The Decameron, by Giovanni Boccaccio

The Ninth Day

The Induction to the Ninth Day

Whereon, under the government of Madame Aimilia, the argument of each severall descourse, is not limitted To any one peculiar subject: But every one remaineth at liberty, to speak of whatsoever themselves best pleaseth

Faire Aurora, from whose bright and chearefull lookes, the duskie darke night flyeth as an utter enemy, had already reached so high as the eight Heaven, converting it all into an Azure colour, and the pretty Flowrets beganne to spred open their Leaves: when Madame Aemillia, beeing risen, caused all her female attendants, and the yong Gentlemen likewise, to be summoned for. their personall appearance. Who being all come, the Queen leading the way, and they following her Majesticke pace, walked into a little Wood, not farre off distant from the Palace.

Where the Queen, looking on Madam Philomena, gave her the honor of beginning the first Novell for that day: whereto shee dutifully condiscending, began as followeth.

The Ninth Day, the First Novell

Approving, that chaste and honest women, ought rather to deny importunate suiters, by subtile and Ingenious meanes, then fall of scandall and slander

Madame Francesca, a Widdow of Pistoya, being affected by two Florentine Gentlemen, the one named Rinuccio Palermini, and the other Alessandro Chiarmontesi, and she bearing no good will to eyther of them; ingeniously freed her selfe from both their importunate suites. One of them she caused to lye as dead in a grave, and the other to fetch him from thence: so neither of them accomplishing what they were enjoyned, fayled of obtaining his hoped expectation.

Madame, it can no way discontent mee (seeing it is your most gracious pleasure) that I should have the honour, to breake the first staffe of freedome in this faire company (according to the injunction of your Majesty) for liberty of our own best liking arguments: wherein I dismay not (if I can speake well enough) but to please you all as well, as any other that is to follow me. Nor am I so oblivious (worthy Ladies) but full well I remember, that many times hath bene related in our passed demonstrations, how mighty and variable the powers of love are: and yet I cannot be perswaded, that they have all bene so sufficiently spoken of, but something may bee further added, and the bottome of them never dived into, although we should sit arguing a whole yeare together. And because it hath beene alreadie approved, that Lovers have bene led into divers accidents, not onely inevitable dangers of death, but also have entred into the verie houses of the dead, thence to convey their amorous friends: I purpose to acquaint you with a Novell, beside them which have bene discoursed; whereby you may not onely comprehend the power of Love, but also the wisedome used by an honest Gentlewoman, to rid her selfe of two importunate suiters, who loved her against her owne liking, yet neither of them knowing the others affection.

In the City of Pistoya, there dwelt sometime a beautifull Gentlewoman, being a Widdow, whom two of our Florentines (the one named Rinuccio Palermini, and the other Alessandro Chiarmontesi, having withdrawne themselves to Pistoya) desperately affected, the one ignorant of the others intention, but each carrying his case closely, as hoping to be possessed of her. This Gentlewoman, named Madame Francesca de Lazzari, being often solicited by their messages, and troublesomely pestered with their importunities: at last (lesse advisedly then she intended) shee granted admittance to heare either of them speake. Which she repenting, and coveting to be rid of them both, a matter not easie to be done: she wittily devised the onely meanes, namely, to move such a motion to them, as neither would willingly undertake, yet within the compasse of possibility; but they failing in the performance, shee might have the more honest occasion, to bee free from all further mollestation by them, and her politike intention was thus projected.

On the same day, when she devised this peece of service, a man was buried in Pistoya, and in the Church-yard belonging unto the gray Friars, who being descended of good and worthie parentage: yet himselfe was very infamous, and reputed to be the vilest man living, not onely there in Pistoya, but throughout the whole World beside. Moreover, while he lived, he had such a strange mishapen body, and his face so ugly deformed, that such as knew him not, would stand gastly affrighted at the first sight of him. In regarde whereof, shee considered with her selfe, that the foule deformitie of this loathed fellow, would greatly avayle in her determination, and consulting with her Chamber-maid, thus she spake.

Thou knowest (my most true and faithfull servant) what trouble and affliction of minde I suffer dayly, by the messages and Letters of the two Florentines, Rinuccio and Alessandro, how hatefull their importunity is to me, as being utterly unwilling to hear them speake, or yeeld to any thing which they desire. Wherefore, to free my selfe from them both together, I have devised (in regard of their great and liberall offers) to make trial of them in such a matter, as I am assured they will never performe.

It is not unknowne to thee, that in the Church-yard of the Gray Friars, and this instant morning, Scannadio (for so was the ugly fellow named) was buried; of whom, when he was living, as also now being dead, both men, women, and children, doe yet stand in feare, so gastly and dreadfull alwayes was his personall appearance to them.

Wherefore, first of all go thou to Alessandro, and say to him thus. My Mistris Francesca hath sent me to you, to tell you, that now the time is come, wherein you may deserve to enjoy her love, and gaine the possession of her person, if you will accomplish such a motion as she maketh to you. For some especiall occasion, wherewith hereafter you shall bee better acquainted, a neere Kinsman of hers, must needs have the body of Scannadio (who was buried this morning) brought to her house. And she, being as much affraid of him now he is dead, as when he was living, by no meanes would have his body brought thither.

In which respect, as a Token of your unfeigned love to her, and the latest service you shall ever do for her: shee earnestly entreateth you, that this night, in the very deadest time thereof, you would go to the grave, where Scannadio lyeth yet uncovered with earth untill to morrow, and attyring your selfe in his garments, even as if you were the man himselfe, so to remaine there untill her kinsman doe come.

Then, without speaking any one word, let him take you foorth of the grave, and bring you thence (insted of Scannadio) to hir house: where she will give you gentle welcome, and disappoint her Kinsman in his hope, by making you Lord of her, and all that is hers, as afterward shall plainly appeare. If he say he wit do it, it is as much as I desire: but if hee trifle and make deniall, then boldly tell him, that he must refraine all places wheresoever I am, and forbeare to send me any more Letters, or messages.

Having done so, then repaire to Rinuccio Palermini, and say. My Mistresse Francesca is ready to make acceptance of your love; provided, that you will do one thing for her sake. Namely, this ensuing night, in the midst and stillest season thereof, to go to the grave where Scannadio was this morning buried, and (without making any noise) or speaking one word, whatsoever you shall heare or see: to take him forth of the grave, and bring him home to her house, wher you shal know the reason of this strange businesse, and enjoy her freely as your owne for ever. But if he refuse to do it, then I commaund him, never hereafter to see me, or move further suite unto mee, by any meanes whatsoever.

The Chamber-maide went to them both, and delivered the severall messages from her Mistresse, according as she had given her in charge; whereunto each of them answered, that they woulde (for her sake) not onely descend into a Grave, but also into hell, if it were her pleasure.

She returning with this answer unto her Mistresse, Francesca remained in expectation, what the issue of these fond attemptes in them, would sort unto. When night was come, and the middle houre thereof already past, Alessandro Chiarmontesi, having put off all other garments to his doublet and hose; departed secretly from his lodging, walking towards the Church-yard, where Scannadio lay in his grave: but by the way as he went, hee became surprized with divers dreadfull conceites and imaginations, and questioned with himselfe thus.

What a beast am I? What a businesse have I undertaken? And whither am I going? What do I know, but that the Kinsman unto this Woman, perhappes understanding mine affection to her, and crediting some such matter, as is nothing so: hath laide this politicke traine for me, that he may murther me in the grave? Which (if it should so happen) my life is lost, and yet the occasion never knowne whereby it was done. Or what know I, whether some secret enemy of mine (affecting her in like manner, as I do) have devised this stratagem (out of malice) against mee, to draw my life in danger, and further his owne good Fortune? Then, contrary motions, overswaying these suspitions, he questioned his thoughts in another nature.

Let me (quoth he) admit the case, that none of these surmises are intended, but her Kinsman (by and in this manner devised) must bring me into her house: I am not therefore perswaded, that he or they do covet, to have the body of Scannadio, either to carry it thither, or present it to her, but rather do aime at some other end. May not I conjecture, that my close murthering is purposed, and this way acted, as on him that (in his life time) had offended them? The Maid hath straitly charged me, that whatsoever is said or done unto me, I am not to speake a word. What if they pul out mine eies, teare out my teeth, cut off my hands, or do me any other mischiefe: Where am I then? Shall all these extremities barre me of speaking? On the other side, if I speake, then I shall be knowne, and so much the sooner (perhaps) be abused. But admit that I sustaine no injurie at all, as being guilty of no transgression: yet (perchance) I shall not be carried to her house, but to some other baser place, and afterward she shall reprove me, that I did not accomplish what shee commanded, and so all my labour is utterly lost.

Perplexed with these various contradicting opinions, he was willing divers times to turne home backe againe: yet such was the violence of his love, and the power thereof prevailing against all sinister arguments; as he went to the grave, and removing the boordes covering it, whereinto he entred; and having despoiled Scannadio of his garments, cloathed himselfe with them, and so laid him down, having first covered the grave againe. Not long had hee tarryed there, but he began to bethinke him, what manner of man Scannadio was, and what strange reports had bene noised of him, not onely for ransacking dead mens graves in the night season, but many other abhominable Villanies committed by him, which so fearfully assaulted him; that his haire stoode on end, every member of him quaked, and every minute he imagined Scannadio rising, with intent to strangle him in the grave. But his fervent affection overcoming all these idle feares, and lying stone still, as if he had beene the dead man indeede; he remained to see the end of his hope.

On the contrary side, after midnight was past, Rinuccio Palermini departed from his lodging, to do what hee was enjoyned by his hearts Mistresse, and as hee went along, divers considerations also ran in his minde, concerning occasions possible to happen. As, falling into the hands of Justice, with the body of Scannadio upon his backe, and being condemned for sacriledge, in robbing graves of the dead; either to be burned, or otherwise so punished, as might make him hatefull to his best friends, and meerely a shame to himselfe.

Many other the like conceits mollested him, sufficient to alter his determination: but affection was much more prevayling in him, and made him use this consultation. How now Rinuccio? Wilt dare to deny the first request, being mooved to thee by a Gentlewoman, whom thou dearly lovest, and is the onely meanes, whereby to gaine assurance of her gracious favour? Undoubtedly, were I sure to die in the attempt, yet I will accomplish my promise. And so he went on with courage to the grave.

Alessandro hearing his arrivall, and also the removall of the bords, although he was exceedingly affraid; yet he lay quietly stil, and stirred not, and Rinuccio beeing in the grave, tooke Alessandro by the feete, haling him forth, and (mounting him uppon his backe) went on thus loden, towards the house of Madam Francesca. As he passed along the streets, unseene or unmet by any, Alessandro suffered many shrewd rushings and punches, by turnings at the streets corners, and jolting against bulkes, poasts, and stalles, which Rinuccio could not avoyd, in regard the night was so wonderfully darke, as hee could not see which way he went.

Being come somewhat neere to the Gentlewomans house, and she standing readie in the Window with her Maide, to see when Rinuccio should arrive there with Alessandro, provided also of an apt excuse, to send them thence like a couple of Coxcombes; it fortuned, that the Watchmen, attending there in the same streete, for the apprehension of a banished man, stolne into the City contrarie to order; hearing the trampling of Rinuccioes feete, directed their course as they heard the noise, having their Lanthorne and light closely covered, to see who it should be, and what he intended, and beating their weapons against the ground, demanded, Who goes there? Rinuccio knowing their voyces, and that now was no time for any long deliberation: let fall Alessandro, and ran away as fast as his legs could carry him.

Alessandro being risen againe (although he was cloathed in Scannadioes Garments, which were long and too bigge for him) fledde away also as Rinuccio did. All which Madame Francesca easily discerned by helpe of the Watchmens Lanthorne, and how Rinuccio carried Alessandro on his backe, beeing attired in the Garments of Scannadio: whereat she mervailed not a litle, as also the great boldnesse of them both. But in the midst of her mervailing, she laughed very heartily, when she saw the one let the other fall, and both to runne away so manfully. Which accident pleasing her beyond all comparison, and applauding her good Fortune, to bee so happily delivered from their daily mollestation: she betooke her selfe to hir Chamber with the Maide, avouching solemnly to her, that (questionlesse) they both affected her dearely, having undertaken such a straunge imposition, and verie neere brought it to a finall conclusion.

Rinuccio, being sadly discontented, and curssing his hard fortune, would not yet returne home to his Lodging: but, when the watch was gone forth of that streete, came backe to the place where he let fall Alessandro, purposing to accomplish the rest of his enterprize. But not finding the body, and remaining fully perswaded, that the Watchmen were possessed thereof; hee went away, greeving extreamly. And Alessandro, not knowing now what should become of him: confounded with the like griefe and sorrow, that all his hope was thus utterly overthrowne, retired thence unto his owne house, not knowing who was the Porter which carried him.

The next morning, the grave of Scannadio being found open, and the body not in it, because Alessandro had thrown it into a deep ditch neere adjoyning: all the people of Pistoya were possessed with sundry opinions, some of the more foolish sort verily beleeving, that the divell had caried away the dead body. Neverthelesse, each of the Lovers severally made knowne to Madam Francesca, what he had done, and how disappointed, either excusing himselfe, that though her command had not bin fully accomplished, yet to continue her favour towards him. But she, like a wise and discreet Gentlewoman, seeming not to credit either the one or other: discharged her selfe honestly of them both, with a cutting answere, That shee would never (afterward) expect any other service from them, because they had fayled in their first injunction.

The Ninth Day, the Second Novell

Whereby is declared, that whosoever is desirous to reprehend sinne in other men, should first examine Himselfe, that he be not guiltie of the same crime

Madame Usimbalda, Lady Abbesse of a Monastery of Nuns in Lombardie, arising hastily in the night time without a Candle, to take one of her Daughter Nunnes in bed with a yong Gentleman, whereof she was enviously accused, by certaine of her other Sisters: The Abbesse her selfe (being at the same time in bed with a Priest) imagining to have put on her head her plaited vayle, put on the Priests breeches. Which when the poore Nunne perceyved; by causing the Abbesse to see her owne error, she got her selfe to be absolved, and had the freer liberty afterward, to be more familiar with her frend, then formerly she had bin.

By this time, Madame Philomena sate silent, and the wit of Francesca, in freeing her selfe from them whom she could not fancie, was generally commended: as also on the contrary, the bold presumption of the two amorous suiters, was reputed not to be love, but meerely folly. And then the Queene, with a gracious admonition, gave way for Madam Eliza to follow next; who presently thus began.

Worthy Ladies, Madame Francesca delivered her selfe discreetly from trouble, as already hath bin related: but a yong Nun, by the helpe and favour of Fortune, did also free her selfe (in speaking advisedly) from an inconvenience sodainly falling on her. And as you well know, there wants none of them, who (like bold Bayards) will be very forward in checking other mens misdemeanors, when themselves, as my Novell will approve, deserve more justly to bee corrected. As hapned to a Lady Abbesse, under whose governement the same young Nunne was, of whom I am now to speake.

You are then to understand (Gracious Auditors) that in Lombardie there was a goodly Monastery, very famous for Holinesse and Religion, where, among other sanctified Sisters, there was a yong Gentlewoman, endued with very singular beautie, being named Isabella, who on a day, when a Kinsman of hers came to see her at the grate, became enamored of a young Gentleman, being then in his company.

He likewise, beholding her to be so admirably beautifull, and conceyving by the pretty glances of her eye, that they appeared to bee silent intelligencers of the hearts meaning, grew also as affectionately inclined towards her, and this mutuall love continued thus concealed a long while, but not without great affliction unto them both. In the end, either of them being circumspect and provident enough, the Gentleman contrived a meanes, whereby he might secretly visite his Nunne, wherewith she seemed no way discontented: and this visitation was not for once or twice, but verie often, and closely concealed to themselves.

At length it came to passe, that either through their owne indiscreete carriage, or jelous suspition in some others: it was espied by one of the Sisters, both the Gentlemans comming and departing, yet unknowne to him or Isabella. The saide Sister, disclosing the same to two or three more: they agreed together, to reveale it to the Lady Abbesse, who was named Madame Usimbalda, a holy and devout Lady, in common opinion of all the Nunnes, and whosoever else knew her.

They further concluded (because Isabella should not deny theyr accusation) to contrive the businesse so cunningly: that the Ladle Abbesse should come her selfe in person, and take the yong Gentleman in bed with the Nun. And uppon this determination, they agreed to watch nightly by turnes, because by no meanes they wold be prevented: so to surprise poore Isabella, who beeing ignorant of their treachery, suspected nothing. Presuming thus still on this secret felicitie, and fearing no disaster to befall her: it chaunced (on a night) that the yong Gentleman being entred into the Nuns Dorter, the Scowts had descried him, and intended to be revenged on her.

After some part of the night was overpast, they divided themselves into two bands, one to guard Isabellaes Dorter doore, the other to carry newes to the Abbesse, and knocking at her Closet doore, saide. Rise quickely Madame, and use all the hast you may, for we have seene a man enter our Sister Isabellaes Dorter, and you may take her in bed with him. The Lady Abbesse, who (the very same night) had the company of a lusty Priest in bed with her selfe, as oftentimes before she had, and he being alwayes brought thither in a Chest: hearing these tidings, and fearing also, lest the Nunnes hastie knocking at her doore, might cause it to fly open, and so (by their entrance) have her owne shame discovered: arose very hastily, and thinking she had put on her plaited vaile, which alwayes she walked with in the night season, and used to tearme her Psalter; she put the Priests breeches upon her head, and so went away in all hast with them, supposing them verily to be her Psalter: but making fast the Closet doore with her keye, because the Priest should not be discovered.

Away shee went in all haste with the Sisters, who were so forward in the detection of poore Isabella, as they never regarded what manner of vaile the Lady Abbesse wore on her head. And being come to the Dorter doore, quickly they lifted it off from the hookes, and being entred, found the two Lovers sweetly imbracing: but yet so amazed at this sudden surprisall, as they durst not stirre, nor speake one word. The young Nunne Isabella, was raised forthwith by the other Sisters, and according as the Abbesse had comanded, was brought by them into the Chapter-house: the yong Gentleman remaining still in the Chamber, where he put on his garments, awaiting to see the issue of this businesse, and verily intending to act severe revenge on his betrayers, if any harme were done to Isabella, and afterward to take her thence away with him, as meaning to make her amends by marriage.

The Abbesse being seated in the Chapter house, and all the other Nunnes then called before her, who minded nothing else but the poore offending Sister: she began to give her very harsh and vile speeches, as never any transgressor suffered the like, and as to her who had (if it should be openly knowne abroad) contaminated by her lewde life and actions, the sanctity and good renowne of the whole Monastery, and threatned her with very severe chastisement. Poore Isabella, confounded with feare and shame, as being no way able to excuse her fault, knew not what answer to make, but standing silent, made her case compassionable to all the rest, even those hard-hearted Sisters which betrayed her.

And the Abbesse still continuing her harsh speeches, it fortuned, that Isabella raising her head, which before she dejected into hir bosome, espied the breeches on her head, with the stockings hanging on either side of her; the sight whereof did so much encourage her, that boldly she said. Madam, let a poore offender advise you for to mend your veile, and afterward say to me what you will.

The Abbesse being very angry; and not understanding what she meant, frowningly answered. Why how now saucy companion? What vaile are you prating of? Are you so malapert, to bee chatting already? Is the deed you have done, to be answered in such immodest manner? Isabella not a jot danted by her sterne behaviour, once againe said. Good Madam let me perswade you to sette your vaile right, and then chide me as long as you will. At these words, all the rest of the Nunnes exalted their lookes, to behold what vaile the Abbesse wore on her head, wherewith Isabella should finde such fault, and she her selfe lift up her hand to feele it: and then they all perceyved plainly, the reason of Isabellas speeches, and the Abbesse saw her owne error.

Hereupon, when the rest observed, that she had no help to cloud this palpable shame withall, the tide began to turne, and hir tongue found another manner of Language, then her former fury to poore Isabella, growing to this conclusion, that it is impossible to resist against the temptations of the flesh. And therefore she saide: Let all of you take occasion, according as it offereth it selfe, as both we and our predecessors have done: to be provident for your selves, take time while you may, having this sentence alwaies in remembrance, Si non caste, tamen caute.

So, having granted the yong Nunne Isabella free absolution: the Lady Abbesse returned backe againe to bed to the Priest, and Isabella to the Gentleman. As for the other Sisters, who (as yet) were without the benefit of friends; they intended to provide themselves so soone as they could, being enduced thereto by so good example.

The Ninth Day, the Third Novell

Discovering the simplicity of some silly witted men, and how easie a matter it is to abuse and beguile Them

Master Simon the Physitian, by the perswasions of Bruno, Buffalmaco, and a third Companion, named Nello, made Calandrino to beleeve, that he was conceived great with childe. And having Physicke ministred to him for the disease: they got both good fatte Capons and money of him, and so cured him, without any other man of deliverance.

After that Madame Eliza had concluded her Novell, and every one of the company given thankes to Fortune, for delivering poore Isabella the faire young Nunne, from the bitter reprehensions of the as faulty Abbesse, as also the malice of her envious Sisters; the Queene gave command unto Philostratus, that he should be the next in order, and hee (without expecting anie other warning) began in this manner.

Faire Ladies, the paltry Judge of the Marquisate, whereof yesterday I made relation to you; hindred mee then of another Novell, concerning silly Calandrino, wherewith I purpose now to acquaint you. And because whatsoever hath already bin spoken of him, tended to no other end but matter of meriment, hee and his companions duly considered; the Novel which I shal now report, keepeth within the selfesame compasse, and aimeth also at your contentment, according to the scope of imposed variety.

You have already heard what manner of man Calandrino was, and likewise the rest of his pleasant Companions, who likewise are now againe to be remembred, because they are actors in our present discourse. It came so to passe, that an Aunt of Calandrinoes dying, left him a legacy of two hundred Florines, wherewith he purposed to purchase some small Farme-house in the countrey, or else to enlarge the other, whereof he was possessed already. And, as if bee were to disburse some ten thousand Florines, there was not a Broker in all Florence, but understood what he intended to doe: and all the worst was, that the strings of his purse could stretch no higher. Bruno, and Buffalmaco (his auncient Confederates) who heard of this good Fortune befalne him, advised him in such manner as they were wont to do; allowing it much better for him, to make merrie with the money in good cheare among them, then to lay it out in paltry Land, whereto he would not by any meanes listen, but ridde himselfe of them with a dinners cost, as loath to bee at anie further charge with them.

These merry Laddes meant not to leave him so; but sitting one day in serious consultation, and a third man in their companie, named Nello; they all three layde their braines in steep, by what means to wash their mouths well, and Calandrino to bee at the cost thereof.

And having resolved what was to bee done, they met togither the next morning, even as Calandrino was comming foorth of his house, and sundering themselves, to avoyd all suspition, yet beeing not farre distant each from other; Nello first met him, and saide unto him, Good Morrow Calandrino: which he requited backe agayne with the same salutation. But then Nello standing still, looked him stedfastly in the face: whereat Calandrino mervailing, sayd. Nello.

Why dost thou behold me so advisedly? Whereunto Nello answered, saying Hast thou felt any paine this last night past? Thou lookest nothing so well, as thou didst yesterday. Calandrino began instantly to wax doubtfull, and replyed thus. Dost thou see any alteration in my face, whereby to imagine, I should feele some paine? In good faith Calandrino (quoth Nello) me thinks thy countenance is strangely changed, and surely it proceedeth from some great cause, and so he departed away from him.

Calandrino being very mistrustfull, scratched his head, yet felte he no grievance at all; and going still on; Buffalmaco sodainely encountred him, upon his departure from Nello, and after salutations passing betweene them; in a manner of admiration, demanded what he ayled?

Truly (quoth Calandrino) well enough to mine owne thinking, yet notwithstanding, I met with Nello but even now; and he told me, that my countenance was very much altred; Is it possible that I should bee sicke, and feele no paine or distaste in any part of me? Buffalmaco answered; I am not so skilfull in judgement, as to argue on the Nature of distemper in the body: but sure I am, that thou hast some daungerous inward impediment, because thou lookst (almost) like a man more then halfe dead.

Calandrino began presently to shake, as if hee had had a Feaver hanging on him, and then came Bruno looking fearefully on him, and before he would utter any words, seemed greatly to bemoane him, saying at length. Calandrino? Art thou the same man, or no? How wonderfuly art thou changed since last I saw thee, which is no longer then yester day? I pray thee tell mee, How dooest thou feele thy health?

Calandrino hearing, that they all agreed in one opinion of him; he beganne verily to perswade himselfe, that some sodaine sicknes, had seised upon him, which they could discerne, although hee felt no anguish at all: and therefore, like a man much perplexed in minde, demanded of them, What he should do? Beleeve me Calandrino (answered Bruno) if I were worthy to give thee counsell, thou shouldst returne home presently to thy house, and lay thee downe in thy warme Bedde, covered with so many cloathes as thou canst well endure. Then to Morrow morning, send thy Water unto Learned Mayster Doctor the Physitian, who (as thou knowest) is a man of most singular skill and experience: he will instruct thee presently what is the best course to be taken, and we that have ever beene thy loving friends, will not faile thee in any thing that lieth in our power.

By this time, Nello being come againe unto them, they all returned home with Calandrino unto his owne house, whereinto he entering very faintly, hee saide to his Wife: Woman, make my Bed presently ready, for I feele my selfe to be growne extreamely sicke, and see that thou layest cloathes enow upon me. Being thus laide in his Bedde, they left him for that night, and returned to visite him againe the verie next morning, by which time, he had made a reservation of his Water, and sent it by a young Damosell unto Maister Doctor, who dwelt then in the olde market place, at the signe of the Muske Mellone. Then saide Bruno unto his Companions; Abide you heere to keepe him company, and I will walke along to the Physitian, to understand what he will say: and if neede be, I can procure him to come hither with me. Calandrino very kindely accepted his offer, saying withall. Well Bruno, thou shewst thy selfe a friend in the time of necessity, I pray thee know of him, how the case stands with me, for I feele a very strange alteration within mee, far beyond all compasse of my conceite.

Bruno being gone to the Physitian, he made such expedition, that he arrived there before the Damosell, who carried the Water, and informed Master Simon with the whole tricke intended: wherefore, when the Damosell was come, and hee had passed his judgement concerning the water, he said to her.

Maide, go home againe, and tell Calandrino, that he must keep himselfe very warme: and I my selfe will instantly be with him, to enstruct him further in the quality of his sicknesse.

The Damosell delivered her message accordingly, and it was not long before Mayster Doctor Simon came, with Bruno also in his company, and sitting downe on the beds side by Calandrino, hee began to taste his pulse, and within a small while after, his Wife being come into the Chamber, he said. Observe me well Calandrino, for I speake to thee in the nature of a true friend; thou hast no other disease, but only thou art great with child.

So soone as Calandrino heard these words, in dispairing manner he beganne to rage, and cry out aloud, saying to his wife Ah thou wicked woman, this is long of thee, and thou hast done me this mischeefe for alwayes thou wilt be upon me, ever railing at mee, and fighting, untill thou hast gotten me under thee. Say thou divellish creature, do I not tell thee true? The Woman, being of verie honest and civill conversation, hearing her husband speake so foolishly: blushing with shame, and hanging downe her head in bashfull manner; without returning any answer, went forth of her Chamber.

Calandrino continuing still in his angry humour, wringing his hands, and beating them upon his breast, said: Wretched man that I am, What shall I do? How shal I be delivered of this child? Which way can it come from me into the world? I plainly perceyve, that I am none other then a dead man, and all through the wickednesse of my Wife: heaven plague her with as many mischiefes, as I am desirous to finde ease. Were I now in as good health, as heere-tofore I have beene, I would rise out of my bed, and never cease beating her, untill I had broken her in a thousand peeces. But if Fortune will be so favourable to me, as to helpe mee out of this dangerous agony: hang me, if ever she get me under her againe, or make me such an Asse, in having the mastery over mee, as diuers times she hath done.

Bruno, Buffalmaco and Nello, hearing these raving speeches of Calandrino, were swolne so bigge with laughter, as if their ribbes would have burst in sunder; neverthelesse, they abstained so well as they were able; but Doctor Simon gaped so wide with laughing as one might easily have pluckt out all his teeth. In the end, because he could tarry there no longer, but was preparing to depart: Calandrino thanked him for his paines, requesting that hee would be carefull of him, in aiding him with his best advise and counsell, and he would not be unmindfull of him. Honest neighbour Calandrino, answered the Phisition, I would not have you to torment your selfe, in such an impatient and tempestuous manner, because I perceive the time so to hasten on, as we shall soone perceive (and that within very few dayes space) your health well restored, and without the sense of much paine; but indeed it wil cost expences. Alas Sir, said Calandrino, mak not any spare of my purse, to procure that I may have safe deliverance. I have two hundred Florines, lately falne to me by the death of mine Aunt, wherewith I intended to purchase a Farme in the Countrey: take them all if need be, onely reserving some few for my lying in Childbed. And then Master Doctor, Alas, I know not how to behave my selfe, for I have heard the grievous complaint of women in that case, oppressed with bitter pangs and throwes; as questionlesse they will bee my death, except you have the greater care of me.

Be of good cheere neighbour Calandrino, replyed Doctor Simon, I will provide an excellent distilled drinke for you, marveilously pleasing in taste, and of soveraigne vertue, which will resolve all in three mornings, making you as whole and as sound as a Fish newly spawned. But you must have an especiall care afterward, being providently wise, least you fall into the like follies againe. Concerning the preparation of this precious drinke, halfe a dozen of Capons, the very fairest and fattest, I must make use of in the distillation: what other things shall bee imployed beside, you may deliver forty Florines to one of these your honest friends, to see all the necessaries bought and sent me home to my house. Concerning my businesse, make you no doubt thereof, for I will have all distilled against to morrow, and then doe you drinke a great Glasse full every morning, fresh and fasting next your heart. Calandrino was highly pleased with his words, returning master Doctor infinite thankes, and referring all to his disposing. And having given forty Florines to Bruno, with other money beside, to buy the halfe dozen of Capons: he thought himselfe greatly beholding to them all, and protested to requite their kindenesse.

Master Doctor being gone home to his house, made ready a bottel of very excellent Hypocrasse, which he sent the next day according to his promise: and Bruno having bought the Capons, with other junkets, fit for the turne, the Phisitian and his merry Companions, fed on them hartely for the givers sake. As for Calandrino, he liked his dyet drinke excellently well, quaffing a large Glassefull off three mornings together: afterward Master Doctor and the rest came to see him, and having felt his pulse, the Phisition said. Calandrino, thou art now as sound in health, as any man in all Florence can be: thou needest not to keepe within doores any longer, but walke abroad boldly, for all is well and the childe gone.

Calandrino arose like a joyfull man, and walked daily through the streets, in the performance of such affaires as belonged to him: and every acquaintance he met withall, he told the condition of his sudden sickenesse; and what a rare cure Master Doctor Simon had wrought on him, delivering him (in three dayes space) of a childe, and without the feeling of any paine. Bruno, Buffalmaco, and Nello, were not a little jocond, for meeting so well with covetous Calandrino: but how the Wife liked the folly of her Husband, I leave to the judgement of all good Women.

The Ninth Day, the Fourth Novell

Serving as an admonition to all men, for taking gamesters and drunkards into their service

Francesco Fortarigo, played away all that he had at Buonconvento, and likewise the money of Francesco Aniolliero, being his Master. Then running after him in his shirt, and avouching that hee had robbed him: he caused him to be taken by Pezants of the Country, clothed himselfe in his Masters wearing garments, and (mounted on his horse) rode thence to Sienna, leaving Aniolliero in his shirt, and walked barefooted.

The ridiculous words given by Calandrino to his Wife, all the whole company hartily laughed at: but a Philostratus ceassing, Madame Neiphila (as it pleased the Queene to appoint) began to speake thus. Vertuous Ladies, if it were not more hard and uneasie for men, to make good their understanding and vertue, then apparant publication of their disgrace and folly; many would not labour in vaine, to curbe in their idle speeches with a bridle, as you have manifestly observed by the weake wit of Calandrino. Who needed no such fantastick circumstance, to cure the strange disease, which he imagined (by sottish perswasions) to have: had hee not been so lavish of his tongue, and accused his Wife of overmastering him. Which maketh me remember a Novell, quite contrary to this last related, namely, how one man may strive to surmount another in malice; yet he to sustaine the greater harme, that had (at the first) the most advantage of his enemy, as I will presently declare unto you.

There dwelt in Sienna, and not many yeeres since, two young men of equall age, both of them bearing the name of Francesco: but the one was descended of the Aniollieri, and the other likewise of the Fortarigi; so that they were commonly called Aniolliero, and Fortarigo, both Gentlemen, and well derived. Now, although in many other matters, their complexions did differ very much: Yet notwithstanding, they varied not in one bad qualitie, namely too great neglect of their Fathers, which caused their more frequent conversation, as very familiar and respective friends. But Aniolliero (being a very goodly and faire conditioned young Gentleman) apparently perceiving, that he could not maintaine himselfe at Sienna, in such estate as he liked, and upon the pension allowed him by his Father, hearing also, that at the Marquisate of Ancona, there lived the Popes Legate, a worthy Cardinall, his much indeared good Lord and friend: he intended to goe visite him, as hoping to advance his fortunes by him.

Having acquainted his Father with this determination, he concluded with him, to have that from him in a moment which might supply his wants because he would be clothed gallantly, and mounted honourably. And seeking for a servant necessary to attend on him, it chanced that Fortarigo hearing thereof, came presently to Aniolliero, intreating him in the best manner he could, to let him waite on him as his serving man, promising both dutiful and diligent attendance: yet not to deaund any other wages, but onely payment of his ordinary expences. Aniolliero made him answere, that he durst not give him entertainment, not in regard of his insufficiency, and unaptnesse for service: but because he was a great Gamester, and divers times would be beastly drunke? whereto Fortarigo replyed that hee would refraine from both those foule vices, and addict all his endeavor wholly to please him, without just taxation of any grosse errour; making such solemne vowes and protestations beside, as conquered Aniolliero, and won his consent.

Being entred upon his journey, and arriving in a morning at Buonconvento, there Aniolliero determined to dine, and afterward, finding the heate to be unfit for travaile; he caused a bed to be prepared, wherein being laid to rest by the helpe of Fortarigo, he gave him charge, that after the heates violence was overpast, hee should not faile to call and awake him. While Aniolliero slept thus in his bed, Fortarigo, never remembring his solemne vowes and promises: went to the Taverne, where having drunke indifferently, and finding company fit for the purpose, he fell to play at the dice with them. In a very short while, he had not onely lost his money, but all the cloathes on his backe likewise, and coveting to recover his losses againe; naked in his shirt, he went to Aniollieroes Chamber, where finding him yet soundly sleeping, he tooke all the money he had in his purse, and then returned backe to play, speeding in the same manner as hee did before, not having one poore penny left him.

Aniolliero chancing to awake, arose and made him ready, without any servant to helpe him; then calling for Fortarigo, and not hearing any tydings of him: he began immediately to imagine, that he was become drunke, and so had falne asleepe in one place or other, as very often he was wont to doe. Wherefore, determining so to leave him, he caused the male and Saddle to be set on his horse, and so to furnish himselfe with a more honest servant at Corsignano.

But when hee came to pay his hoste, hee found not any penny left him: whereupon (as well he might) he grew greatly offended, and raised much trouble in the house, charged the hoasts people to have robde him, and threatening to have them sent as prisoners to Sienna. Suddenly entred Fortarigo in his shirt, with intent to have stolne Aniollieroes garments, as formerly hee did the money out of his purse, and seeing him ready to mount on horsebacke, hee saide.

How now Aniolliero? What shall we goe away so soone? I pray you Sir tarry a little while, for an honest man is comming hither, who hath my Doublet engaged for eight and thirty shillings; and I am sure that he will restore it me back for five and thirty, if I could presently pay him downe the money.

During the speeches, an other entred among them, who assured Aniolliero, that Fortarigo was the Thiefe which robde him of his money, shewing him also how much hee had lost at the Dice: Wherewith Aniolliero being much mooved, very angerly reprooved Fortarigo, and, but for feare of the Law, would have offered him outrage, thretning to have him hangd by the neck, or else condemned to the Gallies belonging to Florence, and so mounted on his horse. Fortarigo making shew to the standers by, as if Aniolliero menaced some other body, and not him, said. Come Aniolliero, I pray thee let us leave this frivilous prating, for (indeede) it is not worth a Button, and minde a matter of more importance: my Doublet will bee had againe for five and thirty shillings, if the money may bee tendered downe at this very instant, whereas if we deferre it till to morrow, perhaps hee will then have the whole eight and thirty which he lent me, and he doth me this pleasure, because I am ready (at another time) to affoord him the like courtesie; why then should we loose three shillings, when they may so easily be saved.

Aniolliero hearing him speake in such confused manner, and perceiving also, that they which stood gazing by, beleeved (as by their lookes appeared) that Fortarigo had not played away his Masters mony at the Dice, but rather that he had some stocke of Fortarigoes in his custody; angerly answered; Thou sawcy companion, what have I to doe with thy Doublet? I would thou wert hangd, not only for playing away my money, but also by delaying thus my journey, and yet boldly thou standest out-facing mee, as if I were no better then thy fellow. Fortarigo held on still his former behaviour, without using any respect or reverence to Aniolliero, as if all the accusations did not concerne him, but saying, Why should wee not take the advantage of three shillings profit? Thinkest thou, that I am not able to doe as much for thee? why, lay out so much money for my sake, and make no more haste then needs we must, because we have day-light enough to bring us (before night) to Torreniero. Come, draw thy purse, and pay the money, for upon mine honest word, I may enquire throughout all Sienna, and yet not find such another Doublet as this of mine is. To say then, that I should leave it, where it now lyeth pawned, and for eight and thirty shillings, when it is richly more worth then fifty, I am sure to suffer a double endammagement thereby.

You may well imagine, that Aniolliero was now enraged beyond all patience, to see himselfe both robde of his money, and overborne with presumptuous language: wherefore, without making any more replications, he gave the spurre to his horse, and rode away towards Torreniero. Now fell Fortarigo into a more knavish intention against Aniolliero, and being very speedy in running, followed apace after him in his shirt, crying out still aloude to him all the way, to let him have his Doublet againe. Aniolliero riding on very fast, to free his eares from this idle importunity, it fortuned that Fortarigo espied divers countrey Pezants, laboring in the fields about their businesse, and by whom Aniolliero (of necessity) must passe: To them he cryed out so loude as he could; Stay the thiefe, Stop the Thiefe, he rides away so fast, having robde me.

They being provided, some with Prongges, Pitchforkes and Spades, and others with the like weapons fit for Husbandry, stept into the way before Aniolliero: and beleeving undoubtedly, that he had robde the man which pursued him in his shirt, stayed and apprehended him. Whatsoever Aniolliero could doe or say, prevailed not any thing with the unmannerly Clownes, but when Fortarigo was arrived among them, he braved Aniolliero most impudently, saying.

What reason have I to spoyle thy life (thou traiterous Villaine) to rob and spoyle thy Master thus on the high way? Then turning to the Countrey Boores: How much deare friends (quoth he) am I beholding to you for this unexpected kindnesse? You behold in what manner he left me in my Lodging, having first playd away all my money at the Dice, and then deceiving me of my horse and garments also: but had not you (by great good lucke) thus holpe mee to stay him; a poore Gentleman had bin undone for ever, and I should never have found him againe.

Aniolliero avouched the truth of his wrong received, but the base peazants, giving credite onely to Fortarigoes lying exclamations: tooke him from his horse, despoyled him of all his wearing apparrell, even to the very Bootes from off his Legges: suffered him to ride away from him in that manner, and Aniolliero left so in his shirt, to dance a bare foote Galliard after him either towards Sienna, or any place else.

Thus Aniolliero, purposing to visite his Cousin the Cardinal like a Gallant, and at the Marquisate of Ancona, returned backe poorly in his shirt unto Buonconvento, and durst not (for shame) repaire to Sienna. In the end, he borrowed money on the other horse which Fortarigo rode on, and remained there in the Inne, whence riding to Corsignano, where he had divers Kinsmen and Friends, he continued there so long with them, till he was better furnished from his Father.

Thus you may perceive, that the cunning Villanies of Fortarigo, hindred the honest intended enterprise of Aniolliero howbeit in fit time and place, nothing afterward was left unpunished.

The Ninth Day, the Fift Novell

In just reprehension of those vaineheaded fooles, that are led and governed by idle perswasions

Calandrino became extraordinarily enamoured of a young Damosell, named Nicholetta. Bruno prepared a Charme or writing for him, avouching constantly to him, that so soone as he touched the Damosell therewith, she should follow him whithersoever hee would have her. She being gone to an appointed place with him, hee was found there by his wife, and dealt withall according to his deserving.

Because the Novell reported by Madame Neiphila was so soone concluded, without much laughter, or commendation of the whole Company: the Queene turned hir selfe towards Madam Fiammetta, enjoyning her to succeed in apt order; and she being as ready as sodainly commanded, began as followeth. Most gentle Ladies, I am perswaded of your opinion in judgement with mine, that there is not any thing, which can bee spoken pleasingly, except it be conveniently suited with apt time and place: in which respect, when Ladies and Gentlewomen are bent to discoursing, the due election of them both are necessarily required. And therefore I am not unmindfull, that our meeting heere (ayming at nothing more, then to outweare the time with our generall contentment) should tye us to the course of our pleasure and recreation, to the same conveniency of time and place; not sparing, though some have bin nominated oftentimes in our passed arguments; yet, if occasion serve, and the nature of variety be well considered, wee may speake of the selfesame persons againe.

Now, notwithstanding the actions of Calandrino have beene indifferently canvazed among us; yet, remembring what Philostratus not long since saide, That they intended to nothing more then matter of mirth: I presume the boldlier, to report another Novell of him, beside them already past. And, were I willing to conceale the truth, and cloath it in more circumstantiall maner: I could make use of contrary names, and paint it in a poeticall fiction, perhaps more probable, though not so pleasing. But because wandring from the truth of things, doth much diminish (in relatic the delight of the hearers: I will build boldly on my fore-alledged reason, and tel you truly how it hapned.

Niccholao Cornacchini was once a Citizen of ours, and a man of great wealth; who, among other his rich possessions in Camerata, builded there a very goodly house, which being perfected ready for painting: he compounded with Bruno and Buffalmaco who bicause their worke required more helpe then their owne, they drew Nello and Calandrino into their association, and began to proceed in their businesse. And because there was a Chamber or two, having olde moveables in them, as Bedding, Tables, and other Houshold stuffe beside, which were in the custody of an old Woman that kepte the house, without the helpe of any other servants else, a Son unto the saide Niccholao, beeing named Phillippo, resorted thither divers times, with one or other prety Damosell in his company (in regard he was unmarried) where he would abide a day or two with her, and then convey her home againe.

At one time among the rest, it chanced that he brought a Damosell thither named Nicholetta, who was maintained by a wily companion, called Magione, in a dwelling which hee had at Camaldoli, and (indeed) no honester then she should be. She was a very beautifull young woman, wearing garments of great value, and (according to her quality) well spoken, and of commendable carriage. Comming forth of her Chamber one day, covered with a White veyle, because her haire hung loose about her, which shee went to wash at a Well in the middle Court, bathing there also her face and hands: Calandrino going (by chance) to the same Well for water, gave her a secret salutation. She kindly returning the like courtesie to him, began to observe him advisedly: more, because he looked like a man newly come thither, then any handsomnesse she perceyved in him.

Calandrino threw wanton glances at her, and seeing she was both faire and lovely, began to finde some occasion of tarrying, so that he returned not with water to his other associates, yet neither knowing her, or daring to deliver one word. She, who was not to learn her lesson in alluring, noting what affectionate regards (with bashfulnesse) he gave her: answered him more boldly with the like; but meerly in scorning manner, breathing forth divers dissembled sighs among them: so that Calandrino became foolishly inveigled with her love, and would not depart out of the Court, until Phillippo, standing above in his Chamber window called her thence.

When Calandrino was returned backe to his businesse, he could do nothing else, but shake the head, sigh, puffe, and blowe, which being observed by Bruno (who alwayes fitted him according to his folly, as making a meer mockery of his very best behaviour) sodainly he said. Why how now Calandrino? Sigh, puffe, and blow man? What may be the reason of these unwonted qualities? Calandrino immediately answered, saying: My friendly Companion Bruno, if I had one to lend me a little helpe, I should very quickely become well enough. How? quoth Bruno, doth any thing offend thee, and wilt thou not reveale it to thy friend Deare Bruno, said Calandrino, there is a proper handsome woman here in the house, the goodliest creature that ever any eye beheld, much fairer then the Queen of Fairies her selfe, who is so deeply falne in love with mee, as thou wouldst thinke it no lesse then a wonder; and yet I never sawe her before, till yer while when I was sent to fetch water. A very strange case, answered Bruno, take heede Calandrino, that shee bee not the lovely friend to Phillippo, our yong Master, for then it may prove a dangerous matter.

Calandrino stood scratching his head an indifferent while, and then sodainly replyed thus. Now trust me Bruno, it is to bee doubted, because he called her at his Window, and she immediatly went up to his Chamber. But what doe I care if it be so? Have not the Gods themselves bene beguiled of their Wenches, who were better men then ever Phillippo can be, and shall I stand in feare of him? Bruno replied: Be patient Calandrino, I will enquire what Woman she is, and if she be not the wife or friend to our young master Phillippo, with faire perswasions I can over-rule the matter, because shee is a familiar acquaintance of mine. But how shall wee doe, that Buffalmaco may not know heereof? I can never speake to her, if hee be in my company. For Buffalmaco (quoth Calandrino) I have no feare at all, but rather of Nello, because he is a neer Kinsman to my wife, and he is able to undo me quite, if once it should come to his hearing. Thou saist well, replyed Bruno, therefore the matter hath neede to be very cleanly carried.

Now let me tell you, the Woman was well enough knowne to Bruno, as also her quality of life, which Phillippo had acquainted him withall, and the reason of her resorting thither. Wherefore, Calandrino going forth of the roome where they wrought, onely to gaine another sight of Nicholetta, Bruno revealed the whole history to Buffalmaco and Nello; they all concluding together, how this amorous fit of the foole was to be followed. And when Calandrino was returned backe againe; in whispering maner Bruno said to him. Hast thou once more seene her? Yes, yes Bruno, answered Calandrino: Alas, she hath slaine me with her very eye, and I am no better then a dead man. Be patient said Bruno, I will goe and see whether she be the same woman which I take her for, or no: and if it prove so, then never feare, but refer the businesse unto me.

Bruno descending downe the staires, found Phillippo and Nicholetta in conference together, and stepping unto them, discoursed at large, what manner of man Calandrino was, and how farre he was falne in love with her: so that they made a merry conclusion, what should be performed in this case, onely to make a pastime of his hot begun love. And being come backe againe to Calandrino, he saide. It is the same woman whereof I told thee, and therefore wee must worke wisely in the businesse: for if Phillippo perceive any thing, all the water in Arno will hardly serve to quench his fury. But what wouldst thou have me say to her on thy behalfe, if I compasse the meanes to speake with her? First of all (quoth Calandrino) and in the prime place, tell her, that I wish infinite bushels of those blessings, which makes Maides Mothers, and begetteth children. Next, that I am onely hers, in any service she wil command me. Dooest thou understand me what I say? Sufficiently answered Bruno, leave all to me.

When supper time was come, that they gave over working, and were descended downe into the Court: there they found Phillippo and Nicholetta readily attending to expect some beginning of amorous behaviour, and Calandrino glanced such leering lookes at her, coughing and spetting with hummes and haes, yea in such close and secret manner, that a starke blinde sight might verie easily have perceyved it.

She also on the other side, returned him such queint and cunning carriage, as enflamed him farre more furiously, even as if hee were ready to leape out of himselfe. In the meane while, Phillippo, Buffalmaco and the rest that were there present, seeming as if they were seriouslie consulting together, and perceived nothing of his fantastick behavior, according as Bruno had appointed, could scarse refraine from extremity of laughter, they noted such antick trickes in Calandrino. Having spent an indifferent space in this foppish folly, the houre of parting came, but not without wonderful affliction to Calandrino; and as they were going towards Florence, Bruno saide closely to Calandrino. I dare assure thee, that thou hast made her to consume and melt, even like ice against the warme Sunne. On my word, if thou wouldst bring thy Gitterne, and sit downe by us, singing some few amorous songs of thine owne making, when we are beneath about our businesse in the Court: shee would presently leape out of the Window, as being unable to tarry from thee.

I like thy counsell well Bruno, answered Calandrino; but shall I bring my Gitterne thither indeed? Yes, in any case, replied Bruno, for Musicke is a matter of mighty prevailing. Ah Bruno (quoth Calandrino) thou wouldst not credit me in the morning, when I tolde thee, how the very sight of my person had wounded her: I perceived it at the very first looke of her owne, for shee had no power to conceale it. Who but my selfe could so soone have enflamed her affection, and being a woman of such worth and beauty as shee is? There are infinite proper handsome fellowes, that daily haunt the company of dainty Damosels, yet are so shallow in the affayres of love, as they are not able to win one wench of a thousand, no, not with all the wit they have, such is their extreame follie and ill fortune.

Then pausing a while, and sodainely rapping out a Lovers Oath or two, thus he proceeded. My dearest Bruno, thou shalt see how I can tickle my Gitterne, and what good sport will ensue thereon. If thou dost observe me with judgement, why man, I am not so old as I seeme to be, and she could perceive it at the very first view; yea, and she shall finde it so too, when we have leysure to consult upon further occasions: I finde my selfe in such a free and frolicke jocunditie of spirit, that I will make her to follow me, even as a fond woman doth after her child.

But beware, saide Bruno, that thou do not gripe her over-hard, and in kissing, bee carefull of biting, because the teeth stand in thy head like the pegges of a Lute, yet make a comely shew in thy faire wide mouth, thy cheekes looking like two of our artificiall Roses, swelling amiably, when thy jawes are well fild with meat. Calandrino hearing these hansome comnendations, thought himselfe a man of action already, going, singing, and frisking before his companie so lively, as if he had not bin in his skin.

On the morrow, carrying his Gitterne thither with him, to the no little delight of his companions, hee both played and sung a whole Bed-role of himselfe to any worke all the day: but loitering fantastically, one while he gazed out at the window, then ran to the gate, and oftentimes downe into the Court onely to have a sight of his Mistresse. She also (as cunningly) encountred all his ollies, by such directions as Bruno gave her, and many more beside of her owne devising, to quicken him still with new occasions: Bruno plaid the Ambassador betweene them, in delivering the messages from Calandrino, and then returning her answers to him. Sometimes when she was absent thence (which often hapned as occasions called her) then he would write letters in her name, and bring them, as if they were sent by her, to give him hope of what hee desired, but because she was then among her kindred, yet she could not be unmindfull of him.

In this manner, Bruno and Buffalmaco (who had the managing of this amorous businesse) made a meere Gregory of poore Calandrino, causing him somtimes to send her, one while a pretty peece of Ivory, then a faire wrought purse, and a costly paire of knives, with other such like friendly tokens: bringing him backe againe, as in requital of them, counterfetted Rings of no valew, Bugles and bables, which he esteemed as matters of great moment. Moreover, at divers close and sodain meetings, they made him pay for many dinners and suppers, amounting to indifferent charges, onely to be careful in the furtherance of his lovesuit, and to conceale it from his wife. Having worne out three or foure months space in this fond and frivolous manner, without any other successe then as hath bene declared; and Calandrino perceiving, that the worke undertaken by him and his fellowes, grew very neere uppon the finishing, which would barre him of any longer resorting thither: hee began to solicite Bruno more importunately, then all the while before he hadde done. In regard whereof Nicholetta being one day come thither, and Bruno having conferred both with her and Phillippo, with ful determination what was to be done, he began with Calandrino, saying. My honest Neighbour and Friend, this Woman hath made a thousand promises, to graunt what thou art so desirous to have, and I plainly perceive that she hath no such meaning, but meerely plaies with both our noses. In which respect, seeing she is so perfidious, and will not perfourme one of all her faithfull-made promises: if thou wilt consent to have it so, she shall be compelled to do it whether she will or no. Yea marry Bruno, answered Calandrino, that were an excellent course indeede, if it could be done, and with expedition.

Bruno stood musing awhile to himselfe, as if he had some strange stratagem in his braine, and afterward said. Hast thou so much corage Calandrino, as but to handle a peece of written parchment, which I will give thee? Yes, that I have answered Calandrino, I hope that needed not to be doubted. then, saide Bruno, procure that I may have a piece of Virgin Parchment brought mee, with a living Bat or Reremouse; three graines of Incense, and an hallowed Candle, then leave me to effect what shal content thee. Calandrino watched all the next night following, with such preparation as he could make, onely to catch a Bat; which being taken at the last, he broght it alive to Bruno (with all the other materials appointed) who taking him alone into a backer Chamber, there hee wrote divers follies on the Parchment, in the shape of strange and unusuall Charracters, which he delivered to Calandrino, saying: Be bold Calandrino, and build constantly uppon my wordes, that if thou canst but touch her with this sacred Charractred charme, she will immediately follow thee, and fulfil whatsoever thou pleasest to command hir. Wherefore, if Phillippo do this day walke any whither abroad from this house, presume to salute her, in any manner whatsoever it be, and touching her with the written lines, go presently to the barn of hay, which thou perceivest so neere adjoyning, the onely convenient place that can be, because few or none resort thither. She shall (in despight of her blood) follow thee; and when thou hast her there, I leave thee then to thy valiant victory. Calandrino stood on tiptoe, like a man newly molded by Fortune, and warranted Bruno to fulfil all effectually.

Nello, whom Calandrino most of all feared and mistrusted, had a hand as deepe as any of the rest in this deceite, and was as forward also to have it performed, by Brunoes direction, hee went unto Florence, where being in company with Calandrinoes Wife, thus hee began.

Cousine, thine unkinde usage by thine husband, is not unknown to me, how he did beate thee (beyond the compasse of all reason) when he brought home stones from the plain of Mugnone; in which regard, I am very desirous to have thee revenged on him: which if thou wilt not do, never repute me heereafter for thy Kinsman and Friend. He is falne in love with a Woman of the common gender, one that is to be hired for money: he hath his private meetings with her, and the place is partly knowne to me, as by a secret appointment (made very lately) I am credibly given to understand; wherefore walke presently along with me, and thou shalt take him in the heat of his knavery.

All the while as these words were uttering to her, shee could not dissemble her inward impatience, but starting up as halfe franticke with fury. she said. O notorious villaine! Darest thou abuse thine honest wife so basely? I sweare by blessed Saint Bridget, thou shalt be paid with coyne of thine owne stampe. So casting a light wearing Cloake about her, and taking a yong woman in her company; shee went away with Nello in no meane haste. Bruno seeing her comming a farre off, said to Phillippo: You Sir, you know what is to be done, act your part according to your appointment. Phillippo went immediately into the roome, where Calandrino and his other Consorts were at worke, and said to them. Honest friends, I have certaine occasions which command mine instant being at Florence: worke hard while I am absent, and I will not be unthankefull for it. Away hee departed from them, and hid himselfe in a convenient place, where he could not be descryed, yet see whatsoever Calandrino did: who when he imagined Phillippo to be farre enough off, descended downe into the Court, where he found Nicholetta sitting alone, and going towards her, began to enter into discoursing with her.

She knowing what remained to bee done on her behalfe, drew somewhat neere him, and shewed her selfe more familiar then formerly she had done: by which favourable meanes, he touched her with the charmed Parchment, which was no sooner done; but with out using any other kinde of language, hee went to the hay-Barne, whither Nicholletta followed him, and both being entred, he closed the Barne doore, and then stood gazing on her, as if hee had never seene her before. Standing stil as in a study, or bethinking himselfe what he should say: she began to use affable gesture to him, and taking him by the hand, made shew as if shee meant to kisse him, which yet she refrained, though he (rather then his life) would gladly have had it. Why how now deare Calandrino (quoth she) jewell of my joy, comfort of my heart, how many times have I longed for thy sweet Company? And enjoying it now, according to mine owne desire, dost thou stand like a Statue, or man alla morte? The rare tunes of the Gitterne, but (much more) the melodious accents of thy voyce, excelling Orpheus or Amphion, so ravished my soule, as I know not how to expresse the depth of mine affection; and yet hast thou brought me hither, onely to looke babies in mine eyes, and not so much as speake one kinde word to me?

Bruno and Buffalmaco, having hid themselves close behinde Philippo, they both heard and saw all this amourous conflict, and as Calandrino was quickning his courage, and wiping his mouth, with intent to kisse her: his wife and Nello entred into the Barne, which caused Nicholetta to get her gone presently, sheltring her self where Philippo lay scouting. But the enraged woman ranne furiously upon poore daunted Calandrino, making such a pitiful massacre with her nailes, and tearing the baire from his head, as hee meerely looked like an infected Anatomy. Fowle loathsome dog (quoth she) must you be at your minions, and leave mee hunger-starved at home? An olde knave with (almost) never a good tooth in thy head, and yet art thou neighing after young wenches? hast thou not worke enough at home, but must bee gadding in to other mens grounds? Are these the fruites of wandring abroad? Calandrino being in this pittifull perplexity, stood like one neither alive nor dead, nor daring to use any resistance against her; but fell on his knees before his Wife, holding up his hands for mercy, and entreating her (for charities sake) not to torment him any more: for he had committed no harme at all, and the Gentlewoman was his Masters Wife, who came with no such intent thither, as shee fondly imagined. Wife, or wife not (quoth she) I would have none to meddle with my I but I that have the most right to him.

Bruno and Buffalmaco, who had laughed all this while heartily at this pastime, with Phillippo and Nicholetta; came running in haste to know the reason of this loude noise, and after they had pacified the woman with gentle perswasions: they advised Calandrino, to walke with his Wife to Florence, and returne no more to worke there againe, least Phillippo hearing what had hapned, should be revenged on him with some outrage. Thus poore Calandrino miserably misused and beaten, went home to Florence with his Wife, scoulded and raild at all the way, beside his other molestations (day and night) afterward: his Companions, Phillippo and Nicholetta, making themselves merry at his mis-fortune.

The Ninth Day, the Sixt Novell

Wherein is manifested, that an offence committed ignorantly, and by mistaking; ought to be covered with Good advise, and civill discretion

Two yong Gentlemen, the one named Panuccio, and the other Adriano, lodged one night in a poore Inne, where one of them went to bed to the Hostes Daughter, and the other (by mistaking his way in the darke) to the Hostes Wife. He which lay with the daughter, happened afterward to the Hostes bed and told him what he had done, as thinking he spake to his own companyon. Discontentment growing betweene them, the Mother perceiving her errour, went to bed to her daughter, and with discreete language, made a generall pacification.

Calandrino, whose mishaps had so many times made the whole assembly merry, and this last passing among them with indifferent commendations: upon a generall silence commanded, the Queene gave order to Pamphilus, that hee should follow next, as indeed he did, beginning thus. Praiseworthy Ladies, the name of Nicoletta, so fondly affected by Calandrino, putteth mee in minde of a Novell, concerning another Nicoletta, of whom I purpose to speake: to the ende you may observe how by a sudden wary fore-sight, a discreet woman compassed the meanes to avoyde a notorious scandall.

On the plaine of Mugnone, neere to Florence, dwelt (not long since) an honest meane man, who kept a poore Inne or Ostery for travellers, where they might have some slender entertainement for their money. As he was but a poore man, so his house affoorded but very small receit of guests, not lodging any but on necessity, and such as he had some knowledge of. This honest poore hoste had a woman (sufficiently faire) to his wife, by whom hee had also two children, the one a comely young maiden, aged about fifteene yeares, and the other a sonne, not fully (as yet) a yeare old, and sucking on the mothers brest.

A comely youthfull Gentleman of our City, became amorously affected to the Damosell, resorting thither divers times as hee travelled on the way, to expresse how much he did respect her. And she accounting her fortune none of the meanest, to bee beloved by so youthfull a Gallant, declared such vertuous and modest demeanour, as might deserve his best opinion of her: so that their love grew to an equall simpathy, and mutuall contentment of them both, in expectation of further effects; he being named Panuccio, and she Nicholletta.

The heate of affection thus encreasing day by day, Panuccio grew exceedingly desirous to enjoy the fruits of hi; long continued liking, and divers devises mustred in his braine, how he might compasse one nights lodging in her fathers house, whereof hee knew every part and parcell, as not doubting to effect what hee desired, yet undiscovered by any, but the maide her selfe.

According as his intention aymed, so he longed to put it in execution, and having imparted his mind to an honest loyall friend, named Adriano, who was acquainted with the course of his love: hyring two horses, and having Portmantues behind them, filled with matters of no moment, they departed from Florence, as if they had some great journey to ride. Having spent the day time where themselves best pleased, darke night being entred, they arrived on the plaine of Mugnone, where, as if they were come from the parts of Romanio, they rode directly to this poore Inne, and knocking at the doore, the honest Hoste (being familiar and friendly to all commers) opened the doore, when Panuccio spake in this manner to him. Good man, we must request one nights lodging with you, for we thought to have reached so farre as Florence, but dark night preventing us, you see at what a late houre wee are come hither. Signior Panuccio, answered the hoste, it is not unknowne to you, how unfiting my poore house is, for entertaining such guests as you are: Neverthelesse, seeing you are overtaken by so unseasonable an houre, and no other place is neere for your receite; I will gladly lodge you so well as I can.

When they were dismounted from their horses, and entred into the simple Inne: having taken order for feeding their horses, they accepted such provision, as the place and time afforded, requesting the Hoste to suppe with them. Now I am to tell you, that there was but one small Chamsber in the house, wherin stood three beds, as best the Hoste had devised to place them, two of them standing by the walles side, and the third fronting them both, but with such close and narrow passage, as very hardly could one step betweene them. The best of these three beds was appointed for the Gentlemen, and therein they layd them down to rest, but sleepe they could not, albeit they dissembled it very formally. In the second Bed was Nicholetta the daughter, lodged by her selfe, and the father and mother in the third, and because she was to give the child sucke in the night time, the radle (wherein it lay) stood close by their beds side, because the childes crying or any other occasion concerning it, should not disquiet the Gentlemen.

Panuccio having subtily observed all this, and in what manner they went to bed; after such a space of time, as he imagined them to be all fast asleepe, he arose very softly, and stealing to the bed of Nicholetta, lay downe gently by her. And albeit she seemed somewhat afraid at the first, yet wheri she perceived who it was, shee rather bad him welcome, then shewed her selfe any way discontented. Now while Panuccio continued thus with the maide, it fortuned that a Cat threw down somewhat in the house, the noise wherof awaked the wife, and fearing greater harme, then (indeed) had hapned, she arose without a Candle, and went groping in the darke, towards the place where shee heard the noyse. Adriano, who had no other meaning but well, found occasion also to rise, about some naturall necessity, and making his passage in the darke, stumbled on the childes Cradle (in the way) where the woman had set it, and being unable to passe by, without removing it from the place: tooke and set it by his owne beds side, and having done the businesse for which he rose, returned to his bed againe, never remembring to set the Cradle where first he found it.

The Wife having found the thing throwne downe being of no value or moment, cared not for lighting any candle; but rating the Cat, returned backe, feeling for the bed where her Husband lay, but finding not the Cradle there, she said to her selfe. What a foolish woman am I, that cannot well tell my selfe what I doe? Instead of my Husbands bed, I am going to both my guests.

So, stepping on a little further, she found the childes Cradle, and laid her selfe downe by Adriano, thinking shee had gone right to her Husband. Adriano being not yet falne asleepe, feeling the hostesse in bed with him: tooke advantage of so faire an occasion offered, and what he did, is no businesse of mine, (as I heard) neither found the woman any fault. Matters comming to passe in this strange manner, and Panuccio fearing, lest sleepe seazing on him, he might disgrace the maides reputation: taking his kinde farewell of her, with many kisses and sweet imbraces: returned againe to his owne Bed, but meeting with the Cradle in his way, and thinking it stood by the hostes Bed, (as truely it did so at the first) went backe from the Cradle, and stept into the hostes Bed indeed, who awaked upon his very entrance, albeit he slept very soundly before.

Panuccio supposing that he was laid downe by his loving friend Adriano, merrily said to the Hoste. I protest to thee, as I am a Gentleman, Nicholetta is a dainty delicate wench, and worthy to be a very good mans wife: this night shee hath given mee the sweetest entertainement, as the best Prince in the world can wish no better, and I have kist her most kindly for it. The Hoste hearing these newes, which seemed very unwelcome to him, said first to himself: What make such a devill heere in my Bedde? Afterward being more rashly angry, then well advised, hee said to Panuccio. Canst thou make vaunt of such a mounstrous villany? Or thinkest thou, that heaven hath not due vengeance in store, to requite all wicked deeds of darkenesse? If all should sleepe, yet I have courage sufficient to right my wrong, and yet as olde as I am to rig thou shalt be sure to finde it.

Our amorous Panuccio being none of the wisest young men in the world, perceiving his errour; sought not to amend it, (as well he might have done) with some queint straine of wit, carried in quick and cleanly manner, but angerly answered. What shall I find that thou darst doe to me? am I any way afraid of thy threatnings? The Hostes imagining she was in bed with her Husband, said to Adriano: Harke Husband, I thinke our Guests are quarrelling together, I hope they will doe no harme to one another. Adriano laughing outright, answered. Let them alone, and become friends againe as they fell out: perhaps they dranke too much yesternight.

The woman perceiving that it was her husband that quarrelled, and distinguishing the voyce of Adriano from his: knew presently where shee was, and with whom; wherefore having wit at will, and desirous to cloude an error unadvisedly committed, and with no willing consent of her selfe: without returning any more words, presently she rose, and taking the Cradle with the child in it, removed it the to her daughters bed side, although shee had no light to helpe her, and afterward went to bed to her, where (as if she were but newly awaked) she called her Husband, to understand what angry speeches had past betweene him and Panuccio. The Hoste replyed, saying. Didst thou not heare him wife, brag and boast, how he hath lyen this night with our daughter Nicholetta? Husband (quoth she) he is no honest Gentleman; if hee should say so, and beleeve me it is a manifest lye, for I am in bed with her my selfe, and never yet closed mine eyes together, since the first houre I laid me downe: it is unmannerly done of him to speake it, and you are little lesse then a logger-head, if you doe beleeve it. This proceedeth from your bibbing and swilling yesternight, which (as it seemeth) maketh you to walke about the roome in your sleepe, dreaming of wonders in the night season: it were no great sinne if you brake your neck, to teach you keepe a fairer quarter; and how commeth it to passe, that Signior Panuccio could not keepe himselfe in his owne bed?

Adriano (on the other side) perceiving how wisely the woman excused her owne shame and her daughters; to backe her in a businesse so cunningly begun, he called to Panuccio, saying. Have not I tolde thee an hundred times, that thou art not fit to lye any where, out of thine owne lodging? What a shame is this base imperfection to thee, by rising and walking thus in the night-time, according as thy dreames doe wantonly delude thee, and cause thee to forsake thy bed, telling nothing but lies and fables, yet avouching them for manifest truthes? Assuredly this will procure no meane perill unto thee: Come hither, and keepe in thine owne bedde for meere shame.

When the honest meaning Host heard, what his own Wife and Adriano had confirmed: he was verily perswaded, that Panuccio spake in a dreame all this while: And to make it the more constantly apparant, Panuccio (being now growne wiser by others example) lay talking and blundring to himselfe, even as if dreames or perturbations of the minde did much molest him, with strange distractions in franticke manner. Which the Hoste perceiving, and compassionating his case, as one man should do anothers: he tooke him by the shoulders, jogging and hunching him, saying. Awake Signior Panuccio, and get you gone hence to your owne bed.

Panuccio, yawning and stretching out his limbes, with unusuall groanes and respirations, such as (better) could bee hardly dissembled: seemed to wake as out of a traunce, and calling his friend Adriano, said.

Adriano, is it day, that thou dost waken me? It may be day or night replyed Adriano, for both (in these fits) are alike to thee. Arise man for shame, and come to thine lodging. Then faining to be much troubled and sleepie, he arose from the hoast, and went to Adrianoes bed.

When it was day, and all in the house risen, the hoast began to smile at Panuccio, mocking him with his idle dreaming and talking in the night.

So, falling from one merry matter to another, yet without any mislike at all: the Gentlemen, having their horses prepared, and their Portmantues fastened behind, drinking to their hoast, mounted on horsebacke, and they roade away towards Florence, no lesse contented with the manner of occasions happened, then the effects they sorted to. Afterward, other courses were taken, for the continuance of this begun pleasure with Nicholetta, who made her mother beleeve, that Panuccio did nothing else but dreame. And the mother her selfe remembring how kindely Adriano had used her (a fortune not expected by her before:) was more then halfe of the minde, that she did then dreame also, while she was waking.

The Ninth Day, the Seventh Novell

Whereby (with some indifferent reason) it is concluded, that dreames do not alwayes fall out to be Leasings

Talano de Molese dreamed, That a Wolfe rent and tore his wives face and throate. Which dreame he told to her, with advise to keepe her selfe out of danger; which she refusing to doe, received what followed.

By the conclusion of Pamphilus his Novel, wherein the womans ready wit, at a time of such necessity, carried deserved commendations: the Queen gave command to Madam Pampinea, that she should next begin with hers, and so she did, in this manner. In some discourses (gracious Ladies) already past among us, the truth of apparitions in dreames hath partly bin approved, whereof very many have made a mockery. Neverthelesse, whatsoever hath heeretofore bin sayde, I purpose to acquaint you with a very short Novell, of a strange accident happening unto a neighbour of mine, in not crediting a Dreame which her Husband told her.

I cannot tell, whether you knew Talano de Molese, or no, a man of much honour, who tooke to wife a yong Gentlewoman, named Margarita, as beautifull as the best: but yet so peevish, scornefull, and fantasticall, that she disdained any good advice given her; neyther could any thing be done, to cause her contentment; which absurd humors were highly displeasing to her husband: but in regard he knew not how to helpe it, constrainedly he did endure it. It came to passe, that Talano being with his wife, at a summer-house of his owne in the country, he dreamed one night, that he saw his Wife walking in a faire wood, which adjoyned neere unto his house, and while she thus continued there, he seemed to see issue foorth from a corner of the said Wood, a great and furious Wolfe, which on her, caught her by the face and throate, drawing her downe to the earth, and offering to drag her thence. But he crying out for helpe, recovered her from the Wolfe, yet having her face and throat very pitifully rent and torne.

In regard of this terrifying dreame, when Talano was risen in the morning, and sate conversing with his wife, he spake thus unto hir. Woman, although thy froward wilfull Nature be such, as hath not permitted me one pleasing day with thee, since first we becam man and wife, but rather my life hath bene most tedious to me, as fearing still some mischeefe should happen to thee: yet let mee now in loving manner advise thee, to follow my counsell, and (this day) not to walke abroad out of this house. She demanded a reason for this advice of his. He related to her every particular of his dreame, adding with all these speeches.

True it is Wife (quoth he) that little credit should bee given to dreames: neverthelesse, when they deliver advertisement of harmes to ensue, there is nothing lost by shunning and avoiding them. She fleering in his face, and shaking her head at him, replyed. Such harmes as thou wishest, such thou dreamest of. Thou pretendest much pittie and care of me, but all to no other end: but what mischeefes thou dreamest happening unto mee, so wouldest thou see them effected on me. Wherefore, I will well enough looke to my selfe, both this day, and at all times else: because thou shalt never make thy selfe merry, with any such misfortune as thou wishest unto me.

Well Wife, answered Talano, I knew well enough before, what thou wouldst say: An unsound head is soone scratcht with the very gentlest Combe: but beleeve as thou pleasest. As for my selfe, I speake with a true and honest meaning soule, and once againe I do advise thee, to keepe within our doores all this day: at least wise beware, that thou walke not into our wood, bee it but in regard of my dreame. Well sir (quoth she scoffingly) once you shall say, I followed your counsell: but within her selfe she fell to this murmuring. Now I perceive my husbands cunning colouring, and why I must not walke this day into our wood: he hath made a compact with some common Queane, closely to have her company there, and is afraide least I should take them tardy. Belike he would have me feed among blinde folke, and I were worthy to bee thought a starke foole, if I should not prevent a manifest trechery, being intended against me. Go thither therefore I will, and tarry there all the whole day long; but I will meet with him in his merchandize, and see the Pink wherin he adventures.

After this her secret consultation, her husband was no sooner gone forth at one doore, but shee did the like at another, yet so secretly as possibly she could devise to doe, and (without any delaying) she went to the Wood, wherein she hid her selfe very closely, among the thickest of the bushes, yet could discerne every way about her, if any body should offer to passe by her. While shee kept her selfe in this concealment, suspecting other mysterious matters, as her idle imagination had tutord her, rather then the danger of any Wolfe: out of a brakie thicket by her, sodainly rushed a huge and dreadfull Wolfe, as having found her by the sent, mounting uppe, and grasping her throat in his mouth, before she saw him, or could call to heaven for mercy.

Being thus seised of her, he carried her as lightly away, as if shee had bin no heavier then a Lambe, she being (by no meanes) able to cry, because he held her so fast by the throate, and hindred any helping of her selfe. As the Wolfe carried her thus from thence, he had quite strangled her, if certaine Shepheards had not met him, who with their outcries and exclaimes at the Wolfe, caused him to let her fall, and hast away to save his owne life. Notwithstanding the harme done to her throat and face, the shepheards knew her, and caried her home to her house, where she remained a long while after, carefully attended by Physitians and Chirurgians.

Now, although they were very expert and cunning men all, yet could they not so perfectly cure her, but both her throate, and part of her face were so blemished that whereas she seemed a rare creature before, she was now deformed and much unsightly. In regard of which strange alteration, being ashamed to shew her selfe in any place, where formerly she had bene seene she spent her time in sorrow and mourning, repenting her insolent and scornfull carriage, as also her rash running forth into danger, upon a foolish and jealous surmise, beleeving her husbands dreames the better for ever after.

The Ninth Day, the Eight Novell

Whereby plainly appeareth, that they which take delight in deceiving others, do well deserve to be Deceived themselves

Blondello (in a merry maner) caused Guiotto to beguile himselfe of a good dinner: for which deceit, Guiotto became cunningly revenged, by procurng Blondello to be unreasonably beaten and misused.

It was a generall opinion in the whole Joviall Companie, that whatsoever Talano saw in his sleepe, was not anie dreame, but rather a vision: considring, every part thereof fell out so directly, without the lest failing. But when silence was enjoyned, then the Queene gave forth by evident demonstration, that Madam Lauretta was next to succeed, whereupon she thus began. As all they (judicious hearers) which have this day spoken before me, derived the ground or project of their Novels, from some other argument spoken of before: even so, the cruell revendge of the Scholler, yesterday discoursed at large by Madame Pampinea, maketh me to remember another Tale of like nature, some-what greevous to the sufferer, yet not in such cruell measure inflicted, as that on Madam Helena.

There dwelt sometime in Florence, one who was generally called by the name of Guiotto, a man being the greatest Gourmand, and grossest feeder, as ever was seene in any Countrey, all his meanes and procurements meerly unable to maintaine expences for filling his belly. But otherwise he was of sufficient and commendable carriage, fairely demeaned, and well — discoursing on any argument: yet, not as a curious and spruce Courtier, but rather a frequenter of rich mens Tables, where choice of good cheere is sildome wanting, and such should have his company, albeit not invited, yet (like a bold intruder) he had the courage to bid himselfe welcome.

At the same time, and in our City of Florence also, there was another man, named Blondello, very low of stature, yet comly formed, quicke witted, more neat and brisk then a Butterflye, alwaies wearing a wrought silke cap on his head, and not a haire staring out of order, but the tuft flourishing above the forehead, and he such another trencher-fly for the table, as our forenamed Guiotto was. It so fel out on a morning in the Lent time, that hee went into the Fishmarket, where he bought two goodly Lampreyes, for Messer Viero de Cherchi, and was espied by Guiotto, who to Blondello) said. What is the meaning of this cost, and for whom is it? Whereto Blondello thus answered. Yesternight, three other Lampries, far fairer and fatter then these, and a whole Sturgeon, were sent unto Messer Corso Donati, and being not sufficient to feede divers Gentlemen, whom hee hath invited this day to dine with him, hee caused me to buy these two beside: Doest not thou intend to make one among them? Yes I warrant thee, replied Guiotto, thou knowst I can invite my selfe thither, without any other bidding.

So parting; about the houre of dinner time, Guiotto went to the house of the saide Messer Corso, whom he found sitting and talking with certain of his neighbors, but dinner was not (as yet) ready, neither were they come thither to dinner. Messer Corso demaunded of Guiotto, what newes with him, and whither he went? Why Sir (said Guiotto) I come to dine with you, and your good company. Wherto Messer Corso answered, That he was welcom, and his other friends being gone, dinner was served in, none els therat present but Messer Corso and Guiotto: al the diet being a poore dish of Pease, a litle piece of Tunny, and a few smal fishes fried, without any other dishes to follow after. Guiotto seeing no better fare, but being disapointed of his expectation, as longing to feed on the Lampries and Sturgeon, and so to have made a ful dinner indeed: was of a quick apprehension, and apparantly perceived, that Blondello had meerly guld him in a knavery, which did not a litle vex him, and made him vow to be revenged on Blondello, as he could compasse occasion afterward.

Before many dales were past, it was his fortune to meete with Blondello, who having told this jest to divers of his friends, and much good merriment made thereat: he saluted Guiotto in ceremonious manner, saying. How didst thou like the fat Lampreyes and Sturgeon, which thou fedst on at the house of Messer Corso Donati? Wel Sir (answered Guiotto) perhaps before eight dayes passe over my head, thou shalt meet with as pleasing a dinner as I did. So, parting away from Blondello, he met with a Porter or burthen-bearer, such as are usually sent on errands; and hyring him to deliver a message for him, gave him a glasse bottle, and bringing him neere to the Hal-house of Cavicciuli, shewed him there a knight, called Signior Phillipo Argenti, a man of huge stature, stout, strong, vain-glorious, fierce and sooner mooved to anger then any other man. To him (quoth Guiotto) thou must go with this bottle in thy hand, and say thus to him. Sir, Blondello sent me to you, and courteously entreateth you, that you would enrubinate this glasse bottle with your best Claret Wine; because he would make merry with a few friends of his. But beware he lay no hand on thee, because he may bee easi induced to misuse thee, and so my businesse be disappointed. Well Sir replied the Porter, shal I say any thing else unto him? No (quoth Guiotto) only go and deliver this message, and when thou art returned, Ile pay thee for thy paines.

The Porter being gone to the house, delivered his message to the knight, who being a man of no great civill breeding, but furious, rash, and inconsiderate: presently conceived, that Blondello (whom he knew well enough) sent this message in meere mockage of him, and starting up with fiery lookes, said: What enrubination of Claret should I send him? and what have I to do with him, or his drunken friends? Let him and thee go hang your selves together. So he stept to catch hold on the Porter, but he (being well warnd before) was quicke and nimble, and escaping from him, returned backe to Guiotto (who observed all) and told him the answer of Signior Phillippo. Guiotto not a little contented, paied the Porter, and taried not in any place til he met with Blondello, to whom he said. When wast thou at the Hall of Cavicciuli? Not a long while, answerd Blondello, but why dost thou demand such a question? Because (quoth Guiotto) Signior Phillippo hath sought about for thee, yet knowe not I what he would have with thee. Is it so? replied Blondello, then I wil walke thither presently, to understand his pleasure.

When Blondello was thus parted from him, Guiotto folowed not farre off behind him, to behold the issue of this angry businesse; and Signior Phillippo, because he could not catch the Porter, continued much distempred, fretting and fuming, in regard he could not comprehend the meaning of the Porters message: but onely surmized, that Blondello (by the procurement of some body else) had done this in scorne of him.

While he remained thus deeply discontented, he espied Blondello comming towards him, and meeting him by the way, he stept close to him, and gave him a cruell blow on the face, causing his nose to fall out a bleeding. Alas Sir, said Blondello, wherefore do you strike me? Signior Phillippo, catching him by the haire of the head, trampled his wrought night-cap in the dirt, and his cloke also; when, laying many violent blowes on him, he said. Villanous Traitor as thou art, Ile teach thee what it is to enrubinate with Claret, either thy selfe, or any of thy cupping companions:. ons: Am I a child, to be jested withall?

Nor was he more furious in words, then in strokes also, beating him about the face, hardly leaving any haire on his head, and dragging him along in the mire, spoyling all his garments, and he not able (from the first blow given) to speake a word in defence of himselfe. In the end, Signior Phillippo having extreamly beaten him, and many people gathering about them, to succour a man so much misused, the matter was at large related, and manner of the message sending. For which, they all present, did greatly reprehend Blondello, considering he knew what kinde of man Philippo was, not any way to be jested with Blondello in teares constantly maintained, that he never sent any such message for wine, or intended it in the least degree: so, when the tempest was more mildly calmed, and Blondello (thus cruelly beaten and durtied) had gotten home to his owne house, he could then remember, that (questionles) this was occasioned by Guiotto.

After some few dayes were passed over, and the hurts in his face indifferently cured; Blondello beginning to walke abroade againe, chanced to meet with Guiotto: who laughing heartily at him, sayde. Tell me Blondello, how doost thou like the enrubinating Clarret of Signior Phillippo? As well (quoth Blondello) as thou didst the Sturgeon and Lampreyes at Messer Corso Donaties. Why then (sayde Guiotto) let these two tokens continue familiar betweene thee and me, when thou wouldst bestow such another dinner on mee, then wil I enrubinate thy nose with a bottle of the same Claret. But Blondello perceived (to his cost) that hee had met with the worser bargaine, and Guiotto got cheare, without any blowes: and therefore desired a peacefull attonement, each of them (alwayes after) abstaining from flouting one another.

The Ninth Day, the Ninth Novell

Containing an excellent admonition, that such as covet to have the love of other men, must first learne Themselves, how to love: Also, by what meanes such women as are curst and self-Willed, may be reduced to civill Obedience

Two yong Gentlemen, the one named Melisso, borne in the City of Laiazzo: and the other Giose of Antioche, travalled together unto Salomon, the famous King of Great Britaine. The one desiring to learne what he should do, whereby to compasse and winne the love of men. The other craved to be enstructed by what meanes hee might reclaime an headstrong and unruly wife. And what answeres the wise King gave unto them both, before they departed away from him.

Upon the conclusion of Madame urettaes Novell, none now ained to succeede next in er, but onely the Queene r viledge reserved, granted to Dioneus; wherefore, after they had all smiled at the folly of Blondello, with a chearfull countenance thus the Queene began.

Honourable Ladies, if with advised judgement, we do duly consider the order of all things, we shall very easily perceyve, That the whole universall multiplicitie of Women, by Nature, custome, and lawes, are and ought to be subject to men, yea, and to be governd by their discretion. Because every one desiring to enjoy peace, repose and comfort with them, under whose charge they are; ought to be humble, patient and obedient, over and beside her spotlesse honesty, which is the crowne and honour of every good woman. And although those lawes, which respect the common good of all things, or rather use and custome (as our wonted saying is) the powers wherof are very great, and worthy to be reverenced, should not make us wise in this case. Yet Nature hath given us a sufficient demonstration, in creating our bodies more soft and delicate, yea, and our hearts timorous, fearefull, benigne and compassionable, our strength feeble, our voyces pleasing, and the motion of our members sweetly plyant: all which are apparant testimonies, that wee have neede of others government.

Now, it is not to be denyed, that whosoever hath need of helpe, and is to bee governed: meerely reason commandeth, that they should bee subject and obedient to their governour. Who then should we have for our helps and governours, if not men? Wherfore, we should be intirely subject to them, in giving them due honour and reverence, and such a one as shall depart from this rule: she (in mine opinion) is not onely worthy of grievous reprehension, but also severe chastisement beside. And to this exact consideration (over and above divers other important reasons) I am the rather induced, by the Novel which Madame Pampinea so lately reported, concerning the froward and wilfull wife of Talano, who had a heavier punishment inflicted on her, then her Husband could devise to doe. And therefore it is my peremptory sentence, that all such women as will not be gracious, benigne and pleasing: doe justly deserve (as I have already said) rude, rough and harsh handling, as both nature, custome and lawes have commanded.

To make good what I have said, I wil declare unto you the counsell and advise, given by Salomon, the wise and famous King of Great Britaine, as a most wholesome and soveraigne medicine for the cure of such a dangerous disease, in any woman so fouly infected. Which counsel (notwithstanding) all such women as have no need of this Phisicke, I would not have them to imagine, that it was meant for them, albeit men have a common Proverbe, to wit.

As the good horse and bad horse, doe both need the spurre.

So a good wife and bad wife, a wand will make stirre.

Which saying, whosoever doth interpret it in such pleasing manner as they ought, shal find it (as you al wil affirm no lesse) to be very true: especially in the morall meaning, it is beyond all contradiction. Women are naturally all unstable, and easily enclining to misgovernment; wherefore to correct the iniquity of such a distemperature in them that out-step the tearmes and bounds of womanhood, a wand hath been allowed for especiall phisicke. As in the like manner, for support of vertue, in those of contrary condition, shaming to be sullyed with so grosse a sinne: the correcting Wand may serve as a walking staffe, to protect them from all other feares. But, forbearing to teach any longer; let mee proceed to my purpose, and tell you my Novell.

In those ancient and reverend dayes, wherof I am now to speake, the high renowne and admirable wisedome of Salomon, King of Great Brittain, was most famous throughout all parts of the world; for answering all doubtfull questions and demaunds whatsoever, that possibly could be propounded to him. So that many resorted to him, from the most remote and furthest off countreyes, to heare his miraculous knowledge and experience, yea, and to crave his counsell, in matters of greatest importance. Among the rest of them which repaired thither, was a rich yong Gentleman, honourably descended, named Melisso, who came from the City of Laiazzo, where he was both borne, and dwelt.

In his riding towards France, as he passed by Naples, hee overtooke another yong Gentleman, a native of Antioch, and named Giosefo, whose journey lay the same way as the others did. Having ridden in company some few dayes together, as it is a custome commonly observed among Travellers, to understand one anothers Countrey and condition, as also to what part his occasions call him: so happened it with them, Giosefo directly telling him, that he journyed, towards the wise King Salomon, to desire his advise what meanes he should observe in the reclaiming of a wilfull wife, the most froward and selfe-willed woman that ever lived; whom neither faire perswasions, nor gentle courtesies could in any manner prevaile withall. Afterward he demaunded of Melisso, to know the occasion of his travell, and whither.

Now trust me Sir, answered Melisso, I am a native of Laiazzo, and as you are vexed with one great mis-fortune, even so am I offended with another. I am young, wealthy, well derived by birth, and allow liberall expences, for maintaining a worthy table in my house, without distinguishing persons by their rancke and quality, but make it free for all commers, both of the city, and all places els. Notwithstanding all which bounty and honourable entertainement, I cannot meet with any man that loveth me. In which respect, I journey to the same place as you doe, to crave the counsell of so wise a King, what I should doe, whereby I might procure men to love me. Thus like two well-met friendly companions, they rode on together, untill they arrived in Great Britaine, where, by meanes of the Noble Barons attending on the King, they were brought before him. Melisso delivered his minde in very few words, whereto the King made no other answere, but this: Learne to love. Which was no sooner spoken, but Melisso was dismissed from the Kings presence.

Giosefo also relating, wherefore he came thither; the King replying onely thus: Goe to the Goose Bridge: and presently Giosefo had also his dismission from the King. Comming forth, he found Melisso attending for him, and revealed in what manner the King had answered him: whereupon, they consulted together, concerning both their answeres, which seemed either to exceed their comprehension, or else was delivered them in meere mockery, and therefore (more then halfe discontented) they returned homeward againe.

After they had ridden on a few dayes together, they came to a River, over which was a goodly Bridge, and because a great company of Horses and Mules (heavily laden, and after the manner of a Caravan of Camels in Egypt) were first to passe over the saide Bridge; they gladly stayed to permit their passe. The greater number of them being already past over, there was one shie and skittish Mule (belike subject to fearefull starting, as oftentimes we see horses have the like ill quality) that would not passe over the Bridge by any meanes, wherefore one of the Muletters tooke a good Cudgell, and smote her at the first gently, as hoping so to procure her passage. Notwithstanding, starting one while backeward, then againe forward, side-wayes, and every way indeed, but the direct Roadway she would not goe.

Now grew the Muletter extreamely angry, giving her many cruell stroakes, on the head, sides, flancks and all parts else, but yet they proved to no purpose, which Melisso and Giosefo seeing, and being (by this meanes) hindred of their passage, they called to the Muletter, saying. Foolish fellow, what doest thou? Intendest thou to kill the Mule? why dost thou not leade her gently, which is the likelier course to prevaile by, then beating and misusing her as thou dost? Content your selves Gentlemen (answered the Muletter) you know your horses qualities, as I doe my Mules, let mee deale with her as I please. Having thus spoken, he gave her so many violent strokes, on head, sides, hippes, and every where else, as made her at last passe over the Bridge quietly, so that the Muletter wonne the Mastery of his Mule.

When Melisso and Giosefo had passed over the Bridge, where they intended to part each from other; a sudden motion happened into the minde of Melisso, which caused him to demaund of an aged man (who sate craving almes of Passengers at the Bridge foot) how the Bridge was called: Sir, answered the old man, this is called, The Goose Bridge. Which words when Giosefo heard, hee called to minde the saying of King Salomon, and therefore immediately saide to Melisso. Worthy friend, and partner in my travell, I dare now assure sure that the counsell given me by King Salomon, may fall out most effectall and true: For I plainely perceive, that I knew not how to handle my selfe-will’d wife, untill the Muletter did instruct me. So, requesting still to enjoy the others Company, they journeyed on, till at the length they came to Laiazzo, where Giosefo retained Melisso still with him, for some repose after so long a journey, and entertained him with very honourable respect and courtesie.

One day Giosefo said to his Wife: Woman, this Gentleman is my intimate friend, and hath borne me company in all my travell: such dyet therfore as thou wilt welcome him withall, I would have it ordered (in dressing) according to his direction. Melisso perceiving that Giosefo would needs have it to be so; in few words directed her such a course, as (for ever) might be to her Husbands contentment. But she, not altring a jote from her former disposition, but rather farre more froward and tempestuous: delighted to vexe and crosse him, doing every thing quite contrary to the order appointed. Which Giosefo observing, angerly he said unto her. Was it not tolde you by my friend, in what manner he would have our Supper drest? She turning fiercely to him, replyed. Am I to be directed by him or thee? Supper must and shall bee drest as I will have it: if it pleaseth mee, I care not who doth dislike it; if thou wouldst have it otherwise, goe seeke both your Suppers where you may have it.

Melisso marvelling at her froward answere, rebuked her for it in very kind manner: whereupon, Giosefo spake thus to her. I perceive wife, you are the same woman as you were wount to be: but beleeve me on my word, I shal quite alter you from this curst complexion. So turning to Melisso, thus he proceeded. Noble friend, we shall try anone, whether the counsell of King Salomon bee effectuall, or no; and I pray you, let it not be offensive to you to see it; but rather hold all to be done in merriment. And because I would not be hindered by you, doe but remember the answere which the Muletter gave us, when we tooke compassion on his Mule. Worthy friend, replyed Melisso, I am in your owne house, where I purpose not to impeach whatsoever you doe.

Giosefo, having provided a good Hollywand, went into the Chamber, where his wife sate railing, and despitefully grumbling, where taking her by the haire of her head, he threw her at his feete, beating her extreamely with the wand. She crying, then cursing, next railing, lastly fighting, biting and scratching, when she felt the cruell smart of the blowes, and that all her resistance served to no end: then she fell on her knees before him, and desired mercy for charities sake. Giosefo fought still more and more on head, armes, shoulders, sides, and all parts else, pretending as if he heard not her complaints, but wearied himselfe wel neere out of breath: so that (to be briefe) she that never felt his fingers before, perceived and confessed, it was now too soone. This being done, hee returned to Melisso, and said: Tomorrow we shall see a miracle, and how availeable the counsell is of going to the Goose Bridge. So sitting a while together, after they had washed their hands, and supt, they withdrew to their lodgings.

The poore beaten woman, could hardly raise her selfe from the ground, which yet (with much adoe) she did, and threw her selfe upon the bed, where she tooke such rest as she could: but arising early the next morning, she came to her Husband, and making him a very low courtesie, demaunded what hee pleased to have for his dinner; he smiling heartely thereat, with Melisso, tolde her his mind. And when dinner time came, every thing was ready according to the direction given: in which regard, they highly commended the counsell, whereof they made such an harsh construction at the first.

Within a while after, Melisso being gone from Giosefo, and returned home to his owne house: hee acquainted a wise and reverend man, with the answere which king Salomon gave him, whereto hee received this reply. No better or truer advise could possibly be given you, for well you know, that you love not any man; but the bountiful banquets you bestow on them, is more in respect of your owne vaine-glory, then any kind affection you beare to them: Learne then to love men, as Salomon advised, and you shall be beloved of them againe. Thus our unruly Wife became mildely reclaimed, and the yong Gentleman, by loving others, found the fruits of reciporall affection.

The Ninth Day, the Tenth Novell

In just reproofe of such foolish men, as will be governed by over-Light beleefe

John de Barolo, at the instance and request of his Gossip Pietro da Tresanti, made an enchantment, to have his wife become a Mule. And when it came to the fastening on of the taile; Gossip Pietro by saying she should have no taile at all, spoyled the whole enchantment.

This Novell reported by the Queene, caused a little murmuring among the Ladies, albeit the men laughed heartely thereat: but after they were all growne silent, Dioneus began in this manner. Gracious Beauties, among many white Doves, one blacke Crow will seeme more sightly, then the very whitest Swanne can doe. In like manner, among a multitude of wise men, sometimes one of much lesse wisedome and discretion, shall not onely increase the splendour and Majestie of their maturity, but also give an addition of delight and solace.

In which regard, you all being modest and discreet Ladies, and my selfe more, much defective in braine, then otherwise able: in making your vertues shine gloriously, through the evident apparance of mine owne weakenesse, you should esteeme the better of mee, by how much I seeme the more cloudy and obscure. And consequently, I ought to have the larger scope of liberty, by plainely expressing what I am, and be the more patiently endured by you all, in saying what absurdly I shall; then I should be if my speeches savoured of absolute wisdome. I will therfore tell you a Tale, which shall not be of any great length, whereby you may comprehend, how carefully such things should be observed, which are commanded by them, as can effect matters by the power of enchantment, and how little delayance also ought to be in such, as would not have an enchantment to be hindered.

About a yeare already past since, there dwelt at Barletta, an honest man, called John de Barolo, who because he was of poore condition; for maintenance in his contented estate, provided himselfe of a Mule, to carry commodities from place to place, where Faires and Markets were in request, but most especially to Apuglia, buying and selling in the nature of a petty Chapman. Travelling thus thorow the Countreyes, he grew into great and familiar acquaintance, with one who named himselfe Pietro da Tresanti, following the same Trade of life as he did, carrying his commodities upon an Asse. In signe of amitie, according to the Countreyes custome, he never tearmed him otherwise then by the name of Gossip Pietro and alwayes when he came to Barletta, he brought him to his own house, taking it as his Inne, entreating him very friendly, and in the best manner he could devise to doe. On the other side, Gossip Pietro being very poore, having but one simple habitation in the village of Tresanti, hardly sufecient for him, and an handsome young woman which he had to his wife, as also his Asse: evermore when John de Barolo came to Tresanti, he would bring him to his poore abiding, with all his uttermost abilitie of entertainement, in due acknowledgement of the courtesie he afforded to him at Barletta. But when he came to take repose in the night season, Gossip Pietro could not lodge him as gladly he would: because he had but one silly bed, wherein himselfe and his wife lay; so that John de Barolo was faigne to lie on a little straw, in a small stable, close adjoyning by his owne Mule and the Asse.

The woman understanding, what good and honest welcome, Gossip John afforded her husband, when he came to Barletta, was often very willing to goe lodge with an honest neighbour of hers, called Carapresa di Gludice Leo, because the two Gossips might both lie together in one bed; wherewith divers times she acquainted her Husband, but by no meanes he would admit it.

At one time among the rest, as she was making the same motion againe to her Husband, that his friend might be lodged in better manner: Gossip John thus spake to her. Good Zita Carapresa, never molest your selfe for me, because I lodge to mine owne contentment, and so much the rather, in regard that whensoever I list: I can convert my Mule into a faire young woman, to give mee much delight in the night-season, and afterward make her a Mule againe: thus am I never without her company.

The young woman wondring at these words, and beleeving he did not fable in them: she told them to her Husband, with this addition beside, Pietro (quoth she) if he be such a deare friend to thee, as thou hast often avouched to me; wish him to instruct thee in so rare a cunning, that thou maist make a Mule of me; then shalt thou have both an Asse and a Mule to travell withall about thy businesse, whereby thy benefit will be double: and when we returne home to our house, then thou maist make mee thy wife againe, in the same condition as I was before. Gossip Pietro, who was (indeed) but a very Coxecombe; beleeved also the words to be true, yeelding therefore the more gladly to her advise; and moving the matter to his Gossip John, to teach him such a wonderfull secret, which would redound so greatly to his benefit: but John began to disswade him from it, as having spoken it in merriment, yet perceiving, that no contradiction would serve to Frevaile, thus he began.

Seeing you will needs have it so, let us rise to morrow morning before day, as in our travell we use to doe, and then I will shew you how it is to be done: onely I must and doe confesse, that the most difficult thing of all the rest, is, to fasten on the taile, as thou shalt see.

Gossip Pietro and his wife, could hardly take any rest all the night long, so desirous they were to have the deed done; and therefore when it drew towards day, up they arose, and calling Gossip John, he came presently to them in his shirt, and being in the Chamber with them, he said. I know not any man in the world, to whom I would disclose this secret, but to you, and therefore because you so earnestly desire it, I am the more willing to doe it. Onely you must consent, to doe whatsoever I say, if you are desirous to have it done. Faithfully they ey,h promised to performe all, whereupon John delivering a lighted Candle to Gossip Petro, to hold in his hand, said. Marke well what I doe, and remember all the words I say: but be very carefull, that whatsoever thou hearest or seest, thou doe not speake one word, for then the enchantment will be utterly overthrowne, onely wish that the taile may be well set on, for therein consisteth all the cunning.

Gossip Pietro holding the Candle, and the woman being prepared as John had appointed her, she bowed her selfe forwardes with her hands set to the ground, even as if she stood upon foure feete. First with his hands he touched her head and face, saying, Heere is the goodly head of a Mule: then handling her disheveld haire, termed them the goodly mane of a Mule. Afterwardes, touching the body, armes, legs, and feete, gave them all the apt names (for those parts) belonging to a Mule, nothing else remaining, but onely the forming of the taile, which when Pietro perceived, how John was preparing to fasten it on (having no way misliked all his former proceeding:) he called to him, saying: Forbeare Gossippe John, my Mule shal have no taile at all, I am contented to have her without a taile.

How now Gossip Pietro? answered John, What hast thou done? Thou hast mard all by this unadvised speaking, even when the worke was almost fully finished. It is no matter Gossip (answered Pietro) I can like my Mule better without a taile, then to see it set on in such manner.

The fond yong woman, more covetously addicted to gayne and commodity, then looking into the knavish intention of her Gossip John; began to grow greatly offended.

Beast as thou art (quoth she to her Husband) why hast thou overthrowne both thine owne good Fortune and mine? Diddest thou ever see a Mule without a taile? Wouldst thou have had him make me a monster? Thou art wretchedly poore, and when we might have bin enriched for ever, by a secret knowne to none but our selves, thou art the Asse that hast defeated all, and made thy friend to become thine enemy. Gossippe John began to pacifie the woman, with solemne protestations of his still continuing friendship, albeit (afterwards) there was no further desiring of any more Mulemaking: but Gossip Pietro fel to his former Trading onely with his Asse, as he was no lesse himselfe, and hee went no more with Gossip John to the Faires in Apuglia, neyther did he ever request, to have the like peece of service done for him.

Although there was much laughing at this Novell, the Ladies understanding it better, then Dioneus intended that they should have done, yet himselfe scarsely smiled. But the Novels being all ended, and the Sunne beginning to loose his heate; the Queene also knowing, that the full period of her government was come: dispossessing her selfe of the Crowne, shee placed it on the head of Pamphilus, who was the last of all to be honoured with this dignity; wherefore (with a gracious smile) thus she spake to him.

Sir, it is no meane charge which you are to undergo, in making amends (perhaps) for all the faults committed by my selfe and the rest, who have gone before you in the same authority; and, may it prove as prosperous unto you, as I was willing to create you our King. Pamphilus having received the Honor with a chearfull mind, thus answered. Madam, your sacred vertues, and those (beside) remaining in my other Subjects, will (no doubt) worke so effectually for me, that (as the rest have done) I shall deserve your generall good opinion. And having given order to the Master of the Houshold (as all his predecessors had formerly done, for every necessary occasion; he turned to the Ladies, who expected his gracious favour, and said.

Bright Beauties, it was the discretion of your late Soveraigne and Queene, in regard of ease and recreation unto your tyred spirits, to grant you free liberty, for discoursing on whatsoever your selves best pleased: wherefore, having enjoyed such a time of rest, I am of opinion, that it is best to returne once more to our wonted Law, in which respect, I would have every one to speake in this manner to morrow. Namety, of those men or women, who have done any thing bountifully or magnificently, either in matter of amity, or otherwise. The relation of such worthy arguments, wil (doubtlesse) give an addition to our very best desires, for a free and forward inclination to good actions, whereby our lives (how short soever they bee) may perpetuate an ever-living renowne and fame, after our mortall bodies are converted into dust, which (otherwise) are no better then those of bruite beasts, reason onely distinguishing this difference, that as they live to perish utterly, so we respire to reigne in eternity. Theame was exceedingly pleasing to the whole Company; who being all risen, by permission of the new King, every one fel to their wonted recreations, as best agreed with their owne disposition; untill the houre for Supper came, wherein they were served very sumptuously. But being risen from the Table, they began their dances, among which, many sweet Sonnets were enterlaced, with such delicate Tunes as moved admiration. Then the King commanded Madam Neiphila, to sing a song in his name, or how her selfe stood best affected. And immediatly with a cleare and rare voice, thus she began.

The Song

The chorus sung by all the companie

In the Spring season,

Maides have best reason,

To dance and sing;

With Chaplets of Flowers,

To decke up their Bowers,

And all in honour of the Spring.

I heard a Nimph that sate alone,

By a fountaines side:

Much her hard Fortune to bemone,

For still she cride:

Ah! Who will pitty her distresse,

That findes no foe like ficklenesse?

For truth lives not in men:

Poore soule, why live I then?

In the Spring season, etc.

Oh, How can mighty Love permit,

Such a faithlesse deed,

And not in justice punish it

As treasons meed?

I am undone through perjury,

Although I loved constantly:

But truth lives not in men,

Poore soule, why live I then?

In the Spring season, etc.

When I did follow Dyans traine,

As a loyall Maide,

I never felt oppressing paine,

Nor was dismaide.

But when I listened Loves alluring,

Then I wandred from assuring.

For truth lives not in men:

Poore soule, why live I then?

In the Spring season, etc.

Adiew to all my former joyes,

When I lived at ease,

And welcome now those sad annoies

Which do most displease.

And let none pitty her distresse,

That fell not, but by ficklenesse,

For truth lives not in men,

Alas! why live I then?

In the Spring season,

Maides have best reason,

To dance and sing;

With Chaplets of Flowers,

To decke up their Bowers,

And all in honour of the Spring.

This Song, most sweetly sung by Madame Neiphila, was especially commended, both by the King, and all the rest of the Ladies. Which being fully finished, the King gave oder, that everie one should repaire to their Chambers, because a great part of the night was already spent.

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/b/boccaccio/giovanni/b664d/book9.html

Last updated Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 13:31