Pagina:Baretti - Prefazioni e polemiche.djvu/138



he has exhausted his naturai vigour. Pulci therefore makes him pronounce this mournful and devout prayer, before he departs from life:

O Redentor de’ miseri -mortali il guai tanto per noi t’umiliasti, ecc. (i).

I will not omit to say that many people in Italy suspect Poliziano and not Pulci to be the author of this epic poem; and indeed there are such impious strokes of immorality running throughout it, and such a quantity of sweet and elegant verses, as may almost confírm the assertion of Teofílus Folengus, who in his poem of Orlayidino pitocco affirms that Pulci had it from Politian.

At the same time that Pulci was enlarging and embellishing our language, and charming the ears of his poetical, but irreligious, readers with his whimsical and irregular M^r^rt:»/*?, Boiardo, count of Scandiano, published in Lombardy another epic poem intitled Orlando innamorato, which, for extent of invention, variety of characters and picture of passions and manners, was far superior to Pulci ’s; yet Orla?ido, in point of language and versification, was so much below the Fiorentine poet, that Francesco Berni, the modem Catullus of Italy, took upon himself to versify it again, and about fífty years after Boiardo ’s death, published his rifacimcíito (as we cali it) of the Orlando innamorato.

This kind of translation pleased the Italians so much that they almost forgot the originai poem, and, especially in our days, the generality of readers care but little for Boiardo ’s genuine work. ^

Berni was not satisfied with only making the versification of this poem better: he interspersed it with many stanzas of his own and changed almost ali the beginnings of the cantos, introducing each of them with some moral reflection arising from the canto foregoing. I shall only for a specimen of his smooth

(i) XXVII, st. 121-124, 126-127, 129-130 [Ed.].