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Summary of Boccaccio's "The Decameron: Day 4 Conclusion"

Summary of Giovanni Boccaccio's The Decameorn Day 4 Conclusion


This last story made the ladies laugh so hard that they forgot about how the first few stories had saddened them. The sun was setting and Filostrato’s reign was ending. He apologized for picking such a sad topic and then placed his laurel crown on Fiammetta’s golden head and proclaimed her the Queen for the following day.

Fiammetta decreed that the following days stories would be love stories that have a happy ending. She then excused everyone to do as they pleased until dinner.

At dinner Fiammetta ordered that Filostrato should sing a song:
With my own tears, I show
How rightly grieves the heart
When Love’s faith is deceived.

Love, when you first
Placed in my heart the one for whom I sigh
Hopelessly in vain,
You showed her so full of grace
That I considered every torment light
Which came through you into my mind,
Which now is left bereaved;
But no I recognize
My error, and not without great pain.

I learned of the deceit
When she in whom alone I placed
My hope abandoned me,
For when I thought myself to be
Most in her grace and in her service
And could not see the coming
Of all my future pain,
I found that she had welcomed to her heart
Another and had driven me away.

Once made aware I had been spurned,
There was born in my heart the pain of sorrow,
And it still dwells therein;
And often do I curse the day and hour
When first appeared to me her lovely face,
Adorned with every charm,
More radiant than ever!
My faith, my ardor, and all my hope
My dying soul will never cease to curse.

Just how bereft of comfort is my grief,
Love, you know for you hear how forcefully
My grieving voice calls you.
I tell you that I burn with such fierce pain.
Let death come, then, and end
My cruel and painful life,
The madness of it all, with its swift blow—
Wherever I may go, I’ll suffer less.

No other way means of solace
Remains to soothe my grief save death.
Grant it to me now
And with it put an end, Love, to my woes,
And take away my heart from this vile life.
Ah, do so now, for wrongly have I been
Deprived of my happiness and of my solace.
And Lord, make her happy with my death
As you made her when you gave her a new love.

My song, if no one learns to sing you,
I do not care, for no one ever could
Sing you as well as I.
One task alone I charge you with:
Find Love for me and tell him, him alone,
How worthless to me is
My sorry, bitter life,
And beg him in the name of his own honor
To guide me to a better port than this (364-5).

This song was a reflection of Filostrato’s current state, which would have been clearer if the shadows hadn't been concealing the blush cheeks of a certain woman dancing.




Sources

Boccaccio, Giovanni. The Decameron. New York: Signet Classics, 1982.

Published on February 13, 2014 by Sophia Brookshire © All Rights Reserved

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