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Paolo and Costanzo Pulcarelli

by Salvatore Cangiani
(Translated by Marianna Mastro)

Paolo Pulcarelli, who later will change his last name in Portarelli was a priest and a teacher at the Seminary in Sorrento.

Pulcarelly was born in the second half of the 15th century in Monticchio of Massalubrense where he also died in 1613 and where he also built in the Parish church of S. Pietro, the S. Francis of Assisi Chaple and there he established his tomb.

Due to his extraordinary erudition and the passion he dedicated to the classical studies, he became an illustrious representative of the Humanism culture in the Sorrentine Peninsule.

Author of poetry, elegy and sacred books, Pulcarelli moved to Naples where he was highly esteemed by the important members of the city who had a good opinion of him both for the extent of his culture and for the elegance and the refinement of his literary style of writing.

Roberto Pane said the following words about him: “ The source of his song is the live presence of the myth in a place beyond comparison.”

Paolo’s brother was Costanzo Pulcarelli born in Monticchio of Massalubrense in 1568 and died in Naples in 1610. Costanzo was also a priest and an “ornament and splendour of the Partenope College Massimo of the Jesuits.”

Costanzo was of a weak constitution and prematurely fell sick of phthisis but with a touching enthusiasm he started to study Latin and Greek Literature, the Humanities and theology achieving a great culture.

Being a very good expert of the classical studies and gifted of a versatile and cordial talent, he became an incomparable teacher, a man of great faith and religious devotion, qualities for which he became one of the most illustrious representative of the Christian Humanism.

Costanzo’s opera was combined in five books which include theological poems, poems like “le Peonie”, eclogues, elegies, among which the most famous is the obvious evocation of his native village entitled “Ad amicum Massae rusticantem” as well as epigrams and odes of various topics.

Following the pillage of the Jesuits’ documents with the abolition of the Order in 1767, the works of Pulcarelli were dispersed in the National Library of Naples where many manuscripts have been lost including and interesting exchange of letters between Costanzo and Galilei.

In the wonderful elegy “All’amico Massese campagnolo” the exhortation on behalf of the poet to his friend of Massa because he enjoys the endless goods and the great number of delights the generous and luxuriant countryside offers, is only and occasion to describe and glorify through the country scenes and the hunting and fishing activities the splendour of a fruitful and splendid nature, rich of rustlings, sounds and colours which nourish the poetic idyllic vein and the joyful idea of living.

"Echeggiano nel bosco, or lievi ora armoniosi,
i versi degli uccelli in canti deliziosi;
e i nocciuoli rivelano, in lampi di cristallo,
l’agrodolce limone tinto di tenue giallo…"

"Azzurrità dell’aria e distese di ulivi
della pace di Pàllade son messaggeri vivi…"

Copyright 2003 Salvatore Cangiani. All rights reserved.