« 前へ次へ »
P.S. 2nd. Is it true that the Saints make up the losses of the review? It is very handsome in them to be at so great an expence-Pray pardon my taking up so much of your time from the bar, and from your clients, who I hear are about the same number with the readers of your journal. Twice more yours,
THE FLORENTINE LOVERS.
At the time when Florence was divided into the two fierce parties of Guelfs and Ghibelines, there was great hostility between two families of the name of Bardi and Buondelmonti. It was seldom that love took place between indivis duals of houses so divided; but, when it did, it was proportionately vehement, either because the individuals themselves were vehement in all their passions, or because love, falling upon two gentle hearts, made them the more pity and love one another, to find themselves in so unnatural a situation.
Of this latter kind was an affection that took place between a young lady of the family of the Bardi, called Dianora d'Amerigo, and a youth of the other family, whose name was Ippolito. The girl was about fifteen, and in the full flower of her beauty and sweetness. Ippolito was about three years older, and looked two or three more, on account of a certain gravity and deep regard in the upper part of his face. You might know by his lips that he could love well, and by his eyes that he could keep the secret. There was a likeness, as sometimes happens, between the two lovers; and perhaps this was no mean help to their passion; for as we find painters often giving their own faces to their heroes, so the more ex
The groundwork of this story is in a late Italian publication called the Florentine Observer, descriptive of the old buildings and other circumstances of local interest in the capital of Tuscany.
cusable vanity of lovers delights to find that resemblance in one another, which Plato said was only the divorced half of the original human being rushing into communion with the other.
Be this as it may (and lovers in those times were not ignorant of such speculations) it needed but one sight of Dianora d'Amerigo to make Ippolito fall violently in love with her. It was in church on a great holiday. In the South the church has ever been the place where people fall in love. It is there that the young of both sexes oftenest find themselves in each other's company. There the voluptuous that cannot fix their thoughts upon heaven find congenial objects, more earthly, to win their attention; and there, the most innocent and devotional spirits, voluptuous also without being aware of it, and not knowing how to vent the grateful pleasure of their hearts, discover their tendency to repose on beings that can shew themselves visibly sensible to their joy. The paintings, the perfumes, the music, the kind crucifix, the mixture of aspiration and earthly ceremony, the draperies, the white vestments of young and old, the boys' voices, the giant candles, typical of the serạphic ministrants about God’s altar, the meeting of all ages and classes, the echoings of the aisles, the lights and shades of the pillars and vaulted roofs, the very struggle of day-light at the lofty windows, as if earth were at once present and not present,ếall have a tendency to confuse the boundaries of this world and the next, and to set the heart floating in that delicious mixture of elevation and humility, which is ready to sympathize with whatever can preserve to it something like its sensations, and save it from the hardness and definite folly of ordinary life. It was in a church that Boccaccio, not
ly the voluptuous Boccaccio, who is but half-known by the half-witted, but Boccaccio, the future painter of the Falcon
and the Pot of Basil, first saw the beautiful face of his Fiammetta. In a church, Petrarch felt the sweet shadow fall on him that darkened his life for twenty years after. And the fond gratitude of the local historian for a tale of true love, has left it on record, that it was in the church of St. Giovanni at Florence, and on the great day of Pardon, which falls on the 13th of January, that Ippolito de' Buondelmonte became enamoured of Dianora d'Amerigo. [How delicious it is to repeat these beautiful Italian names, when they are not merely names. We find ourselves almost unconsciously writing them in a better hand than the rest; not merely for the sake of the printer, but for the pleasure of lingering upon the sound.]
When the people were about to leave church, Ippolito, in turning to speak to an acquaintance, lost sight of his unknown beauty. He made haste to plant himself at the door, telling his companion that he should like to see the ladies come out; for he had not the courage to say which lady. When he saw Dianora appear, he changed colour, and saw nothing else. Yet though he beheld, and beheld her distinctly, so as to carry away every feature in his heart, it seemed to him afterwards that he had seen her only as in a dream. She glided by him like a thing of heaven, drawing her veil over her head. As he had not had the courage to speak of her, he had still less the courage to ask her name; but he was saved the trouble. “ God and St. John bless her beautiful face!" cried a beggar at the door; “she always gives double of any
one else.”—“ Curse her!” muttered Ippolito's acquaintance;
“ she is one of the Bardi.” The ear of the lover heard both these exclamations, and they made an indelible impression. Being a lover of books and poetry, and intimate with the most liberal of the two parties, such as Dante Alighieri (afterwards so famous) and Guido Cavalcanti, Ippolito,
though a warm partisan himself, and implicated in a fierce encounter that had lately taken place between some persons on horseback, had been saved from the worst feelings attendant on political hostility; and they now appeared to him
He had no thought, it is true, of forgiving one of the old Bardi, who had cut his father down from his horse; but he would now have sentenced the whole party to a milder banishment than before; and to curse a female belonging to it, and that female Dianora !he differed with the stupid fellow that had done it whenever they met afterwards.
It was a heavy reflection to Ippolito to think that he could not see his mistress in her own house. She had a father and mother living as well as himself, and was surrounded with relations. It was a heavier still that he knew not how to make her sensible of his passion; and the heaviest of all, that being so lovely, she would certainly be carried off by another husband. What was he to do? He had no excuse for writing to her; and as to serenading her under her window, unless he meant to call all the neighbours to witness his temerity and lose his life at once in that brawling age, it was not to be thought of. He was obliged to content himself with watching, as well as he could, the windows of her abode, following her about whenever he saw her leave it, and with pardonable vanity trying to catch her attention by some little action that should give her a good thought of the stranger; such as anticipating her in giving alms to a beggar. We must even record, that on one occasion he contrived to stumble against a dog and tread on his toes, in order that he might ostentatiously help the poor beast out of the way. But his day of delight was church-day. Not a fast, not a feast did he miss; not a Sunday, nor a saints’-day. “The devotion of that young “gentleman,” said an old widow-lady, her aunt, who was in the habit of accompanying Dianora, " is indeed edifying;