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expose with those of the vilest malefactors, were
secretly interred by the holy virgins of their name
and family ". The people sympathised in their
grief, repented of their own fury, and detested the
indecent joy of Rienzi, who visited the spot where
these illustrious victims had fallen. It was on that
fatal spot that he conferred on his son the honour
of knighthood; and the ceremony was accomplish-
ed by a slight blow from each of the horsemen of
the guard, and by a ridiculous and inhuman abso-
lution from a pool of water, which was yet pollu-
ted with patrician blood f.
A short delay would have saved the Colonna,
the delay of a single month, which elapsed be-
tween the triumph and exile of Rienzi. In
the pride of victory, he forfeited what yet re-
mained of his civil virtues, without acquiring the
fame of military prowess. A free and vigorous
opposition was formed in the city; and when the
Tribune proposed in the public council : to im-
pose a new tax, and to regulate the government

of

* The convent of St Silvester was founded, endowed, and protected by the Colonna cardinals, for the daughters of the family who embraced a monastic life, and who, in the year 1318, were twelve in number. The others were allowed to marry with their kinsmen in the fourth degree, and the dispensation was justified by the small number and close alliance

of the noble families of Rome, (Memoires sur Petrarque,

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+ Petrarch wrote a stiff and pedantic letter of consolation, (Fam. 1. vii. epist. 13. p. 682, 683.). The friend was lost in the patriot. Nulla toto orbe principum familia carior; carior tamen respublica, carior Roma, carior Italia.

Je rends graces aux Dieux de n'etre pas Romain.

f This council and opposition is obscurely mentioned by Pollistore, a contemporary writer, who has preserved some curious and original facts, (Rer. Italicarum, tom. xxv. c. 31.

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of Perugia, thirty-nine members voted against his measures; repelled the injurious charge of treachery and corruption; and urged him to prove, by

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their forcible exclusion, that, if the populace adhe

red to his cause, it was already disclaimed by the most respectable citizens. The Pope and the sacred college had never been dazzled by his specious professione; they were justly offended by the insolence of his conduct; a cardinal legate was sent to Italy, and, after some fruitless treaty, and two personal interviews, he fulminated a bull of excommunication, in which the Tribune is degraded from his office, and branded with the guilt of rebellion, sacrilege, and heresy". The surviving barons of Rome were now humbled to a sense of allegiance; their interest and revenge engaged them in the service of the church; but as the fate of the Colonna was before their eyes, they abandoned to a private adventurer the peril and glory of the revolution. John Pepin, Count of Minorbinof, in the kingdom of Naples, had been condemned for his crimes, or his riches, to perpetual imprisonment; and Petrarch, by soliciting his release, indirectly contributed to the ruin of his friend. At the head of one

hundred and fifty soldiers, the Count of Minorbino

introduced himself into Rome; barricaded the

A a 2 quarter

* The briefs and bulls of Clement VI. against Rienzi, are translated by the P. du Cetceau (p. 196, 232), from the Ecclesiastical Annals of Rodericus Raynaldus (A. D. 1347, No.

15. 17. 21. &c.), who found them in the archives of the Vatican.

+ Matteo Villani describes the origin, character, and death of this Count of Minorbino, a man de natura inconstanté e senza sede, whose grandfather, a crafty notary, was entiched and ennobled by the spoils of the Saracens of Nocera, (l. vii. c. 102, IoS.). See his imprisonment, and the efforts of Petrarch, tom. ii. p. 149–151.

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quarter of the Colonna; and found the enterprise
as easy as it had seened impossible. From the first
alarm, the bell of the Capitol incessantly tolled ;
but, instead of repairing to the well-known sound,
the people was silent and inactive; and the pusill-
animous Rienzi, deploring their ingratitude with
sighs and tears, abdicated the government and pa-
lace of the republic.
Without drawing his sword, Count Pepin resto-

*
red the aristocracy and the church ; three senators

were chosen, and the legate, assuming the first rank, accepted his two colleagues from the rival families of Colonna and Ursini. The acts of the Tribune were abolished, his head was proscribed; yet such was the terror of his name, that the barons hesitated three days before they would trust themselves in the city, and Rienzi was left above a month in the castle of St Angelo, from whence he peaceably withdrew, after labouring, without effect, to revive the affection and courage of the Romans. The vision of freedom and empire had vanished ; their fallen spirit would have acquiesced in servitude, had it been smoothed by tranquillity and order; and it was scarcely observed, that the new senators derived their authority from the Apostolic See; that four cardinals were appointed to reform, with dictatorial power, the state of the republic. Rome was again agitated by the bloody feuds of the barons, who detested each other, and despised the commons; their hostile fortresses, both in town and country, again rose, and were again demolished; and the peaceful citizens, a flock of sheep, were devoured, says the Florentine historian, by these rapacious wolves. But when their pride and

avarice

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avarice had exhausted the patience of the Romans,
a confraternity of the Virgin Mary protected or
avenged the republic; the bell of the Capitol was
again tolled, the nobles in arms trembled in the pre-
sence of an unarmed multitude; and of the two se-
nators, Colonna escaped from the window of the
palace, and Ursini was stoned at the foot of the al-
tar. The dangerous office of Tribune was succes-
sively occupied by two plebeians, Cerroni and Ba-
roncelli. . The mildness of Cerroni was unequal to
the times; and, after a faint struggle, he retired
with a fair reputation and a decent fortune to the
comforts of rural life. Devoid of eloquence or ge-
nius, Baroncelli was distinguished by a resolute spi-
rit; he spoke the language of a patriot, and trod
in the footsteps of tyrants; his suspicion was a
sentence of death, and his own death was the re-
ward of his cruelties. Amidst the public misfor-
tunes, the faults of Rienzi were forgotten; and
the Romans sighed for the peace and prosperity of

the good estate ".
After an exile of seven years, the first deliverer
was again restored to his country. In the disguise
of a monk or a pilgrim, he escaped from the castle
of St Angelo, implored the friendship of the Kings
of Hungary and Naples, tempted the ambition of
every bold adventurer, mingled at Rome with the
pilgrims of the jubilee, lay concealed among the
hermits of the Apennine, and wandered through
A a 3 the

* The troubles of Rome, from the departure to the return of Rienzi, are related by Matteo Villani (!. ii. c. 47. l. iii. c. 33. 57.78.), and Thomas Fortificeca (l. iii. c. 1–4.). I

have slightly passed over these secondary characters, who imitated the original Tribune.

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the cities of Italy, Germany, and Bohemia. His

person was invisible, his name was yet formidable; and the anxiety of the court of Avignon supposes, and even magnifies, his personal merit. The Emperor Charles the Fourth gave audience to a stranger, who frankly revealed himself as the Tribune of the republic; and astonished an assembly of ambassadors and princes, by the eloquence of a patriot, and the visions of a prophet, the downfal of tyranny, and the kingdom of the Holy Ghost”. Whatever had been his hopes, Rienzi found himself a captive; but he supported a character of independence and dignity, and obeyed, as his own choice, the irresistible summons of the supreme Pontiff. The zeal of Petrarch, which had been cooled by the unworthy conduct, was rekindled by the sufferings and the presence of his friend; and he boldly complains of the times, in which the saviour of Rome was delivered by her Emperor into the hands of her bishop. Rienzi was transported slowly, but in safe custody, from Prague to Avignon; his entrance into the city was that of a maelefactor; in his prison he was chained by the leg; and four cardinals were named to inquire into the crimes of heresy and rebellion. But his trial and condemnation would have involved some questions, which it was more prudent to leave under the veil of mystery; the temporal supremacy cf the Popes;

the

* T he se visio s, of which the friends and enemies of Rienzi seein alike ignorant, are surely magnifica by the zeal ct Poloistore, a Dominican inquisitor, (Rer. It al. tom. xxv. c. 36. p. 8, 9.). Had the Tribune taught, that Christ was succeeded by the Holy Ghost, that the tyranny of the Pope would be abolished, he might have been convicted of heresy and tita323, without cfc.cirg toe Roman people.

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