Pagina:Baretti - Prefazioni e polemiche.djvu/133



that have forced subsequent geniuses to confine even their mad V- flights within the boundaries of method and the circumscriptions of reason.

But the superior splendour of this poet did not absorb entirely the light of some other oi his contemporaries. The lovers of ancient Italian poetry and prose stili revere the names of Castruccio Castracani (prince of Lucca, whose life was written by Machiavelli), Farinata degli liberti, Bindo Donati, Pieraccio Tebaldi, Cecco Angiolieri, Gianni Alfani, Muoio Piacente, Benuccio Salimbeni, Lapo Saltarelli, Bbnagiunta Urbiciani, Dante da Maiano, Guido Cavalcanti and many other Tuscans whose writings, though for the greatest part a little rude and indigested, were looked upon as the best examples of pure language by those leamed and judicious compilers of our dictionary, known in the literar>’ republic under the name of academicians della Crusca.

Two more specimens, one from Dante da Maiano, the other from Guido Cavalcanti (a disciple as well as Dante Alighieri of Brunetto Latini), will enable the reader to judge of those large strides that our language took as that period towards perfection. This specimen from Dante da Maiano is in the dialect that was spoken in that part of Tuscany now denominated Valdarno:

Com piú diletto di voi, dorma, prendo, e piú vi tegno ed aggio a vollia mia, ecc.

This specimen from Cavalcanti is in the old dialect of Florence:

Per gli occhi fiere un spirito sottile che fa in la mente spirito destare, ecc.

The Fiorentine dialect now began to rise apace in the estimation of the Italians and tower above the others of Tuscany. The most sagacious followers of the Muses began to prefer it to any other; as did Agatone Drusi of Pisa, Piero Mala volti of Cortona, Michele Pucci of Arezzo, Giovanni Lambertacci of Oltrarno and a great many more. I will only select a specimen from Ci no of Pistoia, the celebrated master of Bartolo the dvilian and Petrarch the poet, whose elegant compositions have