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a late celebrated improvisatrice, was born at Pistoia in 1740,

, a late celebrated improvisatrice, was born at Pistoia in 1740, and gave, in her infancy, the most unequivocal marks of uncommon genius; and her acquirements in natural and moral philosophy, and ancient and modern history, were at the age of seventeen very remarkable. At the age of twenty she began to display that talent for extempore composition which is so common in Italy, and so uncommon elsewhere as to be questioned. Of this lady’s abilities, however, we are not permitted to doubt, if we give any credit to the popularity she gained among all classes, and especially among persons of the highest rank. The empress Maria Theresa offered her the place of female poet laureat at court, which she accepted, And went to Vienna in 1765. Previously to this she had married signer Morelli, a gentleman of Leghorn; but her conduct after marriage became grossly licentious, a circumstance which does not appear to have diminished the respect paid to her by all ranks. At Vienna, she wrote an epic poem and a volume of lyric poetry, both which she dedicated to the empress. She attracted the enthusiastic admiration of Metastasio himself, and rendered the taste for Italian poetry more predominant than it had ever been in Vienna. Soon after 1771, she settled in Rome, was admitted a member of the academy of the Arcadi, under the name of Gorilla Olympica, and for some years continued to charm the inhabitants of Rome by her talents in improvisation. At length when Pius VI. became pope, he determined that she should be solemnly crowned, an honour which had been granted to Petrarch only. An account of this singular transaction, beautifully printed at Parma, by Bodoni, in 1779, contains her diploma and all the discourses, poems, sonnets, &c. written on the occasion, with the examination which she underwent, concerning her knowledge of the most important subjects upon which she was required to Improvisare, or treat extemporaneously, in verse publicly at the Campidoglio in Rome. The Italian title of this narrative is, “Atti della solenne coronazione fatta in Campidoglio della insigne poetesia D-na. Maria Maddalena Morelli Fernandez Pistoiese, Tragli Arcadi Gorilla Olimpica.” Twelve members of the Arcadian academy were selected out of thirty, publicly to examine this new edition of a Tenth Muse which has been so often dedicated to ladies of poetical and literary talents. Three several days were allotted for this public exhibition of poetical powers on the following subjects: sacred history, revealed religion, moral philosophy, natural history, metaphysics, epic poetry, legislation, eloquence, mythology, fine arts, and pastoral poetry.