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if you continue obstinate in your whims, you will only run your head against the wall."
"Whilst his majesty uttered these words, the noblemen stood with the most profound attention, perceiving that he shook his head, knit his brows, and used a variety of gestures, sometimes with one hand, and sometimes with the other; all present, therefore, began to tremble for me, but I was not under the least apprehensions myself. As soon as he had made an end of reprimanding me, as he had promised Madame D'Estampes, I knelt with one knee upon the ground, and, kissing his mantle, addressed him in the following terms: Sire, I acknowledge the truth of what you say; all I have to alledge in my defence is, that my heart has been constantly attentive, day and night, to obey and serve you, with the utmost exertion of all my faculties; whatever appears to the contrary to your majesty, you may depend upon it, does not come from Benvenuto, but is the work of my adverse fate, which has rendered me unworthy of serving the greatest prince that the world ever beheld; I, therefore, humbly ask your pardon. It appeared to me that your majesty gave me silver for one statue only, and, as I had none of my own, I could make only that; so, with the little silver that was left, I made the vase, to give your majesty an idea of the beautiful manner of antiquity, which was, perhaps, unknown to you before. With regard to the salt-cellar, as well as I can recollect, you, one day, desired me to make one, in consequence of some conversation, concerning a salt-cellar that was shewn you; upon which I produced you a model, which I had formerly made in Italy, solely at your majesty's request, and you were pleased to order me a thousand ducats, for making it, declaring yourself highly pleased with my performance; you even went so far as to thank me, when I gave it to you finished. As for the gate, I apprehend that your majesty, in some occasional conversation, gave orders to Mons. de Villeroy, your secretary, to direct Mess. Marmande and Apa to employ me in such a work and supply me with money; for, without that assistance, I could not possibly have gone on with the work. With regard to the heads, I should not have thought of casting such large pieces, except merely to try my hand at that branch of business. The bases I made, in a persuasion that they were admirably suited to such figures; however, in all I undertook, I endeavoured to do my best and never lose sight of what your majesty intended. True it is, I made the great colossal statue, and brought it to its present degree of perfection, at my own expence; for, it appeared to me, that it would become the dignity of so great a monarch, and reflect some honour on my slender abilities, that such a statue should be made in your kingdom, as had never been seen by the antients. But, since I perceive that God has not thought proper to render me worthy of so honourable a service, I request it of your majesty, that, instead of the noble recompense you intended to make me for my labours, you would only give me a small share of your good will, and leave to depart; if you condescend to grant me this favour, I will instantly set out for Italy, returning thanks to the Supreme Being, for the happy hours that I have been in your majesty's service. When I had finished, the king took me by the hand, and, in
the kindest manner imaginable, raised me from the ground; he told me that I should be contented with his service, and that all I had done for him, he was highly pleased with: turning, afterwards, to the noblemen present, he deliberately uttered these words: I really believe that if there were to be gates to Paradise, it never could have any finer than this. When I saw that he had made an end of speaking, though his words were highly favourable to me, I, again, in the most respectful manner, returned him thanks, at the same time repeating my request to be dismissed, as my resentment had not yet entirely subsided. When the great monarch perceived that I made such a return to his extraordinary caresses, he commanded me, in a loud and tremendous voice, not to utter another word, for that, if I did, I should repent it; he farther added, that he would smother me in gold, and that he gave me leave to depart; that the works which he had employed me upon, were not so much as begun; but, with respect to what I had done out of my own head, he was very well pleased, and he should never have any other difference with me, because he knew me thoroughly; that I should endeavour to study his temper and know him, as duty required of me. After answering, that I thanked God and his majesty for every thing, I requested him to come and take a view of the colossal statue, which was, by this time, in a high state of forwardness; so he came to my house. I caused the statue to be uncovered, and nothing could equal his astonishment at beholding it: he gave orders to one of his secretaries, instantly to reimburse me the money I had spent out of my own pocket, let the sum be ever so great, provided I gave him an account, written with my own hand: upon which he left the place, saying to me, adieu, mon ami; my friend, farewell; an expression, seldom used by a king."
The Cardinal Ferrara, however, gave him permission to depart, and promised to make all smooth at court. He, accordingly, set forward to Italy, leaving his castle and effects in the care of his two favorite assistants, who repaid all his kindness by abominable treachery; and, by their insinuations, prevented his return to France. He next entered into the service of Cosmo de Medici, for whom he cast, amidst incredible difficulties, the famous bronze statue of Perseus, which was placed in the great square of Florence, to the delight and admiration of the inhabitants of that illustrious city. Statuaries and painters emulated each other in commending this splendid performance, and numerous sonnets celebrated its praise.*
Full of gratitude for his magnificent success, he undertook a pilgrimage to Vallombrosa and Camaldoli. We must pass
Several of these Sonnets are collected at the end of a work of Cellini, entitled "Due Tratti uno intorno alle otto principali arti dell' oreficeria-L'altro in materia dell' arte della scultura. Fiorenza, 1568." Amongst them, we find one by Michael Angelo.
over the remainder of this entertaining book, which is brought down to within three or four years of the author's death, an event that took place on the 13th February, 1570, thankful for the gratification it has afforded us, and trusting it may not be altogether uninteresting to our readers. His funeral was performed with great honor, attended by the whole academy of drawing, and a sermon, in praise of his life and works, and his excellent moral qualities, preached, to the satisfaction of all present.
Thus died Benvenuto Cellini, a man of great genius, and uncommon versatility of talents; caressed alike by kings, popes, and dignitaries of the church of Rome; esteemed by men of learning; lauded by the most eminent artists of his time; and beloved by all his acquaintance. Admitted into the privacy of the most elevated in rank and station, he never forgot what was due to himself as a man: he was neither servile to kings nor their mistresses; he neither flattered popes nor their favorites; he neither worshipped a cardinal's hat nor the tiara; he was bold for the right, and thought not that St. Peter's chair could sanctify wrong, or hallow injustice-he dared to speak the truth; an audacity fatal to the hopes of the followers of courts, and the aspirers to place.
But if he honored not the character of the Patriarchs of the church, he was impressed with a deep sense of religion, and not altogether free from superstition. He was of a rather capricious nature, and his passions were fierce and vindictive.-Jealous of his rights, he hesitated not to resent, with promptitude and decision, the slightest infringement of them, and, in the spirit of the times, he seldom thought the expiation complete without violence. It must be allowed, however, that, although somewhat too impetuous and sensitive, too jealous in honor, and quick in quarrel, he was generally in the right, and disdained to chastise pusillanimity, or annihilate imbecility. Of great power of suffering; he rises in our respect, as afflictions thicken around him; we honor him for his bravery, his rigid adherence to truth, his unshrinking fortitude, his kind and affectionate heart. We triumph in his triumphs; we sympathise with his wrongs; and we sorrow when injustice restrains the person of a man, whose mind is too elastic for chains or dungeons to fetter or confine. Indeed his fervour of imagination and sensibility of feeling frequently amounted to an extreme intensity, and gave rise to his visionary intercourse with superhuman beings-to colloquies with his guardian angel-to the invocation and imagined presence of spirits, and the halo which shone around the shadow of his head -a distinction which was first manifested in France, and which he occasionally condescended to shew to a few select friends. In all these imaginations, however, the tenor of his thoughts as an artist is conspicuous.
Quick, bold, ardent, and enterprising, he was eminently gifted by nature with those talents which are essential to achieve excellence; and although confined for a great portion of his life to the humble walk of the goldsmith's business, it is evident, from his extraordinary success in bronze-casting and in sculpture, that he was equally calculated to excel in the higher departments of art. Of this, his statue of Perseus and the piece of sculpture which he executed, after his vision, of a Christ upon the cross, described by Vasari as an exquisite and wonderful performance, afford sufficient proofs. His merits as an artist, indeed, are allowed by those who were best able to appreciate them-by his friends Michael Angelo and Julio Romano. Uniting the different branches of the fine arts,-at the same time a musician, a poet, and a soldier, he seems to have been exceeded by few in the capability of his intellect, and in its various and successful application.
ART. II.-Bibliotheca Hispana Vetus, sive Hispani Scriptores qui ab Octaviani Augusti Evo ad Annum Christi, M.D. floruerunt. Auctore, D. Nicolao Antonio, &c. Matriti, 1788.
Biblioteca Española de D. Joseph Rodriguez de Castro. Madrid, 1786, tomo 1o.
Mic. Casiri. Bibliotheca Arabico-Hispana Escurialensis. Matriti, 1760-70, 2 tom. Fo.
L. J. Velasquez. Origenes de la Poesia Castellana. Malaga, 1744. Coleccion de Poesias Castellanas anteriores al siglo xv. con notas, &c. por D. Tomas Antonio Sanchez. Bibliotecario de S. M. Tomos 4, Madrid, MDCCLXXIX-MDCCXC.
Of the Jewish writers in Spain, of the fifteenth century, the most interesting to our poetical researches is Juan de Baena who was afterwards converted to Christianity, and became Secretary to John II., to whom he presented a collection of all the works he could gather together of the old Castilian Trobadores, among which are many pieces composed by Rabbis and Moors. These are the productions of no less than fifty-five authors, all valuable for their antiquity, many of them intrinsically valuable. The definition of poetry, with which the volume is introduced, is characteristic and curious; but who shall be weighed in such a balance, and not be found grievously wanting?
"The art of poetry, the gay science, is a most subtle and most delightful (sort of) writing or composition. It is sweet and pleasurable to those who propound and to those who reply; to utterers and to hearers. This science, or the wisdom, or knowledge dependent on it, can only be possessed, received, and acquired by the inspired Spirit of the Lord God; who communicates it, sends it and influences by it, those alone, who well and wisely, and discreetly and correctly, can create and arrange, and compose and polish, and scan and measure feet and pauses; and rhymes, and syllables, and accents, by dextrous art, by varied and by novel arrangement of words. And even then, so sublime is the understanding of this art, and so difficult its attainment, that it can only be learned, possessed, reached, and known to the man who is of noble and of ready invention, elevated and pure discretion, sound and steady judgment; who has seen, and heard, and read, many and divers books and writings; who understands all languages; who has moreover dwelt in the courts of kings and nobles; and who has witnessed and practised many heroic feats. Finally, he must be of high birth, courteous, calm, chivalric, gracious; he must be polite and graceful; he must possess honey, and sugar, and salt, and facility and gaiety in his discourse."
Almost all the poems are introduced with some account of the occasion on which they were written. The greatest number are laudatory of the Castillian princes, or celebrate the praises of the Virgin. There is among them considerable variety of versification, and we confess that a sense of their merit has grown on us from time to time, as we have turned over the pages of the collection.
"El arte de la poetria e gaya çiencia es una escryptura e conpusycion muy sotil e byen graçiosa. E es dulçe e muy agradable a todos los oponientes e rrespondientes della e conponedores e oyentes. La qual çiencia e avisaçion e dotrina que della depende e es avida e rrecevida e alcançada por graçia infusa del señor dios que la da e la enbya e influye en aquel o aquellos que byen e sabya e sotyl e derechament la saben fazer e ordenar e conponer e limar e escandir e medir por sus pies e pausas e por sus consonantes e sylabas e acentos e por artes sotiles e de muy diversas e syngulares nonbranças. E avn asy mismo es arte de tan eleuado intendimiento e de tan sotil engeño que la non puede aprender nin aver nin alcanzar nin saber bien nin como deue saluo todo ome que sea de muy altas e sotiles invenciones de muy eleuada e pura discrecion e de muy sano e derecho juysio e tal que aya visto e oydo e leydo muchos e diversos libros e escripturas e sepa de todos lenguajes e avn que aya versado cortes de rreyes e con grandes señores e que aya visto e platicado muchos fechos del mundo e finalmente que sea noble fidalgo e cortes e mesurado e gentil e gracioso e polido e donoso e que tenga miel e açucar e sal e ayre e donayre en ssu rrasonar."