Whereon, All The Discourses Do Passe Under The Government Of The Most Noble Lady Fiammetta: Concerning Such Persons, As Have Bene Successefull In Their Love, After Many Hard And Perillous Misfortunes.
Now began the Sunne to dart foorth his golden beames, when Madam Fiammetta (incited by the sweete singing Birdes, which since the breake of day, sat merrily chanting on the trees) arose from her bed: as all the other Ladies likewise did, and the three young Gentlemen descending downe into the fields, where they walked in a gentle pace on the greene grasse, untill the Sunne were risen a little higher. On many pleasant matters they conferred together, as they walked in severall companies, till at the length the Queene, finding the heate to enlarge it selfe strongly, returned backe to the Castle; where when they were all arrived, she commanded, that after this mornings walking, their stomackes should be refreshed with wholsom Wines, as also divers sorts of banquetting stuffe. Afterward, they all repaired into the Garden, not departing thence, the houre of dinner was come: at which time, the Master of the houshold, having prepared every thing in decent readinesse, after a solemne song was sung, by order from the Queene, they were seated:
When they had dined, to their own liking and contentment, they began (in continuation of their former order) to exercise divers dances, and afterward voyces to their instruments, and many pretty Madrigals and Roundelayes. Upon the finishing of these delights, the Queene gave them leave to take their rest, when such as were so minded, went to sleep, others solaced themselves in the Garden. But after midday was overpast, they met (according to their wonted manner) and as the Queene had commanded, at the faire Fountaine; where she being placed in her seate royall, and casting her eye upon Pamphilus, she bad him begin the dayes discourses, of happy successe in love, after disastrous and troublesome accidents; who yeelding thereto with humble reverence, thus began.
Many Novels (gracious Ladies) do offer themselves to my memory, wherewith to beginne so pleasant a day, as it is her Highnesse desire that this should be: among which plenty, I esteeme one above all the rest, because you may comprehend thereby, not onely the fortunate conclusion, wherewith we intend to begin our day; but also, how mighty the forces of Love are, deserving to be both admired and reverenced. Albeit there are many, who scarsely knowing what they say, do condemne them with infinite grosse imputations: which I purpose to disprove, and (I hope) to your no little pleasing.[Hide Induction]
According to the ancient Annales of the Cypriots, there sometime lived in Cyprus, a Noble Gentleman, who was commonly called Aristippus, and exceeded all other of the Country in the goods of Fortune. Divers children he had, but (amongst the rest) a Sonne, in whose birth he was more infortunate then any of the rest; and continually greeved, in regard, that having all the compleate perfections of beauty, good forme, and manly parts, surpassing all other youths of his age or stature, yet hee wanted the reall ornament of the soule, reason and judgement; being (indeed a meere Ideot or Foole,) and no better hope to be expected of him. His true name, according as he received it by Baptisme, was Galesus, but because neyther by the laborious paines of his Tutors indulgence, and faire endevour of his parents, or ingenuity of any other, he could not be brought to civility of life, understanding of Letters, or common carriage of a reasonable creature: by his grosse and deformed kinde of speech, his qualities also savouring rather of brutish breeding, then any way derived from manly education; as an Epithite of scorne and derision, generally, they gave him the name of Chynon, which in their native Countrey language, and divers other beside, signifieth a very Sot or Foole, and so was he termed by every one.
This lost kinde of life in him, was no meane burthen of greefe unto his Noble Father, and all hope being already spent, of any future happy recovery, he gave command (because he would not alwaies have such a sorrow in his sight) that he should live at a Farme of his owne in a Country Village, among his Peazants and Plough-Swaines. Which was not any way distastefull to Chynon, but well agreed with his owne naturall disposition; for their rurall qualities, and grosse behaviour pleased him beyond the Cities civility. Chynon living thus at his Fathers Countrey Village, exercising nothing else but rurall demeanour, such as then delighted him above all other: it chanced upon a day about the houre of noone, as hee was walking over the fields, with a long staffe on his necke, which commonly he used to carry; he entred in to a small thicket, reputed the goodliest in all those quarters, and by reason it was then the month of May, the Trees had their leaves fairely shot forth.
When he had walked through the thicket, it came to passe, that (even as good Fortune guided him) hee came into a faire Meadow, on every side engirt with and in one corner thereof stoode a goodly Fountaine, whose current was both coole and cleare. Hard by it, upon the greene grasse, he espied a very beautifull young Damosell, seeming to be fast asleepe, attired in such fine loose garments, as hidde very little of her white body: onely from the girdle downward, she ware a kirtle made close unto her, of interwoven delicate silke; and at her feete lay two other Damosels sleeping, and a servant in the same manner. No sooner had Chynon fixed his eye upon her, but he stood leaning upon his staffe; and viewed her very advisedly, without speaking word, and in no meane admiration, as if he had never seene the forme of a woman before. He began then to feele in his harsh rurall understanding (whereinto never till now, either by painfull instruction, or all other good meanes used to him, any honest civility had power of impression) a strange kinde of humour to awake, which informed his grosse and dull spirite, that this Damosell was the very fairest, which ever any living man beheld.
Then he began to distinguish her parts, commending the tresses of her haire, which he imagined to be of gold; her forehead, nose, mouth, necke, armes, but (above all) her brests, appearing (as yet) but onely to shew themselves, like two little mountaines. So that, of a fielden clownish lout, he would needs now become a Judge of beauty, coveting earnestly in his soule, to see her eyes, which were veiled over with sound sleepe, that kept them fast enclosed together, and onely to looke on them, hee wished a thousand times, that she would awake. For, in his judgement, she excelled all the women that ever he had seene, and doubted, whether she were some Goddesse or no; so strangely was he metamorphosed from folly, to a sensible apprehension, more then common. And so farre did this sodaine knowledge in him extend; that he could conceive of divine and celestiall things, and that they were more to be admired and reverenced, then those of humane or terrene consideration; wherefore the more gladly he contented himselfe, to tarry till she awaked of her owne accord. And although the time of stay seemed tedious to him, yet notwithstanding, he was overcome with such extraordinary contentment, as he had no power to depart thence, but stood as if he had bin glued fast to the ground.
After some indifferent respite of time, it chanced that the young Damosel (who was named Iphigenia) awaked before any of the other with her, and lifted up her head, with her eyes wide open, she saw Chynon standing before her, leaning still on his staffe; whereat marvailing not a little, she saide unto him: Chynon, whither wanderest thou, or what dost thou seeke for in this wood? Chynon, who not onely by his countenance but likewise his folly, Nobility of birth, and wealthy possessions of his father, was generally knowne throughout the Countrey, made no answere at all to the demand of Iphigenia: but so soone as he beheld her eyes open, he began to observe them with a constant regard, and being perswaded in his soule, that from them flowed such an unutterable singularity, as he had never felt till then. Which the young Gentlewoman well noting, she began to wax fearefull, least these stedfast lookes of his, should incite his rusticity to some attempt, which might redound to her dishonour: wherefore awaking her women and servants, and they all being risen, she saide. Farewell Chynon, I leave thee to thine owne good Fortune; whereto hee presently replyed, saying: I will go with you. Now, although the Gentlewoman refused his company, as dreading some acte of incivility from him: yet could she not devise any way to be rid of him, till he had brought her to her owne dwelling, where taking leave mannerly of her, he went directly home to his Fathers house, saying: Nothing should compell him to live any longer in the muddy Country. And albeit his Father was much offended hereat, and all the rest of his kindred and friends: (yet not knowing how to helpe it) they suffered him to continue there still, expecting the cause of this his so sodaine alteration, from the course of life, which contented him so highly before.
Chynon being now wounded to the heart (where never any civill instruction could before get entrance) with loves piercing dart, by the bright beauty of Iphigenia, mooved much admiration (falling from one change to another) in his Father, Kindred, and all else that knew him. For first, he requested of his Father, that he might be habited and respected like to his other Brethren, whereto right gladly he condiscended. And frequenting the company of civill youths, observing also the cariage of Gentlemen, especially such as were amorously enclined: he grew to a beginning in short time (to the wonder of every one) not onely to understand the first instruction of letters, but also became most skilfull, even amongst them that were best exercised in Philosophy. And afterward, love to Iphigenia being the sole occasion of this happy alteration, not onely did his harsh and clownish voyce convert it selfe more mildely, but also hee became a singular Musitian, and could perfectly play on any instrument. Beside, he tooke delight in the riding and managing of great horses, and finding himselfe of a strong and able body, he exercised all kinds of Military Disciplines, as well by Sea, as on the land. And, to be breefe, because I would not seeme tedious in the repetition of all his vertues, scarsly had he attained to the fourth yeare, after he was thus falne in love, but hee became generally knowne, to be the most civil, wise, and worthy Gentleman, aswell for all vertues enriching the minde, as any whatsoever to beautifie the body, that very hardly he could be equalled throughout the whole kingdome of Cyprus.
What shall we say then (vertuous Ladies) concerning this Chynon? Surely nothing else, but that those high and divine vertues, infused into his gentle soule, were by envious Fortune bound and shut up in some small angle of his intellect, which being shaken and set at liberty by love, (as having a farre more potent power then Fortune, in quickning and reviving the dull drowsie spirits) declared his mighty and soveraigne Authority, in setting free so many faire and precious vertues unjustly detayned, to let the worlds eye behold them truly, by manifest testimony from whence he can deliver those spirits subjected to his power, and guid them (afterward) to the highest degrees of honour. And although Chynon by affecting Iphigenia, failed in some particular things; yet notwithstanding, his Father Aristippus duely considering, that love had made him a man, whereas (before) he was no better then a beast: not onely endured all patiently, but also advised him therein, to take such courses as best liked himselfe. Neverthelesse, Chynon (who refused to be called Galesus, which was his naturall name indeed) remembring that Iphigenia tearmed him Chynon, and coveting (under this title) to accomplish the issue of his honest amorous desire: made many motions to Ciphaeus the Father of Iphigenia, that he would be pleased to let him enjoy her in marriage. But Ciphaeus told him, that he had already passed his promise for her, to a Gentleman of Rhodes, named Pasimondo, which promise he religiously intended to performe.
The time being come, which was concluded on for Iphigeniaes marriage, in regard that the affianced husband had sent for her: Chynon thus communed with his owne thoughts. Now is the time (quoth he) to let my divine Mistresse see, how truly and honourably I doe affect her, because (by her) I am become a man. But if I could be possessed of her, I should growe more glorious, then the common condition of a mortall man, and have her I will, or loose my life in the adventure. Being thus resolved, he prevailed with divers young Gentlemen his friends, making them of his faction, and secretly prepared a Shippe, furnished with all things for a Naval fight, setting sodainly forth to Sea, and hulling abroad in those parts by which the vessell should passe, that must convey Iphigenia to Rhodes to her husband. After many honours done to them, who were to transport her thence unto Rhodes, being imbarked, they set saile upon their Bon viaggio.
Chynon, who slept not in a businesse so earnestly importing him, set on them (the day following) with his Ship, and standing aloft on the decke, cryed out to them that had the charge of Iphigenia, saying. Strike your sayles, or else determine to be sunke in the Sea. The enemies to Chynon, being nothing danted with his words, prepared to stand upon their owne defence; which made Chynon, after the former speeches delivered, and no answer returned, to command the grapling Irons to be cast forth, which tooke such fast hold on the Rhodians shippe, that (whether they would or no) both the vessels joyned close together. And he shewing himselfe fierce like a Lyon, not tarrying to be seconded by any, stepped aboord the Rhodians ship, as if he made no respect at all of them, and having his sword ready drawne in his hand (incited by the vertue of unfaigned love) laied about him on all sides very manfully. Which when the men of Rhodes perceived, casting downe their weapons, and all of them (as it were) with one voyce, yeelded themselves his prisoners: whereupon he said.
Honest Friends, neither desire of booty, nor hatred to you, did occasion my departure from Cyprus, thus to assaile you with drawne weapons: but that which hereto hath most mooved me, is a matter highly importing to me, and very easie for you to grant, and so enjoy your present peace. I desire to have faire Iphigenia from you, whom I love above all other Ladies living, because I could not obtaine her of her father, to make her my lawfull wife in marriage. Love is the ground of my instant Conquest, and I must use you as my mortall enemies, if you stand upon any further tearmes with me, and do not deliver her as mine owne: for your Pasimondo, must not enjoy what is my right, first by vertue of my love, and now by Conquest: Deliver her therefore, and depart hence at your pleasure.
The men of Rhodes, being rather constrained thereto, then of any free disposition in themselves, with teares in their eyes, delivered Iphigenia to Chynon; who beholding her in like manner to weepe, thus spake unto her. Noble Lady, do not any way discomfort your selfe, for I am your Chynon, who have more right and true title to you, and much better doe deserve to enjoy you, by my long continued affection to you, then Pasimondo can any way plead; because you belong to him but onely by promise. So, bringing her aboord his owne ship, where the Gentlemen his companions gave her kinde welcome, without touching any thing else belonging to the Rhodians, he gave them free liberty to depart.
Chynon being more joyfull, by the obtaining of his hearts desire, then any other conquest else in the world could make him, after he had spent some time in comforting Iphigenia, who as yet sate sadly sighing; he consulted with his companions, who joyned with him in opinion, that their safest course was, by no meanes to returne to Cyprus; and therefore all (with one consent) resolved to set saile for Candye, where every one made account, but especially Chynon, in regard of ancient and new combined Kindred, as also very intimate friends, to finde very worthy entertainement, and so to continue there safely with Iphigenia. But Fortune, who was so favourable to Chynon, in granting him so pleasing a Conquest, to shew her constancy, so sodainly changed the inestimable joy of our jocond Lover, into as heavy sorrow and disaster. For, foure houres were not fully compleated, since his departure from the Rhodians, but darke night came upon them, and he sitting conversing with his faire Mistresse, in the sweetest solace of his soule; the winds began to blow roughly, the Seas swelled angerly, and a tempest arose impetuously, that no man could see what his duty was to do, in such a great unexpected distresse, nor how to warrant themselves from perishing.
If this accident were displeasing to poore Chynon, I thinke the question were in vaine demanded: for now it seemeth to him, that the Godds had granted his cheefe desire, to the end he should dye with the greater anguish, in losing both his love and life together. His friends likewise, felte the selfesame affliction, but especially Iphigenia, who wept and greeved beyond all measure, to see the ship beaten with such stormy billowes, as threatned her sinking every minute. Impatiently she cursed the love of Chynon, greatly blaming his desperate boldnesse, and maintaining, that so violent a tempest could never happen, but onely by the Gods displeasure, who would not permit him to have a wife against their will; and therefore thus punished his proud presumption, not onely in his unavoidable death, but also that her life must perish for company.
She continuing in these wofull lamentations, and the Mariners labouring all in vaine, because the violence of the tempest encreased more and more, so that every moment they expected wracking: they were carried (contrary to their owne knowledge) very neere unto the Isle of Rhodes, which they being no way able to avoyd, and utterly ignorant of the Coast; for safety of their lives, they laboured to land there if possibly they might. Wherein Fortune was somewhat furtherous to them, driving them into a small gulfe of the Sea, whereinto (but a little while before) the Rhodians, from whom Chynon had taken Iphigenia, were newly entred with their ship. Nor had they any knowledge each of other, till the breake of day (which made the heavens to looke more clearly) gave them discovery of being within a flight shoote together. Chynon looking forth, and espying the same ship which he had left the day before, hee grew exceeding sorrowfull, as fearing that which after followed, and therefore hee willed the Mariners, to get away from her by all their best endeavour, and let fortune afterward dispose of them as she pleased; for into a worse place they could not come, nor fall into the like danger.
The Mariners employed their very utmost paines, and all proved but losse of time: for the winde was so sterne, and the waves so turbulent, that still they drove them the contrary way: so that striving to get forth of the gulfe, whether they would or no, they were driven on land, and instantly knowne to the Rhodians, whereof they were not a little joyfull. The men of Rhodes being landed, ran presently to the neere-neighbouring Villages, where dwelt divers worthy Gentlemen, to whom they reported the arrivall of Chynon, what fortune befell them at Sea, and that Iphigenia might now be recovered againe with chastisement to Chynon for his bold insolence. They being very joyfull of these good newes, took so many men as they could of the same Village, and ran immediately to the Sea side, where Chynon being newly Landed and his people, intending flight into a neere adjoyning Forrest, for defence of himselfe and Iphigenia, they were all taken, led thence to the Village, and afterwards to the chiefe City of Rhodes.
No sooner were they arrived, but Pasimondo, the intended Husband for Iphigenia (who had already heard the tydings) went and complained to the Senate, who appointed a Gentleman of Rhodes named Lysimachus, and being that yeere soveraigne Magistrate over the Rhodians, to go well provided for the apprehension of Chynon and his company, committing them to prison, which accordingly was done. In this manner, the poore unfortunate lover Chynon, lost his faire Iphigenia, having won her in so short a while before, and scarsely requited with so much as a kisse. But as for Iphigenia, she was royally welcommed by many Lords and Ladies of Rhodes, who so kindely comforted her, that she soone forgotte all her greefe and trouble on the Sea, remaining in company of those Ladies and Gentlewomen, untill the day determined for her marriage.
At the earnest entreaty of divers Rhodian Gentlemen, who were in the Ship with Iphigenia, and had their lives courteously saved by Chynon: both he and his friends had their lives likewise spared, although Pasimondo laboured importunately, to have them all put to death; onely they were condemned to perpetuall imprisonment, which (you must thinke) was most greevous to them, as being now hopelesse of any deliverance. But in the meane time, while Pasimondo was ordering his nuptiall preparation, Fortune seeming to repent the wrongs she had done to Chynon, prepared a new accident, whereby to comfort him in this deepe distresse, and in such manner as I will relate unto you.
Pasimondo had a Brother, yonger then he in yeeres, but not a jot inferiour to him in vertue, whose name was Hormisda, and long time the case had bene in question, for his taking to wife a faire young Gentlewoman of Rhodes, called Cassandra; whom Lysimachus the Governour loved very dearly, and hindred her marriage with Hormisda, by divers strange accidents. Now Pasimondo perceiving, that his owne Nuptials required much cost and solemnity, hee thought it very convenient, that one day might serve for both their Weddings, which else would lanch into more lavish expences, and therefore concluded, that his brother Hormisda should marry Cassandra, at the same time as he wedded Iphigenia. Hereupon, he consulted with the Gentlewomans parents, who liking the motion as well as he, the determination was set downe, and one day to effect the duties of both.
When this came to the hearing of Lysimachus, it was very greatly displeasing to him, because now he saw himselfe utterly deprived of al hope to attaine the issue of his desire, if Hormisda received Cassandra in marriage. Yet being a very wise and worthy man, he dissembled his distaste, and began to consider on some apt meanes, whereby to disappoint the marriage once more, which he found impossible to be done, except it were by way of rape or stealth. And that did not appeare to him any difficult matter, in regard of his Office and Authority: onely it would seeme dishonest in him, by giving such an unfitting example. Neverthelesse, after long deliberation, honour gave way to love, and resolutely he concluded to steale her away, whatsoever became of it.
Nothing wanted now, but a convenient company to assist him, and the order how to have it done. Then he remembred Chynon and his friends, whom he detained as his prisoners, and perswaded himselfe, that he could not have a more faithfull friend in such a busines, then Chynon was. Hereupon, the night following, he sent for him into his Chamber, and being alone by themselves, thus he began. Chynon (quoth he) as the Gods are very bountifull, in bestowing their blessings on men, so do they therein most wisely make proofe of their vertues, and such as they finde firme and constant, in all occurrences which may happen, then they make worthy (as valiant spirits) of t very best and highest merites. Now, they being willing to have more certain experience of thy vertues, then those which heretofore thou hast shewne, within the bounds and limits of thy fathers possessions, which I know to be superabounding: perhaps do intend to present thee other occasions, of more important weight and consequence.
For first of all (as I have heard) by the piercing solicitudes of love, of a senselesse creature, that made thee to become a man endued with reason. Afterward, by adverse fortune, and now againe by wearisome imprisonment, it seemeth that they are desirous to make tryall, whether thy manly courage be changed, or no, from that which heretofore it was, when thou enjoyedst a matchlesse beauty, and lost her againe in so short a while. Wherefore, if thy vertue be such as it hath bin, the Gods can never give thee any blessing more worthy acceptance, then she whom they are now minded to bestow on thee: in which respect, to the end that thou mayst re-assume thy wanted heroicke spirit, and become more couragious than ever heretofore, I will acquaint thee withall more at large.
Understand then Noble Chynon, that Pasimondo, the onely glad man of thy misfortune, and diligent sutor after thy death, maketh all hast hee can possibly devise to do, to celebrate his marriage with thy faire Mistresse: because he would plead possession of the prey, which Fortune (when she smiled) did first bestow, and (afterward frowning) tooke from thee againe. Now, that it must needs be very irkesome to thee (at least if thy love bee such, as I am perswaded it is) I partly can collect from my selfe, being intended to be wronged by his brother Hormisda, even in the selfesame maner, and on his marriage day, by taking faire Cassandra from me, the onely Jewell of my love and life. For the prevention of two such notorious injuries, I see that Fortune hath left us no other meanes, but onely the vertue of our courages, and the helpe of our right hands, by preparing our selves to Armes, opening a way to thee, by a second rape or stealth; and to me the first, for absolute possession of our divine Mistresses. Wherefore, if thou art desirous to recover thy losse, I will not onely pronounce liberty to thee (which I thinke thou dost little care for without her) but dare also assure thee to enjoy Iphigenia, so thou wilt assist me in mine enterprize, and follow me in my fortune, if the Gods do let them fall into our power.
You may well imagine, that Chynons dismayed soule was not a little cheared at these speeches; and therefore, without craving any long respit of time for answer, thus he replyed. Lord Lysimachus, in such a busines as this is, you cannot have a faster friend then my selfe, at least, if such good hap may betide me, as you have more then halfe promised: and therefore do no more but command what you would have to be effected by mee, and make no doubt of my courage in the execution: whereon Lysimachus made this answer. Know then Chynon (quoth he) that three dayes hence, these marriages are to bee celebrated in the houses of Pasimondo and Hormisda: upon which day, thou, thy friends, and my selfe (with some others, in whom I repose especiall trust) by the friendly favour of night, will enter into their houses, while they are in the middest of their joviall feasting; and (seizing on the two Brides) beare them thence to a Shippe, which I will have lye in secret, waiting for our comming, and kill all such as shall presume to impeach us. This direction gave great contentment to Chynon, who remained still in prison, without revealing a word to his owne friends, untill the limited time was come.
Upon day, performed with great and magnificent Triumph, there was not a corner in the Brethrens houses, but it sung joy in the highest key. Lysimachus, after he had ordred all things as they ought to be, and the houre for dispat approached neere; hee made a division in three parts, of Chynon, his followers, and his owne friends, being all well armed under their outward habites. Having first used some encouraging speeches, for more resolute prosecution of the enterprize, hee sent troope secretly to the Port, that they might not bee hindred of going aboord the ship, when the urgent necessity should require it. Passing with the other two traines of Pasimondo, he left the one at the doore, that such as were in the house, might not shut them up fast, and so impeach their passage forth. Then with Chynon, and the third band of Confederates, he ascended the staires up into the Hall, where he found the Brides with store of Ladies and Gentlewomen, all sitting in comely order at Supper. Rushing in roughly among the attendants, downe they threw the Tables, and each of them laying hold of his Mistris, delivered them into the hands of their followers, commanding that they should bee carried aboord the ship, for avoiding of further inconveniences.
This hurrie and amazement being in the house, the Brides weeping, the Ladies lamenting, and all the servants confusedly wondering; Chynon and Lysimachus (with their Friends) having their weapons drawn in their hands, made all opposers to give them way, and so gayned the stair head for their owne descending. There stood Pasimonda, with an huge long Staffe in his hand, to hinder their passage downe the stayres; but Chynon saluted him so soundly on the head, that it being cleft in twaine, he fell dead before his feete. His Brother Hormisda came to his rescue, and sped in the selfe-same manner as he had done; so did divers other beside, whom the companions to Lysimachus and Chynon, either slew out-right, or wounded.
So they left the house, filled with blood, teares, and outcries, going on together, without any hinderance, and so brought both the Brides aboord the ship, which they rowed away instantly with their Oares. For, now the shore was full of armed people, who came in rescue of the stolne Ladies: but all in vaine, because they were lanched into the main, and sayled on merrily towards Candye. Where being arrived, they were worthily entertained by honourable Friends and Kinsmen, who pacified all unkindnesses betweene them and their Mistresses: And, having accepted them in lawfull marriage, there they lived in no meane joy and contentment: albeit there was a long and troublesome difference (about these rapes) betweene Rhodes and Cyprus.
But yet in the end, by the meanes of Noble Friends and Kindred on either side, labouring to have such discontentment appeased, endangering warre betweene the Kingdomes: after a limited time of banishment, Chynon returned joyfully with his Iphigenia home to Cyprus, and Lysimachus with his beloved Cassandra unto Rhodes, each living in their severall Countries, with much felicity.[ Hide First Novell ]
When the Queene perceived, that the Novell recited by Pamphilus was concluded, which she graced with especiall commendations: shee commanded Madam Aemilia, to take her turne as next in order; whereupon she thus began. Me thinkes it is a matter of equity, that every one should take delight in those things, whereby the recompence may be noted, answerable to their one affection. And because I rather desire to walke along by the paths of pleasure, then dwell on any ceremonious or scrupulous affectation, I shall the more gladly obey our Queene to day, then yesterday I did our melancholly King.
Understand then (Noble Ladies) that neere to Sicily, there is a small Island, commonly called Liparis, wherein (not long since) lived a yong Damosell, named Constance, born of very sufficient parentage in the same Island. There dwelt also a yong man called Martuccio Gomito, of comely feature, well conditioned, and not unexpert in many vertuous qualities; affecting Constance in harty manner: and she so answerable to him in the same kinde, that to be in his company, was her onely felicity. Martuccio coveting to enjoy her in marriage, made his intent knowne to her Father: who upbraiding him with poverty, tolde him plainly that he should not have her. Martuccio greeving to see himselfe thus despised, because he was poore: made such good meanes, that he was provided of a small Barke; and calling such friends (as he thought fit) to his association, made a solemne vow, that he would never returne backe to Liparis, untill he was rich, and in better condition.
In the nature and course of a Rover or Pirate, so put thence to sea, coasting all about Barbarie, robbing and spoyling such as he met with; who were of no greater strength then himselfe: wherein Fortune was so favourable to him, that he became wealthy in a very short while. But as felicities are not alwayes permanent, so he and his followers, not contenting themselves with sufficient riches: by greedy seeking to get more, happened to be taken by certaine ships of the Sarazins, and so were robbed themselves of all that they had gotten, yet they resisted them stoutly a long while together, though it proved to the losse of many lives among them. When the Sarazens had sunke his ship in the Sea, they tooke him with them to Thunis, where he was imprisoned, and lived in extreamest misery.
Newes came to Liparis, not onely by one, but many more beside, that all those which departed thence in the small Barke with Martuccio, were drowned in the Sea, and not a man escaped. When Constance, heard these unwelcome tydings (who was exceeding full of greefe, for his so desperate departure) she wept and lamented extraordinarily, desiring now rather to dye, then live any longer. Yet she had not the heart, to lay any violent hand on her selfe, but rather to end her dayes by some new kinde of necessity. And departing privately from her Fathers house, she went to the Port or Haven, where (by chance) she found a small Fisher-boate, lying distant from the other vessels, the owners whereof being all gone on shore, and it well furnished with Masts, Sailes, and Oares, she entred into it; and putting forth the Oares, being somewhat skilfull in sayling, (as generally all the Women of that Island are) she so well guided the Sailes, Rudder, and Oares, that she was quickly farre off from the Land, and soly remained at the mercy of the windes. For thus she had resolved with her selfe, that the Boat being uncharged, and without a guide, would either be overwhelmed by the windes, or split in peeces against some Rocke; by which meanes she could [not] escape although she would, but (as it was her desire) must needs be drowned.
In this determination, wrapping a mantle about her head, and lying downe weeping in the boats bottome, she hourely expected her finall expiration: but it fell out otherwise, and contrary to her desperate intention, because the wind turning to the North, and blowing very gently, without disturbing the Seas a jot, they conducted the small Boat in such sort, that after the night of her entering into it, and the morrowes sailing untill the evening, it came within an hundre leagues of Thunis and to a strond neere a Towne called Susa. The young Damosell knew not whether she were on the sea or land; as one, who not by any accident hapning, lifted up her head to looke about her, neither intended ever to doe. Now it came to passe, that as the boate was driven to the shore, a poore woman stood at the Sea side, washing certaine Fishermens Nets; and seeing the boate comming towards her under saile, without any person appearing in it, she wondred thereat not a little. It being close at the shore, and she thinking the Fishermen to be asleepe therein: stept boldly, and looked into the boate, where she saw not any body, but onely the poore distressed Damosell, whose sorrowes having brought her now into a sound sleepe, the woman gave many cals before she could awake her, which at the length she did, and looked very strangely about her.
The poore woman perceyving by her habite that she was a Christian, demanded of her (in speaking Latine) how it was possible for her, being all alone in the boate, to arrive there in this manner? When Constance, heard her speake the Latine tongue, she began to doubt, least some contrary winde had turned her backe to Liparis againe, and starting up sodainly, to looke with better advice about her, shee saw her selfe at Land: and not knowing the Countrey, demanded of the poore woman where she was? Daughter (quoth she) you are heere hard by Susa in Barbarie. Which Constance hearing, and plainly perceyving, that death had denied to end her miseries, fearing least she should receive some dishonour, in such a barbarous unkinde Country, and not knowing what should now become of her, shee sate downe by the boates side, wringing her hands, and weeping bitterly.
The good Woman did greatly compassionate her case, and prevailed so well by gentle speeches, that she conducted her into her owne poore habitation, where at length she understoode, by what meanes shee hapned thither so strangely. And perceyving her to be fasting, she set such homely bread as she had before her, a few small Fishes, and a Crewse of Water, praying her for to accept of that poore entertainment, which meere necessity compelled her to do, and shewed her selfe very thankefull for it.
Constance hearing that she spake the Latine language so well; desired to know what she was. Whereto the old woman thus answered: Gentlewoman (quoth she) I am of Trapanum, named Carapresa, and am a servant in this Countrey to certaine Christian Fishermen. The young Maiden (albeit she was very full of sorrow) hearing her name to be Carapresa, conceived it as a good augury to her selfe, and that she had heard the name before, although she knew not what occasion should move her thus to do. Now began her hopes to quicken againe, and yet she could not relie upon what ground; nor was she so desirous of death as before, but made more precious estimation of her life, and without any further declaration of her selfe or Countrey, she entreated the good woman (even for charities sake) to take pitty on her youth, and helpe her with such good advice, to prevent all injuries which might happen to her, in such a solitary wofull condition.
Carapresa having heard her request, like a good woman as she was, left Constance in her poore Cottage, and went hastily to leave her nets in safety: which being done, she returned backe againe, and covering Constance with her Mantle, led her on to Susa with her, where being arrived, the good woman began in this manner. Constance, I will bring thee to the house of a very worthy Sarazin Lady, to whom I have done many honest services, according as she pleased to command me. She is an ancient woman, full of charity, and to her I will commend thee as best I may, for I am well assured, that she will gladly entertaine thee, and use thee as if thou wert her own daughter. Now, let it be thy part, during thy time of remaining with her, to employ thy utmost diligence in pleasing her, by deserving and gaining her grace, till heaven shall blesse thee with better fortune: and as she promised, so she performed.
The Sarazine Lady, being well stept into yeares, upon the commendable speeches delivered by Carapresa, did the more seriously fasten her eye on Constance, and compassion provoking her to teares, she tooke her by the hand, and (in loving manner) kissed her fore-head. So she led her further into her house, where dwelt divers other women (but not one man) all exercising themselves in severall labours, as working in all sorts of silke, with Imbroideries of Gold and Silver, and sundry other excellent Arts beside, which in short time were very familiar to Constance, and so pleasing grew her behaviour to the old Lady, and all the rest beside; that they loved and delighted in her wonderfully, and (by little and little) she attained to the speaking of their language, although it were very harsh and difficult.
Constance continuing thus in the old Ladies service at Susa, and thought to be dead or lost in her owne Fathers house; it fortuned, that one reigning then as King of Thunis, who named himselfe Mariabdela: there was a young Lord of great birth, and very powerfull, who lived as then in Granada, and pleaded that the Kingdome of Thunis belonged to him. In which respect, he mustred together a mighty Army, and came to assault the King, as hoping to expell him. These newes comming to the eare of Martuccio Gomito, who spake the Barbarian Language perfectly; and hearing it reported, that the King of Thunis made no meane preparation for his owne defence: he conferred with one of his keepers, who had the custody of him, and the rest taken with him, saying: If (quoth he) I could have meanes to speake with the King, and he were pleased to allow of my counsell, I can enstruct him in such a course, as shall assure him to win the honor of the field. The Guard reported these speeches to his Master, who presently acquainted the King therewith, and Martuccio being sent for; he was commanded to speake his minde: Whereupon he began in this manner.
My gracious Lord, during the time that I have frequented your countrey, I have heedfully observed, that the Militarie Discipline used in your fights and battailes, dependeth more upon your Archers, then any other men imployed in your war And therefore, if it could be so ordered, that this kinde of Artillery may faile in your enemies Campe, and yours be sufficiently furnished therewith, you neede make no doubt of winning the battaile: whereto the King thus replyed. Doubtlesse, if such an act were possible to be done, it would give great hope of successefull prevalling. Sir, said Martuccio, if you please it may be done, and I can quickly resolve you how. Let the strings of your Archers Bowes be made more soft and gentle, then those which heretofore they have formerly used; and next, let the nockes of the Arrowes be so provided, as not to receive any other, then those pliant gentle strings. But this must be done so secretly, that your enemies may have no knowledge thereof, least they should provide themselves in the same manner. Now the reason (Gracious Lord) why thus I counsell you, is to this end. When the Archers on the Enemies side have shot their Arrowes at your men, and yours in the like maner at them: it followeth, that (upon meere constraint) they must gather up your Arrowes, to shoote them backe againe at you, for so long while as the battell endureth, as no doubt but your men wil do the like to them. But your enemies finde themselves much deceived, because they can make no use of your peoples Arrowes, in regard that the nockes are too narrow to receive their boystrous strings. Which will fall out contrary with your followers, for the pliant strings belonging to your Bowes, are as apt for their enemies great nockt Arrowes, as their owne, and so they shall have free use of both, reserving them in plentifull store, when your adversaries must stand unfurnished of any, but them that they cannot any way use.
This counsell pleased the King very highly, and he being a Prince of great understanding, gave order to have it accordingly followed, and thereby valiantly vanquished his enemies. Heereupon, Martuccio came to be great in his grace, as also consequently rich, and seated in no meane place of authority. Now as worthy and commendable actions are soone spread abroad, in honor of the man by whom they hapned: even so the fame of this rare got victory, was quickly noysed throughout the Countrey, and came to the hearing of poore Constance, that Martuccio Gomito (whom she supposed so long since to be dead) was living, and in honourable condition. The love which formerly she bare unto him, being not altogether extinct in her heart; of a small sparke, brake forth into a sodaine flame, and so encreased day by day, that her hope (being before almost quite dead) revived againe in chearfull manner.
Having imparted all her fortunes to the good old Lady with whom she dwelt; she told her beside, that she had an earnest desire to see Thunis, to satisfie her eyes as well as her eares, concerning the rumor blazed abroad. The good old Lady commended her desire, and (even as if she had bene her Mother) tooke her with her aboord a Barke, and so sayled thence to Thunis, where both she and Constance found honourable welcome, in the house of a kinsman to the Sarazin Lady. Carapresa also went along with them thither, and her they sent abroad into the City, to understand the newes of Martuccio Gomito. After they knew for a certainty that he was living, and in great authority about the King, according as the former report went of him. Then the good old Lady, being desirous to let Martuccio know, that his faire friend Constance was come thither to see him; went her selfe to the place of his abiding, and spake unto him in this manner. Noble Martuccio, there is a servant of thine in my house, which came from Liparis, and requireth to have a little private conference with thee: but because I durst not trust any other with the message, my selfe (at her entreaty) am come to acquaint thee therewith. Martuccio gave her kinde and hearty thankes, and then went along with her to the house.
No sooner did Constance behold him, but she was ready to dye with conceite of joy, and being unable to containe her passion: sodainely she threw her armes about his necke, and in meere compassion of her many misfortunes, as also the instant solace of her soule (not being able to utter one word) the teares trickled abundantly downe her cheekes. Martuccio also seeing his faire friend, was overcome with exceeding admiration, and stood awhile, as not knowing what to say; till venting forth a vehement sighe, thus he spake. My deerest love Constance! Art thou yet living? It is a tedious long while since I heard thou wast lost, and never any tydings knowne of thee in thine owne Fathers house. With which words, the teares standing in his eyes, most lovingly he embraced her, Constance recounted to him all her fortunes, and what kindnesse she had receyved from the Sarazine Lady, since her first houre of comming to her. And after much other discourse passing betweene them, Martuccio departed from her, and returning to the King his master, tolde him all the history of his fortunes, and those beside of his Love Constance, being purposely minded (with his gracious liking) to marry her according to the Christian Law.
The King was much amazed at so many strange accidents, and sending for Constance to come before him; from her owne mouth he heard the whole relation of her continued affection to Martuccio, whereupon hee saide. Now trust me faire Damosell, thou hast dearely deserved him to be thy husband. Then sending for very costly Jewels, and rich presents, the one halfe of them he gave to her, and the other to Martuccio, graunting them license withall, to marry according to their owne mindes.
Martuccio did many honors, and gave great gifts to the aged Sarazine Lady, with whom Constance had lived so kindly respected: which although she had no neede of, neither ever expected any such rewarding; yet (conquered by their urgent importunity, especially Constance, who could not be thankfull enough to her) she was enforced to receive them, and taking her leave of them weeping, sayled backe againe to Susa.
Within a short while after, the King licensing their departure thence, they entred into a small Barke, and Carapresa with them, sailing on with prosperous gales of winde, untill they arrived at Liparis, where they were entertained with generall rejoycing. And because their marriage was not sufficiently performed at Thunis, in regard of divers Christian ceremonies there wanting, their Nuptials were againe most honourably solemnized, and they lived (many yeares after) in health and much happinesse.[ Hide Second Novell ]
There was not any one in the whole company, but much commended the Novell reported by Madam Aemilia, and when the Queene perceived it was ended, she turned towards Madam Eliza, commanding her to continue on their delightfull exercise: whereto she declaring her willing obedience, began to speake thus. Courteous Ladies, I remember one unfortunate night, which happened to two Lovers, that were not indued with the greatest discretion. But because they had very many faire and happy dayes afterwards, I am the more willing for to let you heare it.
In the City of Rome, which (in times past) was called the Lady and Mistresse of the world, though now scarsely so good as the waiting, maid: there dwelt sometime yong Gentleman, named Pedro Boccamazzo, descended from one of the most honorable families in Rome, who was much enamoured of a beautifull Gentlewoman, called Angelina, Daughter to one named Gigliuozzo Saullo, whose fortunes were none of the fairest, yet he greatly esteemed among the Romanes. The entercourse of love betweene these twaine, had so equally enstructed their hearts and soule, that it could hardly be judged which of them was the more fervent in affection. But he, not being inured to such oppressing passions, and therefore the lesse able to support them, except he were sure to compasse his desire, plainly made the motion, that he might enjoy her in honourable mariage. Which his parents and friends hearing, they went to conferre with him, blaming him with over-much basenesse, so farre to disgrace himselfe and his stocke. Beside, they advised the Father to the Maid, neither to credit what Pedro saide in this case, or to live in hope of any such match, because they all did wholly despise it.
Pedro perceiving, that the way was shut up, whereby (and none other) he was to mount the Ladder of his hopes; began to wax weary of longer living: and if he could have won her fathers consent, he would have maried her in the despight of all his friends. Neverthelesse, he had a conceit hammering in his head, which if the maid would bee as forward as himselfe, should bring the matter to full effect. Letters and secret intelligences passing still betweene, at length he understood her ready resolution, to adventure with him thorough all fortunes whatsoever, concluding on their sodaine and secret flight from Rome. For which Pedro did so well provide, that very early in a morning, and well mounted on horsebacke, they tooke the way leading unto Alagna, where Pedro had some honest friends, in whom he reposed especiall trust. Riding on thus thorow the countrey, having no leysure to accomplish their marriage, because they stood in feare of pursuite: they were ridden above foure leagues from Rome, still shortning the way with their amorous discoursing.
It fortuned, that Pedro having no certaine knowledge of the way, but following a trackt guiding too farre on the left hand; rode quite out of course, and came at last within sight of a small Castle, out of which (before they were aware) yssued twelve Villaines, whom Angelina sooner espyed, then Pedro could do; which made her cry out to him, saying: Helpe deere Love to save us, or else we shall be assayled. Pedro then turning his horse so expeditiously as he could, and giving him the spurres as need required; mainly he gallopped into a neere adjoyning Forrest, more minding the following of Angelina, then any direction of way, or them that endeavoured to bee his hindrance. So that by often winding and turning about, as the passage appeared troublesome to him, when he thought him selfe free and furthest from them, he was round engirt, and seized on by them. When they had made him to dismount from his horse, questioning him of whence and what he was, and he resolving them therein, they fell into a secret consultation, saying thus among themselves. This man is a friend to our deadly enemies, how can wee then otherwise dispose of him, but dreame him of all he hath, and in despight of the Orsini (men in nature hatefull to us) hang him up heere on one of these Trees?
All of them agreeing in this dismall resolution, they commanded Pedro to put off his garments, which he yeelding to do (albeit unwillingly) it so fell out, that five and twenty other theeves, came sodainly rushing in upon them, crying, Kill, kill, and spare not a man.
They which before had surprized Pedro, desiring now to shift for their owne safetie, left him standing quaking in his shirt, and so ranne away mainely to defend themselves. Which the new crew perceyving, and that their number farre exceeded the other: they followed to robbe them of what they had gotten, accounting it as a present purchase for them. Which when Pedro perceyved, and saw none tarrying to prey uppon him; hee put on his cloathes againe, and mounting on his owne Horse, gallopped that way, which Angelina before had taken: yet could he not descry any tracke or path, or so much as the footing of a Horse; but thought himselfe in sufficient security, being rid of them that first seized on him, and also of the rest, which followed in the pursuite of them.
For the losse of his beloved Angelina, he was the most wofull man in the world, wandering one while this way, and then againe another, calling for her all about the Forrest, without any answere returning to him. And not daring to ride backe againe, on he travailed still, not knowing where to make his arrivall. And having formerly heard of savage ravenous beasts, which commonly live in such unfrequented Forrests: he not onely was in feare of loosing his owne life, but also despayred much for his Angelina, least some Lyon or Woolfe, had torne her body in peeces.
Thus rode on poore unfortunate Pedro, untill the breake of day appeared, not finding any meanes to get forth of the Forrest, still crying and calling for his fayre friend, riding many times backeward, when as hee thought hee rode forward, untill hee became so weake and faint, what with extreame feare, lowd calling, and continuing so long awhile without any sustenance, that the whole day being thus spent in vaine, and darke night sodainly come uppon him, he was not able to hold out any longer.
Now was he in farre worse case then before, not knowing where, or how to dispose of himselfe, or what might best be done in so great a necessity. From his Horse he alighted, and tying him by the bridle unto a great tree, uppe he climbed into the same Tree, fearing to be devoured (in the night time) by some wilde beast, choosing rather to let his Horse perish, then himselfe. Within a while after, the Moone beganne to rise, and the skies appeared bright and cleare: yet durst hee not nod, or take a nap, least he should fall out of the tree; but sate still greeving, sighing, and mourning, desparing of ever seeing his Angelina any more, for he could not be comforted by the smallest hopefull perswasion, that any good Fortune might befall her in such a desolate Forrest, where nothing but dismall feares was to be expected, and no likelihood that she should escape with life.
Now, concerning poore affrighted Angelina, who (as you heard before) knew not any place of refuge to flye unto: but even as it pleased the horse to carry her: she entred so farre into the Forrest, that she could not devise where to seeke her owne safety. And therefore, even as it fared with her friend Pedro, in the same manner did it fall out with her, wandering the whole night, and all the day following, one while taking one hopefull tracke, and then another, calling, weeping, wringing her hands, and greevously complaining of her hard fortune. At the length, perceiving that Pedro came not to her at all, she found a little path (which she lighted on by great good fortune) even when dark night was apace drawing, and followed it so long, till it brought her within the sight of a small poore Cottage, whereto she rode on so fast as she could; and found therin a very old man, having a wife rather more aged then he, who seeing her to be without company, the old man spake thus unto her.
Faire Daughter (quoth he) whether wander you at such an unseasonable houre, and all alone in a place so desolate? The Damosell weeping, replied; that she had lost her company in the Forrest, and enquired how neere shee was to Alagna. Daughter (answered the old man) this is not the way to Alagna, for it is above six leagues hence. Then shee desired to know, how farre off she was from such houses, where she might have any reasonable lodging? There are none so neere, said the old man, that day light will give you leave to reach. May it please you then good Father (replied Angelina) seeing I cannot travalle any whether else; for Gods sake, to et me remaine heere with you this night. Daughter answered the good old man, we can gladly give you entertainement here, for this night, in such poore manner as you see: but let mee tell you withall, that up and downe these woods (as well by night as day) walke companies of all conditions, and rather enemies then friends, who do us many greevous displeasures and harmes. Now if by misfortune, you being here, any such people should come, and seeing you so lovely faire, as indeed you are, offer you any shame or injurie: Alas you see, it lies not in our power to lend you any help or succour. I thought it good (therefore) to acquaint you heerewith, because if any such mischance do happen, you should not afterward complaine of us.
The yong Maiden, seeing the time to be so farre spent, albeit the old mans words did much dismay her, yet she thus replyed. If it be the will of heaven, both you and I shall be defended from any misfortune: but if any such mischance do happen, I account the meanes lesse deserving grief, if I fall into the mercy of men, then to be devoured by wild beasts in this Forrest. So, being dismounted from her horse, and entred into the homely house; shee supt poorely with the old man and his wife, with such meane cates as their provision affoorded: and after supper, lay downe in her garments on the same poore pallet, where the aged couple tooke their rest, and was very well contented therewith, albeit she could not refraine from sighing and weeping, to be thus divided from her deare Pedro, of whose life and welfare she greatly despaired.
When it was almost day, she heard a great noise of people travailing by, whereupon sodainly slie arose, and ranne into a Garden plot, which was on the backside of the poore Cottage, espying in one of the corners a great stacke of Hay, wherein she hid her selfe, to the end, that travelling strangers might not readily finde her there in the house. Scarsely was she fully hidden, but a great company of Theeves and Villaines, finding the doore open, rushed into the Cottage, where looking round about them for some booty, they saw the Damosels horse stand ready sadled, which made them demand to whom it belonged. The good old man, not seeing the Maiden present there, but immagining that she had made some shift for her selfe, answered thus. Gentlemen, there is no body here but my wife and my selfe: as for this Horse, which seemeth to be escaped from the Owner; hee came hither yesternight, and we gave him house-roome heere, rather then to be devoured by Wolves abroad. Then said the principall of the Theevish crew: This horse shall be ours, in regard he hath no other Master, and let the owner come claime him of us.
When they had searched every corner of the poore Cottage, and found no such prey as they looked for, some of them went into the backeside; where they had left their Javelins and Targets, wherwith they used commonly to travaile. It fortuned, that one of them, being more subtily suspitious then the rest, thrust his javelin into the stacke of Hay, in the very same place where the Damosell lay hidden, missing very little of killing her; for it entred so farre, that the iron head pierced quite thorough her Garments, and touched her left bare brest: whereupon, shee was ready to cry out, as fearing that she was wounded: but considering the place where she was, she lay still, and spake not a word. This disordered company, after they had fed on some young Kids, and other flesh which they brought with them thither, they went thence about their theeving exercise, taking the Damosels horse along with them.
After they were gone a good distance off, the good old man began thus to question his Wife. What is become of (quoth hee) our young Gentlewoman, which came so late to us yesternight? I have not seen her to day since our arising. The old woman made answer, that she knew not where she was, and sought all about to finde her. Angelinaes feares being well over-blowne, and hearing none of the former noise, which made her the better hope of their departure, came forth of the Hay-stack; wherof the good old man was not a little joyfull, and because she had so well escaped from them: so seeing it was now broad day-light, he said unto her. Now that the morning is so fairely begun, if you can be so well contented, we will bring you to a Castle, which stands about two miles and an halfe hence, where you will be sure to remaine in safety. But you must needs travaile thither on foot, because the nightwalkers that happened hither, have taken away your horse with them.
Angelina making little or no account of such a losse, entreated them for charities sake, to conduct her to that Castle, which accordingly they did, and arrived there betweene seven and eight of the clock. The Castle belonged to one of the Orsini, being called, Liello di Campo di Fiore, and by great good fortune, his wife was then there, she being a very vertuous and religious Lady. No sooner did she looke upon Angelina, but she knew her immediately, and entertaining her very willingly, requested, to know the reason of her thus arriving there: which she at large related, and moved the Lady (who likewise knew Pedro perfectly well) to much compassion, because he was a kinsman and deare friend to her Husband; and understanding how the Theeves had surprized him, she feared, that he was slaine among them, whereupon she spake thus to Angelina. Seeing you know not what is become of my kinsman Pedro, you shall remaine here with me, untill such time, as (if we heare no other tidings of him) you may with safety be sent backe to Rome.
Pedro all this while sitting in the Tree, so full of griefe, as no man could be more; about the houre of midnight (by the bright splendour of the Moone) espied about some twenty Wolves, who, so soone as they got a sight of the Horse, ran and engirt him round about. The Horse when he perceived them so neere him, drew his head so strongly back-ward, that breaking the reines of his bridle, he laboured to escape from them. But being beset on every side, and utterly unable to helpe himself, he contended with his teeth and feete in his owne defence, till they haled him violently to the ground, and tearing his body in pieces, left not a jot of him but the bare bones, and afterward ran ranging thorow the Forest. At this sight, poore Pedro was mightily dismaied, fearing to speed no better then his Horse had done, and therefore could not devise what was best to be done; for he saw no likelihood, of getting out of the Forest with life. But day-light drawing on apace, and he almost dead with cold, having stood quaking so long in the Tree; at length by continuall looking every where about him, to discerne the least glimpse of any comfort; he espied a great fire, which seemed to be about halfe a mile off from him.
By this time it was broad day, when he descended downe out of the Tree, (yet not without much feare) and tooke his way towards the fire, where being arrived, he found a company of Shepheards banquetting about it, whom he curteously saluting, they tooke pity on his distresse, and welcommed him kindly. After he had tasted of such cheare as they had, and was indifferently refreshed by the good fire; he discoursed his hard disasters to them, as also how he happened thither, desiring to know, if any Village or Castle were neere there about, where he might in better manner releeve himselfe. The Shepheards told him, that about a mile and an halfe from thence, was the Castle of Signior Liello di Campo di Fiore, and that his Lady was residing there; which was no meane comfort to poore Pedro, requesting that one of them would accompany him thither, as two of them did in loving manner, to rid him of all further feares.
When he was arrived at the Castle, and found there divers of his familiar acquaintance: he laboured to procure some meanes, that the Damosell might bee sought for in the Forrest. Then the Lady calling for her, and bringing her to him; he ran and caught her in his armes, being ready to swoune with conceite of joy, for never could any man be more comforted, then he was at the sight of his Angelina, and questionlesse, her joy was not a jot inferiour to his, such a simpathy of firme love was settled betweene them. The Lady of the Castle, after she had given them very gracious entertainment, and understood the scope of their bold adventure; she reproved them both somewhat sharpely, for presuming so farre without the consent of their Parents. But perceiving (notwithstanding all her remonstrances) that they continued still constant in their resolution, without any inequality of either side; shee saide to her selfe. Why should this matter be any way offensive to me? They love each other loyally; they are not inferiour to one another in birth, but in fortune; they are equally loved and allied to my Husband, and their desire is both honest and honorable. Moreover, what know I, if it be the will of Heaven to have it so? Theeves intended to hang him, in malice to his name and kinred, from which hard fate he hath happily escaped. Her life was endangered by a sharpe pointed Javeline, and yet her fairer starres would not suffer her so to perish: beside, they have both escaped the fury of ravenous wild beasts; and all these are apparant signes, that future comforts should recompence former passed misfortunes; farre be it therefore from me, to hinder the appointment of the Heavens.
Then turning her selfe to them, thus she proceeded. If your desire be to joyne in honourable marriage, I am well contented therewith, and your nuptials shall here be solemnized at my Husbands charges. Afterward both he and I will endeavour, to make peace betweene you and your discontented Parents. Pedro was not a little joyfull at her kinde offer, and Angelina much more then he; so they were married together in the Castle, and worthily feasted by the Lady, as Forrest entertainment could permit, and there they enjoyed the first fruits of their love. Within a short while after, the Lady and they (well mounted on Horsebacke, and attended with an honourable traine) returned to Rome; where her Lord Liello and she prevailed so well with Pedroes angry Parents: that the variance ended in love and peace, and afterward they lived lovingly together, till old age made them as honourable, as their true and mutuall affection formerly had done.[Hide Third Novell]
Madam Eliza having ended her Tale, and heard what commendations the whole company gave thereof; the Queene commanded Philostratus, to tell a Novell agreeing with his owne minde, smiling thereat, thus replyed. Faire Ladies, I have bene so often checkt and snapt, for my yesterdayes matter and argument of discoursing, which was both tedious and offensive to you; that if I intended to make you any amends, I should now undertake to tell such a Tale, as might put you into a mirthfull humour. Which I am determined to do, in relating a briefe and pleasant Novell, not any way offensive (as I trust) but exemplary for some good notes of observation.
Not long since, there lived in Romania, a Knight, a very honest Gentleman, and well qualified, whose name was Messer Lizio da Valbonna, to whom it fortuned, that (at his entrance into age) by his Lady and wife, called Jaquemina, he had a Daughter, the very choycest and goodliest gentlewoman in all those places. Now because such a happy blessing (in their olde yeeres) was not a little comfortable to them; they thought themselves the more bound in duty, to be circumspect of her education, by keeping her out of over-frequent companies, but onely such as agreed best with their gravity, and might give the least ill example to their Daughter, who was named Catharina; as making no doubt, but by this their provident and wary respect, to match her in marriage answerable to their liking. There was also a yong Gentleman, in the very flourishing estate of his youthfull time, descended from the Family of the Manardy da Brettinoro, named Messer Ricciardo, who oftentimes frequented the House of Messer Lizio, and was a continuall welcome guest to his Table, Messer Lizio and his wife making the like account of him, even as if hee [had] bene their owne Sonne.
This young Gallant, perceiving the Maiden to be very beautifull, of singular behaviour, and of such yeeres as was fit for marriage, became exceeding enamoured of her, yet concealed his affection so closely as he could, which was not so covertly carried, but that she perceived it, and grew into as good liking of him. Many times he had an earnest desire to have conference with her, which yet still he deferred, as fearing to displease her; at the length he lighted on an apt opportunity, and boldly spake to her in this manner. Faire Catharina, I hope thou wilt not let me die for thy love? Signior Ricciardo (replyed she suddenly againe) I hope you will extend the like mercy to me, as you desire that I should shew to you. This answere was so pleasing to Messer Ricciardo, that presently he saide. Alas deare Love, I have dedicated all my fairest fortunes onely to thy service, so that it remaineth soly in thy power to dispose of me as best shall please thee, and to appoint such times of private conversation, as may yeeld more comfort to my poore afflicted soule.
Catharina standing musing awhile, at last returned him this answere. Signio Ricciardo, quoth she, you see what a restraint is set on my liberty, how short I am kept from conversing with any one, that I hold this our enterparlance now almost miraculous. But if you could devise any convenient meanes, to admit us more familiar freedome, without any prejudice to mine honour, or the least distaste to my Parents; do but enstruct it, and I will adventure it. Ricciardo having considered on many wayes and meanes, thought one to be the fittest of all; and therefore thus replyed. Catharina (quoth he) the onely place for our more private talking together, I conceive to be the Gallery over your Fathers Garden. If you can winne your Mother to let you lodge there, I will make meanes to climbe over the wall, and at the goodly gazing window, we may discourse so long as we please. Now trust me deare Love (answered Catharina) no place can be more convenient for our purpose, there shall we heare the sweete Birds sing, especially the Nightingale which I have heard singing there all the night long; I will breake the matter to my Mother, and how I speede, you shall heare further from me. So, with divers parting kisses, they brake off conference, till their next meeting.
On the day following, which was towards the ending of the moneth of May, Catharina began to complaine to her Mother that the season was over-hot and tedious, to be still lodged in her Mothers Chamber, because it was an hinderance to her sleeping; and wanting rest, it would be an empairing of her health. Why Daughter (quoth the Mother) the weather (as yet) is not so hot, but (in my minde) you may very well endure it. Alas Mother, saide she, aged people, as you and my Father are, do not feele the heates of youthfull blood, by reason of your farre colder complexion, which is not to be measured by younger yeeres. I know that well Daughter, replyed the Mother; but is it in my power, to make the weather warme or coole, as thou perhaps wouldst have it? Seasons are to be suffered, according to their severall qualities; and though the last night might seeme hot, this next ensuing may be cooler, and then thy rest will be the better. No Mother, quoth Catharina, that cannot be; for as Summer proceedeth on, so the heate encreaseth, and no expectation can be of temperate weather, untill it groweth to Winter againe. Why Daughter, saide the Mother, what wouldest thou have me to do? Mother (quoth she) if it might stand with my Fathers good liking and yours, I would be spared from the Garden Gallery, which is a great deale more coole lodged. There shall I heare the sweete Nightingale sing, as every night she useth to do, and many other pretty Birdes beside, which I cannot do lodging in your Chamber.
The Mother loving her Daughter dearely, as being somewhat over-fond of her, and very willing to give her contentment; promised to impart her minde to her Father, not doubting but to compasse what shee requested. When she had mooved the matter to Messer Lizio whose age made him somewhat froward and teasty; angerly said to his wife. Why how now woman? Cannot our Daughter sleepe, except she heare the Nightingale sing? Let there be a bed made for her in the Oven, and there let the Crickets make her melody. When Catharina heard this answere from her Father, and saw her desire to be disappointed; not onely could she take any rest the night following, but also complained more of the heate then before, not suffering her Mother to take any rest, which made her go angerly to her Husband in the morning, saying. Why Husband, have we but one onely Daughter, whom you pretend to love right dearly, and yet can you be so carelesse of her, as to denie her a request, which is no more then reason? What matter is it to you or me, to let her lodge in the Garden Gallery? Is her young blood to be compared with ours? Can our weake and crazie bodies, feele the frolicke temper of hers? Alas, she is hardly (as yet) out of her childish yeeres, and Children have many desires farre differing from ours: the singing of Birdes is rare musicke to them, and chiefly the Nightingale; whose sweete notes will provoke them to rest, when neither Art or Physicke can do it.
Is it even so Wife? answered Messer Lizio. Must your will and mine be governed by our Daughter? Well be it so then, let her bed be made in the Garden Gallerie, but I will have the keeping of the key, both to locke her in at night, and set her at liberty every morning. Woman, woman, yong wenches are wily, many wanton crotchets are busie in their braines, and to us that are aged, they sing like Lapwings, telling us one thing, and intending another; talking of Nightingales, when their mindes run on Cocke-Sparrowes. Seeing Wife, she must needes have her minde, let yet your care and mine extend so farre, to keepe her chastity uncorrupted, and our credulity from being abused. Catharina having thus prevailed with her Mother, her bed made in the Garden Gallerie, and secret intelligence given to Ricciardo, for preparing his meanes of accesse to her window; old provident Lizio lockes the doore to bed-ward, and gives her liberty to come forth in the morning, for his owne lodging was neere to the same Gallery.
In the dead and silent time of night, when all (but Lovers) take their rest; Ricciardo having provided a Ladder of Ropes, with grapling hookes to take hold above and below, according as he had occasion to use it. By helpe thereof, first he mounted over the Garden wall, and then climbde up to the Gallery window, before which (as is every where in Italie) was a little round engirting Tarras, onely for a man to stand upon, for making cleane the window, or otherwise repairing it. Many nights (in this manner) enjoyed they their meetings, entermixing their amorous conference with infinite kisses and kinde embraces, as the window gave leave, he sitting in the Tarras, and departing alwayes before breake of day, for feare of being discovered by any.
But, as excesse of delight is the Nurse to negligence, and begetteth such an overpresuming boldnesse, as afterward proveth to be sauced with repentance: so came it to passe with our over-fond Lovers, in being taken tardy through their owne folly. After they had many times met in this manner, the nights (according to the season) growing shorter and shorter, which their stolne delight made them lesse respective of, then was requisite in an adventure so dangerous: it fortuned, that their amorous pleasure had so farre transported them, and dulled their senses in such sort, by these their continuall nightly watchings; that they both fell fast asleepe, he having his hand closed in hers, and she one arme folded about his body, and thus they slept till broade day light. Old Messer Lizio, who continually was the morning Cocke to the whole House, going foorth into his Garden, saw how his Daughter and Ricciardo were seated at the window. In he went againe, and going to his wives Chamber, saide to her. Rise quickly wife, and you shall see, what made your Daughter so desirous to lodge in the Garden Gallery. I perceive that shee loved to heare the Nightingale, for she hath caught one, and holds him fast in her hand. Is it possible, saide the Mother, that our Daughter should catch a live Nightingale in the darke? You shall see that your selfe, answered Messer Lizio, if you will make hast, and go with me. She, putting on her garments in great haste, followed her Husband, and being come to the Gallery doore, he opened it very softly, and going to the window, shewed her how they both sate fast asleepe, and in such manner as hath bene before declared: whereupon, shee perceiving how Ricciardo and Catharina had both deceived her, would have made an outcry, but that Messer Lizio spake thus to her. Wife, as you love me, speake not a word, neither make any noyse: for, seeing shee hath loved Ricciardo without our knowledge, and they have had their private meetings in this manner, yet free from any blamefu imputation; he shall enjoy her, and she him. Ricciardo is a Gentleman, well derived, and of rich possessions, it can be no disparagement to us, that Catharina match with him in mariage, which he neither shall, or dare deny to do, in regard of our Lawes severity; for climbing up to my window with his Ladder of Ropes, whereby his life is forfeited to the Law, except our Daughter please to spare it, as it remaineth in her power to doe, by accepting him as her husband, or yeelding his life up to the Law, which surely she will not suffer, their love agreeing together in such mutuall manner, and he adventuring so dangerously for her. Madam Jaquemina, perceiving that her husband spake very reasonably, and was no more offended at the matter; stept side with him behinde the drawne Curtaines, untill they should awake of themselves. At the last, Ricciardo awaked, and seeing it was so farre in the day, thought himselfe halfe dead, and calling to Catharina, saide.
Alas deare Love! what shall we doe? we have slept too long, and shall be taken here.
At which words, Messer Lizio stept forth from behind the Curtaines, saying. Nay, Signior Ricciardo, seeing you have found such an unbefitting way hither, we will provide you a better for your backe returning.
When Ricciardo saw the Father and Mother both there present, he could not devise what to do or say, his senses became so strangely confounded; yet knowing how hainously he had offended, if the strictnesse of Law should bee challenged against him, falling on his knees, he saide. Alas Messer Lizio, I humbly crave your mercy, confessing my selfe well worthy of death, that knowing the sharpe rigour of the Law, I would presume so audaciously to breake it. But pardon me worthy Sir, my loyall and unfeigned love to your Daughter Catharina, hath bene the only cause of my transgressing.
Ricciardo (replied Messer Lizio) the love I beare thee, and the honest confidence I do repose in thee, step up (in some measure) to plead thine excuse, especially in the regard of my Daughter, whom I blame thee not for loving, but for this unlawfull way of presuming to her. Neverthelesse, perceiving how the case now standeth, and considering withall, that youth and affection were the ground of thine offence: to free thee from death, and my selfe from dishonour, before thou departest hence, thou shalt espouse my Daughter Catharina, to make her thy lawfull wife in marriage, and wipe off all scandall to my House and me. All this while was poore Catharina on her knees likewise to her Mother, who (notwithstanding this her bold adventure) made earnest suite to her Husband to remit all, because Ricciardo right gladly condiscended, as it being the maine issue of his hope and desire; to accept his Catharina in marriage, whereto she was as willing as he. Messer Lizio presently called for the Confessour of his House, and borrowing one of his Wives Rings, before they went out of the Gallery; Ricciardo and Catharina were espoused together, to their no little joy and contentment.
Now had they more leasure for further conference, with the Parents and kindred to Ricciardo, who being no way discontented with this sudden match, but applauding it in the highest degree; they were publikely maried againe in the Cathedrall Church, and very honourable triumphes performed at the nuptials, living long after in happy prosperity.[ Hide Fourth Novell ]
All the Ladies laughing heartily, at the Novell of the Nightingale, so pleasingly delivered by Philostratus, when they saw the same to be fully ended, the Queene thus spake. Now trust me Philostratus, though yesterday you did much oppresse mee with melancholly, yet you have made me such an amends to day, as we have little reason to complaine any more of you. So converting her speech to Madam Neiphila, shee commanded her to succeede with her discourse, which willingly she yeelded to, beginning in this manner. Seing it pleased Philostratus, to produce his Novell out of Romania: I meane to walke with him in the same jurisdiction, concerning what I am to say.
There dwelt sometime in the City of Fano, two Lombards, the one being named Guidotto of Cremona, and the other Jacomino of Pavia, men of sufficient entrance into yeares, having followed the warres (as Souldiers) all their youthfull time. Guidotto feeling sicknesse to over-master him, and having no sonne, kinsman, or friend, in whom he might repose more trust, then he did in Jacomino: having long conference with him about his worldly affaires, and setled his whole estate in good order; he left a Daughter to his charge, about ten yeeres of age, with all such goods as he enjoyed, and then departed out of this life. It came to passe, that the City of Faenza, long time being molested with tedious warres, and subjected to very servile condition; beganne now to recover her former strength, with free permission (for all such as pleased) to returne and possesse their former dwellings. Whereupon, Jacomino (having sometime bene an inhabitant there) was desirous to live in Faenza againe, convaying thither all his goods, and taking with him also the young Girle, which Guidotto had left him, whom hee loved, and respected as his owne childe.
As shee grew in stature, so she did in beauty and vertuous qualities, as none was more commended throughout the whole City, for faire, civill, and honest demeanour, which incited many amorously to affect her. But (above all the rest) two very honest young men, of good fame and repute, who were so equally in love addicted to her, that being. jealous of each others fortune, in preventing of their severall hopefull expectation; a deadly hatred grew suddenly betweene them, the one being named Giovanni de Severino, and the other Menghino de Minghole. Either of these two young men, before the Maide was fifteene yeeres old, laboured to be possessed of her in marriage, but her Guardian would give no consent thereto: wherefore, perceiving their honest intended meaning to be frustrated, they now began to busie their braines, how to forestall one another by craft and circumvention.
Jacomino had a Maide-servant belonging to his House, somewhat aged, and a Manservant beside, named Grinello, of mirthfull disposition, and very friendly, with whom Giovanni grew in great familiarity, and when he found time fit for the purpose, he discovered his love to him, requesting his furtherance and assistance, in compassing the height of his desire, with bountifull promises of rich rewarding; wheret Grinello returned this answere. I know not how to sted you in this case, but when my Master shall sup foorth at some Neighbours house, to admit your entrance where shee is: because, if I offer to speake to her, she never will stay to heare mee. Wherefore, if my service this way may doe you any good, I promise to performe it; doe you beside, as you shall finde it most convenient for you. So the bargaine was agreed on betweene them, and nothing else now remained, but to what issue it should sort in the end. Menghino, on the other side, having entred into the Chamber-maides acquaintance, sped so well with her, that she delivered so many messages from him, as had (already) halfe won the liking of the Virgin; passing further promises to him beside, of bringing him to have conference with her, whensoever her Master should be absent from home. Thus Menghino being favoured (on the one side) by the by Chamber-maide, and Giovanni (on the other) by trusty Grinello; their amorous warre was now on foote, and diligently followed by both their sollicitors. Within a short while after, by the procurement of Grinello, Jacomino was invited by a Neighbour to supper, in company of divers his familiar friends, whereof intelligence being given to Giovanni; a conclusion passed betweene them, that (upon a certaine signale given) he should come, and finde the doore standing ready open, to give him all accesse unto the affected Mayden.
The appointed night being come, and neither of these hot Lovers knowing the others intent, but their suspition being alike, and encreasing still more and more; they made choyce of certaine friends and associates, well armed and provided, for eithers safer entrance when need should require.
Menghino stayed with his troope, in a neere neighbouring house to the Mayden, attending when the signall would be given: but Giovanni and his consorts, were ambushed somewhat further off from the house, and both saw when Jacomino went foorth to supper. Now Grinello and the Chambermaide began to vary, which should send the other out of the way, till they had effected their severall invention; wherupon Grinello said to her. What maketh thee to walke thus about the house, and why doest thou not get thee to bed? And thou (quoth the Maide) why doest thou not goe to attend on our Master, and tarry for his returning home? I am sure thou hast supt long agoe, and I know no businesse here in the house for thee to doe. Thus (by no meanes) the one could send away the other, but either remained as the others hinderance.
But Grinello remembring himselfe, that the houre of his appointment with Giovanni was come, he saide to himselfe. What care I whether our olde Maide be present, or no? If she disclose any thing that I doe, I can be revenged on her when I list. So, having made the signall, he went to open the doore, even when Giovanni (and two of his confederates) rushed into the House, and finding the faire young Maiden sitting in the Hall, laide hands on her, to beare her away. The Damosell began to resist them, crying out for helpe so loude as she could, as the olde Chamber-maide did the like: which Menghino hearing, he ranne thither presently with his friends, and seeing the young Damosell brought well-neere out of the House; they drew their Swords, crying out: Traytors, you are but dead men, here is no violence to be offered, neither is this a booty for such base groomes. So they layed about them lustily, and would not permit them to passe any further. On the other side, upon this mutinous noyse and outcry, the Neighbours came foorth of their houses, with lights, staves, and clubbes, greatly reproving them for this out-rage, yet assisting Menghino: by meanes whereof, after a long time of contention, Menghino recovered the Mayden from Giovanni, and placed her peaceably in Jacominoes House.
No sooner was this hurly burly somewhat calmed, but the Serjeants to the Captine of the City, came thither, and apprehended divers of the mutiners: among whom were Menghino, Giovanni, and Grinello, committing them immediately to prison. But after every thing was pacified, and Jacomino returned home to his house from supper; he was not a little offended at so grosse an injury. When he was fully informed, how the matter happened, and apparantly perceived, that no blame at all could be imposed on the Mayden: he grew the better contented, resolving with himselfe (because no more such inconveniences should happen) to have her married so soone as possibly he could.
When morning was come the kindred and friends on either side, understanding the truth of the errour committed, and knowing beside, what punishment would be inflicted on the prisoners, if Jacomino pressed the matter no further, then as with reason and equity well he might; they repaired to him, and (in gentle speeches) entreated him, not to regard a wrong offered by unruly and youthfull people, meerely drawne into the action by perswasion of friends; submitting both themselves, and the offendors, to such satisfaction as [he] pleased to appoint them. Jacomino, who had seene and observed many things in his time, and was a man of sound understanding, returned them this answer.
Gentlemen, if I were in mine owne Country, as now I am in yours, I would as for wardly confesse my selfe your friend, as here I must needes fall short of any such service, but even as you shall please to command me. But plainely, and without all further ceremonious complement, I must agree to whatsoever you can request; as thinking you to be more injured by me, then any great wrong that I have sustained. Concerning the young Damosell remaining in my House, she is not (as many have imagined) either of Cremona, or Pavia, but borne a Faentine, here in this Citie: albeit neither my selfe, she, or he of whome I had her, did ever know it, or yet could learne whose Daughter she was. Wherefore, the suite you make to me, should rather (in duty) be mine to you: for shee is a native of your owne, doe right to her, and then you can doe no wrong unto mee.
When the Gentlemen understood, that the Mayden was borne in Faenza, they marvelled thereat, and after they had thanked Jacomino for his curteous answer; they desired him to let them know, by what meanes the Damosell came into his custody, and how he knew her to be borne in Faenza: when hee, perceiving them attentive to heare him, began in this manner.
Understand worthy Gentlemen, that Guidotto of Cremona, was my companion and deare friend, who growing neere to his death, tolde me that when this City was surprized by the Emperour Frederigo, and all things committed to sacke and spoile; he and certaine of his confederates entred into a House, which they found to bee well furnished with goods, but utterly forsaken of the dwellers, onely this poore Mayden excepted, being then aged but two yeeres, or thereabout. As hee mounted up the steps, with intent to depart from the House; she called him Father, which word moved him so compassionately, that he went backe againe, brought her away with him, and all things of worth which were in the House: going thence afterward to Fano, and there deceasing, hee left her and all his goods to my charge; conditionally, that I should see her married when due time required, and bestow on her the wealth which he had left her. Now, very true it is, although her yeeres are convenient for marriage, yet I could never finde any one to bestow her on, at least that I thought fitting for her: howbeit I will listen thereto much more respectively, before any other such accident shall happen.
It came to passe, that in the reporting of this discourse, there was then a Gentleman in the company, named Guillemino da Medicina, who at the surprizall of the City, was present with Guidotto of Cremona, and knew well the House which he had ransacked, the owner whereof was also present with him, wherefore taking him aside, he said to him. Bernardino, hearest thou what Jacomino hath related? Yes very well, replyed Bernardino, and remember withall, that in that dismall bloody combustion, I lost a little Daughter, about the age as Jacomino speaketh. Questionlesse then replyed Guillemino, she must needs be the same young Mayden, for I was there at the same time, and in the House, whence Guidotto did bring both the Girle and goods, and I do perfectly remember, that it was thy House. I pray thee call to minde, if everthou sawest any scarre or marke about her, which may revive thy former knowledge of her, for my minde perswades me, that the Maide is thy Daughter.
Bernardino musing awhile with himselfe, remembred, that under her left eare, she had a scarre, in the forme of a little crosse, which happened by the byting of a Wolfe, and but a small while before the spoyle was made. Wherefore, without deferring it to any further time, he stept to Jacomino who as yet stayed there) and entreated him to fetch the Mayden from his house, because shee might be knowne to some in the company: whereto right willingly he condiscended, and there presented the Maide before them. So soone as Bernardino beheld her, he began to be much inwardly moved, for the perfect character of her Mothers countenance, was really figured in her sweete face; onely that her beauty was somewhat more excelling. Yet not herewith satisfied, he desired Jacomino to bee so pleased, as to lift up a little the lockes of haire, depending over her left eare. Jacomino did it presently, albeit with a modest blushing in the Maide, and Bernardino looking advisedly on it, knew it to be the selfe-same crosse, which confirmed her constantly to be his Daughter.
Overcome with excesse of joy, which made the teares to trickle downe his cheekes, he proffered to embrace and kisse the Maide: but she refusing his kindnesse, because (as yet) she knew no reason for it, hee turned himselfe to Jacomino, saying. My deare brother and friend, this Maide is my Daughter, and my House was the same which Guidotto spoyled, in the generall havocke of our City, and thence he carried this childe of mine, forgotten (in the fury) by my Wife her Mother. But happy was the houre of his becomming her Father, and carrying her away with him; for else she had perished in the fire, because the House was instantly burnt downe to the ground. The Mayden hearing his words, observing him also to be a man of yeeres and gravity: she beleeved what he saide, and humbly submitted her selfe to his kisses and embraces, even as instructed thereto by instinct of nature. Bernardino instantly sent for his wife, her owne Mother, his daughters, sonnes, and kindred, who being acquainted with this admirable accident, gave her most gracious and kinde welcome, he receiving her from Jacomino as his childe, and the legacies which Guidotto had left her.
When the Captaine of the City (being a very wise and worthy Gentleman) heard these tydings, and knowing that Giovanni, then his prisoner, was the Son to Bernardino, and naturall Brother to the newly recovered Maide: he bethought himselfe, how best he might qualifie the fault committed by him. And entring into the Hall among them, handled the matter so discreetly, that a loving league of peace was confirmed betweene Giovanni and Menghino, to whom (with free and full consent on all sides) the faire Maide, named Agatha, was given in marriage, with a more honourable enlargement of her dowry, and Grinello, with the rest, delivered out of prison, which for their tumultuous riot they had justly deserved. Menghino and Agatha had their wedding worthily solemnized, with all due honours belonging thereto; and long time after they had lived in Faenza, highly beloved, and graciously esteemed.[ Hide Fift Novell ]
The Novell of Madame Neiphila being ended, which proved very pleasing to the Ladies: the Queene commanded Madam Pampinea, that she should prepare to take her turne next, whereto willingly obeying, thus she began. Many and mighty (Gracious Ladies) are the prevailing powers of love, conducting amorous soules into infinite travels, with inconveniences no way avoidable, and not easily to be foreseene, or prevented. As partly already hath bene observed, by divers of our former Novels related, and some (no doubt) to ensue hereafter; for one of them (comming now to my memory) I shall acquaint you withall, in so good tearmes as I can.
Ischia is an Iland very neere to Naples, wherein (not long since) lived a faire and lovely Gentlewoman, named Restituta, Daughter to a Gentleman of the same Isle, whose name was Marino Bolgaro. A proper youth called Guion, dwelling also in a neere neighbouring Isle, called Procida, did love her as dearly as his owne life, and she was as intimately affected towards him. Now because the sight of her was his onely comfort, as occasion gave him leave, he resorted to Ischia very often in the day time, and as often also in the night season, when any Barke passed from Procida to Ischia; if to see nothing else, yet to behold the walles that enclosed his Mistresse thus.
While this love continued in equall fervency, it chanced upon a faire Summers day, that Restituta walked alone upon the Sea-shore, going from Rocke to Rocke, having a naked knife in her hand, wherewith she opened such Oysters as shee found among the stones, seeking for small pearles enclosed in their shelles. Her walke was very solitary and shady, with a faire Spring or Well adjoyning to it, and thither (at that very instant time) certaine Sicilian young Gentlemen, which came from Naples, had made their retreate. They perceiving the Gentlewoman to be very beautifull (she as yet not having any sight of them) and in such a silent place alone by her selfe: concluded together, to make a purchase of her, and carry her thence away with them; as indeed they did, notwithstanding all her out cryes and exclaimes, bearing her perforce aboard their Barke.
Setting sayle thence, they arrived in Calabria, and then there grew a great contention betweene them, to which of them this booty of beauty should belong, because each of them pleaded a title to her. But when they could not grow to any agreement, but doubted greater disasters would ensue thereon, by breaking their former league of friendship: by an equall conformity in consent, they resolved, to bestow her as a rich present, on Frederigo King of Sicille, who was then young and joviall, and could not be pleased with a better gift; wherefore, they were no sooner landed at Palermo, but they did according as they had determined. The King did commend her beauty extraordinarily, and liked her farre beyond all his other Loves: but, being at that time empaired in his health, and his body much distempered by ill dyet; he gave command, that untill he should be in more able disposition, she must be kept in a goodly house of his owne, erected in a beautifull Garden, called the Cube, where she was attended in most pompous manner. Now grew the noyse and rumor great in Ischia, about this rape or stealing away of Restituta; but the chiefest greevance of all, was, that it could not be knowne how, by whom, or by what meanes. But Guion di Procida, whom this injury concerned much more then any other: stood not in expectation of better tydings from Ischia, but h earing what course the Barke had taken, made ready another, to follow after with all possible speede. Flying thus on the winged winds through the Seas, even from Minerva, unto the Scalea in Calabria, searching for his lost Love in every angle: at length it was told him at the Scalea, that shee was carryed away by certaine Sicillian Marriners, to Palermo, whither Guion set sayle immediately.
After some diligent search made there, he understood, that she was delivered to the King, and he had given strict command, for keeping her in his place of pleasure, called the Cube: which newes were not a little greevous to him, for now he was almost quite out of hope, not onely of ever enjoying her, but also of seeing her. Neverthelesse, Love would not let him utterly despaire, whereupon he sent away his Barque, and perceiving himselfe to be unknowne of any; he continued for some time in Palermo, walking many times by that goodly place of pleasure. It chanced on a day, that keeping his walke as he used to do, Fortune was so favourable to him, as to let him have a sight of her at her window; from whence also she had a full view of him, to their exceeding comfort and contentment. And Guion observing, that the Cube was seated in a place of small resort; approached so neere as possibly he durst, to have some conference with Restituta.
As Love sets a keene edge on the dullest spirit, and (by a small advantage) makes a man the more adventurous: so this little time of unseene talke, inspired him with courage, and her with witty advice, by what meanes his accesse might be much neerer to her, and their communication concealed from any discovery, the scituation of the place, and benefit of time duly considered. Night must be the cloud to their amorous conclusion, and therefore, so much thereof being spent, as was thought convenient, he returned thither againe, provided of such grappling-yrons, as is required when men will clamber, made fast unto his hands and knees; by their helpe hee attained to the top of the wall, whence discending downe into the Garden, there he found the maine yard of a ship, whereof before she had given him instruction, and rearing it up against her Chamber window, made that his meanes for ascending thereto, she having left it open for his easier entrance.
You cannot denie (faire Ladies) but here was a very hopefull beginning, and likely to have as happy an ending, were it not true Loves fatal misery, even in the very height of promised assurance, to be thwarted by unkind prevention, and in such manner as I will tell you. This night, intended for our Lovers meeting, proved disastrous and dreadfull to them both: for the King, who at the first sight of Restituta, was highly pleased with her excelling beauty; gave order to his Eunuches and other women, that a costly bathe should be prepared for her, and therein to let her weare away that night, because the next day he intended to visit her. Restituta being royally conducted from her Chamber to the Bathe, attended on with Torchlight, as if she had bene a Queene: none remained there behind, but such women as waited on her, and the Guards without, which watched the Chamber.
No sooner was poore Guion aloft at the window, calling softly to his Mistresse, as if she had bene there; but he was over-heard by the women in the darke: and immediately apprehended by the Guard, who forthwith brought him before the Lord Marshall, where being examined, and he avouching, that Restituta was his elected wife, and for her he had presumed in that manner; closely was he kept in prison till the next morning. When he came into the Kings presence, and there boldly justified the goodnesse of his cause: Restituta likewise was sent for, who no sooner saw her deare Love Guion, but she ran and caught him fast about the necke, kissing him in teares, and greeving not a little at his hard fortune. Heereat the King grew exceedingly enraged, loathing and hating her now, much more then formerly hee did affect her, and having himselfe seene by what strange meanes he did climbe over the wall, and then mounted to her Chamber window; he was extreamely impatient, and could not otherwise bee perswaded, but that their meetings thus had bene very many.
Forthwith hee sentenced them both with death, commanding, that they should be conveyed thence to Palermo, and there (being stript starke naked) be bound to a stake backe to backe, and so to stand the full space of nine houres, to see if any could take knowledge, of whence, or what they were; then afterward, to be consumed with fire. The sentence of death, did not so much daunt or dismay the poore Lovers, as the uncivill and unsightly manner, which (in feare of the Kings wrathfull displeasure) no man durst presume to contradict. Wherefore, as he had commanded, so were they carryed thence to Palermo, and bound naked to a stake in the open Market place, and (before their eyes) the fire of wood brought, which was to consume them, according to the houre as the King had appointed. You neede not make any question, what an huge concourse of people were soone assembled together, to behold such a sad and wofull spectacle, even the whole City of Palermo, both men and women. The men were stricken with admiration, beholding the unequalled beauty of faire Restituta, and the selfe-same passion possessed the women, seeing Guion to be such a goodly and compleat young man: but the poore infortunate Lovers themselves, they stood with their lookes dejected to the ground, being much pittied of all, but no way to be holpen or rescued by any, awaiting when the happy houre would come, to finish both their shame and lives together.
During the time of this tragicall expectation, the fame of this publike execution being noysed abroade, calling all people farre and neere to behold it; it came to the eare of Don Rogiero de Oria, a man of much admired valour, and then Lord high Admirall of Sicily, who came himselfe in person, to the place appointed for their death. First, he observed the Mayden, confessing her (in his soule) to be a beauty beyond all compare. Then looking on the young man, thus he saide within himselfe: If the inward endowments of the mind, doe paralell the outward perfections of body; the World cannot yeeld a more compleate man. Now, as good natures are quickly incited to compassion (especially in cases almost commanding it) and compassion knocking at the doore of the soule, doth quicken the memory with many passed recordations: so this noble Admirall, advisedly, beholding poore condemned Guion, conceived, that he had somewhat seene him before this instant, and upon this perswasion (even as if divine vertue had tutored his tongue) he saide: Is not thy name Guion di Procida?
Marke now, how quickly misery can receive comfort, upon so poore and silly a question; for Guion began to elevate his dejected countenance, and looking on the Admirall, returned him this answer. Sir, heretofore I have bene the man which you speake of; but now, both that name and man must die with me. What misfortune (said the Admirall) hath thus unkindly crost thee? Love (answered Guion) and the Kings displeasure. Then the Admirall would needs know the whole history at large, which briefly was related to him, and having heard how all had happened; as he was turning his Horse to ride away thence, Guion called to him, saying, Good my Lord, entreat one favour for me, if possibly it may be. What is that? replyed the Admirall. You see Sir (quoth Guior) that I am very shortly to breathe my last; all the grace which I do most humbly entreat, is, that as I am here with this chaste Virgin, (whom I honour and love beyond my life) and miserably bound backe to backe: our faces may be turned each to other, to the end, that when the fire shall finish my life, by looking on her, my soule may take her flight in full felicity. The Admirall smiling, said; I will do for thee what I can, and (perhaps) thou mayest so long looke on her, as thou wilt be weary, and desire to looke off her.
At his departure, he commanded them that had the charge of this execution, to proceede no further, untill they heard more from the King, to whom he gallopped immediately, and although he beheld him to bee very angerly moved; yet he spared not to speake in this maner. Sir, wherin have those poore young couple offended you, that are so shamefully to be burnt at Palermo? The King told him: whereto the Admirall (pursuing still his purpose) thus replyed. Beleeve me Sir, if true love be an offence, then theirs may be termed to be one; and albeit it deserved death, yet farre be it from thee to inflict it on them: for as faults doe justly require punishment, so doe good turnes as equally merit grace and requitall. Knowest thou what and who they are, whom thou hast so dishonourably condemned to the fire? Not I, quoth the King. Why then I will tell thee, answered the Admirall, that thou mayest take the better knowledge of them, and forbeare hereafter, to be so over violently transported with anger.
The young Gentleman, is the Sonne to Landolfo di Procida, the onely Brother to Lord John di Procida, by whose meanes thou becamest Lord and King of this Countrey. The faire young Damosell, is the Daughter to Marino Bulgaro, whose power extendeth so farre, as to preserve thy prerogative in Ischia, which (but for him) had long since bene out-rooted there. Beside, these two maine motives, to challenge justly grace and favour from thee; they are in the floure and pride of their youth, having long continued in loyall love together, and compelled by fervency of endeared affection, not any will to displease thy Majesty: they have offended (if it may be termed an offence to love, and in such lovely young people as they are.) Canst thou then finde in thine heart to let them die, whom thou rather ought to honour, and recompence with no meane rewards? When the King had heard this, and beleeved for a certainty, that the Admirall told him nothing but truth: he appointed not onely, that they should proceede no further, but also was exceeding sorrowfull for what he had done, sending presently to have them released from the Stake, and honourably to be brought before him. Being thus enstructed in their severall qualities, and standing in duty obliged, to recompence the wrong which he had done, with respective honours: he caused them to be cloathed in royall garments, and knowing them to bee knit in unity of soule; the like he did by marrying them solemnly together, and bestowing many rich gifts and presents on them, sent them honourably attended home to Ischia; where they were with much joy and comfort received, and lived long after in great felicity.[ Hide Sixt Novell ]
Greatly were the Ladies minds perplexed, when they heard, that the two poore Lovers were in danger to be burned: but hearing afterward of their happy deliverance, for which they were as joyfull againe; upon the concluding of the Novell, the Queene looked on Madame Lauretta, enjoyning her to tell the next Tale, which willingly she undertooke to do, and thus began.
Faire Ladies, at such time as the good King William reigned in Sicily, there lived within the same Dominion, a young Gentleman, named Signior Amarigo, Abbot of Trapani, who among his other worldly blessings, (commonly termed the goods of Fortune) was not unfurnished of children; and therefore having neede of servants, he made his provision of them the best he might. At that time, certaine Gallies of Geneway Pyrates comming from the Easterne parts, which coasting along Armenia, had taken divers children; he bought some of them, thinking that they were Turkes. They all resembling clownish Peazants, yet there was one among them, who seemed to be of more tractable and gentle nature, yea, and of a more affable countenance than any of the rest, being named Theodoro: who growing on in yeeres, (albeit he lived in the condition of a servant) was educated among Amarigoes Children, and as enstructed rather by nature, then accident, his conditions were very much commended, as also the feature of his body, which proved so highly pleasing to his Master Amarigo, that he made him a free man, and imagining him to be a Turke, caused him to be baptized, and named Pedro, creating him superintendent of all his affaires, and reposing his-chiefest trust in him.
As the other Children of Signior Amarigo grew in yeeres and stature, so did a Daughter of his, named Violenta, a very goodly and beautifull Damosell, somewhat over-long kept from marriage by her Fathers covetousnesse, and casting an eye of good liking on poore Pedro. Now, albeit shee loved him very dearly, and all his behaviour was most pleasing to her, yet maiden modesty forbad her to reveale it, till Love (too long concealed) must needes disclose it selfe. Which Pedro at the length tooke notice of, and grew so forward towards her in equality of affection, as the very sight of her was his onely happinesse. Yet very fearefull he was, least it should be noted, either by any of the House, or the Mayden her selfe: who yet well observed it, and to her no meane contentment, as it appeared no lesse (on the other side) to honest Pedro.
While thus they loved together meerely in dumbe shewes, not daring to speake to each other, (though nothing more desired) to finde some ease in this their oppressing passions: Fortune, even as if she pittied their so long languishing, enstructed them how to finde out a way, whereby they might both better releeve themselves. Signior Amarigo, about some two or three miles distance from Trapani, had a Countrey-House or Farme, whereto his Wife, with her Daughter and some other women, used oftentimes to make their resort, as it were in sportfull recreation; Pedro alwayes being diligent to man them thither. One time among the rest, it came to passe, as often it falleth out in the Summer season, that the faire Skie became suddenly over-clouded, even as they were returning home towards Trapani, threatning a storme of raine to overtake them, except they made the speedier haste.
Pedro, who was young, and likewise Violenta, went farre more lightly then her Mother and her company, as much perhaps provoked by love, as feare of the sudden raine falling, and paced on so fast before them, that they were wholly out of sight. After many flashes of lightning, and a few dreadfull clappes of thunder, there fell such a tempestuous showre of hayle, as compelled the Mother and her traine to shelter themselves in a poore Countrey-mans Cottage. Pedro and Violenta, having no other refuge, ranne likewise into a poore Sheepecoate, so over-ruined, as it was in danger to fall on their heads; and no body dwelt in it, neither stood any other house neere it, and it was scarsely any shelter for them, howbeit, necessity enforceth to make shift with the meanest. The storme encreasing more and more, and they coveting to avoyd it as well as they could; sighes and drie hemmes were often inter-vented, as dumbly (before) they were wont to doe, when willingly they could affoord another kinde of speaking.
At last Pedro tooke heart, and saide: I would this showre would never cease, that I might be alwayes where I am. The like could I wish, answered Violenta, so we were in a better place of safety. These wishes drew on other gentle language, with modest kisses and embraces, the onely ease to poore Lovers soules; so that the raine ceased not, till they had taken order for their oftner conversing, and absolute plighting of their faiths together. By this time the storme was fairely over-blowne, and they attending on the way, till the Mother and the rest were come, with whom they returned to Trapani, where by wise and provident meanes, they often conferred in private together, and enjoyed the benefit of their amorous desires, yet free from any ill surmise or suspition.
But, as Lovers felicities are sildome permanent, without one encountring crosse or other: so these stolne pleasures of Pedro and Violenta, met with as sowre a sauce in the farewell. For shee proved to be conceived with childe, then which could befall them no heavier affliction, and Pedro fearing to loose his life therefore, determined immediate Right, and revealed his purpose to Violenta. Which when she heard, she told him plainly, that if he fled, forth-with she would kill her selfe. Alas deare Love (quoth Pedro) with what reason can you wish my tarrying here? This conception of yours, doth discover our offence, which a Fathers pity may easily pardon in vou: but I being his servant and vassall, shall be punished both for your sinne and mine, because he will have no mercy on me. Content thy selfe Pedro, replyed Violenta, I will take such order for mine owne offence, by the discreete counsell of my loving Mother, that no blame shall any way be taide on thee, or so much as a surmise, except thou wilt fondly betray thy selfe. If you can do so, answered Pedro, and constantly maintaine your promise; I will not depart, but see that you prove to bee so good as your word.
Violenta, who had concealed her amisse so long as she could, and saw no other remedy, but now at last it must needes be discovered; went privately to her Mother, and (in teares) revealed her infirmity, humbly craving her pardon, and furtherance in hiding it from her Father. The Mother being extraordinarily displeased, chiding her with many sharpe and angry speeches, would needes know with whom shee had thus offended. The Daughter (to keepe Pedro from any detection) forged a Tale of her owne braine, farre from any truth indeede, which her Mother verily beleeving, and willing to preserve her Daughter from shame, as also the fierce anger of her Husband, he being a man of very implacable nature: conveyed her to the Countrey Farme, whither Signior Amarigo sildome or never resorted, intending (under the shadow of sicknesse) to let her lye in there, without the least suspition of any in Trapani.
Sinne and shame can never be so closely carryed, or clouded with the greatest cunning; but truth hath a loop-light whereby to discover it, even when it supposeth it selfe in the surest safety. For, on the very day of her detiverance, at such time as the Mother, and some few friends (sworne to secrecy) were about the businesse, Signior Amarigo, having beene in company of other Gentlemen, to flye his Hawke at the River, upon a sudden, (but very unfortunately, albeit hee was alone by himselfe) stept into his Farm-house, even to the next roome where the women were, and heard the newborne Babe to cry, whereat marvelling not a little, he called for his Wife, to know what young childe cryed in his House. The Mother, amazed at his strange comming thither, which never before he had used to doe, and pittying the wofull distresse of her Daughter, which now could bee no longer covered, revealed what happened to Violenta. But he, being nothing so rash in beliefe, as his Wife was, made answere, that it was impossible for his Daughter to be conceived with childe, because he never observed the least signe of love in her to any man whatsoever, and therefore he would be satisfied in the truth, as shee expected any favour from him, or else there was no other way but death.
The Mother laboured by all meanes she could devise, to pacifie her Husbands fury, which proved all in vaine; for being thus impatiently incensed, he drew foorth his Sword, and stepping with it drawne into the Chamber (where she had bene delivered of a goodly Sonne) he said unto her. Either tell me who is the Father of this Bastard, or thou and it shall perish both together. Poore Violenta, lesse respecting her owne life, then she did the childes; forgot her solemne promise made to Pedro, and discovered all. Which when Amarigo had heard, he grew so desperately enraged, that hardly he could forbeare from killing her. But after hee had spoken what his fury enstructed him, hee mounted on Horsebacke againe, ryding backe to Trapani, where hee disclosed the injury which Pedro had done him, to a noble Gentleman, named Signior Conrado, who was Captaine for the King over the City.
Before poore Pedro could have any intelligence, or so much as suspected any treachery against him; he was suddenly apprehended, and being called in question, stood not on any deniall, but confessed truly what hee had done: whereupon, within some few dayes after, he was condemned by the Captaine, to be whipt to the place of execution, and afterward to be hanged by the necke. Signior Amarigo, because he would cut off (at one and the same time) not onely the lives of the two poore Lovers, but their childes also; as a franticke man, violently carried from all sense of compassion, even when Pedro was led and whipt to his death: he mingled strong poyson in a Cup of wine, delivering it to a trusty servant of his owne, and a naked Rapier withall, speaking to him in this manner. Goe carry these two presents to my late Daughter Violenta, and tell her from me, that in this instant houre, two severall kinds of death are offered unto her, and one of them she must make choyce of, either to drinke the poyson, and so dye, or to run her body on this Rapiers point, which if she denie to doe, she shall be haled to the publike market place, and presently be burned in the sight of her lewd companion, according as shee hath worthily deserved. When thou hast delivered her this message, take he- Bastard brat, so lately since borne, and dash his braines out against the walles, and afterward throw him to my Dogges to feede on.
When the Father had given this cruell sentence, both against his owne Daughter, and her young Sonne, the servant readier to do evill, then any good, went to the place where his Daughter was kept. Poore condemned Pedro, (as you have heard) was led whipt to the Gibbet, and passing (as it pleased the Captaines Officers to guide him) by a faire Inne: at the same time were lodged there three chiefe persons of Arminia, whom the King of the Countrey had sent to Rome, as Ambassadours to the Popes Holinesse, to negociate about an important businesse neerely concerning the King and State. Reposing there for some few dayes, as being much wearied with their journey., and highly honoured by the Gentlemen of Trapani, especially Signior Amarigo; these Ambassadours standing in their Chamber window, heard the wofull lamentations of Pedro in his passage by.
Pedro was naked from the middle upward, and his hands bound fast behind him, but being well observed by one of the Ambassadours, a man aged, and of great authority, named Phinio: hee espied a great red spot upon his breast, not painted, or procured by his punishment, but naturally imprinted in the flesh, which women (in these parts) terme the Rose. Upon the sight hereof, he suddenly remembred a Sonne of his owne, which was stolne from him about fifteene yeeres before, by Pyrates on the Sea-coast of Laiazzo, never hearing any tydings of him afterward. Upon further consideration, and comparing his Sonnes age with the likelyhood of this poore wretched mans; thus he conferred with his owne thoughts. If my Sonne (quoth he) be living, his age is equall to this mans time, and by the red blemish on his breast, it plainely speakes him for to bee my Sonne.
Moreover, thus he conceived, that if it were he, he could not but remember his owne name, his Fathers, and the Armenian Language; wherefore, when he was just opposite before the window, hee called aloud to him, saying: Theodoro. Pedro hearing the voyce, presently lifted up his head, and Phinio speaking Armenian, saide: Of whence art thou, and what is thy Fathers name? The Sergeants (in reverence to the Lord Ambassador) stayed awhile, till Pedro had returned his answer, who saide. I am an Armenian borne, Sonne to one Phineo, and was brought hither I cannot tell by whom. Phineo hearing this, knew then assuredly, that this was the same Sonne which he had lost; wherefore, the teares standing in his eyes with conceite of joy, downe he descended from the window, and the other Ambassadors with him, running in among the Sergeants to embrace his Sonne, and casting his owne rich Cloake about his whipt body, entreating them to forbeare and proceed no further, till they heard what command he should returne withall unto them; which very willingly they promised to do.
Already, by the generall rumour dispersed abroad, Phineo had understood the occasion, why Pedro was thus punished, and sentenced to bee hanged: wherefore, accompanied with his fellow Ambassadors, and all their attending traine, he went to Signior Conrado, and spake thus to him. My Lord, he whom you have sent to death as a slave, is a free Gentleman borne, and my Sonne, able to make her amends whom he hath dishonoured, by taking her in marriage as his lawfull Wife. Let me therefore entreat you, to make stay of the execution, ill it may be knowne, whether she will accept him as her Husband, or no; least (if she be so pleased) you offend directly against your owne Law. When Signior Conrado heard, that Pedro was Sonne to the Lord Ambassador, he wondred thereat not a little, and being somewhat ashamed of his fortunes errour, confessed, that the claime of Phineo was comformable to Law, and ought not to be denied him; going presently to the Counsell Chamber, sending for Signior Amarigo immediately thither, and acquainting him fully with the case.
Amarigo, who beleeved that his Daughter and her Child were already dead, was the wofullest man in the World, for his so rash proceeding, knowing very well, that if she were not dead, the scandall would easily be wipt away with credit. Wherefore he sent in all poast haste, to the place where his Daughter lay, that if his command were not already executed, by no meanes to have it done at all. He who went on this speedy errand, found there Signior Amarigoes servant standing before Violenta, with the Cup of poyson in the one hand, and the drawne Rapier in the other, reproaching her with very foule and injurious speeches, because she had delayed the time so long, and would not accept the one or other, striving (by violence) to make her take the one. But hearing his Masters command to the contrary, he left her, and returned backe to him, certifying him how the case stood.
Most highly pleased was Amarigo with these glad newes, and going to the Ambassadour Phineo, in teares excused himselfe (so well as he could) for his severity, and craving pardon; assured him, that if Theodoro would accept his Daughter in marriage, willingly he would bestow her on him. Phineo allowed his excuses to be tollerable, and saide beside; If my Son will not marry your Daughter, then let the sentence of death be executed on him. Amarigo and Phineo being thus accorded, they went to poore Theodoro, fearefully looking every minute when he should dye, yet joyfull that he had found his Father, who presently moved the question to him. Theodoro hearing that Violenta should bee his Wife, if he would so accept her: was over come with such exceeding joy, as if he had leapt out of hell into Paradise; confessing, that no greater felicity could befall him, if Violenta her selfe were so well pleased as he.
The like motion was made to her, to understand her disposition in this case, who hearing what good hap had befalne Theodoro, and now in like manner must happen to her: whereas not long before, when two such violent deathes were prepared for her, and one of them shee must needs embrace, she accounted her misery beyond all other womens, but she now thought her selfe above all in happinesse, if she might be wife to her beloved Theodoro, submitting her selfe wholy to her Fathers disposing. The marriage being agreed on betweene them, it was celebrated with great pompe and solemnity, a generall Feast being made for all the Citizens, and the young married couple nourished up their sweete Son, which grew to be a very comely childe.
After that the Embassie was dispatched at Rome, and Phineo (with the rest) was returned thither againe; Violenta did reverence him as her owne naturall Father, and he was not a little proud of so lovely a Daughter, beginning a fresh feasting againe, and continuing the same a whole moneth together. Within some short while after, a Galley being fairely furnished for the purpose, Phineo, his Sonne, Daughter, and their young Sonne, went aboard, sayling away thence to Laiazzo, where afterward they lived in much tranquility.[ Hide Seventh Novell ]
So soone as Madam Lauretta held her peace, Madam Pampinea (by the Queenes command) began, and said. Lovely Ladies, as pitty is most highly commended in our sexe, even so is cruelty in us as severely revenged (oftentimes) by divine ordination. Which that you may the better know, and learne likewise to shun, as a deadly evill; I purpose to make apparant by a Novell, no lesse full of compassion, then delectable.
Ravenna being a very ancient City in Romania, there dwelt sometime a great number of worthy Gentlemen, among whom I am to speake of one more especially, named Anastasio, descended from the Family of the Honesti, who by the death of his Father, and an Unckle of his, was left extraordinarily abounding in riches, and growing to yeares fitting for marriage, (as young Gallants are easily apt enough to do) he became enamored of a very bountifull Gentlewoman, who was Daughter to Signior Paulo Traversario, one of the most ancient and noble Families in all the Countrey. Nor made he any doubt, but by his meanes and industrious endeavour, to derive affection from her againe; for he carried himselfe like a brave-minded Gentleman, liberall in his expences, honest and affable in all his actions, which commonly are the true notes of a good nature, and highly to be commended in any man. But, howsoever Fortune became his enemy, these laudable parts of manhood did not any way friend him, but rather appeared hurtfull to himselfe: so cruell, unkind, and almost meerely savage did she shew her selfe to him; perhaps in pride of her singular beauty, or presuming on her nobility by birth, both which are rather blemishes, then ornaments in a woman, especially when they be abused.
The harsh and uncivill usage in her, grew very distastefull to Anastasio, and so unsufferable, that after a long time of fruitlesse service, requited still with nothing but coy disdaine; desperate resolutions entred into his brain, and often he was minded to kill himselfe. But better thoughts supplanting those furious passions, he abstained from any such violent act; and governed by more manly consideration, determined, that as shee hated him, he would requite her with the like, if he could: wherein he became altogether deceived, because as his hopes grew to a dayly decaying, yet his love enlarged it selfe more and more.
Thus Anastasio persevering still in his bootlesse affection, and his expences not limited within any compasse; it appeared in the judgement of his Kindred and Friends, that he was falne into a mighty consumption, both of his body and meanes. In which respect, many times they advised him to leave the City of Ravenna, and live in some other place for such a while; as might set a more moderate stint upon his spendings, and bridle the indiscreete course of his love, the onely fuell which fed this furious fire.
Anastasio held out thus a long time, without lending an eare to such friendly counsell: but in the end, he was so neerely followed by them, as being no longer able to deny them, he promised to accomplish their request. Whereupon, making such extraordinary preparation, as if he were to set thence for France or Spaine, or else into some further distant countrey: he mounted on horsebacke, and accompanied with some few of his familiar friends, departed from Ravenna, and rode to a countrey dwelling house of his owne, about three or foure miles distant from the Cittie which was called Chiasso, and there (upon a very goodly greene) erecting divers Tents and Pavillions, such as great persons make use of in the time of a Progresse: he said to his friends, which came with him thither, that there he determined to make his abiding, they all returning backe unto Ravenna, and might come to visite him againe so often as they pleased.
Now, it came to passe, that about the beginning of May, it being then a very milde and serrene season, and he leading there a much more magnificent life, then ever hee had done before, inviting divers to dine with him this day, and as many to morrow, and not to leave him till after supper: upon the sodaine, falling into remembrance of his cruell Mistris, hee commanded all his servants to forbeare his company, and suffer him to walke alone by himselfe awhile, because he had occasion of private meditations, wherein he would not (by any meanes) be troubled. It was then about the ninth houre of the day, and he walking on solitary all alone, having gone some halfe miles distance from his Tents, entred into a Grove of Pine-trees, never minding dinner time, or any thing else, but onely the unkind requitall of his love.
Sodainly he heard the voice of a woman, seeming to make most mournfull complaints, which breaking off his silent considerations, made him to lift up his head, to know the reason of this noise. When he saw himselfe so farre entred into the Grove, before he could imagine where he was; hee looked amazedly round about him, and out of a little thicket of bushes and briars round engirt with spreading trees, hee espyed a young Damosell come running towards him, naked from the middle upward, her haire dishevelled on her shoulders, and her faire skinne rent and torne with the briars and brambles, so that the blood ran trickling downe mainely; she weeping, wringing her hands, and crying out for mercy so lowde as she could. Two fierce Bloodhounds also followed swiftly after, and where their teeth tooke hold, did most cruelly bite her. Last of all (mounted on a lusty blacke Courser) came gallopping a Knight, with a very sterne and angry countenance, holding a drawne short Sword in his hand, giving her very vile and dreadfull speeches, and threatning every minute to kill her.
This strange and uncouth sight, bred in him no meane admiration, as also kinde compassion to the unfortunate woman; out of which compassion, sprung an earnest desire, to deliver her (if he could) from a death so full of anguish and horror: but seeing himselfe to be without Armes, he ran and pluckt up the plant of a Tree, which handling as if it had bene a staffe, he opposed himselfe against the Dogges and the Knight, who seeing him comming, cryed out in this manner to him. Anastasio, put not thy selfe in any opposition, but referre to my Hounds and me, to punish this wicked woman as she hath justly deserved. And in speaking these words, the Hounds tooke fast hold on her body, so staying her, untill the Knight was come neerer to her, and alighted from his horse: when Anastasio (after some other angry speeches) spake thus unto him: I cannot tell what or who thou art, albeit thou takest such knowledge of me, yet I must say, that it is meere cowardize in a Knight, being armed as thou art, to offer to kill a naked woman, and make thy dogges thus to seize on her, as if she were a savage beast; therefore beleeve me, I will defend her so farre as I am able.
Anastasio, answered the Knight, I am of the same City as thou art, and do well remember, that thou wast a little Ladde, when I (who was then named Guido Anastasio, and thine Unckle) became as intirely in love with this woman, as now thou art of Paulo Traversarioes daughter. But through her coy disdaine and cruelty, such was my heavy fate, that desperately I slew my selfe with this short sword which thou beholdest in mine hand: for which rash sinfull deede, I was, and am condemned to eternall punishment. This wicked woman, rejoycing immeasurably in mine unhappy death, remained no long time alive after me, and for her mercilesse sinne of cruelty, and taking pleasure in my oppressing torments; dying unrepentant, and in pride of her scorne, she had the like sentence of condemnation pronounced on her, and sent to the same place where I was tormented.
There the three impartiall judges, imposed this further infliction on us both; namely, that she should flye in this manner before me, and I (who loved her so deerely while I lived) must pursue her as my deadly enemy, not like a woman that had a taste of love in her. And so often as I can overtake her, I am to kill her with this sword, the same Weapon wherewith I slew my selfe. Then am I enjoyned, therewith to open her accursed body, and teare out her hard and frozen heart, with her other inwards, as now thou seest me doe, which I give unto my Hounds to feede on. Afterward, such is the appointment of the supreame powers, that she re-assumeth life againe, even as if she had not bene dead at all, and falling to the same kinde of flight, I with my Hounds am still to follow her; without any respite or intermission. Every Friday, and just at this houre, our course is this way, where she suffereth the just punishment inflicted on her. Nor do we rest any of the other dayes, but are appointed unto other places, where she cruelly executed her malice against me, being now (of her deare affectionate friend) ordained to be her endlesse enemy, and to pursue her in this manner for so many yeares, as she exercised moneths of cruelty, towards me. Hinder me not then, in being the executioner of divine justice; for all thy interposition is but in vaine, in seeking to crosse the appointment of supreame powers.
Anastasio having attentively heard all this discourse, his haire stood upright like Porcupines quils, and his soule was so shaken with the terror, that he stept backe to suffer the Knight to do what he was enjoyned, looking yet with milde commisseration on the poore woman. Who kneeling Most humbly before the Knight, and stearnely seized on by the two blood-hounds, he opened her brest with his weapon, drawing foorth her heart and bowels, which instantly he threw to the dogges, and they devoured them very greedily. Soone after, the Damosell (as if none of this punishment had bene inflicted on her) started up sodainly, running amaine towards the Sea shore, and the Hounds swiftly following her, as the Knight did the like, after he had taken his sword, and was mounted on horsebacke; so that Anastasio had soone lost all sight of them, and could not gesse what was become of them.
After he had heard and observed all these things, he stoode a while as confounded with feare and pitty, like a simple silly man, hoodwinkt with his owne passions, not knowing the subtle enemies cunning illusions in offering false suggestions to the sight, to worke his owne ends thereby, and encrease the number of his deceived servants. Forthwith he perswaded himselfe, that he might make good use of this womans tormenting, so justly imposed on the Knight to prosecute, if thus it should continue still every Friday. Wherefore, setting a good note or marke upon the place, he returned backe to his owne people, and at such time as he thought convenient, sent for divers of his kindred and friends from Ravenna, who being present with him, thus he spake to them.
Deare Kinsmen and Friends, ye have a long while importuned me, to discontinue my over-doating love to her, whom you all thinke, and I find to be my mortall enemy: as also, to give over my lavish expences, wherein I confesse my selfe too prodigall; both which requests of yours, I will condiscend to, provided, that you will performe one gracious favour for me; Namely, that on Friday next, Signior Paulo Traversario, his wife, daughter, with all other women linked in linage to them, and such beside onely as you shall please to appoint, will vouchsafe to accept a dinner heere with wi me; as for the reason thereto mooving me, you shall then more at large be acquainted withall. This appeared no difficult matter for them to accomplish: wherefore, being returned to Ravenna, and as they found the time answerable to their purpose, they invited such as Anastasio had appointed them. And although they found it some-what an hard matter, to gaine her company whom he so deerely affected; yet notwithstanding, the other women won her along with them.
A most magnificent dinner had Anastasio provided, and the tables were covered under the Pine-trees, where he saw the cruell Lady so pursued and slaine: directing the guests so in their seating, that the yong Gentlewoman his unkinde Mistresse, sate with her face opposite unto the place, where the dismall spectacle was to be seene. About the closing up of dinner, they beganne to heare the noise of the poore prosecuted Woman, which drove them all to much admiration; desiring to know what it was, and no one resolving them, they arose from the Tables, and looking directly as the noise came to them, they espyed the wofull Woman, the Dogges eagerly pursuing her; and the armed Knight on horsebacke, gallopping fiercely after them with his drawne weapon, and came very nere unto the company, who cryed out with lowd exclaimes against the dogs and the Knight, stepping forth in assistance of the injured woman.
The Knight spake unto them, as formerly he had done to Anastasio, (which made them draw backe, possessed with feare and admiration) acting the same cruelty as he did the Friday before, not differing in the least degree. Most of the Gentlewomen there present, being neere allyed to the unfortunate Woman, and likewise to the Knight, remembring well both his love and death, did shed teares as plentifully, as if it had bin to the very persons themselves, in usuall performance of the action indeede. Which tragicall Sceene being passed over, and the Woman and Knight gone out of their sight: all that had seene this straunge accident, fell into diversity of confused opinions, yet not daring to disclose them, as doubting some further danger to ensue thereon.
But beyond all the rest, none could compare in feare and astonishment with the cruell yong Maide affected by Anastasio, who both saw and observed all with a more inward apprehension, knowing very well, that the morall of this dismall spectacle, carried a much neerer application to her then any other in all the company. For now she could call to mind, how unkinde and cruell she had shewne her selfe to Anastasio, even as the other Gentlewoman formerly did to her Lover, still flying from him in great contempt and scorne: for which, she thought the Blood-hounds also pursued her at the heeles already, and a sword of vengeance to mangle her body. This feare grew so powerfull in her, that to prevent the like heavy doome from falling on her, she studied (by all her best and commendable meanes, and therein bestowed all the night season) how to change her hatred into kinde love, which at the length she fully obtained, and then purposed to prosecute in this manner.
Secretly she sent a faithfull Chambermaide of her owne, to greete Anastasio on her behalfe; humbly entreating him te come see her: because now she was absolutely determined, to give him satisfaction in all which (with honour) he could request of her. Whereto Anastasio answered, that he accepted her message thankfully, and desired no other favour at her hand, but that which stood with her owne offer, namely, to be his Wife in honourable marriage, The Maide knowing sufficiently, that he could not be more desirous of the match, then her Mistresse shewed her selfe to be, made answer in her name, that this motion would be most welcome to her.
Heereupon, the Gentlewoman her selfe, became the solicitour to her Father and Mother, telling them plainly, that slie was willing to be the Wife of Anastasio: which newes did so highly content them, that upon the Sunday next following, the marriage was very worthily solemnized, and they lived and loved together very kindly. Thus the divine bounty out of the malignant enemies secret machinations, can cause good effects to arise and succeede. For, from this conceite of fearfull imagination in her, not onely happened this long desired conversion, of a Maide so obstinately scornfull and proud; but likewise all the women of Ravenna (being admonished by her example) grew afterward more kind and tractable to mens honest motions, then ever they shewed themselves before. And let me make some use hereof (faire Ladies) to you, not to stand over-nicely conceited of your beauty and good parts, when men (growing enamored of you by them) solicite you with their best and humblest services. Remember then this disdainfull Gentlewoman, but more especially her, who being the death of so kinde a Lover, was therefore condemned to perpetuall punishment, and he made the minister thereof, whom she had cast off with coy disdaine, from which I wish your minds to be as free, as mine is ready to do you any acceptable service.[ Hide Eight Novell ]
Madam Philomena having finished her discourse, the Queene perceiving, that her turne was the next, in regard of the priviledge granted to Dioneus; with a smiling countenance thus she spake. Now or never am I to maintaine the order which was instituted when wee began this commendable exercise, whereto I yeeld with all humble obedience. And (worthy Ladies) I am to acquaint you with a Novell, in some sort answerable to the precedent, not onely to let you know, how powerfully your kindnesses do prevalle, in such as have a free and gentle soule: but also to dvise you, in being bountifull, where vertue doth justly challenge it. And evermore, let your favours shine on worthy deservers, without the direction of chaunce or Fortune, who never bestoweth any gift by discretion; but rashly without consideration, even to the first she blindly meets withall.
You are to understand then, that Coppo di Borghese Domenichi, who was of our owne City, and perhaps (as yet) his name remaineth in great and reverend authority, now in these dayes of ours, as well deserving eternall memory; yet more for his vertues and commendable qualities, then any boast of Nobility from his predecessors. This man, being well entred into yeares, and drawing towards the finishing of his dayes; it was his only delight and felicity, in conversation among his neighbours, to talke of matters concerning antiquity, and some other things within compasse of his owne knowledge: which he would deliver in such singular order (having an absolute memory) and with the best Language, as very few or none could do the like. Among the multiplicity of his queint discourses, I remember he told us, that sometime there lived in Florence a yong Gentleman, named Frederigo, Sonne to Signior Phillippo Alberigo, who was held and reputed, both for Armes, and all other actions beseeming a Gentleman, hardly to have his equall through all Tuscany.
This Frederigo (as it is no rare matter in yong Gentlemen) became enamored of a Gentlewoman, named Madam Giana, who was esteemed (in her time) to be the fairest and most gracious Lady in all Florence. In which respect, and to reach the height of his desire, he made many sumptuous Feasts and Banquets, joustes, Tilties, Tournaments, and all other noble actions of Armes, beside, sending her infinite rich and costly presents, making spare of nothing, but lashing all out in lavish expence. Notwithstanding, she being no lesse honest then faire, made no reckoning of whatsoever he did for her sake, or the least respect of his owne person. So that Frederigo, spending thus daily more, then his meanes and ability could maintaine, and no supplies any way redounding to him, or his faculties (as very easily they might) diminished in such sort, that became so poore; as he had nothing left him, but a small poore Farme to live upon, the silly revenewes whereof were so meane, as scarcely allowed him meat and drinke; yet had he a faire Hawke or Faulcon, hardly any where to be fellowed, so expeditious and sure she was of flight. His low ebbe and poverty, no way quailing his love to the Lady, but rather setting a keener edge thereon; he saw the City life could no longer containe him, where most he coveted to abide: and therefore, betooke himselfe to his poore Countrey Farme, to let his Faulcon get him his dinner and supper, patiently supporting his penurious estate, without suite or meanes making to one, for helpe or reliefe in any such necessity.
While thus he continued in this extremity, it came to passe, that the Husband to Madam Giana fell sicke, and his debility of body being such, as little, or no hope of life remained: he made his last will and testament, ordaining thereby, that his Sonne (already growne to indifferent stature) should be heire to all his Lands and riches, wherein he abounded very greatly. Next unto him, if he chanced to die without a lawfull heire, he substituted his Wife, whom most dearely he affected, and so departed out of this life. Madam Giana being thus left a widdow; as commonly it is the custome of our City Dames, during the Summer season, she went to a house of her owne in the Countrey, which was somewhat neere to poore Frederigoes Farme, and where he lived in such an honest kind of contented poverty.
Hereupon, the young Gentleman her Sonne, taking great delight in Hounds and Hawkes; grew into familiarity with poore Frederigo, and having seene many faire flights of his Faulcon, they pleased him so extraordinarily, that he earnestly desired to enjoy her as his owne; yet durst not move the motion for her, because he saw how choycely Frederigo esteemed her. Within a short while after, the young Gentleman, became very sicke, whereat his Mother greeved exceedingly, (as having no more but he, and therefore loved him the more entirely) never parting from him night or day, comforting him so kindly as she could, and demanding, if he had a desire to any thing, willing him to reveale it, and assuring him withall, that (it were within the compasse of possibility) he should have it. The youth hearing how many times she had made him these offers, and with such vehement protestations of performance, at last thus spake.
Mother (quoth he) if you can do so much for me, as that I may have Frederigoes Faulcon, I am perswaded, that my sicknesse soone will cease. The Lady hearing this, sate some short while musing to her selfe, and began to consider, what she might best doe to compasse her Sonnes desire: for well she knew, how long a time Frederigo had most lovingly kept it, not suffering it ever to be out of his sight. Moreover, shee remembred, how earnest in affection he had bene to her, never thinking himselfe happy, but onely when he was in her company; wherefore, shee entred into this private consultation with her owne thoughts. Shall I send, or goe my selfe in person, to request the Faulcon of him, it being the best that ever flew? It is his onely Jewell of delight, and that taken from him, no longer can he wish to live in this World. How farre then voyde of understanding shall I shew my selfe, to rob a Gentleman of his sole felicity, having no other joy or comfort left him? These and the like considerations, wheeled about her troubled braine, onely in tender care and love to her Sonne, perswading her selfe assuredly, that the Faulcon were her owne, if she would but request it: yet not knowing whereon it were best to resolve, shee returned no answer to her Sonne, but sate still in her silent meditations. At the length, love to the youth, so prevailed with her, that she concluded on his contentation, and (come of it what could) shee would not send for it; but go her selfe in person to request it, and then returne home againe with it: whereupon thus she spake. Sonne, comfort thy selfe, and let languishing thoughts no longer offend thee: for here I promise thee, that the first thing I do to morrow morning, shall bee my journey for the Faulcon, and assure thy selfe, that I will bring it with me. Whereat the youth was so joyed, that he imagined, his sicknesse began instantly a little to leave him, and promised him a speedy recovery.
Somewhat early the next morning, the Lady, in care of her sicke Sons health, was up and ready betimes, and taking another Gentlewoman with her; onely as a morning recreation, shee walked to Frederigoes poore Countrey Farme, knowing that it would not a little glad him to see her. At the time of her arrivall there, he was (by chance) in a silly Garden, on the backe-side of the a si House, because (as yet) it was no convenient time for flight: but when he heard, that Madam Glana was come thither, and desired to have some conference with him; as one almost confounded with admiration, in all hast he ran to her, and saluted her with most humble reverence. She in all modest and gracious manner, requited him with the like salutations, thus speaking to him. Signior Frederigo, your owne best wishes befriend you, I am now come hither, to recompence some part of your passed travailes, which heretofore you pretended traval I to suffer for my sake, when your love was more to me, then did well become you to offer, or my selfe to accept. And such is the nature of my recompence, that I make my selfe your guest, and meane this day to dine with as also this Gentlewoman, making no doubt of our welcome: whereto, with lowly reverence, thus he replyed.
Madam, I doe not remember, that ever I sustained any losse or hinderance by you, but rather so much good, as if I was worth any thing, it proceeded from your great deservings, and by the service in which I did stand engaged to you. But my present happinesse can no way be equalled, derived from your super-abounding gracious favour, and more then common course of kindnesse, vouchsafing (of your owne liberall nature) to come and visit so poore a servant. Oh that I had as much to spend againe, as heretofore riotously I have runne thorow: what a welcome would your poore Host bestow upon you, for gracing; this homely house with your divine presence? With these wordes, he conducted her into his house, and then into his simple Garden, where having no convenient company for her, he said. Madam, the poverty of this place is such, that it affoordeth none fit for your conversation: this poore woman, wife to an honest Husbandman will attend on you, while I (with some speede) shall make ready dinner.
Poore Frederigo, although his necessity was extreame, and his greefe great, remembring his former inordinate expences, a moity whereof would now have stood him in some stead; yet he had a heart as free and forward as ever, not a jotte dejected in his minde, though utterly overthrowne by Fortune. Alas! how was his good soule afflicted, that he had nothing wherewith to honour his Lady? Up and downe he runnes, one while this way, then againe another, exclaiming on his disastrous Fate, like a man enraged, or bereft of senses: for he had not one peny of mony neither pawne or pledge, wherewith to procure any. The time hasted on, and he would gladly (though in meane measure) expresse his honourable respect of the Lady. To begge of any, his nature denied it, and to borrow he could not, because his neighbours were all as needie as himselfe.
At last, looking round about, and seeing his Faulcon standing on her pearch, which he felt to be very plumpe and fat, being voyde of all other helpes in his neede, and thinking her to be a Fowle meete for so Noble a Lady to feede on: without any further demurring or delay, he pluckt off her necke, and caused the poore woman presently to pull her Feathers: which being done, he put her on the spit, and in short time she was daintily roasted. Himselfe covered the Table, set bread and salt on and laid the Napkins, whereof he had but a few left him. Going then with chearfull lookes into the Garden, telling the Lady that dinner was ready, and nothing now wanted, but her presence. Shee, and the Gentlewoman went in, and being sated at the Table, not knowing what they fed on, the Faulcon was all their foode; and Frederigo not a little joyfull, that his credite was so well saved. When they were risen from the table, and had spent some small time in familiar conference: the Lady thought it fit, to acquaint him with the reason of her comming thither, and therefore (in very kinde manner) thus began.
Frederigo, if you do yet remember your former carriage towards mee, as also my many modest and chaste denials, which (perhaps) you thought to savour of a harsh, cruell, and un-womanly nature, I make no doubt, but you will wonder at my present presumption, when you understand the occasion, which expressely mooved me to come hither. But if you were possessed of children, or ever had any, whereby you might comprehend what love (in nature) is due unto them: then I durst assure my selfe, that you would partly hold me excused.
Now, in regard that you never had any, and my selfe (for my part) have but onely one, I stand not exempted from those Lawes, which are in common to other mothers. And being compelled to obey the power of those Lawes; contrary to mine owne will, and those duties which reason owne wi ought to maintaine, I am to request such a gift of you, which I am certaine, that you do make most precious account of, as in manly equity you can do no lesse. For Fortune hath bin so extreamly adverse to you, that she hath robbed you of all other pleasures, allowing you no comfort or delight, but onely that poore one, which is your faire Faulcone. Of which Bird, my Sonne is become so strangely desirous, as, if I doe not bring it to him at my comming home; I feare so much, the extreamity of his sicknesse, as nothing can ensue thereon, but his losse of life. Wherefore I beseech you, not in regard of the love you have borne me, for therby you stand no way obliged: but in your owne true gentle nature (the which hath alwayes declared it selfe ready in you, to do more kinde offices generally, then any other Gentleman that I know) you will be pleased to give her me, or at the least, let me buy her of you.
Which if you do, I shall freely then confesse, that onely by your meanes, my Sonnes life is saved, and we both shall for ever remaine engaged to you.
When Frederigo had heard the Ladies request, which was now quite out of his power to graunt, because it had bene her service at dinner: he stood like a man meerely dulled in his sences, the teares trickling amaine downe his cheekes, and he not able to utter one word. Which she perceiving, began to conjecture immediately, that these teares and passions proceeded rather from greefe of minde, as being loather to part with his Faulcon, then any other kinde of manner: which made her ready to say, that she would not have it. Neverthelesse she did not speake, but rather tarried to attend his answer. Which, after some small respite and pause, he returned in this manner.
Madame, since the houre, when first mine affection became soly devoted to your service; Fortune hath bene crosse and contrary to me, in many occasions, as justly, and in good reason I may complain of her, yet all seemed light and easie to be indured, in comparison of her present malicious contradiction, to my utter overthrow, and perpetuall mollestation. Considering, that you are come hither to my poore house, which (while I was rich and able) you would not so much as vouchsafe to looke on. And now you have requested a small matter of me, wherein she hath also most crookedly thwarted me, because she hath disabled me, in bestowing so meane a gift, as your selfe will confesse, when it shall be related to you in few words.
So soone as I heard, that it was your gracious pleasure to dine with me, having regard to your excellency, and what (by merit) is justly due unto you: I thought it a part of my bounden duty, to entertaine you with such exquisite viands, as my poore power could any way compasse, and farre beyond respect or welcome, to other common and ordinary persons. Whereupon, remembring my Faulcon, which now you aske for; and her goodnesse, excelling all other of her kinde; I supposed, that she would make a dainty dish for your dyet, and having drest her, so well as I could devise to do: you have fed heartily on her, and I am proud that I have so well bestowne her. But perceiving now, that you would have her for your sicke Sonne; it is no meane affliction to me, that I am disabled of yeelding you contentment, which all my life time I have desired to doe.
To approve his words, the feathers, feete, and beake were brought in, which when she saw, she greatly blamed him for killing so rare a Faulcon, to content the appetite of any woman whatsoever. Yet she commended his height of spirit, which poverty had no power to abase. Lastly, her hopes being frustrate for enjoying the Faulcon, and fearing besides the health of her Sonne, she thanked Frederigo for his honorable kindnesse, returning home againe sad and melancholly. Shortly after, her sonne either greeving that he could not have the Faulcon, or by extreamity of his disease, chanced to dye, leaving his mother a most wofull Lady.
After so much time was expired, as conveniently might agree with sorrow, and mourning; her Brethren made many motions to her, to oyne her selfe in marriage againe, because she was extraordinarily rich, and as yet but yong in yeares. Now although she was well contented never to be married any more; yet being continually importuned by them, and remembring the honorable honesty of Frederigo, his last poore, yet magnificent dinner, in killing his Faulcon for her sake, she saide to her Brethren. This kind of widdowed estate doth like me so well, as willingly I would never leave it: but seeing you are so earnest for my second marriage, let me plainly tell you, that I will never accept of any other husband, but onely Frederigo di Alberino.
Her Brethren in scornefull manner reprooved her, telling her, that he was a begger, and had nothing left to keepe him in the world. I know it well (quoth she) and am heartily sorry for it. But give me a man that hath neede of wealth, rather then wealth that hath neede of a man. The Brethren hearing how she stood addicted, and knowing Frederigo to be a worthy Gentleman, though poverty had disgraced him in the World: consented thereto, so she bestowed her selfe and her riches on him. He on the other side, having so noble a Lady to his Wife, and the same whom he had so long and deerely loved, submitted all his fairest Fortunes unto her, became a better husband (for the world) then before, and they lived, and loved together in equall joy and happinesse.[ Hide Ninth Novell ]
The Queenes Novell being ended, and all applauding the happy fortune of Frederigo, as also the noble nature of Madam Giana; Dioneus expecting no command, prepared to deliver his discourse in this maner. I know not whether I should terme it a vice accidentall, and insuing thorow the badnes of complexions on us mortals; or an error in Nature, to rejoyce rather at lewd accidents, then at deeds that deserve commendation, especially when they no way concern our selves. Now, in regard that all the paines I have hitherto taken, and am also to undergo at this present aymeth at no other end, but onely to purge your minds of melancholly, and entertain the time with mirthful matter: pardon me I pray you (faire Lacties) if my Tale trip in some part, and savour a little of immodesty; yet in hearing it, you may observe the same course, as you doe in pleasing and delightfull Gardens, plucke a sweete Rose, and preserve your fingers from pricking. Which very easily you may doe, winking at the imperfections of a foolish man, and at the amourous subtilties of his Wife, compassionating the misfortune of others, where urgent necessity doth require it.
There dwelt not long since in Perugia, a wealthy man named Pedro di Vinciolo, who perhaps more to deceive some other, and restraine an evill opinion which the Perugians had conceived of him, in matter no way beseeming a man, then any beauty or good feature remaining in the woman entred into the estate of marriage. And Fortune was so conforme to him in his election, that the woman whom he had made his wife, had a yong, lusty, and well enabled bodie, a red-haird Wench, hot and fiery spirited, standing more in neede of three Husbands, then he, who could not any way well content one Wife, because his minde ran more on his mony, then those offices and duties belonging to wedlock, which time acquainted his Wife withall, contrary to her owne expectation, and those delights which the estate of marriage afforded, knowing her selfe also to be of a sprightly disposition, and not to be easily tamed by houshold cares and attendances, shee waxed weary of her husbands unkind courses, upbraided him daily with harsh speeches, making his owne home meerly as a hell to him.
When she saw that this domesticke disquietnesse returned her no benefit, but rather tended to her own consumption, then any amendment in her miserable Husband, shee began thus to conferre with her private thoughts. This Husband of mine liveth with me, as if he were no Husband, or I his Wife; the marriage bed, which should be a comfort to us both, seemeth hatefull to him, and as little pleasing to mee, because his minde is on his money, his head busied with worldly cogitations, and early and late in his counting-house, admitting no familiar conversation with me. Why should not I be as respectlesse of him, as he declares him selfe to be of me? I tooke him for an Husband, brought him a good and sufficient Dowry, thinking him to be man, and affected a woman as a man ought to doe, else he had never beene any Husband of mine. If he be a Woman hater, why did he make choice of me to be his Wife? If I had not intended to be of the World, I could have coopt my selfe up in a Cloyster, and shorne my selfe a Nunne, but that I was not born to such severity of life. My youth shall be blasted with age before I can truly understand what youth is, and I shall be branded with the disgraceful word barrennesse, knowing my selfe meete and able to be a Mother, were my Husband but wort the name of a Father, or expected issue and posterity, to leave our memoriall to after times in our race, as all our predecessours formerly have done, and for which mariage was chiefly instituted. Castles long besieged, doe yeeld at the last, and women wronged by their owne husbands, can hardly warrant their owne frailety, especially living among so many temptations, which flesh and bloud are not alwaies able to resist. Well, I meane to be advised in this case, before I will hazard my honest reputation, either to suspition or scandall, then which, no woman can have two heavier enemies, and very few there are that can escape them.
Having thus a long while consulted with her selfe, and (perhaps) oftner then twice or thrice; she became secretly acquainted with an aged woman, generally reputed to be more then halfe a Saint, walking alwayes very demurely in the streetes, counting (over and over) her Paters Nosters, and all the Cities holy pardons hanging at her girdle never talking of any thing, but the lives of the holy Fathers, or the woundes of Saint Frances, all the World admiring her sanctity of life, even as if shee were divinely inspired: this shee Saint must bee our distressed womans Counsellour, and having found out a convenient season, at large she imparted all her minde to her, in some such manner as formerly you have heard, whereto she returned this answer.
Now trust me Daughter, thy case is to be pittied, and so much the rather, because thou art in the flowre and spring time of thy youth, when not a minute of time is to bee left: for there is no greater an errour in this life, then the losse of time, because it cannot bee recovered againe; and when the fiends themselves affright us, yet if wee keepe our embers still covered with warme ashes on the hearth, they have not any power to hurt us. If any one can truly speake thereof, then I am able to deliver true testimony; for I know, but not without much perturbation of minde, and piercing afflictions in the spirit; how much time I lost without any profit. And yet I lost not all, for I would not have thee thinke me to bee so foolish, that I did altogether neglect such an especiall benefit; which when I call to mind, and consider now in what condition I am, thou must imagine, it is no small hearts griefe to mee, that age should make me utterly despised, and no fire affoorded to light my tinder.
With men it is not so, they are borne apt for a thousand occasions, as well for the present purpose wee talke of, as infinite other beside; yea, and many of them are more esteemed being aged, then when they were young. But women serve onely for mens contentation, and to bring Children; and therefore are they generally beloved, which if they faile of, either it is by unfortunate marriage, or some imperfection depending on nature, not through want of good will in themselves. Wee have nothing in this World but what is given us, in which regard, wee are to make use of our time, and employ it the better while wee have it. For, when wee grow to bee old, our Husbands, yea, our very dearest and nearest Friends, will scarsely looke on us. Wee are then fit for nothing, but to sit by the fire in the Kitchin, telling tales to the Cat, or counting the Pots and Pannes on the shelves. Nay, which is worse, Rimes and Songs is made of us, even in meere contempt of our age, and commendation of such as are young, the daintiest morsels are fittest for them, and wee referred to feed on the scrappes from their Trenchers, or such reversion as they can spare us. I tell thee Daughter, thou couldst not make choyce of a meeter woman in all the City, to whom thou mightest safely open thy minde, and knowes better to advise thee then I doe. But remember withall, that I am poore, and it is your part not to suffer poverty to bee unsupplyed. I will make thee partaker of all these blessed pardons, at every Altar I will say a Pater Noster, and an Ave Maria, that thou maist prosper in thy hearts desires, and be defended from foule sinne and shame, and so she ended her Motherly counsell.
Within a while after, it came to passe, that her Husband was invited foorth to supper, with one named Herculano, a kinde Friend of his, but his Wife refused to goe, because she had appointed a Friend to Supper with her, to whom the old woman was employed as her messenger, and was well recompenced for her labour. This friend was a gallant proper youth, as any all Perugia yeelded, and scarcely was hee seated at the Table, but her Husband was returned backe, and called to bee let in at the doore. Which when shee perceived, she was almost halfe dead with feare, and coveting to hide the young man, that her Husband should not have any sight of him, shee had no other meanes, but in an entry, hard by the Parlour where they purposed to have supt, stood a Coope or Hen-pen, wherein shee used to keepe her Pullen, under which hee crept, and then shee covered it with an olde empty Sacke, and after ranne ranne to let her Husband come in. When hee was entred into the House; as halfe offended at his so sudden returne, angerly she saide: It seemes Sir you are a shaver at your meate, that you have made so short a Supper. In troth Wife (quoth hee) I have not supt at all, no not so much as eaten one bit. How hapned that, said the woman? Marry Wife (quoth hee) I will tell you, and then thus he began.
As Herculano, his Wife, and I were sitting downe at the Table, very neere unto us wee heard one sneeze, whereof at the first wee made no reckoning, untill wee heard it againe the second time, yeal a third, fourth, and fifth, and many more after, whereat wee were not a little amazed. Now Wife I must tell you, before wee entred the roome where we were to sup, Herculanoes Wife kept the doore fast shut against us, and would not let us enter in an indifferent while; which made him then somewhat offended, but now much more, when hee had heard one to sneeze so often. Demaunded of her a reason for it, and who it was that thus sneezed in his House: hee started from the Table, and stepping to a little doore neere the staires head, necessarily made, to set such things in, as otherwise would be troublesome to the roome, (as in all Houses we commonly see the like) he perceived, that the party was hidden there, which wee had heard so often to sneeze before.
No sooner had hee opened the doore, but stich a smell of brimstone came foorth (whereof wee felt not the least savour before) as made us likewise to cough and sneeze, being no way able to refraine it. Shee seeing her Husband to bee much moved, excused the matter thus: that (but a little while before) shee had whited certaine linnen with the smoake of brimstone, as it is a usuall thing to doe, and then set the Pan into that spare place, because it should not bee offensive to us. By this time, Herculano had espied him that sneezed, who being almost stifled with the smell, and closenesse of the small roome wherein hee lay, had not any power to helpe himselfe, but still continued coughing and sneezing, even as if his heart would have split in twaine. Foorth hee pluckt him by the heeles, and perceiving how matter had past, hee saide to her. I thanke you Wife now I see the reason, why you kept us so long from comming into this roome: let mee die, if I beare this wrong at your hands. When his Wife heard these words, and saw the discovery of her shame; without returning either excuse or answere, foorth of doores shee ranne, but whither, wee know not. Herculano drew his Dagger, and would have slaine him that still lay sneezing: but I disswaded him from it, as well in respect of his, as also mine owne danger, when the Law should censure on the deede. And after the young man was indifferently recovered; by the perswasion of some Neighbours comming in: hee was closely conveyed out of the House, and all the noyse quietly pacified. Onely (by this meanes, and the flight of Herculanoes Wife) wee were disappointed of our Supper, and now you know the reason of my so soone returning.
When shee had heard this whole discourse, then shee perceived, that other Women were subject to the like infirmitie, and as wise for themselves, as shee could be, though these the like sinister accidents might sometime crosse them: and gladly shee wished, that Herculanoes Wives excuse, might now serve to acquite her: but because in blaming others errours, our owne may sometime chance to escape discovery, and cleare us, albeit wee are as guilty; in a sharpe reprehending manner, thus shee began. See Husband, heere is hansome behaviour, of an holy faire-seeming, and Saint-like woman, to whom I durst have confest my sinnes, I conceived such a religious perswasion of her lives integrety, free from the least scruple of taxation. A woman, so farre stept into yeeres, as shee is, to give such an evill example to younger women, is it not a sinne beyond all sufferance? Accursed be the houre, when she was borne into this World, and her selfe likewise, to bee so lewdly and incontinently given; an universall shame and slaunder, to all the good women of our City.
Shall I tearme her a woman, or rather some savage monster in a womans shape? Hath shee not made an open prostitution of her honesty, broken her plighted faith to her Husband, and all the womanly reputation shee had in this World? Her Husband, being an honourable Citizen, entreating her alwayes, as few men else in the City doe their wives; what an heart-breake must this needes bee to him, good man? Neither I, nor any honest man else, ought to have any pity on her, but (with our owne hands) teare her in peeces, or dragge her along to a good fire in the Market place, wherein she and her minion should be consumed together, and their base ashes dispersed abroad in the winde, least the pure Aire should be infected with them.
Then, remembring her owne case, and her poore affrighted friend, who lay in such distresse under the Hen-coope; she began to advise her Husband, that he would be pleased to go to bed, because the night passed on apace. But Pedro, having a better will to eate, then to sleepe, desired her to let him have some meate, else hee must goe to bed with an empty bellie; whereto shee answered. Why Husband (quoth shee) doe I make any large provision, when I am de. bard of your company? I would I were the Wife of Herculano, seeing you cannot content your selfe from one nights feeding, considering, it is now over-late to make any thing ready.
It fortuned; that certaine Husbandmen, which had the charge of Pedroes Farmehouse in the Countrey, and there followed his affaires of Husbandry, were returned home this instant night, having their Asses laden with such provision, as was to bee used in his City-house. When the Asses were unladen, and set up in a small Stable, without watering; one off them being (belike) more thirsty then the rest, brake loose, and wandering all about smelling to seeke water, happened into the entry, where the young man lay hidden under the Hen pen. Now, hee being constrained (like a Carpe) to lye flat on his belly, because the Coope was over-weighty for him to carry, and one of his hands more extended foorth, then was requisite for him in so urgent a shift: it was his hap (or ill fortune rather) that the Asse set his foote on the young mans fingers, treading so hard, and the paine being very irkesome to him, as hee was enforced to cry out aloude: which Pedro hearing, he wondered thereat not a little.
Knowing that this cry was in his house, hee tooke the Candle in his hand, and going foorth of the Parlour, heard the cry to be louder; because the Asse removed not his foote, but rather trod the more firmely on his hand. Comming to the Coope, driving the Asse, and taking off the old sacke, he espyed the young man, who, beside the painefull anguish he felt of his fingers, arose up trembling, as fearing some outrage beside to bee offered him by Pedro, who knew the youth perfectly, and demaunded of him, how he came thither. No answere did hee make to that question, but humbly entreated (for charities sake) that hee would not doe him any harme. Feare not (quoth Pedro) I will not offer thee any violence: onely tell mee how thou camest hither, and for what occasion; wherein the youth fully resolved him.
Pedro being no lesse joyfull for thus find. him, then his Wife was sorrowfull, tooke him by the hand, and brought him into the Parlour, where shee sate trembling and quaking, as not knowing what to say in this distresse. Seating himselfe directly before her, and holding the youth still fast by the hand, thus hee began. Oh Wife! What bitter speeches did you use (even now) against the Wife of Herculano, maintaining that shee had shamed all other women, and justly deserved to be burned? Why did you not say as much of your selfe? Or, if you had not the heart to speake, how could you bee so cruell against her, knowing your offence as great as hers? Questionlesse, nothing else urged you thereto, but that all women are of one and the same condition, covering their owne grosse faults by farre inferiour infirmities in others. You are a perverse generation, meerely false in your fairest shewes.
When she saw that he offered her no other violence, but gave her such vaunting and reproachfull speeches, holding still the young man before her face, meerely vexe and despight her: shee began to take heart, and thus replied. Doest thou compare mee with the Wife of Herculano, who is an old, dissembling hypocrite? Yet she can have of him whatsoever shee desireth, and he useth her as a woman ought to be, which favour I could never yet finde at thy hands. Put the case, that thou keepest me in good garments; allowing mee to goe neatly hosed and shod; yet well thou knowest, there are other meere matters belonging to a woman, and every way as necessarily required, both for the preservation of Houshold quietnesse, and those other rites betweene a Husband and Wife. Let mee be worser garmented, courser dieted, yea, debarred of all pleasure and delights; so I might once be worthy the name of a Mother, and leave some remembrance of woman-hood behinde me. I tell thee plainely Pedro, I am a woman as others are, and subject to the same desires, as (by nature) attendeth on flesh and blood: looke how thou failest in kindnesse towards me, thinke it not amisse, if I doe the like to thee, and endeavour thou to win the worthy title of a Father, because I was made to be a Mother.
When Pedro perceived, that his Wife had spoken nothing but reason, in regard of his over-much neglect towards her, and not using such Houshold kindnesse, as ought to be betweene Man and Wife, hee returned her this answer. Well Wife (quoth he) I confesse my fault, and hereafter will labour to amend it; conditionally, that this youth, nor any other, may no more visite my House in my absence. Get me therefore something to eate, for doubtlesse, this young man and thy selfe fell short of your Supper, by reason of my so soone returning home. In troth Husband, saide she, we did not eate one bit of any thing, and I will be a true and loyall Wife to thee, so thou wilt be the like to me. No more words then Wife, replyed Pedro, all is forgotten and forgiven, let us to Supper, and we are all friends. She seeing his anger was so well appeased, lovingly kissed him, and laying the cloth, set on the supper, which she had provided for her selfe and the youth, and so they supt together merrily, not one unkinde word passing betweene them. After Supper, the youth was sent away in friendly manner, and Pedro was alwayes afterward more loving to his Wife, then formerly hee had beene, and no complaint passed on either side, but mutuall joy and Houshold contentment, such as ought to bee betweene Man and Wife.
Dioneus having ended this his Tale, for which the Ladies returned him no thankes, but rather angerly frowned on him: the Queene, knowing that her government was now concluded, arose, and taking off her Crowne of Lawrell, placed it graciously on the head of Madame Eliza, saying. Now Madame, it is your turne to commaund. Eliza having received the honour, did (in all respects) as others formerly had done, and after shee had enstructed the Master of the Houshold, concerning his charge during the time of her Regiment, for contentation of all the company; thus shee spake.
We have long since heard, that with witty words, ready answeres and sudden jests or taunts, many have checkt and reproved great folly in others, and to their no meane owne commendation. Now, because it is a pleasing kinde of argument, ministring occasion of mirth and wit: my desire is, that all our discourse to morrow shall tend thereto. I meane of such persons, either Men or Women, who with some sudden witty answere, have encountred a scorner in his owne intention, and layed the blame where it justly belonged. Every one commended the Queenes appointment, because it savoured of good wit and judgement; and the Queene being risen, they were all discharged till supper time, falling to such severall exercises as themselves best fancyed.
When Supper was ended, and the instruments layed before them; by the Queenes consent, Madam Aemilia undertooke the daunce, and the Song was appointed to Dioneus, who began many, but none that proved to any liking, they were so palpably obsceene and idle, savouring altogether of his owne wanton disposition. At the length, the Queene looking stearnely on him, and commanding him to sing a good one, or none at all; thus he began.
Eyes, can ye not refraine your hourely weeping?
Eares, how are you depriv'd of sweete attention?
Thoughts, have you lost your quiet silent sleeping.
Wit, who hath rob'd thee of thy rare invention?
The lacke of these, being life and motion giving:
Are senselesse shapes, and no true signes of living.
Eyes, when you gaz'd upon her Angell beauty;
Eares, while you heard her sweete delitious straines,
Thoughts (sleeping then) did yet performe their duty,
Wit, tooke sprightly pleasure in his paines.
While shee did live, then none of these were scanting,
But now (being dead) they all are gone, and wanting.
After that Dioneus (by proceeding no further) declared the finishing of his Song; many more were sung beside, and that of Dioneus highly commended. Some part of the night being spent in other delightfull exercises, and a fitting houre for rest drawing on: they betooke themselves to their Chambers, where we will leave them till to morrow morning.[ Hide Tenth Novell ]