Petrarch's Eight Years in Milan

By Ernest Hatch Wilkins | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XX
1359 July-December

August

In August, it would appear, Bolanus returned from Avignon bringing letters from Cardinal Talleyrand and from Socrates, and chattering endlessly about everything in general, and in particular about the generosity of Socrates, who had rewarded him richly. Petrarch then wrote to Socrates the brief and amusing Var.20, telling of the arrival of Bolanus, who is here called "illum Ciceronis hostem."1

In the summer of 1357 Petrarch had banished his son Giovanni to Avignon; and thereafter he had received two letters from Nelli speaking well of Giovanni (see above, pp. 152 and 164-165). There are indications, also, that Guido Sette, Laelius, and Socrates had at least a friendly interest in the young man (see above, p. 146, and below, pp. 203-204).

In the summer of 1359, probably in August, Petrarch received from his son a letter asking for permission to return; and on the 30th Petrarch wrote to him the long, reproachful and pleading Fam. XXII7. He rehearses the wrong attitudes and the wrongdoings that had at last broken down his own affectionate patience and had led to the banishment; blames himself for having been too lenient; and begs Giovanni to repent and to mend his ways, for his soul's sake. But as the letter approaches its end he writes "misericordia hodie iram vicit"; and while his only hopes are based on Giovanni's youth and God's mercy he tells Giovanni that he may return when he is sure that, considering himself in the light of this letter, he is fit to return:

____________________
1
For references see the last note in the previous chapter.

-192-

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