Monday, 21 May 2012

More than good, even more than wonderful

"You are a strange man, Ludovico," complained Alessandra Benucci. "You say that you love me, but you care as little for me as you do for your career." Ludovico Ariosto looked out of the window and did not reply immediately.

His new job as governor of Lucca was difficult and his salary meagre, but the beauty of Tuscany never ceased to astonish him whenever he looked outside. "Sometimes, you have to slow down to prepare for a long run," answered Ludovico, shrugging his shoulders. "Anyway, at this moment, this was the only job I could get."

"But you promised that we would get married soon," went on Alessandra, walking up to him and taking his hand. It was June of 1516 and, in three months, Ludovico would be 42 years old. He turned around to face Alessandra and saw the disappointment in her eyes.

"I am just asking you to have a little patience, my love," he said, taking in a deep breath. "We will be married as soon as I have saved enough money to lead a proper life." How often had he tried to explain that to her? A hundred, a thousand times, all to no avail.

Ludovico had changed jobs often, always moving forward, working endless days only to be able to devote his nights to his passion. After years of efforts, he had just completed his poem "Orlando Furioso," although he was still planning to make some revisions.

"You should just let it go as it is now, Ludovico," exhorted Alessandra. "Your poem is more than good, it is even more than wonderful! It is high time to let it rest and work on something else. Why don't you write a Venetian comedy to please the Bishop? Or a song dedicated to the Duke?"

During the following eight years, Ludovico saved as much money as he could from his small salary. Shortly after his 50th birthday, he fulfilled his promise and married Alessandra. The couple purchased a small farm near Ferrara and retired to live there.

When Ludovico Ariosto's poem "Orlando Furioso" was published, only eighty six copies were printed. During his retirement in the farm, his revisions of the poem never ceased. It is believed that he rewrote parts of it at least two hundred times.

Little by little, the reputation of "Orlando Furioso" began to grow. By the time Ludovico was 57 years old, his poem had been already reprinted many times and was already considered the work of a genius. Ludovico, nevertheless, continued to make new revisions. After his death, Alessandra Benucci published the final version. It was absolutely perfect.


[Image by oliveheartkimchi under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under]