« 前へ次へ »
He took great delight in building, but was economist in his expen es that way: a friend once expressing an astonishment that lie, who had described such magnificent edifices in his poem, sinould be contented with so poor a dwelling, Ariosto answered very aptly, that “ words were much easier put together than bricks;" and leading him to the door of his house, pointed to this distich, which he had caused to be engraved on the portico:
Parva, sed apta mihi, sed nulli obnoxia, oed non
Small is my humble roof, but well design'd
Notwithstanding what has been mentioned of his personal bravery in the engagement between the pope's vassals and the duke's, he is reported to have been na turally of a timid disposition: when on horseback, he would alight on the least appearance of danger: he was particularly timorous on the water; and when he went out of a vessel, would always stay till the last, frequently using this expression, de puppe novissimus exi; in every other respect his temper was firm and unruffled.
His son Virginio has left behind him the following particulars relative to his father, which we will insert in his own words, as the least matter of information must gratify curiosity in the life of so extraordinary a
“ He was never satisfied with his verses, but continually altering them. He was very fond of gardening, but so frequently varying his design, that he never suffered any plant to remain above three months; at the same time he knew little of botany. I remember, that once imagining he had planted capers, he was highly pleased to see them thrive so well, till at last, instead of capers, he found that he had planted elder. Of authors he highly approved Virgil and Tibullus; he greatly extolled Horace, but thought little of Propertius.
“ IIe made no distinction in his food, but always eat of that which was next him, and often eat a small loaf or roll after he had dined. He was in general so lost in meditation, that he attended little to what passed. It so happened that a stranger once came to visit him at dinner-time, and while his guest was talking, Ariosto eat the meat that was set before him: for which being afterwards reproved by his brother, he only cooly replied, “ That the loss was the stranger's, and that he ought to have taken care of himself.”
Sir John Ilarington has given the following anecdote of Ariosto, for which he has not mentioned his authority, and which does not appear in any of the biographers or commentators consulted in writing this life. Take the relation in Sir John's own words.
“As he himself could pronounce very well, so it was a great penance to him to hear others pronounce ill that which himself had written excellent well. Insomuch as they tell of him, how coming one day by a potter's shop that had many earthen vessels ready made to sell on his stall, the potter fortuned, at that time, to sing some
stave or other out of Orlando Furioso, I think where Rinaldo requested his horse to tarry for him, in the first book, the 32d stanza.
Ferma, Baiardo, mio, deli, ferma il piede
Stay, my Bayardo, stay !--thy flight restrain,
5. Or some such grave matter fit for a potter: but he plotted the verses out so ill-favouredly (as might well beseemn his dirty occupation), that Ariosto being, or at least making semblance to be in a great rage withal, with a little walking stick he had in his hand, brake divers of the pots. The poor potter, put quite beside his song, and almost beside himself, to see his market half marred before it was a quarter done, in a pitiful tone or manner, between railing and whining, asked, What he meant to wrong a poor man that had never done him injury in all his life? Yes, varlet ! quoth Ariosto, I am yet scarce even with thee for the wrong thou hast done me here before my face, for I have broken but half a dozen base pots of thine, that are not worth so many halfpence, but thou hast broken and mangled a fine stanza of mine worth a mark of gold *.”
A story of the same kind has been likewise told of Camöens; and Mr. Mickle observes, that “ both these silly tales are borrowed from Plutarch's Life of Arcesilaus, where the same dull humour is told of Philoxenus. Ile heard some brickinakers mistune one
of his songs, and, in return, destroyed a number of their bricks *.”
Ile was of an amorous constitution, and very apt to receive impressions from every beautiful object, violent in his attachments, impatient of a rival; but in his amours he was discreet, cautious, and secret. It has been said that he might possibly allude to this by the sculpture of his ink-standish, on the top of which was a Cupid, with his fore finger placed on his lip, as an emblem of silence. This disposition to gallantry, which he retained to the last year of his life, is confirmed by many parts of his writings.
Pensi, chi vuol, ch'el tempo i lacci scioglia
Che amore anoda, e che ci dorrem' anco,
Nomando questa leve e bassa voglia;
Amare ed esortar che sempre s'ami,
Spezzi or la parca al mia vita i stami.
Elegy xv. The names of the women, whom he loved, do not appear to be mentioned, except one whom he is said to be strongly attached to, of the name of Geneura, to whom he is supposed to allude in his Sonnet.
Mickle's Life of Canöens.
Quel'arboscel, che in le solinghe rive
All'aria spiega i rami oridi et irti,
E lieto e verde al caldo e al ghiaccio vive,
Termine e leggi a' travagliati spirti,
Ritarini, o le brumali ore o l'estive.
Liinghe vigilie oil amorosi sproni
Son per condumi ad onorata meta;
Che lor frondi mi mostrino poeta;
Yon tree, that near the rivulei's pleasing scene,
Than pines or myriles sweeter scents the gale,
Nor drop in summer, nor in winter fail,
And o'er my senses boundless sway maintain;
While Fortune shifts her vary'd face in vain !
And kindly lead him to the goal design'd,
In his early life he contracted an intimacy with a noble Florentine called Nicolo Vespucci, whom he accompanied into Florence in 1513, being then thirty-nine years old, to perfect himself in the Tuscan dialect, and to be present at the magnificent ceremony used at the feast of St. Baptist: here he fell violently in love with a kinswoman of Vespucci, whom he found preparing a
Ginebre, or Genuru, the juniper-tree, which, by the liberty the Itali:11) give themselves, may be supposed to stand for Oeneuria