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those martial exercises to which his fierce temper led him; an infirmity that caused the rude man to be usually known by the barbarous nick-name of John Scanatus (0. Some say that that the delicate-minded Paul became enamoured of Francesca only upon making her personal acquaintance after she had become affianced to his brother, Scanatus; whose pride was flattered by the fame of her worth and charms, so he demanded to be her husband previous to beholding her: but what is most probable ( because related by the great historian of Ravenna as the current report) is, that Paul had been himself affianced to Francesca; and that when Scanatus came to pay her a ceremonious visit as his intended sister-in-law, lie was so much struck by her beauty, that he declared she should be his own wife; and prosecuted his suit with such ferocious energy, that he terrified her reluctant parents into obedience to his will. Rut in this all agree, that much force and fear were employed; and that she was surrendered unwillingly -—not, I mean, against her own will (for she, poor victim f like so many others, was never consulted about her destiny ), but against that of her father and mother (*). The Imolese huddles up the story by shortly adding, that a criminal connexion soon took place hetween Paul and Francesca, and that the irritated husband and brother, informed by a servant of their rendez-vous, surprised them together, and slew them both in the lady's chamber during their assignation (0. Landino and all the later commentators do nothing more than translate this servilely . The Imolese delivered those his lectures on Dante publickly in Bologna , a town near enough to Ravenna and Rimini, for many considerations, of which we are ignorant, to prevent his being over-explicit. Yet his words are the only foundation for the two common charges, that the unfortunate couple were caught in adultery, and that they were murdered in Francesca's own room: but both of these assertions are contradicted by two more ancient, and more candid authorities, Boccaccio and the Riccardian M. S. now before me. The former absolutely denies that he had ever been able to discover a single proof of the adultery, beyond what is to be found in Dante's text; and that he verily believes it to be rather a fiction deduced from the interpretation of which that text is possibly susceptible, than that Dante was conscious of their adulterous intercourse, or meant to affirm it: and certainly what Boccaccio could not discover then, it is unreasonable to expect now (0. The M. S. places the scene of their sanguinary catastrophe, not in Francesca's room, but, as it particulary specifies, in a chamber on the floor below it (»). And both books agree in the positive declaration that Francesca's death was no murder, but altogether accidental; and that it was not only involuntary on the part of her husband, but that it gave him pain(3). Now, without laying any stress on the superior credibility merited by Boccaccio, on

(x) Mire claudus Johannes Scanatus, et vir eorpore deformis, sed aniino fcrox . Benvenuti, ut supra .

(a) Sunt qui scribuut matrem Paulo Francheam despomlisse et Lan

c< Initum cum Ravennam venisset confestim amoro

illius ardere ccepisse, et cum alia ratione non posset, per vim ct in*turn impetrasu ut sibi uxor adjungeretur. Hier. Rubaei, Hist. Raven, p. 3og. E perche era uomo poteute e terribile gli fu data piu per paura die per amore. Landino, Comento.p. 34.

(0 His words are simply these — deposito libro pervenornnt ad osculant, et ad cetera, quae sequuntur. Hsec autem , in brevi, significata Johanni per nnum familiarem fucre. Arobos simul in dicta camera, nbi convencrant, mactavit . Com. ap. Mur. Antiq. Ital. T- I. p. i040. At the worst these imply an act of adultery quickly avenged, but not habitual profligacy: yet liuboeuscites Benvenuti as his authority for accusing tbem of a criminal connexion during several davs, and Clementini for the most profligate conduct during many yean: spesso giacevano in un medesimo letto , ma I'abouiinevole peccato del troppo continuato gioco discoperse l'accostoed impudico fuocn al marito, il quale, dopo averlo piu volte acceunato a Francesca, un giorno, ti ovatoli in letto abbracciati ed addormentati, con tin sol colpo di spada ammendue uccise I' anno 11S9, come scrive Benvenuti da lmol.i, ec.Race. 1st. di Rimini Lib v. p. 60a The impudico fuoco must have been in tbe mind of the annalist, or he could never have mads such an indecent paraphrase of Benvenuti's few words . It is a glaring instance of literary flippancy. Had Francesca been such, Dante's wondrous delicacy would have been satire .

(i) Che Franceses dunque si conjjisse con Paolo, nuii io noil ndii se non quello che l'Autore ne scrivejil che poMtbile c che cosi fosse, ma io credo essere quello piuttoslo lizion forhVatu sopra quello ch'i-ra possibilead ester avvenuto, ch'io non credo che l'Autore saptsse die oosl fosse. Comento Vol. i. p. i3i

(a) .... nelia camera che rispondea di sotto. Bib. It ice M. S. Cod.lotfl.

(3) . . . averine quello ch'egli non airehbe volulo .. . Boccaccio, ■t supra .... eiedeudo dare a lui, diede alia moglie. M. S. ut supra .



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the score of his inhabiting a free city far removed from the intrigues of either Ravenna, or Rimini, it is enough to remark, that the comments of the Imolese, who began their composition in i3^5 (>), have much less antiquity than those of Boccaccio, who died that very year 00: and as to the manuscript, its date is still older by thirty-two years (3). The following is the whole statement of the matter according to these two last-named authorities , who generally corroborate , and never contradict each other. The few details which the M. S. Author adds to Boccaccio's recital, are of the self-same complexion with it; and when he varies from it, it is so slightly, and with regard to such minute facts (as at what precise moment Francesca discovered the deception , whether it was during the night by the reflection of a lamp, or in the morning whe/i the ravisher was rising from the bed), that weight is added to both their testimonies, by showing that they had neither communicated with each other, nor drawn their information from precisely the same sources. On the close of hostilities at the commencement of ia75, (as mentioned before) Polenta, pressed by political interests, but above all by the demands of Scanatus, determined on the ill-starred mar

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riage : and maternal sollicitations, that were ineffectual towards deterring him from sacrificing his daughter to state policy, only produced the effect of making him apprehend resistance to his plan: so that the poor mother could not obtain for her child the privilege of choosing between the two brothers. She, with the perspicacity of parental sollicitude, had long wished for the union of her lovely girl with 'Paul the beautiful': for such is the title that designates him in the Riminese annals (0. That she had privately affianced them, is reported by the historian of Ravenna; and even he of Rimini concedes, that she was as much disgusted by the marriage with 'Scanatus the lameW and as desirous of that with' Paul the beautiful,'as her daughter herself (3^. She felt that the one union was almost an outrage upon nature; and that the second was so natural, that it promised felicity to all parties. Nor was the mother the sole person who caused Polenta to foresee the possibility of his matrimonial scheme being thwarted: for several


{i}' Vita di Paolo il hello— Paolo terzo figliuolodi Malatesta . . per la molta belta, leggiadria e dispotezza ch' era in lui, fu cognominato il bello. Clementini, Race. 1st. di Rimini, Lib. v. p. i>o8,

(a) John, alias, Lau ocelot, alias, Guigliotto, alias, Scanatus the lame — mentr' era fanciullo cadendo edebilitata una gamba, o, come •iltri dicono, per dcholezza de'nervi,zoppicava alqnantoevenne chiaroato sciancato, e di alcuni Lanciutto e Guigliotto ec. Id. Id. p. 58o.

(3) Polenta quasi ubligato diedegli in matriinonio l'rancesca con disgusto di lei e poca soddisfazione dclla inadre, amendue inchnate a Paolo. Id. Id. Id. . . . matrem Paulo Franciscaw, despondisse. liier Rubaei Hist. Ravenu. p. 3oy.

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