Tasso, the Italian Poet, was patronized by the Duke Alphonso, of Ferrara, and his sister, Leonora D'Este. . . . This picture represents [Tasso reading a sonnet] in her presence. . . . Having refused the most advantageous offer of marriage, [Leonora] resided with Lauretta, Duchess of Urbino, her eldest sister, . . . Tasso is supposed to allude to his passion for Leonora in the beautiful episode of Sopronio and Olindo, in the second book of his celebrated poem. . . . Perhaps Leonora, . . . was not insensible to his merit; for we learn that of the many friends to whom he wrote to petition for his return to Ferrara, none answered . . . but the Princess. Her kindness, however, was fatal to its object. He returned to the court, was arrested by order of Alphonso, conducted to the hospital of St. Anna, and confined in a solitary cell as a maniac. They call me mad and why?/ Oh Leonora! wilt not thou reply?/ I was, indeed, delirious in my heart/ To lift my love so softly as thou art;/ But still my frenzy was not of the mind;/ I knew my fault, and feel my punishment/ Not less because I suffer it unbent, . . . Successful love may sate itself away,/ The wretched are the faithful; 'tis their fate/ To have all feelings save the one decay,/ and every passion into one dilate,/ As rapid rivers into oceans pour; but ours is fathomless, and hath no shore. Copy from FERERO, by A. Ratti. [P. 1.]
Catalogue of Pictures and Statuary in the Art Galleries at Woodward's Gardens. San Francisco.