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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 self estimation' 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.
Note 19, page 227, stanza xli.
The iron crown of laurel's mimick'd leaves; etc. 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 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 with these
- « Cotanto potè sempre in lui il veleno della sua pessima volontà contro alla nazion Fiorentina.. La Vita, lib. iii. pp. 96, 98, tom. ii.
* La Vita di M. L. Ariosto, scritta dall' Abate Girolamo Baruffaldi Giuniore, etc. Ferrara 1807, lib. iii. pag. 262. See Historical Illustrations, etc. p. 26.
3 Storia della Lett. etc. lib. iii. tom. vii. par. iii. pag. 1220, sect. 4.
4 « Mi raccontarono que' monaci, che essendo caduto un fulmine nella loro chiesa schiantò 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 Arcibisiocritico, 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. 267, 265. La Vita di M. L. Ariosto, etc.
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
The house where he lived, the room where he diel, 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..
Note 20, page 227, stanza xli.
Is of the tree no bolt of thunder cleaves, etc. The eagle, the sea-calf, the laurel,' and the white vine, were amongst the most approved preservatives against lightning : Jupiter chose the first, Augustus Cæsar the second, 4 and Tiberius never failed to wear a wreath of the third when the sky threatened a thunderstorm. 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, by
1 « Parva sed apta mihi, sed nulli obnoxia, sed non
Sordida, parta meo sed tamen ærc domus.» Aquila, vitulus marinus, et laurus, fulmine non feriuntur. Plin. Nat. Hist. lib. ii. cap. lv.
3 Columella, lib. x.
4 Sueton. in Vit. August. cap. xc. 5 Sueton. in Vit. Tiberii, cap. Ixix,
mentioning that a few years before he wrote a laurel was actually struck by lightning at Rome.
Note 21, page 227, stanza xli.
Know that the lightning sanctifies below, etc. The Curtian lake and the Ruminal fig-.ree in the l'orum, having been touched by lighưning, 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. 3
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 cane to
gave crown. 4 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.
him a queen
· Note 2, p. 409. edit. Lugd. Bat. 1667.
Vid. J. C. Bullenger, de Terræ motu et Fulminib. lib. v. cap. xi. 3 ουδείς κεραυνωθείς άτιμος έστι, όθεν και ως θεός τιμάται. Ρlut. Sympos. Vid. J. C. Bulleng. ut sup.
* Pauli Diaconi, de gestis Langobard. lib. iii. cap. xiv. fo. 15. edit. Taurin. 1527.
51. P. Valeriani, de fulminum significationibus declamatio, ap. Græv. Antiq. Rom. tom. v. pag. 593. The declamation is addressed to Julian of Medicis.
Note 22, page 227, stanza xlii.
Italia! oh Italia! etc. 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.»
Note 23, page 228, stanza xliv.
The Roman friend of Rome's least mortal mind, etc. 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
« On my return from Asia, as I was sailing from Egina towards Megara, I began to contemplate the prospect of the countries around me: Ægina was behind, Megara before me; Piraus 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 of so many noble cities lie here exposed before me in one view.n'
Note 24, page 228, stanza xLvI.
And we pass
The skeleton of her Titanic form, etc. 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.no
"Dr Middleton-History of the Life of M. Tullius Cicero, seci. vii. pag. 371. vol. ii.
a De fortunæ varietate urbis Romæ el de ruinis ejusdem descriptio, ap. Sallengre, Thesaur. tom. I. p. 501.
Note 25, page 229, stanza xlix.
There, too, the goddess loves in stone, etc. 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, ihe sexual imagination of the descriptive poet. The same conclusion
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 :
«The time may come you need not fly.”
The reader will recollect the anecdote told in the life of Dr Johoson. 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 ihe walls, at Rome, where the whole group of the fable of Marsyas is seen in tolerable preservation; and the Scythian slave, whetting the knife, is represented exactly in the same position as this celebrated masterpiece. The slave is not naked : but it is easier to ged rid of this difficulty than to suppose the knife in the hand of the Florentine statue an instrument for sharing, which it must be, if, as Lanzi supposes,
the man is no other than the barber of Julius Cæsar. Winkelmann, illustrating a bas-relief of the same subject, follows ihe opinion of Leonard Agostini, 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.'
See Monim. Ant. ined. par. i. cap. xvij. n. slii. pag. 50; and Storia delle arti, etc. lib. xi, cap. i. tom. ii. pag. 314. not. B. * Nomioa gentesque Antiquæ Italiæ, p. 204. edit. oct. VOL. I.