There was of yore in Florence, a gallant named Federigo di Messer Filippo Alberighi, whise feats of arms and courtesy had not his peer in Tuscany. As is the common lot of gentlemen, Federigo became enamored of a lady named Monna Giovanna, who in her day held rank among the fairest and most elegant ladies of Florence; to gain whose love he jousted, tilted, gave entertainments, scattered largess, and, in short, set no bounds to his expenditure. However, the lady, no less virtuous than fair, cared not a lot for what he did for her sake, nor yet for him.
Spending thus greatly beyond his means, Federigo was at length reduced to such poverty that he had nothing left but a little estate, on the rents of which he lived very straightly , and a
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And of a surety had I still as much to spend as I have spent in the past, I should not prize it so much as this visit you so frankly pay me, come as you are to one who can afford you but a sorry sort of hospitality.” Which said, with some confusion, he bade her welcome to his house, and then led her into his garden, where having none else to present to her by way of companion, he said, “ Madam, as there is none other here, this good woman, wife of this husbandman, will bear you company, while I go to have the table set. “
Now, albeit his poverty was extreme, yet he had not known as yet how sore was the need to which his extravagance had reduced him, for that he could find nought wherewith to do honor to the lady, for love of whom distressed beyond measure, and inwardly cursing his evil fortune, he looked hither like one beside himself, but never a coin found he, nor yet ought to pledge. Meanwhile it grew late, and sorely he longed that the lady might not leave his house altogether unhonored, and yet to crave help of his own husbandman was more than his pride could brook. In these desperate straits his glance happened to fall on his brave falcon on its perch in his little parlor. And so, as a last resource, he took it, and finding it plump, deemed that it would