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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.



(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.

I say a Florentine, although the name

Had taken root some time in Casentin,

Where his good father wedded a fair dame

And pitched his tent. The place he married in

Was called Bibbiena, as it is at present;

A spot upon the Arno, very pleasant.

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.
So hearing people wish they had a place

With the good Datary of St. Peter's chair,
A thing they talked of with a perfect unction -
Place get he did in that enchanting function.

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.

The man, 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; His! who had always thirsted instantly

To disobey commands, because commands ! Left to his own free will, the man was glad

To further yours. Command him, he went mad.

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,
No harbor for his wreck, half so inviting

As to lie still, far from all sights and sounds,
And so, in bed, do nothing on God's earth,
But try and give his senses a new birth.

Bed, bed's the thing, by Heaven! (thus would he swear,) Bed is your only work; your only duty.

Bed is one's gown, one's slippers, one's arm-chair,

Old coat; you're not afraid to spoil its beauty. Large you may have it, long, wide, brown, or fair, 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, With all the comforts that the case required Mattresses huge, and pillows not a few,

Put here and there, in order that no ease

Might be found wanting to cheeks, arms, or knees.

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:

It might have held six people easily,

But he disliked to lie in bed by groups.

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A large bed to himself; — that was his notion;
With room enough to swim in, like the ocean.

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.
For him was made, cheek as it were by jowl,
A second bed of the same noble sort,
Yet not so close but that the folks were able
To set between the two a dinner-table.

Here was served up, on snow-white table-cloths,
Every the daintiest possible comestible
In the French taste (all others being Goths),
Dishes alike delightful and digestible;
Only our scribe chose sirups, soups, and broths,
The smallest trouble being a detestable
Bore, into which not ev'n his dinner led him ;
Therefore the servants always came, and fed him.

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
Between his lips, all easy, smooth, and clean,

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And so he filled his philosophic skin:
For not a finger all the while he stirred;
ITor, lest his tongue should tire, scarce uttered word.

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 disputed one another's say;

Never heard bell, never were told of dun.
It was particularly understood,

No news was to be brought them, bad or good.

But, above all, no writing was known there,

No pen or ink, no pounce-box. Oh, my God!
Like toads and snakes we shunned 'em; like despair,
Like death, like judgment, like a fiery rod;
So green the wounds, so dire the memories were,
Left by that rack of ten long years and odd,
Which tore out of his very life and senses
The most undone of all amanuenses.

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;
Noting what shapes they took to, and which way,

And where the plaster threatened to be peeling;
Whether the spot looked new, or old, or what;
Or whether 'twas, in fact, a spot or not.

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