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Forced by thy worth, thy foe, in death become
She said: Her brimful eyes, that ready stood,
and by infection wept,
And oft enquired the occasion of her grief,
This done, she mounts the genial bed, and there
The damsels, who the while in silence mourned, Not knowing, nor suspecting death suborned, Yet, as their duty was, to Tancred sent, Who, conscious of the occasion, feared the event. Alarmed, and with presaging heart, he came, And drew the curtains, and exposed the dame To loathsome light; then, with a late relief, Made vain efforts to mitigate her grief. She, what she could, excluding day, her eyes Kept firmly sealed, and sternly thus replies :Tancred, restrain thy tears, unsought by me, And sorrow unavailing now to thee: Did ever man before afflict his mind, To see the effect of what himself designed?
Yet if thou hast remaining in thy heart Some sense of love, some unextinguished part Of former kindness, largely once professed, Let me by that adjure thy hardened breast, Not to deny thy daughter's last request: The secret love which I so long enjoyed, And still concealed, to gratify thy pride, Thou hast disjoined; but, with my dying breath, Seek not, I beg thee, to disjoin our death: Where'er his corpse by thy command is laid, Thither let mine in public be conveyed; Exposed in open view, and side by side, Acknowledged as a bridegroom and a bride.
The prince's anguish hindered his reply;
Thus she for disobedience justly died;
ORIGINAL, FROM THE DECAMERON.
THE FOURTH DAY.
Tancred, prince of Salerno, puts his daughter's lover to death, and
sends his heart to her in a golden cup; she pours water upon it, which she had poisoned, and so dies.
Our king has given us a most melancholy subject for this day's discourse ; considering that, as we came hither to be merry, we must now recount other people's misfortunes, which cannot be related without moving compassion, as well in those who tell, as in those who hear them. Perhaps it is designed as an allay to the mirth of the preceding days. But, whateyer his reason may be for it, I have no business to make any alteration with regard to his pleasure. Į shalļ, therefore, mention an unhappy story to you, worthy of your most tender compassion.
Tancred, prince of Salerno, was a most huinane and generous lord, had he not, in his old age, defiled his hands in a lover's blood, He, through the whole course of his life, had one only daughter; and happy had he been not to have possessed her. No child could be more dear to a parent than she was, which made him loth to part with her in marriage : at length, not till she was a little advanced in years, he married her to the duke of Capoa, when she was soon left a widow, and came home again to her father. She was a lady of great beauty and understarding, and continuing thus in the court of her father, who took no care to marry her again, and it seeming not so modest in her to ask it, she resolved at last to have a lover privately. Accordingly, she made choice of a person of low parentage, but noble qualities, whose name was Guiscard, with whom she became violently in love; and by often see
ing him, and evermore commending his manner and behaviour, he soon became sensible of it, and devoted himself eatirely to the love of her. Affecting each other thus in secret, and she desiring nothing so much as to be with him, and not daring to trust any person with the affair, contrived a new stratagem in order to ap: prise him of the means. She wrote a letter, wherein she mentioned what she would have him do the next day for her; this she put into a hollow cane, and giving it to him one day, she said, pleasantly, “ You may make a pair of bellows of this, for your servant to blow the fire with this evening.” He received it, supposing, very justly, that it had some meaning, and, taking it home, found the letter; which, when he had thoroughly considered, and knew what he had to do, he was the most overjoyed man that could be; and he applied himself accordingly to answer her assignation, in the manner she had directed him. On one side of the palace, and under a mountain, was a grotto, which had been made time out of mind, and into which no light could come but through a little opening dug in the mountain, and which, as the grotto had been long in disuse, was now grown over with briers and thorns. Into this grotto was a passage, by a private stair-case, out of one of the rooms of the palace, which belonged to the lady's apartment, and was secured by a very strong door. This passage was so far out of every one's thoughts, having been disused for so long a time, that nobody remembered any thing about it; but love, whose notice nothing can escape, brought it fresh into the mind of the enamoured lady; who, to keep this thing entirely private, laboured some days before she could get the door open ; when having gone down into the cave, and observed the opening, and how high it might be from thence to the bottom, she acquainted him with the fact. Guiscard then provided a ladder of cords; and casing himself well with leather, to be defended from the thorns, fixing one end of the ladder to the stump of a tree which was near, he slid down by the help of it to the bottom, where he stayed expecting the lady. The following day, therefore, having sent her maids out of the way, under pretence that she was going to lie down, and locking herself up alone in her chamber, she opened the door, and descended into the grotto, where they met to their mutual satisfaction. From thence she shewed him the way to her chamber, where they were together the greatest part of the day, and taking proper measures for the time to come, he went away through the cave, and she returned to her maids. The same he did the next night; and he followed this course for a considerable time, when fortune, as if she envied them their happiness, thought fit to change their mirth into mourning. Tancred used sometimes to come into his daughter's chamber, to pass a little time away with her; and going thither one day after dinner, whilst the lady; whose