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 Seventh:
Proem

IT was at an hour when a dusky cloud began to spread itself over all parts of the cool and distant west, and when the well-loved spouse of Dis spread far and wide the obscuring shadows, that the honourable and loyal band of gentlefolk repaired once more to the palace of the Signora, and, hand in hand, took their accustomed seats as they had done on the nights which were past. Then Molino, by the order of the Signora, caused to be brought forth the vase, and, having thrust his hand therein, he drew out first the name of Vicenza, then that of Fiordiana, then that of Lodovica, reserving the fourth turn for Lionora, and the fifth for Isabella. Thus, having settled the order of the story-telling, the Signora gave the word to Lauretta that she should sing a song, and the damsel, without making any demur or excuse, at once began.

SONG.

Trembling I burn, and as I burn I freeze,
I hunger ever for a love
Which neither time nor fate can move.
I live bereft of ease;
For that my heart now bids me speak, and then
My courage fails, and I am mute again.

Ah, many a time would I my woes have told,
To damp the flame that in me burns;
But aye my courage backward turns,
Lest by my pleading bold
I should provoke your anger, and instead
Of favour it should fall upon my head.

Thus fear and my desire are aye at strife,
And surely fate a woeful end
To my long martyrdom will send,
And cut my thread of life;
And for the love which sanctifies my breath,
How transient is the life, how sure the death!

As soon as this sweet and tender song had come to an end, Vicenza, who was designated by lot to take the first turn of the story-telling this evening, rose upon her feet, and having duly saluted the Signora, began to speak in this wise.

Next: Night the Seventh: 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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