The Decameron of Boccaccio

The Decameron of Boccaccio

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The Decameron of Boccaccio

The Decameron of Boccaccio

Read FREE!

Excerpt

To The Ladies

Whenever I reflect how disposed you are by nature to compassion, I cannot help being apprehensive, lest what I now offer to your acceptance should seem to have but a melancholy beginning. For it calls to mind the remembrance of that most fatal plague, so terrible yet in the memories of us all, an account of which is in the front of the book. But be not frightened too soon, as if you expected to meet with nothing else. This beginning, disagreeable as it is, is as a rugged and steep mountain placed before a delightful valley, which appears more beautiful and pleasant, as the way to it was more difficult : for as joy usually ends with sorrow, so again the end of sorrow is joy. To this short fatigue (I call it short, because contained in few words) immediately succeeds the mirth and pleasure I had before promised you; and which, but for that promise, you would scarcely expect to find. And in truth could I have brought you by any other way than this, I would gladly have done it: but as the occasion of the occurrences, of which I am going to treat, could not well be made out without such a relation, I am forced to use this Introduction.

In the year then of our Lord 1348, there happened at Florence, the finest city in all Italy, a most terrible plague ; which, whether owing to the influence of the planets, or that it was sent from God as a just punishment for our sins, had broken out some years before in the Levant; and after passing from place to place, and making incredible havoc all the way, had now reached the west; where, spite of all the means that art and human foresight could suggest . . .

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