Page:The Yellow Book - 01.djvu/268

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The Love-Story of Luigi Tansillo

But that, if unto these shall reach my name,
Ages to come may study in my line
How year by year more streamed and towered my flame,
And how I living was and dying thine.

There is no reason to doubt the perfect sincerity of these lines at the period of their composition; but Tansillo's mistress had apparently resolved that his attachment should not henceforth have the diet even of a chameleon; and it is small wonder to find him shortly afterwards a tender husband and father, lamenting the death of an infant son in strains of extreme pathos, and instructing his wife on certain details of domestic economy in which she might have been supposed to be better versed than himself. His marriage took place in 1550, and in one of his sonnets he says that his unhappy attachment had endured sixteen years, which, allowing for a decent interval between the Romeo and the Benedict, would date its commencement at 1532 or 1533.

Maria d'Aragona died on November 9, 1568, and Tansillo, whose services had been rewarded by a judicial appointment in the kingdom of Naples, followed her to the tomb on December 1. If her death is really the subject of the two poems in terza rima which appear to deplore it, he certainly lost no time in bewailing her, but the interval is so brief, and the poems are so weak, that they may have been composed on some other occasion. With respect to the latter consideration, however, it must be remembered that he was himself, in all probability, suffering from disabling sickness, having made his will on November 29. It is also worthy of note that the first sonnets composed by Petrarch upon the death of Laura are in general much inferior in depth of tenderness to those written years after the event. "In Memoriam" is another proof that the adequate poetical expression of grief, unlike that of life, requiees time and study. Tansillo, then, may not have been so completely