Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/206

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irreconcilable to reform. The line of demarcation was as much ethical as political. Guicciardini has admirably analysed the parties: behind Capponi were ranged aristocrats who hated popular government, sceptics who disbelieved in prophecy, libertines who feared molestation in their pleasures, devotees of the Franciscans and other Orders. Against these Valori led an equally heterogeneous force; serious men who believed in Savonarola's prophecies or welcomed his good works, hypocrites who drew a mantle of sanctity round secret sin, worldlings whose avenue to popularity and office lay through the stronger party. The outward test was foreign policy. Here the line was hard and fast. The Plagnoni steadfastly looked to France for terrestrial salvation. The Arrabbiati, in the phrase of the Spanish Pope and the Austrian Maximilian, would be "good Italians'"; they would join the Italian League and close the Peninsula to the foreigner; they courted the Pope and the Duke of Milan, whose ambassador Somenzi became the receptacle or the source of all the scandal and intrigue against the Friar. It was certain that sooner or later foreign politics would help to decide the issue. All depended on the realisation of prophecies as to the recovery of Pisa. Florence could not permanently remain in isolation. Prophecy, unfortified by French aid, would prove a stimulant with inevitable reaction.

If Savonarola, in Machiavelli's words, was an unarmed prophet, the chosen city was a weak military State. The rebellion of Pisa tasked her whole strength for many years to come. When Charles VIII retired from Naples, Savonarola met him on the Florentine frontier at Poggibonsi (June, 1495),—and this on no public mission, but as one directly inspired by God. The King was threatened with the condign punishment of heaven if he did not behave honestly towards Florence. The prophecy seemed to receive fulfilment in the death of the King's children, but this was slight consolation to the injured town. Charles, indeed, avoided Florence, but he demanded the third instalment of his subsidy, and dismissed the prophet with vague promises. Indignation was already expressed against the folly of clinging to France at the instigation of a "foreign Friar." "Believe now in your Friar," men cried, "who declared that he held Pisa in his fist!" No sooner had Charles left Italy, than the French commandants, corrupt and insubordinate, sold the fortress of Pisa to its inhabitants, and Lorenzo de1 Medici's conquests, Sarzana and Pietra Santa, to the Genoese and Lucchese respectively. Beaumont, governor of Leghorn, alone restored his charge. Thus Florence had lost her seaboard from the mouth of the Magra to the Pisan marshes, while the natural road northwards was blocked by unfriendly States. Nor was this all; in the far south Montepulciano revolted to Siena, whilst beyond the Apennines the protectorate of Faenza was abandoned and control lost of the well-worn route to the Adriatic by the Val di Lamone. On the tableland of the Mugello, in the mountain basin of the Casentino, in