Petrarch's Eight Years in Milan

By Ernest Hatch Wilkins | Go to book overview
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1359: January-June

While on his way back from Padua (just where, we do not know) Petrarch found in the hands of persons whom he would never have suspected of being interested in literary matters-- "quos mirari ista magis stupeam, quam si talpa speculum mercetur, alas bos, asellus citharam, redimiculum simia, fucum corvus"--two letters addressed to him by Nelli that he had never received. Agreement was reached that he should take one of the letters, leaving the other to its possessors. [ Fam. XX6]. What these letters were (they are not in Cochin's list) we do not know.


He returned to Milan, worn out by the cold and the winds that had beset his journey, on 9 February. He found many letters waiting for him, among them one from Laelius--whose messenger was waiting also--, one from Socrates, and in all probability one from Nelli. The letters from Laelius and Socrates brought the good news of the restoration of their friendship, a restoration due directly to the letter, Fam. XX13, that Petrarch had written to Laelius in the previous summer (see above, pp. 170-171);1 and both men spoke in high praise of the quality of Petrarch's effective letter.

Laelius wrote that as soon as he had received that letter he had hastened to Socrates, and that the two men had embraced with deep emotion. Laelius then went on to speak of the death of the apostolic secretary, Francesco Calvo (which must there


Six years earlier Petrarch had been similarly successful in healing a breach between two other friends, Niccolò Acciaiuoli and Giovanni Barrili: see Wilkins 2, pp. 125-127 and 129.


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