Don Renato, An
Ideal Content by Frederick William Rolfe
OF THE EFFICIENT
OF THE MATERIAL
OF THE FORMAL
DE ARTE PICTURAE
OF THE FORMAL
FREDERICK WILLIAM ROLFE TO
GREETING, AND THESE LETTERS.
THESE are the words of the book which I, Frederick William, the
son of James, the son of Nicholas, the son of William, the son of
Robert, wrote in London and in Rome.
Because you, o painter, incessantly perturb me with inquisitions
concerning the sources of my curious knowledge of matters archaick and
abnormal, because you incessantly transfix me with the intent regard
of your Kretan brows, and molest me with entreaties that I, as man to
man or (at times) as artificer to artificer, should demonstrate to you
the Four Causes of my gests, especially that I should tell you how I
do my deeds (and you know how many and how rare these be)--I will give
you this book.
A life, as of an anachoret, as of an eremite, in severance from the
world of articulately-speaking men, while rendering me inhabile in
expressing thoughts, creeds, opinions, in spoken words, has made me
subadept with the pen--a very detestable condition. On this account,
time and human patience would be exhausted before I should be able to
satisfy you by word of mouth: but, thirteen months occupied by me in
writing, and seven nights or three days (when your workshop may be
obscured by London fog) occupied by you in reading, will make clear to
you at least one of the sources of my knowledge.
Yet, for your hypotechnical inquiry as to How the Thing is Done, I
am unable to supply an apophthegm. My own consuetude, in matters of
which I desire to be informed, is to place very many interrogations
among experts; and, from the responses received, to respond to myself.
This mode has advantages and disadvantages. On the whole it produces
satisfaction; and I know no better. Indeed I doubt whether any
artificer could respond to your inquiry either in spoken words or in
written. I doubt whether von Herkomer himself ever told you How. He
did the thing: you observed him doing it; and, from your own aisthesis
(which, I may remind you, according to Epikoyros neither can be
proved nor contradicted), you invented your own How. You concisely
know that your How is not von Herkomer's How, although you learned
your subtile How from his vivid How. I am no sophist: nor do I presume
to liken myself to your master, or my works to his. I only say that,
if he could not tell you How, neither can I.
But, ever since you began to inquire of me, I have pondered you and
your inquiry; and, because I myself from my boyhood very gravely have
laboured barehanded to obtain a little knowledge, I am the more
unwilling to deny to so eager and so exquisite an artificer, that
counsel and assistance which have been denied to me. For men (as far
as I know them) always will tell you what they think you ought to
know, and always will give you what they think you ought to want: but
they never will give you what you want, and they never will tell you
what you want to know. Perchance they cannot. Perchance I myself shall
fail. But I will try.
From Hampstead. The day before the Ides of November, mcmvi.
OF THE EFFICIENT CAUSE
FREDERICK WILLIAM ROLFE TO
GREETING, AND THESE LETTERS.
ABOUT two years ago, I was present at a symposium consisting of
myself and three publishers' managers, a Scot, an Israelite, and a
Cockney. They disputed of the matter of, and the mode of making,
books: but I was the attentive audience. Much of what they said was
the merest katharma; and, as such, has been cast into oblivion by me.
Two dogmas, however, were announced, and noted.
The first was the secret opinion of the dark Scot concerning the
future of historick romance. He obscurely said that the Waverley
Novels obtained success, because their form was new and plausible and
probable. He said that The Cloister and the Hearth, Joan of Arc, Quo
Vadis, in turn obtained success, because their form was new and
plausible and probable. Further, he gloomily said, although more
recent writers are as habile as, if not more habile than, Sir Walter
Scott and Dr. Charles Reade and Mark Twain and Henryk Sienkiewicz, in
the invention and creation of stories, yet they fail in the matter of
form; and, on this account, their romances lack the newness, and the
plausibility and probability, which qualities are essential to any
book not intended to rot in the two-penny box until the crack of doom.
Hence, he wilily concluded, no writer of historick romance may hope to
obtain success, unless he can invent a new (that is a strange) form
which also is plausible and probable, convenient to (and uniquely
convenient to) his story.
Do you see the point? As a painter, you know that some portraits
require the solid megaloprepeia of oils, others the delicate allure of
pastel, and others the diaphaneia of aquarelle. Suum cuique. Oh, you
ought to see that part of the point!
The Israelite took up his parable and said that this was all gerrae
and phlyaria; for the day was gone in which writers might have
consumed the sweat of their brains in elaborating masterpieces. In
this more vivid age, when books are read in hammocks or in week-end
railway jaunts, (so he affirmed), the public will accept anything
which shall come within its capability of comprehension, which shall
be topical, written in a fluent and popular style, obtainable at all
the libraries, and insistently and clamorously advertised on sky-signs
and sandwich-boards. (Divine Arcitenent Smintheys, afflict me this
man!) It was his opinion that the successful publisher of the
Twentieth Century would be he who kept one eye on the Publick's
whimseys, the other eye on his bagmen and advertisements, and a score
of threadbare specialists at a pound a week in his back office, to
whom he himself would adumbrate matter, form, and all things connected
with the confection of books which could be sold in demimillions. In
brief, he would reconstitute Grub Street, this publisher's manager of
the Twentieth Century, this "bleating echo of the far away past."
And the Cockney smacked a thigh hypertrophied by abuse of bicycles,
invoking all is gawds to witness that a horacle ad spaoken.
But I revolted; esteeming it apt and proper rabidly to inveigh
against these heterodoxies, affirming that I for one preferred a
dignified death by hunger, rather than to transform myself into a
machine, which, when filled by a pig, would produce literature
paragonable only to sausages, flabby, flaccid, enervate, and obscene.
And upsetting my tea, I fell over the dog (of course there was a dog);
and away I went in a rage.
It was late on Sunday afternoon. London N.W. was damp and cold and
foggy. So was I. Damp with furious emotion, as a slave derided for his
slavery by slave-drivers; cold at heart with disappointment; foggy in
mind as to my office as an inexperienced and ignorant writer;--yes, I
was damp and cold and foggy.
While I was hastening away from the sound of those detestable
dogmas, confused ideas began to sort themselves, as is usual with me:
the worthless ones dropped into oblivion: the important ones arranged
themselves for examination. This eklektick process having been
completed, I went on to analyse. You shall have the sum of my
It appeared to me that the Matter of the novels of Sir Walter Scott
was sympathetick, despite the stolidity of the heroes and heroines and
the similarity of their assistants; and that the Form which that
writer used, being new and strange to readers of the pre-Victorian and
early Victorian Eras, must have had the glamour of verisimilitude. I
did not ponder those novels which are written in dialect: but I
examined Quentin Durward, Ivanhoe, Talisman, Woodstock, and others,
which purport to be written in mediaeval and Tudor English, and no
doubt convinced the primal clients of Waverley that they so were
I pondered The Cloister and the Hearth: that its matter, as you
know, was lifted from (among other works) The Colloquies of Gerard of
Rotterdam called Desiderius Erasmus,
!--> and The Autobiography of
Benvenuto Cellini; collocated in the reign of Pius P.M. II,
consolidated and illuminated by the genius of Dr. Charles Reade. And
its Form; well, the other day at Oxford there occurred to me a version
of Erasmus in delectable early Eighteenth Century English. You may ask
for it at the British Museum; or you may look for it at book sales.
Its title is All the Familiar Colloquies of Desiderius Erasmus,
translated by N. Bailey, London, 1725. Compare it with the Latin,
Colloquiorum Familiarium Opus Desiderio Erasmo Rot. Auctore, Antwerp,
Christopher Plantin, 1564, and you will not ask me to tell you
anything about the Form of The Cloister and the Hearth.
I pondered Joan of Arc. The Matter of the immense tragedy which
cast indelible obloquy, eternal infamy, on France requires no words of
mine. The form appeared to be real, human, of most pithy
verisimilitude. Whether there actually be a Fifteenth Century MS.
written by the page of the martyr-maid, I know not: nor do I care. The
book is as convincing as though it were transcribed from an original;
and Doctor Mark Twain himself should not persuade me to the contrary.
However, like all absolute works, I suspect it of being the result of
I pondered Quo Vadis. A similar character, a similar idiom,
appeared to distinguish it: the Matter possible, human, freakish,
singular: the Form real, and Roman-Roman-Roman, real Neronian Roman,
fastidious, aisthetick, noncurant, cruel, such as the elegant author
of The Supper of Trimalchio (himself an exquisite tiger) might have
used. If Quo Vadis be not Truth, it must be her eidolon. Did you ever
read it in the only authorised Italian version of Federigo Verdinois?
If not, you never can know how magnifick a work it is.
I turned into "The Spaniards" for a chop and a pint of sherry-wine.
Over a cigarette, I asked myself why the Scot clandestinely had
omitted to name Esmond, that splendid work which at every reading
brings the lump i' th' throat for the Jesuit hearing the proclamation
of the Elector of Hanover as King. Instantly I answered my own
question, Because Pendennis came first and as well; because, after
Pendennis, the matter of Esmond was dyspathetick to the Form. It
perchance might be urged that the Divine Delian conceded to W. M.
Thackeray knowledge of Esmond: that, in deference to the Publick
(which, say fools, a new writer must not presume to take beyond its
depth,) Thackeray produced this knowledge in the vulgar garb and
galligaskins of his day: that, in contrition for this ingratitude to
his daimon, he subsequently reverted to his primal inspiration. The
theory is plausible enough; and almost every pensive writer can
testify from his own experience, to its plausibility. But penitence,
as always, came too late. The Divine Ones (possessing Olympian
Mansions) will have implicit confidence from the men whom they
delight to honour; or--*.
Esmond, alone, would have been a consumate example of historick
romance. If Pendennis and Philip and The Newcomes had been stifled as
abortions at their birth, Esmond and The Virginians and Denis Duval
might have lived, laurelled.
I examined no other specimens: for at that time I had no cognizance
of Mr. Maurice Hewlett; and MM. de Balzac and Jean Lombard have a
The fog now had evanished. I strode the Heath, up and down the long
broad black cinder-track, in a plum-bloom-coloured night flecked with
pale gold points of little lights, continuing my meditation. The fresh
air invigorated me.
I had learned that historick romance must be true, apparently if
not actually, accidentally if not essentially, implicitly if not
explicitly. I had learned that the Form of it must be appropriate to
the Matter in order to give it individual existence; and that with
these must be included Potentiality and Actuality, all in a most
correct Aristotelean formula. But above all I had learned something
about the PUBLICK. I had learned that the PUBLICK has not much relish
for the normal, but for the abnormal: asks of writers "some new
thing," and leaves retailers of "chestnuts" in the gutter. I had
learned that the PUBLICK is like a plucky boy, who delights, who
prefers (as I myself prefer and delight), to be taken out of his
depth. Why? Because neither the PUBLICK, nor the plucky boy, (nor I
who write), are the boors who neither can read nor swim named in the
proverb of Diogenianos of Heraklea.
!--> I had learned that the
PUBLICK, very far from being the blithering simpleton, the
blitomammas, designated by the Sage of Ecclefechan, or the shallow
ovine smatterer insolently designated by that sententious Israelite,
on the contrary is strenuous, is ardent, is strong, to discriminate
between pap and pie; prefers the pie; and eagerly pounces on the task
(for task it is,--and Task, when all is said and done, the PUBLICK
loves) of picking out the plums. (Indulge my flippancy, o sober
painter.) Otherwise, the PUBLICK never would have exerted itself to
master Sir Walter Scott, Dr. Charles Reade, Mark Twain, and Henryk
Sienkiewicz; or (to state the thesis not in my terms but in yours)
otherwise, the PUBLICK would prefer meek Academicks, and never would
have taken pains to understand, to make a fashion of, Whistler,
Burne-Jones, Byam Shaw, Abbey, and Anning Bell. Mediocrity, the
generous PUBLICK tolerates. Individuality, distinction, it admires and
cultivates. The custom of the English-speaking Race (said a certain
Roman once to me), is to attempt the most impossible adventures, by
the most impracticable way, at the most inopportune time, with the
most unsuitable equipment: but invariably it compels success, and
covers itself with glory. Oh believe me, dear Kretan, the PUBLICK is
And, having arrived at this conclusion, the artificer in me, clerk
though I be, subarrogantly began to aspire to do historick romance,
not (of course) to equal the aforesaid masters of the art, but as a
humble student of their excellence:--to aspire to do historick romance
of such a quality as would controvert the abjectly imbecile thesis of
It was an illecebrose notion. It was a perdelectable idea. It was a
hyperepagogick scheme. It would be such a blooming lark.
I would try it.
I ransacked the mind of me for my Four Causes,--for my Material
Cause, for my Formal Cause, for my Efficient Cause, for my Final
Suddenly, Divine Mnemosyne entered and illumined that arcana where
were stored the affairs of Don Tarquinio, of Dom Gheraldo, of Duke
Renato, of Don Ruggiero, the affair of the opening of the
But these affairs shall be intreated of in other letters.
From Hampstead. The twelfth day before the Kalends of December,
OF THE MATERIAL CAUSE
FREDERICK WILLIAM ROLFE TO
GREETING, AND THESE LETTERS.
I INVITE you to conceive of the most beautiful woman in the world,
(there is imperial authority for the epithet), now alive and blooming
like a great white flower in Golden Rome.
She is Donna Claudia Valeria Agapita Georgia Drakontoletes
Poplicola di Hagiostayros, in right of birth Princess Poplicola di
Hagiostayros, in right of marriage Countess of Santa Cotogna. Her
descent is from that Publius Valerius Poplicola who was four times
Roman Consul five centuries Before Christ: but tradition (on which all
history depends) carries her genealogy into the mists of the Heroick
Age. Her marriage made her the consort of one (cujus animae
propitietur Deus) whose status not many years ago was that of a
tyrant-regnant, enjoying rights of cord and gibbet and the sovereignty
of the Knighthood of the Golden Quince. Beside her beauty and her
rank, (perchance because of them), she is a friend of queens, a
mistress of affairs, and a diplomatist who once reported victory, (but
that was in her girlhood), in the teeth of the College of Cardinals
and the omnipotent Company of Jesus, from no less sacred a potentate
than our Holy Father and Lord the Pope.
Concede that she is a notable woman.
If to these essentials you add the adorable accident of her sex, it
will be evident to you that, when so very great and gracious a
personage admits to her comity an obscure clerk, a plebeian student,
unmannered, self-taught, physically and mentally altogether
dyspathetick, and manifests so profound an interest in his labours as
to give him the freedom of her archives, (charters, breves, diurnals,
accompts, and the multifarious manuscripts which a House can
accumulate in, let us say, a thousand years,) very intimate cognition
of the by- ways of literature and history is not unlikely to be
attained, very curious knowledge is not unlikely to be acquired, very
precious excerpts are not unlikely to be collected. Grant me so much.
Then, you now will be pleased to conceive of Don Tarquinio Giorgio
Drakontoletes Poplicola di Hagiostayros as a younger son of His House
(but a very distinguished one) who died three hundred and seventy odd
years ago;--of Dom Gheraldo Pinarj as a genial good little priest, who
died three hundred and seventy odd years ago;--of Duke Renato Ascanio
Agapito Giorgio Drakontoletes Poplicola di Hagiostayros as heir of
that Prince Marcantonio who assisted Clement P.M. VII during the Sack
of Rome in 1527;--and of Don Ruggiero Rodolfo as an Englishman of the
suite of the aforesaid Duke Renato. Conceive that these four left
Conceive of Don Tarquinio as having opposed Paolo Giovio and
Francesco Guicciardini as historians, he himself being a Roman and of
the inner circle of the Court of Rome, who wrote from personal
knowledge because he chose to write; (not a Fiorentino who wrote from
hearsay only, and at a wage.) Conceive that he wrote a series of
theses, chiefly concerning the reigns of Alexander P.M. VI, of Pius
P.M. III, of Julius P.M. II, of Leo P.M. X, of Hadrian P.M. VI, of
Clement P.M. VII, from 1495 to 1527, but intreating also of ethical
and philosophical matters; and all intended not for publication but
for the information of his own son Prospero.
!--> Herein you shall
find graceful and witty theses, Concerning the Murther of the Duke of
Gandia, Concerning the Annulled Marriage of the Lady Lucrezia
(Borgia), Concerning the Fall and Death of the Duke Cesare, Concerning
the Effigy of Leo P.M. X which Mr. Raphael of Urbino depicted,
Concerning the immuration of the Mediocre Anisopod
!--> of the
Belvedere, Concerning the perfidious Cardinal Pompey, Concerning
Sleep, Concerning the Gods, Concerning the Virtues proper for Boys,
Concerning our Ban, Concerning the Way in which History Ought to be
Written, Concerning my Fortunate Day, and thirty-two other theses.
Conceive of Dom Gheraldo Pinarj, if his name actually was Pinarj,
(for you know that most observable persons of his day assumed, if they
had not already, a classick name) as being a Roman of Rome, descended
from the patrician Gens Pinaria which shared with the Gens Potitia the
hereditary priesthood of Hercules, from long before the Founding of
the City (c. B.C. 753) until B.C. 312, when the Potitj were destroyed
and their office passed to the Pinarj. (I think he subconsciously
makes out a case.) Conceive him as chaplain, physician, and
confidential familiar of Prince Marcantonio; as a white magician; as
governor of Duke Renato, but not tutor or confessor, (and therefore
morally free to record secrets). Conceive that he wrote a diurnal of
events in the private life of Roman patricians of the Sixteenth
Century, containing gossip of the City, containing a study of a prince
in his passage from boyhood to manhood, with the rare story of his
Conceive of Duke Renato, serene and vivid, "una gemma primaverile
sull' albero della vita," as continuing his own history from the term
of Dom Gheraldo's diurnal.
Conceive of Don Ruggiero as the firm English bravo, prefect of the
cohort of Duke Renato, intimately cognizant of him and of Dom
Gheraldo, forming his own rigid solid opinions concerning them,
affected with the fashionable insanibile scribendi cacoethes compiling
a history of his experiences in order that his children, "having
before them certain examples of virtue, magnanimity, germanity, and
true nobility, may be moved to emulation, giving thanks to Him Who for
His Own Glory hath created Romans not less than Englishmen."
Conceive that these four manuscripts are not unconnected. Conceive
that Don Tarquinio wrote at intervals from 1495 to 1527 as already
stated: but that he wrote as a younger son who lived his own exquisite
and eventful life apart, to some extent, from the elder branch of his
House. Conceive that Dom Gheraldo wrote continuously from 1527 to
1530, chiefly of that elder branch, but not neglecting the younger:
indeed, writing as a priest would write, of everything which occurred
to him,--dear verbose genial busybody that he was. Conceive that Duke
Renato wrote in 1545 as a voluntary sojourner for fifteen years and
more at the gates of Death,--"before the Dawn." Conceive that Don
Ruggiero wrote in 1550-1, completing the tale.
When, in response to your Kretan inquiries, I deliberated (for my
own benefit not less than for your satisfaction) to do a historick
romance for you, it appeared to me that you ought not first to read
the pandects of Don Tarquinio (which I have prepared under the title
of The Kataleptick Phantasm, because, in common with the Stoicks, his
criterion of Truth was Sensuous Apprehension), nor the works of Don
Ruggiero, (for I myself as yet have but a superficial acquaintance
"Love from Chaos formed the World, Whether he did Well or ill is
Another Question. But, since He did so, we mortal Men are forced to
recognize His Omnipotence."
To LOVE, to the youngest and the eldest of all gods, then, let us
pay our duty. Here, you shall have, not the whole nor the best part,
nor the chief, (for no part is chief or best): but an Ideal Content,
simply that part of the archives which I have selected for your
satisfaction and diversion,--yes, AN IDEAL CONTENT,--the love story of
Duke Renato, narrated discursively by Dom Gheraldo, concisely by
From Westminster. The third day before the Nones of December,
OF THE FORMAL CAUSE
FREDERICK WILLIAM ROLFE TO
GREETING, AND THESE LETTERS.
JUDGE that I have divulged to you the Material Cause and the
Efficient Cause. I now will indicate the Formal Cause.
You will conceive of the Diurnal of Dom Gheraldo Pinarj as a quarto
of sorts, measuring thirteen inches by eleven by two and
three-eighths; containing six hundred pages of thin opaque paper,
with a space of half an inch in the middle for the insertion of a
fascicule; bound in stout white vellum. It is surrounded by an
imbossed silver band, hinged at the back, and fastened by a silver
letter-lock; the outer corners are fortified with guards of the same
metal. Three hundred and seventy-four pages are covered with
manuscript done in greenish-brown ink. The gesture is exceedingly
simple, varying in restraint in the course of each entry. The
fascicule consists of eighty-two vellum pages retained between p. 300
and p. 301 by a silver wire. Eighty pages and a half are covered with
the Little Hours of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Office for the Dead,
the Order for the Commendation of a Soul, the Seven Penitential Psalms
with Litanies of All Saints, Orations, Litanies, Various
Benedictions, Prayers on a journey, all finely written in small
capitals of the Damasine Character without abbreviations, perfectly
black. Capitals of pages and initials of proper names are adorned with
fine simple foliages in vermillion. The book is a little warped and
worn. There are brownish-purple stains on the front cover and upper
Can you see the outside of that book? Let me proceed to its inside.
From time to time, as you know, Italian men of letters have
affected a curious species of language, in which they have used
Greek, Latin and other foreign words. Sometimes to these they have
given Italian terminations. Cicero used many Greek words, especially
in his epistles. Plautus used Punick words. Dante Alighieri gloried in
using Latin and Provençal words: "namque locutus sum in lingua trina"
said he. Petrarch followed the same mode. Fra Teofilo Folengo, a noble
of Mantua and a friar, under the pseudonym Merlinus Cocaius, wrote Il
Libro della Gatta, Chaos del Tri per Uno, and Liber Macaronices Libri
XVII, in a language of his own mixture. You shall find Don Tarquinio
aforesaid,--indubitably an atavism, or a reversion to the Hellenick
type of his remote ancestors, steeped in Hellenism to his white
finger-tips,--to have written not unnaturally a hyperaisthetick
dialektosdiephtharmene of Greek and Italian. Fra Francesco Colonna (of
whom you have a vivid portrait in The Cloister and the Hearth),
published (through the Aldine Press at Venice in 1497), his La
Hypnerotomachia di Poliphilo, cioè pugna d'Amore in Sogno. Guarinus
Capellus wrote Macharonea di Rimini in 1526; and you will note that
this diurnal began two years later.
With such ensamples before him, it is not surprising that Dom
Gheraldo, who would have been as familiar with Latin as with Italian,
who habitually would have thought in one language while writing in the
other (as may be seen in his use and abuse of idioms), should have
followed the fantastick fashion of his day, compiling a simple jargon
of his own, comparable to no other (not even to the jargons of Dominie
Sampson or the Limousin Student) which merely is Latin words with
Italian terminations and Ciceronian idioms with Petrarchan spelling.
No doubt he thought it very "chic". Here are three specimens of his
Macaronicks, (for we may as well begin to call his style by its actual
name); and you will compare them with my versions on pp. 47-48, 52,
"Hoc die, ad avemmaria, venendo da la taberna de lo guantajo in
Catinari con Messer Piero Steccolini
!--> per combinatione ho
speculato in un portone una solivaga micina di sufflavio colore che
mi ha jactato un intuito supplicante, pudibundo. Ma io, cupido di dare
ad codesto letterato che non fa che deridermi un saggio de la mia
qualida, ho domandato ad lo detto Messer Piero se volesse ch'io
invitassi la detta micina ad acceptare da me hospitalita. Et, egli
consentendo i'ho fatto attendere dum ad lei mi indirizzavo, et deinde
sequire ad tale intervallo et con tale mansuetudine cosi ch'il suo
pudore regale non ne potesse esser offenso. Egli, cachinnando ad mia
insulsita,--cosi l' ha denominato--nichilominus ha concesso
obedientia. Ma io, suavemente advicinando la detta sufflavia micina,
urbanemente ad lei mi sono indirizzato con certi suono inarticulati
quali sono usati da le creature de lo genere Felis inter se. Et essa,
percipiendo mi simpatico, avendomi risposta in simile dulcissima
guisa, mi ha cominciato sequire in proximo lo mio dextro talo, con
immense admiratione di Messer Piero che forte ora puo existimarmi
justemente. Ma, intrando in palagio, perterrita da lo aspetto de li
mercenarj de La Supernitade de lo mio Domino desidi vicinitate portae,
sfuggiro la detta sufflavia micina, et piu non e stata vista, fin che
piu tardi quando intrato son' io in lo mio cabinetto; et ecce, la era
avanti me, recumbente sopra un cuscino, exponendo la consummato
dignitade et gravitade di una regina ch' e obito in haereditatem suam.
Ma io avendo obtinuto da la ruota lacte et un catillo di pisce
decorosemente intratteme la mia hospita; et, se ella vuole esser la
mia contuberna, sara la benvenuta: perche fin' un inquisitore generale
di Hispania, per quanto curioso et per quanto atroce, non potrebbe
vituperare un presbitero cohabitante con una domina di codesta colore.
Costui e di Divus Gajus Julius Caesar Semper Augustus lo stilo
"Hoc die, laxandosi da li affari privati occulti, dopo cena La
Supernitade de lo mio Domino vene ad sedersi con noi sotto li aranci
piccoli odoriferi in novo tecto di codesto palagio. Adesso,
contemplava lo tracto violaceo luminoso di coelo ad tergo Janicolo,
dum intonavano ad la musica de lo mio teorbo, antiphoni, litanie, et
ballate, Don Renato et Eros con voci dulci et clare. Quando canta lo
detto Don Renato, testa erecta et luci astrilucenti volando in
empyreo, la rutilantia di sui capelli et lo candore di suo jugulo
possono esse paragonati ad lo luteo et ad lo albume di un ovo di oca,
edito in campagna, et in aqua delicatemente fritto; tal' e la suprema
claritudine et puritade di loro diversi colori. Adesso, supernaliter
Lo Domino mio si degna parlare, approbando quegli studj in l'arte
magiche che, dic' io, prosequo tanto per lo mio proprio delectamento
quanto per la felicita de li altre: perche, dic egli, potentie
esservi et leggi, invisibili ma naturali et tucti lucrifiche, ubique
operanti, che debremmo inventare et coercere fino ad loro esser
obedienti ad voluntade nostra, ut lo genere de li huomini mortali, che
in codest' orbe di terra Si e degnato ponere Regnator Olympi, in loro
possa quaestum facere. Principe splendido superbe inaccessabile
magnanimo, saturato con ingenio generoso, perraro descendenteSi inter
huomines, disdegnando inclinarSi da l'altitudine Tua mentale, perche
Ti con condescenderesti ad me?"
"Hoc die, a.d. iii Id. Sept, ad la quarta hora di nocte, essendomi
impossible di dormire, causa de lo calore di l'aria, perambulav' io
aree silenti deserte; quando, forte, in un angulo murale, ho
incontrato una ventina di paggi palatiale in berretti di nocte,
seduti ad lo claro di luna, audiendo la recitatione di una fabula da
Don Flamino Triorchi. Inter codesti, reclinanto lato ad lato erano Don
Renato et Eros, avorio et ambra, menti in palme, teste erette, flamma
et inchiostro, pedi undulandi, genui aperti. Ad mio advento,
incombette sopra tucti terrore; di l'oratore la voce langui in
silentio. Allora respondit michi Divus Adolescens Virbius, sarebbe
dire Don Evandro Borgianni paggio priore, dicendo che essendo loro
inpossibile di dormire, et cupide di bene gerersi, eccolila, ad nullo
noxj, simpliciter per frigida quieta. Et io, in simile conditione, non
poteva vituperare. Et instanter mi sono rammentato colui versi di
Messer Quinctus Horatius Flaccus ubi scriptus est . . . ter uncti
transnanto Tiberim, somno quibus est opus alto.
"Ideo, sub silentii conditione, ho communicato lo praecepto ad li
circumstanti, che lo stesso con decorosa hilarita acceptarono, con
luci micanti, con silente et pernica exsultantia. Et avendo citato una
plotone di guardia, et avendo prese le nostre armi con parecchi
fiaschi di olio, silenter procedemmo ad lo passagio di Dellabarca ubi
fu multi exuti vesti et multa mutuale unctione. Continuo, una barca di
pueritia plena, nitida per olio et come nive percandida ad lo claro
di luna, passo ad la ripa di Trastevere sine sonitu. Insequ' ibi una
ventina di levi aspersioni: s'incrispo Tiber, et si puncteggio di
teste. Codeste cose securiter essendo state complute, et li bargelli
non essendo adspectabili, io quoque mi summersi et lentemente natai in
Trastevere et ritornai: ma li pueri palatiale natarono li tre cursi
secundum praecepto. Sara firmissimo natatore Don Renato quando ad lui
superverra adolescentia. Ha Don Giorgio Gagliardi un saliente modo di
natare, paragonabile solo ad lo modo di un delfino exsultante et
veloce. Finaliter, in silentio revertendi ad palagio, in diverse
nostri dormitorj retirammo, ubi instanter dormimmo: per la quale
distincta mercede in gratia habeamus l'ingeniosa mente di Messer
Quinctus Horatius Flaccus."
Beyond this, my dear Kretan Echis, I will not exercise you: but,
from time to time, (taking you entirely into my confidence, as you
will observe, and endeavouring to the utmost of my power to let you
see How the Thing is Done), I have appended to the text certain
phrases and clauses in the Macaronicks of Dom Gheraldo; which in my
opinion, should enable you to taste the rare beauty and singular
accuracy of that writer's ideas and modes of expression, to see (I put
it in your terms) the colours as well as the contours of his images.
When, however, he is purely (or impurely) Latin, I have presented to
you his ipsissima verba: for he used a Latin all his own, as Cesare
Borgia used a Latin all his own (you have seen those letters which I
have of his), and as Duke Renato, and every man of affairs (as
distinct from the scholar) of the Sixteenth Century, used a Latin all
his own. For Dom Gheraldo's Latin + Italian Macaronicks I have
ventured to give you Latin + English Macaronicks, i.e. I have given to
his Latin words English instead of Italian form, retaining as many
archaisms of spelling and of idiom, as might be compatible with
elegant English Macaronicks, and without distortion or obscurance of
his meaning. This seemed to be the only mode by which the individual
character of his style could be conserved.
All persons of any pretensions to fashion at the present day at
least have forgotten their Latin; and I have no doubt but that you
will be pleased to refresh your memory, and to confront the
strangeness of this book with intelligent alacrity verisimilar to that
which your grandfather and great- grandfather used in regard to Sir
Walter Scott. (He also was pseudonymous at the beginning, you will
remember.) For your assistance I have appended a little glossary at
the end of this MS.
I am certain that you will enjoy yourself in these pages as much as
I have enjoyed myself; for here you have a writer who only means one
thing at a time, who knows what he means, and who says what he
means,--a single-minded writer concentrated on the moment of which he
writes, pondering and meticulously selecting each word, discriminating
the exact shade of its meaning,
!--> (as you discriminate among your
pigments), using it in a primary sense, placing it in such
juxtaposition as that its meaning is in no wise modified by
circumstances, (as you are used to place your pigments on your
portraits in such considered relation, as that chymical change cannot
affect them nor alter their just and constant value.)
The effect of this mode of writing actually is the simplification
of language. It obviates all the damnable and futile labour of reading
"between the lines," for you only need to read on them; of dissecting
your author's epigrams to find no kernel: for it appears to me that
every sentence of Dom Gheraldo's diurnal might be taken as a Necessary
Proposition, --as meaning concisely what it says, and nothing else.
Yes; get to know him. Read him as he wrote, a little or a long bit at
a time, remembering the verses of Martial where is written
"Si nimius videor, seraque coronide longus
esse liber: legito pauca, libellus ero.
Terque quaterque mihi finitur carmina parvo
pagina: fac tibi me quam cupis esse brevem."
Nibble at him now and then; and,--(in an age which says "unloose"
when it actually means "loose," in an age which calls that thing a
"pantomime" wherein every mime talks or sings as loudly as possible,
in an age which officially denominates the Sacred Majesty of England
"King of All the Britains" when strictly speaking there are neither
Britains nor Britons any longer but only England and the
English-speaking Race predominant in all the world),--you will get to
love his frank and accurate simplicity. He is so refreshing, so
comically contagious;--at least he was, if ever he actually existed
and wrote his diurnal.
I do not propose to spoil your pleasure in reading, by providing
you with an analysis or an apologia of the work, or with disquisitions
on the character of Dom Gheraldo (he lays himself quite open to your
view), on his experiments in "stiles," his swoops from grave to gay,
from ornate diction to pungent slang, from the natural to the
supernatural. You must expect moods, quick changes, repetition, in a
diurnal; and you always must think of Dom Gheraldo as a priest,
remembering that a priest is neither masculine nor feminine but a
combination of the two + sacerdotium, i.e. a priest. Nor do I intend
myself to exculpate him for his custom of convincing himself in the
course of his argument, for his sympathies and dyspathies, for his
slips and errors, his innocuous superstitions, his wild-cat opinions,
his habit of calling muscles sinews and sinews nerves, his unconcern
for and ignorance of what was happening in "The City and the World":
for you will be good enough to remember who he was, the advantages
which he had not, and the circumstances under which he wrote.
But it may help you if I append a list of the persons named in his
diurnal as belonging to the household of Poplicola di Hagiostayros.
DON MARCANTONIO Agapito Giorgio Drakontoletes Poplicola di
Hagiostayros, Prince Poplicola di Hagiostayros, Duke of Deira, Duke
of Squillace, etc. Roman Patrician:
DON RENATO Ascanio Agapito Giorgio Drakontoletes Poplicola di
Hagiostayros, Duke of Ardea, son of Prince Marcantonio:
DON EROS Ardeati, foster brother of duke Renato:
DON PROSPERO Giorgio Drakontoletes Poplicola di Hagiostayros, DON
TARQUINIO SECONDO Giorgio Drakontoletes Poplicola di Hagiostayros,
sons of the Don Tarquinio before mentioned:
DON MARCO Figlidelre, seneschal of Ardea:
Don Ugolino Cenci, Don Stefanino Senzapaura, Don Zampietro
Zannoni, Don Cristoforo Pinarj, Don Livio Drusi, Don Silvestro
Rigogliosi, chamberlains and gentlemen:
Don Evandro Borgianni, Don Manlio Tarchiati, Don Lelio Pettilatte,
Don Flavio Anguillara, Don Giorgio Gagliardi, Don Angelo Begliarti,
Don Glorio Coscetonde, Don Lorenzino Gamberone, Don Tito Beicorpi, Don
Flaminio Triorchi, Don Ferrone Culoni, Don Oddo del Drago, Don Furio
Nerboruti, Don Oddantonio Testeroventi, Don Giacinto Perdutini, Don
Iulo Cordadamante, Don Tullio Tripette, Don Lucio Braccidiferro, Don
Pierettore Ruttoni, Don Nero Sanguibollente, pages:
DON RUGGIERO Rodolfo (an Englishman), familiar of Duke Renato:
Dom GHERALDO Pinarj, Dom Francesco Tarugi, Dom Giangualberto
Messer Vincenzo Fravolanasati, Messer Piero Steccolini, Messer
Gianfrancesco Stroppiati, Messer Uguccioni Sciancati, Messer Antonio
Teobaldi, men of letters:
Messer Gabinio Gabinj, news-collector:
Ser Ilario Tarentini, captain of the mercenaries: Ser Duilio
Manfredi, lieutenant: Ser Fabrizio Tripalle, herald. Messer Bastiano
. . . armourer: Ser Ercole Romano, armourer's apprentice: Ser Isidoro
Bucalossi, treasurer: Ser Guidantonio Bolzone, keeper of the wardrobe:
Biagio Guercj, servant to the Prince: Silvio Flavj, Baltassare (a
Moor), servants to Duke Renato: Valerio Flavj, servant to Don Eros
Ardeati: Iasone Flavj, servant to Don Prospero: Dionisia Flavj,
nurse: Madonna Felicita Tarentini, wife to Ser Fabrizio Tripalle:
Madonna Catarina Drusi, wife to Don Cristoforo Pinarj:
MADONNINA MARCIA Figlidelre, daughter of the seneschal of Ardea.
* * * * * *
In regard to the manuscript of Duke Renato, I will say no more than
that you will find it in a convenient place, and that (in my opinion)
it requires no explanation. In succession to it, I shall give you a
certain statement by way of completion, a narration of certain recent
events which appears to me to form an apt termination of the present
The affair of the singular phenomenon vulgarly known as "The white
boy of Ardea," to the existence of which all sorts and conditions of
men from all the country-side for centuries have testified, belongs
rather to the narrative of Don Ruggiero than to the present work. I
simply will say that I myself am unable to imagine any more decorative
or affecting spectre. Its appearance and disappearance have not been
traced to any single moment or place: but, night after night from
twilight till dawn, in a crowd or alone, in darkness or in the glare
of lamps, suddenly the "White Boy" is present, by the well in the
courtyard, or on the gospel-side of the altar in the chapel, or on
the left side of the fireplace in the hall, always standing, always
resting on the left raised arm against wall or pillar. The attitude,
the singularly graceful listless drooping of the whole figure, of the
head inclined in the hollow of the arm, of the half-closed sad eyes,
are inexpressibly pathetick. The form is exquisite and strong. It
appears to be clothed in white hose which reach to the waist. From the
belt a dagger is suspended by a belt of linked medals. A very short
white sleeveless jacket clings to the upper body, and is strapped to
the waist by four straps. Between jacket and belt, at the neck, and on
the arms, a full-sleeved linen shirt appears. The face is young, and
of a fervent pallor; and the short red hair curls from five points on
temples and brows. There is no appearance whatever of that diaphaneia
which usually is associated with supernatural apparitions; but, on the
contrary, of substantial solidity and of actuality. At the same time,
the phantom is absolutely impassible, absolutely intangible,
absolutely unaffected by any experiments with natural objects.
But on this point I will offer no theory, until you shall have read
the treatise of Don Ruggiero. You can form your own opinion, if you
please: but, in the absence of authentick evidence of origin, I myself
think mere speculation to be vain.
* * * * * *
Only one thing more. The age, in which you are invited to imagine
Dom Gheraldo as having lived, was reticent neither in word nor deed.
Solomon said "Speak not in the ears of a fool." This book is not made
for a fool: but for a man of sense.
* * * * * *
I think that this is all I have to tell you for the present. I
believe that you should know the Material and the Formal Causes of
this book. I hope also that you begin to know the Efficient Cause of
it. Have patience; and you shall know all that can be known from me.
Anon you shall know even the Final Cause, which is the good of each
and all: but I anticipate that you yourself will invent that. And so,
for the nonce, I relinquish you to Dom Gheraldo.
Vale atque salve.
From Ardea. The eighth day before the Kalends of January, r Lord
Pope Clement has commanded to be made for His Sanctitude a new tiara,
imitating that which the Divine Constantius Caesar Semper Augustus
Magnus formerly offered to the Lord Pope Saint Silvester; which was a
plain cap woven of the plumes of candid peacocks, with the iii. crowns
in gold inlustrate with precious union-pearls,
sapphires, polished turkey-stones (turquoise?), venete beryls
(aquamarina?), and surmounted by an igniferous scintillant carbuncle
of supreme praefulgent splendor.
(Monday, xviiii Sept) This day, a.d. xiii. Kal. Oct., Ser Ercole
Romano has accommodated to the pair of amber balls an exquisite
apparatus of little gold chains, which the Celsitude of Duke Renato
may affix to his wrists, and so retain or relax the said balls at his
will. Rejoice, Gheraldo, because of the said Ser Ercole, proved
(Tuesday, xx Sept) This day, a.d. xii. Kal. Oct., came from the
Curia Messer Gabinio Gabinj, saying that our Most Sanct Lord Pope
Clement has said to His familiars, If the Supreme Pontificate were
hereditable, We would legate the same in Our testatement to the Most
Gheraldo, thou hast deemed this same Cardinal Farnese
antipathetick. Know, now, how God's Vicegerent has pondered him. Be
not so prompt to adjudicate thy superiors. Cultivate humility; and
lapse not into the fatuous and diabolick error of those, who, quod
puer peccauit, accusant senem, as the Lord Archbishop of Benevento
(Wednesday, xxi Sept) This day, a.d. xi. Kal. Oct., after Mass, in
secret, Duke Renato said to me, that, night after night during this
month, he has dreamed that he was flying like a sea-mew over water,
over land, carrying a unick union-pearl to some place of security. To
Whose Celsitude I responded, saying that the dream indubitably was
produced by the wearing of wings in the audience-chamber, that to
dream of flying indubitably portends flight. But, I did not say that
to dream of water, puerice being absent, indubitably portends
molestation. Gheraido, uigila; quia aduersarius noster diabolus,
tanquam leo rugiens, circuit, quaerens quem deuoret, cui resiste,
fortes in fide.
(Wednesday, xxviii Sept) This day, a.d. iiii. Kal. Oct., I will
prescribe the dissertation which, during vi. days antecedent I have
DE ARTE PICTURAE
If a poet chose to join jambicks to alexandrines, and to compose
verses in measures collected here, there, and everywhere, so that
heroick hexameters turpidly terminate in lubidinous hendecasyllabicks,
or sonnets languish in little- chapters; would you be able, o friends,
to restrain your laughter, when admitted to hear? Believe me, o my
Pinarj, Pinario, Secondo, Tertio, Quarto, and Quinto, persimilar to
such poems are the pictures which, on all sides, are exposed for your
For our degenerate artificers, some possessed of exiguous faculty,
some the merest simulators, some exempt from ingenuity, all are
perturbed in their minds by the necessity of consulting, nay even of
obeying, the morose inconstancy of their patrons, generally inurbane.
They must adulate, they humilitly must submit themselves to, the
ignorance and stupidity of princes and of kings, the inane glory of
Caesar Semper Augustus, the vanity and insolence of cardinals, the
pontificality of the Sanctitude of God's Vicegerent. Hence, being
compelled to satisfy the hebete senses of the said stolid rustick
patrons, their souls demersae sunt in terram, as Messer Marcus Tullius
Cicero says; and what little of ingenuity they possess is constricted
as by an inextricable infragible chain.
But, contrariwise, no impediment of this species prohibits the
Supernity of my Lord from conceiving, composing, constituting,
completing, in his mind, the similitude of some figure or of some
mystery; from treating and manipulating it with his proper
discrimination; and from effecting it in clay, or wax, or gold, or
bronze, or wood, or marble, or in pigments applied to canvas or to
panel, by means of his liberal genius and his erudite dexterity.
Things which are perceived via the senses affect the minds of
mortal men perceiving them. He who possesses riches, can provide for
himself amoenity of place, pulchritude of form, and other decorous
delectaments. As the humor of herbs, when distilled in an alembick,
concedes a virtuose quintessence, very subtile, very exquisite; so,
natural speciosity, when digested in a mind inspired by the genius of
artifice, will be reproduced in artificial speciosity subsimilar to
Res angustae domi, as Messer Decimus Junius Juvenal says, coerce
our followers of the imbelline arts. They are compelled to use, as
examples, the dregs of the populace. It was very different l. or xl.
or even xxx. years ago; for then all possessing pulchritude, purpled
one, prince, or patrician, esteemed it an honor to expose the same;
and I have heard my father saying that the angels, and the Mercuries,
and the Saint Sebastians, of that inaccessible Messer Alessandro
Filipepi, were depicted from no less inlustrious examples than the
Sanctitude of the Lord Pope Leo X. and the Sanctitude of our Lord
Pope Clement, in their puerice and adolescence. But, now, artificers
must use the scum of the City; and, by consequence, their men ostend
notes of some sordid occupation, producing asymmetrical amplification
in that corporeal art or part which is affected by their labors. Of
this species are smiths and armourers, such as Ser Ercole Romano, or
that rare cogitabund Serafino Diveristiani of whom anon I will narrate
a history. Of this species are tailors, whose legs are mere means of
progression, such as Messer Boccone. Of this species are the
salacious, crass-haunched and otherwise attenuate, such as Caesar
Semper Augustus, the common ram, and our Ser Fabrizio. Of this species
are pedestrians, ample as to belly and legs, and their superior parts
all bones and skin, such as the veridical Messer Gabinio Gabinj. Of
this species are presbyters, whose lateral throats are rugose by
inclining the head in study or in humility such as the throat of him
now writing. So much for men. Mulierity is distorted by parturition.
Puerice is deformed, bandy-legged, knock-kneed,
knotty-as-to-the-articulations, strumous, stunted, skinny. All are of
the earth, earthy.
Not but what an artificer, indued with true genius, sometimes can
constitute a masterpiece from asymmetrical example. Among the theses
of the erudite Don Tarquinio, qui teretes aures habuit intelligensque
judicium as Messer Marcus Tullius Cicero says, huomo emunctae naris as
Messer Quinctus Horatius Flaccus says, the following history is
stated. Messer Andrea Vannucchi,
!--> on a certain day, by chance was
passing a smithy; and above the demi-door emerged from shadow, the
egregious countenance of an apprentice, superb, audacious, innocent,
caesarial, most amoene, pausing for a moment from his labor that he
might look into the street. To him goes the son of the tailor
incontinent. And what may be thy name, o ardito garzone? says he.
Serafino Diveristiani to serve Messere, responds the apprentice. Dost
know that thy face indeed is the face of a seraph? My sweetheart so
tells me, by grace of Messere. Wilt let me depict that face, and gain
a double-giulio for thy sweetheart? But willingly, Messere. His day's
work done, the apprentice washes himself and proceeds to the workshop
of the artificer. So seraphick a face should pertain to the form of a
seraph, says Messer Andrea. The apprentice denudes his form at the
word. Enucleate, he exposes a magnifick neck and shoulder, a grand
pectoral sinew and dexter, a well-filled armpit, and all lacertose
down to the groin: but a delicate nervose sinister, and both legs
long, terete, and gracile. What can be done with so asymmetrical a
figure? The ingenuity of Andrea-senza-errore veils the sinister with a
cloak, the haunch with a goat-skin, disposes the sinister in shadow;
and depicts the intent face, the noble, caesarial head, the fatidick
eyes, the splendid breast and dexter, as the peradolescence of Saint
John. But, if the figure had been symmetrical, you may imagine how
divine a spectacule would have been depicted. The Supernity of my
Lord, opulent, potent, is not compelled to inquire for examples among
the proletary. He, indeed, can buy pulchritude in whatsoever place it
may be found; as, formerly, from the Divine Leonardo, he bought that
flavian-haired, coerulean-eyed Gothick Sigismondo in the tenth year of
his age, whose robustitude he produced by athletick exercitations
during vii. years, to whom he ordained an abundance of food and wine,
with unguents for his tender cuticule, whereby his form expanded as a
specimen of consummate virility; or that pallid Greek Irene --a very
inept name for a female--whose virginal body during a similar period
he caused to be produced by a similar mode, until, at the age of xv.
years, her delicate mulierty rendered her worthy to be associated with
the Goth as examples for the effigies of our primaeval progenitors,
carved in argyrocorinthian brass on the gates of the screen, and woven
in arras in the hall of the castle of rutilian Ardea. To him that
hath shall be given, as Canonical Scripture says. The Supernity of my
Lord needs not even to purchase examples. To him Divine Providence
presents the pure, tralucid tenerity of Madonnina Marcia Figlidelre,
the caesarial auricolored sinuose venusty of Don Eros Ardeati, the
divine, resplendent rutilant percandid nervose formosity of the
Celsitude of Duke Renato. Than these, you are unable to imagine more
Our artificers imitate their masters, or their antecessors. It is
human to evade operose labor of body or mind. Labor of mind facilitly
may be evaded by imitation: for, so, sollicitude of mind conducive to
invention becomes supervacuous. Hence, artificers of a negligent
nature follow traditions and canons of the schools. How many have
intended themselves to imitate the inaccessible Messer Alessandro
Filipepi? You may count them by hundreds. How many intend themselves
to imitate Messer Bernardino Betti; or his pupil, Il Sanzio; or the
rival of the last, Messer M. B., who is not to be named? You may count
them by thousands. How many propose to themselves for eternal
remembrance that sentence of the Divine Leonardo, most ample master,
where he said, Uilis, contemptus, et abiectus, qui magistrum non
potest antecellere discipulus? You may count them by ones,--up to ten.
No, says Gajo, We will have no progression nor any competition, for
our antecessors made themselves omniscient, and have left nothing more
to be invented. No, says Titio, Such-and-such a thing cannot be done,
seeing that the antick masters left it undone. Yes, says Sempronio,
Such-and-such a thing must be done, seeing that the antick masters did
By chance an ingenious artificer perceives a certain copulation
among themselves of form and color. Having cogitated the thing, he
deliberates in his mind, and invents a mode whereby the aspect of the
same may be simulated with pigments applied to canvas. To him, then,
enter Gajo and Titio and Sempronio, garrulous, sententious, vapid.
See, they clang, See the audacity of this one who dares to despise and
to contemn the canons. Such a mode never has been heard of: let him
and his work be anathema; clangs Gajo. The antick masters used another
mode: thou intendest thyself to excel those prisk ones? to add new
canons to theirs? o Gajo, our ears have heard heresy; clangs Titio. As
for this effrenate cinaedus, certainly, o Titio, the Holy Office ought
to coerce him, in order that he may not infect others with his rabies,
and in order that his proper miserable soul eternally may not be
damned; clangs Sempronio. So, the artificer, cupid of progressing to a
better thing, is impeded, and burthened with a perturpid name totally
inmerited. So, the store of human science is not augmented.
As a specimen of this perridiculous adherence to the canons I will
cite the following. Artificers have been used, and are used, to
consider their examples as though the light of the sun inradiated
these solely from above, from the front, and from the side. This canon
causes the contour of each figure to appear as though a black line, or
at least a line of dense color, separates it from what may be behind
it. But the Supernity of my Lord is of opinion that we ought to
consider the sun as the sole source of light, whose radiance is
reflected by that magick incognite material of which the vast
coelestial dome, over and around all, is formed. The immoderate space,
existing between the said vast coelestial dome and this orb of earth,
is filled with translucent aether, limpid, derived from the said sun;
and every natural thing must be viewed against this inlimitable body
of light, pure, or inradiate, singular and pure from the sun,
duplicate and inradiate from the said vast coelestial dome and from
immoderate aether: a magick trias. Now, seeing that the capability of
the human eye is restricted within certain limits, o Pinarj, Pinario,
Secondo, Tertio, Quarto, et Quinto, you must concede this
consequence,--That any natural thing, about to be studied by the said
human eye for an artificial purpose, is collocated, of necessity,
nearer to the said human eye than to the confines of space. What then?
It is evident that there is more light behind the said natural thing,
than before it. Wherefore, says the Supernity of my Lord, all natural
things must be existimated as being lighted singularly from above, by
cause, that the sun is above, and duplicitly from behind, by cause of
the curvement of the vast coelestial dome, and by cause of the
inlimitable space filled with immoderate limpid, tralucid aether.
Moreover, he negates the lighting from the front, by cause that the
space between the seeing eye and the seen thing is of no moment,
weight, or magnitude, in comparation with the space between the said
seen thing and the said confines of space. And, supernally intending
his hand before the flames of a lamp of v. wicks, nearer to my eye
than to the said lamp, he commanded me to observe that its contour
was not delineated by a denser color than the color of the hand
itself, as our artificers (exasperated by Gajo, Titio, and Sempronio)
would depict it: but rather by a color which appeared to be more lucid
than the radiance of the hidden flames. For this cause, he deigns to
delineate his figures with candid contours in convenient gradations of
tincture, instead of with the black or fusky contours ordained by the
canons; and to this is due, in my opinion, the illusion of verity, of
solidity, of disjunction from circumstances, which is manifest in his
supernal pictures. Pity incites him (who inspects the Saint Agapitus)
to elevate the said suave martyr, liberating him from that ponderous
capital dolor which would be produced by long suspension in inverse
order. Without auxiliary notice, one would imagine the forms of the
Divine Cupid and the Virgin Psyche to be carved in alto rilievo: for
the inferior line of that long, nervose leg, which the Celsitude of
Duke Renato does not genuflect, although located in the umbriferous
obscurity of his expanded wings, of the form of Madonnina Marcia, of
the nebula of her dusky hair, nevertheless produces a luminous contour
dividing the leg from the lauret in the rear, and persuading the
spectator that if he would, he could surround the teretude of the
said leg entirely with his hand. Not that the said contour is
essentially of more luminous color than the rest: but accidentally so
it appears to be; and, therefore, so it must be depicted, supernally
says my Lord.
Messer Giacopo Sansovini had in his workshop a putt of the age of
xiiii. years, by name Filippino Fabri to serve you, hilarious in mind,
rubicund and pinguid in body, who ministered wet clay to the sculptor.
On a certain day, a light mordacious flea by chance molested Pino. All
the morning, se nullam in partem non mouet, as the Divine Gajus Julius
Caesar Semper Augustus says. At noon, instead of going to dinner, in
the garden he exuded his vesture, vehemently shaking the same in the
sun, dismissing the pungent flea. The month was October. Not very far
away, a grand vine ostended purpureal grapes. In a moment of time,
oblivious of nudity, Pino captured a cluster, and therewith saturated
his hunger, standing erect and divaricate near the door of the
workshop. By chance, Messer Giacopo omitted his siesta, and returned.
Johia, cries he, perceiving pinguitude, rubicund, membrose, and
terete, I knew not that it was the Divine Juvenal Bacchus who
distended the shirt and the hosen of Pino. Conducting the putt, as he
was, by the ear, on a pedestal as an example he constituted him. Day
by day in the workshop Pino exposed his form. Day by day in the
workshop the sculptor effected his effigy. Winter advened. Cold and
damp was the workshop by cause of the wet clay. Still Messer Giacopo
ceased not his labor. Still Pino the Pinguid ostended connudate
membrature. Fever molested him on the Solempnity of St. Thomas
Apostle, the image at length being complete. After viiii. days the
fever became malignant; and, his mind being alienate, incessantly he
leaped from his bed in order to dilate himself as Divine Juvenal
Bacchus. So, vexed by delirium, anon the victim died.
Artificers perceive here a delicate nose, there a speciose belly,
here an egregious hand, there a noble head, here a candid breast,
there a sinuose leg. Producing tablets and silver-points, they
delineate these particulars. And now comes the time when a patron
requires an effigy of himself in the similitude of, let us say, Divine
Auricomous Hyperion. Instantly, the astute artificer effects numerous
antecedent delineations, wherein is preserved something of the aspect
of the patron: but the strawberry nose has languished in pallor, the
warts and the pimples not less than the moles and the pustules have
evanesced, rugosity is smoothed, ventriosity is eliminated, beneath
luxuriant tresses calvity absconds, direct are the members and most
formose. The patron lauds the work. Anon, in his workshop, in secret,
the said astute artificer coacts all the innumerable charts, specimens
of particular lineaments, which, from time to time, he has made from
diverse conformations more or less perfect. Adsisted by these, for his
patron he composes an heroick effigy excessive in pulchritude, totally
dissimilar to anything, or to any creature, in the heavens above, or
in the earth beneath, or in the waters under the earth, but grateful
to the vanity, and productive of zecchini or even of dobloni.
Far contrariwise is the method of my Lord's Supernity. He uses no
examples, except such as are consummate in every art and part, face,
form, body, members, color, texture, habit, all eximious, all of equal
speciosity. He neither fatigates nor inmolates his said sublime
examples, nor exposes them to perils of fevers; for the
audience-chamber is heated, even before the Solempnity of Saint
Katharine the Martyr, by fires on the hearth and in braziers.
Moreover, the intellect of the said examples being equal to their
pulchritude, they relax, they pandiculate their members, they rest
their bodies, they quietly play micating their digits, while my said
Lord meditates; and, at his supernal signal, by the aid of the chalked
carpet, they reproduce themselves in the accurate position wherein
they had been collocated.
Nor does this patrician artificer fiddle-faddle with innumerable
scraps of paper containing adumbrations of particulars, minute
delineations of singulars. He immutably stands or sits at a just
interval from the examples, sometimes during as long as half an hour,
contemplating them, comprehending in his memory the divers curvements
of their forms and flexures, the divers forms of their colors effected
by light and shade. Veiling his eyes, pacing to and fro, in his
supernal mind he will deliberate, selecting phaenomena worthy to be
remembered, rejecting all the rest, while the examples indulge
themselves. So, he will continue his studies during days, during
weeks, during months, before exsecuting a singular line. Anon, with a
charcoal-stick, he indicates on his canvas or on his panel, primo, the
form of his example; secondo, the accurate forms of the light and
shade of the whole composition, subtilely very subtilely, exquisitely
very exquisitely. This, with infinite eximious assiduity, having been
done, the labor of the examples is mitigated: for, finally, the
Supernity of my Lord applies pigments in successive crusts, without
hesitation, without emendation, simplicitly redintegrating his memory
by an inspection of the examples from time to time. Long diligent
preparation, sedulous care, finally celerity of exsecution, is the
method used by benign Nature in her operations: says he. The seed of a
flower in the earth germinates during long months of autumn and
winter: spring comes: like magick it buds and blooms: supernally says
he. The Celsitude of Duke Renato, during a dozen years was nothing but
a long-legged white-bodied fiery-haired, astrilucent-eyed lump of
puerine loquacity, dicacity, scurrilily, garrulity, pernicity,
agility: puerice begins to bud: blooms in adolescence in ii. brief
years: and lo, vivid serene formosity in excelsis: most supernally
For these causes it is evident that the Supernity of my Lord is
supreme among artificers, as among Roman patricians. Nor is it less
evident, o Pinarj, Pinario, Secondo, Tertio, Quarto, et Quinto, that
this is the stile of an epistule of Messer Quinctus Horatius Flaccus.
(Thursday, xxviiii Sept) This day, a.d. iii. Kal. Oct., came from
Ardea iiii. puncheons of quince wine. Very succulent. Also, came from
the Curia Messer Gabinio Gabinj, saying that cl. of the most ample
citizens of Fiorenza, for their crime of treason have been banned
during this month of September. Now, if the argute Messer Niccolo
Machiavelli had not migrated to The Lord iii. years ago, and were
here to tolerate this exemplication of his sentence, He who becomes
master of a city used to liberty and who neglects to destroy the same
must prepare himself to be undone by it, or some such words as those,
I doubt not but that he himself, being a Fiorentino,
precipitevolissimevolmente would erase that from his Principe.
Iugulatur suo gladio, as Messer Publius Terentius Afer says.
(Friday, xxx Sept) This day, Prid. Kal. Oct., I have deliberated
in my mind that it will be well to fix upon some permanent domicile,
before I shall be numbered among the seniors; unius lacertae me
dominum facere, as Messer Decimus Junius Juvenal says. And, seeing
that at Ardea is established my nephew Cristoforo with an honest
spouse, and v. grand infants verisimilar to cherubs, and twice as many
more, I doubt not, about to come; seeing that these are of my own
blood, the only ones; seeing that the Celsitude of Duke Renato is
benevolent to me, and I to him; I think I will seek an opportunity to
invade Ardea, where my apartment is more commodious, the view more
amoene, and where I can cultivate my own herbs. Then, if, at any time,
our Lord the Pope should deign to erect Ardea as a bishoprick, and to
preconize me to that episcopal dignity, no prolonged inquisition will
be necessary to invent either the bishop or the amethyst for his ring.
Better is a chaffinch in the hand than a thrush in the bush,
the vulgar adage says.
Gheraldo, let the thing be done.
(Saturday, i Oct) This day, Kal. Oct., in preparation for the
monthly confession, in secret I took occasion to exhort that effrenate
little satyr, Don Eros Ardeati, concerning his intemperate
incontinence. Who, having heard me with humility, ingenously inquired
why it should be accounted to him for sin that he indulged certain
native incognite cupidities, which he recently had invented. To whom
I responded, saying that Divine Providence, in His Mercy and Clemency,
deigned to plant certain cupidities in mortal men; and, with cupidity,
imperium; and, with these a promise of sufficient grace obtainable by
supplication; in order that the said mortal man might have an
opportunity of procuring merits, either per luxuriarum abdicationem et
contemptionem or per liberorum licitam procreationem, as Messer Marcus
Tullius Cicero says, not in commerce with all and singular persons of
courtesy, but in legitimate nuptials. Furthermore, I invected, saying
that immense emolument and small damage, not only for the salvation of
the soul, but also for the sanity of the body, were attached to
moderation and to self-abnegation; and I cited the commendable example
of those antick barbarick Goths, of whom Messer Gajus Cornelius
Tacitus has written, Sera juuenum uenus, eoque inexhausta pubertas;
and also the laudable example of those antick Gallicans, of whom the
Divine Gajus Julius Caesar Semper Augustus has written, Qui diutissime
inpuberes permanserunt maximam inter suos ferunt laudem: hoc ali
staturam ali uires neruosque confirmari putant: intra annum uero
uicesimum foeminae notitiam habuisse in turpissimis habent rebus.
Wherefore, I said, seeing him to be but now about to enter his
sixteenth year, notwithstanding that his stature already exceeded that
of most juvenals of twice his age, it behoved him to temper his
cupidity, to conserve his vigor, and to contain himself in chastity at
present; for, I admonished him, our adversary the devil, by means of a
succuba in the similitude of Antea or of any other of the courteous
persons in question, is used to incite perfervid adolescents in the
flower of their age to eternal damnation, where there is neither rest
nor opportunity for penance, as Messer Andrea Bassi says. In
conclusion, I said that this species of cacodaemon could not be
frustrated by exorcisms, nor by magick, but only by instant flight.
Anon, with commotion of mind, he solemply and sincerely promised to
contain himself; and straightway he applied himself to the circumspect
Dom Giangualberto, than whom there is in this palace, or even in the
City itself, of the sacrament of penance no more just or more mild
administrator. I believe that Don Eros will contain himself. I know
that he will not contain himself long, seeing of what color he is,
seeing that he is not inhuman, seeing how many there be ardent to
seduce him who falls in love like a blackbeetle into a basin,
Messer Gajus Decimus Laberius says. Nevertheless, he shall not be
punished, nor incarcerate; for bonds or stripes will compel him to
open rebellion, or to secret stratagems; at Uenus inuenit puero
succumbere furtim, as the Nobility of Don Albius Tibullus says. In
this matter, he is, and must be esteemed, his own master. But as soon
as possible he shall lead a wife into matrimony, for, as the Sanct
Apostle and Doctor Paul says, it is better to marry than to burn, in
fire eternal and infernal understood. This is the style of a sermon.
It would not be incommodious if I were to preach in this sense to
palatial puerice at the catechizing tomorrow afternoon. Who knows how
many of the pages are in persimilar case with Don Eros, whence a
sincere word may redeem them. Certainly with puerice, it is the safest
and most benefick counsel, sincere palam et aperte dicere, as Messer
Marcus Tullius Cicero says. Gheraldo, preach.
(Monday, iii Oct) This day, a.d. v. Non Oct., at Ardea, the
Celsitude of Duke Renato having been molested by an unusual number of
bats, lizards, serpents, and spiders, on the secret stair, inquired
the cause of the same. And it was proved that the indolent Scipione
has omitted to sweep the window-slits at the same time when he swept
the stair. by which means the incursion of vermin is not restricted.
For his negligence, the said Scipione instantly tolerated a
flagellation. A mole on the back portends health.
(Tuesday, iiii Oct) This day, a.d. iiii. Non Oct., through the
whole night, I incessantly dreamed of palatial puerice vaulting by
turns over my bed, as though it were the horse in the gymnasium; and
that was a most amoene spectacule: for to dream of puerice portends
(Wednesday, v Oct) This day, a.d. iii. Non Oct., at noon, came
from Padua a courier with a secret breve from the seraphick Don
Prospero for Duke Renato; and, within the hour, on a fresh horse, he
rode away with the response. Very singular.
(Saturday, viii Oct) This day, a.d. viii. Id. Oct., pertumid Tiber
suddenly bursts his banks, and inundates the City. Duke Renato and the
ingenuous Don Eros Ardeati transnavigate the streets in a little boat
sent from the ferry, armed, and attended by the firm Don Ruggiero:
for that erudite Anglican is navarch as well as doctor and bellator.
At the eighth hour of the day, I by chance was standing in the
Catinari gateway noting the crowd running towards Campidoglio, when
the conceited satyrick ingenious Messer Benvenuto passed; who stayed
only to exsecrate the flood invading his workshop, and to say that he
was seeking a porter to remove his goods to the interior, which abuts
on Giordano, and consequently is more elevated than the front; and so
he hurriedly departed. But I am not ignorant that he goes in terror
of my Lord's Supernity, whom he never has forgiven for demolishing the
Deidamia; and also that he evades the vindication of a Roman prince,
creator, artificer and christian, to whom he applied such dedecorous
and infamous names as Gothick Upsetter, Saracen Smasher, and Piece of
Pork. And, while writing of nicknames, I myself will apply to the said
maledicent Messer Benvenuto an apt and proper one from Messer Publius
Terentius Afer, which is Heaytontimoroymenos, or Ipsesepuniens, as
Messer Marcus Tullius Cicero translates it. As though the Supernity of
my Lord, or any in this palace, ever thought of him. Di meliora. Even
I had become oblivious that such a man was.
At avemmaria, returned Duke Renato and Don Eros, narrating cum
omnium admiratione, how that they have rowed into the courtyard of the
Borgian palace of the Sforza on Banchi Vecchi; and the flood continues
(Sunday, viiii Oct) This day, a.d. vii. Id. Oct., have been
verified the presensions and predictions of Dom Gheraldo Pinarj.
In the audience-chamber, between the hour of terce and the hour of
sext, toward the end of the fourth period, my Lord supernally was
depicting the Divine Cupid and the Virgin Psyche. Before him, on the
prasine carpet, the examples stood and genuflected. A little behind
him, on the dais, I sat, intonating lauds of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
I concluded the psalm Deus misereatur nostri. On proceeding to
Benedicite, which canticule I know from cotidian recitation, my eyes
diverged from my book; went errant to my Lord; thence to his supernal
picture; thence to the examples. Behold: a new incipient effulgence,
more eloquent than any words, inlumining, dilating, the ardent
astrilucent eyes, the clean venete innocent eyes, of the Celsitude of
the Duke Renato and of Madonnina Marcia; a new constriction of
conjunction; a new coruscant clarity of color, hair more rutilant than
candescent carbon, hair more tenebricose than night, skin more nitid
and more virginal than ivory, skin more pellucid and more rosy than a
precious union- pearl in the dawn, as Don Tarquinio says; and there
were other conspicuous manifestations.
Ure igne Sancti Spiritus renes nostros et cor nostr* Domine: ut
Tibi casto corpore serviamus, et mundo corde placeamus.
Mater purissima, ora pro nobis.
Mater castissima, ora pro nobis.
Mater inviolata, ora pro nobis.
Mater intemerata, ora pro nobis.
(Monday, x Oct) This day, a.d. vi. Id. Oct., after vespers,
secretly to me responded the Celsitude of Duke Renato, very grave,
very firm, very serene, saying that he formerly spoke to Madonnina
Marcia on our Divine Lord's Natal Day, when he gave her the
ring--where is that ring?--; and he said these words, and no more, A
pearl to a pearl; the candor of the sea to the candor of the earth;
purity to Saint Agnes.
!--> Prior to that, he spoke to her when he
brought Don Eros Ardeati from Ardea, who had saved the life of her
father; and he said these words, and no more, By the deed of this one
thy father lives.
!--> Prior to that, he spoke to her when he himself
saved her from Mauritanian pirates; and, when she was recuperate after
her syncope, he said these words and no more, Live, o little girl, be
!--> By side these, he cannot remember himself to have said
one other word to her, since he first became able to wash his own
face. Now, this ducal adolescent is as veridical as Saint Uriel
Archangel, Prefect of Divine Archives.
!--> He is incapable of prave
thoughts, more incapable of prave words, most incapable of prave acts.
Moreover, Madonnina Marcia never has been absent from the vigilant
eye of the maternal Dionisia, except when she has been in the
audience-chamber before the Supernity of my Lord, and before me
writing. Jocundly interrogated as to the next word which he will say
to her, Colosseros profoundly inspired, erected his resplendent head,
a guisa de leon quando si posa, as Messer Dante Alighieri says, and
superbly responded saying that His Celsitude would perpend the thing.
This night, after supper, in the presence of the maternal Dionisia,
with a momentary erubescence, very amoene, tranquilly and simplicitly
to me responded Madonnina Marcia, saying, that she formerly spoke to
the Celsitude of Duke Renato on our Divine Lord's Natal Day, when he
gave her a grand ring, and she said these words and no more, Thanks,
Celsitude. Prior to that, she spoke to him when he brought from Ardea
Don Eros Ardeati, who had saved the life of her father; and she said
these words and no more Thanks, Celsitude: Thanks, Ser Eros, by cause
that the last was not yet noble. By side these, she affirmed that she
never has spoken one other word to Duke Renato. Invited to indicate
the present location of the said grand ring, she responded saying
that, having believed His Celsitude to command her to offer the said
grand ring to some saint, after the banquet she went alone to the
chapel, where she had tried to place it on the finger of the Blessed
Virgin Mary Deipara: but failing, by cause of her parvity, she hid it
in the talarian vesture of the said Blessed Virgin Mary Deipara.
Interrogated as to the place where she last saw the grand ring, she
responded, saying There. Interrogated as to the time when she last saw
the said grand ring, she responded saying, Then. Interrogated as to
whether Duke Renato knows how she disposed the said grand ring, she
responded, saying that she was unable to say by cause of her ignorance
of the thing. Jocundly interrogated as to the next word which she will
say to the Celsitude of Duke Renato she simplicitly responded saying
that she knew not.
O exquisite intact flower of cyclamen. O vernant deaurate flower of
honeysuckle. O ingenuous innocents.
The ring is there, not only hidden in a fold, but, also, invisible
by cause of the ivory and gold of which the said fold is formed.
(Tuesday, xi Oct) This day, a.d. v. Id. October, the flood
consurges and increases. The v. courtyards are v. lakes. The lions and
xviiii. horses are drowned. Mercenaries, horses, and other inurbane
creatures occupy the hall, and occur on stairs and galleries and
ramparts. But the dire Divine Cupid has taken to the water, with Don
Eros and palatial puerice, desperately contending on rafts in a
naumachy. Certainly this strenuous Celsitude should adjoin himself to
a virgin of his patrician order. On no account may he offend this pure
tender flower. It is futile again to speak to my Lord. His Supernity
totally is rapt by his art, wherein alone he lives, inconscious of the
world. Could I give sight to his blind eyes, could I attract him from
that inaccessible altitude whereon he is fixed in contemplation of the
formations of his mind, then, he would effervesce with ire: there
would ensue iniquity of thought: there would ensue iniquity of word:
the revocation of the renunciation subturpicularly would be
suggested, urged, insisted on, so that by any means, even by turpid
means, the Supernity of my grand prince might remove the obstacule
impeding his progress in the arts: but there would not ensue iniquity
of fact, by cause of the equity and the mundity of the mind of Duke
Renato, not less than his obstinate indomitable pertinacious soul,
which we all have good reason for knowing. And so, between Supernity
and Celsitude, between father and son, there would surge discord,
dissension, altercation, infandous furibund conflict. Quod di auertant
omen, as Messer Marcus Tullius Cicero says.
(Wednesday, xii Oct) This day, a.d. iiii. Id. Oct., with equal
celerity, the inundation ebbs. A flood is an unusual and unheard-of
prodigy in the vintage season; and this year there have been no
aestival rains, but only vernal. Duke Renato returns to the
audience-chamber, vividly serene. One may learn nothing from his face,
and nothing from his demeanour; except that such precious and such
colossal consummate formosity never before has been manifested on
this orb of earth. How mirifick it is that, in this virtuose form
should lie, obscure, arcane, recondite, the materials of joy and
sorrow, of peace or war, of right or wrong, of life or death.
Aduersarius noster diabolus it is who makes a marriage between an old
woman and an adolescentule, uidelicet, that inverecund old hag of
Dellavalle who married her grand- nephew anno aetatis suae xiii. Beata
Maria Virgo it is who makes a marriage between a veteran and puellula,
uidelicet, the betrothal
!--> of herself to Saint Joseph the just.
But Pater Coelestis Deus Optimus Maximus Superum Pater Nimbipotens it
is Who makes a marriage between puerus and puera, uidelicet, the
primaeval progenitors of the human race.
(Thursday, xiii Oct) This day, a.d. iii. Id. Oct., the flood
continues to diminish. Rapacious Tiber returns to his channel, and
vehemently courses to the sea. The streets are impervious except to
equestrians, by cause of the madid sand and slime. They say that
xciiii. detestable Hebrews have been drowned no further away than
Ponte. Expandi Manus Meas tota die ad populum incredulum, as
Canonical Scripture says. In this palace, horses and mercenaries have
returned to their proper domiciles. Messer Gabinio Gabinj ought to
bring the news. A fire has been lighted in this audience-chamber to
dry the air, xliii. days before the Solempnity of Saint Katharine. But
another fire is also lighted in this said audience-chamber.
Flammigerous Divine Cupid is cupid of the Virgin Psyche. What counsel
does Colosseros intend? Always, His Celsitude has manifested eximious
rectitude, inerrant promptitude, in his counsels. Fumo comburi nichil
potest, flamma potest, as Messer Marcus Attius Plautus says; and it
is not smoke, but a flame which here is kindled. It cannot be a cruel
flame. Will it be a purifying flame? For we must be salved sic tamen
quasi per ignem, as the Sanct Apostle and Doctor Paul says. What will
Duke Renato do? What ought I to do? In dense caliginous tenebricosity
I wander, ignorant of the way. In the words of the Religious King of
Hierusalem, Uias Tuas Domine demonstra michi et semitas Tuas edoce me.
(Friday, xiiii Oct) This day, Prid. Id. Oct., Sol and Boreas
having dried the streets, with Duke Renato and Don Eros Ardeati,
attended by a guard, I rode to inspect the ruin wrought by the
calamitous inundation. Here and there were cadavers of drowned
persons, very deformed, who had been unable to evade the sudden
immoderation of the flood irrupting their houses. Tiber is a turbid
torrent. Ponte Xysto trepidates. Wherefore, the inpavid Duke Renato
causes us to cross by the island, to inspect the quays all wet and
muddy. The major part of the grain and merchandize, usually
congregated there, has been washed away: the rest is spoiled; and
famine is at our door. From the mouth of Cloaca, visible above the
stream, a devolute torrent precipitates itself with a trucid clamor,
persimilar to my Lord's supernal lions when they used to roar. Most
After completorium, the gate has been opened to admit a
half-drowned courier from Don Prospero, with a secret breve for Duke
Renato, the fifth within a month. Very portentous.
(Saturday, xv Oct) This day, Id. Oct., I perceive the moribund
breath of autumn in the air, damp, frigid, premature, due to the
inundation. In this palace there is an odor as of death, which the
fires have not dispelled, except in the audience-chamber. After the
painting I will drink red wine, and I will gallop to Saint Peter's in
Montorio before dinner, in order to warm my blood.
Duke Renato more stringently embraces her. Suddenly, very vivid
erubescence tinged her from brow to finger-tip and foot: faded and
left her pallid as snow; and her delicate form inclined in yielding
languor. Yet my Lord supernally does not see. Oh, blind. And he is
depicting them. Oh, blind. The Celsitude of Duke Renato produces
himself with the superb voracious inresistable habit of the ardent
conquistator, of the seraphick exsuperator, who comes again with joy
importing trophies and spoils. And now?
(Sunday, xvi Oct) In Nomine Patris et Filj et Spiritus Sancti.
Amen. In the year mdccc. from the Parturition of the Virgin, the
seventeenth day before the Kalends of November, after midnight, in the
City, in the chapel of this palace of Poplicola di Hagiostayros, at
the altar of Saint George of Seriphos, I, Dom Gheraldo Pinarj, have
conjoined in matrimony,
the Celsitude of Don Renato Ascanio Agapito Giorgio Drakontoletes
Poplicola di Hagiostayros, Duke of Ardea, Roman Patrician, of the age
of fourteen complete years, son of the Supernity of Don Marcantonio
Agapito Giorgio Drakontoletes Poplicola di Hagiostayros, Prince
Poplicola di Hagiostayros, Duke of Deira, Duke of Squillace, etc.
the Nobility of Madonnina Marcia Figlidelre, of the age of
thirteen complete years and nine complete months, daughter of the
Nobility of Don Marco Figlidelre, seneschal of the castle of Ardea
under the Celsitude of the aforesaid Duke.
The witnesses present have subscribed their own names in
attestation of the act:
* I, Don Ruggiero Rodolfi, of Kent in Anglia, captain of the
guard under the Celsitude of the aforesaid Duke.
* I, Don Eros Ardeati, Roman knight, lieutenant and standard-
bearer under the Celsitude of the aforesaid Duke.
* I, Dionisia Flavj, nurse to the Celsitudes of the aforesaid
Duke and of the aforesaid Duchess, because I cannot write, I have
signified with my own hand the sign of the Cross of Christ.
* I, the aforesaid Dom Gheraldo Pinarj, curate of this palace of
Poplicola di Hagiostayros in the City, hereby confirm and
declare the foregoing as a true and lawful marriage.
After prime, I celebrated the Divine Mysteries for the intentions
of Their Celsitudes. The Celsitude of Duke Renato received His rites
in the usual place. I conveyed our Divine Lord and Saviour in His
Sacrament to the Celsitude of Duchess Marcia, genuflecting with the
maternal Dionisia below the screen. The Celsitude of the said Duchess
retired from the chapel to the gynaeceum attended by the maternal
Dionisia. The Celsitude of the said Duke retired to His proper
cabinet. The countenances of Their said Celsitudes are inlumined by
refulgent splendor absolutely inhuman.
Don Ruggiero has amoved the guard. Don Eros again admits the
obstupified gentlemen and pages to the antechamber of Duke Renato.
Says Don Livio Drusi, The Supernity of my Lord will not paint
today, by cause that the day is the natal day of Duke Renato: but,
after Terce, he will study the examples during a half-hour.
Meanwhile, I know what I have to do. In the comick words of Messer
Marcus Attius Plautus, I simplicitly say Ut ueniamus Luci.
END OF THE DIURNAL OF DOM GHERALDO PINARJ
OF THE FORMAL CAUSE
FREDERICK WILLIAM ROLFE TO
GREETING, AND THESE LETTERS.
IN order that you may not fail to reach the light, I have done
what follows here, as literally as possible (for this is no place for
me to intrude the euphuism of elegant English), from the Latin which
was written on nine skins of fine vellum, each measuring thirty-one
inches by twenty-two inches, fastened together by a thick skein of raw
silk which passes through nine holes pierced at one edge of the length
of the vellum.
The script is of the Petrarchan or Italick species; the letters
close and oblong, but perpendicular; the words and paragraphs
well-spaced. The gesture is deliberate, concise, ruthlessly purged of
The nine skins are rolled together lengthwise. They were tied with
the long ends of the skein of raw silk, one strand of which has been
cut, leaving a seal (now an amorphous mass of wax) binding the
original knot. Attached by silk to the end of the ninth skin are two
small silver cases; the one circular in shape, containing the ducal
sigil of Ardea, the other an oblong, containing the sigil from the
intaglio of Saint George of Seriphos which appears to have been worn
by all males of the house of Poplicola di Hagiostayros. Both sigils
are in white ceralacca.
The outside of the roll of nine skins, i.e. the reverse of the
ninth skin, is inscribed as follows:
Let Prince Poplicola di Hagiostayros
read these letters in his most secret chamber.
Let him detain the messenger.
Aided by this note, you yourself, dear Kretan, ought to be able to
read and to understand.
From London. The nineteenth day before the Kalends of February
DUKE RENATO'S LETTER
(The contents of the first skin) * Renato Ascanio Agapito Giorgio
Drakontoletes Poplicola di Hagiostayros to a Sacrilegious Murtherer
and my most dear Father, health, consolation, benediction.
DISMISS fear. Neither infamy nor penalty shall disturb thee.
Justice must be done. I, and thou, and none other before the Lord
God, are its administers. From our office we may not flinch.
Therefore, though these letters will be as knives, incising and laying
bare old wounds, believe it, o father, that health by this means only
can be obtained.
(The contents of the second skin) I loved Marcia. In a moment of
time, I knew that I loved her. Then the whole world held nothing else
Thou shalt remember that I formerly killed a pirate about to rape
her in slavery; and that I carried her body up the secret stair. Thou
shalt know that this conjunction differed from all others. I was
sensible of a new commotion of mind excited by the same. My xiii.
years made me unable to understand it. I deliberated that it was
undesirable, certainly unspeakable. Very soon, the memory of it passed
When thou wast depicting the Saint Agnes, I saw her. She was the
first virgin to be seen by me. I esteemed her very strange. My mind
admonished me that I ought to make myself worthy of the admiration of
this one. I daily used my body in exercitations in the courtyard under
her window. She never looked from her window. She was honest, as I
might have known.
Day by day seeing her, night after night her image occessed me.
Once Dom Gheraldo said, of a verse which I made concerning his
yellow cat, and which during iiii. days incessantly rang in mine ears,
If thou wishest to forget a thing, write it.
I judged it inconvenient that the image of a seneschal's daughter
should occess me, a prince's son. To liberate myself, in secret I
depicted that image on a panel. Day by day seeing her, I learned to
know every lineament of her; so that, when she was absent, I could
form her image in my mind. When I willed, so I did. When I willed not,
she was not, even in my mind.
When I contemplated her proper person, or thy picture, or mine, I
esteemed her admirable. She never noted me, nor spoke to me. I
deliberated that she should do both. I gave to her a ring.
Thereafter, I saw her no more for a long time. When I inspected thy
picture, or mine, I esteemed her more admirable. When, by chance, I
saw her in thine hall, or at Ardea, I esteemed her more admirable than
the others. When thou didst adorn me with this duchy, I renounced a
right by cause that she was so very admirable, so very venerable, so
very ineffable: not on account of the others, but on account of her.
Then, with his blood, my beloved foster-brother invigorated her
father. She thanked me, she thanked him: she noted neither. My
strength, my skill, my form, attracted none of her observance. I
esteemed her as admirable as possible. She was as far from me as any
saint in heaven. I directed my mind to thoughts of other things.
Then, at thy mandate, o father, I held her body in my arms. Day
after day I held her. And I no longer was a boy.
My foster-brother and my companions, participated their vigor with
courteous persons and others. They said that so they obtained
pleasure. I very greatly desired pleasure: but, being ducal I desired
no pleasure from mine inferiors. Also, I desired more than pleasure.
As, when one prayeth, one expecteth that thing for which one prayeth;
but also one expecteth the affectus and observance of the saint to
whom one prayeth: so, I desired more than the body of Marcia. I
desired Marcia, all Marcia.
I took council with Prospero. I might not name the thing to thee, o
father. Why, thou knowest. He was the only one of our House apt and
worthy. Do nothing, until thou knowest that thou must do something;
was his sentence. It coincided with mine own. I contained myself in my
Then, one day, mine eyes unwittingly lit up a lamp in hers. By the
light thereof, I saw opened the gates of the kingdom of love. In
comparation with that kingdom, my duchy and the whole world became of
I sent the news to Prospero. The thing was not convenient to be
discussed with priests. The thing was a man's; and I found myself to
be a man through love. I profoundly cogitated in my mind. Wrote again
Prospero this emendation of his sentence, Do nothing, until thou
knowest that thou must do something, and what that thing is which thou
must do. It was the thought of my own mind effected in words. I
examined my conscience. I pondered mine honor, my desire, my cause. I
pondered whether my desire was blinding mine honor, or no. I
deliberated to light again that lamp of love in Marcia's eyes from the
light in mine. It was done.
I had no use for words. I dismissed my familiars. I thought of
Marcia. I knew that she must be mine, mine own, my self. Night came. I
was alone. Mine heart yearned for Marcia. I decided to take her,
honorably, and instantly.
At midnight, I went to Dom Gheraldo; to whom I said that I loved
Marcia, and that I spurned the devil. I commanded that priest to bless
us two in honorable matrimony that same hour. I excited from their
sleep Eros, my beloved foster-brother, and Ruggiero, my praefect of
cohort. Ruggiero confined my familiars in their dormitories, and
filled mine antechambers with guards. Happily thy Biagio was at
Squillace, or we should have killed him. At the altar of our primate
tutelary, Dom Gheraldo performed his function. The ring was the ring
with the union- pearl. It is with these letters, prompt to thine hand.
I commanded that priest to inscribe the act of marriage in his
book-of-hours, until a more apt codex should be effected. The book
with the act are, with these letters, prompt to thine hand. Receive
them now, o father, though once thou didst reject them.
I led my wife to my bed.
(The contents of the third skin) On that day, I attained my
fifteenth year. I was intending myself to announce to thee my marriage
consummate on that day. I knew that thou furiously wouldst rage. I
never flinched from thee. I never flinched from myself. I never
flinched from any man. In my mind I had it that thou always hadst been
just and merciful, and sometimes loving to me. On that day I expected
By custom, none were permitted to appellate thee, by day or night,
not even I thy son; until, defatigate with study, thou shouldst deign
to speak. I said no word to vex thee. In mine arms I held my wife, to
thee contemplating us.
Thou wast perturbed in thy mind, o father. Thou didst pace the
floor. Thou didst knit thy brows.
Quietly I continued to kneel: continued to hold my wife in mine
Thou didst pause in thy pacing near us. Fixed in high meditation
were thine eyes, o father.
Dom Gheraldo read his psalm to the end. He doubted. I gave him a
sign. He descended to us; he knelt by us. I ostended to thee his open
The movement drew thee from thy trance of contemplation. Thine eyes
considered the act of my marriage. In a moment of time thou didst dash
the book from mine hand. Thou didst stab the head of that good priest.
He fell on me. Marcia swooned on me. By these and the wings I was
Thou didst rush to thy throne. Thou didst stamp with thy foot in
violent fury. Thou didst shriek, Descend to hell. By thy magick art,
thou didst effect the aperture of a fissure in the floor.
I seized my wife. The carpet slid and sank. Dom Gheraldo slid and
sank. I heard the thud of him. The threads of the wings snapped, and I
sank with Marcia.
Looking up, I saw the fissure closing above mine head. It was dark.
I struggled, thrusting out my legs in falling. My wings scraped walls
in the descent.
Suddenly, with some concussion, I fell on the body of that priest.
I was lying on my back, astonished, shaken. My wife was on my breast.
I intended the force of my mind to this event.
(The contents of the fourth skin) Supine I remained, till
tranquillity came back to me, and the slight dolor of the fall
evanesced. Thou shalt remember my propriety of seeing in the dark.
Around me I saw walls of stone. Rising I spread mine hands and touched
them. There was a floor of stone, not level, but oblique. From a
distance was heard a sound of water.
I denuded myself from the wings. I kissed my wife on her lips till
she returned my kisses. Together we thanked The Lord God and our
saints for preserving us from injuries. I felt Dom Gheraldo dead. I
was unable to extract thy poignard from his tonsure. We were drenched
in his blood. We took his book. We prayed in the dark that The Lord
God would look propitiously upon his soul.
I bade Marcia confide herself to me. Hand in hand, we cautelously
descended the oblique floor. We slowly proceeded by an inclosed way,
apparently of stone. We ceased not to touch those walls with our
hands. At a certain place the floor became slimy. On hands and knees
we crawled. Suddenly, terminated the descent, being traversed by a
rather narrow cave. Water flowed through that cave. Prone on the verge
of the oblique floor, I was able to extend mine arm downward, and to
prove the flood. I knew that flowing water must have an exit. Holding
the verge in mine hands, I lowered myself into the water. It was deep
and commodious for swimming.
I said to Marcia that she must commit herself to the firmity of my
body and limbs. Ubi Gajus ibi Gaja, she responded. I took from her her
vestment. I bound her to me, breast to breast. Into her hands I gave
the book of Dom Gheraldo. I bade her clasp her arms round my neck. I
adjured her to hold that book on that neck, until we attained safety,
or until death came. I bade her to engirdle me in such a manner as
that mine arms and legs should not be impeded. Thou shalt remember how
that thy son, in his boyhood, used himself to swim burthened with Eros
or with others. Thus, then, bearing my pearl, I let myself down into
the flood; and I swam.
The water was foul. There was a stench as of hell. Rats swam away
from me. The hair of Marcia floated by my flanks. I was sensible of
her breathing under me. She was not timid in the darkness. I swam with
the flood. I saw her face lying on the water under mine. Her eyes were
closed. The cave was very long. There was a little light, and a little
more light, augmenting. At my kiss, she opened her eyes and smiled.
She had full faith in me. I swam more strenuously. Swift was the
flood. Daylight invaded the cave. I swam as strenuously as possible.
We passed through an arch, leaving the cave behind. Thou mayest
suppose that that cave was Cloaca. Now I knew the river where I
continued to swim.
I have written these things as they seemed to me. But I believe all
that I have written, from the initial of this fourth chart of membrane
to this place, indubitably to have been a delusion of the devil evoked
by thy magick art. For otherwise the conception in the mind of a
passage, from thine audience- chamber through Cloaca, is dementia. If
the truth were manifest, it without doubt would be that our angelick
guardians extorted us from the talons of thy genius-companion,
and deposited us in a known place, whence we might deliver ourselves
in safety. For, that very day, the sacraments of penitence and
matrimony and eucharist had confirmed us in a state of grace. This is
my opinion. Note it.
I knew the river where I swam. Tiber was in high flood. Very
swiftly we were carried by (Monte) Testaccio, and beyond the walls.
Swimming with no effort, I anew considered the thing attentively. I
deliberated that thy crime, o father, ought to be concealed; and that
the task was mine.
For this cause, I swam a long way with Tiber, into open country.
When at length, with my wife I emerged, none saw mine emergence: for I
selected the place. Indeed, I believe that none saw us since the
moment when thou didst expel us from thy palace. Certainly none
recognized us for a living duke and duchess. There was a score of
drowned Romans with us in Tiber.
Marcia was cold. We ran in the sun, like Adam and Eve in mine hall;
and dried her hair. At night, we slept in the grass. At dawn, we
continued to run, evading shepherds. We ate berries. During a day we
traversed the solitude toward the sea. The third day we attained the
shore. I concealed my wife among the sandhills.
I ascended to the nearest watch-tower, and revealed myself to my
watchmen. Happily they were not perturbed, when they saw me alone and
nude. They esteemed me to have swum down Inchiastro from my castle in
my usual manner. Of these, I sent viiii. by horse to Ardea. They
carried my written mandate to Marco that he should detain the
messengers, should open the doors of the secret stair, and should
dismiss all persons from the passage thence to mine own apartment. But
I blindfolded and bound the tenth; and I carried his cloak and food
and wine to my wife among the sand-hills. Then I released him, and
with his oars I was propelled to Ardea.
In my wardrobe, I vested myself. From Marco I obtained vesture for
his daughter. I returned by the secret stair, alone with these, in my
little boat, to the seashore. At length, Marcia ascended to my castle.
I convoked my family. I promulgated the act of my marriage,
denouncing Marcia as my wife and duchess. I dismissed my watchmen to
their tower, my familiars to their stations.
Now there remains not anything unknown to thee concerning mine
escape from death.
(The contents of the fifth skin) Came from Rome my iii. faithful
familiars, that is to say, my foster-brother, mine Anglican, and my
Moor. Having noted mine absence; having noted that Biagio, on his
return, was excluding all and singular from thy proximity; having
suspected some foul deed; they vowed to hunt me through all the world.
They had no knowledge of my site: but, coming first to Ardea, there
they found me.
To them I said nothing of thy crime. I sealed the lips of my wife,
thy daughter. I denounced myself as being fatherless. It sufficed.
All my noble familiars, save Eros and Cristoforo and Ruggiero and
old Marco, were in Rome. There they might remain. I had done with Rome
I understood that thy crime would be as a chain impeding thee. I
knew that, for a time, thou wouldst believe me to be dead, with Marcia
my wife and that dead priest. I was certain that thou never wouldst
dare to seek me, even when some chance should impel thee to imagine me
as still alive. I understood that this my duchy of Ardea would be
sacrosanct to thee for ever. I am Poplicola di Hagiostayros as well as
thou. Thou knowest it.
To Rome I sent Eros attended, to fetch Zioquinio's
and Dionisia and the Flavj. I ordained Ruggiero, secretly and without
attracting note, to place my castle in a state of siege. I dismissed
all who were Romans, or who had kin in Rome, reduring my family and my
garrison to ccciiii. persons in all.
To Cristoforo, in secret, I said that his uncle had lived.
I constituted as my priest Fra Pietro of the Trinitarians. To him,
sub sigillo, I divulged all the sad exit. I monished Prospero
concerning mine acts. He instantly brought out of France my godfather,
the Vicomte Réné XVIII. de Chastelmondesir; and they came to me,
proffering help and absolute allegiance. I thanked them both. To
Prospero, I said that it sufficed to wreck the lives of ii. of
Poplicola di Hagiostayros, the one for the crime of the other. I
dismissed him that he might prosecute his vocation without impediment,
to win grace and existimation for our House. He is the only one who
will do that, until iiii. centuries have passed. Note my prediction.
To my godfather I said that I desired to save our honor, that I
desired no revenge and no help. He blessed me, and departed, and is
dead. May The Lord God be propitious to his soul: he was a very noble
I collocated a guard at the City gate confronting (Via) Ardeatina.
Ingress was denied to all who were intending themselves for the
citadel, save such as had my safe-conduct; that is to say, Prospero
and Eros, and their couriers.
Eros became inconvenient in my castle by cause of his incontinence.
There was not one among my familiars apt to be married to him:
further, he refused to marry. He preferred the curriculum of arms. I
deliberated to use him as mine extern agent. With ii. decurions I
maintained him in Rome, that he might watch thee in secret.
In all this, my plan was not to evade thee, o father, but the
consequences of thy crime: not to prevent thee from attaining thine
own salvation but to prevent ignominy from affecting thee, and
Poplicola di Hagiostayros through thee. Other plans there may have
been, and better plans. So, I myself at this moment judge. But the
deviser of this plan was a youth of the age of xv. years, not a man of
the age of xxx. years. And, in the sum, the plan was not a bad one.
In the year mdxxxi., on the day of Saint Mary Magdalene Penitent,
my love gave a son to me. The act of his baptism, by my priest Fra
Pietro of the Trinitarians, in the chapel of this my castle of Ardea,
is, with these letters, prompt to thine hand.
By Apostolick Dispensation, my godfather, the Vicomte Réné XVIII.
de Chastelmondesir, was the godfather of my son.
Angels withdrew my Darling Marcia to Paradise.
(The contents of the sixth skin) During a year, I was a
white-haired mute, by her sepulchre in my chapel, by her corner in
mine hall, by the well in my courtyard, where, at sunset, we sat
together on her last night on earth. Bereft of my wife, I understand
what thou, o father, hast suffered, since my mother ceased to live.
One day, Dionisia laid on my knees my child, an Infant Jhesus done
in gold and aquamarina; and, when he most piteously smiled, extending
little hands to me, I saw Marcia in his baby eyes.
Eros said that thou hadst health of body; that thou wast living in
thy vacant palace, alone and silent, praying like a priest, served by
Biagio and a few others. These knew me to be alive in my duchy.
Whether thou knewest it, I know not. None dared to speak to thee. Me,
thou hadst slain, at least in intention. Always thou hast been apart
from other men.
I lived with Marcia's son, who is mine.
In secret, Eros followed thee through all thy pilgrimage to the
Holy Sepulchre. He sent letters to me by certain Anglican friars of my
religion. He said that thy ten years' penance there, and thine
austerities, would suffice to assoil one who had slain our Lord the
Pope as well as Caesar. He knew not that thou hadst slain an innocent
priest. I say nothing of myself with my wife. Thou art not the first
Roman father who hath used his right to the life of his son.
And in Rome thou hast lived these last years. Thy reputation is
that of an holy man, a just and noble prince. I know all. I know that
thou hast been purged by the fire of penitence.
Here, we have lived the simple life.
Marco departed to the Embrace of The Lord at the new year mdxxxiii.
That, and the death of mine heart, are the only deaths of note. Births
have augmented my family to dlviiii.
I named Cristoforo seneschal in succession to Marco. It was due to
him. Poplicola di Hagiostayros oweth him the price of blood; and never
can pay. He himself added to my family his xvi. sons and i. daughter.
Madonnino Pinario de' Pinarj, now in the sixteenth year of his age:
Madonnino Secondo de' Pinarj, the same:
Madonnino Tertio de' Pinarj, the same:
Madonnino Quarto de' Pinarj, now in the fifteenth year of his age:
Madonnino Quinto de' Pinarj, the same:
Madonnino Sexto de' Pinarj, now in the fourteenth year of his age:
Madonnino Septimo de' Pinarj, now in the thirteenth year of his
Madonnina Gheralda de' Pinarj, the same:
Madonnino Octavio de' Pinarj, now in the twelfth year of his age:
Madonnino Nono de' Pinarj, now in the eleventh year of his age:
Madonnino Decimo de' Pinarj, the same:
Madonnino Undecimo de' Pinarj, now in the ninth year of his age:
Madonnino Duodecimo de' Pinarj, the same:
Madonnino Fortunato de' Pinarj, now in the eighth year of his age:
Madonnino Quartodecimo de' Pinarj, now in the seventh year of his
Madonnino Quintodecimo de' Pinarj, now in the fifth year of his
Madonnino Sextodecimo de' Pinarj, now in the second year of his
Eros sent to me his spurious sons, from here, there, and
everywhere, xiiii. in all. O father, thou hast used thyself very
unjustly to my beloved foster-brother. I know all. Neither that
spurious son, nor the spurious sons of him, shall be infamous on our
account. I have legitimated them in his name. They are
Madonnino Massimo de' Ardeati, now in the fourteenth year of his
Madonnino Dionisio de' Ardeati, now in the thirteenth year of his
Madonnino Castore de' Ardeati, now in the twelfth year of his age:
Madonnino Polluce de' Ardeati, the same:
Madonnino Ognisanti de' Ardeati, the same:
Madonnino Erme de' Ardeati, the same:
Madonnino Ascanio de' Ardeati, now in the eleventh year of his age:
Madonnino Agapito de' Ardeati, the same:
Madonnino Mauritio de' Ardeati, the same:
Madonnino Lucifero de' Ardeati, now in the tenth year of his age:
Madonnino Hespero de' Ardeati, the same:
Madonnino Claudio de' Ardeati, now in the ninth year of his age:
Madonnino Manlio de' Ardeati, the same:
Madonnino Celio de' Ardeati, now in the eighth year of his age.
I married Ruggiero to a little Greek princess, whom in Sicily he
saved from shipwreck, and loved. They have iii. sons, who are
Madonnino Roberto de' Rodolfi, now in the thirteenth year of his
Madonnino Niccolo de' Rodolfi, now in the twelfth year of his age:
Madonnino Giorgio de' Rodolfi, now in the eleventh year of his age.
When these sons of Cristoforo, of Eros, of Ruggiero, attained the
age of reason, I admitted them to my family as pages. When they
attained the age of puberty, I admitted them to my family as
gentlemen. In defect of nobles, I have had no chamberlains.
I married Silvio Flavj to Big Jenny. They have iii. sons and ii.
daughters, who are
Flavia de' Flavj, now in the twelfth year of her age:
Vespasiano de' Flavj, now in the eleventh year of his age:
Tito de' Flavj, now in the tenth year of his age:
Domitiano de' Flavj, now in the ninth year of his age:
Gabriella de' Flavj, now in the sixth year of her age.
While Eros and Ruggiero were absent, (the one in Rome, in the Holy
Land, or at his patrimony; the other at sea, or engaged in my
negociations), I delegated their offices to Astorgio Flavj in defect
On account of hability I have promoted that one.
I have admitted to my family ii. sons of that Don Pietro Gregorio
Borgia di Velletri,
!--> who formerly was friend to the Prince,
robust youths and expert. Under Ruggiero they have been instituted in
!--> died viiii. years ago, we celebrated a festival
in honor of Prospero, promoted Advocate of the Sacred Apostolick
Consistory. That hath been our only festival during these years)
excepting holidays, and the birthdays of my son.
Once in each year, Prospero visited me, even since his brothers and
sisters ceased to be my wards. Of the marriages, of Madonna Horta in
mdxxxviii., of Madonna Elena in mdxxxviii., of Tarquinio Secondo, and
of his twin Hersilio, in mdxlii., cognition already hath been given to
thee. Of the birth of Silvio, and of his natural tonsure, also thou
Owing to the rigor of our seclusion in this castle, many citizens
have deserted this city. I hear that there is more fever there now
than formerly. On this side of the fosse, health is maintained by
daily exercitations, along my river, and in the open country between
my castle and the sea. The sea hath receded much since thou wast here.
Another mile of land divideth it from this place.
Evacuated farms, olivets, vineyards, have been taken in hand by
Cristoforo. The times have been peaceful. My demesne, located on the
road to nowhere, is out of the way like a backwater of a river,
evading note. With Colonna iiii. affrays, with brigands i. by Colle
de' Due Turri, have been our sole wars. In these we reported victory,
and comprehended rich spoils.
Though we neither have beaten our swords into ploughshares nor our
spears into pruning hooks, my forces have been occupied in
agriculture, merchandize, and navigation. Under Ruggiero, also, I have
constituted and do use ii. trading-ships, which negociate from Ostia
to Sicily and Calabria and Appulia. My flax and mine arras are held in
great existimation in those parts.
From this thou shalt know that my revenues have sufficed and are
augmented; though I have not required one copper
!--> from Isidoro.
Know, also, that my treasure containeth itself in xvii. chests,
instead of in viiii. as formerly. I am taking v. with me, for my
During all these years, many counsels have I cogitated. All things
and some others in my mind I have pondered and considered. To the Lord
God I have prayed by night and day.
Father, o my most dear father, hear my plan.
(The contents of the seventh skin) Poplicola di Hagiostayros must
not be deprived of its heir.
I am thine heir. My son is mine. But, to make this known would be
to make known the crime of my father. Poplicola di Hagiostayros cannot
profer Poplicola di Hagiostayros.
A life for a life. That is the law of The Lord God. Thou didst not
slay me in fact. Thou didst not slay my wife in fact. And thou hast
done the penance of a saint for thine attempt.
But there is the account of Dom Gheraldo. That sacrilege and that
murther cry for expiation. Poplicola di Hagiostayros oweth a life.
Then hear me. I, thy son Renato, command thee my father, by the
blood of Dom Gheraldo, to obey me now.
My son, he who bringeth to thee these letters, Renato Secondo
Ascanio Agapito Giorgio Drakontoletes Poplicola di Hagiostayros, is
thy son Born Again,
!--> now henceforth, for evermore.
Since he was liberate from swadling-bands, he never left my side.
To him I have been as a brother, or rather as a mate. I have produced
his body as strong as mine was at the time of my marriage: but he is
more lithe, more agile, and, I think, more slender, except as to
breast and shoulders. All that I myself know, I have taught him; save
one particular, wherein his nature maketh him superior to me. Beneath
his hair, below his ears, thou shalt note certain orifices. His yellow
skin hath the color of the sand; his colorless hair hath the pallor of
the little waves; his coelestial eyes have the color of the sea,
whereby he was conceived among the sand-hills. He swam before he
walked; under, as well as on, the waters. Prospero denominated him
Sea- bloom and Sea-boy. He combineth with his humanity the nature of
a fish. Never detain him long away from the water, or he languisheth.
Note these things.
Fra Pietro hath imbued him with Christian doctrine, hath informed
him in human letters. I know that his soul is pure and fearless and
keen and true. He is the son of Marcia. When he attained the age of
xii. years, I narrated to him the histories of his divine mother, and
Our most Holy Lord Pope Paul,
!--> Who loved me when I was a boy
and he was Cardinal-Dean, hath used His Beatitude very urbanely to me.
At Easter, I divulged to Him all the past, and this my plan for the
future. He deigned assent.
Madonnino Renato attaineth the fifteenth year of his age this day,
as I myself attained the fifteenth year of mine age xv. years and
viiii. months and v. days ago. He weareth my vests; he weareth my
name. He is the sole residuum of thy son.
Concede to him that place, that grade, that dignity, which thou
formerly didst cut away from me. Let that life be henceforth his,
which should have been mine. Let it be unbroken. To this end, during
all these years, I have formed my well-beloved son. Let it continue. I
judge that it will not continue long.
Our Lord the Pope hath recognized him, and hath confirmed him. Thy
familiars never will dare to cavil at any mandate of thine. My
familiars to-day, to-morrow his, the familiars of the Celsitude of
Madonnino Renato Secondo Ascanio Agapito Giorgio Drakontoletes
Poplicola di Hagiostayros, Duke of Ardea, by Grace of God and Saint
Peter Apostle, also know their duty.
So, the world never shall know thy crime.
(The contents of the eighth skin) For the purity of our lineage,
for the security of Poplicola di Hagiostayros, it is my will that thou
sedulously shouldst conserve as thy most precious deposit, the act of
my marriage in the book of Dom Gheraldo, and the act of the baptism of
my son, born in lawful wedlock. Diligently read in that book, and
learn how that good priest reckoned us.
The iiii. rings on the fingers of my son will enable thee to
existimate his rated authority, if these letters under my proper hand
and sigils be not sufficient credentials.
Item, the ring with the union-pearl, made, for my well- beloved
wife and Duchess Marcia, by Rafaele del Moro, who (if he yet liveth,
and of that I am ignorant) will recognize his own handiwork: with this
ring I wedded my lover.
Item, the ring with the rose-sapphire illustrate with diamonds,
which the Lord Pope de' Medici deigned to me mdxxviiii.
Item, my ring of Poplicola di Hagiostayros with the blue beryl,
lviiii. carats in weight, incised with the effigy of our
Item, the ring of this duchy of Ardea with the grand alexandrolith,
xci. carats in weight, incised with the ducal insignia and the Twins
!--> by torch-light its color changeth from green to
Thou thyself, by the ample lock of it, wilt recognize the steel
coffer, which mine armourer made for me mdxxviiii. My son hath the
key. Therein thou shalt find these particulars; the book of Dom
Gheraldo and the acts: also the titles of this Duchy of Ardea, with
the new codicil of Christ's Vicar: also, the regalia: also, the
master-key of the treasury-chests and of the treasury. Of these
things, all and singular, my son is absolute possessor. It is my
I constitute his family as followeth:--
His priest, his eleemosynarius, his praefect of study, is Fra
Pietro of the Trinitarians. Wise.
His seneschal, his procurator, his treasurer, is Madonno Cristoforo
de' Pinarj. Faithful. Argute. Example of Virtue.
Extra delegates under Madonno Cristoforo de' Pinarj are--
Of the vineyards, Longino di Cecco de' Garaviglj. Probose.
Of the farms, Zenofonte di Cecco de' Garaviglj. Nimble.
Of the olivets, Cecco de' Garaviglj. Expert.
Of the flax, Panfilio de' Birri. Urbane.
Of the arras, Filiberto de' Saggiuoli. Ingenious.
His praefect of cohort, his counsellor, is Madonno Ruggiero de'
Rodolfi. Faithful. Prisk. Habile. Example of Virtue. His lieutenant
and standard bearer is Madonno Eros de' Ardeati. Faithful. Loving.
Lovable. Very noble. I will that the right of succession to these ii.
offices be vested separately in Madonnino Castore de' Ardeati and
Madonnino Polluce de' Ardeati, most elegant little creatures which
their father got out of Syria.
His praefects of ships are--
Madonno Cesare di Pietrogorio Borgia di Velletri. Stabile.
Madonno Lodovico di Pietrogorio Borgia di Velletri. Bold.
His chamberlains are--
Madonnino Pinario de' Pinarj. Robust. Favorable to my son.
Madonnino Secondo de' Pinarj. Of a very fervent nature. Brave.
Madonnino Tertio de' Pinarj. Honest. Inquisitive.
His gentlemen are--
Madonnino Quarto de' Pinarj. Assiduous. Brawny.
Madonnino Quinto de' Pinarj. Violent. Austere.
Madonnino Sexto de' Pinarj. Sensile. Fastidious.
Madonnino Massimo de' Ardeati. Ravid-eyed. Favorable to my son.
His pages are--
Madonnino Septimo de' Pinarj. Firm. Tall.
Madonnino Dionisio de' Ardeati. Pious. Dexterous.
Madonnino Roberto de' Rodolfi. Manly. Favorable to my son.
Madonnino Octavio de' Pinarj. Impudent. Swift.
Madonnino Castore de' Ardeati. Sweet-spoken. Inseparable from his
Madonnino Polluce de' Ardeati. The same.
Madonnino Ognisanti de' Ardeati. Petulant. Delicate.
Madonnino Erme de' Ardeati. Impetuose. Valid.
Madonnino Niccolo de' Rodolfi. Equal-handed. Ingenuous. Favorable
to my son.
Madonnino Nono de' Pinarj. Modest. Humane.
Madonnino Decimo de' Pinarj. Sinisterous. Vehement.
Madonnino Ascanio de' Ardeati. Literate. Quiet.
Madonnino Agapito de' Ardeati. Subtacit. Healthy.
Madonnino Mauritio de' Ardeati. Inconsiderate. Intrepid.
Madonnino Giorgio de' Rodolfi. Animose. Candid.
Madonnino Lucifero de' Ardeati,
Madonnino Hespero de' Ardeati. In mind and body these twins are as
rare as white sparrows. Note them.
Madonnino Undecimo de' Pinarj. Bashful. Client of my son.
Madonnino Duodecimo de' Pinarj. Lusty. Simple.
Madonnino Claudio de' Ardeati. Loquacious. Sincere.
Madonnino Manlio de' Ardeati. Sanguine. Grey-eyed.
Madonnino Fortunato de' Pinarj. Hoarse with shouting. Pertinacious.
Madonnino Celio de' Ardeati. Blithe. Delicate. His cubicularius,
his praefect of wardrobe, is Silvio de' Flavj. Faithful. Considerate.
Assistants to the last are--
Vespasiano de' Flavj. Prisk.
Tito de' Flavj. Versute.
Domitiano de' Flavj. Small.
His praefect of ceremonies is Astorgio de' Flavj. Faithful.
His butler is Valerio de' Flavj. Faithful. Frugal.
!--> is Demetrio de' Dondoloni. Erudite. Diligent.
His secretary is Sigismondo de' Goti. Faithful. Literate. Of
His auditor is Ubaldo de' Ferrarj. Faithful. Acute.
His notary is Tommasino di Tommaso da Prato.
His armourer is Ercole de' Romani. Faithful. Ingenious.
Assistants to the last are--
Formoso de' Romani. Vehement.
Serafino de' Romani. Hot-headed.
Fabio de' Romani. Operose.
Adonide de' Romani. Dicaculous.
Leandro de' Romani. Prisk.
His praefect of stores is Cecchino di Cecco de' Garaviglj. Sedate.
His chief cook is Celso de' Cherubini. Pudick.
His equerry is Celestino de' Lanciotti. Adept.
His nurse is Dionisia de' Flavj. Faithful. Dear.
So I will and command.
Note this. For love of me and of my son, my beloved foster- brother
hath renounced his right. For love of my son and of thee, I have
consented to this renunciation, for the present. Take care that
neither Eros nor his noble progeny shall suffer either in honor or in
fortune by their germanity; and at a convenient time, exsecute
Note this well. The magnanimous Pinarj forgive. Their piety, toward
me thy son, and toward my son, hath been most ineffable. If my son
should love, and should will to espouse, Madonnina Gheralda, daughter
of Madonno Cristoforo de' Pinarj by his wife Madonna Catarina de'
Drusi, oppose him not, but confirm him. It is my mandate. Note it
well. I conjecture that the occasion will not be given. I believe that
he will not remain very long here.
(The contents of the ninth skin) A life for a life. That is the
law of The Lord God.
To my son, to my friends and familiars, I have said a last farewell.
To the Minister-General of the Trinitarians, I have made my vows.
At the moment of time when thou shalt read these letters, I am
admitted to the order of priesthood, all intervals having been
I have sworn to use my life for the redemption of Christians held
in captivity by infidel Moors.
This night I take ship for Africa, with other friars of my
With thee, in thy palace is thy son.
At avemmaria, o my most dear father, take thou thy son and stand in
the gateway of thy barbacan on Catinari.
Two friars of the Trinitarians will pass; one black, one white.
Distinguish them from pies,
!--> by the cross of red and blue upon
their cloaks. The first is Fra Baltassare, formerly my slave, now my
brother in The Lord. The second is Fra Giorgio, formerly thy son.
And, for a sign that thou faithfully wilt observe all the
conditions of this my will and testament, in penitence kneel thou to
that friar, to whom for this particular ministry God's Vicegerent hath
delegated the plenitude of Apostolick Authority; and from mine hand,
accept absolution, pardon, benediction.
Confide alway in The Lord God for mercy for thyself. Pray alway for
the eternal rest of the souls of thy daughter Marcia, and of that good
priest Gheraldo. Dismiss fear. Do good with thy years. Take care that
my son continue worthy of our name. Let him not lack paternal love.
Fare thee well, most inlustrious prince and father; until anew, in
the presence of The Lord God, I shall embrace my wife, my son, my
mother, and thee, o my most dear father, fare thee well.
From my castle of Ardea. In the year mdxlv. of Man's Salvation. On
the day of Saint Mary Magdalene. Before the dawn.
FREDERICK WILLIAM ROLFE TO
GREETING, AND THESE LETTERS.
WHEN princes will wrangle, peoples must excruciate. You will
remember that, towards the end of the last century, the feud between
Vatican and Quirinal (concerning some trumpery question of temporal
sovereignty) caused infinite distress among the artizans of Rome. You
will remember how that masons, joiners, and their sister-trades,
especially were pressed by privation.
A version of Dom Gheraldo's diurnal was being read to the Countess
of Santa Cotogna; and, by chance his soliloquy of xiiii. Jan. 1529
arrested her attention. I never saw a woman more illumined by an
inspiration than at that moment.
Poplicola must continue to be Poplicola,
!--> quoth she. I suppose
that what Poplicola di Hagiostayros has done before, Poplicola di
Hagiostayros can do again. These starving people annoy me; and I never
liked this fusty old palace. So we will go and live in my insula
while they pull it down, and clean it, and put it up again all nice
The work instantly was initiated; and, by this means, during the
next two years, constant occupation was provided for some hundreds of
operators who otherwise would have fallen into the grip of that
deridible futility now masquerading as Charity. So once more,
Poplicola di Hagiostayros (in the words of Dom Gheraldo) very
meritoriously fed the esurient and clothed the nude, by making work
for hundreds of artificers, masons, and joiners who, else, with their
wives and children would have starved by reason of the trouble of the
time. May the good deeds of the Countess of Santa Cotogna count to her
supernal eternal premium.
A few months later, I went with Her Excellency to inspect a
trap-door, which had manifested itself during the removal of the
floor from the throne-room. I hoped to gain important details relating
to the manuscripts of Dom Gheraldo and Duke Renato; which documents I
temporarily had laid aside in despair, on finding no trace of the
rings or regalia. (And I may as well tell you here, that the titles of
the duchy of Ardea have passed by marriage to another Roman House,
just one degree less ancient than Poplicola di Hagiostayros; and are
inaccessible to me.)
The whole of the palace, from the roof of the fifth story to the
floor of the first, evenly had been taken down stone by stone, and
beam by beam. Each beam, each stone had been marked, and disposed in
the courtyards in such a way that all impaired pieces might be made
good, in order to ensure the accurate re-edification of the pile. On
ascending the great stair, and traversing the end of the gallery, we
saw the long range of state apartments denuded of all vestiges of
walls and ceilings. This wing included nine ante-chambers of divers
shapes and sizes, the great throne-room or audience-chamber, and some
other chambers. We walked in open air, as on a species of terrace,
along a floor broken at intervals by masonry indicating the recent
position of party-walls. The pavement of the antechambers was formed
of innumerable pieces of varicoloured marbles and fragments of
semi-precious marbles set in no pattern in cement: (opus alexandrinum,
I think they call it). A hollow, slight but apparent, similar to the
furrow round the site of the shrine of Saint Thomas-à-Canterbury, had
been worn therein by thousands of dead feet which during centuries
had passed along. The throne-room, for the first quarter of its
length, (which was over the archway leading from the second to the
third courtyard), was paved with white and black marble in a chequer
pattern. The remainder of this great floor was of oak, laid in square
panels each about ten feet in size. At the far end was a dais of three
steps of the same wood, where once had stood the throne. The foot-pace
of this dais was formed of oak blocks, small and square, set
alternately opposing the grain of the wood. Near the lower end of the
room, where the white and black marble chequer ended and the square
oak panels began, there was a yawning pit. When I saw it, I nearly
swooned with joy.
The faithful steward Signor Carlo del Tritone, who was supervizing
operations, now summoned the master-joiner. Interrogated, this one
said that the little blocks of the dais had been easy to remove: but
that when the man loosened this block--here he indicated a block which
the right foot of anyone seated on the throne could press,--it was
found difficult to move; and, when a crow-bar was applied with much
force, behold a sudden crash, behold also a pit in the floor far away,
as we might see. Wherefore, having called for Christ and Signor Carlo,
he had dismissed his joiners. There was the invention of him now
speaking, who begged the lady-countess and this Mr. English to observe
him with favour.
The mouth of the pit was square. A panel of the floor was suspended
in it by a great rusty hinge. The aperture was just at the junction of
the oak and the marble chequer. Two holes were four feet apart on the
inside opposite to the hinge. The pit was dark; and a lanthorn lowered
a little way showed only masonry.
After discussion, Her Excellency ordained planks to be laid across
the aperture and sealed; and the dais with the floor between it and
the pit to be taken up. The indispensable Signor Carlo was left to
superintend the operation and to guard the sacrosanctity of the pit.
The next day we returned, bringing with us Fra Pierpaolino of the
Preachers, who indulges a passion for the curious, and Signora Macelli
and Longhi, archaeologists of supreme reputation.
The dais had been removed, and the particular block which had
caused the discovery, was seen to be the head of a lever governing
This extended, through a groove in the beams below the level of the
floor, as far as the pit, where it affected the dropping and raising
of the massive panel. There was an arrangement for locking the gear.
The machinery was rusty, and considerable force was required to set it
in motion. As we lacked the constructor's secret, when Signor Carlo
demonstrated the mode of action, only this was proved--that a certain
kind of pressure on the lever-block opened and shut the trap several
times in our presence.
We deliberated to explore the pit. I offer a rough design that you
may comprehend its situation.
The candle in an open lanthorn, lowered at the end of a cord,
burned without affection. When it touched the bottom the cord was
marked, drawn up, and measured, giving thirty-eight feet as the depth
of the pit. The base of the lanthorn was dry and clean. Two
scaffold-poles horizontally were laid across the aperture. A long
ladder perpendicularly was lowered between them. The portion remaining
in view rectangularly was lashed to the scaffold-poles. A mason was
instructed to bring up an accurate account of all that he was to see.
He descended the ladder carrying a lanthorn.
We observed the light as it dwindled to a spark in going down.
Presently it ceased to move. The next instant, it fell with a little
crash, and was extinguished. Then an agitated creature came clambering
up the ladder, huskily whispering that there was a dead man below.
We stormed interrogations at him; but he only repeated that there
was a dead man there, whose bones he had seen, of a whiteness, of a
luminosity, of a horror, as surely as that Christ was his Most Holy
We were much excited. It is well known that, when a Roman uses that
form of asseveration, the matter is of gravest import. We ourselves
agreed to descend. A lanthorn apiece was provided. Fra Pierpaolino
tucked up his white gown, took a cord with him, (Signor Carlo retained
the other end of it), and led the way. He agreed to pull four times in
case he should find sufficient foothold for us at the bottom. The
signal followed. We passed down the ladder after the Countess of Santa
When we reached Fra Pierpaolino, we stood upon a slight incline
which was dry and dusty and inclosed by walls on three sides. On the
floor by the wall next to me there lay a human skeleton in great
disorder, male by the pelvis, perfectly white and clean. In that part
of the crown of the skull where a clerk would wear his tonsure, a
gold-hilted dagger was imbedded. I extracted it very suddenly: for the
aperture was about an inch- and-a-quarter in width, but the blade was
corroded by rust to the thickness and width of the blade of a
penknife, though in length it passed completely through the skull into
the lower jaw under the incisors. Fra Pierpaolino, who had been on his
knees arranging the bones in some sort of order, stood up and handed
to Her Excellency a rosary of lapis-lazuli, a gold crucifix, and a
handful of jewels, fourteen in all, each set in a gold rim and
attached by gold rings to the large gold ring of the crucifix. Of
these the most notable were a branch of coral of the magnitude of a
man's thumb, and the largest and most magnificent amethyst which I
have ever seen.
I instantly said to the Countess of Santa Cotogna, Excellency, I
have the honour of presenting Dom Gheraldo Pinarj.
Then, as we stood there in that dark hole, I briefly spoke of the
diurnal which I already have laid before you here. The friar recited
De Profundis with antiphon. Resuming our lanthorns, we continued
examination of the pit.
Three walls perpendicularly and rectangularly extended to the
aperture in the audience-chamber: but the fourth wall was seen to
terminate in an archway, seven-and-a-half feet above the floor on
which we stood. The said floor slanted down an arched tunnel ten feet
wide, seven-and-a-half feet high. I omitted to ascertain the angle of
this slope and the length of the tunnel. We cautelously proceeded, I
leading, for the others appeared to ascribe to me something like
vested rights in this adventure. Very soon the floor became slimy, and
the versatile Signor Carlo returned to the audience-chamber for a long
rope, one end of which he confided to the master-mason at the top of
the ladder, the other he brought to us; and Her Excellency (an expert
conquistatrix of innumerable Alps) roped us together in Alpine
fashion. Again we proceeded through the slippery tunnel. The level of
the slime rose: it covered the walls: it covered the arched roof
overhead. Rats squeaked and ran before us. The Countess of Santa
Cotogna squeaked, but did not run. For my part, I very gladly would
have run--after my betters, (understood). One of our archaeologists,
in proof of equanimity, offered us cigarettes; and then tried to light
his own with his spectacles which he struck on their case. Finally,
the passage terminated with an abrupt fall into a slightly larger
tunnel of more ancient masonry, through which a horrid putid stream
Signori Macelli and Longhi, without hesitation, pronounced this to
be an actual Cloaca; and, with consideration, Cloaca Maxima. They
elaborately discussed the error of the tunnel's constructor, (whoever
he was), who evidently had wished tumid Tiber to invade his shaft and
to clear it of whatever he might have cast therein. But the
perpendicular shaft had not been carried deep enough, or Tiber in
flood had not risen high enough since 1530; and the angle of the
slanting tunnel had not sufficed to correct the prime miscalculation.
Otherwise Dom Gheraldo's remains would have found sepulture in
Tiberine sand many centuries ago. Very curious.
Some days later, I was paying my respects to the Countess of Santa
Cotogna. Her lovely fair head emerged triumphant from a great
green-velvet gown, and round her neck she wore a rosary of
lapis-lazuli from which depended a crucifix and a bunch of jewels.
These I admired. They were amethyst, coral, bloodstone, crystal,
amber, jacinth, chrysolith, catseye, opal, chalcedonyx, sapphire,
agate, green jasper, purple carnelian. We talked long of matters
already narrated here. When I was about to take my leave, I said that,
if she should have no other use for it, I earnestly desired to have
the skull of Dom Gheraldo as a memento. O terrible Man, she responded,
I have ordained Fra Pierpaolino to give him decent sepulture and, for
his poor soul, to say a mass for each year during which he has lain
unburied beneath my floor. Do you imagine that I want him to haunt my
new palace? No. And, by the bye, how do you like my new paper- knife?
She handed to me from the table a bright and shining thing, a long
thin blade, clean, polished, sharpened, with a massive hilt of gold
rilievo. I took it to the light for inspection. It was the poignard
from the skull of Dom Gheraldo.
* * * * * *
Now, o Apistophilos Echis, you ought to know the Four Causes, the
Material, the Formal, the Efficient, and the Final, of this my attempt
at Historick Romance. And here I will make an end. And if I have done
well, and as is fitting the story, it is that which I desired; but if
slenderly and meanly, it is that which I could attain unto. For as it
is hurtful to drink wine or water alone: and as wine mingled with
water is pleasant and delighteth the taste: even so speech finely
framed delighteth the ears of them that read the story. And here shall
be an end. Live, love, be happy.
From the "Bucintoro" of Venetia. The Nones of November,
N.B. KIPLING appends a glossary to his Departmental Ditties. I
suppose that that great writer also knows how gladly The Public takes
a little trouble over its higher pleasures.
abhominable (Juliana Berners) adj. odious, excellent, large, used
in modern vulgar sense of "awful" (abominabilis)
ablegateship subst. an embassage to a foreign court (ablego)
acerb (De Quincey) adj. sour, sharp (acerbus)
adept (Cowper) adj. skilful through effort (adipiscor)
adolescent subst. adj. between the ages of 15 and 30 (adolescens)
adolescentule subst. one just past puberty, cf. peradolescent
aegritude (Elyot) subst. indisposition of mind or body
aestival adj. pertaining to summer (aestivalis)
aestive adj. pertaining to summer (aestivus)
aestuose adj. very hot or agitated (aestuosus)
alate adj. winged (alatus)
alexipharmick subst. antidote (alexipharmacon)
ament adj. distracted (amens)
amicity subst. friendship (amicitia)
amoene adj. pleasant (amoenus)
amoenity subst. pleasantness (amoenitas)
amyct subst. linen hood worn by clerks: part of the Vestment
angor subst. strangling, trouble of mind, cf. dolor (angor)
anguicomous adj. with snaky hair (anguicomus)
animose adj. spirited, undaunted (animosus)
animosity (Skelton) subst. courage (animositas)
antecessor (Carlyle) subst. one who goes before (antecessor)
apert (Fotherby) adj. open, uncovered (apertus)
argute (Sterne) adj. active, keen, witty (argutus)
argyrocorinthian adj. silver-colored brass (argyrocorinthius)
arts subst. the larger limbs (artus)
astrilucent adj. gleaming like stars (astrum luceo)
atrid adj. dead black, opp. to albus, dead white (ater)
aulick adj. pertaining to a royal court (aulicus)
aurate adj. golden (auratus)
aureate adj. decorated (aureatus)
auricomal, auricomus adj. golden-haired (auricomus)
aurochs subst. the Bos Urus or bison of Poland (German,
auerochs = a wild ox)
balbous adj. stuttering (balbus)
balbute (Browne) verb to stutter (balbutio)
ban subst. publick proclamation of outlawry, banishment
bandit subst. outlaw under the ban (abalieno)
barbarism subst. a fault in the native language (barbarismus)
barbarolexis subst. a fault in the foreign language
basilick adj. king-like (basilicus)
bellator subst. warrior (bellator)
bezel subst. the part of a ring which confines the stone (Chald
bezal = limits)
bifid adj. cleft (bifidus)
brumal adj. wintry (brumalis)
cachinnate verb to laugh loudly (cachinno)
cadaver subst. dead body (cadaver)
caesarial adj. dark-haired, i.e., beautiful-haired according to
the Roman taste (caesaries)
calid adj. hot, rash, fiery (calidus)
callid adj. shrewd, skilful (callidus)
callidity subst. shrewdness, skill (calliditas)
calor subst. glowing heat (calor)
calvaria subst. skull (calvaria)
calvity subst. baldness (calvitium)
camis (Spenser) subst. shirt, chemise (camisia)
candid (Dryden) adj. glittering white, opp. to niger, glossy black
candor (Massinger) subst. glittering whiteness (candor)
capital adj. pertaining to the head (capitalis)
cataphractor subst. mailed cavalryman (cataphractor)
catulaster subst. stripling (catulaster)
cerussa subst. white-lead (cerussa)
citharoedick adj. pertaining to one who plays the cithara
coact (Hale) verb to gather (cogo)
coerulean adj. dark blue (coeruleus)
comity subst. courteousness, gentleness (comitas)
compt adj. spruce, smart (comptus)
connudate adj. stark-naked (connudatus)
contortuplicate verb violently to writhe and twist (contortus
contuberne subst. tent-companion, comrade, mate
cotidian adj. daily (cotidianus)
crass adj. thick, solid (crassus)
creature (Bacon, Fuller) subst. the thing created (creatura)
crepuscule subst. twilight (crepusculum)
crisp (Vives) adj. curly (crispus)
crural adj. pertaining to the shins (cruralis)
cubicularius subst. valet-de-chambre (cubicularius)
cubicule subst. bedroom (cubiculum)
cymar subst. gown, overcoat (It. zimarra)
deaurate adj. gilded (deauro)
debile adj. feeble (debilis)
decorous (Motley) adj. seemly, beautiful (decorus)
dedecorous adj. unseemly, ugly (dedecorus)
delfin subst. dolphin (delfinus)
delicate (Evelyn) adj. charming (delicatus)
devolute adj. rolling down, falling headlong (devolvo)
dicacity subst. pertness, biting wit (dicacitas)
dicaculous adj. talkative, bitterly witty (dicaculus)
dierect adj. stretched out and raised up (di-erigo)
digladiant adj. fighting for life,
digladiation (Evelyn) subst. a fight for life (digladior)
dilucid (Bacon) adj. clear, bright (dilucidus)
direct adj. straight,
direct verb to straighten (dirigo)
discruciation subst. chagrin, torment (discrucio)
dival adj. god-like (divalis)
divaricate adj. stretched wide, straddling (divarico)
dole subst. trick (dolus)
dolor (Spenser) subst. trouble of body, cf. angor (dolor)
effrenate adj. unbridled, unruly (effreno)
enucleate adj. stripped, e.g. a kernel stripped of its husk
ephebe subst. male youth of 17 to 20 years (ephebus)
equipollent (Bacon) adj. of equal value or significance
erubescent subst. blushing (erubescens)
esurient adj. hungry (esuriens)
exalbid adj. whitish (exalbidus)
excandescence (Blount) subst. irascibility (excandescentia)
eximious adj. select, extraordinary (eximius)
existimate (Steele) verb to judge a thing after having estimated
its value (existimo)
exitial (Evelyn) adj. deadly, pernicious (exitialis)
exitiose adj. deadly, pernicious (exitiosus)
expetent adj. longing (expetens)
explete adj. full, perfect (expletus)
exquisite (Shakespeare) adj. daintily-finished, carefully sought
exsult verb vigorously to spring up, to gambol (exsulto)
exsultant adj. vigorously springing up, gambolling (exsultans)
exsultation subst. frisking, rejoicing (exsultatio)
fascinator subst. one with the evil eye (fascinator)
fascine subst. bundle, phallus-shaped charm against evil eye
fastidiose adj. squeamish (fastidiosus)
fastidy subst. squeamishness (fastidium)
fatidick adj. foretelling destiny (fastidicus)
faustine adj. fortunate (faustus)
femoral subst. thigh (femur)
feral adj. pertaining to the dead (feralis)
firm adj. strong, steadfast (firmus)
firmitude (Bp. Hall) subst. strength, steadfastness (firmitudo)
flabellifer subst. fan-bearer (flabellifer)
flabellum subst. fan (flabellum)
flavian adj. flaxen, pale golden-yellow (flavus)
fleam subst. lancet (phlebotomus)
flebile adj. causing to weep, lamentable (flebilis)
flume (Howitt) subst. flowing water (flumen)
formose adj. finely formed, beautiful (formosus)
formosity subst. fineness of form, beauty (formositas)
fort adj. powerful, brave (fortis)
frigor subst. coolness (frigor)
frondose (Gray) adj. leafy (frondosus)
frondosity subst. leafiness (frondositas)
fulgid (Pope) adj. glittering (fulgidus)
fulguration (Dr. Donne) subst. brightness, lightning-flash
fulmination subst. lightning that strikes and sets on fire,
fuscous (Burke) adj. dark, swarthy (fuscus)
fusky adj. dark, swarthy (fuscus)
galbanate adj. delicately clothed (galbanatus)
gelid (Goldsmith) adj. icy-cold (gelidus)
gelidity subst. icy-cold (geliditas)
genuals subst. garters (genualia)
genuinely adv. pertaining to cheek or jaw (genuinus)
germanity subst. faithful brotherhood (germanitas)
gibberose adj. very humpty-backed (gibberosus)
gingilism subst. pealing laughter (gingilismus)
gracile adj. slim, slender (gracilis)
gracility (Milman) subst. slimness, slenderness (gracilitas)
grandity (Camden) subst. greatness (granditas)
graveolent (Boyle) adj. noisome (graveolens)
gravid (Herbert) adj. laden (gravidus)
gymnick (Burton) adj. lightly-clothed (for bodily exercise)
gynaeceum (Tennyson) subst. the women's quarters (gynaeceum)
habile (Spenser) adj. skilful, nimble, swift, able (habilis)
hability (South) subst. ability (habilitas)
habit (Irving) subst. deportment (habitus)
habitude subst. plight, habit, appearance (habitudo)
hariol subst. soothsayer (hariolus)
hebdomadally adv. weekly (hebdomadaliter)
hebete adj. dull, faint, weak, exhausted (hebes)
hebetude (Harvey) subst. dulness, faintness, weakness, exhaustion
hestern adj. of yesterday (hesternus)
hircose adj. goatish (hircosus)
hispid (Martyn) adj. bristly (hispidus)
horripilation subst. bristling hair (horripilatio)
ilicet subst. oak-forest (ilicetum)
ill-intellected adj. misunderstood (mala intelligere)
inbelline (Junius) adj. peaceful (inbellis)
inberb adj. beardless (inberbis)
inclyte adj. celebrated (inclytus)
incruent (Brevint) adj. bloodless (incruentus)
indecorous (Burke) adj. unseemly, ugly (indecorus)
index subst. spy, informer (index)
infandous (Howell) adj. unspeakable (infandus)
inhabile adj. unable, clumsy (inhabilis)
inloricate adj. unclothed in mail (inlorico)
inlutibard adj. filthy-bearded (inlutibarbus)
innable adj. that which cannot be crossed by swimming
inpavid adj. fearless (inpavidus)
improvised (Browne) adj. unforeseen (inprovisus)
inremeable (Dryden, Max Beerbohm) adj. from which one cannot
instaure (Marston) verb to renew (instauro)
insulsity (Milton) subst. silliness (insulsitas)
intemerable adj. inviolable (intemerabilis)
intercalate (Mantell) verb to put in between (intercalo)
invect (Beaumont Fletcher) verb to inveigh (inveho)
inverecund adj. without shame (inverecundus)
investite adj. unclothed, inpubick, innocent (investis)
invituperabilissimous adj. that which by no means can be
juvenal (Shakespeare) adj. youthful (between the ages of 30 and
juvencal adj. young (man or bullock) (juvencus)
juvence subst. youth (from age of 30 to 46) (juventus)
lacertose adj. muscular (lacertosus)
laneous adj. woollen (laneus)
Lar subst. Lord (Lar, Lars, Larth)
latrocinity subst. highway robbery (latrocinium)
laureole subst. laurel-crown (laureola)
lauret subst. laurel-grove on the Aventine Hill (Lauretum)
lepid adj. pretty, pleasant (lepidus)
lethiferous adj. death-bringing (lethifer)
livid (Dryden) adj. bluish, black and blue, envious (lividus)
lorica subst. mail-shirt (lorica)
lubidinose adj. sensual (lubidinosus)
lubricity subst. slipperiness, deceit, lewdness (lubricitas)
lubrick adj. slippery, deceitful, lewd (lubricus)
lucrifick adj. profitable (lucrificus)
luctifick adj. baleful (luctificus)
lucubration (Irving) subst. study by lamp-light, night-work
lymphatick adj. panick-struck, frantick, distracted (lymphaticus)
macilent adj. thin, scraggy (macilentus)
mansuete adj. gentle (mansuetus)
mansuetude (Herbert) subst. gentlehood (mansuetudo)
manuinspection subst. palmistry (manuinspectio)
margaritiferous adj. producing pearls (margaritifer)
marmoreal adj. made of marble, marble-like (marmoreus)
medullose adj. marrowy (medullosus)
membrature subst. formation of the members (membratura)
membrose adj. large-membered (membrosus)
micate verb to glitter, quiver (mico)
micant adj. glittering, quivering (micans)
milesian adj. obscene (milesius)
minate verb to threaten (minor)
minim subst. the little finger (minimus)
minium (Burton) subst. cinnabar, red-lead, vermillion (minium)
miracidion subst. a lad of 14 (miracidion)
mollitude subst. suppleness, softness (mollitudo)
morose adj. peevish, wayward (morosus)
morse subst. a clasp (morsus)
mulierity subst. womanhood (mulieritas)
mulierose adj. fond of women (mulierosus)
mund adj. clean, nice, neat (mundus)
mundity subst. cleanliness, niceness, neatness (munditia)
musty adj. young, new, fresh, unfermented (mustus)
nasute (Bp. Gauden) adj. large-nosed, witty (nasutus)
natrix subst. an eelskin scourge (natrix)
naumachy subst. mock sea-fight (naumachia)
navarch (Mitford) subst. ship-captain (navarchus)
nemoral adj. woody (nemoralis)
nemorose (Evelyn) adj. woody (nemorosus)
nervose (Pope) adj. sinewy (nervosus)
nictate verb to wink (nicto)
nigrick adj. glossy black, opp. to candid, glittering white
nigrify verb to blacken (nigrifico)
nigritude subst. glossy blackness (nigritudo)
nitid (Reeve) adj. plump, healthy-looking, bright (nitidus)
nitidity subst. plumpness, healthy beauty, brightness (nitiditas)
nitor subst. brightness, sheen (nitor)
nothus subst. an illegitimate son (nothus)
nubile adj. marriageable (nubilis)
nude adj. unarmed, bare, wearing a single garment (nudus)
obfuscate (Sterne) verb to darken (obfusco)
olid (Boyle) adj. stinking, frowsy (olidus)
olitor (Evelyn) subst. olive-dresser (olitor)
olivet subst. olive-garden (olivet)
opt verb to choose (opto)
ostend (Webster) verb to shew (ostendo)
pagan adj. pertaining to the country (paganus)
paganick adj. pertaining to the country (paganicus)
palpate verb to stroke (palpo)
pandiculate adj. stretched as in yawning (pandiculor)
pandiculation subst. stretching as in yawning (pandiculor)
papaver subst. poppy (papaver)
pavid adj. frightened (pavidus)
pavonine adj. colored like a peacock's pride (pavoninus)
pavor subst. fright (pavor)
pensile (Howitt) adj. hanging down (pensilis)
per- in composition equals very (per)
peradolescent subst. adj. on the verge of adolescence
percandid adj. very white and shining (percandidus)
percandity subst. extremely brilliant whiteness (percanditas)
perdurable (Shakespeare) adj. very durable (perdurabilis)
peregrine (Bacon) adj. foreign (peregrinus)
perfricate verb to rub (perfrico)
perlepid adj. very pretty (perlepidus)
pernicitly adv. nimbly (perniciter)
pernicity subst. nimbleness (pernicitas)
pernick (Milton) adj. nimble (pernix)
perose adj. very odious (perosus)
perpallid adj. very pale (perpallidus)
perridiculous adj. very ridiculous (perridiculus)
perturpid adj. very shameful (perturpis)
perturpitude subst. a very shameful deed (perturpitudo)
pervalid adj. very strong (pervalidus)
pinguid (Mortimer) adj. fat, sleek (pinguis)
pinguitude subst. fatness, sleekness (pinguitudo)
potesty subst. power (potestas)
praecellent (Sheldon) adj. very distinguished (praecellens)
prasine adj. leek-green (prasinus)
prave adj. crooked (pravus)
precation (Cotton) subst. prayer (precatio)
preconize verb to proclaim (praeconor)
predicable adj. praiseworthy (praedicabilis)
prepete adj. fleet-footed (prepes)
prepollent (Boyle) adj. very distinguished (prepollens)
prisk adj. old-fashioned (priscus)
probose adj. good (probus)
procacious (Barrow) adj. pert (procax)
procacity subst. pertness (procacitas)
procere adj. tall (procerus)
procerity (Dr. Johnson, De Quincey) subst. tallness (proceritas)
progymnast subst. slave who performs gymnastics with (but
preceding) his master (progymnastes)
proterve adj. violent, wanton (protervus)
pube subst. one arrived at puberty (pubes)
pudibund adj. modest (pudibundus)
puerice subst. boyhood (pueritia)
puerine adj. boyish (puerinus)
pulchritude (Chaucer) subst. beauty (pulchritudo)
pure pute adj. perfectly pure (purus putus)
putid (Bp. Taylor) adj. stench, rottenness (putor)
putt subst. boy (Italian puto; modern Italian putto) (putus)
pyladean adj. very faithful (pyladeus)
raucisonous adj. hoarse-sounding (raucisonus)
ravid adj. greyish (ravidus)
recent adj. young, fresh (recens)
repentine adj. sudden, unlooked-for (repentinus)
resilient (Bacon) adj. rebounding (resilio)
rigor subst. stiffness, cramp (rigor)
roborate adj. strong, vigorous (roboro)
robust adj. oaken, hard, lusty (robustus)
rugose adj. wrinkled (rugosus)
rugosity subst. wrinkles (rugositas)
rutilant (Evelyn) adj. glowing red (rutilans)
sabbatick adj. pertaining to Saturday (sabbaticus)
salient (Burke) adj. springing, throbbing (saliens)
sapor (Browne) subst. taste (sapor)
scitulous adj. neat, adroit (scitulus)
sensile adj. endowed with sensation (sensilis)
sentence (Milton) subst. opinion (sententia)
silvan (Dryden) adj. woody (silva)
silvestrine adj. woody (silvestris)
sime adj. snub-nosed (simus)
sitibund adj. very thirsty (sitibundus)
smaragd subst. emerald (smaragdus)
solert adj. clever, adroit (solers)
solivagous adj. wandering alone (solivagus)
spadonick adj. castrated (spado)
speciose adj. beautiful (speciosus)
speciosity subst. beauty (speciositas)
splendescent adj. brightening (splendesco)
spurious (Milton) adj. illegitimate (spurius)
stelliferous adj. bearing stars (stella fero)
stuprate adj. deflowered (stupro)
sub- in composition equals rather (sub)
subhilariously adv. rather hilariously (subhilariter)
subingenious adj. rather ingenious (subingenius)
subtile (Spenser) adj. fine, slender, unadorned, exact (subtilis)
subturpicularly adv. rather shamefully (subturpiculariter)
subturpiculous adj. rather shameful (subturpiculus)
succussature subst. jolting (succussatura)
succussion subst. shaking (succussio)
sucid adj. juicy, fresh (sucidus)
sufflavian adj. pale-yellow (sufflavus)
suggrand adj. rather large (suggrandis)
sugillate (Wiseman) adj. beaten black and blue (sugillo)
surridiculous adj. rather ridiculous (surridiculus)
tabid (Arbuthnot) adj. decaying (tabidus)
talarian adj. reaching to the ankles (talaris)
taratarantara subst. Ennius's onomatopee for the sound of the
tenebricose adj. dark (tenebricosus)
tenebricosity subst. darkness (tenebricositas)
tenerity subst. tenderness (teneritas)
terete adj. rounded, well-turned, smooth (teres)
teretude subst. roundedness, well-turnedness, smoothness
thrasonian adj. bragging (thrasonianus)
titule subst. each of a certain number of Roman churches which
are served by Cardinal-Presbyters (titulus)
torose adj. lusty, brawny (torosus)
torvid (Webster, 1654) adj. fierce (torvid)
torvine adj. stern, grim (torvus)
tralucid adj. clear (tralucidus)
tripudiation (Carlyle) subst. a measured stamping, religious
tripudiator subst. one who performs a tripudiation (tripudio)
trucid adj. given to slaughter (trucidus)
trull subst. a dipper, bason (trulla)
tumid (Milton) adj. swollen, protuberant (tumidus)
turible subst. censer (turibulum)
turpid adj. shameful, nasty (turpis)
turpilucricupidous adj. covetous of base or dishonest gain
turpitude (Shakespeare) subst. shamefulness, nastiness
umbriferous adj. shade-giving (umbrifer)
umbrose adj. shady (umbrosus)
urbane adj. pertaining to the City (i.e. Rome), in the fashion of
that city (urbanus)
valent adj. strong, healthy (valens)
valetude subst. good health (valetudeo)
valgous adj. bandy-legged (valgus)
varicate adj. with legs apart (varico)
vaticination (I. Taylor) subst. soothsaying (vaticinatio)
vegete (Bp. Taylor) adj. vigorous, lively (vegetus)
veneficous adj. poisonous (veneficus)
venete adj. sea-blue, Venetian-blue (venetus)
venustous adj. lovely (venustus)
venusty subst. loveliness (venustas)
vepallid adj. very pale (vepallidus)
verberate verb to beat (verbero)
veridical adj. truth-telling (veridicus)
vermicular (Vulgate) adj. scarlet (verimiculus)
vesticipal adj. clothed, pubick, manly (vesticeps)
vicinal (Glanville) adj. near (vicinalis)
vigent adj. blooming, flushing (vigeo)
virent (Browne) adj. verdant, fresh (vireo)
virid (Crompton) adj. green, fresh, youthful, lively (viridus)
virtue subst. the sum of all corporeal and mental excellences
of man (virtus)