"Tasso, the Italian poet, was patronized by the Duke Alphonso, of Ferrara, and his sister, Leonora D'Este. Many of the Poet's finest sonnets were dedicated to the latter; and this picture represents the author as reading one of them in her presence. It is the proud privilege of genius to outlive the remembrance of the combined attractions of royalty, power, wealth, learning and beauty. Leonora D'Este, the 'bright particular star,' who was, in 1585, too much above her lover to receive from him any but the most distant worship, in 1835 shines solely from her the borrowed light of Tasso's genius, and is associated in our recollections only with the poet of Jerusalem. Leonora, sister of Alphonso II, the Duke of Ferrara, was wise and generous, and not only well read in elegant literature, but even versed in the more abstruse sciences. Having refused the most advantageous offer of marriage, she resided with Lauretta, Duchess of Urbino, her elder sister, who was separated from her husband. 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, where he gives a fine description of her person and character, and a touching account of his own unregarded devotion and hopeless love. Perhaps Leonora, though too proud and chaste to encourage the passion of Tasso, was not inseensible to his merit: for we learn that of the many friends to whom he wrote to petition for his return to Ferrara, none answered the banished and disgraced poet but the princess. Her kindness, however, was fatal to its object. He returned to the court, was arrested by order of Alphonso, and 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 lofty as thou art;/ but still my frenzy was not of the mind;/ i know my fault and feel my punishment/ not less because i suffer it unbent./ That thou were beautiful, and I not blind,/ hath been the sin that shuts me from mankind;/ but let them go, or torture as they will,/ my heart can multiply thine image still;/ 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 ocean pour;/ but ours is fathomless, and hath no shore.' " Copy from Ferero by A. Ratti." [P. 48-49.]
Illustrated Guide and Catalogue of Woodward's Gardens, located on Mission Street, bet. Thirteenth and Fifteenth Streets, S.F. San Francisco, Cal., Francis & Valentine, Book and Job Printers, Engravers, etc. No. 517 Clay Street and 514 Commercial Street. 1873.