Patient Griselda.

A Tale.

From the Italian of Bocaccio.

By Miss Sotheby.

Printed by Biggs & Cottle,
and sold by T. N. Longman, Paternoster-row,

Entered at Stationers Hall.


π1v A1r


A Legendary tale these lines unfold,

Not of heroic feats, or conquests bold,

But of mad brutish deeds, and folly wild,

On whose event capricious fortune smil’d—

Nor would I counsel those who read my tale,

To let mistrust of womankind prevail;

Since great his guilt, whose tyrant acts I tell,

Tho’ fortune favour’d, and he prosper’d well.

In years remote, Saluzzo’s fertile plain

Submissive bent beneath Gualterio’s reign;

Nor wife nor children sported in his bow’rs;

Hunting and hawking occupied his hours

A1v 2

Nor wife nor children did the Marquis prize,

In which I deem the man was wond’rous wise—

But tho’ Gualterio could content remain

Free from th’ incumbrance of the marriage chain,

His subjects fear’d lest some untimely fate

In factious anarchy should plunge the state.

Hence on their bended knees they humbly sue,

Hence oft their murmurs, and their pray’rs renew

That he would wed—“themselves, they say,

will name

One who his faith, and tend’rest love shall claim;

One of such lineage born, as shall ensure

A life of wedded bliss, serene, and pure”

The Marquis said—

“My friends by you compell’d,

What to my soul is most repugnant held,

I will accept—But hard it is to find,

Amidst the num’rous race of female kind,

One who will suit the tenour of my mind:

And ah! what mis’ry marks that husband’s life

Who with his help-mate lives in jarring strife!

A2r 3

As to your vain idea, that the dame

Shall bliss ensure because her noble name

Still stands unblemish’d on the rolls of fame,

’Tis folly all—for should you deep enquire,

The proudest maid might own some low-born sire:

And grant you with success each parent trace,

How diff’rent oft the parent and the race:

Yet, since it pleases you I should be bound,

I am content—your wishes shall be crown’d—

But from myself alone the choice must flow,

On which depends my future weal or woe;

And be the maiden of plebeian clay,

Or born the heiress to imperial sway,

Alike implicit rev’rence she shall claim,

When once become Gualterio’s wedded dame.”

“So you but wed, we ask no more, they say,

Whoe’er you chuse, we duteous will obey.”

With pleasure long Gualterio had survey’d

The simple manners of a village maid,

A2v 4

Whose lovely form, and almost childish years,

Exalt her in his mind above her peers;

With her, since fated to endure a wife,

He hopes to lead a comfortable life,

Nor further seeks—On her his mind is bent,

And from her needy sire he gains consent.

This done, the Marquis quick convenes the crowd,

Reminds them of th’ obedience lately vow’d,

Tells them, the destin’d hour at length is come,

To seal his promise, and to fix his doom;

“An humble fair, has won your monarch’s heart,

Nor wise by rule, nor beautiful by art;

She, she alone, shall share my regal state,

To her alone, I bind my wedded fate;

Now therefore haste, display the nuptial feast,

Let splendour vie with elegance and taste,

Let ev’ry honour be prepar’d to grace

The first in beauty as the first in place,

So shall Gualterio be well pleas’d to find,

He not to ingrates has his will resign’d.”

A3r 5

With gladden’d hearts, the subject crowd replied,

“Whate’er her lineage, and whoe’er the bride,

Thy choice is ours.—Nor shall a high born dame,

More than an humble maid, our homage claim.”

Now with delighted haste, and eager joy,

The gala and the sports, all minds employ;

Here, the triumphal arches lofty rise,

Enwreath’d with flowrets of unnumber’d dies;

There, various colour’d fires are taught to blaze,

And emulate the noontide’s garish rays;

While plac’d conspicuous o’er th’expecting throng,

The tuneful bards rehearse the nuptial song;

The raptur’d vassals join in proud expence,

And pleas’d survey the vast magnificence—

Nor less, their sov’reign strove to grace the day;

Nor less, to deck the bride in meet array;

Here, the light robe where airy tintings strove

As if by fairy hands the web were wove,

Floats on the gale; the rich embroider’d zone,

And diadem, with radiant jewels shone;

A3v 6

While plain the ring, within whose magick round,

Th’ extremes of bliss and misery are found.

The day arrives—The Marquis mounts his steed,

Nor lets the early dawn his haste precede;

With him in honour of his spousals came,

Full many a valiant knight, and haughty dame,

Attendant on their lord their steeds they rein,

Which with impatient footsteps paw the plain,

While thus he speaks—

“Nobles the hour is come,

Quick let us bring the chosen princess home.”

The reins are loos’d, the ardent coursers fly,

The plains recede, the village roofs draw nigh,

Where in the humblest cottage on the green,

Resides the parent of Saluzzo’s queen—

The courtiers gaze around with eager eye,

Near the low huts th’ unconcious damsel spy,

Where with slow tott’ring steps, thro’ rugged roads

Her patient head the pond’rous pitcher loads—

This labour o’er, she purposes with speed

To join the long procession on the mead,

A4r 7

Who wait to hail their lord in wedlock join’d—

Nor knew she was herself the bride assign’d.

The prince drew near—“Griselda, he began,

Where is thy father? where the good old man?”

And while with modest shame her cheek is dy’d,

“Within his cot, my lord,” she faint replied—

Gualterio quits his steed, and bids the train

Wait his return, then ent’ring to the swain,

“Gianniuocolo, he cries,

this hour I mean

To raise Griselda to the rank of queen;

But first, in presence of her rev’rend sire,

Truth from her lips I solemnly require.—

Griselda say, wilt thou content remain,

Alike unmov’d in pleasure, as in pain?

Wilt thou, submissive bend thy will to mine,

Nor at harsh words, or cruel deeds repine;

But still to please thy lord, exert each art,

And veil with smiles serene an aching heart?”

Still more, and more, th’ attentive fair he tries,

Who with assenting voice to all replies.—

A4v 8

Now, from the cot the Marquiss leads the maid,

Bids her in public view, be disarray’d,

And while aside her rustic weeds are thrown,

(The only dowry she can call her own)

Her lovely limbs the varied robe infold,

Her slender waist is girt with gems and gold,

The well-wrought sandals on her feet are plac’d,

And by her artless curls the crown is grac’d—

Awe, and amazement, fill each throbbing breast,

While thus, their lord, the wond’ring crowd addrest—

“Nobles, behold the virgin I espouse,

If to Gualterio she will plight her vows”

Then turning to the maid, whose mantling blood

Deep ting’d her cheek, while in suspence she stood,

Dismay and hope contending in her mind,

“Griselda say, wilt thou in wedlock join’d

Accept this proffer’d hand?”“Yes”, she replied,

“Then be Griselda her Gualterio’s bride,”

Loud he exclaims; and on her willing hand,

Affix’d the emblem of his stern command—

B1r 9

Ah! had the woes with which that ring was fraught

Been to Griselda known, death had she sought,

Or to her native poverty had flown,

E’er with Gualterio she had shar’d a throne!

Her palfrey now the princess graceful reins,

With her, the dames and knights repass the plains,

And to Saluzzo’s walls their progress bend—

There, in the palace halls, vast throngs attend,

Who with delight survey the lavish board,

And goblets huge with sparkling liquors stor’d;

Here, while the catch and merry glee run round,

And with some fav’rite fair each glass is crown’d;

There, airy nymphs, and sportive youths advance,

And weave with twinkling feet the mazy dance;

Nor ceas’d the ballet till Aurora’s ray,

Nor ceas’d the banquet till the noon of day.

No gayer feasts, no richer pomps, could grace

A regal daughter of proud Gallia’s race,

Than by Saluzzo’s sov’reign were display’d,

To mark the nuptials of a village maid—

B B1v 10

The youthful bride to great Gualterio join’d,

Disclos’d in alter’d robes an alter’d mind;

Beauteous she was in rustic habit dight,

Now grace and ease in ev’ry act unite;

And on the flowing periods of her tongue,

Wisdom’s high lore, and soft persuasion hung;

No more she looks the daughter of a swain,

Or born to tend her flocks upon the plain;

But seems in ev’ry soul-enchanting air,

The polish’d offspring of some princely pair.

Nor was she less obedient to her lord,

Or less observant of her plighted word,

Than gracious to relieve her subject train,

And heal with lenient hand each whisper’d pain:

The Marquis thinks her of all wives the best,

Himself of husbands most supremely blest;

While those o’er whom she rul’d with gentle sway,

With fond remembrance hail her bridal day;

And tho’, when first transplanted to the court,

Gualterio’s choice full often was their sport,

B2r 11

Yet now, they deem him of mankind most wise,

Who virtue could discern in mean disguise;

Nor did Saluzzo’s realm her praises bound,

They widely were diffus’d far regions round;

Where, if thro’ malice, or thro’ love of blame,

Some envious caviller, debas’d her fame,

By deeds ennobled that transcendant shine,

To lov’d Griselda’s name all names resign.

Not long the time, before a daughter fair

Claim’d for its helpless age her tend’rest care;

Nor less Gualterio lov’d the beauteous child,

And on his wife with added fondness smil’d—

Then quick revolves in his suspicious brain,

Scenes of contempt, and long protracted pain,

Whose piercing wounds, if with unruffled mind

And brow serene she bear, to all resign’d,

Pleas’d will he own, the boasted pride of birth,

Yields to Griselda’s mild and patient worth.

B2v 12

And now, with visage frowning, and austere,

These cutting words he speaks with taunting sneer;

“Griselda, does thy heedful mind retrace,

The mean condition, and the abject race,

From whence by love’s caprice, and fortune’s sport,

Thou wert exalted to disgrace a court?

My subjects now no more with stifled voice

Their murmurs breathe, but loudly blame my choice;

And ev’ry passing day adds hate to scorn,

Since to prolong their shame, thy babe was born,

Who will transmit, they cry, to ages down,

A blemish vile upon Saluzzo’s crown.”

These bitter words, with calm complacent cheer,

And aspect meek, did sweet Griselda hear,

Then spake;—

“Of me, dispose at thy desire;

Thy fame alone, thy comfort I require;

Content as pleaseth thee to pass my life—

Nor has Griselda, in Gualterio’s wife,

Forgot her low condition, or her race,

The meanest once, in fortune, as in place,

B3r 13

Nor worthy of the favour thou hast shewn,

Nor born to share with thee Saluzzo’s throne.”

This mild reply, in softest sounds exprest,

Clung round each fibre of Gualterio’s breast,

Her modest worth he feels; and joys to find,

Nor courts, nor flatt’rers, can corrupt her mind.

Yet few the days of peace Griselda knew;

For now, her cruel lord resolves anew

Her fortitude to tempt, nor doubts to find

This harder trial, will subdue her mind—

For this, amidst his train, a slave is found,

Whose heart all soft sensations long disown’d;

Yet e’en o’er him a ray of pity stole,

When stern Gualterio had reveal’d his soul—

To poor Griselda sent, his falt’ring tongue

This mandate brought, as o’er her babe she hung;

“Lady, if what my sov’reign has decreed

I fail to act, my forfeit life must bleed;

Me he commands, tho’ on thy bosom laid,

This child to seize, and then” —no more he said,

B3v 14

But to the sleeping infant slowly turn’d—

Griselda, who with inward anguish mourn’d,

To sad remembrance calls the word of scorn

Her husband spake, when first the babe was born,

Nor doubts the hour arriv’d, when o’er its life

Suspended hangs the ruthless murd’rous [er’s] knife;

Yet with a tearless eye, a placid face,

She gives one parting kiss, one last embrace,

And recommends its spotless soul to grace;

Then on the ruffian’s arm full gently laid,

“Take her,” she said “and be thy lord obey’d;

Yet, if he frown not on my humble suit,

(For never shall his wife his will dispute)

Ah, let some hand her dying eyelids close,

In some low grave her little limbs repose,

So that at midnight’s drear, and hungry hour,

No dogs may tear her, and no wolves devour.”

The ruffian takes the child, nor deigns reply,

The sad Griselda heaves a stifled sigh.

B4r 15

Tho’ to Gualterio’s ear the soften’d slave,

In words of truth, the wond’rous story gave

Of mild Griselda’s fortitude and love;

Yet in his hard’ned heart, suspicion strove

With admiration fond—nay more prevail’d—

And once again, her patience he assail’d.

A son was born, within whose infant face

The doating mother would whole days retrace

Her lov’d Gualterio’s air.—Nor less the sire,

Did in his boy the mother’s charms admire;

Yet still each soft affection pleads in vain,

And mean distrust, renews Griselda’s pain.

And now, dissembled sorrows cloud his eyes,

And now, his bosom heaves dissembled sighs,

And stern he speaks;—

“Behold the fatal day,

When factious rage exerts unbounded sway;

My vassals loud against thy son exclaim;

And load with contumelious taunts thy name,

Shall young Gianniuocolo’s with peasant hand

Attempt to rule Saluzzo’s noble land?

B4v 16

Shall they, the refuse vile of sordid clay,

Gualterio’s realms, and regal sceptre sway?

Forbid it heav’n!—Perhaps to exile thrown,

Thy husband must resign Saluzzo’s crown;

Perhaps their headstrong passions may require,

Griselda shall return and seek her sire,

Unless thy lovely boy, thy second care,

The fate his sister met, shall instant share.”

Patient, tho’ sad, the dame these tauntings heard,

With countenance compos’d, nor utter’d word,

Save this alone.—“Please but yourself, my lord,

Griselda will to all you doom accord—

Regard not her—her future weal, or woe,

From her Gualterio’s fate, alone must flow.”

Too soon alas, the day of sorrow came,

The same the mandate, messenger the same—

With grasping hand the ruffian seiz’d the boy,

The silent mother yields her second joy;

And as her daughter calmly she resign’d,

Her son she quits with firm unruffled mind—

C1r 17

Her strength of soul, again th’ assassin pleads,

Her patient suff’rance midst injurious deeds,

Till e’en the tyrant is compell’d to own,

His wife o’er all her sex superior shone—

Yet still with soul averse, he meanly thought,

Had her meek breast with tenderness been fraught,

Some murmur’d plaint, or some reluctant word,

Had mark’d resentment to her cruel lord.

Gualterio’s barb’rous acts his vassals blame,

Griselda’s woes their softest pity claim,

They mourn her wrongs; but chief Saluzzo’s fair

With streaming eyes, and with distracted air,

Bewail the babes in accents of despair—

Griselda stopt their lamentations loud,

And thus with tranquil air addrest the crowd—

“The words of justice from Griselda hear,

Nor thus your lord condemn with minds severe;

Gualterio was their sire, his pow’r might doom

Uncheck’d, unblam’d, his children to the tomb.

C C1v 18

The mother bows her to his high behest,

Assur’d howe’er he acts, he acts the best.”

And yet, the fate to either babe assign’d,

With ineffectual search, she strives to find,

Nor can believe that one so wise, so good,

Would e’er embrue his hands in infant’s blood;

Nor vain the hope—on her, the shaft is spent—

Her smiling babes, were to Bologna sent,

There to be nurs’d, then taught with tend’rest care,

Whate’er can form the brave, or grace the fair.

And now, thro’ many a year, the circling sun

Had with unheeded pace his journey run,

Since first Gualterio tried his patient wife,

And to her infant’s bosom held the knife;

And now, one last, one hard essay must prove,

If still immutable her faith, and love—

For this, in whispers first amidst the court

Gualterio’s rustic nuptials are his sport—

Then, louder rumours, say a papal bull,

Will soon the shameful marriage disannul,

C2r 19

And leave the Marquis free to plight his vows,

To some more noble, and more wealthy spouse.

The wise, the virtuous, for Griselda plead,

With humble pray’rs they deprecate the deed—

Th’ imperious despot, thus their suit repay’d,

“My will it is, and be my will obey’d.”

The hapless dame with wounded spirit hears,

Each whisper’d taunt which daily rumour bears;

And now once more, across the well-known plain,

With weary toil she drives her fleecy train;

Once more, to sad Gianniuocolo restor’d,

Shares the mean pittance of his scanty board;

Again, with tott’ring steps thro’ rugged roads,

Her patient head, the pond’rous pitcher loads;

Nay more, beholds some high illustrious bride,

In blissful union to her lord allied;

For this she grieves, for this she heaves the sigh;

Now tears of anguish first suffuse her eye;

No pang she feels from wealth, or pow’r to part,

Griselda’s treasure is Gualterio’s heart—

C2v 20

Yet, as the wrongs which erst her bosom tore,

With firm unalter’d fortitude she bore,

The woes her cruel fate has now assign’d,

She struggles to support with tranquil mind.

The papal bull arrives, so fram’d to cheat

That not the nicest eye suspects deceit;

The counterfeited paper gives consent,

To leave his present wife, if so he meant,

And chuse another, if on wedlock bent—

The Marquis bade the courtly train convene,

And thus, his wife addrest with haughty mien—

“Lady, the Pope consents that I resign

Thy hand, and make another fair one mine;

And since my ancestors were born to reign,

And thine to tend the flocks and till the plain,

Resume thy splendid dowry when a bride,

And with Gianniuocolo henceforth reside,

While great Gualterio from this hour shall share,

Salluzzo’s throne with some more suited fair.”

C3r 21

Scarce could th’ enduring wife tho’ bless’d by heav’n,

With fortitude to females rarely giv’n,

Restrain the starting tear, the bursting sigh;

Yet could she patient frame this wise reply;

“My lord, I own my station, and my race,

Gualterio’s lineage, and his name disgrace;

Nor when thy favour rais’d her to a throne,

Did poor Griselda deem that throne her own,

But lent by heav’n and you—At your command

She now resigns the sceptre from her hand,

And yields this ring, which long with pride she wore,

A blameless wife—A wife alas no more!—

But for the dowry that as bride she brought,

Where shall the weighty golden prize be sought?

Or who the treas’rer, doom’d the debt to pay?

Or whence the beasts, to bear the load away?

Since, if she right recall her nuptial morn,

Griselda stood expos’d to publick scorn,

No remnant spar’d of all her mean attire,

For so Gualterio’s rigid words require;

C3v 22

And, if thy will again renew her shame,

Disrob’d Griselda goes, disrob’d she came—

Yet sure if ever pity touch’d thy heart,

The patient suff’rer shall not thus depart,

Oh! in remembrance of her bridal hour,

When her pure virgin heart she brought as dow’r,

One scanty garment o’er thy suppliant cast,

To shield her from the bleak inclement blast.”

Gualterio, tho’ with pain his stubborn eyes

Repress th’ empassion’d tear—sternly replies,

“Your humble pray’rs one scanty garment gain,

No more we grant.” —Her weeping friends in vain

Some added raiment beg to shade the fair,

And skreen her from the cold tempestuous air;

No veil he gives, t’ enwrap her shiv’ring head,

No well-wrought sandal, guards her shrinking tread,

But as bare-headed, and bare-foot she past,

Her frail form bent beneath the wintry blast,

While each surrounding bosom heav’d a sigh,

And tears of pity dimm’d each gazing eye.—

C4r 23

Now, with slow steps, she treads the length’ning plain,

To seek her sire and native home again,

Now, sees from far with fond exploring eyes,

Thro’ the gray dusk the shelt’ring cottage rise,

Where safely clasp’d within a parent’s arms,

Griselda feels secure from further harms,

And by his tender falt’ring accents blest,

Serene, and happy, sinks at last to rest.—

And now, Gianniuocolo who from the day,

When first Gualterio bore his child away,

His poor Griselda’s fortune had divin’d,

(For well he knew the Marquis’ turn of mind)

With eager footsteps seeks his little hoard

Where long her virgin vestments he had stor’d;

Brings them in order forth with pious care,

And shields his darling from th’ inclement air;

Who, now resumes in russet robes array’d,

The simple manners of a village maid;

Tends her soft fleecy care upon the lawn;

Or seeks the distant fount at early dawn;

C4v 24

Nor when to western skies recedes the sun,

Are mild Griselda’s daily labours done:

Yet still unmov’d she seems—in soul the same,

A peasant’s daughter, or Gualterio’s dame.

And now, a rumour runs Saluzzo round,

That in Bologna’s walls a nymph is found,

Whose youthful form and sweetly blooming face,

May well Griselda’s fading charms replace—

Nor long the Marquis waits, but bids repair

Back to his court, the much enduring fair;

To whom this mandate with imperious voice,

And aspect stern he gives—

“Our second choice

Will soon arrive—due honour must be shewn

A maid, whose birth adds lustre to our throne;

Nor midst my train of females can I find

One who like thee, can suit Gualterio’s mind;

Then haste Griselda, with attentive care

The spacious rooms, and regal feast prepare:

Next to the banquet, and the ball, invite

Each dame of lineage high, each valiant knight;

D1r 25

And last, receive them with a brow serene,

As if thyself wert still Saluzzo’s queen.

The nuptials o’er, thou may’st again retire

And seek thy village home, thy peasant sire.”

No sharp empointed steel, no barbed dart,

More deeply had transfix’d Griselda’s heart,

Than these few words—For still alas she loves,

Tho’ fortune frowns, and reason disapproves:

Yet o’er her brow no stormy passions rise,

Or tint her palid check with deeper dies,

But as if blest and with each wish content,

To all her tyrant wills she yields assent.

And now, the lofty gate thro’ which she past

Disrob’d, and shrinking from the wintry blast,

Once more she gains, and clad in russet vest

To many a various toil her cares addrest—

First, with nice hand she sweeps each spacious room,

Next o’er them spreads the pride of Persia’s loom,

Then to the kitchen hastes, on whose full board

Was ev’ry various viand plenteous stor’d;

D D1v 26

No care she delegates to vulgar hands,

But like some menial of the palace stands,

Nor thinks her labour o’er, till all shall own,

The sumptuous feast befits Gualterio’s throne;

Then as the Marquis bade, with speed invites

Saluzzo’s noble dames and valiant knights.

Scarce fourteen years with circling course had sped,

Since poor Griselda mourn’d her daughter dead,

That daughter, who unconcious how allied,

Comes to Saluzzo as Gualterio’s bride;

And sure had beauty’s self on earth been known,

Beauty herself this maiden had outshone;

No aid she ought from ornament or art,

Her dress was pure and simple as her heart,

O’er her light form a snowy vesture flow’d,

Around her head the living rose-buds glow’d,

While in her polish’d air each eye might trace

Beauty and youth adorn’d by cultur’d grace—

A cherub boy tript gaily by her side,

Alike in blood and blooming charms allied:

D2r 27

And with them came a noble splendid crowd,

To grace their entrance from Bologna proud.

A num’rous throng surround the palace gate,

Within the halls th’ expecting nobles wait,

With many a haughty dame, prepar’d to pay

Her due obeysance on the bridal day,

In splendid ornaments and rich array;

While stern Gualterio’s rigid word ordains

Griselda like some inmate of the plains,

Shall hail the courtly guest with graceful mien,

And smiling brow, as still Saluzzo’s queen,

Then, midst the gorgeous train, her rival meet,

And with submissive words, her entrance greet—

Gloomy he speaks—but she with tranquil air,

And eye serene, accosts the blooming fair,

“Welcome sweet maid—may ev’ry bliss be thine,

And thornless roses round thy temples twine.”

Th’ admiring courtiers on the stranger gaze.

“The Marquis’ choice” they cry “exceeds all praise”

D2v 28

A bride like this, all covet, and declare

Each would resign his wife for one so fair—

The mild Griselda too, tho’ inly torn

By her Gualterio’s fancied hate, and scorn,

Commends her much—and sure Griselda’s praise,

The plaudits of the wav’ring crowd outweighs!

And now, the Marquis with relenting mind,

Wills that the suff’rer’s woes a period find;

Yet still some wand’ring doubts, some fears arise,

Nor yet Griselda do thy wrongs suffice;

Again, his words thy meek endurance prove—

“What think’st thou of our younger fairer love?”

“If, from a perfect form, a faultless face,

Or inborn worth, or wisdom I may trace,

How high the merits of Gualterio’s choice;

Transcending far Griselda’s feeble voice!

But ah! Gualterio, spare her tender mind,

Nor still distrust the faith of womankind;

Try not this tender maid as erst you tried,

The virgin whom in youth you chose as bride,

D3r 29

She was alas, by abject parents bred,

To labour nurtur’d, and in pen’ry fed,

But with this high-born fair each passing day,

Has stole on pleasure’s downy wings away;

Too soon her death would terminate the strife,

Too soon Gualterio mourn his lovely wife,

Then spare thy breast this pain—and ah! believe

That angel face and form can ne’er deceive.”

Thus, e’en a rival’s woe Griselda shares,

Thus, strives to shield her from corrosive cares,

Nay more exalts each charm, nor fears to raise

Her modest excellence by gen’rous praise;

No jealous dread, no envy’s mean controul,

Can bend her native rectitude of soul,

Nor can the Marquis’ all suspecting mind,

Or chilling apathy or passion find,

To virtue warm’d, his soul he thus exprest,

While doubt and anguish fled Griselda’s breast—

“The contumelious word with scornful art,

No more shall deeply wound thy noble heart;

D3v 30

The forg’d divorce, the feign’d assassin’s deed,

No more shall make thy gentle bosom bleed—

Compell’d to wed—from dire suspicion rose

The long drawn tenour of Griselda’s woes;

Well as thou kept thy plighted vow as bride,

And long, too long, thy constancy been tried—

Tho’ still a parent’s feelings he subdued,

No infant’s blood Gualterio’s hands embrued;

Behold that cherub boy, that beauteous maid,

In him, in her, be all thy wrongs repaid;

No bride is she, a daughter’s tender name

From thee and thy Gualterio she may claim;

Thy husband I, in whose enraptur’d eyes,

His wife the proudest of her sex outvies—

Ages to come, Griselda’s name shall sound,

Griselda patient, thro’ the world renown’d.”

Here, with a fond embrace he clasp’d the fair,

By soothing softness striving to repair

Each tyrant deed—She, who had heard unmov’d

The cold contemptuous taunts of him she lov’d;

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Who, by the ruffian’s hand, had silent borne,

To see her infants from her bosom torn;

Who from a palace had been hurl’d, and sent

In sordid penury, to seek content;

She, who with smiling air, and brow serene,

Had hail’d her rival as her destin’d queen;

Who, midst oppressive wrongs had stood resign’d,

Now quits her native fortitude of mind;

Feels the firm soul that bore severest pain,

Th’ extremes of bliss unequal to sustain,

Feels her full bosom heave unwonted sighs,

And the big tears stream copious from her eyes,

While by Gualterio tenderly carest,

And while by turns each lovely child she prest,

To her long tortur’d, now transported breast.

Why should I now with lengthen’d rhymes recite

The pomps and splendours of the festive night;

Or sing Griselda in her gorgeous vest,

Who when in rags, and rude apparel drest,

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From inborn dignity of air and mien,

Outshone each courtly fair, and mov’d a queen—

Brief will I say, how all with wonder mov’d,

The Marquis’ recantation much approv’d,

How ev’ry hard essay, the courtiers blame,

And loud and long, applaud Griselda’s name;

How good Gianniuocolo to peace restor’d,

Was own’d as father by his haughty lord;

And how the lovely long abandon’d pair,

Became their raptur’d parents fondest care.

And now, since hard Gualterio’s future life

Past undisturb’d by jealousy and strife,

Crown’d by each bliss he thus unjustly sought

And by Griselda’s pangs so dearly bought,

What shall we say?—But that all pow’rful heav’n

Imperial souls in lowly huts has giv’n,

While some, o’er nations born to rule and reign,

Are fitter far to till the rural plain—

For who like stern Gualterio, had assign’d

Such unheard trials to gentle mind?


Or who like meek Griselda, could have borne

Such acts of cruelty, such words of scorn?—

Yet has she reap’d her due reward of fame,

Whose deathless rolls, record her patient name;

To her, the Gallick bard, his harp has strung,

Her praise has flow’d from polish’d Boccace’ tongue,

And Britain’s isle has wept Griselda’s wrong,

By Chaucer chronicled in ancient song.

The End.