PHOEBUS had already plunged his golden wheels into the salt waves of the Indian ocean, his rays no longer gave light to the world, his horned sister now ruled the universe with her mild beams, and the sparkling stars had spread their fires thickly over the sky, when the courtly and honourable company met once more at the accustomed spot. And when they had seated themselves according to their rank, the Signora Lucretia gave the word that they should observe, this night, the same order in their entertainment as hitherto. And, seeing that five of the damsels had not told their stories, the Signora bade the Trevisan to write the names of these on paper, then to place the billets in a golden vase, and to draw them out one after another, as they had done last night. The Trevisan hastened to obey her command, and the first paper which was taken out of the vase bore the name of Isabella, the second that of Fiordiana, the third that of Lionora, the fourth that of Lodovica, and the fifth that of Vicenza. Then the flutes struck up a tune, and they all began to sing and dance in a circle, Antonio Molino and Lionora leading the revel; and they all laughed so loud and heartily, that meseems the sound of their merriment is still to be heard. And when the measure had come to an end they all sat down, and the damsels sang a fair carol in praise of the Signora.
What once we sang we sing to-day,
And ever will we tune our lay,
To praise thee, lady, as the queen
Of beauty, and of all our bene;
The loftiest theme the poet sings,
The sweetest chord that shakes the strings,
The fairest shape the painter gives,
The peer of all in thee survives.
He who never owns the spell
Which moves us now thy praise to tell,
Wins no kindly word from me.
He the bliss shall never see
That flows on earth from faithful love,
And waits on spirits blest above.
At the close of this pleasant song Isabella, who had been chosen to begin the entertainment of the second night, began to tell the story which follows.