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Giovanni Boccaccio - Decameron (Day the Ninth) lyrics

The Ninth Story

The King Of Cyprus, Touched To The Quick By A Gascon Lady, From A Mean-Spirited Prince Becometh A Man Of Worth And Valiance

The Queen's last commandment rested with Elisa, who, without awaiting it, began all blithely, "Young ladies, it hath often chanced that what all manner reproofs and many pains[68] bestowed upon a man have not availed to bring about in him hath been effected by a word more often spoken at hazard than of purpose aforethought. This is very well shown in the story related by Lauretta and I, in my turn, purpose to prove to you the same thing by means of another and a very short one; for that, since good things may still serve, they should be received with a mind attent, whoever be the sayer thereof.

I say, then, that in the days of the first King of Cyprus, after the conquest of the Holy Land by Godefroi de Bouillon, it chanced that a gentlewoman of Gascony went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Sepulchre and returning thence, came to Cyprus, where she was shamefully abused of certain lewd fellows; whereof having complained, without getting any satisfaction, she thought to appeal to the King for redress, but was told that she would lose her pains, for that he was of so abject a composition and so little of worth that, far from justifying others of their wrongs, he endured with shameful pusillanimity innumerable affronts offered to himself, insomuch that whose had any grudge [against him] was won't to vent his despite by doing him some shame or insult.
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The lady, hearing this and despairing of redress, bethought herself, by way of some small solacement of her chagrin, to seek to rebuke the king's pusillanimity; wherefore, presenting herself in tears before him, she said to him, 'My lord, I come not into thy presence for any redress that I expect of the wrong that hath been done me; but in satisfaction thereof, I prithee teach me how thou dost to suffer those affronts which I understand are offered unto thyself, so haply I may learn of thee patiently to endure mine own, the which God knoweth, an I might, I would gladly bestow on thee, since thou art so excellent a supporter thereof.'

The King, who till then had been sluggish and supine, awoke as if from sleep and beginning with the wrong done to the lady, which he cruelly avenged, thenceforth became a very rigorous prosecutor of all who committed aught against the honour of his crown."


[68] Syn. penalties, punishments (pene).

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