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The flattery or the friendship of Petrarch, too credulously believed by modern historians, has invested the Colonna, especially of the date now entered upon, with an elegance and a dignity not their own.

Everything, on the contrary, tends to the free emergence of personal passions and personal aims. Though the vassals of the despot are neither his soldiers nor his loyal lieges, but his courtiers and taxpayers, the continual object of his cruelty and fear, yet each subject has the chance of becoming a prince like Sforza or a companion of princes like Petrarch.

Accorso, Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, and the jurist Zanobi della Strada were to have had magnificent tombs there erected to them.

Would any one feel the difference between his faint abstractions and the Platonism of a powerful nature fitted alike for the withdrawal of ideal contemplation and for breasting the storms of life, would any one know how wide a depth divides a noble friendship based on sympathy of pursuit and aspiration, on that mutual help which souls capable of self-sustainment are the readiest to give or to take, and a simulated passion, true neither to the spiritual nor the sensual part of man, let him compare the sonnets of Petrarch with those which Michel Angelo addressed to Vittoria Colonna.

Tasso is reckoned as the fourth greatest bard of Italy, ranking after Dante and Petrarch, and being esteemed on a level with rather than below his rival and contemporary, Ludovico Ariosto.

In literature, is Beranger less a great poet, because he has condensed his thoughts within the narrow limits of his songs? Does not Petrarch owe his fame to his Sonnets? and among those who most frequently repeat their soothing rhymes, how many know any thing of the existence of his long poem on Africa?

The subject of the first was "the manners, morals, literature, philosophy, religion, and state of society in general in European Christendom, from the eighth to the fifteenth century;" and of the second "the tales and metrical romances common for the most part to England, Germany, and the north of France; and English songs and ballads continued to the reign of Charles I." In the third the lecturer proposed to deal with the poetry of Chaucer and Spenser, of Petrarch, and of Ariosto, Pulci, and Boiardo.

At last, perceiving that all was lost, he turned his face again toward the desert, and, for two days and nights, continued his flight. But his heart was behind him. Certain of escape himself, he preferred hopeless captivity with her he loved, and he returned." "Quite poetical, on my word! Worthy of Sadi, the Arab Petrarch, himself!" said Château-Renaud.

Every one must have something to which his dreams can cling, amid the degradations of actual life, and this tie is more real than the degradation; and if he holds to the tie, it will one day save him." "What is the need of the degradation?" put in the clear-headed Harry. "None, except in weakness," said Philip. "A stronger nature may escape it. Good God! do I not know how Petrarch must have felt?

He therefore sent Francesco to study law, first at Montpellier, and then at Bologna. When Petrarch was twenty-two both his parents died. Soon after that he joyfully threw away his law-books, and resolved to live for literature, and literature alone. He went back to Avignon. But the ways of the town were not much to his taste, and its whirl and noise distracted his mind.

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