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as the carriage drove off, he looked back again and again on the venerable towers of the castle in which he had experienced such kindness. "Nor can I regret my illness," said he to himself, with a sigh.
Sick and a stranger, he had been received and welcomed from a miserable inn in the village below. By the baron he had been treated with the tenderness of a parent; and by his daughter but the reader must fill up the sentence from what follows.
It was a younger son of the house of Modena, who was now travelling homeward along the banks of the Danube. What he thought at first to be gratitude, neither time nor distance could remove or diminish; and, having not long afterwards, by some unexpected circumstances, succeeded to the dukedom, he wrote instantly to invite her who had nursed him in his extremity to come and share his throne. "You have given me life," said he, "and you cannot refuse me that without which life would be of little value.”
Her answer was soon received. She would not deny the pleasure, the emotion, with which she had read his letter. She would not conceal the friendship, the more than friendship, -which she had conceived for him. "But I am no longer," says she, "what I was. A cruel distemper has so entirely changed me that you would not know me ; and, grateful as I shall ever feel for the honor and the happiness you intended for me, I must, for your sake, for my own, decline them both, and remain hore to devote myself to my father in the obscurity in which you found me.”
"No," he replied, "it was your mind, and not your person, beautiful as you then were, beautiful as in my eyes you must always continue to be, that won my regard. Come, for come you must, and bring him -- my friend, my benefactor along with you, that with you I may study to make him happy; nor can I fail of success, for it shall be the business of my life to make you so.’ 39
She came, and as lovely as ever. It was a ruse to try the strength of his affection and from her is said to have descended the race that now occupies the throne of Modena.
(124) Affirming itself to be the very bucket which Tassoni in his mock heroics has celebrated as the cause of war between Bologna and Modena, five hundred years ago.
(125) Inferno, V.
(126) This story is, I believe, founded on fact; though the time and place are uncertain. Many old houses in England lay claim to it.
Except in this instance and another (p. 411) I have everywhere followed history or tradition; and I would here disburden my conscience in pointing out these exceptions, lest the reader should be misled by them,
(127) Commonly calle Domenichino.
(128) How affecting are such demonstrations of grief!
We read of a father who lost an only child by a fall from a window, and who, as long as he lived, and however he might be employed, would suddenly break off and give the cry and the look and the gesture which he gave when it sprung from his arms and was gone.
It is said that Garrick was well acquainted with him, and that, when solicited by the actors in Paris to give some proof of his power, he gave what he had seen so often, and with a truth that overcame them all.
(129) See the Cries of Bologna, as drawn by Annibal Carracci. He was of very humble origin; and, to correct his brother's vanity, once sent him a portrait of their father, the tailor, threading his needle.
(130) The principal gondolier, il fante di poppa, was almost always in the confidence of his master, and employed on occasions that required judgment and address.
(131) Adrianum mare." - Cic.
(13) See the Prophecy of Dante.
(133) See the tale as told by Boccaccio and Dryden.
(134) Such, perhaps, as suggested to Petrocchi the sonnet, "Io chiesi al Tempo," &c.
I said to Time, "This venerable pile,
Its floor the earth, its roof the firmament,
Whose was it once?" He answered not, but fled
A dismal phantom, sitting at the gate;
And, with a voice as from the grave, he cried,
The same turn of thought is in an ancient inscription which Sir Walter Scott repeated to me many years ago, and which he had met with, I believe, in the cemetery of Melrose Abbey, when wandering, like Old Mortality, among the tomb-stones there.
The Earth walks on the Earth, glistering with gold;
(13) They wait for the traveller's carriage at the foot of every hill.
(136) Among other instances of her ascendency at the close of the thirteenth century, it is related that Florence saw twelve of her citizens assembled at the court of Boniface the Eighth, as ambassadors from different parts of Europe and Asia. Their names are mentioned in Toscana Illustrata.
(137) A chapel of the Holy Virgin in the church of the Carmelites. It is adorned with the paintings of Masaccio, and all the great artists of Florence studied there; Lionardo da Vinci, Fra Bartolomeo, Andrea del Sarto, Michael Angelo, Raphael, &c.
He had no stone, no inscription, says Vasari, for he was thought little of in his lifetime.
"Se alcun cercasse il marmo, o il nome mio,
La chiesa è il marmo, una cappella è il nome.”
Nor less melancholy was the fate of Andrea del Sarto, though his merit was not undiscovered. "There is a little man in Florence," said Michael Angelo to Raphael, "who, if he were employed on such great works as you are, would bring the sweat to your brow." See Bocchi in his "Bellezza di Firenze."
(138) Il sasso di Dante. It exists, I believe, no longer, the wall having been taken down ; but enough of him remains elsewhere. Boccaccio delivered his lectures on the Divina Commedia in the church of S. Stefano; and whoever happens to enter it, when the light is favorable, may still, methinks, catch a glimpse of him and his hearers.
(139) This quarter of the city was, at the close of the fourteenth century,† the scene of a romantic incident that befell a young lady of the Amieri family, who, being crossed in love
* For the last line I am indebted to a translation by the Rev. Charles Strong.
and sacrificed by her father to his avarice or his ambition, was, in the fourth year of an unhappy marriage, consigned to the grave.
With the usual solemnities she was conveyed to the cemetery of the cathedral, and deposited in a sepulchre of the family that was long pointed out; but she was not to remain there. For she had been buried in a trance; and, awaking at midnight "among them that slept," she disengaged in the darkness her hands and her feet, and, climbing up the narrow staircase to a gate that had been left unlocked, came abroad into the moonshine, wondering where she was, and what had befallen her. When she had in some degree recovered herself, she sought the house of her husband; * going forth in her grave-clothes and passing through the street, that was thenceforth to be called the Street of the Dead.† But, when she arrived there and he beheld her, he started back as from a spectre, and shut the door against her and fled.
To her father then she directed her steps, and afterwards to an uncle, but with no better success; and now, being everywhere rejected, and with horror, what, alas, had she to do but to die! — to return to the place from which in that garment she had wandered? For a while, in her agony, she is said to have sheltered herself under the porch of St. Bartholomew; till, the day beginning to break and the stir of life to gather round her, she resolved at once to fly for refuge to him who had loved her from their childhood, and who could never reject her.
Undistinguished in the crowd, he had followed the funeral-train; and, having taken a last look before she was removed from the bier, he was brooding at home on the past, when a voice came through the lattice, like a voice from heaven, and the interview let those imagine who can.
The sequel will surprise the reader, but we should remember when and where they lived. Her husband claiming her, she appealed to the ecclesiastical court; and, after due deliberation, it was decided that, having been buried with the rites of the church, and having passed through the grave, she was absolved from her vow, and at liberty to marry again. Firenza Illustrate. L'Osservatore Fiorentino.
(140) Inferno, 33. A more dreadful vehicle for satire cannot well be conceived. Dante, according to Boccaccio, was passing by a door in Verona, at which some women were sitting, when one of them was overheard to say, in a low voice, to the rest, Do you see that man? He it is who visits hell whenever he pleases; and who returns to give an account of those he finds there. I can believe it, replied another. Don't you observe his brown skin and his frizzled beard?
(141) "Movemur enim nescio quo pacto locis ipsis, in quibus eorum, quos diligimus, aut admiramur, adsunt vestigia. Me quidem ipsæ illæ nostræ Athenæ non tam operibus magnificis exquisitisque antiquorum artibus delectant, quàm recordatione summorum virorum, ubi quisque habitare, ubi sedere, ubi disputare sit solitus: studiosèque eorum etiam sepulchra contemplor." Cic. de Legibus, ii. 2.
(142) A saying of Michael Angelo. They are the work of Lorenzo Ghiberti.
(143) "Mio bel san Giovanni." - Inferno, 19.
(144) Great, indeed, are the miseries that here await the children of genius; so exquisitely alive are they to every breath that stirs. But, if they suffer more than others, more than others is it theirs to enjoy. Every gleam of sunshine on their journey has a lustre not its own; and, to the last, - come what may, - how great is their delight when they pour forth their conceptions, when they deliver what they receive from the God that
* Nel Corso degli Adimari.
† La Via dell Morte, 'o, per dir meglio, della Morta.
is within them; how great the confidence with which they look forward to the day, however distant, when those who are yet unborn shall bless them!
(145) Paradiso, 17.
(146) The Chapel de' Depositi; in which are the tombs of the Medici, by Michael Angelo.
(147) IIe died early; living only to become the father of Catherine de Medicis. Had an evil spirit assumed the human shape to propagate mischief, he could not have done better.
The statue is larger than the life, but not so large as to shock belief. It is the most real and unreal thing that ever came from the chisel.
(148) The day of All Souls; Il dì de' Morti.
(149) "Exoriare aliquis nostris ex ossibus ultor!"
Perhaps there is nothing in language more affecting than his last testament. It is addressed "To God, the Deliverer," and was found steeped in his blood.
(150) Filippo Strozzi.
(151) The Tribune.
(152) Cosmo, the first Grand Duke.
(153) De Thou.
(154) Elenora di Toledo. Of the children that survived her, one fell by a brother, one by a husband, and a third murdered his wife. But that family was soon to become extinct. It is some consolation to reflect that their country did not go unrevenged for the calamities which they had brought upon her. How many of them died by the hands of each other! -See p. 448.
(155) De Thou.
(156) The Palazzo Vecchio. Cosmo had left it several years before.
(157) By Vasari, who attended him on this occasion. Thuanus, de Vitâ suâ, i.
(158) It was given out that they had died of a contagious fever: and funeral orations were publicly pronounced in their honor.
Alfieri has written a tragedy on the subject; if it may be said so, when he has altered so entirely the story and the characters.
(159) He was the father of modern painting, and the master of Giotto, whose talent he discovered in the way here alluded to.
"Cimabue stood still, and, having considered the boy and his work, he asked him if he would go and live with him at Florence. To which the boy answered that, if his father was willing, he would go, with all his heart." - Vasari.
Of Cimabue little now remains at Florence, except his celebrated Madonna, larger than the life, in Santa Maria Novella. It was painted, according to Vasari, in a garden near Porta S. Piero, and, when finished, was carried to the church in solemn procession, with trumpets before it. The garden lay without the walls; and such was the rejoicing there on the occasion, such the feasting, that the suburb received the name of Borgo Allegri, a name it still bears, though now a part of the city.
(160) His first instrument was presented by him to the Doge of Venice; and there is a tradition at Venice that he exhibited its wonders on the top of the tower of St. Mark.
His second, which discovered the satellites of Jupiter, and was endeared to him, as he says, by much fatigue and by many a midnight watch, remained entire, I believe, till very lately, in the Museum at Florence.
Kepler's letter to him on that discovery is very characteristic of the writer. "I was sitting idle at home, thinking of you and your letters, most excellent Galileo, when Wachenfels stopped his carriage at my door to tell me the news; and such was my wonder when I heard it, such my agitation (for at once it decided an old controversy of ours), that, what with his joy and my surprise, and the laughter of both, we were for some time unable, he to speak, and I to listen. At last I began to consider how they could be there, without overturning my Mysterium Cosmographicum, published thirteen years ago. Not that I doubt their existence. So far from it, I am longing for a glass, that I may, if possible, get the start of you, and find two for Mars, six or eight for Saturn," &c.
In Jupiter and his satellites, seen as they now are, "we behold, at a single glance of the eye, a beautiful miniature of the planetary system," and perhaps of every system of worlds through the regions of space.
(161) It is somewhere mentioned that Michael Angelo, when he set out from Florence to build the dome of St. Peter's, turned his horse round in the road to contemplate once more that of the cathedral, as it rose in the gray of the morning from among the pines and cypresses of the city, and that he said, after a pause, "Come te non voglio! Meglio di te non posso!"* lle never, indeed, spoke of it but with admiration; and, if we may believe tradition, his tomb by his own desire was to be so placed in the Santa Croce as that from it might be seen, when the doors of the church stood open, that noble work of Brunelleschi.
(162) Santa Maria Novella. For its grace and beauty it was called by Michael Angelo "La Sposa."
(163) In the year of the Great Plague. See the Decameron.
(164) Once, on a bright November morning, I set out and traced them, as I conceived, step by step; beginning and ending in the Church of Santa Maria Novella. It was a walk delightful in itself and in its associations.
(165) I have here followed Baldelli. It has been said that Boccaccio drew from his imagination. But is it likely, when he and his readers were living within a mile or two of the spot? Truth or fiction, it furnishes a pleasant picture of the manners and amusements of the Florentines in that day.
(166) At three o'clock. Three hours after sunrise, according to the old manner of reckoning.
(168) Decameron, vi. 10.
(170) See a very interesting letter from Macchiavel to Francesco Vettori, dated the 10th of December, 1513.
(171) Since the invention of letters, when we began to write, how much, that will live forever, has come in solitude and in silence from the head and the heart! No voice delivers it when it comes; yet on by its own energy it goes through the world, come
* Like thee I will not build one. Better than thee I cannot.