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account of his having passed the autumn of 1368 in that city, with his son in law Brossano. The political condition which has for ages precluded the Italians from the criticism of the living, has concentrated their atlention to the illustration of the dead,
Or it may be with dæmons. The struggle is to the full as likely to be with dæmons as with our better thoughts. Satan chose the wilderness for the temptation of our Saviour. And our unsullied John Locke preferred the presence of a child to complete solitude.
And Boileau , whose rash envy, etc. Perhaps the couplet in which Boileau depreciates Tasso, may serve as well as any other specimen to justify the opinion given of the harmony of French verse.
A Malherbe , à Racan préférer Théophile,
Sat. ix. vers. 176. The biographer Serassi , * out of tenderness to the reputation either of the Italian or the French poet, is eager to observe that the satirist recanted or explained away this censure, and subsequently allowed the author of the Jerusalem to be a « 'genius , sublime, vast, and happily born for the higher flights of poetry. » To this we will add, that the recantation is far from satisfactory, when we examine the whole anecdote as reported by Olivet, ** The sen
* La vita del Tasso, lib. iii. p. 284. tom. ii. edit. Bergamo 1790.
** Histoire de l'Académie Françoise depuis 1652, jusqu'à 1700, par l'abbé d’Olivet, p. 181, édit. Amsterdam 1730. « Mais, ensuite, venant à l'usage qu'il a fait de ses talens, j'aurais montré que le bon 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,» etc. p. 181.
tence pronounced against him by Bohours, * 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 his attack, was, there can be no doubt, ** 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 jailer. *** In fact, 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 panegyrics on the family of his sovereign; he was in his turn abandoned ,
ured to called to pointed
* La manière de hien 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 , » etc. ibid. p. 102.
** La Vita, etc. lib. iii. p. 90, tom. ii. The English reader may see an account of the oppositiou of the Cruscato Tasso, in Dr. Blacks, Life, etc. cap. xvii. vol. ii.
*** For further and, it is hoped, decisive proof, that Tasso was neither more nor less than a prisoner of state, the reader is referred to «HISTORICAL ILLUSTRATIONS OF The IVth Canto OF CHILDE HAROLD,» pag. 5, and following:
S Orazioni funebri...delle lodi di Don Luigi Cardinal d'Este....delle lodi di Donno Alfonso d'Este. Şee La Vita, lib. iii. page 117.
and expired in neglected poverty. The opposition of the Cruscans was brought to a close in six yćars after the commencement of the controversy, and if the academy owed its first renown to having almost opened with such a paradox ; * 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 cerisure of Salviati , found employment for many of his solitary hours, and the captive could have been but little embarassed to reply to accnizations, 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 interprelation of Tasso's selfestimation *** 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. The light'ning rent from Ariosto’s bust The iron crown of laurels mimic'd leaves. 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
* It was founded in 1582, and the Cruscan answer to Pellegrino's Caraffa or epica poesia was published in 1584.
** «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 Girolamo Baruffaldi Giuniore etc., Ferrara 1807, lib. iii. pag. 262. See Historical IllusIrations, etc. p. 26.
+ Storia della Lett. etc. lib. iii. tom. vii. par. iii p. 1220. sect. 4.
the last century:* The transfer of these sacred ashes on the 6th of June 1801 was one of the most brilliant spectacles of the shortlived 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 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 antographs.
(..... 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 animo. sity 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 Boeotian incapacity for all spiritual productions. A quarto volume has been called forth by the detraction, and this supplement to Barotti's Memoir of the illustrious Ferrarese has been considered a triumphant reply to the « Quadro Storico Statistico dell'Alta Italia. »
* «Mi raccontarono que monaci, ch' 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. edit. Milano. 1802; lettera al Signor Guido Savini Arcifisiocrilico, 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, etc.
+ «Parva sed apta mihi, sed nulli obnoxia sed non
Sordida, parta meo sed tamen ære domus. »
Is of the tree no bolt of thunder cleaves. 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, *** and Tiberius never failed to wear a wreath of the third when the sky threatened a thunder storm. f 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 mentioning that a few years before he wrote a Laurel was actually struck by lightning at Rome. 5
Stanza XLI. Know that the lightning sanctifies below. 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 heaven, *
Those killed by lightning were wrapped in a white garment,
* Aquila, vitulus marinus, et laurus, fulmine non feriuntur. Plin. Nat. Hist. lib. ii. cap. lv.
** Columella, lib. x. *** Suelon. in Vit. August. cap. xc. f Id. in Vit. Tiberii, cap. lxix. 5 Note 2. pag. 409. edit. Lugd. Bat. 1667. ) Vid. J. C. Bullenger, de terræ motu et Fulminib. lib. v. cap. si.
* 'Oudeis xepecuvabels & Tipos éole, ev xai ais gads tipărat. Plut Sympos. vid. J. C. Bulleng ut sup.