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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.
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
This great man's heir vouchsafed him then his grace,
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:
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,
His patience; nil was always on their sheets.
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;
In person he was big, yet tight and lean,
Had long, thin legs, big nose, and a large face;
But not approving beards to that amount,
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,
'Twas owing all to that infernal writing.
Body and brain had borne such grievous rounds
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.
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.
A large bed to himself; — that was his notion;
In this retreat there joined him a good soul,
An admirable cook; though, on the whole,
Here was served up, on snow-white table-cloths,
Nothing at these times but his head was seen;
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;
Never heard bell, never were told of dun.
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!
One more thing I may note, that made the day
And count the spots and blotches in the ceiling;
And where the plaster threatened to be peeling;