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Home > Mezzofanti > Biography > 1807 to 1814 > Death of his mother

In June, 1810, his mother died. But her advanced age and infirm health had long prepared him for this bereavement. She died on the feast of St .Aloysius (June 21,) in her seventy-third year. The only detail regarding his personal occupations, Which I have been able to discover, is derived from a letter, dated November 30th, 1811,  Note 1 to his friend Pezzana, at Parma, which exhibits him again engaged in the drudgery of compiling a catalogue—that of the library of Count Marescalchi. Pezzana had published, some time before, a short bibliographical essay on two very rare editions of Petrarch, which are still preserved in the Parma Collection. Mezzofanti, while engaged in cataloguing the Mareschalchi library, discovered a copy of one of these editions, and at once wrote to communicate the fact to Pezzana.

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Note 1
As this letter may perhaps possess some bibliographical value, I shall translate it here—" In making the catalogue for the library of His Excellency Count Marescalchi, Minister of Foreign Affairs for the kingdom of Italy, I have discovered a copy of the Siliprandine edition of Petrarch, which corresponds exactly to the very full description published by you, except that in this one the table of contents is at the close, in which place you remark, (at page 35,) it would stand better than in that which it occupies in your Parma copies. The leaves are 188 in number, as there happens to be a second blank one before the index.

" I mention the fact to you atthe suggestion of His Excellency ; but I gladly avail myself of the opportunity which the communication affords me of thanking you in writing for your kindness in presenting me with your learned letter upon the present edition, together with your valuable bibliographical notices of the two exceedingly rare editions of the 15th century, and of renewing, at the same time, the assurance of my respect and esteem." Bologna, Nov. 30, 1811."

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