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his host, it was here he formed a lasting attachment to his Lælius and his Socrates, as he was wont to call them -friends to whom much of his correspondence was addressed-with whom he was ever ready to share all he possessed and whose intimacy with him continued till it was terminated by death. Lælius was a young Roman of the family of Stephano, a stanch partisan of the Colonnas, in whom Petrarch discovered something of the genius of ancient Rome. The youth to whom he gave the name of Socrates was in fact a Dutchman, from Bois le Duc -his real name was Louis de Campigny or Kempen. This charming barbarian, as they styled him, was an excellent musician, an accomplished scholar, and a most faithful friend. On one occasion only this triple band of friendship seems to have been interrupted by a quarrel between Lælius and Socrates, arising out of mutual jealousy of Petrarch's regard. It was many years after their first meeting; and the poet instantly addressed to them a letter on the sacred duties of friendship, in the most passionate and eloquent language. He enjoined upon them to read it together. They did so; and the breach was healed for ever.

Upon the return of Petrarch from Lombes to Avignon, he was formally installed in the dwelling or little court of Cardinal Colonna, and became a member of his household. So great was his consideration there, that on one occasion when evidence was taken on oath, as to the cause of some disturbance, and even the prelates of the family had to submit to this test, Petrarch was absolved from it, the Cardinal saying, "The word of Petrarch is enough."

This anecdote might suffice to show the deference



which already attached itself to the name of Petrarch, though he was not at the time more than twenty-six or twenty-seven. From his establishment as a member of the Cardinal's household dates his entry into the great world and his interest in public affairs, and we find him henceforth living on terms of intimacy with the most eminent persons of the time. Amongst these, one deserves special notice here.

In 1331, and again in 1333, Richard of Bury, afterwards Chancellor of England, and Bishop of Durham, was sent by King Edward III. as his ambassador to the Papal Court. In the majestic chapel of the Nine Altars, which closes with a fabric of inimitable beauty the shrine of St Cuthbert in our northern Durham, the traveller may still view the spot which received the mortal remains of this remarkable man; and it may give additional interest to his memory to recollect that he was the friend of Petrarch. He was in fact the first scholar in Britain, if not in Europe. England had sent forth no one to compare with him since the Venerable Bede, whose remains also rest near his own. He combined strong literary tastes with great influence in the Church and in the State. He was a large collector of manuscripts, and the author of the first work that bore the name of Philobiblion.' These common pursuits recommended Petrarch to his notice, and to him Petrarch applied to solve the question, "Where is the Ultima Thule of the Latin poets?" The bishop seems to have eluded the question, and promised to send a solution of it when he got back to his books. But the answer never came. Petrarch fell back on a volume of Giraldus Cambrensis, which he possessed, but that left him in

doubt, and whilst he was travelling on the shores of Holland, he recalled to memory all that Virgil, Orosius, Pomponius Mela, Pliny the younger, and Claudian had said on the subject. All this is rather pedantic, but it shows the extent of reading and the retentiveness of his memory.

The letter on Thule, the fruit of these inquiries, is Isaid to have been written in 1337 "from the shores of the North Sea ;" but in the spring of that year he was in Rome, and in August he had returned to Avignon. The only authentic journey to the north of which we have a detailed account must be placed in the year 1333. He first arrived in Paris, where he doubtless visited the University, which some years later tendered him its highest honour; and then proceeded to Belgium and Cologne, returning to Avignon by Lyons.

The following letter on his journey is one of the most descriptive he has left:


"I left Aix-la-Chapelle after having availed myself of the baths or douches from which it derives its name, and I arrived at Cologne (Agrippina Colonia), a place situated on the left bank of the Rhine, which is no less celebrated for its position and its river than for its inhabitants. I was astonished to find in this barbarous land so much courtesy, so much splendour in the city, so much gravity in the men, and such remarkable grace among the ladies. The eve of St John the Baptist happened to fall during my stay there; and, just as the sun was setting, I was led by my friends (for even here my reputation had gained me more friends than I deserved) from my lodging to the river, there to behold a very curious sight. My expectations were not deceived: the whole bank was covered with an immense number of women, all of surpassing



beauty, both in figure, in features, and in dress, so that any one whose heart was not already preoccupied could not fail to have fallen in love there. I stood upon a slight elevation, whence I could see all that passed. The crowd was very great, but no offence was given to any one, and all seemed to be in high glee: some were engarlanded with odoriferous herbs, and, with their sleeves tucked up above the elbow, they washed their white hands and arms in the stream, murmuring I know not what in the gentle tones of their foreign tongue. I never understood so well that old proverb, quoted by Cicero, which says that, 'Amongst unknown languages, every one is deaf and dumb.' I did not, however, want for interpreters of the greatest merit ; and nothing would have astonished you more than to find what Pierian spirits are nurtured under this sky. If Juvenal wondered that

"Gallia causidicos docuit facunda Britannos,'

he might indeed marvel at the eloquence and learning of these German poets. Unless I am deceiving you, I would have you know that they have indeed no Virgil, but more than one Ovid, as that poet himself said, at the end of his 'Metamorphoses,' trusting either to the favour of posterity or to his own great wit. For he is even popular wherever the power (or rather the name) of Rome is known over the world. You will readily imagine that with these companions I made the best use of my tongue and of my ears when anything was to be said or heard. Now, as I was ignorant of the ceremony which I was then witnessing, I asked one of their number, in the words of Virgil

'Quid vult concursus ad amnem ? Quidve petunt animæ ?'

I was then informed that this was an old custom of the place, and that the common people, and especially the women, were persuaded that any impending calamity of the next year was washed away by that day's ablution in the river, and that happy seasons were sure to follow; so that this cere

mony is performed every year with unabated zeal. At this I smiled, saying, 'O happy inhabitants of the banks of the Rhine, whose misfortunes are all swept away by your river, whilst neither Po nor Tiber can rid us of ours! You throw your ills on the bosom of the Rhine, who bears them away to Britain; we might send ours to the Afric or Illyrian coast, but (as I am given to understand) our rivers are far too lazy in their course."'

"A few days afterwards I was taken round the little state by the same friendly guides-an excursion which was the more agreeable to me, as I met not only with the objects before my eyes, but with the perpetual reminiscences of the valour and the illustrious monuments of Rome. I thought of that Marcus Agrippa, the founder of this colony, who, though he built so many places both at home and abroad, conferred his name on this spot, as the most worthy to bear it; and whom Augustus would have chosen out of the whole world to be the husband of his daughter, but especially of his dear and only Augusta.1

"I afterwards saw the bodies of so many thousand holy virgins, and the earth, which, as it is consecrated by such sacred relics, is said to reject all degenerate corpses. I saw a Capitol the very image of our own, save that instead of a Senate deliberating there on matters of peace and war, beauteous youths and girls are here employed in singing nocturnal psalms to God in eternal harmony. There nothing is heard but the noise of wheels, the clang of arms, and the groans of captives-here is peace and joy and the voices of such as are glad; there is the triumph of the warrior-here of the peacemaker. I also saw a temple of singular beauty, built in the midst of the city, which, although it be as yet unfinished, is

1 Petrarch here makes a strange mistake in his enthusiasm for Agrippa. The daughter of Augustus, to whom that general was married, was the widow of Marcellus, and is well known as the beautiful, the infamous, Julia. The Colonia Agrippina took its name, not from Agrippa, but from Agrippina, the daughter of Germanicus, who was born here.

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