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XVI.

A.D. 1518.
A. At. 43.

Bernardo

L'Unico
Aretino.

skill in adapting his verses to the music with CHAP. which he accompanied them, was Bernardo Accolti of Arezzo, usually called, on account of his excellence in this department, L Unico A. Pont. VI. Aretino.(a) He was one of the sons of Benedetto Accolti, author of the well-known his- Accolti, tory of the crusades ;(b) and his elder brother called Pietro Accolti was dignified by Julius II. with the rank of cardinal. In his youth he was a frequent visitor at the court of Urbino, and is enumerated by Castiglione among those eminent men who were accustomed to assemble every evening in the apartments of the duchess, for the enjoyment of literary conversation.(c) On his arrival at Rome in the pontificate of Leo X. he was received with great favour by the

pope, who soon afterwards appointed him one of the apostolic secretaries; an employment which conferred both honour and emolument. It has also been asserted that Leo was so delighted with his uncommon talents,

that

(a) Ariosto denominates him,
“ Il gran lume Aretin, l'unico Accolti.”

Orl. Fur. cant. xlvi. st. 10. 16) Of Benedetto some account is given in the Life of Lorenzo de' Med. i, 90.

(c) Castiglione, Libro del Cortegiano. lib. i. p. 26, 27.

XVI.

A. t. 43.

CHAP. that he conferred on him the duchy of Nepi ;(a)

and although this has been denied on the testimoA. D. 1518. ny of one of the letters of Accolti, in which he A. Poni . vi. complains that he had been divested by Paul III.

of the sovereignty of this place, which he had purchased with his own money ; yet it is a matter of little importance whether he owed his possessions to the gift of the pope, or purchased them by the aid of his bounty; and in fact, in the letter referred to he attributes this acquisition, as well to his own merits as to the money disbursed by him.(b) This dominion was afterwards restored to him, it appearing that he was succeeded in it by his illegitimate son Alfonso.(c) of the astonishing ef

fects

(a) “ Bernardus Cognomento Unicus, omni literarum atque nobilissimarum artium peritia insignis, inter cele

bres illos ea tempestate Urbinates Academicos ascitus, a " Leone X. anno 1520. Nepesis dominatu donatus est. “ Vita di Benedello suo padre in fronte al dialogo de præstantia vivorum sui ævi.ap. Mazzuchel. Scrittori d' Ital. i. 66.

16) Lettere scrille al Sig. Pietro Aretino, lib. i. p. 141. ap. Mazz. Scrittori Ital. i. 66. (c) Mazzuch. Scrillori d'Ital. i. 67.

• Ebbe la Sig“ noria di Nepi, e d'altre Castella nello stato Ecclesiastico i da Leon X. la quale poscia dopo la morte di esso Bernar

do,

A. D. 1518.
A. ft. As.

fects which the talents of Accolti produced

СНА Р.

XVI. among all ranks of people at Rome, long after the time of Leo X. a very particular account is given by his licentious countryman Pietro A. Pont. VI. Aretino, who assures us, “ that when it was 66 known in Rome that the celestial Bernardo 66 Accolti intended to recite his verses, the * shops were shut up as for a holiday, and all

persons hastened to partake of the enter“ tainment. That on such occasions he was < surrounded by the prelates and chief per

sons of the city, honoured by the solemn “ light of torches, and attended by a nume

rous body of Swiss guards.” The same author also adds, that he was himself once sent by the pope to request that Accolti would

favour

“ do, seguita in Roma nel 1534, da Glementi VII. fu data 5 ad Alfonso suo figliuolo naturale." Manni, Istoria del Decamerone, par. ii. cap. xxxi. p. 238. There appears, however, some degree of inconsistency in these accounts, for if Bernardo was deprived of his possessions by Paul II. how could they be restored to his son Alfonso by Clement VII. who preceded Paul in the pontifical chair, and died in 1534? The annotator on the Ragionamenti of Vasari, thus relates this circumstance; “ Leone X. donò al Unico, nel 6 1520, col titolo di Ducato, la Città di Nepi, posta nel * patrimonio di S. Pietro; la quale poi, nel 1536, per la

6 morte di lui senza successione, ritorno alla Santa Sede." Ragionam. p. 93. Ed. Arezz. 1762.

XVI.

A. Et. 48. 4. Pont. VI.

CHAP favour his holiness with a visit, as he had already promised; and that the

poet

66 no sooner A. D. 1518. “ made his appearance in the venerable hall

" of St. Peter, than the vicar of Christ cried

out, open all the doors and let in the crowd. 66 Accolti then recited a Ternale in honour of " the blessed virgin; with which his auditors

were so delighted that they unanimously “ exclaimed, long live the divine poet, the unpa6 rallelled Accolti !"(a)

Distinguished as Accolti was by such unbounded approbation, one circumstance only is wanting to his glory--that his works should have perished along with him. Unfortunately,

however,

la) Lettere di P. Aretino, v. 46. Mazzuchel. Scrittori d'Italia i. 66. If the reader be curious to inquire what were the sublime and pathetic passages, which produced so wonderful an effect on the audience, he may be gratified by perusing the following lines to the virgin, which are cited in the letter of Pietro Aretino as having given occasion to such cxtravagant applause;

“ Quel generasti di cui concepesti;

• Portasti quel di cui fosti fattura;

“ E di te nacque quel di cui nascesti." Happy days! when poetic honours were so easily attained. The whole of this Ternale is printed in the early editions of the works of Accolti; and may be consulted by such of my readers as approve the above specimen.

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XVI.

however, some of them have survived their author, and although they are not wholly devoid of merit, yet they are so far inferior to the idea that must have been formed of them from the A. Pont. VI. accounts given of their astonishing effects, as greatly to detract.from his fame. Among these is his dramatic poem entitled Virginia, written in ottava and terza rima, and represented for the first time at Siena, on the marriage of the Magnifico Antonio Spanochi.(a) This piece, which may be enumerated amongst the earliest productions of the Italian drama, is founded on the story of Giletta di Nerbona one of the novels of Boccaccio; but the scene is changed from France to Naples, and the name of Virginia was given by the author to his heroine in reference to that of his own daughter, who became the wife of the count Carlo Malatesti lord of Sogliano.(b) of the lyric pieces of Accolti, which are not numerous, his Stram

A.D. 1518.
A. .Et. 43.

botti

(a) As appears from the title of the early editions, also 1. Manni, Istoria del Decamerone, par. ii. cap. xxxi. p. 937.

16) Mazzuchelli denominates him « il Conte Giambattista “ Malatesta," and adds, that Virginia brought her husband 10,000 crowns, which in those days was considered as a very large portion. Scrittori d'Ital. i. 67.

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