Page images

leau, Fontaine, Boffuet, Rochefoucault, Pafchal, Bourdaloüe, Patru, Malbranche, De Retz, Bruyere, St. Real, Fenelon, Lully, Le Sæur, Pouffin, Le Brun, Puget, Theodon, Gerardon, Edelinck, Nanteuill, * Perrault, Dryden, Tillotson, Temple, POPE, Addison, Garth, Congreve, Rowe, Prior, Lee, Swift, Bolingbroke, Atterbury, Boyle, Locke, Newton, Clarke, Kneller, Thornill, Jervas, Dahl, Purcell, Mead, Friend.

CONCERNING the particular encouragement given by Leo X. to polite literature, and the fine arts, I forbear to enlarge; because a friend of mine is at prefent engaged in writing, THE HISTORY OF THE AGE OF LEO X. It is a noble period, and full of those most important events, which have had the greatest influence on human affairs. Such as the discovery of the Weft-Indies, by the Spaniards, and of a paffage to the Eaft, by the Portugueze; the invention of printing; the reformation of reliligion; with many others: all which will be

The Architect.


infifted upon at large, and their confequences displayed. I fhall only here tranfiently observe, that some efforts to emerge from barbarity had long before this time appeared in Italy. Dante wrote his fublime* and original poem, which is a kind of fatirical epic, and which abounds in images and fentiments equal to the beft of Homer, but whose works he had never feen, about the year 1310. Giotto the difciple of Cimabue, the friend of Dante, and subject of his praises, was employed, about the fame time, by Benedict XI.; and a picture of mosaic work done by him, over the gate of St. Peter's church at Rome, is ftill remaining. A Tuscan, called Guy of Arezzo, invented the mufical notes in ufe at prefent: and Bruneleschi built palaces at Florence, in the ftyle of ancient architecture. Soon afterwards, Boccace and Petrarch polished, and fixed the standard of the Italian language. To Petrarch the ho

*See particularly the beginning of the third Canto of the INFERNO, as alfo the beginning of the fixth.

+"Veggiamo in un medefimo progreffo di tempo (dal regno principalmente dell' una, e dell' altra Sicilia, e poi dalla Lombardia,

nour is generally attributed of having reftored the elegance of the Latin tongue; particularly in poetry. But a late acute fearcher into antiquity, whose death is justly lamented, the learned Scipio Maffei, has informed us * in a curious paffage, that this was not fo much owing to Petrarch, as to Albertino Muffato, a native of Padua: with whofe merit the learned feem not to be fufficiently acquainted. Muffato died very old, after having borne the greatest offices in his country, in the year 1329, that is to say, thirty-five years before Petrarch. He wrote not only many books of a history of his own times, but also an heroic poem on the fiege of Padua by the

bardia, e de vari, e diftinti luoghi d'Italia) forgere fcrittori, i quali anno favella con Dante, Petrarcha, Boccacio, ed altri Toscani autori commune, e con loro anche commune l'autorità, da ogni regolator della lingua riconosciuta, i quali, tra molti altri, furrono Guidotto Bolognefe, Marco Polo Veneziano, Pier Crescenzia da Bologna, Guido Giudice Messinese, Giacopo Colonna Romano, Federico II. imperadore, Pier delle Vigne Capoano, Benvenuto da Imola, Fra Jacopone da Todi, Onefto Bolognefe, Guido Guiflieri, Semprebene, Fabrovio, Guido Guiflieri, Jacopo della Lana, Giotto Mantovano,"

Gravina della Rag. Poet. lib. ii. pag. 170. TEATRO Italiano. In Verona, 1723. tom. i. pag. 4.


Veronefe, under the great Can; together with eclogues, elegies, epiftles in verfe, and an Ovidian Cento. However, to form a full judgment in this cafe, one need only perufe his two latin tragedies entitled ECCERINIS, and ACHILLES, which he composed in the ftyle and manner of Seneca: and which were the first regular and perfect dramas, that are to be found fince the barbarous and obscure ages.

47. Immortal VIDA; on whofe honour'd brow
The Poet's bays, and Critic's ivy grow. *

THE merits of Vida seem not to have been particularly attended to in England, 'till POPE had bestowed this commendation upon him: although the Poetics had been correctly published at Oxford, by Bafil Kennet, fome time before. The SILKWORMS of Vida are written with claffical purity, and with a just mixture of the styles of Lucretius and Virgil. It was a happy choice to write a poem on

* Ver. 706.


CHESS*; nor is the execution lefs happy. The various ftratagems, and manifold intricacies of this ingenious game, fo difficult to be described in latin, are here expreffed with the greatest perfpicuity and elegance; fo that perhaps the game might be learnt from this description. Amidst many profaic flatneffes, there are many fine ftrokes in the CHRISTIAD: particularly, his angels, with respect to their perfons and infignia, are drawn with that dignity which we fo much admire in Milton, who seems to have had his eye on thofe paffages. + Gravina applauds Vida, for having found out a method to introduce the whole history of our Saviour's life, by putting it into the mouth of St. Jofeph and St. John, who relate it to Pilate. But furely this speech, consisting of as many lines as that of Dido to Æneas, was too long to be made on such an occafion; when Chrift was brought before

Qu'eft ce qu'un grand capitaine? Un homme admiré, de beaucoup inferieur a un grand JOUEUR D'ECHECHS qui ne l'eft pas. MES PENSEES. CCXLII.

+ Della Ragion. Poet. pag. 127.

[blocks in formation]
« EelmineJätka »