Folengo, Theophilus

, more known by his assumed name of Merlin Coccaio, was born Nov. 8, 1491, of a noble family at Mantua studied the languages under Virago Coccaio and then went to Bologna, where he cultivated philosophy under Peter Pomponatius. His preceptor, Coceaio, accompanied him there, but his taste and vivacity of genius led him to poetry, and defeated the endeavours of ins master to fix him to serious studies. His first work was a poem, entitled, “Orlandino,” in which he took the name of Limerno Pictoco. It displays considerable vigour of imagination, and may be read with pleasure. He afierwards was obliged, as well as his master, to quit Bologna precipitately, to avoid being apprehended, but what was the subject of the proceeding against him is not known. His father not leceiving him kindly, he entered into the army, but grew tired of it, and became a Benedictine in the monastery of St. Euphemia, where | healready had a brother. Folengo here indulged his vein for satire and burlesque, by which he attracted the enmity of his brethren, who would have made him feel their resentment had he not been very powerfully protected. He died in 1544, aged fifty-one, at his priory, della Santa Croc e, near Bassano. The most known among his works is, 1. the “Opus Macaronicum,” printed at Venice in 1651, &c. written in that kind of mock Latin, made up of vernacular words and expressions, which has since been called from this original, macaronic. It is, however, an easy species of wit, and in a man of any abilities requires only that he should condescend to attempt it to ensure tfce greatest degree of success. He named it macaronic, from Maccherone, a gross feeder, or buffoon; a violent eater of macaroni. His poem was received with abundant ap plause, in an age much addicted to pedantic buffoonery. It must be confessed, that he sometimes rises a little above his burlesque style, to intersperse moral and characteristic reflections. A few more of his productions are also known. 52. “Caos del Tri per uno;” a poem on the three ages of man, and including much of his own history, but in a style more extravagant than his “Orlandino, 1527. 3.” La Humanita del Figlio di Dio, in ottava rima," Vinegia, 1533. This was written as some atonement for the licentiousness of his former writings, but probably had fewer readers. Many other works by him are mentioned by his, biographers, which are now confined to the libraries of the curious. 1


Tiriraboschi. —Moreri. —. Curieuse. Ginguene Hist. Lit, D’Italie, vol. V. Roscoe’s Leo X.