Luigi Puli The Morgante Maggiore


Byron to Murray, February 21st 1820: (Source: text from NLSAcc.12604 / 4160D; BLJ VII 41-4). 24



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: Byron to Murray, February 21st 1820: (Source: text from NLSAcc.12604 / 4160D; BLJ VII 41-4).

24: Byron to Murray, August 7th 1820: (Source: NLS Acc.12604 / 4160D; BLJ VII 150).



25: Murray to Byron, March 7th 1820: (Source: text from NLS Acc.12604 / 4161C; LJM 310-1).

26: Coleridge IV 280.

27: John Herman Merivale, Account of the Morgante of Luigi Pulci, Monthly Magazine, May 1st 1806, p.305.

28: CPW IV 509.

29: Coleridge IV 279-80.

30: For this stanza, compare John 1: 1-3.

31: For the story of Philomel and her sister Procne, see Ovid, Metamorphoses, Bk.VI.

32: Phæton lost control of the chariot-horses of the sun; Phœbus was their usual, safe driver.

33: Tithonus was husband to Eos, the dawn goddess; he aged while she remained youthful.

34: Charlemagne, in whose days the Morgante is theoretically set.

35: Aretino was a fifteenth-century Chancellor of Florence, and the city’s historian.

36: Charlemagne was said to have fought a battle against Saracens at Manopello near Pescara.

37: Giusaffa is Jehoshephat, site of the Last Judgement.

38: The rough Ms. seems to read “don’t”, which makes no sense.

39: Gan (Gano, Ganelon), villain of the Chanson de Roland, will betray Orlando (Roland) to the Saracens at Roncesvalles.

40: Compare Don Juan X, final line.

41: See Dante, Paradiso XVIII 43.

42: Pepin was father to Charlemagne.

43: Cortana is Orlando’s sword.

44: Rondello is Orlando’s horse.

45: Macon and / or Mahound were thought to be devils worshipped by the Moslems.

46: It was the poisoned shirt of Nessus which killed Herakles (Nessus being by then dead).

47: The translation here caused B. some pains: ‘In the translation I wish you to ask Rose about the word Sbergo” i.e. Usbergo which I have translated Cuirass – I suspect that it means helmet also – now if so – which of the senses is best accordant with the text? – I have adopted Cuirass – but will be amenable to reasons. – Of The Natives some say one and some t’other, but they are no great Tuscans, in Romagna – however I will ask Sgricci (the famous Improvisatore) tomorrow – who is a native of Arezzo – The Countess Guiccioli – – who is reckoned a very cultivated young lady – and the dictionary – say Cuirass – I have written Cuirass – but helmet runs in my head nevertheless – and will run in verse very well whilk is the principal point. – –

I will ask the “Sposa Spina Spinelli’ too, the Florentine bride of Count Gabriel Rasponi just imported from Florence – and get the sense out of Somebody. – – – –’ (Byron to Murray, March 1st 1820: NLS Acc.12604 / 4160D; BLJ VII 47-9). And again: ‘It is strange that here nobody understands the real precise meaning of “Sbergo” or “ Usbergo” – an old Tuscan word which I have rendered Cuirass (but am not sure it is not Helmet) I have asked at least twenty people – learned and ignorant – male and female – including poets and officers civil and military. – The Dictionary says Cuirass – but gives no authority – and a female friend of mine says positively Cuirass – which makes me doubt the fact still more than before. – Ginguene says “bonnet de Fer” with the usual superficial decision of a Frenchman – so that I can’t believe him – and what between The Dictionary – the Italian woman – and the Frenchman – there is no trusting to a word they say – The Context too which should decide admits of either meaning equally as you will perceive – Ask Rose – Hobhouse – Merivale – and Foscolo – and vote with the Majority – is Frere a good Tuscan? if he be bother him too – I have tried you see to be as accurate as I well could –’ (Byron to Murray, March 5th 1820: NLSAcc.12604 / 4160D; BLJ VII 54)



48: Milo of Angrante was Orlando’s father.



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