Carlo Alessandro Guidi

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Carlo Alessandro Guidi (14 June 1650 – 12 June 1712), Italian lyric poet, was born at Pavia.

As chief founder of the well-known Roman academy called L'Arcadia, he had a considerable share in the reform of Italian poetry, corrupted at that time by the extravagance and bad taste of the poets Giambattista Marini and Giovanni Filoteo Achillini and their school. The poet Guidi and the critic and jurisconsult Gravina checked this evil by their influence and example.

The genius of Guidi was lyric in the highest degree; his songs are written with singular force, and charm the reader, in spite of touches of bombast. His most celebrated song is that entitled Alla Fortuna (To Fortune), which certainly is one of the most beautiful pieces of poetry of the 17th century.

Guidi was squint-eyed, humpbacked, and of a delicate constitution, but possessed undoubted literary ability. His poems were printed at Parma in 1671, and at Rome in 1704. In 1681 he published at Parma his lyric tragedy Amalasunta in Italy, and two pastoral dramas Daphne and Endymion. The last had the honour of being mentioned as a model by the critic Gravina, in his treatise on poetry.

Less fortunate was Guidi's poetical version of the six homilies of Pope Clement XI, first as having been severely criticized by the satirist Settano, and next as having proved to be the indirect cause of the author's death. A splendid edition of this version had been printed in 1712, and, the pope—being then in Castel Gandolfo, Guidi went there to present him with a copy. On the way he found out a serious typographical error, which he took so much to heart that he was seized with an apoplectic fit at Frascati and died on the spot.

Guidi was honoured with the special protection of Ranuccio II, duke of Parma, and of Queen Christina of Sweden.

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