Pulci, Luigi

, one of the most famous Italian poets, was born at Florence, Decembers, 1431. He was of a noble family, and was the most poetical of three brothers who all assiduously courted the Muses. His two elder brothers, Bernardo and Luca, appeared as poets earlier than himself. The first production of the family is probably the Elegy of Bernardo addressed to Lorenzo de‘ Jiedici, on the death of his grandfather Cosmo. He also | wrote an elegy on the untimely death of the beautiful Simonetta, mistress of Giuliano de’ Medici, the brother of Lorenzo, which was published at Florence in 1494, though written much earlier. He produced the first Italian translation of the Eclogues of Virgil, which appears to have been finished about 1470 and was published in 1481 and a poem on the Passion of Christ. Luca wrote a celebrated poem on a tournament held at Florence in which Lorenzo was victor, in 1468, entitled “Giostra di Lorenzo de‘ Medici” as Politian celebrated the success of Giuliano, in his “Giostra di. Giuliano de’ Medici.” It is confessed, however, that the poem of Luca Pulci derives its merit rather from the minute information it gives respecting the exhibition, than from its poetical excellence. He produced also “II Ciriffo Calvaneo,” an epic romance, probably the first that appeared in Italy, being certainly prior to the Morgante of his brother, and the Orlando Innamorato of Bojardo and the “Driadeo d’Amore,” a pastoral romance in ottava rima. There are also eighteen heroic epistles by him in terza rima, the first from LucretiaDonati to Lorenzo de Medici, the rest on Greek and Roman subjects. These were printed in 1481, and do credit to their author. Luigi appeaps, from many circumstances, to have lived on terms of the utmost friendship with Lorenzo de Medici, who, in his poem entitled “La Caccia col Falcone,” mentions him with great freedom and jocularity. His principal work is the “Morgante maggiore,” an epic romance. Whether this or the Orlando Innamorato of Bojardo was first written, has been a subject of doubt. Certain it is that the Morgante had the priority in publication, having been printed at Venice in 1488, after a Florentine edition of uncertain date whereas Bojardo' s poem did not appear till 1496, and, from some of the concluding lines, appears not to have been finished in 1494. The Morgante may therefore be justly, as it is generally, regarded as the prototype of the Orlando Furioso of Ariosto. It has been said without foundation that Ficinus and Politian had a share in this composition. It was first written at the particular request of Lucretia, mother of Lorenzo de Medici, but it was not finished till after her death, which happened in 1482. It is said by Crescimbeni that Pulci was accustomed to recite this poem at the table of Lorenzo, in the manner of the ancient rhapsodists. This singular offspring of the wayward genius of Pulci has been as immoderately | commended by its admirers, as it has been unreasonably condemned and degraded by its opponents: and while some have not scrupled to prefer it to the productions of Ariosto and Tasso, others have decried it as vulgar, absurd, and profane. From the solemnity and devotion with which every canto is introduced, some have judged that the author meant to give a serious narrative, but the improbability of the relation, and the burlesque nature of the incidents, destroy all ideas of this kind. M. de la Monnoye says that the author, whom he conceives to have been ignorant of rules, has confounded the comic and serious styles, and made the giant, his hero, die a burlesque death, by the bite of a sea-crab in his heel, in the twentieth book, so that in the eight which remain he is not mentioned. The native simplicity of the narration, he adds, covers all faults: and the lovers of the Florentine dialect still read it with delight, especially when they can procure the edition of Venice, in 1546 or 1550, with the explanations of his nephew John Pulci. These, however, are no more than a glossary of a few words subjoined to each canto. There are also sonnets by Luigi Pulci, published with those of Matteo Franco, in which the two authors satirize each other without mercy or delicacy yet it is supposed that they were very good friends, and only took these liberties with each other for the sake of amusing the public. They were published about the fifteenth century, entitled “Sonetti di Misere Mattheo Franco et di Luigi Pulci jocosi et faceti, cioe da ridere.” No other poem of this author is mentioned by Mr. Roscoe, who has given the best account of him, except “La Beca di Dicomano,” written in imitatation and emulation of “La Nencio da Barberino,” by Lorenzo de Medici, ajid published with it. It is a poem in the rustic style and language, but instead of the more chastised and delicate humour of Lorenzo, the poem of Pulci, says Mr. Roscoe, partakes of the character of his Morgante, and wanders into the burlesque and extravagant. It has been supposed that this poet died about 1-487, but it was probably something later. The exact time id not known. 1

1 Roscoe’s Lorenzo. Ginguene Hist, Lit. d’ltalie.