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Treasury

italian, brunetto, allegory and french

TREASURY, The Little VII an allegory in rhymed heptasyllabic couplets, was written probably in 1262 and not later than 1266 by the Italian scholar Brunetto Latini during his stay in France. This early mediaeval poen, one of the oldest specimens of Italian didactic verse, antedates slightly the author's French encyclopedia Livres dou Tresor,) and can be considered an abridged Italian pre liminary draft intended for a less cultured public. The immediate inspiration of the

The poem breaks off just as the philosopher is about to reply in prose. Artistic value the work has not. Brunetto, learned and scholarly for his time, was no poet. The versification is of an inferior order. As Adolfo Bartoli well puts it, the couplets pass by like a procession 'of monks, all alike, without expression, without life. There is no characterization; the excess of detail, the minuteness of portrayal render the figures lifeless abstractions. The value of the poem lies, however, in the high moral tone that pervades the work, in the linguistic sig nificance of this old example of Italian verse, in the code of knightly virtues so well set forth and above all in the influence over later writ ers, in particular, Dante. Consult Sundby, Thor,