[ 001 ] No sooner was Dioneo's story ended, than Lauretta, witting that therewith the end of her sovereignty was come, bestowed her meed of praise on Pietro Canigiano for his good counsel, and also on Salabaetto for the equal sagacity which he displayed in carrying it out, and then, taking off the laurel wreath, set it on the head of Emilia, saying graciously: “ I know not, Madam, how debonair a queen you may prove, but at least we shall have in you a fair one. Be it your care, then, that you exercise your authority in a manner answerable to your charms. ” Which said, she resumed her seat.
[ 002 ] Not so much to receive the crown, as to be thus commended to her face and before the company for that which ladies are wont to covet the most, Emilia was a little shamefast; a tint like that of the newly-blown rose overspread her face, and a while she stood silent with downcast eyes: then, as the blush faded away, she raised them; and having given her seneschal her commands touching all matters pertaining to the company, thus she spake: [ 003 ] “ Sweet my ladies, 'tis matter of common experience that, when the oxen have swunken a part of the day under the coercive yoke, they are relieved thereof and loosed, and suffered to go seek their pasture at their own sweet will in the woods; [ 004 ] nor can we fail to observe that gardens luxuriant with diversity of leafage are not less, but far more fair to see, than woods wherein is nought but oaks. Wherefore I deem that, as for so many days our discourse has been confined within the bounds of certain laws, 'twill be not only meet but profitable for us, being in need of relaxation, to roam a while, and so recruit our strength to undergo the yoke once more. [ 005 ] And therefore I am minded that to-morrow the sweet tenor of your discourse be not confined to any particular theme, but that you be at liberty to discourse on such wise as to each may seem best; for well assured am I that thus to speak of divers matters will be no less pleasurable than to limit ourselves to one topic; and by reason of this enlargement my successor in the sovereignty will find you more vigorous, and be therefore all the more forward to reimpose upon you the wonted restraint of our laws. ” [ 006 ] Having so said, she dismissed all the company until supper-time.
[ 007 ] All approved the wisdom of what the queen had said; and being risen betook them to their several diversions, the ladies to weave garlands and otherwise disport them, the young men to play and sing; and so they whiled away the hours until supper-time; which being come, they gathered about the fair fountain, and took their meal with gay and festal cheer. Supper ended, they addressed them to their wonted pastime of song and dance. [ 008 ] At the close of which the queen, notwithstanding the songs which divers of the company had already gladly accorded them, called for another from Pamfilo, who without the least demur thus sang:
[ 009 ] So great, O Love, the blissThrough thee I prove, so jocund my estate,That in thy flame to burn I bless my fate!
[ 010 ] Such plenitude of joy my heart doth knowOf that high joy and rare,Wherewith thou hast me blest,As, bounds disdaining, still doth overflow,And by my radiant airMy blitheness manifest;For by thee thus possessedWith love, where meeter 'twere to venerate,I still consume within thy flame elate.
[ 011 ] Well wot I, Love, no song may e'er reveal,Nor any sign declareWhat in my heart is pent:Nay, might they so, that were I best conceal,Whereof were others ware,'Twould serve but to tormentMe, whose is such content,That weak were words and all inadequateA tittle of my bliss to adumbrate.
[ 012 ] Who would have dreamed that e'er in mine embraceHer I should clip and foldWhom there I still do feel,Or as 'gainst her face e'er to lay my faceAttain such grace untold,And unimagined weal?Wherefore my bliss I sealOf mine own heart within the circuit strait,And still in thy sweet flame luxuriate.
[ 013 ] So ended Pamfilo his song: whereto all the company responded in full chorus; nor was there any but gave to its words an inordinate degree of attention, endeavóuring by conjecture to penetrate that which he intimated that 'twas meet he should keep secret. Divers were the interpretations hazarded, but all were wide of the mark. At length, however, the queen, seeing that ladies and men alike were fain of rest, bade all betake them to bed.← PreviousNext →