The First Story

Gulfardo Borroweth Of Guasparruolo Certain Monies, For Which He Hath Agreed With His Wife That He Shall Lie With Her, And Accordingly Giveth Them To Her; Then, In Her Presence, He Telleth Guasparruolo That He Gave Them To Her, And She Confesseth It To Be True

"Since God hath so ordered it that I am to give a beginning to the present day's discourses, with my story, I am content, and therefore, lovesome ladies, seeing that much hath been said of the tricks played by women upon men, it is my pleasure to relate one played by a man upon a woman, not that I mean therein to blame that which the man did or to deny that it served the woman aright, nay, rather to commend the man and blame the woman and to show that men also know how to cozen those who put faith in them, even as themselves are cozened by those in whom they believe. Indeed, to speak more precisely, that whereof I have to tell should not be called cozenage; nay, it should rather be styled a just requital; for that, albeit a woman should still be virtuous and guard her chastity as her life nor on any account suffer herself be persuaded to sully it, yet, seeing that, by reason of our frailty, this is not always possible as fully as should be, I affirm that she who consenteth to her own dishonour for a price is worthy of the fire, whereas she who yieldeth for Love's sake, knowing his exceeding great puissance, meriteth forgiveness from a judge not too severe, even as, a few days agone, Filostrato showed it to have been observed towards Madam Filippa at Prato.

There was, then, aforetime at Milan a German, by name Gulfardo, in the pay of the state, a stout fellow of his person and very loyal to those in whose service he engaged himself, which is seldom the case with Germans; and for that he was a very punctual repayer of such loans as were made him, he might always find many merchants ready to lend him any quantity of money at little usance. During his sojourn in Milan, he set his heart upon a very fair lady called Madam Ambruogia, the wife of a rich merchant, by name Guasparruolo Cagastraccio, who was much his acquaintance and friend, and loving her very discreetly, so that neither her husband nor any other suspected it, he sent one day to speak with her, praying her that it would please her vouchsafe him her favours and protesting that he, on his part, was ready to do whatsoever she should command him. The lady, after many parleys, came to this conclusion, that she was ready to do that which Gulfardo wished, provided two things should ensue thereof; one, that this should never be by him discovered to any and the other, that, as she had need of two hundred gold florins for some occasion of hers, he, who was a rich man, should give them to her; after which she would still be at his service.

Gulfardo, hearing this and indignant at the sordidness of her whom he had accounted a lady of worth, was like to exchange his fervent love for hatred and thinking to cheat her, sent back to her, saying that he would very willingly do this and all else in his power that might please her and that therefore she should e'en send him word when she would have him go to her, for that he would carry her the money, nor should any ever hear aught of the matter, save a comrade of his in whom he trusted greatly and who still bore him company in whatsoever he did. The lady, or rather, I should say, the vile woman, hearing this, was well pleased and sent to him, saying that Guasparruolo her husband was to go to Genoa for his occasions a few days hence and that she would presently let him know of this and send for him. Meanwhile, Gulfardo, taking his opportunity, repaired to Guasparruolo and said to him, 'I have present occasion for two hundred gold florins, the which I would have thee lend me at that same usance whereat thou art won't to lend me other monies.' The other replied that he would well and straightway counted out to him the money.

A few days thereafterward Guasparruolo went to Genoa, even as the lady had said, whereupon she sent to Gulfardo to come to her and bring the two hundred gold florins. Accordingly, he took his comrade and repaired to the lady's house, where finding her expecting him, the first thing he did was to put into her hands the two hundred gold florins, in his friend's presence, saying to her, 'Madam, take these monies and give them to your husband, whenas he shall be returned.' The lady took them, never guessing why he said thus, but supposing that he did it so his comrade should not perceive that he gave them to her by way of price, and answered, 'With all my heart; but I would fain see how many they are.' Accordingly, she turned them out upon the table and finding them full two hundred, laid them up, mighty content in herself; then, returning to Gulfardo and carrying him into her chamber, she satisfied him of her person not that night only, but many others before her husband returned from Genoa.

As soon as the latter came back, Gulfardo, having spied out a time when he was in company with his wife, betook himself to him, together with his comrade aforesaid, and said to him, in the lady's presence, 'Guasparruolo, I had no occasion for the monies, to wit, the two hundred gold florins, thou lentest me the other day, for that I could not compass the business for which I borrowed them. Accordingly, I brought them presently back to thy lady here and gave them to her; wherefore look thou cancel my account.' Guasparruolo, turning to his wife, asked her if she had the monies, and she, seeing the witness present, knew not how to deny, but said, 'Ay, I had them and had not yet remembered me to tell thee.' Whereupon quoth Guasparruolo, 'Gulfardo, I am satisfied; get you gone and God go with you: I will settle your account aright.' Gulfardo gone, the lady, finding herself cozened, gave her husband the dishonourable price of her baseness; and on this wise the crafty lover enjoyed his sordid mistress without cost."
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Decameron (Day The Seventy Eighth) Lyrics

Giovanni Boccaccio – Decameron (Day The Seventy Eighth) Lyrics