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pecting the articles might be among those papers, she went with Ser Dino Perrini ( a great friend of Dante's) to examine them, according to some; hut, according to others, she acted with still more propriety, for she sent for Dante's eldest nephew, Andrea,and (in that quality ) confided to him the key in company with an Attorney (0. From the mouth of this very nephew, ( a son of Dante» sister married to a Florentine gentleman of the name of l'oggi ) Boccaccio affirms he had the anecdote, as well.as some time afterwards from Perri ni: and although Andrea and Perrini dissented iu this, that each ascribed the chief merit to himself; yet as to the substance of their story, they did not vary . The former said that as soon as he opened the box, he beheld a small unbound volume (un quadernetto ) all in Dante's hand, and containing the first seven Cantos of the Divine Comedy ; which (after having perused them several times with infinite pleasure) he brought to the Poet, Frescobaldi. Perrini declared it was he himself did so (*). They
(i) Siccome nipote di Dante fidatogli le chiavi lo mandd eon an procuratore . Boccaccio, Comento, ut supra.
(a) Andrea dice che tra più sonetti, canzoni e simili rose, fu un quadernetto, nel quale di mano di Dante erano scritti i sette Canti; « perd presolo quantunque poco ne 'ntendesse, pur gli parevano bellissime cose: e gli portò, per saper quello che fossero , ad un valente duomo della nostra città, famosissimo dicitore in rima, Dinodi Messer Lambertuccio Frescobaldi, il quale pensd da dovere, mandargli a D»nte, ec. Ora questa medesima istoria puntualmente mi raccontd Ser Dino Perrini; ma in tanto muta il fatto, che dice essere stato lui (e non Andrea ) che trovd i Canti, ec. Id. Id.
are reconciled, if we conclude that they were both together: and that the one, who was sent merely as a near relative, knew the hand-writing, but not the beauty of the poetry; for he is represented as a simple,good kind of man, without any tincture of letters, although in form and exterior lineaments he much resembled his Uncle W; while Perriui held himself entitled to be considered the discoverer, on the score of its being he that discerned the high merit of those Cantos, and of his consequently having chosen them from a quantity of songs, sonnets, and other morsels of verse (»). Frescobaldi was still more struck on their perusal; and taking measures to learn where Dante then was ( a proof that he had not been long resident any where, since even his family were unacquaint
(i) Huomo idiota ma d'assai buon sentimento natural? e nei suoi ragionamenti e costumi ordinaio e laudrvole: e maravigliosamente nelle liaeature del viso somiglio Dante, ed ancora nella stature delta persona . Boccaccio, Comento, at supra .
(a) Intendente, e quanto esser piu si potesse familiare ed amico di Dante. Id Id. — Perrini tolti qursti capitoli gli port6 a M. Dino Lambertuccio Frescobaldi, che fu valcnte huomo, massimamente nei dir in rima . Onde Dino invaghito dell'opera mand6 il quaderuetto copiato a M. M. Malaspina, confortandolo che rammentasse a Dante che egli il coinpiesse. Bib. Rice. M. S. ut supra. The Imolese gives the first name of this Fresobaldi (Dino), on which Muratori makes the mistake of calling him Dino Compagni ( Antiq. Ital. vol. i. p. i04i ). Pell! it right in pointing it oat as an error (Mem. ec. p. i3a): and he might ha» a ■dded, that there were two Dinos in the storv; so that Muratori bad the less excuse for thinking the name enough to identify the historian Dino Compagni. Dino was then a very common name in Florence; and a loose proof. We see the Rice. M. S. agrees with Boccaccio that it was D. L. Frescobaldi — a man of whom there are some M. S. S. in the Vatican. Giulio Negri, Scritt. Fior.
ed with his movements ), and finding he was in Lunigiana at the Marquis Malaspina's (0, he wrote a letter to the Marquis himself; inclosing the seven Cantos which he in treated that eminent nobleman to present to his mighty guest, and to use all his interest with him that a work should be continued whose splendid exordium promised something of 6uch super-human glory; although none but the Author could foresee what. FrescobalnYspreferring to address the feudal prince, rather than the poet, is to be accounted for, either from a consciousness of the bad grace which the request of a Florentine deserved to have in Dante's eyes, or from a belief that it would really require the warmest intercession and actual presence of an illustrious friend, (as Malaspina proved himself to Dante) to engage a man, who had begun a poem in youth and prosperity, to take it up again after a long lapse of time,\vhen he was fallen into grief and mendicity, exasperated by numberless wrongs and insults, himself driven from his home and family, and these in dependance on his bitterest enemies, and when he was persecuted, in fine,.by all the accumulated cares public and private that can conspire
to poison the fountains of poetry to fester
the heart and deaden the imagination. In this latter opinion Frescobaldi would have been partly
(i) Ed avendo investigate), e trovato che Dante era in Lunigiana Col Marcbese M. de'Malaipini, pens6 di non inaudargli a Dante, ma al Marchese . Boccaccio , Comento, ut supra .
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right, for it is said to have been with much difficulty that the Marquis could induce Dante to resume his poetical occupation; although he saw his long-lost Cantos with melancholy pleasure; adding, ' that he verily thought they had been stolen as well as all the rest of his writings and effects, when his house was put to sack, and that so he had quite relinquished every concern about them (0.'At last the spark was struck : and, with a flush of prophetic enthusiasm , the bard exclaimed' Yes they have restored me my long-meditated work; and it shall be to my imperishable honor (*). It was not without considerable effort that he succeded in recalling the train of his ideas and kindling up anew the lofty fancy which had
been so many years smothered; and then the
'Faithful, I follow in my song' (lo dico seguitando) of the text came in quite naturally, and the more so from no other similar formulary occurring any where else throughout the poem:
(0 Veggendo !1 qnaderno Dante sene maravigli6, ch'era bene 5anni che lasciato l'aveva; ma essendone confortato forte dal Marcheae, ripigli6 i Canti, ec. (Bib. Rice. M. S. ut supra)... Dante rispose, 1<> estimaTa Teratnente che quest!, con altre mie cose e seritture assai, fossero, nel tempo che ruhata mi fu la casa , perdnti, e pert del tntto a' avea 1' animo e il pensiero levato; ma poiche a Dio i piaciuto , che perduti non sieno, e hammcgli rimandati innanzi, io adoperer6 ci6, ec. Boccaccio, Comento , ut supra .
(a) Redditus est mihi maximus labor cum honore perpetuo. lienvenuti Im. ap. Mur. Antiq.ltal. Vol. i p. i04a. The expression maxitmu, when coupled with the annunciation in the Vita Nuora ( Hell , Comment, Canto ii. p. ii4), is surely enough to make us decide that the Divine Comedy was begun at least prior to the publication of (UHTO TilI.
although such words taken by themselves alone, would not (as I have avowed)prove any thing ('). Frescobaldi, ere forwarding the Cantos to Lunigiana,kepta copy of them; in which copy the lines about Ciacco (in Canto vi.), as well as probably
various others, were must have been wanting.
Boccaccio wonders he never saw any such defective copy. But in the first place, he does not say he ever asked his authorities, Andrea and Ferrini, to show it to him; and indeed seems to have amused himself in his old age with recounting facts as he received them, and allowing full scope to his own reveries,without taking the pains of nicely sifting even matters far less insignificant than this. With regard to this he did enough, in a comment composed for a Florentine audience, when he recounted his story, and indicated the difficulties it presented, and referred his hearers for further explanation to three of their own citizens, Frescobaldi, Andrea, and Perrini; who, as well as Dante's wife, were all probably alive and resident in Florence: an observation that also applies, at least in part, to the writer of the Riccardi M. S. In the second place, there are many ways of accounting for the total disappearance of the imperfect Cantos. Fres
Ihe Vita Nuova — that is, prinr to his twenty-sixth year, much more prior to his exile . Nothing hut what had been meditated for » long period could have been called maximns labor. Benvcouti adds: sed non sine tnaguo lahore resumpsit altam phantasiam . Id. Id.
(i) Onde Dante, confortato dal Marchese , ripiglift il Capitolo net modo icritto disopra. Bib. Rice. M. S. ut supra.