From an Adaptation of the Tale of Lydia and Nicostratus (VII.9) by Thomas Moore

"She soon to Nicostratus said,
'A truth to tell I'm half afraid,
You cannot surely but observe,
Your pages' conduct while they serve.'
'Yes, that I have most certainly,
And often thought to ask them why.'
'My love, the youths would deem it treason,
To let you know the real reason;
But my regard surmounts all fear,
So plainly I must tell you, dear,
What ever lately has befell,
Your breath exhales a carious smell;
A grievous circumstance to me,
As well as to your company.'
Exclaim'd he, 'What! my breath impure,
No tooth have I unsound I'm sure.'
'Perhaps you may, love, open wide,
Your mouth and let me look inside.'
She then examin'd every part,
And soon exclaim'd, 'My precious heart!
So long how could you with it bear,
Here's one as rotten as [a] pear;
If its extraction you delay,
'Twill all your sounder ones decay.
So I advise, beyond a doubt,
Immediately you get it out.

1812, Spirit of Boccaccio's Decameron (published anonymously), vol. 3, pp. 188-89.

Thomas Moore's animated description of the scene from Decameron VII.9 wherein Lydia manipulates her husband into allowing her to remove his tooth successfully preserves the humorous nature of the tale. In fact, Boccaccio's fluent yet less lively prose conveys a certain violent nature of the situation that does not come through in Moore's adaptation. This poem, and perhaps the entirety of Moore's Spirit of Boccaccio's Decameron, can be viewed as a more light-hearted version of Boccaccio's tale.

(S. K.)

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