Tasso, Torquato

Tasso, Torquato a celebrated Italian poet, was born at Sorrento, where his parents were visiting, March 11, 1544. Soon after his parents returned to Naples with him, and committed their son, at the age of three years, to the care of a man of learning. At four he was sent to the college of the Jesuits, where he made such rapid progress that at seven years of age he was pretty well acquainted with the Latin and Greek tongues. Bernardo the father of the poet, following his patron, the prince of Salerno, into France, committed his son, then nine years old, to Maurice Cataneo, who assiduously cultivated the early disposition of his pupil to polite literature. When Tasso was twelve. years of age he went to join his father, who soon afterwards placed him in the University of Padua, where he wrote Rinaldo, a poem, being then in his eighteenth year. Invited by the principal persons of the city and college of Bologna, he took up his residence there, but shortly after, upon the invitation of Scipio Gonzaga, prince of the academy at Padua, returned to that city, and became incorporated into the academy, at the age of twenty years. He here formed the design of his celebrated poem, Jerusalem Delivered, and being urged by Alphonso II, duke of Ferrara, took up his residence hi his palace. He continued to work upon his great poem, which he completed in his thirtieth year, but it was printed, even then, against his will. Not long after, being engaged in a duel, he was arrested by order of the duke, ostensibly to screen him from the designs of his enemies. After about a year's detention, he escaped, and retired to Turin, where he endeavored to remain concealed. He soon became known, and was received by the duke of Savoy, who showed him every mark of esteem. Fearful of being given up to the duke of Ferrara, he left Turin and went to Rome, where he was treated with great honor by all classes. Shortly after he took up his residence with his sister at Sorrento, and then returned to Ferrara, hoping to have his writings restored to him. Failing in this he left that city, and went to Mantua, Padua, and Venice, finally trying his fortune once more with the duke, who, pretending to believe that his mind had become affected, caused him to be confined in the hospital of Santa Anna. After seven years' confinement, his release was procured byVincentio Gonzaga, prince of Mantua, who brought him to his own city. Wearied with dependence, he resolved to retire to Naples, and from there he went to Bisaccio with his friend Manso. At the approach of winter they returned to Naples, and soon after Tasso went to Rome, where he lived about a year, and, after some wandering, took up his residence at Naples again with the count of Palena. Here he applied himself to the composition of Jerusalem Conquered. He abandoned Naples again to go to Rome upon the invitation of cardinal Cynthio Aldobrandini. Disgusted with the life of a courtier, he obtained permission to retire to Naples, where he took up his lodging in the Benedictine convent of San Severino. He was, however, soon recalled to Rome, to be publicly crowned with laurel in the capitol. He arrived in that city in the beginning of 1595, but while the preparations for the ceremony were being made, Tasso fell ill, and died, in the monastery of San Onufrio, April 25, 1595.

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