Petrarch's Eight Years in Milan

By Ernest Hatch Wilkins | Go to book overview
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1356: September-December


On the morning of Monday 12 September Petrarch had before him an autograph sheet,1 now lost, that bore a copy of most (or possibly all) of the first capitolo (Al tempo) of the Triumphus Cupidinis. Looking at the 73rd line, which then, apparently, stood in the form

Ma per empir la tua giouinil uoglia,

he decided, apparently, to reverse the order of the tua and the giouinil, and made this marginal entry:

La giouenil tua u Lune ante matutinum protho.2

On the 20th Petrarch wrote Fam. XIX14 to Nelli, to tell him, briefly, of his safe return. In a passage already quoted in part he says that his northern experiences have led him to appreciate Italy more than ever, and that he is planning to write something in praise of Italy:

The more I go about the world the less I like it. If any part of it is lovable, that part, unless my own love deceives me, is Italy-- whose supremacy all other regions would admit if they could speak, and in their silence do indeed admit--although, sad to say, the passions and jealousies of its inhabitants are corrupting the tranquillity bestowed on it by nature. I have said much in the past in praise or Italy, and if my life continues I shall have much more to say; but


I use the word "sheet" to designate a large sheet so folded as to make two leaves and four pages.

This we know through transcriptions made in Cas. A. III. 31: see Appel 1, pp. 126, 142-143, and 186. The u after tua stands for uoglia. The protho designates St. Protus. That the year in question was 1356 is proved by Appel, p. 186.


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