||Philosophical poem on the existence of the soul and God by Samuel Aaron Romanelli, a man of Mantua. There is a subtitle to the work, that is, Otiot ve-Mofsim. On the verso of the title page is a dedication to David Friedlaender (1750–1834), and below it a statement to the reader noting that R. Zevi Hirsch (Zevi Hirsch ben Aryeh Loeb Levin, Hirsch Loebel, 1721–1800), Av Bet Din and Rosh Mesivta in Berlin, has reviewed the work, found nothing amiss in it, and agreed to its publication. With his consent this public statement has been written and presented to the readers. The text follows, above it a front-piece, a cartouche with flowers. The text is in square vocalized letters. Brief explanatory notes at the bottom of the page are in rabbinic type. There is also a floral tail-piece.
Samuel Aaron Romanelli (1757–1817) was an Italian Hebrew poet and traveler. Born in Mantua, he was fluent in ten languages including English, French, and Spanish. He began his journeys through Europe at an early age. By his late 20s he reached London where he wrote a Hebrew translation of Pope'’s Essay on Man, Massah al ha-Adam, and a lament on the death of Moses Mendelssohn (1786). On his way back to Italy in 1787, he decided to tour Morocco. While there he took up employment wherever he could find it and at the same time wrote his travelogue, Massa ba-Arav (Berlin, 1792; repr. with introd. by H. Schirmann in Romanelli, Ketavim Nivharim, 1968 ( translated into English by Schiller-Szinessy as Romanelli’s Travels in Morocco, 1887). It is for this attractive description of Jewish life in Morocco written in a biblical Hebrew style that he is best known. In 1790 he left for Europe where he eventually settled in Germany. There he befriended the principal me’assefim e.g., I. Euchel and D. Friedlaender. While there he composed an allegorical play in three acts, Ha-Kolot Yehdalun (Berlin, 1791), for the marriage of one of the Jaffe Itzig family.. In 1793 he worked as a proofreader in Vienna, where he published a play for the marriage of Charlotte Arnstein, Alot ha-Minhah, which appeared with an Italian translation. After the French conquest of northern Italy, Romanelli returned to his homeland and settled in Mantua in 1807. That year he published Zimrat Arizim, Raccolta di inni ed odi, Italian translations of poems and prayers composed by members of the Sanhedrin in Napoleon's honor. In 1808 he published Mahazeh Shaddai... a metaphysical poem with an Italian translation (Turin, 1808). His latter years he spent in wandering through northern Italy, finally settling in Casale Monferrato where he died. Many of his works are still in manuscript.