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see them, I suffer them: I know that I have already lived two years too long*."
XVIII. HENCE, from reflecting upon the mournful events which so closely preceded and followed the loss of the woman from whom alone he had long expected his happiness, his hopes were wholly turned to a future existence. Pursuing a plan of wisdom, which was unsuited to his restless mind, he conceived-" That, to cure all his miseries, he must study them night and day-that to accomplish this project effectually, he must renounce all other desires-and that the only means of arriving at a total forgetfulness of life, was to reflect perpetually on death." The power of executing his resolutions was not equal to his ardour in planning them, and his faculties were exhausted by conflicting impulses. After he had accustomed himself to look on death without dread, it again appeared to him under fearful forms. He was seized with sudden lethargies, which rendered him absolutely insensible; and for the space of thirty hours, his body appeared like a corpse‡. * Famil. Lib. 8. Ep. 7.—an. 1349.
+ De Secret. Confl. coll. 1.
Senil. Lib. 3. Ep. 7.-Lib. 9. Ep. 2.-Lib. 13. Ep. 9.— Lib. 15. Ep. 14.-Lib. 11. Ep. ult.
When he revived, he testified, that he had experienced neither terror nor pain. But, by his intemperate meditation. on eternity as a christian and as a philosopher, he provoked Nature to withhold the boon, which she had designed for him, of dying in peace. "I lay myself in my bed as in my shroud-suddenly I start up in a frenzy-I speak to myself-I dissolve in tears, so as to make those weep who witness my condition *."-Whatever he saw or heard in these paroxysms of grief, made him experience "the torments of hell." By degrees he found delight in nourishing his sorrows, and resigned himself during the rest of his life to those reveries which beset ardent minds, and make them ever regret the past, and ever repent; ever grow weary of the present, and either hope or fear too much from the future. Four years before his death, Petrarch built a new house at Arqua, near Padua; and on the twentieth day of July, 1374, the eve of the seventieth anniversary of his birth, he was found dead in his library, with his head resting on a book.
*De Secret. Confl. coll. 2.
DANTE AND PETRARCH.
L'UN DISPOSTO A PATIRE E L'ALTRO A FARE.
I. THE excess of erudition in the age of Leo the Tenth, carried the refinements of criticism so far as even to prefer elegance of taste to boldness of genius. The laws of the Italian language were thus deduced, and the models of poetry selected exclusively from the works of Petrarch; who being then proclaimed superior to Dante, the sentence remained, until our times, unreversed. Petrarch himself mingles Dante indiscriminately with others eclipsed by his own fame—
Ma ben ti prego, che in la terza spera,