The Decameron of Giovanni Boccaccio

The Decameron of Giovanni Boccaccio

Giovanni Boccaccio

Literature & Fiction / Poetry

As often, most gracious ladies, as, taking thought in myself, I mind me how very pitiful you are all by nature, so often do I recognize that this present work will, to your thinking, have a grievous and a weariful beginning, inasmuch as the dolorous remembrance of the late pestiferous mortality, which it beareth on its forefront, is universally irksome to all who saw or otherwise knew it. But I would not therefore have this affright you from reading further, as if in the reading you were still to fare among sighs and tears.
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The Decameron (Day 1 to Day 5)

The Decameron (Day 1 to Day 5)

Giovanni Boccaccio

Literature & Fiction / Poetry

The Philosopher Zeno (Right Honourable, and my most worthily esteemed Lord) being demaunded on a time by what meanes a man might attaine to happinesse; made answere: By resorting to the dead, and having familiar conversation with them. Intimating thereby: The reading of ancient and moderne Histories, and endeavouring to learne such good instructions, as have bene observed in our Predecessors. A Question also was mooved by great King Ptolomy, to one of the learned wise Interpreters. In what occasions a King should exercise himselfe, whereto thus hee replyed: To know those things which formerly have bin done: And to read Bookes of those matters which offer themselves dayly, or are fittest for our instant affaires. And lastly, in seeking those things whatsoever, that make for a Kingdomes preservation, and the correction of evill manners or examples.Upon these good and warrantable grounds (most Noble Lord) beside many more of the same Nature, which I omit, to avoide prolixity, I dare boldly affirme, that such as are exercised in the reading of Histories, although they seeme to be but yong in yeares, and slenderly instructed in worldly matters: yet gravity and gray-headed age speaketh maturely in them, to the no meane admiration of common and vulgar judgement. As contrariwise, such as are ignorant of things done and past, before themselves had any being: continue still in the estate of children, able to speake or behave themselves no otherwise; and, even within the bounds of their Native Countries (in respect of knowledge or manly capacity) they are no more then well-seeming dumbe Images.In due consideration of the precedent allegations, and uppon the command, as also most Noble encouragement of your Honour from time to time; this Volume of singular and exquisite Histories, varied into so many and exact natures, appeareth in the worlds view, under your Noble patronage and defence, to be safely sheelded from foule-mouthed slander and detraction, which is too easily throwne upon the very best deserving labours.I know (most worthy Lord) that many of them have (long since) bene published before, as stolne from the first originall Author, and yet not beautified with his sweete stile and elocution of phrases, neither favouring of his singular morall applications. For, as it was his full scope and ayme, by discovering all Vices in their ugly deformities, to make their mortall enemies (the sacred Vertues) to shine the clearer, being set downe by them, and compared with them: so every true and upright judgement, in observing the course of these well-carried Novels, shall plainly perceive, that there is no spare made of reproofe in any degree whatsoever, where sin is embraced, and grace neglected; but the just deserving shame and punishment thereon inflicted, that others may be warned by their example. In imitation of witty Æsope; who reciteth not a Fable, but graceth it with a judicious morall application; as many other worthy Writers have done the like.For instance, let me heere insert one. A poore man, having a pike staffe on his shoulder, and travailing thorow a Countrey Village, a great Mastive Curre ran mainly at him, so that hardly he could defend himselfe from him. At the length, it was his chance to kill the Dogge: for which, the Owner immediately apprehending him, and bringing him before the Judge, alledged, that he had slaine his servant, which defended his life, house, and goods, and therefore challenged satisfaction. The Judge leaning more in favour to the Plaintiffe, as being his friend, neighbour, and familiar, then to the justice and equity of the cause; reprooved the poore fellow somewhat sharpely, and peremptorily commanded him, to make satisfaction, or els he would commit him to prison. That were injustice replyed the poore man, because I kilde the dogge in defence of mine owne life, which deserveth much better respect then a million of such Curres. Sirra, sirra, saide the Judge, then you should have turned the oth
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Mrs Rosie and the Priest

Mrs Rosie and the Priest

Giovanni Boccaccio

Literature & Fiction / Poetry

Four hilarious and provocative stories from Boccaccio's Decameron, featuring cuckolded husbands, cross-dressing wives and very bad priests. Introducing Little Black Classics: 80 books for Penguin's 80th birthday. Little Black Classics celebrate the huge range and diversity of Penguin Classics, with books from around the world and across many centuries. They take us from a balloon ride over Victorian London to a garden of blossom in Japan, from Tierra del Fuego to 16th-century California and the Russian steppe. Here are stories lyrical and savage; poems epic and intimate; essays satirical and inspirational; and ideas that have shaped the lives of millions. Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375). Boccaccio's Decameron is available in Penguin Classics in both a complete and selected edition.
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The Decameron (Day 6 to Day 10)

The Decameron (Day 6 to Day 10)

Giovanni Boccaccio

Literature & Fiction / Poetry

The Moone having past the heaven, lost her bright splendor, by the arising of a more powerfull light, and every part of our world began to looke cleare: when the Queene (being risen) caused all the Company to be called, walking forth afterward upon the pearled dewe (so farre as was supposed convenient) in faire and familiar conference together, according as severally they were disposed, & repetition of divers the passed Novels, especially those which were most pleasing, and seemed so by their present commendations. But the Sunne beeing somewhat higher mounted, gave such a sensible warmth to the ayre, as caused their returne backe to the Pallace, where the Tables were readily covered against their comming, strewed with sweet hearbes and odoriferous flowers, seating themselves at the Tables (before the heat grew more violent) according as the Queene commanded.After dinner, they sung divers excellent Canzonnets, and then some went to sleepe, others played at the Chesse, and some at the Tables: But Dioneus and Madam Lauretta, they sung the love-conflict betweene Troylus and Cressida. Now was the houre come, of repairing to their former Consistory or meeting place, the Queene having thereto generally summoned them, and seating themselves (as they were wont to doe) about the faire fountaine. As the Queene was commanding to begin the first Novell, an accident suddenly happened, which never had befalne before: to wit, they heard a great noyse and tumult, among the houshold servants in the Kitchin. Whereupon, the Queene caused the Master of the Houshold to be called, demaunding of him, what noyse it was, and what might be the occasion thereof? He made answere, that Lacisca and Tindaro were at some words of discontentment, but what was the occasion thereof, he knew not. Whereupon, the Queene commanded that they should be sent for, (their anger and violent speeches still continuing) and being come into her presence, she demaunded the reason of their discord; and Tindaro offering to make answere, Lacisca (being somewhat more ancient then he, and of a fiercer fiery spirit, even as if her heart would have leapt out of her mouth) turned her selfe to him, and with a scornefull frowning countenance, said. See how this bold, unmannerly and beastly fellow, dare presume to speake in this place before me: Stand by (saucy impudence) and give your better leave to answere; then turning to the Queene, thus shee proceeded.Madam, this idle fellow would maintaine to me, that Signior Sicophanto marrying with Madama della Grazza, had the victory of her virginity the very first night: and I avouched the contrary, because shee had been a mother twise before, in very faire adventuring of her fortune. And he dared to affirme beside, that young Maides are so simple, as to loose the flourishing Aprill of their time, in meere feare of their parents, and great prejudice of their amourous friends. Onely being abused by infinite promises, that this yeare and that yeare they shall have husbands, when, both by the lawes of nature and reason, they are not tyed to tarry so long, but rather ought to lay hold upon opportunity, when it is fairely and friendly offered, so that seldome they come maides to marriage. Beside, I have heard, and know some married wives, that have played divers wanton prancks with their husbands, yet carried all so demurely and smoothly; that they have gone free from publique detection. All which this woodcocke will not credit, thinking me to be so young a Novice, as if I had been borne but yesterday.While Lacisca was delivering these speeches, the Ladies smiled on one another, not knowing what to say in this case: And although the Queene (five and or severall times) commaunded her to silence; yet such was the earnestnes of her spleen, that she gave no attention, but held on still even untill she had uttered all that she pleased. But after she had concluded her complaint, the Queene (with a smiling countenance) turned towards Dioneus saying.
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Tales From the Decameron of Giovanni Boccaccio

Tales From the Decameron of Giovanni Boccaccio

Giovanni Boccaccio

Literature & Fiction / Poetry

The Decameron is a work of broad-sweeping comic views. It was written by Giovanni Boccaccio, an Italian poet and scholar who raised vernacular literature to the status of the classics of antiquity and who prepared for the humanism of the Renaissance. The tales are set in 1348, the year of the Black Death. Florence is a dying, corrupt city, described plainly in all of its horrors. Seven ladies and three gentlemen meet in a church and decide to escape from the charnel house of reality by staying in the hills of Fiesole; there they pass the time telling stories for ten days. See other titles by this author available from Kessinger Publishing.
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