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Home > Mezzofanti > Biography > 1831 > Reception

To Mezzofanti in particular the Pope showed marked attention. It had been one of his requests to Cardinal Opizzoni, the archbishop, when returning to Bologna on the suppression of the Revolution, that he should send Professor Mezzofanti to visit him. He still remembered the disinterestedness which the professor had shewn in their first correspondence ; and the time had now come when it was in his power to make some acknowledgment. A few days after Mezzofanti's arrival he was named domestic prelate and proto-notary apostolic, and at his final audience before returning to Bologna, the pope renewed in person the invitation to settle permanently in Rome, which had formerly been made to him by Cardinal Consalvi on the part of Pius VII. Mezzofanti was still as happy in his humble position as he had been in 1815. He still retained his early love for his native city and for the friends among whom he had now begun to grow old. But to persist farther would be ungracious. He could no longer be insensible to a wish so flattering and so earnestly enforced. It was not, however, until, as the Pope himself declared, "after a long siege," (veramente un assedio) that he finally acquiesced ;—overpowered, as it would seem, by that genuine and unaffected cordiality which was the great characteristic of the good Pope Gregory XVI.

"Holy Father," was his singularly graceful acknowledgment of the kind interest which the Pope had manifested in his regard, " people say that I can speak a great many languages. In no one of them, nor in them all, can I find words to express how deeply I feel this mark of your Holiness's regard."

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