The early months of the New Year were filled with troubles for the Visconti. The members (other than Venice) of the former Venetian League were as hostile as ever; letters from the Emperor urging truce were ineffective; the Bolognese rebellion, which had seemed to be settled, broke out again, fomented by the League; and the Marquis of Monferrato, emboldened by the favor shown him by the Emperor, began in January a campaign to wrest from the Visconti their possessions in Piedmont, and soon took Asti and other cities.1
In view of these troubled conditions Petrarch gave up his plan to go to Rome in Lent [ Fam. XIX7].
At daybreak on 7 February Petrarch had before him the page that is now f. 14r in V.L. 3196. On this page, many years before, he had written a draft of a ballata beginning thus:
Amor, quand'io credea
Qualche merito aver di tanta fede,
Tolta m'è quella ond'io attendea mercede.2
Just above the ballata, apparently as soon as he had written it, he had made this entry:
alibi scripsi hoc principium, sed non vacat querere. 1348. septembris j. circa vesperas.
Above the entry just quoted Petrarch now made this entry:
1356. 7. februarij. prima face. hoc est principium unius plebeie