"O Thou!" her words she thus without delay Resuming, turn'd their point on me, to whom They but with lateral edge seem'd harsh before, 'Say thou, who stand'st beyond the holy stream, If this be true. A charge so grievous needs Thine own avowal." On my faculty Such strange amazement hung, the voice expir'd Imperfect, ere its organs gave it birth. A little space refraining, then she spake: "What dost thou muse on? Answer me. The wave On thy remembrances of evil yet Hath done no injury." A mingled sense Of fear and of confusion, from my lips Did such a "Yea " produce, as needed help Of vision to interpret. As when breaks In act to be discharg'd, a cross-bow bent Beyond its pitch, both nerve and bow o'erstretch'd, The flagging weapon feebly hits the mark; Thus, tears and sighs forth gushing, did I burst Beneath the heavy load, and thus my voice Was slacken'd on its way. She straight began: "When my desire invited thee to love The good, which sets a bound to our aspirings, What bar of thwarting foss or linked chain Did meet thee, that thou so should'st quit the hope Of further progress, or what bait of ease Or promise of allurement led thee on Elsewhere, that thou elsewhere should'st rather wait?" A bitter sigh I drew, then scarce found voice To answer, hardly to these sounds my lips Gave utterance, wailing: "Thy fair looks withdrawn, Things present, with deceitful pleasures, turn'd My steps aside." She answering spake: "Hadst thou Been silent, or denied what thou avow'st, Thou hadst not hid thy sin the more: such eye Observes it. But whene'er the sinner's cheek Breaks forth into the precious-streaming tears Of self-accusing, in our court the wheel Of justice doth run counter to the edge. Howe'er that thou may'st profit by thy shame For errors past, and that henceforth more strength May arm thee, when thou hear'st the Siren-voice, Lay thou aside the motive to this grief, And lend attentive ear, while I unfold How opposite a way my buried flesh Should have impell'd thee. Never didst thou spy In art or nature aught so passing sweet, As were the limbs, that in their beauteous frame Enclos'd me, and are scatter'd now in dust. If sweetest thing thus fail'd thee with my death, What, afterward, of mortal should thy wish Have tempted? When thou first hadst felt the dart Of perishable things, in my departing For better realms, thy wing thou should'st have prun'd To follow me, and never stoop'd again To 'bide a second blow for a slight girl, Or other gaud as transient and as vain. The new and inexperienc'd bird awaits, Twice it may be, or thrice, the fowler's aim; But in the sight of one, whose plumes are full, In vain the net is spread, the arrow wing'd." I stood, as children silent and asham'd Stand, list'ning, with their eyes upon the earth, Acknowledging their fault and self-condemn'd. And she resum'd: "If, but to hear thus pains thee, Raise thou thy beard, and lo! what sight shall do!" With less reluctance yields a sturdy holm, Rent from its fibers by a blast, that blows From off the pole, or from Iarbas' land, Than I at her behest my visage rais'd: And thus the face denoting by the beard, I mark'd the secret sting her words convey'd. No sooner lifted I mine aspect up, Than downward sunk that vision I beheld Of goodly creatures vanish; and mine eyes Yet unassur'd and wavering, bent their light On Beatrice. Towards the animal, Who joins two natures in one form, she turn'd, And, even under shadow of her veil, And parted by the verdant rill, that flow'd Between, in loveliness appear'd as much Her former self surpassing, as on earth All others she surpass'd. Remorseful goads Shot sudden through me. Each thing else, the more Its love had late beguil'd me, now the more I Was loathsome. On my heart so keenly smote The bitter consciousness, that on the ground O'erpower'd I fell: and what my state was then, She knows who was the cause. When now my strength Flow'd back, returning outward from the heart, The lady, whom alone I first had seen, I found above me. "Loose me not," she cried: "Loose not thy hold;" and lo! had dragg'd me high As to my neck into the stream, while she, Still as she drew me after, swept along, Swift as a shuttle, bounding o'er the wave. The blessed shore approaching then was heard So sweetly, "Tu asperges me," that I May not remember, much less tell the sound. The beauteous dame, her arms expanding, clasp'd My temples, and immerg'd me, where 't was fit The wave should drench me: and thence raising up, Within the fourfold dance of lovely nymphs Presented me so lav'd, and with their arm They each did cover me. "Here are we nymphs, And in the heav'n are stars. Or ever earth Was visited of Beatrice, we Appointed for her handmaids, tended on her. We to her eyes will lead thee; but the light Of gladness that is in them, well to scan, Those yonder three, of deeper ken than ours, Thy sight shall quicken." Thus began their song; And then they led me to the Gryphon's breast, While, turn'd toward us, Beatrice stood. "Spare not thy vision. We have stationed thee Before the emeralds, whence love erewhile Hath drawn his weapons on thee. "As they spake, A thousand fervent wishes riveted Mine eyes upon her beaming eyes, that stood Still fix'd toward the Gryphon motionless. As the sun strikes a mirror, even thus Within those orbs the twofold being, shone, For ever varying, in one figure now Reflected, now in other. Reader! muse How wond'rous in my sight it seem'd to mark A thing, albeit steadfast in itself, Yet in its imag'd semblance mutable. Full of amaze, and joyous, while my soul Fed on the viand, whereof still desire Grows with satiety, the other three With gesture, that declar'd a loftier line, Advanc'd: to their own carol on they came Dancing in festive ring angelical. "Turn, Beatrice!" was their song: "O turn Thy saintly sight on this thy faithful one, Who to behold thee many a wearisome pace Hath measur'd. Gracious at our pray'r vouchsafe Unveil to him thy cheeks: that he may mark Thy second beauty, now conceal'd." O splendour! O sacred light eternal! who is he So pale with musing in Pierian shades, Or with that fount so lavishly imbued, Whose spirit should not fail him in th' essay To represent thee such as thou didst seem, When under cope of the still-chiming heaven Thou gav'st to open air thy charms reveal'd.
Mine eyes with such an eager coveting, Were bent to rid them of their ten years' thirst, No other sense was waking: and e'en they Were fenc'd on either side from heed of aught; So tangled in its custom'd toils that smile Of saintly brightness drew me to itself, When forcibly toward the left my sight The sacred virgins turn'd; for from their lips I heard the warning sounds: "Too fix'd a gaze!" Awhile my vision labor'd; as when late Upon the' o'erstrained eyes the sun hath smote: But soon to lesser object, as the view Was now recover'd (lesser in respect To that excess of sensible, whence late I had perforce been sunder'd) on their right I mark'd that glorious army wheel, and turn, Against the sun and sev'nfold lights, their front. As when, their bucklers for protection rais'd, A well-rang'd troop, with portly banners curl'd, Wheel circling, ere the whole can change their ground: E'en thus the goodly regiment of heav'n Proceeding, all did pass us, ere the car Had slop'd his beam. Attendant at the wheels The damsels turn'd; and on the Gryphon mov'd The sacred burden, with a pace so smooth, No feather on him trembled. The fair dame Who through the wave had drawn me, companied By Statius and myself, pursued the wheel, Whose orbit, rolling, mark'd a lesser arch. Through the high wood, now void (the more her blame, Who by the serpent was beguil'd) I past With step in cadence to the harmony Angelic. Onward had we mov'd, as far Perchance as arrow at three several flights Full wing'd had sped, when from her station down Descended Beatrice. With one voice All murmur'd "Adam," circling next a plant Despoil'd of flowers and leaf on every bough. Its tresses, spreading more as more they rose, Were such, as 'midst their forest wilds for height The Indians might have gaz'd at. "Blessed thou! Gryphon, whose beak hath never pluck'd that tree Pleasant to taste: for hence the appetite Was warp'd to evil." Round the stately trunk Thus shouted forth the rest, to whom return'd The animal twice-gender'd: "Yea: for so The generation of the just are sav'd." And turning to the chariot-pole, to foot He drew it of the widow'd branch, and bound There left unto the stock whereon it grew. As when large floods of radiance from above Stream, with that radiance mingled, which ascends Next after setting of the scaly sign, Our plants then burgeon, and each wears anew His wonted colours, ere the sun have yok'd Beneath another star his flamy steeds; Thus putting forth a hue, more faint than rose, And deeper than the violet, was renew'd The plant, erewhile in all its branches bare. Unearthly was the hymn, which then arose. I understood it not, nor to the end Endur'd the harmony. Had I the skill To pencil forth, how clos'd th' unpitying eyes Slumb'ring, when Syrinx warbled, (eyes that paid So dearly for their watching,) then like painter, That with a model paints, I might design The manner of my falling into sleep. But feign who will the slumber cunningly; I pass it by to when I wak'd, and tell How suddenly a flash of splendour rent The curtain of my sleep, and one cries out: "Arise, what dost thou?" As the chosen three, On Tabor's mount, admitted to behold The blossoming of that fair tree, whose fruit Is coveted of angels, and doth make Perpetual feast in heaven, to themselves Returning at the word, whence deeper sleeps Were broken, that they their tribe diminish'd saw, Both Moses and Elias gone, and chang'd The stole their master wore: thus to myself Returning, over me beheld I stand The piteous one, who cross the stream had brought My steps. "And where," all doubting, I exclaim'd, "Is Beatrice?"—"See her," she replied, "Beneath the fresh leaf seated on its root. Behold th' associate choir that circles her. The others, with a melody more sweet And more profound, journeying to higher realms, Upon the Gryphon tend." If there her words Were clos'd, I know not; but mine eyes had now Ta'en view of her, by whom all other thoughts Were barr'd admittance. On the very ground Alone she sat, as she had there been left A guard upon the wain, which I beheld Bound to the twyform beast. The seven nymphs Did make themselves a cloister round about her, And in their hands upheld those lights secure From blast septentrion and the gusty south. "A little while thou shalt be forester here: And citizen shalt be forever with me, Of that true Rome, wherein Christ dwells a Roman To profit the misguided world, keep now Thine eyes upon the car; and what thou seest, Take heed thou write, returning to that place." Thus Beatrice: at whose feet inclin'd Devout, at her behest, my thought and eyes, I, as she bade, directed. Never fire, With so swift motion, forth a stormy cloud Leap'd downward from the welkin's farthest bound, As I beheld the bird of Jove descending Pounce on the tree, and, as he rush'd, the rind, Disparting crush beneath him, buds much more And leaflets. On the car with all his might He struck, whence, staggering like a ship, it reel'd, At random driv'n, to starboard now, o'ercome, And now to larboard, by the vaulting waves. Next springing up into the chariot's womb A fox I saw, with hunger seeming pin'd Of all good food. But, for his ugly sins The saintly maid rebuking him, away Scamp'ring he turn'd, fast as his hide-bound corpse Would bear him. Next, from whence before he came, I saw the eagle dart into the hull O' th' car, and leave it with his feathers lin'd; And then a voice, like that which issues forth From heart with sorrow riv'd, did issue forth From heav'n, and, "O poor bark of mine!" it cried, "How badly art thou freighted!" Then, it seem'd, That the earth open'd between either wheel, And I beheld a dragon issue thence, That through the chariot fix'd his forked train; And like a wasp that draggeth back the sting, So drawing forth his baleful train, he dragg'd Part of the bottom forth, and went his way Exulting. What remain'd, as lively turf With green herb, so did clothe itself with plumes, Which haply had with purpose chaste and kind Been offer'd; and therewith were cloth'd the wheels, Both one and other, and the beam, so quickly A sigh were not breath'd sooner. Thus transform'd, The holy structure, through its several parts, Did put forth heads, three on the beam, and one On every side; the first like oxen horn'd, But with a single horn upon their front The four. Like monster sight hath never seen. O'er it methought there sat, secure as rock On mountain's lofty top, a shameless whore, Whose ken rov'd loosely round her. At her side, As 't were that none might bear her off, I saw A giant stand; and ever, and anon They mingled kisses. But, her lustful eyes Chancing on me to wander, that fell minion Scourg'd her from head to foot all o'er; then full Of jealousy, and fierce with rage, unloos'd The monster, and dragg'd on, so far across The forest, that from me its shades alone Shielded the harlot and the new-form'd brute.
"The heathen, Lord! are come!" responsive thus, The trinal now, and now the virgin band Quaternion, their sweet psalmody began, Weeping; and Beatrice listen'd, sad And sighing, to the song', in such a mood, That Mary, as she stood beside the cross, Was scarce more chang'd. But when they gave her place To speak, then, risen upright on her feet, She, with a colour glowing bright as fire, Did answer: "Yet a little while, and ye Shall see me not; and, my beloved sisters, Again a little while, and ye shall see me." Before her then she marshall'd all the seven, And, beck'ning only motion'd me, the dame, And that remaining sage, to follow her. So on she pass'd; and had not set, I ween, Her tenth step to the ground, when with mine eyes Her eyes encounter'd; and, with visage mild, "So mend thy pace," she cried, "that if my words Address thee, thou mayst still be aptly plac'd To hear them." Soon as duly to her side I now had hasten'd: "Brother!" she began, "Why mak'st thou no attempt at questioning, As thus we walk together?" Like to those Who, speaking with too reverent an awe Before their betters, draw not forth the voice Alive unto their lips, befell me shell That I in sounds imperfect thus began: "Lady! what I have need of, that thou know'st, And what will suit my need." She answering thus: "Of fearfulness and shame, I will, that thou Henceforth do rid thee: that thou speak no more, As one who dreams. Thus far be taught of me: The vessel, which thou saw'st the serpent break, Was and is not: let him, who hath the blame, Hope not to scare God's vengeance with a sop. Without an heir for ever shall not be That eagle, he, who left the chariot plum'd, Which monster made it first and next a prey. Plainly I view, and therefore speak, the stars E'en now approaching, whose conjunction, free From all impediment and bar, brings on A season, in the which, one sent from God, (Five hundred, five, and ten, do mark him out) That foul one, and th' accomplice of her guilt, The giant, both shall slay. And if perchance My saying, dark as Themis or as Sphinx, Fail to persuade thee, (since like them it foils The intellect with blindness) yet ere long Events shall be the Naiads, that will solve This knotty riddle, and no damage light On flock or field. Take heed; and as these words By me are utter'd, teach them even so To those who live that life, which is a race To death: and when thou writ'st them, keep in mind Not to conceal how thou hast seen the plant, That twice hath now been spoil'd. This whoso robs, This whoso plucks, with blasphemy of deed Sins against God, who for his use alone Creating hallow'd it. For taste of this, In pain and in desire, five thousand years And upward, the first soul did yearn for him, Who punish'd in himself the fatal gust. "Thy reason slumbers, if it deem this height And summit thus inverted of the plant, Without due cause: and were not vainer thoughts, As Elsa's numbing waters, to thy soul, And their fond pleasures had not dyed it dark As Pyramus the mulberry, thou hadst seen, In such momentous circumstance alone, God's equal justice morally implied In the forbidden tree. But since I mark thee In understanding harden'd into stone, And, to that hardness, spotted too and stain'd, So that thine eye is dazzled at my word, I will, that, if not written, yet at least Painted thou take it in thee, for the cause, That one brings home his staff inwreath'd with palm. "I thus: "As wax by seal, that changeth not Its impress, now is stamp'd my brain by thee. But wherefore soars thy wish'd-for speech so high Beyond my sight, that loses it the more, The more it strains to reach it?" —"To the end That thou mayst know," she answer'd straight, "the school, That thou hast follow'd; and how far behind, When following my discourse, its learning halts: And mayst behold your art, from the divine As distant, as the disagreement is 'Twixt earth and heaven's most high and rapturous orb." "I not remember," I replied, "that e'er I was estrang'd from thee, nor for such fault Doth conscience chide me." Smiling she return'd: "If thou canst, not remember, call to mind How lately thou hast drunk of Lethe's wave; And, sure as smoke doth indicate a flame, In that forgetfulness itself conclude Blame from thy alienated will incurr'd. From henceforth verily my words shall be As naked as will suit them to appear In thy unpractis'd view." More sparkling now, And with retarded course the sun possess'd The circle of mid-day, that varies still As th' aspect varies of each several clime, When, as one, sent in vaward of a troop For escort, pauses, if perchance he spy Vestige of somewhat strange and rare: so paus'd The sev'nfold band, arriving at the verge Of a dun umbrage hoar, such as is seen, Beneath green leaves and gloomy branches, oft To overbrow a bleak and alpine cliff. And, where they stood, before them, as it seem'd, Tigris and Euphrates both beheld, Forth from one fountain issue; and, like friends, Linger at parting. "O enlight'ning beam! O glory of our kind! beseech thee say What water this, which from one source deriv'd Itself removes to distance from itself?" To such entreaty answer thus was made: "Entreat Matilda, that she teach thee this." And here, as one, who clears himself of blame Imputed, the fair dame return'd: "Of me He this and more hath learnt; and I am safe That Lethe's water hath not hid it from him." And Beatrice: "Some more pressing care That oft the memory 'reeves, perchance hath made His mind's eye dark. But lo! where Eunoe cows! Lead thither; and, as thou art wont, revive His fainting virtue." As a courteous spirit, That proffers no excuses, but as soon As he hath token of another's will, Makes it his own; when she had ta'en me, thus The lovely maiden mov'd her on, and call'd To Statius with an air most lady-like: "Come thou with him." Were further space allow'd, Then, Reader, might I sing, though but in part, That beverage, with whose sweetness I had ne'er Been sated. But, since all the leaves are full, Appointed for this second strain, mine art With warning bridle checks me. I return'd From the most holy wave, regenerate, If 'en as new plants renew'd with foliage new, Pure and made apt for mounting to the stars.
NOTES TO PURGATORY
Verse 1. O'er better waves.] Berni, Orl. Inn. L 2. c. i. Per correr maggior acqua alza le vele, O debil navicella del mio ingegno.
v. 11. Birds of chattering note.] For the fable of the daughters of Pierus, who challenged the muses to sing, and were by them changed into magpies, see Ovid, Met. 1. v. fab. 5.
v. 19. Planet.] Venus.
v. 20. Made all the orient laugh.] Hence Chaucer, Knight's Tale: And all the orisont laugheth of the sight.
It is sometimes read "orient."
v. 24. Four stars.] Symbolical of the four cardinal virtues, Prudence Justice, Fortitude, and Temperance. See Canto XXXI v. 105.
v. 30. The wain.] Charles's wain, or Bootes.
v. 31. An old man.] Cato.
v. 92. Venerable plumes.] The same metaphor has occurred in Hell Canto XX. v. 41:
—the plumes, That mark'd the better sex.
It is used by Ford in the Lady's Trial, a. 4. s. 2.
Now the down Of softness is exchang'd for plumes of age.
v. 58. The farthest gloom.] L'ultima sera. Ariosto, Oroando Furioso c. xxxiv st. 59: Che non hen visto ancor l'ultima sera.
And Filicaja, c. ix. Al Sonno. L'ultima sera.
v. 79. Marcia.] Da fredera prisci Illibata tori: da tantum nomen inane Connubil: liceat tumulo scripsisse, Catonis Martia Lucan, Phars. 1. ii. 344.
v. 110. I spy'd the trembling of the ocean stream.] Connubil il tremolar della marina.
Trissino, in the Sofonisba.] E resta in tremolar l'onda marina
And Fortiguerra, Rleelardetto, c. ix. st. 17. —visto il tremolar della marine.
v. 135. another.] From Virg, Aen. 1. vi. 143. Primo avulso non deficit alter
v. 1. Now had the sun.] Dante was now antipodal to Jerusalem, so that while the sun was setting with respect to that place which he supposes to be the middle of the inhabited earth, to him it was rising.
v. 6. The scales.] The constellation Libra.
v. 35. Winnowing the air.] Trattando l'acre con l'eterne penne.
80 Filicaja, canz. viii. st. 11. Ma trattar l'acre coll' eterne plume
v. 45. In exitu.] "When Israel came out of Egypt." Ps. cxiv.
v. 75. Thrice my hands.] Ter conatus ibi eollo dare brachia eircum, Ter frustra eomprensa manus effugit imago, Par levibus ventis voluerique simillima sommo. Virg. Aen. ii. 794.
Compare Homer, Od. xl. 205.
v. 88. My Casella.] A Florentine, celebrated for his skill in music, "in whose company," says Landine, "Dante often recreated his spirits wearied by severe studies." See Dr. Burney's History of Music, vol. ii. c. iv. p. 322. Milton has a fine allusion to this meeting in his sonnet to Henry Lawes.
v. 90. Hath so much time been lost.] Casella had been dead some years but was only just arrived.
v. 91. He.] The eonducting angel.
v. 94. These three months past.] Since the time of the Jubilee, during which all spirits not condemned to eternal punishment, were supposed to pass over to Purgatory as soon as they pleased.
v. 96. The shore.] Ostia.
v. 170. "Love that discourses in my thoughts."] "Amor che nella mente mi ragiona." The first verse of a eanzone or song in the Convito of Dante, which he again cites in his Treatise de Vulg. Eloq. 1. ii. c. vi.
v. 9. How doth a little failing wound thee sore.] (Ch'era al cor picciol fallo amaro morso. Tasso, G. L. c. x. st. 59.
v. 11. Haste, that mars all decency of act. Aristotle in his Physiog iii. reekons it among the "the signs of an impudent man," that he is "quick in his motions." Compare Sophoeles, Electra, 878.
v. 26. To Naples.] Virgil died at Brundusium, from whence his body is said to have been removed to Naples.
v. 38. Desiring fruitlessly.] See H. Canto IV, 39.
v. 49. 'Twixt Lerice and Turbia.] At that time the two extremities of the Genoese republic, the former on the east, the latter on the west. A very ingenious writer has had occasion, for a different purpose, to mention one of these places as remarkably secluded by its mountainous situation "On an eminence among the mountains, between the two little cities, Nice and Manoca, is the village of Torbia, a name formed from the Greek [GREEK HERE] Mitford on the Harmony of Language, sect. x. p. 351. 2d edit.
v. 78. As sheep.] The imitative nature of these animals supplies our Poet with another comparison in his Convito Opere, t. i. p 34. Ediz. Ven. 1793.
v. 110. Manfredi. King of Naples and Sicily, and the natural son of Frederick II. He was lively end agreeable in his manners, and delighted in poetry, music, and dancing. But he was luxurious and ambitious. Void of religion, and in his philosophy an Epicurean. See G. Villani l. vi. c. xlvii. and Mr. Matthias's Tiraboschi, v. I. p. 38. He fell in the battle with Charles of Anjou in 1265, alluded to in Canto XXVIII, of Hell, v. 13, "Dying, excommunicated, King Charles did allow of his being buried in sacred ground, but he was interred near the bridge of Benevento, and on his grave there was cast a stone by every one of the army whence there was formed a great mound of stones. But some ave said, that afterwards, by command of the Pope. the Bishop of Cosenza took up his body and sent it out of the kingdom, because it was the land of the church, and that it was buried by the river Verde, on the borders of the kingdom and of Carapagna. this, however, we do not affirm." G. Villani, Hist. l. vii. c. 9.
v. 111. Costanza.] See Paradise Canto III. v. 121.
v. 112. My fair daughter.] Costanza, the daughter of Manfredi, and wife of Peter III. King of Arragon, by whom she was mother to Frederick, King of Sicily and James, King of Arragon With the latter of these she was at Rome 1296. See G. Villani, 1. viii. c. 18. and notes to Canto VII.
v. 122. Clement.] Pope Clement IV.
v. 127. The stream of Verde.] A river near Ascoli, that falls into he Toronto. The "xtinguished lights " formed part of the ceremony t the interment of one excommunicated.
v. 130. Hope.] Mentre che la speranza ha fior del verde. Tasso, G. L. c. xix. st. 53. —infin che verde e fior di speme.
v. 1. When.] It must be owned the beginning of this Canto is somewhat obscure. Bellutello refers, for an elucidation of it, to the reasoning of Statius in the twenty-fifth canto. Perhaps some illustration may be derived from the following, passage in South's Sermons, in which I have ventured to supply the words between crotchets that seemed to be wanting to complete the sense. Now whether these three, judgement memory, and invention, are three distinct things, both in being distinguished from one another, and likewise from the substance of the soul itself, considered without any such faculties, (or whether the soul be one individual substance) but only receiving these several denominations rom the several respects arising from the several actions exerted immediately by itself upon several objects, or several qualities of the same object, I say whether of these it is, is not easy to decide, and it is well that it is not necessary Aquinas, and most with him, affirm the former, and Scotus with his followers the latter." Vol. iv. Serm. 1.
v. 23. Sanleo.] A fortress on the summit of Montefeltro.
v. 24. Noli.] In the Genoese territory, between Finale and Savona.
v. 25. Bismantua.] A steep mountain in the territory of Reggio.
v. 55. From the left.] Vellutello observes an imitation of Lucan in this passage:
Ignotum vobis, Arabes, venistis in orbem, Umbras mirati nemornm non ire sinistras. Phars. s. 1. iii. 248
v. 69 Thou wilt see.] "If you consider that this mountain of Purgatory and that of Sion are antipodal to each other, you will perceive that the sun must rise on opposite sides of the respective eminences."
v. 119. Belacqua.] Concerning this man, the commentators afford no information.
v. 14. Be as a tower.] Sta ome torre ferma
Berni, Orl. Inn. 1. 1. c. xvi. st. 48: In quei due piedi sta fermo il gigante Com' una torre in mezzo d'un castello.
And Milton, P. L. b. i. 591. Stood like a tower.
v. 36. Ne'er saw I fiery vapours.] Imitated by Tasso, G. L, c. xix t. 62: Tal suol fendendo liquido sereno Stella cader della gran madre in seno.
And by Milton, P. L. b. iv. 558: Swift as a shooting star In autumn thwarts the night, when vapours fir'd Impress the air.
v. 67. That land.] The Marca d'Ancona, between Romagna and Apulia, the kingdom of Charles of Anjou.
v. 76. From thence I came.] Giacopo del Cassero, a citizen of Fano who having spoken ill of Azzo da Este, Marquis of Ferrara, was by his orders put to death. Giacopo, was overtaken by the assassins at Oriaco a place near the Brenta, from whence, if he had fled towards Mira, higher up on that river, instead of making for the marsh on the sea shore, he might have escaped.
v. 75. Antenor's land.] The city of Padua, said to be founded by Antenor.
v. 87. Of Montefeltro I.] Buonconte (son of Guido da Montefeltro, whom we have had in the twenty-seventh Canto of Hell) fell in the battle of Campaldino (1289), fighting on the side of the Aretini.
v. 88. Giovanna.] Either the wife, or kinswoman, of Buonconte.
v. 91. The hermit's seat.] The hermitage of Camaldoli.
v. 95. Where its name is cancel'd.] That is, between Bibbiena and Poppi, where the Archiano falls into the Arno.
v. 115. From Pratomagno to the mountain range.] From Pratomagno now called Prato Vecchio (which divides the Valdarno from Casentino) as far as to the Apennine.
v. 131. Pia.] She is said to have been a Siennese lady, of the family of Tolommei, secretly made away with by her husband, Nello della Pietra, of the same city, in Maremma, where he had some possessions.
v. 14. Of Arezzo him.] Benincasa of Arezzo, eminent for his skill in jurisprudence, who, having condemned to death Turrino da Turrita brother of Ghino di Tacco, for his robberies in Maremma, was murdered by Ghino, in an apartment of his own house, in the presence of many witnesses. Ghino was not only suffered to escape in safety, but (as the commentators inform us) obtained so high a reputation by the liberality with which he was accustomed to dispense the fruits of his plunder, and treated those who fell into his hands with so much courtesy, that he was afterwards invited to Rome, and knighted by Boniface VIII. A story is told of him by Boccaccio, G. x. N. 2.
v. 15. Him beside.] Ciacco de' Tariatti of Arezzo. He is said to have been carried by his horse into the Arno, and there drowned, while he was in pursuit of certain of his enemies.
v. 17. Frederic Novello.] Son of the Conte Guido da Battifolle, and slain by one of the family of Bostoli.
v. 18. Of Pisa he.] Farinata de' Scornigiani of Pisa. His father Marzuco, who had entered the order of the Frati Minori, so entirely overcame the feelings of resentment, that he even kissed the hands of the slayer of his son, and, as he was following the funeral, exhorted his kinsmen to reconciliation.
v. 20. Count 0rso.] Son of Napoleone da Cerbaia, slain by Alberto da Mangona, his uncle.
v. 23. Peter de la Brosse.] Secretary of Philip III of France. The courtiers, envying the high place which he held in the king's favour, prevailed on Mary of Brabant to charge him falsely with an attempt upon her person for which supposed crime he suffered death. So say the Italian commentators. Henault represents the matter very differently: "Pierre de la Brosse, formerly barber to St. Louis, afterwards the favorite of Philip, fearing the too great attachment of the king for his wife Mary, accuses this princess of having poisoned Louis, eldest son of Philip, by his first marriage. This calumny is discovered by a nun of Nivelle in Flanders. La Brosse is hung." Abrege Chron. t. 275, &c.
v. 30. In thy text.] He refers to Virgil, Aen. 1, vi. 376. Desine fata deum flecti sperare precando, 37. The sacred height Of judgment. Shakespeare, Measure for Measure, a. ii. s. 2. If he, which is the top of judgment
v. 66. Eyeing us as a lion on his watch.] A guisa di Leon quando si posa. A line taken by Tasso, G. L. c. x. st. 56.
v. 76. Sordello.] The history of Sordello's life is wrapt in the obscurity of romance. That he distinguished himself by his skill in Provencal poetry is certain. It is probable that he was born towards the end of the twelfth, and died about the middle of the succeeding century. Tiraboschi has taken much pains to sift all the notices he could collect relating to him. Honourable mention of his name is made by our Poet in the Treatise de Vulg. Eloq. 1. i. c. 15.
v. 76. Thou inn of grief.] Thou most beauteous inn Why should hard-favour'd grief be lodg'd in thee? Shakespeare, Richard II a. 5. s. 1.
v. 89. Justinian's hand.] "What avails it that Justinian delivered thee from the Goths, and reformed thy laws, if thou art no longer under the control of his successors in the empire?"
v. 94. That which God commands.] He alludes to the precept- "Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's."
v. 98. O German Albert!] The Emperor Albert I. succeeded Adolphus in 1298, and was murdered in 1308. See Par Canto XIX 114 v. 103. Thy successor.] The successor of Albert was Henry of Luxembourg, by whose interposition in the affairs of Italy our Poet hoped to have been reinstated in his native city.
v. 101. Thy sire.] The Emperor Rodolph, too intent on increasing his power in Germany to give much of his thoughts to Italy, "the garden of the empire."
v. 107. Capulets and Montagues.] Our ears are so familiarized to the names of these rival families in the language of Shakespeare, that I have used them instead of the "Montecchi" and "Cappelletti."
v. 108. Philippeschi and Monaldi.] Two other rival families in Orvieto.
v. 113. What safety, Santafiore can supply.] A place between Pisa and Sienna. What he alludes to is so doubtful, that it is not certain whether we should not read "come si cura"—" How Santafiore is governed." Perhaps the event related in the note to v. 58, Canto XI. may be pointed at.
v. 127. Marcellus.] Un Marcel diventa Ogni villan che parteggiando viene. Repeated by Alamanni in his Coltivazione, 1. i.
v. 51. I sick wretch.] Imitated by the Cardinal de Polignac in his Anti-Lucretius, 1. i. 1052.
Ceu lectum peragrat membris languentibus aeger In latus alterne faevum dextrumque recumbens Nec javat: inde oculos tollit resupinus in altum: Nusquam inventa quies; semper quaesita: quod illi Primum in deliciis fuerat, mox torquet et angit: Nec morburm sanat, nec fallit taedia morbi.
v. 14. Where one of mean estate might clasp his lord.] Ariosto Orl. F. c. xxiv. st. 19
E l'abbracciaro, ove il maggior s'abbraccia Col capo nudo e col ginocchio chino.
v. 31. The three holy virtues.] Faith, Hope and Charity.
v. 32. The red.] Prudence, Justice, Fortitude, and Temperance.
v. 72. Fresh emeralds.] Under foot the violet, Crocus, and hyacinth with rich inlay Broider'd the ground, more colour'd than with stone Of costliest emblem. Milton, P. L. b. iv. 793
Compare Ariosto, Orl. F. c. xxxiv. st. 49.
v. 79. Salve Regina.] The beginning of a prayer to the Virgin. It is sufficient here to observe, that in similar instances I shall either preserve the original Latin words or translate them, as it may seem best to suit the purpose of the verse.
v. 91. The Emperor Rodolph.] See the last Canto, v. 104. He died in 1291.
v. 95. That country.] Bohemia.
v. 97. Ottocar.] King of Bohemia, was killed in the battle of Marchfield, fought with Rodolph, August 26, 1278. Winceslaus II. His son,who succeeded him in the kingdom of Bohemia. died in 1305. He is again taxed with luxury in the Paradise Canto XIX. 123.
v. 101. That one with the nose deprest. ] Philip III of France, who died in 1285, at Perpignan, in his retreat from Arragon.
v. 102. Him of gentle look.] Henry of Naverre, father of Jane married to Philip IV of France, whom Dante calls "mal di Francia" -" Gallia's bane."
v. 110. He so robust of limb.] Peter III called the Great, King of Arragon, who died in 1285, leaving four sons, Alonzo, James, Frederick and Peter. The two former succeeded him in the kingdom of Arragon, and Frederick in that of Sicily. See G. Villani, 1. vii. c. 102. and Mariana, I. xiv. c. 9. He is enumerated among the Provencal poets by Millot, Hist. Litt. Des Troubadours, t. iii. p. 150.
v. 111. Him of feature prominent.] "Dal maschio naso"-with the masculine nose." Charles I. King of Naples, Count of Anjou, and brother of St. Lonis. He died in 1284. The annalist of Florence remarks, that "there had been no sovereign of the house of France, since the time of Charlemagne, by whom Charles was surpassed either in military renown, and prowess, or in the loftiness of his understanding." G. Villani, 1. vii. c. 94. We shall, however, find many of his actions severely reprobated in the twentieth Canto.
v. 113. That stripling.] Either (as the old commentators suppose) Alonzo III King of Arragon, the eldest son of Peter III who died in 1291, at the age of 27, or, according to Venturi, Peter the youngest son. The former was a young prince of virtue sufficient to have justified the eulogium and the hopes of Dante.
See Mariana, 1. xiv. c. 14.
v. 119. Rarely.] Full well can the wise poet of Florence That hight Dante, speaken in this sentence Lo! in such manner rime is Dantes tale. Full selde upriseth by his branches smale Prowesse of man for God of his goodnesse Woll that we claim of him our gentlenesse: For of our elders may we nothing claime But temporal thing, that men may hurt and maime. Chaucer, Wife of Bathe's Tale.
Compare Homer, Od. b. ii. v. 276; Pindar, Nem. xi. 48 and Euripides, Electra, 369.
v. 122. To Charles.] "Al Nasuto." -"Charles II King of Naples, is no less inferior to his father Charles I. than James and Frederick to theirs, Peter III."
v. 127. Costanza.] Widow of Peter III She has been already mentioned in the third Canto, v. 112. By Beatrice and Margaret are probably meant two of the daughters of Raymond Berenger, Count of Provence; the former married to St. Louis of France, the latter to his brother Charles of Anjou. See Paradise, Canto Vl. 135. Dante therefore considers Peter as the most illustrious of the three monarchs.
v. 129. Harry of England.] Henry III.
v. 130. Better issue.] Edward l. of whose glory our Poet was perhaps a witness, in his visit to England.
v. 133. William, that brave Marquis.] William, Marquis of Monferrat, was treacherously seized by his own subjects, at Alessandria, in Lombardy, A.D. 1290, and ended his life in prison. See G. Villani, 1. vii. c. 135. A war ensued between the people of Alessandria and those of Monferrat and the Canavese.
v. 6. That seems to mourn for the expiring day.] The curfew tolls the knell of parting day. Gray's Elegy.
v. 13. Te Lucis Ante.] The beginning of one of the evening hymns.
v. 36. As faculty.]
My earthly by his heav'nly overpower'd * * * * As with an object, that excels the sense, Dazzled and spent. Milton, P. L. b. viii. 457.
v. 53. Nino, thou courteous judge.] Nino di Gallura de' Visconti nephew to Count Ugolino de' Gherardeschi, and betrayed by him. See Notes to Hell Canto XXXIII.
v. 65. Conrad.] Currado Malaspina.
v. 71 My Giovanna.] The daughter of Nino, and wife of Riccardo da Cammino of Trevigi.
v. 73. Her mother.] Beatrice, marchioness of Este wife of Nino, and after his death married to Galeazzo de' Visconti of Milan.
v. 74. The white and wimpled folds.] The weeds of widowhood.
v. 80. The viper.] The arms of Galeazzo and the ensign of the Milanese.
v. 81. Shrill Gallura's bird.] The cock was the ensign of Gallura, Nino's province in Sardinia. Hell, Canto XXII. 80. and Notes.
v. 115. Valdimagra.] See Hell, Canto XXIV. 144. and Notes.
v. 133. Sev'n times the tired sun.] "The sun shall not enter into the constellation of Aries seven times more, before thou shalt have still better cause for the good opinion thou expresses" of Valdimagra, in the kind reception thou shalt there meet with." Dante was hospitably received by the Marchese Marcello Malaspina, during his banishment. A.D. 1307.
v. 1. Now the fair consort of Tithonus old.] La concubina di Titone antico. So Tassoni, Secchia Rapita, c. viii. st. 15. La puttanella del canuto amante.
v. 5. Of that chill animal.] The scorpion.
v. 14. Our minds.] Compare Hell, Canto XXVI. 7.
v. 18. A golden-feathered eagle. ] Chaucer, in the house of Fame at the conclusion of the first book and beginning of the second, represents himself carried up by the "grim pawes" of a golden eagle. Much of his description is closely imitated from Dante.
v. 50. Lucia.] The enIightening, grace of heaven Hell, Canto II. 97.
v. 85. The lowest stair.] By the white step is meant the distinctness with which the conscience of the penitent reflects his offences, by the burnt and cracked one, his contrition on, their account; and by that of porphyry, the fervour with which he resolves on the future pursuit of piety and virtue. Hence, no doubt, Milton describing "the gate of heaven," P. L. b. iii. 516.
Each stair mysteriously was meant.
v. 100. Seven times.] Seven P's, to denote the seven sins (Peccata) of which he was to be cleansed in his passage through purgatory.
v. 115. One is more precious.] The golden key denotes the divine authority by which the priest absolves the sinners the silver expresses the learning and judgment requisite for the due discharge of that office.
v. 127. Harsh was the grating.] On a sudden open fly With impetuous recoil and jarring, sound Th' infernal doors, and on their hinges grate Harsh thunder Milton, P. L. b. ii 882
v. 128. The Turpeian.] Protinus, abducto patuerunt temple Metello. Tunc rupes Tarpeia sonat: magnoque reclusas Testatur stridore fores: tune conditus imo Eruitur tempo multis intactus ab annnis Romani census populi, &c. Lucan. Ph. 1. iii. 157.
v. 6. That Wound.] Venturi justly observes, that the Padre d'Aquino has misrepresented the sense of this passage in his translation.
—dabat ascensum tendentibus ultra Scissa tremensque silex, tenuique erratica motu.
The verb "muover"' is used in the same signification in the Inferno, Canto XVIII. 21.
Cosi da imo della roccia scogli Moven.
—from the rock's low base Thus flinty paths advanc'd.
In neither place is actual motion intended to be expressed.
v. 52. That from unbidden. office awes mankind.] Seo 2 Sam. G.
v 58. Preceding.] Ibid. 14, &c.
v. 68. Gregory.] St. Gregory's prayers are said to have delivered Trajan from hell. See Paradise, Canto XX. 40.
v. 69. Trajan the Emperor. For this story, Landino refers to two writers, whom he calls "Heunando," of France, by whom he means Elinand, a monk and chronicler, in the reign of Philip Augustus, and "Polycrato," of England, by whom is meant John of Salisbury, author of the Polycraticus de Curialium Nugis, in the twelfth century. The passage in the text I find to be nearly a translation from that work, 1. v. c. 8. The original appears to be in Dio Cassius, where it is told of the Emperor Hadrian, lib. I xix. [GREEK HERE] When a woman appeared to him with a suit, as he was on a journey, at first he answered her, 'I have no leisure,' but she crying out to him, 'then reign no longer' he turned about, and heard her cause."
v. 119. As to support.] Chillingworth, ch.vi. 54. speaks of "those crouching anticks, which seem in great buildings to labour under the weight they bear." And Lord Shaftesbury has a similar illustration in his Essay on Wit and Humour, p. 4. s. 3.
v. 1. 0 thou Mighty Father.] The first four lines are borrowed by Pulci, Morg. Magg. c. vi. Dante, in his 'Credo,' has again versified the Lord's prayer.
v. 58. I was of Latinum.] Omberto, the son of Guglielino Aldobrandeseo, Count of Santafiore, in the territory of Sienna His arrogance provoked his countrymen to such a pitch of fury against him, that he was murdered by them at Campagnatico.
v. 79. Oderigi.] The illuminator, or miniature painter, a friend of Giotto and Dante
v. 83. Bolognian Franco.] Franco of Bologna, who is said to have been a pupil of Oderigi's.
v. 93. Cimabue.] Giovanni Cimabue, the restorer of painting, was born at Florence, of a noble family, in 1240, and died in 1300. The passage in the text is an illusion to his epitaph:
Credidit ut Cimabos picturae castra tenere, Sic tenuit vivens: nunc tenet astra poli.
v. 95. The cry is Giotto's.] In Giotto we have a proof at how early a period the fine arts were encouraged in Italy. His talents were discovered by Cimabue, while he was tending sheep for his father in the neighbourhood of Florence, and he was afterwards patronized by Pope Benedict XI and Robert King of Naples, and enjoyed the society and friendship of Dante, whose likeness he has transmitted to posterity. He died in 1336, at the age of 60.
v. 96. One Guido from the other.] Guido Cavalcanti, the friend of our Poet, (see Hell, Canto X. 59.) had eclipsed the literary fame of Guido Guinicelli, of a noble family in Bologna, whom we shall meet with in the twenty-sixth Canto and of whom frequent mention is made by our Poet in his Treatise de Vulg. Eloq. Guinicelli died in 1276. Many of Cavalcanti's writings, hitherto in MS. are now publishing at Florence" Esprit des Journaux, Jan. 1813.
v. 97. He perhaps is born.] Some imagine, with much probability, that Dante here augurs the greatness of his own poetical reputation. Others have fancied that he prophesies the glory of Petrarch. But Petrarch was not yet born.
v. 136. suitor.] Provenzano salvani humbled himself so far for the sake of one of his friends, who was detained in captivity by Charles I of Sicily, as personally to supplicate the people of Sienna to contribute the sum required by the king for his ransom:
and this act of self-abasement atoned for his general ambition and pride.
v. 140. Thy neighbours soon.] "Thou wilt know in the time of thy banishment, which is near at hand, what it is to solicit favours of others and 'tremble through every vein,' lest they should be refused thee."
v. 26. The Thymbraen god.] Apollo
Si modo, quem perhibes, pater est Thymbraeus Apollo. Virg. Georg. iv. 323.
v. 37. Mars.]
With such a grace, The giants that attempted to scale heaven When they lay dead on the Phlegren plain Mars did appear to Jove. Beaumont and Fletcher, The Prophetess, a. 2. s. 3.
v. 42. O Rehoboam.] 1 Kings, c. xii. 18.
v. 46. A1cmaeon.] Virg. Aen. l. vi. 445, and Homer, Od. xi. 325.
v. 48. Sennacherib.] 2 Kings, c. xix. 37.
v. 58. What master of the pencil or the style.] —inimitable on earth By model, or by shading pencil drawn. Milton, P. L. b. iii. 509.
v. 94. The chapel stands.] The church of San Miniato in Florence situated on a height that overlooks the Arno, where it is crossed by the bridge Rubaconte, so called from Messer Rubaconte da Mandelia, of Milan chief magistrate of Florence, by whom the bridge was founded in 1237. See G. Villani, 1. vi. c. 27.
v. 96. The well-guided city] This is said ironically of Florence.
v. 99. The registry.] In allusion to certain instances of fraud committed with respect to the public accounts and measures See Paradise Canto XVI. 103.
v. 26. They have no wine.] John, ii. 3. These words of the Virgin are referred to as an instance of charity.
v. 29. Orestes] Alluding to his friendship with Pylades
v. 32. Love ye those have wrong'd you.] Matt. c. v. 44.
v. 33. The scourge.] "The chastisement of envy consists in hearing examples of the opposite virtue, charity. As a curb and restraint on this vice, you will presently hear very different sounds, those of threatening and punishment."
v. 87. Citizens Of one true city.] "For here we have no continuing city, but we seek to come." Heb. C. xiii. 14.
v. 101. Sapia.] A lady of Sienna, who, living in exile at Colle, was so overjoyed at a defeat which her countrymen sustained near that place that she declared nothing more was wanting to make her die contented.
v. 114. The merlin.] The story of the merlin is that having been induced by a gleam of fine weather in the winter to escape from his master, he was soon oppressed by the rigour of the season.
v. 119. The hermit Piero.] Piero Pettinagno, a holy hermit of Florence.
v. 141. That vain multitude.] The Siennese. See Hell, Canto XXIX. 117. "Their acquisition of Telamone, a seaport on the confines of the Maremma, has led them to conceive hopes of becoming a naval power: but this scheme will prove as chimerical as their former plan for the discovery of a subterraneous stream under their city." Why they gave the appellation of Diana to the imagined stream, Venturi says he leaves it to the antiquaries of Sienna to conjecture.
v. 34. Maim'd of Pelorus.] Virg. Aen. 1. iii. 414.
—a hill Torn from Pelorus Milton P. L. b. i. 232
v. 45. 'Midst brute swine.] The people of Casentino.
v. 49. Curs.] The Arno leaves Arezzo about four miles to the left.
v. 53. Wolves.] The Florentines.
v. 55. Foxes.] The Pisans
v. 61. Thy grandson.] Fulcieri de' Calboli, grandson of Rinieri de' Calboli, who is here spoken to. The atrocities predicted came to pass in 1302. See G. Villani, 1. viii c. 59
v. 95. 'Twixt Po, the mount, the Reno, and the shore.] The boundaries of Romagna.
v. 99. Lizio.] Lizio da Valbona, introduced into Boccaccio's Decameron, G. v. N, 4.
v. 100. Manardi, Traversaro, and Carpigna.1 Arrigo Manardi of Faenza, or as some say, of Brettinoro, Pier Traversaro, lord of Ravenna, and Guido di Carpigna of Montefeltro.
v. 102. In Bologna the low artisan.] One who had been a mechanic named Lambertaccio, arrived at almost supreme power in Bologna.
v. 103. Yon Bernardin.] Bernardin di Fosco, a man of low origin but great talents, who governed at Faenza.
v. 107. Prata.] A place between Faenza and Ravenna
v. 107. Of Azzo him.] Ugolino of the Ubaldini family in Tuscany He is recounted among the poets by Crescimbeni and Tiraboschi.
v. 108. Tignoso.] Federigo Tignoso of Rimini.
v. 109. Traversaro's house and Anastagio's.] Two noble families of Ravenna. She to whom Dryden has given the name of Honoria, in the fable so admirably paraphrased from Boccaccio, was of the former: her lover and the specter were of the Anastagi family.
v. 111. The ladies, &c.] These two lines express the true spirit of chivalry. "Agi" is understood by the commentators whom I have consulted,to mean "the ease procured for others by the exertions of knight-errantry." But surely it signifies the alternation of ease with labour.
v. 114. O Brettinoro.] A beautifully situated castle in Romagna, the hospitable residence of Guido del Duca, who is here speaking.
v. 118. Baynacavallo.] A castle between Imola and Ravenna
v. 118. Castracaro ill And Conio worse.] Both in Romagna.
v. 121. Pagani.] The Pagani were lords of Faenza and Imola. One of them Machinardo, was named the Demon, from his treachery. See Hell, Canto XXVII. 47, and Note.
v. 124. Hugolin.] Ugolino Ubaldini, a noble and virtuous person in Faenza, who, on account of his age probably, was not likely to leave any offspring behind him. He is enumerated among the poets by Crescimbeni, and Tiraboschi. Mr. Matthias's edit. vol. i. 143
v. 136. Whosoever finds Will slay me.] The words of Cain, Gen. e. iv. 14.
v. 142. Aglauros.] Ovid, Met. I, ii. fate. 12.
v. 145. There was the galling bit.] Referring to what had been before said, Canto XIII. 35.
v. 1. As much.] It wanted three hours of sunset.
v. 16. As when the ray.] Compare Virg. Aen. 1.viii. 22, and Apol. Rhod. 1. iii. 755.
v. 19. Ascending at a glance.] Lucretius, 1. iv. 215.
v. 20. Differs from the stone.] The motion of light being quicker than that of a stone through an equal space.
v. 38. Blessed the merciful. Matt. c. v. 7.
v. 43. Romagna's spirit.] Guido del Duea, of Brettinoro whom we have seen in the preceding Canto.
v. 87. A dame.] Luke, c. ii. 18
v. 101. How shall we those requite.] The answer of Pisistratus the tyrant to his wife, when she urged him to inflict the punishment of death on a young man, who, inflamed with love for his daughter, had snatched from her a kiss in public. The story is told by Valerius Maximus, 1.v. 1.
v. 105. A stripling youth.] The protomartyr Stephen.
v. 94. As thou.] "If thou wert still living."
v. 46. I was of Lombardy, and Marco call'd.] A Venetian gentleman. "Lombardo" both was his surname and denoted the country to which he belonged. G. Villani, 1. vii. c. 120, terms him "a wise and worthy courtier."
v. 58. Elsewhere.] He refers to what Guido del Duca had said in the thirteenth Canto, concerning the degeneracy of his countrymen.
v. 70. If this were so.] Mr. Crowe in his Lewesdon Hill has expressed similar sentiments with much energy.
Of this be sure, Where freedom is not, there no virtue is, &c.
Compare Origen in Genesim, Patrum Graecorum, vol. xi. p. 14. Wirer burgi, 1783. 8vo.
v. 79. To mightier force.] "Though ye are subject to a higher power than that of the heavenly constellations, e'en to the power of the great Creator himself, yet ye are still left in the possession of liberty."
v. 88. Like a babe that wantons sportively.] This reminds one of the Emperor Hadrian's verses to his departing soul:
Animula vagula blandula, &c
v. 99. The fortress.] Justice, the most necessary virtue in the chief magistrate, as the commentators explain it.
v. 103. Who.] He compares the Pope, on account of the union of the temporal with the spiritual power in his person, to an unclean beast in the levitical law. "The camel, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof, he is unclean unto you." Levit. c. xi. 4.
v. 110. Two sons.] The Emperor and the Bishop of Rome.
v. 117. That land.] Lombardy.
v. 119. Ere the day.] Before the Emperor Frederick II was defeated before Parma, in 1248. G. Villani, 1. vi. c. 35.
v. 126. The good Gherardo.] Gherardo di Camino of Trevigi. He is honourably mentioned in our Poet's "Convito." Opere di Dante, t. i. p. 173 Venez. 8vo. 1793. And Tiraboschi supposes him to have been the same Gherardo with whom the Provencal poets were used to meet with hospitable reception. See Mr. Matthias's edition, t. i. p. 137, v. 127. Conrad.] Currado da Palazzo, a gentleman of Brescia.
v. 127. Guido of Castello.] Of Reggio. All the Italians were called Lombards by the French.
v. 144. His daughter Gaia.] A lady equally admired for her modesty, the beauty of her person, and the excellency of her talents. Gaia, says Tiraboschi, may perhaps lay claim to the praise of having been the first among the Italian ladies, by whom the vernacular poetry was cultivated. Ibid. p. 137.
v. 21. The bird, that most Delights itself in song.] I cannot think with Vellutello, that the swallow is here meant. Dante probably alludes to the story of Philomela, as it is found in Homer's Odyssey, b. xix. 518 rather than as later poets have told it. "She intended to slay the son of her husband's brother Amphion, incited to it, by the envy of his wife, who had six children, while herself had only two, but through mistake slew her own son Itylus, and for her punishment was transformed by Jupiter into a nightingale." Cowper's note on the passage. In speaking of the nightingale, let me observe, that while some have considered its song as a melancholy, and others as a cheerful one, Chiabrera appears to have come nearest the truth, when he says, in the Alcippo, a. l. s. 1, Non mal si stanca d' iterar le note O gioconde o dogliose, Al sentir dilettose.
Unwearied still reiterates her lays, Jocund or sad, delightful to the ear.
v. 26. One crucified.] Haman. See the book of Esther, c. vii. v. 34. A damsel.] Lavinia, mourning for her mother Amata, who, impelled by grief and indignation for the supposed death of Turnus, destroyed herself. Aen. 1. xii. 595.
v. 43. The broken slumber quivering ere it dies.] Venturi suggests that this bold and unusual metaphor may have been formed on that in Virgil.
Tempus erat quo prima quies mortalibus aegris Incipit, et dono divun gratissima serpit. Aen. 1. ii. 268.
v. 68. The peace-makers.] Matt. c. v. 9.
v. 81. The love.] "A defect in our love towards God, or lukewarmness in piety, is here removed."
v. 94. The primal blessings.] Spiritual good.
v. 95. Th' inferior.] Temporal good.
v. 102. Now.] "It is impossible for any being, either to hate itself, or to hate the First Cause of all, by which it exists. We can therefore only rejoice in the evil which befalls others."
v. 111. There is.] The proud.
v. 114. There is.] The envious.
v. 117. There is he.] The resentful.
v. 135. Along Three circles.] According to the allegorical commentators, as Venturi has observed, Reason is represented under the person of Virgil, and Sense under that of Dante. The former leaves to the latter to discover for itself the three carnal sins, avarice, gluttony and libidinousness; having already declared the nature of the spiritual sins, pride, envy, anger, and indifference, or lukewarmness in piety, which the Italians call accidia, from the Greek word. [GREEK HERE]
v. 1. The teacher ended.] Compare Plato, Protagoras, v. iii. p. 123. Bip. edit. [GREEK HERE] Apoll. Rhod. 1. i. 513, and Milton, P. L. b. viii. 1. The angel ended, &c.
v. 23. Your apprehension.] It is literally, "Your apprehensive faculty derives intention from a thing really existing, and displays the intention within you, so that it makes the soul turn to it." The commentators labour in explaining this; and whatever sense they have elicited may, I think, be resolved into the words of the translation in the text.
v. 47. Spirit.] The human soul, which differs from that of brutes, inasmuch as, though united with the body, it has a separate existence of its own. v. 65. Three men.] The great moral philosophers among the heathens.
v. 78. A crag.] I have preferred the reading of Landino, scheggion, "crag," conceiving it to be more poetical than secchion, "bucket," which is the common reading. The same cause, the vapours, which the commentators say might give the appearance of increased magnitude to the moon, might also make her seem broken at her rise.
v. 78. Up the vault.] The moon passed with a motion opposite to that of the heavens, through the constellation of the scorpion, in which the sun is, when to those who are in Rome he appears to set between the isles of Corsica and Sardinia.
v. 84. Andes.] Andes, now Pietola, made more famous than Mantua near which it is situated, by having been the birthplace of Virgil.
v. 92. Ismenus and Asopus.] Rivers near Thebes
v. 98. Mary.] Luke, c i. 39, 40
v. 99. Caesar.] See Lucan, Phars. I. iii. and iv, and Caesar de Bello Civiii, I. i. Caesar left Brutus to complete the siege of Marseilles, and hastened on to the attack of Afranius and Petreius, the generals of Pompey, at Ilerda (Lerida) in Spain.
v. 118. abbot.] Alberto, abbot of San Zeno in Verona, when Frederick I was emperor, by whom Milan was besieged and reduced to ashes.
v. 121. There is he.] Alberto della Scala, lord of Verona, who had made his natural son abbot of San Zeno.
v. 133. First they died.] The Israelites, who, on account of their disobedience, died before reaching the promised land.
v. 135. And they.] Virg Aen. 1. v.
v. 1. The hour.] Near the dawn.
v. 4. The geomancer.] The geomancers, says Landino, when they divined, drew a figure consisting of sixteen marks, named from so many stars which constitute the end of Aquarius and the beginning of Pisces. One of these they called "the greater fortune."
v. 7. A woman's shape.] Worldly happiness. This allegory reminds us of the "Choice of Hercules."
v. 14. Love's own hue.] A smile that glow'd Celestial rosy red, love's proper hue. Milton, P. L. b. viii. 619
—facies pulcherrima tune est Quum porphyriaco variatur candida rubro Quid color hic roseus sibi vult? designat amorem: Quippe amor est igni similis; flammasque rubentes Ignus habere solet. Palingenii Zodiacus Vitae, 1. xii.
v. 26. A dame.] Philosophy.
v. 49. Who mourn.] Matt. c. v. 4.
v. 72. My soul.] Psalm cxix. 5
v. 97. The successor of Peter Ottobuono, of the family of Fieschi Counts of Lavagna, died thirty-nine days after he became Pope, with the title of Adrian V, in 1276.
v. 98. That stream.] The river Lavagna, in the Genoese territory.
v. 135. nor shall be giv'n in marriage.] Matt. c. xxii. 30. "Since in this state we neither marry nor are given in marriage, I am no longer the spouse of the church, and therefore no longer retain my former dignity.
v. 140. A kinswoman.] Alagia is said to have been the wife of the Marchese Marcello Malaspina, one of the poet's protectors during his exile. See Canto VIII. 133.
v. 3. I drew the sponge.] "I did not persevere in my inquiries from the spirit though still anxious to learn more." v. 11. Wolf.] Avarice.
v. 16. Of his appearing.] He is thought to allude to Can Grande della Scala. See Hell, Canto I. 98.
v. 25. Fabricius.] Compare Petrarch, Tr. della Fama, c. 1.
Un Curio ed un Fabricio, &c.
v. 30. Nicholas.] The story of Nicholas is, that an angel having revealed to him that the father of a family was so impoverished as to resolve on exposing the chastity of his three daughters to sale, he threw in at the window of their house three bags of money, containing a sufficient portion for each of them. v. 42. Root.] Hugh Capet, ancestor of Philip IV. v. 46. Had Ghent and Douay, Lille and Bruges power.] These cities had lately been seized by Philip IV. The spirit is made to imitate the approaching defeat of the French army by the Flemings, in the battle of Courtrai, which happened in 1302. v. 51. The slaughter's trade.] This reflection on the birth of his ancestor induced Francis I to forbid the reading of Dante in his dominions Hugh Capet, who came to the throne of France in 987, was however the grandson of Robert, who was the brother of Eudes, King of France in 888.
v. 52. All save one.] The posterity of Charlemagne, the second race of French monarchs, had failed, with the exception of Charles of Lorraine who is said, on account of the melancholy temper of his mind, to have always clothed himself in black. Venturi suggest that Dante may have confounded him with Childeric III the last of the Merosvingian, or first, race, who was deposed and made a monk in 751.
v. 57. My son.] Hugh Capet caused his son Robert to be crowned at Orleans.
v. 59. The Great dower of Provence.] Louis IX, and his brother Charles of Anjou, married two of the four daughters of Raymond Berenger Count of Provence. See Par. Canto VI. 135.
v. 63. For amends.] This is ironical
v. 64. Poitou it seiz'd, Navarre and Gascony.] I venture to read- Potti e Navarra prese e Guascogna,
Ponti e Normandia prese e Guascogna Seiz'd Ponthieu, Normandy and Gascogny.
Landino has "Potti," and he is probably right for Poitou was annexed to the French crown by Philip IV. See Henault, Abrege Chron. A.D. l283, &c. Normandy had been united to it long before by Philip Augustus, a circumstance of which it is difficult to imagine that Dante should have been ignorant, but Philip IV, says Henault, ibid., took the title of King of Navarre: and the subjugation of Navarre is also alluded to in the Paradise, Canto XIX. 140. In 1293, Philip IV summoned Edward I. to do him homage for the duchy of Gascogny, which he had conceived the design of seizing. See G. Villani, l. viii. c. 4.
v. 66. Young Conradine.] Charles of Anjou put Conradine to death in 1268; and became King of Naples. See Hell, Canto XXVIII, 16, and Note.
v. 67. Th' angelic teacher.] Thomas Aquinas. He was reported to have been poisoned by a physician, who wished to ingratiate himself with Charles of Anjou. G. Villani, I. ix. c. 218. We shall find him in the Paradise, Canto X.
v. 69. Another Charles.] Charles of Valois, brother of Philip IV, was sent by Pope Boniface VIII to settle the disturbed state of Florence. In consequence of the measures he adopted for that purpose, our poet and his friend, were condemned to exile and death.
v. 71. -with that lance Which the arch-traitor tilted with.]
con la lancia Con la qual giostro Guida.
If I remember right, in one of the old romances, Judas is represented tilting with our Saviour.
v. 78. The other.] Charles, King of Naples, the eldest son of Charles of Anjou, having, contrary to the directions of his father, engaged with Ruggier de Lauria, the admiral of Peter of Arragon, was made prisoner and carried into Sicily, June, 1284. He afterwards, in consideration of a large sum of money, married his daughter to Azzo VI11, Marquis of Ferrara.
v. 85. The flower-de-luce.] Boniface VIII was seized at Alagna in Campagna, by order of Philip IV., in the year 1303, and soon after died of grief. G. Villani, 1. viii. c. 63.
v. 94. Into the temple.] It is uncertain whether our Poet alludes still to the event mentioned in the preceding Note, or to the destruction of the order of the Templars in 1310, but the latter appears more probable.
v. 103. Pygmalion.] Virg. Aen. 1. i. 348.
v. 107. Achan.] Joshua, c. vii.
v. 111. Heliodorus.] 2 Maccabees, c. iii. 25. "For there appeared unto them a horse, with a terrible rider upon him, and adorned with a very fair covering, and he ran fiercely and smote at Heliodorus with his forefeet."
v. 112. Thracia's king.] Polymnestor, the murderer of Polydorus. Hell, Canto XXX, 19.
v. 114. Crassus.] Marcus Crassus, who fell miserably in the Parthian war. See Appian, Parthica.
v. 26. She.] Lachesis, one of the three fates.
v. 43. —that, which heaven in itself Doth of itself receive.] Venturi, I think rightly interprets this to be light.
v. 49. Thaumantian.] Figlia di Taumante [GREEK HERE]
Compare Plato, Theaet. v. ii. p. 76. Bip. edit., Virg; Aen. ix. 5, and Spenser, Faery Queen, b. v. c. 3. st. 25.
v. 85. The name.] The name of Poet.
v. 89. From Tolosa.] Dante, as many others have done, confounds Statius the poet, who was a Neapolitan, with a rhetorician of the same name, who was of Tolosa, or Thoulouse. Thus Chaucer, Temple of Fame, b. iii. The Tholason, that height Stace.
v. 94. Fell.] Statius lived to write only a small part of the Achilleid.
v. 5. Blessed.] Matt. v. 6.
v. 14. Aquinum's bard.] Juvenal had celebrated his contemporary Statius, Sat. vii. 82; though some critics imagine that there is a secret derision couched under his praise.
v. 28. Why.] Quid non mortalia pecaora cogis Anri sacra fames? Virg. Aen. 1. iii. 57
Venturi supposes that Dante might have mistaken the meaning of the word sacra, and construed it "holy," instead of "cursed." But I see no necessity for having recourse to so improbable a conjecture.
v. 41. The fierce encounter.] See Hell, Canto VII. 26.
v. 46. With shorn locks.] Ibid. 58.
v. 57. The twin sorrow of Jocasta's womb.] Eteocles and Polynices
v. 71. A renovated world.] Virg. Ecl. iv. 5
v. 100. That Greek.] Homer
v. 107. Of thy train. ] Of those celebrated in thy Poem."
v. 112. Tiresias' daughter.] Dante appears to have forgotten that he had placed Manto, the daughter of Tiresias, among the sorcerers. See Hell Canto XX. Vellutello endeavours, rather awkwardly, to reconcile the inconsistency, by observing, that although she was placed there as a sinner, yet, as one of famous memory, she had also a place among the worthies in Limbo.
Lombardi excuses our author better, by observing that Tiresias had a daughter named Daphne. See Diodorus Siculus, 1. iv. 66.
v. 139. Mary took more thought.] "The blessed virgin, who answers for yon now in heaven, when she said to Jesus, at the marriage in Cana of Galilee, 'they have no wine,' regarded not the gratification of her own taste, but the honour of the nuptial banquet."
v. 142 The women of old Rome.] See Valerius Maximus, 1. ii. c. i.
v. 9. My lips.] Psalm ii. 15.
v. 20. The eyes.] Compare Ovid, Metam. 1. viii. 801
v. 26. When Mary.] Josephus, De Bello Jud. 1. vii. c. xxi. p. 954 Ed Genev. fol. 1611. The shocking story is well told
v. 27. Rings.] In this habit Met I my father with his bleeding rings Their precious stones new lost. Shakespeare, Lear, a. 5. s. 3
v. 28. Who reads the name.] "He, who pretends to distinguish the letters which form OMO in the features of the human face, "might easily have traced out the M on their emaciated countenances." The temples, nose, and forehead are supposed to represent this letter; and the eyes the two O's placed within each side of it.
v. 44. Forese.] One of the brothers of Piccarda, she who is again spoken of in the next Canto, and introduced in the Paradise, Canto III.
V. 72. If the power.] "If thou didst delay thy repentance to the last, when thou hadst lost the power of sinning, how happens it thou art arrived here so early?"
v. 76. Lower.] In the Ante-Purgatory. See Canto II.
v. 80. My Nella.] The wife of Forese.
v. 87. The tract most barb'rous of Sardinia's isle.] The Barbagia is part of Sardinia, to which that name was given, on account of the uncivilized state of its inhabitants, who are said to have gone nearly naked.
v. 91. The' unblushing domes of Florence.] Landino's note exhibits a curious instance of the changeableness of his countrywomen. He even goes beyond the acrimony of the original. "In those days," says the commentator, "no less than in ours, the Florentine ladies exposed the neck and bosom, a dress, no doubt, more suitable to a harlot than a matron. But, as they changed soon after, insomuch that they wore collars up to the chin, covering the whole of the neck and throat, so have I hopes they will change again; not indeed so much from motives of decency, as through that fickleness, which pervades every action of their lives."
v. 97. Saracens.] "This word, during the middle ages, was indiscriminately applied to Pagans and Mahometans; in short, to all nations (except the Jew's) who did not profess Christianity." Mr. Ellis's specimens of Early English Metrical Romances, vol. i. page 196, a note. Lond. 8vo. 1805.
v. 20. Buonaggiunta.] Buonaggiunta Urbiciani, of Lucca. "There is a canzone by this poet, printed in the collection made by the Giunti, (p. 209,).land a sonnet to Guido Guinicelli in that made by Corbinelli, (p 169,) from which we collect that he lived not about 1230, as Quadrio supposes, (t. ii. p. 159,) but towards the end of the thirteenth century. Concerning, other poems by Buonaggiunta, that are preserved in MS. in some libraries, Crescimbeni may be consulted." Tiraboschi, Mr. Matthias's ed. v. i. p. 115.
v. 23. He was of Tours.] Simon of Tours became Pope, with the title of Martin IV in 1281 and died in 1285.
v. 29. Ubaldino.] Ubaldino degli Ubaldini, of Pila, in the Florentine territory.
v. 30. Boniface.] Archbishop of Ravenna. By Venturi he is called Bonifazio de Fieschi, a Genoese, by Vellutello, the son of the above, mentioned Ubaldini and by Laudino Francioso, a Frenchman.
v. 32. The Marquis.] The Marchese de' Rigogliosi, of Forli.
v. 38. gentucca.] Of this lady it is thought that our Poet became enamoured during his exile. v. 45. Whose brow no wimple shades yet.] "Who has not yet assumed the dress of a woman."
v. 46. Blame it as they may.] See Hell, Canto XXI. 39.
v. 51. Ladies, ye that con the lore of love.]Donne ch' avete intelletto d'amore.The first verse of a canzone in our author's Vita Nuova.
v. 56. The Notary.] Jucopo da Lentino, called the Notary, a poet of these times. He was probably an Apulian: for Dante, (De Vulg. Eloq. I. i. c 12.) quoting a verse which belongs to a canzone of his published by the Giunti, without mentioning the writer's name, terms him one of "the illustrious Apulians," praefulgentes Apuli. See Tiraboschi, Mr. Matthias's edit. vol. i. p. 137. Crescimbeni (1. i. Della Volg. Poes p. 72. 4to. ed. 1698) gives an extract from one of his poems, printed in Allacci's Collection, to show that the whimsical compositions called "Ariette " are not of modern invention.
v. 56. Guittone.] Fra Guittone, of Arezzo, holds a distinguished place in Italian literature, as besides his poems printed in the collection of the Giunti, he has left a collection of letters, forty in number, which afford the earliest specimen of that kind of writing in the language. They were published at Rome in 1743, with learned illustrations by Giovanni Bottari. He was also the first who gave to the sonnet its regular and legitimate form, a species of composition in which not only his own countrymen, but many of the best poets in all the cultivated languages of modern Europe, have since so much delighted.
Guittone, a native of Arezzo, was the son of Viva di Michele. He was of the order of the " Frati Godenti," of which an account may be seen in the Notes to Hell, Canto XXIII. In the year 1293, he founded a monastery of the order of Camaldoli, in Florence, and died in the following year. Tiraboschi, Ibid. p. 119. Dante, in the Treatise de Vulg. Eloq. 1. i. c. 13, and 1. ii. c. 6., blames him for preferring the plebeian to the mor courtly style; and Petrarch twice places him in the company of our Poet. Triumph of Love, cap. iv. and Son. Par. See "Sennuccio mio"
v. 63. The birds.] Hell, Canto V. 46, Euripides, Helena, 1495, and Statius; Theb. 1. V. 12. v. 81. He.] Corso Donati was suspected of aiming at the sovereignty of Florence. To escape the fury of his fellow citizens, he fled away on horseback, but failing, was overtaken and slain, A.D. 1308. The contemporary annalist, after relating at length the circumstances of his fate, adds, "that he was one of the wisest and most valorous knights the best speaker, the most expert statesman, the most renowned and enterprising, man of his age in Italy, a comely knight and of graceful carriage, but very worldly, and in his time had formed many conspiracies in Florence and entered into many scandalous practices, for the sake of attaining state and lordship." G. Villani, 1. viii. c. 96. The character of Corso is forcibly drawn by another of his contemporaries Dino Compagni. 1. iii., Muratori, Rer. Ital. Script. t. ix. p. 523.
v. 129. Creatures of the clouds.] The Centaurs. Ovid. Met. 1. fab. 4 v. 123. The Hebrews.] Judges, c. vii.
v. 58. As sea-sponge.] The fetus is in this stage is zoophyte.
v. 66. -More wise Than thou, has erred.] Averroes is said to be here meant. Venturi refers to his commentary on Aristotle, De Anim 1. iii. c. 5. for the opinion that there is only one universal intellect or mind pervading every individual of the human race. Much of the knowledge displayed by our Poet in the present Canto appears to have been derived from the medical work o+ Averroes, called the Colliget. Lib. ii. f. 10. Ven. 1400. fol.
v. 79. Mark the sun's heat.] Redi and Tiraboschi (Mr. Matthias's ed. v. ii. p. 36.) have considered this an anticipation of a profound discovery of Galileo's in natural philosophy, but it is in reality taken from a passage in Cicero "de Senectute," where, speaking of the grape, he says, " quae, et succo terrae et calore solis augescens, primo est peracerba gustatu, deinde maturata dulcescit."
v. 123. I do, not know a man.] Luke, c. i. 34.
v. 126. Callisto.] See Ovid, Met. 1. ii. fab. 5.
v. 70. Caesar.] For the opprobrium east on Caesar's effeminacy, see Suetonius, Julius Caesar, c. 49.
v. 83. Guinicelli.] See Note to Canto XI. 96.
v. 87. lycurgus.] Statius, Theb. 1. iv. and v. Hypsipile had left her infant charge, the son of Lycurgus, on a bank, where it was destroyed by a serpent, when she went to show the Argive army the river of Langia: and, on her escaping the effects of Lycurgus's resentment, the joy her own children felt at the sight of her was such as our Poet felt on beholding his predecessor Guinicelli.
The incidents are beautifully described in Statius, and seem to have made an impression on Dante, for he again (Canto XXII. 110.) characterizes Hypsipile, as her- Who show'd Langia's wave.
v. 111. He.] The united testimony of Dante, and of Petrarch, in his Triumph of Love, e. iv. places Arnault Daniel at the head of the Provencal poets. That he was born of poor but noble parents, at the castle of Ribeyrae in Perigord, and that he was at the English court, is the amount of Millot's information concerning him (t. ii. p. 479).
The account there given of his writings is not much more satisfactory, and the criticism on them must go for little better than nothing.
It is to be regretted that we have not an opportunity of judging for ourselves of his "love ditties and his tales of prose "
Versi d'amore e prose di romanzi.
Our Poet frequently cities him in the work De Vulgari Eloquentia. According to Crescimbeni, (Della Volg. Poes. 1. 1. p. 7. ed. 1698.) He died in 1189.
v. 113. The songster of Limoges.] Giraud de Borneil, of Sideuil, a castle in Limoges. He was a troubadour, much admired and caressed in his day, and appears to have been in favour with the monarchs of Castile, Leon, Navarre, and Arragon He is quoted by Dante, De Vulg. Eloq., and many of his poems are still remaining in MS. According to Nostradamus he died in 1278. Millot, Hist. Litt. des Troub. t. ii. p. 1 and 23. But I suspect that there is some error in this date, and that he did not live to see so late a period.
v. 118. Guittone.] See Cano XXIV. 56.
v. 123. Far as needs.] See Canto XI. 23.
v. 132. Thy courtesy.] Arnault is here made to speak in his own tongue, the Provencal. According to Dante, (De Vulg. Eloq. 1. 1. c. 8.) the Provencal was one language with the Spanish. What he says on this subject is so curious, that the reader will perhaps not be displeased it I give an abstract of it.
He first makes three great divisions of the European languages. "One of these extends from the mouths of the Danube, or the lake of Maeotis, to the western limits of England, and is bounded by the limits of the French and Italians, and by the ocean. One idiom obtained over the whole of this space: but was afterwards subdivided into, the Sclavonian, Hungarian, Teutonic, Saxon, English, and the vernacular tongues of several other people, one sign remaining to all, that they use the affirmative io, (our English ay.) The whole of Europe, beginning from the Hungarian limits and stretching towards the east, has a second idiom which reaches still further than the end of Europe into Asia. This is the Greek. In all that remains of Europe, there is a third idiom subdivided into three dialects, which may be severally distinguished by the use of the affirmatives, oc, oil, and si; the first spoken by the Spaniards, the next by the French, and the third by the Latins (or Italians). The first occupy the western part of southern Europe, beginning from the limits of the Genoese. The third occupy the eastern part from the said limits, as far, that is, as the promontory of Italy, where the Adriatic sea begins, and to Sicily. The second are in a manner northern with respect to these for they have the Germans to the east and north, on the west they are bounded by the English sea, and the mountains of Arragon, and on the south by the people of Provence and the declivity of the Apennine." Ibid. c. x. "Each of these three," he observes, "has its own claims to distinction The excellency of the French language consists in its being best adapted, on account of its facility and agreeableness, to prose narration, (quicquid redactum, sive inventum est ad vulgare prosaicum suum est); and he instances the books compiled on the gests of the Trojans and Romans and the delightful adventures of King Arthur, with many other histories and works of instruction. The Spanish (or Provencal) may boast of its having produced such as first cultivated in this as in a more perfect and sweet language, the vernacular poetry: among whom are Pierre d'Auvergne, and others more ancient. The privileges of the Latin, or Italian are two: first that it may reckon for its own those writers who have adopted a more sweet and subtle style of poetry, in the number of whom are Cino, da Pistoia and his friend, and the next, that its writers seem to adhere to, certain general rules of grammar, and in so doing give it, in the opinion of the intelligent, a very weighty pretension to preference."
v. 1. The sun.] At Jerusalem it was dawn, in Spain midnight, and in India noonday, while it was sunset in Purgatory
v. 10. Blessed.] Matt. c. v. 8.
v. 57. Come.] Matt. c. xxv. 34.
v. 102. I am Leah.] By Leah is understood the active life, as Rachel figures the contemplative. The divinity is the mirror in which the latter looks. Michel Angelo has made these allegorical personages the subject of two statues on the monument of Julius II. in the church of S. Pietro in Vincolo. See Mr. Duppa's Life of Michel Angelo, Sculpture viii. And x. and p 247.
v. 135. Those bright eyes.] The eyes of Beatrice.
v. 11. To that part.] The west.
v. 14. The feather'd quiristers] Imitated by Boccaccio, Fiammetta, 1. iv. "Odi i queruli uccelli," &c. —"Hear the querulous birds plaining with sweet songs, and the boughs trembling, and, moved by a gentle wind, as it were keeping tenor to their notes."
v. 7. A pleasant air.] Compare Ariosto, O. F. c. xxxiv. st. 50.
v. Chiassi.] This is the wood where the scene of Boccaccio's sublimest story is laid. See Dec. g. 5. n. 8. and Dryden's Theodore and Honoria Our Poet perhaps wandered in it daring his abode with Guido Novello da Polenta.
v. 41. A lady.] Most of the commentators suppose, that by this lady, who in the last Canto is called Matilda, is to be understood the Countess Matilda, who endowed the holy see with the estates called the Patrimony of St. Peter, and died in 1115. See G. Villani, 1. iv. e. 20 But it seems more probable that she should be intended for an allegorical personage.
v. 80. Thou, Lord hast made me glad.] Psalm xcii. 4
v. 146. On the Parnassian mountain.] In bicipiti somniasse Parnasso. Persius Prol.
v. 76. Listed colours.] Di sette liste tutte in quel colori, &c. —a bow Conspicuous with three listed colours gay. Milton, P. L. b. xi. 865.
v. 79. Ten paces.] For an explanation of the allegorical meaning of this mysterious procession, Venturi refers those "who would see in the dark" to the commentaries of Landino, Vellutello, and others: and adds that it is evident the Poet has accommodated to his own fancy many sacred images in the Apocalypse. In Vasari's Life of Giotto, we learn that Dante recommended that book to his friend, as affording fit subjects for his pencil.
v. 89. Four.] The four evangelists.
v. 96. Ezekiel.] Chap. 1. 4.
v. 101. John.] Rev. c. iv. 8.
v. 104. Gryphon.] Under the Gryphon, an imaginary creature, the forepart of which is an eagle, and the hinder a lion, is shadowed forth the union of the divine and human nature in Jesus Christ. The car is the church.
v. 115. Tellus' prayer.] Ovid, Met. 1. ii. v. 279.
v. 116. 'Three nymphs.] The three evangelical virtues: the first Charity, the next Hope, and the third Faith. Faith may be produced by charity, or charity by faith, but the inducements to hope must arise either from one or other of these.
v. 125. A band quaternion.] The four moral or cardinal virtues, of whom Prudence directs the others.
v. 129. Two old men.] Saint Luke, characterized as the writer of the Arts of the Apostles and Saint Paul.
v. 133. Of the great Coan.] Hippocrates, "whom nature made for the benefit of her favourite creature, man."
v. 138. Four others.] "The commentators," says Venturi; "suppose these four to be the four evangelists, but I should rather take them to be four principal doctors of the church." Yet both Landino and Vellutello expressly call them the authors of the epistles, James, Peter, John and Jude.
v. 140. One single old man.] As some say, St. John, under his character of the author of the Apocalypse. But in the poem attributed to Giacopo, the son of our Poet, which in some MSS, accompanies the original of this work, and is descriptive of its plan, this old man is said to be Moses.
E'l vecchio, ch' era dietro a tutti loro Fu Moyse.
And the old man, who was behind them all, Was Moses. See No. 3459 of the Harl. MSS. in the British Museum.
v. 1. The polar light.] The seven candlesticks.
v. 12. Come.] Song of Solomon, c. iv. 8.
v. 19. Blessed.] Matt. c. xxi. 9.
v. 20. From full hands.] Virg. Aen 1. vi. 884.
v. 97. The old flame.] Agnosco veteris vestigia flammae Virg. Aen. I. I. 23.
Conosco i segni dell' antico fuoco. Giusto de' Conti, La Bella Mano.
v. 61. Nor.] "Not all the beauties of the terrestrial Paradise; in which I was, were sufficient to allay my grief."
v. 85. But.] They sang the thirty-first Psalm, to the end of the eighth verse.
v. 87. The living rafters.] The leafless woods on the Apennine.
v. 90. The land whereon no shadow falls.] "When the wind blows, from off Africa, where, at the time of the equinox, bodies being under the equator cast little or no shadow; or, in other words, when the wind is south."
v. 98. The ice.] Milton has transferred this conceit, though scarcely worth the pains of removing, into one of his Italian poems, son.
v. 3. With lateral edge.] The words of Beatrice, when not addressed directly to himself, but speaking to the angel of hell, Dante had thought sufficiently harsh.
v. 39. Counter to the edge.] "The weapons of divine justice are blunted by the confession and sorrow of the offender."
v. 58. Bird.] Prov. c. i. 17
v. 69. From Iarbas' land.] The south.
v. 71. The beard.] "I perceived, that when she desired me to raise my beard, instead of telling me to lift up my head, a severe reflection was implied on my want of that wisdom which should accompany the age of manhood."
v. 98. Tu asperges me.] A prayer repeated by the priest at sprinkling the holy water.
v. 106. And in the heaven are stars.] See Canto I. 24.
v. 116. The emeralds.] The eyes of Beatrice.
v. 2. Their ten years' thirst.] Beatrice had been dead ten years.
v. 9. Two fix'd a gaze.] The allegorical interpretation of Vellutello whether it be considered as justly terrible from the text or not, conveys so useful a lesson, that it deserves our notice. "The understanding is sometimes so intently engaged in contemplating the light of divine truth in the scriptures, that it becomes dazzled, and is made less capable of attaining such knowledge, than if it had sought after it with greater moderation"
v. 39. Its tresses.] Daniel, c. iv. 10, &c.
v. 41. The Indians.] Quos oceano proprior gerit India lucos. Virg. Georg. 1. ii. 122, Such as at this day to Indians known. Milton, P. L. b. ix. 1102.
v. 51. When large floods of radiance.] When the sun enters into Aries, the constellation next to that of the Fish.
v. 63. Th' unpitying eyes.] See Ovid, Met. 1. i. 689.
v. 74. The blossoming of that fair tree.] Our Saviour's transfiguration.
v. 97. Those lights.] The tapers of gold.
v. 101. That true Rome.] Heaven.
v. 110. The bird of Jove.] This, which is imitated from Ezekiel, c. xvii. 3, 4. appears to be typical of the persecutions which the church sustained from the Roman Emperors.
v. 118. A fox.] By the fox perhaps is represented the treachery of the heretics.
v. 124. With his feathers lin'd.]. An allusion to the donations made by the Roman Emperors to the church.
v. 130. A dragon.] Probably Mahomet.
v. 136. With plumes.] The donations before mentioned.
v. 142. Heads.] By the seven heads, it is supposed with sufficient probability, are meant the seven capital sins, by the three with two horns, pride, anger, and avarice, injurious both to man himself and to his neighbor: by the four with one horn, gluttony, lukewarmness, concupiscence, and envy, hurtful, at least in their primary effects, chiefly to him who is guilty of them.
v. 146. O'er it.] The harlot is thought to represent the state of the church under Boniface VIII and the giant to figure Philip IV of France.
v. 155. Dragg'd on.] The removal of the Pope's residence from Rome to Avignon is pointed at.
v. 1. The Heathen.] Psalm lxxix. 1.
v. 36. Hope not to scare God's vengeance with a sop.] "Let not him who hath occasioned the destruction of the church, that vessel which the serpent brake, hope to appease the anger of the Deity by any outward acts of religious, or rather superstitious, ceremony, such as was that, in our poet's time, performed by a murderer at Florence, who imagined himself secure from vengeance, if he ate a sop of bread in wine, upon the grave of the person murdered, within the space of nine days."
v. 38. That eagle.] He prognosticates that the Emperor of Germany will not always continue to submit to the usurpations of the Pope, and foretells the coming of Henry VII Duke of Luxembourg signified by the numerical figures DVX; or, as Lombardi supposes, of Can Grande della Scala, appointed the leader of the Ghibelline forces. It is unnecessary to point out the imitation of the Apocalypse in the manner of this prophecy.
v. 50. The Naiads.] Dante, it is observed, has been led into a mistake by a corruption in the text of Ovid's Metam. I. vii. 75, where he found- Carmina Naiades non intellecta priorum;
instead of Carmina Laiades, &c. as it has been since corrected. Lombardi refers to Pansanias, where "the Nymphs" are spoken of as expounders of oracles for a vindication of the poet's accuracy. Should the reader blame me for not departing from the error of the original (if error it be), he may substitute
Events shall be the Oedipus will solve, &c.
v. 67. Elsa's numbing waters.] The Elsa, a little stream, which flows into the Arno about twenty miles below Florence, is said to possess a petrifying quality.
v. 78. That one brings home his staff inwreath'd with palm.] "For the same cause that the pilgrim, returning from Palestine, brings home his staff, or bourdon, bound with palm," that is, to show where he has been.
Che si reca 'I bordon di palma cinto.
"In regard to the word bourdon, why it has been applied to a pilgrim's staff, it is not easy to guess. I believe, however that this name has been given to such sort of staves, because pilgrims usually travel and perform their pilgrimages on foot, their staves serving them instead of horses or mules, then called bourdons and burdones, by writers in the middle ages." Mr. Johnes's Translation of Joinville's Memoirs. Dissertation xv, by M. du Cange p. 152. 4to. edit. The word is thrice used by Chaucer in the Romaunt of the Rose.
His glory, by whose might all things are mov'd, Pierces the universe, and in one part Sheds more resplendence, elsewhere less. In heav'n, That largeliest of his light partakes, was I, Witness of things, which to relate again Surpasseth power of him who comes from thence; For that, so near approaching its desire Our intellect is to such depth absorb'd, That memory cannot follow. Nathless all, That in my thoughts I of that sacred realm Could store, shall now be matter of my song. Benign Apollo! this last labour aid, And make me such a vessel of thy worth, As thy own laurel claims of me belov'd. Thus far hath one of steep Parnassus' brows Suffic'd me; henceforth there is need of both For my remaining enterprise Do thou Enter into my bosom, and there breathe So, as when Marsyas by thy hand was dragg'd Forth from his limbs unsheath'd. O power divine! If thou to me of shine impart so much, That of that happy realm the shadow'd form Trac'd in my thoughts I may set forth to view, Thou shalt behold me of thy favour'd tree Come to the foot, and crown myself with leaves; For to that honour thou, and my high theme Will fit me. If but seldom, mighty Sire! To grace his triumph gathers thence a wreath Caesar or bard (more shame for human wills Deprav'd) joy to the Delphic god must spring From the Pierian foliage, when one breast Is with such thirst inspir'd. From a small spark Great flame hath risen: after me perchance Others with better voice may pray, and gain From the Cirrhaean city answer kind. Through diver passages, the world's bright lamp Rises to mortals, but through that which joins Four circles with the threefold cross, in best Course, and in happiest constellation set He comes, and to the worldly wax best gives Its temper and impression. Morning there, Here eve was by almost such passage made; And whiteness had o'erspread that hemisphere, Blackness the other part; when to the left I saw Beatrice turn'd, and on the sun Gazing, as never eagle fix'd his ken. As from the first a second beam is wont To issue, and reflected upwards rise, E'en as a pilgrim bent on his return, So of her act, that through the eyesight pass'd Into my fancy, mine was form'd; and straight, Beyond our mortal wont, I fix'd mine eyes Upon the sun. Much is allowed us there, That here exceeds our pow'r; thanks to the place Made for the dwelling of the human kind I suffer'd it not long, and yet so long That I beheld it bick'ring sparks around, As iron that comes boiling from the fire. And suddenly upon the day appear'd A day new-ris'n, as he, who hath the power, Had with another sun bedeck'd the sky. Her eyes fast fix'd on the eternal wheels, Beatrice stood unmov'd; and I with ken Fix'd upon her, from upward gaze remov'd At her aspect, such inwardly became As Glaucus, when he tasted of the herb, That made him peer among the ocean gods; Words may not tell of that transhuman change: And therefore let the example serve, though weak, For those whom grace hath better proof in store If I were only what thou didst create, Then newly, Love! by whom the heav'n is rul'd, Thou know'st, who by thy light didst bear me up. Whenas the wheel which thou dost ever guide, Desired Spirit! with its harmony Temper'd of thee and measur'd, charm'd mine ear, Then seem'd to me so much of heav'n to blaze With the sun's flame, that rain or flood ne'er made A lake so broad. The newness of the sound, And that great light, inflam'd me with desire, Keener than e'er was felt, to know their cause. Whence she who saw me, clearly as myself, To calm my troubled mind, before I ask'd, Open'd her lips, and gracious thus began: "With false imagination thou thyself Mak'st dull, so that thou seest not the thing, Which thou hadst seen, had that been shaken off. Thou art not on the earth as thou believ'st; For light'ning scap'd from its own proper place Ne'er ran, as thou hast hither now return'd." Although divested of my first-rais'd doubt, By those brief words, accompanied with smiles, Yet in new doubt was I entangled more, And said: "Already satisfied, I rest From admiration deep, but now admire How I above those lighter bodies rise." Whence, after utt'rance of a piteous sigh, She tow'rds me bent her eyes, with such a look, As on her frenzied child a mother casts; Then thus began: "Among themselves all things Have order; and from hence the form, which makes The universe resemble God. In this The higher creatures see the printed steps Of that eternal worth, which is the end Whither the line is drawn. All natures lean, In this their order, diversely, some more, Some less approaching to their primal source. Thus they to different havens are mov'd on Through the vast sea of being, and each one With instinct giv'n, that bears it in its course; This to the lunar sphere directs the fire, This prompts the hearts of mortal animals, This the brute earth together knits, and binds. Nor only creatures, void of intellect, Are aim'd at by this bow; hut even those, That have intelligence and love, are pierc'd. That Providence, who so well orders all, With her own light makes ever calm the heaven, In which the substance, that hath greatest speed, Is turn'd: and thither now, as to our seat Predestin'd, we are carried by the force Of that strong cord, that never looses dart, But at fair aim and glad. Yet is it true, That as ofttimes but ill accords the form To the design of art, through sluggishness Of unreplying matter, so this course Is sometimes quitted by the creature, who Hath power, directed thus, to bend elsewhere; As from a cloud the fire is seen to fall, From its original impulse warp'd, to earth, By vicious fondness. Thou no more admire Thy soaring, (if I rightly deem,) than lapse Of torrent downwards from a mountain's height. There would in thee for wonder be more cause, If, free of hind'rance, thou hadst fix'd thyself Below, like fire unmoving on the earth." So said, she turn'd toward the heav'n her face.
All ye, who in small bark have following sail'd, Eager to listen, on the advent'rous track Of my proud keel, that singing cuts its way, Backward return with speed, and your own shores Revisit, nor put out to open sea, Where losing me, perchance ye may remain Bewilder'd in deep maze. The way I pass Ne'er yet was run: Minerva breathes the gale, Apollo guides me, and another Nine To my rapt sight the arctic beams reveal. Ye other few, who have outstretch'd the neck. Timely for food of angels, on which here They live, yet never know satiety, Through the deep brine ye fearless may put out Your vessel, marking, well the furrow broad Before you in the wave, that on both sides Equal returns. Those, glorious, who pass'd o'er To Colchos, wonder'd not as ye will do, When they saw Jason following the plough. The increate perpetual thirst, that draws Toward the realm of God's own form, bore us Swift almost as the heaven ye behold. Beatrice upward gaz'd, and I on her, And in such space as on the notch a dart Is plac'd, then loosen'd flies, I saw myself Arriv'd, where wond'rous thing engag'd my sight. Whence she, to whom no work of mine was hid, Turning to me, with aspect glad as fair, Bespake me: "Gratefully direct thy mind To God, through whom to this first star we come." Me seem'd as if a cloud had cover'd us, Translucent, solid, firm, and polish'd bright, Like adamant, which the sun's beam had smit Within itself the ever-during pearl Receiv'd us, as the wave a ray of light Receives, and rests unbroken. If I then Was of corporeal frame, and it transcend Our weaker thought, how one dimension thus Another could endure, which needs must be If body enter body, how much more Must the desire inflame us to behold That essence, which discovers by what means God and our nature join'd! There will be seen That which we hold through faith, not shown by proof, But in itself intelligibly plain, E'en as the truth that man at first believes. I answered: "Lady! I with thoughts devout, Such as I best can frame, give thanks to Him, Who hath remov'd me from the mortal world. But tell, I pray thee, whence the gloomy spots Upon this body, which below on earth Give rise to talk of Cain in fabling quaint?" She somewhat smil'd, then spake: "If mortals err In their opinion, when the key of sense Unlocks not, surely wonder's weapon keen Ought not to pierce thee; since thou find'st, the wings Of reason to pursue the senses' flight Are short. But what thy own thought is, declare." Then I: "What various here above appears, Is caus'd, I deem, by bodies dense or rare." She then resum'd: "Thou certainly wilt see In falsehood thy belief o'erwhelm'd, if well Thou listen to the arguments, which I Shall bring to face it. The eighth sphere displays Numberless lights, the which in kind and size May be remark'd of different aspects; If rare or dense of that were cause alone, One single virtue then would be in all, Alike distributed, or more, or less. Different virtues needs must be the fruits Of formal principles, and these, save one, Will by thy reasoning be destroy'd. Beside, If rarity were of that dusk the cause, Which thou inquirest, either in some part That planet must throughout be void, nor fed With its own matter; or, as bodies share Their fat and leanness, in like manner this Must in its volume change the leaves. The first, If it were true, had through the sun's eclipse Been manifested, by transparency Of light, as through aught rare beside effus'd. But this is not. Therefore remains to see The other cause: and if the other fall, Erroneous so must prove what seem'd to thee. If not from side to side this rarity Pass through, there needs must be a limit, whence Its contrary no further lets it pass. And hence the beam, that from without proceeds, Must be pour'd back, as colour comes, through glass Reflected, which behind it lead conceals. Now wilt thou say, that there of murkier hue Than in the other part the ray is shown, By being thence refracted farther back. From this perplexity will free thee soon Experience, if thereof thou trial make, The fountain whence your arts derive their streame. Three mirrors shalt thou take, and two remove From thee alike, and more remote the third. Betwixt the former pair, shall meet thine eyes; Then turn'd toward them, cause behind thy back A light to stand, that on the three shall shine, And thus reflected come to thee from all. Though that beheld most distant do not stretch A space so ample, yet in brightness thou Will own it equaling the rest. But now, As under snow the ground, if the warm ray Smites it, remains dismantled of the hue And cold, that cover'd it before, so thee, Dismantled in thy mind, I will inform With light so lively, that the tremulous beam Shall quiver where it falls. Within the heaven, Where peace divine inhabits, circles round A body, in whose virtue dies the being Of all that it contains. The following heaven, That hath so many lights, this being divides, Through different essences, from it distinct, And yet contain'd within it. The other orbs Their separate distinctions variously Dispose, for their own seed and produce apt. Thus do these organs of the world proceed, As thou beholdest now, from step to step, Their influences from above deriving, And thence transmitting downwards. Mark me well, How through this passage to the truth I ford, The truth thou lov'st, that thou henceforth alone, May'st know to keep the shallows, safe, untold. "The virtue and motion of the sacred orbs, As mallet by the workman's hand, must needs By blessed movers be inspir'd. This heaven, Made beauteous by so many luminaries, From the deep spirit, that moves its circling sphere, Its image takes an impress as a seal: And as the soul, that dwells within your dust, Through members different, yet together form'd, In different pow'rs resolves itself; e'en so The intellectual efficacy unfolds Its goodness multiplied throughout the stars; On its own unity revolving still. Different virtue compact different Makes with the precious body it enlivens, With which it knits, as life in you is knit. From its original nature full of joy, The virtue mingled through the body shines, As joy through pupil of the living eye. From hence proceeds, that which from light to light Seems different, and not from dense or rare. This is the formal cause, that generates Proportion'd to its power, the dusk or clear."