While at Belriguardo Tasso wrote a letter to the Cardinal, who directed the Inquisition at Rome complaining that the Inquisitor at Bologna had made too little of his confessions, and that he had granted him absolution rather as to a lunatic than to a heretic. He actually proposed to come to Home to be accused in serious form. and not only did Torquato suspect his friends of denouncing him to the Inquisition, but he also accused them of heretical opinions, perhaps founded on some expressions they had used in familiar conversation. The Duke of Ferrara had, indeed, reason not only to be annoyed, but even to be seriously alarmed, for, though the Inquisitor at Bologna took a sensible view of Tasso's revelations, it was by no means certain that the Inquisition at Borne should look upon the matter in the same light. To a shrewd man who took Tasso's whole conduct into consideration he might seem deranged; but the poet possessed a wonderful power of vivid letter writing, and could make his fancies wear plausible shapes. Then the Duke's own mother was known to have been a favourer of the doctrines of Calvin, and some of the taint of heresy might be supposed to cling to Alfonso himself. He had enemies at Rome, and nothing is more credulous of evil reports than hatred. Perhaps they might favour the accusations in the hope of dispossessing him of his principality and causing it to revert to the Papal States, as was actually done after his death. About the same time Torquato wrote to his friend Gonzaga, “Either I am not only of a melancholy humour, but as it were mad, or I am too cruelly persecuted.” After ten days' stay at Belriguardo Alfonso sent Tasso back to Ferrara to be treated by his own physician. According to the pathology of the times melancholy was owing to humours rising to the brain. To expel these purgatives were the proper remedy. The poet was far from being submissive to treatment, and if the doctors did him no good they could always defend themselves by saying that their patient did not carry out their prescriptions. Tasso was kindly received at the convent of the Franciscans at Ferrara, which he repaid by accusations founded upon his ever-brooding suspicions. At another time he avowed his intention of becoming a brother of the Order.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.