La Fiammetta eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 40 pages of information about La Fiammetta.

It was, then, while I was living in sweet content, amid every kind of enjoyment, that Fortune, who quickly changes all things earthly, becoming envious of the very gifts which she herself had bestowed, withdrew her protecting hand.  At first uncertain in what manner she could succeed in poisoning my happiness, she at length managed, with subtle craft, to make mine own very eyes traitors and so guide me into the path that led to disaster.  But the gods were still propitious to me, nay, were even more concerned for my fate than I myself.  Having seen through her veiled malice, they wished to supply me with weapons, had I but known how to avail me thereof, wherewith I might fend my breast, and not go unarmed to the battle wherein I was destined to fall.  Yea, on the very night that preceded the day which was the beginning of all my woes, they revealed to me the future in my sleep by means of a clear and distinct vision, in such wise as follows: 

While lying on my spacious couch, with all my limbs relaxed in deepest slumber, I seemed to be filled with greater joy than I had ever felt before, and wherefore I knew not.  And the day whereon this happened was the brightest and loveliest of days.  I was standing alone in verdant grass, when, with the joy whereof I spoke, came the thought to me that it might be well for me to repose in a meadow that appeared to be shielded from the fervid rays of the sun by the shadows cast by various trees newly garbed in their glossy foliage.  But first, gathering divers flowers, wherewith the whole sward was bejeweled, I placed them, with my white hands, in a corner of my robe, and then, sitting down and choosing flower after flower, I wove therefrom a fair garland, and adorned my head with it.  And, being so adorned, I arose, and, like unto Proserpine at what time Pluto ravished her from her mother, I went along singing in this new springtime.  Then, being perchance weary, I laid me down in a spot where the verdure was deepest and softest.  But, just as the tender foot of Eurydice was pierced by the concealed viper, so meseemed that a hidden serpent came upon me, as I lay stretched on the grass, and pierced me under the left breast.  The bite of the sharp fang, when it first entered, seemed to burn me.  But afterward, feeling somewhat reassured, and yet afraid of something worse ensuing, I thought I clasped the cold serpent to my bosom, fancying that by communicating to it the warmth of that bosom, I should thereby render it more kindly disposed in my regard in return for such a service.  But the viper, made bolder and more obdurate by that very favor, laid his hideous mouth on the wound he had given me, and after a long space, and after it had drunk much of my blood, methought that, despite my resistance, it drew forth my soul; and then, leaving my breast, departed with it.  And at the very moment of the serpent’s departure the day lost its brightness, and a thick shadow came behind me and covered me all over, and the farther

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La Fiammetta from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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