Pagina:Baretti - Prefazioni e polemiche.djvu/130



Ricco da Varlungo, Dino Fiorentino, Salvino Doni, Ugo da Siena, Guido Novello, Farinata degli Ubarti, Lambertuccio Frescobaldi, Pannuccio dal Bagno, Guitton D’Arezzo and many more, ali living about the year 1250 and ali Tuscans, helped te turn the scale in favour of their country; and with their numerous verses, chroniches, books of devotion and other performances, admirable in those times, seemed to conspire with Brunetto Latini to crush in the cradle ali dialects that were not Tuscan, that one or other of their style might prevail and become the language of books in our peninsula.

My paucity of old Italian books hinders me from giving a specimen of the prose of those times. I shall only transcribe three short pieces of poetry: the first from Pannuccio dal Bagno, in the dialect of Pisa; the second from Guglielmotto da Otranto, who writ in neapolitan latinised; and the third from Fra Guittone, who, although born in Arezzo, yet writ in the Fiorentine, having lived the best part of his life in Florence.

This is from Pannuccio:

Lasso di far piú verso son, poi veggio ogn’om manco, ecc.

This is from Guglielmotto da Otranto:

O salve sancta Ostia sacrata immaculato sangue e carne pura, ecc.

The specimen from Fra Guittone is this short fable, which an Englishman that understands Italian will think a composition of yesterday:

Quando il consiglio degli augei si tenne di nicistd convenne, ecc.

Forty or fifty years after Brunetto Latini, one of his disciples did more towards the fixing the seat of our language in the city of Florence than ali his predecessors together. This was Dante Alighieri, whose poem on hell, purgatory and paradise, not only struck with wonder ali his contemporaries, but was invariably the admiration of successive ages, and has rather