|LIFE OF CARDINAL MEZZOFANTI|
Home > Mezzofanti > Biography > 1820 to 1823 > Cardinal Cappellari
It is about this time that we may date the commencement of that intimacy between Mezzofanti and Cardinal Cappellari, afterwards Pope Gregory XVI., which eventually led to Mezzofanti's removal from Bologna to Rome. Cappellari, a distinguished monk of the Camaldolese order, was named to the cardi-nalate early in 1826 ; and soon afterwards was placed at the head of the congregation of the Propaganda. Being himself an orientalist of considerable eminence, he had long admired the wonderful gifts of Mezzofanti, and a circumstance occurred soon after his nomination as prefect of the Propaganda, which led to a correspondence between them, in reference to an oriental liturgical manuscript on which the opinion of the great linguist was desired. Cardinal Cappellari forwarded the MS. to Mezzofanti, who in a short time returned it, not merely with an explanation, but with a complete Latin translation. The Cardinal was so grateful for this service, that he wrote to thank the translator, accompanying his letter with a draft for a hundred doubloons. Mezzofanti, with a disinterestedness which his notoriously straitened means made still more honourable, at once wrote to return the draft, with a request that it should be applied to the purposes of the missions of the Propaganda. Note 1
This appeal from Cardinal Cappellari was not a solitary one. Mezzofanti was not unfrequently consulted in the same way, sometimes on critical or bibliographical questions, sometimes as to the character or contents of a book or MS. in some unknown language. One of his letters to the abate Cavedoni is a long account of an early Latin version of two of St. Gregory Nazianzen's minor spiritual poems, the " Tetrasticha" and the '' Monosticha." As this letter (although not without interest as being the only specimen of his critical writings which I have been able to obtain) would have little attraction for the general reader, and throws but little light upon the narrative, it is unnecessary to translate it. Note 2
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