Among the many places in the Decameron where Boccaccio compares the practice of writers to that of painters is the passage of the Author’s Conclusion where he takes on the issue of poetic license.1 Envisioning objections to the language involved in the stories written in his book, Boccaccio both voices the prospective accusations and offers up his defense as follows:

There will perhaps be those among you who will say that in writing these stories I have taken too many liberties, in that I have sometimes caused ladies to say, and very often to hear, things which are not very suitable to be heard or said by virtuous women. This I deny, for no story is so unseemly as to prevent anyone from telling it, provided it is done in seemly language; and this I believe I may reasonably claim to have done.