I’ve started a salon. Hunamist scholars and luminaries will enjoy a lively debate on the refinement of the Tuscan language, new musical compositions will be performed (I can never miss a chance for singing or vocal improv!) and new literary works will be presented.
Tonight it was a true joy to host the poet, author, philosopher, and courtesan Tullia d’Aragona. Tullia was born in Rome, and has since lived in Venice, Ferrara, and Siena. Now it our great pleasure to have her in Florence where she has graced the Medici Court and found favor with both my mother and my father.
Tullia d’Aragona’s poems
Here are a few of the poems Tullia read tonight:
This first one is especially close to my heart. Unbelievably the “religious reformer” Bernardo Ochino has been preaching the abolition of my beloved Carnivale! Savonarolla’s horrible reign in Florence was over long before I was born, and yet it’s like this misplaced austerity haunts us still. Tullia’s poem warmed my heart so much:
Bernardo, it should be enough for you,
With that sweet speech infused in you by Nature,
To light our hearts to high eternal works,
Here where the King of Rivers flows most clearly.
Since your own inner wishes are sincere,
And your own life reflects a pure intent,
You’re rather an inhabitant of heaven.
As to these masquerades, dances, and music,
Sanctioned by time and by the ancient customs —
Why do you now forbid them in your sermons?
Holiness it is not, but arrogance
To take away free will, the highest gift
Which God bestowed on us from the beginning.
This next one is to her ex boyfriend the poet Girolamo Muzio who’s still kind of sweet on Tullia. It’s just about the nicest handling of your ex that I’ve ever seen! 😀
You who have Fortune for an enemy —
As in your soul dwell courtesy and valor —
What happy destiny sends you today
To see for one more time your ancient flame?
My gentle Muzio, a soul so friendly
Is such a sweet enrichment to my heart
That I must grieve for the hard rocky way
That gives you such fatigue, quite undeserved.
That honored love which you burned for me
In the Po Valley once, endured so long
That I can’t think so clear a fire has died.
For, if in someone’s face his heart is seen,
I hope that by the Arno’s banks my name
May still be heard to ring thorough your sweet songs.
And just one more: a plain old love poem! 🙂
Love once consumed me with a slow, fierce fire,
Scorching my life; until my heart, brim-full
Of pain, was devastated, and all sorrow
Beside this were but sweetness and a game.
Then pride and suffering, by slow degrees,
Put out that flame; so I, at last released
From such a long and sharp desire, went singing
More joyfully than I had done before.
But heaven, not yet satisfied, nor weary
Of my distress, to make me sigh once more,
Leads me again to my old helpless fate.
And with so sharp a spur it pricks my side
That I must fear to fall beneath my anguish
Of old. For lighter ills, I’d long for death.
Tullia talks about going back to Rome one day. I worry about her. I have my own reasons for not wanting to go there, but for Tullia I fear the stories I hear about the church increasing restrictions on courtesans. Tullia is such an amazing person. It makes me so sad to think that such a successful court poet may one day die penniless, unknown, and far too young. This world can be cruel to us all, and doubly so to women.