Where could so much virtue spring texts come from

Ginevra degli Amieri

[ 51 ] [ 53 ]

I woke up and am almost afraid to open my eyes and feel a strange, vast darkness around me. Messer Fausto's breath? Nothing - just a deafening silence, like the long reverberation of slow, inaudible footsteps… Why are my hands folded? I never sleep on my back with my hands folded. Softly loosened the eyelids: the window by my bed, it's gone. Where am I!

What I was lying on fell over as I jumped up so hastily. What is it? No bed: a stretcher! ... the monsters! You rise gray out of the night and look from the height of the tower with white eyes. Oh, there are pillars and angular, white pieces of the moon appear on them from long windows. Help heaven, I'm in the cathedral! And, now I know it again, I died! [54]

... Something clanked, it seems to me, as I sank into the stretcher again in horror. My braces! But it's only the ones with the amethysts. He was careful not to give me the others, the ones with the carbuncles. Do I have my cross on my neck? No! The great gem cross! That is too strong! I want ... Jesus, I walked out in anger and now I don't dare to go back. How afraid I am! I never thought I'd be one of those dead - who come back, One more step, Ginevra? Help! ... A figure, I saw it clearly, flew through the air towards me ... No, it's the crucifix on the pulpit; and he keeps very still. Only the darkness moves everything.

But my knees have become uncertain; I want to sit under his crossed feet on the end of the bench.

I deserve what happens to me, Lord. That is probably true; because I [55] blasphemed you! But you too admit, love is hard! Why did I have to love Raniero when it was sinful and useless? You know, even if you had let me live, I would never have allowed myself to be with him. Although others do the same: and you punish her less severely than me, who was so virtuous ... Do you mean to tell me what all this was about?

I'm waiting.

In earthly life it always means: We will experience this beyond; and: We'll talk about that upstairs Now speak! ... I knew well that you would not be able to use anything to justify yourself. You have imposed too much on me, you must not be surprised that I failed. I had enough of Messer Fausto, my husband, and his blows, and that he didn't believe my virtue! Always: “You love him!” I said: “No! Hit me, [56] but I don't love him! ”If the no had at least been the truth! Unfortunately it was yes ... He replied: “You don't love me either! What do you love then? ”And I:“ I love you as I owe it to you - and also love the browbones that Messer Ugo's handsome son makes. ”“ You love him, the son! ”“ No! I never saw him! ”And so it was. But I had deliberately spoken of Messer Ugo's son, seduced by a strange tickle, because I knew that Messer Fausto would now beat me again. Because he hit me as soon as I said any man's name. But why did I do it, why did I have to do it, and why did I push myself closer to pain? That explain, Lord, why you destined so much suffering for the innocent!

"I want to buy you the chains for your forehead," said Messer Fausto when he was tired from beating. “So that you don't put horns on me. You must be fair: I do what I can. "I answered:" Certainly. I'll never do it. ”And neither did I. So that in the morning when I went to the Most Holy Annunziata, Madonna Eletta put out her finger and said: “Look at the hypocrite! She got me talking to Gino, and she herself sleeps with Raniero! ”- It is true that I didn't even know about her. But what did she know about me? And still talked, behind my back. Had it been true what she said, I would have felt as black as the moor behind me, sir, who carried my gobbo, the parrot. As it was, my brocade (and she only envied me for it) hung over the marks my husband had struck me, and I was a righteous man. And Don Vinante, my confessor, knew it well, and except for Messer Fausto, my husband, whom jealousy drove mad, no one doubted my virtue, and I was allowed to look straight in the face of all who sinned. And when Raniero stood in the courtyard of the church and uttered false sighs, I would go upstairs, look straight ahead, and have a great, rigid enjoyment: “You will still never find out that I love you! Love is hard; but I stand firm, you gain nothing. You are evil, used to ruin me. I hate you! ... Yes, I thought so, oh Lord. Wasn't that right and praiseworthy?

At home I had to torture myself again very much. Why? Does that mean fair? For so much goodwill? I took my big doll out of the chest and hugged it to my heart. “Forgive me,” I said to her, “that I haven't looked at you for two years!” You know, Lord, I hadn't put her down for two years; and she was [59] from the festival in Venice and had been exhibited in the middle of the piazza in the costume according to which all women were to conform all year round. My father was visiting his bank branch and he bought the big doll for a lot of money. I made all the girls jealous of her and therefore loved her very much ... But now everything was different, I no longer thought of the jealous girls; as I pulled the doll to me, I felt as if she were throwing both arms around my neck; I got really hot, I always hugged her and said: “You don't come from Venice from the market, you should come from Raniero! I got you from him, you are his child, you hear, I want that, that should be! ”And then the fear of sin sprang up in me, and I threw the doll on my face on the ground, and myself with it the face on the bed so that we could no longer see each other, and wailed into the pillow: "No, [60] I don't want, I don't want a child from him!" And complained into the night. And Messer Fausto, my husband, came and hit me again - and was right too. I must have screamed to make him stop, “Why don't we have children!” But I knew it was God's business.

What should I do? Do you have to love someone like this Raniero? An ordinary clerk in my father's bank. Someone who misses the shops, stands in the grass in the meadows by the Mugnone, for hours like a stork, and then, very pale, creeps up to my house? Someone who would have been sent away long ago if I hadn't asked for him, or rather for the old mother who lives on him. For that is what I did, Lord, and was it not pious and merciful of me to pray for my enemy? But now tell me: if my brother were to behave like this in our [61] banking house, I would despise him! And I have to love this one! Let him earn money and take a wife, as is fitting. But he's after me! And challenges my husband to a duel. Because that's what he did, sir, and it is such a foolishness that even you must have laughed when you consider the manner and figure of Messer Faustus.

And then he spared him too! Lord, you may say what you want, but it is natural that I wish it would now be over. Messer Fausto had hit me blue; I wish they could kill each other. But then: No, just Raniero! Because I can swear it to you, sir, with your own wounds: I didn't want to see Messer Fausto dead! He came back too; nothing had happened; and I got earrings and an ostrich feather adorned with lots of precious stones, which I could carry to church. But everyone already knew that when they saw my presents, then I had been beaten ... And then I thought it was true: Why didn't Raniero prefer to send two guys to attack him? And I even persuaded Don Vinante that in his innocence he had done something, that Messer Fausto had to go out of San Frediano. And I had a beggar report this to Raniero, who was not allowed to say who sent him, and had him in covert words urge him to perform a prank.

Now look, Lord, how far you have taken me! A homicide and on the bike, I could have ended like that! If I hadn't pleaded with your mother when Messer Fausto was outside the city and in physical danger: she prevented the worst. But at that time I swore in need that it might come to whatever, shame and death: - I do not want [63] to belong to Raniero as long as I live. “Love made me so miserable; I want to take revenge on her! ”I was mad, and I seized the two doves, who caressed each other in front of my window, and strangled them! And when I did I felt my own throat invisibly clutched and closed my eyes and had to lean on the windowsill, otherwise I would have fallen over.

When Messer Fausto returned and it was the holy Saturday before Easter and the festival hall came out of the door of the cathedral like a cloud with angels on it, it spoke behind my lowered lids, and, Lord, I couldn't help it: “You are celebrating him who is love and who was crucified. He wants me to love too and die for it. And I do not resist. But it’s nefarious and hideous that he is resurrected and asks me to do that too. Those who are happily dead [64] should be allowed to stay and finally be safe from love and from him who is love! "

With these thoughts I had come close to the gate, and suddenly it widened like a mouth, I felt his breath burning on my forehead, and a tremendous voice, an organ voice, shouted: “You shall die and return before everyone else and at the same time with me. Tomorrow you should return, you should see how everyone shouted to my resurrection, which you have blasphemed. But with yours you should freeze, and you should have great repentance! "

Everyone must have heard it, it was screamed so loud! Was that you, sir? Well; because you made it come true. But then explain to me what a woman has to regret if she did not cheat on her husband, did not lose his presents and did not want to be shown with fingers by people [65]. Should I feel shame and poverty because it occurred to someone to love me? I loved him too. But why did you determine this in this way? And did you violate the civil rules? … Today is Easter and we are both risen; now explain these things!

But you are silent. You just keep your head tilted on your shoulder and you can hardly see me, your eyelids are so low can you at least hear it when I knock on your feet? Oh no; you just sigh and lean your head on your other shoulder. You asked me to come here, and you'd better get some sleep yourself!

How I am abandoned and cut off from everything, everything. I'm freezing; I have no coat and nothing to wrap myself in; just the big, white linen cloth from my stretcher. "[66]

“Now I'm outside and don't know how I got here. I stroked the walls in the cathedral until I suddenly slipped out. I couldn't find the place again. I do not understand what is happening to me and I am very afraid. Have I not just defied our Lord? Now I can see how everything is insecure and full of secrets. Is this the cathedral square, where at noon whites and blacks shout mockery to one another and the traders offer ribbons and cakes for sale? Above whom decent women walk with lowered eyes proudly? Now Ginevra is afraid when she descends on these blocks, they want to slide away from under her feet like water.

You have to dare, you don't want to lie down on the steps like a beggar. Does it carry me O! It stirs up around San Giovanni, on the old graves! ... [67] Wasn't it? I am afraid I am dead myself! But those in those coffins are pagans ... So that's how it feels to those who return. Everything frightens them and they don't know what they came for. I feel a bright, cold light in me that wakes up in the world alone. It strikes one o'clock from the tower. Alone, without a purpose, and who knows how long. Do I not go out, do I not dissolve? Am I not just kindled by the moonlight? I want to scurry into a dark alley, maybe it's over then.

You're still there, Ginevra. Always go to the wall; - a door opens there. When you see me! Look, it's Messer Tibaldo's house, and who's sneaking out? Messer Gino - and Madonna Eletta peers through the crack in the door. Isn't Messer Tibaldo going to Pisa? So was I right about Messer Gino and Madonna Eletta? I didn't even think so. And he, he's running away from me! Oh yes, a ghost. What [68] a ghost sees! ... There I am in front of Messer Fausto's house. It's my house, shouldn't I be allowed to knock? How long it will last! I'm freezing. Open up! O! his night cap. "

"Who is knocking?"

"Ginevra, your wife."


"Ginevra degli Amieri."

“For God's sake, escape! Spare me! I hit you, yes; But it was my right because I was your man. You mustn't visit me for this! I want to have masses read so that you can get some rest. "

“He slammed the window. How his voice broke with fear! Shouldn't he have let me in? I may be a ghost, but didn't he marry my soul too? Probably not. But why does a dead woman have to go about? ... I want to try it with my parents; It is not far. [69]

They are already moving. A light wanders through the house. Once again the mother does not sleep and runs around the house. She's probably sorry that I'm dead. Now the father is at the window, father! "

“You bad daughter! Why do you frighten your poor mother. You must be very sinful and have therefore found no rest. Tomorrow the devils are to be banished from you. But don't do anything to your parents! Go to your husband! We gave you to him and enough money so that we no longer owe you! "

“He put the shop down and put the bolt on. The mother stood behind him and wrung her hands. How terrible it must be for you that your child, you so cherished, is now chased out into the night to the villains and erring souls! But the father is right too; he paid for me and I have no [70] claim on him. One is so alone: ​​I didn't know that. I thought they could hit me, but I would always have a bed. Otherwise they locked me up. Now nobody opens to me ...

Where am i There they are already sneaking, the villains, there under the hover arch. They sneak behind someone who is wrapped around a woman. She kisses him: then they grab him. The woman is holding him so they can kill him. Oh, that was love too? I want to scream: Help! Now will you - kill me? You can't do it anymore. You see me: everyone is running away. I saved a person. Was I sent to do this? Good man, listen! Oh, he's running too. I was so grateful to him, I don't know what for. But he's running away from me.

And now? What kind of house is this? Do you know it, Ginevra? You passed by with Messer Fausto, your husband, and [71] he maintained that you had looked up and promised you bad things. You didn't have it; but since then you have known where Messer Raniero lives, by the way, now you would know anyway; the dead know all places ... so that's where I should go. Otherwise I have no refuge and no purpose. I want to knock. "

"Who is it?"

"I'm freezing, open up!"

"Who are you?"


"Ginevra is dead. Go in peace."

“She's dead, that's why she's coming to you. Was she alive, she would not come ... you are silent? "

“I open up to you. Come in and follow me up the stairs. I raise the light very high and you see, Madonna Ginevra, this house is yours. My old mother is deaf and she sleeps. We are alone."

“But you always go backwards in front of me, Messer Raniero, and don't let me out of your sight. Now you put the candle down so that it shines in my face, go to the end of the room and cross your arms. You are afraid of me, you too! Oh, I'm tired and so cold. "

“I fear you not so much as when you lived. Poor Ginevra. "

"What do you say? So why are you staying back there? Everything is fleeing from me because I have died. Can I help that I return? I didn't mean it. Who would have thought earlier in the teeming streets, in the mild crowd of the churches, that closeness to people would be so precious! "

"Do you want to shake hands with me, Madonna Ginevra?"

“Your hand is warm, excuse me: you are good that you let me in with you. It was bad outside. How does it come about that my parents and husband send me away, [73] but you, Messer Raniero, open the dead woman, who cannot answer you. I've never heard anyone give for free. What do you want?"

“I want you, Madonna Ginevra, to sit down in my chair like this, and that your looks make all these things new and charitable. Perhaps it will be easier to live between the walls that heard your voice? And then …"

"Why do you speak trembling and turn so pale?"

“And then let yourself be at peace and never return. For I would rather miss you than that you should endure the same punishment for my sake as that naked and always harried spirit in the pine forest near Ravenna who was once a woman cruel to love. "

“These are lies from Messer Giovanni Boccaccio, you don't have to believe him. What do you know whether those who return are not more comfortable here than downstairs, you warmed me a little. It's not good to be there. I shudder; I don't want to go back down. "

"Would you rather stay with me? Madonna Ginevra? "

“Who said that, Messer Raniero? Except that you don't have to believe everything the poets say, I said. But you are one yourself, and you put verses in my hand in the courtyard of the Most Holy Annunziata, while Messer Fausto scolded an impudent beggar. Why aren't you busier in business? "

"You are right because the verses were bad."

“You were lying. In it you wrote about a slave who was very dear to you, and whom you nevertheless cast off for my sake, and who would therefore perish. What lies, Messer Raniero! First, where should you get a slave from? You are [75] the son of Messers Guido, who belonged to the craft of wool. Had you still had a lover, the wife of a Nobile, and left her to please me! "

“What do you know, Madonna Ginevra, I ask now. What can you know. Listen to me: I left and lost so great things because of you that no one can dream of greater things. Before I saw you, I was sure of deeds that shone from armor, and when I listened I noticed the welling of wonderful words. No woman had denied me, no empire resisted me; I was a singer who was never defeated and a hero to whom nothing seemed forbidden ... It all ended in faint heartedness when you appeared to me. At last you were the one who exceeded my dreams, from whom I, like my poor maid, had to hide and drive her away. You sent me the fever of a desire so overwhelming that I was afraid to satisfy it. I [76] felt struck by a curse, lay there panting and cursed God because you were alive! That, Madonna Ginevra, is love! In me it was overflowing with much that struck you, like a heart that flew from a crossbow, like a branch of flowers that a hand would have bent down and suddenly let it fly; - but I was mute. And the hottest deeds that happened inside me didn't stir up even as much dust outside, beyond my chest, as a dog walking across the street. Sometimes I played a desperate game, mocking myself, and presented myself well. So I challenged your husband to fight - and left him unharmed. Because when I faced him, doubts annihilated me: who am I and how can it occur to me to touch things in your life? How can I kill your husband against your will. How you expect my own death, this [77] ridiculous insult! Do you just have to take one of your breaths slower or faster because I love you? I felt dead, do you hear? me, and like a powerless shadow. In shadow games I robbed you, chased the world with you, killed those whose breath you were only drawn to. Do you see the floor of this room covered in blood? And yet I raged here many a night until I myself, full of wounds and gasping, sank! "

“And so, Messer Raniero, I too, in mad tears, fondled the big doll that was supposed to be a living thing you received, resisted me and hated you longingly, until Messer Fausto tore my face from a pillow and me hit. So we lived the same life, Messer Raniero. I listen to you with a joy that tears me apart. Surely you were worse off than I was? I imagined [78] that you did not contest anything, and that you were only employed to corrupt me. And I have blasphemed our Lord because he had only imposed love on me, for now and forever; and as a punishment I had to see you again as poor dead people. But, don't you, life is also very bad for you, and it is not me, who has already died, the more unfortunate one? Tell me that! That you suffer very much! More than me! Then I want to show you mercy and love you! "

"It is good to suffer with you, O Ginevra!"

“Am I still allowed to suffer? A dead man? Then give it to me! Oh, you give it to me! Or is it lust? I do not know anymore; I am a wandering soul. "

“You are alive, Ginevra! Now the sun is approaching, I can see it. You were a shadow, but now you are about to be awakened. I don't know who will wake you up. "

"Love, Raniero, awakens me." [79]

“You have, Ginevra, on your reddening cheeks the reflection of the place from which you are returning. How you shine! Tell me what happened to you there! "

“His voice came from beyond a fire that somehow seemed so delicious that the heart wished to bathe in it; and he ordered me to return and take it upon me, love. And his judgment sounded like a promise, and sang and harried. I see that, Raniero! At the same time I see heaven and my beloved! "

“Now I feel your heart beating, Ginevra, and your warm breath and… the flesh of your lips have felt mine too. Ginevra! So is it life and limitless fulfillment and should no longer fade? You will always stay in this house, no one will know that you are on earth. "

“No, everyone should see me, and when we go to church, blaspheme and [80] condemn me! I wear everything, that's how love wants it. I will serve you, and you can drive me away when you are fed up with me, like your slave. "

"Listen, Ginevra, the sounding Easter sky!"

"Kill me like your slave."

“Do you hear my voice, Ginevra? Oh, do not lean your neck on your clasped hands and do not hold your golden, overflowing face to the unearthly! Don't be with you, be with me! I'm scared! "

“I now know why he returned, and I am following him. It is difficult and yet blessed. We come again to be crucified once more; and come back again and again, as often as heavy and sweet love wants. "

"You are sinking! Ginevra, what is you! Compassion! You promised it to me! Your heart stands still. Was it then that I [81] felt his first and last blows? Did you only come so that by leaving you could make me even more miserable? Beware, Madonna Ginevra! … How come? I was mad when I just doubted her. I knew well that she would fall back into death. She is mine because she is dead. In life she was my great torment, but I am the one who holds her shadow. It will return, revive itself to me every night. I will now carry her back until night; and wants to be very cheerful. There are churchgoers on the street in the shining, exultant Easter morning. You girls who go to the cathedral! You have the same path as a woman waiting in this house. She is adorned like you; and however happy you may be, you are not to be ashamed of them. Come in and take them with you! "