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