The pleasant Fable of Ferdinando Jeronomi and Leonora de Valasco, translated out of the Italian riding tales of Bartello.

In the pleasant Country of Lombardy, and not far from the City of Florence, there was dwelling sometimes a Lord of many rich Seignories and dominions, who nevertheless bare his name of the Castle of Valasco. This Lord had one only son and two daughters. His son was called (during the life of his father) the heir of Valasco, who married a fair Gentlewoman of the house of Bellavista named Leonora. The elder daughter of the Lord of Valasco was called Francischina, a young woman very toward both in capacity and other active qualities.

Now the Lord of Valasco, having already married his son & heir, and himself drawing in age, was desirous to see his daughters also bestowed before his death, and especially the eldest, who both for beauty and ripeness of age might often put him in remembrance that she was a collop of his own flesh: and therefore sought means to draw unto his house Ferdinando Jeronimi, a young gentleman of Venice, who delighting more in hawking, hunting, and such other pastimes than he did in study, had left his own house in Venice and was come into Lombardy to take the pleasures of the country.

So that the Lord of Valasco knowing him to be of a very good parentage, and therewithal not only rich but adorned with sundry good qualities, was desirous (as is said) to draw him home to his house (under pretence of hunting and hawking) to the end he might behold his fair daughter Francischina: who both for parentage and other worldly respects, might no less content his mind than her beauty was likely to have allured his liking.

But it fell out far contrary to his desire, for Ferdinando Jeronimi beholding the Lady Leonora, who was indeed very fair and of a very courtlike behavior, became enamored of her, and forgetting the courtesy that the Lord of Valasco had showed him in entertaining him and his servants with their horses by the space of .iiii. months (which is a rare courtesy nowadays, and especially in such a country), he sought all means possible to make the heir of Valasco a Becco.

And to the end that all men may perceive what fruits grow on such trees and what issues come of such intents, I will set down in English the fable as it is written in Italian by Bartello. And because I do suppose that Leonora is the same name which we call Eleanor in English and that Francischina also doth import none other than Frances, I will so entitle them as to our own countrymen may be most perspicuous.

Understand you then, that Ferdinando, having now a hot affection unto the said Dame Eleanor and thinking it meeter to utter his first conceits in writing than in speech, did write unto her as followeth....

On the 1575 edition End of the 1575 edition

The Adventures of Master F. J. by George Gascoigne, 1573