Pagina:Baretti - Prefazioni e polemiche.djvu/101



acquainted with ali its secret graces and powers, he never was able to attain the art of expressing himself \vith that delicacy, strength or sublimity which bis different thoughts required; nor would he ever take pains to examine those minute beauties of Homer, Virgil and other ancient poets, which necessarily constitute the perfection of the whole: he looked upon their Works as an inaccurate traveller, who, seeing a mag^ificent palace or tempie, is contented with admiring in the gross its height, its bulk and the richness of the marble, without attending to the ingenuit}’ of the architect, which consista in its elegant proportion, the symetry of its parts and ali the other particular beauties of the edifice.

Nevertheless the lustre which shone in the works thus precipitately published by Marini soon dazzled ali Italy, which at that time had no other great poets. The rabbie of writers, tired with the correctness and elegance of their predecessors, imagined that he had discovered a new and wonderful kind of poetry; almost ali of them followed this false gfuide and indiscriminately imitated him.

Ciro of Pers, Achillini, Abati, Ciampoli, Bruni and many others soon carried the extravagance of thought and corruption of style even farther than Marini himself. By these means, in the space of about fift>’ years, ali Italy was overspread with false metaphors, strange images, conceits, puns and poor quibbles in verse and prose to the great dishonour of the Italian Muses.

To add to this misfortune, the duke of Savoy took Marini into his protection, called him to his court, made him a knight and enriched him with presents.

Marini was a great friend to Bentivoglio, then the Pope’s Nuncio to Lewis the XlIIth. and afterwards cardinaH’). Being sollicited by him in many letters (which are stili extant), he resolved to vjsit the French court. He left Turin, taking with him letters of recommendation filled with the most extravagant praises of his poetical merit.

(i) See Bentivoglio ’s Letters, printed at Cambridge.