Some decades later, about 1360, Fazio degli Uberti describes, in his rhyming geography, the wide panorama from the mountains of Auvergne, with the interest, it is true, of the geographer and antiquarian only, but still showing clearly that he himself had seen it.
I must tell you of our future arrangements; and, to begin like an Irishwoman, we arrived here on Monday. My father acts to-night for the first time, Hamlet; and I make my first appearance to-morrow in "Fazio."
He was likewise round-shouldered, a stammerer, and subject to constant palpitation of the heart; but in compensation for these defects he had eyes which could see in the dark and which needed not spectacles even in advanced age. Of Jerome's mother little is known. Her family seems to have been as tenacious of life as that of Fazio, for her father Jacopo lived to be seventy-five years of age.
'Fazio' for many years held its place on the stage. Byron, in one of his letters to Rogers, speaks of its 'great and deserved success' when it was brought out at Covent Garden. Its heroine was a favourite part of Miss O'Neil and of Fanny Kemble.
The enjoyment of the reader is incessantly marred by the sense that, in the classical phrases of Fazio, Sabellico, Foglietta, Senarega, Platina in the chronicles of Mantua, Bembo in the annals of Venice, and even of Giovio in his histories, the best local and individual coloring and the full sincerity of interest in the truth of events have been lost.
Thence he proceeded toward Pisa, and with the assistance of Fazio and Arrigo de' Conti, of the Gherardesca, took some castles, and issuing from them, assailed Campiglia, but could not take it, the place being defended by the Florentines, and it being now in the depth of winter.
He was born at Pavia from the illicit union of Fazio Cardano, a Milanese jurisconsult and mathematician of considerable repute, and a young widow, whose maiden name had been Chiara Micheria, his father being fifty-six, and his mother thirty-seven years of age at his birth.
If Cardan had this tender side to his nature, if he could speak tolerant and even laudatory words concerning such a father as Fazio Cardano, and show evidences of a love strong as death in the fight he made for the life of his ill-starred and unworthy son, it may be hoped in spite of his almost unnatural silence concerning her that he gave Lucia some of that tenderness and sympathy which her life of hard toil and heavy sacrifice so richly deserved; and that even in the days when he sold her trinkets to pay his gambling losses, she was not destined to weep the bitter tears of a neglected wife.
The tragedy of 'Fazio' was written when he was still at Oxford, and it was speedily followed by a long and ambitious epic poem called 'Samor, Lord of the Bright City'; by three elaborate sacred dramas, the 'Fall of Jerusalem, the 'Martyr of Antioch, and 'Belshazzar'; and by an historical tragedy on 'Anne Boleyn, as well as by a few minor poems. Some of these works had considerable popularity.
I remember well her rendering of Bianca in "Fazio," and Marianna in "the Wife." Nothing finer did ever stage exhibit the veterans of all nations said so, and my boyish heart and head felt it in every minute cell.