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bition of Petrarch and his friends to possess and
understand. The arms of the Turks undoubtedly
pressed the flight of the muses; yet we may tremble
at the thought, that Greece might have been over-
whelmed, with her schools and libraries, before
Europe had emerged from the deluge of barbarism;
that the seeds of science might have been scattered
by the winds, before the Italian scil was prepared

for their cultivation.
The most learned Italians of the fifteenth cen-
tury have confessed and applauded the restoration
of Greek literature, after a long oblivion of many
hundred years". Yet in that country, and beyond
the Alps, some namés are quoted; some profound
scholars, who, in the darker ages, were honourably
distinguished by their knowledge of the Greek
tongue; and national vanity has been loud in the
praise of such rare examples of erudition. With-
out scrutinizing the merit of individuals, truth must
observe, that their science is without a cause, and
without an effect; that it was easy for them to sa-
tisfy themselves and their more ignorant contem-
poraries; and that the idiom, which they had so
marvellously acquired, was transcribed in few ma-
nuscripts, and was not taught in any university of
the West. In a corner of Italy, it faintly existed
I A. 2S

* Of those writers, who professedly treat of the restoration of the Greek learning in Italy, the two principal ale Hodius, Dr Humphrey Hody, (de Graecis Illustribus, Linguæ Græca.

Literarumque humaniorum Instauratoribus; Londini, 1742, in

large octavo), and Tiraboschi, (Istoria della Letteratura Ita1 ana, tom. v. p. 364–377. tom. vii. p. 112–143.). The Oxford professor is a laborious scholar, but the librarian of

Modena enjoys the superiority of a modern and national histo-
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as the popular, or at least as the ecclesiastical, dia. lect ". The first impression of the Doric and Ionic colonies has never been completely erazed; the Calabrian churches were long attached to the throne of Constantinople; and the monks of St Basil pursued their stadies in mount Athos and the schools of the East. Calabria was the native country of Barlaam, who has already appeared as a sectary and an ambassador; and Barlaam was the first who revived, beyond the Alps, the memory, or at least the writings, of Homer f. He is described, by Petrarch and Boccace {, as a man of a diminutive stature, though truly great in the measure of learning and genius; of a piercing discernment, though of a slow and painful elocution, For many ages, (as they affirm), Greece had not produced his equal in the knowledge of history, grammar, and philosophy; and his merit was celebrated in the attestations of the princes and doctors of Constantinople. One of these attestations is still extant; and the Emperor Cantacuzene, the protector of his adversaries, is forced to allow, that Euclid, Aristotle, and Plato,


* In Calabria quæ olim magna Graecia dicebatur, coloniis Graecis repleta, remansit quaedam linguae veteris cognitio, (Hodius, p. 2.). If it were eradicated by the Romans, it was revived and perpetuated by the monks of St Basil, who possessed seven convents at Rossano alone, (Giannone, Istoria di Napoli, tom. i. p. 520.).

+ Ii Barbari (says Petrarch, the French and Germans) vix,

non dicam librossed nomen Homeri audiverunt. Perhaps, in

that respect, the 13th century was less happy than the age of Charlemagne.

f See the character of Barlaam, in Boccace de Genealog. Deorum, l. xv. c. 6.

were familiar to that profound and subtle logician *. C H A P. In the court of Avignon, he formed an intimate ë!connection with Petrarch f, the first of the Latin scholars; and the desire of mutual instruction was the principle of their literary commerce. The Tus- Studies of can applied himself with eager curiosity and assi- o: duous diligence to the study of the Greek language; 1339– and in a laborious struggle with the dryness and ‘’” difficulty of the first rudiments, he began to reach the sense, and to feel the spirit of poets and philosophers, whose minds were congenial to his own. But he was soon deprived of the society and lessons of this useful assistant. Barlaam relinquished his fruitless embassy; and, on his return to Greece, he rashly provoked the swarms of fanatic monks, by attempting to substitute the light of reason to that of their navel. After a separation of three years, the two friends again met in the court of Naples; but the generous pupil renounced the fairest occasion of improvement; and by his recommendation, Barlaam was finally settled in a small bishopric of his native Calabria f. The manifold avocations of Petrarch, love and friendship, his various correspondence and frequent journies, the Roman laurel,

and * Cantacuzen. l. ii. c. 36.

+ For the connection of Petrarch and Barlaam, and the two interviews at Avignon in 1339, and at Naples in 1342, see the excellent Memoires sur la Vie de Petrarque, tom. i. p. 4c6– 41c. tom. ii. p. 75–77.

f The bishopric to which Barlaam retired, was the old Locri, in the middle ages Scta Cyriaca, and by corruption Hieracium, Gerace, (Dissert. Chorographica Italiae medii AEvi, p. 312.). The dives opum of the Norman times soon lapsed into poverty, since even the church was poor; yet the town still contains 3000 inhabitants, (Swinburne, p. 342.).

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and his elaborate compositions in prose and verse, in Latin and Italian, diverted him from a foreign idiom ; and as he advanced in life, the attainment of the Greek language was the object of his wishes, rather than of his hopes. When he was about fifty years of age, a Byzantine ambassador, his friend, and a master of both tongues, presented him with a copy of Homer; and the answer of Petrarch is at once expressive of his eloquence, gratitude, and regret. After celebrating the generosity of the donor, and the value of a gift, more precious in his estimation than gold or rubies, he thus proceeds : “Your present of the genuine and “ original text of the divine poet, the fountain of “all invention, is worthy of yourself and of me. “You have fulfilled your promise, and satisfied “my desires. Yet your liberality is still imperfect; “with Homer you should have given me yourself; “a guide, who could lead me into the fields of “light, and disclose to my wondering eyes the

“spacious miracles of the Iliad and Odyssey. But, “alas! Homer is dumb, or I am deaf; nor is it

“in my power to enjoy the beauty which I possess. “I have seated him by the side of Plato, the prince “ of poets, near the prince of philosophers; and I “glory in the sight of my illustrious guests. Of “ their immortal writings, whatever had been “translated into the Latin idiom, I had already “acquired; but if there be no profit, there is “some pleasure in beholding these venerable “Greeks in their proper and national habit. I am “delighted with the aspect of Homer; and as

“ often

“often as I embrace the silent volume, I exclaim, “with a sigh, Illustrious bard' with what pleasure “should I listen to thy song, if my sense of hear“ing were not obstructed and lost by the death of “one friend, and in the much lamented absence “of another | Nor do I yet despair; and the ex“ample of Cato suggests some comfort and hope, “since it was in the last period of age that he at

“tained the knowledge of the Greek letters".” The prize which eluded the efforts of Petrarch, was obtained by the fortune and industry of his friend Boccacet, the father of the Tuscan prose. That popular writer, who derives his reputation from the Decameron, an hundred novels of pleasantry and love, may aspire to the more serious praise of restoring, in Italy, the study of the Greek language. In the year one thousand three hundred and sixty, a disciple of Barlaam, whose name was Leo, or Leontius Pilatus, was detained in his way to Avignon by the advice and hospitality of Boccace, who lodged the stranger in his house, prevailed

* I will transcribe a passage from this epistle of Petrarch, (Famil. ix. 2.): Donasti Homerum non in alienum sermonem violento alveo derivatum, sed ex ipsis Graeci eloquii scatebris, et qualis divino illi profluxit ingenio. . . . Sine tuá voce Homerus tuus apud me motus, immo, vero ego apud illum surdus sum. Gaudeo tamen vel adspectu solo, ac sacpe illum amplexus atque suspirans dico, O magne vir! &c.

+ For the life and writings of Boccaces who was born in 1313, and died in 1375, Fabricius (Bibliot. Latin. medii AEvi, tom. i. p. 248. &c.), and Tiraboschi (tom v. p. 83. 439–451.), may be consulted. The editions, versions, imitations of his novels, are innumerable. Yet he was ashamed to communicate that trifling, and perhaps scandalous work, to Petrarch his respectable friend, in whose letters and memoirs he conspicuously appears,

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