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who only speaks of the Morgante as a ‘sportful romance.’ Milton was anxious to prove that catholic writers had ridiculed popish divines, and that the Bible had been subjected to private judgment, notwithstanding the popes had prohibited the reading of it. His ardour did not allow him to stop and examine whether this prohibition might not be posterior to the death of Pulci. Milton had studied Pulci to advantage. The knowledge which he ascribes to his devils, their despairing repentance, the lofty sentiments which he bestows upon some of them, and, above all, the principle that, notwithstanding their crime and its punishment, they retain the grandeur and perfection of angelic mature, are all to be found in the Morgante as well as in Paradise Lost. Ariosto and Tasso have imitated other passages. When great poets borrow from their inferiors in genius, they turn their acquisitions to such advantage that it is difficult to detect their thefts, and still more difficult to blame them,

The poem is filled with kings, knights, giants, and devils. There are many battles and many duels. Wars rise out of wars, and empires are conquered in a day. Pulci treats us with plenty of magic and enchantment. His love adventures are not peculiarly interesting; and with the exception of four or five leading personages, his characters are of no moment. The fable turns wholly upon the hatred which Ganellon, the felon knight of Maganza, bears towards Orlando and the rest of the Christian Paladins. Charlemagne is easily practised upon by Gamellon, his prime confidant and man of business. So he treats Orlando and his friends in the most scurvy manner imaginable, and sends them out to hard service in the wars against France. Ganellon is dispatched to Spain to treat with King Marsilius, being also instructed to obtain the cession of a king

dom for Orlando; but he concerts a treacherous device with the

Spaniards, and Orlando is killed at the battle of Roncesvalles. The intrigues of Gamellon, his spite, his patience, his obstimacy, his dissimulation, his affected humility, and his inexhaustible powers of intrigue, are admirably depicted: and his character constitutes the chief and finest feature in the poem. Charlemagne is a worthy monarch, but easily gulled. Orlando is a real hero, chaste and disinterested, and who fights in good earnest for the propagation of the faith. He baptises the giant Morgante, who afterwards serves him like a faithful squire. There is another giant, whose maine is Margutte. Morgante falls in with Margutte, and they become sworn brothers, Margutte is a very infidel giant, ready to confess his failings, and full of drollery. He sets all a-laughing, readers, giants,

devils, and heroes, and he finishes his career by laughing till he

bursts. We hope this is a sufficient abstract of the poem of Pulci, and we shall not be more diffuse when we come to those of Bojardo and Ariosto.


Matteo Maria Bojardo, count of Scandiano, was born in the year 1430. His birth preceded that of Pulci by a few months only, and he probably survived him by about ten years. We are ignorant both of the date and the circumstances of the death of the author of the Morgante Maggiore, and we seek his tomb in vain. Yet it is certain that he died almost immediately after he had finished his poem in 1484. And since Bojardo had not completed his work in the year 1495, it may be conjectured that he did not plan it until he had seen the Morgante. The title announces that love is the theme of Bojardo. Morgante, converted by Orlando, may be considered as the symbol of brutal strength yielding to religion; and Orlando, in his turn, is exhibited by Bojardo as an example of heroism and devotion, conquered by the charms of woman. Angelica arrives from Cathay at the palace of Charlemagne, and presents herself before that monarch on the festival when he is holding his cour plenière, at which every knight was welcomed with honour. Heedless of the crowd of lovers whom she charmed, she became madly fond of Rinaldo, who could not abide her; whilst for her sake, Orlando forgot his wife, his sovereign, his country, his glory, in short every thing except his religion. Angelica became heartily tired of the passion of the hero, though she kindly allowed him to dangle after her. It is true, that she was forced to tolerate his attentions, in order to obtain his assistance against the princes, who first fought in her service, and afterwards against her; besides which, her vanity was a little flattered by numbering such a hero amongst her slaves. Agrican, king of the Tartars, besieges her in Albracca with an immense army. Orlando defeats the hostile lover. But, after his death, she finds herself in greater danger; and she is menaced even by Rinaldo, who vows her destruction. Orlando is the cousin and the dearest friend of Rinaldo, but they remember neither their friendship nor their consanguinity. The quarrels of the knightly cousins furnish matter for the loftiest and most energetic passages of the poem. Orlando, notwithstanding his passion, never ceases to labour in converting the pagan knights. When the bravest Paladins are far away from the empire, Charlemagne is attacked by Agramante, emperor of Africa, who commands a host of minor kings. The passage of this tremendous army being impeded by a storm, Rodomonte, one of the royal vassals of Agramante, determines to cross the sea at all events, and he lands to the eastward of Genoa. He arrives with few followers, most of his ships having been wrecked, but he disperses the Christian army, which attempts to oppose his disembarkation. Gradasso, king of Sericana, followed by his vassals, ‘crowned kings, who never dared to address him but on their knees, also invaded France on his own - aCCOunt. account. Gradasso was instigated by the desire of winning the sword and courser of Rinaldo. These wars follow one another in awkward succession. The battles are too numerous, nor are Bojardo's descriptions of them sufficiently varied. But the embellishments of his poem are splendid. Monsters, and giants, and enchantments, are so wonderfully multiplied, and presented with such an inexhaustible profusion of imagination and ornament, that they dazzle and distract, while they excite our admiration. The genius of Bojardo is displayed to great advantage in his delineations of character. Ariosto has ennobled the personages of his predecessor; and developed their characters with greater consistency and taste. His heroes move with more grandeur, and they speak with more eloquence and dignity; but it is from Bojardo that he derived their portraits, and even the physiognomy of their souls. Bojardo taught him the art of peopling his poem with an endless multitude of personages, and of bestowing upon each a distinct and decided individuality; and although the characters of Bojardo are conceived more wildly than those of Ariosto, yet they are more natural and affecting. In the Orlando Furioso, Angelica is a fascinating coquette; but we sympathise with her in the Innamorato, when we behold her kneeling in despair to Rinaldo, who spurns her. When he is plunged in an enchanted dungeon, she appears before him and proffers freedom; she implores him with tears to pardon the sufferings which the enchanter inflicted on him for her sake, and supplicates his pity: but Rinaldo turns a deaf ear to her prayers, and prefers being eaten up alive by the monsters that surround him. Yet Angelica delivers him. He abandons her without deigning even to bestow a look upon her; and whilst kings and nations are warring only for her, she remains alone weeping, and deploring her unrequited love. All the other personages of Bojardo act naturally, and conformably to their ages and characters. When Ariosto brings forward any of his personages, he still keeps his eye upon the rest, mindful of the general effect of the poem. , Bojardo, on the contrary, is more absorbed in the delineation of individuals: he shares their joys and their sorrows, and forgets all his other characters; he even forgets his readers. He seeks to amuse himself, and though he tells his tale to a popular audience, we may yet discern that the story-teller is a feudal baron seated in his castle. He does not appear, like Pulci, in the guise of a poet invited to the table of the great, and surrounded by a learned and critical, though friendly, circle: but as a powerful chieftain, who condescends to gratify his guests by adding the recitation of his poem to the pleasures of the lordly banquet. Bojardo himself was so much delighted with his com: positions, that during the last ten years of his life they constituted

WOL. XX I. NO. XLII. L L his

his sole employment. According to his plan, the Orlando Innamorato was to have consisted of one hundred cantos; but he only lived to complete sixty-nine, which are arranged in three books. In the last, which remains imperfect, mention is made of the invasion of Italy by Charles VIII. Bojardo died in the same year. He was the most accomplished nobleman of his age; and filled various high situations, civil, military, and diplomatic; but his employments never diverted him from literature. His Timone, a

comedy in rhyme, is one of the earliest specimens of the Italian

drama. He published the ‘Historia Imperiale di Roccobaldo, as a translation from the Latin; but Muratori has shewn that this work is really the composition of Bojardo. He translated the his

tory of Herodotus from the original Greek, and the romance of

Apuleius from the Latin, and his Latin poetry is sufficiently elegant, if allowance be made for the taste of his age: but he was not master of the beauties of the Italian language; his versification is harsh and abrupt; his style, though less confused than that of Pulci, is more ungrammatical. Pulci enlivened his poem with his native Florentine idioms. Bojardo, who lived at Ferrara, employed the provincialisms of Lonibardy, which are neither significant nor graceful. But these faults are more than counter

balanced by the wonders of his fable, by the living passion of

his personages, and, above all, by the uninterrupted flow of his narrative, which proceeds with unexampled vigour. Hence he always commanded the favour of the public; and hence Ariosto was in

duced to complete his romantic lay. Bojardo began by making

Orlando fall in love—Ariosto finished consistently by driving him out of his senses. Ferrara, and many other towns which then formed part of the

dominions of the house of Este, contend amongst themselves for the honour of being the birth-place of Ariosto and Bojardo. But

it has been ascertained with tolerable certainty that Ariosto was born at Reggio and Boiardo at La Frata. The question is of no importance except to those inconsiderable towns: but since both writers were subjects of the same state, and passed the greater part of their lives in a town where they had forefathers, and where they left descendants, it is to those circumstances that we may attribute the continuation which the younger bard added to the poem of his predecessor. When Bojardo died, Ariosto was twenty years old. He began his poem in his thirty-first year, and he finished it in his forty-first, in 1515. Agramante invades the empire of Charlemagne in the poem of Bojardo. Ariosto represents him as conqueror of part of France, and as marching round the walls of Paris. ... The general fable of the poem results from the Wars between all Christendom and all the infidels in the world.


The suspension of the final catastrophe depends upon the love of Orlando and his consequent madness. Thus in the poems of Pulci and of Bojardo the action is protracted by the same reasons which retard the progress of the fable of the Iliad. Whilst * Achilles and Orlando are away from the field, the Greeks and the Christians cannot be victorious. In the mean while other heroes appear, great actions are performed, and interesting events succeed each other. The art of Homer appears in the manner in which he detains us with the narrative of sundry events. We may quote the death of Patroclus, which fills three books; the last of which is employed in rescuing his corpse from the power of the Trojans; and we dwell upon this episode with pleasure, because we anticipate that Achilles will decide the chance of war at the sight of the body. In the Orlando Furioso the web is entangled, and the memory of the reader can scarcely assist him in tracing each complicated narration to its end. The events do not lead to one grand catastrophe, neither do they arise out of the main action of the poem. On the contrary many of the cantos might be arranged into a complete poem, in which not an action would appear bearing any relation to the madness of Orlando, or to the siege of Paris. His heroes jostle each other; and at the point when the reader becomes most anxious about the prosecution of their adventures, and most curious to learn their destiny, the poet breaks off abruptly and wanders elsewhere: and as he does not resume the interrupted narrative until it is nearly forgotten by the reader, he recommences with a few stanzas containing a summary of its leading circumstances. But we must remember that this plan was sanctioned by ancient usage, and that the ro

mantic poem was intended for recitation. Ariosto had the advantage of long experience; he had reflected upon his art and upon the taste of his contemporaries. And it cannot be doubted that he was satisfied that his plan produced a powerful effect, since in talking with his friend Pigna, whom we have already mentioned, respecting other poems which he had planned, he observed: “That he would never discontinue his practice of complicating the principal action of his poem by introducing a great variety of secondary fables, which, although they might distract and bewilder the reader, would at length surprize him by conducting him to the catastrophe of the poem, where he would meet with the development of so many various adventures.’ Plans are easily formed in theory, yet the greatest men find it difficult to carry them into execution. In the Orlando Furioso the chief personages disappear long before the catastrophe. Helen weeps over the corpse of Hector at the end of the Iliad; but we lose sight of Angelica, the cause of Orlando's madness, and of - L L 2 SQ

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