Page:The Yellow Book - 01.djvu/256

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The Love-Story of Luigi Tansillo

to the whole book is generally attributed to Giordano Bruno, in whose Dialogue in the 'Eroici Furori' it occurs. There seems, however, good reason to suppose that it was really written by Tansillo, who recites it in that dialogue. Whoever may have been its author, it expresses in noble and impassioned verse the sense of danger, the audacity, and the exultation of those pioneers of modern thought, for whom philosophy was a voyage of discovery into untravelled regions." Mr. Symonds's knowledge of Italian literature was so extensive that he must have had ground for stating that the sonnet is generally attributed to Giordano Bruno; as it certainly is by De Sanctis, though it is printed as Tansillo's in all editions of his works, imperfect as these were before the appearance of Signor Fiorentino's in 1882. It is, nevertheless, remarkable that he should add: "There seems good reason to suppose that it was really written by Tansillo," as if there could be a shadow of doubt on the matter. "Eroici Furori" is professedly a series of dialogues between Luigi Tansillo the Neapolitan poet, who had died about twenty years before their composition, and Cicero, but is in reality little more than a monologue, for Tansillo does nearly all the talking, and Cicero receives his instructions with singular docility. The reason of Tansillo's selection for so great an honour was undoubtedly that, although born at Venosa, he belonged by descent to Nola, Bruno's own city. In making such free use of Tansillo's poetry as he has done throughout these dialogues, Bruno was far from the least idea of pillaging his distinguished countryman. In introducing the four sonnets he has borrowed (for there are three besides that already quoted) he is always careful to make Tansillo speak of them as his own compositions, which he never does when Bruno's own verses are put into his mouth. If a particle of doubt could remain, it would be dispelled by the fact that this sonnet, with