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of Salviati, found employment for many of his solitary hours, and the captive could have been but little embarrassed to reply to acersations, 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 at Florence*. The late biographer of Ariosto seems as if willing to renew the controversy by doubting the interpretation of Tasso's selfestimationt 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 xli. 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:ll The transfer of these sacred ashes on the 6th of June, 1801, was one of the most brilliant spectacles of the short-lived Italian Republic, and to consecrate the memory of the ceremony, the once famous fallen Intrepidi were revived and re-formed 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 carefully distinguished by a tablet
* “ Cotanto potè sempre in lui il veleno della sua pessima volonla contro alla nazion Fiorentina.” La Vita, lib. iii. pp. 96. 98. tom. ij.
+ La Vita di M. L. Ariosto, scritta dall' Abate Girolamo Baruffaldi Giuniore, &c., Ferrara 1807, lib. jji pag. 262. See Historical Illustrations, &c. p. 26.
| Storia della Lett. &c. lib. iii. tom. vij. par. iii. pag. 1220. sect. 4.
| “ Mi raccontarono que' monaci, ch' essendo caduto un fulmine della loro chiesa schiantò esso dalle tempie la corona di lauro a quell' immortale poeta” Op. di Bianconi, vol. iji. p. 176, ed. Milano, 1802 ; lettera al Signor Guido Savini Arcifisiocritico, 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.
with these words: “Qui nacque Ludovico Ariosto il giorno 8 di Settembre dell' anno 1474." But the Ferrarese make light of the acci. dent by which their poet was born abroad, and claim bim exclusive ly 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 died, 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 Baotian incapacity for all spiritual productions. A 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,f* and the white vine,f were amongst the most approved preservatives against lightning : Jupiter 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. These superstitions may be received without a sheer 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, by mentioning that a few years before be wrote, a laurel was actually struck by lightning at Rome. **
** Parva sed apta mihi, sed nulli obnoxia sed non
Sordida, parta meo sed tamen ære domus."
t Columella, lib. x.
Sueton. in Vit. Tiberii, cap lxix.
Stanza xli. line 8. The Curtain 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;* and a stroke not fatal conferred perpetual dignity upon the man so distinguished by heaven.f
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 furnished 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. 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 Velitræ, and including that which played upon a gate at Florence, and foretold the pontificate of one of its citizens.
Italia ! oh Italia! &c.
Stanza xlii. 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.”
* Vid. J. C. Bullenger, de Terræ motu et Fulminib lib. v. cap. xi.
t 'Oudes répouva TES TIMOT ITTI, Ogey asi o Osco Ting Tilb. Plut. Sympos vid. J. C. Bulleng. ut sup. _t Pauli Diaconi, de gestis Langohard. lib. iii. cap. xiv. fo. 15. edit. Taurin. 1527
III. P. Valeriani, de fulminum significationibus declamatio, ap. Græv. Antig. Rom. tom. v. pag 593. The declamation is addressed to Julian of Medicis.
Wandering in youth, I traced the path of him,
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 voyages.
“On my return from Asia, as I was sailing from Ægina towards Megara, I 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 flourishing, 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 carcasses so many noble cities lie here 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 un dique 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
* Dr. Middleton-History of the Life of M. Tullius Cicero, sect. vii. pag. 371. vol. ii.
De fortunæ varietate urbis Romæ et de ruinis ejusdem descripto, ap. Sallengre, Thesaur. tom i. p. 501.
Some of the prin leges of faroured love must have been either Fry geimilire, or rather deficient is delicacy, when he made his posted rympà infors ber éiscreet Damon that in some bappier mortent le might perhaps be the companion of her bath:
* The time may come you seed not fly." The reader 21 recollect the ssecdote told in the life of Dr. Jobinen Fewill not leave the Florestise gallery without a word on the Tutter. It seems struage that the character of that disputed statue should not be eatirely decided, at least in the mind of any one who has seen a sareer opus in the restibule of the Basilica of St. Paul sitreat the walls, a Rome, where the whole group of the fable of Harsyes is seen in tolerable preservation; and the Scythian slave setting the inüe is represented exactly in the same position as this celebrated masterpiece. Theslare is not naked : but it is easier so get rid of this culty thas to suppose the knife in the hand of the Florentine statute a instrument for sharing, which it must be,
Lanzi supposes, the man is so other than the barber of Julius Cem Winkelmane, illustrating a bas relief of the same subject, follows the opinion of Leopard Agostini, and his authority might bare been thonght conclusive, erea if the resemblance did not strike the most careless observer.
Amongst the bronzes of the same princely collection, is still to be seen the inseribed tablet copied and commented upon by Mr. Gidoce † Our historian found some difficulties, but did not desist from bis illustration : be might be rexed to bear that his criticism ks been throw away ca a inseription por generally recognised *o be a fergery.
'* See Mopim. Ant. ined. par. i. cap. xvij. D. xlii. pag. 50; and Storia delle arti, &c. lib. xi. cap. j. tom. ji. pag. 314. not 1.
Xomina gentesque Antiquæ Italiæ, p. 204. edit. oct.