Tag Archive : Galgano

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Galgano part 4

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No longer venturing to refuse, he sent a grateful answer back that he would very willingly attend. And having heard tidings of Messer Stricca’s departure for Perugia, he set out at a favorable hour in the evening, and speedily arrived at the the house of the lady to whom he had been so long and so vainly attached.

“Checking his steed in full career, he threw himself off, and the next moment found himself in her presence, falling at her feet and saluting her with the most respectful and graceful carriage. She took him joyously by the hand, bidding him a thousand tender welcomes, and setting before him the choicest fruits and refreshments of the season.

Then inviting him to be seated, he was served with the greatest variety and splendor; and more delicious than all, the bright lady herself presided there, no longer frowning and turning away when he began to breathe the story of his love and sufferings into her ear. Delighted .and surprised beyond his proudest hopes, Galgano was profuse in his expressions of gratitude and regard, though he could not quite conceal his wonder at this happy and unexpected change; entreating, at length, as a particular favor, that she would deign to acquaint him with its blessed cause. ‘That willl do soon,’ replied the glowing beauty;

‘I will tell you every word, and wherefore did I send for you’; and she looked into his face with a serene and pure yet somewhat mournful countenance. ‘Indeed,’ returned her lover, a little perplexed, ‘words can never tell half of what I felt, dear lady, when I heard you had this morning sent for me, after having desired and followed you for so long a time in vain.’ ‘Listen to me, and I will tell you, Galgano; but first sit a little nearer to me, for, alas!

My husband replied

I love you. A few days ago, you know, you passed near our house when hawking, and my husband told me that he saw you, and invited you in to supper, but you would not come. At that moment your hawk sprang and pursued its prey, when seeing the noble bird make such a gallant fight, I inquired to whom it belonged, and my husband replied, “To whom should it belong but to the most excellent young man in Siena”; and that it did well to resemble you, as he had never met a more pleasing and accomplished gentleman.

‘Did he—did he say that?’ interrupted her lover. ‘He did indeed, and much more, praising you to me over and over; until hearing it, and knowing the tenderness you have long borne me, I could not resist the temptation of sending for you hither’; and, half blushes, half tears, she confessed that she was no longer indifferent to him, and that such was the occasion of it. ‘Can the whole of this be true?’ exclaimed Galgano. ‘Alas! too true,’ she replied. ‘I know not how it is, but I wish he had not praised you so.’ After struggling with himself a few moments, the unhappy lover withdrew his hand from hers, saying, ‘Now God forbid that I should do the least wrong to one who has so nobly expressed himself, and who has ever shown so much kindness and courtesy to me.’

Then suddenly rising, as with an effort, from his seat, he took a gentle farewell of the lady, not without some tears shed on both sides; both loving, yet respecting each other. Never afterwards did this noble youth allude to the affair in the slightest way, but always treated Messer Stricca with the utmost regard and reverence during his acquaintance with the family.”

Galgano part 3

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The moment the latter had turned his back, our poor lover began to upbraid himself bitterly for not availing himself of the invitation, exclaiming, ‘What a wretch am I not to accept such an offer as this! I should at least have seen her—her whom from my soul I cannot help loving beyond all else in the world.’

“As he thus went, meditating upon the same subject along his solitary way, it chanced that he sprung a large jay, on which he instantly gave his hawk the wing, which pursuing its quarry into Messer Stricca’s gardens and there striking true, the ensuing struggle took place. Hearing the hawk’s cry, both he and his lady ran towards the garden balcony, in time to see, and were surprised at the skill and boldness of the bird in seizing and bringing down its game. Not in the least aware of the truth, the lady inquired of her husband to whom the bird belonged.

Messer Stricca

‘Mark the hawk,’ replied Messer Stricca; ‘it does its work well; it resembles its master, who is one of the handsomest and most accomplished young men in Siena, and a very excellent young fellow, too; —yes, it does well.’ ‘And who may that be?’ said his wife, with a careless- air. ‘Who,’ returned he, ‘but the noble Galgano—the same, love, who just now passed by. I wish he had come in to sup with us, but he would not. He is certainly one of the finest and best-tempered men I ever saw.’ And so saying, he rose from the window, and they went to supper. Galgano, in the meanwhile, having given his hawk the call, quietly pursued his way; but the praises lavished upon him by her husband made an impression upon the lady’s mind such as the whole of his previous solicitations had failed to produce.

However strange, she dwelt upon them long and tenderly. It happened that about this very time, Messer Stricca was chosen ambassador from the Sienese to the people of Perugia, and setting out in all haste, he was compelled to take a sudden leave of his lady. I am sorry to have to observe that the moment the cavalcade was gone by, recalling the idea of her noble lover, the lady likewise’ despatched an embassy to our young friend, entreating him, after the example of her husband, to favor her with his company in the evening.

Galgano part 2

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A prey to the excessive cruelty and indifference of one dearer to him than his own life, who neither noticed nor listened to him, he still followed her like her shadow, contriving to be near her at every party, whether a bridal or a christening, a funeral or a play. Long and vainly, with love-messages after love-messages, and presents after presents, did he sue; but never would the noble lady deign to receive or listen to them for a moment, ever bearing herself more reserved and harshly as he more earnestly pressed the ardor of his suit.

Unhappily dwelling

“It was thus his fate to remain subject to this very irksome and over-whelming passion until, wearied out, at length he would break into words of grief and bitterness against his ‘bosom’s lord’. ‘Alas! dread master of my destiny,’ he would say, ‘O Love! can you behold me thus wasting my very soul away, ever loving but never beloved again? See to it, dread lord, that you are not, in so doing, offending against your own laws!’ And so, unhappily dwelling upon the lady’s cruelty, he seemed fast verging upon despair; then again humbly resigning himself to the yoke he bore, he resolved to await some interval of grace, watching, however vainly, for some occasion of rendering himself more pleasing to the object he adored.

“Now it happened that Messer Stricca and his consort went to pass some days at their country seat near Siena; and it was not long before the lovesick Galgano was observed to cross their route, to hang upon their skirts, and to pass along the same way, always with the hawk upon his hand, as if violently set upon bird-hunting.

Often, indeed, he passed so close to the villa where the lady dwelt, that one day being seen by Messer Stricca, who recognized him, he was very familiarly entreated to afford them the pleasure of his company; ‘and I hope’, added Messer Stricca, ‘that you will stay the evening with us.’ Thanking his friend very kindly for the invitation, Galgano, strange to say, at the same time begged to be held excused, pleading another appointment, which he believed—he was sorry—he was obliged to keep. ‘Then,’ added Messer Stricca, ‘at least step in and take some little refreshment’: to which the only reply returned was, ‘A thousand thanks, and farewell, Messer Stricca, for I am in haste.’

Galgano part 1

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Ser Giovanni (Flourished about 1380)

This writer was called simply Ser Giovanni II Fiorentino, the Florentine. Very little is known about him, except that he was a notary who lived in Florence and began his collection of tales called II Pecorone, or The Dunce, in 1378. He was influenced by his great contemporary Boccaccio. Like The Decameron, the Pecorone is set within a fictitious framework: a young man falls in love with a nun, becomes a chaplain and during the hours he is able to see her, the two exchange stories.

Like most of the brilliant writers of novele, Giovanni excels in the quality of raciness. Many of his tales are based upon history, with a plentiful admixture of anecdotes, true and untrue. Galgano is somewhat exceptional among the stories of the time, in that it reveals a delicacy and reticence that seem to have appealed but rarely to the full- blooded Italians of the early Renaissance.

The present version is translated by Thomas Roscoe and reprinted from his Italian Novelists, London, no date. The story has no title in the original.

Galgano

Having agreed upon the manner in which they were to meet each other in the convent parlor, as we have already stated, the two lovers were true to the appointed hour. With mutual pleasure and congratulations, they seated themselves at each other’s side, when Friar Auretto, in the following words, began: “It is now my intention, my own Saturnina, to treat you with a little love-tale, founded on some incidents which really occurred, not very long ago, in Siena.

There resided there a noble youth of the name of Galgano, who, besides his birth and riches, was extremely clever, valiant, and affable, qualities which won him the regard of all ranks of people in the place. But I am very sorry to add that, attracted by the beauty of a Sienese lady, no other, you must know, than the fair Minoccia, wedded to our noble cavalier, Messer Stricca (though I beg this may go no further), our young friend unfortunately, and too late, fell passionately in love with her.

“So violently enamored did he shortly become, that he purloined her glove, which he wore with her favorite colors wherever he went at tilts and tourneys, at rich feasts and festivals, all of which he was proud to hold in honor of his love: yet all these failed to render him agreeable to the lady, a circumstance that caused our poor friend Galgano no little pain and perplexity.