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then to his son, who having transcribed the note into a copy of Petrarch's Poems, parted with it, and it became the property of Galeazo Maria, fifth Duke of Milan, and was placed in the library of Pavia; this appears from an inscription by another hand in the book GL MDXML. Quin. Petrarca Miiilxxxx.-When Pavia was taken by the French in 1499, this manuscript fell into the hands of Antonio Pirro; it successively came into the possession of Antonio Agostino and Fulvio Orsino, at whose death, in 1600, it was bought, at a very high price, by the Cardinal Federigo Borromeo, and placed in the Ambrosian Library at Milan,-it is now at Paris. It appears that this Virgil (the favourite companion of Petrarch) was a kind of register, in which he noted down the deaths of his friends, for in the year 1795, when the parchment, which was a little torn, became detached from the cover, the Librarians observed some writing; they endeavoured to remove the whole page, but it adhered so strongly to the board, as to leave some of the ink upon it; however, not without much difficulty, they discovered the following inscriptions, indisputably in Petrarch's hand writing, which, as they are a literary curiosity, and confirm the authenticity of the disputed note, we shall present to the reader;
Johannes noster homo natus ad laborem ad dolorem meum et vivens gravibus atque perpetuis me curis exercuit, et acri dolore moriens vulneravit, qui cum paucos lætos dies vidisset in vitâ suâ, obiit anno Dni. 1361, ætatis suæ XXIV. die Julii x. seu IX. medio noctis inter diem Veneris, et Sabbati. Rumor ad me pervenerat x1° mensis ad vesperam. Obiit autem Mlñi in illo publico excidio pestis insolito, quæ urbem illain hactenus immunem talibus malis nunc autem reperit atque invasit.
Rumor autem primùm ambiguus 8° Augusti eodem anno per famulum meum Miño redeuntem, mox certus per famulum Dui Theatini Roma venientem. 18 mensis ejusdem, Mercurii, sero ad me pervenit de obitu Socratis mei amici, sotii (sic orig.) fratrisque optimi, qui obiisse dicitur Babilone seu Avenione de mense Maii proximo. Amisi comitem et solatium vitæ meæ. Recipe Xre Thu hos duos et reliquos quinque in eterna tabernacula tua, ut qui jam hic mecum amplius-eé ñ possunt permutatione felicissima tecum sint.
Heu mihi imo septem nec sciebam.
Rumor quoque jampridem hic fuerat de obitu Philippi de Vitriaco Epì Meldensis Pris et amici mei. Hoc àt die Dominica 22° Augusti Heu mihi compertum accepi. Dissimulabam, et credere recusabam. nimis crebescunt fortunæ vulnera. Eadem die atque hora percepi obitum optimi Pris ac Dni mei Philippi alterius Cavallionensis Epì ad quem est liber meus vitæ solitariæ maximus rerum mearum pco. Obiit, heu prope jam solus sum.
Die Martis proximo 26 mensis inter nonam et vesperas rediit Gebellinus de . . nuntius itidem infelicis, indignæ, et crudelissimæ mortis Maynardi mei.
"Anno proximo scilicet 1350 in vigilia Natal:s de vespera rumor infelicissimus. ... Jacobi de Carraria Dni Paduæ Dni et benefactoris mei singularis, cujus nunquam sine suspiriis recordabor.
Dns Jacobinus Bossius vir probus et sapiens et mihi carissimus obiit 1357 Novembr 25. Quod mihi redeunti a missa Katherinæ Virginis ab Ecclesià. Nbr non sine gravi vulnere mentis innotuit.
All these circumstances agree perfectly with the other writings of the poet, and with historical fact; nor is it credible that any one would fabricate such documents, in order to make the note on Laura more plausible.-The very minute circumstances of time and place when the events happened, give this document an air of originality.
We have already said that Filelfo lived near enough to the time of the poet, to be considered as a writer of authority. Peranzone, who republished his Commentary in 1515, remarks, Son. 158, Una candida cerva,'' O quanto e mal inteso in parechi luoghi questo nostro Poeta; e per non avere vedute le opere sue molti che non sanno quello che dicano, qui reprendono M. F. Filelfo perche lui dice Madonna Laura aver avuto marito. Si come fu vero ne altrimente questo si puo intendere.-On referring to Son. 49. Pt. 1. (Se voi poteste,) we find this Commentary of Filelfo-dice Petrarca che se lei potesse per questi suoi tali sdegni o per altri ingegni et arte far si che lui non l'amasse, loderebbe tali suoi sdegni perche Misser Francesco habitava presso di lei ella fece tanto col suo marito che gli tolse una stanza à un altra contrada d'Avignone piu frequentata e piu notabile e questo solo per fuggire ogni caJunnia.
The article of the sonnet and medal is perhaps the weakest link in the chain of the Abbé de Sade's argument, but the author is not justified in calling the verses a rapturous love elegy.' The very first line is an attestation of Laura's chastity; and if the husband had as much reason to believe, as the world did, that Petrarch's attachment was pure and honourable, how could he consider this certificate as 'the last insult a husband could sustain ?'— p. 188.
The verses are indeed very indifferent, and that circumstance would rather prove that they were made in the short space of time between Laura's death and burial; besides, such a sonnet might be made as soon as a coffin; nor is it just to talk of the difficulty of engrossing fairly on parchment a sonnet of fourteen lines, as one of the proofs that it is a forgery. The argument drawn from the 'perishable materials on which the sonnet was written is not conclusive, unless the author can prove that all parchment buried with a dead body for many years must necessarily perish, and the writing upon it be illegible: Cicely, the consort of Richard Duke of York,
who died in 1459, had about her neck, when taken up in the chancel of Fotheringay, in the reign of Elizabeth, a silver ribbon with a pardon from Rome, penned in a very fine Roman hand, and as fair and as fresh to be read as if it had been penned yesterday. Mr. Gough, who records the fact, adds that she was buried in a leaden coffin, but this would not preserve the parchment from the juices of a putrifying carcase.' The author, arguing upon the improba bility that either sonnet or medal was found in the grave, says, p. 93, that a medal of bronze, with a sculptured image and inscription, should have been moulded and cast in the space of a few hours, is a fact that we may fairly pronounce to exceed all belief.' The author would mislead his readers if he wished them to suppose that the engraved medallion, p. 116, is a faithful representation of the medal said to be found. Gabrielle Symeon, who visited Avignon in 1557 twenty-four years after the discovery, says, p. 13, of his Illustres Observations Antiques en son dernier voyage d'Italie, Mais que dirons nous d'une si bonne ville que celle d'Avignon? là où je ne trouvai chose quelconque antique, sinon depuis deux cens ans ença le sepulcre de Laura descouvert par le commandement du feu Roi François et une sienne medaille de plomb que l'on trouva sous son chef lors qu'elle fut desenterrée, de laquelle je prins le double tel que l'on voit par la presente figure.' She is there represented with her right hand on her breast, and her left extended and holding a scroll containing the letters M LA L. She appears a picciolissima donna. As it was customary, in the fourteenth century, to put pieces of money into the mouths of the dead, and as this leaden medal (for it was not of bronze) was found sous son chef, under her head, having dropped through; may we not hazard a conjecture, and say that this was a coin usually buried with the dead, and no portrait of Laura? The impression of the letters, as given by Symeon, is different from that of the author. Any one conversant in books' de re diplomatica' knows that the letters may have been M V MV (which Symeon reads M LA L, and Maurice de Seves M L M I,) and may mean Maria Virgo, Maria Virgo; or if Symeon mistook the I for a V, Maria Virgo, Mater Jesu.
The translations of the sonnets, which are referred to in the course of the work, are executed with considerable fidelity and eleWe select the following as no unfavourable specimen. gance.
'On the Prospect of Vaucluse.
Thou lonely vale, where in the fleeting years
Of tender youth, I breath'd my amorous pain:
"O green-clad hills, familiar to my sight!
O well-known paths, where oft I wont to rove,
Again to view the scenes which once could give delight.
'Yes, ye are still the same! though here I meet
No more that angel-form which beauty shed
Oft trod your paths: here rests in hallow'd earth her head!
We will only remark that the same accusation which has been made against the Abbé de Sade may be retorted on the author, for he has interpreted a passage with direct reference to his own argument, which the original will not authorize. Why does he translate the mere matter of fact that she died and was buried,'
onde al ciel nuda è gita Lasciando in terra la sua bella spoglia,
Here rests in hallowed earth her head?
The Postscript contains some information respecting the embellishments of this little volume, which are appropriate, and very beautifully executed. We protest against the authenticity of the portrait of Laura, p. 12; it has no air of originality, if we may judge from the engraving, and is so unlike all those of the 14th and 15th centuries prefixed to the manuscripts of Petrarch in the Laurentian Library at Florence, that we are surprised the essayist could admit it as a genuine representation; and still more, that when he looked at the print (if it be a faithful copy) he could say that the style and execution bear the marks of an early period of the art of painting.' We beg leave to subjoin, that when Padre della Valla, the editor of the Lettere Sanesi, caused inquiries to be made at Avignon in 1782 after the portraits of Petrarch and Laura, he was informed that none existed either in the family of Sade or in the convent where Laura is supposed to be buried which could be called original. In the house of Pietro Bembo at Padua was a picture of St. Margaret copied from a fresco at Avignon, and said to be a portrait of Laura. The intelligent and accurate Morelli says, in his Notizie di Opere di Disegno, questa notizia riesce nuova.' In the collection of the late Cardinal Zelada at Rome were two portraits of Petrarch and Laura which came from Avignon though confessedly copies, made 200 years after the death of Simon Memmi, they retain his manner. Laura holds a flower like a poppy in her hand. Baldinucci, in his account of Memmi's fresco in the church of Santa Maria Novella at Florence, says that a passage in the 27th Canzone of Petrarch, hitherto misinterpreted, may be illustrated by the portrait of Laura, for, upon examination,
he found her green drapery very elegantly spotted, as it were, with little flowers like violets.
Negli occhi hò pur le violette e'l verde
Having given this statement of the argument in question, and offered such remarks as occurred to us, we leave the dispute to those who feel interested for the reputation of Laura, and who are of opinion that, after a lapse of 400 years, it is a question of critieal inquiry whether she were a coquetting maid or a prudish wife.
ART. XIII. Mr. Madison's War. A dispassionate Inquiry into
the Reasons alleged by Mr. Madison for declaring an offensive and ruinous War against Great Britain; together with some Suggestions as to a peaceable and constitutional Mode of averting that dreadful Calamity. By a New England Farmer.
Second Edition. Boston. 1812.
F we could entertain the least doubt as to the author or character of the American war, the pamphlet now before us enables us fully to make up our minds on those points. We were always of opinion, from the general conduct of Mr. Madison, coupled with his well known predilection for French principles, that a secret understanding existed between him and Butonaparte. The 'New England Farmer' roundly asserts it, and proves the assertion. We consider his pamphlet as a production of no ordinary cast; it is evidently the offspring of a powerful mind, accustomed to think deeply, and reason soundly. The author of it is no theorist, no speculator in politics; he deals in broad facts, and the conclusions which he draws are irresistible. He has not thought fit to give his name; but the man who has designated himself so clearly as he has done in the following passage, can neither be unknown in America, nor wish that he should be unknown.
I have been in my early days honoured by my fellow citizens with the office of a representative in the legislation of my native state, a state dear to me by early associations, by having been the place of my nativity, by containing the ashes of my revered ancestors through six successive generations, by possessing within its bosom all the fruits of my own and their industry, and upon the prosperity of which state, my children, yet in their infancy, depend for their hopes of future success. These solemn considerations have created an attachment to it, which neither the frowns of men in power, nor the temporary, and I hope remediable misfortunes into which our rulers are about to plunge it, can
VOL. VIII. NO. XV.