From "The Italian Novelists" translated from the originals with Critical and Biographical Notices by Thomas Roscoe; Frederick Warne and Co.; London; [undated edition, c.1900, first published, c. 1824]; pp. 405-410.
He flourished about the year 1570. His moral work, entitled “La Piacevol Notte e Lieto Giorno,” the “Delightful Night and Pleasant Day,” made its appearance, with the date of 1574, at Venice.
* La Piacevol Notte e Lieto Giorno, Opera Morale di Nicolao Granucci di Lucca, indirizzato al molto Magnifico e Nobilissimo Sig. M. Giuseppe Arnolfini, Gentiluomo Lucchese. Venezia, appresso Jacomo vidali, 8vo, 1574.
† History of Fiction, vol. ii. p. 469.
‡ La Teseide di M. Givanni Boccaccio, &c., di ottava rima nuovamente ridotta in prose per Nicolao Granucci di Lucca, &c., Lucca, Presso Vincenzo Busdraghi, 1579.
Fearful only of casting the least imputation upon the reputation of her he loved, he at once admitted the charge of having perpetrated the deed, a supposed crime for which he was adjudged to suffer death. Tidings of the unhappy result of this affair coming, the ensuing day, to the ears of his betrothed bride, she hesitated not an instant in what way to act. Heedless of consequences, she set out for the palace of the Duke, where, half wild with grief and terror at the idea of her lover having already suffered, she became clamorous for an audience, the people on all sides making way for her, until she was at length stopped by the officer upon guard at the ducal gates. Her passionate appeals, however, for admittance were here irresistible, and she was conducted in a short time into the audience-chamber before the Duke and his whole court. But, regardless of surrounding objects, she singled out him of whom she was in search, and throwing herself at his feet in all the sweet disorder of distressed beauty, which heightened rather than diminished her charms, she besought his clemency and pity in the following terms: “Heaven, that has given me access to your Excellency, will, I fervently trust, incline your heart also to listen to me, to listen to justice and to truth. Let not the innocent, my honoured lord, suffer for the guilty. The cause for which I appear before you, however much it may seem to reflect upon myself, will not permit me to be longer silent. Believe me, then, when I say that the prisoner Polidoro and my unhappy self have been long though secretly betrothed to each other, and we were on the eve of becoming united when the deceased youth, for whose death he has been made responsible, urged by envy and disappointment, had the shameless audacity to make attempts upon my honour, by stealing his way into my chamber by night. At the same hour came my betrothed husband, whom I had consented to meet in order to arrange measures of reconciliation 409 with our friends, as well as to obviate the effects of some ungrounded jealousy in regard to the deceased, which had been some time before preying upon his mind. And for this reason only had I consented to unite my fate with his before we had succeeded in obtaining the favourable decision of our friends. We had scarcely taken leave of each other, when, on retiring to rest, I was soon after startled out of my slumbers by hearing the sash of my chamber window open, and beheld with terror the head of the deceased, who had succeeded in scaling the walls, and was about to invade the sanctuary of my rest. Impelled at once by fear and indignation, I snatched the sword that I have long kept near my couch, and struck the invader of my honour with the utmost strength I could command. He fell to the ground, and by the just award of Heaven, rather than by any power of mine, he shortly afterwards expired.
“In the tumult thus caused it was not long before the captain of the band with his followers rushed toward the spot. What was my surprise and horror, then, to hear this very morning that my beloved and innocent Polidoro had been just seized, convicted, and lay under sentence of death, preferring rather to suffer everything than even to betray my name. Deserted, alone, and fearful of confiding the circumstances of our union to any, fearful even of the jealous reproaches of my Polidoro, to whom or whither could I turn for advice and aid — whither, I repeated in my despair, but to the source of honour and justice itself, at the feet of our most noble and righteous Duke?”
Here, no longer able to control her emotions, the lovely Ortensia ceased to speak, but not to weep, until the Duke kindly raising her up and assuring her she had no cause for such excessive sorrow, as far as it lay in his power to remove it, she attempted to recover her composure. “But is he free? is he pardoned?” inquired the anxious girl with breathless haste, almost resisting his efforts to raise her from the ground. “Yes, yes, you are both free,” rejoined the Duke with one of his most benevolent and irresistible smiles; “ you are both free to be as happy as you please, and as I doubt not you deserve to be, as far as my influence, at least, with both your parents can be supposed to be of any avail. For it is impossible that I should not believe what you say; your words and looks have the stamp of truth impressed upon them; and the only part of the affair, I think, which we have to regret is your surpassing loveliness and worth, which doubtless led to the fatal enterprise of the poor enamoured boy. You have taught others, however, by his fate, fair lady, to keep a more respectful distance; and we are far from wishing to find fault with you for showing the courage of the heroine as well as the affection of the woman. You have our full approbation and respect.” But the scene which she had now gone through, and even supported until the Duke ceased to speak, with so much animation and courage, was too affecting to be longer borne; she gazed timidly around the court, and hearing some murmurs of applause as the Duke concluded, aware that the eyes of numbers were upon her, all her womanly feelings, all her sensibility and delicacy, came into sudden play; she grew pale, she trembled, and the next moment fainted in the Duke’s arms. “I trust 410 we have done no mischief here,” he continued as he himself bore her, followed by the princesses, into another saloon; “she will recover, and we will all of us yet be present to grace her approaching nuptials.” And our noble Duke performed what he had thus promised; for he himself saw and reconciled the rival families: and as he watched the hand of the bright Ortensia conferred upon the happy Polidoro, he observed to one of the courtiers near him, “I think she did well to put the other fellow first out of his pain; he could not have borne this.”