The beauty of the ladies of Florence is celebrated with the theme of love, the text complementing them and favoring them over the ladies of France. The final stanza calls to the ladies of Florence, as the French perfumers offer free samples of the oils of their land. The profane nature of the Carnival text betrays composition in the fifteenth century, between and , and the reference to the French perfumers suggests the economic interactions between Italy and France, resulting from the cultural interactions between Italy, France and Spain during the Italian wars between and This Lenten text focuses upon the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and was sung in the period preceding the Carnival festivities.
The common theme of love pervades both texts, in fact, demonstrating the connection between the poems. The entire world falls apart as the dead rise from the ground, a stark and horrifying tale that would instill fear in listeners. In the first stanza, three saints are referenced by the poet, all of whom zealously pursued the preaching of the Christian faith. The first name mentioned is Jerome , a Latin Christian Priest and theologian who is known to be the most learned of the ancient fathers of the Western Church. He was known to have scorned the Roman clergy for their excesses, and was responsible for the creation of the Vulgate, the standard Latin translation of the Bible.
Dominic — , founder of the order to which Savonarola belonged, made the Christian faith accessible to 95 members of all classes by preaching in the vernacular. Sylvester — is also identified as a prophet and martyr, accredited with converting the Emperor Constantine to Christianity in Rome, thus changing the course of the Roman Catholic Church. There is a common theme to the legacy left by all three of these saints, the first being the common interest in making the liturgical texts of the Bible accessible to laymen as well as to the clergy, by either printing copies of texts in vernacular languages, or preaching in the vernacular.
The second common theme in the lives of these three saints has to do with the nature with which they undertook their programs, with fiery and ferocious intent. Both of themes of scriptural accessibility and spiritual zealotry are applied to Savonarola. Instead of terrifying the listeners, the words of this lauda call for assistance from the prophet Savonarola and his fellow martyrs held dear by Florentine nuns.
The second stanza asks the heart to melt away like wax. The third stanza describes in vivid imagery the gushing blood and pain this incites, and of how the only cure for the heartache of the Christian believer is the pain of death. The sweetness of pain and death are recurrent themes, and calls to attention the values of the flagellants, who were commonly seen in the streets of Renaissance Florence. This stanza asks that Savonarola enflame their hearts with the fire of love; using the same vivid imagery, the text describes how Savonarola was burned alive, as well as alluding to the zealous approach undertaken in his reformation.
In the final four lines, Lorenzo asks the heart to learn from Jesus that each person must be responsible for Patrick Macey, Bonfire Songs, 5, The fact that both the Carnival song text and the lauda text discuss cures and ointments relates them, demonstrating that Lorenzo had the Carnival song in mind when writing the poetry of the lauda text. These stanzas 4 through 13 go on to instruct the nuns as to the behavior they are adopting by entering the cloister stanzas 4—5 as well as seek guidance from Savonarola, delivering them from evil stanza 6 and helping them to avoid temptation stanza 7.
The texts of both of the laude keep the focus on the heart. The heart is compared to Savonarola, who endures in his missionary work and is finally rewarded with martyrdom for his efforts. The Carnival song poetry is more frivolous, as the theme of the heart falling in love has now been displaced by the oils that anoint and incite love.
The lauda, on the other hand, retains more depth not only by tackling more intense subject matter, but also by insisting how the heart must learn and die for and with the Lord. The refrain consists of eighteen measures of music alternating between homophony and polyphony. Each phrase begins with all three voices moving together mm. We find a shift duple to triple meter in m. The volta returns to the duple meter once again, and ends with light contrapuntal writing mm.
The sophistication with which this music was composed has lead some scholars to suggest that Heinrich Isaac may be the composer of this song. Both genres of literary and musical style, the Carnival song and the sacred lauda, found their way freely into public expression in the fifteenth century, with few boundary lines drawn between them. Cultivated by both secular and sacred institutions during the Renaissance in Florence, the contrafacture of Carnival songs indicates the original lack of distinction between secular and sacred aspects of social behavior in Renaissance Florence.
This practice was used as a tool for memorizing hymns, for communicating spiritual and political messages, as well as to honor the memory of past regimes and leaders. Performed in street celebrations, religious processions, at weddings, and for funerals, the music for Carnival persisted, thanks to the familiarity of the tunes.
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Neuhausen and Stuttgart: American Institute of Musicology, Hay, Denys. The Church in Italy in the Fifteenth Century. Hook, Judith. London: Hammish-Hamilton, Humphrey, Chris. Manchester: Manchester University Press, Jenson, DeLamar. Reniassance Europe: Age of Recovery and Reconciliation. Heath and Company, Jeppesen, Knud. New York: Norton, Die mehrstimmige italienische Laude um das 2. Laudenbuch des Ottaviano dei Petrucci in Verbindung mit einer Auswahl mehrstimmiger Lauden aus dem 1.
Laudenbuch Petrucci's und aus verschiedenen gleichzeitigen Manuskripten. Leipzig: Breitkopf and Hartel, La frottola: Bemerkungen zur Bibliographie der altesten weltlichen Notendrucke in Italien. Aarhus: Universitetsforlaget i Arhus og Munksgaard, Kinser, Samuel. Amsterdam, Atlanta: Rodopi, Kirkendale, Warren. Music and Musicians in Renaissance Cities and Towns.
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Invitations poured in on all sides, and people vied with each other in introducing the famous poet to those who would be useful to him in his exile. Foscolo 's proud spirit could not accept hospitality without making some return, and from various notes of thanks, dated from the first months of his residence in London, we gather that the return frequently took the form of gifts of his own works.
But his life of social engagements could not go on for long. The travelling expenses involved, in the acceptance of invitations alone were by no means light. Already in his letter of September 19th to the Donna Gentile, Foscolo points out the necessity of appearing in easy circumstances, if he is to succeed. This notion, which ultimately became an obsession, never left him — a curious complex in one who had such extraordinary powers of con- centration and the will to perform positively herculean labours.
A week sufficed to show Foscolo that his mode of living would require 1 MSS. Ala voi non dite nulla di Murray pel quale io vi avea dato una lettera. Meanwhile January was still far off and present needs were great. An appeal to his brother, whose careful savings had already saved Ugo from destitution, does not seem to have brought him the required aid.
One has a painful impression of the poverty-stricken family in Italy straining every nerve to help the exiled son, who was lavishly playing the part of a man of fashion in London and striving to appear as an equal in the brilliant and wealthy society which had received the new ' lion ' with open arms. Foscolo hid his poverty from the eyes of his many new acquaint- ances, but in Italy the Donna Gentile, with almost maternal love, sensed the state of things without waiting for a confession. Among the Foscolo manuscripts in the Biblioteca Nazionale in Florence there is the draft of a letter to Rose from Quirina Magiotti, written on the back of a letter dated July 27th, Foscolo 's improvidence had already brought him into difficulties in Italy, and with exquisite sensitiveness she probably foresaw the dangers ahead.
Foscolo's letter to her of October 23rd contains an acknowledgment of thirty zecchini, sent presumably to Calbo, and weakly remonstrates with her for the action she has taken. The Donna Gentile knew well that the lavish hospi- tality shown to the famous exile would only be accepted in the ' grand manner '. The timely gift was probably a relief in more ways than one, for Foscolo was able to throw down the mask and confide his difficulties to the friend who understood him best. He confessed his powerlessness and his galling dependence on the favours of others.
La, 6. The lovely weather of the first weeks of October evidently changed towards the end of the month into the fogs which herald the arrival of November. In the letter to the Donna Gentile of October 25th Foscolo speaks of his excellent health, but attributes the melancholy of his spirits to the fog which attacks his eyes and lungs. The same day, writing to Binda, he complains that he does not feel well and that -his annual attack of asthma seems about to come on. At last, on November 21st, Foscolo wrote to Binda that the doctor had sanctioned his going out for a little to enjoy the few minutes of sunshine.
Rose, more accustomed to the climate and knowing his friend's mercurial tempera- ment, wrote a comforting letter, affirming his confidence in Foscolo 's ultimate success. Looking back with all the information now in our possession, these first weeks of Foscolo 's exile in London offer a clue to much that is otherwise inexplicable in the years to come. His pride erected a wall between what one might almost call his two lives : on the one side lay what was known to himself and those of his most intimate friendship, his family and Quirina Magiotti, namely the blankness of the future and the soul-destroying struggle to find money adequate to the expenses of his new life ; on the other side was what Foscolo chose to show to the world.
In judging the society which received him with such extravagant warmth, only to desert him later when his circumstances were becoming increasingly difficult, we must keep before us the fact that from the first Foscolo's position had been a false one. His sponsors in society were Lord and Lady Holland. In the position occupied by Holland House was unique. It was the stronghold of the Whig party, indeed almost a political party in itself. The liberal policy of extending protection to all sufferers in the cause of liberty found supreme expression in the lavish hospitality dispensed there.
Lord Holland himself was a constant champion of true liberty, and his friendship was a thing to have and to hold. Other attractions of Holland House drew men of all shades of opinion. When Foscolo arrived in London the Hollands had not long returned from a visit to Italy, where they had known of his fame. They could look back with delight to their old friendship with the Countess of Albany, which dated from their long residence in Florence in the early years of their married life.
Giuseppe Binda, the Lucchese, who in the capacity of financial secretary and later of librarian lived for many years as a dependant in Holland House, had known Foscolo in Florence, and he eagerly renewed his acquaintance with him and introduced him to the Hollands. From shortly after his arrival until the following May or June, Foscolo was a most frequent visitor at Holland House. His brilliant conversation was another ornament to the famous circle, and Lady Holland's kindness to him made him a ready victim to the charm of her extraordinary personality.
Lord Holland expressed later to Roger Wilbraham thatheconsideredhimthemanof greatest value he had ever met in all his life. The society at Holland House must have been a revelation to Foscolo. In the salons he had frequented in Venice and Milan and Florence there had certainly met together men of note, both Italian and foreign ; but there was a superficiality, a frivolity and, it must be confessed, a shabbiness born of insufficient means in the gatherings, that was entirely absent from the circle at Kensington.
The wealth of the hosts made the setting at Holland House of the most luxurious. The rare library of many thousands of volumes, which Lord Holland had inherited and enriched, was not the least of the attrac- tions. In those days, when books for consultation were very difficult of access, the courtesy which threw open the library to so many students of letters, and the generosity which prompted the lending of many priceless works, showed Lord Holland's sympathy with learning.
One can picture the success that Foscolo would meet with in such a gathering. His vivacity, his prodigious memory and remarkable eloquence soon won him a position among men well qualified to appreciate his genius. He could have found, in the whole of the civilised world, no more fruitful ground for his labours. If we look at the list of his English correspondents whose letters are preserved in the Biblioteca Labronica, and there are some six hundred and thirty-seven letters and notes, we can see how many of his friends and acquaintances he owed to Holland House.
The people he met vied with each other in procuring him further acquaintances who might be of assistance to him ; and many, and among these not the least assiduous were women, invited him to parties, to dinners and balls, until it seemed as if no gathering were complete without him. It is not to be expected that Foscolo would let his real financial position be apparent.
He was taken into society as an equal, not as a poor man of letters ready to accept the patronage which men of fashion were able and willing to bestow. But the cost of this new life of Fashion! London was not Venice. It was im- possible to go any distance without heavy expenses, and there were gifts in return for kindnesses received, and no doubt lavish expendi- ture as long as the money lasted and the eyes of the fashionable world were upon him.
Soon Foscolo was brought up against the hard reality. Literary work seemed his only refuge, but the chief difficulty in the way was his lack of knowledge of English. Italian was only known to a very limited number of the reading public, and with them the classics were more in demand than modern works. The letters for Murray were not likely to bring in an immediate return. By this time Foscolo had doubtless got into some debt and had most likely borrowed money. In a note lo Andrea Calbo, who was living at 19 Gerrard Street, Soho, and maintaining himself by giving lessons to pupils, partly procured for him by Foscolo, the latter begs him to repay at least a part of the money he had lent him.
This note is dated February 4th and is followed by another, ten days later, with a pathetic and desperate appeal for repayment ; although at the end of the letter with great magnanimity he sends Calbo news of a new pupil who is desirous of learning modern Greek. The thought was a bitter one. To Foscolo it meant renouncing all claim to social position and acknowledging openly the shame of his poverty.
The loans or gifts he received probably tided him over the immediate needs, but as the money became exhausted he was tortured with anxiety. About the middle of February Foscolo began to suifer excruciating agony from an injury to his leg, which dated back to November when he had knocked his shin violently against a chair, causing an attack of pain like sciatica. The kindly interest taken in him by all his new friends, who visited him and wrote to enquire about his progress, must have been a source of satisfaction, but here again the two sides of the picture contrast with startling clearness.
To none of these friends, unless to Rose, who financially was not in a position to help, was Foscolo able to speak of his difficulties. He guessed intuitively that discussions of ways and means would be unwelcome to his English acquaintances and would most likely oust him from their society. One's income was a subject not to be men- tioned among gentlemen.
To add to his worries Foscolo was now called upon to pay the consequences of an unfortunate piece of business he had undertaken for the firm of booksellers, Messrs. Orell, Fiissli and Co. He had received the commission, entrusted merely nominally to Andrea Calbo, to buy a quantity of drawing-paper.
Badly advised, Foscolo placed the order with a man Angiolo Bonelli in London, who undertook to procure the paper from the manufacturers and forward it direct to Zurich, on condition of immediate payment. Foscolo, indignant, took the matter into court ; but the accident to his leg prevented his being present to take up the case and he let the matter drop, acting on the advice of a friend who knew the doubtful advantages accruing from legal settle- ment of such disputes.
Having given his word to Hagenbuch, the manager of the firm in Zurich, to send the paper, Foscolo decided to bear the loss himself. He forthwith entrusted the whole business of purchasing and forwarding a further quantity of drawing-paper to a broker, George Mills, and for lack of ready money, gave him a bill payable in three months' time. With difficulty he 1 Epist. See Ugo Foscolo in Inghilterra, Viglione, pp.
UGO FOSCOLO II obtained a month's delay ; and then, still as far from being able to settle the bill as in February, to avoid arrest for debt, he turned to a friend, probably General Sir Robert Wilson, and implored him to lend him the necessary sum, to be repaid on Foscolo's receiving pay- ment of a bill of exchange on his property in Zante.
The bill was discounted by a banker friend of Foscolo's, Frederick Grig. His pen was practically Foscolo's sole means of earning a livelihood in London, and it is interesting to examine the labours of his first six months. He read a good deal, especially English works, to acquaint himself, as he said, with English taste in letters. The article in answer to Chateaubriand's Bonaparte et les Bourbons does not seem to have been resumed after Calbo's departure.
The death of Francis Horner from tuberculosis on February 8th, , at the early age of thirty-nine, was the occasion for perhaps Foscolo's first publication in England. He had known Horner at Holland House and had given him introductions when he went to Italy in search of health. Foscolo translated Horner's Parliamentary speeches and published them in May with the title of Discorsi nel Parlamento in morte di Francesco Horner tradotti dalV Inglese. The translation was dedicated, in memory of their common friend, to Lord Holland's son, Henry ; it was probably chiefly for private circulation.
Foscolo seems to have sent copies to various friends. His beautiful letter to Henry Fox is included, with certain omissions, in the Epistolario. Zotti, No. Fosc, Vol. Naz,, Florence. Foscolo was induced to take the matter up and come to terms with him, and consequently to supervise the edition. Antona-Traversi and Ottolini quote a letter from Calbo, recommending a pupil to read the letters of Jacopo Ortis, published by Murray some weeks before. As often happened with Foscolo, the venture proved the reverse of profitable and involved him in further financial diffi- culties.
- Full text of "Italian exiles in London, "!
- Profumeria artistica.
- Three Men and a Bride (an erotic Menage).
- SEALed Fate!
In desperation Foscolo borrowed the money from Rose, who, not having sufficient cash in hand at the time, in turn borrowed from a friend. The conditions of the loan were that in the event of Foscolo 's not being able to repay Rose by Christmas of 7 the latter should apply to the Donna Gentile.
To understand Rose's position we must recall that from reasons of health he had been obliged to give up a lucrative post ; and before the settlement of the debt his father died, leaving him penniless and in very delicate health. We have Foscolo's account of the affair in his letter to the Donna Gentile of March loth, ,' where he expresses his surprise at Rose's prompt action to recover the money after allowing him until December — a year later, be it noted, than the date mentioned by Rose.
A, A, 12, Quirina's faith in Foscolo is boundless. At Holland House Foscolo had quickly become intimate with the English poet Samuel Rogers, and their friendship withstood all the trials of Foscolo's later years of misery. The dedica- tion to Rogers of the new edition of Ortis was a graceful recognition of him as a poet and of the honour of his friendship.
The dedicatory letter is included in the Epistolario, and in it Foscolo laments that his heart is no longer as it was when it left the hand of Nature, but that it has been moulded, perhaps too much, by the world. Rogers expressed his delight in the great Italian poet's way of honouring him in a characteristic letter which the Florentine editors give in translation in a footnote to the letter quoted above.
There are numerous letters of thanks atnong the manuscripts in the Biblioteca Labronica, many of them from women friends, and nearly all dated May, the month of the publication. I quote from the last. A, 14, for the original text from the MSS. There is a note in almost illegible hand- writing from H. Amo Jacopo Ortis, morto e vivo, ma amo anche piu Ugo Foscolo, che d' ogni altro modo cosi, [sic] e una bugia che nessuna piii V ama! All these signs of appreciation were encouraging, but the worry continued, even increased, all through the spring of , and probably Foscolo was in a state of extreme nervous irritability which he could not always conceal.
In a letter in February, which is intended for a letter of reconciliation, he speaks with regret of having fallen into a passion several times in the preceding months, and of himself as ' un individuo che per propria disavventura fu dalla Natura creato di carattere risentito '.
We know that he expressed himself with vehe- mence : the state of his nerves during these months probably made his hearers feel themselves often on the edge of a volcano. Even Lord Holland, writing to Horner, regretted Foscolo's intolerance and uncon- trollable impetuosity. A plan to publish the Italian Classics by subscription, which Rose had thought good, was discouraged by Lord Guilford, and Murray, who best understood the difficulty of finding purchasers.
Blow upon blow seemed to fall upon Foscolo, and London, while offering all the social delights and intellectual advantages that man could desire, showed no signs of providing a means of subsistence. Foscolo reluctantly came to the decision that, in order to provide for his present and future needs, he must leave England. The idea of returning to the Ionian Islands gradually took shape in his mind. When his mind was thus tormented with the thought of leaving surroundings where everything was congenial, the cruellest blow struck him that perhaps he was ever to experience, the death of his dearly loved mother.
One cannot help feeling that Diamantina Spathis was the very personification of the tenderness, the selflessness and the inexhaustible wealth of a mother's love. Although her married life had been happy, it had been short, and she had early been called upon to bear the burden of poverty and the responsibility of a family of young children. In spite of their love for each other, it could have been with no easy mind that she watched the development and rise to manhood of her stormy, passionate eldest son.
All her life she loved him tenderly, and although in the last years of her life the news that reached her was more of him than from him, she never failed to send him her blessing and affectionate messages in the letters of others. To Foscolo she was a being above this earthly sphere, and her love was a protection to him in his times of deepest dejection. He treasured all the messages she sent him throughout his life, and we can see among 1 Epist.
It is curious that it was not until May 24th, nearly a month later, that Giulio wrote to tell his brother of their mother's death on April 28th. When Foscolo spoke of the help he had received from home, from those least in a position to give it, in his draft of the letter to Lord Guilford, he said, ' ho quindi pieta di mia Madre, e vergogna di me,' and at the time he wrote his mother had already passed away and he had done nothing to make up for all the sacrifices of her life.
His grief was overwhelming, something more real and purer than the passionate tempers and exaggerated mannerisms which were tending to estrange some of his English friends ; and they brought him their offerings of friendship and sympathy. Lady Holland's beautiful letter in perfect Italian is too well known to require repeti'ion. Lady Charlotte Campbell, too, suggested that he might care to come and talk over his sorrow with her, and shortly after followed this letter with another in which she hints that it was she who had conveyed to Foscolo the news of his loss.
Perhaps Giulio Foscolo 's letter was carried by hand or enclosed in another. Henry Holland also wrote and asked permission to call to offer personal sympathy, and Lady Flint sent a letter of condolence written in French. By degrees, as spring turned into summer, many of Foscolo 's friends left London for the Continent.
The Hollands left in June for the Netherlands. In July Lady Campbell went to Italy with her daughters, similarly furnished with a letter of introduction to the Donna Gentile, in which Foscolo spoke of the warm friendship she 1 Epht. The compensation for the loss of so many of his English hosts was to be found in perhaps greater intimacy with those who remained.
Foscolo seems in the summer of to give Italian lessons to several ladies, among them to Lady Flint and Miss Pigou, the latter a young, rather lively friend of the poet Rogers. The lessons were probably a return on Foscolo 's part for favours received, and to judge from the letters published in his correspondence, he spared no pains to give his pupils an elegant style in Italian and to correct their foreign turns of speech.
There are seventeen letters from Miss Pigou to Foscolo in the Biblioteca Labronica, and from the tone of them one gathers that the friendship bordered on flirtation. Foscolo must have been able to throw off all care at times and to forget his real struggle for existence in the enjoy- ment of the good the gods provided by means of his friends. Meanwhile Foscolo's plans for his return to Zante were maturing, and he wrote to Lord Holland in the beginning of July, announcing his intention of returning to Greece with the Ionian deputies, who had arrived in London on June 27th to present the new constitution of the Ionian Islands to the Prince Regent.
Among the deputies was Foscolo's cousin, Dionisio Bulzo, who had helped him in the past out of financial difficulties and was to find many further opportunities of rescuing him from desperate straits. Foscolo asked Lord Holland to use his influence with the Provisional Government to obtain him some academic post, and looked forward to being in Greece at the same time as Lord Guilford who was going there on an educational mission.
Charles Fox was already there. Up till this time, although he had undertaken two articles, one for the Quarterly Review and one for the Edinburgh Review, they had to be translated and were in fact not published until considerably later. To this letter Lord Holland replied in terms of such warm admiration that it must have been balm to Foscolo's troubled spirit. All preparations for his departure were made, when, riding one day with his cousin, Foscolo was forced to dismount to prevent his horse, which had got out of hand, from injuring some children playing on the road.
In doing so he dislocated his leg, which had already given him much pain during the winter, and had to give up all idea of returning to Greece with the deputies.
When the leg had recovered, the season was too far advanced for Foscolo to undertake the long journey overland with the prospect of crossing the Alps in late autumn, or by sea during equinoctial gales. Foscolo now began to long for country air. He decided to go to Kensington, where he would have the advantages of proximity to town and access to the library of Holland House.
On the 20th of September he dated his letters from 19 Edward Square, Kensington. The Letters from England were meanwhile progressing and at the same time Foscolo's knowledge of English literature, as he reported to Dr. It was not published till the following spring, the manuscript having been lost and only found after Foscolo had re-written the article with an infinity of pains and weariness. In the quiet of the country the Fates seemed to smile on him once more. Work brought with it the satisfaction of achievement, and the first of the Letters, which was posthumously published as the preface to the Gazzettino del bel mondo, was pronounced by Lord Holland as ' de toute beaute — severe, serree et claire '.
He retained these rooms even during the more prosper- ous months of the sojourn at East Moulsey, and returned to them in the spring of , when the failure of Hobhouse's schemes involved him in further financial uncertainty. All this time the Donna Gentile was patiently waiting for the fulfil- ment of the promise to see her some weeks hence in Florence. She must have grown weary as the weeks lengthened into months and still no news came from London. At last she wrote, pouring out all the sorrow of her loneliness and disappointment.
Nothing could change her love for him. The famous Letters, which were destined to remain a frag- ment, were spoken of as a completed volume which only the insuper- able difficulty of finding a translator kept from seeing the light of day. But the magazine articles, to which he referred so slightingly, were the beginning of his success in English publications. Foscolo found it necessary to explain the humiliating step he had taken in writing for periodicals. It is interesting to find that Quirina Magiotti laughed at the fancied difficulties in the way of his returning to Florence.
Any passport would do, the powers that were would oppose nothing to his return and she herself would bear the cost of the journey. As the spring of the year advanced, Foscolo's article on Dante, which had occupied his pen since the preceding August, reached com- pletion and was delivered into the willing hands of Sir James Mackin- tosh, who had undertaken to translate it for the Edinburgh Review. We have noted above the calamity of the loss of the manuscript, and the hours of unnecessary labour spent in re-writing the article. No sooner was the work finished than the original manuscript was found.
If Foscolo misused the good fortune which came his way, one cannot dispute the fact that he received more than his share of bad fortune. Encouraged by this reception, Foscolo wrote a second article on Dante, " Osser- vazioni intorno alia Questione sopra la Originalitd del Poetna di Dante. A recovery of his self-esteem with the prospect of sufficient earnings from his writings soon had the usual effect on Foscolo's mind ; and we find him in May writing to Quirina Magiotti, giving full rein to his fancy in computing his future gains.
Foscolo's plan was to publish the works of the great Italian poets with their bio- graphies, the history of their centuries and his own notes. The whole series would be complete in thirty-two volumes. Foscolo e di Quirina Mocenni-Magiotti. He was longing for the country, and leisure and quiet to put the last touches to his beloved Carme delle Grazie. Foscolo repeated his former exploits at Milan and Pavia and purchased linen and silver, furniture and the other requirements for an elegant dwelling, and even bought a carriage.
Hobhouse was newly back from Venice, where Fos- colo's name was a byword in all the salons. He came to the meeting full of enthusiasm for the poet's genius. His pity was therefore the greater when he learned Foscolo's struggles for his daily bread. An opportunity of assisting him lay at hand. They found the task beyond their powers, and the meeting with Foscolo suggested to Hobhouse a means of procuring what they required from the foremost Italian literary critic of the day. Foscolo was pre-eminently fitted for the task of writing a biographical and critical notice of the six greatest Italian poets of his day, Cesarotti, Alfieri, Parini, Pindemonte, Monti, and, at Hobhouse's special request, himself ; although the laudatory remarks in the last were inserted later by Hobhouse, to the dismay of the poet.
The essay was published separately, owing to its length, with the title of Historical Illustrations of the Fourth Canto of Childe Harold. The Italians, however, recognized immediately the hand of a master and compatriot, and the voices of the slighted and neglected were raised in protest. Ludovico di Breme, in particular, the most ardent of the exponents of the Romantic school, took offence at the designation of the struggle between Classics and Romantics, which to the poets of the day was the centre round which the universe revolved, as an idle question. Murray, London, Hobhouse also enlisted Foscolo's help in the writing of an account of the revolutions in Italy.
No one was more fitted to tell the tale of the last days of the Regno Italico than the ex-soldier of the Viceroy, who had taken part in the events he described. He thus felt justified in his expenditure for his houSe in East Moulsey. But he was tired and the work seemed to hang fire for a time. The feeling of loneliness deepened, and by November Foscolo felt he could no longer bear his solitary life, for the real emptiness of the social round which had taken up his first year in London was borne in upon him.
To Quirina's suggestion that they might meet in Calais for a time, he replied : Quirina mia; vieni a Calais ; ma col patto ch' io venga a pigliarti, e scortarti in Inghilterra, e condurti in questo mio romitorio dove ho tutto, fuorche una persona che m' ami, — e pero non ho nulla, se non se tristezza sempre, e spesso disperazione mortale. Ma se tu starai alcun tempo, quand' anche non fosse che per due settimane, con me, mi parrebbe di riacquistar tutto, e ringiovenirmi, e rinvigorire ; e lavorerei in un giorno, piu che non ora in un mese.
Work, however, soon helped Foscolo to overcome his depression ; but on December 4th Hobhouse wrote him that he was unable to continue under the same conditions that he had originally proposed, and that he would have to extend the time. The quarrel that followed the announce- ment of his misfortune has been very fully discussed by Professor Viglione, with, it must be admitted, great fairness to Hobhouse. Foscolo's nerves were in a state of extreme irritability at the time, and the dashing of his hopes of financial security, which had led him into issuing further bills of exchange shortly due, took from him what little self-control he had.
Hobhouse did all he could to calm his fury. As the date for the payment of the bills arrived and also of the rent for the house in Woodstock Street, Foscolo launched further bills of exchange and sold at a great loss some of his books and the silver from the house at East Moulsey to save himself from the debtor's prison. The grateful tone in which he wrote to Hobhouse points to their reconciliation, which did in fact take place. Foscolo had spent weeks of pleasant enjoyment at East Moulsey in spite of the depression of the beginning.
The Fitzgeralds were not far away, and he was able to visit the Wilbrahams, as well as to keep in touch with many of his London acquaintances. The summer of 1 81 8 had also brought him the friendship of Federico Confalonieri, who was in England presumably commissioned to buy some of the recent inventions which were to revolutionize the world. He reported to Foscolo the following year from Milan the success of his various purchases, the steamship, constructed in Genoa, for which he had most likely bought the engines, a gas-engine which supplied a whole house, and spinning machines.
He was untiring in his efforts for his unhappy country, up to the moment when the Austrians condemned him to the Spielberg. During his visit to England he cast care aside at times, and enjoyed with Foscolo the unusually warm summer weather. The letters in the Epistolario from Confalonieri to Foscolo all testify to the sympathy between the two Italian patriots.
Con- falonieri suggested as a last meeting a rendezvous at the Hotel Sablon- niere, where probably he had been staying. It was the resort of many of the Italians who visited these islands, whether as exiles or visitors. Foscolo seems to have missed the appointment, and the exchange of letters and papers which was to have taken place. Reports of his mode of living and apparent wealth were carried to Italy, and his friends there were under an impression that the articles which he wrote procured him the means to maintain himself in the luxury, which rumour did not understate.
Philarete Charles, professor of the College de France, who made Foscolo's acquaintance in 9, has left a description of his house, which was as indicative of his love of classic arts as Digamma Cottage itself. II y avait des Apollon dans son boudoir, et des Jupiter dans son anti- chambre. Un petit autel portatif lui servait de cheminee, et il regret- tait, j'en suis sur, de porter le costume moderne. Foscolo's own story of his misfortunes was at such variance with the accounts brought to Italy by his London friends, that the Donna Gentile decided to set enquiries on foot to give her a more accurate knowledge of the real state of things.
Leopoldo Cicognara, who visited London in 1 , reported on the country house at East Moulsey, and the carriage and coachman, and the rooms in town for occasional visits. He did not omit to add a description of the attractive housekeeper that Foscolo had thought necessary to his well-being. Silvio Pellico, who knew his friend better than he knew himself and who had repeatedly issued reminders and warnings of the necessity of providing for the proverbial ' rainy day ', once more thought it prudent to bring Foscolo's thoughts to earth.
We shall soon see how rightly her instinct had guided her. From the age of sixteen, when his Temira had first initiated him into the mysteries of Love, Foscolo had passed through waves of passionate adoration for many women ; but the idea of marriage had only entered into a very few of his loves. In the two years following his arrival in London the intoxication of his remarkable reception and the whirl of gaiety into which he was plunged, left his heart little time for more than flirtations, although of these there were undoubtedly 'many.
Among his papers there are indications of a number of attach- ments, more or less serious. But towards the end of the year Foscolo became acquainted with the family of Sir Henry Russell of Swallowfield, a retired Chief Justice of Bengal, who was then living in Wimpole Street. He soon was made to feel thoroughly at home in their midst. The mother had died four years before. One imagines that the father had many endearing qualities, and there seems to have been an encouraging absence of ceremony in the household. Foscolo was particularly attracted to Catherine, who was married but spent much of her time with her sisters, and to Caroline, with whom he fell so deeply in love that his life for the next two years was torn between moments of ecstatic joy and agonies of uncertainty.
In the letters in the Labronica belonging to the first months after Foscolo's introduction to the family there is no trace of anything but ordinary, friendly intercourse. Invita- tions to lunch, notes accompanying books returned, notes of sym- pathetic concern for the poet's health and requesting details of his prescribed diet, that they might offer him what suited him at their table, are the chief communications, which were mainly from Caroline, although Rose Aylmer and Henrietta also had their share in them, Foscolo accompanied the sisters to social functions and took part in those held at Wimpole Street, Before long he found himself on terms of such intimacy there that he was able to undertake the read- ing of Petrarch with Caroline and her sister, Mrs.
It could not have been expected that the poet of the Grazie should read the sonnets to Laura with a young, lively, highly intelligent and dangerously fascinating woman, with the dispassionate, academic mind of a language master. Nor did he. He could plead no ignor- ance of the dangers ahead ; for Sir Henry Russell, who knew well the train of admirers that followed his charming daughter and probably recognized the inflammable nature of his half-Greek, half-Italian guest, issued a timely warning : ' Badate che Carolina vi fara un giorno o 1' altro girare la testa.
In justice to him we must remember that he cherished some vague, half-formed hopes of Caroline as mistress of his home and mother of his children.
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