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when we examine the whole anecdoté as reported by Olivet.* The sentence pronounced against him by Bohourst is recorded only to the confusion of the critic, whose palinodia the Italian makes no effort to discover, and would not perhaps accept. As to the opposition which the Jerusalem encountered from the Cruscan academy, who degraded Tasso from all competition with Ariosto, below Bojardo and Pulci, the disgrace of such opposition must also in some measure be laid to the charge of Alfonso, and the court of Ferrara. For Leonard Salviati, the principal and nearly the sole origin of this attack, was, there can be no doubt,t influenced by a hope to acquire the favour of the House of Este : an object which he thought attainable by exalting the reputation of a native poet at the expense of a rival, then a prisoner of state. The hopes and efforts of Salviati must serve to show the cotemporary opinion as to the nature of the poet's imprisonment; and will fill up the measure of our indignation at the tyrant gaoler. $ In faci, the antagonist of Tasso was not disappointed in the reception given to his criticism; he was called to the court of Ferrara, where having endeavoured to heighten his claims to favour, by panegy. rics on the family of his sovereign,|| he was in his turn abandoned, and expired in neglected poverty. "The opposition of the Cruscans was brought to a close in six years after the commencement of the controversy; and if the academy owed its first renown to having almost opened with such a paradox,f it is probable that, on the other hand, the care of his reputation alleviated rather than aggravated the imprisonment of the injured poet. The defence of his father and of himself, for both were involved in the censure of Salviati, found employment for many of his solitary hours, and the captive could have been but little embarrassed to reply to accusations, where, amongst other delinquencies, he was charged, with invidiously omitting, in his comparison between France and Italy, to make any mention of the cupola of St. Maria del Fiore
* Histoire de l'Academie Françoise depuis 1652 jusqu'à 1700, par l'abbé d'Olivet, p. 181, edit, Amsterdam 1730. "Mais, ensuite, venant à l'usage qu'il a fait de ses talens, j'aurois montré bons sens n'est pas toujours ce qui domine chez lui,". p. 182. Boileau said he had not changed' his opinion. "J'en ai si peu changé, dit il," &c. p. 181.
+ La manière de bien penser dans les ouvrages de l'esprit, sec. dial. p. 89, edit. 1692. Philanthes is for Tasso, and says in the outset, " de tous les beaux esprits que l'Italie a portés, le Tasse est peut être celui qui pense le plus noblement.” But Bohours seems to speak in Eudoxus, who closes with the absurd comparison : * Faites valoir le Tasse tant qu'il vous plaira, je m'en tiens pour moi à Virgile,” &c. ibid. p. 102. | La Vita, &c. lib. ii, p. 90, tom. ii. The English reader:
may see an account of the opposition of the Crusca to Tasso, in Dr. Black, Life, &c. cap. xvii. vol. ij.
For further, and, it is hoped, decisive proof, that Tasso was neither more nor less than a prisoner of state, the reader is refer. red to “ Historical Illustrations of the IVth Canto of Childe Harold," pag. 5, and following. i Orazioni funebri . . delle lodi di Don Luigi Cardinal d'Este
delle lodi di Donno Alfonso d'Este. See La Vita, lib. iii.
It was founded in 1582, and the Cruscan answer to Pellegrino's Caraffa or epica poesia was published in 1584.
at Florence. The late biographer of Ariosto seems as if willing to renew the controversy by doubting the interpretation of Tassos self-estimationt related in Serassi's life of the poet. But Tiraboschi had before laid that rivalry at rest, by showing, that between Ariosto and Tasso it is not a question of comparison, but of preference.
Stanza sli, lines 1 and 2. Before the remains of Ariosto were removed from the Benedictine church to the library of Ferrara, his bust, which surmounted the tomb, was struck by lightning, and a crown of iron laurels melted away. The event has been recorded by a writer of the last century. The transfer of these sacred ashes on the 6th of June, 1801, was one of the most brilliant spectacles of the short-lived Italian Re. public, and to consecrate the memory of the ceremony, the once famous fallen Intrepidi were revived and reformed into the Ariostean academy. The large public place through which the procession paraded was then for the first time called Ariosto Square. The author of the Orlando is jealously claimed as the Homer, not of Italy, but Ferrara.. The mother of Ariosto was of Reggio, and the house in which he was born is carefnlly distinguished by a tablet with these words: “Qui nacque, Ludovico Ariosto il giorno 8 di Settembre dell'anno 1474." But the Ferrarese make light of the accident by which their poet was born abroad, and claim him exclusively for their own. They possess his bones, they show his arm chair, and his inkstand, and his autographs.
Hic illius arma
Hic currus fuit ..... The house where he lived, the room where he chied, are designated by his own replaced memorial, and by a recent inscription. The Ferrarese are more jealous of their claims since the animosity of Denina, arising from a cause which their apologists mysteriously hint is not unknown to them, ventured to degrade their soil and climate to a Bæotian incapacity for all spiritual productions. A
*“ Cotanto potè sempre in lui il veleno della sua pessima volontà contro alla nazion Fiorentina." La Vita, lib. iii. p. 96, 98. tom. ii.
+ La Vita di M. L. Ariosto, scritta dall' Abate Giorolamo Baruf. faldi Giuniore, &c., Ferrara 1817, lib. iii. pag. 262. Sce Historical Illustrations, &c. p. 26.
Storia della Lett. &c. lib. iii. tom. vii. par. iii. pag. 1220. sec. 4. $.“ Mi raccontarono que' monaci, ch'essendo caduto un fulmine nella loro chiesa schianto esso dalle tempie la corona di lauro a quell' immortale poeta.” Op. di Bianconi, vol. iii. p. 176, ed. Milano, 1802; lettera al Signor Guido Savini Arcjfisiocritico, sull'indole di un fulmine caduto in Dresda l'anno 1759.
# " Appassionato ammiratore ed invitto apologista dell'Omero Ferrarese.” The title was first given by Tasso, and is quoted to the confusion of the Tassisti, lib. iii. pp. 262, 265. La Vita di M. L. Ariosto, &c.
** Parva sed apta mihi, sed nulli, obnoxia, sed non
Sordida, parta meo sed tamen ære domus."
quarto volume has been called forth by the detraction, and this supplement to Barotti's Memoirs of the illustrious Ferrarese has been considered a triumphant reply to the “ Quadro Storico, Statistico dell'Alta Italia."
Stanza xli. lines 4 and 5. The eagle, the sea calf, the laurel," and the white vinent were amongst the most approved preservatives against lightning ; Jupi. ter chose the first, Augustus Cæsar the second, and Tiberius never failed to wear a wreath of the third when the sky threatened a thunder-storm.ỹ These superstitions may be received without a sneer in a country where the magical properties of the hazel twig have not lost all their credit; and perhaps the reader may not be much surprised to find that a commentator on Suetonius has taken upon himself gravely to disprove the imputed virtues of the crown of Tiberius, ty mentioning that a few years before he wrote, a laurel was actually struck by lightning at Rome.||
Stanza xli. line 8. The Curtian lake and the Ruminal fig-tree in the Forum, having been touched by lightning, were held sacred, and the memory of the accident was preserved by a puteal, or altar, resembling the mouth of a well, with a little chapel covering the cavity supposed to be made by the thunderbolt. Bodies scathed and persons struck dead, were thought to be incorruptible;s and a stroke not fatal conferred perpetual dignity upon the man so distinguished by hea.
Those killed by lightning were wrapped in a white garment, and buried where they fell. The superstition was not confined to the worshippers of Jupiter : the Lombards believed in the omens fur: nished by lightning, and a Christian priest confesses that, by a diabolical skill in interpreting thunder, a seer foretold to Agilulf, duke of Turin, an event which came to pass, and gave him a queen and a crown.tt There was, however, something equivocal in this sign, which the ancient inhabitants of Rome did not always consider propitious; and as the fears are likely to last longer than the consolations of superstition, it is not strange that the Romans of the age of Leo X. should have been so much terrified at some misinterpreted storms as to require the exhortations of a scholar who arrayed all the learning on thunder and lightning to prove the omen favourable: beginning with the flash which struck the walls of Veli
* Aquila, vitulus marinus, et laurus, fulmine non feriuntur. Plin. Nat. Hist. lib. ii. cap. lv. + Columella, lib. X. Sueton. in Vit. August. cap. xc. Sueton. in Vit. Tiberii, cap. Ixix. Note 2. pag. 409. edit. Lugd. Bat 1667.
Vid. J. Č. Bullenger, de Terræ motu et Fulminib. lib. v. cap. xi.
*** Ουδεις κεραυνωθεις ατιμος εςτι, οθεν και ως θεος τιμαται. Plut. Sympos. vid. J. C. Bulleng. ut sup;
tt Pauli Diaconi, de gestis Languhard, lib. iii, cap. xiv. fo.15. edit. Taurin. 1527
træ, and including that which played upon a gate at Florence, and foretold the pontificate of one of its citizens.*
Stanza xlij. line 1. The two stanzas, XLII. and XLIII. are, with the exception of a line or two, a translation of the famous sonnet of Filicaja: “ Italia, Italia, O tu cui feo la sorte."
Stanza xliv. lines 1 and 2. The celebrated letter of Servius Sulpicius to Cicero on the death of his daughter, describes as it then was, and now is, a path which I often traced in Greece, both by sea and land, in different journeys and yoyages.
« On my return from Asia, as I was sailing from Ægina towards Megara, í began to contemplate the prospect of the countries around me: Ægina was behind, Megara before me; Piræus on the right, Corinth on the left; all which towns, once famous and flour shing, now lie overturned and buried in their ruins. Upon this sight, I could not but think presently within myself, Alas ! how do we poor mortals fret and vex ourselves, if any of our friends happen to die or be killed, whose life is yet so short, when the carcases of so many noble cities lie bere exposed before me in one view."
And we pass
Stanza xlvi. lines 7 and 8. It is Poggio who, looking from the Capitoline hill upon ruined Rome, breaks forth into the exclamation, “ Ut nunc omni decore nudata, prostrata jacet, instar gigantei cadaveris corrupti atque undique exesi." +
Stanza xlix. line 1. The view of the Venus of Medicis instantly suggests the lines in the Seasons, and the comparison of the object with the description proves, not only the correctness of the portrait, but the peculiar turn of thought, and, if the term may be used, the sexual imagination of the descriptive poet. The same conclusion may be deduced from another hint in the same episode of Musidora; for Thomson's notion of the privileges of favoured love must have been either very primitive, or rather deficient in delicacy, when he made his grateful nymph inform her discreet Damon that in some happier moment he might perhaps be the companion of her bath :
* I. P. Valeriani, de fulminum significationibus declamatio, ap. Græv. Antiq. Rom. tom. v. pag. 593. The declamation is addressed to Julian of Medicis.
+ Dr. Middleton-History of the Life of M. Tullius Cicero, sect. vii. pag. 371. vol. ii.
I De fortunæ varietate urbis Rome et de ruinis ejusdem descriptio, ap. Sallengre, Thesaur, tom. i. p. 501,
* The time may come you need not fly." The reader will recollect the anecdote told in the life of Dr. John. son. We will not leave the Florentine gallery without a word on the Whetter. It seems strange that the character of that disputed statue should not be entirely decided, at least in the mind of any one who has seen a sarcophagus in the vestibule of the Basilica of St. Paul without the walls, at Rome, where the whole group of the fable of Marsyas is seen in tolerable preservation; and ihe Scythian slave whetting the knife is represented exactly in the same position as this celebrated master-piece. The slave is not naked : but it is easier to get rid of this difficulty than to suppose the knife in the hand of the Florentine statue an instrument for shaving, which it must be, if, as Lanzi supposes, the man is no other than the barber of Julius Cæsar. Winkelmann, illustrating a bassrelief of the same subject, follows the opinion of Leonard Ågostini, and his authority might have been thought conclusive, even if the resemblance did not strike the most careless observer. *
Amongst the bronzes of the same princely collection, is still to be seen the inscribed tablet copied and commented upon by Mr. Gibbon.t Our historian found some difficulties, but did not desist from his illustration : he might be vexed to hear that his criticism has been thrown away on an inscription now generally recognised. to be a forgery.
His eyes to thee, upturn,
Stanza li. lines 6 and 7.
Ovid. Amor, lib. ii.
Stanza liv. line 1. This name will recal the memory, not only of those whose tombs have raised the Santa Croce into the centre of pilgrimage, the Mecca of Italy, but of her whose eloquence was poured over the illustrious ashes, and whose voice is now as mute as though she sung. Corinna is no more ; and with her should expire the fear, the flattery, and the envy, which threw too dazzling or too dark a cloud round the march of genius, and forbade the steady gaze of disinterested criticism. We have her picture embellished or distorted, as friendship
or detraction has held the pencil: the impartial portrait was hardly to be expected from a cotemporary. The immediate voice of her survivors will, it is probable, be far from affording a just estimate of her singular capacity. The gallantry, the love of wonder, and the hope of associated fame, which blunted the edge of censure, must cease to exist. The dead have no sex: they can surprise by no new miracles; they can confer no privilege: Corinna has ceased to be a woman-she is only an author: and it may be foreseen that many will repay themselves fur former complaisance, by a severity to which the extravagance of previous praises may perhaps give the colour of truth. The latest posterity, for to the
* See Monim. Ant. ined. par. i. cap. xvii. n. xlii. pag. 50; and Storia delle arti, &c. lib. xi. cap. i. tom. ij. pag. 314. not. B.
+ Nomina gentesque Antiquæ Italiæ, p. 204. edit. oct.