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BIOGRAPHICAL

ANECDOTES AND CHARACTERS,

CHARACTER OF COSMO DE' MEDICI.

[From the first Volume of Mr. Roscoe's Life of Lorenzo de' Medici.}

"THE

HE character of Cosmo de? example to those, who by their

Medici exhibits a combi- rank, and their riches, could alone nation of virtues and endowments afford them effectual aid, The rarely to be found united in the countenance shewn by him to those fame person. If in his public works arts, was not of that kind which he was remarkable for his magnifi- their professors generally expericence, he was no less conspicuous ence from the great; it was not con. for his prudence in private life. ceded as a bounty, nor received as Wbilst in the character of chief of a favour; but appeared in the the Florentine republic, he fup. friendship and equality that subported a constant intercourse with fisted between the artist and his pa. the fovereigns of Europe, his con

In the erection of the nuduet in Florence was divested of all merous public buildings in which oftentation, and neither in his re- Cosmio expended incredible fums tinue, his friendships, or his con- of money, he principally availed versation, could he be distinguished himself of the alliitance of Michelfrom any other respectable citizen. lozzo Michellozzi and Filippo BruHe well knew the jealous temper of nelleschi; the first of whom was a the Florentines, and preferred the man of talents, the latter of genius, real enjoyment of authority, to Soon after his return" from banishthat open assumption of it, which ment, Cosmo engaged these two could only have been regarded as a artists to form the plan of a mansion perpetual insult, by those whom he for his own residence. Brunelpermitted to gratify their own pride, leschi gave scope to his invention, in the reflection that they were the and produced the design of a palace equals of Cosmo de' Medici. which might have suited the proud

“ In affording protection to the est sovereign in Europe; but Cofarts of architecture, painting, and mo was led by that prudence which, sculpture, which then began to re- in his personal accommodation, revive in Italy, Cofio set the great gulated all his conduct, to prefer

the

the plan of Michellozzi, which uni- reach the true end of the art, they ted extent with simplicity, and ele- afforded considerable afstance togance with convenience. With wards it; and while Masaccio and the consciousness, Brunelleschi por. Filippo decorated with their adfelfed also the irritability of genius, mired productions the altars of and in a fit of vexation, he destroy- churches and the apartments of ed a design which he unjustly con- princes, Donatello gave to marble sidered as disgraced by its not being a proportion of form, a vivacity of carried into execution. Having expression, to which his contemppcompleated his dwelling, Cosmo in- raries imagined that nothing more dulged his taste in ornamenting it was wanting; Brunelleschi raised with the most precious remains of the great dome of the cathedral of ancient art; and in the purchase of Florence; and Ghiberti cast in vases, ftatues, bufts, gems, and me- brass the stupendous doors of the dals, expended no inconsiderable church of St. John, which Michel. {um. Nor was he lefs attentive to agnolo deemed worthy to be the the merits of those artists which his gates of paradise. native place had recently produced. “ In his perfon Cosmo was tall; With Masaccio a better style of in his youth he poífelled the advanpainting had arisen, and the cold tage of a prepofsefling countenance; and formal manner of Giotto, and what age had taken from his come. his disciples, had given way to liness, it had added to his dignity, more natural and expreslive com- and in his latter years, his appearposition. In Cosmo de' Medici ance was so truly venerable as 19 this rising artist found his most li- have been the frequent subject of beral patron and protector. Some panegyric. His manner was grave of the works of Masaccio were exe- and complacent, but upon many cuted in the chapel of the Bran- occasions he gave sufficient proofs cacci, where they were held in such that this did not arise from a want estimation, that the place was re- of talents for sarcasm ; and the garded as a school of study by the fidelity of the Florentine historians most eminent artists who immedi- has preserved many of his flirewd ately succeeded him. Even the observations and remarks. When celebrated Michelagnolo, when ob- Rinaldo de' Albizi, who was then serving these paintings many years in exile, and meditated ani attack afterwards, in company with his upon his native place, sent a mefhonest and loquacious friend Va- fage to Cosmo, importing that the fari, did not hesitate to express his hen would shortly hatch, he replied, decided approbation of their merits. . • She will hatch' with an ill grace The reputation of Masaccio was 6 out of her own neft.' On ano. emulated by his disciple Filippo ther occasion, when his adversaries Lippi, who executed for Cosmo gave him to understand that they and his friends many celebrated were not tleeping, I believe it,' pictures, of which Vafari has given said Cosmo, I have spoiled their a minute account. Cosmo how seep.'-_ Of what colour is my ever found no small difficulty in hair?said Cosmo, uncovering his controlling the temper and regu- head to the ambassadors of Venice, lating the eccentricities of this ex- who came with a complaint againft traordinary character. If the ef- the Florentines, • White,' they re. forts of thefe early masters did not plied ; . It will not be long,' said

Cosmo,

his reply:

Cosmo, before that of your sena- on the throne, and was repaid when tors will be so too. Shortly be- bis successes enabled him to fulfil fore his death, his wife inquiring his engagement. The alliance of why he closed his eyes, · That I Cosmo was seduloully courted by may perceive more clearly,' was the princes of Italy, and it was re

marked that by a happy kind of “ If, from considering the pri- fatality, whoever united their intervate character of Cofmo, we attend efts with his, were always enabled to his conduct as the moderator either to repress, or to overcome and director of the Florentine re. their adversaries. By his assistance public, our admiration of his abi- the republic of Venice resisted the lities will increase with the extent united attacks of Filippo duke of of the theatre upon which he had Milan, and of the French nation, 10 act. So important were his but when deprived of his support, mercantile concerns, that they often the Venetians were no longer able influenced in a very remarkable de- to withstand their enemies. With gree the politics of Italy. When whatever difficulties Cosmo had to Alfonso king of Naples leagued encounter, at home or abroad, they with the Venetians against Flo- generally terminated in the acquirence, Cofino called in such im- qition of additional honour to his mense debts from those places, as

country and to himself. The edeprived them of resources for car- fteem and gratitude of his fellowrying on the war. During the con- citizens were fully shewn a short test between the houses of York time before his death, when by a and Lancaster, one of his agents in public decree he was honoured England was resorted to by Edward with the title of Pater Parriæ, an IV. for a sum of money, which appellation which was inscribed on was accordingly furnished, to such his tomb, and which, as it was an extraordinary amount, that it founded on real merit, has ever might almost be considered as the since been attached to the name of means of supporting that monarch Cosmo de' Medici.”

Short Review of the CHARACTER: of LORENZO DE' Medici, and of

the Circunftances attending his Death.

(From the second Volume of the same Work.] " IN the height of his reputation, an energy of intellect that arrives

and at a premature period at excellence in any department in of life, died Lorenzo de' Medici; which it may be employed, it is a man who may be selected from certain that there are few instances all the characters of ancient and in which a successful exertion in modern hiftory, as exhibiting the any human pursuit has not occamost remarkable initance of depth fioned a dereliction of many other of penetration, versatility of talent, objects, the attainment of which and comprehension of mind. Whe- might have conferred immortality. ther genius be a predominating im. If the powers of the mind are to pulfe, directing the mind to some bear down all obstacles that oppose particular object, or whether it be their progress, it seems necessary

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that

that they thould sweep along in ed of undoubted talents for milisome certain course, and in one tary exploits, and of fagacity to collected mass. What then shall we avail himself of the iinbecility of think of that rich fountain which, neighbouring powers, he was fue whilft it was poured out by so many perior to that avarice of dominion channels, flowed through each with which, without improving what is a full and equal stream? To be ab. already acquired, blindly aims at forbed in one pursuit, however im- more extensive poffeffions. The portant, is not the characteristic of wars in which he engaged were for the higher class of genius, which, fecurity, not for territory; and the piercing through tlie various com- riches produced by the fertility of binations and relations of surround- the soil, and the industry and ingeing circumstances, fees all things nuity of the inhabitants of the Floin their just dimensions, and attri- rentine republic, instead of being butes to each its due. Of the va- dissipated in imposing projects and rious occupations in which Loren- ruinous expeditions, circulated in zo engaged, there is not one in their natural channels, giving hapwhich he was not eminently suc- piness to the individual, and recessful; but he was most particu- spectability to the state. If he was larly distinguified in those which not insensible to the charms of amjustly hold the first rank in human bition, it was the ambition to deestimation. The facility with which serve rather than to enjoy; and he he turned from subjects of the was always cautious not to exact highest importance to those of a- from the public favour more than musement and levity, suggested to it might be voluntarily willing to his countrymen the idea thiat he had bestow. The approximating luptwo diftinét souls combined one pression of the liberties of Florence, body. Even his moral character under the influence of his descendseenis to have partaken in some de- ants, may induce suspicions unfagree of the same diversity, and his vourable to his patriotism; but it devotional poems are as ardent as will be difficult, not to say imposhis lighter pieces are licentious. fible, to discover, either in his conOn all sides he touched the ex- duct or his precepts, any thing that tremes of human character, and ought to stigmatize him as an enethe powers of his mind were only my to the freedom of his country, bounded by that impenetrable cir. The authority which he exercise cle which prescribes the limits of was the same as that which his anhuman nature.

cestors had enjoyed, without injury “ Asastatesman, Lorenzo de'Me- to the republic, for nearly a cendici appears to peculiar advantage. tury, and had descended to him as Uniformly employed in securing inseparable from the wealth, the rethe peace and promoting the hap- spectability, and the powerful fopiness of his country by just regu- reign connexions of his family. lations at home, and wife precau- The fuperiority of his talents entions abroad, and teaching to the abled him to avail himself of these surrounding governments those im- advantages with irresistible effect; · portant leffons of political science, but history suggests not an instance on which the civilization and tran- in which they were devoted to any quillity of nations have since been other purpose than that of promotfound to depend. Though pofleft- ing the honour and independence

of

of the Tuscan state. It was not by it was not without difficulty that he the continuance, but by the dere- was rescued from the danger, to liction of the system that he had receive from the bounty of Lorenzo established, and to which he ad- the reward of his well-meant though hered to the close of his life, that mistaken fidelity. the Florentine republic funk under • The death of Lorenzo, which the degrading yoke of despotic happened on the eighth day of power; and to his premature death April 1492, was no sooner known we may unquestionably attribute, at Florence than a general aların not only the destruction of the com- and confternation spread throughmonwealth, but all the calamities out the city, and the inhabitants that Italy soon afterwards sustain. gave way to the most unbounded ed.

expresions of grief. Even those " The sympathies of mind, like who were not friendly to the Miethe laws of chemical affinity, are dici lamented in this misfortune the uniform. Great talents attract ad- prospect of the evils to come. The miration, the offering of the under- agitation of the public mind was standing; but the qualities of the increased by a singular coincidence heart can alone excite affection, the of calamitous events, which the fuoffering the heart. If we may judge perstition of the people considered of Lorenzo de' Medici by the ar. as portentous of approaching corndour wih which his friends and motions. The physician, Pier Leoni, contemporaries have expressed their whose prescriptions had failed of attachment, we shall form conclu- success, being apprized of the refions highly favourable to his fenfi- fult, left Careggi in a itate of difbility and his social virtues. The traction, and precipitated himfelf exaction of those attentions usually into a well in the suburbs of the paid to rank and to power, he left city. Two days preceding the to such as had no other claims to death of Lorenzo, the great doine respect; he rather chose to be con- of the Reparata was itruck with sidered as the friend and the equal, lightning, and on the side which than as the dictator of his fellow- approached towards the chapel of citizens. His urbanity extended to the Medici, a part of the building the lowest ranks of society; and fell. It was also observed that one while he enlivened the city of Flo- of the golden palle or balls, in the rence by magnificent spectacles and emblazoninent of the Medicean amusing representations, he partook arms, was at the same time struck of them himself with a relish that out. For three nights, gleams of set the example of festivity. It light were said to have been perwas the general opinion in Flo- ceived proceeding from the hill of rence, that whoever was favoured Fiesole, and hovering above the by Lorenzo could not fail of suc- church of S. Lorenzo, where the cers. Valori relates, that in the remains of the family were deporepresentation of an engagement on fited. Besides these incidents, foundhorseback, one of the combatants, ed perhaps on some casual occur. who was supposed to contend un- 'rence, and only rendered extraorder the patronage of Lorenzo, be dinary by the workings of a heated ing overpowered and wounded, a. imagination, many others of a fivowed his resolution to die rather milar kind are related by contemthan submit to his adversary, and porary authors, which, whilst they

exemplify

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