Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Tassoni, Alessandro

TASSONI, Alessandro, Italian poet, was a native of Modena, where he was born in 1565, and where he died in 1635. From 1599 till 1608 he was secretary to Cardinal Ascanio Colonna, and in this capacity saw some diplomatic service; he was afterwards employed for some time in similar occupations by Charles Emmanuel, duke of Savoy. His best-known literary work is a burlesque epic entitled La Secchia Rapita, or “The Rape of the Bucket” (1622), the reference being to a raid of the Modenese upon the people of Bologna in 1325, when a bucket was carried off as a trophy. As in Butler’s Hudibras, many of the personal and local allusions in this poem are now very obscure, and are apt to seem somewhat pointless to the general reader, but, in spite of Voltaire’s contempt, it cannot be neglected by any systematic student of Italian literature (compare vol. xii. p. 512.) Other characteristic works of Tassoni are his Pensieri Diversi (1612), in which he treats philosophical, literary, historical, and scientific questions with unusual freedom, and his Considerazioni sopra il Petrarcha (1609), a piece of criticism showing great independence of traditional views.