The Story of Italy

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General Books LLC, 2009 - 150 pages
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Book may have numerous typos, missing text, images, or index. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. 1859. Excerpt: ... Chapter XLII. OF TASSO AND LEONORA. What stirring scenes the vaulted streets of Padua must have presented in the palmy days of her university! As the students poured forth from some popular lecture, there were to be seen among the crowd, scholars from Turkey, Arabia, and Persia, as well as from every land in Christendom. And, about the middle of the sixteenth century there might have been recognized among them, imparting joyousness to whoever met the merry glance of his bright blue eye, the tall, graceful form of Torquato Tasso, already the admired of all observers, and promising to rival his father in poetic fame--it was then thought he could hardly outstrip him. Soon we find him, in the early bloom of life, first under the patronage of Cardinal Ippolito D' Este, then transferred to that of Alfonso, duke of Ferrara, and the two beautiful princesses his sisters. They were blonde beauties--and singularly youthful in appearance. Madama Leonora, the youngest, was said to have the sweetest mouth in Italy. They were daughters of the unfortunate Queen Renee, but did not inherit her Protestant principles; they were learned, gifted, and accomplished. Tasso dined at their tavola ordinaria; and wrote charming verses on them both; but his heart belonged to the youngest. He was in continual attendance on her in that beautiful Belvedere palace and its enchanted gardens, where we are told that banks of flowers were watered by fountains that broke with their plash the stillness of the sleepy air; where breezes sighed for very.happiness amid leafy alleys and shaded woods, interspersed with glades, disclosing statues and marble basins; where broad flights of steps descended from terraces to the river, and where temples dedicated to recreation and repose were decorated by the most admirable painters...

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