Le lagrime di Sebeto per la morte dell’Illustrissima Sig. Donna Maria Colonna, d’Aragona. Composte dal S. Gabriel Moles, et nuovamente mandate in luce da Girolamo Ruscelli

Autore: MOLES, Gabriele (fl. half of the 16th cent.)-RUSCELLI, Girolamo editor (ca. 1515-1566)

Tipografo: Giovanni Griffio

Dati tipografici: Venezia, 1554

Formato: in quarto

4to (205x142 mm). [8], 35, [5] leaves (the last three are blank). Collation: *4 A-E4. Leaf E4 is a blank. Italic type With the printer's mark on title page. On last leaf verso printed bookplate of the Wichita's typographer Bill Jackson (The Four Ducks Press Library). Modern boards with Griffio's device stamped on the front panel. A fine copy.

RARE FIRST EDITION (was reprinted a year later also in Venice). The work, dedicated by Ruscelli to Francisco Mendoza de Bobadilla, cardinal of Burgos and dated Venice, January 7, 1554, is composed of 104 octaves, describes a funeral procession of historical-mythological figures. In closing there is a sonnet by Benedetto Varchi to Domenico Venier and the answer of the latter (cf. V. Bramanti, Corrispondenza e corrispondenti nel secondo libro dei ‘Sonetti' di Benedetto Varchi, in: “Italique”, XIX, 2016, p. 101).

In the dedication Ruscelli clarifies that Maria was a daughter of Giovanna d'Aragona and Ascanio Colonna (not to be confused with Maria d'Aragona d'Avalos del Vasto to whom Ruscelli dedicated Lettura sopra un sonetto). She is more or less unknown to the biographers of Giovanna d'Aragona, who usually mention only six of her children: Vittoria, Agnese, Girolama, Fabrizio, Prospero and Marcantonio and must have died in 1553 as a teenager (cf. N. Bazzano, Giovanna d'Aragona: ritratti di gentildonna tra idealizzazioni letterarie e tensioni religiose, in: “La corte en Europa: Política y Religión, Siglos XVI-XVIII, J. Martínez Millán & al. eds., Madrid, 2012, III, p. 1495). In the same year Ruscelli published one of his most ambitious editorial venture, the plurilingual anthology Del Tempio alla Signora Donna Giovanna d'Aragona (cf. C. Di Filippo Bareggi, Il mestiere di scrivere: lavoro intellettuale e mercato librario a Venezia nel Cinquecento, Rome, 1988, pp. 78-80). Giovanna d'Aragona (1502 -1575), grandaughter of King Ferrante of Naples, was born on Ischia. He married Vittoria Colonna's brother Ascanio in 1521 but abandoned him in 1535. Pope Paul IV, an ennemy of the Colonna family, held her in hostage, but she escaped to Naples with her children in 1556. After the death of Paul IV, she returned to Rome and became a prominent figure in Italy's political and religious life (cf. D. Robin & al., eds., Encyclopedia of women in the Renaissance: Italy, France, and England,Santa Barbara, CA, 2007, pp. 22-24).

Girolamo Ruscelli, of humble origins, was born in Viterbo and became one of the leading editors of the Cinquecento. He was first active in Rome, where he founded the Accademia dello Sdegno together with Tommaso Spica and Giovanni Andrea dell'Anguillara. He later settled in Venice working for such publishers as Sessa and Valgrisi. He was a friend of Bernardo and Torquato Tasso, Lodovico Dolce and Pietro Aretino. The last two were to become his rivals in several bitter controversies. He edited the works of Boccaccio, Petrarch and Ariosto and translated Ptolemaeus' treatise on geography. While in Venice he had contact with other academies (della Fratta, dei Dubbiosi, della Veniera and della Fama), and was interested in issues such as the systematization of the Italian language (cf. P. Procaccioli, ‘Costui chi e' si sia'. Appunti per la biografia, il profilo professionale, la fortuna di Girolamo Ruscelli, in : “Girolamo Ruscelli. Dall'accademia alla corte alla tipografia. Atti del Convegno internazionale di studi, Viterbo, 6-8 ottobre 2011”, Rome, 2012, pp.13-76).

Little is known about the Neapolitan Gabriel Moles, son of an Italian father and a Spanish mother (cf. N. Toppi, Bibliotheca Napoletana, Napoli, 1688, p. 102, and C. Minieri Riccio, Memorie storiche degli scrittori nati nel Regno di Napoli, Napoli, 1844, p. 225).

Edit16, CNCE 52905; Universal STC, no. 843001; C. Di Filippo Bareggi, op. cit., p. 109; Vaganay, Le sonnet en Italie et en France au XVIe siècle,Lyon, 1903, p. XCCCIV. 


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