On Wednesday 1 January 1354 Petrarch wrote Fam. XVII 10 in answer to Giovanni Aghinolfi. In this letter, as has already been noted, Petrarch reports the receipt and indicates the reproachful contents of both Aghinolfi's letter and a letter received from an unnamed friend in Avignon, and tells of his own unexpected journey to Avignon on behalf of the Archbishop. He plans to answer the letter of his Avignonese friend orally, while he himself is in Avignon. He does not enter into any detail as to the circumstances of his settlement in Milan; but granting that he may have been at fault in settling there, yet without indicating any inclination to leave that city, he maintains that conflicting desires, with unfortunate outcomes, are by no means unusual. He cites St. Paul's "For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do"; and he quotes substantiating passages from St. Augustine. The mood of the letter, very different from that of Var.7 and Fam. XVI11, appears to reflect the regret with which, it would seem, he had received the Archbishop's virtual command.
At about the same time--possibly even before the end of December--Petrarch wrote to Barbato da Sulmona the epistola metrica III19, to which reference has already been made. The mood is the same as that of Fam. XVII10: the poem, beginning,
Sors sua quenque vocat: rigidam transire per Alpem
sole nivem radio nondum frangente iubemur,
obscenosque locos informia claustra malorum
atque feram Rodani totiens contingere ripam,
laments the compulsion to undertake such a journey, and the interference with his constantly desired freedom. At the end of
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Publication information: Book title: Petrarch's Eight Years in Milan. Contributors: Ernest Hatch Wilkins - Author. Publisher: Mediaeval Academy of America. Place of publication: Cambridge, MA. Publication year: 1958. Page number: 50.
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