Page images
PDF
EPUB

passion, that he had nothing to do with ing, when he brought him as much Ghino, but that his resolution was to go bread and wine as before, and in the on, and he would see who dared to stop same manner. And thus he continued him. “My Lord,' quoth the man, with a during many days, till he found the Ab. great deal of humility, you are now in bot had eaten some dried beans, which a place where all excommunications are he had left purposely in the chamber, kicked out of doors ; then please to when he inquired of him, as from oblige my master in this thing ; it will Ghino, how he found his stomach ! be your best way.' Whilst they were The Abbot replied, 'I should be well talking together, the place was sur-enough were I out of this man's clutches. rounded with highwaymen, and the There is nothing I want now so much Abbot, seeing himself a prisoner, went as to eat, for his merlicines have had with a great deal of i!l-will with the such an effect upon me, that I am fit fellow to the castle, followed by his to die with hunger.' Ghino, then, whole retinue, where he dismounted, having furnished a room with the Aband was lodged, by Ghino's appoint. bot's own goods, and provided an ele. ment, in a poor, dark little room, whilst gant entertainment, to which many every other person was well accom- people of the town were invited, as modated according to his respective well as the Abbot's own domestics, station, and the carriages and all the went the next morning to him, and horses taken exact care of. This being said, “My Lord, now you find yourself done, Ghino went to the Abbot, and recovered, it is time for you to quit said, “My Lord, Ghino, whose guest you this infirmary.' So he took him by are, requests the favour of you to let him the hand, and led him into the cham. know whither you are going, and upon ber, leaving him there with his own what account ?' The Abbot was wise people ; and as he went out to give enough to lay all his haughtiness aside orders about the feast, the Abbot was for the present, and satisfied him with giving an account how he had led his regard to both. Ghino went away at life in that place, whilst they declared hearing this, and, resolving to cure him that they had been used by Ghino with without a bath, he ordered a great fire all possible respect.

When the time to be kept constantly in his room, came, they sat down and were nobly coming to him no more till next morn- entertained, but still without Ghino's ing, when he brought him two slices of making himself known. But after the toasted bread, in a fine napkin, and a Abbot had continued some days in that large glass of his own rich white wine, manner, Ghino had all the goods and saying to him, ‘My Lord, when Ghino furniture brought into a large room, was young, he studied physic, and he and the horses were likewise led into declares that the very best medicine for a the court-yard which was under it, pain in the stomach is what he has now when he inquired how his Lordship provided for you, of which these things now found himself, or whether he was are to be the beginning. Then take yet able to ride. The Abbot made an. them, and have a good heart.' The swer that he was strong enough, and Abbot, whose hunger was much greater his stomach perfectly well

, and that he than was his will to joke, ate the bread, only wanted to quit this man. Ghino though with a great deal of indignation, then brought him into the room where and drank the glass of wine ; after all his goods were, showing him also which he began to talk a little arro to the window, that he might take a gantly, asking many questions, and view of his horses, when he said, My demanding more particularly to see Lord, you must understand it was no this Ghino.. But Chino passed over evil disposition, but his being driven part of what he said as vain, and the a poor exile from his own house, and rest he answered very courteously, de persecuted with many enemies, that claring that Ghino meant to make him forced Ghino di Tacco, whom I am, to a visit very soon, and then left him. be a robber upon the highways, and an He saw him no more till next morn- enemy to the court of Rome. You

beein, however, to be a person of honour; to do so, if he was such a person as he as, therefore, I have cured you of your reported, and, in the mean time, gave pain in your stomach, I do not mean to letters of safe conduct for his coming treat you as I would do another person thither. Upon that assurance, Ghino that should fall into my hands, that is, came to court, when the Pope was soon to take what I please, but I would have convinced of his worth, and reconciled you consider my necessity, and then give to him, giving him the priory of an hos. me what you will yourself

. Here is all pital, and creating him a knight. And that belongs to you ; the horses you may there he continued as a friend and loyal see out of the window : take either part servant to the Holy Church, and to the or the whole, just as you are disposed, Abbot of Cligni, as long as he lived.”. and

go, or stay, as is most agreeable to 15. Cione de' Tarlati of Pietramala, you.' The Abbot was surprised to hear who, according to the Ottimo, after the a highwayman talk in so courteous a fight at Bibbiena, being pursued by the manner, which did not a little please enemy, endeavoured to ford the Arno, him ; so, turning all his former passion and was drowned. Others interpret the and resentment into kindness and good line differently, making him the pursuing will, he ran with a heart full of friend- party. But as he was an Aretine, and ship to embrace him : I protest sol. the "Aretines were routed in this battle, emnly, that to procure the friendship of the other rendering is doubtless the true such an one as I take you to be, I would one. undergo more than what you have 17. Federigo Novello, son of Ser already made me suffer. Cursed be Guido Novello of Casentino, slain by. that evil fortune which has thrown you one of the Bostoli. “A good youth.' into this way of life!' So, taking only says Benvenuto, “and therefore Dante a few of his most necessary things, and makes mention of him.” also of his horses, and leaving all the The Pisan who gave occasion to Marrest, he came back to Rome. The zucco to show his fortitude was MarPope had heard of the Abbot's being a zucco's own son, Farinata degli Scorin. prisoner, and though he was much con-giani. He was slain by Beccio da cemed at it, yet, upon seeing him, he Caproni, or, as Benvenuto asserts, de. inquired what benefit he had received claring that Boccaccio told him so, by from the baths ? The Abbot replied, Count Ugolino. His father, Marzucco, with a smile, Holy Father, I found a who had become a Franciscan friar, physician much nearer, who has cured showed no resentment at the murder, me excellently well ;' and he told him but went with the other friars to his the manner of it, which made the Pope son's funeral, and in humility kissed the laugh heartily, when, going on with his hand of the murderer, extorting from story, and moved with a truly generous him the exclamation, “Thy. patience spirit, he requested of his Holiness one overcomes my obduracy.” This was an favour. The Pope, imagining he would example of Christian forgiveness which ask something else, freely consented to even that vindictive age applauded. grant it. Then said the Abbot, Holy 19. Count Orso was a son of Napo. Father, what I mean to require is, that leone d'Acerbaja, and was slain by his you would bestow a free pardon on brother-in-law (or uncle) Alberto. Ghino di Tacco, my doctor, because,

22. Pierre de la Brosse was the secre- ; of all people of worth that I ever met tary of Philip le Bel of France, and with, he certainly is most to be esteemed, suffered at his hands a fate similar to and the damage he does is more the fault that which befell Pier de la Vigna at the of fortune than himself. Change but court of Frederick the Second. See his condition, and give him something Inf. X111. Note 58. Being accused by to live upon, according to his rank and Marie de Brabant, the wife of Philip, of station, and'i dare say you will have having written love-letters to her, he the same opinion of him that I have.' was condemned to death by the king in The Pope, being of a noble spirit, and 1276. Benvenuto thinks that during his a great encourager of merit, promised residence in Paris Dante learned the

[ocr errors]

Tivth of the innocence of Pierre de la V. 444, Sordello's biography is thus Drosse.

given :30. In Æneid, VI. : “Cease to hope “Sordello was a Mantuan of Sirier, that the decrees of the gods are to be son of a poor knight, whose name was changed by prayers.”

Sir El Cort. And he delighted in 37. The apex juris, or top of judg- learning songs and in making them, ment; the

supreme decree of God. and rivalled the good men of the court Measure for Measure, II. 2:4

as far as possible, and wrote love songs

and satires. And he came to the court " How would you be,

of the Count of Saint Boniface, and the If He who is the top of judgment should But judge you as you are ?'

Count honoured him greatly, and by way

of pastime (a forma de solatz) he fell in 51. Virgil's Bucolics, Eclogue I. :love with the wife of the Count, and she “And now the high tops of the villages with him. And it happened that the smoke afar, and larger shadows fall from Count quarrelled with her brothers, and the lofty mountains.”

became estranged from her. And her 74. This has generally been supposed brothers, Sir Icellis and Sir Albrics, to be Sordello the Troubadour. But is persuaded Sir Sordello to run away with it he? Is it Sordello the Troubadour, or her ; and he came to live with them in Sordello the Podestà of Verona ? or are

great content.

And afterwards he went they one and the same person? After into Provence, and received great honour much research, it is not easy to decide from all good men, and from the Count the question, and to

and Countess, who gave him a good “ Single out

castle and a gentlewoman for his wife.” Sordello, compassed murkily about

Citing this passage, Millot, Hist. Litt. With ravage of six long sad hundred years."

des Troub., II. 80, goes on to say:

“This is all that our manuscripts tell Yet as far as it is possible to learn it from various conflicting authorities,

us of Sordello. According to Agnelli

and Platina, historians of Mantua, he “Who will may hear Sordello's story told."

was of the house of the Visconti of

that city; valiant in deeds of arms, Dante, in his treatise De Volgari famous in jousts and tournaments, he Eloquio, I. 15, speaks of Sordello of won the love of Beatrice, daughter of Mantua as “a man so choice in his Ezzelin da Romano, Lord of the Marca language, that not only in his poems, Trevigiana, and married her ; he goverbut in whatever way he spoke, he aban- ned Mantua as Podestà and Captain. doned the dialect of his province.” But General ; and though son-in-law of the here there is no question of the Provençal tyrant Ezzelin, he always opposed him, in which Sordello the Troubadour wrote, being a great lover of justice. put only of Italian dialects in comparison “We find these facts cited by Cres. with the universal and cultivated Italian, cimbeni, who says that Sordello was which Dante says “belongs to all the the lord of Goïto ; but as they are not Italian cities, and seems to belong exclu- applicable to our poet, we presume they sively to none. In the same treatise, refer to a warrior of the same name, and II. 13, he mentions a certain Gotto of perhaps of a different family, Mantua as the author of many good Among the pieces of Sordello, songs ; and this Gotto is supposed to be thirty-four in number, there are some Sordello, as Sordello was born at Goïto fifteen songs of gallantry, though Nos. in the province of Mantua. But would trodamus says that all his pieces turn Dante in the same treatise allude to the only upon philosophic subjects.” same person under different names? Is Nostrodamus's account, as given by not this rather the Sordel de Goi, men. Crescimbeni, Volgar Poesia, II. 105, is tioned by Raynouard, Poésies des Troub., as follows :V. 445?

“Sordello was a Mantuan poet, who In the old Provençal manuscript surpassed in Provençal song, Calvo, quoted by Raynouard. Poésies des Troub., Folchetto of Marseilles, Lanfranco CF

[ocr errors]

cala, Percival Doria, and all the other pleasures of love, concerning whom Genoese and Tuscan poets, who took much is said in the ninth Canto of far greater delight in our Provençal Paradiso. She, being enamoured of longue, on account of its sweetness, Sordello, had cautiously contrived that than in their own maternal language. he should visit her at night by a back This poet was very studious, and ex. door near the kitchen of her palace at ceeding eager to know all things, and Verona. And as there was in the street as much as any one of his nation ex- a dirty slough in which the swine wal. cellent in learning as well as in under- lowed, and puddles of filthy water, so standing and in prudence. He wrote that the place would seem in no way several beautiful songs, not indeed of suspicious, he caused himself to be carlove, for not one of that kind is found ried by her servant to the door where among his works, but on philosophic Cunizza stood ready to receive him. subjects. Raymond Belinghieri, the last | Ezzelino having heard of this, one evenCount of Provence of that name, in ing, disguised as a servant, carried Sor. the last days of bis life, (the poet being dello, and brought him back. Which then but fifteen years of age,) on ac- done, he discovered himself to Sordello, count of the excellence of his poetry and said, “Enough; abstain in future and the rare invention shown in his from doing so foul a deed in so foul a productions, took him into his service, place.' Sordello, terrified, humbly beas Pietro di Castelnuovo, himself a Pro- sought pardon; promising never more vençal poet, informs us. He also wrote to return to his sister. But the accursed various satires in the same language, and Cunizza again enticed him into his former among others one in which he reproves error. Wherefore, fearing Ezzelino, the all the Christian princes; and it is com- most formidable man of his time, he posed in the form of a funeral song on left the city. But Ezzelino, as some the death of Blancasso."

say, afterwards had him put to death." In the Hist. Litt. de la France, XIX. He says, moreover, that Dante places 452, Eméric-David, after discussing the Sordello alone and separate from the subject at length, says :

others, like Saladin in Inf. IV. 129, on “Who then is this Sordello, haughty account of his superiority, or because and superb, like a lion in repose, -- this he wrote a book entitled "The Treasure Sordello, who, in embracing Virgil, of Treasures"; and that Sordello was gives rise to this sudden explosion of a Mantuan of the village of Goïto,the patriotic sentiments of Dante? Is“ beautiful of person, valiant of spirit, it a singer of love and gallantry? Im- gentle of manner.” possible.

This Sordello is the old Finally, Quadrio, Storia d'ogni Poesia, Podestà of Mantua, as decided a Ghi- II. 130, easily cuts the knot which no one belline as Dante himself; and Dante can untie ; but unfortunately he does not atters before him sentiments which he give his authorities. He writes :Well knows the zealous Ghibelline will “ Sordello, native of Goïto, (Sordel share. And what still more confirms de Goi,) a village in the Mantuan terour judgment is, that Sordello embraces ritory, was born in 1184, and was the the knees of Virgil

, exclaiming, 'o son of a poor knight named Elcort." glory of the Latians,' &c. In this ad. He then repeats the story of Count Saint miration, in this love of the Latin Boniface, and of Sordello's reception by congue, we still see the Podestà, the Count Raymond in Provence, and writer of Latin; we do not see the adds : " Having afterwards returned to Troubadour.”

Italy he governed Mantua with the Benvenuto calls Sordello a " noble title of Regent and Captain-General ; and prudent knight,” and “a man of and was opposed to the tyrant Ezzelino, singular virtue in the world, though of being a great lover of justice, as Ag. impenitent life," and tells a story he has nelli writes. Finally he died, very old heard of him and Cunizza, but does not and full of honour, about 1280. He vouch for it.

“Ezzelino," he says, wrote not only in Provençal, but also in 'had a sister greatly addicted to the our own common Italian tongue and

[ocr errors]

19

he was one of those poets who avoided Nor should I see thee girded with a sword the dialect of his own province, and used

Not chine, and with the stranger's arms

contending, the good, choice language, as Dante af. Victor or vanquished, slave forevermore." firms in his book of Volgar Eloquenza."

If the reader is not already sufficiently 89. Gibbon, Decline and Fall, Ch. confused, he can easily become so by XLIV., says :turning to Tiraboschi, Storia della Leti. “The vain titles of the victories of Ital., IV. 360, where he will find the Justinian are crumbled into dust; but matter thoroughly discussed, in sixteen the name of the legislator is inscribed solid pages, by the patient librarian of on a fair and everlasting monument. Modena, who finally gives up in despair Under his reign, and by his care, the and calls on the Royal Academy for civil jurisprudence was digested in the help;

immortal works of the CODE, the PAN

DECTS, and the INSTITUTES; the public “But that were overbold :Who would has heard Sordello's story told."

reason of the Romans has been silently

or studiously transfused into the do. 76. Before Dante's time Fra Guittone mestic institutions of Europe, and the had said, in his famous Letter to the laws of Justinian still command the Florentines: “O queen of cities, court respect or obedience of independent of justice, school of wisdom, mirror of nations. Wise or fortunate is the prince lise, and mould of manners, whose sons who connects his own reputation with were kings, reigning in every land, or the honour and interest of a perpetual were abors all others, who art no longer order of men. queen but servant, oppressed and subject 92. Luke xii. 17 : “Render to Cæsar to tribute ! no longer court of justice, the things that are Cæsar's, and to God but cave of robbers, and school of all the things that are God's.” folly and madness, mirror of death and And in the Vision of Piers Ploughman, mould of felony, whose great strength is 563:— stripped and broken, whose beautiful

Readite Casari, quod God, hce is covered with foulness and shame ;

That Cæsari bifalleth, whose sons are no longer kings but vile

que sunt Dei Deo,

Or ellis ye don ille." and wretched servants, held, wherever they go, in opprobrium and derision by others. 97. Albert, son of the Emperor Ru.

See also Petrarca, Canzone XVI., dolph, was the second of the house of Lady Dacre's Tr., beginning :

Hapsburg who bore the title of King of

the Romans. He was elected in 1298, O my own Italy ! though words are vain The mortal wounds to close,

but never went to Italy to be crowned. Unnumbered, that thy beauteous bosom stain, He came to an untimely and violent Yet may it soothe my pain

death, by the hand of his nephew John, To righ for the Tiber's woes,

in 1308. This is the judgment of Heaven And Arno's wrongs, as on Po's saddened shore

to which Dante alludes. Sorrowing I wander and my numbers pour.”

His successor was Henry of Luxem. Ind Filicaja's sonnet :

bourg, Dante's “divine and triumphant

Henry," who, in 1311, was crowned at 'Italy! Italy ! thou who'rt doomed to wear

Milan with the Iron Crown of Lombardy, The faual gift of beauty, and possess il Sacro Chiodo, as it is sometimes called, The dower funest of infinite wretchedness, Written upon thy forehead by despair ;

from the plate of iron with which the Ah! would that thou wert stronger, or less crown is lined, being, according to tra.

dition, made from a nail of the Cross. That they might fear thee more, or love In 1312, he was again crowned with the

thee less, Who in the splendour of thy loveliness

Golden Crown at Rome, and died in the Seem wasting, yet to mortal combat dare ! following year.

“But the end of his Then from the Alps I should not see descending career drew on,” says Milinan, Latia Such torrents of armed men, nor Gallic Christ., VI. 520. horde,

"He had now adDrinking the wa • of Po, distained with vanced, at the head of an army which gore,

his enemies dared not meet in the field

fair,

« PreviousContinue »