The Decameron -
Fourth Day -
 Heartsore as the gentle ladies had been made by the preceding
stories, this last of Dioneo provoked them to such merriment, more
especially the passage about the Stadic and the hook, that they lacked
not relief of the piteous mood engendered by the others.
 But the
king observing that the sun was now taking a yellowish tinge, and
that the end of his sovereignty was come, in terms most courtly
made his excuse to the fair ladies, that he had made so direful a
theme as lovers' infelicity the topic of their discourse; after which,
he rose, took the laurel wreath from his head, and, while the ladies
watched to see to whom he would give it, set it graciously upon the
blond head of Fiammetta, saying:
 "Herewith I crown thee, as
deeming that thou, better than any other, wilt know how to make
to-morrow console our fair companions for the rude trials of to-day." Fiammetta, whose wavy tresses fell in a flood of gold over her white
and delicate shoulders, whose softly rounded face was all radiant
with the very tints of the white lily blended with the red of the
rose, who carried two eyes in her head that matched those of a
peregrine falcon, while her tiny sweet mouth shewed a pair of lips
that shone as rubies, replied with a smile:
 "And gladly take I the
wreath, Filostrato, and that thou mayst more truly understand what
thou hast done, 'tis my present will and pleasure that each make
ready to discourse to-morrow of good fortune befalling lovers after
divers direful or disastrous adventures." The theme propounded was
approved by all; whereupon the queen called the seneschal, and
having made with him all meet arrangements, rose and gaily dismissed
all the company until the supper hour;  wherefore, some
straying about the garden, the beauties of which were not such
as soon to pall, others bending their steps towards the mills that
were grinding without, each, as and where it seemed best, they took
meanwhile their several pleasures.  The supper hour come, they all
gathered, in their wonted order, by the fair fountain, and in the
gayest of spirits and well served they supped. Then rising they
addressed them, as was their wont, to dance and song, and while
Filomena led the dance:
 "Filostrato," said the queen, "being
minded to follow in the footsteps of our predecessors, and that, as
by their, so by our command a song be sung; and well witting that
thy songs are even as thy stories, to the end that no day but this be
vexed with thy misfortunes, we ordain that thou give us one of
them, whichever thou mayst prefer." Filostrato answered that he
would gladly do so; and without delay began to sing on this wise:
 Full well my tears attest,
O traitor Love, with what just cause the heart,
With which thou once hast broken faith, doth smart.
 Love, when thou first didst in my heart enshrine
Her for whom still I sigh, alas! in vain,
Nor any hope do know,
A damsel so complete thou didst me shew,
That light as air I counted every pain,
Wherewith behest of thine
Condemned my soul to pine.
Ah! but I gravely erred; the which to know
Too late, alas! doth but enhance my woe.
 The cheat I knew not ere she did me leave,
She, she, in whom alone my hopes were placed:
For 'twas when I did most
Flatter myself with hope, and proudly boast
Myself her vassal lowliest and most graced,
Nor thought Love might bereave,
Nor dreamed he e'er might grieve,
'Twas then I found that she another's worth
Into her heart had ta'en, and me cast forth.
 A plant of pain, alas! my heart did bear,
What time my hapless self cast forth I knew;
And there it doth remain;
And day and hour I curse and curse again,
When first that front of love shone on my view
That front so queenly fair,
And bright beyond compare!
Wherefore at once my faith, my hope, my fire
My soul doth imprecate, ere she expire.
 My lord, thou knowest how comfortless my woe,
Thou, Love, my lord, whom thus I supplicate
With many a piteous moan,
Telling thee how in anguish sore I groan,
Yearning for death my pain to mitigate.
Come death, and with one blow
Cut short my span, and so
With my curst life me of my frenzy ease;
For wheresoe'er I go, 'twill sure decrease.
 Save death no way of comfort doth remain:
No anodyne beside for this sore smart.
The boon, then, Love bestow;
And presently by death annul my woe,
And from this abject life release my heart.
Since from me joy is ta'en,
And every solace, deign
My prayer to grant, and let my death the cheer
Complete, that she now hath of her new fere.
 Song, it may be that no one shall thee learn:
Nor do I care; for none I wot, so well
As I may chant thee; so,
This one behest I lay upon thee, go
Hie thee to Love, and him in secret tell,
How I my life do spurn,
My bitter life, and yearn,
That to a better harbourage he bring
Me, of all might and grace that own him king.
Full well my tears attest, etc.
 Filostrato's mood and its cause were made abundantly manifest
by the words of this song; and perchance they had been made still
more so by the looks of a lady that was among the dancers, had not
the shades of night, which had now overtaken them, concealed the
blush that suffused her face. Other songs followed until the hour
for slumber arrived: whereupon at the behest of the queen all the
ladies sought their several chambers.