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'Ενθουσίασης του καλού πασών των ενθουσιάσεων αρίστη τε έστι, και
“Guarda che ben s'intenda,
Che sue parole son molto profonde,
(Canzone di Giotto, tratta da un MS. della
Biblioteca Riccardiana di Firenze.)
The remarks on the poetry and philosophy of Michael Angelo which are prefixed to these Translations, have been collected and are now published, in the hope that they may invite the student of literature to trace the relation which unites the efforts of the pure intelligence and the desires of the heart to their highest earthly accomplishment under the complete forms of Art. For the example of so eminent a mind,
watched and judged not only by its finished works, but, as it were, in its growth and from its inner
source of Love and Knowledge, cannot but enlarge
the range of our sympathy for the best powers and productions of man.
And if these pages should meet with any readers, inclined, like their writer, to seek and to admire the
veiled Truth and solemn Beauty of the elder time,
they will add their humble testimony to the fact, that, whatever be the purpose and tendencies of the time
we live in, we are not all unmindful of the better part
A PHILOSOPHIC POET.
In reviewing the history of literature and of art we are struck by the fact, that in their rise and glory and in their decay they have been generally coeval. The circumstances which have been propitious to the one, have also given an impulse to the other; and in Greece, in the best days of Rome, and in Italy during the middle ages, the greatest poets and the greatest artists have been contemporaries and associates. As they have risen together, so have they disappeared; and in the dark ages succeeding the downfall of the Western Empire, ignorance and an almost extinction of art were alike the consequences. In the dawn of a new day of civilization, letters and the fine arts sprang twin-like to birth. Frederic the Second, Pier delle Vigne, and Guittone d’Arezzo, were the contemporaries of Guido da Siena and Cimabue; with Dante,