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the desire of vengeance for the fate of Giovanni de Medici, sentenced to death a year before by the duke. *
Barriers were erected at the end of every street.
“ The duke's soldiers armed hastily at the sound of the tumult, and hurried to their posts. The best marksmen thronged the windows of the palace, the horsemen the piazza below. But many were made prisoners on their way thither; one was intoxicated; the right foot of another was grappled by a boy, whilst the left was already in the stirrup; others were set upon unawares, bound, and stripped of their splendid
“One Burgundian giant, bis shield covered with a tiger's skin, brandisbing his huge spear, and uttering terrific threats, routed all before bim: but a tanner, armed with a scythe, came behind, and aiming at the joint of the armour between the neck and the head, cut right through. The body fell to the left, the spear to the rigbt, and the head in its helmet, spun amongst the horse's feet. Two fair twin youths, reared under the joyous sun of Provence, covered with gold-pointed and beautifully carved shields, and mounted on white mares, were galloping with unclosed visors, when two arrows struck them, and they fell dead at the same instant. The women set up a cry of pity ; but two of the populace, catching the flying mares, exclaimed, “Thanks to the good duke for the gift! Oh, the Florentine people for ever!'”
The duke and his guards are shut up in the ducal palace, where they are first besieged, then blockaded; whilst the leaders of the conspiracy new model the government, and the people revel in atrocious revenge upon all such of the duke's creatures as fall in their way. Many scenes of their cannibal triumph are taken from contemporary writers, and graphically given; but the subject is revolting, and some of the passages are too coarse and too horrible to translate ; nevertheless as a specimen, we select one of the least offensive, yet still characteristic from the blending of buffoonery with ruthless cruelty.
“ It was well that the better citizens provided for the concerns of the republic; the people beeded them not, engrossed with past sufferings and present joys.
The worst amongst them, like drunkards to whom a boliday is nothing beyond an opportunity for intoxication, were in keen pursuit of vengeance. Meanwhile the blockade continued; hunger, noiseless and invincible as death, pressed on each separately, fixing a gnawing tooth under the steel cuirass. The complaints of the soldiers were loud; the more delicate barons were silent from pride, wbich assumes the mien of many a virtue.
“ The inferior citizens meanwhile were hunting for victims; but they sought not so much the pages and courtiers of the merciless duke, as the ministers of his cruelty. Forgetting in their blind fury that the bargello (or minister of the police) with his son Ippolito were shut up with the duke, they sought him in his usual abode; he and Cerrettieri Visdomini being the main objects of the popular rage. Spreading them
selves throughout the city, making every alley, byeway, and corner, a mesh of the net designed to entangle their foes, the people hunted their prey by the scent, impatient to tear it with their fangs. Bindo Altoviti surprised a notary, a man well known for cruelty, who, in female apparel, crossing the street like a truant cat, was stealing down the bank to crouch amongst the reeds at the washing places in the river. Altoviti, noting his mistrustful glances and masculine step, guessed the truth, unmasked and pointed him out to the attendant rabble; intending to deliver bim to contumely, not murder. The populace, stripping him of his borrowed garments, and tearing those proper to bis own sex, proceeded to inflict flagellation upon the delinquent. The poor wretch invoked the name of the Virgin, and his tormenters shouted, "My lady's going to lie in! What fresh crime art about to bring into the world? Perhaps a new compact betwixt the duke and the commonwealth, guarded with securities and oaths, like the first? Ah, dog of a notary! Ah, slave of the bargello ! Tell us bow many hast sent to the gallows, how many to the rack !! Every word was accompanied with a blow. Suddenly a corn-sifter collared him, exclaiming, We must make as many mouthfuls of this rascal as he has betrayed citizens.' To utter these words, to tear the miserable man quarter from quarter, limb from limb; sawing bis flesh with blunt saws, while it still creaked and palpitated, gnawing his fingers and other limbs, as they seemed spasmodically to seek their perhaps still living fellows-all this was the work of a moment."
In the course of a few days famine compels the duke to capitulate, and the only condition upon which he can obtain permission for bimself and his guards to leave Florence unharmed, is the surrender of Guilio and Ippolito d'Assisi and Cerrettieri Visdomini to the brutal pleasure of the people. The duke rejects the infamous terms. Our last extract from this volume shall be the struggle that extorts his consent.
“Duke Gualtieri, to strengthen himself against temptation, summoned Rinaldo, Conte d'Altavilla (alias Comte d'Hunteville, his almost only virtuous French follower), and sent him to intercede. The count invited Pino d'Rossi (one of the balia, or ruling council) to a conference, and offered wbatever terms the Florentines should desire, except
blood. " Pino d'Rossi, lowering his voice in deep shame, replied, 'The people insist upon
blood.' “'But of what avail those three guilty heads ?'
"They avail to save a fourth yet more guilty. Hard as it is to say it, suffer the fate of these miscreants to be fulfilled. In a well-ordered town, would they not already be the prey of the gallows ? Let us yield to iron necessity, and give thanks that it is no worse.' *
“ The duke's internal struggle continued, and wearied therewith he could bear no conversation.
All the balia, the bishop excepted, and the Siennese envoys, repeatedly came, separately or together, to urge the imminence of the danger, and the necessity of submission; which he sometimes resented as though he had been the victor.
“ The soldiers sent a corporal to pray the duke to yield, but to pray in words of command. He, either offended from pride, or perhaps inspired by his good angel, answered “No! One only honourable course was open to him; to have bargained for the lives of his followers as the price of his own, then to bave gone forth and died with the courage of à Frenchman. But of this he thought not. And grievous indeed it were could the wicked repair a foul life by a fair end. Even to the good it is not easy to die well.
“ Twelve of the chief soldiers were sent back to the duke. One of them grasped the hilt of bis sword with his right hand, outstretched the left to bis lord's face, and said · You must now choose, lord duke, between these three heads and your own.
Recoiling as from the touch of a serpent, Gualtieri exclaimed, “What is that?'
‘My will, and the will of my three hundred comrades without.' “It is our will,' re-echoed the three bundred as one man; some clashing their arms, others striking theirs against the ground. “I
am your commander, and mine is the will that must govern.' "To day, sire, we are more dukes than you, because the unanimous will of three hundred men is stronger than your's. You cannot make our three hundred beads fly from that window; your's sire, we can.' “ Gualtieri spoke not.
The soldier struck with the thought of having said too much, with astonishment at what he had done, withdrew, followed by bis comrades, one only remaining. To bim the duke said, • Return in two hours. If I then neither speak nor make sign, be the three surrendered. If I say "No, have respect for a while to my will, my conscience. With a trepidation that seemed intreaty, he added, . But for a while.'
“ The two hours elapsed. At noon a Burgundian silently appeared No!' Two more hours passed— No!' Another two-No!' But the rage within and without pressed like the executioner's noose ;
the increasing yells were fearful, insupportable. * * *
They, the soldiers, entered. The duke moved neither tongue nor muscle; and the torture of that immoveable silence surpassed all he had ever endured from crimes perpetrated or suffered under. They went out, and he would bave recalled them, but fancied it too late. And bitter was his remorse for thus deceiving himself.”
The victims being surrendered are actually torn piece-meal and half-devoured, with circumstances of even more atrocity than in the case of the notary, although without the horrible intermixture of buffoonery. The duke departs in safety with his followers, and the narration, ere it closes, returns for a moment to the loves of the French Rinaldo d'Altavilla with Matilda degli Adimari, daughter of the chief conspirator. Their loves had early been mentioned, and we are now briefly told that they married, and Matilda died in childbed within the year.
The historical subject of N Primo Viceré de Napoli, is the conquest of Naples by the troops of Louis XII. of France, and
" It was
Ferdinand V. of Spain; the quarrel to which the division of the spoil between the royal plunderers gave rise, the consequent war, and the final seizure of the whole by the Spaniards under the conduct of the able though we grieve even to say it, not equally conscientious great captain, Gonsalvo di Cordova. The book opens with the first entrance of the French troops into the Neapolitan dominions; and perhaps we cannot select a fairer specimen of the author's talent than a scene at the very beginning, exhibiting the deadly spirit of faction and private feud, that has for so many centuries mainly contributed to lay Italy at the foot of every invader.
fair morning of the month of June when two warriors who had recently met, rode through a wood towards the camp. Both were in the flower of youth ; the one, very tall, was too slender to be called well-proportioned; the other, scarcely surpassing the middle stature, impressed the beholder at first sight by his perfect symmetry of limb and grace of carriage. The first rode a powerful bay charger ; the second a black jennet. The richly chiselled armour of the former showed a man of high rank ; that of the latter, though of fair temper and well burnished, was far inferior in precious work. But whatever difference of rank might hence be inferred betwixt them, their manners betokened perfect equality.
« • Kind indeed have been my stars,' said the seemingly more considerable of the two,' in bringing to meet me, ere I reach the camp, him I most wished to see.'
“. And but too happy am I, my Pompeo,' rejoined the other, to return thither in thy company.
Who could have thought that upon my foraging mission I should fall in with thee! And the enemy so near! Oh my heart wept to see our lances in rest without thee !'
“At Capua I was charged to use despatch! My uncle dwelt upon the importance of the orders of which I am the bearer. Did he
suppose such injunctions could add to the speed of him who is burrying to camp in the hope of a battle?'
“Thou’rt in good time, friend ; thou’lt share in the very first banquet.”
“What delight! To mount so fine a charger; to brandish such splendid arms! The time is come, Gianni, to practise in earnest the sports of our childhood. This will be a rare tilting bout, with a real enemy confronting us !'
“ i Add too, a detested enemy.'
« • Right, Gianni, right. Methinks this sword would cut less sharply were it wielded against other than the Orsini.'
“ 'I am more desirous to wield mine against the pestilence from beyond the Alps. Happy 1, if this yet virgin blade, still pure from blood, be never stained by blood of Italy.'
"Oh thou hast not had a father slain by those villains ! Thou didst not last year see the slaughter of Monticelli! When Marcantonio and I reached the combatants, those we best loved were falling like leaves
under their blows. Signor Antonio, the bravest man of the house of Lavelli, dying between my feet! And I myself, had not Capoccio arrived in time with his squadron.'
“I understand; but when the fate of all is at stake, private hatreds and enmities should be forgotten.
Such quarrels and mistrust amongst ourselves, with such indifference towards the foreigner ! Why when King Charles came, we were all on his side, and the Orsini of course on the Neapolitan. And now 'tis the very reverse !'
“What would'st thou have ? An enmity of 206 years standing ! Thou know'st too with whom originated the new rupture. After the peace
concluded with Carlo Orsini, whilst he was still our prisoner, was it fair, was it seemly to engage themselves to the infamous Cæsar Borgia?'
" I say not that the fault was your's; but I know that its punishment will light upon us all.””
A few months later this prediction is fulfilled, the conquest of the kingdom is completed, and the whole Colonna party proceed to join the Spaniards under Gonsalvo di Cordova; but we must
If such conversation as we have extracted can ever be entertaining, it must be to the interlocutors alone ; and we may hint to our readers that there are verifications everywhere of the proverb to go farther and fare worse.
Let him therefore rest content, as we doubt not he will, with this specimen of the Viceroy, the author of which, whether Belmonte or Capoccio, does not possess either the dramatic or graphic power of Tommaseo. however, bestow on him the praise of giving a fair picture of the condition of the country during the unhappy times in which he has laid his scene, and especially of the degree to which, at the end of the war, it was infested by banditti, who bid defiance to any minister of justice, less powerful than a troop of soldiers.
From the mediocrity of the extract given we are satisfied to refer any more curious reader to the work itself for further specimens, confessing that its merits cannot, in our judgment, warant us in proceeding farther.