Pagina:Baretti - Prefazioni e polemiche.djvu/107



Melissa, which would break the force of enchantments, accosts the sorceress Alcina, who by her magic made herself appear beautiful in bis eyes, and

Ritrova cantra ogni sua stinta, invece della beltá che dianzi avea lasciata, ecc. (i).

That is: «He finds, contrary to bis expectation, instead of the beauty he had just quitted, a woman so filthy, that the whole earth had not a beldame so old and so ugly. Pale and wrinkled and flabby the face of Alcina now appeared. A few grey hairs covered her head. Her stature was scarce six hands in height; the teeth were ali fallen from her jaws: she numbered more years than Hecuba and the Cumean sybil or any other crone who e ver lived».

Thus the great masters paint few strokes, but naturai and just.

This unnecessary exuberance of words is one of the principal faults of Marini, and this made him quickly lose that great name which he had too soon acquired; so that it is -iofig-since bis Works bave been read in our country; and if bis Adone had not been too solemnly prohibited by the pope, I must be pérmitted to say that this as well as the other numberless productions of bis uncorrect imi in elegant p en would be buried in oblivion.

But now I will select one of our epic poets, who hath been always read and admired amongst us, and will endeavour as well as I am able to give the candid reader an idea of his beauties and show that he deserves neither that contemptuous silence of monsieur de Voltaire in his Essay, nor the insolent abuse the French writers lavish in general on us. The poet of whom I am going to speak is Dante, among the Italians called «il padre della lingua e poesia toscana», «the father of Tuscan language and poetry».

Ali the face of Europe was stili overspread with gothic barbarism when the inhabitants of Florence bought their liberty of the northern emperors with sums of gold.

(i) XII, st. 72, V. 5; st. 73, V. 6 [Ed.]. G. Baretti, Prefazioni e polemiche.