE FOURTH DAY. 237 

supposed that he has been upon some bad exploit, because 
he has a general ill character, and that he was killed by his 
adversary, and so shut up in the chest." The lady approved 
of her maid's advice in everything save the wounding him, 
saying, that for all the world she would never consent to that : 
accordingly she sent her to see if the chest was still there. 
The maid brought her back word that it was ; and, being 
stout and lusty, she took him on her shoulders, whilst the 
lady went first to see that nobody was in the way ; and so 
coining to the chest, they threw him in, shut the lid, and left 
him there. 

The same day, as it chanced, two young men, who let out 
money upon interest, had taken a house a little farther on in 
the same street. Willing to gain much, and spend but little, 
and having need of household goods, they had taken notice 
of that chest the day before, and were resolved, if it should 
be left there all night, to steal it away At midnight, then, 
they went and carried it off, without at all examining its con- 
tents, though it seemed to be very heavy"; and, setting it 
down in a chamber where their wives lay, they went to bed. 
Now Ruggieri, by this time, had got the greatest part of his 
sleep over ; and his draught being pretty well digested, and 
its virtue at an end, he awoke before morning. But though 
his senses were in some measure returned to him, yet was 
there a kind of stupefaction remaining, which continued not 
that night only, but for several days. He opened his eyes, 
however, and seeing nothing, groped about with his hands, 
and perceiving that he was shut up, he was in the utmost 
amazement, and said to himself — " What is the meaning of 
this Ì Where am I Ì Am I asleep or awake ? I remember 
last night to have been in my mistress's chamber, and now 
methinks I am in a chest. What can it mean Ì Surely the 
doctor has returned, or some other accident has happened ; 
and she, finding me asleep, put me in here : it can be noth- 
ing else." 

Upon that consideration he lay still, and began to listen if 
he could hear anything stir, and having lain for some time 
in an uneasy posture, as the chest was narrow, and that side 
being sore which he had' pressed so long upon, he wished to 
turn upon the other ; when, thrusting his back against one 
side of the chest, which stood upon an uneven place, he 
overset it, and down it came to the floor, with such a noise, 
that the women were awakened, and frightened out of their 
wits. Ruggieri upon this knew not what to think, but 



2^S DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL X. 

finding the chest open with the fall, he thought it better to 
get out if he could, than to stay within it; therefore he went 
groping up and down in the dark, to find some door or place 
to make his escape at. The women, hearing this, cried out, 
"Who is ^ere?" But he, not knowing their voices, made 
no answer. Upon this they began to call their husbands, 
but they were so fast asleep, having been awake the greatest 
part of the night, that they heard nothing of the matter. 
They «were then more terrified than before, and went to the 
window, calling out "Thieves! thieves!" This brought 
together many of the neighbours, who forced their way into 
the house. The husbands also were roiised by all this clam- 
our, and seized upon poor Ruggieri, who was out of his wits 
almost with surprise to find himself in a place from which he 
saw no possibility of making his escape. By this time the 
city officers were drawn to the spot by the tumult and uproar. 
Into their hands, therefore, he was delivered, and was had by 
them before the provost, when he was immediately put to the 
rack, as he was one of bad character, and he confessed that 
he had got into the house with intent to rob it; whereupon 
the provost sentenced him to be hanged. 

That morning the news was carried all over Salerno, that 
Ruggieri was taken breaking into the usurers' house ; which 
the lady and her maid hearing, were so astonished, that 
they could scarcely believe that what had happened the 
preceding night was real ; whilst the lady was in such con- 
cern for her lover that she was almost distracted. Some few- 
hours after the doctor returned from Malfi, when he inquired 
for his narcotic water, because he was then going to perform 
his operation and finding the bottle empty, he made a 
terrible hubbub, telling them that nothing in his house could 
stand untouched for them. The lady, who had something 
else that lay nearer her heart, replied with some warmth, 
" What would you say in anything of consequence, when 
you make such a stir about a little water ì " The doctor 
then said, " My lady, you should consider this is no com- 
mon water; it is water distilled to cause sleep;" and he 
further told her upon what account it was made. When she 
heard this, she guessed that Ruggieri had drunk it off, and 
that this was the cause of their having supposed him to be 
dead, and she added, " Sir, we knew nothing of your inten- 
tion, but if you please you can make more:" and he per- 
ceiving that there was no other remedy, did so. 

Soon afterwards the maid, whom she had sent to learn 



NOVEL X.] THE FOURTH DAY. 239 

news of her lover, returned, and said, ** Madam, there is 
nobody that speaks well of Ruggieri, whether relation or 
otherwise, or intends to give him any assistance ; but all 
people agree that he will be hanged to-morrow : one thing, 
however, I have learnt, which is new ; that is how he came 
into those usurers' house, which I will tell you. You know 
the joiner at whose door the chest stood, wherein we had 
put him; he has just had a warm dispute with another per- 
son, who, it seems, owned the chest, and who insisted that the 
joiner should pay for it : however, he replied that he had not 
sold it, but that it was stolen from him. The other answered, 

* It is a story, you sold it to two usurers, as they themselves 
told me this morning, when I saw it in their house at the 
time Ruggieri was taken.' — * They are liars,' quoth the joiner, 

* I never sold it them ; but they stole it from me last night ; 
let us go to them therefore.' So away they went together, 
whilst I returned hither; hence it is easy to see that Ruggieri 
was carried in that manner to the place where he was ta- 
k^n ; but how he came to himself afterwards is beyond my 
comprehension." 

The lady now plainly saw how the case stood, and told her 
maid what she had learnt from the doctor, begging that she 
would lend her assistance in promoting her lover's escape ; 
for it was in her power at once to save his life, and her own 
honour. " Madam," the maid answered, " tell me only how, 
and I will do it with all my heart." 

The lady, as it was a thing that so nearly touched her, had 
all her wits about her, and gave the maid full instructions 
what she wished her to do: accordingly she went to the 
doctor, and began to weep, saying : " Sir, I am come to ask 
your pardon for a great crime which I have committed 
towards you." The doctor asked what crime it was? She, 
still crying, replied, "You know what sort of a person 
Ruggieri da Jeroli is, who has been my sweetheart for this 
twelvemonth past, notwithstanding all his imperfections. 
Knowing last night that you were abroad, he wheedled me 
so far, that I brought him into your house, and took him up 
into my chamber to be all night with me; when, being 
thirsty, and I not knowing how to get him either any water or 
wine, without being seen by my mistress, who was then in 
the hall, I suddenly recollected to have seen a bottle of 
water in your chamber, which I fetched and gave him to 
drink, and set the bottle again where I found it ; and I since 
understand that you have been in a great passion about 



240 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL X. 

it ; I confess I did very ill ; but who is there that some time 
or other does not act amiss ? I am extremely sorry for it ; not 
so much on account of the thing itself, as what has ensued; 
for it has brought him in danger of his life. Therefore, I 
earnestly beg your forgiveness, and that you would give me 
leave to go and assist him to the utmost of my power." 

The doctor, hearing this story, answered merrily, notwith- 
standing his former passion, " You have reason enough to be 
sorry upon your own account, for instead of having a brisk 
young fellow, you had nothing but a sluggard. You may go, 
then, and save the man if you can, but take care you do so 
no more; for if you do, I shall then pay you for all together." 
Having this answer, she thought she had made a good begin- 
ning : therefore she hastened to the prison, and persuaded 
the gaoler to let her speak to Ruggieri ; when, having in- 
formed him what answers he was to make to the magistrate, 
if he meant to escape, she went thence to the judge, to whom 
she got introduced, and said to him, "Sir, you have had 
Ruggieri da Jeroli before you, who was taken up for a thief; 
but the case is quite otherwise:" and then she related her 
whole story; how she had brought him into the doctor's 
house, how she had given him that narcotic water to drink 
without knowing it, and how he was put into the chest for 
dead : she afterwards told him what had passed between the 
joiner and owner of the chest, making it appear how he 
came into the usurers* house. 

The judge saw that it would be an easy thing to come at 
the truth of this matter ; therefore, he first inquired of the 
doctor whether the story was true concerning the water, and 
found it exactly so : he then sent for the joiner and owner 
of the chest, as also the usurers, and after much examina- 
tion it appeared that they had stolen the chest the foregoing 
night, and carried it home. Last of all, he had Ruggieri 
brought before him, when he being asked where he had 
lodged that night, he replied, that he could not tell where he 
actually did lie, but said, his intention was to have lain with 
the doctor's maid, in whose chamber he had drunk some 
water to quench his most violent thirst, but as for what be- 
came of him from that time, to the time of his awaking, and 
finding himself in the chest in the usurers* house, that he 
could give no account of. 

The judge was mightily pleased with their statements, 
and made them repeat their several stories over and over. 
At length, perceiving Ruggieri to be innocent, he gave him 



NOVEL X.] THE FOURTH DAY. 241 

his liberty, and sentenced the usurers to pay a fine of ten 
crowns. It is easy to imagine what Ruggieri's joy now was, 
as well as that of the lady. They made themselves very 
merry together afterwards with the maid, for the slashes with 
her penknife, which she had meant to give him, still going 
on in the same mirth and pleasure from good to better; 
which I wish may happen always to myself, but never to be 
put into a chest. 

If the former novels had occasioned great grief and sorrow 
to the ladies, this last of Dioneo *s made ample amends. But 
the king now perceiving that the sun was about to set, and 
that his sovereignty was therefore at an end, began to excuse 
himself for giving such a cruel subject to expatiate upon, as 
the unhappiness of lovers : then rising up he took the crown 
from his head, and whilst they were waiting to see to whom 
he would resign it, he put it upon Fiammetta saying, " I 
make choice of you, as one who knows better than any other 
person to comfort us, for what we have heard to-day, with 
to-morrow's mirth." 

Fiammetta, whose golden locks hung in long graceful ring- 
lets over her white and delicate shoulders, her face round 
and beautiful with white and red, like lilies and roses blended 
together; her eyes like those of a falcon, with a little mouth, 
and lips like rubies : she, I say, said with a smile, " I will- 
ingly accept the sovereignty. Filostrato; and, to the end 
that you may better recollect yourself concerning what you 
have done hitherto, I will and command that every one be 
prepared to treat to-morrow upon what has happened happily 
to lovers, after certain cruel and unlucky accidents; " which 
proposal was agreeable to them all. Calling, then, the stew- 
ard, and concerting with him what was most needful to be 
done, she gave them leave to depart till supper. Some, there- 
fore, walked into the garden, the beauty of which was such, 
that they were never weary of it ; others went to see the 
mill, and some went to one place, and some to another, ac- 
cording to their different inclinations; till the time being 
come, they all met together, as usual, by the fountain-side, 
where they supped with great elegance, and satisfaction to 
themselves. When that was over, they began to dance and 
sing : and as Filomena was leading up the dance, the queen 
said, "Filostrato, I do not intend to deviate from the ex- 
ample of my predecessors, but as they have done hith- 
erto, so I intend to order a song ; and as I am very sure 
II 



242 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVKL X. 

that yours are like your novels, therefore, that no more of 
our days may be disturbed with your misfortunes, I desire 
you would give us one of those which pleases you most." 
Filostrato replied, "With all my heart;" and immediately 
began the following 

SONG. 

CHORUS. 

Sure, none can more your pity move. 
Than I, who am betray'd in love. 

When my poor wounded heart, 
For her of whom I now complain. 

First felt the am'rous smart, 
The greatest pain 

As nought I deemed : 
For she, since most unkind, 

Then all perfection seem'd 
But, ah ! too late my error now I find. 

Sure, etc. 

For why? I see myself deceiv'd 

By her, my only hope and joy 
And when too fondly I believ'd, 

None_ so secure, so blest as I ; 
All past engagements laid aside, 
To- soothe a happier rival's pride. 

Sure, etc. 

Since my disgrace, 
I mourn and curse the day 

When her too beauteous face 
First stole my ravish'd heart away ; 

Whilst my too easy faith and love 

An endless source of sorrow prove. 
Sure, etc. 

So great the grief. 
Which has my mind possest ! 

That vain is all relief, 
And only death can give me rest ; 

'Tis that shall all my sorrows close 

With a secure and long repose. 
Sure, etc. 

No other means remain 

To ease my pain ! 
But, oh ! when clos'd shall be these eyes, 

Within her breast 
Let ne'er one anxious thought arise 

Be she for ever blest ! 
Sure, etc. 



THE FIFTH DAY. 243 

Yet ere I go. 
Kind Cupid whisper in her ear 
That 'tis for her, 

I all these torments know: 
Perhaps she may repent her usage past, 
And grant my love a kind return at last 

Sure none can more your pity move, 
Than I who am betrayed m love. 

Filostrato's sentiments, and the grounds of them, were 
plainly set forth in this song, and perhaps the lady's coun- 
tenance who was engaged in the dance, would have made a 
farther discovery, if the darkness of the night had not con- 
cealed the blushes rising in her face ; but the song being 
ended, as well as many others afterwards, and the hour of 
rest now drawing on, by the queen's command they all re- 
paired to their several chambers. 



THE FIFTH DAY. 

The sun now darted forth his golden beams over the face 
of our hemisphere, when Fiammetta awaked by the sweet 
music of the birds, which had been merrily chanting among 
the trees from the first peep of day, arose, and had all 
the company called up; when they walked leisurely to- 
gether upon the dewy grass, into a pleasant meadow, until 
the sun was a little higher, conferring by the way upon many 
agreeable subjects. At last, when the heat grew a little 
intense, they retreated to their former station, where they 
refreshed themselves with wine and sweetmeats, and diverted 
themselves afterwards in the garden till dinner-time : every- 
thing being provided at that hour, in the neatest manner, by 
their steward, they had a song or two, and then sat down : 
and dinner being ended, they were entertained again both 
with music and dancing. After that was over the queen 
gave them their liberty ; when, accordingly, some went to 
lie down, and others amused themselves in the mean time 
in the garden ; but at the usual hour they all met by her 
order at the fountain-side. Then, seated on her throne, 
and casting her eye upon Pamfilo, she smiled, and desired 
him to begin ; he immediately complied in this manner. 



244 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL L 



NOVEL 1. 

Cymon becomes wise by being in love, and by force of arms wins Iphi- 
genia, his mistress, upon the seas, and is imprisoned at Rhodes. Be- 
ing delivered thence by Lysimachus, with him he recovers Iphigenia, 
and flies with her to Crete, where he is married to her, and is after- 
wards recalled home. 

A GREAT many novels come now fresh into my mind, for 
the beginning of such an agreeable day's discourse as this 
is likely to be ; but one I am more particularly pleased with, 
because it not only shows the happy conclusion which we 
are to treat about, but how sacred, how powerful also, as 
well as advantageous, is the force of love ; which some peo- 
ple, without knowing what they say, unjustly blame and 
vilify, and which I judge will rather be had in esteem by you, 
as I suppose you all to be subject to the tender passion. 

According to the ancient histories of Cyprus, there lived 
sometime in that island, one of great rank and distinction, 
called Aristippus, who was the wealthiest person in all the 
country. If he was unhappy in any one respect, it was in 
having, amongst his other children, a son, who, though he 
exceeded most young people of his age in stature and come- 
liness, yet was a perfect idiot; his name was Galeso, but as 
neither the labour nor skill of his master, nor the correction 
of his father, was ever able to beat one letter into his head, 
or the least instruction of any kind, and as his voice and 
manner of speaking were strangely harsh and uncouth, he 
was, by way of disdain, called only Cymon ; which, in their 
language, signified beast. The father had long beheld him 
with infinite vexation, and as all hopes were vanished con- 
cerning him, to remove out of his sight an object which 
afforded constant matter of grief, he ordered him away to 
his country-house, to be there with his slaves. This was 
extremely agreeable to Cymon, because people of that sort 
had always been most to his mind. Residing there, and do- 
ing all sorts of drudgery pertaining to that kind of life, it 
happened one day, as he was going, about noon-tide, with 
his staff upon his shoulder, from one farm to another, that 
he passed through a pleasant grove, which, as it was then the 
month of May, was all in bloom. Thence, as his stars led 
him, he came into a meadow surrounded with high trees, in 
one corner of which was a crystal spring, and by the side of 



NOVEL I.] THE FIFTH DAY. 245 

it, upon the grass, lay a most beautiful damsel asleep, clothed 
with a mantle so exceedingly fine and delicate, as scarcely 
to conceal the exquisite whiteness of her skin; only from 
her waist downwards she wore a white silken quilt, and at 
her feet were sleeping two women and a man-servant. 

As soon as Cymon cast his eyes upon her, he stood lean- 
ing upon his staff, as if he had never seen the face of a 
woman before, and began to gaze with the utmost astonish- 
ment without speaking a word. Presently, in his rude 
uncivilised breast, which had hitherto been incapable of 
receiving the least sense of good-breeding whatever, a sud- 
den thought arose, which seemed to intimate to his gross and 
shallow understanding, that this was the most agreeable sight 
that ever was seen. Starting from that fixed point, he began 
to examine each part by itself, commending every limb and 
feature; and having now from being a mere idiot become a 
judge of beauty, he grew very desirous of seeing the fair 
sleeper's eyes, for which purpose he was going several times 
to wake her ; but as she so far excelled all other women that 
he ever saw, he was in doubt whether she was a mortal crea- 
ture. This made him wait to see if she would awake of her 
own accord ; and though that expectation seemed tedious to 
him, yet so pleasing was the object, that he had no power to 
leave it. After a long time she came to herself, and raising 
up her head, saw Cymon stand propped upon his slick before 
her, at which she was surprised, and said, " Cymon " (for he 
was known all over the country, as well for his own rusticity, 
as his father's nobility and great wealth), "What are you 
looking for here at this time of day.? " He made no answer, 
but stood with his eyes fixed upon hers, which seemed to 
dart a sweetness that filled him with a kind of joy to which 
he had hitherto been a stranger ; whilst she, observing this, 
and not knowing to what his rudeness might prompt him, 
called up her women, and then said, " Cymon, go about your 
business." He replied, "I will go along with you." And 
though she was afraid, and would have avoided his company, 
yet he would not leave her till he had brought her to her 
own house ; thence he went home to his father, and he de- 
clared that he would return no more into the country. This 
was very disagreeable to all his friends, yet they let him 
alone, waiting to see what this change of temper could be 
owing to. 

Love having thus penetrated his heart, where no lesson of 
any kind could ever find admittance, in a little time his way 



246 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCK). [nOVEL I 

of thinking and behaviour were so far changed that his 
father and friends were strangely surprised at it, as well as 
everybody that knew him. First of all then, he asked his 
father to let him have clothes, and everything else like his 
brothers ; to which the father very willingly consented. Con- 
versing, too, with young gentlemen of character, and observ- 
ing their ways and manner of behaving, in a very short 
time he not only got over the first rudiments of learning, but 
attained to some knowledge in philosophy. Afterwards (his 
love for Iphigenia being the sole cause) his rude and rustic 
speech was changed into a tone more agreeable and civilised : 
he grew also a master of music: and with regard to the mil- 
itary art, as well by sea as land, he became as expert and 
gallant as the best. In short, not to run over all his excel- 
lences, before the expiration of the fourth year from his 
being first in love, he turned out the most accomplished 
young gentleman in every respect that ever Cyprus could 
boast of. What, then, most gracious ladies, shall we say of 
Cymon? Surely nothing less than this; that all the noble 
qualities, which had been infused by Heaven into his gen- 
erous soul, were shut up as it were by invidious fortune, and 
bound fast with the strongest fetters in a small comer of his 
heart, till love broke the enchantment, and drove with all its 
might these virtues out of that cruel obscurity, to which they 
had been long doomed, to a clear and open day; plainly 
showing whence it draws those spirits that are its votaries, 
and whither its mighty influence conducts them. 

Cymon might have his flights like other young people, 
with regard to his love for Iphigenia; yet, when Aristippus 
considered it was that which had made a man of him, he not 
only bore with it, but encouraged him in the pursuit of his 
pleasures. Cymon, nevertheless, who refused to be called 
Galeso, remembering that Iphigenia had styled him Cymon, 
being desirous of bringing that affair to a happy conclusion, 
had often requested her in marriage of her father, who re- 
plied that he had already promised her to one Pasimunda, a 
young nobleman of Rhodes, and that he intended not to 
break his word. The time then being come, that was ap- 
pointed for their nuptials, and the husband having sent in 
form to demand her, Cymon said to himself: "O Iphigenia, 
the time is now come when I shall give proof how I love 
you ! I am become a man on your account ; and could I 
but obtain you, I should be as glorious and happy as the 
gods themselves ; and have you I will, or else I will die." 



NOVEL I.] THE FIFTH DAY, 247 

Immediately he prevailed upon some young noblemen who 
were his friends, to assist him ; and, fitting out a ship of war 
privately, they put to sea, in order to intercept the vessel 
that was to transport Iphigenia; who^ after great respect 
and honour showed by her father to her husband's friends, 
embarked with them for Rhodes. Cymon, who had but little 
rest that night, overtook them on the following day, when he 
called out, ** Stop, and strike your sails ; or expect to go at 
once to the bottom of the sea." They, on the other hand, 
had got all their arms on deck, and were prepared to make 
a vigorous defence. He therefore threw a grappling iron 
upon the other ship, which was making the best of its way, 
and drew it close to his own ; when, like a lion, without wait- 
ing for any one to second him, he jumped singly among his 
enemies, as if he cared not for them ; and love spurring him 
on with incredible force, he cut and drove them all like so 
many sheep before him, till they soon threw down their arms, 
acknowledging themselves his prisoners ; when he addressed 
them in the following manner : *^ Gentlemen, it was not a de- 
sire of plunder, nor enmity to any of your company, that 
made me leave Cyprus to fall upon you here in this manner. 
What occasioned it is a matter, the success of which is of 
the utmost consequence to myself, and as easy for you to 
grant me quietly : it is Iphigenia, whom I love above all the 
world ; and as I could not have her from her father peace- 
ably, and as a friend, my love constrains me to win her from 
you as an enemy, by force of arms. Therefore I am resolved 
to be to her what your Pasimunda was to have been. Re- 
sign her then to me, and go away in God's name." The 
people, more by force than any good will, gave her up, all in 
tears, to Cymon: who, seeing her lament in that manner, 
said, " Fair lady, be not discouraged : I am your Cymon, 
who has a much better claim to your affection, on account 
of his long and constant love, than Pasimunda can have by 
virtue of a promise." Taking her then on board his ship, 
without meddling with anything that belonged to them, he 
suffered them to depart. 

Cymon thus being the most overjoyed man that could be, 
after comforting the lady under her calamity, consulted with 
his friends what to do, who were of opinion, that they should 
by no means return to Cyprus yet ; but that it were better 
to go directly to Crete, where they all had relations and 
friends, but Cymon especially, on which account he might be 
more secure there along with Iphigenia; and accordingly 



248 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL 1. 

they directed their course that way. But fortune, who had 
given the lady to Cymon by an easy conquest, soon changed 
his immoderate joy into most sad and bitter lamentation. 
In about four hours from his parting with the Rhodians, night 
came upon them, which was more welcome to Cymon than 
any of the rest, and with it a most violent tempest, which 
overspread the face of the heavens in such a manner, that 
they could neither see what they did, nor whither they were 
carried; nor were they able at all to steer the ship. You 
may easily suppose what was Cymon *s grief on this occa- 
sion. He concluded that Heaven had crowned his desires 
only to make death more grievous to him, which before 
would have been but little regarded. His friends also were 
greatly affected, but especially Iphigenia, who trembled at 
every shock, still sharply upbraiding his ill-timed Jove, and 
declaring that this tempest was sent by Providence for no 
other reason than to disappoint his presumption in resolving 
to have her, contrary to the will and disposal of Heaven, 
and that, seeing her die first, he might die likewise in the 
same miserable manner. Amongst such complaints as these, 
they were carried at last, the wind growing continually more 
violent, near the island of Rhodes ; and not knowing where 
they were, they endeavoured, for the safety of their lives, to 
get to land if possible. 

In this they succeeded, and got into a little bay, where 
the Rhodian ship had arrived just before them ; nor did they 
know they were at Rhodes till the next morning, when they 
saw, about a bow-shot from them, the same ship they had 
parted with the day before. Cymon was greatly concerned 
at this, and fearing what afterwards came to pass, he bade 
them put to sea if possible, and trust to fortune, for they 
could never be in a worse place. They used all possible 
means then to get out, but in vain ; the wind was strongly 
against them, and drove them to shore in spite of all they 
could do to prevent it. They were soon known by the 
sailors of the other ship, who had now gained the shore, and 
who ran to a neighbouring town, to which the young gentle- 
men that had been on board the ship were just gone before, 
and informed them how Cymon and Iphigenia were, like 
themselves, driven thither by stress of weather. They, hear- 
ing this, brought a great number of people from the town to 
the sea-side, and captured Cymon and all his companions, 
who had got on shore, with a design of fleeing to a neigh- 
bouring wood, as also Iphigenia, and brought them all 



NOVEL I.] THE FIFTH DAY. 249 

together to the town. Pasimunda, upon hearing the news. 
went and made his complaints to the senate, who, accord 
ingly, sent Lysimachus, the chief magistrate of that year, 
along with a guard of soldiers, to conduct them to prison. 
Thus the miserable and enamoured Cymon lost his mistress 
soon after he had gained her, and without having scarcely 
so much as a kiss for his pains. In the mean time Iphigenia 
was handsomely received by many ladies of quality, and 
comforted for the trouble she had sustained in being made 
a captive, as well as in the storm at sea ; and she remained 
with them till the day appointed for her nuptials. However, 
Cymon and his friends had their lives granted them (though 
Pasimunda used all his endeavours to the contrary) for the 
favour shown to the Rhodians the day before; but they were 
sentenced to perpetual imprisonment, where they remained 
sorrowfully enough, as they had no hopes of obtaining their 
liberty. 

Now, whilst Pasimunda was making preparation for his 
nuptials. Fortune, as if she had repented the injury done to 
Cymon, produced a new circumstance for his deliverance. 
Pasimunda had a brother, beneath him in years, but not in 
virtue, called Ormisda, who had been long talked of as about 
to marry a beautiful lady of that city, called Cassandra, 
whom Lysimachus was also in love with, and had for some 
time been prevented from marrying her, by divers unlucky 
accidents. Now, as Pasimunda was to celebrate his own 
nuptials with great state and feasting, he supposed it would 
save a great deal of expense and trouble, if his brother was 
to marry at the same time. He consequently proposed the 
thing again to Cassandra's friends, and they soon brought it 
to a conclusion : when it was agreed by all parties, that the 
same day that Pasimunda brought home Iphigenia, Ormisda 
should bring home Cassandra. This was very grating to 
Lysimachus, who saw himself now deprived of the hope 
which he had hitherto entertained of marrying her himself; 
but he was wise enough to conceal it, contriving a way to 
prevent its taking effect if possible ; none however appeared, 
but that of taking her away by force. This seemed easy 
enough on account of his office ; still he thought it not so 
reputable as if he had borne no office at all at that time ; 
but in fine, after a long debate with himself, honour gave 
way to love, and he resolved, happen what would, to bear 
away Cassandra. Thinking then what companions he should 
make choice of for this enterprise, as well as the means that 



250 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVKL L 

were to be taken, he soon called Cymon to mind, whom he 
had in custody, as also his companions; and thinking he 
could have nobody better to assist him, nor one more trusty 
and faithful on that occasion than Cymon, the next night he 
had him privately into his chamber, where he spoke to him 
in this manner : 

" Cymon, as the gods are the best and most liberal givers 
of all things to mankind, so are they also the ablest judges 
of our several virtues and merits : such then as they find to 
be firm and constant in every respect, them do they make 
worthy of the greatest things. Now concerning your worth 
and valour, they are willing to have more certain proof of 
both, than it was possible for you to shew whilst your life 
and actions were limited to the house of your father, whom 
I know to be a person of the greatest distinction ; for first, 
by the subtle force of love, as I am informed, have they, 
from a mere insensible creature, made a man of you ; and 
afterwards, by adverse fortune, and now, by a miserable im- 
prisonment, are they willing to see if your soul be changed 
from what it was when you appeared fiushed so lately with 
the prize you had won. If that continues the saipe, I can 
propose nothing so agreeable to you as what I am now going 
to offer ; which, that you may resume your former might and 
valour, I shall immediately disclose. Pasimunda, overjoyed 
with your disappointment, and a zealous promoter, as far as 
in him lay, of your being put to death, is now about to cele- 
brate his marriage with your Iphigenia, that he may enjoy 
that blessing, which Fortune, when she was favourable, first 
put in your power, and afterwards snatched away from 
you ; but how this must afflict you, I can easily suppose by 
myself, who am like to undergo the same injury, and at the 
same time, with regard to my mistress Cassandra, who is to 
be married to his brother Ormisda. Now I see no remedy 
for either of us but what consists in our own resolution, and 
the strength of our arms : it will be necessary, therefore, to 
make our way with our swords, for each of us to gain his lady : 
if then you value — I will not say your liberty, because that, 
without her, would be of little weight with you; but, I say, 
if you value — your mistress, you need only follow me, and 
Fortune has put her into your hands." 

These words spoke comfort to the drooping soul of Cymon, 
who immediately replied, "Lysimachus, you could never 
have a more stout, or a more trusty friend for such an enter- 
prise than myself, if it be as you seem to promise : tell roe 



NOVEL I.] THE FIFTH DAY. 25 1 

then what you would have me do, and you shall see me put 
it nobly into execution." Lysimachus made answer, " Three 
days hence the ladies are to be brought home to their 
espoused husbands, when you, with your friends and myself, 
and some people whom I can confide in, will go armed in 
the evening, and enter their house whilst they are in the 
midst of their mirth, where we will seize on the two brides, 
and carry them away to a ship which I have secretly pro- 
vided, killing all that shall presume to oppose us." 

This scheme was entirely to Cymon's liking, and he waited 
quietly till the time appointed. The wedding-day being now 
come, and every part of the house full of mirth and feasting, 
Lysimachus, after giving the necessary orders, at the time 
fixed, divided Cymon and his companions with his own 
friends into three parties, and putting arms under their 
several cloaks, and animating them boldly to pursue what 
they had undertaken, he sent one party to the haven to 
secure their escape, and went with the other two to Pasi- 
munda's house ; one party they stationed at the gate, to pre- 
vent any persons from shutting them up in the house ; 
whilst he, along with Cymon, went up stairs with the remain- 
ing party. Ccm'ng then into the dining-room, where the 
two brides with many other ladies, were seated at supper, 
they advanced to them, and throwing down all the tables, 
seized each his lady, and giving them into the arms of their 
followers, ordered them to carry them away to their ship. The 
brides, as well as other ladies and servants, cried out so much, 
that immediately there was a great tumult. In the mean 
time, Cymon and Lysimachus, with their followers, drew 
their swords and came down stairs again without any opposi- 
tion, till they met with Pasimunda, whom the noise had 
drawn thither, having in his hand a great club, when Cymon, 
at one stroke, laid him dead at his feet, and whilst Ormisda 
was running to his assistance, he was likewise killed by 
Cymon ; and many others also of their friends, who came to 
their relief, were wounded and beaten back. Leaving the 
house then, all full of blood and confusion, they joined 
parties, and went directly to the ship with the booty, without 
the least hindrance whatever ; when, putting the ladies on 
board, and they with all their friends following them, the 
shore was soon filled with crowds of people who came to 
rescue them, upon which they plied their oars and sailed 
joyfully away for Crete. There they were cheerfully received 
by all their friends and relations, when they espoused their 



252 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL H. 

ladies, and were well pleased with their several prizes. 
This occasioned great quarrels afterwards between the 
two islands of Cyprus and Rhodes. At length, by the 
interposition of friends, everything was amicably adjusted, 
an(^ then Cymon returned along with Iphigenia to Cyprus, 
and Lysimachus, in like manner, carried Cassandra back to 
Rhodes, where they lived very happily to the end of their 
days. 

[It has been supposed that the original idea of this tale is to be found 
in an Idyllium of Theocritus, entitled, * BaKo?uoKoc -/ but it is hardly 
possible that the novelist could have seen Theocritus at the date of the 
composition of the Decameron. Boccaccio himself affirms that he had 
read the account in the ancient histories of Cyprus ; and Beroaldus, who 
translated this novel into Latin, also informs us that it is taken from the 
annals of the kingdom of Cyprus, — a fact which that writer might prob- 
ably have ascertained from his intimacy with Hugo IV., king of that 
island. Besides the version by Beroaldus, this story was translated into 
English verse, about the year 1570, and has also been imitated, in his 
* Cimon and Iphigenia,' by Dryden, who has in some degree softened the 
crimes of Cimon by representing Iphigenia as attached to him, and dis- 
inclined to the Rhodian; which is the reverse of the sentiments attributed 
to her by Boccaccio.] 

NOVEL II. 

Constantia is in love with Martuccio Gomito ; and hearing that he was 
dead, out of despair goes alone into a boat, which is driven by the 
wind to Susa: finding him alive at Tunis, she makes herself known; 
whilst he, being a great favourite of the king's there, marries her, and 
returns home with her to Lipari, very rich. 

The queen, seeing that Pamfilo's novel was at an end, after 
praising it highly, ordered Emilia to follow. The latter be- 
gan thus: — We are all of us justly pleased with such things 
as we see attended with rewards, according to our wishes; 
and forasmuch as love is more often deserving of happi- 
ness than misery, I shall obey the queen with a great deal 
more pleasure, by treating on the present subject, than I did 
the king, in discoursing of that of yesterday. 

You must know, then, ladies, that near to Sicily, is a little 
island called Lipari, in which, not long since, lived a lady 
of a worthy family, named Constantia, with whom was in 
love a young gentleman of the same island, called Martuccio 
Gomito, one of an excellent character, and very eminent in 



NOVEL II.] THE FIFTH DAY. 253 

his way. She also had the same regard for him, so that 
she was never easy but when she saw him. He, therefore, 
desirous of marrying her, asked her father's consent, who 
replied, that as the suitor was in poor circumstances, he 
would never give it. Martuccio, grieved to see himself re- 
jected on account of his poverty, fitted out a little vessel, 
with some of his friends and relations, and made a resolu- 
tion never to return to Lipari till he should be rich. Sailing 
away, he cruised on the coasts of Barbary, taking every- 
thing of less force than himself that came in his way. For- 
tune was favourable enough to him, could he have set bounds 
to his desires ; but not being satisfied, either he or his friends, 
with being very rich, and willing still to be more so, it hap- 
pened that they were taken by some Saracen ships, after 
making a most obstinate defence, when being plundered of all 
they had gotten, and the greatest part of them slain, after 
sinking the ship, he was carried prisoner to Tunis, where he 
suffered a long and miserable confinement. 

In the meantime news was brought to Lipari, from divers 
hands, that they were all drowned ; which was such an afflic- 
tion to the lady, that she resolved not to survive it ; and not 
having the heart to make away with herself by any violent 
means, she chose to lay herself under a necessity of meeting 
with her death. Accordingly she went privately one night 
to the haven, where she found by chance a small fishing 
boat, at liberty from the other ships, and furnished with sails 
and oars. Getting into this, and having rowed a little way into 
the sea, she threw away her oars and rudder, and committed 
herself entirely to the mercy of the winds, supposing of ne- 
cessity, that as the boat was empty, and nobody to steer it, 
either it must overset, or else dash against some rock, and so 
lireak to pieces; and that, in either case, she could not 
escape if she would. Wrapping her head then in a mantle, 
she laid herself down, weeping, at the bottom of the boat. 
But it happened differently from what she imagined ; for it 
being a gentle north wind, and no sea, the boat rode it out 
all that night, and till the following evening, when it was 
brought within a hundred miles of Tunis, to a strand near a 
town called Susa; whilst the poor lady thought nothing 
either of her being near the land, or upon the wide sea, 
having never looked up from the time of her laying herself 
down, nor meaning ever to do so. 

Now it happened, just as the boat struck against the shore, 
that a poor woman was taking away some nets which had 



254 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL n. 

been drying in the sun. Perceiving the boat come full sail 
against the shore, and supposing the people to be all asleep 
in it, she stepped into it, and finding only this lady, she 
called several times to her before she could make her hear, 
she being fast asleep ; and seeing by her dress that she was 
a Christian, she inquired of her in Latin, how it happened 
that she had arrived there in the boat all alone. The lady 
hearing her talk in Latin, was apprehensive that a different 
wind had driven her back to Lipari ; and getting up, and 
looking all around her, without knowing anything of the 
country, she inquired where she was! The good woman 
replied, "Daughter, you are near Susa, in Barbary;" which 
the lady hearing, sorely lamented that she had not met with 
the death she had coveted ; fearing also, with regard to her 
modesty, and not knowing what to do, she sat down, and 
began to weep. The good woman, seeing this, had pity on 
her, and after much persuasion brought her to her little hut, 
where she told her at length in what manner she had come 
thither. The good woman then finding that she was fasting, 
set coarse bread, with some dressed fish, and water before 
her, and prevailed upon her to eat a little. 

Constantia now inquired of the good woman who she was, 
that she talked Latin so well ? The hostess told her, that 
she was of Trapani, that her name was Carapresa, and that 
she was servant to some Christian fishermen. The lady 
hearing that name, and full of grief as she was, began to 
conceive some hope from it, yet could she give no account 
why, only that she thought she had heard the name before. 
Her desire to die was now much abated ; and without telling 
the woman who she was, or whence she came, she begged of 
her to have pity on her youth, and give her such counsel as 
might enable her to avoid any injury that should be offered 
to her. The good woman left her in the hut, till she had 
taken care of her nets, when she covered her with her man- 
tle, and conducted her to Susa, saying to her, " Constantia, 
I will bring you to the house of an old Saracen lady, whom 
I work for sometimes ; she is very charitable, and I dare say, 
on my recommendation, will receive you, as though you were 
her own child ; you must study then to oblige her as much as 
possible, till it shall please Heaven to send you better for- 
tune." Accordingly, she did as she had promised. 

The old lady, upon hearing the poor woman's account of 
Constantia, looked earnestly at her, and began to weep; she 
ifterwards led her into the house, where she and some other 



NOVEL II.] THE FIFTH DAY. 255 

women lived together, without having a man amongst them, 
employing themselves in embroideries, and other kind of 
needle-work. In a few days she had learned to work in the 
same way, and behaved herself in such a manner that they 
were extremely delighted with her company ; and at length 
she made herself mistress of their language. In this manner 
she continued at Susa, being given over at home for lost. 

In the mean time it happened that one Mariabdela being 
in possession of the kingdom of Tunis, a young lord of great 
birth and power in the kingdom of Grenada also laid claim 
to it, and assembled a powerful army to drive him out of the 
country. This came to the ears of Martuccio Gomito, who 
was still in prison, and was well acquainted with the Berber 
language. Understanding, also, that the king had made 
great preparations for his defence, he said to one of his keep- 
ers, " Could I but speak to his majesty, my heart forebodes 
that I could give him such counsel as should assure him of 
victory." The keeper reported this to his master, and he 
immediately informed the king, who then sent for Martuccio, 
and demanded what counsel it was that he had to give him ? 
" My lord," he* replied, " if I am sufficiently acquainted, 
since I have been in this country, with your manner of fight- 
ing, it should seem to me as if you depended principally 
upon your archers : now if I can contrive a way whereby your 
enemies would want arrows, at the time that you had plenty 
of them, I suppose you will think then the battle would be 
yours." — " Without doubt," replied the king, "if you can do 
that, I shall make no question of being conqueror." Mar- 
tuccio then added, " My lord, it may easily be done, if you 
please, and I will show you which way. You must have 
much finer cords made for your archers* bows than are com- 
monly used ; you must also have the notches of your arrows 
made to suit these small strings : but this must be done so 
privately that the enemy hear nothing of it, because they 
would then provide accordingly. Now the reason is this ; 
after your enemies shall have discharged all their arrows, 
and likewise after your own bowmen shall have made an end 
of theirs, you know that they will then gather up your own 
darts, in order to shoot them back upon you, while your 
archers will do the same with theirs : but your arrows will 
be useless to the enemy, because those small notches will not 
suit their great strings ; on the contrary, the slender cords of 
your archers will very well receive the large notches of their 
aiTOws; and thus your people will have plenty of darts, when 



^5^ DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL II 

tbeir adversaries shall be entirely unprovided." The king, 
\<\\o was a most wise lord, was pleased with the advice, and 
followed it, by which means he got the victory; Martuccio 
was consequently in high favour, and soon attained to great 
power and wealth. 

These things were soon noised over the country ; till at 
length Constantia heard that her lover, whom she had thought 
dead, was yet alive. The flame of her love, which had been 
so long extinct, now broke out afresh, and with greater 
vigour, and with it her hopes revived ; insomuch, that she 
related all that had happened to her to the good lady, ac- 
quainting her that she desired to go to Tunis, there to sat- 
isfy her eyes with beholding what fame had long rung into 
her ears. The lady commended her design, and, as she had 
been hitherto a sort of mother to her, embarked with her. 
On arriving at Tunis, they were entertained together at the 
house of one of the old lady's relations; and Carapresa, 
whom they had carried with them, being sent to learn what 
she could about Martuccio, reported that he was alive, and 
in great repute. The lady then resolving that she would be 
the person to acquaint him that his Conslantia was there, 
went one fine day to his house, and said to him, " Sir, one 
of your servants from Lipari is now a captive in my house, 
and has a desire to speak to you in private ; for which pur- 
pose, that nobody might be intrusted with the secret, he 
desired that I would go myself to tell you." Martuccio 
gave her thanks, and followed her thither. As soon as the 
young lady saw him, she was perfectly overcome with joy, 
and being unable to refrain, threw her arms about his neck; 
whilst calling to mind her long sufferings and present trans- 
ports, she burst out into a flood of tears. Martuccio stood 
some time in amazement, till at last he said, with a sigh, 
"O, my Constantia, are you alive.? It is some time since I 
heard you were lost ; nor have there been any tidings of you 
since." And, having said this, he embraced her with a great 
deal of tenderness and affection. She then related to him 
all that had befallen her, as well as the respect with which 
she had been honoured by the good lady : when, after much 
discourse together, he went straight to the king, and made 
him acquainted with the whole story, adding, that, with his 
consent, he intended to espouse her according to the manner 
of our laws. 

The king was greatly surprised with the narration, and, 
sending for her, received the same account from her own 



NOVEL III.] THE FIFTH DAY «57 

mouth. He then said, "Lady, you have well earned your 
husband ;" then ordering many rich presents to be brought, 
he gave part to her, and part to him, and desired them to do 
what was most agreeable to themselves. Martuccio was 
very thankful to the lady who had entertained Constantia, 
and made her a suitable acknowledgment ; and, taking their 
leave of her, not without many tears, they embarked — hav- 
ing Carapresa along with them — for Lipari, where they were 
received with inexpressible joy ; and, the nuptials being cel- 
ebrated with the greatest magnificence, they lived long 
together in the greatest tranquillity and comfort, enjoying 
the fruits of their mutual loves. 



NOVEL ni 

Pietro Boccamazza, running away with his mistress, is set upon by thieves, 
whilst the lady makes her escape into a forest whence she is conducted 
to a castle. * He is taken, but escapes by some accident, and arrives at 
the same castle, where they are manied, and return thence to Rome. 

There was not one among them all that did not applaud 
Emilia's novel. The queen, seeing that it was ended, turned 
to Eliza, and desired her to go on ; she readily obeyed in 
this manner : I have a mind to relate a most melancholy 
night, as it happened to two lovers ; but which, being suc- 
ceeded by many happy days, is conformable enough to the 
subject proposed. 

There lived at Rome, which was once the head, though 
now the tail of the world, a young gentleman of a good 
family, named Pietro Boccamazza, who was in love with a 
most beautiful lady, called Angelina, daughter to one Gig- 
liuozzi Saullo, a plebian, but one well esteemed among his 
fellow citizens ; and she, after some time, began to have the 
same regard for him. Weary of languishing longer for her, 
Pietro demanded her in marriage, which, as soon as his parents 
knew, they blamed him very much, and, at the same time, 
gave 'ler father to understand, that they would have him take 
no notice of what the young spark might say upon that head ; 
since, should he marry her, they would never own him more. 
Pietro, seeing himself disappointed in that manner, was 
ready to die with grief, and, could he but have prevailed 
upon her father, he would have married her in spite of them 
all. At last he thought of a scheme, which, if- she would 
agree to it, would answer his purppse, and finding by a mes- 



258 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL HL 

senger that she was willing, it was resolved between them to 
fly together from Rome. Having concerted measures for 
their departure, they set out one morning on horseback» 
towards Alagna, where he had some friends in whom he had 
the greatest confidence; when, not having time to marry, 
and making the best of their way, for fear of being pursued, 
it happened, after their riding about eight miles, that they 
missed their road, turning to the left, when they should have 
kept to the right. About two miles farther, they came in 
sight of a little castle, whence twelve men came rushing out 
upon them, whom she espying, but not till they were almost 
upon them, cried out, " Ride, Pietro, for we are attacked.*' 
Then, clapping spurs to her horse, and holding fast by the 
pummel of the saddle, she galloped full speed through the 
forest. Pietro, whose eyes were more upon his mistress than 
anything else, followed her as well as he could, till unawares 
he fell amongst the assailants, who seized and made him dis- 
mount. They inquired his name, and being told who he 
was, they said one to another, "This man is a friend to our 
enemies ; let us strip and hang him up on one of these oaks, 
out of spite to the Orsini family." Having agreed upon this, 
they ordered him to undress himself, which he complied 
with, expecting nothing but death ; when, on a sudden, an 
ambuscade of twenty-five others started up behind them, 
crying out aloud, " Kill them every man." Upon this they 
left Pietro, to prepare for their own defence ; but, finding 
themselves outnumbered, they took to their heels, and the 
others followed hard after them. 

Pietro, in the meantime, took his clothes, and getting on 
horseback again, rode as fast as he could the same way that 
Angelina had taken ; but seeing no track or footsteps of any 
horse, and finding himself now out of the reach, as well of 
those who had first taken him, as of the others by whom 
those persons were attacked, and not being able to make out 
his Angelina he was almost distracted, and went up and 
down the forest, calling aloud to see if she could hear, but 
in vain. In this painful situation, he durst not turn back, 
and all before him he was ignorant of; besides, he was 
under perpetual apprehensions for them both, on account of 
the wild beasts which are in those places, and fancied every 
moment that he saw some bear or wolf tear her to pieces. 
In this manner did poor Pietro traverse the forest over and 
over, hallooing and shouting, and frequently coming back 
♦gain, when he thought he was going forwards all the time; 



NOVEL m.] THE FIFTH DAY. 259 

until, what with his fatigue, and his fright and long fasting, 
he was quite spent. Perceiving now the night coming upon 
him, and not knowing what else to do, he tied his horse to 
an oak tree, and got up into it to secure himself from the 
wild beasts ; whilst the moon rising soon after, and it being 
a fine clear night, he sat there sighing and lamenting his hard 
fortune all the night long, not daring to sleep for fear of fall- 
ing down, or if he had been in a place more commodious 
his great grief and care for his mistress would not have suf 
fared him to rest. 

The young lady, in the mean time, as we before observed, 
was carried so far into the wood that she could not find the 
way out again : therefore, she went up and down full of grief 
for what had happened. At last, seeing nothing of Pietro, 
and getting into a little path, as it was now towards the 
evening, she followed it so long, that in about two miles it 
brought her in sight of a little hut, to which she rode as fast 
as she could, and found therein a very old man and his wife ; 
who on seeing her, said, " Daughter, what do you in this 
country at this time of day ?" She wept, and replied, that 
she had lost her company in the wood, and inquired how 
near she was to Alagna. The honest man made answer — 
"^Daughter, this is not the way ; it is more than twelve miles 
from us.'* — ** And how far is it," she said, " to any inn, where 
I may go to lodge ?" — " There is none near enough for you 
to go to by night." — " For Heaven's sake," quoth the lady, 
" as I can go nowhere else, will you please to give me a 
lodging ?" — " Daughter, you shall be very welcome ; but I 
must acquaint you that there are companies of people, both 
friends and enemies, continually passing this way, who do 
us great injury sometimes; and should any of them find you 
here, they might offer rudeness, and we not have it in our 
power to help you. I apprise you of this, that you may lay 
no blame upon us, if such a thing should happen." The 
lady, seeing it was late, though she was terrified by the old 
man's words, said, " I trust to God for my protection, as to 
what you mention ; but if that should happen, I may expect 
more mercy from men than from beasts." She then dis- 
mounted and went to supper with them upon such poor diet 
as they had, and afterwards lay down upon their bed with 
her clothes on, lamenting her own misfortune and her lover's 
all the night, not knowing whether she had more cause to 
hope or fear on his account. 

About break of day, she heard a great noise of people on 



r6o DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL IIL 

horseback, and immediately she rose, and went into a great 
yard behind the house, in one corner of which was a stack 
of hay, and there hid herself. This was no sooner done 
than a knot of thieves was at the door, which was instantly- 
opened to them, and seeing there the lady's horse and sad- 
dle, they asked whom it belonged to ? The honest man, 
seeing nothing of her, made answer, " Nobody is here ; but 
this horse came to us last night, having got away, I suppose, 
from his owner, and we took him in that he should not be 
devoured by the wolves." — "Then," quoth the captain, "as 
he has no master, he shall be ours." The gang dispersed up 
and down the house and yard, laying down their lances and 
targets, and one of them by chance thrust his lance into the 
hay where Angelina had hid herself, and was so near killing 
her, that she was on the point of crying out, for it pierced 
her clothes ; but recollecting herself, she resolved to lie still. 
In the mean time they fell to boiling some kids and other 
meat that they had brought with them, and after they had 
ate and drunk, they went about their business, carrying off 
the horse. When they were some distance from the house, 
the honest man began to inquire of his wife what was become 
of the lady, as he had never seen her since he rose. " She 
could not tell," she said, and went all about to seek for her. 
The lady meanwhile finding that the men were gone, came 
forth from her hiding-place. The old man was much pleased 
to find that she had not fallen into their hands, and said to 
her, " It is now daylight, we will go with you therefore to a 
castle about five miles off, where you may be in safety; but 
you will be obliged to travel on foot, for these sorry fellows 
have taken your horse away." She was under no great con- 
cern for that loss, but set forward with them at once, and 
they arrived there betimes in the morning. Now the castle 
belonged to one of the family of the Orsini, whose name 
was Liello di Campo di Fiore, and by great good fortune his 
lady was then there, a worthy good woman, who, seeing An- 
gelina, soon recollected her, and received her with the ut- 
most respect, inquiring by what means she had come thither. 
She then related the whole story ; and Liello's lady, who 
knew Pietro, as a friend of her husband's was under great 
concern, supposing him to be dead ; and said to Angelina, 
" As it happens that you know not where Pietro is, you shall 
stay with me till I have an opportunity of conveying you 
safe to Rome.** 

Now as for Pietro, he had but a dismal night of it, for he 



KOVEL III.] THE FIFTH DAY. 26 1 

soon saw his horse surrounded with a number of wolves, 
which made him break his bridle, and endeavour to make 
his escape, but he was so encompassed that he could not, 
and defended himself with kicking and biting for some time, 
till at last he was pulled down, and torn all to pieces, and 
the wolves having devoured him to the very bones went 
away. This was a sore affliction to Pietro, who expected 
much from his horse, after all the fatigue that he had under^ 
gone ; and he began now to despair of ever getting out ol 
the forest. It being at this time almost day, and he nearly 
dead with cold, as he was looking about him, he chanced to 
spy a fire at last about a mile off; when it was quite light, 
therefore, he descended from the tree, not without a great 
deal of fear, and directing his course thither, he found some 
shepherds making merry together, who received him out of 
mere compassion. After he had ate and warmed himself, he 
related his whole adventure, and inquired whether there was 
no town or castle in those parts that he could go to. The 
shepherds told him, that three miles off was a castle belong- 
ing to Liello di Campo di Fiore, whose lady was then there. 
He entreated some of them to go with him, and two readily 
offered their service. Being arrived, he was known, and as 
he was going to send out to seek his mistress, he was called 
by the lady of the castle, and, on stepping up to her, he be- 
held Angelina, which made him the happiest man in the 
world ; and if he was thus transported, she was no less so. 
The lady, after giving them a handsome reception, and hear- 
ing what had happened to both, began to reprimand him for 
attempting to do what was so disagreeable to his parents ; 
but seeing him resolved, and finding that he was agreeable 
to the lady, she said, " What should I trouble myself for ? 
They like each other, and are both my husband's friends ; 
besides, it seems as if Providence would have it so, seeing 
that one escaped from being hanged, the other from being 
stabbed by a lance, and both from being devoured by wild 
beasts. Then let it be done." Turning to them now, she 
said, " If you are resolved to be man and wife, I am content, 
and will celebrate the wedding at my husband's expense : 
afterwards I will undertake to make peace between you and 
your friends." So they were married in the castle, tq their 
great joy, and with all the magnificence that the country 
could afford : and in a few days the lady took them both to 
Rome, where she contrived to reconcile Pietro and his 
, parents, who were much enraged at what he had done. He 



262 DfiCAMfiROK OF BOCCÀCCIO. [nOVEL IY. 

lived afterwards with Angelina, in all peace and happiness, 
to a good old age. 

[This, though an insipid story of itself, is curious, as presenting us with 
the rudiments of a modem romance of the school of Mrs. Raddiffe.] 



NOVEL IV. 

Ricciardo Manardi is found by Lizio along with his daughter, whom he 
marries, and they become reconciled. 

Eliza was listening to the commendations which her 
novel had excited, when the queen laid the next charge on 
Filostrato, who smiled, and began in this manner : — I have 
been so often lashed by you for giving a harsh and melan- 
choly subject, that, by way of recompense, I think myself 
obliged to say something which will make you laugh : I 
shall therefore relate a love affair, which, after being attended 
with nothing worse than a few sighs and a short fright, min- 
gled with some shame, was brought to a happy ending ; and 
all this shall be told in the compass of a very short novel. 

Not long since there lived in Romagna a worthy and 
accomplished knight, named Lizio da Valbona, who had, 
in his old age, by his lady, Madam Giacomina, a daughter, 
the most beautiful young lady in all the country. Being 
their only child, they were extremely tender and careful of 
her, thinking through her to make some grand alliance. 
Now there was a young gentleman, of a very agreeable per- 
son, one of the Manardi, of Brettinoro, Ricciardo by name, 
who used to come much to their house. Lizio and his lady 
were under no further apprehensions from him than they 
would have been from their own son ; but often seeing their 
daughter, and being charmed with her person and behaviour, 
he fell secretly in love, which, she perceiving, soon delighted 
him exceedingly, by returning his affection. He was often 
desirous of speaking to her, yet could never dare to do it; 
till, at length, he had one day opportunity, and enough cour- 
age, to say, " Pray, Caterina, let me not die for love." She 
instantly replied, " Would to Heaven you would show me 
the Ijke mercy ! " Overjoyed by this encouragement, he 
rejoined, " I shall study your will and pleasure in every- 
thing; do you find a way to make us happy together." 
"You see, Ricciardo, how I am watched," she answered, 
" and, therefore, I am unable to contrive the means for your 



NOVEL IV.] THE FIFTH DAV. 26^ 

coming to me; but if you can think of any method to do k, 
without bringing disgrace upon me, tell me, and I shall be 
very glad." After mature consideration, ** My dearest Cate- 
rina," he said, " I see no other way, but for you to get leave 
to sleep in the gallery, which looks towards the garden, 
and if I knew when that happened, I would certainly contrive 
to get to you, however great the height from the ground." 
" If you have the courage to come," she replied, " I think I 
can manage so as to sleep there." He promised to do so, and 
for the present they parted. 

The following day, it being about the end of May, Cate- 
rina complained grievously to her mother, that the heat had 
been so excessive the night before, that she could not get a 
wink of sleep. " Why daughter," said the mother, " you talk 
of heat, I do not find the weather so sultry." — " Madam, 
there is some difference between old people and young." — 
" That may be ; but can I change the seasons ? You must 
bear with the time of year as it is : another night it may be 
more temperate, and then you will sleep better." — " I wish it 
might," said Caterina, " but the nights are not used to grow 
cooler, the more the summer advances." — " Then," said the 
mother, " what would you have me do for you ?" She replied, 
" If you and my father please, I would gladly lie in the gal- 
lery adjoining your room, which looks towards the garden ; 
there I shall have plenty of fresh air, and hear the nightin- 
gale, and it will be much more pleasant than lying in your 
chamber." — "Well, my dear," said the old lady, "I will 
speak to your father about it, and we will do as he thinks 
best." Accordingly she mentioned the matter to Lizio, who 
being old, was apt to be a little testy, and he said, " What 
nightingale is this she talks of? I shall make her sleep to 
the singing of a cricket." Caterina hearing this, kept awake 
the next night, more through vexation than heat, and was 
not only restless herself, but kept her mother also from sleep- 
ing. The next morning the old lady complained to her 
husband, saying, "You shew very little regard for your 
daughter ; what does her lying in the gallery signify to you ? 
She did not rest at all last night for the heat. And as to her 
fancy about the nightingale, she is young, let her have her 
way." "Then make her a bed there," he replied, "if you 
will, and let her hear the nightingale." A bed, therefore, 
was ordered to be set up for her, which she gave Ricciardo 
to understand, by a concerted signal, and he at once knew 
what part he had to act. When she was gone to bed, Lizio 



2Ó4 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL IV. 

locked the door that opened out of his chamber into the gal- 
lery, and then went to rest himself. 

As soon as everything was still, Ricciardo got upon the 
wall, by help of a scaling ladder ; then laving hold of the 
joinings of another wall, he climbed at last (not without great 
difficulty, as well as danger had he fallen) to the gallery, 
where the lady had long been expecting him, and welcomed 
him with the greatest delight imaginable. They passed a 
delicious night, and the nightingale sang ever so many times. 
Heated at last by the weather and their sport, they fell asleep 
without any covering over them, Caterina having her right 
arm under her lover's neck, and holding in her left hand 
what modesty forbids me to name before ladies. The night 
being short, and further spent than they supposed, they lay 
fast asleep in that way till daylight, when Messer Lizio got 
out of bed. As soon as he rose, he began to think of his 
daughter, and, opening the door softly, he said, " Let us see 
how the nightingale has made Caterina sleep." Going then 
into the gallery, and drawing the curtains, he found Ricciardo 
and her asleep together : upon this he stepped back, and 
woke up his wife, saying, " Up with you ! Make haste ! Come, 
and see how fond your daughter is of the nightingale. She 
has caught it and has it fast in her hand, I tell you." Dress- 
ing herself as fast as she could, she followed her husband, 
and seeing the pair together in that manner, was going to 
give Ricciardo all the hard words she could think of; but 
Lizio said, " Hush! not a word, I charge you ; make no noise 
about it ; as he has now got her, he shall keep her : he is of 
a good family, as well as rich, so we cannot have a better 
son-in-law. If he means to go off in a whole skin, he shall 
marry her before I part with him ; and so he'll find he has 
put the nightingale in his own cage, and not another's." The 
wife on this was a little comforted, and the more so as she 
saw that her daughter had passed a pleasant night, slept very 
sound, and had caught the nightingale; so she held her 
peace. 

Soon after this debate, Ricciardo chanced to wake, and see- 
ing it broad day-light, was frightened out of his wits, and 
waking Caterina, he said, " Alas ! my life, what shall we do ? 
the day-light has surprised me here with you ? " At these 
words Lizio stepped from behind the curtain, and said, " We 
shall do well enough." Ricciardo's heart was in his mouth at 
seeing him, and sitting up in bed, he said, " For Heaven's 
sake, sir, forgive me; I confess that I deserve to die; there- 



NOVEL IV.] THE FIFTH DAY. 265 

fore, you may do with me as you please : yet, if it be possible, 
I pray you to spare my life." Lizio replied, "Ricciardo, my 
- friendship for you did not deserve such a return as I have 
met with : but since it is so, you have only one way whereby 
you may save your life and my honour, that is to marry her ; 
either do that, or else make your peace with Heaven, for 
here you shall die." Meanwhile, Caterina let go the night- 
ingale, and, covering herself up, began to cry and sob, 
beseeching her father to forgive Ricciardo, and Ricciardo to 
do what her father required. There was no need of many 
words : the fear of death, as well as his love for Caterina, 
soon made Ricciardo come to a decision, and he told Lizio 
that he was ready to comply. Lizio then took his wife's ring, 
and caused him instantly to espouse Caterina, which being 
done, he desired the new married couple to take their own 
time for rising, as they probably had need of repose. The 
nightingale had sung six times in the night, but they had two 
more ditties before they got up. That morning Lizio and 
his son-in-law had some farther discourse together, and 
everything being settled to the satisfaction of all parties, the 
marriage was some days afterwards celebrated in the most 
public manner with great demonstrations of joy. Ricciardo 
took his wife home, and they lived together, from that time, 
in all peace and comfort, and went nightingale catching by 
day and by night as often as they had a mind. 

[The characters in this tale are mentioned by Dante, in his ' Purgatory.' 
A spirit, complaining of the degeneracy of the Italians, exclaims: 

** Ov'è *1 buon Lizio e Arrego Manardi !" — c. 14. 

This demonstrates the existence of these persons, whence Manni, in his 
'Commentar/ infers, according to his usual process of reasoning that the 
incident related by Boccaccio must have actually occurred. In fact, how- 
ever, it is derived from one of the ancient Armorican tales of Marie, en- 
titled ' Lai de Laustri,' which, in the Breton language, signified nightin- 
gale. The only modern imitation of this tale is, ' Le Rossignol,' usually 
published in the Contes et Nouvelles of La Fontaine, but of which there 
is some reason to believe he was not the author.] 

la 



206 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL V 



NOVEL V, 

Guìdotto da Cremona dying, left a daughter to the care of Giacomino da 
Pavia. Giannole di Severino and Minghino di Mingole are both ia 
love with her, and fight on her account, when she is found to be Gian- 
nole's sister, and is married to Minghino. 

The ladies laughed, as if they would never give over, at 
the story of the nightingale. As soon as their merriment 
was a little abated, the queen turned to Filostrato, and said, 
" If you gave us concern with your subject of yesterday, you 
have made ample amends by your last story ; therefore you 
shall hear no more from us on that score." She then turned 
to Neifile, who began in this manner: — ^As Filostrato lays 
his scene in Romagna, I intend to have my novel also from 
that quarter. 

In the city of Fano dwelt two Lombards, one named Gui- 
dotto da Cremona, and the other Giacomino da Pavia, both 
advanced in years, and men who had lived as soldiers all 
their days. Guidotto, being at the point of death, and hav- 
ing no son, nor any friend in whom he put greater confidence 
than in Giacomino, after settling all his affairs, he left to his 
care a daughter of about ten years of age, with the manage- 
ment of his whole substance. In the mean time, the city of 
Faenza, which had long been embroiled in wars and confu- 
sion, being now brought into a more flourishing state, and 
every one that pleased having leave to return ; it chanced 
that Giacomino, who had formerly lived there, and liked the 
place, went back with all his effects, carrying with him this 
young lady,. whom he loved and treated as his own child, and 
who, as she grew up, became the most celebrated beauty in 
the whole city, and as accomplished in all respects as she 
was fair. Accordingly she began to be admired by divers 
young gentlemen ; but two especially, of equal fortunes, were 
so much in love, than an utter hatred commenced between 
them for her sake; one was called Giannole di Severino, 
and the other Minghino di Mingole. Either of these gen- 
tlemen would gladly have married her, she being now fifteen ; 
but, finding themselves rejected by her friends, they resolved 
to try other means of obtaining her. 

Giacomino had in his house an old maid-servant, and a 
man called Crivello, a facetious, as well as an honest person, 
with whom Giannole was acquainted, and to whom he made 



NOVEL Vj THE FIFTH DAY» «67 

known his love, ofTering at the same time a great reward, if; 
by his assistance, he should in any way obtain his desire. 
Said Crivello, "The only thing I can do for you in this 
matter is to bring you where she is when my master is gone 
out to sup some where ; for were I to put m a word for you, 
she would never give me the hearing; if you like this, I dare 
promise you so far, afterwards you may do what you think 
most proper." Giannole told him, he desired no more. On 
the other part Minghino made his court to the maid, who 
had delivered several messages to the lady in his favour, and 
given her a good opinion of him : she had also undertaken 
to introduce him the first evening that Giacomino happened 
to be abroad. Soon after this it happened that Giacomino 
was invited out by Crivello's contrivance, who immediately 
gave notice to Giannole, and arranged with him that he 
should come, upon a certain signal being given, when he 
should find the door open. In like manner the maid, being 
unacquainted with this, informed Minghino of 'the same 
thingy adding, that, upon observing a certain token, he should 
then come into the house. 

In the evening the two lovers, knowing nothing of one 
another's intention, but yet each jealous of his rival, came 
with some friends armed for their greater security. Min- 
ghino waited at a friend's in the neighbourhood to watch for 
the sign, whilst Giannole, with his people, stood a little dis- 
tance from the house. Meanwhile, Crivello and the maid 
were each contriving how to send the other out of the way. 
" Why do you not go to bed ? " said he, "what are you doing 
about the house ? " " Why do not you go to your master ? " 
she retorted. " You have had your supper. What do you 
stay for, then ? " But neither of them would budge. At 
last Crivello, knowing the time to be come that he had ap- 
pointed, said to himself, "What need I care for this woman? 
If she will not hold her tongue, I will find a way to make 
her." Giving the signal, then, he went to open the door, 
when Giannole, with two of his companions, immediately 
rushed in, and finding the lady in the hall, they seized, and 
were going to carry her off: she, however, defended herself 
as well as she could, crying out loudly, as did also the maid. 
Minghino, perceiving this, ran thither with his party, and 
seeing them bear her away, they drew their swords, and 
called out aloud, " Traitors, ye are all dead men ; it shall 
never be so. What violence is this? " And with these 
words, they fell pell-mell upon them. The neighbours also 



208 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nÓVEL V. 

were soon up in arms, and blaming such proceedings, took 
part with Minghino. After a long skirmish, Minghino took 
the lady away from Giannole, and brought her back to 
Giacomino *s housQ. Nor was the fray at an end till the city 
officers came, and seized many of the persons concerned, 
and amongst the rest Minghino, Giannole, and Crivello, and 
carried them to prison. 

As soon as things were a little quieted, and Giacomino re- 
turned, he became very uneasy at what had happened, till 
hearing that his ward was not in fault, he was better satisfied ; 
but resolved, for fear of the like accidents in future, to marry 
her as soon as possible. In the morning the parents of both 
the young men having heard the truth of the story, and being 
sensible of the evil which might ensue to their sons, who were 
in custody, should Giacomino proceed rigorously against 
them, they came to him, and entreated him not to regard so 
much the injury which he had received from the little indis- 
cretion of the young men, as the esteem and friendship 
which, they hoped, he bore towards themselves, who now 
requested this favour at his hands; submitting themselves, 
and the youths also who had committed the offence, to make 
any satisfaction he should insist upon. Giacomino, who had 
seen much of the world, and was a person of understanding, 
answered in few words, — "Gentlemen, were I in my own 
country, as I am now in yours, I hold myself so much your 
friend, that I should do this or any thing else to oblige you ; 
but in this respect I am the more ready to do it, as the of- 
fence is now committed against yourselves. For this lady is 
not, as many may think, either of Cremona or Pavia, but of 
Faenza ; although neither myself, nor she, nor yet the person 
who bequeathed her to me, knew whose daughter she was ; 
everything then shall be done according to your desire." 
The honest men hearing that she was of Faenza, began to 
wonder ; and after thanking him for his gracious reply, they 
desired he would be so kind as to tell them in what manner 
she came into his hands, and how he knew that she was of 
Faenza. He replied, " Guidotto da Cremona was my very 
good friend and companion, and as he lay upon his death- 
bed, he told me, that when this city was taken by the Em- 
peror Frederick, and given to be pillaged by the soldiers, he 
and some others went into a house full of rich booty, which 
was forsaken by the owners, only this girl, who seemed then 
but two years old, was left behind, and she seeing him go up 
stairs, called " Papa ! " for which reason he took pity on her, 



NOVEL V.J THE FIFTH DAV. 2C9 

and brought her away, with everything that was of value in 
the house, to Fano. On his death-bed there, he left her in 
charge to me, desiring, when she should be of age, that I 
would bestow her in marriage, and give what was her own, 
by way of fortune. Since she has been grown up, however, 
I have met with nobody that I thought a fit match for her, 
otherwise I would wiliingly dispose of her, lest the like 
accident should happen again, as befell us last night.*' 

At this time there was present one Gulielmino da Medi- 
cini, who was with Guidotto in that expedition, and knew 
very well whose house it was that he had plundered, and 
seeing that person in the company, he accosted him, and said, 
" Bemarbuccio, do you hear what Giacomino has been talk- 
ing of?" — " Yes," he replied, " and I am now thinking about 
it ; for in that confusion I remember to have lost a daughter 
about the same age that he speaks of." — "Then," said Guli- 
elmino, " it is certainly the same ; for I was there at that time, 
and heard Guidotto relate how he plundered such a house, 
when I knew it must be yours : see, therefore, if you can call 
to mind any mark that she had, whereby you may know her, 
for she is plainly your daughter." He then remembered that 
she had a scar like a cross under her left ear, and he desired 
Giacomino to take him to his house, that he might convince 
himself by seeing her. Accordingly, he brought him thither 
very willingly, when the very first sight of her put him in 
mind of her mother; but not regarding that, he told Giaco- 
mino, that he should take it as a favour if he might turn 
aside the hair from her left ear; which being permitted, he 
found the same mark, and was convinced that she was his 
daughter : he then said to Giacomino, " Brother, this is ni} 
daughter ; it was my house that Guidotto pillaged, when this 
child was fcygotten by her mother, in our great hurry, and 
we supposed that she was burnt along with the house." The 
lady hearing this, and seeing him to be a person of gravity, 
moved also perhaps by a secret instinct, she ea-sily gave 
credit to it, and both of them burst into tears. Bemarbuc- 
cio then sent for her mother, and her other relations, and 
after relating what had happened, he carried her home, to 
the great joy of them all, as well as to the satisfaction of 
Giacomino; whilst the governor of the city, who was a 
worthy man, knowing that Giannole, whom he had in cus- 
tody, was son to Bernarbuccio, and the lady's own brother, 
resolved to overlook the crime he had committed. Convers- 
ing then with Bemarbuccio an<i Giacomino about it, he un- 



27© DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL VU 

dertook to make peace between Giannole and Minghino, to 
whom, by the consent of all parties, he gave her to wife, and 
set all the other people at liberty. Minghino then made a 
most sumptuous wedding, and carried his bride home in 
great state where they lived happily together for a long 
course of years. 

[This story is related by Tonducci, in his ' History of Faenza,* and 
had been previously told in an old Latin chronicle.] 



NOVEL VI. 

Gianni di Procida is discovered with a yoang lady, formerly his mistress, 
but then given to King Frederick, for which he is condemned to be 
burnt with her at a stake, when being known by Ruggieri dell' Oria, 
he escapes and marries her. 

Neifile's agreeable novel being ended, Pampinea received 
an order to proceed, and quickly raising her lovely counte- 
nance, she thus began : — Great, most gracious ladies, is the 
force of love, which often leads people to rash and perilous 
attempts, as you have heard set forth in divers instances, 
both now and heretofore, and as I shall further evince in what 
I am going to relate concerning an enamoured youth. 
' Ischia is an island near Naples, in which lived a beautiful 
young lady named Restituta, daughter to a certain gentle- 
man called Marin Bo]garo. A young gentleman of Procida, 
called Gianni, was in love wi^h her, and she had the same 
affection for him. Not a day passed but he would go to 
Ischia to se: her, and frequently in the night; if he could 
not get a boat, he would swim over, though it was only to 
olease himself with a sight of her house. Whilst his love 
continued thus fervent, it chanced that she was walking out 
one summer's day on the sea-shore, and passing from one 
rock to another, picking up shells, she came near a grotto, 
where some young Sicilians, just come from Naples, were 
assembled together, partly for the sake of the shade, and 
partly for the fresh water, of which there was a cool and 
pleasant spring. They, seeing her by herself (whilst she was 
not aware of their presence), agreed to seize and carry lier 
away. Accordingly they surprised her, took her to their 
ship, although she made a great outcry, and sailed off with 
her. Being arrived at Calabria, a dispute arose as to which 
of them should have her ; and, as they could not come to 



NOVEL VI.] THE FIFTH DAY. 27 1 

any agreement about her amongst themselves, it was at last 
thought convenient to remove all cause of dissention by 
making a present of her to Frederick, king of Naples, who 
was young, and addicted to pleasure. 1 hey took her ac- 
cordingly to Palermo, and presented her to the king, who was 
greatly pleased with her; but being a little indisposed at 
that tkne, he had her sent to a pleasant seat built in one of 
his gardens, called La Cuba, to be kept there till his strength 
was recruited. 

The lady's abduction made a great noise all over Ischia, 
and so much the more as the persons concerned were un- 
known. But Gianni, who was more particularly interested 
in the affair, never expecting to hear any tidings of her there, 
and understanding which way the vessel had steered, got 
another ready, and went all along the sea-coast, from Mi- 
nerva to Scalea, in Calabria, to inquire after her; and at this 
last place he was told, that she was carried by some Sicilian 
sailors to Palermo. Thither then he went, with all possible 
speed, and after much inquiry, he found that she was pre- 
sented to the king, and kept for his purpose in La Cuba. 
This gave him infinite concern, and he began to despair, 
not only of getting her back, but even of ever seeing her 
more. He sent his frigate home, but being detained by his 
love, he resolved to stay there, as nobody knew him. As 
he passed pretty often in sight of the house, they chanced 
one day to spy each other through the window, to the in- 
tense joy of both. Seeing that the place was private, he got 
near enough to speak to her, and being instructed by her 
what course to take, if he desired to have a nearer interview, 
he left her for that time, taking particular notice of the situ- 
ation of the place, and waiting for night. When a good 
part of that was spent, he returned, and clambering over the 
walls which seemed inaccessible, he made his way into the 
garden, where finding a long piece of timber, he set it against 
the window, and, by the help of it, got into the chamber. 
The lady, reflecting that she had lost her honour, of which 
she had before been very tenacious, and believing that she 
could bestow her favours on none who deserved them better, 
was the less scrupulous in this afifair, and had left the case- 
ment open on purpose for him. She now begged earnestly 
of him, that he would contrive some method to get her 
thence, and he promised to order everything so that the next 
time he came he should take her away. This being agreed, 
be went and lay down on the bed by her. 



272 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL VL 

In the meantime, the king, being much smitten with her 
beauty, and finding himself recovered, had a miiid, though it 
was far in the night, to go and spend some time with her. 
Coming, therefore, with a few servants, to the house, and going 
softly to the chamber where he knew she was, to his great 
surprise he saw Gianni and her asleep together. This pro- 
voked him to that degree, that he was on the point of putting 
both to death; till, reflecting that it would be base in any 
person, and more so in a king, to kill people unarmed and 
asleep, he held his hand, but resolved to make a public ex- 
ample of them, and burn them alive. Turning to one of his 
retinue, he said, " What do you think of this base woman, on 
whom I had fixed all my hopes ?" Then he inquired if they 
knew the man who had the assurance to come there to com- 
mit such an outrage; but none remembered ever to have 
seen him before. The king upon this went away greatly dis- 
turbed, commanding that as soon as it was light they should 
be brought bound to Palermo, when they were to be tied 
back to back, and kept there till three o'clock, for everybody 
to see them, and then to be burnt, as they deserved. Ac- 
cordingly they were seized and bound without the least 
remorse or pity; and being brought, as the king had ordered, 
to Palermo, they were tied to a stake in the great square, 
surrounded with faggots ready to burn them at the time 
appointed : whilst all the people of the city flocked to see 
the sight, the women greatly pitying and commending the 
man, the men also shewing the same regard for the i>oor 
woman, every one highly admiring her most extraordinary 
beauty. But the two lovers stood with their eyes fixed on 
the ground, lamenting their hard fate, and waiting every 
moment for their sentence to be put in execution. 

Whilst they were kept in this manner, till the time fixed 
upon, the news was carried to Ruggieri dell' Oria, a person of 
great worth and valour, who was the king's high admiral ; 
and he coming to the place, cast his eye first upon the lady, 
and praised her beauty very much. He then turned to 
Gianni, whom he soon recognised, and asked him if he was 
not Gianni di Precida? Gianni lifted up his eyes, and re- 
membering the admiral, said, " I was once that person ; but 
now I am to be no more." The admiral then inquired what 
it was had brought him to this? Gianni replied, " Love and 
the king's displeasure." The admiral made him tell the 
whole story, and as he was going away, Gianni called him 
back, and said, " My lord, if it be possible, pray obtain one 



NOVEL VI J THE FIFTH DAY. 273 

favour of his majesty for me." Ruggieri asked what that 
was ? Gianni made answer, " I find that I am to die without 
delay ; therefore I only beg that, as I am tied with my back 
to this lady, whom I have loved dearer than my own life, and 
am not able to see her, that we may be bound with our faces 
to each other, and so I may expire with the pleasure of look- 
ing upon her." Ruggieri laughed, and said, "I will take 
care that you shall see her to much better purpose." 

He then commanded those who had the care of the execu- 
tion to respite it till farther orders, and went directly to the 
king. Finding him a good deal out of temper, he spared not 
to speak his mind to this effect : — " My liege, what have these 
two young people done to offend you, whom you have now 
ordered to be burnt ?" The king told him. Ruggieri then 
said, " their crime may deserve it, but not from you ; if mis- 
deeds require punishment, no less do benefits demand re- 
wards, as well as thanks. Do you know who they are whom 
you have sentenced to be burnt?" The king answered, 
" No."—" Then," said he, " I will tell you, that you may see 
how unwisely you suffer yourself to be transported with pas^ 
sion. The young man is son to Landolfo, the brother of 
Gianni di Procida, by whose means you are lord of Sicily. 
The lady is daughter to Marin Bolgaro, whose influence it 
was that secured your dominion over Ischia. Besides, they 
have long loved each other ; and it was this, and no disre- 
spect to your highness, that put them upon committing the 
crime, if crime it may be called, for which you are going to 
make them suffer death, instead of which you ought rather 
to give them some noble reward. 

The king hearing this, and being assured that the admiral 
spoke nothing but truth, not only put a stop to the proceed- 
ings, but was grieved for what he had done : he therefore 
ordered that the lovers should be set at liberty, and brought 
before him. Then hearing their whole case, he resolved to 
make them amends for the injury they had received ; ami 
giving them noble apparel, and many royal presents, he had 
them married, as it was their mutual desire, and afterwards 
sent them home thoroughly satisfied with their good fortune, 
which they long happily enjoyed together. 

[This seems partly an historical tale ; it is uninteresting in itself, but 
contains an incident which appears to have suggested to Tasso the punish- 
ment of Olindo and Sophronia, who are tied back to back to a stake, and 
12* 



274 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL VIL 

are about to be burned in this posture, when rescued by the arrival and 
intercession of Clorinda. Like Gianni di Procida, Oh'ndo cries out» in the 
crisis of his fate : 

*' Ed oh mia morte avventurosa appieno, 
Oh fortunati miei dolci martiri, 
S' impetrerò che giunto seno a seno 
L' anima mia ne la tua bocca io spiri ! 
E venendo tu meco a un tempo meno 
In me fuor mandi gli ultimi sospiri '* — Gerus,Liò,,c. 2.] 



NOVEL VII. 

Teodoro is in love with Violante, his master's daughter ; she proves with 
child, for which he is condemned to be hanged : when being led out to 
execution, he is recognised by his father, set at liberty, and afterwards 
marries her. 

The ladies were some time in suspense, through fear lest 
the Wo lovers should be burnt, and thanked Heaven at last 
to hear of their deliverance. Then the queen gave the next 
command to Lauretta, who began cheerfully as follows : 

When good King Guiglielmo ruled over Sicily, there lived 
in that island a gentleman named Amerigo, abbot of Trapani, 
who amongst other temporal goods, was well stored with 
children. Having occasion for servants, and meeting with 
some Genoese pirates from the Levant, who had been coast- 
ing along Armenia, and taken several children, .supposing 
them to be Turks, he bought some, and, amongst the rest, in 
appearance chiefly peasants, one of a more generous aspect, 
called Teodoro. This boy, as he grew up, though he was 
treated as a servant, was educated with Amerigo's own 
children ; and his natural disposition was so good and agree- 
able to his master, that he had him baptized, and called him 
Pietro, making him overseer of his affairs. 

Amongst Amerigo's children was a daughter, named Vio- 
lante, a most beautiful young lady, who, having been kept 
from marrying longer than was agreeable to her, cast her eye 
at last upon Pietro, being charmed with his behaviour, though 
she was ashamed to make such a discovery. But love spared 
her this trouble ; for he, by often looking cautiously at her, 
was so far captivated, that he was always uneasy unless he 
saw her : at the same time he was fearful lest any one should 
perceive it, as thinking it a sort of crime. This she soon 



NOVEL VII.] THE FIFTH DAY. 275 

took notice of; and, to give him a little more assurance, let 
him understand that it was not displeasing to her. Thus 
they went on together, neither venturing to speak to the 
other, though it was what they both desired. But whilst 
they thus mutualy languished, fortune, as if purposely, found 
means to banish this bashfulness, which had hitherto been in 
the way. 

Amerigo had a country house about a mile from Trapani, 
whither his wife and daughter, together with other ladies, 
used to go sometimes, by way of pastime. One day when 
they were there, having taken Pietro along with them, it 
happened that the sky was overcast all at once with clouds, 
on which account the lady and her friends made all possible 
haste home again, before they should be caught in the storm. 
But Pietro and the young lady, being more nimble than the 
rest, had got considerably the start of them, as much per- 
haps through love, as fear of the weather; and when they 
were out of sight, there came such claps of thunder, attended 
with a violent storm of hail, that the mother and her com- 
pany were glad to get into a labourer's house, whilst Pietro 
and the young lady, having no other place of refuge, went 
into an old uninhabited cottage, which had just cover enough 
remaining to keep them dry ; and there they were obliged to 
stand pretty close together. This event encouraged him to 
open his heart, and he said, '* Would to Heaven the storm 
would never cease, that I might continue here always in this 
manner! " — "I should like it," she replied, "well enough." 
These words brought on some little acts of fondness, which 
were followed by others, till at last they grew very familiar 
together, had their fill of pleasure, and made arrangements 
for the continuance of an intercourse so happily begun. 

The shower being over, they went on towards the city, 
waiting by the way for the mother, who having joined them, 
they came with her home. They had frequent meetings 
from that time, conducted always with great secrecy, till at 
length, she proved with child, which terribly alarmed them 
both. On this, Pietro, being in fear for his life, resolved to 
fly, and told her so. She replied, " If you do that, I will 
certainly murder myself." Pietro, then, who loved her most 
affectionately, said, "Why would you have me stay?" There 
must soon be a discovery ; for your part, you will be easily 
forgiven, and I shall have to bear the punishment of both." 
— Pietro^" she replied, " my crime must be known ; but as 
for yours, be assured, unless you tell it yourself, it never 



276 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL VII 

shall." — " Then," quoth he, "if you promise me that, I will 
stay ; but be sure you observe it." The young lady, who had 
concealed as long as possible her being with child, finding it 
could be kept a secret no longer, let her mother at last into 
the truth, entreating her protection with abundance of tears. 
The mother was very harsh with her, and insisted upon 
knowing how it happened : when she, to keep her word with 
Pietro, feigned a long story about it, to which the other easily 
gave credit, and, to keep it private, sent her away to one of 
their farm-houses. 

When the time of her labour was at hand, the mother, 
never suspecting anything of her husband's coming, it 
chanced that Amerigo, returning that way from hawking, 
thought, as he passed under the v/indow, that he heard some- 
thing of a noise and bustle above, and when he came in he 
inquired what was the matter ? The lady told her husband, 
with a great deal of concern, what had happened to their 
daughter. But he, not quite so credulous as herself, said it 
was impossible that she should be with child, and not know 
by whom, and he insisted upon knowing it : by that means 
she might regain his favour, otherwise he would put her to 
death without the least mercy. The lady tried all she could 
to make him satisfied with her story, but to no purpose. He 
ran with his sword drawn to his daughter, who, whilst they 
had been in discourse together, had brought forth a boy, and 
said, " Either declare the father, or thou shalt die instantly." 
She, terrified to death, broke her promise to Pietro, and made 
a full discovery. He was so enraged at this, that he could 
scarcely forbear murdering her, till having vented something 
of his passion, he remounted his horse, and returned to Tra- 
pani, when, making his complaint to one Signor Currado, 
who was governor there for the king, of the injury Pietro 
had done him, he had him apprehended, and he confessed 
the whole affair. 

Pietro was condemned to be whipped, and afterwards 
hanged ; and that the same hour might put an end to the 
lives of both the lovers and of their child, Amerigo, whose 
anger was not to be appeased by Pietro 's death, sent a cup 
of poison, and a naked sword, by one of his servants, to his 
daughter, saying, " Go carry these two things to Violante, 
and tell her from me, that she must take her choice, whether 
to die by poison, or the sword ; and if she refuse, I will have 
her burnt publicly as she deserves : when you have done this, 
take her child and dash his brains out, and then throw him 



NOVEL VII.] THE FIFTH DAY. 277 

to the dogs." The fellow, more disposed to such wickedness 
than to anything that was good, went readily enough about 
his errand. 

Pietro was whipped in pursuance of his sentence, and as 
he was led along to the gallows, he chanced to pass by an 
inn, where lodged three noblemen of Armenia, who were 
sent as amba.ssadors by their king to the pope, to treat of 
some weighty affairs with regard to an expedition which he 
was going to make. There they stayed to repose themselves 
after their journey, and had great honour shown them by 
the nobility of Trapani, and especially by Amerigo. Ob- 
serving the people pass by who were leading Pietro, they 
went to the window to see what was the matter. Pietro 
stood stripped to the waist, with his hands tied behind him ; 
when one of the ambassadors, named Fineo, an ancient per- 
son, and one of great authority, looking at him, saw a red 
spot on his breast, which children are sometimes bom with, 
and immediately was put in mind of a son who had been 
stolen from him by some pirates, fifteen years before, ot 
whom he could never since learn any tidings. Judging by 
Pietro's looks that he must be about the same age as his lost 
boy, he began to suspect, from the mark, that he was the 
very person, and if so, he supposed he would remember his 
own name, and his father's, as also something of the Arme- 
nian language: therefore, being near him, he called out 
" Teodoro ! " Hearing that, Pietro lifted up his head. Fineo 
then spoke to him in the Armenian language, saying, 
" Whence do you come, and whose son are you ? " The 
officers who had charge of him, stopped, wit of respect to 
. that worshipful person, and Pietro replied, " I am of Arme- 
nia, the son of one Fineo, and was brought hither by I 
know not whom." 

Fineo, now convinced that he was his son, came down 
with his friends, full of tears, and ran to embrace him among 
all the officers ; then throwing a rich mantle over his shoul- 
ders, he desired the person who led him to wait till orders 
should come to take him back ; which the other replied he 
should do very willingly. Fineo had learned the cause of 
his sentence, as fame had noised it everywhere. Taking his 
friends with him, therefore, and their retinue, he went to 
Currado, and said, " Sir, the person whom you have con- 
demned is no slave, he is a freeman, and my son : he is ready 
also to marry the woman : then please to defer the execution, 
till it be known whether she be willing to have him, that 



278 DECAMERON Of BOCCACCIO. [NOVEL YU 

nothing be done contrary to law." Currado was greatly sur* 
prised, hearing that he was Fineo *s son, and being ashamed 
of their mistake, confessed that what he required was 
reasonable, and sent for Amerigo, and acquainted him with 
these things. 

Nothing could exceed Amerigo's miserable anxiety, lest 
his daughter and her child should have been put to death 
before that time, knowing that if she was alive, everything 
might be fairly accommodated ; therefore he sent in all haste 
to her, to prevent his orders being obeyed, if they were not 
already performed. The messenger found the servant who 
had carried the sword and poison, standing before her, and 
as she was in no haste to make her choice, he was abusing 
her, and would have forced her to have taken one. But 
hearing his master's command, he returned, and told him 
how it was : at which he was thoroughly satisfied, and went 
to Fineo to beg his pardon for what had been done, declar- 
ing that if Teodoro married his daughter he should be per- 
fectly contented. Fineo accepted his apology, and assured 
him, that he should either marry her, or else the law should 
take its course. This being agreed, they went to Teodoro 
(who, though rejoiced to find his father, was yet under ap- 
prehensions of dying), and asked him if he consented. Te- 
odoro, hearing that he had it at his option to marry his 
Violante, was as much rejoiced as if he had gone directly 
from hell to heaven, and replied that he mould esteem it as 
the greatest favour in the world. Then he sent to know 
the young lady's mind, and she hearing of what happened 
to Teodoro, began to receive a little comfort after all her 
affliction. Nothing in the world could be more pleasing* 
to her, she said, than to be the wife of Teodoro ; but yet 
she should always wait her father's commands, Everythmg 
being thus settled, the wedding was celebrated to the great 
joy of th*^ whole city. In a little time the bride began to 
recover her looks, and having taken care of the infant, she 
went to pay her respects to Fineo, who, being returned 
from this embassy, received her as his daughter, with ihe 
utmost joy and respect. Soon after they embarked all to- 
gether for Laiazzo, where the two lovers lived peaceably 
and happily together all their lives. 

[Indifferent in itself, this tale is chiefly curious as being the foundation 
of the plot of Beaumont and Fletcher's ' Triumph of Love/ the second 
and best of their ' Four Plays in One.'] 



NOVEL VIllJ THE FIFTH DAY. 279 



NOVEL VIII. 

Anastasio, being in love with a young lad^, spent a good part of his for- 
tune, without being able to gain her affections. At the reqhest of his 
relations he retires to Chiassi, where he sees a lady pursued and slain 
by a gentleman, and then given to the dogs to be devoured. He in- 
vites his friends, along with his mistress, to come and dine with him, 
when they see the same thing, and she, fearing the like punishment, 
takes him for her husband. 

When Lauretta had made an end, Filomena began thus, 
by the queen's command : — Most gracious ladies, as pity is 
a commendable quality in us, in like manner do we find 
cruelty severely punished by Divine Justice ; which, that I 
may make plain to you all, and afford means to drive it from 
your hearts, I mean to relate a novel as full of compassion as 
it is agreeable. 

In Ravenna, an ancient city of Romagna, dwelt formerly 
many persons of quality ; amongst the rest was a young gen- 
tleman named Anastasio de gli Onesti, who, by the deaths 
of his father and uncle, was left immensely rich ; and being 
a bachelor, fell in love with one of the daughters of Signor 
Paolo Traversaro (of a family much superior to his own), 
and was in hopes, by his assiduous courtship, to gain her 
affection. But though his endeavours were generous, noble, 
and praiseworthy, so far were they from succeeding, that, on 
the contrary, they rathei turned out to his disadvantage ; 
and so cruel, and even savage was the beloved fair one 
(either her singular beauty or noble descent having made 
her thur haughty and scornful), that neither he, nor anything 
that he did, could ever please her. This so afflicted Anas- 
tasio, that he was goin^ to lay violent hands upon himself-, 
but, thinking better of it, he frequently had a mind to leave 
her entirely; or else to hate her, if he could, as much as she 
had hated him. But this proved a vain design ; for he con- 
stantly found that the less his hope, the greater always was 
his love. 

The young man persevered then in his love and his ex- 
travagant way of life, ^ill his friends all agreed that he was 
destroying his constitution, as well as wasting his substance ; 
they therefore advised and entreated that he would leave the 
place, and go and live somewhere else; for, by that means, 
he might lessen both his love and expense. For some time 
he made light of this advice, till being very much impor* 



28o DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL VIIL 

tuned, and not knowing how to refuse them, he promised to 
do so ; when, making extraordinary preparations, as if he 
was going a long journey, either into France or Spain, he 
mounted his horse, and left Ravenna, attended by many of 
his fyiends, and went to a place about three miles off, called 
Chiassi, where he ordered tents and pavilions to be brought, 
telling those who had accompanied him, that he meant to 
stay there, but that they might return to Ravenna. There 
he lived in the most splendid manner, inviting sometimes 
this company, and sometimes that, both to dine and sup, as 
he had used to do before. 

Now it happened in the beginning of May, the season 
being extremely pleasant, that, thinking of his cruel mistress, 
he ordered all his attendants to retire, and leave him to his 
own thoughts ; {ind then he walked along, step by step, and 
lost in reflection, till he came to a forest of pines. It being 
then the fifth hour of the day, and he advanced more than 
half a mile into the grove, without thinking either of his 
dinner, or anything else but his love ; on a sudden he seemed 
to hear a most grievous lamentation, with the loud shrieks 
of a woman. This put an end to his meditation, when look- 
ing around him, to know what the matter was, he saw come 
out of a thicket full of briars and thorns, and run towards 
the place where he was, a most beautiful lady, quite naked, 
with her flesh all scratched and rent by the bushes, crying 
terribly, and begging for mercy. In close pursuit of her 
were two fierce mastiffs, biting and tearing wherever they 
could lay hold, and behind, upon a black steed, rode a 
gloomy knight, with a dagger in his hand, loading her with 
the bitterest imprecations. The sight struck him at once 
with wonder and consternation, as well as pity for the lady, 
whom he was desirous to rescue from such trouble and dan- 
ger, if possible ; but finding himself without arms, he tore 
off a branch of a tree, and went forward with it, to oppose 
both the dogs and the knight. The knight observing this, 
called out, afar off*, "Anastasio, do not concern yourself; 
but leave the dogs and me to do by this wicked woman as 
she has deserved." At these words the dogs laid hold of 
her, and he coming up to them, dismounted from his horse. 
Anastasio then stepped up to him, and said, " I know not 
who you are, that are acquainted thus with me : but I must 
tell you, that it is a most villanous action for a man, armed 
as you are, to pursue a naked woman, and to set dogs upon 



PURGATORY OF THE CRUEL BEAUTY 
FIFTH DAY jt jt j* jt j* j* jt NOVEL VIE 







asm;rm i)mftm\mt,m 



NOVEL VIIlJ THE FIFTH DAY. 2Sl 

her also, as if she were a wild beast ; be aoetEreo that I shall 
defend her to the utmost of my power." 

The knight replied, " I was once your countryman, when 
you were but a child, and was called Guido de gli Anastagi, 
at which time I was more enamoured with this woman, than 
ever you were with Traversaro's daughtfer; but she treated 
me so cruelly, and with so much insolence, that I killed my- 
self with this dagger which you now see in my hand, for 
which I am doomed to eternal punishment. Soon after- 
wards she, who moreover was rejoiced at my death, died 
likewise, and for her cruelty, as also for the joy which she 
expressed at my misery, she is condemned as well as myself; 
our sentences are for her to flee before me, and for me, who 
loved her so well, to pursue her as a mortal enemy ; and 
when I overtake her, with this dagger, with which I mur- 
dered myself, do I murder her ; then I rip her open to the 
spine, and take out that hard and cold heart, which neither 
love nor pity could pierce, with all her entrails, and throw 
them to the dogs; and in a little time (so wills the justice 
and power of Heaven) she rises, -as though she had never 
been dead, and renews her miserable flight, whilst we pursue 
her over again. Every Friday in the year, about this time, 
do I sacrifice her here, as you see, and on other days in 
other places, wherever she has thought or done anything 
against me : and thus being from a lover become her mortal 
enemy, I am to follow her for years as many as the months 
she was cruel to me. Let then divine justice take its course, 
nor offerto oppose what you are no way able to withstand." 

Anastasio drew back at these words, terrified to death, and 
waited to see what the other was going to do. The knight, 
having made an end of speaking, ran at her with the utmost 
fury, as she was seized by the dogs, and pulled down upon her 
knees begging for mercy. Then with his dagger he pierced 
through her breast, and tore out her heart and her entrails, 
which the dogs immediately devoured as if half famished. In 
a little time she rose again^ as if nothins had happened, and 
fled towards the sea, the dogs biting and tearing her all the 
way ; the knight also being remounted, and taking his dagger, 
pursued her as before, till they soon got out of sight. 

Upon seeing these things, Anastasio stood divided betwixt 
fear and pity, and at length it came into his mind that, as it 
happened always on a Friday, it might be of particular use. 
Returning then to his servants, he sent for some of his 
friends and relations, and said to them, " You have often im- 



282 DECAMERON OP BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL VIU. 

portuned me to leave off loving this my enemy, and to con- 
tract my expenses ; I am ready to do so, provided you grant 
me one favour, which is this, that next Friday, you engage 
Paolo Traversaro, his wife and daughter, with all their women, 
friends and relations to come and dine with me : the reason 
of my requiring this you will see at that time." This seemed 
to them but a small matter, and returning to Ravenna they 
invited those whom he had desired, and though they found 
it difficult to prevail upon the young lady, yet the others 
carried her at last along with them. Anastasio had provided 
a magnificent entertainment under the pines where that 
spectacle had lately been ; and having seated all his company, 
he contrived that the lady should sit directly opposite to the 
scene of action. The last course then was no sooner served 
up, than the lady's shrieks began to be heard. This sur- 
prised them all, and they began to inquire what it was, and, 
as nobody could inform them, they all rose : when immedi- 
ately they saw the lady, the dogs, and the knight, who were 
soon amongst them. Great was consequently the clamour, 
both against the dogs and the knight, and many of them 
went to the lady's assistance. But the knight made the 
same harangue to them, that he had done to Anastasio, which 
terrified and filled them with wonder; then he acted the 
same part over again, whilst the ladies (there were many of 
them present who were related to both the knight and lady, 
and who remembered his love and unhappy death) all la- 
mented as much as if it had happened to themselves. 

This tragical affair being ended, and the lady and knight 
both gone away, they held various discourses together about 
it ; but none seemed so much affected as Anastasio's mistress, 
who had heard and seen everything distinctly, and was sen- 
sible that it concerned her more than any other person, calling 
to mind her invariable cruelty towards him ; so that already 
she seemed to flee before his wrathful spirit, with the mastiffs 
at her heels. Such was her terror at this thought, that, turn- 
ing her hatred into love, she sent that very evening a trusty 
damsel privately to him, to entreat him in her name to com^ 
and see her, for she was ready to fulfil his desires. Anas- 
tasio replied, that nothing could be more agreeable to him 
but that he desired no favour from her but what was con- 
sistent with her honour. The lady, who was sensible that it 
had been always her own fault they were not married, an- 
swered, that she was willing:; and going herself to her 
father and mother, she acqn m v ■ 1 them with her intention. 



NOVEL VIII.1 THE FIFTH DAY. 283 

This gave them the utmost satisfaction ; and the next Sun- 
day the marriage was solemnized with all possible demon- 
strations of joy. And that spectacle was not attended with 
this good alone ; but all the women of Ravenna were ever after 
so terrified with it, that they were more ready to listen to, and 
oblige the men, than ever they had been before. 

f We are informed, in a note by the persons employed for the correction 
of the ' Decameron/ that this tale is taken, with a variation merely in the 
names, from a chronicle written by Helinandus, a French monk of the 
13th century, which comprises a history of the world, from the creation 
to the author's time. This story, which seems to be the origin of all 
retributory spectres, was translated, in 1569, into English verse, by 
Christopher Tye, under the title of ' A Notable Historye of Nastagio and 
Traversari, no less pitiefuU than pleasaunt.' It is not impossible that 
such old translations, now obsolete and forgotten, may have suggested to 
Dryden's notice those stories of Boccaccio which he has chosen. ' Sigis- 
munda and Guiscard, as well as ' Cimon and Iphigenia,' had appeared in 
old English rhyme before they received embellishment from his genius. 
In his ' Theodore and Honoria,' he has adorned the tale of the spectre 
huntsman with all the charms of versification. The supernatural agency, 
as well as the feelings of those present at Nastagio's entertainment, are 
managed with wonderful skill, and it seems, on the whole, the best exe- 
cuted oi the three novels which he had selected from the ' Decameron.' 

Even' one is familiar with Byron's allusion to this story : 

" Sweet hour of twilight ! — In the solitude 

Of the pine forest, and the silent shore 
Which bounds Ravenna's immemorial wood. 

Rooted where once the Adrian wave flowed o'er. 
To where the last Caesarean fortress stood ; 

Ever green forest ! which Boccaccio's lore, 
And Dryden's lay made haunted ground to me. 
How have I loved that twilight hour and thee ! 

" The shrill cicalas, people of the pine, 

Making their summer lives one ceaseless song. 

Where the sole echoes, save my steeds and mine. 
And vesper bells, that stole the boughs among. 

The spectre huntsman of Onesti's line, 
His hell-dogs, and their chace, and the fair throng 

Which leam'd from this example not to fly 

From a true lover, shadowed my mind's eye."] 



284 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL IX. 



NOVEL IX. 

Federigo being in love, without meeting with any return, spends all his 
substance, having nothing left but one poor hawk, which he gives to his 
lady for her dinner when she comes to his house ; she, knowing this, 
changes her resolution, and marries him, by which means he b^omes 
very rich. 

The queen now observing that only she and Dioneo were 
left to speak, said pleasantly to this effect : — As it is now 
come to my turn, I shall give you, ladies, a novel something 
like the preceding one, that you may not only know what 
influence the power of your charms has over a generous 
heart, but that you may learn likewise to bestow your 
favours of your own accord, and where you think most 
proper, without suffering Fortune to be your directress, who 
disposes blindly, and without the least judgment whatsoever. 

You must understand then, that Coppo di Borghese (who was 
a person of great respect and authority among us, and whose 
amiable qualities, joined to his noble birth, had rendered 
him worthy of immortal fame) in the decline of life, used to 
divert himself among his neighbours and acquaintances, by 
relating things that had happened in his day, and this he 
knew how to do with more exactness and elegance of ex- 
pression than any other person: he, I say, amongst other 
pleasant stories, used to tell us, that at Florence dwelt a 
young gentleman named Federigo, son of Filippo Alberighi, 
who, in feats of arms and gentility, surpassed all the youth 
in Tuscany. This gentleman was in love with a lady called 
Monna Giovanna, one of the most agreeable women in Flor- 
ence, and to gain her affection, he was continually making 
tilts, balls, and such diversions ; lavishing away his money in 
rich presents, and everything that was extravagant. But she, 
as pure in conduct as she was fair, made no account either of 
what he did for her sake, or of himself. 

As Federigo continued to live in this manner, spending 
profusely, and acquiring nothing, his wealth soon began to 
waste, till at last he had nothing left but a very small farm, 
the income of which was a most slender maintenance, and a 
single hawk, one of the best in the world. Yet loving still 
more than ever, and finding he could subsist no longer in the 
city, in the manner he would choose to live, he retired to his 
farm, where he went out fowling, as often as the weather 




''I SHOULD RECOVER IF I HAD FEDERIGCS HAWK' 
FIFTH DAY ^ j< vV5 v^ J* .< NOVEL DC 



SIR 

FEDERIGO'S 

HAWK 






^v\l>. 






^—^ ^-' 



NOVEL IX.] THE FIFTH DAY. 285 

would permit, and bore his distress patiently, without ever 
making his necessity known to anybody. Now it happened, 
after. he was thus brought low, the lady's husband fell sick, 
and, being very rich, he made a will, by which he left all his 
substance to an only son, who was almost grown up, and if 
he should die without issue, he then ordered that it should 
revert to his lady, whom he was extremely fond of; and when 
he had disposed thus of his fortune, he died. Monna Gio- 
vanna now, being left a widow, retired, as our ladies usually 
do during the summer season, to a house of hers in the 
country, near to that of Federigo : whence it happened that 
her son soon became acquainted with him, and they used to 
divert themselves together with dogs and hawks; and the 
boy, having often seen Federigo *s hawk fly, and being 
strangely taken with it, was desirous of having it, though 
the other valued it to that degree, that he knew not how to 
ask for it. 

This being so, the boy soon fell sick, which gave his 
mother great concern, as he was her only child, and she 
ceased not to attend on and comfort him ; often requesting, 
if there was any particular thing which he fancied, to let her 
know it, and promising to procure it for him if it was possi- 
ble. The young gentleman, after many offers of this kind, 
at last said, " Madam, if you could contrive for me to have 
Federigo's hawk, I should soon be well." She was in some 
perplexity at this, and began to consider how best to act. 
She knew that Federigo had long entertained a liking for 
her, without the least encouragement on her part ; therefore 
she said to herself, " How can I send or go to ask for this 
hawk, which I hear is the very best of the kind, and which 
is all he has in the world to maintain him,? Or how can I 
offer to take away from a gentleman all the pleasure that he 
has in life ?" Being in this perplexity, though she was very 
sure of having it for a word, she stood w^ithout making any 
reply ; till at last the love of her son so far prevailed, that 
she resolved at all events to make him easy, and not send, 
but go herself. She then replied, " Set your heart at rest, 
my boy, and think only of your recovery ; for I promise you 
that I will go to-morrow for it the first thing I do." This 
afforded him such joy, that he immediately shewed signs of 
amendment. 

The next morning she went, by way of a walk, with an- 
other lady in company, to Federigo *s little cottage to inquire 
for bim. At that time, as it was too early to go out upon his 



286 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [NOVEL IX. 

diversion, he was at work in his garden. Hearing, there* 
fore, that his mistress inquired for him at the door, he ran 
thither, surprised and full of joy; whilst she, with a great 
deal of complaisance, went to meet him ; and, after the usual 
compliments, she said, " Good morning to you, sir ; I am 
come to make you some amends for the losses you have sus- 
tained on my account ; what I mean is, that I have brought 
a companion to take a neighbourly dinner with you to-day." 
He replied, with a great deal of humility, " Madam, I do not 
remember ever to have suffered any loss by your means, but 
rather so much good, that if I was worth anything at any 
time it was due to your singular merit, and the love I had 
for you : and most assuredly this courteous visit is more 
welcome to me than if I had all that I have wasted returned 
to me to spend over again ; but you are come to a very poor 
host." With these words he shewed her into his house, 
seeming much out of countenance, and thence they went 
into the garden, when, having no company for her, he said, 
" Madam, as I have nobody else, please to admit this honest 
woman, a labourer's wife, to be with you, whilst I set forth 
the table." 

Although his poverty was extreme, never till now had he 
been so sensible of his past extravagance ; but finding noth- 
ing to entertain the lady with, for whose sake he had treated 
thousands, he was in the utmost perplexity, cursing his evil 
fortune, and running up and down like one out of his wits. 
At length, having neither money nor anything he could 
pawn, and longing to give her something, at the same time 
that he would not make his case known, even so much as to 
his own labourer, he espied his hawk upon the perch, seized 
it, and finding it very fat, judged it might make a dish not 
unworthy of such a lady. Without farther thought, then, he 
wrung its head off, and gave it to a girl to dress and roast 
carefully, whilst he laid the cloth, having a small quantity 
of linen yet left ; and then he returned, with a smile on his 
countenance, into the garden to tell Monna Giovanna that 
what little dinner he was able to provide was now ready. 
She and her friend, therefore, entered and sat down with 
him, he serving them all the time with great respect, when 
they ate the good hawk, not knowing what it was. 

After dinner was over, and they had sat chatting a little 
while together, the lady thought it a fit time to tell her 
errand, and addressed him courteously in this manner: — 
** gir, if jrou call to niind your past life, and my resolution, 



NOVEL IX.J THE FIFTH DAY. 287 

which perhaps you may call cruelty, I doubt not but you 
will wonder at my presumption, when you know what I am 
come for : but if you had children of your own, to know 
how strong our natural affection is towards them, I am very 
sure you would excuse me. Now, my having a son forces 
me, against my own inclination, and all reason whatsoever, 
to request a thing of you, which I know you value extremely, 
as you have no other comfort or diversion left you in your 
small circumstances ; I mean your hawk, which he has taken 
such a fancy to, that unless I bring it back with me, I very 
much fear that he will die of his disorder. Therefore I en- 
treat you, not for any regard you have for me (for in that 
respect you are in no way obliged to me), but for that gener- 
osity with which you have always distinguished yourself, that 
you would please to let me have it, so that I may be able to 
say that my child's life has been restored to me through your 
gift, and that he and I are under perpetual obligations to 
you." 

Federigo, hearing the lady's request, and knowing it was 
out of his power to fulfil it, began to weep before he was 
able to make a word of reply. This she at first attributed 
to his reluctance to part with his favourite bird, and expected 
that he was going to give her a flat denial ; but after she had 
waited a little for his answer, he said, " Madam, ever since I 
have fixed my affections upon you, fortune has still been 
contrary to me in many things, and sorely I have felt them ; 
but all the rest is nothing to what has now come to pass. 
You are here to visit me in this my poor dwelling, to which 
in my prosperity you would never deign to come ; you also 
entreat a small present from me, which it is wholly out of 
my power to give, as I am going briefly to tell you. As 
soon as I was acquainted with the great favour you designed 
me, I thought it proper, considering your superior merit and 
excellency, to treat you, according to my ability, with some- 
thing choicer than is usually given to other persons, when, 
calling to mind my hawk, which you now request, and his 
goodness, I judged him a fit repast for you, and you have 
had him roasted. Nor could I have thought him better be- 
stowed, had you not now desired him in a different manner, 
which is such a grief to me, that I shall never be at peace 
as long as I live : " and saying this, he produced the hawk's 
feathers, feet, and talons. The lady began now to blame 
him for killing such a bird to entertain any woman with, in 
her heart all the while extolling the greatness of his soul 
which poverty had no power to abase. 



288 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL X. 

Having now no further hopes of obtaining the hawk, she 
took leave of Federigo, and returned sadly to her son ; who, 
either out of grief for the disappointment, or through the 
violence of his disorder, died in a few days. She continued 
sorrowful for some time ; but being left rich, and young, her 
brothers were very pressing with her to marry again. This 
went against her inclination, but finding them still impor- 
tunate, and remembering Federigo 's great worth, and the 
late instance of his generosity, in killing such a bird for her 
entertainment, she said, " I should rather choose to continue 
as I am; but since it is your desire that I take a husband, I 
will have none but Federigo de gli Alberighi." They smiled 
contemptuously at this, and said, " You simple woman ! what 
are you talking of? He is not worth one farthing in the 
world." She replied, " I believe it, brothers, to be as you 
say ; but know, that I would sooner have a man that stands in 
need of riches y than riches without a man.** They hearing her 
resolution, and well knowing his generous temper, gave her 
to him with all her wealth ; and he, seeing himself possessed 
of a lady whom he had so dearly loved, and of such a vast 
fortune, lived in all true happiness with her, and was a better 
manager of his affairs than he had been before. 

[This is the ' Faucon/ of La Fontaine, Of this story it has been re- 
marked, that " as a picture of the habitual workings of some one power- 
ful feeling, where the heart reposes almost entirely on itself, without the 
violent excitement of opposing duties or untoward circumstances, nothing 
ever came up to the story of Frederico and his Falcon. The perseverance 
in attachment, the spirit of gallantry and generosity displayed in it, has 
no parallel in the history of heroical sacrifices. The feeling is so uncon- 
scious too, and involuntary, is brought out in such small, unlooked-for. 
and unostentatious circumstances, as to show it to have been woven into 
the very nature and soul of the author."] 



NOVEL X. 

Pietro di Vinciolo goes to sup at a friend's house ; his wife, in the mean- 
time, has her gallant: Pietro returns, when she hides him under a 
chicken coop. Pietro relates, that a young fellow was found in Erco- 
lano's house, where he supped, who had been concealed by his wife. 
Pietro's wife blames very much the wife of Ercolano : meanwhile an 
ass happening to tread on the young man's fingers who lay hidden, he 
cries out. Pietro runs to see what is the matter, and finds out the 
trick. At length they make it up. 

The queen had now made an end, and every one was 
pleased with Federigo 's good fortune, when Dioneo thus be- 



K^VEL X.7 THE FIFTH DAY. 289 

gan : — I know not whether I should term it a vice, acci, 
dental, and owing to the depravity of our manners; or 
whether it be not rather a national infirmity, to laugh sooner 
at bad things than those which are good, especially when 
they no way concern ourselves. Therefore, as the pains 
which I have before taken, and am also now to undergo, aim 
at no other end but to drive away melancholy, and to afford 
matter for mirth and laughter, although, charming ladies, 
some part of the following novel be not altogether so mod- 
est, yet, as it may make you merry, I shall venture to relate 
it. You may do in this case, as when you walk in a garden, 
that is, pick the roses, and leave the briars behind you. Just 
so you may leave the vile fellow to his own evil reflections, 
and laugh at the amorous wiles of his wife, having that re- 
gard for other people's misfortunes which they deserve. 

There dwelt not long since in Perugia, a very rich man, 
named Pietro di Vinciolo, who took to him a wife, more, 
perhaps, to deceive people, and diminish the bad opinion of 
him universally entertained in Perugia, than for anything 
else. Fortune was so far conformable to his inclinations, 
that the wife he found was a young, buxom, red-haired 
woman, who required two husbands rather than one. Con- 
sequently, they had continual jars and animosities together, 
whilst she would often argue with herself in this way: 
" This wretch abandons me to follow his infamous propensi- 
ties. I made choice of him for a husband, and brought him 
a good fortune, knowing he was a man, and supposing he 
was fond of what men ought to be fond of. If I had thought 
he was not a man I would never have had him. He knew I 
was a woman ; why did he take me for his wife if he disliked 
women ? This is not to be borne. Had I been disposed to 
renounce the world, I would have shut myself up in a nun- 
nery at once. I shall have old age overtake me before I 
know one good day, and then it will be too late to expect 
it." Full of such reflections as these, and resolved to in- 
demnify herself for her husband's neglect, she went at last 
and made her case known to a sanctified old crone, who was 
perpetually saying over her Pater Nosters, and would talk 
of nothing else but the lives of the holy fathers, and the 
wounds of St. Francis. 

** My daughter," said the old woman, when the lady had 

made known her grievances, and her intention of providing 

a remedy for them, " the Lord knows you will do quite right ; 

and if it was for nothing else, you and every young woman 

13 



290 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL X- 

ought to do the same in order not to lose the good time of 
youth ; for there is no sorer grief to any one of right under- 
standing, than to have wasted precious time. When we are 
grown old what the devil are we good for, but to sit in the 
chimney corner, and keep the fire warm.? If there's ne'er 
another can bear true testimony to this, at least I can ; for 
never can I think, without bitter anguish of spirit, on the 
time I let slip without profit. I did not lose it all, mind ; I 
would not have you suppose I was such a ninny; but I did 
not get all the good out of it I might. When I call this to 
mind, and that I am now come to be what you see me, with 
never a chance of any one giving me a spark of fire to light 
my tinder, God knows what a heart's grief it is to me. It 
is not so with men ; they are bom good for a great many 
things besides this we are talking of, and the greater part 
of them are more esteemed in their old age than when 
they are young. But women are good for nothing but to 
bear children, or to be made use of to get them, and it 
is for that they are courted. If you want anything to 
make this clear to you, you have only to consider that 
women are always ready, but the men are not; besides, 
one woman can give enough to do to many men, but sev- 
eral men could not cloy one woman. Since then we are 
bom for this, I say again that you will do quite right to 
give your husband tit-for-tat, so that when you grow old 
your soul may have no cause to upbraid your body. In 
this world everybody gets what he helps himself to, and 
no more, and this is especially the case with women, who 
have much more reason than men to make good use of 
their time while they may ; for when we grow old neither 
our husbands, nor any one else, will look upon us, but 
they send us into the kitchen to talk to the cat, and count 
the pots and pans. Nay, what is worse they make rhymes 
upon us, and jibe us, saying, *Tit bits for the young, refuse 
for the old.' The long and the short of the matter, my dear, 
is this: you could not have made choice of a fitter per- 
son than myself to open your mind to, or one that knows 
better how to help you. There is not the proudest man 
that wears a head, but I dare tell my mind to, nor the 
stubboraest, and most uncivil, but I can make fain to fol- 
low my leading. Let me only know who it is that best 
pleases you, and leave the rest to me. But there is one 
thing, my dear, I would beg you to bear in mind, that is, 



NOVEL xj THE FIFTH DAY. 29I 

that I am a poor body, and I would have you partake 
the benefit of all my pardons and Pater Nosters." 

It was then agreed that if the old woman should meet a 
certain gentleman in the street, whom the lady described to 
her, she should know what to do; and, upon this, the lady gave 
her a piece of salt meat, and sent her away. In a short time 
the old woman secretly brought her the person she desired, 
and others afterwards from time to time, according to the 
lady's fancy, which was a very lively one, and which she grat- 
ified as diligently as the fear in which she stood of her husband 
would allow her. One evening it happened that Pietro being 
engaged to sup with a friend of his, called Ercolano, the 
lady made the old woman bring her one of the handsomest 
and most engaging striplings in all Perugia ; but she and her 
gallant were no sooner seated at table, than Pietro was heard 
knocking at the door. She was frightened out of her wits, 
and wishing to hide the youth somewhere or other, and not 
knowing where to put him better, she covered him with a 
hen-coop, which stood in a porch adjoining the supper-room, 
and throwing an empty sack over it, ran to open the door, 
saying, " Why husband, you have soon made an end of your 
supper." — "I have not tasted one morsel." — "How comes 
that.?"—" I will tell you," said Pietro, **how it was." 

" Ercolano, his wife, and myself, were all sat down, when 
he heard somebody sneeze ; this we did not regard for once 
or twice, but when it happened three, four, or five times, it 
naturally surprised us : and Ercolano (who was vexed that 
his wife had made him wait some time at the door before she 
let him in) said, in a passion, * What is the meaning of this Ì 
Who is it that sneezes in this manner?' And getting up 
from the table, he went towards the stairs, under which was 
a cupboard, made to set things out of the way, and suppos- 
ing the sound come thence, he opened the door, when there 
immediately issued out the greatest stench of sulphur that 
could be, though we had perceived something of it before. 
Ercolano and his wife had some words about it ; when she 
told him that she had been whitening her veils with brim- 
stone, and had set the pan, over which she had laid them to 
receive the steam, in that place, and she supposed it contin- 
ued yet to smoke. After he had opened the door, and the 
smoke was a little dispersed, he espied the sneezer, who was 
still hard at it under the pungent influence of the sulphur; 
but though he continued sneezing, yet he was so near suffoca- 
tion, that in a very little time more, he would neither have done 



292 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL X. 

that, nor anything else. Ercolano, seeing the person at last, 
cried out, *So, madam ! I now see why you made us wait so 
long at the door, but let me die if I do not pay you as you 
deserve.* The wife, finding that she was discovered, rose 
from the table without making any excuse, and went I know 
not whither. Ercolano, not perceiving that his wife was fled, 
called upon the man that sneezed, and ordered him to come 
out; but, notwithstanding all he could say, the other never 
offered to stir, nor indeed was he able. Ercolano at last 
drew him out by the foot, and was running for a knife to kill 
him, but I, fearing to be drawn into some difficulty myself 
about it, would not suffer him to put the fellow to death ; but 
defended him, and called out to the neighbours, who came 
and carried him away. This spoiled our supper, and I have 
not had one bit, as I told you." 

The lady hearing this account, saw that other women were 
of the same disposition with herself, although some proved 
more unlucky than others. She would gladly have vindicated 
Ercolano's wife, but that she thought by blaming the faults of 
other people, to make the way more open for her own ; so she 
began: — "Here is a fine affair, truly! this is your virtuous 
and good woman, who seemed so spiritually-minded always, 
that I could have confessed myself to her upon occasion. 
What is worse, she is old : a fine example she sets to young 
people ! Cursed be the hour of her birth, and herself also ; 
vile woman as she is! to be a disgrace to her whole sex; to 
be so mindless of her own honour, and her plighted faith to 
her husband, as not to be ashamed to injure so deserving a 
person, and one who had been always so tender of her ! As 
I hope for mercy, I would have none on such prostitutes, 
they should every soul of them be burnt alive." Now call- 
ing to mind her own spark who was concealed, she began to 
fondle her husband, and would have had him go to bed, but 
he, who had more stomach to eat than sleep, asked whether 
she had anything for supper. " Yes, truly," quoth she, " we 
are used to have suppers when you are from home. I should 
fare better were I Ercolano's wife, my dear ; now do go to 
bed." 

That evening it happened that some of Vinciolo's labour- 
ers had come with some things out of the country, and had 
put their asses, without giving them any water, into a stable 
near the porch. One of the asses slipped his halter, being 
very thirsty, and went smelling everywhere for drink, till he 
came to the coop under which the young man was hidden. 



NOVEL X.] THE FIFTH DAY. 293 

Now he was forced to lie flat on his belly, and one of his 
fìngers, by strange ill fortune, was uncovered, so that the ass 
trod upon it, which made him cry out most terribly. Pietro 
wondered to hear such clamour in the house, and fìnding it 
continued, the ass still squeezing the finger close, he called 
aloud, " Who is there ?" Then running to the coop, and turning 
it up, he saw the young man, who, besides the great pain he 
had suflered, was frightened to death lest Pietro should do 
him some mischief. Pietro asked him what business he had 
there ; to which he made no reply, but begged he would do 
him no harm. "Get up," said Pietro, " I shall not hurt you, 
only tell me how you came hither, and upon what account ! " 
The young man confessed everything ; whilst Pietro, full as 
glad that he had found him, as his wife was sorry, brought 
him into the room where she sat, in all the terror imaginable, 
expecting him. Seating himself now before her, he said, 
" Here, you that were so outrageous at Ercolano's wife, say- 
ing that she should be burnt, and that she was a scandal to 
you all; what do you say now of yourself? Or how could 
you have the assurance to utter such things with regard to 
her, when you knew yourself to be equally guilty ? You are 
all alike, and think to cover your own transgressions by other 
people's mistakes : I wish a fire would come from heaven, 
and consume you altogether, for a perverse generation as you 
are." The lady, now seeing that he went no further than a 
few words, put a good face on the matter, and replied, "Yes, 
I make no doubt but you would have us all destroyed ; for 
you are as fond of us as a dog of a stick. You do well to 
compare me to Ercolano's wife, who is an ugly, hypocritical 
old woman, and he one of the best of husbands, that gives 
her what she likes ; whereas, you know it is the reverse with 
regard to us two ; I would sooner go in rags, were you what 
you ought to be, than to have everything in plenty, and you 
continue the same person you have always been." Pietro 
found she had matter enough to serve her the whole night, 
and having no mind to hear more, said "Enough for the 
present, madam ; I will take care that you shall have more 
comfort for the time to come ; only do me the great favour 
to see and get us something for supper, for I suppose this 
young spark is fasting as well as myself." — " Tis very true," 
she replied, "for we were going to sit down when you un- 
luckily came to the door." — " Then go and get something," 
he said, " and after supper I will settle this matter in such a 
way as will leave you no cause for complaint." She, finding 



294 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL X. 

her husband was satisfied, went instantly about it, and they 
all three supped cheerfully together. What followed I can- 
not pretend to tell you, but it was said next day in Perugia 
that the husband was revenged in his own way, and the 
wife not displeased. 

[The greater part of this tale is taken from the ninth book of the 
Golden Ass/ of Apuleius. It also bears a strong resemblance to the 
thirty-first and thirty-third novels of Girolamo Morlini.] 

If Dioneo's novel was not much laughed at by the ladies 
it was not for want of mirth, but from modesty. The queen, 
seeing that there was an end of the novels of her day, arose, 
and taking the crown from her own head, placed it upon 
Eliza's, saying, "Madam, now it is your business to com- 
mand :*' Eliza, taking upon herself the honour, gave the same 
orders to the master of the household, as had been done in 
the former reigns, with regard to what was necessary during 
her administration ; she then said, " We have often heard 
that many people by their ready wit and smart repartees, 
have not only blunted the keen satire of other persons, but 
have also warded off some imminent danger. Then, as the 
subject is agreeable enough, and may be useful, I will that 
to-morrow's discourse be to that effect : namely, of such per- 
sons as have retorted some stroke of wit which was pointed 
at them ; or else, by some quick reply, or prudent foresight, 
have avoided either danger, or derision." This was agree- 
able to the whole assembly, and the queen now gave them 
leave to depart till the hour of supper; at that time they 
were called together and sat cheerfully down as usual. 
When supper was over, Emilia was ordered to begin a dance, 
and Dioneo to sing. But he, attempting to sing what the 
queen disapproved, she said, with some warmth, " Dioneo, 
I will have none of this ribaldry ; either sing us a song fit to 
be heard, or you shall see that I know how to resent it." At 
these words he put on a more serious countenance, and 
began the following 

SONG. 

Cupid, the charms that crown my fair, 
Have made me slave to you and her. 

The lightning of her eyes, 

That darting through my bosom flies, 
Doth still your sov'reign power declare. 

At your control 
Each grace binds fast my vanquish'd soul. 



THE SIXTH DAY. 2^$ 

Devoted to your throne 
From henceforth I myself confess. 
Nor can I guess 

If my desires to her be known ; 
Who claims each wish, each thought so far. 
That all my peace depends on her. 

Then haste» kind godhead, and inspire 
A portion of your sacred fire ; 

To make her feel 

That self'Consuming zeal» 
The cause of my decay, 
That wastes my very heart away» 

When Dioneo had made an end, the queen called for sev- 
eral other songs, but his, nevertheless, was highly commended; 
afterwards, great part of the evening being spent, and the 
heat of the day sufficiently damped by the breezes of the 
night, she ordered them all to go and repose themselves till 
the following day 



THE SIXTH DAY. 

The moon had now lost her brightness in the midst of the 
heavens, and the world became illumined by the appearance 
of the new day, when the queen arose with all her com- 
pany, and they walked forth upon the dewy grass, to some 
distance from that little eminence, holding various argu- 
ments by the way concerning their late novels, and making 
themselves merry with reciting some of the most entertain- 
ing over again : till at last, the heat growing excessive, as 
the sun was mounted to a greater height, they turned back, 
and came to the palace, where, the tables being set forth 
against their return, and every part of the house bedecked 
with sweet smelling flowers, they sat down to dinner. When 
that was over, and after they had sung a few songs, some 
went to sleep, and others played at chess ; whilst Dioneo 
and Lauretta sang the song of Troilus and Cressida. At 
the usual hour they met, by the fountain's side, and the queen 
was about to call for the first novel, when she was inter- 
rupted by an occurrence such as never had happened be- 
fore, namely, a great noise and tumult among the servants 
in the kitchen. The queen sent for the master of the house- 
hold' to know what it was all about, but he could not tell; 



2g6 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. 

all he knew was that there was a dispute between Licisca 
and Tindaro. The queen then ordered the pair to be 
brought before her, and when they were come into her pres- 
ence she demanded the reason of their discord. Tindaro 
began to make answer, — when Licisca, whose blood was up, 
turning upon him in high disdain, exclaimed, "How dare 
this beast of a man presume to open his mouth before 
me! Let me speak." Then turning to the queen she 
proceeded : 

" This fellow, my lady, would tell me, forsooth, all about 
Sicofante 's wife, for all the world as if I did not know her of 
old ; and he would have me believe that there was violence 
and bloodshed the first night Sicofante went to bed to her; 
but I say there was no such thing, but all passed very 
smoothly and comfortably. This jackass actually believes 
that young girls are such fools as to lose their time, waiting, 
shilly shally, three or four years, till their fathers or brothers 
think fit to get them a husband. Ecod, a fine time they'd 
have of it waiting so long! By the faith of a Christian! 
and I ought to know what I am saying when I swear that 
oath, among all my gossips there is not one that went a 
maid to her husband : aye and the married women too, I 
know what tricks they play on their husbands : and yet this 
great mutton-headed oaf would have me learn from him 
what are the ways of women, as if I was bom yesterday." 

Whilst Licisca talked thus, the ladies laughed at such a 
rate you might have drawn all their teeth. The queen com- 
manded her six times at least to hold her tongue, but it was 
of no avail. As soon as she had let out all she chose to 
say, the queen turned to Dioneo, and said with a smile, 
" This question belongs to your province ; therefore, when 
our novels are ended, you shall give your verdict upon it." 
" Madam," he replied at once, " the verdict is given with- 
out hearing more ; I say that Licisca is right, and I agree 
with her in opinion that Tindaro is an ass." 

When Licisca heard this she burst out laughing, and 
turning to Tindaro : " I told thee so," she said ; " God 
help thee, with thy eyes hardly open yet, to think thou 
knowest more than I do. Gramercy ! I have not lived for 
nothing, not I." And if the queen had not peremptorily 
cut her short, and ordered her and Tindaro to begone, no- 
body else would have had a chance of speaking that day. 
When the disputants were gone, the queen called on Filo- 
mena to begin the day's novels, which she did as follows : 



KOVEL I.J THE SIXTH DAY. 297 



NOVEL I. 

A certain knight offers a lady to carry her behind him, and to tell her a 
pleasant story by the way ; but, doing it with an ill grace, she chose 
rather to walk on foot. 

Ladies, as stars are the ornaments of heaven, flowers of 
the spring, and as the hills are most beautiful when planted 
with trees, so a smart and elegant turn of expression is the 
embellishment of discourse ; and the shorter the better, espe- 
cially in women. But true it is, whether it be owing to our 
unhappy dispositions, or some particular enmity which the 
stars bear to our sex, there is hardly any among us that 
knows how to say a good thing pat to the occasion, or to 
understand it when said, which is a great disgrace to us all. 
But as Pampinea has before enlarged on this point, I shall 
say nothing farther, but only show, by the neat manner in 
which a lady silenced a kniglit, the great beauty of a word or 
two spoken in due time and place. 

You may all of you have heard, that there lived in our 
city, not a great while ago, a lady of much worth and wit, 
whose good qualities deserve not that her name should be 
concealed ; she was called Madame Oretta, and was the wife 
of Signor Geri Spina. Once when she was in the country, 
and was taking a long walk with some ladies and knights, 
who had dined at her house the day before, the way seemed 
a little tedious, and one of the knights, who happened to be 
on horseback, said, that if she pleased, he would take her up 
behind him, and entertain her with one of the best stories 
in the world. The lady willingly accepted the offer. The 
knight, who told a story with as ill a grace as he wore a 
sword, began his tale, which was really a good one ; but, by 
frequent repetitions, and beginning it over again to say it 
better; by mistaking one name for another, and relating 
everything in the worst manner, he mangled it to that de- 
gree, that he made the lady quite sick. Unable to bear it 
any longer, seeing him set fast and not likely soon to extri- 
cate himself, she said pleasantly to him, " Sir, your horse has 
a very uneasy, trot, pray set me down." The knight, who 
took a hint more readily than he told a story, made a laugh 
of it, and began another tale, leaving unfinished the one he 
had bfegun so badly. 
13* 



£98 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL U 



NOVEL II. 

Cisti, the baker, by a smart reply, makes Signor Geri Spina sensible ol 
an unreasonable request. 

The whole company was pleased with what Oretta nad 
said, when the queen pointed next to Pampinea, who spoke 
thus : — It is beyond my capacity to determine whether na- 
ture be more in fault, when she joins a generous soul to a 
homely person ; or fortune in dooming a body, graced with 
a noble spirit, to a mean condition of life ; as was the case 
of a citizen of ours, named Cisti, as well as of many others. 
For this man, though he had a truly great spirit, yet fortune 
made him no better than a baker. For my part, I should 
quarrel with both nature and fortune, did I not know nature 
to be absolutely wise, and that fortune has a thousand eyes, 
although fools have described her as blind. I suppose, there- 
fore, that both, being truly wise and judicious, act as we our- 
selves often do, who, uncertain of what may happen, for our 
convenience often bucy our most valuable treasure in the 
meanest places of our houses, as the least liable to suspicion; 
whence we can fetch them in time of need, and where they 
have continued more secure than they would have been in 
the best chamber of the house. So these two ministers of 
the world do many times hide their most precious blessings 
under the cover of some mean employ, to the end that, draw- 
ing them thence when need requires, they may appear with 
greater lustre ; which was plainly shown, although in a small 
matter, by our baker Cisti, to the apprehension of Signor 
Geri Spina, whom the story of Madame Oretta, who was his 
wife, brings fresh into my mind ; as I shall relate in a very 
short novel. 

You must know, then, that Pope Boniface, with whom this 
same Signor Geri was in great esteem, having occasion to send 
ambassadors to Florence, about some particular business, they 
were entertained at this Geri Spina's house, and employed 
with him in the said pope's negotiation. It happened, what- 
ever was the reason, that they passed on foot every morning 
by the church of St. Maria Ughi, where Cisti the baker 
dwelt, and followed his trade. Though fortune had given 
Cisti but a mean employ, yet in this respect she had been 
kind to him — that he had grown very rich in it ; and, without 
having any desire to leave it for a better, he lived very gen- 



NOVEL II.J THE SIXTH DAY, 299 

erously among his neighbours, having everything in plenty, 
the best wine especially, both red and white, that the country 
could afford. Now, seeing the ambassadors walk daily by 
his door, Cesti supposed, as the season was sultry, that it 
would be esteemed a kindness to let them drink some of his 
fine white wine ; but regarding at the same time the disparity 
between his station and theirs, he would not presume to in- 
vite them, but thought of a way whereby Signor Geri might 
be induced of his own accord to taste it. Having a white 
frock on, therefore, with an apron before him, which bespoke 
him rather a miller than a baker, every morning about the 
time that he supposed they should come that way, would he 
order a bucket full of fair water to be brought, and a decan- 
ter of wine, with a couple of beakers as bright as crystal, to 
be set before him ; then, seating himself at his door, and first 
clearing his mouth and throat, he would take a draught or 
two just as they were going past, with a gusto sufficient to 
cause an appetite almost in a man that was dead. 

Signor Gerì observing this once or twice, said, the third 
time, "What say you? Is your wine good, Master Cisti?" 
" That it is, signor," he replied, starting up ; " but how can I 
convince you unless you taste ?" Signor Gerì, whom either 
the heat of the weather, or his extraordinary fatigue, or per- 
haps the relish with which he saw the other drink, had ren- 
dered thirsty, turned with a smile to the ambassadors, and 
said, " Gentlemen, we may as well drink of this honest man's 
wine, perhaps it is such that we shall not need to repent." 
Accordingly they went together to Cisti, who, ordering seats 
to be brought out of his bakehouse, prayed them to sit down, 
saying to their servants, who offered to wash their glasses, 
** Friends, get you gone ; leave this to me. I am no worse a 
skinker than a baker, and stay you ever so long you shall not 
taste a drop." Washing then four neat glasses, and ordering 
a fresh decanter to be brought, he filled round to Signor Geri 
and the ambassadors, who all thought it the best wine they 
had tasted in a long time ; and havmg highly commended it, 
they called to drink with him most mornings during their 
stay. At length, having despatched their business, and being 
about to depart. Signor Geri made an entertainment for them, 
to which he invited a great part of the most eminent citi- 
zens, and Cisti amongst the rest, who could by no means be 
persuaded to go. Signor Geri then ordered one of his ser- 
vants to fetch a flask of Cisti's wine, and to fill half a glass 
lound to all the company at the first table. The servant 



3O0 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL III 

(offended, as we may suppose, that he had never been able 
to get a taste of it) took a very large bottle, which as soon 
as Cisti saw, he said, " Friend, Signor Geri never sent thee 
to me." The servant affirmed over and over that he had, 
but meeting with no other reply, he returned to his master, 
and told him. Then said Signor Geri, " Go back, and tell 
him that I did send thee, and if he makes the like answer 
again, ask him whither he thinks I should send thee." The 
servant went again, and said, " Most assuredly. Signor Geri, 
my master, has sent me to you." — " I tell thee, friend, it is 
impossible." — "Then," quoth the servant, "whither do you 
think he sent me?"— "To the river Arno." When the fel- 
low reported this answer to Signor Geri, his eyes were im- 
mediatey opened, and he said, " Let me see what bottle it 
was which you carried to him." On seeing it, he added, 
"Now, trust me, Cisti spoke truth." Then reprimanding 
him severely, he ordered him to take a more suitable vessel, 
which as soon as Cisti saw, he said, "Why now I am certain 
that he sent thee to me ; " and he filled it very readily for 
him. That day also he had a cask filled with the same 
wine, which he sent to Signor Geri's house, and going him- 
self after it, he thus addressed him : — " Sir, I would not have 
you think that I was any way startled at the sight of the 
great bottle this morning ; but as I imagined you had forgotten 
what I had endeavoured to intimate to you for several days 
past with my little decanters ; namely, that mine is no wine 
for servants; so I only did it to remind you again of the 
same. But, meaning to be steward no longer, I have now 
brought my whole store ; dispose of it as you please." Sig- 
nor Geri was extremely thankful for his valuable present, 
and ever afterwards esteemed him as his most intimate 
friend. 



NOVEL III. 

Madam Nonna de' Pulci silences the Bishop of Florence, by a smart 
reply to an unseemly piece of raillery. 

CiSTi's answer and his generosity having been highly com- 
mended, the queen gave her orders to Lauretta, who began 
as follows : — Most gracious ladies, Pampinea, the other day, 
and Filomena now, have both justly touched upon our own 
little merit, as well as the beauty of repartees : therefore, as 
it is needless to say anything farther upon that head, I shall 



NOVEL III.] THE SIXTH DAY. 30! 

only remind you, that your words should be such as only to 
nip or touch the hearer, as the sheep nibbles the grass, and 
not as the dog bites ; for in that case it is no longer wit, but 
foul scurrility. This was excellently well set forth, both in 
what was said by Oretta, and in the reply of Cisti. It is 
true, however, that if a sharp thing be spoken by way of 
answer, and bites a little too keenly, yet if the person who 
answers in that manner was stung first, he is the less to blame. 
Therefore, you should be cautious both how, when, and with 
whom you jest. For want of attending sufficiently to this, 
a certain prelate of ours met with a sharper bite than he had 
given, as I shall show you in a very short novel. When 
Signor Antonio d'Orso, a most wise and worthy person, was 
bishop of Florence, a certain gentleman of Catalonia, mar- 
shal to King Robert, happened to come thither ; who, hav- 
ing a good person, and being a great admirer of the fair 
sex, took a particular liking to a lady of that city, who was 
niece to the bishop's brother; and understanding that her 
husband, though of a good family, was most abominably sor- 
did and covetous, he agreed to give him five hundred florins 
of gold to let him pass one night with her. Accordingly he 
got so many pieces of silver gilt, which he gave to him, and 
then obtained his desire contrary to her will and knowledge. 
This being discovered soon afterwards, the wretch became 
the common jest and scorn of mankind ; but the bishop, like 
a wise man, affected to know nothing of the matter. 

The bishop being often in company with the marshal, it 
happened on St. John's day, that, as they were riding side 
by side through the city, viewing the ladies all the way, that 
the bishop cast his eye upon one, named Monna de' Pulchi, 
then newly married, and who is since dead of the plague, 
cousin also to Alesso Rinucci, whom you all knew : this lady, 
besides her great beauty, was endowed with a generous spirit, 
and spoke pertinently and well. Showing her, therefore, to 
the marshal, as soon as they came near her, he laid his hand 
upon the marshal's shoulder, and said, "Madam, what do 
you think of this gentleman ? Could he make a conquest 
over you or not ? " This seemed to touch her honour, or at 
least she thought it might give some persons present a worse 
opinion of her. Without ever thinking, then, how to clear 
herself of such a charge, but resolving to return like for like, 
she replied, "Perhaps he might, my lord; but then I should 
like to be paid with good money '' This touched them both 
to the quick ; the one as doing a very dishonourable thing to 



302 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL IV 

the bishop's relation ; the other as receiving in his own per- 
son the shame belonging to his brother. And they rode 
away, without so much as looking at one another, or ex- 
changing a word together all the day after. Very justly, 
therefore, did this lady bite the biter. 



NOVEL IV. 

Chichibio, cook to Currado Gianfiliazzi, by a sudden reply which he 
makes to his master, turns his wrath into laughter, and so escapes the 
punishment with which he had threatened him. 

Lauretta being silent, Neifile was ordered to follow, 
which she did in this manner : — Though ready wit and in- 
vention furnish people with words proper to their different 
occasions; yet sometimes does fortune, an assistant to the 
timorous, tip the tongue with a sudden, and yet a more per- 
tinent reply than the most mature deliberation could ever 
have suggested, as I shall now briefly relate to you. 

Currado Gianfiliazzi, as most of you have both known and 
seen, was always esteemed a gallant and worthy citizen, de- 
lighting much in hounds and hawks, not to mention his other 
excellences, as no way relating to our present purpose. Hav- 
ing taken a crane one day with his hawk, and finding it to 
be young and fat, he sent it home to his cook, Chichibio, 
who was a Venetian, with orders to prepare it for supper. 
The cook, a poor simple fellow, trussed and spitted it, and 
when it was nearly roasted, and began to smell pretty well, it 
chanced that a woman of the neighbourhood, called Bru- 
netta, with whom he was much enamoured, came into the 
kitchen, and being taken with the high savour, earnestly 
begged of him to give her a leg. He replied, very merrily, 
singing all the time, " Madam Brunetta, you shall have no 
leg from me." Nettled at this, she retorted, "As I hope to 
live, if you do not give it me, you need never expect any 
favour more from me." The dispute was carried to a great 
height between them, and to quiet her, at last, he was forced 
to give her one of the legs. Accordingly the crane was 
served up at supper, with only one leg, Currado having a 
friend along with him. Currado wondered at this, and, send- 
ing for the cook, demanded what was become of the other 
leg. He very foolishly replied, and without the least thought, 
"Cranes have only one leg, sir." — "What the devil does the 



NOVEL IV.] THE SIXTH DAY. 303 

man talk of ? " cried Currado, in great wrath. " Only one 
leg ! Rascal, dost think I never saw a crane before ? " 
Chichibio still persisted in his denial. " Believe me, sir, it 
is as I say, and I will prove it to you whenever you please, 
upon living cranes." — "Well," said Currado, who did not 
choose to have any more words then out of regard to his 
friend,." as thou undertakest to show me a thing which I 
never saw or heard of before, I am content to make proof 
thereof tomorrow morning ; but by all the saints, if I find it 
otherwise, I will make thee remember it the longest day- 
thou hast to live." 

There was an end to the matter for that night, and the 
next morning Currado, whose passion would scarcely suffer 
him to get any rest, rose betimes, ordered his horses, and took 
Chichibio along with him towards a river, where he used 
early in the morning to see plenty of cranes. " We shall 
soon see," said he, " whether you spoke truth, or not, last 
night." Chichibio, finding his master's wrath not at all 
abated, and that he was now to make good his random words, 
rode on first with all the fear imaginable : gladly would he 
have made his escape, but he saw no possible means : and he 
was continually looking about him, expecting everything that 
appeared to be a crane with two legs. But being come near 
to the river, he chanced to see, before anybody else, a num- 
ber of cranes, each standing upon one leg, as they are used 
to do when they are sleeping; whereupon, showing them 
quickly to his master, he said, " Now, sir, yourself may see 
that I spoke nothing but truth, when I said that cranes 
have only one leg: look at those yonder, if you please." 
Currado, beholding the cranes, replied, "Yes, sirrah! but 
stay awhile, and I will show thee they have two." Then, 
riding up to them, he cried out, " Shough ! shough ! " which 
made them set down the other foot, and after taking a step 
or two, they all flew away. Currado then turned to him, and 
said, "Well, thou lying knave, art thou now convinced 
that they have two legs.?" Chichibio, quite at his wit's end, 
and scarcely knowing whether he was on his head or his 
heels, suddenly made answer, " Yes, sir ; but you did not 
shout out ' Shough ! shough ! ' to that crane last night, as you 
have done to these ; if you had, it would have put down the 
other leg, as these did now." This pleased Currado so 
much, that, turning all wrath into mirth and laughter, he 
said, "Chichibio, thou sayest right, I should have done so 
indeed." By this sudden and comical answer, Chichibio es- 
caped a sound drubbing, and made peace with his master. 



304 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL V 



NOVEL V. 

Forese da Rabatta and Giotto, the painter, coming from Mugello, laugh at 
the meanness of each other's appearance. 

The ladies having been much diverted with Chichibio's 
reply, Pamfilo, by the queen's order, delivered himself to this 
effect: — As it often happens that fortune hides, under the 
meanest trades in life, the greatest virtues, which has been 
proved by Pampinea, so are the greatest geniuses found fre- 
quently lodged by nature in the most deformed and mis- 
shapen bodies. This truth was verified in two of our own 
citizens, as I am now going to relate. For the one, who was 
called Forese da Rabatta, being a little deformed mortal, 
with a flat Dutch face, worse than any of the family of the 
Baronci, was yet esteemed by most men a repository of 
the civil law. And the other, whose name was Giotto, had 
such a prodigious fancy, that there was nothing in Nature, 
the parent of all things, but he could imitate it with his pen- 
cil so well, and draw it so like, as to deceive our very senses, 
making them imagine that to be the very thing itself which was 
only his painting ; therefore, having brought that art again to 
light, which had lain buried for many ages, under the errors 
of such as aimed more to captivate the eyes of the ignorant, 
than to please the understandings of those who were really 
judges, he may deservedly be called one of the lights and 
glories of our city, and the rather as being master of his art, 
notwithstanding his modesty would never suffer himself to be 
so esteemed : which honour, though rejected by him, dis- 
played itself in him with the greater lustre, as it was so eagerly 
usurped by others less knowing than himself, and by many 
also who had all their knowledge from him. But though his 
excellence in his profession was so wonderful, yet as to his 
person and aspect he had no way the advantage of Signor 
Forese. To come then to my story: 

These two worthies had each his country seat at Mugello, 
and Forese being gone thither in the vacation time, and 
riding upon an unsightly steed, chanced to meet there with 
Giotto, who was no better equipped th*an himself, and they 
returned together to Florence. Travelling slowly along, as 
they were able to go no faster, they were overtaken by a 
great shower of rain, and forced to take shelter in a poor 
man's house, who was well known to them both; and as 



NOVEL VI.J THE SIXTH DAY 305 

there was no appearance of the weather's clearing up, and 
each was desirous of getting home that night, they bor- 
rowed two old russet cloaks, and two rusty hats, and pro- 
ceeded on their journey. After they had got a good part of 
their way, thoroughly wet, and covered with dirt and mire, 
which their two shuffling steeds had thrown upon them, and 
which by no means improved their looks, it began to clear 
up at last, and they, who had hitherto said but little to each 
other, now turned to discourse together. Forese, as he 
jogged on, listening to Giotto, who was excellent at telling a 
story, began at last to view him attentively from head to 
foot, and seeing him in that wretched dirty pickle, without 
ever thinking of his own plight, he fell a laughing, and said, 
" Do you suppose, Giotto, if a stranger were to meet with 
you now, who had never seen you before, that he would 
imagine you to be the best painter in the world, as you 
really are ? " Giotto readily replied, " Yes, sir, I believe he 
might think so, if looking at you at the same time, he could 
ever conclude that you had learned your A, B, C." At 
this Forese was sensible of his mistake, finding himself well 
paid in his own coin. 



NOVEL VL 

Michael Scalza proves to certain young gentlemen, that the family of the 
Baronci is the most honourable of any in the world, and wins a supper 
by it. 

The ladies continued laughing at Giotto's smart reply, 
when the queen commanded Fiammetta to follow, which she 
did to this purpose : — The mention of the Baronci by Pam- 
filo, though perhaps you may not know them so well as him- 
self, puts me in mind of a story in which their great nobility 
is plainly exhibited, without deviating from our present 
subject, and therefore I choose to relate it. 

There lived not long since in our city a young gentleman, 
called Michael Scalza, who was one of the most agreeable 
and pleasant companions in the world ; for which reason his 
company was much courted by all the young people of Flor- 
ence, whenever they could be favoured with it. Now he 
was one day with some friends at Mount Ughi, when the 
question happened to be started, Which was the noblest and 
most ancient family in Florence ? Accordingly, one named 



3o6 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL Vl 

the Uberti, another the Lamberti, some preferring one, and 
some another, according to their different humours and in- 
terests ; upon which Scalza smiled, and said, " You are all 
mistaken ; the most noble, as well as the most ancient family, 
I do not say in Florence only, but in the whole world, is 
that of the Baronci ; in this all philosophers are agreed, and 
every one that knows them, as well as myself. And, lest 
you should think that I speak of some other family of that 
name, I tell you that I mean the Baronci, our neighbours, who 
live by the great St. Maria." When the young gentlemen, 
who expected he would have mentioned some other family, 
heard this one named, they made the greatest fun of it that 
could be, and said, "You impose anything in the world 
upon us, as if nobody knew the Baronci but yourself." — ^** In- 
deed," quoth he, " I do not, I speak nothing but what is 
truth, and if there is any one among you who dares lay a 
wager of a supper for six of his friends, upon that head, I 
will stand to it ; nay, more than that, I will abide by the 
judgment of any person whom you shall nominate." Here- 
upon a young spark, called Neri Vannini, said, " I am your 
man." It was also agreed that one Piero, a Florentine, in 
whose house they were, should be judge. 

The case was stated accordingly to Piero, whilst the whole 
company bore hard upon Scalza, making themselves very 
merry with his expected treat. Piero, then, who was a good 
sensible man, having heard Neri's story, turned to Scalza, 
and said, " Well, how do you make good your assertion ?" 
Scalza replied, " I prove it by such arguments as not your- 
self only, but even my antagonist shall confess to be just. 
You know that the more ancient any family is, the more 
noble it is deemed ; this was agreed among us at the begin- 
ning. I have then only to show, in order to win my wager, 
that the Baronci family is the most ancient of all others. 
You must understand, then, that they were formed when 
nature was in her infancy, and before she was perfect at her 
work, and that the rest of mankind were all created after- 
wards. To convince you of this, do but examine the figures 
of one and the other, you will find art and proportion in the 
last, whereas the first are rough drawn and imperfect ; among 
them you will see one with a long narrow face, another with 
a prodigious broad one ; one that is flat-nosed, another with 
0. nose half an ell long ; this has a long hooked chin, that one 
eye bigger and set lower down than the other. In a word, 
their face? resemble, for ^11 the wortd, what children make 



NOVEL Vn.7 THE SIXTH DAY. 307 

when they first learn to draw. Nature, then, you will allow, 
was in its first and earliest state, when they were created, con- 
sequently they are the most ancient of all others, and there- 
fore the most noble." Both Piero, who was to determine, 
and Neri, who had wagered the treat, and the whole com- 
pany likewise, on hearing this pleasant argument, agreed that 
Scalza was in the right, and that the Baronci were the noblest 
and most ancient people in the whole world. Well, there- 
fore, was it observed by Pamfilo, in describing the ugliness 
and deformity of Signor Forese, that, if possible, he had a 
worse person than any of the Baronci. 



NOVEL VIL 

Madam Filippa, being surprised with her gallant by her husband, is 
accused ana tried for it, but saves herself by her quick reply, and has 
the laws moderated for the future. 

Scalza's argument to prove the nobility of the Baronci 
having made them all very merry, the queen turned to Filos- 
trato, who began in this manner : — It is a good thing, most 
worthy ladies, to be able to speak well, and to the purpose ; 
but I hold it best of all to know how to do it when need 
requires, as was the case with a lady of whom I am going to 
treat, who escaped an ignominious death by this means, as 
you shall hear. 

In the territory of Prato there was formerly a most severe 
law, which, without any distinction, condemned all such 
women to be burnt as were detected by their husbands in 
adultery. Whilst this law was in force, it chanced that a 
beautiful young lady, named Filippa, was surprised by her 
husband with her gallant, a young gentleman of the same 
city, in her own chamber. Rinaldo de' Pugliesi, for that was 
the husband's name, was so provoked at this, that he could 
scarcely refrain from putting them both to death, and forbore 
it only out of regard to his own life ; but yet he resolved that 
the law should effect what he durst not accomplish with his 
own hand — the death, namely, of his wife. Having, there- 
fore, sufficient testimony to prove the fact, he had her sum- 
moned before the court. The lady, who was of an undaunted 
spirit, resolved to make her appearance, contrary to the ad- 
vice of her friends, choosing rather to die by a resolute con- 
fession of the truth, than abscond and live basely in exilc^ 



3o8 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL VIL 

or, by denying the fact, show herself unworthy of the lover 
with whom she had this intrigue. Being brought, then, be- 
lore the lord-provost, attended by a great number of friends 
of both sexes, and encouraged all the way to deny it, she 
asked him, with a firm voice and steady countenance, what 
he had to say to her. The provost, seeing her beauty, her 
noble deportment, and greatness of spirit, began to pity her, 
fearing lest she should confess something which would force 
him, for the sake of his honour to condemn her to death. 
Being constrained, however, to interrogate her upon the 
charge preferred before him, he said to her, " Madam, here 
is Rinaldo, your husband, who affirms that he has taken you 
in adultery, and insists that I pronounce sentence of death 
upon you, according to the law in that case ; but this I can- 
not do, unless you yourself confess it ; therefore take care 
what answers you make, and tell me if this accusation of his 
be true." The lady, without showing the least concern, re- 
plied, " My lord, it is true, that Rinaldo is my husband, and 
that he found me in the arms of Lazzarino, where I have 
been many a time, for the great love I bear him, nor will I 
ever deny it ; but you must know, at the same time, that 
laws ought to be alike for all, and made with the consent of 
those persons whom they concern. Now, in this law of 
yours, it is quite otherwise ; for it is binding only on us poor 
women, who are much better able than men to satisfy many, 
and moreover none of us ever consented to, or were even con- 
sulted about the making of it. I call it, therefore, a most 
iniquitous law. If you are disposed to take away my life 
for the breach of it, why of course you may ; but, before you 
pass sentence, I entreat one little favour of you, that is, that 
you would ask my husband whether, at all times, and as often 
as he pleased, I have not yielded myself fully to his desires, 
without ever saying him nay." Rinaldo, without waiting to 
be questioned by the provost, declared at once, that the lady 
had never failed to respond to his wishes in that respect. 
** Well, then, master provost," said the lady, " if he has al- 
ways had from me as much as he wanted and wished, what, 
I ask, was I to do with what was left ? Should I throw it to 
the dogs.? Is it not much better to gratify with it a man 
who loves me more than himself, than to let it be lost or 
spoiled .?" All the principal people of the city were present 
to hear this process, and after laughing heartily at this hu- 
morous question, they cried out, as with one voice, " The 
lady says well ; she is quite right ! " Before they broke up, 



MOVKL Vili.] THE SIXTH DAY. 309 

the law, by the interposition of the lord-provost, was moder- 
ated so far as to apply only to such women as wronged their 
husbands for thè sake of money. So Rinaldo departed from 
the court, covered with shame and confusion, whilst the 
lady, snatched as it were out of the fire, returned victorious 
to her own house. 



NOVEL VIII. 

Fresco advises his niece, that if she could not endure to look at any dis- 
agreeable people, she should never behold herself. 

FiLOSTRATo's uovcl had put the ladies into some confu- 
sion, as appeared by their blushes, when the queen turned 
immediately to Emilia, and desired her to begin. She, start- 
ing up as if she had been roused out of her sleep, spoke to this 
effect : — I have been so long lost in thought, that I shall now 
obey the queen, by relating a much shorter novel than I 
should have done, probably, had I more time to recollect 
myself. This will be concerning the foolish affectation of a 
certain young lady, which was very wittily reproved by her 
uncle, if she had had but sense enough to have taken it 

A worthy man, named Fresco da Celatico, had a niece, 
called, out of fondness, Cesca, /. e, for Francesca, who, 
though her person was not amiss (she was no angel neither !) 
ye{ thought so highly of herself, that she was perpetually 
finding fault with men, women, and everything that she saw, 
without having the least regard to herself all the time ; for 
by that means, she became such a disagreeable, fretful, and 
tiresome creature, that nothing was ever like her, and so 
proud withal, that, had she been of the blood royal of 
France, she could not have been more so. And if she 
walked along the street at any time, she did nothing but toss 
up her nose all the way, as if every one that she either saw 
or met was offensive to her. To omit the rest of her troub- 
lesome, ill-conditioned ways, it chanced one day that she 
came home, pouting extremely with pride and affectation, 
and sat down by her uncle ; he said to her, " What is the 
reason, Cesca, that you come home so soon, this being a 
holiday ? " When she, fit to die away with her airs, replied, 
" I have returned so early, because I could not have believed 
there had been such a number of frightful people, both men 
and women, in the country as I have met with to-day ; there 



3IO DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL IX 

was not one that I could like. I don't believe there is any 
woman in the world who has such an aversion to disagree- 
able people as I have : it is to avoid them, therefore, that I 
have come so soon." Fresco, then, who could no longer 
brook her inordinate affectation, replied roughly to her: 
" Niece, if disagreeable persons displease you so much, and 
you are willing to be at ease, be sure you never look at your- 
self." She, however, as empty as a pithless cane, though she 
thought herself as wise as Solomon, understood her uncle's 
meaning no more than a goose ; but said, " she would look 
at herself as well as other people." Thus she remained in 
her ignorance, and, for what I know, still continues in the 
same state. 



NOVEL IX, 

Guido Cavalcanti neatly reprimands the folly of some Florentine gentle 
men, who came unawares upon him. 

The queen, perceiving that Emilia had finished her novel, 
and that only herself remained, excepting him whose privi- 
lege it was to speak last, began as follows : — Though you have 
robbed me of two of my novels, one of which I designed 
should have served me to-day; yet have I one left behind 
still, whfch contains something in the conclusion as perti- 
nent, perhaps, as anything that has yet been spoken. Know, 
then, that formerly many good customs prevailed in our cily, 
none of which are now remaining, thanks to avarice, the at- 
tendant of our growing wealth, which has long discarded 
them. This, amongst others, was one ; — that, in divers parts 
of the town, the best families in the neighbourhood would 
meet together, and compose a society, consisting of a certain 
number of persons, taking care always to admit only such as 
were able to bear the expense of it. Every one entertained 
in his turn, at which time they would «how honour to divers 
gentlemen and strangers upon their arrival in our city, and 
to many of the most worthy citizens, inviting them to those 
assemblies : once a year, also, at least, they would be dressed 
all alike, and they often rode in procession through the city, 
when they performed their tilts, and other martial exercises, 
especially on the great festival days, or when the news of 
some great victory had reached the city. 

Amongst these societies of gentlemen, there was one, of 
which Signor Betto Brunelleschi was the principal, who was 



NOVEL IX j THE SIXTH DAY. 31 i 

desirous always of procuring Guido Cavalcanti to be one of 
their body, and not without reason ; for, besides his being one 
of the best logicians in the world, as well as an excellent 
natural philosopher (for which they had no great regard), he 
was a most polite, good-natured man, as well as a delightful 
companion, and nobody knew what belonged to a gentleman 
better than himself: besides this, he was very rich, and 
ready always to reward merit wherever he found it. But 
Signor Betto was never able to draw him into their assembly, 
which they all attributed to his speculative way of life. And, 
because he was said to hold some of the Epicurean doctrines, 
the vulgar used to report, that all this study of his was only 
to learn whether there was a God or not. One day he was 
passing from St. Michael's church, along by the Ademari to 
St. John's, which was his usual walk. The large marble 
arches which are now at St. Reparata's, were then about St. 
John's churcli, and he -chanced to be amongst them, the 
church door being shut, when Betto and his company came 
riding through the square. Spurring their horses, they came 
up to him before he perceived them, and one of them said, 
** Guido, you refuse to be of our society, — but when you 
have found out that there is no God, what good will it have 
done you ? " Guido, seeing himself surrounded, immediately 
replied, " Gentlemen, you may use me as you please ia your 
own territories ; " and, laying his hand upon one of the 
arches, he leaped nimbly over it, and so made his escape. 
They looked, like people confounded, at each other, saying, 
that what he had spoken was without any meaning ; for that 
they had no more to do there than any other persons, nor 
Guido less than themselves. Signor Betto then turned to 
them, and said, " It is yourselves, gentlemen, who are void of 
understanding ; for he has very worthily, and in few words, 
said the severest thing in the world to us, whether you under- 
stood it or not : consider, then, these arches are the abodes 
of the dead, and he calls them our territories, to show us 
that we, and all other people as ignorant and unlearned as 
ourselves, are, in comparison with him and other men of let- 
ters, worse than dead men ; and, therefore, so long as we are 
here, we may be said to be upon our own dunghills." They 
now all understood what Guido meant to say, and were a 
good deal ashamed, and from that time forth they said 
nothing more to provoke him, and always looked upon Signor 
Betto as a very subtle and sensible gentleman. 



212 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL X. 



NOVEL X. 

Friar Onion promises some country people to show them a feather from 
the wing of the Angel Gabriel, instead of which he finds only some 
coals, which he tells them are the same that roasted St. Laurence. 

After they had told all their different stories, and Dioneo 
perceived that only himself was left to speak, without wait- 
ing for any regular command, he enjoined silence on such 
as were commending Guido 's deep reply, and thus began : — 
Though I boast it, ladies, as my privilege to relate what 
pleases me most, yet I intend not to-day to depart from the 
subject which you have all spoken so well upon ; but, fol- 
lowing your footsteps, I shall show with what a sudden shift 
a certain friar, of the order of St. Anthony, most artfully 
avoided the disgrace and confusion which two arch young 
fellows had prepared for him; and if, to make my story 
more complete, I spin it out a little in length, I hope it will 
not be disagreeable, as the sun is yet in the midst of heaven. 

Certaldo, as you may all have heard, is a village in the 
vale of Elsa, dependent on the state of Florence, which, 
though small, has long been inhabited by many gentlemen 
and people of substance. Thither a certain friar Onion, of 
the order of St. Anthony, used to go once a year, as he 
found pretty good pickings, to receive the contributions of 
many simple people, and he met with great encouragement 
always, as much, perhaps, on account of his name, as from 
devout motives ; for that country was famous for the best 
onions in all Tuscany. Now this friar was a little red-haired 
man, of a merry countenance, as artful a knave too as any 
in the world : add to this, that, though he was np scholar, 
yet was he so prompt and voluble of tongue, that such as 
knew him not, would not only have considered him a great 
orator, but have compared him even to Tully or Quinctilian. 
He was also a common gossip-acquaintance to the whole 
neighbourhood. Coming thither, therefore, in the month of 
August, according to custom, one Sunday morning, when all 
the honest people were met together in the church to hear 
mass, as soon as he saw a fit opportunity, he stepped forward 
and said : 

" Gentlemen and ladies, you know it has been a commend- 
able custom with you to send every year to the poor brethren 
of our Lord Baron, St. Anthony, both of your corn and 



NOVEL X.] THE SIXTH DAY. 313 

Other provisions, some more, and some less, according to 
your several abilities and devotions, to the end that our 
blessed St. Anthony should be more careful of your oxen, 
sheep, asses, swine, and other cattle. Moreover, you are 
accustomed to pay, such of you especially as have their 
names registered in our fraternity, that small annual acknowl- 
edgment which I am ncrw sent by my superior, namely, our 
lord-abbot, to collect. Therefore, with the blessing of God, 
after nones as soon as you shall hear the bells ring, you may 
all come to the church-door, when I shall preach a sermon 
as usual, and you shall all kiss the cross ; and, besides this, 
as I know you all to be devoted to our lord, St. Anihony, I 
intend, as a special favour, to show you one of the feathers 
of the Angel Gabriel, which he dropped at the annunciation 
in the Virgin's chamber;" and, having made his speech, he 
returned to mass. 

Whilst he was haranguing, there were two arch fellows in 
the church, one named Giovanni dei Bragoniera, and the 
other Biagio Pizzini, who, after they had laughed together 
at the father's relics, although they were his friends and 
acquaintance, resolved to play him a trick with regard to this 
feather. Understanding that he was to dine that day with a 
friend, as soon as they thought he might be set down at 
table, they went to the inn where he lodged, Biagio under- 
taking to keep his man in talk, whilst Giovanni ransacked 
his wallet to steal the feather, that they might see what he 
would then say to the people. Now the friar had a lad, 
named Guccio, with so many different nicknames and 
qualities, that the most fertile imagination was hardly able 
to describe them; and Father Onion used frequently to 
jest and say, " My rascal has in him nine qualities, any 
one of which if it had belonged either to Solomon, Aris- 
totle, or Seneca, would have baffled and confounded all 
their philosophy, and all their virtue. You may suppose 
then what sort of creature he must be, that has nine such, 
without either philosophy or virtue to counterbalance them." 
If asked what those nine qualities were, he would answer 
in doggrel : 

" In sloth and lying he was ne*cr outdone ; 
For theft and envy equals he hath none : 
Forgetful, disobedient and uncivil ; 
Lewd as a goat, and spiteful as the devil. 

" Besides these qualities he has also many others, and one in 
14 



3l4 bECAMEkON OF BOCCACCIO. [NOVEL X. 

particular I cannot help laughing at, which is, that he is for 
taking a wife wherever he goes : and having a great black 
greasy beard, he is persuaded that all women must fall in love 
with him ; or, should they take no notice of him, he will be 
sure to run after them. But yet he is a notable fellow to me 
in one respect, that if anybody has a secret to communicate, 
he will come in for his share of it ; and should any one ask 
me a question, he is so fearful that I should not know how to 
make an answer, that he will be sure to say. Yes, or No, 
before me, just as he thinks proper." 

But to return to our story. This fellow, Friar Onion left 
at the inn, with a particular charge to see that nobody 
meddled with anything belonging to him, especially his 
wallet, because it contained the holy relics. But Cuccio 
loved the kitchen as well as the nightingale loves the boughs, 
particularly when any of the maids were alone there, and, as 
soon as his master was gone, down he went, leaving the 
chamber door open. In the kitchen he found a fat, squat, 
dirty, greasy, ill-favoured wench, and falling into discourse 
with her, he seated himself by the fireside, though it was in 
August, whilst she was busy cooking, and began to tell her 
he was a gentleman, and worth a great lot of money ; that 
he could say and do wonders, and (without consider- 
ing that his own hat was all over grease and dirt ; that his 
jacket was nothing but a thousand different patches ; that his 
breeches were torn throughout, and his shoes all to pieces) 
he talked as big as if he had been some lord, saying that he 
would buy her new clothes, and take her out of service, and 
that she should partake of his present possessions, as well as 
future fortunes, with a great deal more of that kind of stuff, 
mere froth and wind. The two young fellows, finding him 
thus engaged, were very well satisfied, supposing half their 
work to be done ; and leaving the pair together, they went 
up stairs into the friar's chamber, which was unlocked, when 
the first thing they saw was the wallet : this they opened, and 
found a casket wrapped up in some folds of fine taffeta, and 
iti it a parroquet's feather, which they supposed to be the same 
that Friar Onion had promised to shew the people ; and 
surely at that time it was easy enough to impose upon them 
in that manner. The eastern luxury had not then reached 
Tuscany, which has since flowed in upon us, to the ruin of 
our country ; the ancient simplicity still prevailed ; nor was 
there a person that had ever heard of, not to say beheld such 
a thing as a parrot. Not a little pleased at meeting with this 



NOVEL X.] THE SIXTH DAY. 315 

feather, they took it away, and, that the box should not be 
empty, they put in some coals, which they saw lying in a 
comer of the chamber; and wrapping it up again as before, 
and making all snug, they walked off, waiting to see how the 
friar would behave when he found the coals instead of the 
feather. 

The people who were at church being told that ihey were 
to see the angel's feather, went home and acquainted all their 
neighbours, and the news ran from one to another, so that the 
moment dinner was over, they all crowded to the town, in 
such a manner that every part was full, waiting for the sight. 
By and by, Friar Onion, having eaten a good dinner, and 
taken his nap after it, understanding that there were great 
multitudes expecting him, sent to his servant to fetch his 
wallet, and ring to church. The fellow, though loath to 
leave his mistress and the fireside, did as he was ordered, 
and fell to chiming the bells. As soon, then, as the people 
were all assembled, the friar, not perceiving that anything 
had been meddled with, entered upon his discourse, running 
over a thousand things proper to his purpose : and being 
come to the showing of the feather, he began, with a solemn 
confession; then lighting up two torches, and gently un- 
wrapping the silken cover, having first pulled off his cap, he 
took out the box, and making some short ejaculations to the 
praise and honour of the Angel Gabriel, and of the relic, he 
opened it. When he saw that it was full of coals, he could 
not help secretly blaming himself for leaving such a fellow 
in trust, who, he imagined, had been imposed on by some- 
body or other; but yet, without so much as changing colour, 
or showing the least concern, he lifted up his eyes and hands 
to heaven and said, " O God, blessed for ever be thy power 
and might ! " And shutting the box, he turned again to the 
people, and added : 

''Gentlemen and ladies, you must all understand, that 
being very young, I was sent by my superior to those parts 
where the sun first appears, with an express command to in- 
quire into the nature of porcelain, which, though it costs but 
little in making, affords more profit to others, than it docs to 
us. For this purpose I embarked at Venice, and went 
through Greece; I proceeded thence on horseback, through 
the kingdom of Garbo, and through Baldacca ; afterwards I 
came to Parione, and thence I made mv way, not without 
thirst, to Sardinia. But why need I mention to you all these 
places ? I coasted on still, till I passed the straits of St 



3l6 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL X 

George, into Truffia, and then into Buffia, which are coun- 
tries much inhabited, and with great numbers of people. 
Next I came to the land of Mendacity, where I found many 
of our own order, as well as of others, who avoid all labour 
and trouble, for Heaven's sake, taking no care for other peo- 
ple's sufferings, when their own interest is promoted thereby ; 
and there they spend only uncoined money. Thence I 
went to the land of Abruzzi, where the men and women go 
upon socks over the mountains, and where it is the custom 
to dress swine in garments of their own guts ; and, a little 
further on, I came among a people who carried bread in 
their staves, and wine in satchels. Leaving them behind me, ■ 
I came to the mountains of Bacchus, where the waters all 
run downwards. Last of all, I arrived in India Pastinaca, 
where, I swear to you, by the habit I wear, that I saw ser- 
pents fly, a thing incredible to such as have never seen it: 
but I tell you no lie, witness Maso del Saggio, a great 
merchant whom I found there cracking nuts, and selling the 
shells by retail. Nevertheless, not being able to find what I 
went to look for, because the way thence to that country is 
by water, I returned to the Holy Land, where, in summer, a 
loaf of cold bread is worth four pence, and the hot is given 
away for nothing. There I found the venerable father, 
Blame-me-not-if-you-please, patriarch of Jerusalem, who, out 
of reverence to my habit, and love to our Lord Baron, St. 
Anthony, would have me see all the holy relics which he had 
in keeping, and which were so many, that were I to recount 
them, I should never come to an end : but yet, not to leave 
you altogether disconsolate, I shall now mention a few. 

" First, then, he showed me a finger of the Holy Ghost, as 
whole and sound as ever : next a lock of hair of the Seraph 
that appeared to St. Francis, with the paring of a Cherub's 
nail, and a rib of the Verbum Caro, fastened to one of the 
windows ; some vestments of the holy catholic Faith, and a 
few rays of that star which appeared to the wise men ; a phial 
also of St. Michael's sweat, when he fought with the devil ; 
the jaw-bone of St. Lazarus, and many others. And because 
I gave him two of the plains of Mount Morello, in the vulgar 
edition, and some chapters of the Caprezio, which he had 
been long searching after, he let me partake of his relics. 
And first, he gave me a tooth of the Sancta Crux, and a little 
bottle filled with some of the sound of those bells which 
hung in the temple of Solomon ; a feather also of the Angel 
Gabriel, as I have told you, with a wooden patten, which 3ic 



NOVEL X.3 THE SIXTH DAY. 31^ 

good St. Gherrardo da Villa Magna used to wear in his trav- 
els, and which I have lately given to Gherrardo di Bonsi, at 
Florence, who holds it in great veneration. He gave me also 
some of the coals on which our blessed martyr, St. Laurence, 
was broiled, all which I devoutly received, and do now pos- 
sess. It is true, my superior would not suffer me to make 
them public, till he was assured that they were genuine ; but 
being now convinced of it by sundry miracles, as well as by 
letters received from the patriarch, he has given me leave to 
show them, and which, for fear of trusting any one with them, 
I always carry with me. 'Indeed, I have the angel's feather, 
for its better preservation, in a wooden box, and I have St. 
Laurence's coals in another : and the two are so like each 
other, that I have often mistaken them ; and so it has hap- 
pened now; for, instead of that with the feather, I have 
brought the box which contains the coals. This I would not 
have you call an error ; no, I am well assured it was Heaven's 
particular will, now I call to mind that two days hence is the 
feast of St. Laurence. Therefore it was ordered that I should 
show you the most holy coals on which he was broiled, to 
kindle in your hearts that true devotion which you ought to 
have towards him, and not the feather : approach then, my 
blessed children, kneel with reverence, and uncover your 
heads with all due devotion, whilst you behold them. But 
first I must acquaint you, that whoever is marked with these 
coals, with the sign of the cross, may live secure for one 
whole year, that no fire shall have any power over him." 

So, singing a hymn to the praise of St. Laurence, he opened 
the box, and showed the coals, which the simple multitude 
beheld with the utmost zeal and astonishment, and crowded 
about him with larger offerings than usual, entreating to be 
signed with them. Then, taking the coals in his hand, he 
began to mark all their white mantles, fine jackets and veils, 
wi3i the largest crosses that could be made upon them, 
affirming, that what was consumed of the coals in this man- 
ner grew again in the box, as he had frequently experienced. 
Thus having crossed all the people of Certaldo, to his own 
great benefit, by this dexterous device, he laughed in his 
sleeve at those who had designed to have made a jest of 
him. And they being present at his discourse, and hearing 
this sudden shift of his, and how he had made it pass with 
the multitude, were ready to die with laughter. After the 
people were all departed, they went and told him, with all 
the pleasure in the world, what they had done, and returned 



3l8 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL X. 

him his feather, which served him the following year to as 
good purpose as the coals had done that day. 

[This tale was honoured by the formal censure of the Counoil of Trent, 
and is the one which gave the greatest umbrage to the Church. In 
Chaucer's ' Canterbury Tales ' there is a similar satire on ludicrous relics. 
The Pardonere, who had just arrived from Rome, carried in his wallet, 
along with other treasures of a like description, part of the sail of Sl 
Peter's ship, and the veil of the Virgin Mary : 

And with these relikes, whenne that he fond 
A poore persone dwelling upon lond. 
Upon a day he gat him more moneie 
Than that the person gat in monethes tweie. 

A catalogue of relics rivalling in absurdity those of Chaucer's Par- 
donere, or Boccaccio's Friar Onion, is presented in Sir David Lindsay's 
' Satyre of the Thrie Estaitis.* In the thirty-eighth chapter of * Stephen's 
Apology for Herodotus,* we are told that a priest of Genoa, returning 
from the Levant, boasted that he had brought from Bethlehem the breath 
of our Saviour, in a vial, and from Sinai the horns which Moses wore 
when he descended from that mountain. Luther tells us, in his ' Table 
Talk,* that the Bishop of Mentz pretended to possess the flames of the 
bush which Moses beheld burning.] 

This novel afforded great mirth to the whole company, 
and they laughed heartily at the father, his pilgrimage, and 
his holy relics. The queen, knowing her reign to be at an 
end, took the crown from her own head, and placed it with 
a smile upon Dioneo 's, saying, " It is now time for you to 
prove what a task it is to govern women. Be king, therefore, 
and rule in such a manner, that in the end we may have 
reason to praise you." Dioneo, accepting the crown, replied, 
merrily, " I doubt not but you may have often seen a better 
king among the chessmen than I shall make ; yet assuredly, 
if you would obey me, as a real king should be obeyed, I 
would take care you should have plenty of that, without 
which no entertainment is ever thoroughly agreeable. But 
let us say no more on that head : I will reign as well as I 
can." Calling then the master of the household, he ordered 
what should be done during his own royalty; and then he 
added, "Ladies, we have had so many subjects already, 
showing the several devices and means of human industry, 
that I am at a loss what to give you, unless you will accept 
of the following, namely, concerning such tricks and strata* 



THE SIXTH DAY. 319 

gems, as women either out of love, or for their own security, 
have put upon their husbands, whether they have been de- 
tected or not." This seemed not so decent to some of the 
ladies, and they desired him to change it. But he replied, 
" Ladies, I know as well as you do what the subject is, and 
all that you can allege will have no weight with me to make 
me alter it, considering that the season now is such, that, 
provided we are circumspect in our actions, any discourse 
for a little amusement is allowable. Know you not, that 
through the malignity of the times the judges have now left 
their tribunals, the laws both Divine and human are silent, 
and every one has leave to do what he thinks necessary for 
his own preservation ? Therefore, if we take a little more 
liberty than ordinary in our discourse, with no bad intention, 
but only to pass away our time in an innocent, inoffensive 
manner, I see no room for reflection. Besides, from the 
very first day of our meeting we have always kept within the 
bounds of decency, and so I hope we shall continue to do. 
Who is there also that is unacquainted with your modesty 
and virtue ? which, so far from being shaken by any slight 
discourse, would be proof even against the terrors of death. 
And to tell you truth, whoever should see you averse to such 
little 'diversions, might suspect that your characters were not 
so clear as they should be, and that you refused to join in 
them for that reason ; not to mention the little honour you 
do me, in first choosing me your king, and then refusing to 
obey my commands. Away then with this suspicion, more 
befitting base and wicked dispositions than such as. yours; 
and, without farther hesitation, let every one think of some 
pleasant story." 

Upon this they agreed that it should be as the king de- 
sired; and he then gave them leave to depart till supper- 
time. The sun was yet high, as the novels had been but 
short; therefore, whilst Dioneo, with the other gentlemen, 
were sat down to play at tables, Eliza called the other ladies 
apart, and said, " Ever since we have been here, have I de- 
sired to show you a place not far off, where I believe none 
of you ever were, and which is called the Ladies' Valley ; 
nor have I had an opportunity before to-day of doing it. It 
is yet some hours till night, if you would choose then to go 
thither, I dare say you will be pleased with your walk." 
The ladies answered, that they were all willing, and, without 
saying a word to the gentlemen, they called one of their wo- 
men to attend them, and after a walk of nearly a mile, they 



320 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. 

came to the Ladies* Valley, which they entered by a straight 
path, whence there issued forth a fine crystal current, and 
they found it so extremely beautiful and pleasant, especially 
at that sultry season, that nothing could exceed it ; and, as 
some of them told me afterwards, the plain in the valley was 
as exact a circle as if it had been described by a pair of 
compasses, though it seemed rather the work of nature than 
of art, and was about half a mile in circumference, sur- 
rounded with six hills of moderate height, on each of which 
was a palace built in form of a little castle. The descents 
from these hills were as regular as we see in a theatre, where 
the circle of each stage grows gradually less and less, till 
it comes to the bottom. The part that looks towards the 
south was planted as thick as they could stand together, with 
vines, olives, almonds, cherries, figs, and most other kinds of 
fruit-trees ; and on the northern side were fine plantations 
of oak, ash, etc., so tall and regular, that nothing could be 
more beautiful. The vale, which had only that one entrance, 
was full of firs, cypress-trees, laurels, and pines, all placed in 
such order, as if it had been done by the direction of some 
exquisite artist, and through which little or no sun could 
penetrate to the ground, which was covered with a thousand 
different flowers. But what gave no less delight than any 
of the rest, was a rivulet that came through a valley, which 
divided two of the mountains, and running through the vein 
of a rock, made a most agreeable murmur with its fall, ap- 
pearing, as it was dashed and sprinkled into drops, like so 
much quicksilver. Arriving in the plain beneath, it was 
there received in a fine canal, and running swiftly to the 
middle of the plain, formed a basin not deeper than a man's 
breast, which showed its clear gravelly bottom, with pebbles 
intermixed, so that any one might see and count them : the 
fishes also appeared, swimming up and down in great plenty, 
which made it wonderfully pleasant; whilst the water that 
overflowed was received in another little canal, which con- 
veyed it out of the valley. 

Hitherto the ladies all came together, and after much 
praising the place, and seeing the basin before them, and 
that it was very private, they agreed to bathe. Ordering, 
therefore, the maid to keep watch, and to let them know if 
anybody was coming, they stripped and went into it, and it 
covered their delicate bodies in like manner as a rose is 
concealed in a crystal glass. After they had diverted them- 
selves there for some time with bathing, they clothed them- 



322 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. 

Nor sighs, nor tears can move 
His heart to love. 

love, etc. 

The winds, with inauspicious breeze, 

Waft my unheeded prayers away. 

Whilst hourly I decay ; 
Yet neither life nor death can please. 

Then yield, in pity to my woe. 

That he thy bondage too may know. 
O love, etc. 

Cupid, I humbly ask of thee, 
Or grant me this, or set me free ; 
This favour, if thou wilt bestow. 
My youthful bloom 

1 shall resume. 

And on my face again the rose and lily blow. 

love, could I escape from thee, 

1 always would be free. 

Eliza concluded her song with a most piteous sigh, and all 
of them wondered what the words could mean ; but the 
king, being in a good temper, called for Tindaro, and bade 
him bring out his bagpipes, to which they danced several 
dances ; till a good part of the night being spent in that 
manner, they gave over, and went to bed. 



THE SEVENTH DAY. 

There was now not a star to be seen in the east, but that 
alone which we call bright Lucifer, which as yet shone glori- 
ously in the dawning day ; when the master of the household 
arose, and went with the necessary provisions to the Ladies' 
Valley, to have everything ready there, according to the 
king's command. Roused by the noise of the carriages, his 
majesty arose soon afterwards, and had all the company 
called, when they began their march just as the sun was ap- 
pearing above the earth ; lior did the nightingales and other 
birds ever seem to sing with such exquisite harmony as on 
that morning. Being ushered on their way by this music, 
they came to the Ladies* Valley, where, being saluted by 
choirs of many others, it appeared to them as if all the birds 
in the valley joined in concert to rejoice at their arrival. 



NOVEL I.] THE SEVENTH DAY. 323 

Now, viewing it all over again, it seemed much more delight- 
ful than the day before, as the gaiety of the morning was 
still more conformable to the beauty of its appearance. After 
a repast of wine and sweetmeats, not to be behind-hand with 
the birds, they began to sing, whilst the valley all around 
echoed back their songs; and the birds, unwilling to be out- 
done, replied in new and more ravishing notes. At the usual 
hour the table was spread under the shade of the trees, by 
the side of that beautiful lake, and during the whole time of 
dining they amused themselves with observing the fishes 
swimming before them, which afforded various matter for 
discourse. When the tables were removed, they fell again to 
singing as merrily as before. Beds having been prepared in 
different parts of the valley, made close like pavilions, the 
king gave leave for such as desired it to go to sleep, and the 
rest had liberty to amuse themselves in the mean time as 
usual. At the appointed time they met by the basin side, 
near where they had dined, and sitting down on the carpets, 
which were spread there for them, the king desired Emilia to 
begin, and she, with a smile, complied. 



NOVEL I. 

Gianni Lottennghi hears a knocking at his door, and wakes his wife, who 
makes him l^lieve it is a spirit, and they both go to conjure it away 
with a certain prayer, after which the noise ceases. 

Sir, I had much rather any one else had begun such a 
fine subject as this is, than myself; but, since it is your pleas- 
ure that I should be the first, I am ready to comply. I 
purpose, therefore, to relate what may be of use to you for 
the time to come ; for, If other ladies are as timorous with 
regard to spirits as I am (although I know nothing certain 
about them, nor have I met with anybody yet that does), 
they will here learn a good and effectual prayer to drive 
them away. 

There dwelt formerly at Florence, in the street of St. 
Brancazio, a certain wool-comber, called Gianni Lotteringhi, 
one more fortunate in his trade than wise in other respects ; 
for, being an easy sort of a man, he was frequently chosen a 
director of the singers in new St. Maria's church, when they 
had their meetings at his house, and other little favours they 
shewed him, upon which he greatly valued himself. This 
was because he gave considerable alms to the brethren there, 



324 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL L 

and, in return for shoes, hoods, and cloaks, which they were 
daily getting from him, they presented him with the Pater 
Noster in the vulgar tongue, the song of St. Alexis, the 
lamentation of St. Bernard, the hymn of Lady Matilda, with 
more such sort of ware, which he set great store by, and 
kept carefully for his soul's health and welfare. Now he 
had a gay, handsome wife, called Tessa, the daughter of 
Mannuccio della Cuculia, an artful, sensible woman, who, 
knowing the simplicity of her husband, and being in love 
with Federigo di Neri, an agreeable young man, contrived 
with her maid that he should come to see her at a countr)- 
house, which Gianni had, at a place called Camerata, where 
she used to pass the summer, her good man coming some- 
times thither to sup, and stay all night, and return in the 
morning to his prayers and his shop. Accordingly, Fe- 
derigo came and spent that night with her, when it was 
agreed between them, in order to avoid the trouble of 
always sending for him, that, as often as he went to and fro, 
he should look to a vineyard, which was by the side of the 
liouse, where he would see an ass's skull fixed upon one 
of the poles there, and when the snout was turned towards 
Florence he might safely come, send if the door was shut, 
upon knocking three times, she would let him in : but if it 
was turned towards Fiesole, he should then depart, for he 
might be assured her husband was with her at that time. 

By this contrivance they frequently had meetings. But 
one night it had happened, that, expecting Federigo to sup 
with her, she had provided a couple of fowls, when her hus- 
band chanced to come in late, at which she was greatly con- 
cerned, and they sat down together to a little bacon which 
she had boiled by itself, whilst she ordered the maid to carry, 
in a clean napkin, the fowls, with some eggs for sauce, and a 
bottle of wine, into the garden (to which there was a way 
without going through the house, and where she and her 
lover used frequently to meet), and to lay them under a cer- 
tain peach-tree adjoining the fields. Unfortunately her hurry 
was so great, that she forgot to desire the maid to wait till 
Federigo came, to tell him that her master was then at home, 
and that he'should take those things away with him. There- 
fore, Gianni and she being gone to bed, and the maid like- 
wise, it was not long before Federigo came, and tapped 
gently at the door, which was so near to their chamber, that 
Gianni immediately heard it, as did his wife, who, to prevent 
any suspicion, pretended to be asleep. Presently he knocked 



NOVEL I.] THE SEVENTH DAY, 325 

a second time, at which Gianni was surprised, and began to 
jog her, saying, "Do not you hear? somebody knocks at our 
door." She, who heard it better than himself, pretended to 
wake out of her sleep, and said, " What is the matter ? " — 
" I tell you," quoth he, "that I thought somebody was at our 
door. "-7-" At our door!" she replied. "Alas! do you not 
know what that is ? It is a spirit, wkich, for several nights 
past, has terrified me so that I have covered myself over 
head and ears in the bed-clothes, and not dared to look 
about me again till it was broad day-light." — "Go," quoth 
Gianni, " why should you be afraid if it is so ? For, before 
we went to bed, I said the 7> /ucts^ and the Intemerata^ with 
divers other good prayers, and I signed all the bed-posts 
with the cross, so that it can have no power over us." The 
lady now, to prevent Federigo's taking any offence at her, 
thought it best to get up, and let him understand, by some 
means or other, that Gianni was there : therefore she said to 
her husband, " What you have done may have secured your- 
self; but, for my part, I shall not think myself safe, unless 
we conjure it down now you are here." — " Conjure it down !" 
quoth Gianni; ** how is that to be done .?" — " Oh !" said she, 
" I know how to do it ; for the other day, when I went to 
Fiesole for a pardon, one of those recluses, a most religious 
lady, seeing me afraid, taught me a certain prayer, which, 
she assured me, she had often tried to good purpose before 
she was a nun. Alas ! I could never have the boldness to 
make use of it alone ; but, as you are now with me, we will 
go together, and repeat it." Gianni declared that he was 
willing, and so they went softly to the door, whilst Federigo 
began to be uneasy at waiting there so long. " Now," said 
she to Gianni, " you must take care to spit when I desire 
you." — " I will," he replied. She then began her charm, and 
said, " Spirit, spirit, as you came, the same way you may go ; 
but look in the garden, and you will find two fowls, some 
eggs, and a bottle of wine ; drink of the wine, and go away, 
and hurt not me, nor my Gianni." Having done this, she 
said to her husband, "Spit, dear Gianni." Accordingly, 
Gianni spit. Federigo, who was without, and heard all this, 
was relieved from his jealousy, and, notwithstanding his dis- 
appointment, he had much ado to keep from laughing out, 
saying to himself, "I wish you had spit out your teeth." 
She repeated the charm three times, and then they went to 
bed. Federigo, who depended upon supping with his mis- 
tress, and was fasting, went to the peach-tree, found the 



320 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL H. 

capons, wine, and eggs, carried them home, and made a good 
supper; and the next time they were together, they made 
themselves very merry about the charm. 

Now some people tell the story otherwise ; they say that 
the ass's head was turned towards Fiesole, but a labourer in 
the vineyard gave it a turn by chance with his stick, and so 
set it the wrong way, which occasioned Federigo *s coming 
at that time ; and that the charm she made use of was, 
"Spirit, spirit, go away in God's name; it was not I, but 
somebody else, that turned the ass's head. Plague on him, 
whoever it was; but I am here, with my husband :" also that 
the lover went away without his supper. But a certain old 
lady, a neighbour of mine, told me, that both stories were 
true, as she had heard when she was a child, and that the 
latter did not happen to Gianni Lotteringhi, but to one called 
Gianni di Nello, just such another simpleton as Gianni Lot- 
teringhi. Then pray, ladies, take which charm you like 
best: both have been of service to others in this sort of 
cases, as you have heard. Try them and they may be as 
useful to yourselves. 

NOVEL II. 

Peronella puts her gallant into a tub on hec. husband's coming home, 
which tub the husband had sold ; she consequently tells him that she 
had also sold it to a person who was then in it, to see if it was sound. 
Upon this the man jumps out, makes the husband clean it for him, 
and carries it home. 

Emilia's novel was heard with a great deal of mirth, and 
the charm esteemed a very good one. The king then ordered 
Filostrato to follow, which he did in the following manner : — 
My dear ladies, the tricks which are put upon you by us men, 
and especially by your husbands, are so many, that if ever it 
happens that a woman does the like, you should not only be 
pleased to hear of it, but you yourselves should spread it every 
where, to let the men understand, that if they are cunning, 
you are so too. This must have a good effect, for when it is 
known that people are forewarned, nobody will go about so 
soon to deceive them. Who sees not then that this day's 
discourse being noised among the men, may not be a restraint 
upon them in that respect, when they come to find that you 
know how to serve them in the same way ? I will tell you, 
therefore, what a woman, though but of mean rank, did to 
her husband in a moment, as it were, for her own safety. 



NOVEL li.] THE SEVENTH DAY. 327 

It was not long since that a poor man at Naples married a 
young and handsome wife, named Peronella, and he being a 
mason, and she spinning every day, they managed to gain a 
tolerable livelihood. Now it happened that a young man in 
the neighbourhood took a liking to her, and making a dis- 
covery of his inclinations, it was at length agreed between 
them, that, as the husband went out every morning to his 
work, he should watch that opportunity to come to her, which 
accordingly he did more than once. But one morning 
amongst the rest, the honest man being gone abroad, and 
Giannello Strignario, for that was the gallant's name, visiting 
her as usual, in a little time the husband returned, though 
he was not used to come home till night, and finding the 
door bolted on the inside, he knocked, and then said to him- 
self, " Thank Heaven, though I am poor, I have an honest 
and careful wife; for no sooner am I gone out than she 
makes all fast, that nobody should come in my'absence to do 
us an injury." Peronella, who knew it was her husband by 
his manner of knocking, said, "Alas! Giannello, I am a 
dead woman ; here's my husband come back — ^bad luck to 
him ; I cannot imagine for what reason, unless it was that 
he saw you come in ; but for God's sake, be it as it will, go 
you into that tub, whilst I open the door, and we shall see 
what this sudden retiim of his means." 

Accordingly Giannello stepped into the tub, whilst she let 
her husband into the house ; and, putting on an angry look, 
she said, " Pray what new fancy is this, your coming home so 
early to-day ? It seems you mean to do no more work, as 
you have now got your tools with you. And what are we to 
live upon in the mean time ? Do you think I will suffer you 
to pawn my gown, and what few clothes I have ? I do noth- 
ing but spin night and day, till I have worn my fingers to the 
very stumps, and all will scarcely find us oil to our lamp. 
Husband, husband, there is not a neighbour we have but 
wonders, and makes jest of me, for all the labour I undergo, 
and yet you return here, with your hands in your pockets, 
when you ought to be at work." Then she began to cry and 
sob. " Oh, what a poor unfortunate wretch I am ! in an ill 
hour was I born, and worse it was when I happened to meet 
with you ! I could have had a young man that would have 
maintained me well, and I refused him for this creature here, 
who knows not how to value a good wife. Other women 
have a good time with their gallants ; some have two or three, 
and make their husbands believe the moon is made of green 



328 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL IL 

cheese ; and because I am virtuous, and never think of such 
practices, for that reason I am used the worse. I see no cause 
why I should not have my gallants as well as they. I would 
have you to know, that I have had offers of money and other 
things from a great number of young gentlemen, but nothing 
of that kind could seduce me : no, I was never the daughter 
of such a mother, and yet you will come home when you 
ought to be at work." — "My dear," said the husband, "do 
not make yourself uneasy ; I know well what a good woman 
you are, and have had farther proof of it this morning : I 
did go out to work, indeed ; but neither of us then knew that 
it was the feast of St. Galeone, which is to be kept holy, and 
that is why I am come back : nevertheless, I have found means 
that we shall have bread for a month, for I have sold the tub, 
which you know has been long in our way, to this man whom 
I have brought with me, for five shillings." — " So much the 
worse," she answered; "you that go up and down, and 
should know things better, to sell a thing for five shillings, 
which I, a poor ignorant woman, that keep always within 
doors, considering the room it took up in our house, have 
now sold it to an honest man for six, and who had just got into 
it, as you came to the door, to sec whether it was sound." 
When the husband heard this, he was much rejoiced, and 
said to the man he had brought, " Friend, you may go about 
your business ; you hear it is sold for six, whereas you were 
to have given no more than five." — "With all my heart," 
said the honest man, and away he went. "But," quoth 
Peronella to her husband, " as you are now here, even make 
the agreement with the man yourself." 

Giannello, who was listening to what passed between them, 
on hearing these words, came out of the tub, and said, as if 
he knew nothing of the husband, "Where is the good 
woman ? " The husband, stepping forward, replied, " Here 
I am: what do you want.?" — "Who are you?" answered 
Giannello, "I want the woman who sold me the tub." — 
" You may make the bargain with me, for I am her husband." 
— " Then," said Giannello, " the tub appears to be sound ; 
but it seems as if you had kept dregs in it, for it is so crusted 
all over in the inside, that I cannot scratch one bit off with 
my nail ; therefore, I will not have it till it is made clean." — 
"This shall never break the bargain," said Peronella, "my 
husband will soon clean it out for you." The husband said, 
with all his heart; and laying down his iron tools, and strip- 
ping to his shirt, he got a scraper, and going into the tub 



NOVEL III.] THE SEVENTH DAY. 329 

with a candle, he fell to work. Whilst he was thus busied, 
Peronella put her head and one arm and shoulder into 
the mouth of the tub, which was not large, as if to see how 
he got on, and bade him scrape here and there, and there 
again, and take care that he did not leave a speck in it. 
While she was thus engaged, and completely stopping up the 
mouth of the tub, Giannello, who had not done all he came 
for before he was surprised by the husband's return, took the 
opportunity thus offered him, and the two jobs were finished 
at the same moment. Peronella drew her head out of the 
tub, the husband crept out, and handing the candle to Gian- 
nello, he said, " Here, honest man, take the candle, and see 
whether it is to your liking." He peeped into it, said it was 
all right, gave them thè six shillings, and had it carried to 
his own house. 

[This talc has been translated, by Boccaccio, from a story which may 
be found near the beginning of the ninth book of the ' Golden Ass of 
Apuleius.' It is the * Cuvier ' of La Fontaine.] 



NOVEL HL 

Friar Rinaldo has an affair with a lady in the neighbourhood, and he make; 
the husband believe that he is busy about a charm to cure their child ol 
the worms. 

FiLOSTRATO having ended, Eliza was now ordered to speak, 
which she did as follows : — Emilia's conjuring down the spirit 
now brings to my mind another conjuring story, which, 
though it may not be equal to hers, yet, as I can think of no 
other, I shall relate it. 

There lived at Siena a very agreeable young man, of a 
good family, called Rinaldo, who had long been in love with 
a beautiful lady, the wife of a wealthy neighbour. He was 
of opinion, that if he could contrive to speak with the lady 
without exciting suspicion, he should obtain what he desired. 
Finding no other opportunity, and the lady being big with 
child, he resolved to stand godfather. Accordingly, he in- 
gratiated himself with the husband, made the proposal in the 
handsomest terms he could devise, and was accepted. Ri- 
naldo, having thus become Madonna Agnesa's gossip, had 
the desired opportunity to declare to her in words the pas- 
sion she had long before read in his eyes; but his soft 
speeches availed him little, though the lady did not appear 



3^0 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL IH. 

displeased at hearing them. Some time after, whatever was 
the reason, Rinaldo turned friar, and, whether that kind of 
life was to his liking or not, he persevered in it. For a 
while he seemed to have laid aside his love for the lady, and 
other little vanities, yet ere long he was the same person 
again, affecting an extraordinary elegance in his dress, mak- 
ing ballads and love-songs, and indulging in all sorts of 
mundane diversions. 

But why am I so particular about this friar ? Are they not 
all of the same stamp ? Alas ! to the scandal of a dissolute 
world, they are not ashamed to appear plump and ruddy, 
with their garments fine and delicate, whilst they walk along 
the streets, not like dov^s, so much as high-crested cocks: 
and what is worse (not to mention their chambers being 
filled with pots of rich conserves, perfumes, and other costly 
compositions, with bottles of fine distilled waters and oils, with 
vessels also of malmsey, and the best Greek wines, so that 
you would take them for a perfumer's or a druggist's shop), 
they are not ashamed, I say, to have it known they are gouty ; 
supposing us to be so ignorant, as to imagine that abstinence 
and a coarse diet do not make people less corpulent and 
more healthful ; or that constant fasting and prayer should 
not cause them to be pale and out of order : and as if we 
had never heard that St. Dominic and St. Francis thought 
themselves well clothed when they had one suit of coarse 
russet cloth to keep out the cold, without ever thinking of so 
many changes of fine apparel for mere show only, and which 
the simple credulous multitude is obliged to pay for. 

Our friar then, falling into his former way of living, began 
to renew his suit more briskly than ever to this lady, who, 
thinking him perhaps more agreeable than before, did not 
much withstand it. One day, when he was very pressing, 
she answered him as those do who are not very loath to com- 
ply. " What ! " she said, " do friars give their minds to such 
things?" — " Madam," he replied, " take but my habit off, and 
you will find I am like other men." The lady, laughing on 
one side of her mouth, and looking demure on the other, 
said, " I low can I do such a thing.? You know you stood 
godfather to my son, and therefore it would be a terrible sin, 
otherwise I am sure I should be willing to oblige you." — 
" My dear gossip, don't be a goose," said the friar. I do not 
deny that it is a sort of a sin, but God pardons greater ones 
on repentance. Tell me pray, which of the two is more 
nearly related to your son, I who held him at the font, or 



NOVEL III.5 THE SEVENTH DAY. 331 

your husband who begot him?" — *^ My husband, of course." 
— " Very well," says the friar, ** and does not your husband 
lie with you ? Then by consequence you may lie with me 
who am not so nearly related to your son as he." The lady, 
who was no great logician, was satisfied with this argument, 
or appeared to be so. " Who could withstand such convinc- 
ing words as yours ?" she said, and without making any more 
pother about their spiritual relationship, she let him do as he 
had a mind. Nor was this the only time, for the title of 
godfather gave them many opportunities of being together. 

One day among the rest, Rinaldo went to visit her, and 
finding nobody with her besides a servant maid, he sent his 
companion with the girl into a pigeon -loft to teach her some 
prayers, whilst he and the lady, with a little infant of her's, 
went into the chamber, and locked themselves in. They had 
not been there a very long time before the husband came 
home unexpectedly, and was knocking at the chamber door, 
and calling to her to open it, before they were aware of his 
return. Madonna Agnesa was frightened to death, and said, 
" What shall I do ? my husband is here, and will now find 
out the cause of our acquaintance." The friar having his 
cloak and hood off, replied, " Had I but my clothes on, we 
could find an excuse ; but if you open the door, and he finds 
me in this manner, we shall both be ruined." — "Then," said 
she, " put on your clothes instantly, and when you have done 
so, take our child in your arms, attend to what I shall say, 
to make our words agree with mine, and leave the rest to 
me." Now calling to her husband, who continued knocking 
at the door, she said, "I am coming." Accordingly she 
went to let him in, and putting on a cheerful countenance, 
she said, " Husband, it was the greatest blessing in the world 
that Friar Rinaldo happened to be here to-day, for other- 
wise we had certainly lost our child. " The husband was ready 
to faint away, and inquired how it happened? " The boy," 
quoth she, " had a fit, and I knew not what to do, when the 
friar luckily came in, and taking the child in his arms, he 
said, " Madam, it is owing to worms which lie at his heart, 
and would soon kill him ; but, be not afraid, I will charm 
and destroy them all, so that before I leave kim he shall be 
as well as ever." Now as we wanted you to say some pray- 
ers, and the maid did not know where to find you, he sent 
his friend to the top of the house to say them in your stead ; 
whilst we shut ourselves up in this chamber, as nobody 
could be present at such a mystery besides the mother. He 



^^2 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL IV. 

has the child now in his arms, and only waits till his friend 
has made an end to conclude the whole process, for the 
child has come to himself already." The honest man, who, 
out of his great love for his child, was far from suspecting 
such a trick, fetched a deep sigh, and said, " I will go and see 
him." — " By no means," she replied, "for that will spoil the 
whole thing ; but stay, I will see first if you may be admit- 
ted, and then call you." The friar, who heard the contriv- 
ance, was now dressed, and, having the child in his arms, 
and everything in readiness, he called out, " Madam, is not 
that your husband ? " — " Yes," answered he, ** I am here." — 
" Then come hither," quoth he, " and behold your son, 
whom I thought you would never more have seen alive. 
Take him, and in return make a statue of wax of the same 
bigness to the honour of St. Ambrose, through whose merits 
you have received this extraordinary favour." 

The child, seeing his father, showed several little signs of 
fondness, whilst he received him with as much joy and won- 
der as if he had been raised from the dead, returning great 
thanks to the friar for what he had done. The companion, 
also, hearing all that had passed, came down into the cham- 
ber, and said, " I have gone through all the prayers you or- 
dered me to repeat." Friar Rinaldo replied, "Brother, you 
have done well, and you see by our joint endeavours the child 
is recovered." The honest man on this treated them both 
with wine and sweetmeats, and they took their leave with 
great respect. And immediately he set about making the 
waxen image, and sent it to be set up with several others 
before the image of St. Ambrose ; but not 'St. Ambrose of 
Milan. 



NOVEL IV. 

Tofano shuts his wife one night out of doors, and she, not being able to 
persuade him to let her in, pretends to throw herself into a well, and 
drops a big stone in ; he runs thither in a fright ; she slips into the 
house, and locking him out, abuses him well. 

Eliza had no sooner made an end, than the king turned 
to Lauretta, who immediately began to this effect : — O love, 
how great is thy prevailing influence! how various and 
subtle are thy devices! What artist, what philosopher, 
could ever think of or contrive such shifts and evasions, as 
thou teachest in an instant to those that follow thy ways ? 



NOVEL IV.] THE SEVENTH DAY. ^^;i 

All Other instructions whatever are slow compared to thine, 
as appears by what has already been said on the subject : to 
which I mean to add the stratagem of a certain lady, con- 
ducted in such a manner, as nothing but love could ever 
have dictated. 

There lived at Arezzo a certain rich man named Tofano, 
who had a very handsome wife, named Monna Ghita, of whom, 
all at once, and without knowing why, he became extremely 
jealous. This greatly vexed the lady, who would frequently 
demand of him his reasons for such a suspicion ; and he 
being able to assign none, but such as were general, or noth- 
ing to the purpose, she resolved to plague him with the real 
evil, which hitherto had only been imaginary. Having ob- 
served that a certain young gentleman had taken par- 
ticular notice of her, she encouraged him so far, that they 
only waited for a favourable opportunity to put their design 
into execution. Amongst the rest of her husband's bad 
qualities, he had taken, she perceived, to drinking, which 
she not only seemed pleased with, but would persuade him 
to drink more, and make him drunk as often as she could. 
In this way she first found an opportunity of being with her 
lover, and from that time, they met continually, and by the 
same means. She depended indeed so much upon this 
drunken disposition of her husband's, that she would not 
only bring her lover into the house, but even go out and 
spend the greatest part of the night along with him, his res- 
idence not being very far off. 

Matters continuing thus, the husband began to perceive 
that, whilst she encouraged him to drink in that manner, she 
scarcely tasted wine herself; and thence he was led to sus- 
pect, as was really the case, that she made him drunk with a 
view only to her own private purposes, during the time of 
his being asleep. Desiring to have some positive proof of 
this, he pretended once (without having drunk a drop all 
that day), both in his words and actions, to be the most dis- 
ordered creature that could be ; perceiving which, and think- 
ing that he had then had a dose sufficient, and that he would 
sleep without any more liquor, she straightway put him to 
bed. Tofano finding his wife did not come to bed, got up, 
and bolted the door, and then went and sat at the window to 
wait for her coming home, that she might see that he was 
acquainted with her doings, and there he continued till her 
return. She, finding the door bolted, was exceedingly uneasy, 
and tried several times to force it open. After Tofano had 



334 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL IV, 

suffered this for some time, he said, " Madam, you give your- 
self trouble to no purpose, for here you shall not come : go 
back, if you please, for you shall enter these doors no more, 
till I have showed you that respect, which these ways of 
yours require, before all your relations and neighbours." 
She then begged, for Heaven's sake, that he would open the 
door, saying, that slie had not been where he imagined; but 
that, as the evenings were long, and she could neither sleep 
all the time, nor sit up by herself, she had gone to see a gen- 
tlewoman in the neighbourhood. But all was to no purpose, 
he seemed resolved that the whole town should be witnesses 
of their shame, when otherwise they would have known 
nothing of the matter. The lady, finding her entreaties of 
no effect, had recourse to threats, and said, "Either open 
the door, or I will make you the most miserable man that 
ever was born." Tofano replied, "And which way will you 
do it ? " She, whose wits were sharpened by love, continued, 
" Before I will suffer such a disgrace, as you mean wrong- 
fully to fasten upon me, I will throw myself directly into 
this well, and when I am found there afterwards, everybody 
will conclude that you did it in one of your drunken fits; 
and then there will be no help for you but to fly your coun- 
try, and lose all your property, or be put to death for mur- 
dering your wife." All this, however, having no effect upon 
him, she cried outr"I can no longer bear your scorn, God 
forgive you for being the cause of my death ! " and the 
night being so dark that they could scarcely see one another, 
she ran towards the well, took up a great stone that lay by 
the well-side, and crying aloud, "God forgive this act of 
mine ! " she let it fall into the well. 

The stone made a great noise when it came to the water, 
which Tofano hearing, firmly believed that she had thrown 
herself in, and taking the rope and bucket he ran to help 
her out. She meanwhile stood concealed by the side of 
the door, and seeing him go towards the well, she got into 
the house, and made all fast; then going to the window, 
she began to say to him, " Why, husband, you should use 
water whilst you are drinking, and not after you have 
made yourself drunk." Tofano, seeing her laugh at him, 
returned, and, finding the door bolted, begged of her to 
open it. But she now changed her note, and began to cry 
out, " You drunken, worthless, troublesome wretch ! you 
shall not come in here to-night ; I can no longer bear with 
your evil practices ; I will let all the world know what sort 



NOVEL IV.] THE SEVENTH DAY. 335 

of a person you are, and what hours you keep.*' Tofano, on 
the other hand, being grievously provoked, used all the 
bad language he could think of, and made a most terrible 
uproar. The neighbours were all roused out of their beds, 
and, coming to their windows, inquired what was the mat- 
ter. Upon this she began to lament and say, " It is this 
wicked man, who is always coming home drunk at all hours 
of the night. I have endured this a long time, and said a 
great deal to no purpose, and now I wanted to try if I could 
not shame him out of it by locking him out." Tofano, on 
the contrary, told them how the matter was, and threatened 
her exceeding. " There !" said she to the neighbours, " Now 
you see what sort of a man he is : what would you say if I 
were in the street and he within doors, as I am ? Then you 
might think he was in the right. Take notice, I beseech 
you, how artful he is: he says I have done that which he 
seems to have done himself, and talks something about the 
well ; but I wish he was in it, that he might have some water 
as well as wine." 

The neighbours all joined in blaming Tofano, deeming 
him the person in fault, and giving him many hard words 
for his usage of his wife ; and the thing was noised about 
the city, till her relations heard of it, who came thither in a 
body, and inquiring of one neighbour and another how it 
was, they took Tofano, and beat him very severely. After- 
wards they went into the house, and carried the lady away 
with them, with all that was hers, threatening Tofano with 
farther punishment. And now, finding the ill effects of his 
jealousy, and still having a regard for his wife, he got some 
friends to intercede with her to come home again, promising 
never more to be jealous, and giving her leave for the future 
to do as she would. Thus, like a simple knave, he was 
glad to purchase peace, after having been to the last degree 
injured. 

[The * Calandra ' of Cardinal Bibbiena, the best comedy that appeared 
in Italy previous to the time of Goldoni, is taken from this tale ; so also 
is one of Duncourt's plays, and it probably suggested to Molière the plot 
of his celebrated comedy, ' George Dandin/ The story, however, had 
been frequently told before the time of Boccaccio, being one of the 
fabliaux of the ' Trouveurs,' published by Le Grand (vol. iii., p. 143). It 
appears in the still more ancient tales of Petrus Alphonsus, and in one of 
the French versions of ' Dolopator, or the Seven Wise Masters.'] 



336 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL V. 



NOVEL V. 

A jealous man confesses his wife under a priest's habit, who tells him 
that she is visited every night by a friar ; and, whilst he is watching the 
door, she lets her lover in at the house-top. 

Lauretta having made an end, the king, without loss of 
time, pointed to Fiammetta, who began in this manner : — 
The preceding novel brings to my mind the story of another 
jealous person, which I will relate, being of opinion that 
those husbands are justly served in that manner, who are 
jealous without reason. And if legislators, when they make 
their laws, could be supposed to think of everything, I imag- 
ine they would decree no other punishment than what is 
ordered in cases of self-defence: for those jealous people 
are frequently the death of their wives. All the week long 
are they kept mewed up in their houses, and when holidays 
come, that they should have some ease and diversion, as all 
other people according to the laws both of God and man 
have then rest, yet on those days are they more confined 
than at any other time ; so that none are so wretchedly en- 
slaved as themselves. Therefore I conclude that a trick 
put upon a husband, who was jealous without any reason, 
will by you be rather commended than blamed. 

There lived in Arimino a certain rich merchant, who had 
an agreeable woman for his wife, of whom he was immod- 
erately jealous, and for no other reason in the world, but 
that as he was very fond of her himself, and knew that it 
was her whole study to please him ; so he imagined every 
one else would like her as well, and that she would be as de- 
sirous to oblige them ; which showed him to be one of a 
wicked disposition, as well as of little understanding. He 
consequently kept so strict an eye over her always, that no 
felon under sentence of death could be more narrowly 
watched. So far from going out to feasts at any time, or to 
church, or out of doors, under any pretence whatever, she 
was not suffered to look out of the window ; so that she led 
a most wretched life, and so much the worse, as she knew 
herself to be innocent. 

Thus, finding herself so wrongfully treated, she resolved, 
for the time to come, to give him some reason for such 
usage. And as she had no opportunity of seeing people in 
the street, and knew that there was an agreeable young man 



KOVEL Vj THE SEVENTH DAY. 337 

living in the next house, she looked about to see if there 
was any chink in the wall, through which she might have an 
opportunity of speaking to him, to make him an offer of her 
love, and to have him come to her sometimes, if such a thing 
could be contrived, in order to spend her life with a little 
more comfort, till her husband should be cured of his jeal- 
ousy. At last, in a comer of the room, she espied a crack 
which looked into a chamber of the next house, and she 
said to herself, " Now if this should prove to be Filippo 's 
chamber " (for that was the young gentleman's name), " my 
scheme would be half accomplished." She set her maid to 
work to ascertain the truth upon this point, and soon learned 
that the young man did sleep there all alone. She now made 
it her business to visit that place pretty often, and put little 
sticks and straws through into her neighbour's chamber, 
which he soon perceiving, came to the wall to see what it 
meant. Then she called to him softly ; he knew her voice 
and answered ; a few words sufficed to make her mind known 
to him, which being quite to his satisfaction, he contrived to 
enlarge the opening on his own side, taking care all the time 
that nobody should perceive it. From that time they had 
frequent conferences together, and could touch each other's 
hands, but no more, because of the husband's extraordinary 
care and jealousy. 

Now Christmas-day drawing near, the lady said to her 
husband, that, with his leave, she would go to church that 
day, to confess and receive the sacrament, like other good 
Christians. " And pray what sins can you have committed," 
he replied, "that you should want to confess?" — "What! " 
quoth she, " do you take me for a saint ? Though you keep 
me shut up in this manner, yet I must sin as well as other 
people ; but I am not going to tell them to you, as you are 
no priest." These words occasioned such a strong suspicion 
in him, that he was resolved to know what those sins were ; 
and having determined what means to use, he told her that 
he was willing ; but that she should go only to their chapel, 
and that betimes in the morning, and confess to their chap- 
lain, or some person that he should appoint, and to no other, 
and return home directly. The lady seemed partly to know 
his design, and without making any other reply, said she 
would do as he desired. On Christmas-day, then, she rose 
betimes in the morning, and went to the chapel, as her hus- 
band had directed her. He also went to the same place, got 
there first, and having agreed with the priest what to do, he 
15 



33^ DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL V. 

put on a gown, with a great hood that almost covered his 
face, such as we see priests wear sometimes, and drawing it 
over his eyes, sat himself down in the choir. The lady, 
upon coming into the chapel, inquired for the priest ; who, 
hearing from her that she wanted to confess, told her, that 
he could not stay to hear her himself, but would send one of 
his brethren. Accordingly he sent the jealous husband, in 
an ill hour for him, as it happened, who had not so well dis- 
guised himself, but she immediately knew him, and said to 
herself, " Thank Heaven, from a jealous fool he has become 
a priest: but I will take care to give him what he seeks 
for." 

Affecting then not to know hrm, she sat down at his feet. 
The jealous gentleman had put some little stones into his 
mouth, to alter his voice, thinking himself well enough dis- 
guised as to everything else. Coming then to the confession, 
amongst other things, she told him, that, though married, she 
was yet in love with a priest, who came and lay with her 
every night. When the confessor heard this, he felt as if a 
knife was stuck into his heart, and were it not for his desire 
to learn something farther, he would have gone away that 
moment, and left her on her knees. Keeping his seat, then, 
he said to her, " Well, but how is it ? Does not your husband 
lie with you.^" — "Yes, he does, sir," she replied. "Then," 
continued he, " how can the priest lie with you at the same 
time ?" — " I know not how he does it, but there is not a door 
in the house but opens upon his touching it ; he tells me also, 
that, upon coming to our chamber, before he opens the door, 
he says some certain words, which throw my husband asleep, 
and then he comes in, and lies with me, and the other never 
knows it." — "O, madam," quoth the confessor, "that is a 
very bad thing; you must leave off such practices entirely." 
— "Ah, father," answered she, "I know not how to do it, I 
love him so well." — "Then I can give you no absolution." — 
" I am sorry for that," she replied ; " but I came here to 
speak the truth : if I could leave off, I would tell you so." — 
" I am sorry for you, as I see your soul is in a state of damna- 
tion; but I will offer up my particular prayers for you, which 
may be of service, and I will send a person to you at certain 
times, when you may inform him if you think you have re- 
ceived any benefit, and in that case we will proceed farther." 
The lady replied, " Sir, never think of sending anybody to 
our house, for my husband is so unreasonably jealous, that 
all the world could never beat it out of his head but that he 



NOVEL v.] THE SEVENTH DAY. 339 

came with a bad intent, and I should not have one good day 
for this twelvemonth." — "Madam," he rejoined, "have no 
care for that, for I shall manage in such a manner, that you 
will hear no more from him upon that score." — " If you can 
do that," said the lady, " I am content." And having made 
an end of her confession, and had her penance assigned her, 
she got up and went to mass. 

The husband, ready to burst with fury, put off the priest's 
habit, and went home, waiting to find the priest and his wife 
together, in order to wreak his vengeance upon t)oth ; whilst 
she went out of the chujch, seeing plainly by his looks that 
she had given him but a bad Christmas-box, though he en- 
deavoured to conceal both what he had done and meant 
farther to do. Resolving then to wait the next night at the 
door for the priest, he said, " I shall go out to sup and stay 
all night; be sure, therefore, you lock the street door, and 
that upon the stairs, as also your chamber door, and when 
you are disposed you may go to bed." She wished him 
a good night, went immediately to the chink in the chamber, 
and made the usual sign, when Filippo came to her, and she 
told him what she had done that morning, and what her hus- 
band had said afterwards, adding, " I am confident he will 
never stir from the door all night long; do you contrive a 
way, then, to come in at the top of the house. ' He replied, 
full of joy, " Depend upon it. Madam, I will." When night 
came, therefore, the jealous husband armed himself privately, 
and lay concealed in the ground-room, whilst his wife made 
the doors fast, especially that upon the stairs, so that he 
could not come up to her : and the young man, when he 
thought it proper time, came by a secret way into her cham- 
ber, where they enjoyed themselves all night, without fear of 
interruption. The husband, in the mean time, continued 
supperless all night long, uneasy to the last degree, and 
almost starved to death with cold, waiting by the door for 
the priest. Day appearing at last, and nobody coming, he 
composed himself there to sleep. Rising at the third hour, 
and the door of the house being now opened, he came in, pre- 
tending to come from another place, and called for his 
breakfast. Soon afterwards he sent a messenger to his wife, 
as from the priest who had confessed her, to know if that 
person had come to her since. She, who understood full 
well the nature of the message, replied, " No, he did not 
come that night, and if he left off visiting her, she might for- 
get him, although she had no desire to do so." 



340 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL V, 

What more need I say to you ? The husband continued 
to watch every night, and the wife and her gallant were 
together all the time. At last, being out of all manner of 
patience, he demanded of her, with the utmost wrath in his 
looks, what it was that she had confessed to the priest ? But 
she refused to tell him, saying that it was neither just 
nor reasonable. " Vile woman ? " he cried, " I know in spite 
of you, what it was, and will make you confess who this 
priest is, that lies with you every night, by virtue of his en- 
chantments, or else I will cut your throat." She replied, " It 
is false; I never lay with any pri^t." — "What!" said he, 
** did you not say so and so to the priest who confessed you ? " 
— " Not," she replied, " for him to tell you again ; but if you 
were present, it is a different thing : then, to be plain with 
you, I did say so." — "Now tell me," quoth he, "who this 
priest is, and quickly." 

She smiled and said, " I am always glad to see a wise man 
led (by the horns as it were) by a simple woman ; though 
you deserve not that character, since you have suffered your- 
self to be transported by an unreasonable fit of jealousy, 
without knowing why ; therefore, the more weak you are, the 
less is my glory. Do you think my eyes are as bad as your 
understanding ? No ; I knew very well who the priest was 
that confessed me, and that was you. But I was resolved to 
give you what you wanted, and I think I have done so. But 
if you were as wise as you would be thought, you would 
never have desired to come at your wife's secrets in that 
manner, and would have known, without any vain suspicion, 
that every word was true which I said, and without the least 
crime or offence. I told you I loved a priest : were not you, 
my unworthy husband, then a priest ? I said, no door could 
be kept shut when he had a mind to come to me : and is not 
that literally true ? I added that the priest lay with me every 
night. And pray when did you lie from me ? And when 
you sent to know if he was with me that night — you know 
that very time you had not been with me— I answered that 
he had not been with me. Who but a person blinded with 
jealousy, like yourself, but must have understood these 
things ? And yet you kept watch all night at the door, and 
would have made me believe that you were gone elsewhere 
to sup and spend the night Consider a little better, and 
behave like a man, and do not make a fool of yourself any 
longer, in the eyes of one who is acquainted with all your 
ways, as I am. Leave off this extraordinary care upon 



NOVEL VI.] THE SEVENTH DAY. 341 

my account ; for, I assure you, were I disposed to be what 
you suspect, had you a hundred eyes, whereas you have 
only two, I could do it over and over again, and you be 
never the wiser." 

The poor jealous creature, who had thought himself very 
cunning before, now saw how he was despised, and, without 
more words, devested himself of that foolish and troublesome 
disposition, ever after esteeming his a wife virtuous and pru- 
dent woman. And she had no further occasion to make her 
lover come in at the top of the house, as cats do ; for the 
door was open afterwards whenever they had a mind to be 
together. 

[This story is an ingenious improvement upon the Fabliau ' Du Chev- 
alier qui confessa sa Femme.' It has been frequently imitated. In the 
78th of the * Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles,* entitled * Le Mari Confesseur/ 
a lady who is confessed by her husband under the disguise of a priest 
acknowledges a criminal intercourse with a squire, a knight, and a priest. 
On hearing this, the husband bursts out into an indignant exclamation. 
** Were you not/' says she, with some presence of mind, " a squire when 
I married you, were you not afterwards a knight, and are you not now a 
priest 7 " This b copied by Lafontaine, in ' Le Mari Confesseur.'] 



NOVEL VI. 

Isabella, beinjr in company with her gallant, called Leonetto, and being 
visited at uie same time by one Lambertuccio, her husband returns, 
when she sends Lambertuccio away with a drawn sword in his hand, 
whilst the husband escorts Leonetto safely to his own house. 

They were all pleased with Fiammetta's story, declaring 
that the woman had served the brute exactly right. And it 
being concluded, the king ordered Pampinea to go on, who 
then said : — There are many people so* foolish as to affirm, 
that love deprives persons of their understanding, and that 
they who are in love are out of their wits. But how ridicu- 
lous this assertion is, will appear by what has been said 
before, and also by what I am now going to tell you. 

In our city, abounding with everything that is good, there 
was formerly a beautiful lady, wife to a certain worthy knight, 
who desiring a little variety, as will sometimes happen, be- 
gan to grow indifferent towards her husband, casting her 
eyes upon a certain young spark, called Leonetto, one of no 



342 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL VL 

great family, but agreeable enough ; he likewise began to 
show the same good will towards her ; and it was not long 
before their wishes were accomplished. Now it happened, 
that another gentleman was in love with her also, called Lam- 
bertuccio, one by no means agreeable to her ; but he ceased 
not to solicit her in all manner of ways, threatening at the 
same time, as he was a man of note and power, to lessen 
and expose her, unless she would comply with his desires. 
This terrified her so much, that she thought herself obliged 
to listen to him. 

Being now, that it was summer time, at one of their coun- 
try houses, and her husband gone from home to make some 
stay, she sent for Leonetto to come and be with her in the 
meantime. He obeyed her summons with great pleasure. 
Lambertuccio, knowing also that her husband was abroad, 
came all alone on horseback, and knocked at the gate. Her 
maid, seeing him there, ran up stairs to her mistress, who 
was in her chamber with Leonetto, and said, "Madam, 
Signor Lambertuccio is here below." The lady was in the 
greatest perplexity imaginable, and desired Leonetto not to 
mind stepping behind the curtain of the bed till the other 
was gone. Leonetto, who feared him as much as she did, 
went and hid himself there, whilst she ordered her maid to 
go and let Lambertuccio in. Accordingly he dismounted, 
hung his horse's bridle at the door, and was immediately 
shown up stairs ; when she, meeting him at the top, asked, 
with a smile, how she came to be favored with the visit. ^ 
" My life ! " quoth he, " I understood your husband was 
abroad, and it was for that reason I came to see yop." 
Thereupon they went to her room, and locked themselves 
in. 

While they were diverting themselves there, the lady's hus- 
band returned, quite unexpectedly. As soon as the maid 
saw him, she came suddenly into the chamber, and said to 
her mistress, *' Madam, my master is returned, and now in 
the court." The lady was quite confounded at hearing this, 
and, considering that she had two men in the house, and 
that the knight could not be concealed, on account of his 
horse, she gave herself over for lost : yet, resolving at length 
what to do, she said to Lambertuccio, " Sir, if you have any 
regard for me, and are willing to save me from destruction, 
pray do as I shall direct you. Go down stairs with an an- 
gry countenance, and your sword in your hand, saying, *I 
vow to Heaven, if ever I meet with him any where else — .' 



NOVEL VI.] THE SEVENTH DAY. 343 

And if my husbaixl should offer to stop you, or ask any 
questions, say nothing more than that; but mount your 
horse directly, and ride away, nor offer to stay with him 
upon any account whatever." Accordingly, he obeyed her 
directions, and went down stairs with his naked sword in 
his hand, and his face all crimsoned, both by his recent 
exertions and his vexation at the knight's inopportune re- 
turn. The latter, meanwhile, on entering the courtyard, 
had been surprised to see the horse there; and was still 
more so when he went to the door and met Lambertuccio 
coming out with such a fierce countenance, and heard 
him talk in that manner ; " Pray what is the matter, sir ? " 
he said to him. The othtr put his foot in the stirrup, 
muttered only these words, "If ever I meet the villain 

again ," and rode away. The knight, going up stairs, 

found his wife at the stair-head, terrified out of her wits, 
and said to her, "What is the reason of Lambertuccio's 
going away in so much heat and fury?" When she, draw- 
ing nearer to her chamber, that Leonetto might hear, re- 
plied, "My dear, I never was so frightened in my whole 
life. A gentleman whom I never saw before, ran in here, 
and Lambertuccio after him with a drawn sword, and find- 
ing the chamber-door open, he came trembling into it, 
saying, *I entreat you. Madam, to protect me, otherwise I 
shall be murdered in your very presence.' I stood up, and 
was going to ask him who he was, and what was the matter, 
when Lambertuccio was at the top of the stairs, roaring 
out, * Where is the villain.? * Upon this, I ran to the cham- 
ber-door, and stopped him as he was just coming in, when 
he was so civil to me indeed, after he saw I was unwilling 
he should come into the chamber, that, after a few words, he 
went back again just as you met him." 

"My dear," said the husband, "you did quite right; it 
would have been a great discredit to us to have had any- 
body murdered in our house ; and Lambertuccio was highly 
to blame to pursue a person hither. But where is the gen- 
tleman ? " " He is hid somewhere or other," she replied ; 
"I know not where." — "Where are you ? " cried the knight, 
"you may come out without any danger." Leonetto, who 
had heard all this, came out from where he was concealed, 
much terrified, as indeed he had reason ; when the knight 
said to him, "Pray what affair is this that you have had with 
Lambertuccio? " — " Nothing," he replied, "in the world, that 
I know of; so that I am convinced he has either lost his 



344 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL VIL 

senses, or else mistakes me for some other person; for, 
upon seeing me in the street, at a distance from your house, 
he drew his sword, and said, * Villain, thou art a dead man ! ' 
I stayed to ask no questions, but made the best of my way, and 
came hither, where, thanks be to heaven and this lady, I have 
found protection." — "Then," said the knight, "be under 
no fear; I will see you safe home, when you may make 
inquiry what the ground of his quarrel with you is." After 
supper, then, he mounted him upon one of his horses, and 
conducted him to Florence to his own house. And that 
night, by the lady's direction, Leonetto had a private con- 
ference with Lambertuccio, when they so planned it, that, 
though there was much talk afterwards about it, the husband 
never knew how he had been tricked by his wife. 

[The original of this story is a tale in the Greek Syntipas, the most 
ancient European form of the ' Seven Wise Masters/ but it has been 
omitted in some of the more modem versions. There are corresponding 
stories in Petrus Alphonsus, Le Grand's * Fabliaux/ Bandello, and Para- 
bosco. One or other of these tales suggested a part of Beaumont and 
Fletcher's comedy of 'Woman pleased* (Act ii, Scene 6), where Isabella 
in a similar manner conveys two lovers out of her chamber, when sur- 
prised by the coming of her husband.] 



NOVEL VII. 

Lodovico being in love with Beatrice, she sends her husband into the 
garden, disguised like herself, so that her lover may be with her in the 
mean time and he afterwards goes into the garden and beats the 
husband. 

Isabella's quick and lucky thought was admired by the 
whole company, when Filomena began, by the king's com- 
mand, to this effect : — You must understand, that at Paris 
dwelt a certain gentleman, a Florentine, who, being a little 
reduced, was forced to go into trade, by which he acquired 
a great deal of wealth. He had only one son, named Lodo- 
vico, who, haying regard to the nobility of his father, more 
than to anything of business, was, instead of being brought 
up in a warehouse, sent, with some other young noblemen, 
into the service of the king of France, where he acquired 
all the accomplishments that belonged to a fine gentleman. 
Being one day in company with certain knights, who were 
just retured from the Holy Land, and talking of beauties in 



NOVEL VII.] THE SEVENTH DAY. 345 

England, France, and other countries, one of them declared, 
that, in all parts of the world, of all the women that ever he 
saw, he never met with any to come up to Beatrice, the wife 
of Egano de' Galluzzi, of Bologna; to which his compan- 
ions, who had been with him there, agreed. 

Lodovico, on hearing this, was possessed with such a desire 
to see her, that he could think of nothing else ; and design- 
ing to go and make some stay there, if she proved to his 
liking, he pretended to his father that he had an inclination 
to go to the Holy Land, and obtained his very reluctant con- 
sent. Changing his name then to Anichino, he came to 
Bologna ; and, as fortune would have it, saw Beatrice at her 
window the very next day, when he found her beauty to ex- 
ceed even his warmest imagination, and, being quite enam- 
oured, he resolved not to depart from Bologna till he had 
obtained his desire. Pondering, therefore, which was the 
most likely way to succeed, he supposed, that if he could 
but get to be a servant to the husband, he might probably 
carry his point. Accordingly, he sold his horses, and dis- 
posing of his servants, with orders never to take notice of 
him, he told his landlord, that he should be glad to get into 
the service of some person of distinction, if such a place 
could be met with. The landlord replied, " You are just such 
a person as would suit a gentleman here, called Egano, who 
has a great number of servants, and will always have well- 
looking, genteel people about him, like yourself: I will speak 
to him for you." This he did, and Anichino was immedi- 
ately taken into the family, greatly to his satisfaction. Con- 
tinuing then with Egano, where he had daily opportunities 
of seeing the lady, he gained so far upon him by his *good 
behaviour, that Egano could do nothing without him, and 
made him sole director of all his affairs. 

One day it happened, as Egano was gone out fowling, and 
left him behind, that Beatrice (who as yet knew nothing of 
his love, but had always commended his most engaging be- 
haviour) made him sit down with her at chess, and Anichino, 
as it was his whole desire to please her, contrived to let her 
win, with which she was vastly delighted. — At length, all the 
women being gone out of the room, and they left by them- 
selves, he heaved a deep sigh. She looked, and said, "What 
is the matter with you, Anichino ? Are you uneasy because 
I win ?" — " Madam," he replied, " it is a thing of more con- 
sequence which occasioned that sigh." — "Then, by the re- 
gard you have for me," quoth she, " I conjure you to tell it 
IS* 



1 



346 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL VII. 

me." When Anichino saw himself entreated by his love for 
her, whom he valued beyond all the world, he gave a greater 
sigh than before. She desired again to know the reason. 
" Madam," he replied, " I am extremely afraid lest I should 
offend you by so doing ; I doubt also if you would not speak 
of it to some other person." She made answer, ** Be assured 
I shall not be offended ; nor shall I ever speak of it again, 
unless you give me leave." — "Then," said he, "as I have 
your promise, I will reveal it." And he told her, with tears 
in his eyes, who he was ; what he had heard of her, and 
where ; and how he came to be a servant to her husband. 
He entreated her, in the most humble manner, to have pity 
on him, and accept of this secret offer of his love ; or, if 
that was too great a favour for him to expect, that he might 
continue in the same condition as before ; and that she 
would be pleased only to let him admire her. O ! how sin- 
gularly sweet are these Bolognian dispositions ! In cases of 
this sort how worthy of praise ! They delight not in people's 
tears and sighs ; but, to soft and amorous entreaties, they are 
ever easy of access. Were I able to give them their due 
praise, my voice should never faint on so agreeable a subject. 
The lady had her eyes fixed upon him all the time he was 
speaking, and giving credit to his words, she began to con- 
ceive the same passion in her heart for him. "Anichino," 
she replied, " be of good cheer ; you have effected in a mo- 
ment (the small time only that you have been speaking), 
that which all the lords and gentlemen, who have been daily 
soliciting me, could never bring to pass : so that now I am 
more yours than my own. You have deserved my love, and 
you shall have it: come, therefore, to my chamber about 
midnight." Upon this they parted, and he waited with great 
impatience for night. 

Egano was now returned from fowling, and, being weary, 
went, as soon as he had supped, to bed, and the lady with 
him, leaving the door open, as she had promised. At the 
time appointed, Anichino went into the bed-chamber, and 
shutting the door again, he stepped gently to the lady's side 
of the bed, when, laying his hand upon her breast, he found 
she was awake. Instantly she seized it with both hers, and 
Keld him strongly, turning herself in bed at the same time, till 
she made her husband wake, when she said to him, " My 
dear, I would say nothing to you last night, because you 
seemed to be weary ; but tell me, which of your servants do 
you believe to be the most faithful, and respect the most ?" 



KOVEL VII.] THE SEVENTH DAY. 347 

Egano replied, " What a strange question this is ! Do not 
you know that I never loved, and put such confidence in any 
servant, as I now do in Anichino ? But why do you want 
to be informed ?" Anichino, perceiving Egano to be awake, 
and hearing them talk together, endeavoured several times 
to draw his hand away, and get out of the room, imagining 
that she had put a trick upon him ; but she held him so fast, 
that he could not. She then replied to Egano, saying, " I 
will tell you : I once thought as you do, and that he was the 
most trusty person about you, but I was mistaken ; for he 
had the assurance, after you were gone out yesterday, to 
make an offer of his love to me ; whilst I, to give you mani- 
fest proof of the fact, seemed to consent, and appointed to 
"meet him this night under the pine-tree, in the garden. 
Now my intention was never to go thither ; but if you have 
a mind to be convinced of his villainy, you need only slip 
on one of my petticoats, and put a veil over your head, and 
I am sure you will find him." — "Then," quoth he, "most 
certainly will I go." Rising, therefore, and disguising him- 
self in that manner, as well as he could in the dark, he went 
into the garden to wait for Anichino. As soon as he was 
gone out, she rose also, and made fast the door. Anichino, 
who had been in the most horrible fear, and had endeavoured 
all he could to get from her, cursing both her and her love a 
thousand times over, and himself likewise, for giving credit 
to her, now at last finding out what was her design, was the 
happiest man imaginable. 

At length, when she thought he had been as long with 
her as it was safe for him to stay, she said, " I beg of you to 
take a cudgel, and go into the garden ; and, pretending as 
if this was done only to make trial of my virtue, give him 
some hard language, as though you meant it for myself, and 
cudgel him soundly." Accordingly he rose, took a good 
stick with him and went into the garden, where Egano, see- 
ing him come towards the pine-tree, hastened with a great 
deal of seeming pleasure to meet him. Then said Anichino, 
" What ! you wicked woman, are you come ? and could you 
think I would do such a thing by my master.? I will make 
you repent your baseness." And lifting up his cudgel, he 
laid on to some purpose. — Egano, at these words, and feel- 
ing the blows, took to his heels, without speaking a word, 
whilst Anichino was close after him, crying out, " Away, you 
vile creature ! depend upon it, my master shall know all to- 
morrow." 



348 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL Vili. 

Egano having sustained all this drubbing, returned at last 
to his chamber, when the lady said to him, ** Well ! did Ani- 
chino come into the garden?" Egano replied, "Would to 
God he had stayed away ! for, besides all the foul language 
that could be used to any woman, he has almost broken 
every bone in my skin. I wondered indeed that he of all 
men should have addressed you in the way you told me, with 
intent to dishonour me ; but, as he saw you of such a free, 
cheerful temper, he had a mind, no doubt, to make a trial oif 
you." — " Then, thank Heaven," quoth she, " he proved me 
with words, and you with deeds. But, I believe, he may 
say that I bore the words better than you did the deeds : as 
he has showed himself so faithful, therefore, to you, you will 
regard him accordingly." — "Most certainly," said Egano: 
and from that time he concluded he had the most virtuous 
wife and the honestest servant of any man in the world. 
On which account (though Anichino and she often laughed 
together at the thing) they had an opportunity of gratifying 
their desires with the less suspicion (which could not have 
been done so well without such a stratagem) all :he time 
Anichino thought fìt to stay with Egano at Bologna. 

[The incidents of this novel are amusing enough, but it does not ap- 
pear that there was any necessity for the lovers to have had recx>arse to 
such intricate and perilous expedients. This tale has been copied bjr 
Ser. Giovanni, in the secopd and third day of his ' Pecorone,' and has 
given rise to that part of an old English comedy of the 17th century, 
called the ' City Night Cap/ by John Davenport, which relates to Fran- 
cisco's intrigue with Dorothea, the wife of Ludovico. It is the ' Mari 
cocu, battu et content,' of La Fontaine.] 



NOVEL VIII. 

A woman who had a very jealous husband, tied a thread to her great toe, 
by which she informed her lover whether he should come or not. The 
husband found it out, and whilst he was pursuing the lover, she put her 
maid in her place. He takes her to be his wife, beats her, cuts off het 
hair, and then fetches his wife's relations, who find nothing of what he 
had told them, and load him with reproaches. 

Beatrice seemed to them all to have been strangely spite, 
fui towards her husband ; and every one agreed that Anichino'» 
fright and confusion must have been very great, to be held in 
that manner, whilst she told her husband of his design upon 



NOVEL Vili.] THE SEVENTH DAY. 349 

her. The king seeing that Filomena had done, turned to 
Neifile, who smiled and said, — A great charge at present 
rests upon me, to relate something equal to what has been 
said already ; but I shall endeavour to acquit myself as well 
as I can. 

Know, then, that in our city lived a certain rich merchant, 
named Arriguccio Berlinghieri, who, like many other trades- 
people now-a-dàys, foolishly thought to ennoble himself by 
marriage ; and he took a wife, not at all suitable to himself, 
whose name was Sismonda. She (her husband, like other 
persons of business, being often abroad) fell in love with a 
young gentleman called Ruberto, who had long paid his ad- 
dresses to her, and being not so discreet in that affair as she 
ought to have been, it happened, whether her husband had 
any notion of it, or for what other reason I cannot tell, that 
he became the most jealous creature in the world, and, laying 
aside all his other concerns, he applied his mind wholly to 
watching her; nor would he ever go to sleep without seeing 
her first in bed. This was the greatest torment to her, as it 
deprived her of all opportunity of being with her gallant; 
therefore, after much thinking about it, and being greatly 
importuned by him all the time, it came into her head at last 
to take the following method ; namely, to have her lover come 
to the door in the middle of the night, and go and let him in 
whilst the husband was asleep ; for her chamber was towards 
the street, and she knew that, though her husband was some- 
times slow to fall asleep, yet when he was once fast he was 
not easily roused. And, that she might know when he was 
there, and nobody else perceive it, she resolved to put a 
thread out of the window, one end of which should go near 
to the ground, and the other end was to be brought low along 
the floor, and so under the clothes into the bed, where she 
would tie it to her great toe. Having acquainted Ruberto 
with this, she told him, that, as often as he came, he should 
pull the thread, when, if her husband was asleep, she would 
let it go : but, if he was not asleep, she would hold it fast, 
and then he was not to expect her. Ruberto liked this 
scheme very well; and he was frequently coming thither, 
when sometimes he could have her company, and sometimes 
not. 

At last it happened, whilst she was asleep, as the husband 
was stretching out his feet in the bed, that he met with this 
thread; when putting down his hand and finding it tied to 
her toe, he thought within himself there must be some trick 



350 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOYEL VIIL 

here ; perceiving afterwards that the other end went out of 
the window, he held the fact for certain : accordingly he took 
it off her toe and put it upon his own, waiting to see what the 
event would be. He had not been long waiting, before 
Ruberto came, and pulled the thread as usual : Arriguccio 
felt it, but not having tied the thread fast enough, and the 
other drawing pretty hard, it came off, which Ruberto took 
for a signal that he should stay, and so he did. Arriguccio 
upon this rose with all haste, and taking arms with him, went 
to the door, to see who it was, and to inflict vengeance upon 
him. Now, thoup;h he was a merchant, he was a stout, war- 
like man ; and being come to the door, and not opening it in 
the manner the lady used to do, Ruberto began to have a 
suspicion how it was, and immediately took to his heels, and 
the other after him. At last Ruberto having run a great 
way, the other still pursuing him, he faced about (as he was 
armed likewise) and drew his sword, and to it they fell, the 
one continually thrusting, whilst the other stood upon his 
defence. 

The lady awoke the moment her husband opened the 
chamber-door, and finding the thread gone from her toe, 
concluded she was discovered. Perceiving that her husband 
had run after her lover, she rose, resolving what to do ; and 
calling her maid (who was in the secret) she prevailed upon 
her to go into her bed ; begging of her to receive all the 
blows patiently which her master should give, without mak- 
ing any discovery; and she would make her such a recom- 
pense, that she should have no cause to repent. Putting out 
the light, then, which was in the chamber, she went and hid 
herself in a corner of the house, waiting for the event. The 
fray between Arriguccio and Ruberto had alarmed all the 
neighbours, who rose and began to reprove them very severely: 
on which Arriguccio, without knowing who his antagonist was, 
or being able to do him any harm, left him (for fear of be- 
ing known himself), and returned full of wrath to his own 
house. And coming into the chamber, " Where is this vile 
woman ì " he said, " What ! she has out the candle that I 
should not find her : but she is mistaken." So he went to 
the bed-side, and began to beat and kick the maid (thinking 
it was his wife), till he was quite weary, and what with his 
hands and feet together, had bruised her face to a mummy. 
When he had done that, he cut off her hair, saying all the 
reproachful things that could be spoken to a woman. The 
girl roared lustily (as indeed she had reason) ; and though 



STRJ^TAGEM OF DAME SlSMONDA 
SEVENTH DAY .^ NOVEL VIU 




NOVEL Vili.] THE SEVENTH DAY. 351 

she frequently cried " For God's sake have mercy ! " and 
nothing more, yet her words were so broken with lamenta- 
tion, and he so crazed too with fury, that he never discov- 
ered her not to be his wife. Having beat her then to some 
purpose, and cut off her hair (as we observed) he said, 
" Thou vile prostitute, I shall meddle with thee no farther, 
but will go for thy brothers, to let them know of thy exploits, 
when they may do as they shall think most for their own 
credit, and take thee away with them ; for here thou shalt 
no longer abide:" so he locked her in, and went away by 
himself. 

As soon as Sismonda (who had heard the whole transac- 
tion) perceived he was gone, she came into the chamber and 
struck a light, when she found the girl all bruised and in 
tears. Having comforted her in the best manner she was 
able, she removed her to her own apartment, where she was 
well taken care of : and rewarding her at Arriguccio's ex- 
pense, to her own content, she went immediately and set 
her room to rights. She made the bed over again, as if 
nobody had lain in it that night, lighted up the lamp, 
dressed herself as if she had never been in bed, and then 
taking up her work, sat herself down at the top of the stairs, 
and began to sew. Arriguccio in the mean time went with 
all possible haste to her brother's house, and knocked there 
till he made them hear and open the door. The three 
brothers and the mother all rose, hearing who it was ; and 
seeing him come alone, and at that time of night, they in- 
quired the reason. Thereupon he related the whole affair, 
beginning with the thread, and going on to what he had 
done afterwards, and, at length, by way of conviction, showed 
them the hair, which he had cut off; adding, that in re- 
gard to their own honour they might take her away and 
dispose of her as they pleased, for that he would be no 
longer troubled with her. The brothers were greatly incensed 
at hearing this story, and in their fury ordered torches to 
be got ready, preparing to go back with him, that she might 
not want her due treatment, whilst the mother went heavily 
after, sometimes entreating one, and sometimes another of 
them, not to be too hasty in condemning their sister ; alleg- 
ing, that he might have quarrelled with her upon some other 
account, and now brought this charge by way of excuse ; and 
declaring she could not imagine how it could be, seeing that 
she well knew her daughter, having brought her up herself, 
with more words to that effect 



35* DECAMERON- OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL Vili 

By this time they had reached the house, and were going 
up stairs, when Sismonda called out to them, " Who is there ?" 
One of her brothers replied, " You shall soon know, you vile 
creature as you are ! " — " Lord have mercy on me ! " said she, 
"what is all this for?" And rising up, she went to meet 
them, saying, " Brothers, you are welcome ; but what is the 
meaning of your coming all three at this time of the night ?** 
They, observing that she had been sitting at work, and with- 
out any such bruises or blows as the husband had talked of, 
began to wonder ; and, abating a little of their former wrath, 
they inquired the meaning of this difference with her hus- 
band, threatening her severely if she spoke anything but the 
truth. The lady replied, **I know not what you would have 
me say, nor of any quarrel that I have had with him." Ar- 
riguccio, on beholding her, was quite confounded ; remem- 
bering that he had scratched and beat her in a most outra- 
geous manner, of which no sign now appeared; and her 
brothers then told her what they had heard from him. She 
now turned to him, and said, " Alas ! my dear, what is this 
I hear ? Why would you have me thought to be a wicked 
person, to your great disgrace, when I am not so, and your- 
self an ill-tempered sorry man, when it is quite otherwise ? 
When were you here to-night before now ? Or when did 
you beat me ? For my part, I know nothing of the matter." 
Arriguccio replied, " You abominable wretch ! what, did we 
not go to bed together ? Did I not return hither again after 
pursuing your gallant? Did I not give you a thousand 
blows at the same time that I cut off your hair ? " — " You 
never went to bed in this house to-night," she made answer, 
" but, letting this alone, for which you can have only my 
word, and to come to what you now talk of, namely, your 
beating me, and cutting off my hair, let any one see if I 
have such bruises upon me ; nor should I advise you to at- 
tempt ever to serve me so ; for, as I hope to be saved, I 
would return the like, if you did. And, as to cutting off my 
hair, I never knew anything of it, if it was so ; but let us see 
whether it be as you say, or not." She then pulled her veil 
off, and shewed her hair all entire, and in order. 

The brothers and the mother seeing this, turned fiercely 
upon Arriguccio. "How now, sir!" they said. "Surely 
this can never be the thing that you came to acquaint us 
with; which way will you prove the rest?" Arriguccio was 
like one out of his wits. Gladly would he have said some- 
thing, but seeing the thing appear differently from what he 



NOVEL Vili.] THE SEVENTH DAY. 353 

had undertaken to show them, he could not get out one 
word. She now said to her brothers, " I see he has a mind 
I should relate to you his vile proceedings, and my own un- 
happiness, and I will do it. I believe firmly that what he 
says may be true, and Til tell you which way. This sorr>' 
fellow, to whom you gave me in an ill hour, who calls 
himself a merchant truly, and would be thought such, and 
who therefore should be as temperate as a hermit, and as 
modest as a maid : this man, I say, is drunk most nights in 
one tavern or other; one while with one prostitute, and then 
again with another, whilst I am forced to sit up for him, in 
the manner you iu>w found me, till midnight for the most 
part, and very often till morning. And being very drunk, 
he might find a thread tied to the toe of one of those strum- 
pets, and run after some person or other, and fight him, as he 
says ; and returning back, he might beat her in that manner, 
and cut off her hair : and not being thoroughly sober again, 
he imagines it was done to me ; if you observe, he appears 
now to be half fuddled ; therefore I would have you consider 
him as a person in liquor, and forgive him even as I mean to 
do." 

The mother, at these words, made a great clamour, and 
said, " My dear child, it shall never be; he deserves hanging, 
for an ill-conditioned brute as he is. He is unworthy of such 
a woman as you are. What could he have done more, had 
he catched you in the open street ? Things are come to a 
fine pass truly, if you must be set down by the words of a 
little paltry merchant. This sort of fellows, you must know, 
if they have but little money in their pockets, are all for a 
gentleman's daughter ; when they pretend to some coat-of- 
arms, and say, * I am of such a family, and my ancestors did 
so and so.* Would to heaven my sons had followed my ad- 
vice ! Count Guido would gladly have taken you without a 
penny of fortune ; yet they chose to marry you to this jewel 
here ; and though there is not a better gentlewoman, nor one 
more virtuous in all Florence, yet he was not ashamed to call 
you strumpet, as if we were strangers to your character. But, 
as I hope to live, were they ruled by me, they would beat 
him to a mummy." Turning now to her sons, she said, " I 
told you, as we came along, that it could never be true. You 
hear how this fine brother of yours uses your sister : a poor 
sorry fellow as he is ! were I in your place, hearing what he 
has both said and done towards her, I would never leave 
him with life. Confound him ! for a drunken, quarrelsome 



354 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL IX. 

villain, to have no shame in him ! " The brothers followed 
up this harangue with all the severe things they could think 
of; concluding, at last, with saying, " We forgive you this 
once, as you were drunk, but take care we hear no more such 
stories : if we do, we will pay off all your old scores," and 
so they left hira. Arriguccio stood like one who had lost his 
senses; scarcely knowing whether all this was real, or only a 
dream, and from that time quarrelled no more with his wife; 
whilst she not only escaped from the most imminent danger, 
but opened a way to obtain her desires, without the least fear 
of her husband for the time to come. 

[The Fabliau of * Les Cheveux Coupes ' (Le Grand, ii, 280), is perhaps 
the immediate original of Boccaccio's story ; but the incidents may be 
traced back to the tales of Bidpai, the oldest collection in the world. In 
one part of the fable of the * Dervise and Robbers/ at least as it appears 
in the version of Gallaud, a shoemaker's wife being detected in an intrigue, 
and tied to a pillar, persuades another woman to take her place. The 
husband rises during the night, and cuts off the nose of the substitute. 
After this catastrophe, the wife instantly resumes her position, and ad- 
dresses a prayer to God to manifest her innocence by curing her of the 
wound. The fortieth story of the second part of Malespini is a similar 
tale to that of Bidpai ; it also recurs in the * Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles ;' 
and one or other of these imitations probably suggested the incident in 
Massinger's ' Guardian,' of Severino cutting off Calipso's nose, mistaking 
her in the dark for his wife lolante.] 



NOVEL IX. 

Lydia, the wife of Nicostratus, being in love with Pyrrhus, did three 
things which he had enjoined her, to convince him of her affection. 
She afterwards used some familiarities with him before her husband's 
face, making him believe that what he had seen was not real. 

Neifile's novel had pleased them all to that degree, that 
they could not keep from laughing and talking about it, 
although the king had several times called out silence, in 
order that Pamfilo should speak; who at length began in 
this manner : — There is nothing, I am persuaded, so danger- 
ous and difficult, that a person who is thoroughly in love will 
not attempt ; and this, though it has been shown by various 
instances already given, yet I think will be still more appar- 
ent from a story which I am going to tell you of a lady much 
more fortunate than discreet. Therefore I would advise no 



NOVEL IX.] THE SEVENTH DAY. 355 

one to run the risk of following her course ; because neither 
is fortune always disposed, nor are all men to be blinded, in 
the same manner. 

In Argos, an ancient city of Achaia, more famous formerly 
for its kings than great, lived a certain nobleman called 
Nicostratus, to whom fortune, in the decline of his life, had 
given a young lady for his wife, of as great spirit as she was 
beautiful, named Lydia. Now he, being a lord of large estate, 
kept a great number of slaves, dogs, and hawks, and was very 
fond of country diversions. Amongst his other servants, was 
a genteel young man named Pyrrhus, whom he valued and 
trusted above all the rest. With this person Lydia was so 
much in love, that she could never be happy but in his com- 
pany ; whilst he (whether he did not, or w^ould not, perceive 
her regard for him) seemed not at all affected by it. This 
she laid much to heart, and, resolving to make him under- 
stand her, she called one of her favourite maids, whose name 
was Lusca, and said to her, **^ Lusca, the favours you have 
received from me should make you both obedient and faith- 
ful ; take care, therefore, that you reveal what I am going to 
speak to DO one, save to the person concerned. You see 
what a great disproportion there is between my husband's 
age and mine, and may suppose I can have but little com- 
fort with such a one; for that reason I have made choice of 
our Pyrrhus. If you have any regard for me, then, let him 
know my love for him in the best manner you are able ; and 
entrext him, on my part, that he would please to come hither 
to me." The girl promised to do so ; and on the very first 
opportunity, she took Pyrrhus aside, and delivered her mes- 
sage. This surprised him very much, for he never had the 
least notion of such a thing ; and being apprehensive that it 
might be done to try him, he answered roughly, " Lusca, I 
can never think this comes from my lady ; take care, there- 
fore, what you say : or, if she did say so, you could never 
have her orders to disclose it ; or, even admitting that, still 
1 have that regard for my lord, that I could never offer to 
do him such an injury : I charge you, then, let me hear no 
more about it." Lusca, not at all abashed at his stern way 
of speaking, replied, " Pyrrhus, I shall speak at all times 
what I am ordered by my lady to say, whether it offends you 
or not ; but, as for you, you are no better than a brute." 

She returned full of wrath to her mistress, who was like to 
die on hearing her report. In a few days, she said again, 
" Vou know, Lusca, that one stroke never fells an oak : 



356 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL IX 

then go once more, and tell Pyrrhus that his fidelity is at 
my expense, and represent the passion I have for him in 
such a manner that he may be affected with it ; for if he con- 
tinues so indifferent, it will go near to cost me my life." 
The girl desired her to take courage ; and going again to 
Pyrrhus, and finding him in a good humour, she said, '* I told 
you, a few days since, of the great regard my lady had for 
you ; and I now assure you, that, if you continue in the same 
resolution, she will never survive it : then be persuaded, or I 
shall think you the greatest fool in the world. What an 
honour it will be to have the love of such a lady. Consider 
how greatly you are obliged to fortune : she offers you a 
most beautiful woman, and a refuge from your necessities. 
AVho will be happier than yourself, if you be wise ? Do but 
represent to yourself whatever an ambitious heart can de- 
sire ; all will be yours. Open then your understanding to 
my words, and remember, that fortune is wont to come once 
in our lives to us with cheerful looks, and her lap full of 
favours : if we turn our backs on her at that time, we may 
thank ourselves should we be poor and miserable all the rest 
of our days. You talk of honour and fidelity ; there is 
something indeed in that plea among friends : but, with re- 
gard to slaves, in such a case, they may do just as their 
masters would behave to them. Can you imagine, had you 
a wife, daughter, or sister, that our master fancied, that he 
would stand on such nice terms of duty, and all that, as you 
now do to his wife ? You can never be so foolish, but you 
must believe that, if persuasion was ineffectual, he would 
use force. Let us serve him, therefore, as he would serve us; 
take advantage of fortune's kind offer in your favour; for, 
depend upon it, setting aside the consideration of what may 
happen through your refusal to the lady, if you do not, you 
will repent the longest day you have to live." 

Pyrrhus, who had made several reflections on what she 
had said before to him, and had resolved to make a different 
reply if ever she came again, being now not averse to the 
thing, provided he could be assured she was in earnest, made 
answer, " Lusca, that is all true, I confess ; but yet, as my 
lord is a very wise and provident person, and, as I am in- 
trusted with the management of all his affairs, I am afraid 
that my lady, only does this to try me : three things then 
there are that I require of her for my own conviction, after 
which I will obey all her commands. The first is, that she 
kill my lord's favorite hawk before his face; the second, that 



NOVLL IX.] THE SEVENTH DAY. 357 

she send me a lock of his beard ; and the third, one of his 
soundest and best teeth." These seemed very hard condi- 
tions to the maid, and more so to the mistress ; but love, 
who is a good comforter as well as counsellor, soon made 
her resolve. Accordingly, she sent him word, by the same 
person, that all three should be done. And farther, that, as 
he had such an opinion of his lord's wisdom, she would also 
undertake to make him not believe his own eyes. 

Pyrrhus then waited to see what course she meant to take. 
In a few days, therefore, Nicostratus having made a great 
entertainment, as he used frequently to do, just as the first 
service was taken away, she came into the hall, richly dressed, 
and there, in the presence of Pyrrhus and the whole com- 
pany, went to the perch where this hawk was, and loosed 
him, as if she had a mind to take him upon her hand, when, 
taking him by the jesses, she dashed his brains out against 
the wall. And while Nicostratus was crying out, "Alas! 
my dear, what have you done.?" she took no notice, but 
turned to the company, and said, " I should scarcely revenge 
myself on a king that was to do me an injury, if I wanted 
courage to wreak my vengeance on a paltry hawk. You 
must know, that this bird has deprived me of all the pleas- 
ure I should have from my husband ; for, by break of day 
he is up, and on horseback, after his favourite diversion, 
whilst I am left all alone, and neglected : for which reason, I 
have long taken a resolution to do this thing, and only waited 
for an opportunity to have so many equitable judges pres- 
ent, as I take you to be." The gentlemen, supposing her 
affection to Nicostratus to be as fervent as her words seemed 
to declare, laughed heartily; and, turning to Nicostratus, 
who seemed a good deal disturbed, they said, "She has 
done very well in taking her revenge upon the hawk;" 
and, after a little raillery, they changed his resentment 
into a fit of laughter. Pyrrhus, upon seeing this, said to 
himself, "She has made a noble beginning; heaven grant 
that she may persevere!" 

The hawk being thus despatched, it was not long before 
she happened to be toying with her husband in the cham- 
ber, whilst he, pulling her gently by the hair, gave occasion 
for her to put Pyrrhus's second command in execution : 
so, taking hold of a little lock of his beard^ and laughing 
heartily at the same time, she pulled so hard, that she brought 
the skin and all away together. He grew very peevish at 
this, and was going to quarrel with her; when she said, 



358 DECAMERON OP BOCCACCIO. [nOVEI. IX. 

"You make an angry face, truly, because I plucked a 
hair or two off your beard; you were not sensible what I 
suffered, when you pulled me by the hair just now." So, 
continuing their play from one word to another, she took 
care of the tuft of his beard, and sent it that very day to 
her lover. 

She was more perplexed about the last thing ; but having 
an enterprising genius, which was rendered more so by love, 
she soon resolved on what means to use to bring that about. 
Nicostratus had two youths in his house, given him by their 
fathers, who were gentlemen, in order to learn good breeding, 
one of whom carved his victuals, whilst the other filled out 
the wine. Now she told both the youths one day, that their 
breath was very offensive, and she instructed them, when they 
waited upon Nicostratus, to turn their heads on one side 
always, but never to speak of it to any person. They be- 
lieved what she had told them, and did as they were directed. 
After this she said one day to her husband, " Did you ever 
take notice of your pages' behaviour when they wait upon 
you ? " — " Yes," said he, " I have, and have been often going 
to ask them the reason." — "Then," she replied, "you may 
spare yourself that trouble, for I can tell you. I have kept 
it some time from you, for fear of annoying you ; but as I 
see other people take notice of it, I can conceal it no longer. 
It is then because you have a very foul breath ; I know not 
what the cause may be, for it did not use to be so ; but it is 
a most grievous thing, as you keep a great deal of company : 
therefore, I would have you take some method or other to 
get rid of it." — "What," said Nicostratus, " can it be owing 
to Ì Have I a 'bad tooth in my head ? " " Perhaps you 
have," she replied ; and taking him to the window, she made 
him open his mouth, and after looking carefully in every part, 
she said, " Oh, my dear ! How could you bear with it so long ? 
Here is a tooth which seems not only rotten, but entirely 
consumed, and, if you keep it any longer in your mouth, it 
will certainly decay all the rest on the same side : I advise 
you then to have it out before it goes any farther." — "As 
you think so," quoth he, " send instantly for an operator, to 
draw it out." — "Tell me of no operator," said she; "I will 
never agree to that ; it seems to stand in such a manner, that 
I think I could do it myself : besides, those fellows are so 
very barbarous upon such occasions, that my heart could 
never bear to have you under their hands. Therefore, I will 
try to do it myself; and, if it gives you too much pain, I will 



KOVEL IX.] THE SEVENTH DAY. 359 

let you go again, which those people never will do." Get- 
ting now an instrument for that purpose, and sending every 
one out of the room, excepting her favourite maid, she seated 
him upon a stool, and laying hold of a tooth, whilst the other 
kept him fast down, she put him to most intolerable pain, 
and at length drew it out by main force ; then keeping the 
tooth, and producing a rotten one, which she had ready in 
her hand, she said to the poor man, who was almost dead, 
" See here, what it was you had in your mouth." He be- 
lieving her, and though he had felt the most exquisite tor- 
ture, and complained much of her harsh way of doing it, 
yet now it was out, he thought himself cured ; and having 
taken some good comfortable things, the pain abated, and he 
went out of the chamber. The tooth she immediately sent 
to her lover, who being now convinced of her love, held him- 
self in readiness to obey her commands. 

She had a mind, however, to give him some further assur- 
ance, and though thinking every hour an age till she could 
be with him, she feigned to be very ill ; and her husband 
coming one day after dinner* to see her, and nobody with 
him but Pyrrhus, she desired, that, by way of ease to her 
malady, they would take her into the garden. Accordingly 
Nicostratus took hold of one arm, and Pyrrhus, of the other, 
and leading her thither, laid her on a grass plot, imder a 
pear-tree. Nicostratus then sat down by her, and she, who 
had before instructed Pyrrhus what to do, said to him, " I 
have a great desire to have some of those pears; climb up 
into the tree, and get me a few." Pyrrhus immediately went 
up, and, as he was throwing down some of the pears, he be- 
gan to call out, "Hallo, master! What are you doing.? And 
you, madam, are you not ashamed to suffer it in my pres- 
ence ? Do you think I am blind ? You seem to me to have 
soon recovered from your fit of sickness. If you want to 
do the like, surely you have plenty of fine rooms that might 
serve the turn more decently." The lady turned to her hus- 
band, and said, "What is Pyrrhus talking of? He is in a 
dream, surely." — " No, madam," quoth he, " I am in no 
dream. What ! did you think I could not see you ? " Ni- 
costratus wondered, and said, " Surely, Pyrrhus, you are rav- 
ing." — " No, sir," he replied, " I am very confident I saw 
you so and so together." " What can be the meaning of 
this ? " quoth the lady, " can it be possible that he appeared 
to himself to see what he says? Were I well enough I would 
actually go into the tree myself, to behold the strange things 



360 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL IX 

that he talks of seeing thence." Pyrrhus still continuing in 
the same story, Nicostratus desired him to come down, and 
asked him what it was he really saw ? Pyrrhus replied, " I 
saw you tumbling my lady on the grass, saving your favour; 
and then I saw you get up from her and place yourself where 
you are.*' " The man is out of his wits," quoth Nicostratus; 
" we neither of us so much as stirred from the place where 
we are sitting." — " What is the use of arguing," said Pyrrhus, 
"I tell you I saw it." 

Nicostratus was now more and more surprised, and said, 
" I will see whether this tree be enchanted or not : " and as 
he was mounting up into the tree, Pyrrhus and the lady be- 
came very loving. Nicostratus seeing this, began to roar 
out, " Oh ! thou vile woman ! what art thou doing there ? 
and that rascal Pyrrhus, in whom I put all my confidence !" 
And, with these words, he made all possible haste down, 
when the lady and Pyrrhus both said, " We were sitting here 
all the time just as you left us." — However, he seemed to be 
in a violent passion, whilst Pyrrhus said to him, " Now, sir, 
I am convinced that I saw falsely myself, as yours is the same 
case ; for I can be positive that you were mistaken. Do but 
reason with yourself: can it be supposed that your lady, who 
is the most virtuous and prudent of all her sex, should ever 
attempt to do such a thing before your very face ? And for 
my own part, I would be cut limb from limb before I would 
ever entertain such a thought, much less do so in your pres- 
ence. The fault, then, in this mistaken appearance must 
proceed from the tree; for all the world could never have 
convinced me, but that I saw you and my lady together in 
the same manner, if I had not heard from yourself that we 
appeared so to you." On this, she said, with a good deal of 
warmth, " Do you think, were I so loosely given, that I 
should be such a fool as to do these things before your eyes ? 
No, there are opportunities enough, without your ever being 
the wiser." 

Nicostratus, believing at last what they both had said, came 
into a little better temper, and began to talk of the novelty, 
and wonder at the thing ; whilst the lady, who seemed con- 
cerned for the ill opinion he had received concerning her, 
added, " Most certainly, this tree shall never occasion any 
more scandal either to me or any other womaii, if I can help 
it : run, therefore, Pyrrhus, for an axe, and cut it down, in 
regard to us both ; though the axe might be as well employed 
upon my husband's weak noddle, for believing his own eyes 



NOVEL X.J THE SEVENTH DAY. 36 1 

in a case so repugnant both to common sense and reason." 
The axe was then brought, and the tree cut down; upon 
which she said to Nicostratus, " My wrath is over, now I see 
my honour's adversary thus demolished." And he having 
begged her pardon, she freely forgave him, charging him, for 
the future, never to presume such a thing of her, who loved 
him dearer than her own life. — So the poor deluded husband 
returned with his wife and Pyrrhus into the house, where 
nothing now prevented the latter from accomplishing all 
their wishes. 

[All that relates to the pear-tree in this tale, corresponds precisely with 
the fourth lesson in chapter 12 of the collection known by the name of 

• Bahar Danush, or Garden of Knowledge ' (Scott's translation, vol. ii). 
It is tme that ' Bahar Danush ' was not written till long after the age of 
Bocxaccio, but the author of * Inatulla' professes to have borrowed it from 
the traditions of the Brahmins, from whom it may have been translated 
into the languages of Persia or Arabia, and imported from these regions 
to Europe by some crusader, like other Asiatic romances which have 
served as the groundwork of so many of our storiec And poems. " In- 
deed," says Dunlop, " I have been informed by an eminent oriental 
scholar that the above story of the ' Bahar Danush ' exists in a Hindu 
work, which he believes prior to the age of Boccaccio." The fact of the 
tale in the * Decameron ' which relates to the stratagem by which the lady 
obtains a tooth from her husband, seems to have been mggested by the 

* Conte Devot d'un Roi qui voulut faire bruler le fib de son Seneschal,' or 
the sixty-eighth story of the ' Cento Novelle Antiche,' which is copied from 
the French tale. The incidents concerning the pear-tree form the second 
story in La Fontaine's ' La Gageure des trois Commères.' They have also 
some resemblance to the ' Merchant's Tale,' in Chaucer, and, by conse* 
qnence to Pope's 'Juiuary and May.'] 



NOVEL X. 

Two inhabitants of Siena love the same woman, one of whom was god- 
father to her son. This man dies, and returns, according to his prom- 
ise, to his friend, and gives him an account of what is done m the 
other world. 

There was only the king now left to speak ; who, after 

quieting the ladies, who were under some concern for the 

cutting down of the pear-tree, began as follows: — It is a 

plain case, that every just prince ought himself to be tied 

16 



362 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL X 

down by the laws of his own making; and that if he acts 
otherwise, he should be punished as a private person : now I 
am forced to fall under this very censure ; for, yesterday, I 
gave you a subject for this day's discourse, with no design of 
making use of my privilege, but to conform with the rest and 
speak to it myself. Whereas, besides having the very stor)' 
taken from me which I meant to have given, there has been 
such a variety of incidents told, and well told, to the same 
effect, that I can think of nothing myself worth troubling 
you with, after them. Therefore, as I am under the necessity 
of transgressing against my own law, I submit to any punish- 
ment you shall please to inflict upon me. So, having re- 
course to my privilege at last, I shall relate a short novel ; 
which, though it contains some things which are not to be 
credited, may not be disagreeable for you to hear. 

There were, some time since, two young men of Siena, the 
one named Tingoccio Mini, and the other Meuccio di Tura, 
who dwelt in the Porta Solaia, and were very intimate. They 
used, therefore, to go to church together, when, hearing much 
of the pleasures and pains of a future state, and being de- 
sirous of knowing something more certain on that head, they 
promised each other, that whichever died first should return, 
if it were possible, to inform his friend. In the mean time, 
they happened both to fall in love with the lady of Ambruo- 
gio Anselmini. Great as their friendship was, they kept this 
from each other, though for different reasons. Tingoccio 
had been godfather to one of the lady's children ; and being 
in a measure ashamed of such gallantry, he concealed it 
from his friend. On the other hand, Meuccio kept his love 
a secret, because he knew the other liked her as well as him- 
self. At length Tingoccio, as he had more opportunities 
than his friend, happened to succeed. This was a great 
mortification to Meuccio, who still lived in hopes of gaining 
his point some time or other, and affected, therefore, to know 
nothing of the matter, lest Tingoccio should thwart his 
designs. 

Some time after this, Tingoccio was taken ill, and died : 
and the third night afterwards, he came into Meuccio's 
chamber, when he was fast asleep, and called aloud to him. 
— Meuccio awoke, and said, " What art thou ?" He replied, 
" I am thy friend Tingoccio, who am come, according to our 
agreement, to bring thee tidings of the other world." Meuc- 
cio was a good deal frightened at this, but taking courage at 
last, he said, " Thou art welcome." And then he asked him 



NOVEL X.] THE SEVENTH DAY. 363 

whether he was a lost person? Tingoccio made answer, 
" Those things only are lost which cannot be found ; and if 
that was the case, how should I be here ?" — " I mean not so," 
quoth Meuccio ; " but what I ask is, whether you be one of 
the damned?" — "Not so," said he; "but yet I suffer great 
pains for some sins which I committed." He then inquired 
what punishment was inflicted for every single sin, and Tin- 
goccio resolved him fully in each particular. Meuccio asked 
then if he could do him any service here, and Tingoccio 
answered, " Yes ; namely, by saying prayers and masses, and 
giving alms : for those things are of great benefit to the de- 
ceased." This Meuccio promised to do; and as the ghost 
was offering to depart, he raised himself up, and said, "I 
remember, my friend, that you had an affair with your god- 
son's mother: pray what is done to you upon that account?" 
" O, brother," he replied, "when I first arrived in the other 
world, I met with a ghost who seemed to have all my sins 
by heart, and who ordered me to go into a certain place, 
where I was to do penance for them, and where I found a 
great many people who were sent thither upon the same 
score. And being among them, and calling to mind that 
particular crime you now mention, for which I expected some 
very great punishment, I was all over in a tremble, although 
in Óie midst of a great fire. When one that stood by me 
said, * Pray, what hast thou done more than any one else, 
that thou quakest to this degree in so hot a place ?* — * Alas ! ' 
I replied, *I had to do with my godson's mother.* — *Go, 
thou fool,' said he, * is there any relationship in that, to make 
the crime worse ?* This gave me some comfort." And now, 
it being near daybreak, he said to his friend, " Farewell, for I 
can stay no longer with you ;" and so vanished out of thejroom. 
Thus Meuccio was convinced, that that sort of kindred was 
of no consequence ; and thenceforth he was less scrupulous 
than he used to be in such cases. 

The west wind began now to breathe, as the sun grew near 
his setting; when the king, having concluded his novel, arose, 
and taking the crown from his own head, placed it upon 
Lauretta's, saying, " Madam, I crown you with your own 
crown, as queen of this company ; do you, as such, command 
what you think will be most agreeable to us all." Lauretta, 
being now queen, sent to the master of the household, and 
ordered him to have the cloth laid in the pleasant valley 
sooner than usual, that they might return afterwards with 



$64 DECAMERON OP BOCCACCIO. 

more ease to the palace. Then directing what she would 
farther have done, she turned to the company, and said, " It 
was Dioneo's will, yesterday, that our novels should be con- 
cerning the devices and tricks which women put upon their 
husbands ; and was it not that you would think I had malice 
in my heart, my subject for to-morrow should be the manner 
of men's imposing upon their wives. But, setting this aside, 
let every one think of the stratagems which are daily prac- 
tised by women against the men, or by the men against the 
women ; or, lastly, by one man against another ; and this, I 
think, will afford as agreeable matter for discourse as what 
we have had to-day." Then she gave them their liberty till 
supper-time. The company then arose, and whilst some 
went to wash their feet in the cool stream, others took a walk 
upon the green turf, under the cover of the spreading trees, 
and Dioneo and Fiammetta sat singing together the song of 
Palamon and Arcite. Thus all were agreeably employed 
till supper ; when the tables being set forth by the side of the 
basin, they sat down to the music of a thousand birds, and 
their faces fanned all the time with cool refreshing breezes, 
coming from the little hills around them, they supped with 
the utmost mirth and satisfaction. Taking a walk after- 
wards round the valley, before the sun was quite set, they 
began their march back to the palace, talking all the way of 
a thousand different things, which had either occurred in 
this day's discourse, or the preceding, and arrived there as 
it grew dark. Refreshing themselves, after their walk, with 
wine and sweetmeats, they indulged in a dance by the side 
of the fountain ; sometimes, for variety, to the sound of 
Tindaro's bagpipes, and sometimes to other more musical 
instruments. At length they called upon Filomena for a 
song, who thus obeyed : 

SONG. 

Such my desire to meet my love, 

That I with eager transport fly : 
But why your long unkind delay? 

Tell me, my swain, O tell me why ? 

The joys I from your converse feel 

No pow'r of language can express ; 
Whilst your commanding smiles and voice 

Conspire with mutual aid to bless. 



THE EIGHTH DAY. 3Ó5 

Say, then, my life ! when shall I meet, 

And former vows of love renew ? 
Soon come the time, be long your stay ; 

For all my wishes point to you ; 

I'll hold you fast, when fortune thus 

Auspicious crowns my fond desires ; 
Then naste, fly quick to my embrace ; 

Thai pleasing hope my song inspires. 

This song made them all conclude that Filomena was 
subject to the little god ; and, by her manner of expressing 
herself, her passion seemed to be in a fair and prosperous 
way : but when it was ended, the queen, remembering that 
the next day was a fast, said, " Gentlemen and ladies, I must 
let you know, that to-morrow being Friday, it is to be ob- 
served as holy; for you may remember, that when Neifile 
was queen, we waved our diversions on that day, and so we 
did on Saturday. Therefore I think it proper to follow so 
laudable an example, and to dedicate those two days to our 
devotions." This was agreeable to the whole company ; and 
a good part of the night being now spent, she dismissed 
them, and they retired to their respective chambers. 



THE EIGHTH DAY. 

The rays of the rising sun began now to gild the tops of 
the highest mountains, and the shade of the night was with- 
drawn from the earth, when the queen, and all her com- 
pany arose on Sunday morning ; and, after taking a pleasant 
walk along the meadows, they went about the third hour to 
a neighbouring chapel, where they heard divine service. 
Returning to the house, and dining cheerfully, they after- 
wards began to sing and dance as usual : when leave was 
given to such as wished to repose themselves. After the sun 
had passed the meridian, they all met again by the fountain- 
side; and being seated, Neifile, by the queen's command, 
thus began ; 



366 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL L 



NOVEL I. 

Gulfardo borrows a sufi of money of Guasparruolo, in order to give it his 
wife for granting him a favour ; he afterwards tells Guasparruolo, in 
her presence, that he had paid it to her, which she acknowledges to 
be true. 

Seeing it is my fortune to begin to-day with a novel, I am 
content to obey : and, as we have heard much of the women 
overreaching the men, I have a mind to tell you of a man*s 
being too cunning for a woman : not that I mean to blame 
him for it, or to say that she was not rightly served. No, I 
rather commend him, and think she met with no more than 
her due. I do it also to show that the men know how to 
deceive us on occasion, as well as we do to impose upon 
them : though, to speak more properly, this cannot be called 
deceiving, so much as making a deserved return; for a 
woman ought to be virtuous and chaste, and to hold her 
honour as dear as her life : and though our frailty is such, 
that we cannot always be upon our guard, yet I think that 
woman ought to be burned who makes a trade of love. But 
where the little god takes the field, whose force you know is 
very great, some grains of allowance should be made, as was 
shown a few days since by Filostrato, in the story of Madam 
Philippa di Prato. 

There lived at Milan, a soldier, who was a German, and 
his name was Gulfardo; one of a good person, and very 
trusty to such as retained him in their service, as the Ger- 
mans generally are ; and, because he was always very punc- 
tual in his payments, he found a great many merchants ready 
at any time to lend him any sum, for a very small profit. Now 
he had placed his affections on a lady, called Ambruogia, 
wife to a certain rich merchant, named Guasparruolo, who 
was his old friend and acquaintance. Conducting this affair 
with such caution, that neither the husband nor any one else 
had the least suspicion about it, he took an opportunity one 
day of declaring his mind to her, when she promised to 
comply upon two conditions; first, that it should be kept 
secret ; and, secondly, as she had occasion for two hundred 
florins of gold, that he should supply her with that sum. 
Gulfardo was so provoked at this sordidness, that his love 
was changed into rage and contempt ; and he resolved, there- 
fore, to put a trick upon her. Accordingly, he let her know 
that he was ready at all times to do that or anything else 



NOVEL I.] THE EIGHTH DAY. 367 

which she desired, and that she should send him word when 
she would have him wait upon her with the money, promis- 
ing to bring only one friend, in whom he put entire confi . 
dence, and who was his companion upon all occasions. She 
was content, and gave him to understand that her husband 
was to set out in a few days for Genoa ; and that, as soon as 
he was gone, she would take care to send for him. 

In the mean time, Gulfardo went to Guasparruolo, and 
said, "Sir, I have an affair of consequence upon my hands, 
which requires me to raise two liundred florins of gold ; if 
you will advance that sum, I will allow you the utmost gra- 
tuity." Guasparruolo readily agreed to it, and told him out 
the money. In a few days after he set out for Genoa, as 
foretold by the lady, who immediately sent word for Gul- 
fardo to come, and bring the two hundred florins. Obedient 
to the command, he took his friend along with him, and went 
to her house; when the first thing he did was to give her 
the money before this person, saying, "Madam, you will 
keep this, and give it to your husband when he returns." 
Never guessing why he spoke to her in that manner, but 
supposing it was because he would have his friend know 
nothing of the matter, she replied, " I will do so ; but first 
let me see what money there is." So she turned it out upon 
the table, and found there were just two hundred florins; 
then, locking it up with a secret satisfaction, she came and 
showed him into the chamber. And he continued his visits 
to her during her husband's absence at Genoa. 

On Guasparruolo's return, Gulfardo went again to his 
house, having previously ascertained that his wife was with 
him, and said, in her hearing, "Sir, the money you were so 
kind as to lend me was of no service, because I could not 
compass the thing on account of which I borrowed it : there- 
fore, I brought it back immediately to your wife. Please, 
then, to cancel my account." Guasparruolo turned to her, and 
inquired whether she had received the money ? She, seeing 
the witness present, and not knowing how to deny it, said, 
"Yes, I received it, and forgot to tell you." — "Then," he 
replied, " I am satisfied : farewell, your account is clear." 
Gulfardo withdrew, well pleased, leaving the lady full of 
indignation, defeated and despised. 

[This is Chaucer's * Shipmanne's Tal«« or Story of Don John ;' and 
La Fontaine's 'A Femme avare Galant cscroc/ Gulfardo's stratagem is 
attributed to Captain Philip Stafford, in Johnson's * Lives of Pirates and 



368 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL II- 

Highwaymen.' Indeed, that work is full of tricks recorded by Boccaxxio. 
Gabadino, and Sacchetti ; which shows that it is a mere invention, unless 
fohnson's worthies resorted to the Italian novelists for instruction.] 



NOVEL II. 

The parson of Varlungo receives favours from a woman of his parish, 
and leaves his cloak in pawn. He afterwards borrows a mortar of her, 
which he returns, and demands his cloak, which he says he left only as 
a token. She mutinies, but is forced by her husband to send it. 

They all thought that Gulfardo had served the sordid 
Milanese lady very justly, when the queen turned with a smile 
towards Parafilo, and desired him to follow : — I mean, said 
he, to relate a short story, touching those people who are 
continually doing us injuries, without our being able to come 
at them, in the same manner at least as we are affected ; I 
mean the priests, who set up a general crusade against our 
wives, thinking when once they bring any of them under 
their subjection, that they have done as meritorious an 
action as if they led the sultan captive from Alexandria to 
Avignon. Now we of the laity cannot return the like to 
them, though we should do well to revenge what is so done 
to our wives, with as good a will, upon their mothers, sisters, 
and other relations. I will tell you, therefore, of a country 
amour, more diverting, in the conclusion especially, than 
long, by which you may reap the benefit of learning that 
priests are not to be believed in all things. 

At Varlungo, a village not far from this place, lived a 
young healthful priest, who, though not very expert at read- 
ing, yet was he used to hold forth under an elm-tree every 
Sunday, regaling the people there with many good and holy 
discourses. And as to the women, no priest ever gave them 
better attendance ; for he was daily carrying them presents 
of cake, holy-water, and candle ends, when he would also 
give them his blessing. Amongst all his parishioners, none 
pleased him so well as a good woman, called Belcolore, wife 
to a certain husbandman, whose name was Bentivegna del 
Mazzo : she in truth, was a tight, handsome brunette, and 
could sing, and play upon the virginals, or lead up a dance 
as well as any lass in the country; so that our priest was 
out of his wits about her. All day long would he go 
poking about to get a sight of her, and on Sunday, when she 
was at prayers, he would quaver out his Kyries and his 



NOVEL II.J THE EIGHTH DAY. 3O9 

Sanctuses, like a jackass braying, to let her see that he was 
a master of music ; but if she happened not to be there, he 
made no such stir; and yet he managed so, that neither the 
husband nor any of the neighbours suspected him. The 
better to gain her favour, he was every now and then sending 
her presents : one day a bunch of leeks, the finest in the coun- 
try, out of his own garden, planted by his own hands; an- 
other time a basket of peas, and onions or scali ions, as the 
season served. And, when he saw an opportunity, he would 
give her a look out of the comer of his eye, whilst she would 
generally pass on, making believe that she never noticed his 
ogling; so that, hitherto, it was all labour lost. 

Now one day it happened, as the priest was dawdling 
about, that he met the husband, driving a loaded ass before 
him, when he accosted him, and asked whither he was going.? 
** Why truly, father," he replied, "I am going about some 
business to the city, and I carry these things as a present to 
one Signor Bonaccori da Ginestreto, for him to enter an ap- 
p>earance for me, and to stand my friend in a cause that I 
have before the judge." The priest seemed pleased, and 
said, " Son, you are in the right : go, you have my blessing, 
and make haste home ; and if you should see Lapuccio or 
Naldino, do not forget to tell them to bring home my leathern 
straps." The honest man promised to deliver his message, 
and so went on towards Florence, whilst the priest thought 
this a fit opportunity to go to Belcolore, and try his luck 
with her. Accordingly, he made no stop till he came to 
the house, and stepping in, he called out, " God bless all 
here; who is within.?"- Belcolore was gone up stairs, and 
when she heard him she said, " You are welcome, sir ; but 
what are you doing abroad in the very heat of the day.?" 
The priest replied, " I am come to spend a little time with 
you, finding that your husband has gone into the city." 
She Aen came and sat down, and began to pick some cole- 
seed, which her husband had just been threshing, when he 
said, " Ah, Belcolore ! must I always die for you in this man- 
ner.?" She laughed and replied, " Pray, what have I done 
to you .?" — " Nothing to me ; but you will not let me do what 
I should like to you." — "Oh, go along with you ! do priests 
do such things.?" — "Why not, as well as other people.?" — 
" Well, but what will you give me.? for I know you are all as 
stingy as the devil." — "Why, ask what you will; a pair of 
shoes, or a top-knot, or a girdle, or anything eise that you 
like." — "Father, I want none of these things; but, if you 
16* 



37© DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL II. 

love me as you say, do one thing for me, and I will con- 
sent." — " Say what it is, and be assured that I will do it most 
willingly." — **On Saturday, then," she said, "I must go to 
Florence to carry some yarn home, which I have spun, and 
to get my wheel mended; and if you will lend me five 
pounds, which I know you have, I can redeem from the 
broker my best gown and petticoat, which I have been forced 
to pawn, and for want of which I am not able to appear upon 
any saint's day, and you will then find me always ready to 
oblige you." — ** As I hope for a good harvest," quoth the 
priest, " I have not so much about me, but I will take care 
you shall have it before that time." — " I know you all," she 
replied, " to be good promisers, and that you never think of 
performing what you say. No, I will make no such bargains. 
If you have not the money in your pocket, go and fetch it." 
— "Alas! "quoth the priest, "never send me home at this 
time ; you see there is nobody here now ; perhaps, when I 
return there may ; so that we can never have a better oppor- 
tunity." — "Very well," said she, "you know my resolution, 
either bring the money, or else go about your business." 

The priest perceiving that her intention was not to com- 
ply without a salvum me facy whereas he was for having it 
sine custodia', said, " Well, if you will not take my word, see 
I leave you this cloak as a pledge." — "Your cloak!" she 
said, looking up ; " pray what is it worth ? " — ** Worth !" an- 
swered the priest ; " I would have you to know that it is made 
of a fine serge ; nay, there are some of our people that call 
it a broad cloth ; I bought it fifteen days ago only, of Lotto, 
the fripperer, and it cost me seven pounds ; and Buglietto 
tells me, whom you will allow to be a judge, that I got five 
shillings at least by the bargain." — " Ay ! did it stand you in 
so much?" said she; "I could never have thought it; but 
give it me first." He did so, and when she had locked it 
up, she turned to him, and said, " Let us go into the bam, 
no one ever comes there." So said, so done, and master 
Parson got what he had bargained for. After this he had 
to go home in his cassock, as if he had been celebrating 
a wedding, when he began to repent of what he had done; 
and, considering with himself that all his vails and offer- 
ings for the whole year would not amount to five pounds, 
he fell to contriving how to get his cloak hack for nothing, 
and at last his cunning supplied him with the following 
stratagem. 



NOVEL II.] THE EIGHTH DAY. 371 

The next day being holiday, he sent a boy to Bclcolorc, 
desiring her to lend him her stone mortar, as he had two 
neighbours to dine with him, and he intended to make them 
some green sauce. She sent it, and, about dinner-time, 
when he expected that she and her husband would be seated 
together, he called his clerk, and said, " Go, take this mor- 
tar to Belcolore, and tell her, that your master gives her 
many thanks, and desires she would send the cloak which 
the boy left by way of token." The clerk took the mortar, 
found the husband and wife just finishing their dinner, and 
delivered his message. When he asked for the cloak, she 
was going to make a reply; but the husband put on an 
angry look, and said, " How came you to take any token 
from our priest ? I have a good mind to box your ears for 
doing so. Return it, I say, directly, and let him want what 
he will of ours, I charge you never to say him nay." Upon 
this she went grumbling to the press for the cloak, and giv- 
ing it to the clerk, she said, " Tell your master, the priest, 
that so help me God, he shall mix no more sauce in my 
mortar." The clerk delivered it with those very words, 
upon which the priest laughed, and said, " When you see 
her, you may tell her, if she will not lend me her mortar, 
I will not lend her my pestle, and so we are even." Now 
the husband imagined that she had spoken in that manner, 
because he had just been quarreling with her, for which 
reason he was under no concern about it. But she con- 
tinued so provoked, that she would never speak to the priest 
from that time till the season of the vintage, when, after she 
had long threatened to send him to the devil, he found means 
to pacify her at last, with some new wine and chestnuts, and 
instead of the five pounds, he tuned her virginals for her, 
and made her a song, which so contented her, that they 
became as good friends as ever. 

[This tale was probably suggested to Boccaccio by the first part of the 
Fabliau " Da Pretre et de la Dame/ though the imitation is not nearly so 
dose as in most of the other tales in which our author has followed the 
Trouvers. In the Fabliau, a priest, while on an amatory visit to the wife 
of a burgess, is nearly surprised by the unsuspected coming of the hus- 
band. His mistress has just time to conceal him in a great basket, which 
stood in an adjacent apartment ; but in the hurry he led his cloak behind 
him. He had not long remained in the basket before it occurred to him 
that it might be applied to better purposes than Qonc^lment ; taking it 



372 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL IIL 

in his arms, he returned boldly to the room where the burgess was sit- 
ting with his wife, and requested, as he had now brought back the basket, 
ot which he had the loan, that the cloak which he had left in pawn 
should be restored to him. (Fabliaux par Brabazan et Méon, iv. i8i.^^ 



NOVEL III. 

Calandrino, Bruno, and Buffalmacco go to Mugnone, to look for the 
Heliotrope ; and Calandrino returns laden with stones, supposing that 
he has found it. Upon this his wife scolds him, and he beats her for 
it ; and then tells his companions what they knew better than himself. 

The ladies laughed immoderately at Pamfilo's novel, when 
the queen turned to Eliza, who began in this manner : — I do 
not know whether I shall be able to divert you as much with 
my short novel, though it be true as well as comical ; but yet 
I will try. 

In our city, abounding always with people of different 
tempers and nations, there dwelt, not long since, a painter, 
called Calandrino, a simple sort of man, and a great original. 
He was almost always in company with two of the same pro- 
fession, the one named Bruno, and the other Buffalmacco, 
both facetious and merry persons, but shrewd and wary 
enough; and they liked to be with this man on account of 
his oddities. There lived also in the same city, a young 
man^ called Maso del Saggio, one of the cleverest wags in 
the world, who, hearing much of Calandrino's simplicity, 
longed to divert himself at his expense, by some monstrous 
hoax. Finding him by chance one day in St. John's church, 
and observing him very intent on examining the carved work 
and painting of the Tabernacle, which was just put over the 
high altar, he thought he had now such an opportunity as he 
wanted. Acquainting one of his friends with his intentions, 
they came near to the place where Calandrino was sitting by 
himself, and pretending not to see him, began to converse 
together upon the virtues of different stones, whereof Maso 
discoursed as weightily as though he had been a professed 
lapidary. Calandrino soon began to listen, and finding that 
their conversation was not of a private nature, he got up and 
joined them. This was what they wanted ; and as he was 
going on with his discourse. Calandrino asked him where 
these stones were to be found ? Maso replied, " The great- 
est part are to be met with in Berlinzone, a city of the Baschi, 
in a canton called Bengodi, where they tie the vines with 



NOV£L III.] THE EIGHTH DAY. 373 

sausages, and you may buy a goose for a penny, and have a 
gosling into the bargain. There is also a mountain there of 
grated Parmesan cheese, and people upon it who do nothing 
else but make cheese-cakes and mackaroons, which they boil 
in capon-broth, and keep constantly throwing down, and 
those that can catch most have most : and there is a river 
too of the best Malmsey wine that ever was tasted, without 
one drop of water." — " Surely," says Calandrino, "that must 
be a fine country indeed ! what becomes of the capons after 
they are boiled?"— "O," quoth the other, "the Baschi there 
eat them all." — "And were you ever there?" said Calan- 
drino. " Was I ever there, do you say ? If I have been there 
once, I have been a thousand times." — "And how many 
miles is it off?"—" Many thousands."—" Then," said Calan- 
drino, "it is farther off than the Abruzzi."— "A trifle." 

Calandrino, observing that Maso had told all this without 
changing countenance, or so much as a smile, received it for 
gospel, and said, " It is too long a journey, or else I should 
like to go and scramble for those mackaroons, and help my- 
self to sausages. But tell me, pray, are there none of the 
[)recious stones you were speaking of in those countries?" 
Maso replied, " Two there are, which are found to be of 
great virtue : one of these, which comes from Montisci, they 
make into mill-stones, which will grind flour of themselves ; 
whence they have a saying, That grace comes from God^ and 
mill'Siofus from Montisci, Such plenty there is of them, and yet 
they are as lightly esteemed among us, as emeralds are there, 
of which they have whole mountains, bigger than Monte 
Morello, that shine gloriously all night long. Now, these 
mill-stones they set in rings, and send to the Sultan ; who 
gives them, in return, whatever they ask for them. The 
other stone is what we lapidaries call the Heliotrope, which 
renders invisible those who have it about them." — "That," 
said Calandrino, " is a rare virtue indeed ! But where is 
this stone to be found ?" — " It is usually met with upon our 
plains of Mugnone." — "Of what size and colour is it?" — 
" They are of different sizes, some large, some small," said 
Maso, " but all of a blackish hue." 

Calandrino took care to remember all he had heard, and 
pretending to have other business, he went away with a de- 
sign of going to seek for this stone ; but first he had a mind 
to consult his two dear friends, Bruno and Buffalmacco, and 
he spent all that morning in seeking after them. Hearing 
at last that they were at work in the monastery at Faenza, 



374 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCia [nOYEL IU. 

he ran thither, and calling them aside, he said to them: 
" Comrades, if you will believe me, we have it now in our 
power to be the richest people in all Florence : for I am in- 
formed, by a very credible person, that there is a stone in 
Mugnone, which makes those that carry it about them in- 
visible ; therefore I wish that we should go and look for it 
without delay, before any one else finds it. We shall cer- 
tainly meet with it, for I know it very well ; and when we 
have it, what else have we to do but put it in our pockets, 
and go to the bankers' shops and carry away what money we 
please ? Nobody will see us, and we shall grow rich all at 
once, without having to smear walls all day just as snails do." 
Bruno and Buffalmacco were ready to burst with laughter ; 
affecting, however, to marvel greatly at what they had heard, 
they highly commended their friend's wisdom. Buffalmacco 
then asked him what was the name of that wonderful stone? 
Calandrino, having no great memory, had forgot that ; *' But 
what have we to do with names," he said, '*so long as we 
know the virtues of things ? I think we should go and look 
for it immediately." — "But," quoth Bruno, "what sort of 
stone is it ? " — " They are of all sizes, but generally black ; 
therefore I am of opinion that we should pick up all the 
black stones we see till we meet with the true one : so let us 
lose no time." — "Stay a bit," quoth Bruno; then turning to 
Buffalmacco, "Calandrino speaks very sensibly," said he; 
" but yet I do not think this jbl fit time, for the sun is now 
very hot, and shines with such lustre, that those stones may 
appear white ish at present, which are black of a morning: 
besides, this is a working-day, and many people are now 
abroad, who, seeing us employed in that manner, may guess 
at our business, and perhaps get the stone before us, and we 
lose all our labour. We had better, I think, go about it in 
the morning when we can more clearly distinguish colours : 
and on a holiday, because then no one will see us." Buffal- 
macco was decidedly of the same opinion ; Calandrino ac- 
quiesced ; and so it was agreed that they should all three go 
out on Sunday morning; and, in the mean time, Calandrino 
begged above all things that they would speak of the matter 
to no one, because it had been told him as a secret. At the 
same time he let them know what he had heard of the 
country of Bengodi, swearing that every word was truth. 

As soon as he was gone, they agreed, between themselves, 
what to do. As for Calandrino, he was on thorns till Sunday 
came, when he rose at day-break, and called upon them; 



NOVEL ni.] THE EIGHTH DAY. 375 

and going through St. Gallo 's gate, they went into the plains 
of Mugnone, and began to look for the marvellous stone. 
Now Calandrino stole along before the other two, skipping 
from one place to another, where he saw anything of a black 
stone, and putting them all into his pockets. And whilst his 
companions were picking up here and there one, he had filled 
his pockets, bosom, and coat-skirts, which he had tucked up 
for that purpose with his belt. Seeing him thus laden, and 
it being now dinner-time, one of them said to the other, just 
fis had been previously concerted between them, "Where is 
Calandrino?" — "I do not know, but he was here just now." 
'— " Here or there, I warrant he is gone home to his dinner, 
And has left us here upon a fool's errand." — "We are rightly 
served for being such fools as to believe him. Who but our- 
selves could ever have thought of finding such sort of stones 
here?" Calandrino, hearing what passed between them, 
took it for granted that he had the true stone, and so was in- 
visible : and being overjoyed at his good luck, he resolved 
to go home without speaking a word, leaving them to follow 
if they would. Buffalmacco, perceiving his intent, said to 
Bruno, ** What shall we do ? Why not go home, as he has 
done." Bruno replied, "What should we stay any longer 
for? But I vow to God, Calandrino shall put no more tricks 
upon me. If he was as near me now as he has been all this 
morning, I would give him such a knock on the leg with this 
pebble, that he should have cause to remember it ;" and as 
he was speaking the words, he let fly at him. Calandrino cut 
a caper, and clapped his hands to his leg, but never said a 
word, and got along as fast as he could. Buffalmacco took 
up another stone and said, "And I would touch him up 
on the back with this ;" and so they kept pelting him all the 
way to the gate of St. Gallo, where, throwing down the rest 
of their stones, they let the guards into the secret, who 
humoured the thing, and let Calandrino pass as if they had 
not seen him. So he went on, without stopping, to his own 
house, which was near to the mills ; and fortune was so fav- 
ourable to this joke of theirs, that nobody said a word to him 
all through the city : and indeed he saw but few persops, 
because they were mostly at dinner. 

Coming thus loaded home, he met his wife at the top of 
the stairs ; and she being provoked at his long stay, fell upon 
him in a violent manner, saying, "The devil sure has pos- 
sessed the man, that he will never come home till every- 
body has dined." Hearing this, and being sensible that 



37^ DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. |[kOVEL IIL 

he was now seen, he roared out in wrath and vexation, 
"Oh! thou wicked woman, art thou there? Thou hast 
undone me ; but I will be revenged on thee for it." And, 
throwing down all his stones, he ran violently at her, and 
beat her most unmercifully. In the mean time his two 
friends, after they had laughed a little with the guards at 
the gate, followed him, at a distance, to his house; and 
on coming to the door, heard him beating and abusing his 
wife. Making believe as if they were just come back, they 
called aloud to him, whilst he, all in a heat, and wean*, 
looked out of the window, and desired them to come up : 
this they did, seemingly much out of temper, and seeing 
the stairs covered with stones, and the wife beaten and 
bruised, and crying piteously in one corner of the room, 
and Calandrino in another, all unbuttoned, and panting 
like a man quite spent, they said, "Why, how now, Calan- 
drino! Are you going to build, that you make all this 
preparation ? And you. Madam, how comes it to pass that 
you are so misused.^" But Calandrino, quite fatigued, and 
vexed also for his supposed loss, could not muster breath 
enough to make them any answer. Buffalmacco therefore 
began again, "Calandrino," said he, "if you were angry with 
any other person, you ought not to have made a jest of us, 
as you have done, in leaving us yonder like a couple of fools; 
whnere you carried us to seek for a precious stone, and then 
went away without saying a word: but be assured you shall 
serve us so no more." " My friends," replied Calandrino, 
after much ado, " do not be in a passion ; the case is differ- 
ent from what you imagine. Indeed I found the stone ; and 
observe, I pray, whether it was not so. When you inquired 
after me the first time, I was then close to you ; and as you 
were coming away without seeing me, I then walked before 
you." He then repeated to them everything that they had 
said and done on the way, and showed the bruises on his 
back and legs ; after which he went on to say, " And as I 
was coming through the gate, laden with these stones, the 
guards let me pass unmolested, though you know what a fuss 
they always make, and how they examine everything. Be- 
sides, I met with divers of my friends in the street, who are 
continually teazing me to go in and drink with them, but 
not one of them said a word, because they never saw me. 
At last, when I came home, I met with this devil of a woman 
here, who straightway saw me, because women, you know, 
make everything lose its virtue; and so I, who was on the 



NOV£L IV.]' THE EIGHTH DAY. 377 

point of being the happiest man in Florence, am now the 
most unfortunate ; and it was upon that account that I beat 
her as long as I could lift my hands, and I could tear her to 
pieces for it. A curse upon the hour I first saw her, and 
when she came into this house." During this narration 
Buffalmacco and Bruno seemed to wonder very much, and 
frequently corroborated what Calandrino said, though they 
were fit to die with laughing. But when he was going to 
beat his wife a second time, they interposed, telling him, that 
she was not the person to blame in the case, but himself, for 
he should have given her notice to keep out of the way all 
that day ; and that his disappointment was owing either to 
his ill-fortune, or else it was a judgment upon him for de- 
ceiving his friends ; for after he knew that he had found the 
stone, he ought to have told them of it. At last, with great 
difficulty, they made peace between him and his poor wife, 
and left him still sad and moody, with his house full of 
stones. 

[This story is taken, with little variation, from the Fabliau *Dc Pietre 
et Alison,' of the Trouvcur Guillaume le Normand. (Le Grand, iv, 297,) 
It is also the forty-seventh of the second part of Bandello.] 



NOVEL IV. 

The provost of the church of Fiesole is in love with a lady who has no 
liking to him, and he, thinking that he is in bed with her, is all the 
time with her maid, and her brothers bring the bishop thither to wit- 
ness it. 

Eliza's novel was ended, when the queen, without delay, 
turned to Emilia, who began in this manner : — It will appear 
from our preceding novels, that priests, friars, and the rest 
of the clergy, have contributed their full share to our diver- 
sion: but as so much can hardly be said, but something 
may be added, I shall, therefore, tell you a story of a certain 
provost, who had a mind to make a lady love him, whether 
she would or not, and who was accordingly treated by her 
as he deserved. 

Fiesole, the summit whereof you may descry from this 
place, was once a great and ancient city, and, though now 
in ruins, had always its bishop, and so it has still. Near the 
cathedral, in a little house of her own, a widow lady, named 
Ricarda, resided for the greatest part of the year, with two 



37^ DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOTEL IT. 

of her brothers, both very worthy gentlemen. Now, as she 
went constantly to church, it happened that the provost fell 
so much in love with her, that he was never easy but in her 
company ; and in process of time he had the assurance to 
speak to her, entreating her to regard him with the same 
tender feelings he entertained for her. This provost was 
somewhat ancient, but yet of a juvenile disposition : he was 
so proud also and haughty, and did everything with so ill a 
grace, that he was disagreeable to all the world. The lady, 
in particular, was so far from loving him that she hated him 
worse than the megrims ; wherefore, she very prudently re- 
plied, "Sir, I am much obliged to you for your gracious 
assurance that you love me, but such love as may and ought 
to subsist between us should never have anything disreputa- 
ble in it. You are my spiritual father, a priest also, and in 
years ; all which considerations should inspire you with dif- 
ferent sentiments : on the other hand, I am no girl, being, as 
you see, in my widowhood, and, therefore, more discretion 
will be expected from me ; for which reason I must beg your 
pardon, being resolved neither to love you nor be loved by 
you, in the way you propose." The provost, no way daunted 
by one denial, ceased not his solicitations, as well by letters 
as by word of mouth, every time he saw her at church ; till 
growing weary of his impertinence, she resolved to rid herself 
of him in such a manner as he deserved, since she saw there 
was no other way; but yet she would do nothing without 
first consulting her brothers. Letting them know, therefore, 
the provost's design upon her, and what she meant to do, 
and having free leave from them, she went in a few days to 
church as usual. 

When the provost saw her come in, he v/ent familiarly to 
meet her, and she receiving him with an open countenance, 
walked purposely apart with him, and heaving a deep sigh, 
said, " I have often heard, sir, that there is no fort so strong 
but it may be taken, which I now find to be my own case, 
for you have so beset me with complaisance and love, that I 
have been forced to break my resolution, and am now dis- 
posed to be at your service." He replied, with a great deal 
of joy, " Madam, I hold myself much obliged to you, and, to 
tell you the truth, I have often wondered how you could 
hold out so long, especially as I have never met with any- 
thing like it before. Nay, I have said, that if women were 
made of silver, they would not be worth a farthing, because 
there is none of them would be able to stand the test. But 



NOVEL IV.] THE EIGHTH DAY 379 

tell me, when can we be together?" She replied, "Sweet 
sir, it may be whenever you please, as I have no husband to 
inquire after me at nights ; but I cannot think of a place." — 
"How so? why not in your own house?" — "Sir," she made 
answer, " you know I have two brothers, who have company 
most evenings, and our house is very small, so that it is im- 
possible for you to come there, unless you could submit to 
be like a dumb person, and in the dark also : if you will 
consent to that it may be done, because they never come 
into my chamber ; but yet theirs is so near to mine that the 
least whisper is soon heard." — "Madam," quoth he, "never 
mind it for one or two nights,, till I can think of some more 
convenient place." — " Just as you please, sir , but I beg of 
you that it may be a secret."—" Madam, make no doubt of 
that: but, if possible, let it be this evening." — " With all my 
heart," said she ; and directing him how and when he was to 
come, she left him, and went home. 

Now, the lady had a maid not over young, and the ugliest 
creature that ever was born ; for she had a flat nose, a wry 
mouth, great thick lips, long black teeth, sore eyes, with a 
green and yellow complexion, like a mulatto; besides all 
this, she was both lame and crooked, and her name was 
Ciuta, but, having such a miserable countenance of her own, 
she was called, by way of derision, Ciutazza (/. e. Trull); 
but with all her ugliness she was not without a spice of 
roguish humour. This maid the widow called to her, and 
said, " Ciutazza, if thou wilt do a little job for me, I will give 
thee a new gown." — ** Madam," quoth she, "give it me, and 
I will go through fire and water to serve you." — " I mean," 
said the lady, " to have thee sleep with a man this night in 
my bed; caress him, and make much of him, but be sure not 
to speak a word, for fear my brothers should hear thee in the 
next room ; ^nd in the morning thou shalt have the gown." 
— " To oblige you, Madam," said Ciutazza, " I would sleep 
with half a dozen." And so in the evening the provost came, 
according to agreement, whilst the lady's brothers were in 
their own room, as she had directed, where they took care 
that he should hear them ; and the provost went silently into 
her chamber in the dark, as did also Ciutazza, and to bed 
they went. 

As soon as this was done, the lady told her brothers, and 
left them to do the rest, as they had before resolved. Ac- 
cordingly they went secretly to the piazza, when fortune was 
more favourable to their design than they could have 



380 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL V. 

expected, for they met the bishop coming to their house to pay 
them a visit. They turned back with him, and as it was in 
the summer they showed him into a little court, lit up with 
flambeaux. There, as they sat together over some choice 
wine, one of the young gentlemen said, " My lord, since you 
have so kindly deigned, of your own accord, to visit our little 
dwelling, to which we were going to invite you, we beg you 
would please to see a curiosity which we have ready to show 
you." The bishop consented, and one of them, taking a light, 
led the way, followed by the bishop and all the rest, into the 
chamber where the provost and Ciu tazza were in bed, when 
they found them asleep in each other's arms. The provost 
awoke upon this, ashamed and frightened to death, and hid 
his head under the bed-clothes, whilst the bishop repri- 
manded him severely, and made him put his head out, that 
he might see whom he had got in bed with him. Then in- 
deed, finding how the lady had served him, and being sen- 
sible of the utter shame he had incurred, the provost was the 
most miserable man alive. Having put on his clothes again, 
by the bishop's order, he was sent under guard to his own 
house, to undergo a penance equal to his crime. The bishop 
then desired to know how the aflair had happened, and they 
related every particular, on which he highly conmiended 
both the lady and her brothers, who, rather than imbrue their 
hands in a clergyman's blood, had dealt with him according 
to his merits, in a different manner. He ordered him, there- 
fore, a penance of forty days, but love and disdain made him 
mourn nine days more ; and, for a long time after, he could 
never go along the street, but the boys would point at him, 
and say, "There goes the priest that lay with Ciutazza;" 
which was such a mortification, that he became almost dis- 
tracted. Thus the good and prudent lady freed herself from 
the provost's importunities, and Ciutazza got a new gown and 
a night's diversion. 



NOVEL v. 

Three young sparks play a trick with a judge, yrìaìst he is sitting upon 
the bench hearing causes. 

The lady in Emilia's novel was highly commended for 
what she had done, when the queen looked towards Filos- 
trato, and said, " It is now your turn to speak." He conse^ 



NOVEL v.] THE EIGHTH DAY. 38 1 

quently thus began : — A young gentleman, mentioned some 
time since by Eliza, viz. Maso del Saggio, makes me pass 
over a story which I meant to have told you, in order to re- 
late one of him, and certain of his friends, which, though a 
little unseemly, may make you laugh nevertheless, and so I 
shall venture to report it. 

You must all have heard that we have often had Podestas 
come hither from the marquisate of Ancona, the most paltry 
people imaginable, and so extremely miserable and covetous, 
that they have brought fellows along with them by way of 
judges and notaries, who seem to have been rather taken 
from the plough-tail, or out of a cobbler's shop, than the 
schools of law. Now there was a certain person came once 
as Podestà, and amongst the judges that attended him was 
one Niccola da san Lepidio, whose aspect bespoke him rather 
a tinker than anything else, and who was deputed with the 
rest of the judges to hear criminal causes. And as it hap- 
pens that the people frequently go to those courts who have 
no business, so it chanced that Maso del Saggio was there 
one morning in quest of one of his friends; and coming to 
where this Niccola was sitting, began to eye him with great 
curiosity, as though he were some strange outlandish bird. 
He had a greasy fur cap on, with an ink-horn hanging at his 
girdle, and a gown shorter than his under coat ; but what 
appeared the most comical of all was, that his breeches came 
down to his ankles, and yet they were so scantily made, that 
he could not keep them buttoned, but they were constantly 
open all before. Such a figure as this soon rnade Maso for- 
get what he had come about : and meeting with two of his 
companions, the one named Ribi, and the other Matteuzzo, 
men of as much humour as himself, he said to them, " You 
will oblige me very much if you will go into the court along 
with me, for I can show you the oddest figure perhaps that 
you ever saw :" so he took them to see the judge and his 
breeches. 

As soon as they had come into the court, they fell a laugh- 
ing, and upon a near approach they observed that it would 
be very easy to get under the platform on which the judge 
was seated, and that the boards were so broken that a man 
might put his hand and arm up through them. Seeing this, 
Maso said to his companions, " Let us pull his breeches 
down entirely, for it may easily be done." They saw at 
once which way he meant, and, having agreed about it, they 
came thither again the next morning; and the court being 



382 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL V. 

crowded with people, Matteuzzo crept privately under the 
bench where the judge was sitting. Then Maso went on 
one side, and took hold of his gown, whilst Ribi did the 
same on the other side, and began to cry out, " My lord, for 
heaven's sake, before that thief there by your side goes away, 
will you order him to restore me a pair of shoes which he 
has stolen from me, and now denies it, though I saw him in 
the fact, and it is not a month since he had them new soled ?" 
Ribi, on the other side, bawled aloud, " My lord, do not be- 
lieve him, for he is a most intolerable villain ; and because 
I came to demand a wallet that he had stolen from me, he 
has now trumped up this story of his shoes. If you will not 
believe me, I can bring Trecca, my neighbour, and Grassa, 
the woman that sells tripes, and the person that sweeps St. 
Mary's church, who saw him as he came out of the country." 
But Maso made such a clamour on the other side, that he 
would not let Ribi be heard, and Ribi roared against Maso 
with all his might. The judge standing up to hear what 
each had to say, Matteuzzo took that opportunity to put his 
hand up between the boards, and laid hold of his breeches, 
which came down immediately, as the judge happened to be 
lean and thin about the crupper ; whilst he, perceiving what 
had happened, and not knowing the reason, would have 
pulled his gown before him to conceal it, and endeavoured 
to sit down again : but Maso held him up on one side, and 
Ribi on the other, crying out, ** My lord, you do me great 
injustice not to attend to what I say, and to turn your back 
upon me, without giving me the hearing ;" (for there were 
no indictments in writing for such trivial cases.) And they 
kept him fast between them in that manner, till all the peo- 
ple in the court saw that he had his breeches about his heels. 
In the mean time Matteuzzo had stolen away undiscovered ; 
and Ribi, thinking that he had now done enough, said, " I 
will appeal elsewhere for justice, I vow to Heaven ; " and 
Maso let go on the other part also, saying, " Some time or 
other I shall find you more at leisure than you have been 
this morning." Thus they parted different ways, and got 
out of court as fast as they could. 

The judge, pulling up his breeches before the people, and 
being now sensible of the trick that had been put upon him, 
began to inquire where those two men were gone, that had 
been complaining to him about their shoes and their wallet ; 
and hearing nothing of them, he swore that he would soon 
know whether it was a custom at Florence to pull a judge '$ 



NOVEL VI.] THE EIGHTH DAY. 383 

breeches down as he sat on the bench. The Podestà also 
was in a great rage about it, till being told by some of his 
friends that this was done only to let him see that the peo- 
ple all took notice, that, instead of bringing judges, he had 
brought some paltry scoundrels among them, to make a 
better trade of it, he thought it best to hold his tongue. Con- 
sequently nothing more was said about it at that time. 



NOVEL VI. 

Brano and Buffalmacco steal a pig from Calandrino, and make a charm 
to find out the thief, with pills made of ginger and some sack ; giving 
him, at the same time, pills made of aloes : thereby they make it ap- 
pear that he had furtively sold the pig, and they make him pay hand- 
somely, for fear they should tell his wife. 

After Filostrato's novel, which had made them all very 
merry, the queen turned to Filomena, who began thus : — As 
Filostrato was led to the last story by the mention of the 
name of Maso, in like manner has the novel concerning Cal- 
andrino and his two. companions brought to my mind another 
relating to the same two persons, which will, I think, afford 
you pleasure. Who these people were, it would be needless 
to say, because you had enough of that before. Therefore I 
shall begin by telling you that Calandrino had a little farm 
not far from Florence, which came to him by right of his 
wife ; and amongst his other goods there, he used to have 
a pig fatted every year, and some time about December he 
and his wife went always to kill and salt it for the use of 
the family. Now it happened once, she being unwell at the 
time, that he went thither by himself to kill this pig; which 
Bruno and Buffalmacco hearing, and, knowing she was not 
to be there, they went to spend a few days with a great friend 
of theirs, a priest in Calandrino's neighbourhood. Now the 
pig had been killed the very day they came thither, and 
Calandrino seeing them along with the priest, called to them, 
and said, "Welcome, kindly; I would gladly have you see 
what a good manager I am." Then, taking them into the 
house, he showed them this pig. They saw that it was fat, 
and were told by him that it was to be salted for his family. 
" Salted, booby ! " said Bruno. " Sell it, let us make merry 
with the money, and tell your wife that it was stolen." — 
" No," said Calandrino, " she will never believe it ; and be- 
sides, she would go near to turn me out of doors. Trouble 



384 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL VL 

me then no further about any such thing, for I will never do 
it." They said a great deal more to him, but all to no pur- 
pose ; at length he invited them to supper, but did it in such 
a manner that they refused. After they had come away 
from him, said Bruno to Buffalmacco, "Suppose we steal this 
pig from him to-night." — "How is it possible?" — "O, I 
know well enough how to do it, if he does not remove it in 
the mean time from the place where we just now saw it." — 
" Then let us do it, and afterwards we and the parson will 
make merry over it." The priest assured them that he 
should like it of all things. "We must use a little art," 
quoth Bruno: "you know how covetous he is, and how 
freely he drinks always when it is at another's cost. Let us 
get him then to the tavern, where the parson shall make a 
pretence of treating us all, out of compliment to him; he 
will soon get drunk, and then the thing will be easy enough, 
as there is nobody in the house but himself." This was 
done, and Calandrino, finding that the parson was to pay, 
took his glasses off pretty freely, and getting his dose, walked 
home betimes, left the door open, thinking that it was shut, 
and so went to bed. Buffalmacco and Bruno went from the 
tavern to sup with the priest, and as soon as supper was over, 
they took proper materials with them to get into the house; 
but finding the door open, they carried off the pig to the 
priest's, and went to bed likewise. In the morning, as soon 
as Calandrino had slept off his wine, he rose, came down 
stairs, and finding the door open, and his pig gone, began to 
inquire of everybody if they knew anything of the matter, 
and receiving no tidings of it, he made a terrible outer)', 
saying, " What shall I do now ? somebody has stolen my 
pig." Bruno and Buffalmacco were no sooner out of 
bed, than they went to his house to hear what he would say ; 
and the moment he saw them, he roared out, " O, my friends, 
my pig is stolen ! " Upon this Bruno whispered him, and 
said, " Well, I am glad to see you wise for once in your life." 
— "Alas! "quoth he, "it is too true."— " Keep still in the 
same story," said Bruno, " and make noise enough for every 
one to believe you." Calandrino now began to bawl louder, 
" Indeed ! I vow and swear to you that it is stolen." — " That's 
right ; be sure you let everybody hear you, that it may ap- 
pear so." — "Do you think that I would forswear myself 
about it ? May I be* hanged this moment if it is not so ! " 
— "How is it possible .^" quoth Bruno; "I saw it but last 
night; never imagine that I can believe it." — "It is so, how- 



NOVEL VI.] THE EIGHTH DAY. 385 

ever," answered he, "and I am undone: I know not how to 
go home again, for my wife will never believe me, and I shall 
have no peace this twelvemonth." — "It is a most unhappy 
thing," said Bruno, " if it be true ; but you know I put it 
into your head to say so last night, and you should not make 
sport both with your wife and us at the same time." At this 
he began to roar out afresh, saying " Good God ! you make 
me mad to hear you talk ; I tell you once for all that it was 
stolen this very night." — " Nay, if it be so," quoth Buffal- 
macco, " we must think of some way to get it back again." — 
** And what way must we take," said he, " to find it ?' — " De- 
pend upon it," replied the other, " that nobody came from 
the Indies to steal it; it must be somewhere in your neigh- 
bourhood, and if you could get the people together, I could 
make a charm with some bread and cheese, that would soon 
discover the thief." — " True," said Bruno, " but they would 
know in that case what you were about : and the person that 
has it would never come near you." — " How must we man- 
age then ?" said Buffalmacco. " Oh! " replied Bruno, " you 
shall see me do it with some pills of ginger, and a little wine, 
which I will ask them to come and drink. They will have 
no suspicion what our design is, and we can make a charm 
of these, as well as of the bread and cheese." — " Very right," 
quoth the other. "Well, what do you say, Calandrino? 
Have you a mind we should try it ?" — " For Heaven's sake 
do," he said, " were I only to know who the thief is, I should 
be half comforted."—" Well, then," quoth Bruno, " I. am 
ready to go to Florence for the things, if you will only give 
me some money." He happened to have a few shillings in 
his pocket, which he gave him, and off went Bruno. 

When he got to Florence, Bruno went to a friend's house, 
and bought a pound of ginger made into pills. He also got 
two pills made of aloes, which had a private mark that he 
should not mistake them, being candied over with sugar like 
the rest. Then having bought a jar of good wine, he re- 
turned to Calandrino, and said, "To-morrow you must take 
care to invite every one that you have the least suspicion of; 
it is a holiday, and they will be glad to come. We will com- 
plete the charm to-night, and bring the things to your house 
in the morning, and then I will take care to do and say 
on your behalf what is necessary upon such an occasion." 
Calandrino did as he was told, and in the morning he had 
nearly all the people in the parish assembled under an elm- 
tree in the churchyard. His two friends produced the pills 
17 



386 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL VI. 

and wine, and making the people stand round in a circle, 
Bruno said to them, " Gentlemen, it is fit that I should tell 
you the reason of your being summoned here in this manner, 
to the end, if anything should happen which you do not like, 
that I be not blamed for it. You must know, then, that 
Calandrino had a pig stolen last night, and, as some of the 
company here must have taken it, he, that he may find out 
the thief, would have every man take and eat one of these 
pills, and drink a glass of wine after it ; and whoever the 
guilty person is, you will find he will not be able to get a bit 
of it down, but it will taste so bitter that he will be forced 
to spit it out : so that, to prevent such open shame, he had 
better, whoever he is, make a secret confession to the priest, 
and I will proceed no farther." 

All present declared their readiness to eat, so placing 
them all in order, he gave every man his pill, and coming to 
Calandrino, he gave one of the aloe pills to him, which he 
straightway put into his mouth, and no sooner did he begin 
to chew it, than he was forced to spit it out. Every one was 
now attentive to see who spit his pill out, and whilst Bruno 
kept going round, apparently taking no notice of Calandrino, 
he heard somebody say behind him, " Hey-day ! what is the 
meaning of its disagreeing so with Calandrino ? " Bruno 
now turned suddenly about, and seeing that Calandrino had 
spit out his pill, he said, " Stay a little, honest friends, and 
be not too hasty in judging ; it may be something else that 
has made him spit, and therefore he shall try another." So 
he gave him the other aloe pill, and then went on to the rest 
that were unserved. But if the first was bitter to him, this 
he thought much more so : however, he endeavoured to get 
it down as well as he could, but it was impossible ; it made 
the tears run down his cheeks, and he was forced to spit it 
out at last, as he had done the other. In the meantime 
Buffalmacco was going about with the wine ; but when he 
and all of them saw what Calandrino had done, they began 
to bawl out that he had robbed himself; and some of them 
abused him roundly. 

After they were all gone, Buffalmacco said, "I always 
thought that you yourself were the thief, and that you 
were willing to make us believe the pig was stolen, in 
order to keep your money in your pocket, lest we should 
expect a treat upon the occasion." Calandrino, who had 
still the taste of the aloes in his mouth, fell a swearing 
that he knew nothing of the matter. "Honour bright, 



NOVEL VII.] THE EIGHTH DAY. 387 

now, comrade," said Buffalmacco, **what did you get for 
it ?" This made him quite desperate. Then Bruno struck 
in : "I was just now told," said he, "by one of the com- 
pany, that you have a mistress in this neighbourhood to 
whom you are very kind, and that he is confident you 
have given it to her. You know you once took us to the 
plains of Mugnone, to look for some black stones, when 
you left us in the lurch, and pretended you had found 
them ; and now you think to swear, and make us believe, 
that your pig is stolen, when .you have either given it 
away or sold it. You have put so many tricks upon us, 
that we intend to be fooled no more by you. Therefore, as 
we have had a deal of trouble in the affair, you shall make 
us amends, by giving us two couple of fowls, unless you 
mean that we should tell your wife." Calandrino now per- 
ceiving that he was not to be believed, and being unwilling 
to have them add to his troubles, by bringing his wife upon 
his back, was forced to give them the fowls, which they took 
to Florence along with the pork, leaving him there to brood 
over his losses and his ignominious discomfiture. 



NOVEL VII. 

A certain scholar is in love with a widow lady named Helena, who, being 
enamoured of another person, makes the former wait a whole night for 
her during the midst of winter, in the snow. In return, he afterwards 
contrives that she shall stand naked on the top of a tower, in the 
middle of July, exposed to the sun and all manner of insects. 

The company could not help laughing at Calandrino's 
simplicity, though they thought it too hard for him to lose 
both the fowls and the pig. The story being ended, tlie 
queen ordered Pampinea to begin, which she did in this 
manner: — It often happens that the mockery which a man 
intends for another, falls upon his own head, and therefore it 
is no mark of a person's good sense to take delight in such 
practices. In our former novels, we have made ourselves 
very merry with divers tricks that have been put upon people, 
where no revenge has been taken ; but I design to move your 
compassion for a just return which a certain lady of our 
city met with, whose jest recoiled upon herself, and to the 
hazard of her life, being mocked in the same manner ; the 
hearing of which may be of great service to you, as it will 



388 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL VIL 

be a caution not to do the like ; and you will be wise if you 
attend to it. 

There lived, not long since, at Florence, a handsome young 
lady, of a good family, as well as plentiful fortune, named 
Helena, who, being left a widow, had chosen to continue so, 
having found a young gentleman who was quite to her mind, 
and with whom, by the assistance of her favourite maid, she 
carried on a very satisfactory intrigue. In the mean time, a 
young gentleman of our city, whose name was Rinieri, re- 
turned from Paris, where be had long studied, not for the 
sake of retailing his learning by the inch, as many do, but 
only to know the nature of things, and their causes, as be- 
comes a gentleman. He was much respected in Florence, 
on account both of his rank and learning, and lived there as 
became a worthy citizen. But, as it often happens that per- 
sons of the most sense and scholarship are the soonest caught 
in the snares of love, so it fell out with our Rinieri. For, 
being at a feast one day, he met with this lady, clothed in her 
weeds, when she seemed to him so full of beauty and sweet- 
ness, that he never saw any one to compare to her ; and happy 
he thought the man whom fortune should bless with her as 
his wife. And casting his eye towards her once and again, 
and being sensible that great and valuable things are not to 
be attained without trouble, he resolved to make it his whole 
care to please her, and to gain her affection if it were 
possible. The lady, who did not always look upon the 
ground, but thought full as well of herself as she deserved, 
throwing her eyes artfully about her, was soon sensible if 
any one beheld her with pleasure ; so she immediately took 
notice of Rinieri, and said, smiling to herself, " I think I am 
not come out to-day in vain, for I seem to have caught a 
gudgeon." And she would give him now and then a glance 
from a comer of her eye, to let him see she was pleased with 
him, thinking that the more admirers she had, of the greater 
value would her charms be to that person on whom she had 
bestowed them. 

Our scholar now began to lay all his philosophy aside, and 
turned his thoughts entirely to the lovely widow ; and learn- 
ing where she lived he was continually passing that way, 
under one pretence or other, thinking thereby to please 
her; whilst the lady, for the reason before given, seemed 
gratified by his devotion. By and by he found means of 
talking to the maid, desiring her interest and intercession with 
her mistress, so that he might obtain her favour. The maid 



NOVEL VII.] THE EIGHTH DAY. 389 

promised to do her utmost, and forthwith spoke to her lady, 
who turned Rinieri and his love into extreme derision. 
"Observe now," she said, "this man is come here to lose the 
little sense that he went to fetch 'from Paris, and he shall 
have what he looks for. Go, then, and tell him that my love 
is equally great for him, but that I must have regard to my 
honour; which, if he is as wise as he would be thought, he 
will like me the better for." Alas! poor woman, she knew 
not what it was to try her wit against a scholar ! The maid 
delivered her message, upon which the scholar, being over- 
joyed, began to press the thing more closely, and to write 
letters, and send presents, which were all received, though 
he had no answer in return but what was general ; and in 
this manner he was long kept in suspense. 

At last the widow related the whole affair to her lover, and 
he being a little uneasy and jealous about it, to convince him 
that his suspicion was ill-grounded, and being much solicited 
by the scholar, she sent her maid to tell Rinieri, that she had 
yet had no opportunity to oblige him, since she had made a 
discovery to him of her love, but that the next day, being 
Christmas day, she hoped to receive him ; bidding him come 
that evening into her court-yard, and she would meet him 
there as soon as it was convenient. The scholar, overjoyed 
at this, failed not to come at the time appointed, when he 
was put into the court-yard by the maid, and locked up there 
to wait. Meanwhile the lady had invited her lover to be 
with her that very night ; and after they had supped agreea- 
bly together, she let him know what she meant to do, adding, 
" And now you may see how great my regard is for you, as 
well as for him of whom you have been so foolishly jealous." 
The lover listened eagerly to this, being desirous of seeing 
some proof of that for which he had only her word. A 
great snow had fallen the day before, and everything was 
covered with it, which made our scholar feel colder than he 
could have wished ; however, he bore it with great patience, 
expecting soon to have amends made him. — After a little 
while the lady said to her lover, " Let us go into the cham- 
ber, and see out of the window what this man is doing, of 
whom you were jealous, and what answers he will make to 
the maid, whom I have sent to talk with him." So they 
went up stairs, and looking out, without being seen, they 
heard the girl saying to him, " Sir, my lady is exceedingly 
uneasy, for one of her brothers has happened to come to 
see her this evening, and they have had a great deal to talk 



390 DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. [nOVEL VII. 

together, and he would needs sup with her, nor is he yet 
gone away; but I believe he will not stay long, and for that 
reason she has not been able to come to you, but will make 
what haste she can ; and she hopes you will not take it ill, 
that you are forced to wait thus." The scholar supposing 
it to be really so, replied, " Pray, tell your mistress to have 
no care for me, till she can conveniently be with me, bu