Story 51

December 21, 2020

We have reached the sixth day of stories in the Heptameron! Be sure to read Dora Polachek’s Introduction to Day Six!

In today’s tale, Oisille tells of the Duke of Urbino (Francesco Maria della Rovere, 1490/91-1538), whose son falls in love with a girl who is from a “good and noble family” but who does not suit the duke. When the duke finds out that a girl in his wife’s service has conveyed messages from his son to his son’s beloved, he is incensed, and his wife prudently sends the girl away to a convent for her safety. The duke soon inquires about the girl’s whereabouts and swears that he means her no harm, so the duchess persuades her to return. The duplicitous duke then has her hanged, “against all laws of honour and justice, and to the great sorrow of all who knew her.”

This tale leads our storytellers to a long discussion of the vices of Italians (great rivals of the French from the early years of François I’s reign.)

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