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" yet remember that God suffers no wicked action to pass
" unpunished. Remember, that if you do not repent, you
" will incur the pain of damnation. Other punishments
" are comparatively light, because they endure but for a
" season. But the soul, when once lost, is lost to all
" eternity ; and unless you repent, you will be doomed,
" with other heresiarchs, to sustain the horrors of ever-
" lasting fire."*

These animadversions of Poggio upon the conduct of
Amedaeus and his abettors, were calculated to inflame
resentment rather than to prepare the way for conciliation.
The pacific spirit of Nicolas suggested measures much more
conducive to the extinction of the schism. By the grant of
a cardinal's hat, and the privilege of precedence in the
conclave, the antipope was induced to renounce the
equivocal honours which he held by so dubious a title, and
to render homage to his rival, as the true successor of St.
Peter. After the fulfilment of these terms of pacification,
which were concluded in the year 1449, Amedaeus retired to
his hermitage of Ripaille, where he devoted the remainder
of his days to works of piety, and in the neighbourhood of
which he terminated his mortal career on the seventh of
January, 1451.f

Poygii Opera, p. 155164.

f- Muratori .Innali, lorn. ix. p. 431.

3 G

410 CHAP. X.

Nicolas being thus freed from the vexation and appre-
hension which had been excited in his mind by the claims
of his rival, applied himself with renewed spirit to the
promotion of classical learning. At his request, and under
his patronage, the scholars who frequented his court
applied themselves with the most earnest assiduity to the
study of the Greek tongue. Among the rest, Poggio con-
tributed to the illustration of Grecian literature, by pub-
lishing a Latin version of the work of Diodorus Siculus,*
which he dedicated to his revered patron. This was not,
however, his first essay as a translator from the Greek.
A little before the accession of Nicolas to the pontificate
he had translated into Latin the Cyropsedia of Xenophon.-f-
Having completed this task, he deliberated for some time
on the choice of a patron under whose auspices he might
submit it to the inspection of the learned. At length the
fame of the splendid talents and liberal disposition of
Alfonso, king of Naples, determined him to inscribe his
translation to that monarch-^ On this occasion some of

* This translation of Diodorus Siculus was printed, Bononice, 1472, in
folio. Bandini Catalogus Bibliothecce Laurentiana, torn. ii. p. 819.

f- Poggii Hist, de Variet. Fortunes, p. 3. From the prefatory remarks
which Poggio prefixed to his version of the Cyropsedia, and which are quoted by
Bandini, in his Catalogus Bibtiothecce, Laurentiana, lorn. ii. p. 351, it should
seem, that by omitting many of the dialogues and speeches, he had considerably
abridged the work of Xenophon, whose eight books he had compressed into six.
An Italian translation of Poggio's version of the Cyropaedia, made by his son
Jacopo, was published at Florence by the Junta, an. 1521. It is worthy of
remark, that Poggio was the first literary character who declared his opinion
(an opinion now generally entertained) that the Cyropaedia is not a history, but
a political romance. Ton. Tr. vol. ii. /> 108.

+ Facii Opera, p. 98.


the Neapolitan scholars, who regarded Poggio with a consi-
derable degree of animosity, gratified their malevolence, by
vilifying his work to the king, who seems to have lent too
ready an ear to their censures. Poggio highly resented
this conduct of Alfonso, whom he stigmatized in a letter to
Bartolomeo Facio, one of the learned men who enjoyed
that monarch's favour and protection,* as a prince who, in

* Bartolomeo Facio was a native of Spezia, a sea-port in the Genoese terri-
tory. The most curious inquirers into the history of literature have not yet
been ahle to ascertain the precise period of his birth. From many passages how-
ever which occur in his works it appears, that he was indebted for instruction
in the Latin and Greek languages to Guarino Veronese, whom he frequently
mentions in terms of affectionate esteem. Facio was one of the numerous
assemblage of scholars that rendered illustrious the court of Alfonso, king of
Naples, by whom he was treated with distinguished honour. During his
residence at Naples, the jealousy of rivalship betrayed him into a violent quarrel
with Lorenzo Valla, against whom he composed four invectives. The following
list of his other works is extracted from his life, prefixed by Mehus to an edition
of his treatise De Viris illustribus, published at Florence, an. 1745.

1. De bello Veneto Clodiano ad Joannem Jacobum Spinulam Liber.
f, a i/i I. 1568.

2. Aliud paroi temporis bellum Venetum was printed together with the

3. De humane vita felicitate ad Alphonsum Arragmum et Sicilite
regem. Hanovia, typis Vechelianis, 1611. Post epilomen Felini Sandei de
Regibus Sicilies, SfC.

4. De excellentia et preeslantia hominis. This work, which is erroneously
ascribed to Pius II., was printed together with the preceding treatise, I/aiwrite,

5. De rebus gestis ab Alphonso primo Neapolitanorum rege Commenta-
riorum, Libri x. Lugduni, 1560^ apud hasredes Sebasliani Gryphii, in \to.
Ibidem, 1562 $ 1566. The seven first books of this work were also published,
Mantua, anno 1563, a Francisco Philopono. It has also been reprinted in
various collections of Italian history.

412 CHAP. X.

consequence of his own ignorance, gave implicit credit to
the opinions of others, and declared, that he would avail
himself of the earliest opportunity to retract every thing
which he had said in his commendation.* It should appear,
that these remonstrances of Poggio produced an effect little
to be expected to arise from the threats of an author
against a sovereign prince. In process of time, Alfonso,
being convinced that the strictures of his critics were in-
spired by personal hostility rather than by justice, remune-
rated him for his version, by a donation which exceeded his
first and most sanguine hopes.-f

The indignant manner in which Poggio commented
on the cool reception which his version of the Cyropaedia
had experienced at the court of Naples evinced, that the
influence of age had not abated his spirit. Indeed the
unrestrained license of his speech about this time betrayed
him into a contest with one of his fellow-labourers in the
field of literature, in which he appears to have manifested
not only the petulance, but also the prowess of youth. The
antagonist whom he encountered on this occasion was George

0. Arriani de rebus gestis Alexandria Libri viii. Latine redditi. Basilea,
1539. info, a Roberto Winter. Pisauri, 1508. Lugduni, 1552.

7- EpistolcB. Several of Facio's epistles are subjoined by Mehus to his
edition of the treatise De Viris illus. It is justly observed by Tiraboschi, that
Facio's style is much more elegant than that of any of his contemporaries.
Mehi vita Bartolomei Facti. Tiraboschi Sioria detta Letter. Hal. torn. vi.
p. \i. p. 80.

" Facli Opera, p. 99, 100, 101.
+ Ton. Tr. vol. ii. p. 110.

CHAP. X. 413

of Trebisond, a native of the isle of Candia, who adopted
the designation of Trapezuntius, or of Trebisond, in
reference to the residence of his ancestors. He was induced
to quit the place of his nativity by the invitation of Fran-
cesco Barbaro, who on his arrival in Italy procured him the
honour of being enrolled amongst the citizens of Venice.*
Having made a competent progress in the knowledge of the
Latin tongue, he went to Padua, and afterwards to Vicenza,
in which latter city he was employed in the capacity of
public tutor.-f* His residence in Vicenza was however not of
long duration. Finding himself harrassed by the intrigues
of Guarino Veronese, who regarded him with sentiments of
determined hostility, he gave up his professorship, and
repaired to Rome, in which city he arrived in the year
1430.J His Venetian friends having recommended him to
the protection of Eugenius IV., that pontiff conferred upon
him the office of apostolic secretary. He continued to hold
this office under Nicolas V., who employed him in trans-
lating the works of various Greek authors. When, however,
Nicolas had assembled at his court the most accomplished
scholars of the time, who were able to detect the errors of
literary pretenders by the touchstone of enlightened cri-
ticism, the reputation of George of Trebisond began rapidly
to decline. This circumstance probably had an unhappy

* Apostolo Zeno Dissert. Voss. torn. ii. p. 2.
f Ibid, p. 4.

Hodius de Gratis lllut. p. 104.

414 CHAP. X.

effect upon his temper, and by rendering him apt to take
offence, prepared the way for his quarrel with Poggio. This
quarrel he certainly took up on very slight grounds ; namely,
an opinion expressed by Poggio in a letter to a friend, that
he had without just reason charged Guarino Veronese with
attacking him in an anonymous epistle. This remark drew
from the Trapezuntian an angry written remonstrance, to
which Poggio replied with exemplary forbearance. Here
the matter might have rested, had not a dispute arisen
between the two secretaries about a sum of money which
fell to them in common. The discussions to which this
affair gave rise were carried on by Poggio with a praise-
worthy frankness and generosity of spirit ; whilst his an-
tagonist, in the bitterness of his feeling, tried to overwhelm
him by an accusation of practising against his life, which he
embodied in a letter to their common master. By this pro-
ceeding George found the mind of the pontiff so much
alienated from him, that he thought it expedient to quit the
Roman court. He accordingly retired to Naples, where he
was honourably received by king Alfonso. But in the year
1453, the good offices of Filelfo restored him to the favour
of Nicolas V., who reinstated him in his ancient situation in
the Roman chancery.*

George of Trebisond was not the only member of the

* Valla, in his Anlirlolus, tells a ridiculous story of a pugilistic contest which
on occasion of this quarrel took place between Poggio and George of Trebisond
in Pompey's theatre. This story was related as a fact in the first edition of
this work ; but, on further reflection, I agree in opinion with my Italian trans-
lator, that it is a fiction. See Tonelli, vol. \L p. 114.


court of Nicolas V. whom Poggio regarded with sentiments
of enmity. Tommaso da Rieti, a man of infamous charac-
ter, who by his interposition had been refused admittance
into the Roman chancery, and whom, under the designation
of Eques Reatinus, he had stigmatized in the letter to
Lionello d'Este, which is quoted in the ninth chapter of
this work, having provoked him to hostility, he composed an
invective against him, a copy of which is still extant in the
Laurentian Library.* ,

In the year 1450, the celebration of the Jubilee
attracted to Rome a prodigious concourse of people. As
the plague was at this time raging in various parts of Italy,
the multitude of devotees who were assembled to assist at
the splendid solemnities of this festive season rendered the
pontifical capital a focus of infection.-f- As soon therefore
as Nicolas had finished the customary religious exercises,
he fled from the impending danger to Fabriano, a town
situated in the Marca d'Ancona. Poggio availed himself
of this opportunity to visit his native place, where he dedi-
cated his leisure to the prosecution of his studies, and to
the enjoyment of social intercourse with his surviving Tus-
can friends.

Band'mi Calalogus Biblioth. Laur. torn. iii. p. 438.

f- Muratori Annali, torn. ix. p. 438. Muratori informs us, that the joy
occasioned by the celebration of this jubilee experienced only one interruption,
which was occasioned by the following accident. As an innumerable multitude
of people were returning on the nineteenth of December from receiving the pon-
tifical benediction, they were on a sudden so much alarmed by the braying of
an ass, that they trampled upon each other in such precipitate disorder, that
upwards of two hundred perished in the throng.

416 CHAP. X.

It was during this season of relaxation from the duties
of his office, that he published what may be called the first
edition of his Liber Facetiarum, or Collection of Jocose
Tales. * In the preface to this curious miscellany he
intimates, that he had engaged in a work of such levity,
with a view of exercising himself in Latin composition.^
The recording of these witticisms revived in his recollection
the occurrence of days of pleasure which were past, never
to return. From the postscript to the Liber Facetiarum
we learn, that during the pontificate of Martin V. the
officers of the Roman chancery were accustomed to assemble
in a kind of common hall. In this apartment, which from
the nature of the conversation of its frequenters, who were
much more studious of wit than of truth, acquired the name
of Bugiale ;\ they discussed the news of the day, and
amused themselves by the communication of entertaining
anecdotes. On these occasions they indulged themselves
in the utmost latitude of satiric remark, dealing out their
sarcasms with such impartiality, that they did not spare
even the pontiff himself. The leading orators of the
Bugiale were Razello of Bologna, Antonio Lusco, Cincio,

* It is properly remarked by the Cavaliere Tonelli, vol. ii. p. 115, that the
whole of the Facetiae were not published at this time, and that they came out at
uncertain intervals as Poggio increased his stock of entertaining anecdotes.

t Pogffii Opera, p. 420.

J Bugiale is derived from the Italian word Bugia, a falsehood, and is inter-
preted by Poggio " mendaciorum officina ;" i. e. the manufactory of lies.

Antonio Lusco was celebrated for his knowledge of the civil law, which
procured him the honour of being selected as a proper person to assist Francesco
Barbaro in revising the municipal regulations of the city of Vicenza. In the

CHAP. X. 417

and Poggio ; and the pointed jests and humorous stories
which occurred in the course of the unrestrained conversa-
tions, in which these mirthful scribes bore a principal part,
furnished the greater portion of the materials for the Liber
Facetiarum. *

This work is highly interesting on account of the
anecdotes which it contains of several eminent men, who

course of his journey to that place he overtook a Venetian, in whose company
he rode to Siena, where they took up their lodgings for the night. The inn was
crowded with travellers, who, on the ensuing morning, were busily employed in
getting their horses out of the stable in order to pursue their journey. In the
midst of the bustle, Lusco observed his Venetian friend booted and spurred,
but sitting with great tranquillity at the door of the inn. Surprised at seeing
him thus inactive, he told him, that if he wished to become his fellow traveller
for that day's journey, he must make haste, as be was just going to mount ; on
which the Venetian said, " I should be happy to accompany you, but I do not
" recollect which is my horse, and I am waiting till the other guests are gone,
" in order that I may take the beast which is left." This anecdote Lusco
communicated to his fellow secretaries ; and Poggio did not fail to insert it in
his Facetiae. The horsemanship of the Venetians appears to have been a fruit-
ful subject of mirth to the frequenters of the Bugiale. The following story
proves what utter ignorance of equestrian affairs the wits of the pontifical chan-
cery imputed to that amphibious race of men. " As a Venetian," says Poggio,
" was travelling to Trivigi on a hired horse, attended by a running footman, the
" servant received a kick from the beast, and in the first emotion of pain took
up a stone and threw it at the aggressor ; but missing his aim, he hit his
" master on the loins. The master looking back, and seeing his attendant
" limping after him at some distance, asked him why he did not quicken his
" pace. The servant excused himself by saying, that the horse had kicked him :
" on which his master replied, I see he is a. vicious beast, for he has just now
" given me a severe kick on the back." Agostini Isloria degli Scrit. Viniz.
torn. ii. p. 53 Poggii Opera, p. 444, 46 1.

* Poggii Opera, p. 491.

3 H

418 CHAP. X.

flourished during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.
In the course of its perusal, we find that many an humor-
ous tale, which the modern jester narrates as the account of
circumstances that occurred under his own observation,
were of the number of those which caused the walls of
the Bugiale to re-echo with laughter. Like all collections
of the kind, the Liber Facetiarum contains, amongst a
number of pieces of merit, some stories, in which we look
in vain for the pungency of wit. When, however, we are
inclined to condemn Poggio as guilty of the crime of
chronicling a dull joke, we should remember, that bons
mots frequently borrow their interest from aptness of intro-
duction, and an humorous mode of delivery ; and that
though the spirit of a witticism, which enlivened the con-
versation of a Lusco or a Cincio, may evaporate when it is
committed to paper, yet at the time when it was recorded
by Poggio, it sported in his recollection with all the hilarity
of its concomitant circumstances. But too many of the
Facetice are liable to a more serious objection than that of
dulness. It is a striking proof of the licentiousness of the
times, that an apostolic secretary, who enjoyed the friendship
and esteem of the pontiff, should have published a number
of stories which outrage the laws of decency, and put
modesty to the blush ; and that the dignitaries of the Roman
hierarchy should have tolerated a book, various passages of
which tend not merely to expose the ignorance and hypo-
crisy of individuals of the clerical profession, but to throw
ridicule on the most sacred ceremonies of the Catholic
church. Recanati indeed endeavours to defend the fame of
Poggio, by suggesting the idea, that many of the most

CHAP. X. 419

licentious stories were added to his collection by posterior
writers ; and he supports this opinion by asserting, that he
has seen two manuscript copies of the Facetice, in which
many of the obnoxious passages in question are not to be
found.* The validity of this defence is, however, rendered
extremely questionable by the consideration of a fact, of
which Recanati was probably ignorant, namely, that Lo-
renzo Valla, in the fourth book of his Antidotus in
Poggium, which was published about the year 1452, not
only impeaches the Facetiae of blasphemy and indecency ;
but recites, by way of holding that work up to reprobation,
the most scandalous stories which are now to be found in
the whole collection.-f-

It has been ascertained by Monsieur le Grand, that a
few of the stories which occur in the Facetice are to be
found in the Fabliaux, or tales which were circulated in
various parts of Europe by the ProvenQal bards of the
twelfth and thirteenth centuries, whose sportive effusions of
fancy furnished a rich fund of materials for the poets and
novelists of Italy and of England.^

* Recanati Vita Poffgii, p. xxiii.

+ Vallce Antidotus in Poggium, p. 227, *2-ft, et seq.

J Fabilaux ou Contes du xii. et du xiii. Siecle, Fables el Romans du xiii.
traduits ou extraits d'apris plusieurs manuscrils du terns ; a vec des notes histo-
riques et critiques, et les imitations qui ont etc faites de ces conies dcpuis leur
origine jusqu' a nos jours. Nouvelle Edition, augmentie d*unc dissertation
sur les Troubadours. Par M. le Graml. En cin/i lorn, in ll!/o. o Paris, 1781.

For the following enumeration of the Facelia of Poggio, which appear to
correspond with some of the Fabliaur, I am indebted to the friendly diligence

430 CHAP. X.

The Liber Facet iarum, soon after its publication,
acquired a considerable degree of popularity, and was

of the late Rev. John Grcswell, for many years master of the college school at

The first occurs in torn. i. p. 299 of the Fabliaux, entitled La Culottedes
Cordeliers, and is, with some variations in the commencement, the Braccce
Divi Francisci of Poggio, p. 236 of the small edition of 1798. In vol. iii. p.
107, Le Testament de FAne, is in Poggio's Facet, p. 45, Canis Testamentum.
Same vol. p. 197, Du Villain et de sa femme, is in Poggio, p. 69, the Mulier
Demersa, whose body is to be sought for as floating against the current, vol. iii.
p. 201. Du pre tondu, alias De la femme contrariante, is the Pertinacia
Muliebris in the Facetiae, p. 68. Again, vol. iii. p. 292, Le Meunler dFAleus,
is in Poggio the story entitled Quinque Ova, p. 278 of the Facetiae. Vol. ir.
p. 192, Le Villain de Ba'illeul, alias La femme qui fit croire a son Mari
qu'il etoit mart, is mentioned as imitated by Poggio, but resembles his Mortuus
loquens, p. 275, only at the close. In Poggio, the young man persuaded that
he was dead, hearing himself abused during the procession of his corpse to burial,
erecto capite, si vivus essem, sicut sum mortuus, inquit, dicerem, furcifer, te
per gulam mentiri. In le Villain de Bailleul, the husband persuaded by his
wife that he is dead, Le Cure" lui-meme entre pour chanter ses oremus apres quoi
il emmene la veuve dan la chambre. Pendant tout co terns le Villain convaincu
qu'il e"tait mort, restait toujours sous le drap, sans remuer non plus qu'un cada-
vre. Mais entendant un certain bruit dans la chambre, et soulevant son linceul
pour regarder : coquin de Pretre s'ecrie-t-il, tu dois bien remercier Dieu de ce
que je suis mort, car sans cela, mordie, tu perirais ici sous le baton. Vol. iii.
p. 287, De la Bourgeoise d" Orleans, alias De la dame qui fit battre son Mari,
is said to be imitated in Poggio's Fraus Muliebris, p. 20, but with much

variation. Vol. iv. p. 304, De TAnneau (Par Haisiau). All the

account of this is as follows : Quoique le grave President Fauchet ait donne"
1'extrait de ce Fabliau, je n'en parlerais point si je n'avais a remarquer sur
celuici, comme sur le pre'ce'dent qu'il a e'te' imite". Ou le trouve dans Vergier
sous le titre de TAnneau de Merlin. This is the Annulus which Poggio
(Facet, p. HI) gives Philephus.

In addition to the above, Le Medecin de Bral, alias le Villain devenu
Medecin, torn. ii. p. 366, from which Moliere has borrowed his Medecin malgrf
lui , is in sonic parts imitated in the Poggiana, where an account is given of an

CHAP. X. 421

eagerly read, not only in the native country of its author,
but also in France, in Spain, in Germany, and in Britain.*

expeditious method of clearing the sick list of an hospital on his estate, by an
Italian cardinal. Deguise* en Me'deeiu il leur declara qu 1 on ne pouvait les
gucrir qu 1 avec un onguent de graisse humaine, mais des qu'il eut propose de
tircr au sort a qui gerait inia dans la chaudicre, tons viderent 1'hupital. Vol. iii.
p. 95. Les deux Parasites, (une assez mauvaisc plaisanterie) in the Facetiat
of Frischlinus is attributed to Poggio, and is in his Facetiae, p. 67, Danthis
Faceta Responsio. When Dante was dining with Canis Scaliger, the courtiers
had privately placed all the bones before him. Versi omnes in golum Dantem,
mirabantur cur ante ipsum solummodo ossa conspicerentur, turn ille, Minime
inquit mirum, si Canes ossa sua commederunt ; ego autem non sum Canis.
Le Grand does not notice this as contained in the Facetiae of Poggio ; but the
resemblance is as great as between most of those that he notices.

Poggii Opera, p. 219.

The popularity of the Facetia is evinced by the number of editions through
which that work has passed ; seven different impressions of it are thus enume-
rated by Do Bute, who erroneously gives to Poggio the prcenomen of Franciscus.

1. Francisci Poggii Florentine Facetiarum Liber ; editio velustissima
et originalis absque loci et anni indications, sed cvjus in f route apparel Epis-
tola praefatoria Bernardi cujusdam in senium deducti ad militcm Ilaymun-
dum Dominum Castri Ambrosii dicata, in 4to.

De Bure conjectures, that this edition was printed at Rome by George Laver
or Ulric Han, in 1470.

2. Ejusdem Edito veins el secunda originalis absque loci et anni indica-
tione ulla, sed typis Vindelini Spirensis, aut saltern Nicolai Jenson Galtici
excusa Venetiis circa, an. 1471, infol.

3. Ejusdem, Ferrariee, 14?l, 4lo.

4. Ejusdem, Noribergi per Fredericum Creusner, 147-5, infol.

5. Ejusdem, Mediolani per Christophorum Valdarfer, 14/7. 4to.

6. Ejusdem, Mediolani per Leonardum Pachel, et Uldrericum Scinzin-

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