Petrarch's Eight Years in Milan

By Ernest Hatch Wilkins | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXII
1360: July-December

When Petrarch, in the previous October, had written to Neri Morando of the sore in his leg caused by repeated blows from his Cicero, he had said that he was recovering; but the recovery did not continue, and by the summer of 1360 he was in a serious condition, which, however, he finally overcame. The story is told thus in a letter written in August ( Var. 25, which will be considered presently):

For almost a year things had been getting worse and worse, and my aging days were filled with discomforts and pains and doctors and fomentations. Finally, when it had come to be more than an annoyance, and I was getting to be sick of life, I decided to dispense with doctors, whatever the result might be, and to trust myself to the care of God and of nature rather than to these unguentaries, who were harming me by their experiments. So I dismissed them; and thanks to God and to a servant of mine--who has learned how to be a doctor from my ulcer and at my expense --now, by remembering the fomentations that had seemed to be most beneficial, and by helping nature by eating lightly, I am gradually regaining the health that I had all but lost.

But the scar will remain: "Indelebilem memoriae meae notam et stigma perpetuum Cicero mihi heus affixit."


August

Early in August, probably, though perhaps a little earlier, Petrarch received from Boccaccio a letter in which he began by saying that he had come to the conclusion that Petrarch would continue to live in Milan for the rest of his life--and by refraining from comment indicated his adverse opinion even more effectively than if he had expressed it openly. Later in the letter Boccaccio, not realizing how serious the vulnus Ciceronianum

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