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THE most appropriate Introduction to this notice of Francis Petrarch will be a short account of his writings, and of the various forms and editions in which they have been given to the world. Of his Italian poetry,
included in the Canzoniere, and consisting of his Sonnets, Canzonets, and the Triumphs of Love, Chastity, Fame, Time, Deity, and Death (in terza - rima), it is scarcely necessary to say much, except that it is probable that no poems have been more widely circulated or more often reprinted. The first printed edition of them appeared at Venice in 1470, and is therefore one of the earliest productions of the press. Before the close of the fifteenth century 34 more editions had been sold; in the sixteenth century 167 editions have been traced; 70 in the seventeenth; 46 in the eighteenth; and more than 50 in the present age.1 A catalogue of these
1 It is curious to contrast with this abundant crop of publications the fact that only four editions of the works of Shakespeare were F.C.-IV.