Andrea Vitali's Essays

Tarot in Literature IV

With texts and reports on the passion of famous authors for tarot

 

Translation from the Italian by Michael S. Howard, August 2013


Ippolito Salviani - Francesco Fulvio Frugoni - Giovanbattista Fagiuoli - Giovanni Meli - Giuseppe Parini - Lorenzo Mascheroni - Vincenzo Monti -  Giuseppe Gioacchino Belli -  Norberto Rosa - Alessandro Manzoni  - Ugo Foscolo - Stendhal - Charles de Brosses - Leopoldo Cicognara - Luigi Gattini.

 

With this article we conclude our investigation on the relationship between literature and tarot cards started with the essay Tarot in Literature I. Although we begin this discussion with sixteenth-century authors, we devote more space to writers of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, which will also provide some slices of life about their passion for the game of tarot.

 

Ippolito Salviani (1514 - 1572) was a physician, naturalist and writer. He wrote several works on medicine and the Ruffiana, a theatrical work, which was widely diffused in his time. In one passage, the author mentions the game of tarot:

 

ACT III - Scene I (M. Claudio, cursor [an official in charge of notifying the public of official acts]; Farfanicchio, boy)

 

Claudio: Bel pranzo per mia fe è stato questo, che ci hà fatto questa mattina M. Lovisio, per esser intrato nuovamente al numero di noi altri cursori: ma dubito ben, che m' haranno tenuto per scortese, per essermi così subito partito dopo pranzo, & non hauer voluto restar a giocar un pezzo insieme con gli altri a Primiera, overo a Tarocchi, si come tutti me n' hanno pregate pur assai, ma mi era di forte entrato in capo il cricco di trovar Iacovella per intendere s'ella habbia parlato a questa Venetianetta venuta di nuovo, si come la mi promise hieri mattina, che non mi ci harrebbono tenuto le catene.
Farfanicchio: Tirintina, tirintina fusse festa ogni mattina, ben da bevere, & ben da mangiare, e poca voglia di lavorare.

 

(Claudio: Nice lunch by my faith is this that M. Lovisio made us this morning for us  newly entered Cursors, but I suspect that we will be considered rude if we have a party so soon after lunch, & do not want to stay and play together with others a bit of Primiera or Tarot [Tarocchi], as you all have begged me enough, but I had a strong desire to find  Iacovella to hear if she spoke to this newcomer Venetianetta, as she promised me yesterday morning, which  would demonstrate her love for me.
Farfanicchio: Tirilee, tiralay, Would that every morning were a holiday, with plenty to eat, & plenty to drink, and little desire to work a wink [the Italian also rhymes]) (1).  


Francesco Fulvio Frugoni
(ca. 1620 - after 1684), a friar of the order of the fathers minimum of San Francesco da Paola, devoted himself to poetry and drama. His most famous poem, after the satire Il Cane di Diogene [The Dog of Diogenes] (1689), remains L’Epulone [The Banqueter], a melodrama of 1670. From one passage we obtain information about certain negative names attributed to players of tarot. For example, someone who did not have the King of Pentacles was reputed a Page of Cups, while those who had in their hand neither the Sun nor the Moon nor the World were destined to remain a “Tarocco” [Tarot], that is, a poor man. Attributions from the game passed into daily life in order to emphasize people’s economic status.

 

L’Epulone [The Banqueter] – A Hundred Witty Reflections on some Texts of the Work

 

Act Five - Scene XII

 

“Mi si condoni la galanteria di questo scorcio, perché tratto di doni: Son caduto dal serio nel giocoso, perchè parlo di donativi, che sogliono fare così bel giuoco, che chi non hà un Rè di Denari è riputato un fante di coppe: chi non hà il Sole, la Luna, ò il Mondo in manó resta un Tarocco”.

 

“Pardon the gallantry of this part, because it treats of gifts: It has fallen from the serious into the playful, because I talk about donations, which are usually in such a good game, that those who do not have a King of Coins is judged a knave of cups: one who does not have the Sun, the Moon, or the World in his hand is a Tarot” (2).

 

Regarding Giovanbattista Fagiuoli (1660-1742), we have reported on his life and several of his poems in another essay (3). Here are some verses from his satire graciously given to Pandolfo Pandolfini, a scholar of the time, for wanting to assume the position of senator. An assignment that would take away not only the time to continue to read his beloved books, but also to devote himself to the simplest and most innocent activities, such as playing tarot.

 

Verses of Giambattista Fagiuoli

 

 Chapter I

 

 To Mr. Pandolfo Pandolfini, on his promotion to Senator

 

Affè una volta io vo’ far un capitolo

   Il qual sia in lode degli scimuniti;

   E s’ io v’ ho a dir il vero, ho già imbastitolo.

Ell’è pur vera: a voi tra gli eruditi

   Libri non vi bastò di trattenere,

   E in essi consumare i dì graditi,

 

In good faith once I want to do a chapter

   Which is in praise of idiots;

    And to tell the truth, I have already arranged it.

It is even true: to you there was not

   Enough entertainment in scholarly books

   And in these to consume your days gladly.

 

Che voglia anche vi venne di sapere

   Quanto Bartolo e Baldo han detto e scritto:

   Ora vedete voi, vi sta il dovere.

Quanto metteva conto stare zitto,

   O studiar per rigiro ascosamente,

   Come fassi a commettere un delitto.

Ecco che n’è avvenuto finalmente:

 

To you came also the desire to know

   What Bartolo and Baldo have said and written

   Now you see, it is your duty.

It would have been better to shut up,

   Or study in secret,

   As is done in committing a crime,

 

Ecco che n’è avvenuto finalmente:

   Voi siete stato fatto Senatore:

   V’han fatto un bel servizio veramente.

Perchè il vestito muta di colore,

   Mutar voglie e pensieri, e non trovare

   Di viver a suo modo i dì, nè l’ore.

 

Here's something that finally happened:

   You are made Senator:

   People have done you a really nice service.

Because when the clothing changes its color,

   Desires and thoughts change, and you notice

   In living this way neither the day nor the hour.

 

Giusto, quel, ch’ un non vuole, avere a fare:

   Studiar materie rancide, odïose,

   E quelle geniali tralasciare.

Oh quanto son difficili le cose

   Che si fan contraggenio, oh quanto mai,

   Ancorchè non sian punto fastidiose!

 

And justly, then, one will have to do what one does not want to do:

   Studying rancid, hateful matters,

   And forgetting what is pleasant.

Oh how difficult things are

   That are done against one’s inclination, oh ever so much,

   Although they are not annoying at all!

 

Ed io lo dico perchè lo provai;

   E, quel che è peggio, tuttavia lo provo:

   Però sempre tarocco e taroccai.

Stupor mi arreca e ognor mi giunge nuovo,

   E mi fa venir rabbia, quand’ un dice:

   Di passar l’ore e i dì modo non trovo.

 

And I say this because I experienced it;

   And what is worse, however, I still experience it:

   But always I play tarot [tarocco] and played tarot [taroccai].

It brings me wonder and to me is always new,

   And I get angry when someone says:

   I do not notice how passes the hour and the day. (4).

 

From the mock-heroic poem Don Quixote and Sancho Panza (1855) of the Sicilian Giovanni Meli (1740-1815), who transferred to Sicily and verse the plot of the book of the same name by Miguel de Cervantes, we report two octaves in which the tarot is cited. In Octave 84 of Canto XII, the author refers to the Sicilian tarot card of the World, represented by Atlas holding up the "big ball" (the globe):

 

Canto Seven -  Octave 28

 

     Siccome avviene allor che un garzoncello

Colle carte da bisca o co’ tarocchi

Intento a fabbricar forte castello

Tien fisi agli archi, a’ merli, e mani ed occhi;

Nel porre all’opra l’ultimo suggello,

O che gli tremi il polso o un dito il tocchi,

O un respiro gli fugga, in un momento

Cade quanto gli diè sì lungo stento. 

 

     It sometimes happens that a boy,

While intent on building a strong castle

With cards or with tarot,

Holds his hands and eyes firmly fixed on its arches and pinnacles,

In putting in place the last object [card],

Or because his wrist trembles or a finger touches,

Or because a breath escapes him, in a second

It falls, that to which he gave such a long effort (5).

 

Canto Twelve - Octave 84

 

     Fama non più, non più la Grecia vante

Ercole suo col globo in sulla spalla;

Nè più il tarchiato Mauritano Atlante

Ostenti ne’ tarocchi la gran balla,

Chè a sì stupende gesta e ad altrettante

L’Eroe non cede, il qual più in alto galla;

Fra tutti e tre poco divario v’ha,

Perchè nel loco, e non in altro sta.

 

     Glory no longer, no longer vaunted Greece,

Its Hercules with the globe on his shoulder;

Nor the more stocky Mauritanian Atlas

Flaunting in tarot [tarocchi] his large ball,

[Called] to stupendous achievement and much more

The most superb hero does not yield;

Among the three there is little difference,

Except for being in one place and not another (6).

 

We know that the game of tarot fascinated, as well as the vast majority of the people, the greatest men of Italian culture of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, such as Parini, Manzoni, Foscolo and Monti. Camillo Ugoni, in the work Della Letteratura Italiana nella seconda metà del sec. XVIII [Italian literature in the second half of the XVIIIth century] (7), writes about Parini (1729-1799): “Chi riassuma col pensiero il complesso di queste qualità non avrà maraviglia, che il Parini acquistasse in patria e fra le procelle politiche il rispetto di tutti i partiti, e quell'autorità, di cui niun altro letterato in Milano ha forse goduto giammai. È singolare la stranezza de' pregiudizj, che il volgo si forma intorno al merito de’ letterati. Un uomo di bassa condizione interrogato a Milano, se avesse conosciuto il Parini rispose: chi? l'Abate? Se l’ho conosciuto? quello era un uomo! giocava benissimo al tarocco”." (Anyone who summarizes thoughtfully the complex of these qualities will not wonder that Parini acquired at home and among the political storms the respect of all parties, such that no other writer in Milan has perhaps ever enjoyed. It is remarkable the strange prejudices that the common man forms around the merit of men of letters. A man of low station, asked in Milan if he had known Parini, answered: who? the Abbot? If I met him? that was a man! He played tarot very well").

 

Lorenzo Mascheroni (1750-1800), a writer but above all a famous mathematician of the time, of whom we have written elsewhere (8), makes several references in his poems to the tarot. One of these is in a playful poem addressed to a priest who is called by the author without prejudice to condemn mathematics and geometry, as their scientific approach dangerously undermined the dogmas of the Church. Obviously this is a satire on the contrary sense, with which the agreements Mascheroni hit, through the priest, the fury with which the men of the time continued to oppose scientific thought.

 

Jestful Poem [Poesie Scherzevoli]

 

To the Reverend Signor. Curate of San Cassiano (Reverend Don Antonio Serughetti)

 

January 1, 1786

 

Confessar non volete i Matematici?

Voi fate bene, mio signor Curato;

Poichè questa scienza, al dir de' pratici,

Ella è per voi peccato riservato;

Incorrereste tosto la censura,

Perdereste la Messa con la Cura.

 

You do not want to confess mathematicians?

You do well, my signor Priest;

As this science, to say of the practical,

Is reserved by you for sin;

You would immediately incur censure,

You would lose the Mass with the Priesthood.

 

Confessar non volete i Matematici?

Eppur, quanto son sciocche le persone!

Signor Curato, i vostri amici pratici

Dicon che avete Euclide in confessione.

Tenetel sub sigillo, o mio Curato,

Fareste a rivelarlo un gran peccato.

 

You do not want to confess mathematicians?

And yet, people are so silly!

Signor Curate, your practical friends

Say you have Euclid in confession.

Take it sub sigillo? [under seal = as secret],O my Curate,

You had to reveal to him a great sin.

 

 Mirate questo libro ben legato.

Benchè sia pieno di segni di croce,

Non è già il Ritual, signor Curato.

È un algebrista; fatevi la croce:

È un libraccio inventato dal Demonio;

Che il cielo ve ne guardi e sant'Antonio.

 

Look at this book well bound.

Though it is full of signs of the cross,

It is already the Ritual, signor Curate.

It is an algebraist; make the sign of cross

It is an evil book invented by the Devil;

Heaven will protect you from looking at it, and also St. Anthony.

 

Signor Curato mio, pieno di zelo,

Quando spiegate il simbolo in volgare,

Dite a' Fedeli, che per gire al Cielo

Convien la Matematica lasciare.

Così vi seguiranno tutti quanti, 

E voi sarete il massimo de' Santi.

 

My Signor Curate, full of zeal,

When you explain the symbols in the vernacular,

Tell the Faithful, that to go to Heaven

They must leave Mathematics.

So if all of them follow you,

You will be in the maximum of Holiness.

 

Chi a studiar Matematica si mette

È un eretico marcio, e nulla crede;

Poichè quel dir che nove è più di sette,

Fa perder i principii della Fede.

Sono studj inventati dagli Inglesi,

Empj, ateisti, eretici palesi.

 

Who puts himself to study Mathematics

Is a rotten heretic, and believes nothing;

Since that one saying that nine is more than seven,

Loses the principles of the Faith.

They are studies invented by the English,

Impious atheists, obvious heretics.

 

Ditene tutto il male, e non temete

Qualche proibizion; pena la vita,

Come l'avete per chi voi sapete;

Chè già la Matematica è proibita;

Chè nemmen voi ne avete le licenze;

Onde ditene pur mille insolenze.

 

Say everything evil of mathematics, and have no fear

Of some accusation [by mathematicians], even at the risk of your life

As you say the same to those you know;

Since mathematics is already prohibited;

Not even you has license [to confess mathematicians]:

So say even a thousand insults.

 

Dite, che quelli, che hanno apostatato,

Il Voltaire, il Rousseau coi lor compagni,

Prima hanno Matematica studiato,

E dopo a Dio voltarono i calcagni;

E dite franco, che Geometria

L'Anticristo esser suol dell'eresia.

 

You say that those who have apostatized,

Voltaire, Rousseau with their companions,

First studied Mathematics,

And after to God turned their heels;

And you say frankly that Geometry

Is the heresy of the Antichrist. .

 

Dite che Cavalieri a voi ben noti,

Ove avete l'onor di conversare,

Or non son più com' erano devoti,

Volendo Matematica studiare,

In quelle vespertine ore quiete,

Che giocare a tarocco voi solete.

 

You say that Knights well known to you,

With whom you have the honor of conversing,

Now are no longer as devout as they were,

Wanting to study Mathematics,

In those quiet evening hours,

That to playing tarot you reserve.

 

Onde avvien poi, che perdano il rispetto

All'infuso saper del lor Curato;

Dicon, che l'aria pesa anche a dispetto

Di quel che ad esso è stato rivelato;

E senza compassione ad ogni istante

Il fanno comparire un ignorante.

 

So that then it chances that they [the mathematicians] lose respect

For the infusion of knowledge [from God] of their Curate;

They say that air has weight even in spite

Of what to him has been revealed;

And without compassion at every moment

They make him appear an ignoramus.

 

E sopra tutto i Chierici fan male

In Fisica a studiar Geometria;

Chè quello che più importa è la Morale,

Che anche a fare il Curato apre la via;

Benchè però un po' d'Algebra sia buona,

Quando il merito manca a una persona.

 

And above all the Clerics do evil

In Physics to study Geometry;

What matters most is Morals,

In which also the Curate opens the way;

Though but a little Algebra is good,

When merit is missing in a person.

 

Curato mio, se pur avete pratica

Della vostra locanda numerosa;

Se mai v'è alcun, che studj Matematica,

Cacciatel via qual pecora rognosa;

Che non infetti tutti gli altri, e poi,

Che non attacchi il male ancora a voi.

 

Curate mine, if you have ever experienced

Among your numerous parishioners

Anyone who studies Mathematics,

Throw him out as a mangy sheep; 

That he not infect all the rest, and afterwards,

That he not attack the evil also in you (9).

 

In one of his dialogues Vincenzo Monti (1754-1828), to express death, refers to the "Thirteen of the Tarot", where a journalist not knowing how to withstand the lofty arguments some scholars put into the mouth of a pedant, starts to faint, giving  the feeling of being dead.

 

Dialogues of the Knight Vincenzo Monti [Dialoghi del Cavaliere Vincenzo Monti]

 

Dialogue twelve (Matteo. journalist, Taddeo his partner, Pasquale servant and Ser Magrino pedant)

 

Mag. Quantunque volte meco pensando riguardo che già essendo gli anni della fruttifera incarnazione del Figliuolo di Dio al numero pervenuti di mille ottocento sedici, in questa egregia città di Milano, oltre ad ogni altra italica doviziosissima, pervenne una poetica pestilenza, la quale per operazion d .influssi stranieri, o per le proprie nostre scempiezze, da giusta ira d'Apollo a nostra vergogna mandata sopra i cervelli, alquanti anni davanti in diverse parti d'Italia incominciala, quelle di innumerabile quantità di poetastri avendo ripiene, senza ristare, d’un luogo in un altro continuandosi, nella capitale della Lombardia si è miserabilmente ampliata; ed in quella non valendo alcuno senno . . .

Tad. Alto, sig. Magrino, fermate; chè il povero mio compare casca in deliquio.

Mag. Per la barba di messer Giovanni egli è svenuto davvero. Che vuol dir questo?

Tad. E noi capite? Vi siete spinto sì alto, su le ali del Certaldese, che questo infelice per voler seguire troppo dappresso il vostro volo sublime, e non aver penne da sostenersi, è stato preso da un subito capogiro. Ma gli è nulla. Vedete che già ripiglia la conoscenza. - Come va, compare? rispondi, come ti senti?

Mat. Ah Taddeo: chiamami il confessore: aiutami a dire in manuss tuas, domine.

Tad. Via, via, fa animo, chè non è cosa da sbigottire, una piccola evanescenza di spiriti, e nulla più. - Pasquale, Pasquale, vien qua: sorreggi il tuo padrone.

Pas. Uh uh povero me, che mai veggo?

Tad. Un giramento di capo, e null' altro. Via, da bravo: aiutalo a buttarsi sul letto, e in poco d'ora si riavrà.

Pas. (piano a Taddeo.) (E non vel diss’ io cha costui era il tredici di tarocco)?

Mag. (partito Matteo.) Non maraviglio se lo stil boccaccevole genera le vertigini. Egli è troppo elevato pe' volgari intelletti, e di natura troppo divina. E voi di leggieri concederetemi, signor Taddeo, che l'essere ben parlante co' letterati di bassa sfera è grande sciagura.

 

(Mag. Although sometimes with me thinking about that already being the years of the beatific incarnation of the Son of God had reached one thousand eight hundred sixteen, in this distinguished city of Milan, as well as every other most rich [in culture] Italian city, reached a poetic plague, for which by operation of foreign influences, or by our own stupidity, from righteous anger of Apollo to our shame sent upon our brains, some years before in different parts of Italy beginning, those innumerable amount of poetasters having replenished, without resting, from one place into another continually, in the capital of Lombardy is so miserably expanded; and that not being worth any sense.

Tad. Eminence, Signor Magrino, stop, my poor one appears fallen into a swoon.

Mag. By the beard of Sir John he really fainted. What does this mean?

Tad. Do we know? Have you pushed so high on the wings of the Certaldese, that this one is unhappy for wanting to follow too closely behind your sublime flight, and not having feathers to hold him, was taken by a sudden dizziness. But it's nothing. You see that already he resumes consciousness. - How you doing, buddy? answer, how do you feel?

Mat. Ah Taddeo call the confessor, help me to say in manus tuas, domine.

Tad. Come, come, be spirited, it is not a thing to be frightened of, a small evanescence of spirits, and nothing more. - Pasquale, Pasquale, come here: support your master.

Pas. Uh uh poor me, what have I seen?

Tad. A lightheadedness, and nothing else. Go, good one: help him to jump on the bed, and in a little while he’ll recover.

Pas. (Softly to Taddeo.) (And to you I don’t say that this one was the thirteen of the tarot?)

Mag. (parting from Matteo) Do not marvel if the Boccaccian style generates vertigo. It is too high for vulgar minds, and of too divine a nature. And you will readily concede to me, Ser Taddeo, that being able to speak well with scholars of the lower sphere [e.g. journalists] is a great calamity) (10).

 

Giuseppe Gioacchino Belli (1791-1863) a famous Roman poet, in one of his poems addresses a friend urging him not to marry, or at least, if he really has to, to rely on his advice. Belli suggests in fact a rich woman of quality of whom however he does not know her exact age in so far as he assumes that she has spent a lot of time going on walks or around a table playing tarot and primiera.

 

To Messer Francesco Spada

On his name day, October 4, 1855

 

   Havvi un guaio però, che il mondo crede

Che presto-presto voi prendiate moglie

Per metter la Comare in mala-fede.

 

   I have though a lament: the world believes

That very soon you will take a wife,

Thus putting the Gossip in a lie [i.e., refuting common gossip].

 

   Non lo fate, ser Cecco, o ve ne incoglie

Qualche serqua di croci e di malanni.

V'è scorso il tempo da coteste voglie.

 

   Don’t do it, Ser Cecco, or there comes

Some dozen crosses and misfortunes.

For you time will run out for these cravings.

 

   Non la toglieste ne' vostri begli anni,

E vorrestela mo negli anni brutti

Per accoppiar coi nostri i vostri danni?

  

   You didn’t take one in your good years,

And now you’d like one in your bad years

To join with ours [the poet is married] your damage?

 

   Voi della vita vi appressate ai frutti.

Mangiavetene in pace ancora il resto,

E noi non ci lasciate a denti asciutti.

 

   Of life you make yourself ready for the fruits [the last course of a meal].

Eat in peace what [little] still remains

And don’t leave us anything.

 

   Se poi per foia od altro fine onesto

Avete fermamente risoluto

D'appiccarvi pel collo a quel capresto,

 

   And if you for lust or other honest end

Have firmly resolved

To set yourself by the neck to the halter,

 

   Chino la testa e mi rimango muto,

E volgerò l'amor che per voi sento

A secondarvi d'efficace aiuto.

 

   I bow my head and remain silent,

And will turn the love that I feel for you

Towards giving you some effective aid.

 

   Lasciate un po ch' io mi vi ficchi drento,

Ed ho per voi già in pronto una mogliera

Che niun sapria raccapezzarla in cento.

 

  Let yourself acquire a little influence from me,

I've already prepared for you a wife:

Of whom no one could find one like her in a hundred.

 

   Degli anni suoi non so la somma intiera,

Però che n' ha perduti andando a spasso

O fors' anco ai tarocchi o a la primiera.

 

   Of her years I do not know the entire sum

But she has not lost out in going for walks

Or perhaps even at tarot or primiera.

 

   Ha un volto smilzo e un ventricino grasso:

Non diè mai prole al suo primo marito;

E questo è un punto che può dirsi l'asso.

 

  She has a thin face and a fat little belly:

Did not ever give offspring to her first husband;

And this is a point that can be said the ace.

 

   È donna di scarsissimo appetito,

E a' suoi pasti pochissimo pretende,

Bastandole crescioni e pan bollito.

 

   She is a woman of very little appetite,

And for her meals claims,

To be satisfied with crescioni [herb bread] and boiled bread.

 

    Si acconcia in casa a tutte le faccende,

E dà buon sesto agli affarucci suoi,

Che meglio d'una ebrea compera e vende.

 

   She carries out all the chores at home,

And is well able to manage her small business dealings

Who better than a Jew buys and sells.

 

    Vedete proprio se non fa per voi!

Su dunque, la manritta e la man manca

Pria datele e godètelavi poi (11). 

 

   You see if she’s not made for you!

Up then, the right hand and the left,

First give her them and then enjoy her (11).

 

Of the poet Norberto Rosa (1803-1862) we report three excerpts from several of his verses. In Le Orecchie [The Ears], a playful exaltation of the virtues of these components of our body, he, as we have already seen with Monti, refers to death by connecting it to the thirteen of the tarot:

 

Le Orecchie [The Ears] - Part Two

 

I

 

Promisi di cantar con maggior lena

   Quando la prima parte io terminai.

   Ed or, vedete! c'ho la pancia piena

   Trovomi imbarazzato più che mai!

   Ma quid quid sit, o imbarazzato o no

   Promisi di cantare e canterò.

 

I promised to sing with greater vigor

   When I finished the first part.

   And now, you see! As I've got a full belly

   I find myself more embarrassed than ever!

   But quid quid sit [whatever it is], or embarrassed or not,

   I promised to sing and I’ll sing.

 

II

 

Se vi ricorda ancora io v'ho lasciati

   Che dicevam ch'è un privilegio raro

   L'avere un par d'orecchi sperticati,

   Insomma un par d'orecchi da somaro.

   Or bene; del mio dir eccovi prove

   Chiare... siccome il sol quando non piove.

 

If you remember, I still have left

   What is said to be a rare privilege

   Having a pair of effusive ears,

   In short, a pair of donkey ears.

   Now good: here's clear proof of my words             

   Clear ... as the sun when it’s not raining.

 

III

 

I lunghi orecchi hanno quest'avvantaggio

   Grandissimo sui corti e sui mezzani,

   Che valgono a spiegare in lor linguaggio

   Quanti sono del cor gli affetti arcani.

   Chi la sentenza mia non trova buona

   Col Genè si consulti e col Lessona.

 

Long ears have this advantage

   They are very grand compared to short and medium-sized ones,

   Namely, they serve better in their way for hearing

   How many are the secret affections of the heart.

   Who does not find my judgment good

   Should consult with Genè and Lessona [who wrote of animals’ sensitifity to emotions ].


IV

 

Per esempio; un somaro è affaticato?

   Ed eccolo tener le orecchie in giù.

   Ode un rumor? le volge da quel lato.

   Arde d'amore? le rivolge in su.

   Sente sul dorso del bastone il metro?

   E in atto di pregar le stende indietro.

 

For example, a donkey is tired?

   And here he takes his ears down.

   Hears a rumor? turns them on that side.

   Burns with love? points them up.

   Feels on his back the meter stick?

   In the act of praying he stretches them back.

 

V

 

Sicchè quello che all'uomo è la parola

   Sono le orecchie all'asino; e mettete

   Per giunta che dell’asino alla scuola

   Altro che il vero non apprenderete:

   Dove nell' uom, sia detto a nostro onore,

   Spesso è diverso dalla lingua il cuore.

 

So that what to man is the word

   Are the ears to the donkey, and put yourself

   In addition at the school of the donkey

   You will not learn anything but what is true:

   Where in man, is given to our honor,

   That the heart is often different from the tongue.

 

VI

 

Per me non giurerei che chi primiero

   A fabbricar telegrafi si è dato,

   Non abbia dalle orecchie del somiero

   Dedotto quel mirabile trovato.

   Vi farò delle orecchie l’alfabeto?

   No che voglio tenermelo secreto.

 

For me I would not swear that the one who first

   Was given to making telegraphs,

   Did not have the ears of a donkey

   From which he deduced that admirable invention.

   Will I make you from the ears the alphabet?

   No, that I want to keep secret.

 

VII

 

Tempo verrà (se de'tarocchi il tredici

   Non viene troppo tosto a visitarmi

   O non manda in sua vece un par di medici)

   Ch' io ne favelli in più forbiti carmi.

   Grave è il soggetto, la materia molta,

   Ma il mondo non fu fatto in una volta.

 

The time will come (if the thirteen of the tarot

   Does not come too soon to visit me

   Or does not send in his stead a pair of doctors)

   That I will speak in more elegant songs.

   Grave is the subject, the substance much, 

   But the world was not made at once (12).

 

In the following verses, Rosa, speaking of a bell-ringer always hungry for food, tells how one day, for having a morsel on the tongue, was transported to the House of the Devil by the thirteen of the tarot.

 

For the death of a bell-ringer in Susa

 

E ripensò agli intingoli,

   Le salse delicate,

   Che i cuochi lor, quand’erano

   Le mense apparecchiate,

   Gli fean leccare in premio

   Del celere obbedir!

 

 And he thought back to the gravies,

   The delicate sauces,

   That their chefs, when they

   Readied the canteen, 

   Had him lick as a prize

   For obeying quickly.

 

Ah forse a tal dolcedine

   Diessi alla lingua un morso;

   Ma de’ tarocchi il tredici

   Lo si recò sul dorso,

   E a casa del dïavolo

   Pietoso il trasportò

 

Ah perhaps to such sweetness

   He gave to the tongue a morsel;

   But the thirteen of the tarot

   Carried him on its back,

   And to the House of the Devil

   Pitifully he was transported  (13).

 

In these verses Rosa makes an ironic lament on the fact of having to withdraw from writing poems for a newspaper because of gossip and envy that were undermining his person. Better to spend the time playing at tarot or other pleasantries, rather than confront the slander of men. At least these, although not rendering to man immortality, leave intact their value.

 

Cicero Pro Domo Sua [Cicero in favor of himself = The author in favor of himself]

 

 To the No.° [Notary] G. B. Rocci D’Almese

 

  Infin! mi mancano,

   Togliendo i carmi,

   Forse altri ninnoli

   Per sollazzarmi?

 

 Fianlly! Do I lack,

   Removing the poems,

   Perhaps other trinkets

   To solace me?

 

Forse non restano

   Tanti altri nienti?

   Tanti altri nobili

   Giuochi innocenti?

 

 Maybe there remain

   So many other nothings?

   So many other noble

   innocent games?

 

 Resta l’indagine

   Degli altrui fatti;

   L’unire gli uomini

   Quai cani e gatti.

 

There remains the survey

   Of the facts of others,

   To unite men

   Quai [As] dogs and cats.

 

Resta la crapula,

   La maldicenza,

   L’infingardaggine,

   L’indifferenza.

 

There remain debauchery,

   Backbiting,

   Sloth,

   Indifference.

 

Restano i sigari

   Ed i tarocchi,

   E innumerevoli

   Altri balocchi.

 

 There remain cigars

   And the tarot,

   And countless

   Other toys.

 

 Che se non rendono

   L’uomo immortale,

   Almeno il lasciano

   Quello che vale 

 

Which if not rendering

   Man immortal,

   At least leaves

   What is of value (14).

 

Of Alessandro Manzoni (1785-1873), a great player of tarot, it is said that, thanks to his iron memory, he was able to withstand even Abbot Giuseppe Bottelli, a famous tarocchista. This priest, who had friendly relations with top writers of the time, and even entertained a correspondence with Foscolo, was an educated person, a famous Latin scholar, “simpatica, bella testa, di alta persona, bravissimo giocator di tarocchi, al quale però teneva fronte onorevolmente il Manzoni” ["nice, good head, of lofty personality, very good player of tarot, who honorably withstood Manzoni"], who complained only that in the game of tarot Bottelli was rather snippy, conscious as he was of his superiority (15).

 

Also Ugo Foscolo (1778-1827) knew how to play tarot, as evidenced by a letter he sent to a friend, where he informs him of an encounter with a lady with whom he had sat at table: “Ho salutato la Fontanelli da parte tua, poich’ella è qui per partorire: ieri sera ho fatto la partita a tarocchi con lei, e lo fa spessissimo perché vi trovo buona società” ("I have greeted the lady Fontanelli from you, for she is here to give birth: last night I played the game of tarot with her, and do it very often because I find her good company") (16).

 

That the tarot was one of the most popular games practiced throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries is testified to by Stendhal in Rome, Naples and Florence, who on the date October 25, 1816, remembers it as “une des grandes occupations des Milanais” ("one of the major occupations of the Milanese"); and among other references there is also in La Chartreuse de Parme [Charterhouse of Parma]: “Or maintenant ce chanoine faisait tous les soirs la partie de tarots de la baronne Binder...”. (“This Canon played tarot every evening with Baroness Binder”) [Margaret Mauldon translation, p. 91, in Google Books].

 

Another foreigner who dealt with it widely, attributing its paternity, by hearsay, even to Michelangelo, was Charles de Brosses (1709-1777), a French scholar and writer, in a letter to Mme. Cortois de Quincey while he was in Rome: [Translator’s note: here we give the original French followed by its translation into English, including some passages not in the Italian version. The game is of course minchiate, the expanded version of tarot].

 

...Je vois, au contraire, que ces honnêtes Romains sont très-bons serviteurs du beau sexe : chacun a sa chacune. Tous les jours on les voit arriver ensemble dans les assemblées, ou à si peu d'intervalle l'un de l'autre que lorsque l'on voit entrer une personne, on peut parier à jeu sûr pour celle qui va suivre. Nous appelons ceci les cartes routées. Ces pariades de pigeons se mettent ainsi deux à deux tout le long des appartements, et font à leur aise la petite jaserie, jusqu'à ce qu'il leur prenne fantaisie de jouer au quadrille, à tré-sette, au stopa, ou aux minchiate (tarots); mais surtout à ce dernier, qui est le grand jeu en règne. C'est un jeu fort extraordinaire, tant pour le grand nombre de cartes que pour leurs figures, et pour la manière dont il se joue. J'y voyois les gens si appliqués et si vifs, qu'autant par curiosité que parce que, nous autres étrangers, ne savons pour la plupart du temps que devenir dans ces grandes assemblées, il m'a pris fantaisie de me faire initier dans les mystères de ce jeu-ci, plus obscurs en apparence, que ceux de la Bonne Déesse, mais qui ne sont rien au fond. Sur le peu que je sais jusqu'à présent de ce jeu, auquel je m'escrime déjà, quoique souvent au détriment de mon associé, il me paroît facile à apprendre; mais très-difficile à bien jouer. Ce jeu est très-beau, au moins aussi savant, aussi vif et aussi piquant que le reversi, le plus beau de nos jeux en France, et beaucoup plus rempli d'événements. D'un autre côté, il n'a pas la belle simplicité du reversi, étant, au contraire, très-compliqué. J'ai envie de vous le porter; la difficulté sera d'avoir une cargaison de cartes. Il se joue à quatre, deux contre deux, assis comme au quadrille, les deux associés vis-à-vis l'un de l'autre. Il y a quatre-vingt-dix-sept cartes, grandes et épaisses au double des nôtres; savoir: cinquantesix des quatre couleurs ordinaires, car les Italiens ont quatre figures, au lieu que nous n'en avons que trois; plus, quarante figures singulières numérotées, et le fol, ou matto, qui tient lieu de zéro, en augmentant la valeur des autres. Ces figures portent le nom des étoiles, du soleil, de la lune, du pape, du diable, de la mort, du pendu, du bateleur, de la trompette du jugement dernier, et autres bizarres. Les unes ont une valeur intrinsèque qui varie entre elles, d'autres n'en ont point; mais le numéro supérieur, qui ne vaut rien, ne laisse pas que de couper l'inférieur qui vaut des points. Le tout consiste à avoir dans son jeu au moins trois numéros de suite ayant valeur, qui se puissent compter d'entrée en tierces, ou, comme ils l'appellent, en verçicole, à les conserver en jouant les cartes, ou à s'emparer de ceux de son adversaire à la fin du coup, où les verçicole se recomptent. Les unes ont une valeur intrinsèque qui varie entre elles, d'autres n'en ont point; mais le numéro supérieur, qui ne vaut rien, ne laisse pas que de couper l'inférieur qui vaut des points. Le tout consiste à avoir dans son jeu au moins trois numéros de suite ayant valeur, qui se puissent compter d'entrée en tierces, ou, comme ils l'appellent, en verçicole, à les conserver en jouant les cartes, ou à s'emparer de ceux de son adversaire à la fin du coup, où les verçicole se recomptent. Tout ceci est accompagné de quantité de circonstances intéressantes. Le décompte est long à la fin de chaque coup; le coup est pareillement long à jouer, les cartes se jouant jusqu'à la fin, et devenant plus difficiles, à mesure que le nombre en reste moindre; ce qui est la vraie marque d'un beau jeu: aussi ne joue-t-on que trois tours, faisant douze coups, et à chaque tour, on change de place et d'associé, pour varier la fortune.
Tout l'artifice du jeu m'a paru consister en cette cinquième couleur, qui est toujours la Triomphe; les autres ne servant que de remplissage nécessaire, et dans la manière dont on est assis entre ses deux adversaires qui vous voient toujours venir.
Ce jeu a été inventé à Sienne, par Michel-Ange, à ce qu'on prétend, pour apprendre aux enfants à supputer de toutes sortes de manières : en effet, c'est une arithmétique perpétuelle. Il faut que ce jeu ne se soit mis en vogue à Rome qu'au temps du pape Innocent X, Panfili; car le pape des minchiate ressemble comme deux gouttes d'eau au portrait de ce grand pontife. Le jeu ne va pas bien loin et l'on n'y joue pas cher, quelquefois à l'écu la fiche; mais pour le plus souvent au teston, qui vaut à peu près trois de nos pièces de douze sous: ajoutez que l'on ne paye jamais les cartes dans ce pays-ci. Disons en même temps que l'on a, dans les meilleures maisons, des jetons d'ivoire, des fiches de carton, et un seul jeu, dont on ne change point, quoique piqué. Les cartes, pour paroître moins sales, sont bariolées de divers traits sur le dos. C'est une comédie que de voir les femmes mêler ces gros in-octavo contre leur ventre et d'entendre le jargon qu'on y tient; qui est aussi amusant que le jeu même: tout le monde en est fou, hommes et femmes.

En vérité, il est fort joli; je trouve que c'est le seul jeu de cartes qui ait quelque rapport aux échecs, en ce que les pièces sont variées, et que l'on fait une perpétuelle guerre, tantôt aux unes, tantôt aux autres; car telle est importante dans un certain moment, et telle dans un autre.

L'autre jour, Legouz, qui est sujet aux quiproquo, s'approchant de madame Bentivoglio, lui fit compliment sur ce qu'elle excellait à manier les minchie, il voulait dire les minchiate. Cet autre mot est un terme de plaisanterie, qui signifie ce qui manque à ces jeunes gens de théâtre, dont je vous parlois il n'y a qu'un moment. L'éclat de rire fut général dans l'assemblée; mais vous savez qu'il ne se diffère pas aisément.

Les assemblées sont réglées, à certains jours marqués de la semaine, chez une dame ou chez une autre, ainsi que dans nos villes. Elles sont nombreuses, bien illuminées et de bon air, mais peu agréables, surtout pour les étrangers, dont les assistants, ne songeant qu'à leur duo, ou qu'à jouer avec leurs camarades, ne s'embarrassent pas beaucoup. Les maîtresses de maison, qui devroient être plus attentives pour eux, ne le sont pas davantage ; elles s'entendent mal à faire les honneurs et laissent chacun s'intriguer pour son amusement, ainsi qu'il avisera ; de sorte que les gens qui n'ont que peu ou point de part aux duos restent en groupe à deviser de la pluie ou du beau temps, ou d'autres nouvelles trèspeu intéressantes, ou vont rôder d'une table de jeu à l'autre: méthodes peu récréatives, surtout pour nous, qui ne parlons pas facilement la langue en conversation, et qui sommes peu au fait du propos courant.

Ceci fait que je ne vais que rarement chez madame Bolognetti,où est la grande assemblée, mais plus souvent chez madame Patrizzi et chez la baronnesse Piccolomini. Celle-ci, quoique de moyen âge, est encore fort belle, tout à fait gracieuse et prévenante, et faisant beaucoup de politesses aux François; l'autre est la femme du général des postes, riche, aimant la dépense, entendant mieux qu'une autre à faire les honneurs de sa maison, ayant même parfois un souper chez elle, les jours d'assemblée; chose rare ici, et dont l'usage n'a commencé à s'introduire que depuis peu dans trois ou'quatre maisons.

 

(I see, however, that these honest Romans are very good servants of the fair sex: each has his own [chacun a sa chacune]. Every day we see them get together in gatherings, or so little apart from each other when we see a person enter, you can bet for sure that the game will follow. We call this the sorted cards [les cartes routées]. These pairings of pigeons thus are put two by two throughout the apartments and make themselves comfortable with small talk [jaserie], until it takes their fancy to play quadrille, cassetta, stopa, or minchiate (tarot) [in parentheses in original], but especially the latter, which is the reigning great game. This is a very extraordinary game as much for the large number of cards as for the figures [on them], and for the manner of play. I saw people so diligent and lively, that both out of curiosity and because we foreigners do not know most of the time what becomes of these large gatherings, I took a fancy to initiate myself into the mysteries of this game, seemingly more obscure than those of the Bona Dea [Good Goddess], which are nothing at bottom. From the little I know so far of the game, which I am already putting into use, though often at the expense of my partner, it seems to me easy to learn, but very difficult to play well. This game is very good, at least as wise [savant], as lively [vif] and as sharp [piquant] as Reversi, the most beautiful of our games in France, and much more eventful. On the other hand, it does not have the beautiful simplicity of Reversi, being, on the contrary, very complicated. I would like to bring it to you; the difficulty will be in having a boatload of cards. It is played with four, two against two, sitting as at quadrille, the pairs opposite one another. There are ninety-seven cards, big and double the thickness of ours: specifically, fifty-six of the four regular colors, because the Italians have four figures, while we have only three, plus forty figures individually numbered, and the fool, or matto, in lieu of zero, increasing the value of others. These figures bear the names of the stars, the sun, the moon, the pope, the devil, death, the hanged man, the bateleur, the trumpet of the last judgment, and other bizarre things. Some have an intrinsic value that varies among them, others have none, but the higher number, which is without points, in the course of play gets the lower, worth points. The most important thing is to get in his game at least three numbers in sequence having value that can count of entering in a tierce, or, as they call it, in verçicole [Italian, versicole], to keep the cards while playing them, or to seizing those of his opponent at the end of the hand, where the verçicole is recounted. All this is accompanied by many interesting circumstances. The counting at the end of each hand takes a long time, the hand is equally long to play, the cards being played until the end, and becoming more difficult as the number remains low, which is the true mark of a beautiful game: Also one only plays three rounds, making twelve hands, and at every round, one changes positions and partner, to vary the fortune. All the artifice of the game seemed to me to consist in the fifth color, which is always the Triumph, others are used as necessary filler, and in the manner in which one is seated between the two adversaries who always see you coming.

This game was invented in Siena, by Michelangelo, it is claimed, to teach children to calculate in all kinds of ways: in fact, it is a perpetual arithmetic. This game must have been put into vogue in Rome only at the time [Il faut que ce jeu ne se soit mis en vogue à Rome qu'au temps] of Pope Innocent X, Panfili, for the minchiate pope is the spitting image of this great pontiff. The game does not go very far and it is not very expensive, sometimes the stake is an ecu, but most often a teston, which is about three of our twelve-sou pieces: add that you never pay during the game in this country. We say at that time that one has, in the best houses, ivory tokens from sheets of cardboard, and one deck only, which one does not change at all, even if torn [piqué]. The cards, in order to appear less dirty, are decorated with various features on the back. It's a comedy to see women mixing these large octavos [in-octavo] against their belly and hear the jargon that they use, which is as amusing as the game itself: everyone is crazy, men and women.

In truth, it is very lovely, I think it is the only card game that has any connection to chess in that the pieces are varied, and there is a perpetual war, sometimes with one, sometimes with others, because this is important at one time, and so at another.

The other day Legouz, who is given to misunderstandings, approaching Madame Bentivoglio, complimented her on how she excelled in managing the minchie; he meant to say minchiate. This other word is a joking word, which means what is lacking in these young theater people of whom I spoke to you only a moment ago. The laugh was general in the gathering, but you know he does not defer easily.
Gatherings are set in advance for certain days of the week, at the home of one lady or another, as in our cities. There are many, well lit and in good taste, but not much fun, especially for foreigners, whose assistants, thinking only of their duo, or of playing with friends, do not bother themselves much. The mistresses of the houses, who ought to be more attentive, are no better; they are too hard of hearing to do the honors, and let everyone intrigue for his amusement as he sees fit, so that people who have little or no part in duos stay in groups talking of rain or good weather, or other news of very little interest. or hang around one game table or another, activities that are not much fun especially for us who do not speak the language easily in conversation and who are unfamiliar with the current gossip.

It is for this reason that I'm rarely at Madame Bolognetti’s, where the great gathering is, but more often at Madame Patrizzi’s and at the Baroness Piccolomini’s. The latter, though middle-aged, is still very beautiful, very gracious and considerate, making a lot of compliments to the French; the former is the wife of the Postmaster General, rich, loving to spend, also having better hearing than others for doing the honors at her house, sometimes having a dinner there on the day of the gathering, a rarity here, the practice of which has only recently started being introduced in three or four houses) (17).

 

One of the major personalities of the time who took charge of research on tarot was Leopoldo Cicognara (1767-1834) who, as art historian and lover of cards, devoted to the latter a section of his work Memories on the history of intaglio (18). As we know, among the different Italian illuminated cards of the XV century was a deck of the school of Bembo of which 16 cards are housed at the National Library of Turin, damaged as a result of the fire of 1904. In a letter Cicognara sent in 1829 to Cesare Saluzzo (1778-1853), rector of the University of Turin and a member of the Academy of Sciences, he asks the favor of receiving information about cards of that deck, at that time still intact. In particular, his request was addressed, in addition to knowing the measurements and the type of paper used, to obtaining a tracing of some of the cards, such as "the King of coins, the Chariot pulled by horses, the Pope" (19).

 

LETTER I

 

Padua October 28, 1829

 

"My illustrious and distinguished Lord,

 

I was about to finish my work on old playing cards, which gave for a long-time immense nourishment to my research, when a personal friend to whom I submitted my work made me aware of the existence in Turin, at the R. Library, of a tarot deck, which might deserve some merit for its antiquity or novelty. And since I have traveled much for this material wherever things of interest are found, thus I would not want to finish my work without having the most accurate information about the cards that are in Turin, e.g. if they are French, German--or Italian, as I would almost like to flatter myself.
So I beg you to do me the courtesy of a description of the deck, as far as the various sequences, the number of small cards, tarot number, etc. And then I would yearn for you to have the goodness to trace for me diligently on translucent paper an outline of two or three picture cards, such as the King of Coins, the Chariot pulled by horses, the Pope, and an imprint, if perhaps they are all uniform, of the back of the cards, which almost always is ornamental or figured in chiaroscuro.
I impatiently await by your goodness this moment of courtesy, and also I would like you to notice for me any entries that are found on the cards, and also on the figures, as on any of the sequences, or on the reverses. You well know how when I have need of it, I put to good use your extreme kindness. I do not know if these cards are the work only of brush, or, as they [cards] for the most part are, illuminated prints, and I do not know from what source you obtained them: which things I will gather from your indications, and from everything that you can recollect for me of the history or vague tradition about this deck.
It is not much that I wrote in response to a letter from you, and I do not even know from Cav. Castell Alfieri if he has received a copy sent for you in Florence of Fabbriche Venete Illustrate [illustrated Venetian Manufactures]. Maybe you can at this time find out something, it having already been several weeks since the Marquis Gino Capponi was specifically instructed at Florence.
You have also with this care a sign of my respect, and you honor me with your commands, if you believe me capable of serving you. Please direct your reply to Venice, where I go to my winter quarters awaiting your goodness".

 

If the Tarot, from the ludic point of view, was very fashionable, so also was its divinatory use. One aspect, that of popular credulity, was rather criticized by moralists and men of science. Obviously still unknown in those days were the Jungian theories regarding the capacity and potential of symbols for investigating the unconscious to draw out prophetic information. Besides, at that time, but even today, unfortunately, many readers of cards were devoted to this art without possessing a minimal knowledge of their meaning, for the sole purpose of obtaining economic benefits.

 

Of this L. Gatinni speaks in his Il Galateo Popolare [Popular Etiquette] of 1871 dealing with witches and sorcerers (20):

 

Still sorceresses

 

"Yes, the bad seed of diviners is not yet destroyed. In the ignorant masses remains still the remnant of a past that makes one tremble with indignation. Women are more subject to the evil influence of certain hags, who with grim faces and stupid ceremonies go about predicting good or bad fortune. In the weaker half of the human race, where there is a fervid imagination, the love of the extraordinary is also great, and there superstition takes root. Even in terms of witchcraft art has made progress, and in changing its name has also changed its manner. The old apparatus, mournful and ridiculous at the same time, of symbolic circles, sinister lights, sepulchral voices of magic books, has ended, and is now adopted, as the book where the future is written, a deck of playing cards or tarot. How many still do not see, good mothers for that matter, going very often to consult the fortune-teller on this or that thing. Sometimes, however, it happens that the science of divination betrays the priestess, and then befalls a storm that was not written in a combination of tarot cards, occurring in a province of France, as told by the Courrier de l'Aisne, in which as one would guess, a grim-faced sinister-looking old woman, after having deceived many with false oracles said extracted from playing cards,, was forced by a resolute young man, the girlfriend of whom the old hag had put with her cards strange ideas in the head, to publicly reveal her malice, her imposture, and then to meditate on the verses:

 

“Miser, chi mal oprando si confida

Che ognor star debba il maleficio occulto”

 

“Wretched, the one who works evil, confident

That occult witchcraft is always necessary”

 

Returning to the game of tarot, it should be said that in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the Church's attitude changed completely from the previous centuries.

 

Although gambling continues to be condemned, tarot was essentially not only tolerated, but also loved by many clerics, which also occurred during the Renaissance, when the game was practiced even by cardinals.

 

What is certain is that from the beginning of the eighteenth century through the whole nineteenth century, marital advice obviated the veto on playing tarot imposed in previous centuries with sentences of this nature: “Non obstat modo, quòd honestati vitae suae obiicitur, eum aliquando lusisse, ut vulgu dicitur à Tarrochi & à Sbaraglino, quo casu videtur esse in peccato mortali” [The honesty of one’s life is in no way an impediment to the contrasting fact of having sometimes played what is commonly called Tarot and Sbaraglino,  in which case it seems that one is found in mortal sin] (21). Tarot was no longer of the devil and playing it was no longer a mortal sin. The situation might be more consistently expressed by the famous Latin motto "Omnia tempus habent" (Everything has its time).

 

The game of tarot, though beautiful, intelligent and cultured, the game that after its inception became the most popular entertainment in the world, is now almost forgotten. Perhaps because to engage in it one must possess an intelligent mind. In an era, that of today, in which a culture of nothing triumphs, annihilating and diverting our attention, to return to making the brain function would be more than useful to our minds. What, moreover, were tarot cards but a wonderful memory game? (22).

 

Notes

 

1 - M. Ippolito Salviano, La Ruffiana, Comedia, Di nuovo ristampata [Comedy, Newly reprinted], Venezia, Michel Bonibelli, 1595, p. 20. [Translator's note: the rhymes here, Tirilay/holiday and drink/wink, come from the book Masks and Marionettes by J. S. Kennard. You can see Kennard's translation of the two lines if you do a Google search for those four words.  In the Italian original, nothing corresponds to the expression "a wink"; it serves to make the rhyme and for emphasis].

2 - L’Epulone, Opera Melodrammatica esposta con le Prose Morali-Critiche dal P. Francesco Fulvio Frugoni, Minimo, Lettor, Theologo, Predicatore, Consultor, e qualificatore del S. Officio, & c., [The Banqeter, Melodramatic Opera presented with  Prose-Moral Criticism by P. Francesco Fulvio Frugoni, Minimo, Reader, Theologos, Preacher, Consultor, and qualifier of the S. Officio, etc.], Venezia, Combi, & la Noù, 1675, pp.. 609-610.

3 - See the essays Tarot in Literature II - III and Del Minchionare [the latter currently in Italian only].

4 - Raccolta di Poesie Satiriche scritte nel secolo XVIII [Collection of Satirical Poems written in the eighteenth century], Milano, Società Tipografica dei Classici Italiani [Typographical Society of Italian Classics], 1827, p. 4.

5 - Poesie di Giovanni Meli, Versione dal dialetto siciliano di Giuseppe Gazzino, Volume Secondo, Don Chisciotte [Poetry of Giovanni Meli, Version from the Sicilian dialect by Joseph Gazzino, Volume Two, Don Quixote], Torino, Unione Tipografico-Editrice, 1858, p. 151.

6 - Ibid, p. 268.

7 - Camillo Ugoni, Della Letteratura Italiana nella Seconda Metà del sec. XVIII [Italian Literature in the Second Half of the XVIIIth century]. Vol. II, Brescia, Nicolò Bettoni, 1821, p. 526.

8 - See the essay Odi et Amo.

9 - Poesie di Lorenzo Mascheroni, raccolte da’ suoi Manoscritti per Eloisio Fantoni [Poems by Lorenzo Mascheroni, collected from his Manuscripts by Eloisio Fantoni], Firenze, Le Monnier, 1863, pp. 377-379.

10 - Dialoghi del Cavaliere Vincenzo Monti, Volume Primo [Dialogues of the Knight Vincenzo Monti,, Volume One], Girolamo Tasso, 1841, pp.164-165.

11 - Poesie Inedite di Giuseppe Gioacchino Belli, Romano [Unpublished Poems of Giuseppe Gioacchino Belli, Roman], Roma, Salviucci, 1866, pp. 64-65.

12 - Prima Raccolta di Poesie e Prose Edite e Inedite di Norberto Rosa, Volume Secondo [First Collection of Poems and Prose published and unpublished by Norberto Rosa, Volume Two], Torino, Aless. Fontana, 1849, pp. 103-104.

13 - Ibid., p. 306.

14 - Ibid., p. 127.

15 - See: Stefano Stampa, Alessandro Manzoni, la sua famiglia, i suoi amici, Volume Primo [Alessandro Manzoni, his family, his friends, Volume One], Milano, Hoepli, 1885, p. 10 and p. 231.

16 - Ugo Foscolo, Lettere inedite: tratte dagli autografi, con note e documenti [Ugo Fascolo: Unpublished letters: taken from the autograph, with notes and documents], T. Vaccarino, 1873, p. 226.

17 - Gustavo Brigante Colonna Angelini (a cura di), Charles de Brosses: Roma del Settecento. Dalle Lettere familiari scritte dall' Italia nel 1739-1740 [Charles de Brosses: Rome of the eighteenth century. From Family letters written from Italy in 1739-1740], Eden, 1946. [French original in L’Italie il y a cent ans, ou Lettres écrites d’Italie à quelques amis en 1739 et 1740 ; par Charles de Brosses (1st edition (posthumous), M. R. Colomb, ed, Paris, 1836), pp. 208-210 (Lettre XLIV, to Madame Cortois de Quincey). 1856 edition, same pagination, is online. For discussion of Michelangelo attribution and a possible origin of this story, see http://forum.tarothistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=420#p5230]

18 - Prato, Giachetti, 1831.

19 - Poesie Scelte di Cesare Saluzzo con alcune Lettere di Personaggi Illustri e la Vita scritta dal Cav. Professore Pier-Alessandro Paravia [Selected Poems of Cesare Saluzzo with some Letters of Illustrious Personages and the Life written by Cav. Professor Pier-Alessandro Paravia], Pinerolo, Giuseppe Chiantori, 1857, pp. 258-260.

20 - Il Galateo Popolare compilato dal Dr. L. Gattini, IV Edizione [Popular Etiquette compiled by Dr. L. Gattini, Fourth Edition], Torino, G. Candèletti, 1871, pp. 178- 180

21 - Giovanni Battista Ziletti, Matrimonialium Consiliorum, Primum Volumen, Venezia, Iordani Zileti, 1563,  p. 154

22 - On this please read the essay The History of the Tarot.