Books fatal to their authors: Poetry Books fatal to their authors 04
Poem satirizing Jacobeans, from Poems on Affairs of State, 1733

From P. H. Ditchfield's Books Fatal to their Authors:
The haunters of Parnassus and the wearers of the laurel crown have usually been loved by their fellows, save only when satire has mingled with their song and filled their victims' minds with thoughts of vengeance...Shakespeare classes together "the lunatic, the lover, and the poet" as being "of imagination all compact"; and perchance the poet has shared with the madman the reverence which in some countries is bestowed on the latter.
However, all have not so escaped the destinies of fate. Some think that Ovid incurred the wrath of Augustus Caesar through his verses on the art of loving, and was on that account driven into exile, which he mourned so melodiously and complained of so querulously...
Although the methods of later critics are less severe than their inquisitorial predecessors, they have not been without their victims, and books maltreated by them have sometimes "done to death" their authors.
Voltaire—French satiric playwright and poet.
Voltaire suffered one year's imprisonment in the Bastille on account of a satirical poem on Louis XIV, and in confinement wrote an epic poem, La Henriade. Some other storms raised by his works, such as his Lettres Philosophiques and his Epître à Uranie, he weathered by flight, or by unscrupulously denying their authorship.
Keats—British Romantic poet.
[In the early 19th Century,] furious invective was the fashion, and the tender mercies of the reviewers were cruel. Poor Keats died of criticism, if Shelley's story be true. On the appearance of Endymion the review in Blackwood told the young poet "to go back to his gallipots," and that it was a wiser and better thing to be a starved apothecary than a starved poet. 

Such vulgar abuse was certainly not criticism. Shelley wrote that
the savage criticism on Keats' Endymion which appeared in the Quarterly Review produced the most violent effects on his susceptible mind; the agitation thus originated ended in the rupture of a blood-vessel in the lungs; a rapid consumption ensued, and the succeeding acknowledgments from more candid critics of the true greatness of his powers were ineffectual to heal the wound thus wantonly inflicted. It may be well said, that these wretched men know not what they do. They scatter their insults and their slanders without heed as to whether the poisonous shafts light on a heart made callous by many blows, or one like Keats', composed of more penetrable stuff." And then addressing the reviewer he says: "Miserable man! you, one of the meanest, have wantonly defaced one of the noblest specimens of the workmanship of God. Nor shall it be your excuse that, murderer as you are, you have spoken daggers, but used none.
Nowadays authors do not usually die of criticism, not even susceptible poets. Critics can still be severe enough, but they are just and generous, and never descend to that scurrilous personal abuse of authors which inflicted such severe wounds a century ago, and sometimes caused to flow the very heart's blood of their victims.
Cecco d'Ascoli—Professor of Astrology at the famous University of Bologna in 1322. 
His poems have been collected and published under the title Opere Poetiche del' illustro poeta Cecco d'Ascoli, cioë, l'acerba. In Venetia, per Philippum Petri et Socios, anno 1478, in-4. The absurdities of Cecco contained in his poems merited for their author a place in a lunatic asylum, rather than on a funeral pile. He was, however, burnt alive at Bologna in 1327. He believed in the influence of evil spirits, who, under certain constellations, had power over the affairs of men...later he announced to the Duke of Calabria, who asked him to cast the horoscope of his wife and daughter, that they would betake themselves to an infamous course of life. This prophecy was too much for the Duke. Cecco was summoned to appear before the Inquisitors, who condemned him to the stake. At his execution a large crowd assembled to see whether his familiar genii would arrest the progress of the flames.
Nicodemus Frischlin—German poet who became Professor of Belles-Lettres at Tubingen at the age of twenty.
...he [also] received from the Emperor Rudolph the poetic crown with the title of chevalier, and was made Count Palatin as a reward for his three panegyrics composed in honor of the emperors of the House of Austria. Certainly Fortune smiled upon her favorite, but Envy raised up many enemies, who were eager to find occasion against the successful poet...

His work De laudibus vitae rusticae...grievously offended the nobles, who were already embittered against him on account of his arrogance and turbulence, and his keen and unsparing satire. So bitter was their hostility that the poet was compelled to leave Tubingen, and became a wandering philosopher, sometimes teaching in schools, always pouring forth poems, elegies, satires, tragedies, comedies, and epics. 

Being eager to publish some of his works and not having sufficient means, he applied to the Duke of Würtemberg for a subsidy, at the same time furiously attacking his old opponents. This so exasperated the chief men of the Court, that they persuaded the Duke to recall Frischlin; but instead of finding a welcome from his old patron, he was cast into prison...

Having raged and stormed, and tried in vain to obtain release, he resolved to escape. From his prison window he let himself down by a rope made out of his bed-clothes, but unfortunately the rope broke and the poor poet fell upon the hard rocks beneath his chamber window and was injured fatally.
Caspar WeiserProfessor of Lund in Sweden.
It is not often that a poet loses his head for a single couplet, but this seems to have been the fate of Caspar Weiser. At first he showed great loyalty to his country, and wrote a panegyric on the coronation of Charles XI, King of Sweden. But a short time afterwards he appears to have changed his political opinions, for when the city was captured by the Danes in 1676, Weiser met the conqueror, and greeted him with the words:—
Perge Triumphator reliquas submittere terras;
Sic redit ad Dominum, quod fuit ante, suum.*
 This verse was fatal to him. The Swedish monarch recovered his lost territory; the Danes were expelled, and the poor poet was accused of treason and beheaded.
 John Williams
The same hard fate befell John Williams in 1619, who was hanged, drawn, and quartered, on account of two poems, Balaam's Ass and Speculum Regis, the manuscripts of which he foolishly sent secretly in a box to King James. The monarch was always fearful of assassination, and as one of the poems foretold his speedy decease, the prophet incurred the King's wrath and suffered death for his pains.
A single poem was fatal to Deforges, entitled Vers sur l'arrestation du Prétendant d'Angleterre, en 1749. It commences with the following lines:—

                   Peuple, jadis si fier, aujourd'hui si servile,
                   Des princes malheureux, tu n'es donc plus l'asyle?*
He happened to be present at the Opera House in Paris when the young Pretender was arrested, and being indignant at this breach of hospitality, and believing that the honor of the nation had been compromised, he wrote these bitter verses. His punishment was severe. He was arrested and conducted to the gloomy fortress of Mont-Saint-Michel, where he remained for three long years shut up in the cage. The floor of this terrible prison, which was enveloped in perpetual darkness, was only eight square feet. The poor poet bore his sufferings patiently, and was befriended by M. de Broglie, Abbé of Saint-Michel, who obtained permission for him to leave his cage and be imprisoned in the Abbey; nor did he fail to take precautions lest the poor poet should lose his eyesight on passing from the darkness of the dungeon to the light of day. The good Abbé finally procured liberty for his captive, who became secretary to M. de Broglie's brother...
HelotSon of a lieutenant in the King's Swiss Guard.
Many authors have ruined themselves by writing scandalous works, offensive to the moral feelings of not very scrupulous ages. Several chapters might be written on this not very savory subject. We may mention Hélot's L'Escole des Filles, par dialogues (Paris, 1672). As he succeeded in making his escape from prison, he was hung in effigy, and his books were burnt. Chauveau, the celebrated engraver, who designed a beautiful engraving for Hélot, not knowing for what purpose it was intended, also incurred great risks, but fortunately he escaped with no greater penalty than the breaking of the plate on which he had engraved the design. The printer suffered with the author. Some think that Hélot was burnt at Paris with his books.
Matteo PalmieriCelebrated Italian historian, born at Florence in 1405.
The Muses have often lured men from other and safer delights, and tempted them to wander in dangerous paths. Would that Palmieri had confined himself to his histories! Unfortunately he wrote a poem, which was never published, entitled Citta Divina...This work was considered tainted with the Manichaean heresy, and was condemned to the flames, and some assert that Palmieri shared the fate of his book. This, however, is doubtful.
Pierre PetitA young unfortunate poet.
As late as the middle of the seventeenth century, in spite of the interest of powerful friends, Petit was hung and burnt at Paris. His productions were certainly infamous and scandalous, but that was no reason why the poet should have been hanged. Moreover the poems existed only in manuscript; subsequently they were published in a Recueil de Poésies.

The manner of the discovery of the poems is curious, and serves as a warning to incautious bards. Leaving his chamber one day, he opened the window, and unfortunately a strong gust of wind carried several pages of MS. which were lying on his table into the street. A priest who happened to be passing the house examined one or two of the drifting poems, and, discovering that they were impious, denounced Petit to the authorities. His rooms furnished a large supply of similar work, and, as we have said, the poet paid the penalty for his rashness at the gallows.

*Bad literal translation: Go to subordinate the rest of the Glory of the earth: so he returns to the Lord, that he had been before, his own.  
Can anyone give a more idiomatic translation?

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