3 July 2007
TASSO, Torquato (1544-1595). Autograph letter signed, [Ferrara], 13 October 1583, with TEXT OF THE MADRIGAL Echo, one page, folio on a bifolium with address panel on blank verso (some dampstaining affecting a few words).
Tasso writes to his friend Vincenzo Fantini, sending him the madrigal before a dialogue because he does not know when that can be supplied; he warns that this will neither be soon nor before the marchese has left. He excuses himself and asks Fantini to assure the marchese that he will do it, without fail, and not give it to anyone else but Fantini or his nephew, who can come for it at the beginning of the next week. The second leaf encloses the madrigal:
'Per deserte spelunche, e pellegrine,
piangean leggiadri amanti,
lunge da le bellezze alme e divine,
Dove scherzar vedear le fere erranti ...'
The madrigal Per deserte spelunche e pellegrine was published as written for Vincenzo Fantini, first in 1586 (see A. Solerti, Le rime, 1898-1902, II no 437). The identities of the dialogue and of the marchese are not clear, since Tasso had many noble patrons. His anxiety that it should reach the marchese arises from his incarceration in the mental asylum of Santa Anna in Ferrara (1579-1586), when his works were circulated and published without his permission. Most of his dialogues were written during this time; his confusions over when the dialogue will be ready may also reflect his mental state, which had not prevented the completion of the haunting madrigal.
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