Petrarch's Eight Years in Milan

By Ernest Hatch Wilkins | Go to book overview

CHAPTER X
1355: July-December

July

After the Emperor had left Italy, probably soon afterward, Petrarch received from Neri Morando a letter written evidently in March, in Pisa--therefore before the letter written in Rome about the first of April, to which Petrarch had replied, on 20 April, in his Var.32. In his answer, Fam. xx1, Petrarch refers to the surprising length of time it had taken for the letter to reach him. In this letter Neri had spoken of Laelius (who had reached Pisa on 25 February), of the arrival of a contingent of Milanese troops who were to serve in the escort of the Emperor, and of the negotiations that were being carried on in Pisa between representatives of Florence and the Emperor. These negotiations, begun at the end of January, were concluded on 20 March. The Florentines wanted imperial confirmation of their previously guaranteed independence; and the Emperor was quite willing to grant such confirmation, provided that the Florentines would pay him 100,000 florins, which they finally agreed to do.

Petrarch had of course known of these matters long before Neri's letter reached him; but he replied courteously, in a letter that opens with a long disquisition on the sad state of the world-- a disquisition written evidently in the mood of dejection that followed the departure of the Emperor--continues with refer­ence to the matters mentioned by Neri, and concludes with an invective against the love of gold, suggested certainly by the Florentine payment exacted by the Emperor, and perhaps also by memory of the 150,000 florins promised to the Emperor by the Visconti.1

____________________
1

When Petrarch, long afterward, prepared this letter for inclusion

-103-

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