Illustration for Facetious Nights by E. R. Hughes

The Facetious Nights

Illustration for Facetious Nights by E. R. Hughes

The Facetious Nights

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Night the Tenth:
Proem

ALREADY on all sides the beasts of the field, wearied by the fatigues of the day, were seeking to give repose to their tired limbs, some resting upon soft feathers, some upon the hard and sharp-pointed rocks, some upon the swart herbage, and some amidst the thick- leaved trees, when the Signora, with the damsels who attended her, came forth from their chamber and went into the hail of meeting, where was gathered together the company, ready to listen to the fables which were to be told. Having called one of the servants, the Signora directed him to bring the golden vase, and, after they had put therein the names of five of the damsels, the drawing began, and the first name to be drawn forth was that of Lauretta, the second that of Arianna, the third that of Alteria, the fourth that of Eritrea, and the fifth that of Cateruzza. But before the beginning of the story-telling, the Signora signified it to be her will that they should first dance a measure, and then that Bembo should sing them a canzonet, and he, being unable to pro vide himself with any sufficient excuse, began to sing in a sweet voice, while all the company sat listening in silence.

SONG.

Love's ardour or love's chills I feel no more,
No more they make me fain
To ply you with my prayers in hope to gain
The last, the sweetest boon you hold in store.
My spirit quails with fear,
As to that hateful bourne I draw anear,
The bourne by mortals shunned in vain.
And is this fruit the sweetest I shall find,
Enclosed within love's bitter rind?
Shall I, when ended is my life,
No solace find
For all my weary days of strife?
Shall there be granted me no rest benign
Till I my tristful life for kindly death resign?

This sweet song of Bembo's delighted all the listeners greatly, and, as soon as it had come to an end, Lauretta, rising from her seat, began her fable in the following words.

Next: Night the Tenth: First Fable

Straparola, Giovanni Francesco. The Facetious Nights by Straparola. W. G. Waters, translator. Jules Garnier and E. R. Hughes, illustrators. London: Privately Printed for Members of the Society of Bibliophiles, 1901. 4 volumes.


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