Bracciolini, Francis

, an Italian poet of some celebrity, known by the name of Bracciolini DellApi, a surname given him by the pope, was born at Pistoia, in Tuscany, 1566, and was fellow-student with Maffei Barberini, whose love of poetry and polite literature resembled his own, and increased their friendship. When Barberini was afterwards appointed nuncio in France, under the pontificate of Clement VIII. he engaged Bracciolini as his secretary, who accepted the office in hopes that his patron might become a cardinal, and serve his interest more essentially, for Bracciolini was not free from the unpoetical failing of avarice; but this event not taking place so soon as he expected, he retired to Pistoia, where he composed a part of his works. Barberini, however, being not only made cardinal, but also pope in 1622, under the title of Urban VIII. Bracciolini waited upon him with a poem of congratulation, amounting to twenty-three books, which the pope liked so well, that he ordered him to adopt the surname Dell' Api, and to add to his arms three bees, which are the arms of the Barberini family. He gave him at the same time more substantial rewards, and placed him as secretary under his brother, cardinal Antonio Barberini. After the death of Urban VIII. in 1644, Bracciolini again retired to Pistoia, where he died the following year. He wrote a great number of poems of every species, epics, tragedies, comedies, pastorals, lyrics, satires, and burlesque verses. Of these, the only ones worthy of notice, seem to be: 1. “La Croce Racquistata,” a heroic poem in fifteen cantos, Paris, 1605, 12mo; and again, enlarged and divided into thirty-five cantos, Venice, 1611, 4to. This, his countrymen once did not hesitate to rank immediately after the works of Ariosto and Tasso, but modern critics have placed a greater distance between them. 2. “Lo Scherno degli Dei,” a mock-heroic, in ridicule of the heathen mythology, Florence, 1618, 4to, a better edition in 1625, 4to. This poem has given him some title to the invention of the mock-heroic, because in the preface it is asserted that the “Lo Scherno” although printed some years after Tassoni’s “La Secchia Rapita,” was written many years sooner. It is, however, a poem of considerable merit in that style. 2


Moreri.—Baillet Jugemens des Savans.—Erythræi Pinacotheca.