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and retired life, devoted to the cultivation of literature, and especially of poetry, until the time of the famous siege of Vienna by the Turks. This event, and the subsequent raising of the siege by John Sobieski, acting at the same moment upon his piety and his poctical enthusiasm, drew from him several Canzoni, which, breathing a spirit of holy confidence in the protection of the true God, and of triumphant gratulation in the success of the Christians, instantly gave him a reputation completely European. Complimentary letters were addressed to him by the Emperor Leopold, the King of Poland, and the Duke of Lorraine. In addition to this, Christina, queen of Sweden, wrote him a complimentary letter to which Filicaja replied with a canzone ; and the strictesi friendship thenceforth subsisted between the poet and Christina until her death, which forms the subject of several of his poems. Filicaja's fame as a poet introduced him also to the notice or the Grand Duke, who invested him with the rank of senator, and entrusted him from time to time with several conspicuous magistracies, of which he acquitted himself with great ability and integrity. He was also made a member of the Academies of La Crusca and the Arcadi ; and having become one of the most eminent poets of the day, he died in 1707, universally honoured and regretted. He was married at the age of 31, and had two sons, one of whom survived him, and first collected his poems.
Filicaja wrote poems in the Latin, as well as in the Italian language. Iligh as the encomium may seem, it is not saying too much of him to affirm, that in comparison with the Italian poets of his age, perhaps with the Italian poets of any age, he is distinguished for the vivacity, vigour, and dignity of his style, and for sentiments which often rise to the height of sublimity, and always are strongly conceived, grave, and impressive. The occasion which first inspired his muse, appears to have listed him above the intolerably affected taste in poctical composition, which characterized most other Italian poets of the seventeenth century (the seicentisti). Liberty and religion are his favourite themes, and they communicate their own animating and elevating character to his mind. Many of his poems are purely devotional. Many also are spirited exhortations to the Italian States to bury their petty jealousies in oblivion, and unite in the common cause of achieving the independence of Italy. His countrymen have always dwelt upon these poems with melancholy pride, which, while it testified their sense of their own abject condition, sought consolation in the stirring recollection of their departed glory.
begin my specimen of Filicaja with his memorable sonnet
Italia, oh Italia, hapless thou,
Who didst the fatal gift of beauty gain,
A dowry fraught with never ending pain,
A seal of sorrow stamped upon thy brow :
Then should thy foes, they whom thy loveliness
Adore thy beauty less, or dread thine arms!
Adown the Alps ; and Gallic troops be laved
In the red waters of the Po no more;
Barbarian succour should thy sons implore,
Vanquished or victors still by Goths enslaved. The following sonnet indicates the tendency to a religious train of thought, which marks the poetry of Filicaja.
ON THE EARTHQUAKE OF SICILY.
Thou buried City, o'er thy site I muse :
What! Does no monumental stone remain,
Here stood Catania, and here Syracuse ?
I seek thee in thyself, yet find instead
Stariled and horror-struck I wond'ring stand,
Of God's decrees! I see it and I feel it here ;
Shall I not comprehend and dread its force?
Their massy forms on high, portentous corse,
That trembling ages may behold and fear! Filicaja's best Canzoni are all of considerable length; and therefore my limits will not permit me to introduce more than one here. It is the first in order in the common editions of his works, the first in time of the odes upon the Turkish invasion, and second to none in point of merit. in my translation, I have preserved the succession of the rhymes, and have endeavoured to imitate the lyrical movements, of the original ode.
THE SIEGE OF VIENNA.
How long, O Lord, shall vengeance sleep,
And impious pride defy thy rod ?
And wilt thou hear thy sons deplore
And arra thee with avenging thunder?
Big with terror, death, and wo;
Within Vienna's proud imperial walls;
Exalt, O Lord, that impious men may learn
If destiny decree,
If fate's eternal leaves declare,
I bow in meek humility,
For thou alone art just and wise and pure.
When Tartar ploughs Gerinanic soil divide,
O let thy mercy blot the fatal word !
Through the temple's cloistered aisles ;
And lifts to heaven his holy arm,
Sacred fury fires my breast,
And fills my labouring soul.
ROMANCE IN THE HEROIC AND MIDDLE AGES.
Magnanima menzogna, or quando è il vero “ Si bello, che si possa a te preporre ?"
[CONCLUDED.) It might be an interesting occupation, could we afford time and space for it, to compare the actual condition of society, as well as the mythological fables exhibited in these old Romances, with those of Greek tradition, and particularly with those represented in the poems of Homer. We suspect that the Middle Ages would be found to have much the advantage over the Heroic, in point of refinement. In the gloomiest period, Europe retained something of the warmth which had been imparted to it by the genial ray of science, in the days of polished antiquity.
The simplicity or rather rusticity of Homer's heroes is not in perfect conformity with the lofty tone of knight-errantry. The Princess Nausicaa washing her own linen, Ulysses carpentering his own bedstead, Achilles cooking a steak and spreading the table for dinner, are certainly not in the taste of the lordly feudal times, of the Olivers, Rolands, and Percivals, who would sooner have fasted a month, than have condescended to such plebeian operations.* Indeed this fasting is characteristic of the modern knight-errant, while Homer, with more honesty, makes his heroes huge fecders on most occasions. Ulysses floating on the wreck, in
* A most singular custom of the Heroic Age was that of females of rank attending a distinguished guest of the family to the bath. Thus the Princess Polycaste, by the command of her father, officiates as waiting paid to Telemachus, and after the ablution perfumes the body of the young hero with fragrant oils. We recollect no parallel piece of courtesy in the ancient English roinance, though we may find one in the old epic of Boiardo, who somewhere represents Angelica as ministering to Orlando, in this (as it would be considered in these degenerate times, at least,) somewhat embarassing situation.