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The Decameron

PROEM.

First Day

Second Day

Third Day

Fourth Day

Fifth Day

Sixth Day

Seventh Day

    Introduction

    Novel I

    Novel II

    Novel III

    Novel IV

    Novel V

    Novel VI

    Novel VII

    Novel VIII

    Novel IX

    Novel X

    Conclusion

Eigth Day

Ninth Day

Tenth Day

The Author's Epilogue

Conclusion

[Voice: author]
[001] The sun was westering, and a light breeze blew, when the king, his story ended, and none else being left to speak, arose, and taking off the crown, set it on Lauretta's head, saying: "Madam, I crown you with yourself queen of our company: 'tis now for you, as our sovereign lady, to make such ordinances as you shall deem meet for our common solace and delectation;" and having so said, he sat him down again. [002] Queen Lauretta sent for the seneschal, and bade him have a care that the tables should be set in the pleasant vale somewhat earlier than had been their wont, that their return to the palace might be more leisurely; after which she gave him to know what else he had to do during her sovereignty. [003] Then turning to the company: "Yesterday," quoth she, "Dioneo would have it that to-day we should discourse of the tricks that wives play their husbands; and but that I am minded not to shew as of the breed of yelping curs, that are ever prompt to retaliate, I would ordain that to-morrow we discourse of the tricks that husbands play their wives. [004] However, in lieu thereof, I will have every one take thought to tell of those tricks that, daily, woman plays man, or man woman, or one man another; wherein, I doubt not, there will be matter of discourse no less agreeable than has been that of to-day." So saying, she rose and dismissed the company until supper-time. [005] So the ladies and the men being risen, some bared their feet and betook them to the clear water, there to disport them, while others took their pleasure upon the green lawn amid the trees that there grew goodly and straight. [006] For no brief while Dioneo and Fiammetta sang in concert of Arcite and Palamon. And so, each and all taking their several pastimes, they sped the hours with exceeding great delight until supper-time. Which being come, they sat them down at table beside the little lake, and there, while a thousand songsters charmed their ears, and a gentle breeze, that blew from the environing hills, fanned them, and never a fly annoyed them, reposefully and joyously they supped. [007] The tables removed, they roved a while about the pleasant vale, and then, the sun being still high, for 'twas but half vespers, the queen gave the word, and they wended their way back to their wonted abode, and going slowly, and beguiling the way with quips and quirks without number upon divers matters, nor those alone of which they had that day discoursed, they arrived, hard upon nightfall, at the goodly palace. [008] There, the short walk's fatigue dispelled by wines most cool and comfits, they presently gathered for the dance about the fair fountain, and now they footed it to the strains of Tindaro's cornemuse, and now to other music. [009] Which done, the queen bade Filomena give them a song; and thus Filomena sang:

[Voice: filomena]
[010] Ah! woe is me, my soul!
Ah! shall I ever thither fare again
Whence I was parted to my grievous dole?

[011] Full sure I know not; but within my breast
Throbs ever the same fire
Of yearning there where erst I was to be.
O thou in whom is all my weal, my rest,
Lord of my heart's desire,
Ah! tell me thou! for none to ask save thee
Neither dare I, nor see.
Ah! dear my Lord, this wasted heart disdain
Thou wilt not, but with hope at length console.

[012] Kindled the flame I know not what delight,
Which me doth so devour,
That day and night alike I find no ease;
For whether it was by hearing, touch, or sight,
Unwonted was the power,
And fresh the fire that me each way did seize;
Wherein without release
I languish still, and of thee, Lord, am fain,
For thou alone canst comfort and make whole.

[013] Ah! tell me if it shall be, and how soon,
That I again thee meet
Where those death-dealing eyes I kissed. Thou, chief
Weal of my soul, my very soul, this boon
Deny not; say that fleet
Thou hiest hither: comfort thus my grief.
Ah! let the time be brief
Till thou art here, and then long time remain;
For I, Love-stricken, crave but Love's control.

[014] Let me but once again mine own thee call,
No more so indiscreet
As erst, I'll be, to let thee from me part:
Nay, I'll still hold thee, let what may befall,
And of thy mouth so sweet
Such solace take as may content my heart:
So this be all my art,
Thee to entice, me with thine arms to enchain:
Whereon but musing inly chants my soul.

[Voice: author]
[015] This song set all the company conjecturing what new and delightsome love might now hold Filomena in its sway; and as its words imported that she had had more joyance thereof than sight alone might yield, some that were there grew envious of her excess of happiness. However, the song being ended, the queen, bethinking her that the morrow was Friday, thus graciously addressed them all: [016] "Ye wot, noble ladies, and ye also, my gallants, that to-morrow is the day that is sacred to the passion of our Lord, which, if ye remember, we kept devoutly when Neifile was queen, intermitting delectable discourse, as we did also on the ensuing Saturday. [017] Wherefore, being minded to follow Neifile's excellent example, I deem that now, as then, 'twere a seemly thing to surcease from this our pastime of story-telling for those two days, and compose our minds to meditation on what was at that season accomplished for the weal of our souls."[018] All the company having approved their queen's devout speech, she, as the night was now far spent, dismissed them; and so they all betook them to slumber.

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