Cantar del mio Signor sì nuovamente,
Avvamparo la mia gelata mente,
Già volge in lieta sorte il second' anno.
Felice giorno, ch'a sì dolce affanno
Una fiamma girar sì dolcemente,
Che men beati son que' che 'n ciel stanno.
L'ombra, it pensier, la negligenza, e'l letto
Giace ad ogn' or del vulgo errante e vile.
Scorsemi Amore a più gradito oggetto:
Madonna affina in me l'ingegno e l'arte.
Since first the light of those twin stars, thine eyes,
Kindled my frost-bound soul with fires of love,
Years twain their course have run in happy wise.
O blessed day, of such sweet heaviness
Within my heart a gentle flame doth go,
That not in heaven is found such happiness.
Recluse I lived, in musing lost, nor care,
Of the vile herd of errant men and base.
Love roused my soul to seek an end more fair:
My lady 'tis refines my mind and art.
If this somewhat insipid sonnet is a fair sample of Pico's amatory effusions,
destruction caused Politian, and which drew from him the following epigram:--
Πολλακι τοξευθεις φλεχθεις θ' υτο Πιχος ερωτων
Τοξα, βελη, φαρετρας, και νηησας τα γε παντα
Ηψεν οµου σορον λαµπασι ληιδιοις.
Συν δ'αυτους µαρψας αµενηνα χερυδρια,
Ταις νευραις, µεσσν δ'εµβαλε πυρκαια δνσεν
Και πυρι φλεξε το πυρ' τι δ ω αφρονες αυτον ερωτες
Τον Πικον µουσων ειςεποτασθε προµον;
Ficino took a different view from Politian. "Somewhat of love," he wrote after
without damage to his reputation." This, however, probably refers not so much to the
literary merit of the poems as to their moral tone. His nephew, Giovanni Francesco
Pico distinctly states that they were destroyed "religionis causa." It is evident also
from the way in which Politian refers to them that they were such as a less severe
moralist than Ficino might have censured. "I hear," he wrote, "that you have burned
the little love poems which you made in the past, fearing perhaps lest they should
injure your fair name or the morals of others. For I cannot think that you have
destroyed them, as Plato is said to have destroyed his, because they were not worthy
of publication. For as far as I remember nothing could be more terse, more sweet or
more polished." Pico was wont to solace himself with Propertius, and had wantoned
with other ladies than the Muses, so that in all likelihood his love poetry was
decidedly more ardent than chaste. More (infra) is inaccurate in stating that the "five
books" thus destroyed were in the vulgar tongue. They were written, as we learn from
Giovanni Francesco Pico "elegiaco carmine," i.e. in Latin elegies, probably modelled
on Propertius. The Italian poems, however, were destroyed at the same time. Of Pico's
Latin elegiacs two specimens survive: (1) a hymn to God written probably after his
conversion; (2) an encomiastic poem on his friend Girolamo Benivieni. For the first
no high merit can be claimed. The attempt to give poetical expression to the mysteries
of Christian theology is nearly always unsuccessful, and Pico's "Deprecatoria "forms
no exception to the rule. The most that can be said for it is that it is tolerable Latin.
Such as it is, however, it is here printed for comparison with More's translation, which
will be found below.
JOANNIS PICI MIRANDULÆ DEPRECATORIA AD DEUM.
Alme Deus! summa qui majestate verendus,
Vere unum in triplici numine numen habes:
Cui super excelsi flammantia mœnia mundi
Angelici servit turba beata chori
Cujus et immensum hoc oculis spectabile nostris
Omnipotens quondam dextra creavit opus:
Æthera qui torques, qui nutu dirigis orbem,
Cujus ab imperio fulmina missa cadunt:
Parce, precor, miseris, nostras, precor, ablue sordes,
Ne nos justa tui pœna furoris agat.
Quod si nostra pari pensentur debita lance
Et sit judicii norma severa tui,
Quis queat horrendum viventis far flagellum
Vindicis, et plagas sustinuisse graves?
Non ipsa iratæ restabit Machina dextræ,
Machina supremo non peritura die.
Quæ mens non primæ damnata ab origine culpæ,
Aut quæ non proprio crimine facta nocens?
Aut certe ille ipse es proprium cui parcere semper,
Justitiamque pari qui pietate tenes:
Præmia qui ut meritis longe maiora rependis,
Supplicia admissis sic leviora malis.
Namque tua est nostris major dementia culpis,
Et dare non dignis res mage digna Deo est.
Quamquam sat digni, si quos, dignatur amare
Qui quos non dignos invenit ipse facit.
Ergo tuos placido miserans, precor, aspice vultu,