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post; and then the hand and arm which had led in Amadis came out and took her hand, and above twenty voices sung these words sweetly, Welcome is the noble lady, who hath excelled the beauty of Grimanesa, the worthy companion of the knight who, because he surpasses Apolidon in valor, hath now the lordship of this island, which shall be held by his posterity for long ages. The hand then drew her in, and she was as joyful as though the whole world had been given her; not so much for the prize of beauty which had been won, as that she had thus proved herself the worthy mate of Amadis, having, like him, entered the forbidden chamber, and deprived all others of the hope of that glory.
Ysanjo then said that all the enchantments of the island were now at an end, and all might freely enter that chamber. They all went in and beheld the most sumptuous chamber that could be devised ; and they embraced Oriana with such joy as though they had not for long seen her. Then was the feast spread, and the marriage bed of Amadis and Oriana made in that chamber which they had won. Praise be to God.
BERNI'S DESCRIPTION OF HIMSELF.
BY FRANCESCO BERNI.
(From his “Orlando Innamorato ": translation of Leigh Hunt.) [FRANCESCO BERNI, the chief of Italian comic poets, was born in Tuscany about 1490, of an old but very poor family, and reared in Florence till nineteen. His uncle being a cardinal, Berni went to Rome to seek employment from him, but got none, and became clerk to Clement VII.'s chancellor, Ghiberti. He acquired fame as the wittiest and most fertile of a noted literary club, and developed a style of light, sparkling, mocking verse which has given the name Bernesque to burlesque poetry in general. But his great work was the recasting of Boiardo's “ Orlando Innamorato," which was unpopular from its rough and heavy style ; Berni polished it without alteration in substance, and the revision ranks second only to Ariosto and Tasso in its kind.]
AMONG the rest a Florentine there came,
A boon companion, of a gentle kin.
Had taken root some time in Casentin,
And pitched his tent. The place he married in
Nigh to this place was Lamporecchio (scene
Of great Masetto's gardening recreations); There was our hero born; — then, till nineteen,
Bred up in Florence, not on the best rations; Then, it pleased God, settled at Rome - I mean,
Drawn there by hopes from one of his relations; Who, though a cardinal, and the Pope's right arm Did the poor devil neither good nor harm.
This great man's heir vouchsafed him then his grace,
With whom he fared as he was wont to fare; Whence, finding himself still in sorry case,
He thought he might as well look out elsewhere.
With the good Datary of St. Peter's chair,
This was a business which he thought he knew:
Alas! he found he didn't know a bit of it; Nothing went right, slave as he might, and stew;
And yet he never, somehow, could get quit of it; The more he did, the more he had to do;
Desk, shelves, hands, arms, whatever could admit of it, Were always stuffed with letters and with dockets, Turning his brains, and bulging out his pockets.
Luckless in all, perhaps not worth his hire,
He even missed the few official sweets; Some petty tithes assigned him did but tire
His patience; nil was always on their sheets. Now 'twas bad harvests, now a flood, now fire,
Now devil himself, that hindered his receipts. There were some fees his due; — God knows, not many; No matter;
never did he touch a penny.
for all that, was a happy man; Thought not too much; indulged no gloomy fit: Folks wished him well. Prince, peasant, artisan,
Every one loved him; for the rogue had wit, And knew how to amuse. His fancy ran
On thousands of odd things, on which he writ Certain mad waggeries in the shape of poems, With strange elaborations of their proems.
Choleric he was withal, when fools reproved him;
Free of his tongue, as he was frank of heart; Ambition, avarice, neither of them moved him;
True to his word; caressing without art; A lover to excess of those that loved him;
Yet if he met with hate, could play a part Which showed the fiercest he had found his mate; Still he was proner far to love than hate.
In person he was big, yet tight and lean,
Had long, thin legs, big nose, and a large face; Eyebrows which there was little space between;
Deep-set, blue eyes; and beard in such good case, That the poor eyes would scarcely have been seen,
Had it been suffered to forget its place; But not approving beards to that amount, The owner brought it to a sharp account.
But of all things, all servitude loathed he;
Why then should fate have wound him in its bands? Freedom seemed made for him, yet strange to see,
His lot was always in another's hands;
To disobey commands, because commands !
Yet field-sports, dice, cards, balls, and such like courses,
Things which he might be thought to set store by, Gave him but little pleasure. He liked horses ;
But was content to let them please his eye, Buying them squaring not with his resources;
Therefore his summum bonum was to lie Stretched at full length ;-yea, frankly be it said, To do no single thing but lie in bed.
'Twas owing all to that infernal writing.
Body and brain had borne such grievous rounds Of kicks, cuffs, floors, from copying and inditing,
That he could find no balsam for his wounds,
As to lie still, far from all sights and sounds,
Bed, bed's the thing, by Heaven! (thus would he swear,)
Bed is your only work; your only duty.
Old coat; you're not afraid to spoil its beauty.
Down-bed or mattress, just as it may suit ye: Then take your clothes off, turn in, stretch, lie double; Be but in bed, you're quit of earthly trouble.
Borne to the fairy palace then, but tired
Of seeing so much dancing, he withdrew Into a distant room, and there desired
A bed might be set up, handsome and new,
Mattresses huge, and pillows not a few,
The bed was eight feet wide, lovely to see,
With white sheets, and fine curtains, and rich loops, Things vastly soothing to calamity;
The coverlet hung light in silken droops :
But he disliked to lie in bed by groups.
In this retreat there joined him a good soul,
A Frenchman, one who had been long at court, An admirable cook; though, on the whole,
His gains of his deserts had fallen short.
A second bed of the same noble sort,
Here was served up, on snow-white table-cloths,
Every the daintiest possible comestible
Dishes alike delightful and digestible;
The smallest trouble being a detestable
Nothing at these times but his head was seen;
The coverlet came close beneath his chin; And then, from out the bottle or tureen,
They filled a silver pipe, which he let in
And so he filled his philosophic skin:
The name of that same cook was Master Pierre:
He told a tale well, something short and light. Quoth scribe, “ Those people that keep dancing there
Have little wit.” Quoth Pierre, “ You're very right." And then he told a tale, or hummed an air;
Then took a sup of something, or a bite; And then he turn'd himself to sleep; and then Awoke and ate: and then he slept again.
Tais was their mode of living, day by day;
'Twixt food and sleep their moments softly spun; They took no note of time and tide, not they ;
Feast, fast, or working-day, they held all one;
Never heard bell, never were told of dun.
But, above all, no writing was known there,
No pen or ink, no pounce-box. Oh, my God!
Like death, like judgment, like a fiery rod;
Left by that rack of ten long years and odd,
One more thing I may note, that made the day
Pass well; one custom, not a little healing; Which was, to look above us, as we lay,
And count the spots and blotches in the ceiling;
And where the plaster threatened to be peeling;