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ENCOURAGEMENT given to men of talents
at Rome, Italian poets—SANAZZARO—TEBALDEO-BERNARDO ACCOLTI called L'UNICO ARETINO-BEMBO-BEAZZANO -Molza-ARIOSTO–His apologue respecting Leo X.—Effect of his writings on the taste of Europe—VITTORIA COLONNAVERONICA GAMBARA-CostanzA D’AVALOS-TULLIA D'ARAGONA-GASPARA STAMPA-LAURA BATTIFERRA-La Poesia Bernesca—FRANCESCO BERNI-Character of his writings—His Orlando Innamorato_TEOFILO FOLENGI-His Maccaronic poems and other works--Imitators of the ancient classic writers-TRISSINO — Introduces the Versi Sciolti or Italian blank verse-His Italia Liberata da' Goti_GIOVANNI RUCELLAI -His didactic poem Le Api-His tragedy of Oreste—LUIGI ALAMANNI-His poem entitled La Coltivazione—General classification of the Italian writers—The Italian Drama.
A. tt. 8. A. Pont. VI.
THE tranquillity which Italy now enjoyed, chap. and the favour and munificence of the
supreme pontiff, at length called forth and expanded A. D. 1518. those seeds of genius, which although they had been sown by the provident hand of his father at the close of the preceding century,
ment given had, under the dark and stormy pontificates to men of of his predecessors, narrowly escaped entire talents at extirpation. From the time of the elevation of Leo X. the city of Rome had become the general resort of men of talents and of learning from all parts of Italy; who being attracted as well by the charms of that literary society which was there to be met with, as by the well VOL. III.
CHAP. known disposition of the pontiff to encourage
and reward superior merit, either chose that A. D.1518. place as their stationary residence, or paid it A. Pout. vi. long and frequent visits. Nor was it only to
the grave and the learned that Rome held forth its attractions. Whoever excelled in any art or accomplishment that could afford amusement; whoever, in short, could render himself either the cause, or the object, of mirth, was certain of receiving at Rome, and even in the pontifical palace, a hearty welcome and often a splendid reward.
In the gay tribe that exist only in the sunshine of prosperity, the poets hold a distinguished rank; but the fountain of Poetry ran at this time in two separate currents, and whilst some of them drank at the Tuscan stream, a still greater number imbibed the pure waters from the Latian spring. In considering the state of polite letters at this period, it will be necessary to keep in view this distinction; and our first attention will therefore be turned towards those writers, who are chiefly known to the present times by their poetical productions in their native tongue.
Among those few men of distinguished talents who, after having ornamented the aca
A. At. 43.
demy of Naples, had survived the desolation CHAP. of their country, and whose exertions contributed to the preservation of a true taste in A. D. 1518. Italian composition, Sanazzaro must not be A. Pont. VI. forgotten.(a) In the course of the preceding pages we have seen him on several occasions employing his
in exciting his countrymen to resist their invaders, or in expressing his indignant sorrow at their subjugation. His Italian compositions seem to have been chiefly produced before the pontificate of Leo X. and it has already been remarked, that the superior applause obtained by Pietro Bembo in his Italian writings, is supposed to have induced Sanazzaro to direct his talents towards the cultivation of the Latin tongue. It may however with justice be observed, that if the Venetian excel the Neapolitan in elegance and correctness of style, yet in vigour of fancy and strength of expression, the latter has generally the advantage.(b) Nor can it be doubted,
(a) v. Ante, chap. ii. vol. i. p. 85.
(b) of this, his seventeenth Canzone, in which he laments the obstacles that oppose his attempts to immortalize his name by his writings, may be esteemed a sufficient proof. The reader will find this poem in Mr. Mathias's elegant selection of the Poeti Lirici d'Italia, vol. i. p. 105.