The Decameron, Volume II eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 478 pages of information about The Decameron, Volume II.

Partly perforce of his banishment from his city, partly for that the sweet friendship of Titus was justly dear to him, Gisippus consented to become a Roman.  And so, long and happily they lived together at Rome, Gisippus with his Fulvia, and Titus with his Sophronia, in the same house, growing, if possible, greater friends day by day.

Exceeding sacred then, is friendship, and worthy not only to be had in veneration, but to be extolled with never-ending praise, as the most dutiful mother of magnificence and seemliness, sister of gratitude and charity, and foe to enmity and avarice; ever, without waiting to be asked, ready to do as generously by another as she would be done by herself.  Rarely indeed is it to-day that twain are found, in whom her most holy fruits are manifest; for which is most shamefully answerable the covetousness of mankind, which, regarding only private interest, has banished friendship beyond earth’s farthest bourne, there to abide in perpetual exile.  How should love, or wealth, or kinship, how should aught but friendship have so quickened the soul of Gisippus that the tears and sighs of Titus should incline his heart to cede to him the fair and gracious lady that was his betrothed and his beloved?  Laws, menaces, terror!  How should these, how should aught but friendship, have withheld Gisippus, in lonely places, in hidden retreats, in his own bed, from enfolding (not perchance unsolicited by her) the fair damsel within his youthful embrace?  Honours, rewards, gains!  Would Gisippus for these, would he for aught but friendship, have made nothing of the loss of kindred—­his own and Sophronia’s—­have made nothing of the injurious murmurs of the populace, have made nothing of mocks and scorns, so only he might content his friend?  And on the other hand, for what other cause than friendship had Titus, when he might decently have feigned not to see, have striven with the utmost zeal to compass his own death, and set himself upon the cross in Gisippus’ stead?  And what but friendship had left no place for suspicion in the soul of Titus, and filled it with a most fervent desire to give his sister to Gisippus, albeit he saw him to be reduced to extreme penury and destitution?  But so it is that men covet hosts of acquaintance, troops of kinsfolk, offspring in plenty; and the number of their dependants increases with their wealth; and they reflect not that there is none of these, be he who he may, but will be more apprehensive of the least peril threatening himself than cumbered to avert a great peril from his lord or kinsman, whereas between friends we know ’tis quite contrariwise.

NOVEL IX.

—­ Saladin, in guise of a merchant, is honourably entreated by Messer Torello.  The Crusade ensuing, Messer Torello appoints a date, after which his wife may marry again:  he is taken prisoner, and by training hawks comes under the Soldan’s notice.  The Soldan recognizes him, makes himself known to him, and entreats him with all honour.  Messer Torello falls sick, and by magic arts is transported in a single night to Pavia, where his wife’s second marriage is then to be solemnized, and being present thereat, is recognized by her, and returns with her to his house. —­

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The Decameron, Volume II from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.