Le Satire alla berniesca [?] con una Elegia sopra alla morte del Re Francesco Primo, & altre Rime a diverse persone

Autore: SIMEONI, Gabriele (1509-1570?)

Tipografo: Martino Cravotto

Dati tipografici: Torino, 1549


4to (200x137). [50] leaves. Collation: a-b4 c6 d-h4 i6 k4 l6. The final leaf I6 is a blank. Colophon at l. l5v. Italic type. Woodcut initials. Modern marbled boards, gilt title along the spine, marbled edges. Some very light foxing and browning, but a very good copy from the library of the French bibliophile Max Cointreau (1922-2016), owner of Cointreau liquor enterprise

FIRST EDITION of this collection of satirical and encomiastic verses dedicated to King Henry II of France. With these new poetic texts Simeoni aims to win the favor and support of the king, which he did not obtain in Italy. And once again one gets the impression that the author exceeds in his flattery, in his proud frankness, claiming a freedom to speak that is not appropriate to his role as a supplicant. “Se il capitolo Della rosa è il solo testo di franca ispirazione bernesca, le restanti composizioni oscillano tra il capitolo comico, la satira anticortigiana di spirazione aretiniana e quella più misurata di stampo oraziano. Al fine di render grate alla corte transalpina queste scritture modellate su degli esempi italiani, Simeoni procede inoltre per successive addizioni di materiali poetici che tessono l'elogio, oltre che di Enrico II, del suo predecessore e di numerosi esponenti della nobiltà e del clero francese” (C. Lastraioli, La vena satirica di Simeoni, in: “Gabriele Simeoni, 1509-1570? Un Florentin en France entre princes et libraires”, A. D'Amico & C. Magnien-Simonin, eds., Genève, 2016, p. 192).

The first composition is entitled Dello stile berniesco. “Il programma di cauto rinnovamento linguistico proposto dal Simeoni nella prima satira trova, dunque, un valido riscontro nelle scelte fonomorfologiche e lessicali nel resto della raccolta: un rinnovamento cauto, certo, perché le soluzioni adottate sono ampiamente appoggiate alla tradizione burlesca e dagli usi orali e scritti del fiorentino coevo, alla ricerca di una medietas linguistica scevra, allo stesso tempo, da eccessi pedantescamente imitativi e pretenziosi – in sostanza gli stilemi petrarcheschi ridotti a elementi triti e consueti nel formulario poetico convenzionale – e dal pericolo di una totale mancanza di convenienza e di misura. In questo modo, le due anime della poesia satirico-burlesca, quella del ‘pazzo giocoso', che vuole rivendicare la propria libertà espressiva, e quella del ‘saggio satirico', desideroso di mantenere il decens e il decorum anche nella propria esperienza in versi47, hanno la possibilità di conciliarsi mediante il rifiuto di un canone esclusivamente imperniato sugli autori del classicismo volgare, in un rinnovato spazio letterario” (B. Buono, Landini, Vellutelli e sonettini: lo stile alla berniesca di Gabriello Simeoni, in: “Estudios Románicos”, 23, 2014, p. 90). It is followed by Dell'avarizia del mondo (dedicated to Pietro Aretino), Di coloro che di poveri divenuti ricchi, Contro alle false calunnie, Della rosa, Della corte, Della disgrazia (dedicated to Annibale Caracciolo), Della valle di Mariana (dedicated to Domenico Guidi), and Di coloro che riprendono le cose che non sanno. The next composition is a long poem in ‘terza rima', a eulogy of the late King Francis I dedicated to his sister Margaret of Valois, followed by a sonnet on the coronation of Henry II.

A sonnet addressed to Hélène de Traves, lady-in-waiting to the queen consort Catherine de' Medici, is apparently answered by herself (leaf h4v.). But the sonnet is actually by Mellin de Saint-Gelais (d. 1558). This poem caused a dispute over the author of the first French sonnet (cf. M. Françon, La date d'un sonnet de Saint-Gelais, in: “Bibliothèque d'Humanisme et Renaissance”, XV, 1953, pp. 213-214; see also C.A. Mayer, Gabriele Simeoni et le premier sonnet français, in: “Studi francesi”, 53, 1974, pp. 213-223).

Of interest is also the sonnet on the exile and death of Clément Marot in Turin (September 1544) (cf. R. Cooper, Dolet et Marot jugés par Jean Binet et Gabriele Simeoni, in: “Esculape et Dionysos: mélanges en l'honneur de Jean Céard”, J. Dupèbe, ed., Genève, 2008, pp. 520-521).

The musician Alberto da Ripa (d. ca. 1551) is remembered in the sonnet Sopra al suonar del liuto del S. Alberto Mantovano (leaf i5r.). He was a renowned lute player at the court of Francis I and Henry II (cf. R.W. Buggert, Alberto da Ripa, Lutenist and Composer, Ann Arbor, MI, 1964, I, p. 14).

Little is known about Gabriele Simeoni's early education. It seems that at the age of six he was put before Pope Leo X as a precocious genius. In 1528 is documented his appointment as secretary of the Chancellery of the Ten of Florence under Donato Giannotti, one of the leaders of the short-lived Florentine Republic. In the same year he was sent to France following Baldassare Carducci, ambassador of the Florentine Republic at the court of Francis I. The death of Carducci and the fall of the Florentine Republic in August 1530 let him hope for a career as a courtier-poet in France with the aim in mind to emulate the success of Luigi Alamanni. For ten years he then conducted an adventurous life in France in search of riches and fame. He was received by Giovanni Caracciolo, Prince of Melfi, military adviser of Francis I, by Jean Cardinal of Lorraine, and obtained a pension by Anne de Pisseleu, Duchess of Étampes. Later he seeked his fortune with little success in Rome, Florence, Venice, Turin and even in England. He contacted in vain Cosimo de' Medici, Ferrante Gonzaga and Pierluigi Farnese as patrons. In July 1546 he accompanied Guillaume Duprat, Bishop of Clermont to the Council of Trent and that lived for some time in the Château at Beauregard as the latter's guest. In February 1548 he is found in Turin, where Giovanni Caracciolo charged him with the supervision of the city guard. After Caracciolo's death in August 1550 he returned to France: first to Lyon and Troyes and then to Paris where he was received by provost Antoine Duprat, brother of the bishop of Clermont. Through his intercession he entered the services of Anne de Montmorecy, marshal and constable of France and received 200 écus from King Henry II. He then settled at Lyon, became acquainted with antiquaries such as Antoine de Baïf, Guillaume Du Choul and worked for the printers Jean de Tournes and Guillaume Rouillé. In Lyons he published several works: an emblem book (1560), a military treatise and scientific and topographical treatises, an edition of Ovid's Metamorphoses, the verses for Salomon's Bible illustrations, wrote poetry of every sort, and also essays on astrology, alchemy, and other arcane arts. During this time, he also became a friend and correspondent of Michel de Notredame, physician, astrologer, and author of the famous Prophéties (1555). In 1561 he redacted Vita e rime di Gabbriello Simeoni, a kind of autobiography with a collection of verses (the manuscript is preserved in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris), but the last years of his life remain obscure (cf. T. Renucci, Un aventurier des lettres du XVIe siècle, Gabriel Syméoni florentin, 1509-1570?, Paris, 1943, passim; see also A. Parnotte, Gabriele Simeoni, in: “Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani”, Roma, 2018, XCII, pp. 686-689; E. Karagiannis-Mazeaud, Gabriel Simeoni, 1509-1576?, en quête d'un mécène, entre France , Savoie et l'Italie, in: “Mecenati, artisti e pubblico nel Rinascimento: Atti del XXI convegno internazionale, Pienza-Chianciano Terme 20-23 luglio 2009”, L. Rotondi Secchi Tarugi, ed.,  Firenze, 2011, pp. 429-453; and P. Simoncelli, Itinerari politico-culturali di Gabriele Simeoni in Italia. Resoconti e integrazioni, in: “Bruniana & Campanelliana”, XXV/1, 2019, pp. 235-269).

Edit 16, CNCE25189; Universal STC, no. 856450; S. D'Amico & C. Magnien-Simonin, Gabriele Simeoni (1509-1570?). Un Florentin en France entre princes et libraires, Genève, 2016, pp. 508-509; T. Renucci, op. cit., p. VI; D. Romei, Burleschi del Cinquecento, Roma, 2006, p. 42.


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