Orlando Innamorato

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Orlando Innamorato


An epic poem written by Matteo Maria Boiardo.


(Book 1)

Prasildo having received his full instructions, now crosses the desert, and, after thirty days' journey, arrives at the garden. Here he easily passes the gate of Poverty, the entry of which no one defends. On the contrary, there ever stands someone near it, to encourage and invite. Having entered the enclosure, he advances, holding his shield of glass before his eyes; and reaching the tree, against which Medusa was leaning, the Fairy, who raises her head at his approach, and beholds herself in the mirror, takes to flight; scared, it seems, by seeing reflected in it the head of a serpent; though in other eyes her beauty is divine. Prasildo, hearing the Fairy fly, uncovers his eyes, which were before protected by his shield, and leaving her to escape, goes directly to the tree, from which he severs a branch. Then, pursuing the directions received, makes for the opposite gate, where he sees Wealth, surrounded by her followers. This gate, which is of load-stone, never opens without noise, and is for the most part shut: Fatigue and Fraud are the guides who conduct to it. It is, however, sometimes open; but requires both luck and courage to enable any one to profit by the chance. It was open the day Prasildo came, and he made the offering of half the bough, as he was instructed, and escaped with the remainder of his prize.

Transported with pleasure, he issues from the garden, passes through Nubia, crosses the Arabian Gulf with a fair wind, and journeys day and night till he arrives in Babylon.

Selected editions

Matteo M. Bojardo, Orlando Innamorato, ed. F. Berni (Milan: 1806).

Matteo Maria Boiardo, Orlando Innamorato, trans. C. S. Ross (Berkeley: 1989).