Pagina:Baretti - Prefazioni e polemiche.djvu/102



In Paris, being supported by the credit of the Nuncio, his recommendatory letters and yet more by his own fame, he soon became acquainted with ali the great men of the court, and persons of most eminent learning in the city; and, as it was naturai for a stranger, he sought for and easily obtained the friendship of some Frenchmen, who, because they understood a good deal of the Italian vocabulary, were thought to be well versed in that language.

Among others Ménage and Chapelain became very intimate with him. The knowledge of those two gentlemen in the Italian letters extended no farther than writing indifferent prose and very poor verses after the manner of Pastor fido and Filli di Sciro, two pastoral tragicomedies very puerile and cold, and two of the worst pieces that were ever written in our language. This I must say, without oflfence to our Italian young ladies and our effeminate men who adore these two performances, only because they are full of extravagant and unnatural sentiments of love.

These two pedantic gentlemen made a great noise in Paris about the transcendent merit they ascribed to Marini, and in a little time filled ali France with his name.Nor_.(iÌd Marini ’s presence contradict their favourable reports, he being by nature endowed with an agreeable person, plèasing manners and an insinuating tone of voice. -^

But a few years after, Boileau^^cending the top of Parnassus and looking severely around, conceived indignation and disdain against Chapelain_,and Ménage* This solid and perspicacious man, although he did not understand Italian, would not give faith to the loud praises lavished by them on the stranger; and perceiving in their French poetry very little taste, he could not persuade himself, as the rest of France did, that they, who wrote so poorly in their own language, could be able to judge of the performances of a foreigner. It is probable then that Boileau made some part of the Adone be explained to him. This was an heroic poem which Maririi^-had printed for the first time in Paris with a tedious and cold preface by Chapelain. The French satirist had reasòrTto cònifirm himself stili more in