BEINECKE RARE BOOK AND MANUSCRIPT LIBRARY
GENERAL COLLECTION OF RARE BOOKS AND
Beinecke MS 585
Venice, 10 May 1497
Jacopo Ariani (?), Sonnets (in Italian)
f. 1r blank
1. f. 1v Albertus scriptor domino Iacobo Ariano. Or godi, casa nobile Ariana [this word on
erasure], / Dil tuo splendor che in te reluce tanto / Sopra d'ogni altra ben ti poi dar vanto / Haver
fata tua prole alta e soprana ... Da cui si svelse tal palma fiorita / Cinta de lauro che nei verdi
anni** / Rende suoi fruti in opre alte e ligie.
Dedicatory sonnet by the scribe Alberto Maffei to the author (?).
2. ff. 2r-51v [Sonnet 1:] Svolsi fra noi mortal scriver per fama [corr. from famma] / Le dolce
lacrime te amando sparte, / E molti son che opra ti s'ingegno e l'arte, / Piu per lassar memoria dia
per brama ... [Sonnet 200 :] Se fortuna vol ben che mi soterra / El gran desir senza'l premio drito /
Usito di sta carcer e di sta guera. Fine.
Jacopo Ariani (?), 200 Sonnets addressed to a lady called Laura.
3. f. 52r Scriptor lectoribus. Quel verde lauro [these two words on
erasure], che e un sol in
terra / De virtute anci un spechio, in che si vede / Quanta perfection natura diede / Al mondo, che
per lui sol gloria spera. / Mosso d'amor e carita sincera / Fece adunar quest'opereta in fede, / Non
come forsi il strano vulgo crede / Per voglia ofuscha intepedita e nera, / Del mille quatrocento e
nonanta / Con septe a provo al decimo del quinto / Dal Incarnato Verbo alto e soprano. / Alberto
di Maphei con la sua mano / A gloria scrise di la verde pianta, / Che amando Phebo le sue chiome
a cinto. f. 52 v. blank
Alberto Maffei, Colophon in the form of a sonnet addressed to the readers.
Parchment, ff. IV (paper) + 52 + IV (paper), 210 x 125 mm. Double foliation in arabic numerals:
the earliest one does not take into account the first leaf and its f. 1 corresponds with f. 2 of the
more recent one followed here.
I 1 (f. 1), II-VI 10 (ff. 2-51), VII 1 (f. 52). Quires II-VI have very small signatures of the type "a1"
- "a5" written between the outer bounding-lines, mostly trimmed off, and vertical catchwords
written between the inner bounding-lines.
Rake-ruling entirely in pale brown ink for one column of two superposed groups of 14 lines, (i.e.
for two sonnets per page) both below top line. The ruled area has a height of 31 traced lines, of
which only 30 have actually been traced (the line between the two groups is not executed). Apart
from this, the ruling type is 31, 120 x 57 mm.
Written by Alberto Maffei (see art. 3) in a small calligraphic Humanistica Semitextualis Formata.
Each sonnet opens with a Capital in gold ink, the three subsequent stanzas with alternating red
and blue Capitals. On the opening page (f. 2r), however, the opening Capitals are in gold on a
square blue background dotted with gold, above each of the two sonnets floral ornaments have
been painted in red and gold ink and in the lower margin there is a medallion within a gold
wreath adorned with ribbons and containing the coat of arms of the Ariani family flanked by the
initials "I.A.". ff. 1 and 52 are stained purple and the text of artt. 1 and 3 is written in gold ink,
the headings being executed in silver ink. On both pages silver and gold floral ornaments in three
margins. The ones in the lower margins end in Capital "A" (for "Albertus").
Binding s. XIX: blue velvet over cardboard with blue watered-silk doublure. Gilt edges.
The two passages on erasure on ff. 1v and 52r are in s. XIX-XX handwriting and apart from the
initial letter the name "Iacobo Ariano" in the heading on f. 1r is clearly written (over erasure?) by
another hand. The authorship of the unrecorded "Jacopo Ariani" is consequently suspect, the
more so as the shield carrying his coat of arms on f. 2r looks anachronistic. [Perhaps the
decoration of the initials on the same page is to be connected with manipulations with the coat of
arms (which could also be those of the Venetian family Belegno)]. For the Venetian scribe
Alberto Maffei (Albertus Mapheanus), see Colophons 182 and Bradley, v. 2, p. 246. On 18
August 1497 he finished the copy of London, British Library, Add. MS 16438, containing two
Italian dramas and Italian poetry, partly decorated in gold ink like the Beinecke manuscript and
with the same coat of arms with the initials "I.A." The date of our manuscript: 1497, "the tenth
day of the fifth month" ("al decimo del quinto") has erroneously been interpreted as being 10
August of that year on the basis of the year style in use at Venice at that time: the year began
indeed on 1 March, so that the fifth month could have been July, but not August. It is, however,
doubtful whether in Venice the months were counted starting 1 March. 10 May 1497 is no doubt
the more probable date.
Giuseppe Martini, sale, Lucerne, Sept. 1934, lot 8. Purchased from Martin Breslauer, London,
July 1976, on the Edwin J. Beinecke Fund.