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.
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
(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
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:
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:
Researched & Compiled by Eric Soons.