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which was presented to Betrarch, the title and prerogatives of poet-laureat are revived in the Capitol, after the lapse of thirteen hundred years; and he receives the perpetual privilege of wearing, at his choice, a crown of laurel, ivy, or myrtle, of assuming the poetic habit, and of teaching, disputing, interpreting, and composing, in all places whatsoever, and on all subjects of literature. The grant was ratified by the authority of the senate and people ; and the character of citizen was the recompence of his affection for the Roman name. They did him honour, but they did him justice. In the familiar society of Cicero and Livy, he had imbibed the ideas of an ancient patriot; and his ardent fancy kindled every idea to a sentiment, and every sentiment to a passion. The aspect of the seven hills and their majestic ruins confirmed these lively impressions; and he loved a country by whose liberal spirit he had been crowned and adopted. The poverty and debasement of Rome excited the indignation and pity of her grateful son ; he dissembled the faults of his fellow-citizens; applauded with partial fondness the last of their heroes and matrons; and in the remembrance of the past, in the hopes of the future, was pleased to forget the miseries of the present time. Rome was still the lawful mistress of the world: the pope and the emperor, the bishop and general, had abdicated their station by an inglorious retreat to the Rhône and the Danube; but if she could resume her virtue, the republic might again vindicate her liberty and dominion. Amidst the indulgence of enthusiasm and eloquence 15, Petrarch, Italy, and Europe, were astonished by a revolution which realised for a moment his most splendid visions. The rise and fall of the tribune Rienzi will occupy the following pages 16: the subject is interesting, the materials are rich, and the glance of a patriot bard"7 will sometimes vivify the copious, but simple, narrative of the Florentinels, and more especially of the Roman "', historian.

15 To find the proofs of his enthusiasm for Rome, I need only request that the reader would open, by chance, either Petrarch, or his French biographer. The latter has described the poet's first visit to Rome (tom. i. p. 323–335.). But in the place of much idle rhetoric and morality, Petrarch might have amused the present and future age with an original account of the city and his coronation.

16 It has been treated by the pen of a Jesuit, the P. de Cerceau, whose posthumous work (Conjuration de Nicolas Gabrini, dit de Rienzi, Tyran de Rome, en 1947) was published at Paris, 1748, in 12mo. I am indebted to him for some facts and documents in John Hocsemius, canon of Liege, a contemporary historian (Fabricius, Bibliot. Lat. med. Ævi, tom. iii. p. 273. tom. iv. p. 85.).

17 The abbé de Sade, who so freely expatiates on the history of the xivth century, might treat, as his proper subject, a revolution in which the heart of Petrarch was so deeply engaged (Mémoires, tom. ii. p. 50, 51. 320—417. notes, p. 70–76. tom. iii. p. 221–243. 366-375.). Not an idea or a fact in the writings of Petrarch has probably escaped him.

18 Giovanni Villani, 1. xii. c. 89. 104. in Muratori, Rerum Italicarum Scriptores, tom. xiii. p. 969, 970. 981–983.

19 In his third volume of Italian Antiquities (p. 249—548.), Muratori has inserted


racter, and

In a quarter of the city which was inhabited only by Birth, chamechanics and Jews, the marriage of an innkeeper and a patriotic

designs of washerwoman produced the future deliverer of Rome.20 † Rienzi. From such parents Nicholas Rienzi Gabrini could inherit neither dignity nor fortune; and the gift of a liberal education, which they painfully bestowed, was the cause of his glory and untimely end. The study of history and eloquence, the writings of Cicero, Seneca, Livy, Cæsar, and Valerius Maximus, elevated above his equals and contemporaries the genius of the young plebeian: he perused with indefatigable diligence the manuscripts and marbles of antiquity; loved to dispense his knowledge in familiar language; and was often provoked to exclaim, “Where are now these “ Romans ? their virtue, their justice, their power? why was I not “ born in those happy times ?” 21 When the republic addressed to the throne of Avignon an embassy of the three orders, the spirit

the Fragmenta Historiæ Romanæ ab Anno 1327 usque ad Annum 1354, in the original dialect of Rome or Naples in the xivth century, and a Latin version for the benefit of strangers. It contains the most particular and authentic life of Cola (Nicholas) di Rienzi; which had been printed at Bracciano, 1627, in 4to., under the name of Tomaso Fortifiocca, who is only mentioned in this work as having been punished by the tribune for forgery. Human nature is scarcely capable of such sublime or stupid impartiality : but whosoever is the author of these Fragments, he wrote on the spot and at the time, and paints, without design or art, the manners of Rome and the character of the tribune. *

30 The first and splendid period of Rienzi, his tribunitian government, is contained in the xviiith chapter of the Fragments (p. 399_479.), which, in the new division, forms the iid book of the history in xxxviii smaller chapters or sections.

21 The reader may be pleased with a specimen of the original idiom : Fò da soa juventutine nutricato di latte de eloquentia, bono gramatico, megliore rettuorico, autorista bravo. Deh como et quanto era veloce leitore ! moito usava Tito Livio, Seneca, et Tullio, et Balerio Massimo, moito li dilettava le magnificentie di Julio Cesare rac

Tutta la die se speculava negl' intagli di marmo lequali iaccio intorno Roma. Non era altri che esso, che sapesse lejere li antichi pataffii. Tutte scritture antiche vulgarizzava ; quesse fiure di marmo justamente interpretava. Oh come spesso diceva, “ Dove suono quelli buoni Romani ? dove ene loro somma justitia ? poleramme trovare in tempo che quessi fiuriano ! ”


Since the publication of my first appeared, but a copy made by Pelzel for edition of Gibbon some new and very his own use is now in the library of Count remarkable documents have been brought Thun at Teschen. There seems no doubt to light in a life of Nicolas Rienzi, — Cola of their authenticity. Dr. Papencordt di Rienzo und seine Zeit, — by Dr. Felix has printed the whole in his Urkunden, Papencordt. The most important of these with the exception of one long theological documents are letters from Rienzi to paper.- M. 1845, Charles the Fourth, emperor and king of + But see in Dr. Papencordt's work, Bohemia, and to the archbishop of Prague; and in Rienzi's own words, his claim to be they enter into the whole history of his a bastard son of the emperor Henry the adventurous career during its first period, Seventh, whose intrigue with his mother and throw a strong light upon his extra- Rienzi relates with a sort of proud shame. ordinary character. These documents lessness. Compare account by the editor were first discovered and made use of, to of Dr. Papencordt's work in Quarterly a certain extent, by Pelzel, the historian Review, vol. lxix.-M. 1845. of Bohemia. The originals have dis

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so partial to their family, that he has been delineated in satirical portraits, imprisoned as it were in a hollow pillar. 101 After his decease, their haughty behaviour provoked the displeasure of the most implacable of mankind. The two cardinals, the uncle and the nephew, denied the election of Boniface the Eighth ; and the Colonna were oppressed for a moment by his temporal and spiritual arms. 102 He proclaimed a crusade against his personal enemies; their estates were confiscated; their fortresses on either side of the Tyber were besieged by the troops of St. Peter and those of the rival nobles; and after the ruin of Palestrina or Præneste, their principal seat, the ground was marked with a ploughshare, the emblem of perpetual desolation. Degraded, banished, proscribed, the six brothers, in disguise and danger, wandered over Europe without renouncing the hope of deliverance and revenge. In this double hope, the French court was their surest asylum: they prompted and directed the enterprise of Philip; and I should praise their magnanimity, had they respected the misfortune and courage of the captive tyrant. His civil acts were annulled by the Roman people, who restored the honours and possessions of the Colonna ; and some estimate may be formed of their wealth by their losses, of their losses by the damages of one hundred thousand gold florins which were granted them against the accomplices and heirs of the deceased pope.

All the spiritual censures and disqualifications were abolished 103 by his prudent successors ;

and the fortune of the house was more firmly established by this transient hurricane. The boldness of Sciarra Colonna was signalised in the captivity of Boniface, and long afterwards in the coronation of Lewis of Bavaria ; and by the gratitude of the emperor, the pillar in their arms was encircled with a royal crown. But the first of the family in fame and merit was the elder Stephen, whom Petrarch loved and esteemed as a hero superior to his own times, and not unworthy of ancient Rome. Persecution and exile displayed to the nations his abilities in peace and war; in his distress he was an object, not of pity, but

101 Muratori, Annali d'Italia, tom. x. p. 216. 220.

109 Petrarch's attachment to the Colonna has authorised the abbé de Sade to expatiate on the state of the family in the fourteenth century, the persecution of Boniface VIII., the character of Stephen and his sons, their quarrels with the Ursini, &c. (Mémoires sur Pétrarque, tom. i. p. 98—110. 146–148. 174-176. 222-230. 275--280.). His criticism often rectifies the hearsay stories of Villani, and the errors of the less diligent moderns. I understand the branch of Stephen to be now extinct.

103 Alexander III, had declared the Colonna who adhered to the emperor Frederic I. incapable of holding any ecclesiastical benefice (Villani, I. v. c. 1.); and the last stains of annual excommunication were purified by Sixtus V. (Vita di Sisto V. tom. iii. p. 416.). Treason, sacrilege, and proscription are often the best titles of ancient nobility.

and Ursini.


of reverence; the aspect of danger provoked him to avow his name and country; and when he was asked, “ Where is now your “ fortress ?” he laid his hand on his heart, and answered, “ Here.” He supported with the same virtue the return of prosperity; and, till the ruin of his declining age, the ancestors, the character, and the children of Stephen Colonna, exalted his dignity in the Roman republic, and at the court of Avignon. II. The Ursini migrated from Spoleto104 ; the sons of Ursus, as they are styled in the twelfth century, from some eminent person, who is only known as the father of their race. But they were soon distinguished among the nobles of Rome, by the number and bravery of their kinsmen, the strength of their towers, the honours of the senate and sacred college, and the elevation of two popes, Celestin the Third and Nicholas the Third, of their name and lineage. Their riches may be accused as an early abuse of nepotism: the estates of St. Peter were alienated in their favour by the liberal Celestin 106; and Nicholas was ambitious for their sake to solicit the alliance of monarchs ; to found new kingdoms in Lombardy and Tuscany; and to invest them with the perpetual office of senators of Rome. All that has been observed of the greatness of the Colonna will likewise redound to the glory of the Ursini, their constant and equal antagonists in the long hereditary feud, which distracted above two hundred and fifty years the ecclesiastical state. The jealousy of pre-eminence and power was the Their hetrue ground of their quarrel ; but as a specious badge of feuds. distinction, the Colonna embraced the name of Ghibelines and the party of the empire; the Ursini espoused the title of Guelphs and


Vallis te proxima misit,'
Appenninigenæ qua prata virentia sylvæ

Spoletana metunt armenta gregesque protervi. Monaldeschi (tom. xii. Script. Ital. p. 533.) gives the Ursini a French origin, which may be remotely true.

163 In the metrical life of Celestine V. by the Cardinal of St. George (Muratori, tom. iii. P. i. p. 613, &c.) we find a luminous, and not inelegant, passage (1. i. c. 3. p. 203, &c.): –

-genuit quem nobilis Ursæ (Ursi ?)
Progenies, Romana domus, veterataque magnis
Fascibus in clero, pompasque experta senatûs,
Bellorumque manù grandi stipata parentum
Cardineos apices necnon fastigia dudum

Papatûs iterata tenens. Muratori (Dissert. xlii, tom. iii.) observes, that the first Ursini pontificate of Celestine 111. was unknown : he is inclined to read Ursi progenies.

166 Filii Ursi, quondam Cælestini papæ nepotes, de bonis ecclesiæ Romanæ ditati (Vit. Innocent. III. in Muratori, Script. tom. iii. P. i.). The partial prodigality of Nicholas III. is more comspicuous in Villani and Muratori. Yet the Ursini would disdain the nephews of a modern pope.

the cause of the church. The eagle and the keys were displayed in their adverse banners; and the two factions of Italy most furiously raged when the origin and nature of the dispute were long since forgotten. 107 After the retreat of the popes to Avignon they disputed in arms the vacant republic; and the mischiefs of discord were perpetuated by the wretched compromise of electing each year two rival senators. By their private hostilities the city and country were desolated, and the fluctuating balance inclined with their alternate success. But none of either family had fallen by the sword, till the most renowned champion of the Ursini was surprised and slain by the younger Stephen Colonna. 108 His triumph is stained with the reproach of violating the truce; their defeat was basely avenged by the assassination, before the church door, of an innocent boy and his two servants. Yet the victorious Colonna, with an annual colleague, was declared senator of Rome during the term of five years. And the muse of Petrarch inspired a wish, a hope, a prediction, that the generous youth, the son of his venerable hero, would restore Rome and Italy to their pristine glory; that his justice would extirpate the wolves and lions, the serpents and bears, who laboured to subvert the eternal basis of the marble COLUMN.


107 In his fifty-first Dissertation on the Italian Antiquities, Muratori explains the factions of the Guelphs and Ghibelines.

108 Petrarch (tom. i. p. 222-230., has celebrated this victory according to the Colonna; but two contemporaries, a Florentine (Giovanni Villani, 1. x. c. 220.) and a Roman (Ludovico Monaldeschi, p. 535, 534.) are less favourable to their arms.

109 The Abbé de Sade (tom. i. Notes, p. 61-66.) has applied the vith Canzone of Petrarch, Spirto Gentil, &c., to Stephen Colonna the younger :

Orsi, lupi, leoni, aquile e serpi
Ad una gran marmorea colonna
Fanno noja sovente e à se danno

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