Petrarch's Eight Years in Milan

By Ernest Hatch Wilkins | Go to book overview
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1353: October-December


On the last day of September and the first of October Petrarch planted spinach, beets, fennel, and parsley in the garden of Sant' Ambrogio; and then added this note to the series of garden notes that he had written from time to time at the end of a manuscript that contained, among other things, the De agricultura of Palladius:

Anno 1353, die lune ultimo Septembris et die Martii octobris, in orto Mediolani Sancti Ambrosii abunda hesterna pluuia humecto et ad unguem subacto, seuimus spinargia, bletam, fenidem, petrosillum. Pars anni serotina et umbrosior locus et lune reuolutio uidentur obsistere.1

It may well have been early in October that Petrarch, in accordance with the promise that he had made to Moggio dei Moggi in his letter of 18 September, wrote for Moggio's pupil Barriano da Correggio the brief epistola beginning

Gratulor ingenio, quod me flammantibus usque,

which he included as III 31 in the collection of his epistolae metricae. It is a pleasant poem of quasi-paternal encouragement, seasoned with a little advice as to the writing of Latin verse:

neu sit ter mensa pudori
Syllaba, et in digitis iterumque, iterumque reversa.

Nolhac II, 98-100 and 266. This MS is now in the Vatican Library, as Vat. lat. 2193. The plural "seuimus" indicates that one or more men were working with Petrarch.


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