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THE DECAMERON (DAY 1 TO DAY 5) ***




Produced by Clare Graham and Marc D'Hooghe at
http://www.freeliterature.org (Images generously made
available by the Internet Archive.)






THE DECAMERON

CONTAINING
An hundred pleasant Novels.

_Wittily discoursed, betweene seaven Honourable Ladies, and three Noble
Gentlemen._


London, printed by
Isaac Jaggard,
1620.





The Epistle Dedicatory.


TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE, SIR PHILLIP HERBERT, Knight of the Bath at the
Coronation of our Soveraigne Lord King James, Lord Baron of Sherland,
Earle of Montgomery, and Knight of the most Noble Order of the Garter,
&c.


_The Philosopher Zeno (Right Honourable, and my most worthily esteemed
Lord) being demaunded on a time by what meanes a man might attaine
to happinesse; made answere:_ By resorting to the dead, and having
familiar conversation with them. _Intimating thereby:_ The reading of
ancient and moderne Histories, and endeavouring to learne such good
instructions, as have bene observed in our Predecessors. _A Question
also was mooved by great King_ Ptolomy, _to one of the learned wise
Interpreters. In what occasions a King should exercise himselfe,
whereto thus hee replyed:_ To know those things which formerly have bin
done: And to read Bookes of those matters which offer themselves dayly,
or are fittest for our instant affaires. And lastly, in seeking those
things whatsoever, that make for a Kingdomes preservation, and the
correction of evill manners or examples.

_Upon these good and warrantable grounds (most Noble Lord) beside many
more of the same Nature, which I omit, to avoide prolixity, I dare
boldly affirme, that such as are exercised in the reading of Histories,
although they seeme to be but yong in yeares, and slenderly instructed
in worldly matters: yet gravity and gray-headed age speaketh maturely
in them, to the no meane admiration of common and vulgar judgement.
As contrariwise, such as are ignorant of things done and past, before
themselves had any being: continue still in the estate of children,
able to speake or behave themselves no otherwise; and, even within the
bounds of their Native Countries (in respect of knowledge or manly
capacity) they are no more then well-seeming dumbe Images.

In due consideration of the precedent allegations, and uppon the
command, as also most Noble encouragement of your Honour from time to
time; this Volume of singular and exquisite Histories, varied into
so many and exact natures, appeareth in the worlds view, under your
Noble patronage and defence, to be safely sheelded from foule-mouthed
slander and detraction, which is too easily throwne upon the very best
deserving labours.

I know (most worthy Lord) that many of them have (long since) bene
published before, as stolne from the first originall Author, and yet
not beautified with his sweete stile and elocution of phrases, neither
favouring of his singular morall applications. For, as it was his full
scope and ayme, by discovering all Vices in their ugly deformities, to
make their mortall enemies (the sacred Vertues) to shine the clearer,
being set downe by them, and compared with them: so every true and
upright judgement, in observing the course of these well-carried
Novels, shall plainly perceive, that there is no spare made of reproofe
in any degree whatsoever, where sin is embraced, and grace neglected;
but the just deserving shame and punishment thereon inflicted, that
others may be warned by their example. In imitation of witty_ √Жsope;
_who reciteth not a Fable, but graceth it with a judicious morall
application; as many other worthy Writers have done the like.

For instance, let me heere insert one. A poore man, having a pike
staffe on his shoulder, and travailing thorow a Countrey Village, a
great Mastive Curre ran mainly at him, so that hardly he could defend
himselfe from him. At the length, it was his chance to kill the Dogge:
for which, the Owner immediately apprehending him, and bringing him
before the Judge, alledged, that he had slaine his servant, which
defended his life, house, and goods, and therefore challenged
satisfaction. The Judge leaning more in favour to the Plaintiffe, as
being his friend, neighbour, and familiar, then to the justice and
equity of the cause; reprooved the poore fellow somewhat sharpely, and
peremptorily commanded him, to make satisfaction, or else he would
commit him to prison. That were injustice replyed the poore man,
because I kilde the dogge in defence of mine owne life, which deserveth
much better respect then a million of such Curres. Sirra, sirra, saide
the Judge, then you should have turned the other end of your staffe,
and not the pike, so the dogges life had beene saved, and your owne in
no danger. True Sir (quoth the fellow) if the dog would have turn'd
his taile, and bit mee with that, and not his teeth, then we both had
parted quietly.

I know your honour to be so truly judicious, that your selfe can make
the moral allusion, both in defence of my poore paines, and acceptation
of the same into your protection: with most humble submission of my
selfe, and all my uttermost endeavours, to bee alwayes ready at your
service._





_The Authors Prologue, to the Lords, Ladies, and Gentlewomen._


It is a matter of humanity, to take compassion on the afflicted, and
although it be fitting towards all in generall, yet to such as are most
tied by bond of duty, who having already stood in neede of comfort,
do therefore most needfully deserve to enjoy it. Among whom, if ever
any were in necessity, found it most precious, and thereby received no
small contentment, I am one of them; because from my verie yongest
yeeres, even untill this instant: mine affections became extraordinarily
enflamed, in a place high and Noble, more (perhaps) then beseemed
my humble condition, albeit no way distasted in the judgement of
such as were discreete, when it came truly to their knowledge and
understanding. Yet (indeed) it was very painfull for me to endure,
not in regard of her cruelty, whom I so deerely loved; as for want of
better government in mine owne carriage; being altogether swayed by
rash and peevish passions, which made my afflictions more offensive to
mee, then either wisedome allowed, or suited with my private particular.

But, as counsell in misery is no meane comfort, so the good advice of a
worthy friend, by many sound and singular perswasions, wrought such a
deliberate alteration; as not onely preserved my life (which was before
in extreame perill) but also gave conclusion to my inconsiderate love,
which in my precedent refractarie carriage, no deliberation, counsell,
evident shame, or whatsoever perill should ensue thereon, could in any
manner contradict; beganne to asswage of it selfe in time, bestowing
not onely on me my former freedome; but delivering me likewise from
infinite perplexities.

And because the acknowledgement of good turnes or courtesies received
(in my poore opinion) is a vertue among all other highly to bee
commended, and the contrary also to be condemned: to shewe my selfe
not ingratefull, I determined (so soone as I saw my selfe in absolute
liberty) in exchange of so great a benefit bestowne on mee, to minister
some mitigation, I will not say to such as releeved me, because their
owne better understanding, or blessednesse in Fortune, may defend
them from any such necessity; but rather to them which truly stand in
need. And although that my comfort, may some way or other availe the
common needie, yet (methinkes) where greefe is greatest, and calamity
most insulteth; there ought to be our paines soundly imployed, and our
gravest instructions and advise wholly administred.

And who can deny, but that it is much more convenient, to commisserate
the distresse of Ladies and Gentlewomen, then the more able condition
of men? They, as being naturally bashfull and timorous, have their soft
and gentle soules, often enflamed with amorous afflictions, which lie
there closely concealed, as they can best relate the power of them,
that have bin subject to the greatest proofe. Moreover, they being
restrained from their wils and desires, by the severity of Fathers,
Mothers, Bretheren, and Husbands, are shut up (most part of their time)
in their Chambers, where constrainedly sitting idle, diversity of
straunge cogitations wheele up and downe their braines, forging as many
severall imaginations, which cannot be alwayes pleasant and contenting.
If melancholly, incited by some amorous or lovely apprehension,
oppresse their weake and unresisting hearts: they must be glad to beare
it patiently (til by better Fortune) such occasions happen, as may
overcome so proud an usurpation.

Moreover, we cannot but confesse, that they are lesse able, then men,
to support such oppressions: for if men grow affectionate, wee plainely
perceive, when any melancholly troublesome thoughts, or what greefes
else can any way concerne them, their soules are not subject to the
like sufferings. But admit they should fall into such necessity,
they can come and go whither they will, heare and see many singular
sights, hawk, hunt, fish, fowle, ride, or saile on the Seas, all which
exercises have a particular power in themselves, to withdraw amorous
passions, and appropriate the will to the pleasing appetite, either by
alteration of ayre, distance of place, or protraction of time, to kill
sorrow, and quicken delight.

Wherefore, somewhat to amend this error in humane condition, and where
least strength is, as we see to bee in you most gracious Ladies and
Gentlewomen, further off (then men) from all fraile felicities: for
such as feele the weighty insultations of proud and imprious love, and
thereby are most in neede of comfort (and not they that can handle the
Needle, Wheele, and Distaffe) I have provided an hundred Novelles,
Tales, Fables, or Histories, with judicious moralles belonging to them,
for your more delight, and queinter exercise. In a faire and worthy
assembly, of seven Honourable Ladies, and three Noble Gentlemen, they
were recounted within the compasse of ten dayes, during the wofull time
of our so late dangerous sicknesse, with apt Sonnets or Canzons, for
the conclusion of each severall day.

In which pleasing Novels, may be observed many strange accidents of
Love, and other notable adventures, happening as well in our times, as
those of graver antiquity: by reading whereof, you may receyve both
pleasure and profitable counsell, because in them you shal perceive,
both the sin to be shunned, and the vertue to be embraced; which
as I wholly hate the one, so I do (and ever will) honour the others
advancement.




_The Table._


The Epistle Dedicatory.


The Authors Prologue, to the Lords, Ladies, and Gentlewomen.


The First Day, Governed by Madam Pampinea.


1. Novell.

_Messire Chappelet du Prat, by making a
false confession, beguiled an holy religious
man, and after dyed. And having during
his life time, bene a very bad man, at his death
was reputed to be a Saint, and called S. Chappelet._


2. Novell.

_Abraham a Jew, beeing admonished or advised
by a friend of his, named Jehannot de Chevigny,
travailed from Paris unto Rome: And beholding
there, the wicked behaviour of men in the
Church, returned to Paris againe, where (neverthelesse)
he became a Christian._


3. Novell.

_Melchisedech a Jewe, by recounting a tale of
three Rings, to the great Soldan, named Saladine,
prevented a great danger which was prepared
for him._


4. Novell.

_A monke having committed an offence, deserving
to be very greevously punished; freed himselfe
from the paine to be inflicted on him, by wittily reprehending
his Abbot, with the very same fault._


5. Novell.

_Lady Marquesse of Montferrat, with a Banket
of Hens, and divers other gracious speeches beside,
repressed the fond love of the King of France._


6. Novell.

_An honest plaine meaning man (simply & conscionably)
reprehended the malignity, hypocrisie,
and misdemeanour of many religious persons._


7. Novell.

_Bergamino, by telling a Tale of a skilfull man,
named Primasso, and of an Abbot of Clugni;
honestly checked a new kinde of covetousnesse, in
Master Can de la Scala._


8. Novell.

_Guillaume Boursieur, with a few quaint & familiar
words, checkt the miserable covetousness
of Signior Herminio de Grimaldi._


9. Novell.

_How the King of Cyprus was wittily reprehended,
by the words of a Gentlewoman of Gascoignie,
and became vertuously altered from his
vicious disposition._


10. Novell.

_Master Albert of Bullen, honestly made a Lady
to blush, that thought to have done as much
to him, because she perceived him to be amorously
affected towardes her._


The second Day, governed by
Madam Philomena.


1. Novell.

_Martellino counterfetting to bee lame of his
members, caused himselfe to bee set on the
body of Saint Arriguo, where hee made
shew of his sodaine recovery: but when his dissimulation
was discovered, he was well beaten, being
afterward taken prisoner, and in great danger
of being hanged and strangled by the necke, and
yet escaped in the end._


2. Novell.

_Rinaldo de Este, after he was robbed by theeves
arrived at Chasteau Guillaume, where he was
friendly lodged by a faire Widow, and recompenced
likewise for all his losses; returning afterward
safe and well home unto his owne house._


3. Novell.

_Of three yong Gentlemen, being Brethren, and
having spent all their Landes and possessions
vainly, became poore. A Nephew of theirs (falling
almost into as desperate a condition) became
acquainted with an Abbot, whom hee afterward
found to be the King of Englands Daughter, and
made him her Husband in marriage, recompencing
all his Unckles losses, and seating them again
in good estate._


4. Novell.

_Landolpho Ruffolo, falling into poverty, became
a Pirate on the Seas, and beeing taken by the
Genewayes, hardly escaped drowning: Which yet
(neverthelesse) he did, upon a little chest or coffer
full of very rich Jewels, beeing carried thereon to
Corfu, where he was well entertained by a good
woman: and afterward, returned richly home to
his owne house._


5. Novell.

_Andrea de Piero, travelling from Perouse unto
Naples to buy Horses, was (in the space of one
night) surprized by three admirable accidents,
out of all which he fortunately escaped, and with
a rich Ring, returned home to his owne house._


6. Novell.

_Madame Beritola Caracalla, was found in an
Island with two Goates, having lost her two
sons, and thence travailed into Lunigiana: where
one of her Sonnes became servant to the Lord thereof,
and was found some-what over-familiar with
his Maisters daughter, who therefore caused him
to be imprisoned. Afterward, when the Country of
Sicily rebelled against King Charles, the aforesaid
Sonne chanced to be known by his Mother, & was
married to his Masters daughter. And his brother
being found likewise, they both returned to great
estate and credite._


7. Novell.

_The Soldane of Babylon sent one of his Daughters,
to be joyned in marriage with the King of
Cholcos; who by divers accidents (in the space of
foure yeares) happened into the custodie of nine
men, and in sundry places. At length, being restored
back to her Father, she went to the said king
of Cholcos, as a Maide, and as at first she was intended
to be his Wife._


8. Novell.

_Count D'Angiers being falsely accused, was banished
out of France, and left his two children
in England in divers places. Returning afterward
(unknowne) thorough Scotland, hee found them
advanced unto great dignity: Then, repairing in
the habit of a Servitor, into the King of Fraunce
his army, and his innocency made publikely knowen,
he was reseated in his former honourable degree._


9. Novell.

_Bernardo, a Merchant of Geneway, being deceived
by another Merchant, named Ambrosio,
lost a great part of his goods: and commanding his
innocent wife to be murthered, she escaped, and in
the habit of a man, became servant to the Soldan.
The deceiver being found at last, she compassed such
means, that her husband Bernardo came into Alexandria,
and there after due punishment inflicted
on the false deceiver, she resumed the garments
againe of a woman, and returned home with her
Husband to Geneway._


10. Novell.

_Pagamino da Monaco, a roving Pyrate on the
seas, caried away the faire Wife of Signieur
Ricciardo di Chinzica, who understanding where
shee was, went thither; and falling into friendship
with Pagamino, demanded his wife of him; whereto
he yeelded, provided, that she would willingly go
away with him: shee denied to part thence with
her husband, and Signior Ricciardo dying, shee became
the wife of Pagamino._


The third day, governed by Madame
_Neiphila_.


1. Novell.

_Massetto di Lamporechio, by counterfetting
himselfe dumbe, became a Gardiner in a
Monastery of Nuns, where he had familiar
conversation with them all._


2. Novell.

_A querry of the stable belonging to Agilulffo, K.
of the Lombards, found the meanes of accesse
to the Queenes bedde, without any knowledge or
consent in her. This beeing secretly discovered by
the King, and the party knowne, hee gave him a
marke, by shearing the hair of his head. Whereuppon,
hee that was so shorne sheared likewise the
heads of all his fellowes in the lodging and so escaped
the punishment intended towards him._


3. Novell.

_Under colour of confession and of a most pure conscience,
a faire yong Gentlewoman, being amorously
affected to an honest man; induced a devout
and solemne religious Friar, to advise her in the
meanes (without his suspition or perceiving) how to
enjoy the benefit of her friend, and bring her desires
to their full effect._


4. Novell.

_A yong scholler named Felice, enstructed Puccio
di Rinieri, how to become rich in a very short
time. While Puccio made experience of the instructions
taught him; Felice obtained the favour of
his daughter._


5. Novell.

_Ricciardo, surnamed the Magnifico, gave a horse
to signior Francesco Vergellisi, upon condition;
that by his leave and license, he might speak to his
wife in his presence, which he did, and she not returning
him any answer, made answer to himself
on her behalfe, and according to his answer, so the
effect followed._


6. Novell.

_Ricciardo Minutolo fel in love with the Wife of
Philippello Fighinolfi, and knowing her to bee
very jealous of her husband, gave her to understand,
that he was greatly enamored of his Wife,
and had appointed to meete her privatly in a bathing
house, on the next day following: where shee
hoping to take him tardy with his close compacted
Mistresse, found her selfe to be deceived by the said
Ricciardo._


7. Novell.

_Thebaldo Elisei, having received an unkinde repulse
by his beloved, departed from Florence, &
returning thither againe (a long while after) in
the habit of a pilgrime, hee spake with her, and
made his wrongs knowne unto her. Hee delivered
her husband from the danger of death, because it
was proved that he had slaine Thebaldo, he made
peace with his brethren, and in the end, wisely enjoyed
his hearts desire._


8. Novell.

_Ferando, by drinking a certaine kind of pouder,
was buried for dead & by the Abbot who was
enamored of his wife, was taken out of his grave,
and put into a darke prison, where they made him
beleeve that he was in purgatory: afterward when
time came that he should be raised to life againe,
he was made to keepe a childe, which the Abbot
had got by his wife._


9. Novell.

_Juliet of Narbona, cured the King of France of a
dangerous Fistula: in recompence whereof, she requested
to enjoy as her husband in mariage, Bertrand
the Count of Roussillion. He having maried
her against his wil, as utterly despising her, went
to Florence, where he made love to a yong Gentlewoman.
Juliet, by a queint and cunning policy,
compassed the meanes (insted of his chosen friend)
to lye with her owne husband, by whom shee had
two sonnes; which being afterward made knowne
unto the Count, hee accepted her into his favour againe,
and loved her as his loyall and honourable
wife._


10. Novell.

_The wonderfull and chaste resolved continencie
of faire Serictha, daughter to Siwalde King of
Denmarke, who beeing sought and sued unto by
many worthy persons, that did affect her dearely,
would not looke any man in the face, untill such
time as she was maried._


The Fourth Day, governed by
Philostratus.


1. Novell.

_Tancrede, Prince of Salerne, caused the amorous
friend of his daughter to be slaine, and
sent her his heart in a cup of Golde: which
afterward she steeped in an impoysoned water, &
then drinking it, so dyed._


2. Novell.

_Friar Albert made a yong Venetian Gentlewoman
beleeve, that God Cupid was falne in love
with her, and he resorted oftentimes unto her, in
disguise of the same God: afterward, being frighted
by the Gentlewomans kindred and friends hee
cast himselfe out of her chamber window, and was
hidden in a poore mans house. On the day following,
in the shape of a wilde or savage man, he was
brought upon the Rialto of S. Mark, & being there
publikely knowne by the Brethren of his Order, he
was committed to prison._


3. Novell.

_Three yong Gentlemen affecting three Sisters,
fled with them into Canaie. The eldest of them
(through jealousie) becommeth the death of her
Lover. The second, by consenting to the Duke of
Canaies request, is the meanes of saving her life.
Afterward, her owne friend killeth her, & thence
flyeth away with the elder sister. The third couple,
both man and woman are charged with her
death, and being committed to prison, they confesse
the fact: and fearing death, by corruption of money
they prevaile with their keepers, escaping from
thence to Rhodes, where they died in great poverty._


4. Novell.

_Gerbino, contrarie to the former plighted faith
of his Grandfather King Gulielmo, soughte
with a ship at sea belonging to the King of Thunis
to take away his daughter, who was then in the
same ship. She being slaine by them that had the
possession of her, he likewise slew them; and afterward
had his owne head smitten off._


5. Novell.

_The three Brethren to Isabella, slew a Gentleman
that secretly loved her. His ghost appeared
to her in her sleepe, and shewed her in what
place they had buried his body. She (in silent manner)
brought away his head, and putting it into a
pot of earth, such as Flowers, Basile, or other sweet
herbes are usually set in, she watered it (a long
while) with her teares: whereof her Brethren having
intelligence; soone after she died, with meere
conceite of sorrow._


6. Novell.

_A beautifull yong Virgin, named Andreana, became
enamored of a young Gentleman, called
Gabriello. In conference together, shee declared a
dreame of hers to him, and he another of his unto
her; whereupon Gabriello fell down sodainly dead.
She, and her Chamber-maid were apprehended by
the Officers belonging unto the Seigneury, as they
were carrying Gabriello, to lay them before his
owne doore. The Potestate offering violence to the
virgin, and she resisting him vertuously: it came
to the understanding of her Father, who approved
the innocence of his daughter, and compassed her
deliverance. But she afterward, being wearie of
all worldly felicities, entred into Religion, & became
a Nun._


7. Novell.

_Faire Simonida affecting Pasquino, and walking
with him in a pleasant garden, it fortuned
that Pasquino rubbed his teeth with a leaf of
Sage, and immediately fell downe dead. Simonida
being brought before the bench of Justice, and
charged with the death of Pasquino: she rubbed
her teeth likewise, with one of the leaves of the
same Sage, as declaring what she saw him do, &
thereon she dyed also in the same manner._


8. Novell.

_Jeronimo affecting a yong Mayden named Silvestra
was constrained by the earnest importunity
of his Mother, to take a journey to Paris. At
his returne home from thence againe, he found his
love Silvestra maried. By secret meanes he got entrance
into her house and dyed upon the bed lying
by her. Afterward, his body being caried unto the
Church to receive buriall, shee likewise died there
instantly upon his coarse._


9. Novell.

_Messer Guiglielmo of Rossiglione having slaine
Messer Guiglielmo Guardastagno, whom he imagined
to love his wife, gave her his hart to eat.
Which she knowing afterward; threw her self out
of an high window to the ground: and being dead,
was then buried with her friend._



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