They saw also his manuscripts, his treatise on anatomy -for which he had dissected more than thirty bodies- his treatise on the nature of water, and others dealing with divers machines and other things, " in an endless number of volumes all in the vulgar tongue, which if they be published will be profitable and very delectable."
This expectation is now (in 1903) within measurable distance of being realized.
The narrative shows that Leonardo's time of work was ended. The rich treasures of his mind were still unfolded in conversation. These last years suggest in some measure the sundown of Goethe's life at Weimar. Benvenuto Cellini describes the King as visiting Leonardo constantly and hanging on his words.
1 The extract from fol. 76 V. and 77 of the MS. at Naples (Bibl. Naz.) is printed by Dr. Muller-Walde (Bei. IV., pp. 262 and 229). He corrects Uzielli's statement that the visit was made in 1516.
The impression which they made upon Francis is summed up in the remark which Cellini says he heard from the King's lips, namely, that "he did not believe that any other man had come into the world who had attained so great knowledge as Leonardo, and that not only as sculptor, painter and architect, for beyond that he was a profound philosopher."
The strong attachment that existed between the two was the basis of Vasari's story of the painter dying in the King's arms. Leonardo died on the 2nd of May, 1519. The date is given in Melzi's letter to Giuliano da Vinci announcing the event.1 The King was then with the Court at S. Germain-en-Laye, where he signed a decree on May 1st. Lomazzo repeats Vasari's statement in the " Idea del Tempio " (p. 58), but elsewhere, in the " Grot-teschi," Book II. (p. 109), he speaks of the grief of Francis when Melzi brought him the news of Leonardo's death.
By his will2 he bequeathed to Francesco Melzi all his manuscripts and personal effects; to Salai and Baptista de Villanis, his vineyard at Milan, and to the latter his right of water from the canal of S. Cristoforo; to his waiting-woman, Matturina, a fur-lined cloak, a gown, and two ducats; to his brothers, the principal and interest of the four hundred crowns which were to his account in Florence, and his property at Fiesole. He left benefactions to the poor, and dispositions for his burial in the Church of S. Florentin, for the carrying of tapers, and for the celebration of masses for the repose of his soul.
1 Uzielli (1872), Doc. XXVI.
2 The will is dated "the 23rd of April, 1518, before Easter." The year is therefore to be interpreted by the French method of reckoning from Easter, which in 1518 fell on April 4th, and in 1519 on April 24th. The reference is really to the latter year.
He was buried on the 12th of August, in the cloister of the church of S. Florentin, at Amboise.1
As he himself wrote of death, so it was: " Siccome una giornata bene spesa da lieto dormire cosi una vita bene usata da lieto morire."2
What more fitting epitaph than the lines of Landor?
I strove with none ; for none was worth my strife, Nature I loved, and next to Nature, Art; I warmed both hands before the fire of life, It sinks and I am ready to depart.
1 Piot, "Le Cabinet de 1'Amateur," 1863, No. 26.
2 Codice Trivulziano, 32.