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dress of silver, embroidered with purple for her sons to appear in at the jousts. Ariosto, who was then deeply engaged in writing his poem, is supposed, from this circumstance, to have taken the idea of that beautiful simile in the twenty-fourth book, when he describes the wound received by Zerbino from the land of Mandricardo.
Le lucide arme il caldo sangue irriga,
The warın blood issu'd with a crimson tide,
It has been the opinion of some, that he was privately married, but that he was obliged to keep it secret for fear of forfeiting some church benefices which he enjoyed: some go so far as to say, that his wife's name was Alexandra, and that he alludes to her in these lines. Orl. Fur. B. xx.
Alessandra gentil ch'umida avea,
Fair Alexandra, in whose gentle eyes,
Tears, for the youth, in sweet compassion risc. Concerning the person of Ariosto, he was rather above the common size, of a countenance generally grave and contemplative, as appears from the admirable picture painted by Titian: his head was partly bald; his hair
black and curling; his forehead high; his eye-brows raised; his eyes black and sparkling; his nose large and aquiline; his lips well formed; his teeth even and white; his cheeks rather thin, and his complexion inclining to the olive; he was well made, except that his shoulders were somewhat large, which made him appear to stoop a little; his walk was slow and deliberate, as indeed were his actions in general.
Ariosto left behind him two sons by Alexandra, who were always considered illegitimate; Virginio before named, and J. Baptista ; the first of whom being brought up under his father, who took great pains to instruct him, and was made a canon of the house of Ferrara, and Ariosto resigned a great part of his benefices to him: the latter went very young into the army, and having acquired considerable reputation as a soldier, returned to Ferrara a little while before Ariosto's death, and died himself an officer in the duke's service.
Ariosto is reported to have met his dissolution with the utmost composure, and to have told some of his friends, who were present at his last moments, that he left the world without the least reluctance; and the more so, because, as he believed, that, in another state, men would know each other, he was impatient to meet again so many friends that had gone before him.
He was interred in the church of St. Benedict, under a plain monument, which was afterwards enriched with a number of inscriptions in the Greek, Latin, and Tuscan Languages, the greatest wits contending to celebrate his memory.
Ariosto, among his other Latin pieces, left the follows ing epitaph written for himself, but which an Italian writer of his life supposes to have been considered as too ludicrous to be made use of upon the occasion:
" LUDOVICUS ARIOSTUS humantur ossa
Opportunius incidens viator;
« Olim siquod haberet is sepulchrum *.” The false thought on which the whole point of this Epitaph turns, has been lately justly exposed in an observation on a similar one written by Pope for him. self:
Under this stone, or under this sill,
Or under this turf, &c. “ When a man is once buried, the question under what he is buried, is easily decided. He forgot that though he wrote the epitaph in a state of uncertainty, yet it could not be laid over him till his grave was inadet."
* The bones of Luckovico Ariosto are buried under this marble, under this turt, or under whatever pleases his bountiful heir, or Perhaps more bountiful friend; or stranger who sliall take this charge upon him: lie could not look into the future, but was not solicitons, while living, to prepare an urn for his remains; yet, while living, he prepared these lines to be inscribed on his tomb, if such a tomb should ever be obtained.
† Dr. Johnson's Preface to Pope's Works.
The death of Ariosto was lamented by every good man, and the Monks of St. Benedict, contrary to their usual custom, attended his body to the grave; and so great was their veneration of his name, that they would, by no means, consent that his bones should be afterwards removed to a chapel or sepulchre erected for him by his son Virginio, in the garden belonging to his house, which was afterwards destroyed by an ignorant builder, without the concurrence, and to the great mortification of the owners of the dwelling. However, many years after, Signor Agostino Mosti, who had a sincere regard for the memory of Ariosto, having been early initiated by him in the knowledge of polite letters, and who was concerned that so great a man should want a monument worthy of him, resolved to build one that should be answerable to the veneration he had for his many virtues. He therefore caused a marble sepulchre to be erected at his own expense in the same church of St. Benedict, adorned with proper emblems, and a fine statue of Ariosto; and to show the zeal with which he paid this last duty to his master, he deposited, with his own hands, the bones of this illustrious poet in their new sepulchre, with the following inscription, and the annexed verses composed by Lorenzo Frizoli.
“ D. O. M.
« LUDOVICO AREOSTO, Poetæ Patricio Ferrariensi
Augustinus Mustus Tanto Viro, Ac de se bene merenti 'tumulum et effigiem marmoris, are proprio P.C. Anna “ Salutis MDLXXXIII. VIII. Idus Junii Alphonso II.
Duce, vixit ann. LXX. Obiit ann, Salut. MDXXXIII. “ Idus Junii.
“ Hic Areostus est situs, qui comica
But in the year 1612 a new and more magnificent monument was erected for him by his nephew's son Ludovico Ariosto, with the effigies of the poet, and two statues representing Glory and Poetry: to this his bones were removed, for the third time. This monument is still to be seen in the church of the Benedictines at Ferrara, with the following inscription:
“ D. O. M.
“ Ter illi Maximo, atque ore omnium celeberrimo vati, “ A Carolo V. coronato, nobilitate generis, atque animi " claro, in rebus publicis administrandis, in regendis “ publicis, in gravissimis ad summos Pontifices Lega“ tionibus prudentia,consilio, eloquentia, praestantissimo, “ Ludovicus Areostus pronepos, ne quid domesticæ
pietati, ad tanti viri gloriam cumulandam defuisse “ videri possit, magno Patruo, cujus ossa hîc vere condita “ sunt P. C. Anno Salutis MDCXII. vixit An. LIX. “ Obiit An. Salut. MDXXXIII. VIII. Idus Junii."
Notus et IIesperiis jacet hic Ariostus et Indis,
Cui musa eternum nomen Hetrusca dedit,
Seu cecinit grandi bella ducesque tuba,
Tergemina licuit cingere fronde comas!