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other on the right, lying in its warm little garden | mother's maid, calling her most immodestly a close to the roadside, the scene lately of somewhat sweet creature, and of a whiteness that marble that would have looked well, as illustration, in the would split with envy at. midst of your Latin reflections. It shows us that people the most serious and determined may act at last contrariwise to the line of conduct they have laid down.

Petrarca. Relate it to me, Messer Giovanni; for you are able to give reality the merits and charms of fiction, just as easily as you give fiction the semblance, the stature, and the movement of reality. Boccaccio. I must here forego such powers, if in good truth I possess them.

Petrarca. This long green alley, defended by box and cypresses, is very pleasant. The smell of box, although not sweet, is more agreeable to me than many that are; I can not say from what resuscitation of early and tender feeling. The cypress too seems to strengthen the nerves of the brain. Indeed, I delight in the odour of most trees and plants.

Will not that dog hurt us? he comes closer. Boccaccio. Dog! thou hast the colours of a magpie and the tongue of one: prythee be quiet: art thou not ashamed?

Petrarca. Verily he trots off, comforting his angry belly with his plenteous tail, flattened and bestrewn under it. He looks back, going on, and puffs out his upper lip without a bark.

Boccaccio. These creatures are more accessible to temperate and just rebuke than the creatures of our species, usually angry with less reason, and from no sense, as dogs are, of duty. Look into that white arcade! Surely it was white the other day and now I perceive it is still so the setting sun tinges it with yellow.

Petrarca. The house has nothing of either the rustic or the magnificent about it; nothing quite regular, nothing much varied. If there is anything at all affecting, as I fear there is, in the story you are about to tell me, I could wish the edifice itself bore externally some little of the interesting, that I might hereafter turn my mind toward it, looking out of the catastrophe, though not away from it. But I do not even find the peculiar and uncostly decoration of our Tuscan villas: the central turret, round which the kite perpetually circles, in search of pigeons or smaller prey, borne onward, like the Flemish skaiter, by effortless will in motionless progression. The view of Fiesole must be lovely from that window; but I fancy to myself it loses the cascade under the single high arch of the Mugnone.

Boccaccio. I think so. In this villa.. come rather further off: the inhabitants of it may hear us, if they should happen to be in the arbour, as most people are at the present hour of day.. in this villa, Messer Francesco, lives Monna Tita Monalda, who tenderly loved Amadeo degli Oricellari. She however was reserved and coy; and father Pietro de' Pucci, an enemy to the family of Amadeo, told her never more to think of him; for that just before he knew her, he had thrown his arm round the neck of Nunciata Righi, his

Monna Tita trembled and turned pale, "Father, is the girl really so very fair?" said she anxiously. "Madonna,” replied the father, "after confession she is not much amiss: white she is, with a certain tint of pink, not belonging to her, but coming over her, as through the wing of an angel pleased at the holy function: and her breath is such, the very ear smells it: poor innocent sinful soul ! Hei! The wretch, Amadeo, would have endangered her salvation."

"She must be a wicked girl to let him," said Monna Tita. "A young man of good parentage and education would not dare to do such a thing, of his own accord. I will see him no more however. But it was before he knew me and it may not be true. I can not think any young woman would let a young man do so, even in the last hour before Lent. Now in what month was it supposed to be?"

"Supposed to be!" cried the father indignantly: "in June; I say in June."

"O! that now is quite impossible: for on the second of July, forty-one days from this, and at this very hour of it, he swore to me eternal love and constancy. I will inquire of him whether it is true : I will charge him with it."

She did. Amadeo confessed his fault, and, thinking it a venial one, would have taken and kissed her hand as he asked forgiveness.

Petrarca. Children! children! I will go into the house, and if their relatives, as I suppose, have approved of the marriage, I will endeavour to persuade the young lady that a fault like this, on the repentance of her lover, is not unpardonable. But first, is Amadeo a young man of loose habits? Boccaccio. Less than our others: in fact, I never heard of any deviation, excepting this. Petrarca. Come then with me. Boccaccio. Wait a little.

Petrarca. I hope the modest Tita, after a trial, will not be too severe with him.

Boccaccio. Severity is far from her nature; but, such is her purity and innocence, she shed many and bitter tears at his confession, and declared her unalterable determination of taking the veil among the nuns of Fiesole. Amadeo fell at her feet, and wept upon them. She pushed him from her gently, and told him she would still love him, if he would follow her example, leave the world, and become a friar of San Marco. Amadeo was speechless; and, if he had not been so, he never would have made a promise he intended to violate. She retired from him after a time he arose, less wounded than benumbed by the sharp uncovered stones in the garden walk: and, as a man who fears to fall from a precipice goes farther from it than is necessary, so did Amadeo shun the quarter where the gate is, and, oppressed by his agony and despair, throw his arms across the sun-dial and rest his brow upon it, hot as it must have been on a cloudless day in August. When the evening

was about to close, he was aroused by the cries of rooks over-head: they flew toward Florence, and beyond: he too went back into the city.

together with good father Fontesecco, who invariably falls asleep amid our holy function."

Now, Messer Francesco, I must inform you that father Fontesecco has the heart of a flower. It feels nothing, it wants nothing; it is pure and simple, and full of its own little light. Innocent as a child, as an angel, nothing ever troubled him, but how to devise what he should confess. A confession costs him more trouble to invent than any Giornata in my Decameron cost me. He was once overheard to say on this occasion, “God forgive me in his infinite mercy, for making it appear that I am a little worse than he has chosen I should be!" He is temperate; for he never drinks more than exactly half the wine and water set before him. In fact, he drinks the wine and leaves the water, saying, "We have the same water

Tita fell sick from her inquietude. Every morning ere sunrise did Amadeo return, but could hear only from the labourers in the field that Monna Tita was ill, because she had promised to take the veil and had not taken it, knowing, as she must do, that the heavenly bridegroom is a bridegroom never to be trifled with, let the spouse be young and beautiful as she may be. Amadeo had often conversed with the peasant of the farm, who much pitied so worthy and loving a gentleman, and finding him one evening fixing some thick and high stakes in the ground, offered to help him. After due thanks, "It is time," said the peasant, "to rebuild the hovel and watch the grapes." He went into the stable, collected the old pil-up at San Domenico : we send it hither: it would lars of his autumnal observatory, drove them into the ground, and threw the matting over them.

"This is my house," cried he. "Could I never, in my stupidity, think about rebuilding it before? Bring me another mat or two: I will sleep here to-night, to-morrow night, every night, all autumn, all winter."

He slept there, and was consoled at last by hearing that Monna Tita was out of danger, and recovering from her illness by spiritual means. His heart grew lighter day after day. Every evening did he observe the rooks, in the same order, pass along the same track in the heavens, just over San Marco: and it now occurred to him, after three weeks indeed, that Monna Tita had perhaps some strange idea, in choosing his monastery, not unconnected with the passage of these birds. He grew calmer upon it, until he asked himself whether he might hope. In the midst of this half-meditation, half-dream, his whole frame was shaken by the voices, however low and gentle, of two monks, coming from the villa and approaching him. He would have concealed himself under this bank whereon we are standing; but they saw him and called him by name. He now perceived that the younger of them was Guiberto Oddi, with whom he had been at school about six or seven years ago, and who admired him for his courage and frankness when he was almost a child.

"Do not let us mortify poor Amadeo," said Guiberto to his companion. "Return to the road: I will speak a few words to him, and engage him (I trust) to comply with reason and yield to necessity." The elder monk, who saw he should have to climb the hill again, assented to the proposal, and went into the road. After the first embraces and few words, "Amadeo! Amadeo!" said Guiberto, "it was love that made me a friar; let anything else make you one."

"Kind heart!" replied Amadeo. "If death or religion, or hatred of me, deprives me of Tita Monalda, I will die, where she commanded me, in the cowl. It is you who prepare her then to throw away her life and mine!"

be uncivil to take back our own gift, and still more to leave a suspicion that we thought other people's wine poor beverage." Being afflicted by the gravel, the physician of his convent advised him, as he never was fond of wine, to leave it off entirely on which he said, "I know few things; but this I know well in water there is often gravel, in wine never. It hath pleased God to afflict me, and even to go a little out of his way in order to do it, for the greater warning to other sinners. I will drink wine, brother Anselmini, and help his work."

I have led you away from the younger monk. "While father Fontesecco is in the first stage of beatitude, chanting through his nose the benedicite, I will attempt," said Guiberto, “to comfort Monna Tita."

"Good blessed Guiberto!" exclaimed Amadeo in a transport of gratitude, at which Guiberto smiled with his usual grace and suavity. “O Guiberto! Guiberto! my heart is breaking. Why should she want you to comfort her.. but . . comfort her then!" and he covered his face within his hands.

"Remember," said Guiberto placidly, "her uncle is bedridden: her aunt never leaves him: the servants are old and sullen, and will stir for nobody. Finding her resolved, as they believe, to become a nun, they are little assiduous in their services. Humour her, if none else does, Amadeo; let her fancy that you intend to be a friar; and, for the present, walk not on these grounds."

"Are you true, or are you traitorous?" cried Amadeo, grasping his friend's hand most fiercely.

"Follow your own counsel, if you think mine insincere," said the young friar, not withdrawing his hand, but placing the other on Amadeo's. "Let me however advise you to conceal yourself; and I will direct Silvestrina to bring you such accounts of her mistress as may at least make you easy in regard to her health. Adieu."

Amadeo was now rather tranquil ; more than he had ever been, not only since the displeasure of Monna Tita, but since the first sight of her. Profuse at all times in his gratitude to Silvestrina, "Hold! Amadeo!" said Guiberto, "I officiate whenever she brought him good news, news better

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than usual, he pressed her to his bosom. Silves-
trina Pioppi is about fifteen; slender, fresh, intel-
ligent, lively, good-humoured, sensitive; and any
one but Amadeo might call her very pretty.

Petrarca. Ah Giovanni! here I find your heart
obtaining the mastery over your vivid and volatile
imagination. Well have you said, the maiden
being really pretty, anyone but Amadeo might
think her so. On the banks of the Sorga there
are beautiful maids: the woods and the rocks
have a thousand times repeated it: I heard but
one echo: I heard but one name: I would have
fled from them for ever at another.

Boccaccio. Francesco, do not beat your breast just now: wait a little. Monna Tita would take the veil. The fatal certainty was announced to Amadeo by his true Guiberto, who had earnestly and repeatedly prayed her to consider the thing a few months longer.

"I will see her first! By all the saints of heaven I will see her!" cried the desperate Amadeo, and ran into the house, toward the still apartment of his beloved. Fortunately Guiberto was neither less active nor less strong than he, and overtaking him at the moment, drew him into the room opposite. "If you will be quiet and reasonable, there is yet a possibility left you," said Guiberto in his ear, although perhaps he did not think it. "But if you utter a voice or are seen by anyone, you ruin the fame of her you love, and obstruct your own prospects for ever. It being known that you have not slept in Florence these several nights, it will be suspected by the malicious that you have slept in the villa with the connivance of Monna Tita. Compose yourself: answer nothing: rest where you are do not add a worse imprudence to a very bad one: I promise you my assistance, my speedy return and best counsel: you shall be released at daybreak." He ordered Silvestrina to supply the unfortunate youth with the cordials usually administered to the uncle, or with the rich old wine they were made of; and she performed the order with such promptitude and attention, that he was soon in some sort refreshed. Petrarca. I pity him from my soul, poor young man! Alas, we are none of us, by original sin, free from infirmities or from vices.

Boccaccio. If we could find a man exempt by nature from vices and infirmities, we should find one not worth knowing: he would also be void of tenderness and compassion. What allowances then could his best friends expect from him in their frailties? What help, consolation, and assist ance, in their misfortunes? We are in the midst of a workship well stored with sharp instruments: we may do ill with many, unless we take heed; and good with all, if we will but learn how to employ them.

Petrarca. There is somewhat of reason in this. You strengthen me to proceed with you: I can bear the rest.

on his return to the monastery, when he was overtaken by some peasants, who were hastening homeward from Florence. The information he collected from them made him determine to retrace his steps. He entered the room again, and, from the intelligence he had just acquired, gave Amadeo the assurance that Monna Tita must delay her entrance into the convent; for that the abbess had that moment gone down the hill on her way toward Siena, to venerate some holy relics, carrying with her three candles, each five feet long, to burn before them; which candles contained many particles of the myrrh presented at the nativity of our Saviour by the wise men of the East. Amadeo breathed freely, and was persuaded by Guiberto to take another cup of old wine, and to eat with him some cold roast kid, which had been offered him for merenda.* After the agitation of his mind a heavy sleep fell upon the lover, coming almost before Guiberto departed; so heavy indeed that Silvestrina was alarmed. It was her apartment; and she performed the honours of it as well as any lady in Florence could have done.

Petrarca. I easily believe it: the poor are more attentive than the rich, and the young are more compassionate than the old.

Boccaccio. Oh Francesco! what inconsistent creatures are we !

Petrarca. True, indeed! I now foresee the
end. He might have done worse.
Boccaccio. I think so.

Petrarca. He almost deserved it.
Boccaccio. I think that too.
Petrarca. Wretched mortals! our passions for
ever lead us into this, or worse.

Boccaccio. Ay, truly; much worse generally. Petrarca. The very twig on which the flowers grew lately, scourges us to the bone in its maturity.

Boccaccio. Incredible will it be to you, and, by my faith! to me it was hardly credible. Certain however is it, that Guiberto on his return by sunrise found Amadeo in the arms of sleep.

Petrarca. Not at all, not at all incredible: the truest lover would have done the same, exhausted by suffering.

Boccaccio. He was truly in the arms of sleep; but, Francesco, there was another pair of arms about him, worth twenty such, divinity as he is. A loud burst of laughter from Guiberto did not arouse either of the parties: but Monna Tita heard it, and rushed into the room, tearing her hair, and invoking the saints of heaven against the perfidy of man. She seized Silvestrina by that arm which appeared the most offending: the girl opened her eyes, turned on her face, rolled out of bed, and threw herself at the feet of her mistress, shedding tears, and wiping them away with the only piece of linen about her. Monna Tita too shed tears. Amadeo still slept profoundly; a flush, almost of crimson, overspreading his cheeks. Monna Tita led away, after some pause, poor Silvestrina, and made her confess the whole. She then wept more * Merenda is luncheon, meridiana, eaten by the

Boccaccio. Guiberto had taken leave of his friend, and had advanced a quarter of a mile, which (as you perceive) is nearly the whole way, wealthier at the hour when the peasants dine.

and more, and made the girl confess it again, and explain her confession. 'I cannot believe such wickedness," she cried: "he could not be so hardened. O sinful Silvestrina! how will you ever tell Father Doni one half! one quarter! He never can absolve you."

Petrarca. Giovanni! I am glad I did not enter the house; you were prudent in restraining me. I have no pity for the youth at all: never did one so deserve to lose a mistress.

Boccaccio. Say, rather, to gain a wife.
Petrarca. Absurdity! impossibility!

Boccaccio. He won her fairly; strangely, and on a strange table, as he played his game. Listen! that guitar is Monna Tita's. Listen! what a fine voice (do not you think it?) is Amadeo's. Amadeo (Singing).

Oh! I have err'd!

I laid my hand upon the nest
(Tita, I sigh to sing the rest)
Of the wrong bird.

Petrarca. She laughs too at it! Ah! Monna Tita was made by nature to live on this side of Fiesole.


Cæsar. Lucius Lucullus, I come to you privately and unattended, for reasons which you will know; confiding, I dare not say in your friendship, since no service of mine toward you has deserved it, but in your generous and disinterested love of peace. Hear me on. Cneius Pompeius, according to the report of my connexions in the city, had, on the instant of my leaving it for the province, begun to solicit his dependants to strip me ignominiously of authority. Neither vows nor affinities can bind him. He would degrade the father of his wife; he would humiliate his own children, the unoffending, the unborn; he would poison his own ardent love, at the suggestion of Ambition. Matters are now brought so far, that either he or I must submit to a reverse of fortune; since no concession can assuage his malice, divert his envy, or gratify his cupidity. No sooner could I raise myself up, from the consternation and stupefaction into which the certainty of these reports had thrown me, than I began to consider in what manner my own private afflictions might become the least noxious to the republic. Into whose arms then could I throw myself more naturally and more securely, to whose bosom could I commit and consign more sacredly the hopes and destinies of our beloved country, than his who laid down power in the midst of its enjoyments, in the vigour of youth, in the pride of triumph: when Dignity solicited, when Friendship urged, entreated, supplicated, and when Liberty herself invited and beckoned to him, from the senatorial order and from the curule chair? Betrayed and abandoned by those we had confided in, our next friendship, if ever our hearts receive any, or if any will venture in those places of desolation, flies forward instinctively to what is most contrary and dissimilar. Cæsar is hence the visitant of Lucullus.

Lucullus. I had always thought Pompeius more moderate and more reserved than you represent him, Caius Julius! and yet I am considered in general, and surely you also will consider me, but little liable to be prepossessed by him.

Cæsar. Unless he may have ingratiated himself with you recently, by the administration of that worthy whom last winter his partisans dragged before the senate, and forced to assert publicly

that you and Cato had instigated a party to circumvent and murder him; and whose carcase, a few days afterward, when it had been announced that he had died by a natural death, was found covered with bruises, stabs, and dislocations.

Lucullus. You bring much to my memory which had quite slipped out of it, and I wonder that it could make such an impression on yours. A proof to me that the interest you take in my behalf began earlier than your delicacy will permit you to acknowledge. You are fatigued,

which I ought to have perceived before. Cæsar. Not at all: the fresh air has given me life and alertness: I feel it upon my cheek even in the room.

Lucullus. After our dinner and sleep, we will spend the remainder of the day on the subject of your visit.

Cæsar. Those Ethiopian slaves of yours shiver with cold upon the mountain here; and truly I myself was not insensible to the change of climate, in the way from Mutina.

What white bread! I never found such even at Naples or Capua. This Formian wine (which I prefer to the Chian) how exquisite !

Lucullus. Such is the urbanity of Cæsar, even while he bites his lip with displeasure. How! surely it bleeds! Permit me to examine the cup. Cæsar. I believe a jewel has fallen out of the rim in the carriage: the gold is rough there.

Lucullus. Marcipor! let me never see that cup again. No answer, I desire. My guest pardons heavier faults. Mind that dinner be prepared for us shortly.

Cæsar. In the meantime, Lucullus, if your health permits it, shall we walk a few paces round the villa? for I have not seen anything of the kind before.

Lucullus. The walls are double: the space between them two feet: the materials for the mostpart earth and stubble. Two hundred slaves, and about as many mules and oxen, brought the beams and rafters up the mountain: my architects fixed them at once in their places: every part was ready, even the wooden nails. The roof is thatched, you see.

Cæsar. Is there no danger that so light a material should be carried off by the winds, on such an eminence?

Lucullus. None resists them equally well.

Casar. On this immensely high mountain I should be apprehensive of the lightning, which the poets, and I think the philosophers too, have told us, strikes the highest.

Lucullus. The poets are right; for whatever is received as truth, is truth in poetry; and a fable may illustrate like a fact. But the philosophers are wrong; as they generally are, even in the commonest things; because they seldom look beyond their own tenets, unless through captiousness; and because they argue more than they meditate, and display more than they examine. Archimedes and Euclid are, in my opinion, the worthiest of the name; they alone having kept apart to the demonstrable, the practical, and the useful. Many of the rest are good writers and good disputants; but unfaithful suitors of simple Science; boasters of their acquaintance with gods and goddesses, plagiaries and impostors. I had forgotten my roof, although it is composed of much the same materials as the philosophers. Let the lightning fall: one handful of silver, or less, repairs the damage.

Casar. Impossible! nor indeed one thousand; nor twenty, if those tapestries* and pictures are consumed.

Lucullus. True; but only the thatch would burn. For before the baths were tessellated, I filled the area with alum and water, and soaked the timbers and laths for many months, and covered them afterward with alum in powder, by means of liquid glue. Mithridates taught me this. Having in vain attacked with combustibles a wooden tower, I took it by stratagem, and found within it a mass of alum, which, if a great hurry had not been observed by us among the enemy in the attempt to conceal it, would have escaped our notice. I never scrupled to extort the truth from my prisoners: but my instruments were purple robes and plate, and the only wheel in my armoury, destined to such purposes, was the wheel of Fortune.

Caesar. I wish, in my campaigns, I could have equalled your clemency and humanity: but the Gauls are more uncertain, fierce, and perfidious, than the wildest tribes of Caucasus; and our policy can not be carried with us; it must be formed upon the spot. They love you, not for abstaining from hurting them, but for ceasing; and they embrace you only at two seasons; when stripes are fresh or when stripes are imminent. Elsewhere I hope to become the rival of Lucullus in this admirable part of virtue.

I shall never build villas, because.. but what are your proportions? Surely the edifice is extremely low.

Lucullus. There is only one floor: the heighth of the apartments is twenty feet to the cornice, five above it; the breadth is twenty-five; the

* Cæsar would regard such things attentively. "In

expeditionibus tessellata et sectitia pavimenta circumtulisse; signa, tabulas, operis antiqui, semper animosissime comparâsse," says Suetonius.


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Caesar. A bath indeed for all the Nereids named by Hesiod, with room enough for the Tritons and their herds and horses.

Lucullus. Next to it, where yonder boys are carrying the myrrhine vases, is a tepid one of fresh water, ready for your reception.

Casar. I resign the higher pleasure for the inferior, as we all are apt to do; and I will return to the enjoyment of your conversation when I have indulged a quarter of an hour in this refreshment.

Lucullus. Meanwhile I will take refuge with some less elegant philosopher, whose society I shall quit again with less regret. (Cæsar returning.) It is useless, O Caius Julius, to inquire if there has been any negligence or any omission in the service of the bath: for these are secrets which you never impart to the most favoured of your friends.

Casar. I have often enjoyed the luxury much longer, but never more highly. Pardon my impatience to see the remainder of your Apennine villa.

Lucullus. Here stand my two cows. Their milk is brought to me with its warmth and froth; for it loses its salubrity both by repose and by motion. Pardon me, Cæsar : I shall appear to you to have forgotten that I am not conducting Marcus Varro.

Cæsar. You would convert him into Cacus: he would drive them off. What beautiful beasts! how sleek and white and cleanly! I never saw any like them, excepting when we sacrifice to Jupiter the stately leader from the pastures of the Clitumnus.

Lucullus. Often do I make a visit to these quiet creatures, and with no less pleasure than in former days to my horses. Nor indeed can I much wonder that whole nations have been consentaneous in treating them as objects of devotion : the only thing wonderful is, that gratitude seems to have acted as powerfully and extensively as fear; indeed more extensively; for no object of worship whatever has attracted so many worshippers. Where Jupiter has one, the cow has ten: she was venerated before he was born, and will be when even the carvers have forgotten him.

What can be

Cæsar. Unwillingly should I see it; for the character of our gods has formed the character of our nation. Serapis and Isis have stolen in among them within our memory, and others will follow, until at last Saturn will not be the only one emasculated by his successor. more august than our rites? The first dignitaries of the republic are emulous to administer them: nothing of low or venal has any place in them, nothing pusillanimous, nothing unsocial and austere. I speak of them as they were; before Superstition woke up again from her slumber,

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