Pagina:Baretti - Prefazioni e polemiche.djvu/140



fratre dell’ ordine de sancto Domenico eximio maestro in sacra teologia: Et ia vescovo della cittá de Foligni: Dividese’ in quadro libri parziali secondo qíiactro regni. Nel primo se tracia del regno de dio Cupido. Nel secondo del regno de Satan. Nel terzio del regno delti vizi. Nel quarto ed ultimo del regno de dea Minerva e de virtú; but there is nothing uncouth in the whole hook, except the title. Prezzi wrote it with as much purity of Tuscan language as if he had been born on the banks of Arno; and I suppose it contributed much at that time to the enlarging of our tongue, as it was printed six times in the space of thirty years; but by an unaccountable misfortune, this fanciful, instructive and truly poetical performance, was so much neglected after the sixth edition, that it was near being quite lost to mankind, almost ali the copies of the old editions having been destroyed by time and neglect. Nor are the Italians little indebted to the academicians of Foligno, who having found two or three copies of it, reprinted it in the year 1725, giving us an additional volume of notes and historical observations on the poem and its author, for a specimen of whose elegant and forcible language, I shall transcribe the seventh chapter of his second hook:

Migliaia di mostri piú oltre trovai, i quai, bench’io li narri e li racconte, ecc. (’).

Nations owe the chief powers and beauties of their languages to their poets; but few nations, either ancient or modem, owe so much to a single genius as the Italian to Lodovico Ariosto, who flourished in that famous period when the Medicean family, the Italian princes, and even the emperors and the kings of France encouraged with ali sorts of liberality the Greek, Latin and Italian literature.

(i) Alla parola «cocca» della terzina xvii il Baretti annota: «Cocca, viciously pronounced instead of conca, that is the bark of Charon, made in the form of that shell-fish which the Latins and the Italians cali concha and conca». — E alla parola «scorto» della terzina xl: «Scorto, contracted from scortato, made short, cut off, curtailed» [Ed.].