You are on page 1of 3

Gasparino da Bergamo, detto Barzizza.

Funebris oratio. In mortem cuiusdam Doctoris
edita.
Quantum nostra respublica attrimentum accepit
morte clarissimi marciani, spectabiles et egregii
viri, Vosque cives patriae amantissimi partim
lacrimis partim tacito vestro omnium merore facile
intelligo. Amisimus equidem virum quo neque
sapientor neque melior aut nostra aut patrum
memoria in nostra civitate adhuc fuit. Amisimus
patrem patriae urbis patronum civicum
protectorem. Amisimus virum omnium bonarum
artium atque honestissimarum disciplinarum
eruditissimum. Amisimus denique virunt in quo
summa in omnes humanitas singularis iusticia
precipua animi fortitudo, admirabilis constantia,
summum concilium ac divina quaedam in maximis
rebus providendis sapientia erat. Quis igitur
nostrum patres optimi satis digni talem virum
lugere poterit? Quis mortem eius lamentari? Quis
publicum merorem satis consolari queat? Quem
nobis virum huic comparandum continget in nostra
civitate reperire? Quando sperare nobis huic
similem aut posteris nostris licebit? O civitatem
nostram morte tanti viri merito lugubrem atque
desolatam. O populum Terdonensem optimo
parente orbatum! O nostram rempublicam maximo
ornamento spoliatam! Dies me, patres gravissimi,
deficeret si nostre civitatis in commoda oratione
mea prosequi vellem. Sed quia humani casus non
lacrimis aut secreto dolore sed virtute ac
moderacione animi lenantur non tam nostra a nobis
iactura lugenda est quam communis omnium
mortalium naturae condicio consideranda.
Quamquam enim talis in omni genere omnium
virtutum atque doctrinarum fuerit ut nemo nostrum
sit qui non immortalem si fieri posset eum fuisse
optare tamen cum sapientis officium existat nec
etiam si possit non repugnare vos omnes oratos
volo ut mortem eius fortiter equanimiterque
praeferatis ne amasse nos solos magis quam illum
ipsum quem lugemus videamur.
Graviter enim suis ut aiunt in comodis angi non
amicum sed seipsum amantis est quod si mali nihil
potuit ei morte accidere si omnis eius vita
honestissime ad extremum usque finem perducta
est si eam virtutis ac sapientiae laudem hominum
sapientissimorum iudicio est consecutus ut eius
fama pariter cum hac alma urbe nostra duratura
videatur multo magis nobis letandum esse puto
quod talem virum patriae nostrae habere obtigerit
quam dolendum quod amiserit. Quid est enim ab
homine libero ac sapiente optandum quod non ille
in vita ad prime assecutus sit; qui cum vxi annos

Gasparino da Bergamo, called Barzizza
A funeral oration given on the death of a certain
doctor.
I understand how great a blow our country has
received from the death of our most celebrated
Marziano. Notable and famous men, and you most
loving citizens of our fatherland, I readily understand
this, of all things, partly from your tears and partly
from your silent grief. Indeed we are sending away a
man than whom thre has thus far in our State been
neither wiser, nor better, neither in our memory nor
that of our forebears. We are sending away the father
of city and the protector of our civic patrons. We are
sending away a man most erudite in all the good arts
and the most upstanding disciplines. Finally we are
sending away one in whom thrived the greatest
humanity, in whom there was unique outstanding
fairness, courage of spirit, admirable constancy, the
highest counsel and a certain divine wisdom in
forseeing great things. Who therefore of us, greatest
fathers, might be capable of being judged worthy to
mourn such a man? Who to lament his death? Who
might be able to do enough to console the public grief?
Who will be fated to find a man to compare to him in
our State? When will we or our descendants be
allowed to hope for his like? Oh State of ours,
deservedly made mournful and desolate by the death
of so great a man! Oh people of Tortona, orphaned of
such a parent! Oh our country, despoiled of its greatest
ornament! Gravest fathers, the light of day would
leave me should I wish to continue in my speech on
the disaster of our State. But because man's losses are
not soothed by tears or secret grief, but by courage and
moderation of spirit, our fate is not so much to be
mourned by us than the shared condition of the nature
of all men is to be contemplated. For although he was
such a man in all manner of all virtues and doctrines
that there would be no man among us who would not
wish him made immortal, if it could be done, however,
a wise man's duty exists. If you can avoid rebelling, I
want all you whom I address to bear his death with a
balanced mind lest we seem to have loved only
ourselves more than him whom we mourn.
Indeed, as they say, to be deeply grieved by one's own
misfortunes is characteristic of one who loves not his
friend, but himself; for if no harm could come to him
in death, if his life was lived most honestly to the very
end, if this praise is the judgement of the wisdom of
the wisest men, it follows that likewise his reputation
will be seen to last with this our gentle city. I think we
should be much happier that it befell our fatherland to
have such a man than to mourn the fact it said
goodbye to him. For what is to be desired by a wise,
freeborn man but that he reach the top in life. He,
who when he was 16 years old and far above all his

sex ac decem natus esset iam quod in primis
literarum studiis omnibus equalibus longe
praestantior tanto amore sapientie incensus fuit ut
relicta patria cuius erat cupidissimus Papiam se
transferet qua in urbe omnium honestissimarum
summum tunc certamen atque summa erudicio
vigebat: ubi cum biennium quantum ei visum fuit
doctrine sapientieque habuisset unde Patavium
Patavio Bononiam Bononia Florentia migravit.
Quibus in studiis ita se mirifice gessit ut cum laude
in genii quod in eo divinissimum fuit ceteris
excelleret tamen philosophiae omnique liberalium
artium doctissimus haberetur. Consecutus autem
doctoratus insignia cum maxima omnium patrum
conscriptorum approbatione statim ad doctrinam
publicam philosophiae assumptus est et ex publico
erario maximo premio donatus. Taceo quos postea
labores perpessus sit per quot pericula versatus
donec ad summum pontificem Gregorium qui
nuper fuit perveniens maximis apud eum honoribus
quam div in papatum vixit perfunctus est. Quid
eius accessus ad illustrissimum principem ac
serenissimum ducem mediolani dominum nostrum
clementissimum commemorabo apud quem ut
omnes scimus tantum honore et gracia potuit
quantum sibi per valetudinem suam licuit cuius
incredibilem in deliberando prudentiam in
sententiis in senatu dicendis sapientiam. Patres
conscripti admirati alii Catonem eum alterum alii
Gaium Lelium appellabant. Quod huiuscemodi in
principis nostri iudicium de hoc vero dicam cum
illius sapientissimas disputaciones que quotiens
gravissimis regni curis paulisper Ievatus erat
attentissime audiret atque sepe de summis rebus
suis cogitans libenter cum eo conferret,
omniumque secretorum suorum conscium etiam
vellet. Erat enim tum ceterarum omnium artium
doctissimus cum poeticis studiis ac singulari
eloquentia in primis preditus que humanitatis studia
illum merito gratiorem apud tantum principem
admirabilioremque reddebant. Exquo iure illum
beatum fuisse nemo est nostrum qui dubitare
debeat cum virtuti ac sapientie sue fortuna
coniuncta fuerit. Nunc vero cum eo illum
pervenisse credendum sit ubi viri sapientes aevo
sempiterno fruuntur consolemur nos ipsos patres
lectissimi et plorare mortem eius desinamus quem
extra omnia mala atque adversa positum eum
statum consecutum sperare debemus quem nullus
ei dies nulla vis fortune nunquam eripiet.

peers in his literary studies, became fired by so great
a love of wisdom that he left his fatherland, and as he
most desired took him self to Pavia. In that city, his
great study in all the most worthy subjects and his
greatest erudition thrived. When he had been there
two years he was seen to have learning and wisdom.
From there he moved to Padua, then Bologna, then
Florence. In these studies he did so well that,
receiving praise for his genius he outstripped the
others in divinity; however, he was considered most
learned in philosophy and all the liberal arts. He then
progressed to the degree of doctor with the greatest
and distinguished approval of all the fathers and was
at once taken into the role of public teaching of
philosophy and was given a very great reward from
the public treasury. I say nothing of those labours
with which he was then continually beset, through
how many dangers he journeyed till he fulfilled his
potential coming to serve the late Pope Gregory and
receiving many honours from him or how long he
lived at the papal court. What should I tell of his
coming to our illustrious leader, the most serene Duke
of Milan, our most merciful master? At his court, as
we all know, he could, to the extent that his health
allowed, show incredible prudence in debating and
wisdom in giving his opinion in the senate. The
senators admired him, some called him another Cato,
others a Gaius Laelius. I truly tell you that when such
things came under our leader's judgement, he would,
whenever he was for a little while lifted from the
cares of the realm, attentively hear this man's most
wise debates. Often, when he pondered the most
important things, he would freely converse with him
and even wished him all knowledge of his secrets. For
he was then very learned in all the other arts, but most
distinguished in the study of the poets and in his
singular eloquence. His studies of humanity
deservedly made him more welcome and admirable in
the eyes of so great a leader. From this judgement
there is no man among us who should doubt that he
was blessed, when his fortune is seen alongside his
wisdom and virtue. Now, truly, since we may believe
that he has reached the place where wise men enjoy
unending life, let us console ourselves, most chosen
fathers, and cease to weep over his death. We should
hope that he has been put beyond all harm and
adversity and will remain there, where no man, no
day, no force of fate can snatch him away.

Latin text from Aristide Arzano, Marziano da Tortona, letterato e miniatore del Rinascimento,
in "Bollettino della Società per gli studi di storia, d'economica e d'arte nel Tortonese", 4 (1904), pp. 27-50.

Translated by Paul Marshall and Ross G.R. Caldwell
Copyright 2006