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sible at Rome, it would only have furnished him with a hint for another satire. Laura, Beatrice, and Leonora are the creations of a Christian and chivalrous era. The princesses of Este were among the most accomplished women of the age; and in that age — when modern literature had as yet produced few of its master-works — an accomplished woman was also a learned one. They were versed in Latin and Greek, as well as in their native literature; they were both of them excellent musicians; studious in every art and science; and attached to the society of the learned. Torquato was perhaps a dangerous companion for ladies so gifted. He was in the prime of youth. He was strikingly handsome. He excelled in all manly exercises. He had the scholar's melancholy. He sang well. He was sincere, earnest, and courteous. He surpassed all their former servants and admirers in the composition of sonnets and compliments, and in the grace with which he recited his compositions. Before his arrival in Ferrara, Tasso had celebrated all the Este family, and the Princess Lucretia in particular. His new service was a spur to prosecute his Gierusalemme with fresh vigour. Before six months had elapsed six cantos were completed. He had originally intended to dedicate his poem to the Duke of Urbino. He now inscribed it to Alphonso; and made Rinaldo, a real or imaginary ancestor of the House of Este, the Achilles of his Christian Iliad. Nor were his studies confined to the sacred army and its great captain. Not a week passed without its lyrical effusion in honour of Alphonso and his sisters. If Madama Lucrezia,' says Mr. R. Milman, 'had been broidering,
-if Madama Leonora were unwell, -if Madama Lucrezia appeared in black, -if Madama Leonora's eyes were affected by a cold, -his harp was ever ready to admire, rejoice, or condole, to follow the glancing fingers, or to incite the removal of the envious cloud ; if his lady had been singing, his choicest melodies were at hand to re-echo and prolong the sweet tones.'
It was, however, during the occasional villegiature or country retirements of the princesses at Bel-riguardo or Cosandoli that Tasso passed his happiest hours of dependence. The morning hours were devoted to the healthy recreations of the chase, swimming and fishing; and the evenings to social relaxation and music, to literary and philosophical discussion, or to the recitation of new sonnets and canzones. In all these evening diversions Lucretia and Leonora were well qualified to take part; and the irritable spirit of Tasso was soothed and strengthened by their applause, sympathy, and admonition. The Duke himself rarely accompanied his sisters in their retirement. Ceremony was laid aside: the court remained at Ferrara ; the
panied tired by Luer was invited susceptibles a delight
voice of calumny and rivalry was for a while hushed; and the distinctions of rank were, perhaps, forgotten amid the chestnut forests, the silvery waterfalls, the sheltered gardens, and the well-stocked libraries and galleries of these ancient palaces of Este. In such retreats were read the earlier scenes of "Torris
mondo,' the best of Italian tragedies, until Alfieri created the real tragic drama of Italy. The "Aminta' had been represented at the court theatre with every adjunct of appropriate music and gorgeous scenery and costumes, and amid the acclamations of the most beautiful women, the most chivalrous men, and the most accomplished scholars of a land and an age preeminent for its beauty, its chivalry, and its learning. One voice alone was wanting to complete the tribute of grateful and unanimous applause. The Princess of Urbino had been unable to witness the representation of the most touching and graceful of modern pastorals. But Lucretia would not forego a delight in which thousands of meaner and less susceptible spectators had participated. The poet was invited to Urbino; he was most kindly received by Lucretia and her husband Francesco; he accompanied them during the summer heats to their villa of Castel Durante; and recited there the "Aminta' to his early friend, to his new patron, and to a small circle of approving courtiers and friends. The applause of the theatre was probably less welcome to the triumphant author, than the more tranquil gratulations of such an audience. It is, perhaps, idle to inquire, because it is impossible to ascertain, whether Tasso, when reciting some impassioned canzone, in such sweet seclusion, may not have indulged in sentiments too tender and perilous for a dependent of the noblest or, at least, the haughtiest, of the princely Houses of Italy.
By what envious clouds so fair a dawn was overcast we are unable to discover. His old enemy Pigna was dead; but Pigna's successor in the secretaryship was even more embittered against him. The success of his . Aminta' in 1673, seems to have been the beginning of new sorrows. It provoked the jealousy of the courtiers. It was at first whispered, and next bruited abroad, that the humble dependent had dared to love a daughter of Este. Tasso's papers were once inore seized. A few sonnets and canzones, and especially a madrigal,- none of which compositions, however, were addressed to any one or apparently intended to see the light, — were thought to countenance the rumour, and even to boast of a successful passion. The House of Este did not belie its character of being the proudest in Italy. The Duke was easily moved, and, when moved, inexorably vindictive. He alternately soothed and slighted
Tasso. He menaced him with the inquisition; he restored him for a moment to favour; he embroiled him with a gentleman of his household: he gave out to the world that the poet was à maniac; and he did all in his power to make him one. The dreadful apparatus of Webster's Duchess of Malfy,- the wild masque of madmen, 'the tomb-maker, the • bellman, the living person's dirge, the mortification by de
grees,' are, so to speak, scenic representments of the tortures inflicted by Alphonso's ingenious anger. At first Tasso was confined in his own apartments, where his present misery was sharply contrasted with the hopes which had inaugurated his fatal dependence upon this inhuman court. There he was placed under charge of the ducal physicians and servants, who reported to their employer every uncontrollable murmur and every impatient gesture. From the palace at Ferrara he was removed to the Duke's country-seat at Bel-riguardo, 'privately to commence the second scene of the painful drama.'
For the subsequent scenes of that drama we must refer to Mr. R. Milman's pages. It is sufficient to have indicated the course pursued by Alphonso, and the sufferings endured by Tasso. We must, however, briefly contrast with each other the secrets of his prison-house, and the immediate celebrity which greeted his Jerusalem Delivered.'
In the gorgeous apartments of Bel-riguardo, the sentence was passed upon him, that he must be a madman for the remainder of his days. He was confined in the convent of San Francisco, and two friars kept watch over him continually. They held, probably they were ordered to hold, negligent guard. He fled at different times to Naples, Venice, Urbino, Mantua, Padua, Rome and Turin. Flight answered Alphonso's purpose as fully as imprisonment. Torquato's haggard looks, his penury, his hurried appeals, his perpetual restlessness, even the spell which carried him back at intervals to Ferrara, confirmed, wherever he went, the rumour of his madness. A Venetian nobleman, a Lombard gentleman, and the Duke of Urbino, treated him with kindness. But, in general, all men turned coldly from him. If even he were not mad, the object of Alphonso's anger might be a perilous associate.
On the 2nd of February, 1579, Tasso quitted Turin, and returned to Ferrara. On the day following, Margherite Gonzaga, daughter of the Duke of Mantua, entered the city as the bride and third wife of Alphonso. Fourteen years before, Torquato had stood among the graced and distinguished spectators of that prince's nuptials with Barbara, Archduchess of Austria. He now gazed upon the masque and revelry of the marriage pageant a
571 homeless vagrant and a reputed maniac. To shelter him, even to speak to him, was dangerous ; to slight, to mock, and revile him, was loyalty. His patience was exhausted. He broke forth into vehement reproaches against the duke, his courtiers, and the ministers. He retracted the praises he had poured upon them; he renounced the service of Alphonso; he proclaimed aloud the falsehood and cruelty which had so long tortured him; and he was hurried off to the hospital of Santa Anna.
The hospital of Santa Anna was a Bedlam of the lowest description. The madhouse which Hogarth drew will aid us in forming a conception of an Italian Bedlam in the sixteenth century. In one of the worst cells of this wretched building was the author of the · Gierusalemme? lodged. There was one alleviation to the sufferings of the other inmates of Santa Anna they were unconscious of their misery. Even that single alleviation was wanting to Tasso. He was, at least for a while, sane and conscious, -'a living ghost pent in a dead man's
tomb.' His next neighbours were the mad folks.' A thin partition only divided him from
• Demoniac phrenzy, moping melancholy,
And moon-struck madness. I am all on fire,' he wrote to Scipione Gonzaga, 'nor do I now so much fear the greatness of my anguish as its continuance, which ever presents itself horribly before my mind, especially as I feel that in such a state I am unfit to write or labour. And the dread of endless imprisonment perpetually increases my misery, and the indignity to which I must submit increases it; and the foulness of my beard, and my hair, and my dress, and the filth and the damp annoy me; and, above all, the solitude afflicts me, my cruel and natural enemy, by which, even in my prosperity, I was so often troubled, that in unseasonable hours I would go and seek or find society.'
His sufferings were perhaps increased by an accident, trivial in appearance, but, in its consequences at least, melancholy and important. Agostino Mosti, the prior or warden of the Hospital of Santa Anna, had been the scholar of Ariosto, had raised, at his own cost, a monument to his deceased master in the church of the Benedictines at Ferrara, and continued to be the zealous partisan of his fame and writings. The supremacy of Ariosto as a poet was menaced by the prisoner now under Agostino's custody. The poet of Orlando had written satires, but he was accounted, by all who knew him, affable, generous, and humane. But the disciple of Ariosto was possessed by a different spirit; and his hatred or his fears prompted him to obey implicitly, if not to exceed, the instructions of Alphonso. His vigilance was unceasing, his language harsh, his demeanour arrogant: and his afflicted captive deplored at once the choice
which had subjected him to such a patron, and the chance which now put him in the power of such a keeper. His sufferings were soothed, in some degree, by the generosity of a nephew of Agostino. This worthy youth whose scholastic accomplishments appear to have awakened in him an active sympathy with the greatest and most hapless of poets - passed many hours daily with Tasso in his cell: acted as his amanuensis; listened patiently to his complaints, to the eager petitions or the indignant remonstrances which he poured forth to Alphonso, to his sisters, and to the princes and cardinals, the senates and universities of Italy; and charged himself with the transmission of the letters which his uncle would have suppressed, or perhaps forwarded to his unrelenting enemy. The good spirit, which, in the most poetical of Massinger's plays, soothed and sustained the dying moments of the 'virgin-martyr,' was scarcely more a spirit of health than was the nephew of the churlish Agostino Mosti.
New bitterness was, in September 1580, poured into an already brimming cup. His Jerusalem Delivered' was sur. reptitiously published, and published in so maimed and meagre a form, as, says Mr. R. Milman, "might well drive any author
mad, much more one of Tasso's character. And it was not an enemy who did this, but one who, in a more fortunate season, had boasted of his intimacy with its author. Celio Malaspina, formerly in the service of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, obtained possession of such parts of the poem as had been privately submitted to his master's perusal, and printed them at Venice in September, 1580. He published ten cantos entire, the arguments of the eleventh and twelfth in prose, and the four next cantos with several stanzas which their author had rejected. The whole was lamentably incorrect, confused, and imperfect. Such was the first edition of a poem which all Italy, if not Europe, was eagerly expecting; to the composition and correction of which sixteen years had been devoted; about whose fable, episodes, and diction the most learned scholars and the most renowned universities had been consulted; which Bolognetti had hailed as a second Æneid ; which Ronsard had greeted with a stately sonnet; and to whose immaculate and matured splendour Tasso had looked forward as to the adjustment and compensation of all his woes. About the time of this culmination of his distresses, we obtain a glimpse of the poet from an eye-witness. In the November of the same year Montaigne visited Ferrara, and of course the Hospital, where its celebrated inmate appears to have been made a show of to all whom curiosity or pity attracted to its walls. “I had even
and correble, episodes, aniversities hadmeid; which Ronlat