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nished the stuffage to most of his landscapes; while later events in the history of Piedmont, even up to the last century, suggested to him frequent subjects for illustration. Many of his works, of which the galleries of the Louvre and of Turin contain specimens, have been engraved; and they all exhibit much talent, even a certain wealth of invention; and, when the low stage of landscape-painting in Italy is considered, may justly be classed among the best things produced there, in that department, in modern times. His chef d'ouvre is, perhaps, his representation of the origin of the family of Sforza. Yet, in spite of his careful studies and his long preparation, he did not succeed in avoiding the faults so common in historical painting: his mistakes in costume, as is too often the case in Italy, were numerous; while his understanding of nature was too superficial to enable him to unfold its deeper meaning, or to suggest the profounder charm which underlies it. He fell back, therefore, upon a certain conventional treatment, which, with so fruitful an artist, could lead only to weariness.
In 1829 he returned to Turin, and the next year went to Milan, where he married the daughter of Manzoni, the famous author of the “Promessi Sposi ;” and, for a long time, his residence was in the latter city, when not seeking subjects for his pencil on the Lago Maggiore, or themes for his pen in Genoa and Tuscany: for the influence of Manzoni had speedily exerted its attraction upon a nature so versatile and an ima. gination so lively as D'Azeglio's. Nature and fortune had nothing for him but smiles, says a French writer; for nature made him an artist, and fortune made him the son-in-law of Manzoni. It was indeed a happy event; for, though his wife lived but for a short time, he was thus brought into relations which had the best effect upon his future career.
Since the close of the sixteenth century, romance had become almost extinct in the land of Boccaccio. Manzoni may therefore be called the father of historical romance in Italy ; and D'Azeglio became at once his ardent disciple, — not through defect of talent, but because the rising spirit of Italian nationality, so gently announced by Manzoni, had pos
sessed him as with the fire of a great passion. Resigned, through his religious convictions, to the will of God, as it expressed itself in existing historical conditions, Manzoni had indeed done more, by the simple recital of the evils which foreign occupation had brought upon Italy, to brand it as a crime, and to rouse a spirit of silent but deadly hatred to the aggressor, than could ever have been effected by the startling imprecations of Guerrazzi. His moderation and his irony were more eloquent than passion. Yet it was, after all, a negative sort of warfare he waged, if one may say so. With otbers of less genius, his tone would have degenerated into slavish submission. In the midst of the conflicts of passion, and the discord of opinions, and the bitter struggle between rich and poor, Manzoni could utter only the holy words, “ Siete voi fratelli.” D'Azeglio did not yield himself to that seductive quietism. From the beginning, he struck another key, but struck it with a force tempered by the gentler influences which, within the charmed circle of Manzoni, had been his first inspiration as they were his last consolation. His active habits did not permit him to be idle; but, with his aristocratic culture, he shrank from being a conspirator. He took, there. fore, a middle course; and, laboring to awaken in the people a sense of their power and a feeling of contrition for their misfortunes, due in so great part to themselves, he was content to wait for opportunities of action, - not to force them into that frantic, suicidal radicalism which would have made all progress impossible, through the ignorance of the lower classes and the corruption of the higher, both of which it overlooked or denied.
The subject, therefore, which D'Azeglio chose for his first novel was perhaps the happiest that he could have hit upon. Considering the time, indeed, when it appeared, there was really genius in the selection; for, after the events of 1820 and 1831, the faintheartedness of the Italians had become almost a byword in Europe. The national spirit was sinking; and, to revive it, D'Azeglio recited the story of the Challenge of Barletta, an event long forgotten, a page long unread in the works of Guicciardini and Giovio. New to all but the erudite, simple enough to be readily comprehended by the ignorant, an episode separable from general history, a great deed done by obscure men, and so a fit subject for that poetic treatment which illumines history without falsifying it, the story of Ettore Fieramosca was a striking answer to the taunt of Italian cowardice; for, at the beginning of the six. teenth century, the same scene which we have just witnessed in Venetia was taking place in Southern Italy, but with differ ent characters. Ferdinand of Spain and Louis XII. had agreed to divide the kingdom of Naples between them'; but, presently quarrelling about their prey, they proceeded to fight each other for the exclusive possession of it. The Spanish forces, under the great captain Gonsalvo de Cordova, being inferior for the moment to the French, were shut up by the latter in the little town of Barletta, a fortified seaport on the confines of Apulia, on the Adriatic. In one of the skirmishes which were going on almost daily, the Spaniards happened to make a number of prisoners; and having invited the latter, after the chivalrous fashion of the day, to supper with themselves, some contemptuous remarks upon the valor of the Italians were made by the French, and at once resented by the Italians who were present serving with the Spaniards, – among them, by Fieramosca. A challenge was delivered, and accepted by the French; and thirteen knights on each side undertook, under the auspices of the Spaniards, to test the comparative courage and skill of Italian and French cavaliers. The latter, it is hardly necessary to add, were totally defeated. Such was the Challenge of Barletta: a fair combat, in the presence, as it were, of a great nation; a noble deed, of which the Italians might justly be proud when they read the narrative of it, thus written by D'Azeglio with all the simplicity of history and all the grandeur of an epic. But, of course, tenderer sentiments were not omitted; and the unhappy love of Fieramosca and Ginevra, victim of the merciless lust of Borgia, adds a certain tragic interest to the story, while it deepens its moral by throwing upon it so dark a shadow.
“Niccoló de' Lapi,” published eight years afterwards, was a more elaborate and not less successful effort. The subject of it, indeed,- the siege of Florence in the year 1529–30, when it held out so bravely against the forces of Pope Clement VII., united with those of the Emperor Charles V., for the purpose of carrying into effect the treaty made between them at Barcelona, with a view to restore the Medici to Florence, - this subject, one of the most dramatic in the history of Italy, had already been treated by Guerrazzi in his “ Assedio di Firenze,” while the Florentine annals in general had been a good deal exploited. Rosini had written “Luisa Strozzi," and Tommaseo “Il Duce d'Atene," while Guerrazzi himself was already famous for his “ Battaglia di Benevento.” But D'Azeglio did not shrink from the competition: for, in the “ Assedio,” the subject is chiefly Florence; while, in his own work, he aimed to portray the domestic habits of its citizens.
Neither of D'Azeglio's works, however, can be considered as masterpieces, so far as the poetic illustration of historical events or the structure of the plot is concerned; and the French critic who complained that there were too many historical details, may perhaps be right; for they may all be read in Varchi, — though the reading of that estimable writer will perhaps remind one of the anecdote related by Guerrazzi of the poet who had made a mistake in quantity being con. demned by Apollo to read the taking of Pisa, in Guicciardini; a punishment considered in Parnassus as equivalent to the galleys. The characters, moreover, are for the most part of the common type. The faithful Lamberto and the guileless Laudomia, the capricious Liza and the traitorous Troilo, - you may find them in many a novel of the day. Even Silvaggia and the erratic Fanfulla are not original creations, though the latter is perhaps the best D'Azeglio has drawn, next to the old patriot Niccoló himself, the central figure in the work, worthy to go down as the embodiment, for all time, of Italian virtue and courage.
The chief charm of the work lies in the local coloring, which amply makes up for the length and occasional tedium of the Darrative: the mountains of Pistoja, with their magnificent chestnut groves and beech woods; Gavinana, where fell the two leaders, – the Prince of Orange, who came to subdue
Florence, and Francesco Ferrucci, who could not save it with his heart's blood; Montemarlo, the castellated villa, so well preserved on the edges of the grand old hills; and in Florence itself the old palaces and squares and towers, and San Marco, with the frescoes of Angelico and the arms of the Medici still on its walls, where Savonarola uttered the prophecy, now at last, it may be, approaching its fulfilment, “ Florentia, post flagellam, renovabitur." And it is in the truthfulness of this historical coloring that one recognizes the influence of Manzoni; though none of the characters, as an historical portrait, can equal that of the Cardinal Borromeo, and no description compare with that of Milan in the time of the plague, in the “Promessi Sposi.”
But the great service these novels did, and the justifica. tion of their success, lies in the sentiment of nationality which pervades them, elevated and luminous, without any of that confusion of light and shade which injures the novels of Guerrazzi; for D'Azeglio's nature was healthy and well bal. anced. Guerrazzi was morose and gloomy. God was to him a destroyer, and Christ the model of a democrat; and life was a wail of despair, for the soul of woman was perfidious, and man, when not a persecutor, was a victim. But nevertheless his genuine rhetorical talent, combined with the purity of his Tuscan dialect, free from the provincialisms which Manzoni and D'Azeglio could never escape, made him everywhere popular; for he had touched the revolutionary heart of Italy. “ Break to pieces all your divinities," he exclaimed; “ adore none other God than him of sabaoth, the spirit of battles:" and the fiery patriotism of the Italian youth answered to his call.
It is therefore not so much as works of art that the novels either of Guerrazzi or of D'Azeglio are to be regarded; for in Italy, it must be remembered, politics are a matter of life and death, and religious liberty a thing so dominant in the Italian mind, that one cannot portray modern life without taking it into account. An author must speak of Italy to the Italians, or speak of nothing; and, if he escape the fate of Guerrazzi and Amari and Tommaseo and the rest, it is because