gave my lord their graces at his conception;
all gave him their special gifts,
to make one perfect mortals man.
Saturn gave loftiness of understanding,
Jove the desire for noble deeds,
Mars more skill in war than any other,
Phoebus Apollo elegance and wit.
Venus gave him beauty and gentle ways,
Mercury eloquence; but the moon alone
made him too freezing cold for me.
Every one of those rare graces
makes me burn for his brilliant flame,
and one alone has turned him into ice."
- Gaspara Stampa, from Gaspara Stampa, translated from the Italian by Sally Purcell, Greville Press: 1984.
One of the great poets of the Italian Renaissance and, I think, the equal of Petrarch, Gaspara Stampa (1523-1554) was born in Padua and grew up in Venice, where the Stampa family home became a salon where Gaspara and her sister gave musical performances together. During her short life only a few poems were published; most circulated in manuscript form. It was Gaspara's sister who arranged for the publication of Rime, a collection more than 300 poems, after Gaspara died.
Giuliano d'Arrigo (1367-1446) created this fresco for the Sacristy of San Lorenzo at Florence. It shows the night sky over Florence as it looked on 4 July 1442. Visit Museo Galilio here.