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INTRO- he received at the hands of that king; but from other DUCTION letters of his we learn that his duties in this Embassy were

the cause of trouble and much unhappiness of mind, a thing by no means surprising at a time when war was continually being waged abroad, and things at home were in a turmoil of civil and religious conflict.

On his return to Italy he was sent as Ambassador to Pius v., then recently elevated to the Papal throne. This Pope in his earlier days had studied theology at Casale ; and full of pleasant recollections of both the town and its people, he received Guazzo with much warmth. At the close of 1566 died the Duchess Margarita, the widow of that Gonzaga to whom Charles v. had transferred the principality of Montferrat. Guazzo had been her secretary and counsellor, and he it was who pronounced her funeral oration.

Shortly after, he married Francesca da Ponte, and retired from official connection with affairs of State. Thenceforward he devoted himself to study and the cares of a householder, though with a mind ever occupied on projects for the general encouragement of good discipline, and the alleviation of the many miseries which had fallen upon his afflicted district under the stress of war and depredation. It was about this period that he took in hand the re-establishment of the Academy of the Illustrati, which, founded some years before under his own advice, was soon destined to eclipse its ill-famed predecessor, the Argonauti, which had been promoted some twenty years previously in Casale by the dissolute Nicolo Franco.


It should be borne in mind that through the earlier period of Guazzo's literary career there was nothing more closely interwoven with his aims in life than the haunting dream of an Academy to be identified with himself. The account he gives of the objects and the practices of these associations in the Civile Conversation brings this fact prominently forward : and here it may be well to say that although Guazzo himself is not one of the dramatis personae in the dialogue of which his main work is composed, he is, from start to finish, very obviously the real speaker under the masks of both his brother William and Anniball Magnocavalli. If anything were wanted to show that this was so, we have but to read the expressions of affection, reverence, satisfaction, and even pride, which come so easily from Guazzo's pen when alluding to Academies generally, and more especially to his own foundation, that of the Illustrati, to be completely assured upon the point :

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'ANNIB. It is a common saying, that the bondes of vertue binde more straightly, then the bondes of blood. And in trueth one good man may be sayd to be a neere kinsman to another good man, by the conformitie of their minds and manners.

Guaz. Heerby I imagine how great the concorde, the pleasure, and the profit is, which is reaped by the Academie of the illustratie (as they tearme them) established in this citie.

*ANNIB. You are (not) deceived in your imagination, for this Academy being assembled in the name of God, you may well thinke, that he is in the midst of them, and that hee mainteineth it in peace and amitie. What comfort every one receiveth by it, I cannot sufficiently set foorth unto you: for that I have tried in my selfe and seene plainely in other Academikes, that there is not any one so afflicted with the common miseries of this citie, and with his private troubles, who setting once his foote into

INTRO. the hal of the Academie, seemeth not to arive at the haven DUCTION of tranquilitie, and beginneth not to cleere his minde of care :

casting his eyes about the hall to see those goodly devises, full of profounde mysteries. I may well say of my selfe, that

I when my bodie is shut within it, all my yrkesome thoughtes are shut out: the which attend me at the doore, and at my going out get uppon my shoulders. But touching the good which commeth of [t]his happie assembly, you may be assured in thinking to your selfe what diversitie of learning is there handled, sometimes with publike lectures, sometimes with private reasoninges, which breede that delight, which commeth of giving and receiving, as we have sayde before.' (Bk. 11. 224.)

The members of these Academies—and there were many of them throughout Italy 1_were each known by some special name: Guazzo's own title in the Illustrati being l'Elevato (the Exalted). His prime motive in lending his support to such societies was educational. Not content with an institution for the recital of poems, little, or not at all, allied to the circumstances of the time, he dreamed of a centre where the associates should each in turn communicate to his fellows the gathered fruit of his own particular branch of study; and where, for the better understanding of the subject, a discussion should take place, with free power to criticise both the topic and the point of view from which it was presented. The Civile Conversation is, in a way, an example of such debates as were in his mind when engaged in the founding of his own Academy. This well-loved offspring of his enthusiasm survived its founder by only a few years, although amongst its associates were

1 See Tiraboschi, Storia della Letteratura Italiana, 1805-1809, vol. vii. chaps. xxix. and xxx. ; also Civile Conversation, Bk. 1. 42-3.

* See Bk. 1. 41, and therupon it is commonly saide that Disputation is the sifter out of the trueth.'


such men as Gian Jacopo Bottazzo, Francesco Pugiella, INTRO

DUCTION Annibale Magnocavalli, Orazzio Navazzotti, Gherardo Borgogni, and others.

Amongst those who shared an affectionate friendship with Guazzo were Bernardino Baldi, one whose books, philosophy, and profound learning led to his being styled • the Varro of the sixteenth century’; Girolamo Vida, Bishop of Alva, a cultured writer of Latin verse ; Francesco Panigarola, Bishop of Asti, the famous preacher ; and Carlo Emanuele, Duke of Savoy, one of the most learned Italians of his time. One of Guazzo's minor literary projects was a tabulated collection of words of wisdom, figures of speech, proverbs, and other such matter, gathered from the writings or sayings of eminent scholars of the day, a work which the Duke of Savoy in 1588 was anxious to publish. His death, however, intervened, and the book was not printed.

Though Guazzo possessed a country seat in Ozzano, he was always better pleased to rusticate at Olivola, amidst the hills of Montferrat, where he had built himself a cottage, to which he had given the name of “Il Bel Riposo”; and there, of all other places, he loved to have his friends about him ; and few men in Italy at the time were more sought after and honoured than he was by those that called him friend.

In his later days life had become burdensome to him through constant attacks of melancholia, a malady against which he contended manfully, aided by his strong religious feelings, and not less by a medicine which, he used to say, he carried always about him-his will. His brother

INTRO. Guglielmo suffered in a similar way, as is seen from time DUCTION to time in the pages of the Civile Condersation, and more

especially at the opening of the dialogue.

Guazzo lived in happiness with both his first and his second wife. The first died in 1575, leaving him, as her tombstone tells, the sorrowing father of three children. It is the only monument in Casale that bears the name of Stefano Guazzo upon it.

Of these children, his daughter Olimpia became the wife of Orazio Curioni, a Doctor of Law at Asti-a happy marriage, as is testified by the affectionate nature of the father's letters to both. Olimpia's brother Antonio took up the legal profession, and became a magistrate at Trino. Both children had been educated by their father himself ; and amongst the many valuable maxims inculcated by him, one stands out pre-eminent above the rest : “It is better to die than do an unworthy deed.' It was with a view to assisting his son in his law studies that Guazzo moved his home to Pavia towards the end of 1589. Received there with acclamation, he was at once made a citizen of the town. What probably gave him greater satisfaction was his election as a member of the Academy of the Affidati, of which he afterwards became the president. He died at Pavia on the 6th December 1593, and was buried in the Church of San Tommaso de' Predicatori.

Professor Giovanni Canna,1 to whose industry and research I am indebted for many of the foregoing details

· Della Vita e degli Scritti di Stefano Guaszo---Discorso detto . in Casale di Monferrato. Firenze, 1872 (privately printed). Estratto dal periodico La Scuola, anno 1°, vol. ii. fasc. iv., v.

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