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NOTES ON "VITTORIA COLONNA."
P. 308, 1. 1.
Vittoria Colonna was the daughter of the celebrated commander Patrizio Colonna, grand constable of the kingdom of Naples, by Anna di Montefeltro, the daughter of Frederico, Duke of Urbino. She married Ferdinando d'Avalos, Marquis of Pescara, who died at Milan of his military fatigues, after a short but glorious life. "This fatal event," (says the learned and elegant biographer of Leo the Tenth) "blighted all the hopes of his consort; nor did her sorrow admit of any alleviation, except such as she found in celebrating the character and virtues of her husband, and recording their mutual affections in her tender and exquisite verse. She was a warm admirer of the great artist Michael Agnolo (Angelo,) who executed for her several excellent pieces of sculpture. She devoted her poetical talents chiefly to sacred subjects. Her exemplary conduct, and the uncommon merit of her writings, rendered her the general theme of applause among the most distinguished poets and learned men of the time, with many of whom she maintained a friendly epistolary correspondence. Michael Agnolo addressed to her several sonnets. Among the Italian writers who have revived in their works the style of Petrarca, Vittoria Colonna is entitled to the first rank; and her sonnets, many of which are addressed to the shade of her departed husband, or relate to the state of her own mind, possess more vigour of thought, vivacity of colouring and natural pathos, than are generally to be found among the disciples of that school. Her verses in ottava rima excel the productions of any of her cotemporaries, excepting those only of the inimitable Ariosto. In one of his
poems Michael Agnolo laments the fluctuating state of his religious sentiments, and calls upon the Marchesana to direct him in his spiritual concerns."-Roscoe's Life of Leo the Tenth, quarto edition, vol. iii. pp. 217-22.
P. 308, l. 13.
Pride of a princely house, unmatch'd for fame.
For the splendid origin, illustrious actions, &c. of the Colonna family, see Gibbon, vol. xii. p. 317, octavo edition. Marco Antonio Colonna commanded the Pope's galleys at the naval victory of Lepanto. -"Actium, Lepanto, fatal Trafalgar."-Childe Harold.
Prospero Colonna was a very great general, (see Guicciardini Ist. lib. xiv.) Petrarca calls the Colonna, "the column on which Rome rests her hopes."
P. 308, 1. 21.
When poets, mindless of their glorious trust.
"The Muses are seen in the company of Passion, and there is almost no affection so depraved and vile which is not soothed by some kind of learning; and herein the indulgence and arrogance of wits doth exceedingly derogate from the Majesty of the Muses; that whereas they should be the leaders and ancient-bearers of life, they are become the footpages and buffoons to lust and vanity."-BACON's Advancement of Learning.
Many of the Italian poets have sullied their genius by the licentiousness of their writings; among them was "Il divino Pietro Aretino," who made a mockery of religion, by alternately composing the most pious and the most licentious works; even the secretary of Leo the Tenth, the celebrated Bembo, is not exempt from the charge of writing obscene poems. "Quod poema merito vocare possis obscenissimam elegantiam, aut elegantissimam obscenitatem."-See Bayle, art. Bembo, Aretino.
"O gracious God! how far have we
For tongues of angels, and for hymns of love!"
P. 309, 1. 19.
Let truths tremendous on thy canvas dwell.
The Last Judgment of Michael Angelo, in the Sistine Chapel of the Vatican at Rome, thus calls forth the admiration of powerful but fastidious critic, Mr. Forsyth :-"How congenial the powers of the poet and the painter! Bold and precipitating, they dash on to the immediate object, in defiance of rules and ridicule." Of the great statue of Moses in the S. Pietro in Vincoli, he says, "Here sits the Moses of M. Angelo, frowning with the terrific eyebrows of Olympian Jove."
"A breathless feeling, a suspense
Of life, a quietude intense
Prevail'd around me in this hour;
E'en Silence felt Love's mighty power."-MS.
LIKE liquid gold glitter'd the waves of the ocean,
All was silent and still not a breeze was in motion;
O! sacred to love was the thought-soothing hour
All life's busy cares! so diffusive the power
What abandonment sweet did I feel as I roved
Then came o'er my mem'ry the scenes that I loved,
O Nature! thy calm gives a pleasure indeed
TO MY LITTLE GIRL.
THY eager look, my dearest child!
Thine eye so vivid, yet so mild,
Where life with love is blended
That look, that smile, those eyes of blue,
But of the future none can speak ;
And vain are all our hopes, and weak