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upon by moth and dust, Ferrara yet preserves a faint and colourless image of the olden time, and her aspect appeals to the fancy with all that pathos which belongs to things once siately and noble, now rotting in oblivion and decay. As Browning, in his poem entitled “A Toccata of Galuppi,” speaks of the fair Venetian dames who used to listen to that quaint music, toying with a velvet mask or drinking in soft sounds of courtship covered by the tinkle of the harpsichord, and exclaims, with the sensitiveness of a poet,

What's become of all the gold
Used to fall :nd brush the

I feel chilly and grown old ! so one may feel chilly in the sunny streets of Ferrara, thinking of all those brave figures, shining with beauty, valour, splendour, and genius, which used to pace them, and have marched across the illuminated disc of this life into the fathomless shadow of the dread beyond.

Duke Hercules, the immediate predecessor of Tasso's patron, Alfonso II., had beautified and extended his city very greatly. In his time and under his auspices a whole new quarter sprang up, enclosed by an extended circuit of walls fortified according to the military science of that day. He caused a number of new streets to be planned, and compelled the monks of various religious houses, such, for example, as the Monastery of St. Catherine, of the Angels, and of the Carthusians, to sell or let on lease their lands which bordered on the new streets, in order to have stately mansions constructed on them. In this way, in the Via degli Angeli alone there arose four or five truly magnificent palaces, besides other handsome edifices; and of these palaces the visitor to Ferrara will probably remember most vividly the Palazzo de Diamanti, so called because the whole of its facade is covered with massive stonework, each block of which is cut in facets, like the surface of a precious stone. This splendid building existed, then, in Tasso's time; but when he first saw it, it was not yet completed. It belonged to the Cardinal Luigi d'Este, to whom it had been bequeathed by Duko Hercules, together with a sum of money to finish it. And the Cardinal finished it accordingly in 1567—that is to say, two years after Taseo first went to reside at the court of Ferrara. The city was then a brilliant scene, the resort of the most famous, talented and illustrious Italians of the day. Beauty, rank and genius figured on that stage. The first parts, the leading personages in the drama, were admirably filled; even tragic elements were not wanting to complete the interest and prevent any chance of a monotony of cheerfulness! A great poet suffering from hopeless love and forcibly imprisoned amongst maniacs, for instance, must have been a thrilling incident. . As to the choral masses in the background, the crowd which figured in dumb show, the populace, in short, they suffered a good deal from pestilence and famine in those days; both which scourges fell, of course, more heavily on the poor than on the rich. But still it appears that Alfonso II. did his best for them according to his conceptions of his duty. The population of the city, according to a


census taken in 1592 by command of Pope Clement VIII. soon after the death of Duke Alfonso, amounted to 41,710 souls, exclusive of ecclesiastics, foreigners, and Jews; including those categories, it reached to over 50,000. The number of inhabitants in Ferrara in the present year is but 30,000 !

In the year 1570 (according to Tiraboschi and Rosini, 1572 according to Manso) Tasso accompanied the Cardinal Luigi d'Este on an embassy with which the latter was charged by Pope Gregory XIII. to the court of Charles IX. of France. There the poet was loaded with flattery and honours, the king himself particularly delighting to distinguish him for the reason, as it is alleged by contemporary biographers, that Tasso had paid such a splendid tribute to the valour of the French nation in his great poem of “ Geoffredo." Thus it would seem that the * Jerusalem Deliverad was originally destined to bear the name of Godfrey de Bouillon, and also that it was far enough advanced at the period of Tasso's visit to France to allow of a portion of it having become known to the world, at least to the little world of courtiers who surrJunied the poet.

But Tasso did not remain very long in France. Within a twelvemɔnth he returned to Ferrara, drawn thither by an irresistible attraction --his unhppy and misplaced passion for the Duchess Eleonora d'Este. It appears clearly from the poet's own words that he beca ne fantastically enainoured of the princess's portrait before he had seen her; for on his first arrival in Ferrara, during the festivities on the occasion of th: murriage of Duke Alfonso with Bärbara of Austriz, Eleonora was too in disposed to leave her room. But very soon his love ceased to be merely a fantastic dream, and became only too serious and fervent. On her part the princess was touched and flattered by the adoration of the greatest post of his day, who was at the same time a very accomplished cavalier. She seems to have had an insatiable appetite for his homag-, his praises, conveyed in immortal verse, and his respectful worship of her at a distance. But the best testimony of the most illustrious Italia i commentators seems to exclude the idea that the princess so derogated from her rank as to return Tasso's love like a woman of a less illustrious breed, or as he very certainly desired that she should return it. Scandals of a much graver kind than a love intrigue between an unmarried princess and a poet were rife enough in that time and place to make such a suspicion neither strange nor improbable. But various circumstances minutely searched for, sifted, and collated, concur to show that there is no ground for darkening Eleonora's maiden fame.

But she cannot, I fear, be acquitted on a different count, that, namely, of a cold, h ard, and unwomanly indifference to the terrible misfortunes which fell upon Torquato Tasso for love of her. During his long and horrible imprisonment in the hospital of St. Anna, she vouchsafed no reply to his heartrending appeals to her for mercy; nor, so far as is known, did she make one effort to intercede with the duke her brother for his release. It is true, however, and may be pleaded as an extenu

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ating circumstance that to have done so might have endangered her own position in her brother's court, and might even have resulted in her own imprisonment in some dull cloister, which Madonna Eleonora would have found a dreary exchange for her brilliant, luxurious, flattered existence in Ferrar... Let the excuse count for what it is worth, but after reading the earlier story of Tasso's intercourse with her, the blank, implacable silence with which she received his cries from prison chills and oppresses one after three centuries.

After his return from France Tasso continued to work at the “Geru. salemme Liberata,” and produce also a very different species of poem in the charming dramatic pastoral of “ Aminta,” which has furnished the model for innumerable other dramas of the same kind.

It was represented for the first time in Ferrara, in the year 1573, with great pomp and splendour. Afterwards it was played at Florence, the scenery and decorations being under the direction of the celebrated architect Bontalenti. It was received with universal applause, and no sooner was it printed than it was translated into several European languages. The Duchess of Urbino (Lucrezia, sister of Alfonso and Eleonora d'Este) sent for the poet to her court, in order that he might read it to her himself; and he spent some pleasant and tranquil months with this princess, partly at Urbino, and partly in a country seat near to it. He returned, in company with the Duchess Lucrezia, to Ferrara, and not long afterwards made part of the suite of gentlemen who accompanied the reigning Duke Alfonso when the latter went into the Venetian Provinces to meet Henry III. of France, who had then newly succeeded to that throne, on his way from Poland.

There was

great gathering of grandees at Venice, and later at Ferrara, whither the Duke invited Henry III., the Cardinal of San Sisto (nephew of Pope Gregory XIII.), Duke Emanuel Philibert of Savoy, Duke Guglielmo Gonzaga of Mantua, and many other notable and puissant seigneurs, to accompany him. The great heats (it was the month of July under an Italian sun), or the fatigues of the journey, or the much banqueting in Venice, or all three causes combined, gave our Tasso a quartan fever, accompanied by so great a languor and weakness as to compel him to renounce all studious application for a time. His health was not fully re-established until the spring of 1575, in which year he had the satisfaction of completing his great poem of the “Jerusalem Delivered.”

And respecting the completion of this fine work, certain facts have to be recorded, which it is well to warn the reader are facts : for here the authentic narrative takes upon itself an air of impertinent irony, which might well be attributed to the innocent transcriber of historic events as a flippant attempt to hold up to ridicule the whole race of critics! than whom no variety of the human species are less mirthinspiring to a righ'-minded author.

Tasso, then, distrustful of his own powers, thought fit to submit his yet unpublished epic to the judgment of various learned men of letters, who, although it does not appear that they have ever produced any

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thing themselves which posterity delights to honour, yet had a great reputation in their day as holding the secret of the only authentic road by which to reach readers in centuries yet unborn. Unfortunately, it turned out that these erudite persons differed in opinion among them. selves to a degree quite fatally confusing to the minds of those who consulted them. For example, it may interest readers of the “Jerusalem Delivered,” whether in the original or in Fairfax's translation, to know that several critics considered that the protagonist too manifestly eclipsed all the secondary heroes of the poem ; that Scipio Gonzaga pronounced the episode of Erminia too improbable; that Sperone SpeToni found the unity of action" defective ; that another objected to the descriptions of Armida and her enchanted garden as too glowing: and that Silvio Antoniano wished that not only all the enchantments, lut all the love scenes of whatever nature, should be ruthlessly cut out siltogether. Moreover, the episode of Sofronia and Olindo, now deemed one of the most touching and beautiful in the whole poem, very narrowly escap d excision, because the otherwise conflicting critics were nearly unanimous in condemning it. Fortunately for us of these later times, Tasso, after undergoing a great deal of annoyance, and many struggles with his better judgment, resolved to pay as little heed to his censors as possible. His dilemma, however, is one which will recur again and again; for the ideal concej tions of a great genius will always be so far above and beyond his performance as to make the suggestion of amendments in the latter seem very possible to him. But the discontent and diffidence of an extraordinary mind as to its own work is a very different matter from the power of an ordinary mind to better it.

The anxiety and curiosity with which the publication of the “Jernsalem Delivered” was expected indirectly caused Tasso endless pain and mortification, for the cantos were seized upon one by one as they were finished, and before the poet had time to revise or reconsider them, and passed from hand to hand until they reached some publisher of the day who gave them to the press full of errors and even with huge gaps here and there of an entire stanza. Manso says that the MSS. of his poem were got from Tasso in this fragmentary man. ner partly by the importunity of friends, partly by the commands•of his sovereign masters. Alas, poor poet! Then, too, there assailed him a furious warfare waged by the Academicians of the Crusca against the “ Jerusalem Liberated.” This critical body was not exempt from the destiny which appears to afflict all similar institutions, namely, a strange adjustment of the focus of their “mind's eye,” which makes them unable to perceive genius at a lesser distance than one or two centuries back. One of their number, a Florentine, Lionardo Salviati, published a pamphlet in which he pronounces Tasso inferior not only to Ariosto, which might be a tenable opinion, but to Bojardo and Pulci! Upon which one of Tasso's biographers mildly observes that this is a judgment “ most unworthy of one who had the reputation of being learned in the Greek, Latin, and Italian literatures, and of a first-rate critic' (un cri uo di prim' ordine). And he subjoins farther on, “ If criticisms dictated by a spirit of party serve to retard the justice due to an original writer, the latter can, however, easily console himself by the certain hope of occupying that place in the temple of glory which posterity, severs and infallible in its judgments, will assign to him.” A comfortable doctrine of the all-the-same-a-hundred-years-hence pattern with which certain minds easily console themselves" for the .misfortunes of other people !

Some time before the completion of his great poem Tasso had the grief of losing his father. Bernardo Tasso had continued uninterruptedly in the servicu Duke Guglielmo Gonzaga, and died on September 4, 1569, at a place called Ostia, on the Po, of which town he was governor. Torquato hastened to his father, attended him lovingly in his last illness, and after his death consecrated some of his finest verses to his memory

And now follow thickly on each other's heels misfortune after misfortune, morìification after mortification, treachery after treachery. Envy, hatred, malice, and all the uncharitableness which haunt a court, made Torquato Tasso the chief mark for their poisoned shafts ; he stood high enough above the crowd to bu well aimed at. Guarini (the author of the “ Pastor Fido") set up to be his rival not only in poetry but in the good graces of the Princess Eleonora, and Guarini was a man who might well mike the lover, if not the poet, jealous. In 15. vid.sso visited the court of Urbino, and refrained during several months from writing to Eleonora; ind that his silence was due to the pain and indig. nation he felt at seeing (or fancying he saw—the effect on his mind was the same) a rival preferred to himself by a lady whom he had so long and devotedly served, is abundantly set forth by Professor Rosini. But the proofs he has patiently accumulated are far too voluminous for even a portion of them to be given here; and I advise any reader who is interested in the subject to consult Rosini's “Saggio sugli Amori di Torquato Tasso,” inserted in the seventeenth volume of the Pisan edition of Tasso's works published by Niccolo Caparro. Envy, base intrigues, and the blackest treachery, prepared and forged the first link in the chain of misery with which henceforward Tasso was bound. Towards the clos? of the year 1576 (when Tasso was thirty-three years old) a gentleman of the court of Ferrara, his trusted and cherished friend, with whom, in the words of Manso, “he had held all things in common, even his thoughts,” betrayed certain secrets, which Tasso had confided to him, to the duke. These “secrets” appear to have been love verses addressed to the Duchess Eleonora, without any superscription, or else, in several cases, with a misleading one, such as "verses written for a friend to his mistress," and so forth. The poems which are still extant are very impassioned, and such as, when addressed by a subject to a woman of Eleonora's rank, were certain to excite the haughty indignation of a despotic prince. By way of uxa.ipi: it may suffice to indicate Sonnet

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