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The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini
by Benvenuto Cellini
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Note 1. A Florentine, banished in 1530 for having been in arms against the Medici.



CXIX

DURING the following night there appeared to me in dreams a marvellous being in the form of a most lovely youth, who cried, as though he wanted to reprove me: "Knowest thou who lent thee that body, which thou wouldst have spoiled before its time?" I seemed to answer that I recognized all things pertaining to me as gifts from the God of nature. "So, then," he said, "thou hast contempt for His handiwork, through this thy will to spoil it? Commit thyself unto His guidance, and lose not hope in His great goodness!" Much more he added, in words of marvellous efficacy, the thousandth part of which I cannot now remember.

I began to consider that the angel of my vision spoke the truth. So I cast my eyes around the prison, and saw some scraps of rotten brick, with the fragments of which, rubbing one against the other, I composed a paste. Then, creeping on all fours, as I was compelled to go, I crawled up to an angle of my dungeon door, and gnawed a splinter from it with my teeth. Having achieved this feat, I waited till the light came on my prison; that was from the hour of twenty and a half to twenty-one and a half. When it arrived, I began to write, the best I could, on some blank pages in my Bible, and rebuked the regents of my intellectual self for being too impatient to endure this life; they replied to my body with excuses drawn from all that they had suffered; and the body gave them hope of better fortune. To this effect, then, by way of dialogue, I wrote as follows:-

'Benvenuto in the body.

'Afflicted regents of my soul! Ah, cruel ye! have ye such hate of life?

'The Spirits of his soul.

'If Heaven against you roll, Who stands for us? who saves us in the strife? Let us, O let us go toward better life!

'Benvenuto.

'Nay, go not yet awhile! Ye shall be happier and lighter far- Heaven gives this hope-than ye were ever yet!

'The Spirits.

'We will remain some little while, If only by great God you promised are Such grace that no worse woes on us be set.

After this I recovered strength; and when I had heartened up myself, I continued reading in the Bible, and my eyes became so used to that darkness that I could now read for three hours instead of the bare hour and a half I was able to employ before.

With profound astonishment I dwelt upon the force of God's Spirit in those men of great simplicity, who believed so fervently that He would bring all their heart's desire to pass. I then proceeded to reckon in my own case too on God's assistance, both because of His divine power and mercy, and also because of my own innocence; and at all hours, sometimes in prayer and sometimes in communion with God, I abode in those high thoughts of Him. There flowed into my soul so powerful a delight from these reflections upon God, that I took no further thought for all the anguish I had suffered, but rather spent the day in singing psalms and divers other compositions on the theme of His divinity.

I was greatly troubled, however, by one particular annoyance: my nails had grown so long that I could not touch my body without wounding it; I could not dress myself but what they turned inside or out, to my great torment. Moreover, my teeth began to perish in my mouth. I became aware of this because the dead teeth being pushed out by the living ones, my gums were gradually perforated, and the points of the roots pierced through the tops of their cases. When I was aware of this, I used to pull one out, as though it were a weapon from a scabbard, without any pain or loss of blood. Very many of them did I lose in this way. Nevertheless, I accommodated myself to these new troubles also; at times I sang, at times I prayed, and at times I wrote by means of the paste of brick-dust I have described above. At this time I began composing a Capitolo in praise of my prison, relating in it all the accidents which had befallen me. [1] This poem I mean to insert in its proper place.

Note 1. Capitolo is the technical name for a copy of verses in 'terza rima' on a chosen theme. Poems of this kind, mostly burlesque or satirical, were very popular in Cellini's age. They used to be written on trifling or obscene subjects in a mock-heroic style. Berni stamped the character of high art upon the species, which had long been in use among the unlettered vulgar. See for further particulars Symonds' 'Renaissance in Italy,' vol. v. chap. xiv.



CXX

THE GOOD castellan used frequently to send messengers to find out secretly what I was doing. So it happened on the last day of July that I was rejoicing greatly by myself alone while I bethought me of the festival they keep in Rome upon the 1st of August; and I was saying to myself: "In former years I kept the feast among the pleasures and the frailties of the world; this year I shall keep it in communion with God. Oh, how far more happy am I thus than I was then!" The persons who heard me speak these words reported them to the castellan. He was greatly annoyed, and exclaimed: "Ah, God! that fellow lives and triumphs in his infinite distress, while I lack all things in the midst of comfort, and am dying only on account of him! Go quickly, and fling him into that deepest of the subterranean dungeons where the preacher Foiano was starved to death. [1] Perhaps when he finds himself in such ill plight he will begin to droop his crest."

Captain Sandrino Monaldi came at once into my prison with about twenty of the castellan's servants. They found me on my knees; and I did not turn at their approach, but went on paying my orisons before a God the Father, surrounded with angels, and a Christ arising victorious from the grave, which I had sketched upon the wall with a little piece of charcoal I had found covered up with earth. This was after I had lain four months upon my back in bed with my leg broken, and had so often dreamed that angels came and ministered to me, that at the end of those four months the limb became as sound as though it never had been fractured. So then these fellows entered, all in armour, as fearful of me as though I were a poison-breathing dragon. The captain spoke as follows: "You must be aware that there are many of us here, and our entrance has made a tumult in this place, yet you do not turn round." When I heard these words, I was well able to conceive what greater harm might happen to me, but being used and hardened to misfortune, I said to them: "Unto this God who supports me, to Him in heaven I have turned my soul, my contemplation, and all my vital spirits; to you I have turned precisely what belongs to you. What there is of good in me, you are not worthy to behold, nor can you touch it. Do then to that which is under your control all the evil you are able." The captain, in some alarm, and not knowing what I might be on the point of doing, said to four of his tallest fellows: "Put all your arms aside." When they had done so, he added: "Now upon the instant leap on him, and secure him well. Do you think he is the devil, that so many of us should be afraid of him? Hold him tight now, that he may not escape you." Seized by them with force and roughly handled, and anticipating something far worse than what afterwards happened, I lifted my eyes to Christ and said: "Oh, just God, Thou paidest all our debts upon that high-raised cross of Thine; wherefore then must my innocence be made to pay the debts of whom I do not even know? Nevertheless, Thy will be done." Meanwhile the men were carrying me away with a great lighted torch; and I thought that they were about to throw me down the oubliette of Sammabo. This was the name given to a fearful place which had swallowed many men alive; for when they are cast into it, the fall to the bottom of a deep pit in the foundation of the castle. This did not, however, happen to me; wherefore I thought that I had made a very good bargain when they placed me in that hideous dungeon I have spoken of, where Fra Foiano died of hunger, and left me there without doing me further injury.

When I was alone, I began to sing a 'De profundis clamavi,' a 'Miserere,' and 'In te Domine speravi.' During the whole of that first day of August I kept festival with God, my heart rejoicing ever in the strength of hope and faith. On the second day they drew me from that hole, and took me back again to the prison where I had drawn those representations of God. On arriving there, the sight of them filled me with such sweetness and such gladness that I wept abundantly. On every day that followed, the castellan sent to know what I was doing and saying. The Pope, who had heard the whole history (and I must add that the doctors had already given the castellan over), spoke as follows: "Before my castellan dies I will let him put that Benvenuto to death in any way he likes, for he is the cause of his death, and so the good man shall not die unrevenged." On hearing these words from the mouth of Duke Pier Luigi, the castellan replied: "So, then, the Pope has given me Benvenuto, and wishes me to take my vengeance on him? Dismiss the matter from your mind, and leave me to act." If the heart of the Pope was ill-disposed against me, that of the castellan was now at the commencement savage and cruel in the extreme. At this juncture the invisible being who had diverted me from my intention of suicide, came to me, being still invisible, but with a clear voice, and shook me, and made me rise, and said to me: "Ah me! my Benvenuto, quick, quick, betake thyself to God with thy accustomed prayers, and cry out loudly, loudly!" In a sudden consternation I fell upon my knees, and recited several of my prayers in a loud voice; after this I said 'Qui habitat in adjutorio;' then I communed a space with God; and in an instant the same clear and open voice said to me: "Go to rest, and have no further fear!" The meaning of this was, that the castellan, after giving the most cruel orders for my death, suddenly countermanded them, and said: "Is not this Benvenuto the man whom I have so warmly defended, whom I know of a surety to be innocent, and who has been so greatly wronged? Oh, how will God have mercy on me and my sins if I do not pardon those who have done me the greatest injuries? Oh, why should I injure a man both worthy and innocent, who has only done me services and honour? Go to! instead of killing him, I give him life and liberty: and in my will I'll have it written that none shall demand of him the heavy debt for his expenses here which he would elsewise have to pay." This the Pope heard, and took it very ill indeed.

Note 1. Fra Benedetto da Foiano had incurred the wrath of Pope Clement VII. by preaching against the Medici in Florence. He was sent to Rome and imprisoned in a noisome dungeon of S. Angelo in the year 1530, where Clement made him perish miserably by diminishing his food and water daily till he died. See Varchi's 'Storia Fiorentina,' lib. xii. chap. 4.



CXXI

I MEANWHILE continued to pray as usual, and to write my Capitolo, and every night I was visited with the gladdest and most pleasant dreams that could be possibly imagined. It seemed to me while dreaming that I was always in the visible company of that being whose voice and touch, while he was still invisible, I had so often felt. To him I made but one request, and this I urged most earnestly, namely, that he would bring me where I could behold the sun. I told him that this was the sole desire I had, and that if I could but see the sun once only, I should die contented. All the disagreeable circumstances of my prison had become, as it were, to me friendly and companionable; not one of them gave me annoyance. Nevertheless, I ought to say that the castellan's parasites, who were waiting for him to hang me from the battlement whence I had made my escape, when they saw that he had changed his mind to the exact opposite of what he previously threatened, were unable to endure the disappointment. Accordingly, they kept continually trying to inspire me with the fear of imminent death by means of various terrifying hints. But, as I have already said, I had become so well acquainted with troubles of this sort that I was incapable of fear, and nothing any longer could disturb me; only I had that one great longing to behold the sphere of the sun, if only in a dream.

Thus then, while I spent many hours a day in prayer with deep emotion of the spirit toward Christ, I used always to say: "Ah, very Son of God! I pray Thee by Thy birth, by Thy death upon the cross, and by Thy glorious resurrection, that Thou wilt deign to let me see the sun, if not otherwise, at least in dreams. But if Thou wilt grant me to behold it with these mortal eyes of mine, I engage myself to come and visit Thee at Thy holy sepulchre." This vow and these my greatest prayers to God I made upon the 2nd of October in the year 1539. Upon the following morning, which was the 3rd of October, I woke at daybreak, perhaps an hour before the rising of the sun. Dragging myself from the miserable lair in which I lay, I put some clothes on, for it had begun to be cold; then I prayed more devoutly than ever I had done in the past, fervently imploring Christ that He would at least grant me the favour of knowing by divine inspiration what sin I was so sorely expiating; and since His Divine Majesty had not deemed me worthy of beholding the sun even in a dream I besought Him to let me know the cause of my punishment.



CXXII

I HAD barely uttered these words, when that invisible being, like a whirlwind, caught me up and bore me away into a large room, where he made himself visible to my eyes in human form, appearing like a young man whose beard is just growing, with a face of indescribable beauty, but austere, not wanton. He bade me look around the room, and said: "The crowd of men thou seest in this place are all those who up to this day have been born and afterwards have died upon the earth." Thereupon I asked him why he brought me hither, and he answered: "Come with me and thou shalt soon behold." In my hand I had a poniard, and upon my back a coat of mail; and so he led me through that vast hall, pointing out the people who were walking by innumerable thousands up and down, this way and that. He led me onward, and went forth in front of me through a little low door into a place which looked like a narrow street; and when he drew me after him into the street, at the moment of leaving the hall, behold I was disarmed and clothed in a white shirt, with nothing on my head, and I was walking on the right hand of my companion. Finding myself in this condition, I was seized with wonder, because I did not recognise the street; and when I lifted my eyes, I discerned that the splendour of the sun was striking on a wall, as it were a house-front, just above my head. Then I said: "Oh, my friend! what must I do in order to be able to ascend so high that I may gaze upon the sphere of the sun himself?" He pointed out some huge stairs which were on my right hand, and said to me: "Go up thither by thyself." Quitting his side, I ascended the stairs backwards, and gradually began to come within the region of the sunlight. Then I hastened my steps, and went on, always walking backwards as I have described, until I discovered the whole sphere of the sun. The strength of his rays, as is their wont, first made me close my eyes; but becoming aware of my misdoing, I opened them wide, and gazing steadfastly at the sun, exclaimed: "Oh, my sun, for whom I have passionately yearned! Albeit your rays may blind me, I do not wish to look on anything again but this!" So I stayed awhile with my eyes fixed steadily on him; and after a brief space I beheld in one moment the whole might of those great burning rays fling themselves upon the left side of the sun; so that the orb remained quite clear without its rays, and I was able to contemplate it with vast delight. It seemed to me something marvellous that the rays should be removed in that manner. Then I reflected what divine grace it was which God had granted me that morning, and cried aloud: "Oh, wonderful Thy power! oh, glorious Thy virtue! How far greater is the grace which Thou art granting me than that which I expected!" The sun without his rays appeared to me to be a bath of the purest molten gold, neither more nor less. While I stood contemplating this wondrous thing, I noticed that the middle of the sphere began to swell, and the swollen surface grew, and suddenly a Christ upon the cross formed itself out of the same substance as the sun. He bore the aspect of divine benignity, with such fair grace that the mind of man could not conceive the thousandth part of it; and while I gazed in ecstasy, I shouted: "A miracle! a miracle! O God! O clemency Divine! O immeasurable Goodness! what is it Thou hast deigned this day to show me!" While I was gazing and exclaiming thus, the Christ moved toward that part where his rays were settled, and the middle of the sun once more bulged out as it had done before; the boss expanded, and suddenly transformed itself into the shape of a most beautiful Madonna, who appeared to be sitting enthroned on high, holding her child in her arms with an attitude of the greatest charm and a smile upon her face. On each side of her was an angel, whose beauty far surpasses man's imagination. I also saw within the rondure of the sun, upon the right hand, a figure robed like a priest; this turned its back to me, and kept its face directed to the Madonna and the Christ. All these things I beheld, actual, clear, and vivid, and kept returning thanks to the glory of God as loud as I was able. The marvellous apparition remained before me little more than half a quarter of an hour: then it dissolved, and I was carried back to my dark lair.

I began at once to shout aloud: "The virtue of God hath deigned to show me all His glory, the which perchance no mortal eye hath ever seen before. Therefore I know surely that I am free and fortunate and in the grace of God; but you miscreants shall be miscreants still, accursed, and in the wrath of God. Mark this, for I am certain of it, that on the day of All Saints, the day upon which I was born in 1500, on the first of November, at four hours after nightfall, on that day which is coming you will be forced to lead me from this gloomy dungeon; less than this you will not be able to do, because I have seen it with these eyes of mine and in that throne of God. The priest who kept his face turned to God and his back to me, that priest was S. Peter, pleading my cause, for the shame he felt that such foul wrongs should be done to Christians in his own house. You may go and tell it to whom you like; for none on earth has the power to do me harm henceforward; and tell that lord who keeps me here, that if he will give me wax or paper and the means of portraying this glory of God which was revealed to me, most assuredly shall I convince him of that which now perhaps he holds in doubt."



CXXIII

THE PHYSICIANS gave the castellan no hope of his recovery, yet he remained with a clear intellect, and the humours which used to afflict him every year had passed away. He devoted himself entirely to the care of his soul, and his conscience seemed to smite him, because he felt that I had suffered and was suffering a grievous wrong. The Pope received information from him of the extraordinary things which I related; in answer to which his Holiness sent word-as one who had no faith either in God or aught beside-that I was mad, and that he must do his best to mend his health. When the castellan received this message, he sent to cheer me up, and furnished me with writing materials and wax, and certain little wooden instruments employed in working wax, adding many words of courtesy, which were reported by one of his servants who bore me good-will. This man was totally the opposite of that rascally gang who had wished to see me hanged. I took the paper and the wax, and began to work; and while I was working I wrote the following sonnet addressed to the castellan:-

"If I, my lord, could show to you the truth, Of that Eternal Light to me by Heaven In this low life revealed, you sure had given More heed to mine than to a monarch's sooth.

Ah! could the Pastor of Christ's flock in ruth Believe how God this soul with sight hath shriven Of glory unto which no wight hath striven Ere he escaped earth's cave of care uncouth;

The gates of Justice, holy and austere, Would roll asunder, and rude impious Rage Fall chained with shrieks that should assail the skies.

Had I but light, ah me! my art should rear A monument of Heaven's high equipage! Nor should my misery bear so grim a guise."



CXXIV

ON the following day, when the servant of the castellan who was my friend brought me my food, I gave him this sonnet copied out in writing. Without informing the other ill-disposed servants who were my enemies, he handed it to the castellan. At that time this worthy man would gladly have granted me my liberty, because he fancied that the great wrong done to me was a main cause of his death. He took the sonnet, and having read it more than once, exclaimed: "These are neither the words nor the thoughts of a madman, but rather of a sound and worthy fellow." Without delay he ordered his secretary to take it to the Pope, and place it in his own hands, adding a request for my deliverance.

While the secretary was on his way with my sonnet to the Pope, the castellan sent me lights for day and night, together with all the conveniences one could wish for in that place. The result of this was that I began to recover from my physical depression, which had reached a very serious degree.

The Pope read the sonnet several times. Then he sent word to the castellan that he meant presently to do what would be pleasing to him. Certainly the Pope had no unwillingness to release me then; but Signor Pier Luigi, his son, as it were in the Pope's despite, kept me there by force.

The death of the castellan was drawing near; and while I was engaged in drawing and modelling that miracle which I had seen, upon the morning of All Saint's day he sent his nephew, Piero Ugolini, to show me certain jewels. No sooner had I set eyes on them than I exclaimed: "This is the countersign of my deliverance!" Then the young man, who was not a person of much intelligence, began to say: "Never think of that, Benvenuto!" I replied: "Take your gems away, for I am so treated here that I have no light to see by except what this murky cavern gives, and that is not enough to test the quality of precious stones. But, as regards my deliverance from this dungeon, the day will not end before you come to fetch me out. It shall and must be so, and you will not be able to prevent it." The man departed, and had me locked in; but after he had remained away two hours by the clock, he returned without armed men, bringing only a couple of lads to assist my movements; so after this fashion he conducted me to the spacious rooms which I had previously occupied (that is to say, in 1538), where I obtained all the conveniences I asked for.



CXXV

AFTER the lapse of a few days, the castellan, who now believed that I was at large and free, succumbed to his disease and departed this life. In his room remained his brother, Messer Antonio Ugolini, who had informed the deceased governor that I was duly released. From what I learned, this Messer Antonio received commission from the Pope to let me occupy that commodious prison until he had decided what to do with me.

Messer Durante of Brescia, whom I have previously mentioned, engaged the soldier (formerly druggist of Prato) to administer some deadly liquor in my food; [1] the poison was to work slowly, producing its effect at the end of four or five months. They resolved on mixing pounded diamond with my victuals. Now the diamond is not a poison in any true sense of the word, but its incomparable hardness enables it, unlike ordinary stones, to retain very acute angles. When every other stone is pounded, that extreme sharpness of edge is lost; their fragments becoming blunt and rounded. The diamond alone preserves its trenchant qualities; wherefore, if it chances to enter the stomach together with food, the peristaltic motion [2] needful to digestion brings it into contact with the coats of the stomach and the bowels, where it sticks, and by the action of fresh food forcing it farther inwards, after some time perforates the organs. This eventually causes death. Any other sort of stone or glass mingled with the food has not the power to attach itself, but passes onward with the victuals. Now Messer Durante entrusted a diamond of trifling value to one of the guards; and it is said that a certain Lione, a goldsmith of Arezzo, my great enemy, was commissioned to pound it. [3] The man happened to be very poor, and the diamond was worth perhaps some scores of crowns. He told the guard that the dust he gave him back was the diamond in question properly ground down. The morning when I took it, they mixed it with all I had to eat; it was a Friday, and I had it in salad, sauce, and pottage. That morning I ate heartily, for I had fasted on the previous evening; and this day was a festival. It is true that I felt the victuals scrunch beneath my teeth; but I was not thinking about knaveries of this sort. When I had finished, some scraps of salad remained upon my plate, and certain very fine and glittering splinters caught my eye among these remnants. I collected them, and took them to the window, which let a flood of light into the room; and while I was examining them, I remembered that the food I ate that morning had scrunched more than usual. On applying my senses strictly to the matter, the verdict of my eyesight was that they were certainly fragments of pounded diamond. Upon this I gave myself up without doubt as dead, and in my sorrow had recourse with pious heart to holy prayers. I had resolved the question, and thought that I was doomed. For the space of a whole hour I prayed fervently to God, returning thanks to Him for so merciful a death. Since my stars had sentenced me to die, I thought it no bad bargain to escape from life so easily. I was resigned, and blessed the world and all the years which I had passed in it. Now I was returning to a better kingdom with the grace of God, the which I thought I had most certainly acquired.

While I stood revolving these thoughts in my mind, I held in my hand some flimsy particles of the reputed diamond, which of a truth I firmly believed to be such. Now hope is immortal in the human breast; therefore I felt myself, as it were, lured onward by a gleam of idle expectation. Accordingly, I took up a little knife and a few of those particles, and placed them on an iron bar of my prison. Then I brought the knife's point with a slow strong grinding pressure to bear upon the stone, and felt it crumble. Examining the substance with my eyes, I saw that it was so. In a moment new hope took possession of my soul, and I exclaimed: "Here I do not find my true foe, Messer Durante, but a piece of bad soft stone, which cannot do me any harm whatever!" Previously I had been resolved to remain quiet and to die in peace; now I revolved other plans, but first I rendered thanks to God and blessed poverty; for though poverty is oftentimes the cause of bringing men to death, on this occasion it had been the very cause of my salvation. I mean in this way: Messer Durante, my enemy, or whoever it was, gave a diamond to Lione to pound for me of the worth of more than a hundred crowns; poverty induced him to keep this for himself, and to pound for me a greenish beryl of the value of two carlins, thinking perhaps, because it also was a stone, that it would work the same effect as the diamond.

Note 1. For Messer Durante, see above, p. 180. For the druggist of Prato employed as a warder in S. Angelo, see above, p. 216.

Note 2. 'In quel girare che e' fanno e' cibi.' I have for the sake of clearness used the technical phrase above.

Note 3. The name of Leone Leoni is otherwise known as a goldsmith and bronze-caster. He made the tomb for Giangiacomo de' Medici, Il Medighino, in the Cathedral of Milan.



CXXVI

AT this time the Bishop of Pavia, brother of the Count of San Secondo, and commonly called Monsignor de' Rossi of Parma, happened to be imprisoned in the castle for some troublesome affairs at Pavia. [1] Knowing him to be my friend, I thrust my head out of the hole in my cell, and called him with a loud voice, crying that those thieves had given me a pounded diamond with the intention of killing me. I also sent some of the splinters which I had preserved, by the hand of one of his servants, for him to see. I did not disclose my discovery that the stone was not a diamond, but told him that they had most assuredly poisoned me, after the death of that most worthy man the castellan. During the short space of time I had to live, I begged him to allow me one loaf a day from his own stores, seeing that I had resolved to eat nothing which came from them. To this request he answered that he would supply me with victuals.

Messer Antonio, who was certainly not cognisant of the plot against my life, stirred up a great noise, and demanded to see the pounded stone, being also persuaded that it was a diamond; but on reflection that the Pope was probably at the bottom of the affair, he passed it over lightly after giving his attention to the incident.

Henceforth I ate the victuals sent me by the Bishop, and continued writing my Capitolo on the prison, into which I inserted daily all the new events which happened to me, point by point. But Messer Antonio also sent me food; and he did this by the hand of that Giovanni of Prato, the druggist, then soldier in the castle, whom I have previously mentioned. He was a deadly foe of mine, and was the man who had administered the powdered diamond. So I told him that I would partake of nothing he brought me unless he tasted it before my eyes. [2] The man replied that Popes have their meat tasted. I answered: "Noblemen are bound to taste the meat for Popes; in like measure, you, soldier, druggist, peasant from Prato, are bound to taste the meat for a Florentine of my station." He retorted with coarse words, which I was not slow to pay back in kind.

Now Messer Antonio felt a certain shame for his behaviour; he had it also in his mind to make me pay the costs which the late castellan, poor man, remitted in my favour. So he hunted out another of his servants, who was my friend, and sent me food by this man's hands. The meat was tasted for me now with good grace, and no need for altercation. The servant in question told me that the Pope was being pestered every day by Monsignor di Morluc, who kept asking for my extradition on the part of the French King. The Pope, however, showed little disposition to give me up; and Cardinal Farnese, formerly my friend and patron, had declared that I ought not to reckon on issuing from that prison for some length of time. [3] I replied that I should get out in spite of them all. The excellent young fellow besought me to keep quiet, and not to let such words of mine be heard, for they might do me some grave injury; having firm confidence in God, it was my duty to await. His mercy, remaining in the meanwhile tranquil. I answered that the power and goodness of God are not bound to stand in awe before the malign forces of iniquity.

Note 1. Gio. Girolamo de' Rossi, known in literature as a poet and historian of secondary importance.

Note 2. 'Me ne faceva la credenza.'

Note 3. This was the Cardinal Alessandro, son of Pier Luigi Farnese.



CXXVII

A FEW days had passed when the Cardinal of Ferrara arrived in Rome. He went to pay his respects to the Pope, and the Pope detained him up to supper-time. Now the Pope was a man of great talent for affairs, and he wanted to talk at his ease with the Cardinal about French politics. Everybody knows that folk, when they are feasting together, say things which they would otherwise retain. This therefore happened. The great King Francis was most frank and liberal in all his dealings, and the Cardinal was well acquainted with his temper. Therefore the latter could indulge the Pope beyond his boldest expectations. This raised his Holiness to a high pitch of merriment and gladness, all the more because he was accustomed to drink freely once a week, and went indeed to vomit after his indulgence. When, therefore, the Cardinal observed that the Pope was well disposed, and ripe to grant favours, he begged for me at the King's demand, pressing the matter hotly, and proving that his Majesty had it much at heart. Upon this the Pope laughed aloud; he felt the moment for his vomit at hand; the excessive quantity of wine which he had drunk was also operating; so he said: "On the spot, this instant, you shall take him to your house." Then, having given express orders to this purpose, he rose from table. The Cardinal immediately sent for me, before Signor Pier Luigi could get wind of the affair; for it was certain that he would not have allowed me to be loosed from prison.

The Pope's mandatary came together with two great gentlemen of the Cardinal's, and when four o'clock of the night was passed, they removed me from my prison, and brought me into the presence of the Cardinal, who received me with indescribable kindness. I was well lodged, and left to enjoy the comforts of my situation.

Messer Antonio, the old castellan's brother, and his successor in the office, insisted on extracting from me the costs for food and other fees and perquisites claimed by sheriffs and such fry, paying no heed to his predecessor's will in my behalf. This affair cost me several scores of crowns; but I paid them, because the Cardinal told me to be well upon my guard if I wanted to preserve my life, adding that had he not extracted me that evening from the prison, I should never have got out. Indeed, he had already been informed that the Pope greatly regretted having let me go.

THIS CAPITOLO I WRITE TO LUCA MARTIN ADDRESSING HIM IN IT AS WILL APPEAR [1]

WHOSO would know the power of God's dominion, And how a man resembles that high good, Must lie in prison, is my firm opinion:

On grievous thoughts and cares of home must brood, ' ' Oppressed with carking pains in flesh and bone, Far from his native land full many a rood.

If you would fain by worthy deeds be known, Seek to be prisoned without cause, lie long, ' ' And find no friend to listen to your moan.

See that men rob you of your all by wrong; Add perils to your life; be used with force, Hopeless of help, by brutal foes and strong. '

'Be driven at length to some mad desperate course; Burst from your dungeon, leap the castle wall; Recaptured, find the prison ten times worse. ' 'Now listen, Luca, to the best of all! Your leg's been broken; you've been bought and sold; Your dungeon's dripping; you've no cloak or shawl.

Never one friendly word; your victuals cold ' ' Are brought with sorry news by some base groom Of Prato-soldier now-druggist of old.

Mark well how Glory steeps her sons in gloom! You have no seat to sit on, save the stool: ' ' Yet were you active from your mother's womb.

The knave who serves hath orders strict and cool To list no word you utter, give you naught, Scarcely to ope the door; such is their rule. '

'These toys hath Glory for her nursling wrought! No paper, pens, ink, fire, or tools of steel, To exercise the quick brain's teeming thought. ' 'Alack that I so little can reveal! Fancy one hundred for each separate ill: Full space and place I've left for prison weal!

But now my former purpose to fulfil, ' ' And sing the dungeon's praise with honour due- For this angelic tongues were scant of skill.

Here never languish honest men and true, Except by placemen's fraud, misgovernment, ' ' Jealousies, anger, or some spiteful crew.

To tell the truth whereon my mind is bent, Here man knows God, nor ever stints to pray, Feeling his soul with hell's fierce anguish rent. '

'Let one be famed as bad as mortal may, Send him in jail two sorry years to pine, He'll come forth holy, wise, beloved alway.'

'Here soul, flesh, clothes their substance gross refine; Each bulky lout grows light like gossamere; Celestial thrones before purged eyeballs shine.

I'll tell thee a great marvel! Friend, give ear! ' ' The fancy took me on one day to write: Learn now what shifts one may be put to here.

My cell I search, prick brows and hair upright, Then turn me toward a cranny in the door, ' ' And with my teeth a splinter disunite;

Next find a piece of brick upon the floor, Crumble a part thereof to powder small, And form a paste by sprinkling water o'er. [2] '

'Then, then came Poesy with fiery call Into my carcass, by the way methought Whence bread goes forth-there was none else at all. ' 'Now to return unto my primal thought: Who wills to know what weal awaits him, must First learn the ill that God for him hath wrought.

The jail contains all arts in act and trust; ' ' Should you but hanker after surgeon's skill, 'Twill draw the spoiled blood from your veins adust.

Next there is something in itself that will Make you right eloquent, a bold brave spark, ' ' Big with high-soaring thoughts for good and ill.

Blessed is the man who lies in dungeon dark, Languishing many a month, then takes his flight Of war, truce, peace he knows, and tells the mark. '

'Needs be that all things turn to his delight; The jail has crammed his brains so full of wit, They'll dance no morris to upset the wight.

Perchance thou'lt urge: "Think how thy life did flit; Nor is it true the jail can teach thee lore, To fill thy breast and heart with strength of it!"

Nay, for myself I'll ever praise it more: Yet would I like one law passed-that the man Whose acts deserve it should not scape this score.

Whoso hath gotten the poor folk in ban, I'd make him learn those lessons of the jail; For then he'd know all a good ruler can:

He'd act like men who weigh by reason's scale, Nor dare to swerve from truth and right aside, Nor would confusion in the realm prevail.

While I was bound in prison to abide, Foison of priests, friars, soldiers I could see; But those who best deserved it least I spied.

Ah! could you know what rage came over me, When for such rogues the jail relaxed her hold! This makes one weep that one was born to be!

I'll add no more. Now I'm become fine gold, Such gold as none flings lightly to the wind, Fit for the best work eyes shall e'er behold.

Another point hath passed into my mind, Which I've not told thee, Luca; where I wrote, Was in the book of one our kith and kind. [3]

There down the margins I was wont to note Each torment grim that crushed me like a vice: The paste my hurrying thoughts could hardly float.

To make an O, I dipped the splinter thrice In that thick mud; worse woe could scarcely grind Spirits in hell debarred from Paradise.

Seeing I'm not the first by fraud confined, This I'll omit; and once more seek the cell Wherein I rack for rage both heart and mind.

I praise it more than other tongues will tell; And, for advice to such as do not know, Swear that without it none can labour well.

Yet oh! for one like Him I learned but now, Who'd cry to me as by Bethesda's shore: Take thy clothes, Benvenuto, rise and go!

Credo I'd sing, Salve reginas pour And Paternosters; alms I'd then bestow Morn after morn on blind folk, lame, and poor.

Ah me! how many a time my cheek must grow Blanched by those lilies! Shall I then forswear Florence and France through them for evermore? [4]

If to the hospital I come, and fair Find the Annunziata limned. I'll fly: Else shall I show myself a brute beast there. [5]

These words flout not Her worshipped sanctity, Nor those Her lilies, glorious, holy, pure, The which illumine earth and heaven high!

But for I find at every coign obscure Base lilies which spread hooks where flowers should blow Needs must I fear lest these to ruin lure. [6]

To think how many walk like me in woe! Born what, how slaved to serve that hateful sign! Souls lively, graceful, like to gods below!

I saw that lethal heraldry decline From heaven like lightning among people vain; Then on the stone I saw strange lustre shine.

The castle's bell must break ere I with strain Thence issued; and these things Who speaketh true In heaven on earth, to me made wondrous plain. [7]

Next I beheld a bier of sombre hue Adorned with broken lilies; crosses, tears; And on their beds a lost woe-stricken crew. [8]

I saw the Death who racks our souls with fears; This man and that she menaced, while she cried: "I clip the folk who harm thee with these shears!"

That worthy one then on my brow wrote wide With Peter's pen words which-for he bade shun To speak them thrice-within my breast I hide. [9]

Him I beheld who drives and checks the sun, Clad with its splendour 'mid his court on high, Seld-seen by mortal eyes, if e'er by one. [10]

Then did a solitary sparrow cry Loud from the keep; hearing which note, I said: "He tells that I shall live and you must die!"

I sang, and wrote my hard case, head by head, Asking from god pardon and aid in need, For now If felt mine eyes outworn and dead.

Ne'er lion, tiger, wolf, or bear knew greed Hungrier than that man felt for human blood; Nor viper with more venomous fang did feed. [11]

The cruel chief was he of robbers' brood, Worst of the worst among a gang of knaves; Hist! I'll speak soft lest I be understood!

Say, have ye seen catchpolls, the famished slaves, In act a poor man's homestead to distrain, Smashing down Christs, Madonnas, with their staves?

So on the first of August did that train Dislodge me to a tomb more foul, more cold:- "November damns and dooms each rogue to pain!" [12]

I at mine ears a trumpet had which told Truth; and each word to them I did repeat, Reckless, if but grief's load from me were rolled.

They, when they saw their final hope retreat, Gave me a diamond, pounded, no fair ring, Deeming that I must die if I should eat.

That villain churl whose office 'twas to bring My food, I bade taste first; but meanwhile thought: "Not here I find my foe Durante's sting!"

Yet erst my mind unto high God I brought Beseeching Him to pardon all my sin, And spoke a Miserere sorrow-fraught.

Then when I gained some respite from that din Of troubles, and had given my soul to God, Contented better realms and state to win,

I saw along the path which saints have trod, From heaven descending, glad, with glorious palm, An angel: clear he cried, "Upon earth's sod

Live longer thou! Through Him who heard thy psalm, Those foes shall perish, each and all, in strife, While thou remainest happy, free, and calm, Blessed by our Sire in heaven on earth for life!"

Note 1. Cellini's Capitolo in Praise of the Prison is clearly made up of pieces written, as escribed above, in the dungeon of S. Angelo, and of passages which he afterwards composed to bring these pieces into a coherent whole. He has not displayed much literary skill in the redaction, and I have been at pains to preserve the roughness of the original.

Note 2. The Italian is 'acqua morta;' probably a slang phrase for urine.

Note 3. 'Un nostro parente.' He says above that he wrote the Capitolo on the leaves of his Bible.

Note 4. 'Un nostro parente.' He says above that he wrote the Capitolo on the leaves of his Bible.

Note 5. Gabriel holds the lily in Italian paintings when he salutes the Virgin Mary with 'Ave Virgo!'

Note 6. That is, he finds everywhere in Italy the arms of the Farnesi.

Note 7. Allusion to his prevision of the castellan's death.

Note 8. Allusion to his prevision of Pier Luigi Farnese's murder.

Note 9. Allusion to the angel who visited him in prison.

Note 10. Allusion to his vision of the sun in the dungeon.

Note 11. An invective against Pier Luigi Farnese.

Note 12. Allusion to the prophetic words he flung at the officers who took him to Foiano's dungeon.



End of Part One



Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini Part II



I

I REMAINED for some time in the Cardinal of Ferrara's palace, very well regarded in general by everybody, and much more visited even than I had previously been. Everybody was astonished that I should have come out of prison and have been able to live through such indescribable afflictions; [1] and while I was recovering my breath and endeavouring to resume the habit of my art, I had great pleasure in re-writing the Capitolo. Afterwards, with a view to re-establishing my strength, I determined to take a journey of a few days for change of air. My good friend the Cardinal gave me permission and lent me horses; and I had two young Romans for my companions, one of them a craftsman in my trade, the other only a comrade in our journey. We left Rome, and took the road to Tagliacozzo, intending to visit my pupil Ascanio, who lived there. On our arrival, I found the lad, together with his father, brothers, sisters, and stepmother. I was entertained by them two days with indescribable kindness; then I turned my face towards Rome, taking Ascanio with me. On the road we fell to conversing about our art, which made me die of impatience to get back and recommence my labours.

Having reached Rome, I got myself at once in readiness to work, and was fortunate enough to find again a silver basin which I had begun for the Cardinal before I was imprisoned. Together with this basin I had begun a very beautiful little jug; but this had been stolen, with a great quantity of other valuable articles. I set Pagolo, whom I have previously mentioned, to work upon the basin. At the same time I recommenced the jug, which was designed with round figures and bas-reliefs. The basin was executed in a similar style, with round figures and fishes in bas-relief. The whole had such richness and good keeping, that every one who beheld it expressed astonishment at the force of the design and beauty of invention, and also at the delicacy [2] with which these young men worked.

The Cardinal came at least twice a day to see me, bringing with him Messer Luigi Alamanni and Messer Gabriel Cesano; [3] and here we used to pass an hour or two pleasantly together. Notwithstanding I had very much to do, he kept giving me fresh commissions. Among others, I had to make his pontifical seal of the size of the hand of a boy of twelve. On it I engraved in intaglio two little histories, the one of San Giovanni preaching in the wilderness, the other of Sant' Ambrogio expelling the Arians [4] on horseback with a lash in his hand. The fire and correctness of design of this piece, and its nicety of workmanship, made every one say that I had surpassed the great Lautizio, who ranked alone in this branch of the profession. The Cardinal was so proud of it that he used to compare it complacently with the other seals of the Roman cardinals, which were nearly all from the hand of Lautizio.

Note 1. This assertion is well supported by contemporary letters of Caro and Alamanni.

Note 2. 'Pulitezza.' This indicates precision, neatness, cleanness of execution.

Note 3. The name of Cesano is well known in the literary correspondence of those times.

Note 4. It will be remembered that the Cardinal was Archbishop of Milan.



II

IN addition to these things the Cardinal ordered me to make the model for a salt-cellar; but he said he should like me to leave the beaten track pursued by such as fabricated these things. Messer Luigi, apropos of this salt-cellar, made an eloquent description of his own idea; Messer Gabriello Cesano also spoke exceedingly well to the same purpose. The Cardinal, who was a very kindly listener, showed extreme satisfaction with the designs which these two able men of letters had described in words. Then he turned to me and said: "My Benvenuto, the design of Messer Luigi and that of Messer Gabriello please me both so well that I know not how to choose between them; therefore I leave the choice to you, who will have to execute the work." I replied as follows: "It is apparent, my lords, of what vast consequence are the sons of kings and emperors, and what a marvellous brightness of divinity appears in them; nevertheless, if you ask some poor humble shepherd which he loves best, those royal children or his sons, he will certainly tell you that he loves his own sons best. Now I too have a great affection for the children which I bring forth from my art; consequently the first which I will show you, most reverend monsignor my good master, shall be of my own making and invention. There are many things beautiful enough in words which do not match together well when executed by an artist." Then I turned to the two scholars and said: "You have spoken, I will do." Upon this Messer Luigi Alamanni smiled, and added a great many witty things, with the greatest charm of manner, in my praise; they became him well, for he was handsome of face and figure, and had a gentle voice. Messer Gabriello Cesano was quite the opposite, as ugly and displeasing as the other was agreeable; accordingly he spoke as he looked.

Messer Luigi had suggested that I should fashion a Venus with Cupid, surrounded by a crowd of pretty emblems, all in proper keeping with the subject. Messer Gabriello proposed that I should model an Amphitrite, the wife of Neptune, together with those Tritons of the sea, and many such-like fancies, good enough to describe in words, but not to execute in metal.

I first laid down an oval framework, considerably longer than half a cubit—almost two-thirds, in fact; and upon this ground, wishing to suggest the interminglement of land and ocean, I modelled two figures, considerably taller than a palm in height, which were seated with their legs interlaced, suggesting those lengthier branches of the sea which run up into the continents. The sea was a man, and in his hand I placed a ship, elaborately wrought in all its details, and well adapted to hold a quantity of salt. Beneath him I grouped the four sea-horses, and in his right hand he held his trident. The earth I fashioned like a woman, with all the beauty of form, the grace, and charm of which my art was capable. She had a richly decorated temple firmly based upon the ground at one side; and here her hand rested. This I intended to receive the pepper. In her other hand I put a cornucopia, overflowing with all the natural treasures I could think of. Below this goddess, in the part which represented earth, I collected the fairest animals that haunt our globe. In the quarter presided over by the deity of ocean, I fashioned such choice kinds of fishes and shells as could be properly displayed in that small space. What remained of the oval I filled in with luxuriant ornamentation.

Then I waited for the Cardinal; and when he came, attended by the two accomplished gentlemen, I produced the model I had made in wax. On beholding it, Messer Gabriel Cesano was the first to lift his voice up, and to cry: "This is a piece which it will take the lives of ten men to finish: do not expect, most reverend monsignor, if you order it, to get it in your lifetime. Benvenuto, it seems, has chosen to display his children in a vision, but not to give them to the touch, as we did when we spoke of things that could be carried out, while he has shown a thing beyond the bounds of possibility." Messer Alamanni took my side; but the Cardinal said he did not care to undertake so important an affair. Then I turned to them and said: "Most reverend monsignor, and you, gentlemen, fulfilled with learning; I tell you that I hope to complete this piece for whosoever shall be destined to possess it; [1] and each one of you shall live to I see it executed a hundred times more richly than the model. Indeed, I hope that time will be left me to produce far greater things than this." The Cardinal replied in heat: "Unless you make if for the King, to whom I mean to take you, I do not think that you will make it for another man alive." Then he showed me letters in which the King, under one heading, bade him return as soon as possible, bringing Benvenuto with him. At this I raised my hands to heaven, exclaiming: "Oh, when will that moment come, and quickly?" The Cardinal bade me put myself in readiness, and arrange the affairs I had in Rome. He gave me ten days for these preparations.

Note 1. 'A chi l'ard avere.' For whomsoever it in going to belong to.



III

WHEN the time came to travel, he gave me a fine and excellent horse. The animal was called Tornon, because it was a gift from the Cardinal Tornon. [1] My apprentices, Pagolo and Ascanio, were also furnished with good mounts.

The Cardinal divided his household, which was very numerous, into two sections. The first, and the more distinguished, he took with him, following the route of Romagna, with the object of visiting Madonna del Loreto, and then making for Ferrara, his own home. The other section he sent upon the road to Florence. This was the larger train; it counted a great multitude, including the flower of his horse. He told me that if I wished to make the journey without peril, I had better go with him, otherwise I ran some risk of my life. I expressed my inclination to his most reverend lordship to travel in his suite. But, having done so, since the will of Heaven must be accomplished, it pleased God to remind me of my poor sister, who had suffered greatly from the news of my misfortunes. I also remembered my cousins, who were nuns in Viterbo, the one abbess and the other camerlinga, [2] and who had therefore that rich convent under their control. They too had endured sore tribulation for my sake, and to their fervent prayers I firmly believed that I owed the grace of my deliverance by God. Accordingly, when these things came into my mind, I decided for the route to Florence. I might have travelled free of expense with the Cardinal or with that other train of his, but I chose to take my own way by myself. Eventually I joined company with a very famous clockmaker, called Maestro Cherubino, my esteemed friend. Thrown together by accident, we performed the journey with much enjoyment on both sides.

I had left Rome on Monday in Passion Week, together with Pagolo and Ascanio. [3] At Monte Ruosi we joined the company which I have mentioned. Since I had expressed my intention of following the Cardinal, I did not anticipate that any of my enemies would be upon the watch to harm me. Yet I ran a narrow risk of coming to grief at Monte Ruosi; for a band of men had been sent forward, well armed, to do me mischief there. It was so ordained by God that, while we were at dinner, these fellows, on the news that I was not travelling in the Cardinal's suite, made preparation to attack me. Just at that moment the Cardinal's retinue arrived, and I was glad enough to travel with their escort safely to Viterbo. From that place onward I had no apprehension of danger, especially as I made a point of travelling a few miles in front, and the best men of the retinue kept a good watch over me. [4] I arrived by God's grace safe and sound at Viterbo, where my cousins and all the convent received me with the greatest kindness.

Note 1. This was the famous Francois de Tournon, made Cardinal in 1530, and employed as minister by Francois. I.

Note 2. This official in a convent was the same as cellarer or superintendent of the cellar and provisions.

Note 3. This was March 22, 1540.

Note 4. 'Tenevano molto conto di me.' This is perhaps equivalent to 'held me in high esteem.' But Cellini uses the same phrase with the meaning I have given above, in Book I, chap. lxxxvi.



IV

I bought a new pair of stirrups, although I still hoped to regain my good pad by persuasion; and since I was very well mounted, and well armed with shirt and sleeves of mail, and carried an excellent arquebuse upon my saddle-bow, I was not afraid of the brutality and violence which that mad beast was said to be possessed of. I had also accustomed my young men to carry shirts of mail, and had great confidence in the Roman, who, while we were in Rome together, had never left it off, so far as I could see; Ascanio too, although he was but a stripling, was in the habit of wearing one. Besides, as it was Good Friday, I imagined that the madnesses of madmen might be giving themselves a holiday. When we came to the Camollia gate, I at once recognised the postmaster by the indications given me; for he was blind of the left eye. Riding up to him then, and leaving my young men and companions at a little distance, I courteously addressed him: "Master of the post, if I assure you that I did not override your horse, why are you unwilling to give me back my pad and stirrups?" The reply he made was precisely as mad and brutal as had been foretold me. This roused me to exclaim: "How then! are you not a Christian? or do you want upon Good Friday to force us both into a scandal?" He answered that Good Friday or the Devil's Friday was all the same to him, and that if I did not take myself away, he would fell me to the ground with a spontoon which he had taken up—me and the arquebuse I had my hand on. Upon hearing these truculent words, an old gentleman of Siena joined us; he was dressed like a citizen, and was returning from the religious functions proper to that day. It seems that he had gathered the sense of my arguments before he came up to where we stood; and this impelled him to rebuke the postmaster with warmth, taking my side, and reprimanding the man's two sons for not doing their duty to passing strangers; so that their manners were an offence to God and a disgrace to the city of Siena. The two young fellows wagged their heads without saying a word, and withdrew inside the house. Their father, stung to fury by the scolding of that respectable gentleman, poured out a volley of abusive blasphemies, and levelled his spontoon, swearing he would murder me. When I saw him determined to do some act of bestial violence, I pointed the muzzle of my arquebuse, with the object only of keeping him at a distance. Doubly enraged by this, he flung himself upon me. Though I had prepared the arquebuse for my defence, I had not yet levelled it exactly at him; indeed it was pointed too high. It went off of itself; and the ball, striking the arch of the door and glancing backwards, wounded him in the throat, so that he fell dead to earth. Upon this the two young men came running out; one caught up a partisan from the rack which stood there, the other seized the spontoon of his father. Springing upon my followers, the one who had the spontoon smote Pagolo the Roman first above the left nipple. The other attacked a Milanese who was in our company, and had the ways and manners of a perfect fool. This man screamed out that he had nothing in the world to do with me, and parried the point of the partisan with a little stick he held; but this availed him naught: in spite of his words and fencing, he received a flesh wound in the mouth. Messer Cherubino wore the habit of a priest; for though he was a clockmaker by trade, he held benefices of some value from the Pope. Ascanio, who was well armed, stood his ground without trying to escape, as the Milanese had done; so these two came off unhurt. I had set spurs to my horse, and while he was galloping, had charged and got my arquebuse in readiness again; but now I turned back, burning with fury, and meaning to play my part this time in earnest. I thought that my young men had been killed, and was resolved to die with them. The horse had not gone many paces when I met them riding toward me, and asked if they were hurt. Ascanio answered that Pagolo was wounded to the death. Then I said: "O Pagolo, my son, did the spontoon then pierce through your armour?" "No," he replied, "for I put my shirt of mail in the valise this morning." "So then, I suppose, one wears chain-mail in Rome to swagger before ladies, but where there is danger, and one wants it, one keeps it locked up in a portmanteau? You deserve what you have got, and you are now the cause of sending me back to die here too." While I was uttering these words, I kept riding briskly onward; but both the young men implored me for the love of God to save myself and them, and not to rush on certain death. Just then I met Messer Cherubino and the wounded Milanese. The former cried out that no one was badly wounded; the blow given to Pagolo had only grazed the skin, [2] but the old postmaster was stretched out dead; his sons with other folk were getting ready for attack, and we must almost certainly be cut to pieces: "Accordingly, Benvenuto, since fortune has saved us from this first tempest, do not tempt her again, for things may not go so favourably a second time." To this I replied: "If you are satisfied to have it thus, so also am I;" and turning to Pagolo and Ascanio, I said: "Strike spurs to your horses, and let us gallop to Staggia without stopping; [3] there we shall be in safety." The wounded Milanese groaned out: "A pox upon our peccadilloes! the sole cause of my misfortune was that I sinned by taking a little broth this morning, having nothing else to break my fast with." In spite of the great peril we were in, we could not help laughing a little at the donkey and his silly speeches. Then we set spurs to our horses, and left Messer Cherubino and the Milanese to follow at their leisure.

Note 1. The word I have translated by "pad" above is 'cucino' in the original. It seems to have been a sort of cushion flung upon the saddle, and to which the stirrups were attached.

Note 2. The Italian is peculiar: 'il colpo di Pagolo era ito tanto ritto che non era isfandato.'

Note 3. Staggia is the next post on the way to Florence.



V

WHILE we were making our escape, the sons of the dead man ran to the Duke of Melfi, and begged for some light horsemen to catch us up and take us prisoners. [1] The Duke upon being informed that we were the Cardinal of Ferrara's men, refused to give them troops or leave to follow. We meanwhile arrived at Staggia, where we were in safety. There we sent for a doctor, the best who could be had in such a place; and on his examining Pagolo, we discovered that the wound was only skin-deep; so I felt sure [2] that he would escape without mischief. Then we ordered dinner; and at this juncture there arrived Messer Cherubino and that Milanese simpleton, who kept always muttering: "A plague upon your quarrels," and complaining that he was excommunicated because he had not been able to say a single Paternoster on that holy morning. He was very ugly, and his mouth, which nature had made large, had been expanded at least three inches by his wound; so that what with his ludicrous Milanese jargon and his silly way of talking, he gave us so much matter for mirth, that, instead of bemoaning our ill-luck, we could not hold from laughing at every word he uttered. When the doctor wanted to sew up his wound, and had already made three stitches with his needle, the fellow told him to hold hard a while, since he did not want him out of malice to sew his whole mouth up. Then he took up a spoon, and said he wished to have his mouth left open enough to take that spoon in, in order that he might return alive to his own folk. These things he said with such odd waggings of the head, that we never stopped from laughing, and so pursued our journey mirthfully to Florence.

We dismounted at the house of my poor sister, who, together with her husband, overwhelmed us with kind attentions. Messer Cherubino and the Milanese went about their business. In Florence we remained four days, during which Pagolo got well. It was lucky for us that whenever we talked about that Milanese donkey, we laughed as much as our misfortunes made us weep, so that we kept laughing and crying both at the same moment.

Pagolo recovered, as I have said, with ease; and then we travelled toward Ferrara, where we found our lord the Cardinal had not yet arrived. He had already heard of all our accidents, and said, when he expressed his concern for them: "I pray to God that I may be allowed to bring you alive to the King, according to my promise." In Ferrara he sent me to reside at a palace of his, a very handsome place called Belfiore, close under the city walls. There he provided me with all things necessary for my work. A little later, he arranged to leave for France without me; and observing that I was very ill pleased with this, he said to me: "Benvenuto, I am acting for your welfare; before I take you out of Italy, I want you to know exactly what you will have to do when you come to France. Meanwhile, push on my basin and the jug with all the speed you can. I shall leave orders with my factor to give you everything that you may want."

He then departed, and I remained sorely dissatisfied, and more than once I was upon the point of taking myself off without license. The only thing which kept me back was that he had procured my freedom from Pope Paolo; for the rest, I was ill-contented and put to considerable losses. However, I clothed my mind with the gratitude due to that great benefit, and disposed myself to be patient and to await the termination of the business. So I set myself to work with my two men, and made great progress with the jug and basin. The air was unwholesome where we lodged, and toward summer we all of us suffered somewhat in our health. During our indisposition we went about inspecting the domain; it was very large, and left in a wild state for about a mile of open ground, haunted too by multitudes of peacocks, which bred and nested there like wildfowl. This put it into my head to charge my gun with a noiseless kind of powder; then I tracked some of the young birds, and every other day killed one, which furnished us with abundance of meat, of such excellent quality that we shook our sickness off. For several months following we went on working merrily, and got the jug and basin forward; but it was a task that required much time.

Note 1. The Duke of Melfi, or Amalfi, was at this time Alfonso Piccolomini, acting as captain-general of the Sienese in the interests of Charles V.

Note 2. 'Cognobbi.' The subject to this verb may be either Cellini or the doctor.



VI

AT that period the Duke of Ferrara came to terms with Pope Paul about some old matters in dispute between them relating to Modena and certain other cities. The Church having a strong claim to them, the Duke was forced to purchase peace by paying down an enormous sum of money; I think that it exceeded three hundred thousand ducats of the Camera. There was an old treasurer in the service of the Duke, who had been brought up by his father, Duke Alfonso, and was called Messer Girolamo Giliolo. He could not endure to see so much money going to the Pope, and went about the streets crying: "Duke Alfonso, his father, would sooner have attacked and taken Rome with this money than have shown it to the Pope." Nothing would induce him to disburse it; at last, however, the Duke compelled him to make the payments, which caused the old man such anguish that he sickened of a dangerous colic and was brought to death's door. During this man's illness the Duke sent for me, and bade me take his portrait; this I did upon a circular piece of black stone about the size of a little trencher. The Duke took so much pleasure in my work and conversation, that he not unfrequently posed through four or five hours at a stretch for his own portrait, and sometimes invited me to supper. It took me eight days to complete his likeness; then he ordered me to design the reverse. On it I modelled Peace, giving her the form of a woman with a torch in her hand, setting fire to a trophy of arms; I portrayed her in an attitude of gladness, with very thin drapery, and below her feet lay Fury in despair, downcast and sad, and loaded with chains. I devoted much study and attention to this work, and it won me the greatest honour. The Duke was never tired of expressing his satisfaction, and gave me inscriptions for both sides of the medal. That on the reverse ran as follows: 'Pretiosa in conspectu Domini;' it meant that his peace with the Pope had been dearly bought.



VII

WHILE I was still engaged upon the reverse of this medal, the Cardinal sent me letters bidding me prepare for my journey, since the King had asked after me. His next communication would contain full details respecting all that he had promised. Accordingly, I had my jug and basin packed up, after showing them to the Duke. Now a Ferrarese gentleman named Alberto Bendedio was the Cardinal's agent, and he had been twelve years confined to his house, without once leaving it, by reason of some physical infirmity. One day he sent in a vast hurry for me, saying I must take the post at once, in order to present myself before the King of France, who had eagerly been asking for me, under the impression that I was in France. By way of apology, the Cardinal told him that I was staying, slightly indisposed, in his abbey at Lyons, but that he would have me brought immediately to his Majesty. Therefore I must lose no time, but travel with the post.

Now Messer Alberto was a man of sterling worth, but proud, and illness had made his haughty temper insupportable. As I have just said, he bade me to get ready on the spot and take the journey by the common post. I said that it was not the custom to pursue my profession in the post, and that if I had to go, it was my intention to make easy stages and to take with me the workmen Ascanio and Pagolo, whom I had brought from Rome. Moreover, I wanted a servant on horseback to be at my orders, and money sufficient for my costs upon the way. The infirm old man replied, upon a tone of mighty haughtiness, that the sons of dukes were wont to travel as I had described, and in no other fashion. I retorted that the sons of my art travelled in the way I had informed him, and that not being a duke's son, I knew nothing about the customs of such folk; if he treated me to language with which my ears were unfamiliar, I would not go at all; the Cardinal having broken faith with me, and such scurvy words having been spoken, I should make my mind up once for all to take no further trouble with the Ferrarese. Then I turned my back, and, he threatening, I grumbling, took my leave.

I next went to the Duke with my medal, which was finished. He received me with the highest marks of honour and esteem. It seems that he had given orders to Messer Girolamo Giliolo to reward me for my labour with a diamond ring worth two hundred crowns, which was to be presented by Fiaschino, his chamberlain. Accordingly, this fellow, on the evening after I had brought the medal, at one hour past nightfall, handed me a ring with a diamond of showy appearance, and spoke as follows on the part of his master: "Take this diamond as a remembrance of his Excellency, to adorn the unique artist's hand which has produced a masterpiece of so singular merit." When day broke, I examined the ring, and found the stone to be a miserable thin diamond, worth about ten crowns. I felt sure that the Duke had not meant to accompany such magnificent compliments with so trifling a gift, but that he must have intended to reward me handsomely. Being then convinced that the trick proceeded from his rogue of a treasurer, I gave the ring to a friend of mine, begging him to return it to the chamberlain, Fiaschino, as he best could. The man I chose was Bernardo Saliti, who executed his commission admirably. Fiaschino came at once to see me, and declared, with vehement expostulations, that the Duke would take it very ill if I refused a present he had meant so kindly; perhaps I should have to repent of my waywardness. I answered that the ring his Excellency had given me was worth about ten crowns, and that the work I had done for him was worth more than two hundred. Wishing, however, to show his Excellency how highly I esteemed his courtesy, I should be happy if he bestowed on me only one of those rings for the cramp, which come from England and are worth tenpence. [1] I would treasure that so long as I lived in remembrance of his Excellency, together with the honourable message he had sent me; for I considered that the splendid favours of his Excellency had amply recompensed my pains, whereas that paltry stone insulted them. This speech annoyed the Duke so much that he sent for his treasurer, and scolded him more sharply than he had ever done before. At the same time he gave me orders, under pain of his displeasure, not to leave Ferrara without duly informing him; and commanded the treasurer to present me with a diamond up to three hundred crowns in value. The miserly official found a stone rising a trifle above sixty crowns, and let it be heard that it was worth upwards of two hundred.

Note 1. 'Anello del granchio,' a metal ring of lead and copper, such as are now worn in Italy under the name of 'anello di salute.'



VIII

MEANWHILE Messer Alberto returned to reason, and provided me with all I had demanded. My mind was made up to quit Ferrara without fail that very day; but the Duke's attentive chamberlain arranged with Messer Alberto that I should get no horses then. I had loaded a mule with my baggage, including the case which held the Cardinal's jug and basin. Just then a Ferrarese nobleman named Messer Alfonso de' Trotti arrived. [1] He was far advanced in years, and a person of excessive affectation; a great dilettante of the arts, but one of those men who are very difficult to satisfy, and who, if they chance to stumble on something which suits their taste, exalt it so in their own fancy that they never expect to see the like of it again. Well, this Messer Alonso arrived, and Messer Alberto said to him: "I am sorry that you are come so late; the jug and basin we are sending to the Cardinal in France have been already packed." He answered that it did not signify to him; and beckoning to his servant, sent him home to fetch a jug in white Faenzo clay, the workmanship of which was very exquisite. During the time the servant took to go and return, Messer Alfonso said to Messer Alberto: "I will tell you why I do not care any longer to look at vases; it is that I once beheld a piece of silver, antique, of such beauty and such finish that the human imagination cannot possibly conceive its rarity. Therefore I would rather not inspect any objects of the kind, for fear of spoiling the unique impression I retain of that. I must tell you that a gentleman of great quality and accomplishments, who went to Rome upon matters of business, had this antique vase shown to him in secret. By adroitly using a large sum of money, he bribed the person in whose hands it was, and brought it with him to these parts; but he keeps it jealously from all eyes, in order that the Duke may not get wind of it, fearing he should in some way be deprived of his treasure." While spinning out this lengthy yarn, Messer Alfonso did not look at me, because we were not previously acquainted. But when that precious clay model appeared, he displayed it with such airs of ostentation, pomp, and mountebank ceremony, that, after inspecting it, I turned to Messer Alberto and said: "I am indeed lucky to have had the privilege to see it!" [2] Messer Alfonso, quite affronted, let some contemptuous words escape him, and exclaimed: "Who are you, then, you who do not know what you are saying?" I replied: "Listen for a moment, and afterwards judge which of us knows best what he is saying." Then turning to Messer Alberto, who was a man of great gravity and talent, I began: "This is a copy from a little silver goblet, of such and such weight, which I made at such and such a time for that charlatan Maestro Jacopo, the surgeon from Carpi. He came to Rome and spent six months there, during which he bedaubed some scores of nobleman and unfortunate gentlefolk with his dirty salves, extracting many thousands of ducats from their pockets. At that time I made for him this vase and one of a different pattern. He paid me very badly; and at the present moment in Rome all the miserable people who used his ointment are crippled and in a deplorable state of health. [3] It is indeed great glory for me that my works are held in such repute among you wealthy lords; but I can assure you that during these many years past I have been progressing in my art with all my might, and I think that the vase I am taking with me into France is far more worthy of cardinals and kings than that piece belonging to your little quack doctor."

After I had made this speech, Messer Alfonso seemed dying with desire to see the jug and basin, but I refused to open the box. We remained some while disputing the matter, when he said that he would go to the Duke and get an order from his Excellency to have it shown him. Then Messer Alberto Bendedio, in the high and mighty manner which belonged to him, exclaimed: "Before you leave this room, Messer Alfonso, you shall see it, without employing the Duke's influence." On hearing these words I took my leave, and left Ascanio and Pagolo to show it. They told me afterwards that he had spoken enthusiastically in my praise. After this he wanted to become better acquainted with me; but I was wearying to leave Ferrara and get away from all its folk. The only advantages I had enjoyed there were the society of Cardinal Salviati and the Cardinal of Ravenna, and the friendship of some ingenious musicians; [4] no one else had been to me of any good: for the Ferrarese are a very avaricious people, greedy of their neighbours' money, however they may lay their hands on it; they are all the same in this respect.

At the hour of twenty-two Fiaschino arrived, and gave me the diamond of sixty crowns, of which I spoke above. He told me, with a hang-dog look and a few brief words, that I might wear it for his Excellency's sake. I replied: "I will do so." Then putting my foot in the stirrup in his presence, I set off upon my travels without further leave-taking. The man noted down my act and words, and reported them to the Duke, who was highly incensed, and showed a strong inclination to make me retrace my steps.

Note 1. This man was a member of a very noble Ferrarese family, and much esteemed for his official talents.

Note 2. 'Pur beato che io l' ho veduto!' Leclanche translates thus: '"Par Dieu! il y a longtemps que je l' ai vu!"' I think Cellini probably meant to hint that he had seen it before.

Note 3. See above, book i., p. 51, for this story.

Note 4. Cardinal Giovanni Salviati was Archbishop of Ferrara; Cardinal Benedetto Accolti, Archbishop of Ravenna, was then staying at Ferrara; the court was famous for its excellent orchestra and theatrical display of all kinds.



IX

THAT evening I rode more than ten miles, always at a trot; and when, upon the next day, I found myself outside the Ferrarese domain, I felt excessively relieved; indeed I had met with nothing to my liking there, except those peacocks which restored my health. We journeyed by the Monsanese, avoiding the city of Milan on account of the apprehension I have spoken of, [1] so that we arrived safe and sound at Lyons. Counting Pagolo and Ascanio and a servant, we were four men, with four very good horses. At Lyons we waited several days for the muleteer, who carried the silver cup and basin, as well as our other baggage; our lodging was in an abbey of the Cardinal's. When the muleteer arrived, we loaded all our goods upon a little cart, and then set off toward Paris. On the road we met with some annoyances, but not of any great moment.

We found the Court of the King at Fontana Belio; [2] there we presented ourselves to the Cardinal, who provided us at once with lodgings, and that evening we were comfortable. On the following day the cart turned up; so we unpacked our things, and when the Cardinal heard this he told the King, who expressed a wish to see me at once. I went to his Majesty with the cup and basin; then, upon entering his presence, I kissed his knee, and he received me very graciously. I thanked his Majesty for freeing me from prison, saying that all princes unique for generosity upon this earth, as was his Majesty, lay under special obligations to set free men of talent, and particularly those that were innocent, as I was; such benefits, I added, were inscribed upon the book of God before any other good actions. The King, while I was delivering this speech, continued listening till the end with the utmost courtesy, dropping a few words such as only he could utter. Then he took the vase and basin, and exclaimed: "Of a truth I hardly think the ancients can have seen a piece so beautiful as this. I well remember to have inspected all the best works, and by the greatest masters of all Italy, but I never set my eyes on anything which stirred me to such admiration." These words the King addressed in French to the Cardinal of Ferrara, with many others of even warmer praise. Then he turned to me and said in Italian: "Benvenuto, amuse yourself for a few days, make good cheer, and spend your time in pleasure; in the meanwhile we will think of giving you the wherewithal to execute some fine works of art for us."

Note 1. The 'Monsanese' is the 'Mont Cenis.' Cellini forgets that he has not mentioned this apprehension which made him turn aside from Milan. It may have been the fear of plague, or perhaps of some enemy.

Note 2. It is thus that Cellini always writes Fontainebleau.



X

THE CARDINAL OF FERRARA saw that the King had been vastly pleased by my arrival; he also judged that the trifles which I showed him of my handicraft had encouraged him to hope for the execution of some considerable things he had in mind. At this time, however, we were following the court with the weariest trouble and fatigue; the reason of this was that the train of the King drags itself along with never less than 12,000 horse behind it; this calculation is the very lowest; for when the court is complete in times of peace, there are some 18,000, which makes 12,000 less than the average. Consequently we had to journey after it through places where sometimes there were scarcely two houses to be found; and then we set up canvas tents like gipsies, and suffered at times very great discomfort. I therefore kept urging the Cardinal to put the King in mind of employing me in some locality where I could stop and work. The Cardinal answered that it was far better to wait until the King should think of it himself, and that I ought to show myself at times to his Majesty while he was at table. This I did then; and one morning, at his dinner, the King called me. He began to talk to me in Italian, saying he had it in his mind to execute several great works, and that he would soon give orders where I was to labour, and provide me with all necessaries. These communications he mingled with discourse on divers pleasant matters. The Cardinal of Ferrara was there, because he almost always ate in the morning at the King's table. He had heard our conversation, and when the King rose, he spoke in my favour to this purport, as I afterwards was informed: "Sacred Majesty, this man Benvenuto is very eager to get to work again; it seems almost a sin to let an artist of his abilities waste his time." The King replied that he had spoken well, and told him to arrange with me all things for my support according to my wishes.

Upon the evening of the day when he received this commission, the Cardinal sent for me after supper, and told me that his Majesty was resolved to let me begin working, but that he wanted me first to come to an understanding about my appointments. To this the Cardinal added: "It seems to me that if his Majesty allows you three hundred crowns a year, you will be able to keep yourself very well indeed, furthermore, I advise you to leave yourself in my hands, for every day offers the opportunity of doing some service in this great kingdom, and I shall exert myself with vigour in your interest." Then I began to speak as follows: "When your most reverend lordship left me in Ferrara, you gave me a promise, which I had never asked for, not to bring me out of Italy before I clearly understood the terms on which I should be placed here with his Majesty. Instead of sending to communicate these details, your most reverend lordship urgently ordered me to come by the post, as if an art like mine was carried on post-haste. Had you written to tell me of three hundred crowns, as you have now spoken, I would not have stirred a foot for twice that sum. Nevertheless, I thank God and your most reverend lordship for all things, seeing God has employed you as the instrument for my great good in procuring my liberation from imprisonment. Therefore I assure your lordship that all the troubles you are now causing me fall a thousand times short of the great good which you have done me. With all my heart I thank you, and take good leave of you; wherever I may be, so long as I have life, I will pray God for you." The Cardinal was greatly irritated, and cried out in a rage: "Go where you choose; it is impossible to help people against their will." Some of his good-for-nothing courtiers who were present said: "That fellow sets great store on himself, for he is refusing three hundred ducats a year." Another, who was a man of talent, replied: "The King will never find his equal, and our Cardinal wants to cheapen him, as though he were a load of wood." This was Messer Luigi Alamanni who spoke to the above effect, as I was afterwards informed. All this happened on the last day of October, in Dauphine, at a castle the name of which I do not remember.



XI

ON leaving the Cardinal I repaired to my lodging, which was three miles distant, in company with a secretary of the Cardinal returning to the same quarters. On the road, this man never stopped asking me what I meant to do with myself, and what my own terms regarding the appointment would have been. I gave him only one word back for answer which was that—I knew all. When we came to our quarters, I found Pagolo and Ascanio there; and seeing me much troubled, they implored me to tell them what was the matter. To the poor young men, who were all dismayed, I said for answer: "To-morrow I shall give you money amply sufficient for your journey home. I mean myself to go about a most important business without you, which for a long time I have had it in my mind to do." Our room adjoined that of the secretary; and I think it not improbable that he wrote to the Cardinal, and informed him of my purpose. However, I never knew anything for certain about this. The night passed without sleep, and I kept wearying for the day, in order to carry out my resolution.

No sooner did it dawn than I ordered out the horses, made my preparations in a moment, and gave the two young men everything which I had brought with me, and fifty ducats of gold in addition. I reserved the same sum for myself, together with the diamond the Duke had given me; I only kept two shirts and some well-worn riding-clothes which I had upon my back. I found it almost impossible to get free of the two young men, who insisted upon going with me, whatever happened. At last I was obliged to treat them with contempt, and use this language: "One of you has his first beard, and the other is just getting it; and both of you have learned as much from me as I could teach in my poor art, so that you are now the first craftsmen among the youths of Italy. Are you not ashamed to have no courage to quit this go-cart, but must always creep about in leading-strings? The thing is too disgraceful! Or if I were to send you away without money, what would you say then? Come, take yourselves out of my sight, and may God bless you a thousand times. Farewell!"

I turned my horse and left them weeping. Then I took my way along a very fair road through a forest, hoping to make at least forty miles that day, and reach the most out-of-the-way place I could. I had already ridden about two miles, and during that short time had resolved never to revisit any of those parts where I was known. I also determined to abandon my art so soon as I had made a Christ three cubits in height, reproducing, so far as I was able, that infinite beauty which He had Himself revealed to me. So then, being thoroughly resolved, I turned my face toward the Holy Sepulchre. [1] Just when I thought I had got so far that nobody could find me, I heard horses galloping after. They filled me with some uneasiness, because that district is infested with a race of brigands, who bear the name of Venturers, and are apt to murder men upon the road. Though numbers of them are hanged every day, it seems as though they did not care. However, when the riders approached, I found they were a messenger from the King and my lad Ascanio. The former came up to me and said: "From the King I order you to come immediately to his presence." I replied: "You have been sent by the Cardinal, and for this reason I will not come." The man said that since gentle usage would not bring me, he had authority to raise the folk, and they would take me bound hand and foot like a prisoner. Ascanio, for his part, did all he could to persuade me, reminding me that when the King sent a man to prison, he kept him there five years at least before he let him out again. This word about the prison, when I remembered what I had endured in Rome, struck such terror into me, that I wheeled my horse round briskly and followed the King's messenger. He kept perpetually chattering in French through all our journey, up to the very precincts of the court, at one time bullying, now saying one thing, then another, till I felt inclined to deny God and the world.

Note 1. See above, p. 240, for Cellini's vow in the Castle of S. Angelo.



XII

ON our way to the lodgings of the King we passed before those of the Cardinal of Ferrara. Standing at his door, he called to me and said: "Our most Christian monarch has of his own accord assigned you the same appointments which his Majesty allowed the painter Lionardo da Vinci, that is, a salary of seven hundred crowns; in addition, he will pay you for all the works you do for him; also for your journey hither he gives you five hundred golden crowns, which will be paid you before you quit this place." At the end of this announcement, I replied that those were offers worthy of the great King he was. The messenger, not knowing anything about me, and hearing what splendid offers had been made me by the King, begged my pardon over and over again. Pagolo and Ascanio exclaimed: "It is God who has helped us to get back into so honoured a go-cart!"

On the day following I went to thank the King, who ordered me to make the models of twelve silver statues, which were to stand as candelabra round his table. He wanted them to represent six gods and six goddesses, and to have exactly the same height as his Majesty, which was a trifle under four cubits. Having dictated this commission, he turned to his treasurer, and asked whether he had paid me the five hundred crowns. The official said that he had received no orders to that effect. The King took this very ill, for he had requested the Cardinal to speak to him about it. Furthermore, he told me to go to Paris and seek out a place to live in, fitted for the execution of such work; he would see that I obtained it.

I got the five hundred crowns of gold, and took up my quarters at Paris in a house of the Cardinal of Ferrera. There I began, in God's name, to work, and fashioned four little waxen models, about two-thirds of a cubit each in height. They were Jupiter, Juno, Apollo, and Vulcan. In this while the King returned to Paris; whereupon I went to him at once, taking my models with me, and my two prentices, Ascanio and Pagolo. On perceiving that the King was pleased with my work, and being commissioned to execute the Jupiter in silver of the height above described, I introduced the two young men, and said that I had brought them with me out of Italy to serve his Majesty; for inasmuch as they had been brought up by me, I could at the beginning get more help from them than from the Paris workmen. To this the King replied that I might name a salary which I thought sufficient for their maintenance. I said that a hundred crowns of gold apiece would be quite proper, and that I would make them earn their wages well. This agreement was concluded. Then I said that I had found a place which seemed to me exactly suited to my industry; it was his Majesty's own property, and called the Little Nello. The Provost of Paris was then in possession of it from his Majesty; but since the Provost made no use of the castle, his Majesty perhaps might grant it me to employ in his service. [1] He replied upon the instant: "That place is my own house, and I know well that the man I gave it to does not inhabit or use it. So you shall have it for the work you have to do." He then told his lieutenant to install me in the Nello. This officer made some resistance, pleading that he could not carry out the order. The King answered in anger that he meant to bestow his property on whom he pleased, and on a man who would serve him, seeing that he got nothing from the other; therefore he would hear no more about it. The lieutenant then submitted that some small force would have to be employed in order to effect an entrance. To which the King answered: "Go, then, and if a small force is not enough, use a great one."

The officer took me immediately to the castle, and there put me in possession, not, however, without violence; after that he warned me to take very good care that I was not murdered. I installed myself, enrolled serving-men, and bought a quantity of pikes and partisans; but I remained for several days exposed to grievous annoyances, for the Provost was a great nobleman of Paris, and all the other gentlefolk took part against me; they attacked me with such insults that I could hardly hold my own against them. I must not omit to mention that I entered the service of his Majesty in the year 1540, which was exactly the year in which I reached the age of forty.

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