E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
A reduced nobleman, who tried to repair his fortune by marrying Pompilia, the putative child of Pietro and Violante. When the marriage was consummated and the money secure, Guido ill-treated Pietro and Violante; whereupon Violante, at confession, asserted that Pompilia was not her child, but one she had brought up, the offspring of a Roman wanton, and she applied to the law-courts to recover her money. When Guido heard this he was furious, and so ill-treated his wife that she ran away under the protection of a young canon. Guido pursued the fugitives, overtook them, and had them arrested; whereupon the canon was suspended for three years, and Pompilia sent to a convent. Here her health gave way, and as the birth of a child was expected, she was permitted to leave the convent and live with her putative parents. Guido went to the house, murdered all three, and was executed. (Browning: The Ring and the Book.)