Sayfadaki görseller

CHAP. ed a strict intimacy with most of the learned

men of the time.(a)


A. D. 1518. A. Et. 3. A. Pont. VI.

It would be unjust to the characters of the illustrious scholars before-mentioned, and particularly of Fracastoro, Flaminio, Navagero, and Vida, to close this brief account, without adverting to some circumstances which apply to them in common, and which confer the highest honour on their memory. Although they devoted their talents to the cultivation of the same department of literature, yet so far were they from being tainted in the slightest degree with that envy which has too often infected men of learning, and led them to regard the productions of their contemporaries with a jaundiced eye, that they not only passed their lives in habits of the strictest friendship, but admired and enjoyed the literary productions of each other, with a warmth and a sincerity which were at once a proof of the correctness of their judgment and of the


(a) v. Fracastor. Dialog. cui lil. Turrius, sive de Intellectione, in op. p. 121. Ed. Giunti, 1574. Ejusd. Carm. ii. iii. viii. xiv. xv. xvi. xvii. in op. tom. i. Navageri, veris descriptio, in ok. Comin. p. 199. Flaminii, Carm. passim.

liberality of their minds. This admiration CHAP. they were not more ready to feel than to express; and their works abound with passages A. D. 1518. devoted to the commemoration of their friend- A. Pont. VI. ship, and to the mutual commendation of their talents and writings. This example extended to their contemporaries, and humanized and improved the character of the age ; insomuch that the scholars of the time of Leo X. were not more superior to those of the fifteenth century in the proficiency made in liberal studies, than in the urbanity of their manners, the candour of their judgment, and the generous desire of promoting the literary reputation of each other. Hence it is further to be observed, that these authors have never dipped their pens in the gall of satire, or degraded their genius by combining its efforts with those of malignity, of jealousy, of arrogance, or of spleen. Not confining their talents to the cloistered recesses of learned indolence, they obtained by their conduct in public life the esteem and confidence of their fellow-citizens ; whilst their hours of leisure were devoted to the cultivation of the severer sciences and enlivened by those poetical effusions to which they are now indebted for the chief part of their fame. The intrinsic merit and classical purity of their writings are


A. t. 43.

GG 2



CHAP. rendered yet more estimable, by the strict at

tention to decency and moral propriety which 4. D. 1518. they uniformly display; and which, added to A. Pont. VI. the consideration of the ease and simplicity

with which they are written, might justly entitle them to a preference even to the remains of many of the ancient authors, in promoting the education of youth.

Latin poe

vated at Rome.

In no part of Italy, however, was the try culti

cultivation of Latin poetry attended to with such assiduity as in the city of Rome, to which place almost all the learned men from every part of Europe occasionally resorted, and where many of them fixed their constant residence. Among those who appear to have enjoyed in an eminent degree the favour and confidence of

the supreme pontiff, we may particularly disGuido Pos- tinguish Guido Postumo Silvestri of Pesaro;

who was born in that city, of a noble or a respectable family, in the year 1479.(a) His


tumo Silvestri.

(a) The particulars of his life have been collected by the Cav. Domenico Bonamini, under the title of Memorie ISTORICHE di Guido Postumo Silvestre Pesarese, and published in the Nuova Raccolla d'Opuscoli, tom. xx. Venem. 1770. To this tract, and to the writings of Postumo, I am chiefly indebted for the particulars given of him in this work.


father Guido Silvestri having died before the CHAP. birth of his son, his mother gave to her offspring the appellation of her deceased hus- A. D. 1518. band with the addition of that of Postumo. A. Pont. VI. His early education was superintended by Gian-Francesco Superchio, Proposto of the cathedral of Pesaro, better known by the name of Philomuso,(a) and by Gabriel Foschi, afterwards appointed by Julius II. archbishop of Durazzo.(b) He then repaired to the academy of Padua, where having pursued his studies during two years, he married at the early age of nineteen a lady of whom he was deeply enamoured, and whom he has frequently celebrated in his writings under the name of Fannia.(c) The death of his beloved consort, which happened within the


A. Et. 48.


(a) Author of the congratulatory verses to Leo X. on his appointment to the rank of cardinal, and afterwards on his elevation to the pontificate. v. ante, vol. i. chap. i. p. 31. vol. ii. chap. x. p. 236.

16) To this, his early preceptor, Postumo has addressed his affectionate and pathetic elegy, entitled, “ Ad Fuscum, “ Episcopum Comaclensem," Eleg. lib. i. p. 10, in which he acknowledges his kindness, and laments his own misfortunes and imprisonment.

(c) Elegia, lib.ii. p. 46. 47. 53, &c.

A. Et. 43.

CHAP. short

of three


after her marriage, XVII.

whilst it appears to have affected him with sinA. D. 1518. cere sorrow, afforded him an additional toA. Pont. VI. pic for the exercise of his poetical talents.(a)

He now quitted the city of Padua and engaged in the service of Giovanni Sforza lord of Pesaro, on whose behalf he interested himself with great warmth when that prince was attacked by Cæsar Borgia. On this occasion, Postumo expressed his resentment against the family of Borgia in some sarcastic verses ; in consequence of which he was soon afterwards deprived of his possessions, and might have considered himself as sufficiently fortunate in having escaped with his life from the effects of their resentment.(b) On his.expulsion from


(a) Ad illust. Comitem Hannibalem Rang. Prorempticon. El. lib. i. p. 24.

16) It is observable, that in one of the poems of Postumo, intended to excite the citizens of Pesaro to resist the arms of Borgia, the author refers, not only to the murder of the duke of Gandia, by Cæsar Borgia, and to the supposed incestuous intercourse of this family, but to other charges, not alluded to, as far as I have discovered, by any other writer, which are however sufficiently refuted by their own enormity.

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