The Diary of John Evelyn.

(Born: 1620 - Died: 1706)

The Diary of John Evelyn by John Evelyn.
The Diary of John Evelyn by John Evelyn.

4th October, 1644.

and, lodging one night on the way, we arrived at noon at Avignon.

This town has belonged to the Popes ever since the time of Clement V.; being, in 1352, (1) alienated by Jane, Queen of Naples and Sicily. Entering the gates, the soldiers at the guard took our pistols and carbines, and examined us very strictly; after that, having obtained the Governor's and the Vice-Legate's leave to tarry three days, we were civilly conducted to our lodging.

The city is on the Rhone, and divided from the newer part, or town, which is on the other side of the river, by a very fair stone bridge (which has been broken); at one end is a very high rock, on which is a strong castle well furnished with artillery. The walls of the city are of large, square freestone, the most neat and best in repair I ever saw. It is full of well-built palaces; those of the Vice-Legate and Archbishop being the most magnificent.

There are many sumptuous churches, especially that of St. Magdalene and St. Martial, wherein the tomb of the Cardinal d'Amboise is the most observable. Clement VI. lies buried in that of the Celestines, the altar whereof is exceedingly rich: but for nothing I more admired it than the tomb of Madonna Laura, (2) the celebrated mistress of Petrarch. We saw the Arsenal, the Pope's palace, and the Synagogue of the Jews, who here are distinguished by their red hats. Vaucluse, so much renowned for the solitude of Petrarch, we beheld from the castle; but could not go to visit it for want of time, being now taking mules and a guide for Marseilles.

1. 1352: [In 1348.]

2. tomb of Madonna Laura: In the Church of the Cordeliers, destroyed in the Revolution. It was then, says Arthur Young (Travels, etc., 1792, i. 173), "nothing but a stone in the pavement, with a figure engraven on it partly effaced, surrounded by an inscription in Gothic letters, and another in the wall adjoining, with the armorial of the family De Sade" — to which Laura belonged. The last remains ofLaura were taken to the Bibliothèque Nationale in 1793 — says Mr. Augustus Hare — and have been lost. But he quotes a charming quatrain, either by Francis I. or Clement Marot, which was added when the tomb was opened in 1533:
(i) O gentille âme, estant taut estimée,
Qui te pourra loüer qu'en se taisant?
Car la parole est toujours reprimée
Quand le sujet surmonte le disant.

South-Eastern France, 1890, p. 368.

Translated from the French:


Translation Awaited.

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