Catalogue Entry: OTHE00106

The First Dialogue

Author: Francesco Algarotti

Source: Sir Isaac Newton's Philosophy Explain'd For the Use of the Ladies, vol. 1 (London: 1739).

[Normalized Text] [Diplomatic Text]

[1] An Italian Historian very prolix and tedious. It was a Saying of Dr. Donne's, that if Moses had wrote like Guicciardini, the whole World would not have been big enough to contain the History of its own Creation.

[2] Jerom Fracastorius was born of a noble Family at Verona in Italy, about the Year 1483. He studied Physic, 'till a few Years before his Death, when he devoted himself entirely to the Study of polite Learning. Mathematics, Astronomy and Cosmography. He died of an Apoplexy in 1553, and was interred in the Church of St. Euphemia at Verona, where in 1559 he had a Statue erected to him by Order of that City. His poetical Works are much admired, the principal of which are his Syphilis; Joseph an Epic Poem in 2 Books, but left unfinished at this Death; and his Alcon sen de Curâ Canum Venaticorum. See his Life prefixed to his Works, Joann. Imperialis Musæum Historicum. Pag. 16. Les Eloges des Hommes Savans, tirez de l'Histoire de M. de Thou. Tom. 1. Pag. 189.

[3] A Lake in the Territories of Venice, now called Lagodi Garda.

[4] Alphonsus the 10th King of Arragon, sirnamed the Wife, who used to say, he desired little more than four old Things, viz. old Wood to burn, old Wine to drink, old Books to read, and old Friends to live with. He began his Reign in 1252, and died in 1284.

[5] Mandragora or Mandragola, an Italian Comedy written by the famous Nicolas Machiavel.

[6] Actius Sincerus Sannazarius was born at Naples of a noble Family in 1488. He was Secretary to Ferdinand King of Naples, who honoured him with a great Share of his confidence and Esteem. He was eminent for his Italian and Latin Verses. He spent twenty Years in correcting and polishing his Poem Partu Virginis; but his piscatory Eclogues in Latin which he wrote when he was young, were preferred to all his other poetical Writings. He was rewarded by the Venetians with a Present of 600 Crowns for his celebrated Epigram, Viderat Hadriacis Venetam, &c. <7> He died in 1530 of Grief, because the Prince of Orange, who was General of the Imperial Army, had demolished a Tower belonging to his Country-house. He lies interred near Virgil's Tomb. See Paulus Jovius in Elogiis, &c.


Mentre con tarde ed allungate Note

Il profundo, Solenne, e Maestoso

Organo Soffla ----

[8] Laura Maria Katherina Barfi, a learned Lady in Italy, who in 1732, at 19 Years old, held a philosophical Disputation at Bologna, upon which she was admitted to the Degree of Doctor in that University


O dell, aurata

Luce Settemplice

I varioardenti, e misti almi Colori.

[10] Monsieur de St. Hyacinthe, under the fictitious Name of Dr. Mathanasius, published a Piece incituled, Chef d'Oeuvre d'un Inconnu avec des Remarques, in order to ridicule the Impertinence of some Critics and Commentators. The Malmantile is an Italian Piece wrote after the manner of this Author.

[11] Philiscus, vid. Plin. N. H. L. xi. C. 9.

[12] Aristomachus. Id, ibid.

[13] It is probably that the greater Part of those, who are acquainted with the Character of Socrates, will think Signore Algarotti has passed too severe a Censure

[14] Aristotle retired from Athens, in order to avoid a Process of Irreligion which the Athenian Priests carried on against him. The Circumstances of this Affair are unknown: Some assert, that he was charged with Impiety on Account of a Hymn which he had made in Honour of his Friend Hermius. This Hymn is still extant, but there is not the least Impiety discoverable in it; but his Accusers urged that he had prophaned divine Songs by prostituting them to the Honour of a mortal Man. Aristotle not thinking it safe to trust to the Interpretation this little Poem might meet with, retired very privately to Chalcis, where he pleaded his Cause at a distance by Writing, which was the safest Way he could take; for his Accusers were a Set of Men who would never have let him been at rest. Others affirm that he was driven from Athens for the Goodness of his Morals. Some Authors report, that this Philosopher drowned himself in the Euripus, a narrow Sea near Eubœa, because he could not find out the Reason of its ebbing and flowing seven Times in one Day. But the more received Opinion is, that his very great Application in the Study of this Phænomenon, brought an Illness upon him, which occasioned his Death. See Bayle's Life of Aristotle in the General Dictionary, Vol. II.

[15] The French, who took Constantinople about the Beginning of the 13th Century, having brought the Books of Aristotle into their own country, his Doctrine began to be publickly taught in the University of Paris, and continued so for some Time. But Amaury, a Student in that University, having advanced several obnoxious Opinions, and endeavoured to defend them from the Principles of Aristotle, the Physics and Metaphysics of that Philosopher were burnt by order of a Council held at Paris in 1209. And the reading of them prohibited under Pain of Excommunication. This Prohibition was confirmed about the Year 1215, by the Pope's Legate, who was employed to reform the University of Paris; but he allowed the Logic of Aristotle to be taught. Gregory VII. renewed this Prohibition in 1231, but with this Addition, that he only forbid the reading of Aristotle's Works till they should be corrected. In 1261, Simon the Legate of the See of Rome in his Reformation of the University confirmed the Regulation of the Year 1215, relating to Aristotle's writings without mentioning the Correction of them. But in the Reformation of the University in 1366, this Philosopher's Physics, as well as his other Works, were allowed to be read. Vid. Father Raspin's Comparisons of Plato and Aristotle, Du Pin's Nouvelle Bib. &c.

[16] Galileo was born at Florence in 1564. He was put into the Inquisition for maintaining the Diurnal Motion of the Earth, and asserting the Sun and not the Earth to be the Center of the World. These Propositions were condemned by the Inquisitors as false and heretical. He was not discharged till he had promised to renounce his Opinions, and not to defend them either by Word or Writing, or insinuate them into the Mind of any Person. Upon his publishing his Dialogues upon the two chief Systems of the World, the Copernican and Ptolemnaic in 1632, he was again cited before the Holy Office. The same Year the Congregation convened, and in his Presence pronounced Sentence against him and his Book, committing him to the Prison of the Holy Office during Pleasure, and commanding him as a saving Penance for three Years to come to repeat once a Week the seven Penitential Psalms, but reserving to themselves the Power of moderating, changing, and taking away, altogether or in Part, the above mentioned Punishment and Penance. He was discharged from his Confinement in 1634, but the Impression of his Dialogues of the System of the World was burnt at Rome. Vid. The General Dictionary.

[17] Proinde Colore cave, &c.             Lucret.

[18] As Seignor Algarrotti does not mention where he had these Verses, I would not venture to translate them from the Italian, since I am not certain, whether they were not originally written in English.

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