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XVII.

been usual to present these pieces as votive CHAP. gifts at the altar of S. Anna, but the offerings became so numerous that Corycius was at length obliged to close the doors of his chapel, and to terminate this more than half idolatrous worship.(a)

A. D. 1518. A. tt. 43. A. Pont. VI.

Poem of Arsilli

en

The collection of the Coryciana is terminated by a poem of Francesco Arsilli, entitled Francesco De Poetis Urbanis, which celebrates the names, titled De and characterizes the works of a great number Poetis Ur

of

banis,

O grant him still with jest and song

The blissful hours of life to pass ;
To healthful age his years prolong;

And crown with wine his festive glass;
Till satiate with this earthly fare,

You lead him to your seats divine,
The banquets of the Gods to share,

And into nectar change his wine,

(a) This circumstance is alluded to in the following lines of Fabius Vigil.

“ Tandem, Jane, oculis aufer Miracula Divum,

66 Nam decet arcanis sacra latere locis.
" Ni facis, accurrent vario tot ab orbe poetæ

Quot Persarum iniere agmina Thermopylas.
" Nec tibi, quot scita populo statuere Quiritum

“ Bissenæ adversus sat fuerint tabulæ,” &c.

XVII.

CHAP. of Latin poets resident at Rome in the time

of Leo X. Its author was a native of SiniA. D.1518. gaglia and was of a respectable family, his A. Pont. VI. brother Paolo having been deputed by his

countrymen to congratulate Lorenzo de' Medi-
ci duke of Urbino, on his acquisition of that

After having finished his studies at
Padua and devoted himself to the practice of
medicine, Francesco took up his residence at
Rome.(a) He appears, however, neither to

have

state.

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(a) Tiraboschi, Storia della Lett. Ital. vii. par. iii. Þ. 200, where it appears that Arsilli returned to Sinigaglia, in the year 1527, not richer than he left it, and lived there till 1540; several other works of this author yet remain in MS. among which Tiraboschi enumerates, Amorum, libri iji. Pirmillieidos, lib. iii. Piscatio. Helvetiados, lib. i. Predictionum, lib. iii. Onorato Fascitelli has celebrated the memory of Arsilli in the following lines.

In obitu Arsilli, Medici, el Poeta.

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" Ergo videmus lumine hoc spirabili

66 Cassum jacere te quoque ; “ Ut plebe quivis unus e vili jacet,

" ARSILLE, magno Apollini " Novemque Musis care? Sive poculis

66 Præsentibus morbi graves " Essent levandi, sive dulci carmine 5 Dicenda mater aurea

66 Cupidinum,

have been favourable to the pontiff, nor to CHAP. have obtained his friendship; as a reason for which, it has been said that he was too fond A. D. 1518. of his own liberty to attend on the court, and A. Pont. VI. that the court therefore neglected or forgot him.(a) Hence Arsilli was one of the few instances which these times afforded of unrewarded merit; and his dissatisfaction is pointedly expressed in the commencement of his poem, addressed to Paulus Jovius, where he enters into the following comparison between the patronage afforded to the poets of antiquity, and to those of his own days:

XVII.

A. St. 43,

Long have I, Jovius, in my mind revolv'd
Whether the laureate wreath to former times,
Or to our modern bards be rather due.

-But

“ Cupidinum, lususque furtorum leves.

66 O vota nostra inania!
Quid dura fati non potest necessitas ?

“ I, da lyram mihi, puer,
“ Manuque funde proniore Cæcubum.

" Nunc sunt Lyæi munera,
“ Nunc plectra cordi; nunc juvat lectissimo

66 Cinxisse flore tempora.
" Sicci, tenebris obsiti, tristi in Styge

" Fortasse cras silebimus."

(a) Natura enim frugi, et auræ libertatis custos, " Vaticanam aulam, et potentium limina, contumaci qua" dam superbia devitabat." Jov. in Elog. Arsilli, ciii.

С НА Р.
XVII.

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

A. Pont. VI.

-But sure the muses in those better days
Were blest, when great AUGUSTUS rul'd the earth,
And when MECENAS with his liberal hand
Foster'd the flowers of genius. Witness thou,
Melodious Horace, and thou, 'Mighty Bard,
Who sang'st the labours of the Phrygian chief,
And, Naso, thou, and ye, the numerous throng
Whose fame survives the lapse of rolling years.
Then to the poet's song the sovereign bent
With ear benignant; but in modern times
We to the deaf our tuneful warblings pour.
Rude was the breast that from th' imperial smile
Caught not a warmer fervour; and 'tis hence
We yield (if yet we yield) to elder days.

- But when I note this avaricious age,
And the scant boon the modern patron gives ;
-An age, in which the tuneful maids themselves
Might ask admittance at the door in vain,
And unprotected on Parnassus' hill
The laurel droops and dies; I boldly then
Prefer to ancient talents modern worth.
For not by hopes of lucre led, the bard
To virtue only consecrates his song.

O that the shepherd would, with timely care,
Collect his scattered flock, and lead them forth
To richer pasturage, and guard them sase
From ravenous wolves, that with unsparing tooth
Tear the fair fleece from Phoebus' favourite train.
Then to the envy of each former age
Should flow the nectar'd melody.
Tho'chill'd by cold neglect, the heavenly flame
Glows ardent; and forgetful of his lot
The poet raises his immortal strain.

Even now,

To

XVII.

A. t. 43.

To these querulous effusions, the nume- CHAP. rous instances of the liberality of the pontiff to the professors of every department of litera- A. D. 1518 ture and the general testimony of his contem- A. Pont. VI. poraries, would afford a sufficient reply;(a) but for this purpose it is not necessary to resort further than to the poem itself, which exhibits in a striking point of view the astonishing proficiency which, in the course of a very few years, had taken place in the city of Rome. This proficiency the author, it is true, affects to consider as the spontaneous result of the genius, the talents, and the virtues of those whom he has celebrated; but he might as well have informed us, that in those days the

flowes

(a) Even Jovius, to whom the poein of Arsilli is addressed, attributes the sudden improvement of polite literature to the liberality of Leo X. “ Scripsit (Arsillus) lepi“dum libellum de Poetis Urbanis, mihi, tanquam veteri " sodali, dedicatum; quum Leone ingeniis liberaliter ar“ ridente, multi undique poetæ illustres, nequaquam ad " inanes spes in Urbem confluxissent, et pulcherrimo quo• dam certamine à singulis in una tantùm statuæ materia « scriberetur, qua carminum farragine Corytius, homo Tre66 vir, humani juris libellis præpositus, uti perhumanus

poetarum hospes, ac admirator inclaruit; ea scilicet, " statua insigni marmorea, Aureliano in templo dedicata, " invitatisque vatibus, ut tria numina Christi Dei, et Ma“ tris, ac Aviæ uno in signo celebrarent.” Jov, in Arsilli Elog. ciii,

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