Imágenes de página


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 Monna Tita trembled and turned pale, “Father, people the most serious and determined may act is the girl really so very fair ?” said she anxiously. at last contrariwise to the line of conduct they “Madonna,” replied the father, “after confession have laid down.

she is not much amiss : white she is, with a certain Petrarca. Relate it to me, Messer Giovanni; for tint of pink, not belonging to her, but coming you are able to give reality the merits and charms over her, as through the wing of an angel pleased of fiction, just as easily as you give fiction the sem- at the holy function : and her breath is such, the blance, the stature, and the movement of reality. very ear smells it: poor innocent sinful soul !

Boccaccio. I must here forego such powers, if in Hei! The wretch, Amadeo, would have endangered good truth I possess them.

her salvation." Petrarca. This long green alley, defended by "She must be a wicked girl to let him," said box and cypresses, is very pleasant. The smell of Monna Tita. A young man of good parentage box, although not sweet, is more agreeable to me and education would not dare to do such a thing, than many that are; I can not say from what re- of his own accord. I will see him no more howsuscitation of early and tender feeling.

The ever.

But it was before he knew me: and it cypress too seems to strengthen the nerves of the may not be true. I can not think any young brain. Indeed, I delight in the odour of most woman would let a young man do so, even in the trees and plants.

last hour before Lent. Now in what month was Will not that dog hurt us ? he comes closer. it supposed to be?”

Boccaccio. Dog! thou hast the colours of a ‘Supposed to be !" cried the father indignantly: magpie and the tongue of one : prythee be quiet : “in June; I say in June.” art thou not ashamed ?

“O! that now is quite impossible: for on the second Petrarca. Verily he trots off, comforting his of July, forty-one days from this, and at this very angry belly with his plenteous tail, flattened and hour of it, he swore to me eternal love and conbestrewn under it. He looks back, going on, and stancy. I will inquire of him whether it is true : puffs out his upper lip without a bark.

I will charge him with it.” Boccaccio. These creatures are more accessible She did. Amadeo confessed his fault, and, thinkto temperate and just rebuke than the creatures ing it a venial one, would have taken and kissed of our species, usually angry with less reason, and her hand as he asked forgiveness. from no sense, as dogs are, of duty. Look into Petrarca. Children! children! I will go into that white arcade! Surely it was white the other the house, and if their relatives, as I suppose, have day: and now I perceive it is still so : the setting approved of the marriage, I will endeavour to sun tinges it with yellow.

persuade the young lady that a fault like this, on Petrarca. The house has nothing of either the the repentance of her lover, is not unpardonable. rustic or the magnificent about it; nothing quite But first, is Amadeo a young man of loose habits? regular, nothing much varied. If there is any. Boccaccio. Less than our others : in fact, I thing at all affecting, as I fear there is, in the never heard of any deviation, excepting this. story you are about to tell me, I could wish Petrarca. Come then with me. the edifice itself bore externally some little of Boccaccio. Wait a little. the interesting, that I might hereafter turn my Petrarca. I hope the modest Tita, after a trial, mind toward it, looking out of the catastrophe, will not be too severe with him. though not away from it. But I do not even find Boccaccio. Severity is far from her nature; but, the peculiar and uncostly decoration of our Tuscan such is her purity and innocence, she shed many villas: the central turret, round which the kite and bitter tears at his confession, and declared perpetually circles, in search of pigeons or smaller her unalterable determination of taking the veil prey, borne onward, like the Flemish skaiter, by among the nuns of Fiesole. Amadeo fell at her effortless will in motionless progression. The feet, and wept upon them. She pushed him from view of Fiesole must be lovely from that window; her gently, and told him she would still love him, but I fancy to myself it loses the cascade under if he would follow her example, leave the world, the single high arch of the Mugnone.

and become a friar of San Marco. Amadeo was Boccaccio. I think so. In this villa . . come speechless; and, if he had not been so, he never rather further off: the inhabitants of it may hear would have made a promise he intended to violate. us, if they should happen to be in the arbour, as She retired from him : after a time he arose, less most people are at the present hour of day .. in wounded than benumbed by the sharp uncovered this villa, Messer Francesco, lives Monna Tita stones in the garden walk : and, as a man who Monalda, who tenderly loved Amadeo degli Ori- fears to fall from a precipice goes farther from it cellari. She however was reserved and coy; and than is necessary, so did Amadeo shun the quarter father Pietro de' Pucci, an enemy to the family of where the gate is, and, oppressed by his agony Amadeo, told her never more to think of him; and despair, throw his arms across the sun-dial for that just before he knew her, he had thrown and rest his brow upon it, hot as it must have been bis arm round the neck of Nunciata Righi, his lon a cloudless day in August. When the evening was about to close, he was aroused by the cries of together with good father Fontesecco, who invarirooks over-head : they flew toward Florence, and ably falls asleep amid our holy function." beyond : he too went back into the city.

Now, Messer Francesco, I must inform you that Tita fell sick from her inquietude. Every morn- father Fontesecco has the heart of a flower. It ing ere sunrise did Amadeo return, but could feels nothing, it wants nothing ; it is pure and hear only from the labourers in the field that simple, and full of its own little light. Innocent Monna Tita was ill, because she had promised to as a child, as an angel, nothing ever troubled him, take the veil and had not taken it, knowing, as but how to devise what he should confess. Å she must do, that the heavenly bridegroom is a confession costs him more trouble to invent than bridegroom never to be trifled with, let the spouse any Giornata in my Decameron cost me.

He be young and beautiful as she may be. Amadeo was once overheard to say on this occasion, “God had often conversed with the peasant of the farm, forgive me in his infinite mercy, for making it who much pitied so worthy and loving a gentleman, appear that I am a little worse than he has chosen and finding him one evening fixing some thick and I should be !" He is temperate; for he never high stakes in the ground, offered to help him. drinks more than exactly half the wine and water After due thanks, " It is time,” said the peasant, set before him. In fact, he drinks the wine and “ to rebuild the hovel and watch the grapes.” leaves the water, saying, “We have the same water

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 be uncivil to take back our own gift, and still the ground, and threw the matting over them. more to leave a suspicion that we thought other

“ This is my house,” cried he. “Could I never, people's wine poor beverage." Being afflicted by in my stupidity, think about rebuilding it before? the gravel, the physician of his convent advised Bring me another mat or two: I will sleep here him, as he never was fond of wine, to leave it off to-night, to-morrow night, every night, all autumn, entirely : on which he said, “I know few things; all winter."

but this I know well : in water there is often He slept there, and was consoled at last by gravel, in wine never. It hath pleased God to hearing that Monna Tita was out of danger, and afflict me, and even to go a little out of his way in recovering from her illness by spiritual means. order to do it, for the greater warning to other His heart grew lighter day after day. Every even- sinners. I will drink wine, brother Anselmini, ing did he observe the rooks, in the same order, and help his work.” pass along the same track in the heavens, just I have led you away from the younger monk. over San Marco : and it now occurred to him, “While father Fontesecco is in the first stage after three weeks indeed, that Monna Tita had of beatitude, chanting through his nose the beneperhaps some strange idea, in choosing his monas- dicite, I will attempt,” said Guiberto, “ to comfort tery, not unconnected with the passage of these Monna Tita.” birds. He grew calmer upon it, until he asked “Good blessed Guiberto !” exclaimed Amadeo himself whether he might hope. In the midst of in a transport of gratitude, at which Guiberto this half-meditation, half-dream, his whole frame smiled with his usual grace and suavity. “O was shaken by the voices, however low and gentle, Guiberto ! Guiberto! my heart is breaking. Why of two monks, coming from the villa and ap- should she want you to comfort her . . but .. proaching him. He would have concealed him- comfort her then!” and he covered his face within self under this bank whereon we are standing; but his hands. they saw him and called him by name. He now Remember,” said Guiberto placidly, “ her perceived that the younger of them was Guiberto uncle is bedridden : her aunt never leaves him : Oddi, with whom he had been at school about six the servants are old and sullen, and will stir for or seven years ago, and who admired him for his nobody. Finding her resolved, as they believe, courage and frankness when he was almost a to become a nun, they are little assiduous in their child.

services. Humour her, if none else does, Amadeo; “Do not let us mortify poor Amadeo," said let her fancy that you intend to be a friar; and, Guiberto to his companion. “Return to the for the present, walk not on these grounds." road: I will speak a few words to him, and engage “Are you true, or are you traitorous ?" cried him (I trust) to comply with reason and yield to Amadeo, grasping his friend's hand most fiercely. necessity." The elder monk, who saw he should “Follow your own counsel, if you think mine have to climb the hill again, assented to the pro- insincere," said the young friar, not withdrawing posal, and went into the road. After the first his hand, but placing the other on Amadeo's embraces and few words, “ Amadeo! Amadeo!" | " Let me however advise you to conceal yourself ; said Guiberto, “it was love that made me a friar; and I will direct Silvestrina to bring you such let anything else make you one."

accounts of her mistress as may at least make you “Kind heart !” replied Amadeo. “If death or easy in regard to her health. Adieu." religion, or hatred of me, deprives me of Tita Amadeo was now rather tranquil; more than he Monalda, I will die, where she commanded me, in had ever been, not only since the displeasure of the cowl. It is you who prepare her then to throw Monna Tita, but since the first sight of her. Proaway her life and mine!”

fuse at all times in his gratitude to Silvestrina, “Hold ! Amadeo !" said Guiberto," I officiate I whenever she brought him good news, news better than usual, he pressed her to his bosom. Silves- | on his return to the monastery, when he was overtrina Pioppi is about fifteen ; slender, fresh, intel- taken by some peasants, who were hastening ligont, lively, good-humoured, sensitive ; and any homeward from Florence. The information he one but Amadeo might call her very pretty. collected from them made him determine to re

Petrarca. Ah Giovanni ! here I find your heart trace his steps. He entered the room again, and, obtaining the mastery over your vivid and volatile from the intelligence he had just acquired, gave imagination. Well have you said, the maiden Amadeo the assurance that Monna Tita must being really pretty, anyone but Amadeo might delay her entrance into the convent; for that the think her so. On the banks of the Sorga there abbess had that moment gone down the hill on are beautiful maids : the woods and the rocks her way toward Siena, to venerate some holy relics, have a thousand times repeated it: I heard but carrying with her three candles, each five feet one echo : I heard but one name : I would have long, to burn before them ; which candles confled from them for ever at another.

tained many particles of the myrrh presented at Boccaccio. Francesco, do not beat your breast the nativity of our Saviour by the wise men of the just now : wait a little. Monna Tita would take East. Amadeo breathed freely, and was persuaded the veil. The fatal certainty was announced to by Guiberto to take another cup of old wine, and Amadeo by his true Guiberto, who had earnestly to eat with him some cold roast kid, which had and repeatedly prayed her to consider the thing been offered him for merenda. * After the agitaa few months longer.

tion of his mind a heavy sleep fell upon the lover, “I will see her first ! By all the saints of heaven coming almost before Guiberto departed ; so heavy I will see her!” cried the desperate Amadeo, and indeed that Silvestrina was alarmed. It was her ran into the house, toward the still apartment of apartment; and she performed the honours of it his beloved. Fortunately Guiberto was neither as well as any lady in Florence could have done. less active nor less strong than he, and overtaking Petrarca. I easily believe it: the poor are more him at the moment, drew him into the room op- attentive than the rich, and the young are more posite. “ If you will be quiet and reasonable, compassionate than the old. there is yet a possibility left you,” said Guiberto Boccaccio. Oh Francesco! what inconsistent in his ear, although perhaps he did not think it. creatures are we ! “But if you utter a voice or are seen by anyone, Petrarca. True, indeed! I now foresee the you ruin the fame of her you love, and obstruct end. He might have done worse. your own prospects for ever. It being known that Boccaccio. I think so. you have not slept in Florence these several nights, Petrarca. He almost deserved it. it will be suspected by the malicious that you have Boccaccio. I think that too. slept in the villa with the connivance of Monna Petrarca. Wretched mortals ! our passions for Tita. Compose yourself : answer nothing : rest ever lead us into this, or worse. where you are : do not add a worse imprudence Boccaccio. Ay, truly; much worse generally. to a very bad one: I promise you my assistance, Petrarca. The very twig on which the flowers grew my speedy return and best counsel : you shall be lately, scourges us to the bone in its maturity. released at daybreak.” He ordered Silvestrina to Boccaccio. Incredible will it be to you, and, by supply the unfortunate youth with the cordials my faith! to me it was hardly credible. Certain usually administered to the uncle, or with the however is it, that Guiberto on his return by sunrich old wine they were made of; and she per- rise found Amadeo in the arms of sleep. formed the order with such promptitude and at- Petrarca. Not at all, not at all incredible: the tention, that he was soon in some sort refreshed. truest lover would have done the same, exhausted

Petrarca. I pity him from my soul, poor young by suffering. man! Alas, we are none of us, by original sin, Boccaccio. He was truly in the arms of sleep; free from infirmities or from vices.

but, Francesco, there was another pair of arms Boccaccio. If we could find a man exempt by about him, worth twenty such, divinity as he is. nature from vices and infirmities, we should find A loud burst of laughter from Guiberto did not one not worth knowing : he would also be void of arouse either of the parties : but Monna Tita heard tenderness and compassion. What allowances it, and rushed into the room, tearing her hair, and then could his best friends expect from him in invoking the saints of heaven against the perfidy their frailties ? What help, consolation, and assist- of man. She seized Silvestrina by that arm which ance, in their misfortunes? We are in the midst appeared the most offending : the girl opened her of a workship well stored with sharp instruments: eyes, turned on her face, rolled out of bed, and we may do ill with many, unless we take heed; threw herself at the feet of her mistress, shedding and good with all, if we will but learn how to tears, and wiping them away with the only piece employ them.

of linen about her. Monna Tita too shed tears. Petrarca. There is somewhat of reason in this. Amadeo still slept profoundly; a flush, almost of You strengthen me to proceed with you: I can crimson, overspreading his cheeks. Monna Tita bear the rest.

led away, after some pause, poor Silvestrina, and Boccaccio. Guiberto had taken leave of his made her confess the whole. She then wept more friend, and had advanced a quarter of a mile,

* Merenda is luncheon, meridiana, eaten by the which (as you perceive) is nearly the whole way, I wealthier the hour when the per

its dine.

and more, and made the girl confess it again, and Boccaccio. He won her fairly; strangely, and on explain her confession. “I cannot believe such a strange table, as he played his game. Listen! wickedness,” she cried : "he could not be so har- that guitar is Monna Tita's. Listen! what a fine dened. O sinful Silvestrina ! how will you ever voice (do not you think it ?) is Amadeo's. tell Father Doni one half! one quarter! He never Amadeo (Singing). can absolve you."

Oh! I have err'd! Petrarca. Giovanni ! I am glad I did not enter

I laid my hand upon the nest the house; you were prudent in restraining me.

(Tita, I sigh to sing the rest) I have no pity for the youth at all: never did one

Of the wrong bird. so deserve to lose a mistress. Boccaccio. Say, rather, to gain a wife.

Petrarca. She laughs too at it! Ah! Monna Tita Petrarca. Absurdity! impossibility!

was made by nature to live on this side of Fiesole.

LUCULLUS AND CÆSAR. Cæsar. Lucius Lucullus, I come to you pri- that you and Cato had instigated a party to cirvately and unattended, for reasons which you will cumvent and murder him ; and whose carcase, a know; confiding, I dare not say in your friend- few days afterward, when it had been announced ship, since no service of mine toward you has that he had died by a natural death, was found deserved it, but in your generous and disinterested covered with bruises, stabs, and dislocations. love of peace. Hear me on. Cneius Pompeius, Lucullus. You bring much to my memory according to the report of my connexions in the which had quite slipped out of it, and I wonder city, had, on the instant of my leaving it for the that it could make such an impression on yours. province, begun to solicit his dependants to strip A proof to me that the interest you take in my me ignominiously of authority. Neither vows behalf began earlier than your delicacy will pernor affinities can bind him. He would degrade the mit you to acknowledge. You are fatigued, father of his wife; he would humiliate his own which I ought to have perceived before. children, the unoffending, the unborn ; he would Cæsar. Not at all: the fresh air has given me poison his own ardent love, at the suggestion of life and alertness : I feel it upon my cheek even Ambition. Matters are now brought so far, that in the room. either he or I must submit to a reverse of for- Lucullus. After our dinner and sleep, we will tune; since no concession can assuage his malice, spend the remainder of the day on the subject of divert his envy, or gratify his cupidity. No your visit. sooner could I raise myself up, from the conster- Cæsar. Those Ethiopian slaves of yours shiver nation and stupefaction into which the certainty with cold upon the mountain here; and truly I of these reports had thrown me, than I began to myself was not insensible to the change of climate, consider in what manner my own private afflic. in the way from Mutina. tions might become the least noxious to the What white bread! I never found such even republic. Into whose arms then could I throw at Naples or Capua. This Formian wine (which I myself more naturally and more securely, to whose prefer to the Chian) how exquisite ! bosom could I commit and consign more sacredly Lucullus. Such is the urbanity of Cæsar, even the hopes and destinies of our beloved country, while he bites his lip with displeasure. Hox! than his who laid down power in the midst of its surely it bleeds ! Permit me to examine the cup. enjoyments, in the vigour of youth, in the pride Cæsar. I believe a jewel has fallen out of the of triumph : when Dignity solicited, when Friend- rim in the carriage : the gold is rough there. ship urged, entreated, supplicated, and when Lucullus. Marcipor! let me never see that cup Liberty herself invited and beckoned to him, again. No answer, I desire. My guest pardons from the senatorial order and from the curule heavier faults. Mind that dinner be prepared for chair? Betrayed and abandoned by those we us shortly. had confided in, our next friendship, if ever our Cæsar. In the meantime, Lucullus, if your hearts receive any, or if any will venture in those health permits it, shall we walk a few paces round places of desolation, flies forward instinctively to the villa ? for I have not seen anything of the kind what is most contrary and dissimilar. Cæsar is before. hence the visitant of Lucullus.

Lucullus. The walls are double : the space be Lucullus. I had always thought Pompeius more tween them two feet : the materials for the mostmoderate and more reserved than you represent part earth and stubble. Two hundred slaves, and him, Caius Julius ! and yet I am considered in about as many mules and oxen, brought the beams general, and surely you also will consider me, but and rafters up the mountain : my architects fixed little liable to be prepossessed by him.

them at once in their places : every part was ready, Cæsar. Unless he may have ingratiated himself even the wooden nails. The roof is thatched, you see. with you recently, by the administration of that Cæsar. Is there no danger that so light a mate worthy whom last winter his partisans dragged rial should be carried off by the winds, on such an before the senate, and forced to assert publicly eminence ?

Lucullus. None resists them equally well! length forty. The building, as you perceive, is

Cæsar. On this immensely high mountain I quadrangular : three sides contain four rooms should be apprehensive of the lightning, which each : the other has many partitions and two stothe poets, and I think the philosophers too, have ries, for domestics and offices. Here is my salttold us, strikes the highest.

bath. Lucullus. The poets are right; for whatever is Cæsar. A bath indeed for all the Nereids named received as truth, is truth in poetry; and a fable by Hesiod, with room enough for the Tritons and may illustrate like a fact. But the philosophers their herds and horses. are wrong; as they generally are, even in the Lucullus. Next to it, where yonder boys are commonest things; because they seldom look carrying the myrrhine vases, is a tepid one of fresh beyond their own tenets, unless through captious water, ready for your reception. ness ; and because they argue more than they Cæsar. I resign the higher pleasure for the infemeditate, and display more than they examine. rior, as we all are apt to do; and I will return to Archimedes and Euclid are, in my opinion, the the enjoyment of your conversation when I have worthiest of the name; they alone having kept indulged a quarter of an hour in this refreshapart to the demonstrable, the practical, and the ment. useful. Many of the rest are good writers and Lucullus. Meanwhile I will take refuge with good disputants; but unfaithful suitors of simple some less elegant philosopher, whose society I Science; boasters of their acquaintance with gods shall quit again with less regret. (Cæsar returnand goddesses, plagiaries and impostors. I had ing.) It is useless, 0 Caius Julius, to inquire if forgotten my roof, although it is composed of there has been any negligence or any omission in much the same materials as the philosophers. the service of the bath : for these are secrets which Let the lightning fall: one handful of silver, or you never impart to the most favoured of your less, repairs the damage.

friends. Casar. Impossible ! nor indeed one thousand; Casar. I have often enjoyed the luxury much nor twenty, if those tapestries* and pictures are longer, but never more highly. Pardon my impaconsumed.

tience to see the remainder of your Apennine Lucullus. True ; but only the thatch would villa. burn. For before the baths were tessellated, I Lucullus. Here stand my two cows. Their milk filled the area with alum and water, and soaked is brought to me with its warmth and froth ; for the timbers and laths for many months, and it loses its salubrity both by repose and by mocovered them afterward with alum in powder, tion. Pardon me, Cæsar : I shall appear to you by means of liquid glue. Mithridates taught me to have forgotten that I am not conducting Marthis. Having in vain attacked with combustibles cus Varro. a wooden tower, I took it by stratagem, and Cæsar. You would convert him into Cacus : he found within it a mass of alum, which, if a great would drive them off. What beautiful beasts ! hurry had not been observed by us among the how sleek and white and cleanly! I never saw enemy in the attempt to conceal it, would have any like them, excepting when we sacrifice to escaped our notice. I never scrupled to extort Jupiter the stately leader from the pastures of the truth from my prisoners: but my instruments the Clitumnus. were purple robes and plate, and the only wheel Lucullus. Often do I make a visit to these quiet in my armoury, destined to such purposes, was creatures, and with no less pleasure than in forthe wheel of Fortune.

mer days to my horses. Nor indeed can I much Cæsar. I wish, in my campaigns, I could have wonder that whole nations have been consentaequalled your clemency and humanity: but the neous in treating them as objects of devotion : Gauls are more uncertain, fierce, and perfidious, the only thing wonderful is, that gratitude seems than the wildest tribes of Caucasus ; and our to have acted as powerfully and extensively as policy can not be carried with us; it must be fear ; indeed more extensively; for no object of formed upon the spot. They love you, not for worship whatever has attracted so many worshipabstaining from hurting them, but for ceasing; pers. Where Jupiter has one, the cow has ten : and they embrace you only at two seasons; when she was venerated before he was born, and will stripes are fresh or when stripes are imminent. be when even the carvers have forgotten him. Elsewhere I hope to become the rival of Lucullus Cæsar. Unwillingly should I see it; for the in this admirable part of virtue.

character of our gods has formed the character of I shall never build villas, because .. but what our nation. Serapis and Isis have stolen in are your proportions ? Surely the edifice is ex- among them within our memory, and others will tremely low.

follow, until at last Saturn will not be the only Lucullus. There is only one floor: the heighth one emasculated by his successor. What can be of the apartments is twenty feet to the cornice, more august than our rites? The first dignitaries five above it; the breadth is twenty-five; the of the republic are emulous to administer them :

nothing of low or venal has any place in them, * Cæsar would regard such things attentively. "In nothing pusillanimous, nothing unsocial and auslisse ; signa, tabulas, operis antiqui, semper animosissime tere. I speak of them as they were ; before cumparásse," says Suetonius.

Superstition woke up again from her slumber,

« AnteriorContinuar »