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 Thirteenth:
Proem

PHOEBUS had already taken his departure from this land of ours, and the clear brightness of the day was gone and faded, so that now no longer did the forms of objects round about make them selves clearly apparent, when the Signora, having come out of her chamber accompanied by the ten damsels, went to the head of the staircase to give glad- some welcome to the gentle company who had already disembarked from their boats. Then, when all had taken their seats according to their rank, the Signora said: "It seems to rue that to-night it would be well and becoming-after you have danced according to your wont and sung a canzonet-for all the gentlemen as well as all the ladies to tell each one a fable, forasmuch as it is not seemly that this burden should be laid on the ladies alone. And thus (always supposing that what I propose meets with the approval of this honourable company) each one will tell his story on the one condition that it shall be short; so that, on this the last night of carnival, everyone may have time to set forth his fable. Now the Signor Ambassador, as the chief person amongst us, shall fill the first place, and then, one by one, you shall all take turns according to your degree." The proposal of the Signora won the approval of all, and, after they had danced some what, she gave command to the Trevisan and to Molino to attune their instruments and to sing their canzonet thereto. Whereupon these loyal sons of obedience took up their lutes and discoursed the following song:

SONG.

The choicest gifts of beauty and of grace
That mortal beauty ever knew,
Lady, kind Nature lavishes on you.
When gazing on your lovely face,
Your bosom into perfect beauty swelling,
Where Love holds sway, proud of his ivory throne,
I hear my fancy telling
'That surely you were made in God's own place,
And sent on earth to honour us alone,
To bid us for our trespasses atone,
And teach how far excelling
Our feverish life of heat and cold
'Those glories are the blest in Heaven behold.

The canzonet sung by the Trevisan and Molino delighted all the listeners, and they applauded it heartily. When it had come to an end, the Signora begged the Signor Ambassador to make a beginning of the story-telling, and he, who had nought of rustic incivility in his manner, at once began in the following wise.

Next: Night the Thirteenth: 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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