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legate was sent to Italy, and after some fruitless treaty, and two personal interviews, he fulminated a bull of excommunication, in which the tribune is degraded from his office, and branded with the guilt of rebellion, sacrilege, and heresy. “8 The surviving barons of Rome were now humbled to a sense of allegiance ; their interest and revenge engaged them in the service of the church ; but as the fate of the Colonna was before their eyes, they abandoned to a private adventurer the peril and glory of the revolution. John Pepin, count of Minorbino,“ in the kingdom of Naples, had been condemned for his crimes, or his riches, to perpetual imprisonment; and Petrarch, by soliciting his release, indirectly contributed to the ruin of his friend. At the head of one hundred and fifty soldiers the count of Minorbino introduced himself into Rome, barricaded the quarter of the Colonna, and found the enterprise as easy as it had seemed impossible. From the first alarm the bell of the Capitol incessantly tolled; but instead of repairing to the well-known sound, the people were silent and inactive ; and the pusillanimous Rienzi, deploring their ingratitude with sighs and tears, abdicated the government and palace of the republic. Without drawing his sword, Count Pepin restored the aristocracy
and the church; three senators were chosen, and the legate,
assuming the first rank, accepted his two colleagues from 1347-1354. the rival families of Colonna and Ursini. The acts of the tribune were abolished, his head was proscribed ; yet such was the terror of his name, that the barons hesitated three days before they would trust themselves in the city, and Rienzi was left above a month in the castle of St. Angelo, from whence he peaceably withdrew, after labouring, without effect, to revive the affection and courage of the Romans. The vision of freedom and empire had vanished: their fallen spirit would have acquiesced in servitude, had it been smoothed by tranquillity and order ; and it was scarcely observed that the new senators derived their authority from the Apostolic See, that four cardinals were appointed to reform, with dictatorial power, the state of tne republic. Rome was again agitated by the bloody feuds of the barons, who detested each other and despised the commons : their hostile fortresses, both in town and country, again rose, and were again demolished : and the peaceful citizens, a flock of sheep, were devoured. says the Florentine historian, by these rapacious
Revolutions of Rome,
48 The briefs and bulls of Clement VI. against Rienzi translated by the P. du Cerceau (p. 196, 232) from the Ecclesiastical Annals of Odericus Raynaldus (A.D. 1347, No. 15, 17, 21, &c.), who found them in the archives of the Vatican.
Matteo Villani describes the origin, character, and death of this count of Minorbino, a man da natura inconstante e senza fede, whose grandfather, a crafty notary, was enriched and ennobled by the spoils of the Saracens of Nocera (1. vii. c, 102, 103). See his imprisonment, and the efforts of Petrarch, tom. ii. p. 149-151,
wolves. But when their pride and avarice had exhausted the patience of the Romans, a confraternity of the Virgin Mary protected or avenged the republic: the bell of the Capitol was again tolled, the nobles in arms trembled in the presence of an unarmed multitude ; and of the two senators, Colonna escaped from the window of the palace, and Ursini was stoned at the foot of the altar. The dangerous office of tribune was successively occupied by two plebeians, Cerroni and Baroncelli. The mildness of Cerroni was unequal to the times, and after a faint struggle he retired with a fair reputation and a decent fortune to the comforts of rural life. Devoid of eloquence or genius, Baroncelli was distinguished by a resolute spirit: he spoke the language of a patriot, and trod in the footsteps of tyrants; his suspicion was a sentence of death, and his own death was the reward of his cruelties. Amidst the public misfortunes the faults of Rienzi were forgotten, and the Romans sighed for the peace and prosperity of the good estate. 50
After an exile of seven years, the first deliverer was again restored to his country. In the disguise of a monk or a pilgrim he escaped from the castle of St. Angelo, implored the friend of Rienzi, ship of the king of Hungary at Naples, tempted the ambition of every bold adventurer, mingled at Rome with the pilgrims of the jubilee, lay concealed among the hermits of the Apennine, and wandered through the cities of Italy, Germany, and Bohemia. His person was invisible, his name was yet formidable; and the anxiety of the court of Avignon supposes, and even magnifies, his personal merit. The emperor Charles the Fourth gave audience to a stranger, who frankly revealed himself as the tribune of the republic, and astonished an assembly of ambassadors and princes by the eloquence of a patriot and the visions of a prophet, the downfall of tyranny and the kingdom of the Holy Ghost.Whatever had been his Lopes, Rienzi found himself a captive; but he supported a character of inde
Su The troubles of Rome, from the departure to the return of Rienzi, are related by Matteo Villani (1. ii. c. 47, 1. ii. c. 33, 57, 78) and Thomas Fortifiocca (1. iii. c. 14). I have slightly passed over these secondary characters, who imitated the original tribune.
" These visions, of which the friends and enemies of Rienzi seem alike ignorant, are surely magnified by the zeal of Pollistore, a Dominican inquisitor (Rer. Ital. tum. xxv. c. 36, p. 819). Had the tribune taught that Christ was succeeded by the Holy Gbost, that the tyranny of the pope would be abolished, he might have been convicted of heresy and treason, without offending the Roman people."
So far from having magnified these to have been in earnest, his magnificent visions, Pollistore is more than confirmed offers to the emperor, and the whole history by the documents published by Papen- of his life, from his first escape from Rome cordt. The adoption of all the wild doc- to his imprisonment at Avignon, are among trines of the Fratricelli, the Spirituals, in the most curious chapters of his eventfu which, for the time at least, Rienzi appears life.-M. 1845.
pendence and dignity, and obeyed, as his own choice, the irresistible summons of the supreme pontiff
. The zeal of Petrarch, which had been cooled by the unworthy conduct, was rekindled by the sufferings and the presence of his friend; and he boldly complains of the times in which the saviour of Rome was delivered by her emperor into the
hands of her bishop. Rienzi was transported slowly but in A prisoner at Avignon, safe custody from Prague to Avignon : his entrance into
the city was that of a malefactor; in his prison he was chained by the leg, and four cardinals were named to inquire into the crimes of heresy and rebellion. But his trial and condemnation would have involved some questions which it was more prudent to leave under the veil of mystery : the temporal supremacy of the popes, the duty of residence, the civil and ecclesiastical privileges of the clergy and people of Rome. The reigning pontiff well deserved the appellation of Clement : the strange vicissitudes and magnanimous spirit of the captive excited his pity and esteem ; and Petrarch believes that he respected in the hero the name and sacred character of a poet.“ Rienzi was indulged with an easy confinement and the use of books; and in the assiduous study of Livy and the Bible he sought the cause and the consolation of his misfortunes. The succeeding pontificate of Innocent the Sixth opened a new
prospect of his deliverance and restoration ; and the court Kontor of of Avignon was persuaded that the successful rebel could A.D. 1354. alone appease and reform the anarchy of the metropolis. After a solemn profession of fidelity, the Roman tribune was sent into Italy with the title of senator ; but the death of Baroncelli appeared to supersede the use of his mission; and the legate, Cardinal Albornoz,53 a consummate statesman, allowed him with reluctance, and without aid, to undertake the perilous experiment. His first reception was equal to his wishes : the day of his entrance was a public festival, and his eloquence and authority revived the laws of the good estate. But this momentary sunshine was soon clouded by his own vices and those of the people: in the Capitol he might often regret the prison of Avignon ; and after a second administration of four months Rienzi was massacred in a tumult which had been fomented by the Roman barons. In the society of the Germans and Bohemians
3? The astonishment, the envy almost, of Petrarch, is a proof, if not of the truth of this incredible fact, at least of his own veracity. The abbé de Sade (Mémoires, tom. iii. p. 242) quotes the vith epistle of the xiiith book of Petrarch, but it is of the royal MS. which he consulted, and not of the ordinary Basil edition (p. 920).
53 Ægidius, or Giles Albornoz, a noble Spaniard, archbishop of Toledo, and cardinal legate in Italy (A.D. 1353-1367), restored, by his arms and counsels, the temporal dominion of the popes. His life has been separately written by Sepulveda; but Dryden could not reasonably suppose that his name, or ibat of Wolsey, had reacted the ears of the Mufti in Don Sebastian.
he is said to have contracted the habits of intemperance and cruelty : adversity had chilled his enthusiasm without fortifying his reason or virtue; and that youthful hope, that lively assurance, which is the pledge of success, was now succeeded by the cold impotence of distrust and despair. The tribune had reigned with absolute dominion, by the choice, and in the hearts, of the Romans; the senator was the servile minister of a foreign court; and while he was suspected by the people, he was abandoned by the prince. The legate Albornoz, who seemed desirous of his ruin, inflexibly refused all supplies of men and money: a faithful subject could no longer presume to touch the revenues of the apostolical chamber; and the first idea of a tax was the signal of clamour and sedition. Even his justice was tainted with the guilt or reproach of selfish cruelty: the most virtuous citizen of Rome was sacrificed to his jealousy; and in the execution of a public robber, from whose purse he had been assisted, the magistrate too much forgot, or too much remembered, the obligations of the debtor.54 A civil war exhausted his treasures and the patience of the city: the Colonna maintained their hostile station at Palestrina; and his mercenaries soon despised a leader whose ignorance and fear were envious of all subordinate merit. In the death, as in the life, of Rienzi, the hero and the coward were strangely mingled. When the Capitol was invested by a furious multitude, when he was basely deserted by his civil and military servants, the intrepid senator, waving the banner of liberty, presented himself on the balcony, addressed his eloquence to the various passions of the Romans, and laboured to persuade them that in the same cause himself and the republic must either stand or fall. His oration was interrupted by a volley of imprecations and stones ; and after an arrow had transpierced his hand, he sunk into abject despair, and fled weeping to the inner chambers, from whence he was let down by a sheet before the windows of the prison. Destitute of aid or hope, he was besieged till the evening: the doors of the Capitol were destroyed with axes and fire; and while the senator attempted to escape in a plebeian habit, he was discovered and dragged to the platform of the palace, the fatal scene of his judgments and executions. A whole hour, without voice or motion, he stood amidst the multitude half naked and half dead : their rage was hushed into curiosity and wonder: the last feelings of reverence and compassion yet struggled in his favour; and they might have prevailed, if a bold assassin had not plunged
* From Matteo Villani and Fortifiocca, the P. du Cerceau (p. 344-394) has extracted the life and death of the Chevalier Montreal, the life of a robber and the death of a hero. At the head of a free company, the first that desolated Italy, ho became rich and formidable; ho had money in all the bankı,—60,000 ducats in Padua alone,
1.vites and upbraids
a dagger in his breast. He fell senseless with the first stroke; the
impotent revenge of his enemies inflicted a thousand wounds; A.D. 1354, and the senator's body was abandoned us the dogs, to the
Jews, and to the flames. Posterity will compare the virtues and failings of this extraordinary man; but in a long period of anarchy and servitude, the name of Rienzi has often been celebrated as the deliverer of his country, and the last of the Roman patriots."
The first and most generous wish of Petrarch was the restoration Petrarch of a free republic; but after the exile and death of his
plebeian hero, he turned his eyes from the tribune to the Charles dern king of the Romans. The Capitol was yet stained with the
blood of Rienzi when Charles the Fourth descended from January
the Alps to obtain the Italian and Imperial crowns. In his passage through Milan he received the visit, and repaid the flattery, of the poet-laureat; accepted a medal of Augustus ; and promised, without a smile, to imitate the founder of the Roman monarchy. А false application of the names and maxims of antiquity was the source of the hopes and disappointments of Petrarch ; yet he could not overlook the difference of times and characters; the immeasurable distance between the first Cæsars and a Bohemian prince, who by the favour of the clergy had been elected the titular head of the German aristocracy. Instead of restoring to Rome her glory and her provinces, he had bound himself by a secret treaty with the pope to evacuate the city on the day of his coronation; and his shameful retreat was pursued by the reproaches of the patriot bard.56 After the loss of liberty and empire, his third and more humble
wish was to reconcile the shepherd with his flock; to recall the Roman bishop to his ancient and peculiar diocese. In the fervour of youth, with the authority of age, Petrarch
addressed his exhortations to five successive popes, and his eloquence was always inspired by the enthusiasm of sentiment and the freedom of language.57 The son of a citizen of Florence invariably preferred the country of his birth to that of his education ; and Italy, in his eyes, was the queen and garden of the world. Amidst her
He solicits the popes of Avignon to fix their residence at Rume.
55 The exile, second government, and death of Rienzi, are minutely related by the anonymous Roman, who appears neither his friend nor his enemy (l. ii. c. 12-25). Petrarch, who loved the tribune, was indifferent to the fate of the senator.
88 The hopes and the disappointment of Petrarch are agreeaviy described in his own words by the French biographer (Mémoires, tom. iii. p. 375-413); but the deep, though secret, wound was the coronation of Lanubi, the poet-laureat, by Charles IV.
57 Soe, in his accurate and amusing biographer, the application of Petrarch and Rome to Benedict XII. in the year 1334 (Mémoires, tom. i. p. 261-265), to Climent VI. in 1342 (tom. ü. p. 45-47), and to Urban V. in 1366 (tom. iii. p. 677691): his praise (p. 711-715) and excuse (p. 771) of the last of these pontiffs. His angry controversy on the respective merits of Fracce and Italy may be found Opp. p. 1068-1085.