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the convent and the hermitage; and most probably for the opposite reason, namely, that the picture was faithful to the life. Two of the novels are allowed to be facts usefully turned into tales, to deride the canonization of rogues and laymen, Ser Ciappelletto and Marceilinus are cited with applause even by the decent Muratori. I The great Arnaud, as he is quoted in Bayle, states, that a new edition of the novels was proposed, of which the expurgation consisted in omitting the words u monk ” and “pun," and tacking the immoralities to other names. The literary history of Italy particularises no such edition, but it was not long before the whole of Europe had but one opinion of the Decameron; and the absolution of the author seems to have been a point settled at least a hundred years ago: “On se feroit siffler si l'on pretendoit convaincre Boccare de n'avoir pas été honnête homme, puisqu'il a fait le Decameron.” So said one of the best men, and perhaps the best critic, that ever lived – the very martyr to impartiality. 2 But as this information, that in the beginning of the last century one wonld have been hooted at for pretending that Boccaccio was not a good man, may seem to come from one of those enemies who are to be suspected, even when they make us a present of truth, a more acceptable contrast with the proscription- of the body, soul, and muse of Boccaccio may be found in a few words from the virtuous, the patriotic cotemporary, who thought one of the tales of this impure writer worthy
* Dissertazioni sopra le antichità Italiane. Diss. Ivič, p. 253. tom. iii. edit. Milian, 1751.
? Eclaircissement, etc. etc. p. 638. edit. Basle, 1741. in the Supplement to Bayle's Dictionary.
a Latín version from his own pen. "I have remarked elsewhere,” says Petrarch, writing the Boccaccio, that the book itself has been worried by certain dogs, but stoutly defended by your staff and voice. Nor was I astonished, for I have had proof of the vigour of your mind, and I know you have fallen on that unaccommodating incapable race of mortals who, whatever they either like not, or know not, or cannot do, are sure to reprehend in others; and on those occasions only put on a show of learning and eloquence, but otherwise are entirely dumb.” 1.
It is satisfactory to find that all the priesthood do not resemble those of Certaldo, and that one of them who did not possess the bones of Boccaccio would not lose the opportunity of raising a cenotaph to his memory Bevi!is, canon of Padua, at the beginning of the 16th century erected at Arquà, opposite to the tomb of the Laureate, a tablet, in which he associated Boccaccio to the equal honours of Dante and of Petrarch.
Note 34, page 123, line 1.
What is her pyramid of precious stones? Our veneration for the Medici begins with Cosmo and expires with his grandson; that stream is pure only at
* 1 Animadverti alicubi librum ipsum cannm dentibus lacessitum, tuo tamen baculo egregiè tuâque voce defensam. Nec miratus sum: nam et vires ingenii tui novi, et scio expertus esses hominuin genus insolens et ignarum, qui quicquid ipsi vel nolunt vel nesciunt, vel non possunt, in aliis reprehendunt: ad hoc unum docti et arguti, sed elingues ad reliqua.” . . . Epist. Joan. Boccaccio. opp. tom. i. p. 540. edit. Basil,
the source; and it is in search of some memorial of the vituous republicans of the family, that we visit the church of St. Lorenzo at Florence. The tawdry, glaring, unfinished chapel in that church, designed for the mausoleum of the Dukes of Tuscany, set round with crowns and coffins, gives birth to no emotions but those of contempt for the layish vanity of a race of despots, whilst the pavement slab simply inscribed to the Father of his Country, reconciles us to the name of Medici. ' It was very natural for Corinna 2 to suppoše that the statue raised to the Duke of Urbino in the capella de depositi was intended for his great namesake; but the magnificent Lorenzo is only the sharer of a coffin half hidden in a niche of the sacristy. The decay of Tuscany dates from the sovereignty of the Medici. Of the sepulchral peace which succeeded to the establishment of the reigning families in Italy, our own Sidney has given us a glowing, but a faithful picture. “Notwithstanding all the seditions of Florence, and other cities of Tuscany, the horrid factions of Guelphs and Ghibelins, Neri and Bianchi, nobles and commons, they continued populous, strong, and exceeding rich; but in the space of less than a hundred and fifty years, the peaceable reign of the Medices is thought to have destroyed nine parts in ten of the people of that province. Amongst other things it is remarkable, that when Philip the Second of Spain gave Sienna to the Duke of Florence, his embassador then at Rome sent him word, that he had given away more than 650,000 subjects;
* Cosmus Medices, Decreto Publico. Pater Patriae. 2 Corinne. Liv. xviii. cap. iii. vol. iii. page 248. .
and it is not believed there are now 20,000 svuls inhabiting that city and territory. Pisa, Pistoia, Arezzo, Cortona, and other towns, that were then good and populous, are in the like proportion diminished, and Florence more than any. When that city had been long troubled, with seditions, tumults, and wars, for the most part unprosperous, they still retained such strength, that when Charles VIII. of France, being admitted as a friend with his whole army, which soon after conquered the kingdom of Naples, thought to master them, the people taking arms, struck such a terror into him, that he was glad to depart upon such conditions as they thought fit to impose. Machiavel reports, that in that time Florence alone, with the Val d'Arno, a smal territory belonging to that city, could, in a few hours, by the sound of a bell, bring together 135,000 wellarmed men; whereas now that city, with all the others in that province, are brought to such despicable weakness, emptiness, proverty and baseness, that they can neither resist the oppressions of their own prince, nor defend him or themselves if they were assaulted by a foreign enemy. The people are dispersed or destroyed, and the best families sent to seek habitations in Venice, Gena, Rome, Naples, and Lucca. This is not the effect of war or pestilence; they enjoy a perfect peace, and suffer no other plague than the government they are under.” I From the usurper Cosmo down to the imbecil Gaston, we look in vain for any of those unmixed qualities which should raise a patriot to the com
1 Ou Government, chap. ii. sect. xxvi. p. 208. edit. 1751. Sidney is, together with Locke and Hoadley, one of Mr. Ilume's "despicable» writers.
mand of his fellow citizens. The Grand Dukes, and particularly the third Cosmo, had operated so entire a change in the Tuscan character that the candid Florentines in excuse for some imperfections in the philanthropic system of Leopold, are obliged to confess that the sovereign was the only liberal man in his dominions Yet that excellent prince himself had no other nation of a national assembly, than of a body to represent the wants and wishes, not the will of the people.
Note 35, page 124, line 14.
An earthquake reelid unheededly away. " And such was their mutual animosity, so intent were they upon the battle, that the earthquake, which overthrew in great part many of the cities of Italy, which turned the course of rapid streams, poured back the sea upon the rivers, and tore down the very mountains, was not felt by one of the combatants.” I Such is the description of Licry. It may be doubted whether modern tactics would admit of such an abstraction.
The site of the battle of Thrasimene is not to be mistaken. The traveller from the village under Cortona to Ca a di Piano, the next stage on the way to Rome, has for the first two or three miles around him, but more particularly to the right, that flat land which Hannibal laid waste in order to induce the Congul Fla
I “Tantusque fuit ardor animorum, adeo intentus pugnae animus, ut eom terrae motum qui multarum urbium Italiae maguas partes prostravit, avertitque cursu rapido amnes, mare fluminibus invexit, montes lapsu ingenti proruit, nemo pugnantium senserit.” ... Tit, Liv. lib. xxii. cap. xii.