"THE banners of Hell's Monarch do come forth Towards us; therefore look," so spake my guide, "If thou discern him." As, when breathes a cloud Heavy and dense, or when the shades of night Fall on our hemisphere, seems view'd from far A windmill, which the blast stirs briskly round, Such was the fabric then methought I saw, To shield me from the wind, forthwith I drew Behind my guide: no covert else was there. Now came I (and with fear I bid my strain Record the marvel) where the souls were all Whelm'd underneath, transparent, as through glass Pellucid the frail stem. Some prone were laid, Others stood upright, this upon the soles, That on his head, a third with face to feet Arch'd like a bow. When to the point we came, Whereat my guide was pleas'd that I should see The creature eminent in beauty once, He from before me stepp'd and made me pause. "Lo!" he exclaim'd, "lo Dis! and lo the place, Where thou hast need to arm thy heart with strength." How frozen and how faint I then became, Ask me not, reader! for I write it not, Since words would fail to tell thee of my state. I was not dead nor living. Think thyself If quick conception work in thee at all, How I did feel. That emperor, who sways The realm of sorrow, at mid breast from th' ice Stood forth; and I in stature am more like A giant, than the giants are in his arms. Mark now how great that whole must be, which suits With such a part. If he were beautiful As he is hideous now, and yet did dare To scowl upon his Maker, well from him May all our mis'ry flow. Oh what a sight! How passing strange it seem'd, when I did spy Upon his head three faces: one in front Of hue vermilion, th' other two with this Midway each shoulder join'd and at the crest; The right 'twixt wan and yellow seem'd: the left To look on, such as come from whence old Nile Stoops to the lowlands. Under each shot forth Two mighty wings, enormous as became A bird so vast. Sails never such I saw Outstretch'd on the wide sea. No plumes had they, But were in texture like a bat, and these He flapp'd i' th' air, that from him issued still Three winds, wherewith Cocytus to its depth Was frozen. At six eyes he wept: the tears Adown three chins distill'd with bloody foam. At every mouth his teeth a sinner champ'd Bruis'd as with pond'rous engine, so that three Were in this guise tormented. But far more Than from that gnawing, was the foremost pang'd By the fierce rending, whence ofttimes the back Was stript of all its skin. "That upper spirit, Who hath worse punishment," so spake my guide, "Is Judas, he that hath his head within And plies the feet without. Of th' other two, Whose heads are under, from the murky jaw Who hangs, is Brutus: lo! how he doth writhe And speaks not! Th' other Cassius, that appears So large of limb. But night now re-ascends, And it is time for parting. All is seen." I clipp'd him round the neck, for so he bade; And noting time and place, he, when the wings Enough were op'd, caught fast the shaggy sides, And down from pile to pile descending stepp'd Between the thick fell and the jagged ice. Soon as he reach'd the point, whereat the thigh Upon the swelling of the haunches turns, My leader there with pain and struggling hard Turn'd round his head, where his feet stood before, And grappled at the fell, as one who mounts, That into hell methought we turn'd again. "Expect that by such stairs as these," thus spake The teacher, panting like a man forespent, "We must depart from evil so extreme." Then at a rocky opening issued forth, And plac'd me on a brink to sit, next join'd With wary step my side. I rais'd mine eyes, Believing that I Lucifer should see Where he was lately left, but saw him now With legs held upward. Let the grosser sort, Who see not what the point was I had pass'd, Bethink them if sore toil oppress'd me then. "Arise," my master cried, "upon thy feet. "The way is long, and much uncouth the road; And now within one hour and half of noon The sun returns." It was no palace-hall Lofty and luminous wherein we stood, But natural dungeon where ill footing was And scant supply of light. "Ere from th' abyss I sep'rate," thus when risen I began, "My guide! vouchsafe few words to set me free From error's thralldom. Where is now the ice? How standeth he in posture thus revers'd? And how from eve to morn in space so brief Hath the sun made his transit?" He in few Thus answering spake: "Thou deemest thou art still On th' other side the centre, where I grasp'd Th' abhorred worm, that boreth through the world. Thou wast on th' other side, so long as I Descended; when I turn'd, thou didst o'erpass That point, to which from ev'ry part is dragg'd All heavy substance. Thou art now arriv'd Under the hemisphere opposed to that, Which the great continent doth overspread, And underneath whose canopy expir'd The Man, that was born sinless, and so liv'd. Thy feet are planted on the smallest sphere, Whose other aspect is Judecca. Morn Here rises, when there evening sets: and he, Whose shaggy pile was scal'd, yet standeth fix'd, As at the first. On this part he fell down From heav'n; and th' earth, here prominent before, Through fear of him did veil her with the sea, And to our hemisphere retir'd. Perchance To shun him was the vacant space left here By what of firm land on this side appears, That sprang aloof." There is a place beneath, From Belzebub as distant, as extends The vaulted tomb, discover'd not by sight, But by the sound of brooklet, that descends This way along the hollow of a rock, Which, as it winds with no precipitous course, The wave hath eaten. By that hidden way My guide and I did enter, to return To the fair world: and heedless of repose We climbed, he first, I following his steps, Till on our view the beautiful lights of heav'n Dawn, through a circular opening in the cave: Thus issuing we again beheld the stars.
NOTES TO HELL
Verse 1. In the midway.] That the era of the Poem is intended by these words to be fixed to the thirty fifth year of the poet's age, A.D. 1300, will appear more plainly in Canto XXI. where that date is explicitly marked.
v. 16. That planet's beam.] The sun.
v. 29. The hinder foot.] It is to be remembered, that in ascending a hill the weight of the body rests on the hinder foot.
v. 30. A panther.] Pleasure or luxury.
v. 36. With those stars.] The sun was in Aries, in which sign he supposes it to have begun its course at the creation.
v. 43. A lion.] Pride or ambition.
v. 45. A she wolf.] Avarice.
v. 56. Where the sun in silence rests.] Hence Milton appears to have taken his idea in the Samson Agonistes:
The sun to me is dark And silent as the moon, &c The same metaphor will recur, Canto V. v. 29. Into a place I came Where light was silent all.
v. 65. When the power of Julius.] This is explained by the commentators to mean "Although it was rather late with respect to my birth before Julius Caesar assumed the supreme authority, and made himself perpetual dictator."
v. 98. That greyhound.] This passage is intended as an eulogium on the liberal spirit of his Veronese patron Can Grande della Scala.
v. 102. 'Twizt either Feltro.] Verona, the country of Can della Scala, is situated between Feltro, a city in the Marca Trivigiana, and Monte Feltro, a city in the territory of Urbino.
v. 103. Italia's plains.] "Umile Italia," from Virgil, Aen lib. iii. 522. Humilemque videmus Italiam.
v. 115. Content in fire.] The spirits in Purgatory.
v. 118. A spirit worthier.] Beatrice, who conducts the Poet through Paradise.
v. 130. Saint Peter's gate.] The gate of Purgatory, which the Poet feigns to be guarded by an angel placed on that station by St. Peter.
v. 1. Now was the day.] A compendium of Virgil's description Aen. lib. iv 522. Nox erat, &c. Compare Apollonius Rhodius, lib iii. 744, and lib. iv. 1058
v. 8. O mind.] O thought that write all that I met, And in the tresorie it set Of my braine, now shall men see If any virtue in thee be. Chaucer. Temple of Fame, b. ii. v.18
v. 14. Silvius'sire.] Aeneas.
v. 30. The chosen vessel.] St.Paul, Acts, c. ix. v. 15. "But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way; for he is a chosen vessel unto me."
v. 46. Thy soul.] L'anima tua e da viltate offesa. So in Berni, Orl Inn.lib. iii. c. i. st. 53. Se l'alma avete offesa da viltate.
v. 64. Who rest suspended.] The spirits in Limbo, neither admitted to a state of glory nor doomed to punishment.
v. 61. A friend not of my fortune, but myself.] Se non fortunae sed hominibus solere esse amicum. Cornelii Nepotis Attici Vitae, c. ix.
v. 78. Whatever is contain'd.] Every other thing comprised within the lunar heaven, which, being the lowest of all, has the smallest circle.
v. 93. A blessed dame.] The divine mercy.
v. 97. Lucia.] The enlightening grace of heaven.
v. 124. Three maids.] The divine mercy, Lucia, and Beatrice.
v. 127. As florets.] This simile is well translated by Chaucer— But right as floures through the cold of night Iclosed, stoupen in her stalkes lowe, Redressen hem agen the sunne bright, And speden in her kinde course by rowe, &c. Troilus and Creseide, b.ii. It has been imitated by many others, among whom see Berni, Orl.Inn. Iib. 1. c. xii. st. 86. Marino, Adone, c. xvii. st. 63. and Sor. "Donna vestita di nero." and Spenser's Faery Queen, b.4. c. xii. st. 34. and b. 6 c. ii. st. 35.
v. 5. Power divine Supremest wisdom, and primeval love.] The three persons of the blessed Trinity. v. 9. all hope abandoned.] Lasciate ogni speranza voi ch'entrate. So Berni, Orl. Inn. lib. i. c. 8. st. 53. Lascia pur della vita ogni speranza.
v. 29. Like to the sand.] Unnumber'd as the sands Of Barca or Cyrene's torrid soil Levied to side with warring winds, and poise Their lighter wings. Milton, P. L. ii. 908.
v. 40. Lest th' accursed tribe.] Lest the rebellious angels should exult at seeing those who were neutral and therefore less guilty, condemned to the same punishment with themselves.
v. 50. A flag.] All the grisly legions that troop Under the sooty flag of Acheron Milton. Comus.
v. 56. Who to base fear Yielding, abjur'd his high estate.] This is commonly understood of Celestine the Fifth, who abdicated the papal power in 1294. Venturi mentions a work written by Innocenzio Barcellini, of the Celestine order, and printed in Milan in 1701, In which an attempt is made to put a different interpretation on this passage.
v. 70. through the blear light.] Lo fioco lume So Filicaja, canz. vi. st. 12. Qual fioco lume.
v. 77. An old man.] Portitor has horrendus aquas et flumina servat Terribili squalore Charon, cui plurima mento Canities inculta jacet; stant lumina flamma. Virg. 7. Aen. Iib. vi. 2.
v. 82. In fierce heat and in ice.] The delighted spirit To bathe in fiery floods or to reside In thrilling regions of thick ribbed ice. Shakesp. Measure for Measure, a. iii.s.1. Compare Milton, P. L. b. ii. 600.
v. 92. The livid lake.] Vada livida. Virg. Aen. Iib. vi. 320 Totius ut Lacus putidaeque paludis Lividissima, maximeque est profunda vorago. Catullus. xviii. 10.
v. 102. With eyes of burning coal.] His looks were dreadful, and his fiery eyes Like two great beacons glared bright and wide. Spenser. F.Q. b. vi. c. vii.st. 42
v. 104. As fall off the light of autumnal leaves.] Quam multa in silvis autumul frigore primo Lapsa cadunt folia. Virg. Aen. lib. vi. 309 Compare Apoll. Rhod. lib. iv. 214.
v. 8. A thund'rous sound.] Imitated, as Mr. Thyer has remarked, by Milton, P. L. b. viii. 242. But long ere our approaching heard Noise, other, than the sound of dance or song Torment, and loud lament, and furious rage.
v. 50. a puissant one.] Our Saviour.
v. 75. Honour the bard Sublime.]
Onorate l'altissimo poeta. So Chiabrera, Canz. Eroiche. 32. Onorando l'altissimo poeta.
v. 79. Of semblance neither sorrowful nor glad.] She nas to sober ne to glad. Chaucer's Dream.
v. 90. The Monarch of sublimest song.] Homer.
v. 100. Fitter left untold.] Che'l tacere e bello, So our Poet, in Canzone 14. La vide in parte che'l tacere e bello, Ruccellai, Le Api, 789. Ch'a dire e brutto ed a tacerlo e bello And Bembo, "Vie pui bello e il tacerle, che il favellarne." Gli. Asol. lib. 1.
v. 117. Electra.] The daughter of Atlas, and mother of Dardanus the founder of Troy. See Virg. Aen. b. viii. 134. as referred to by Dante in treatise "De Monarchia," lib. ii. "Electra, scilicet, nata magni nombris regis Atlantis, ut de ambobus testimonium reddit poeta noster in octavo ubi Aeneas ad Avandrum sic ait "Dardanus Iliacae," &c.
v. 125. Julia.] The daughter of Julius Caesar, and wife of Pompey.
v. 126. The Soldan fierce.] Saladin or Salaheddin, the rival of Richard coeur de lion. See D'Herbelot, Bibl. Orient. and Knolles's Hist. of the Turks p. 57 to 73 and the Life of Saladin, by Bohao'edin Ebn Shedad, published by Albert Schultens, with a Latin translation. He is introduced by Petrarch in the Triumph of Fame, c. ii
v. 128. The master of the sapient throng.] Maestro di color che sanno. Aristotle—Petrarch assigns the first place to Plato. See Triumph of Fame, c. iii. Pulci, in his Morgante Maggiore, c. xviii. says, Tu se'il maestro di color che sanno.
v. 132. Democritus Who sets the world at chance.] Democritus,who maintained the world to have been formed by the fortuitous concourse of atoms.
v. 140. Avicen.] See D'Herbelot Bibl. Orient. article Sina. He died in 1050. Pulci here again imitates our poet:
Avicenna quel che il sentimento Intese di Aristotile e i segreti, Averrois che fece il gran comento. Morg. Mag. c. xxv.
v. 140. Him who made That commentary vast, Averroes.] Averroes, called by the Arabians Roschd, translated and commented the works of Aristotle. According to Tiraboschi (storia della Lett. Ital. t. v. 1. ii. c. ii. sect. 4.) he was the source of modern philosophical impiety. The critic quotes some passages from Petrarch (Senil. 1. v. ep. iii. et. Oper. v. ii. p. 1143) to show how strongly such sentiments prevailed in the time of that poet, by whom they were held in horror and detestation He adds, that this fanatic admirer of Aristotle translated his writings with that felicity, which might be expected from one who did not know a syllable of Greek, and who was therefore compelled to avail himself of the unfaithful Arabic versions. D'Herbelot, on the other hand, informs us, that "Averroes was the first who translated Aristotle from Greek into Arabic, before the Jews had made their translation: and that we had for a long time no other text of Aristotle, except that of the Latin translation, which was made from this Arabic version of this great philosopher (Averroes), who afterwards added to it a very ample commentary, of which Thomas Aquinas, and the other scholastic writers, availed themselves, before the Greek originals of Aristotle and his commentators were known to us in Europe." According to D'Herbelot, he died in 1198: but Tiraboschi places that event about 1206.
v. 5. Grinning with ghastly feature.] Hence Milton: Death Grinn'd horrible a ghastly smile. P. L. b. ii. 845.
v. 46. As cranes.] This simile is imitated by Lorenzo de Medici, in his Ambra, a poem, first published by Mr. Roscoe, in the Appendix to his Life of Lorenzo. Marking the tracts of air, the clamorous cranes Wheel their due flight in varied ranks descried: And each with outstretch'd neck his rank maintains In marshal'd order through th' ethereal void. Roscoe, v. i. c. v. p. 257. 4to edit. Compare Homer. Il. iii. 3. Virgil. Aeneid. 1 x. 264, and Ruccellai, Le Api, 942, and Dante's Purgatory, Canto XXIV. 63.
v. 96. The land.] Ravenna.
v. 99 Love, that in gentle heart is quickly learnt.] Amor, Ch' al cor gentil ratto s'apprende. A line taken by Marino, Adone, c. cxli. st. 251.
v. 102. Love, that denial takes from none belov'd.] Amor, ch' a null' amato amar perdona. So Boccacio, in his Filocopo. l.1. Amore mal non perdono l'amore a nullo amato. And Pulci, in the Morgante Maggiore, c. iv. E perche amor mal volontier perdona, Che non sia al fin sempre amato chi ama. Indeed many of the Italian poets have repeated this verse.
v. 105. Caina.] The place to which murderers are doomed.
v. 113. Francesca.] Francesca, daughter of Guido da Polenta, lord of Ravenna, was given by her father in marriage to Lanciotto, son of Malatesta, lord of Rimini, a man of extraordinary courage, but deformed in his person. His brother Paolo, who unhappily possessed those graces which the husband of Francesca wanted, engaged her affections; and being taken in adultery, they were both put to death by the enraged Lanciotto. See Notes to Canto XXVII. v. 43 The whole of this passage is alluded to by Petrarch, in his Triumph of Love c. iii.
v. 118. No greater grief than to remember days Of joy,xwhen mis'ry is at hand!] Imitated by Marino: Che non ha doglia il misero maggiore Che ricordar la giola entro il dolore. Adone, c. xiv. st. 100 And by Fortiguerra: Rimembrare il ben perduto Fa piu meschino lo presente stato. Ricciardetto, c. xi. st. 83. The original perhaps was in Boetius de Consol. Philosoph. "In omni adversitate fortunae infelicissimum genus est infortunii fuisse felicem et non esse." 1. 2. pr. 4
v. 124. Lancelot.] One of the Knights of the Round Table, and the lover of Ginevra, or Guinever, celebrated in romance. The incident alluded to seems to have made a strong impression on the imagination of Dante, who introduces it again, less happily, in the Paradise, Canto XVI.
v. 128. At one point.] Questo quel punto fu, che sol mi vinse. Tasso, Il Torrismondo, a. i. s. 3.
v. 136. And like a corpse fell to the ground ] E caddi, come corpo morto cade. So Pulci: E cadde come morto in terra cade. Morgante Maggoire, c. xxii
v. 1. My sense reviving.] Al tornar della mente, che si chiuse Dinanzi alla pieta de' duo cognati. Berni has made a sportive application of these lines, in his Orl. Inn. l. iii. c. viii. st. 1.
v. 21. That great worm.] So in Canto XXXIV Lucifer is called Th' abhorred worm, that boreth through the world. Ariosto has imitated Dante: Ch' al gran verme infernal mette la briglia, E che di lui come a lei par dispone. Orl. Fur. c. xlvi. st. 76.
v. 52. Ciacco.] So called from his inordinate appetite: Ciacco, in Italian, signifying a pig. The real name of this glutton has not been transmitted to us. He is introduced in Boccaccio's Decameron, Giorn. ix. Nov. 8.
v. 61. The divided city.] The city of Florence, divided into the Bianchi and Neri factions.
v. 65. The wild party from the woods.] So called, because it was headed by Veri de' Cerchi, whose family had lately come into the city from Acone, and the woody country of the Val di Nievole.
v. 66. The other.] The opposite parts of the Neri, at the head of which was Corso Donati.
v. 67. This must fall.] The Bianchi.
v. 69. Of one, who under shore Now rests.] Charles of Valois, by whose means the Neri were replaced.
v. 73. The just are two in number.] Who these two were, the commentators are not agreed.
v. 79. Of Farinata and Tegghiaio.] See Canto X. and Notes, and Canto XVI, and Notes.
v. 80. Giacopo.] Giacopo Rusticucci. See Canto XVI, and Notes.
v. 81. Arrigo, Mosca.] Of Arrigo, who is said by the commentators to have been of the noble family of the Fifanti, no mention afterwards occurs. Mosca degli Uberti is introduced in Canto XXVIII. v.
108. Consult thy knowledge.] We are referred to the following passage in St. Augustin:—"Cum fiet resurrectio carnis, et bonorum gaudia et malorum tormenta majora erunt. "—At the resurrection of the flesh, both the happiness of the good and the torments of the wicked will be increased."
v. 1. Ah me! O Satan! Satan!] Pape Satan, Pape Satan, aleppe. Pape is said by the commentators to be the same as the Latin word papae! "strange!" Of aleppe they do not give a more satisfactory account. See the Life of Benvenuto Cellini, translated by Dr. Nugent, v. ii. b. iii c. vii. p 113, where he mentions "having heard the words Paix, paix, Satan! allez, paix! in the court of justice at Paris. I recollected what Dante said, when he with his master Virgil entered the gates of hell: for Dante, and Giotto the painter, were together in France, and visited Paris with particular attention, where the court of justice may be considered as hell. Hence it is that Dante, who was likewise perfect master of the French, made use of that expression, and I have often been surprised that it was never understood in that sense."
v. 12. The first adulterer proud.] Satan.
v. 22. E'en as a billow.] As when two billows in the Irish sowndes Forcibly driven with contrarie tides Do meet together, each aback rebounds With roaring rage, and dashing on all sides, That filleth all the sea with foam, divides The doubtful current into divers waves. Spenser, F.Q. b. iv. c. 1. st. 42.
v. 48. Popes and cardinals.] Ariosto, having personified Avarice as a strange and hideous monster, says of her— Peggio facea nella Romana corte Che v'avea uccisi Cardinali e Papi. Orl. Fur. c. xxvi. st. 32. Worse did she in the court of Rome, for there She had slain Popes and Cardinals.
v. 91. By necessity.] This sentiment called forth the reprehension of Cecco d'Ascoli, in his Acerba, l. 1. c. i.
In cio peccasti, O Fiorentin poeta, &c. Herein, O bard of Florence, didst thou err Laying it down that fortune's largesses Are fated to their goal. Fortune is none, That reason cannot conquer. Mark thou, Dante, If any argument may gainsay this.
v. 18. Phlegyas.] Phlegyas, who was so incensed against Apollo for having violated his daughter Coronis, that he set fire to the temple of that deity, by whose vengeance he was cast into Tartarus. See Virg. Aen. l. vi. 618.
v. 59. Filippo Argenti.] Boccaccio tells us, "he was a man remarkable for the large proportions and extraordinary vigor of his bodily frame, and the extreme waywardness and irascibility of his temper." Decam. g. ix. n. 8.
v. 66. The city, that of Dis is nam'd.] So Ariosto. Orl. Fur. c. xl. st. 32
v. 94. Seven times.] The commentators, says Venturi, perplex themselves with the inquiry what seven perils these were from which Dante had been delivered by Virgil. Reckoning the beasts in the first Canto as one of them, and adding Charon, Minos, Cerberus, Plutus, Phlegyas and Filippo Argenti, as so many others, we shall have the number, and if this be not satisfactory, we may suppose a determinate to have been put for an indeterminate number.
v. 109. At war 'twixt will and will not.] Che si, e no nel capo mi tenzona. So Boccaccio, Ninf. Fiesol. st. 233.
Il si e il no nel capo gli contende. The words I have adopted as a translation, are Shakespeare's, Measure for Measure. a. ii. s. 1.
v. 122. This their insolence, not new.] Virgil assures our poet, that these evil spirits had formerly shown the same insolence when our Savior descended into hell. They attempted to prevent him from entering at the gate, over which Dante had read the fatal inscription. "That gate which," says the Roman poet, "an angel has just passed, by whose aid we shall overcome this opposition, and gain admittance into the city."
v. 1. The hue.] Virgil, perceiving that Dante was pale with fear, restrained those outward tokens of displeasure which his own countenance had betrayed.
v. 23. Erictho.] Erictho, a Thessalian sorceress, according to Lucan, Pharsal. l. vi. was employed by Sextus, son of Pompey the Great, to conjure up a spirit, who should inform him of the issue of the civil wars between his father and Caesar.
v. 25. No long space my flesh Was naked of me.] Quae corpus complexa animae tam fortis inane. Ovid. Met. l. xiii f. 2 Dante appears to have fallen into a strange anachronism. Virgil's death did not happen till long after this period.
v. 42. Adders and cerastes.] Vipereum crinem vittis innexa cruentis. Virg. Aen. l. vi. 281. —spinaque vagi torquente cerastae . . . et torrida dipsas Et gravis in geminum vergens eaput amphisbaena. Lucan. Pharsal. l. ix. 719. So Milton: Scorpion and asp, and amphisbaena dire, Cerastes horn'd, hydrus and elops drear, And dipsas. P. L. b. x. 524.
v. 67. A wind.] Imitated by Berni, Orl. Inn. l. 1. e. ii. st. 6.
v. 83. With his wand.] She with her rod did softly smite the raile Which straight flew ope. Spenser. F. Q. b. iv. c. iii. st. 46.
v. 96. What profits at the fays to but the horn.] "Of what avail can it be to offer violence to impassive beings?"
v. 97. Your Cerberus.] Cerberus is feigned to have been dragged by Hercules, bound with a three fold chain, of which, says the angel, he still bears the marks.
v. 111. The plains of Arles.] In Provence. See Ariosto, Orl. Fur. c. xxxix. st. 72
v. 112. At Pola.] A city of Istria, situated near the gulf of Quarnaro, in the Adriatic sea.
v. 12. Josaphat.] It seems to have been a common opinion among the Jews, as well as among many Christians, that the general judgment will be held in the valley of Josaphat, or Jehoshaphat: "I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people, and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land." Joel, iii. 2.
v. 32. Farinata.] Farinata degli Uberti, a noble Florentine, was the leader of the Ghibelline faction, when they obtained a signal victory over the Guelfi at Montaperto, near the river Arbia. Macchiavelli calls him "a man of exalted soul, and great military talents." Hist. of Flor. b. ii.
v. 52. A shade.] The spirit of Cavalcante Cavalcanti, a noble Florentine, of the Guelph party.
v. 59. My son.] Guido, the son of Cavalcante Cavalcanti; "he whom I call the first of my friends," says Dante in his Vita Nuova, where the commencement of their friendship is related. >From the character given of him by contemporary writers his temper was well formed to assimilate with that of our poet. "He was," according to G. Villani, l. viii. c. 41. "of a philosophical and elegant mind, if he had not been too delicate and fastidious." And Dino Compagni terms him "a young and noble knight, brave and courteous, but of a lofty scornful spirit, much addicted to solitude and study." Muratori. Rer. Ital. Script t. 9 l. 1. p. 481. He died, either in exile at Serrazana, or soon after his return to Florence, December 1300, during the spring of which year the action of this poem is supposed to be passing. v. 62. Guido thy son Had in contempt.] Guido Cavalcanti, being more given to philosophy than poetry, was perhaps no great admirer of Virgil. Some poetical compositions by Guido are, however, still extant; and his reputation for skill in the art was such as to eclipse that of his predecessor and namesake Guido Guinicelli, as we shall see in the Purgatory, Canto XI. His "Canzone sopra il Terreno Amore" was thought worthy of being illustrated by numerous and ample commentaries. Crescimbeni Ist. della Volg. Poes. l. v. For a playful sonnet which Dante addressed to him, and a spirited translation of it, see Hayley's Essay on Epic Poetry, Notes to Ep. iii.
v. 66. Saidst thou he had?] In Aeschylus, the shade of Darius is represented as inquiring with similar anxiety after the fate of his son Xerxes.
Atossa: Xerxes astonish'd, desolate, alone— Ghost of Dar: How will this end? Nay, pause not. Is he safe? The Persians. Potter's Translation.
v. 77. Not yet fifty times.] "Not fifty months shall be passed, before thou shalt learn, by woeful experience, the difficulty of returning from banishment to thy native city"
v.83. The slaughter.] "By means of Farinata degli Uberti, the Guelfi were conquered by the army of King Manfredi, near the river Arbia, with so great a slaughter, that those who escaped from that defeat took refuge not in Florence, which city they considered as lost to them, but in Lucca." Macchiavelli. Hist. of Flor. b 2.
v. 86. Such orisons.] This appears to allude to certain prayers which were offered up in the churches of Florence, for deliverance from the hostile attempts of the Uberti.
v. 90. Singly there I stood.] Guido Novello assembled a council of the Ghibellini at Empoli where it was agreed by all, that, in order to maintain the ascendancy of the Ghibelline party in Tuscany, it was necessary to destroy Florence, which could serve only (the people of that city beingvGuelfi) to enable the party attached to the church to recover its strength. This cruel sentence, passed upon so noble a city, met with no opposition from any of its citizens or friends, except Farinata degli Uberti, who openly and without reserve forbade the measure, affirming that he had endured so many hardships, and encountered so many dangers, with no other view than that of being able to pass his days in his own country. Macchiavelli. Hist. of Flor. b. 2.
v. 103. My fault.] Dante felt remorse for not having returned an immediate answer to the inquiry of Cavalcante, from which delay he was led to believe that his son Guido was no longer living.
v. 120. Frederick.] The Emperor Frederick the Second, who died in 1250. See Notes to Canto XIII.
v. 121. The Lord Cardinal.] Ottaviano Ubaldini, a Florentine, made Cardinal in 1245, and deceased about 1273. On account of his great influence, he was generally known by the appellation of "the Cardinal." It is reported of him that he declared, if there were any such thing as a human soul, he had lost his for the Ghibellini.
v. 132. Her gracious beam.] Beatrice.
v. 9. Pope Anastasius.] The commentators are not agreed concerning the identity of the person, who is here mentioned as a follower of the heretical Photinus. By some he is supposed to have been Anastasius the Second, by others, the Fourth of that name; while a third set, jealous of the integrity of the papal faith, contend that our poet has confounded him with Anastasius 1. Emperor of the East.
v. 17. My son.] The remainder of the present Canto may be considered as a syllabus of the whole of this part of the poem.
v. 48. And sorrows.] This fine moral, that not to enjoy our being is to be ungrateful to the Author of it, is well expressed in Spenser, F. Q. b. iv. c. viii. st. 15. For he whose daies in wilful woe are worne The grace of his Creator doth despise, That will not use his gifts for thankless nigardise.
v. 53. Cahors.] A city in Guienne, much frequented by usurers
v. 83. Thy ethic page.] He refers to Aristotle's Ethics.
"In the next place, entering, on another division of the subject, let it be defined. that respecting morals there are three sorts of things to be avoided, malice, incontinence, and brutishness."
v. 104. Her laws.] Aristotle's Physics. [GREEK HERE] "Art imitates nature." —See the Coltivazione of Alamanni, l. i.
-I'arte umana, &c.
v. 111. Creation's holy book.] Genesis, c. iii. v. 19. "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread."
v. 119. The wain.] The constellation Bootes, or Charles's wain.
v. 17. The king of Athens.] Theseus, who was enabled, by the instructions of Ariadne, the sister of the Minotaur, to destroy that monster.
v. 21. Like to a bull.] [GREEK HERE] Homer Il. xvii 522 As when some vig'rous youth with sharpen'd axe A pastur'd bullock smites behind the horns And hews the muscle through; he, at the stroke Springs forth and falls. Cowper's Translation.
v. 36. He arriv'd.] Our Saviour, who, according to Dante, when he ascended from hell, carried with him the souls of the patriarchs, and other just men, out of the first circle. See Canto IV.
v. 96. Nessus.] Our poet was probably induced, by the following line in Ovid, to assign to Nessus the task of conducting them over the ford: Nessus edit membrisque valens scitusque vadorum. Metam, l. ix. And Ovid's authority was Sophocles, who says of this Centaur— [GREEK HERE] Trach.570 He in his arms, Evenus' stream Deep flowing, bore the passenger for hire Without or sail or billow cleaving oar.
v. 110. Ezzolino.] Ezzolino, or Azzolino di Romano, a most cruel tyrant in the Marca Trivigiana, Lord of Padua, Vicenza, Verona, and Brescia, who died in 1260. His atrocities form the subject of a Latin tragedy, called Eccerinis, by Albertino Mussato, of Padua, the contemporary of Dante, and the most elegant writer of Latin verse of that age. See also the Paradise, Canto IX. Berni Orl. Inn. l ii c. xxv. st. 50. Ariosto. Orl. Fur. c. iii. st. 33. and Tassoni Secchia Rapita, c. viii. st 11.
v. 111. Obizzo' of Este.] Marquis of Ferrara and of the Marca d'Ancona, was murdered by his own son (whom, for the most unnatural act Dante calls his step-son), for the sake of the treasures which his rapacity had amassed. See Ariosto. Orl. Fur. c. iii. st 32. He died in 1293 according to Gibbon. Ant. of the House of Brunswick. Posth. Works, v. ii. 4to.
v. 119. He.] "Henrie, the brother of this Edmund, and son to the foresaid king of Almaine (Richard, brother of Henry III. of England) as he returned from Affrike, where he had been with Prince Edward, was slain at Viterbo in Italy (whither he was come about business which he had to do with the Pope) by the hand of Guy de Montfort, the son of Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, in revenge of the same Simon's death. The murther was committed afore the high altar, as the same Henrie kneeled there to hear divine service." A.D. 1272, Holinshed's chronicles p 275. See also Giov. Villani Hist. I. vii. c. 40.
v. 135. On Sextus and on Pyrrhus.] Sextus either the son of Tarquin the Proud, or of Pompey the Great: or as Vellutelli conjectures, Sextus Claudius Nero, and Pyrrhus king of Epirus.
v. 137. The Rinieri, of Corneto this, Pazzo the other named.] Two noted marauders, by whose depredations the public ways in Italy were infested. The latter was of the noble family of Pazzi in Florence.
v. 10. Betwixt Corneto and Cecina's stream.] A wild and woody tract of country, abounding in deer, goats, and wild boars. Cecina is a river not far to the south of Leghorn, Corneto, a small city on the same coast in the patrimony of the church.
v. 12. The Strophades.] See Virg. Aen. l. iii. 210.
v. 14. Broad are their pennons.] From Virg. Aen. l. iii. 216.
v. 48. In my verse described.] The commentators explain this, "If he could have believed, in consequence of my assurances alone, that of which he hath now had ocular proof, he would not have stretched forth his hand against thee." But I am of opinion that Dante makes Virgil allude to his own story of Polydorus in the third book of the Aeneid.
v. 56. That pleasant word of thine.] "Since you have inveigled me to speak my holding forth so gratifying an expectation, let it not displease you if I am as it were detained in the snare you have spread for me, so as to be somewhat prolix in my answer."
v. 60. I it was.] Pietro delle Vigne, a native of Capua, who, from a low condition, raised himself by his eloquence and legal knowledge to the office of Chancellor to the Emperor Frederick II. whose confidence in him was such, that his influence in the empire became unbounded. The courtiers, envious of his exalted situation, contrived, by means of forged letters, to make Frederick believe that he held a secret and traitorous intercourse with the Pope, who was then at enmity with the Emperor. In consequence of this supposed crime he was cruelly condemned by his too credulous sovereign to lose his eyes, and, being driven to despair by his unmerited calamity and disgrace, he put an end to his life by dashing out his brains against the walls of a church, in the year 1245. Both Frederick and Pietro delle Vigne composed verses in the Sicilian dialect which are yet extant.
v. 67. The harlot.] Envy. Chaucer alludes to this in the Prologue to the Legende of Good women. Envie is lavender to the court alway, For she ne parteth neither night ne day Out of the house of Cesar; thus saith Dant.
v. 119. Each fan o' th' wood.] Hence perhaps Milton: Leaves and fuming rills, Aurora's fan. P. L. b. v. 6.
v. 122. Lano.] Lano, a Siennese, who, being reduced by prodigality to a state of extreme want, found his existence no longer supportable; and, having been sent by his countrymen on a military expedition, to assist the Florentine against the Aretini, took that opportunity of exposing himself to certain death, in the engagement which took place at Toppo near Arezzo. See G. Villani, Hist. l. 7. c. cxix.
v. 133. O Giocomo Of Sant' Andrea!] Jacopo da Sant' Andrea, a Paduan, who, having wasted his property in the most wanton acts of profusion, killed himself in despair. v. 144. In that City.] "I was an inhabitant of Florence, that city which changed her first patron Mars for St. John the Baptist, for which reason the vengeance of the deity thus slighted will never be appeased: and, if some remains of his status were not still visible on the bridge over the Arno, she would have been already leveled to the ground; and thus the citizens, who raised her again from the ashes to which Attila had reduced her, would have laboured in vain." See Paradise, Canto XVI. 44. The relic of antiquity to which the superstition of Florence attached so high an importance, was carried away by a flood, that destroyed the bridge on which it stood, in the year 1337, but without the ill effects that were apprehended from the loss of their fancied Palladium.
v. 152. I slung the fatal noose.] We are not informed who this suicide was.
v. 15. By Cato's foot.] See Lucan, Phars, l. 9.
v. 26. Dilated flakes of fire.] Compare Tasso. G. L. c. x. st. 61.
v. 28. As, in the torrid Indian clime.] Landino refers to Albertus Magnus for the circumstance here alluded to.
v. 53. In Mongibello.] More hot than Aetn' or flaming Mongibell. Spenser, F. Q. b. ii. c. ix. st. 29. See Virg. Aen. 1. viii. 416. and Berni. Orl. Inn 1. i. c. xvi. st. 21. It would be endless to refer to parallel passages in the Greek writers.
v. 64. This of the seven kings was one.] Compare Aesch. Seven Chiefs, 425. Euripides, Phoen. 1179 and Statius. Theb. l. x. 821.
v. 76. Bulicame.] A warm medicinal spring near Viterbo, the waters of which, as Landino and Vellutelli affirm, passed by a place of ill fame. Venturi, with less probability, conjectures that Dante would imply, that it was the scene of much licentious merriment among those who frequented its baths.
v. 91. Under whose monarch.] Credo pudicitiam Saturno rege moratam In terris. Juv. Satir. vi.
v. 102. His head.] Daniel, ch. ii. 32, 33.
v. 133. Whither.] On the other side of Purgatory.
v. 10. Chiarentana.] A part of the Alps where the Brenta rises, which river is much swoln as soon as the snow begins to dissolve on the mountains.
v. 28. Brunetto.] "Ser Brunetto, a Florentine, the secretary or chancellor of the city, and Dante's preceptor, hath left us a work so little read, that both the subject of it and the language of it have been mistaken. It is in the French spoken in the reign of St. Louis,under the title of Tresor, and contains a species of philosophical course of lectures divided into theory and practice, or, as he expresses it, "un enchaussement des choses divines et humaines," &c. Sir R. Clayton's Translation of Tenhove's Memoirs of the Medici, vol. i. ch. ii. p. 104. The Tresor has never been printed in the original language. There is a fine manuscript of it in the British Museum, with an illuminated portrait of Brunetto in his study prefixed. Mus. Brit. MSS. 17, E. 1. Tesor. It is divided into four books, the first, on Cosmogony and Theology, the second, a translation of Aristotle's Ethics; the third on Virtues and Vices; the fourth, on Rhetoric. For an interesting memoir relating to this work, see Hist. de l'Acad. des Inscriptions, tom. vii. 296. His Tesoretto, one of the earliest productions of Italian poetry, is a curious work, not unlike the writings of Chaucer in style and numbers, though Bembo remarks, that his pupil, however largely he had stolen from it, could not have much enriched himself. As it is perhaps but little known, I will here add a slight sketch of it.
Brunetto describes himself as returning from an embassy to the King of Spain, on which he had been sent by the Guelph party from Florence. On the plain of Roncesvalles he meets a scholar on a bay mule, who tells him that the Guelfi are driven out of the city with great loss.
Struck with grief at these mournful tidings, and musing with his head bent downwards, he loses his road, and wanders into a wood. Here Nature, whose figure is described with sublimity, appears, and discloses to him the secrets of her operations. After this he wanders into a desert; but at length proceeds on his way, under the protection of a banner, with which Nature had furnished him, till on the third day he finds himself in a large pleasant champaign, where are assembled many emperors, kings, and sages. It is the habitation of Virtue and her daughters, the four Cardinal Virtues. Here Brunetto sees also Courtesy, Bounty, Loyalty, and Prowess, and hears the instructions they give to a knight, which occupy about a fourth part of the poem. Leaving this territory, he passes over valleys, mountains, woods, forests, and bridges, till he arrives in a beautiful valley covered with flowers on all sides, and the richest in the world; but which was continually shifting its appearance from a round figure to a square, from obscurity to light, and from populousness to solitude. This is the region of Pleasure, or Cupid, who is accompanied by four ladies, Love, Hope, Fear, and Desire. In one part of it he meets with Ovid, and is instructed by him how to conquer the passion of love, and to escape from that place. After his escape he makes his confession to a friar, and then returns to the forest of visions: and ascending a mountain, he meets with Ptolemy, a venerable old man. Here the narrative breaks off. The poem ends, as it began, with an address to Rustico di Filippo, on whom he lavishes every sort of praise.
It has been observed, that Dante derived the idea of opening his poem by describing himself as lost in a wood, from the Tesoretto of his master. I know not whether it has been remarked, that the crime of usury is branded by both these poets as offensive to God and Nature: or that the sin for which Brunetto is condemned by his pupil, is mentioned in the Tesoretto with great horror. Dante's twenty-fifth sonnet is a jocose one, addressed to Brunetto. He died in 1295.
v. 62. Who in old times came down from Fesole.] See G. Villani Hist. l. iv. c. 5. and Macchiavelli Hist. of Flor. b. ii.
v. 89. With another text.] He refers to the prediction of Farinata, in Canto X.
v. 110. Priscian.] There is no reason to believe, as the commentators observe that the grammarian of this name was stained with the vice imputed to him; and we must therefore suppose that Dante puts the individual for the species, and implies the frequency of the crime among those who abused the opportunities which the education of youth afforded them, to so abominable a purpose.
v. 111. Francesco.] Son of Accorso, a Florentine, celebrated for his skill in jurisprudence, and commonly known by the name of Accursius.
v. 113. Him.] Andrea de' Mozzi, who, that his scandalous life might be less exposed to observation, was translated either by Nicholas III, or Boniface VIII from the see of Florence to that of Vicenza, through which passes the river Baccchiglione. At the latter of these places he died.
v. 114. The servants' servant.] Servo de' servi. So Ariosto, Sat. 3. Degli servi Io sia il gran servo.
v. 124. I commend my Treasure to thee.] Brunetto's great work, the Tresor. Sieti raccomandato 'l mio Tesoro. So Giusto de' Conti, in his Bella Mano, Son. "Occhi:" Siavi raccommandato il mio Tesoro.
v. 38. Gualdrada.] Gualdrada was the daughter of Bellincione Berti, of whom mention is made in the Paradise, Canto XV, and XVI. He was of the family of Ravignani, a branch of the Adimari.
The Emperor Otho IV. being at a festival in Florence, where Gualdrada was present, was struck with her beauty; and inquiring who she was, was answered by Bellincione, that she was the daughter of one who, if it was his Majesty's pleasure, would make her admit the honour of his salute. On overhearing this, she arose from her seat, and blushing, in an animated tone of voice, desired her father that he would not be so liberal in his offers, for that no man should ever be allowed that freedom, except him who should be her lawful husband. The Emperor was not less delighted by her resolute modesty than he had before been by the loveliness of her person, and calling to him Guido, one of his barons, gave her to him in marriage, at the same time raising him
to the rank of a count, and bestowing on her the whole of Casentino, and a part of the territory of Romagna, as her portion. Two sons were the offspring of this union, Guglielmo and Ruggieri, the latter of whom was father of Guidoguerra, a man of great military skill and prowess who, at the head of four hundred Florentines of the Guelph party, was signally instrumental to the victory obtained at Benevento by Charles of Anjou, over Manfredi, King of Naples, in 1265. One of the consequences of this victory was the expulsion of the Ghibellini, and the re-establishment of the Guelfi at Florence.
v. 39. Many a noble act.] Compare Tasso, G. L. c. i. st. 1.
v. 42. Aldobrandiu] Tegghiaio Aldobrandi was of the noble family of Adimari, and much esteemed for his military talents. He endeavored to dissuade the Florentines from the attack, which they meditated against the Siennese, and the rejection of his counsel occasioned the memorable defeat, which the former sustained at Montaperto, and the consequent banishment of the Guelfi from Florence.
v. 45. Rusticucci.] Giacopo Rusticucci, a Florentine, remarkable for his opulence and the generosity of his spirit.
v. 70. Borsiere.] Guglielmo Borsiere, another Florentine, whom Boccaccio, in a story which he relates of him, terms "a man of courteous and elegant manners, and of great readiness in conversation." Dec. Giorn. i. Nov. 8.
v. 84. When thou with pleasure shalt retrace the past.] Quando ti giovera dicere io fui. So Tasso, G. L. c. xv. st. 38. Quando mi giovera narrar altrui Le novita vedute, e dire; io fui.
v. 121. Ever to that truth.] This memorable apophthegm is repeated by Luigi Pulci and Trissino.
Sempre a quel ver, ch' ha faccia di menzogna E piu senno tacer la lingua cheta Che spesso senza colpa fa vergogna. Morgante. Magg. c. xxiv.
La verita, che par mensogna Si dovrebbe tacer dall' uom ch'e saggio. Italia. Lib. C. xvi.
v. 1. The fell monster.] Fraud.
v. 53. A pouch.] A purse, whereon the armorial bearings of each were emblazoned. According to Landino, our poet implies that the usurer can pretend to no other honour, than such as he derives from his purse and his family.
v. 57. A yellow purse.] The arms of the Gianfigliazzi of Florence.
v. 60. Another.] Those of the Ubbriachi, another Florentine family of high distinction.
v. 62. A fat and azure swine.] The arms of the Scrovigni a noble family of Padua.
v. 66. Vitaliano.] Vitaliano del Dente, a Paduan.
v. 69. That noble knight.] Giovanni Bujamonti, a Florentine usurer, the most infamous of his time.
v. 28. With us beyond.] Beyond the middle point they tended the same way with us, but their pace was quicker than ours.
v. 29. E'en thus the Romans.] In the year 1300, Pope Boniface VIII., to remedy the inconvenience occasioned by the press of people who were passing over the bridge of St. Angelo during the time of the Jubilee, caused it to be divided length wise by a partition, and ordered, that all those who were going to St. Peter's should keep one side, and those returning the other.
v. 50. Venedico.] Venedico Caccianimico, a Bolognese, who prevailed on his sister Ghisola to prostitute herself to Obizzo da Este, Marquis of Ferrara, whom we have seen among the tyrants, Canto XII.
v. 62. To answer Sipa.] He denotes Bologna by its situation between the rivers Savena to the east, and Reno to the west of that city; and by a peculiarity of dialect, the use of the affirmative sipa instead of si.
v. 90. Hypsipyle.] See Appolonius Rhodius, l. i. and Valerius Flaccus l.ii. Hypsipyle deceived the other women by concealing her father Thoas, when they had agreed to put all their males to death.
v. 120. Alessio.] Alessio, of an ancient and considerable family in Lucca, called the Interminei.
v. 130. Thais.] He alludes to that passage in the Eunuchus of Terence where Thraso asks if Thais was obliged to him for the present he had sent her, and Gnatho replies, that she had expressed her obligation in the most forcible terms. T. Magnas vero agere gratias Thais mihi? G. Ingentes. Eun. a. iii. s. i.
v. 18. Saint John's fair dome.] The apertures in the rock were of the same dimensions as the fonts of St. John the Baptist at Florence, one of which, Dante says he had broken, to rescue a child that was playing near and fell in. He intimates that the motive of his breaking the font had been maliciously represented by his enemies.
v. 55. O Boniface!] The spirit mistakes Dante for Boniface VIII. who was then alive, and who he did not expect would have arrived so soon, in consequence, as it should seem, of a prophecy, which predicted the death of that Pope at a later period. Boniface died in 1303.
v. 58. In guile.] "Thou didst presume to arrive by fraudulent means at the papal power, and afterwards to abuse it."
v. 71. In the mighty mantle I was rob'd.] Nicholas III, of the Orsini family, whom the poet therefore calls "figliuol dell' orsa," "son of the she-bear." He died in 1281.
v. 86. From forth the west, a shepherd without law.] Bertrand de Got Archbishop of Bordeaux, who succeeded to the pontificate in 1305, and assumed the title of Clement V. He transferred the holy see to Avignon in 1308 (where it remained till 1376), and died in 1314.
v. 88. A new Jason.] See Maccabees, b. ii. c. iv. 7,8.
v. 97. Nor Peter.] Acts of the Apostles, c.i. 26.
v. 100. The condemned soul.] Judas.
v. 103. Against Charles.] Nicholas III. was enraged against Charles I, King of Sicily, because he rejected with scorn a proposition made by that Pope for an alliance between their families. See G. Villani, Hist. l. vii. c. liv.
v. 109. Th' Evangelist.] Rev. c. xvii. 1, 2, 3. Compare Petrarch. Opera fol. ed. Basil. 1551. Epist. sine titulo liber. ep. xvi. p. 729.
v. 118. Ah, Constantine.] He alludes to the pretended gift of the Lateran by Constantine to Silvester, of which Dante himself seems to imply a doubt, in his treatise "De Monarchia." - "Ergo scindere Imperium, Imperatori non licet. Si ergo aliquae, dignitates per Constantinum essent alienatae, (ut dicunt) ab Imperio," &c. l. iii. The gift is by Ariosto very humorously placed in the moon, among the things lost or abused on earth. Di varj fiori, &c. O. F. c. xxxiv. st. 80.
Milton has translated both this passage and that in the text. Prose works, vol. i. p. 11. ed. 1753.
v. 11. Revers'd.] Compare Spenser, F. Q. b. i. c. viii. st. 31
v. 30. Before whose eyes.] Amphiaraus, one of the seven kings who besieged Thebes. He is said to have been swallowed up by an opening of the earth. See Lidgate's Storie of Thebes, Part III where it is told how the "Bishop Amphiaraus" fell down to hell. And thus the devill for his outrages, Like his desert payed him his wages. A different reason for his being doomed thus to perish is assigned by Pindar. [GREEK HERE] Nem ix.
For thee, Amphiaraus, earth, By Jove's all-riving thunder cleft Her mighty bosom open'd wide, Thee and thy plunging steeds to hide, Or ever on thy back the spear Of Periclymenus impress'd A wound to shame thy warlike breast For struck with panic fear The gods' own children flee.
v. 37. Tiresias.] Duo magnorum viridi coeuntia sylva Corpora serpentum baculi violaverat ictu, &c. Ovid. Met. iii.
v. 43. Aruns.] Aruns is said to have dwelt in the mountains of Luni (from whence that territory is still called Lunigiana), above Carrara, celebrated for its marble. Lucan. Phars. l. i. 575. So Boccaccio in the Fiammetta, l. iii. "Quale Arunte," &c.
"Like Aruns, who amidst the white marbles of Luni, contemplated the celestial bodies and their motions."
v. 50. Manto.] The daughter of Tiresias of Thebes, a city dedicated to Bacchus. From Manto Mantua, the country of Virgil derives its name. The Poet proceeds to describe the situation of that place.
v. 61. Between the vale.] The lake Benacus, now called the Lago di Garda, though here said to lie between Garda, Val Camonica, and the Apennine, is, however, very distant from the latter two
v. 63. There is a spot.] Prato di Fame, where the dioceses of Trento, Verona, and Brescia met.
v. 69. Peschiera.] A garrison situated to the south of the lake, where it empties itself and forms the Mincius.
v. 94. Casalodi's madness.] Alberto da Casalodi, who had got possession of Mantua, was persuaded by Pinamonte Buonacossi, that he might ingratiate himself with the people by banishing to their
own castles the nobles, who were obnoxious to them. No sooner was this done, than Pinamonte put himself at the head of the populace, drove out Casalodi and his adherents, and obtained the sovereignty for himself.
v. 111. So sings my tragic strain.] Suspensi Eurypilum scitatum oracula Phoebi Mittimus. Virg. Aeneid. ii. 14.
v. 115. Michael Scot.] Sir Michael Scott, of Balwearie, astrologer to the Emperor Frederick II. lived in the thirteenth century. For further particulars relating to this singular man, see Warton's History of English Poetry, vol. i. diss. ii. and sect. ix. p 292, and the Notes to Mr. Scott's "Lay of the Last Minstrel," a poem in which a happy use is made of the traditions that are still current in North Britain concerning him. He is mentioned by G. Villani. Hist. l. x. c. cv. and cxli. and l. xii. c. xviii. and by Boccaccio, Dec. Giorn. viii. Nov. 9.
v. 116. Guido Bonatti.] An astrologer of Forli, on whose skill Guido da Montefeltro, lord of that place, so much relied, that he is reported never to have gone into battle, except in the hour recommended to him as fortunate by Bonatti.
Landino and Vellutello, speak of a book, which he composed on the subject of his art.
v. 116. Asdente.] A shoemaker at Parma, who deserted his business to practice the arts of divination.
v. 123. Cain with fork of thorns.] By Cain and the thorns, or what is still vulgarly called the Man in the Moon, the Poet denotes that luminary. The same superstition is alluded to in the Paradise, Canto II. 52. The curious reader may consult Brand on Popular Antiquities, 4to. 1813. vol. ii. p. 476.
v. 7. In the Venetians' arsenal.] Compare Ruccellai, Le Api, 165, and Dryden's Annus Mirabilis, st. 146, &c.
v. 37. One of Santa Zita's elders.] The elders or chief magistrates of Lucca, where Santa Zita was held in especial veneration. The name of this sinner is supposed to have been Martino Botaio.
v. 40. Except Bonturo, barterers.] This is said ironically of Bonturo de' Dati. By barterers are meant peculators, of every description; all who traffic the interests of the public for their own private advantage.
v. 48. Is other swimming than in Serchio's wave.] Qui si nuota altrimenti che nel Serchio. Serchio is the river that flows by Lucca. So Pulci, Morg. Mag. c. xxiv. Qui si nuota nel sangue, e non nel Serchio.
v. 92. From Caprona.] The surrender of the castle of Caprona to the combined forces of Florence and Lucca, on condition that the garrison should march out in safety, to which event Dante was a witness, took place in 1290. See G. Villani, Hist. l. vii. c. 136.
v. 109. Yesterday.] This passage fixes the era of Dante's descent at Good Friday, in the year 1300 (34 years from our blessed Lord's incarnation being added to 1266), and at the thirty-fifth year of our poet's age. See Canto I. v. 1.
The awful event alluded to, the Evangelists inform us, happened "at the ninth hour," that is, our sixth, when "the rocks were rent," and the convulsion, according to Dante, was felt even in the depths in Hell. See Canto XII. 38.
v. 16. In the church.] This proverb is repeated by Pulci, Morg. Magg. c. xvii.
v. 47. Born in Navarre's domain.] The name of this peculator is said to have been Ciampolo.
v. 51. The good king Thibault.] "Thibault I. king of Navarre, died on the 8th of June, 1233, as much to be commended for the desire he showed of aiding the war in the Holy Land, as reprehensible and faulty for his design of oppressing the rights and privileges of the church, on which account it is said that the whole kingdom was under an interdict for the space of three entire years. Thibault undoubtedly merits praise, as for his other endowments, so especially for his cultivation of the liberal arts, his exercise and knowledge of music and poetry in which he much excelled, that he was accustomed to compose verses and sing them to the viol, and to exhibit his poetical compositions publicly in his palace, that they might be criticized by all." Mariana, History of Spain, b. xiii. c. 9.
An account of Thibault, and two of his songs, with what were probably the original melodies, may be seen in Dr. Burney's History of Music, v. ii. c. iv. His poems, which are in the French language, were edited by M. l'Eveque de la Ravalliere. Paris. 1742. 2 vol. 12mo. Dante twice quotes one of his verses in the Treatise de Vulg. Eloq. l. i. c. ix. and l. ii. c. v. and refers to him again, l. ii. c. vi.
From "the good king Thibault" are descended the good, but more unfortunate monarch, Louis XVI. of France, and consequently the present legitimate sovereign of that realm. See Henault, Abrege Chron. 1252, 2, 4.
v. 80. The friar Gomita.] He was entrusted by Nino de' Visconti with the government of Gallura, one of the four jurisdictions into which Sardinia was divided. Having his master's enemies in his power, he took a bribe from them, and allowed them to escape. Mention of Nino will recur in the Notes to Canto XXXIII. and in the Purgatory, Canto VIII.
v. 88. Michel Zanche.] The president of Logodoro, another of the four Sardinian jurisdictions. See Canto XXXIII.
v. 5. Aesop's fable.] The fable of the frog, who offered to carry the mouse across a ditch, with the intention of drowning him when both were carried off by a kite. It is not among those Greek Fables which go under the name of Aesop.
v. 63. Monks in Cologne.] They wore their cowls unusually large. v. 66. Frederick's.] The Emperor Frederick II. is said to have punished those who were guilty of high treason, by wrapping them up in lead, and casting them into a furnace.
v. 101. Our bonnets gleaming bright with orange hue.] It is observed by Venturi, that the word "rance" does not here signify "rancid or disgustful," as it is explained by the old commentators, but "orange-coloured," in which sense it occurs in the Purgatory, Canto II. 9.
v. 104. Joyous friars.] "Those who ruled the city of Florence on the part of the Ghibillines, perceiving this discontent and murmuring, which they were fearful might produce a rebellion against themselves, in order to satisfy the people, made choice of two knights, Frati Godenti (joyous friars) of Bologna, on whom they conferred the chief power in Florence. One named M. Catalano de' Malavolti, the other M. Loderingo di Liandolo; one an adherent of the Guelph, the other of the Ghibelline party. It is to be remarked, that the Joyous Friars were called Knights of St. Mary, and became knights on taking that habit: their robes were white, the mantle sable, and the arms a white field and red cross with two stars. Their office was to defend widows and orphans; they were to act as mediators; they had internal regulations like other religious bodies. The above-mentioned M. Loderingo was the founder of that order. But it was not long before they too well deserved the appellation given them, and were found to be more bent on enjoying themselves than on any other subject. These two friars were called in by the Florentines, and had a residence assigned them in the palace belonging to the people over against the Abbey. Such was the dependence placed on the character of their order that it was expected they would be impartial, and would save the commonwealth any unnecessary expense; instead of which, though inclined to opposite parties, they secretly and hypocritically concurred in promoting their own advantage rather than the public good." G. Villani, b. vii. c.13. This happened in 1266.
v. 110. Gardingo's vicinage.] The name of that part of the city which was inhabited by the powerful Ghibelline family of Uberti, and destroyed under the partial and iniquitous administration of Catalano and Loderingo.
v. 117. That pierced spirit.] Caiaphas.
v. 124. The father of his consort.] Annas, father-in-law to Caiaphas.
v. 146. He is a liar.] John, c. viii. 44. Dante had perhaps heard this text from one of the pulpits in Bologna.
v. 1. In the year's early nonage.] "At the latter part of January, when the sun enters into Aquarius, and the equinox is drawing near, when the hoar-frosts in the morning often wear the appearance of snow but are melted by the rising sun."
v. 51. Vanquish thy weariness.] Quin corpus onustum Hesternis vitiis animum quoque praegravat una, Atque affigit humi divinae particulam aurae. Hor. Sat. ii. l. ii. 78.
v. 82. Of her sands.] Compare Lucan, Phars. l. ix. 703.
v. 92. Heliotrope.] The occult properties of this stone are described by Solinus, c. xl, and by Boccaccio, in his humorous tale of Calandrino. Decam. G. viii. N. 3.
In Chiabrera's Ruggiero, Scaltrimento begs of Sofia, who is sending him on a perilous errand, to lend him the heliotrope. In mia man fida L'elitropia, per cui possa involarmi Secondo il mio talento agli occhi altrui. c. vi. Trust to my hand the heliotrope, by which I may at will from others' eyes conceal me Compare Ariosto, II Negromante, a. 3. s. 3. Pulci, Morg. Magg. c xxv. and Fortiguerra, Ricciardetto, c. x. st. 17. Gower in his Confessio Amantis, lib. vii, enumerates it among the jewels in the diadem of the sun. Jaspis and helitropius.
v. 104. The Arabian phoenix.] This is translated from Ovid, Metam. l. xv. Una est quae reparat, seque ipsa reseminat ales, &c. See also Petrarch, Canzone:
"Qual piu," &c.
v. 120. Vanni Fucci.] He is said to have been an illegitimate offspring of the family of Lazari in Pistoia, and, having robbed the sacristy of the church of St. James in that city, to have charged Vanni della Nona with the sacrilege, in consequence of which accusation the latter suffered death.
v. 142. Pistoia.] "In May 1301, the Bianchi party, of Pistoia, with the assistance and favor of the Bianchi who ruled Florence, drove out the Neri party from the former place, destroying their houses, Palaces and farms." Giov. Villani, Hist. l. viii. e xliv.
v. 144. From Valdimagra.] The commentators explain this prophetical threat to allude to the victory obtained by the Marquis Marcello Malaspina of Valdimagra (a tract of country now called the Lunigiana) who put himself at the head of the Neri and defeated their opponents the Bianchi, in the Campo Piceno near Pistoia, soon after the occurrence related in the preceding note.
Of this engagement I find no mention in Villani. Currado Malaspina is introduced in the eighth Canto of Purgatory; where it appears that, although on the present occaision they espoused contrary sides, some important favours were nevertheless conferred by that family on our poet at a subsequent perid of his exile in 1307.
v.1. The sinner ] So Trissino Poi facea con le man le fiche al cielo Dicendo: Togli, Iddio; che puoi piu farmi? L'ital. Lib. c. xii
v. 12. Thy seed] Thy ancestry.
v. 15. Not him] Capanaeus. Canto XIV.
v. 18. On Marenna's marsh.] An extensive tract near the sea-shore in Tuscany.
v. 24. Cacus.] Virgil, Aen. l. viii. 193.
v. 31. A hundred blows.] Less than ten blows, out of the hundred Hercules gave him, deprived him of feeling.
v. 39. Cianfa] He is said to have been of the family of Donati at Florence.
v. 57. Thus up the shrinking paper.] —All my bowels crumble up to dust. I am a scribbled form, drawn up with a pen Upon a parchment; and against this fire Do I shrink up. Shakespeare, K. John, a. v. s. 7.
v. 61. Agnello.] Agnello Brunelleschi
v. 77. In that part.] The navel.
v. 81. As if by sleep or fev'rous fit assail'd.] O Rome! thy head Is drown'd in sleep, and all thy body fev'ry. Ben Jonson's Catiline.
v. 85. Lucan.] Phars. l. ix. 766 and 793.
v. 87. Ovid.] Metam. l. iv. and v.
v. 121. His sharpen'd visage.] Compare Milton, P. L. b. x. 511 &c.
v. 131. Buoso.] He is said to have been of the Donati family.
v. 138. Sciancato.] Puccio Sciancato, a noted robber, whose familly, Venturi says, he has not been able to discover.
v. 140. Gaville.] Francesco Guercio Cavalcante was killed at Gaville, near Florence; and in revenge of his death several inhabitants of that district were put to death.
v. 7. But if our minds.]
Namque sub Auroram, jam dormitante lucerna, Somnia quo cerni tempore vera solent. Ovid, Epist. xix
The same poetical superstition is alluded to in the Purgatory, Cant. IX. and XXVII.
v. 9. Shall feel what Prato.] The poet prognosticates the calamities which were soon to befal his native city, and which he says, even her nearest neighbor, Prato, would wish her. The calamities more particularly pointed at, are said to be the fall of a wooden bridge over the Arno, in May, 1304, where a large multitude were assembled to witness a representation of hell nnd the infernal torments, in consequence of which accident many lives were lost; and a conflagration that in the following month destroyed more than seventeen hundred houses, many ofthem sumptuous buildings. See G. Villani, Hist. l. viii. c. 70 and 71.
v. 22. More than I am wont.] "When I reflect on the punishment allotted to those who do not give sincere and upright advice to others I am more anxious than ever not to abuse to so bad a purpose those talents, whatever they may be, which Nature, or rather Providence, has conferred on me." It is probable that this declaration was the result of real feeling Textd have given great weight to any opinion or party he had espoused, and to whom indigence and exile might have offerred strong temptations to deviate from that line of conduct which a strict sense of duty prescribed.
v. 35. as he, whose wrongs.] Kings, b. ii. c. ii.
v. 54. ascending from that funeral pile.] The flame is said to have divided on the funeral pile which consumed tile bodies of Eteocles and Polynices, as if conscious of the enmity that actuated them while living. Ecce iterum fratris, &c. Statius, Theb. l. xii. Ostendens confectas flamma, &c. Lucan, Pharsal. l. 1. 145.
v. 60. The ambush of the horse.] "The ambush of the wooden horse, that caused Aeneas to quit the city of Troy and seek his fortune in Italy, where his descendants founded the Roman empire."
v. 91. Caieta.] Virgil, Aeneid. l. vii. 1.
v. 93. Nor fondness for my son] Imitated hp Tasso, G. L. c. viii. Ne timor di fatica o di periglio, Ne vaghezza del regno, ne pietade Del vecchio genitor, si degno affetto Intiepedir nel generoso petto. This imagined voyage of Ulysses into the Atlantic is alluded to by Pulci. E sopratutto commendava Ulisse, Che per veder nell' altro mondo gisse. Morg. Magg. c. xxv And by Tasso, G. L. c. xv. 25.
v. 106. The strait pass.] The straits of Gibraltar.
v. 122. Made our oars wings.l So Chiabrera, Cant. Eroiche. xiii Faro de'remi un volo. And Tasso Ibid. 26.
v. 128. A mountain dim.] The mountain of Purgatorg
v. 6. The Sicilian Bull.] The engine of torture invented by Perillus, for the tyrant Phalaris.
v. 26. Of the mountains there.] Montefeltro.
v. 38. Polenta's eagle.] Guido Novello da Polenta, who bore an eagle for his coat of arms. The name of Polenta was derived from a castle so called in the neighbourhood of Brittonoro. Cervia is a small maritime city, about fifteen miles to the south of Ravenna. Guido was the son of Ostasio da Polenta, and made himself master of Ravenna, in 1265. In 1322 he was deprived of his sovereignty, and died at Bologna in the year following. This last and most munificent patron of Dante is himself enumerated, by the historian of Italian literature, among the poets of his time. Tiraboschi, Storia della Lett. Ital. t. v. 1. iii. c. ii. 13. The passnge in the text might have removed the uncertainty wwhich Tiraboschi expressed, respecting the duration of Guido's absence from Ravenna, when he was driven from that city in 1295, by the arms of Pietro, archbishop of Monreale. It must evidently have been very short, since his government is here represented (in 1300) as not having suffered any material disturbance for many years.
v. 41. The land.l The territory of Forli, the inhabitants of which, in 1282, mere enabled, hy the strategem of Guido da Montefeltro, who then governed it, to defeat with great slaughter the French army by which it had been besieged. See G. Villani, l. vii. c. 81. The poet informs Guido, its former ruler, that it is now in the possession of Sinibaldo Ordolaffi, or Ardelaffi, whom he designates by his coat of arms, a lion vert.
v. 43. The old mastiff of Verucchio and the young.] Malatesta and Malatestino his son, lords of Rimini, called, from their ferocity, the mastiffs of Verruchio, which was the name of their castle.
v. 44. Montagna.] Montagna de'Parcitati, a noble knight, and leader of the Ghibelline party at Rimini, murdered by Malatestino.
v. 46. Lamone's city and Santerno's.] Lamone is the river at Faenza, and Santerno at Imola.
v. 47. The lion of the snowy lair.] Machinardo Pagano, whose arms were a lion azure on a field argent; mentioned again in the Purgatory, Canto XIV. 122. See G. Villani passim, where he is called Machinardo da Susinana.
v. 50. Whose flank is wash'd of SSavio's wave.] Cesena, situated at the foot of a mountain, and washed by the river Savio, that often descends with a swoln and rapid stream from the Appenine.
v. 64. A man of arms.] Guido da Montefeltro.
v. 68. The high priest.] Boniface VIII.
v. 72. The nature of the lion than the fox.] Non furon leonine ma di volpe. So Pulci, Morg. Magg. c. xix.
E furon le sua opre e le sue colpe Non creder leonine ma di volpe.
v. 81. The chief of the new Pharisee.] Boniface VIII. whose enmity to the family of Colonna prompted him to destroy their houses near the Lateran. Wishing to obtain possession of their other seat, Penestrino, he consulted with Guido da Montefeltro how he might accomplish his purpose, offering him at the same time absolution for his past sins, as well as for that which he was then tempting him to commit. Guido's advice was, that kind words and fair promises nonld put his enemies into his power; and they accordingly soon aftermards fell into the snare laid for them, A.D. 1298. See G. Villani, l. viii. c. 23.
v. 84. Nor against Acre one Had fought.] He alludes to the renegade Christians, by whom the Saracens, in Apri., 1291, were assisted to recover St.John d'Acre, the last possession of the Christians in the Iloly Land. The regret expressed by the Florentine annalist G. Villani, for the loss of this valuable fortress, is well worthy of observation, l. vii. c. 144.
v. 89. As in Soracte Constantine besought.] So in Dante's treatise De Monarchia: "Dicunt quidam adhue, quod Constantinus Imperator, mundatus a lepra intercessione Syvestri, tunc summni pontificis imperii sedem, scilicet Romam, donavit ecclesiae, cum multis allis imperii dignitatibus." Lib.iii.
v. 101. My predecessor.] Celestine V. See Notes to Canto III.
v.8. In that long war.] The war of Hannibal in Italy. "When Mago brought news of his victories to Carthage, in order to make his successes more easily credited, he commanded the golden rings to be poured out in the senate house, which made so large a heap, that, as some relate, they filled three modii and a half. A more probable account represents them not to have exceeded one modius." Livy, Hist.
v. 12. Guiscard's Norman steel.] Robert Guiscard, who conquered the kingdom of Naples, and died in 1110. G. Villani, l. iv. c. 18. He is introduced in the Paradise, Canto XVIII.
v. 13. And those the rest.] The army of Manfredi, which, through the treachery of the Apulian troops, wns overcome by Charles of Anjou in 1205, and fell in such numbers that the bones of the slain were still gathered near Ceperano. G. Villani, l. vii. c. 9. See the Purgatory, Canto III.
v. 10. O Tagliocozzo.] He alludes to tile victory which Charles gained over Conradino, by the sage advice of the Sieur de Valeri, in 1208. G. Villani, l. vii. c. 27.
v. 32. Ali.] The disciple of Mohammed.
v. 53. Dolcino.] "In 1305, a friar, called Dolcino, who belonged to no regular order, contrived to raise in Novarra, in Lombardy, a large company of the meaner sort of people, declaring himself to be a true apostle of Christ, and promulgating a community of property and of wives, with many other such heretical doctrines. He blamed the pope, cardinals, and other prelates of the holy church, for not observing their duty, nor leading the angelic life, and affirmed that he ought to be pope. He was followed by more than three thousand men and women, who lived promiscuously on the mountains together, like beasts, and, when they wanted provisions, supplied themselves by depredation and rapine. This lasted for two years till, many being struck with compunction at the dissolute life they led, his sect was much diminished; and through failure of food, and the severity of the snows, he was taken by the people of Novarra, and burnt, with Margarita his companion and many other men and women whom his errors had seduced." G. Villanni, l. viii. c. 84.
Landino observes, that he was possessed of singular eloquence, and that both he and Margarita endored their fate with a firmness worthy of a better cause. For a further account of him, see Muratori Rer. Ital. Script. t. ix. p. 427.
v. 69. Medicina.] A place in the territory of Bologna. Piero fomented dissensions among the inhabitants of that city, and among the leaders of the neighbouring states.
v. 70. The pleasant land.] Lombardy.
v. 72. The twain.] Guido dal Cassero and Angiolello da Cagnano, two of the worthiest and most distinguished citizens of Fano, were invited by Malatestino da Rimini to an entertainment on pretence that he had some important business to transact with them: and, according to instructions given by him, they mere drowned in their passage near Catolica, between Rimini and Fano.
v. 85. Focara's wind.] Focara is a mountain, from which a wind blows that is peculiarly dangerous to the navigators of that coast.
v. 94. The doubt in Caesar's mind.] Curio, whose speech (according to Lucan) determined Julius Caesar to proceed when he had arrived at Rimini (the ancient Ariminum), and doubted whether he should prosecute the civil war. Tolle moras: semper nocuit differre paratis Pharsal, l. i. 281.
v. 102. Mosca.] Buondelmonte was engaged to marry a lady of the Amidei family, but broke his promise and united himself to one of the Donati. This was so much resented by the former, that a meeting of themselves and their kinsmen was held, to consider of the best means of revenging the insult. Mosca degli Uberti persuaded them to resolve on the assassination of Buondelmonte, exclaiming to them "the thing once done, there is an end." The counsel and its effects were the source of many terrible calamities to the state of Florence. "This murder," says G. Villani, l. v. c. 38, "was the cause and beginning of the accursed Guelph and Ghibelline parties in Florence." It happened in 1215. See the Paradise, Canto XVI. 139.
v. 111. The boon companion.] What stronger breastplate than a heart untainted? Shakespeare, 2 Hen. VI. a. iii. s. 2.
v. 160. Bertrand.] Bertrand de Born, Vicomte de Hautefort, near Perigueux in Guienne, who incited John to rebel against his father, Henry II. of England. Bertrand holds a distinguished place among the Provencal poets. He is quoted in Dante, "De Vulg. Eloq." l. ii. c. 2. For the translation of some extracts from his poems, see Millot, Hist. Litteraire des Troubadors t. i. p. 210; but the historical parts of that work are, I believe, not to be relied on.
v. 26. Geri of Bello.] A kinsman of the Poet's, who was murdered by one of the Sacchetti family. His being placed here, may be considered as a proof that Dante was more impartial in the allotment of his punishments than has generally been supposed.
v. 44. As were the torment.] It is very probable that these lines gave Milton the idea of his celebrated description: Immediately a place Before their eyes appear'd, sad, noisome, dark, A lasar-house it seem'd, wherein were laid Numbers of all diseas'd, all maladies, &c. P. L. b. xi. 477.
v. 45. Valdichiana.] The valley through which passes the river Chiana, bounded by Arezzo, Cortona, Montepulciano, and Chiusi. In the heat of autumn it was formerly rendered unwholesome by the stagnation of the water, but has since been drained by the Emperor Leopold II. The Chiana is mentioned as a remarkably sluggish stream, in the Paradise, Canto XIII. 21.
v. 47. Maremma's pestilent fen.] See Note to Canto XXV. v. 18.
v. 58. In Aegina.] He alludes to the fable of the ants changed into Myrmidons. Ovid, Met. 1. vii.
v. 104. Arezzo was my dwelling.] Grifolino of Arezzo, who promised Albero, son of the Bishop of Sienna, that he would teach him the art of flying; and because be did not keep his promise, Albero prevailed on his father to have him burnt for a necromancer.
v. 117. Was ever race Light as Sienna's?] The same imputation is again cast on the Siennese, Purg. Canto XIII. 141.
v. 121. Stricca.] This is said ironically. Stricca, Niccolo Salimbeni, Caccia of Asciano, and Abbagliato, or Meo de Folcacchieri, belonged to a company of prodigal and luxurious young men in Sienna, called the "brigata godereccia." Niccolo was the inventor of a new manner of using cloves in cookery, not very well understood by the commentators, and which was termed the "costuma ricca."
v. 125. In that garden.] Sienna.
v. 134. Cappocchio's ghost.] Capocchio of Sienna, who is said to have been a fellow-student of Dante's in natural philosophy.
v. 4. Athamas.] From Ovid, Metam. 1. iv. Protinos Aelides, &c.
v. 16. Hecuba. See Euripedes, Hecuba; and Ovid, Metnm. l. xiii.
v. 33. Schicchi.] Gianni Schicci, who was of the family of Cavalcanti, possessed such a faculty of moulding his features to the resemblance of others, that he was employed by Simon Donati to personate Buoso Donati, then recently deceased, and to make a will, leaving Simon his heir; for which service he was renumerated with a mare of extraordinary value, here called "the lady of the herd."
v. 39. Myrrha.] See Ovid, Metam. l. x.
v. 60. Adamo's woe.] Adamo of Breschia, at the instigation of Cuido Alessandro, and their brother Aghinulfo, lords of Romena, coonterfeited the coin of Florence; for which crime he was burnt. Landino says, that in his time the peasants still pointed out a pile of stones near Romena as the place of his execution.
v. 64. Casentino.] Romena is a part of Casentino.
v. 77. Branda's limpid spring.] A fountain in Sienna.
v. 88. The florens with three carats of alloy.] The floren was a coin that ought to have had tmenty-four carats of pure gold. Villani relates, that it was first used at Florence in 1253, an aera of great prosperity in the annals of the republic; before which time their most valuable coinage was of silver. Hist. l. vi. c. 54.
v. 98. The false accuser.] Potiphar's wife.
v. 1. The very tongue.] Vulnus in Herculeo quae quondam fecerat hoste Vulneris auxilium Pellas hasta fuit. Ovid, Rem. Amor. 47. The same allusion was made by Bernard de Ventadour, a Provencal poet in the middle of the twelfth century: and Millot observes, that it was a singular instance of erudition in a Troubadour. But it is not impossible, as Warton remarks, (Hist. of Engl. Poetry, vol. ii. sec. x. p 215.) but that he might have been indebted for it to some of the early romances.
In Chaucer's Squier's Tale, a sword of similar quality is introduced: And other folk have wondred on the sweard, That could so piercen through every thing; And fell in speech of Telephus the king, And of Achillcs for his queint spere, For he couth with it both heale and dere. So Shakspeare, Henry VI. p. ii. a. 5. s. 1. Whose smile and frown like to Achilles' spear Is able with the change to kill and cure.
v. 14. Orlando.l When Charlemain with all his peerage fell At Fontarabia Milton, P. L. b. i. 586. See Warton's Hist. of Eng. Poetrg, v. i. sect. iii. p. 132. "This is the horn which Orlando won from the giant Jatmund, and which as Turpin and the Islandic bards report, was endued with magical power, and might be heard at the distance of twenty miles." Charlemain and Orlando are introduced in the Paradise, Canto XVIII.
v. 36. Montereggnon.] A castle near Sienna.
v. 105. The fortunate vale.] The country near Carthage. See Liv. Hist. l. xxx. and Lucan, Phars. l. iv. 590. Dante has kept the latter of these writers in his eye throughout all this passage.
v. 123. Alcides.] The combat between Hercules Antaeus is adduced by the Poet in his treatise "De Monarchia," l. ii. as a proof of the judgment of God displayed in the duel, according to the singular superstition of those times.
v. 128. The tower of Carisenda.] The leaning tower at Bologna
v. 8. A tongue not us'd To infant babbling.] Ne da lingua, che chiami mamma, o babbo. Dante in his treatise " De Vulg. Eloq." speaking of words not admissble in the loftier, or as he calls it, tragic style of poetry, says- "In quorum numero nec puerilia propter suam simplicitatem ut Mamma et Babbo," l. ii. c. vii.
v. 29. Tabernich or Pietrapana.] The one a mountain in Sclavonia, the other in that tract of country called the Garfagnana, not far from Lucca.
v. 33. To where modest shame appears.] "As high as to the face."
v. 35. Moving their teeth in shrill note like the stork.] Mettendo i denti in nota di cicogna. So Boccaccio, G. viii. n. 7. "Lo scolar cattivello quasi cicogna divenuto si forte batteva i denti."
v. 53. Who are these two.] Alessandro and Napoleone, sons of Alberto Alberti, who murdered each other. They were proprietors of the valley of Falterona, where the Bisenzio has its source, a river that falls into the Arno about six miles from Florence.
v. 59. Not him,] Mordrec, son of King Arthur.
v. 60. Foccaccia.] Focaccia of Cancellieri, (the Pistoian family) whose atrocious act of revenge against his uncle is said to have given rise to the parties of the Bianchi and Neri, in the year 1300. See G. Villani, Hist. l, viii. c. 37. and Macchiavelli, Hist. l. ii. The account of the latter writer differs much from that given by Landino in his Commentary.
v. 63. Mascheroni.] Sassol Mascheroni, a Florentiue, who also murdered his uncle.
v. 66. Camiccione.] Camiccione de' Pazzi of Valdarno, by whom his kinsman Ubertino was treacherously pnt to death.
v. 67. Carlino.] One of the same family. He betrayed the Castel di Piano Travigne, in Valdarno, to the Florentines, after the refugees of the Bianca and Ghibelline party had defended it against a siege for twenty-nine days, in the summer of 1302. See G. Villani, l. viii. c. 52 and Dino Compagni, l. ii.
v. 81. Montaperto.] The defeat of the Guelfi at Montaperto, occasioned by the treachery of Bocca degli Abbati, who, during the engagement, cut off the hand of Giacopo del Vacca de'Pazzi, bearer of the Florentine standard. G. Villani, l. vi. c. 80, and Notes to Canto X. This event happened in 1260.
v. 113. Him of Duera.] Buoso of Cremona, of the family of Duera, who was bribed by Guy de Montfort, to leave a pass between Piedmont and Parma, with the defence of which he had been entrusted by the Ghibellines, open to the army of Charles of Anjou, A.D. 1265, at which the people of Cremona were so enraged, that they extirpated the whole family. G. Villani, l. vii. c. 4.
v. 118. Beccaria.] Abbot of Vallombrosa, who was the Pope's Legate at Florence, where his intrigues in favour of the Ghibellines being discovered, he was beheaded. I do not find the occurrence in Vallini, nor do the commentators say to what pope he was legate. By Landino he is reported to have been from Parma, by Vellutello from Pavia.
v. 118. Soldanieri.] "Gianni Soldanieri," says Villani, Hist. l. vii. c14, "put himself at the head of the people, in the hopes of rising into power, not aware that the result would be mischief to the Ghibelline party, and his own ruin; an event which seems ever to have befallen him, who has headed the populace in Florence." A.D. 1266.
v. 119. Ganellon.] The betrayer of Charlemain, mentioned by Archbishop Turpin. He is a common instance of treachery with the poets of the middle ages. Trop son fol e mal pensant, Pis valent que Guenelon. Thibaut, roi de Navarre O new Scariot, and new Ganilion, O false dissembler, &c. Chaucer, Nonne's Prieste's Tale And in the Monke's Tale, Peter of Spaine. v. 119. Tribaldello.] Tribaldello de'Manfredi, who was bribed to betray the city of Faonza, A. D. 1282. G. Villani, l. vii. c. 80
v. 128. Tydeus.] See Statius, Theb. l. viii. ad finem.
v. 14. Count Ugolino.] "In the year 1288, in the month of July, Pisa was much divided by competitors for the sovereignty; one party, composed of certain of the Guelphi, being headed by the Judge Nino di Gallura de'Visconti; another, consisting of others of the same faction, by the Count Ugolino de' Gherardeschi; and the third by the Archbishop Ruggieri degli Ubaldini, with the Lanfranchi, Sismondi, Gualandi, and other Ghibelline houses. The Count Ugolino,to effect his purpose, united with the Archbishop and his party, and having betrayed Nino, his sister's son, they contrived that he and his followers should either be driven out of Pisa, or their persons seized. Nino hearing this, and not seeing any means of defending himself, retired to Calci, his castle, and formed an alliance with the Florentines and people of Lucca, against the Pisans. The Count, before Nino was gone, in order to cover his treachery, when everything was settled for his expulsion, quitted Pisa, and repaired to a manor of his called Settimo; whence, as soon as he was informed of Nino's departure, he returned to Pisa with great rejoicing and festivity, and was elevated to the supreme power with every demonstration of triumph and honour. But his greatness was not of long continuauce. It pleased the Almighty that a total reverse of fortune should ensue, as a punishment for his acts of treachery and guilt: for he was said to have poisoned the Count Anselmo da Capraia, his sister's son, on account of the envy and fear excited in his mind by the high esteem in which the gracious manners of Anselmo were held by the Pisans. The power of the Guelphi being so much diminished, the Archbishop devised means to betray the Count Uglino and caused him to be suddenly attacked in his palace by the fury of the people, whom he had exasperated, by telling them that Ugolino had betrayed Pisa, and given up their castles to the citizens of Florence and of Lucca. He was immediately compelled to surrender; his bastard son and his grandson fell in the assault; and two of his sons, with their two sons also, were conveyed to prison." G. Villani l. vii. c. 120.
"In the following march, the Pisans, who had imprisoned the Count Uglino, with two of his sons and two of his grandchildren, the offspring of his son the Count Guelfo, in a tower on the Piazza of the Anzania, caused the tower to be locked, the key thrown into the Arno, and all food to be withheld from them. In a few days they died of hunger; but the Count first with loud cries declared his penitence, and yet neither priest nor friar was allowed to shrive him. All the five, when dead, were dragged out of the prison, and meanly interred; and from thence forward the tower was called the tower of famine, and so shall ever be." Ibid. c. 127.
Chancer has briefly told Ugolino's story. See Monke's Tale, Hugeline of Pise.
v. 29. Unto the mountain.] The mountain S. Giuliano, between Pisa and Lucca.
v. 59. Thou gav'st.] Tu ne vestisti Queste misere carni, e tu le spoglia. Imitated by Filicaja, Canz. iii. Di questa imperial caduca spoglia Tu, Signor, me vestisti e tu mi spoglia: Ben puoi'l Regno me tor tu che me'l desti. And by Maffei, in the Merope: Tu disciogleste Queste misere membra e tu le annodi.
v. 79. In that fair region.] Del bel paese la, dove'l si suona. Italy as explained by Dante himself, in his treatise De Vulg. Eloq. l. i. c. 8. "Qui autem Si dicunt a praedictis finibus. (Januensiem) Oreintalem (Meridionalis Europae partem) tenent; videlicet usque ad promontorium illud Italiae, qua sinus Adriatici maris incipit et Siciliam."
v. 82. Capraia and Gorgona.] Small islands near the mouth of the Arno.
v. 94. There very weeping suffers not to weep,] Lo pianto stesso li pianger non lascia. So Giusto de'Conti, Bella Mano. Son. "Quanto il ciel." Che il troppo pianto a me pianger non lassa. v. 116. The friar Albigero.] Alberigo de'Manfredi, of Faenza, one of the Frati Godenti, Joyons Friars who having quarrelled with some of his brotherhood, under pretence of wishing to be reconciled, invited them to a banquet, at the conclusion of which he called for the fruit, a signal for the assassins to rush in and dispatch those whom he had marked for destruction. Hence, adds Landino, it is said proverbially of one who has been stabbed, that he has had some of the friar Alberigo's fruit. Thus Pulci, Morg. Magg. c. xxv. Le frutte amare di frate Alberico.
v. 123. Ptolomea.] This circle is named Ptolomea from Ptolemy, the son of Abubus, by whom Simon and his sons were murdered, at a great banquet he had made for them. See Maccabees, ch xvi.
v. 126. The glazed tear-drops.]
-sorrow's eye, glazed with blinding tears. Shakspeare, Rich. II. a. 2. s. 2.
v. 136. Branca Doria.] The family of Doria was possessed of great influence in Genoa. Branca is said to have murdered his father-in-law, Michel Zanche, introduced in Canto XXII.