The fourth “form” or Chigi (1359-63) and the “Johannine form” (1366-1366)

The fourth form or Chigi (1359-63) is the first one to be attested by an actual manuscript that has survived, the ms. Chig. L. V. 176 from the Vaticana library, copied by Giovanni Boccaccio. The collection bears the title inspired by Petrarch, Francisci Petrarce de Florentia Rome nuper laureati fragmentorum liber.The collection is clearly divided in two parts. The last poem of Part one ends near the top of f. 71r; Part two starts with poem 264 and begins on f.72r as most of 71r and the whole 71v remain blank. Wilkins writes that poem 264 has a large ornamental initial, as does poem one, the opening poem of Part one (160). In reality, poem 264 does not have a large ornamental initial and the division in two parts of the Rvf is discernible only from the fact that 71r and 72r  are left blank. The collection includes 174 poems in Part one and 41 in Part two.

The poems added to part one are the following: 143-156; 159-165; 169-173; 184-185; 178; 176-177 and 189. The poems added to part two are the following: 293-304. Here is the order of this "form": 1-120, 121= “Donna mi vene spesso nella mente,” 122-156, 1559-165; 169-173, 184-185, 178, 176-177, 189; 264-304. Wilkins is convinced that before the so-called fifth form of the Rvf Petrarch conceived of a fourth reference collections between 1366 and 1368. 

Starting from form five the evolution of the Rvf coincides with the history of ms. Vat. Lat. 3195. The first scribe to work on this manuscript is Giovanni Malpaghini, Petrarch's pupil and friend, “charum comitem” as he writes in Seniles V, 5. Wilkins names after him the fifth “form” of the Rvf, the “Johannine form” starting in 1366-1367. Under Petrarch's direction Malpaghini copied in the ms. Vat. lat. 3195 the first 163 poems of the Chigi form, to which were added poems 157-158; 166-168 and 180-190. Thus, part one of this “form” included poems 1-190 with a white space between poem 178 and 180. Moreover, fourteen new poems were added to Part two (nn. 305-318) that now included poems 264-318. All the poems added to Part two are sonnets and all mourn Laura (Wilkins 170). The total numbers of poems included in this form is 242 but only 241 were actually copied.


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