Scorn For Scorn
_Of two comrades who wished to make their mistresses better inclined
towards them, and so indulged in debauchery, and said, that as after
that their mistresses still scorned them, that they too must have played
at the same game--as you will hear._
I knew, in the time of my green and virtuous youth, two gentlemen, good
comrades, accomplished, and provided with ev
ry quality to be praised
in a virtuous gentleman. They were friends, and were alike each other
in every respect, not only bodily, but as regarded their clothes, their
servants, and their horses.
It happened that they fell in love with two fair young damsels of good
family and gracious, and they did for these fair ladies' sake a hundred
thousand little courtesies. Their vows were listened to--but nothing
more. Perhaps the damsels had lovers already, or did not wish to have
a love affair on their hands, for in truth the youths were both good
fellows, such as many a noble lady would have liked for a lover.
Be that as it may, they could not win their ladies' love, which caused
them to pass many nights in God knows what sorrow, now cursing fortune,
now love, and most often their mistresses for being so unkind. Whilst
they were suffering this rage and grief, one of them said one day to his
"We can see with half an eye that our mistresses do not care for us,
and yet we more madly desire them than ever, and the more scorn and
harshness they show us the more we desire to please, serve, and obey
them! Upon my word this seems to me the height of folly. Let us, I pray
you, think no more of them than they do of us, and you will see that
when they know that, it will be their turn to seek and importune us."
"Ah!" said the other, "very good advice, no doubt, but how can it be
"I have found the means," said the first. "I have always heard it said,
and Ovid puts it in his book, The Remedy of Love, that to do--you know
what--much and often, makes you forget or think little of the person
with whom you are in love. I will tell you what we will do. We will take
home with us a couple of nice young 'cousins' (*), and we will sleep
with them, and commit every folly with them that our strength will
permit, and then we will go and see our ladies, and the devil is in it
if they do not then care for us."
(*) Prostitutes. The word is doubtless derived from
The other agreed, and the proposal was carried out, and each took home a
nice wench. And after that they went to a great feast where their ladies
were, and they flaunted in front of the damsels, chattering carelessly
here and there, and seeming to say in a hundred thousand ways, "We do
not care for you", believing that, as they had devised, their mistresses
would be displeased, and would try to make their lovers return to their
But it happened quite otherwise, for if the youths appeared to think but
little of the ladies, they on the other hand, showed openly that they
cared nothing for the young men, which the latter perceived, and were
much amazed at. The one said to his friend;
"Do you know what is the matter? Morbleu! our mistresses have done
exactly what we have done. Do you not see how scornful they are? They
carry themselves exactly as we do--and, believe me, for the very same
reason. They have each chosen a paramour and indulged in folly to the
utmost. Devil take the bitches! Let us leave them alone!"
"By my oath!" replied the other, "I believe it is as you say. I never
expected to find them like this."
So the two friends thought that their mistresses had done the same as
they had done themselves, because the damsels took no more heed of them
than they did of the damsels--which may not have been true, but was not
difficult to believe.