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LVI. RHYTHMUS DE NATURA HOMINIS

FLUXA ET CADUCA.

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O Muasi diberl et pictura

MNIS mundi creatura

Quasi liber et pictura
Nobis est, et speculum ;
Nostræ vitæ, nostræ mortis,
Nostri statûs, nostræ sortis
Fidele signaculum.

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Nostrum statum pingit rosa,
Nostri statûs decens glosa,
Nostræ vitæ lectio :
Quæ dum primo mane floret,
Defloratus flos effloret
Vespertino senio.

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LVI. Alani Opera, ed. C. de Visch, p. 419.

8. glosa] Glosa, or glossa, is thus explained by Du Cange: Interpretatio, imago, exemplum rei; it is our English gloss or glose ; which yet is used generally in a bad sense, the tongue (for the word is of course derived from ydwooa) being so often the setter forth of deceit, interpretation being so frequently misinterpretation. The German gleissen, to make a fair shew, belongs probably to the same family of words. [T. L. P.]

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242

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Nos assumit in dolorem,
Mortis est conclusio.

Ergo clausum sub hâc lege
Statum tuum, homo, lege,
Tuum esse respice :
Quid fuisti nasciturus,
Quid sis præsens, quid futurus,
Diligenter inspice.

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Luge poenam, culpam plange,
Motus fræna, fastum frange,
Pone supercilia.
Mentis Rector et Auriga,
Mentem rege, fluxus riga,
Ne fluant in devia.

JACOBUS DE BENEDICTIS.

JAS
ACOBUS de Benedictis, or familiarly Jacopone, to whom

the following poem in all probability appertains, was in every regard a memorable man and of a remarkable history, although I must refer those who would know about him to the very careful sketch of his life and writings, drawn entirely from the original sources and far richer than any to be found in ordinary biographies, which is given by Mohinike in his Studien, Stralsund, 1825, v. 1, p. 335-406; though indeed that which the Biographie Universelle supplies, is far from being slightly or inaccurately done. The year

of his birth is not known, but, as he died in 1306 at & great age, it must have fallen early in the preceding century. He was born at Todi in Umbria, of a noble family, and lived a secular life, until some remarkable circumstances attending the violent death of his wife made so deep an impression upon him, that he withdrew himself to that which was at that day counted exclusively the religious life, and entered the Order of St Francis, just then at its highest reputation for sanctity; though he was never willing to be more than a lay brother therein.

Of his Latin poems there is only this and the far more celebrated Stabat Mater preserved; but of Italian spiritual and satires a very large amount.

The great freedom of speech, with which in these last he handled the abuses of his time, and especially those of the hierarchy, occasioned him long imprisonments, and he only went out of prison,

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when his persecutor, Boniface the Eighth, went in. An earnest humorist, he would seem to have desired to carry the being a fool for Christ into every-day familiar life. The things which with this intent he did, some of them morally striking enough, others mere extravagances and pieces of gross spiritual buffoonery,-wisdom and folly, such as we often find, side by side, in some of the saints of the Romish Calendar,

g--are largely given by Wadding, the historian of the Franciscan Order, and by Lisco, in a separate treatise which he has published on the Stabat Mater, Berlin, 1843, p. 23. Not a few of these leave one in doubt whether he was indeed perfectly sound in his mind, or whether he was only a Christian Brutus, feigning folly, that he might impress his wisdom the more deeply.

Balde, the Bavarian Jesuit, of whom there will presently be occasion to say something more, has recorded in a graceful little poem (Silv., 1. 7, od. 7.) what his feelings were, on first making acquaintance with the life and writings of Jacopone:

Tristis nænia funerum,
Vanæ cum gemitu cedite lacrymæ.
Me virtutis iter docent
Intermista jocis gaudia mutuis;
Me cælo lepor inserit;
Me plus quàm rigidi vita Pachomii,
Jacopone, trahit tua,
Florens lætitiis mille decentibus.
Sancto diceris omnia
Risu perdomuisse; egregiâ quidem
Dementis specie viri.
Chaldæosque magos, et Salomoniam
Transgressus sapientiam,
Curarum vacuus, plenior ætheris,
Non urbis, neque dolii,
Sed mundi fueras publicus incola.

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