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in Lat. Petrus Bembus, one of the restorers of polite literature

, in Lat. Petrus Bembus, one of the restorers of polite literature in Italy, was born at Venice in 1470, of an ancient and honourable family. His father, Bernardo, who died in 1518, was an accomplished scholar, and distinguished statesman, who maintained a friendly intercourse with many illustrious and learned persons of the age, and is honourably spoken of by various writers. On one of his embassies to Florence he carried his son, then in his eighth year, to improve him in the Italian language, which was supposed to be spoken and written in that city with the greatest purity. Atter two years, he returned home with his father, and was placed under the tuition of Joannes Alexander Urticius, and continued to apply to his studies with great assiduity, acquiring in particular a critical knowledge of the Latin tongue. Being solicitous of acquiring a knowledge also of the Greek, the study of which was at that time confined to very few, he resolved to undertake a voyage to Messina, and avail himself of the instructions of the celebrated Constantino Lascaris. Accordingly he set out in 1492, accompanied by Agnolo Gabrielii, a young Venetian of distinction, his friend and fellow-student, and profited greatly by the instructions of Lascaris. During this residence in Sicily, which lasted more than two years, he composed a work in Latin, entitled “P. Bembi de vEtna ad Angelum Chabrielem liber,” which was published the same year in which he returned, 1495, 4to, and is said to have been the first publication from the Aldine press “in literis rotundis.” His compositions both in Latin and Italian soon began to extend his reputation, not only through the different states of Italy, but also to distant countries. His father, flattered with the approbation bestowed on his son, was desirous of employing his talents in the service of his country in some public station, and for some time Bembo occasionally pleaded as an advocate with success and applause, until being disappointed in obtaining a place which was given to a rival much inferior in merit, he discovered that reluctance for public life, which, in obedience to his father, he had but imperfectly concealed, and determined to devote his whole attention to literature, as connected with the profession of the church. About this time, it is said, that his resolution was confirmed by accidentally going into a church when the officiating priest was reading a portion of the evangelical history, and had just come to the words, “Peter, follow me,” which Bembo looked upon as a divine admonition. There is nothing in his character, however, that can give much credibility to this story, which, it ought to be mentioned, some say occurred long after, when he was hesitating whether he should accept the office of cardinal.