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unwillingness to leave Florence, where she continued to reside until his death, notwithstanding the repeated efforts of her husband to induce her to accompany him to his home. Soon after the accession of Francisco, Orsini, maddened by the general admiration which his beautiful wife excited, and more especially by his jealousy of Troilus Ursino, a relative of his own, arrived at the court after a long absence, from Florence. He pressed her with such a show of affection to accompany him to a residence of his named Cerreto, that she yielded to his request, though not, as it is said, without a presentiment of danger : and was strangled by him while he feigned to embrace her. How are the annals of the house of Medici stained with crime, and how vividly are they recalled to memory when beholding their abodes !
Yes, Florence is rich in associations. Poets, statesmen, historians, sculptors, and painters, whose works still charm us, have bequeathed names to her that recal great and delightful images to our minds : and we forget the actual present in dreamy reveries of the past. The old structures too, that seem built to bid defiance to the ruthless destroyer, Time, take
us back to their founders, and we people them anew, in imagination, with a race long passed away. Each of the palazzos remind one of their original destination, when strength was considered so requisite an essential in the dwellings of men not unfrequently exposed to the violence of factious feuds and foreign aggression. There is something peculiarly interesting in the appearance of these dwellings, half fortresses and half palaces. They are fraught with the history of other times, and are models of massive grandeur. I admire the Tuscan style of architecture, its broad masses and rustic bases, its deep cornices and solid architraves. Each mansion presents a picture of feudal power, in which good taste was not neglected.
9th.—I feel so much pleasure in wandering about the streets, that I have no inclination to visit the galleries until the effect of the first novelty of this place has subsided. The Piazza del Gran Duca is a delicious spot to saunter through ; and the portico, which occupies one side of it, may be gazed on for hours with admiration. Here is the Judith of Donatelli, represented decapitating Holofernes, admirably
executed in bronze; the Rape of the Sabines, in marble; and the Perseus of Benvenuto Cellini, so much and so justly celebrated. Who can look on this noble statue without remembering the obstacles and difficulties under which that great artist and eccentric man executed it ? difficulties so graphically detailed by his own pen. The Palazzo Vecchio stands at the corner of the Piazza, and forms a fine feature in the picture. Here passed the most stirring events of a period pregnant with all the virtues and crimes that mark the struggle between the defenders and assailants of liberty. In front of the entrance to this massive structure are placed the colossal statues of David and Hercules ; the first by Michael Angelo, and the second by Bandinelli. How powerfully does the David display the fearless genius that created it!—a genius that seems to have delighted in difficulties, and who loved to call into play every nerve and muscle of the frame he was forming. Michel Angelo was prodigal in his display of muscular power in his statues, and not unfrequently impaired the grandeur of their effect by it.
10th.-In no place have my thoughts been carried back to the past so forcibly as at Florence. The contests between the Bianchi and the Neri, the Guelphs and the Ghibellines, their sanguinary feuds and reckless violence, seem as if not of recent date, when I beheld the scenes where they occurred. The chaste and stately Gualdrada, referred to by Dante when noticing her grandson Guidoguena,
“Nepote fu della buona Gualdrada."
seemed to glide past in all the majesty of her beauty. It was of this lady that the story is related, that when the Emperor Otho IV. was present at a festival in Florence, he was struck with her rare beauty, and enquired who she was; when her father had the baseness to answer, that she was the daughter of one who, if it was his majesty's pleasure, would make her admit the honour of his salute. On overhearing this speech, she arose from her seat, and blushing, desired her father to be less liberal in his offers, for that no man should ever be allowed that favour except him who should be her husband. The emperor was delighted by her resolute modesty, and calling to him Guido, one of the bravest of his barons, gave her to him in marriage, raised him to the rank of count, and bestowed on him Cresentino and a part of the territory of Romagna as her portion. I I quote the story from memory, and read it in the notes to Dante
Where is the spot in Florence that has not been stained by the blood of her hostile sons, unnaturally waging war against each other, for that omnipotent tempter and polluter of the human heart, power! Yet who does not turn from such associations to repose on gentler ones, and to dwell with a sigh of pity on the victims to such fatal feuds ?
The young and brave Giovanni Buondelmonte, whose life paid the forfeit of his broken vows; when forgetful of his engagement to a fair sciọn of the house of Amidei, he yielded to the lighter charms of one of the Donati ; and was murdered by the vengeful brothers of the deserted lady while yet a bridegroom. The divine Dante, the Shakspeare of Italy, has noticed these unhappy nuptials, which were followed by so long a series of bloodshed, and led to the war between the Guelphs and Ghibellines.