1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Grossi, Tommaso
GROSSI, TOMMASO (1791-1853), Lombard poet and novelist, was born at Bellano, on the Lake of Como, on the 20th of January 1791. He took his degree in law at Pavia in 1810, and proceeded thence to Milan to exercise his profession; but the Austrian government, suspecting his loyalty, interfered with his prospects, and in consequence Grossi was a simple notary all his life. That the suspicion was well grounded he soon showed by writing in the Milanese dialect the battle poem La Prineide, in which he described with vivid colours the tragical death of Prina, chief treasurer during the empire, whom the people of Milan, instigated by Austrian agitators, had torn to pieces and dragged through the streets of the town (1814). The poem, being anonymous, was first attributed to the celebrated Porta, but Grossi of his own accord acknowledged himself the author. In 1816 he published other two poems, written likewise in Milanese—The Golden Rain (La Pioggia d'oro) and The Fugitive (La Fuggitiva). These compositions secured him the friendship of Porta and Manzoni, and the three poets came to form a sort of romantic literary triumvirate. Grossi took advantage of the popularity of his Milanese poems to try Italian verse, into which he sought to introduce the moving realism which had given such satisfaction in his earliest compositions; and in this he was entirely successful with his poem Ildegonda (1814). He next wrote an epic poem, entitled The Lombards in the First Crusade, a work of which Manzoni makes honourable mention in I Promessi Sposi. This composition, which was published by subscription (1826), attained a success unequalled by that of any other Italian poem within the century. The example of Manzoni induced Grossi to write an historical novel entitled Marco Visconti (1834)—a work which contains passages of fine description and deep pathos. A little later Grossi published a tale in verse, Ulrica and Lida, but with this publication his poetical activity ceased. After his marriage in 1838 he continued to employ himself as a notary in Milan till his death on the 10th of December 1853.