VIOLA
Day 2, Tale #3 of Giambattista Basile’s “Il Pentamerone”
retold in rhyme by Laura J. Bobrow


A king’s son took a liking to
Viola, pretty as the dew.
Each time he passed her you would hear,
“Good day to you, Viola dear.”

Viola’d smile and then she’d say,
in quite an off-hand brazen way,
“Son of the King, you too, good day,
but I know more than you do, hey!”

Her sisters said, “She lacks respect.
The way she speaks is not correct!”
And since she was recalcitrant
her father sent her to her aunt.

The prince found out where she’d been sent.
He hastened there with one intent:
to kiss Viola on the cheek.
He said, “Dear Auntie, let us speak.

You know my name without doubt,
but no one else must find it out.
I ask permission for this boon:
to let me kiss Viola soon.”