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may say manifold. For one sense is any man shall add unto these things that which is derived from the letter, God shall add unto him the plagues that and another is that which is derived are written in this book; and if any man from the things signified by the letter. shall take away from these things, God The first is called literal, the second shall take away his part from the good allegorical or moral. . . . . The subject, things written in this book.”. then, of the whole work, taken literally, It is not impossible that Dante may is the condition of souls after death, have taken a few hints also from the Tesosimply considered. For on this and retto of his teacher, Ser Brunetto Latini. around this the whole action of the work See Canto XV. Note 30. turns. But if the work be taken alle See upon this subject, Cancellieri, gorically, the subject is man, how by Osservazioni Sopral'Originalità di Dante; actions of merit or demerit, through free - Wright, St. Patrick's Purgatory, an dom of the will, he justly deserves reward Essay on the Legends of Purgatory, Hell
, or punishment."
and Paradise, current during the Middle It may not be amiss here to refer to Ages ;-Ozanam, Dante et la Philosophie what are sometimes called the sources of Catholique au Treizième Siècle ;-Labitte, the Divine Comedy. Foremost among La Divine Comédie avant Dante, pubthem must be placed the Eleventh Book lished as an Introduction to the translaof the Odyssey, and the Sixth of the tion of Brizeux ; -and Delepierre, Le Æneid ; and to the latter Dante seems Livre des Visions, ou l'Enfer et le Ciel to point significantly in choosing Virgil décrits par ceux qui les ont vus.
See also for his Guide, his Master, his Author, tbe Illustrations at the end of this volume. from whom he took “the beautiful style that did him honour."
CANTO 1. Next to these may be mentioned Cicero's Vision of Scipio, of which The action of the poem begins on Chaucer says:
Good Friday of the year 1300, at which Chapiters seven it had, of Heaven, and Hell,
time Dante, who was born in 1265, had And Earthe, and soules that therein do dwell!" reached the middle of the Scriptural
threescore years and ten. It ends on the Then follow the popular legends which first Sunday after Easter, making in all were current in Dante's age ; an age ten days. when the end of all things was thought The dark forest of human lise, to be near at hand, and the wonders of with its passions, vices, and perplexities the invisible world had laid fast hold on of all kinds ; politically the state of the imaginations of men. Prominent Florence with its factions Guelph and among these is the " Vision of Frate Al. Ghibelline. Dante, Convito, IV. 25, berico," who calls himself “the humblest says:-“Thus the adolescent, who enters servant of the servants of the Lord;” into the erroneous forest of this life
, and who
would not know how to keep the right “Saw in dreame at point-devyse way if he were not guided by his elders.” Heaven, Earthe, Hell, and Paradyse."
Brunetto Latini, Tesoretto, II. 75:This vision was written in Latin in the
“ Pensando a capo chino latter half of the twelfth century, and
Perdei il gran cammino, contains a description of Hell, Purga
E tenni alla traversa tory, and Paradise, with its Seven
D'una selva diversa." Heavens. It is for the most part a Spenser, Faerie Queene, IV. ii. 45:tedious tale, and bears evident marks of having been written by a friar of some
'Seeking adventures in the salvage wood." monastery, when the afternoon sun was 13. Bunyan, in his Pilgrim's Proshining into his sleepy eyes. He seems, gress, which is a kind of Divine Comedy however, to have looked upon his own in prose, says: “I beheld then that they work with a not unfavourable opinion; all' went on till they came to the foot for he concludes the Epistle Introduc- of the hill Difficulty. .. .. But the tory with the words of St. John : “If narrow way lay right up the hill, and the
name of the going up the side of the hill sophers and fathers think the world was is called Difficulty. They went created in Spring. then till they came to the Delectable 45. Ambition; and politically the Mountains, which mountains belong to royal house of France. the Lord of that hill of which we have 48. Soine editio.is read temesse, others spoken before."
treniesse. 14 Bunyan, Pilgrim's Progress: 49. Avarice ; and politically the ** But now in this valley of Humiliation Court of Rome, or temporal power of poor Christian was hard put to it ; for he the Popes. had gone but a little way before he spied 60. Dante as a Ghibelline and Im. a foul fiend coming over the field to meet perialist is in opposition to the Guelphs, him; his name is Apollyon. Then did Pope Boniface Vill., and the King of Christian begin to be afraid, and to cast France, Philip the Fair, and is banished in his mind whether to go back or stand from Florence, out of the sunshine, and his ground. . . . Now at the end of this into “the dry wind that blows from valiey was another, called the valley of dolorous poverty." the Shadow of Death; and Christian Cato speaks of the “silent moon” in must needs go through it, because the De Re Austica, XXIX., Evchilo luna way to the Celestial City lay thirough the silenti; and XL., Vites inseri luna midst of it."
silenti. Also Pliny, XVI. 39, has Silens 17. The sun, with all its symbolical luna; and Milton, in Samson Agonistes, meanings. This is the morning of Good " Silent as the moon." Friday.
63. The long neglect of classic studies In the Ptolemaic system the sun was in lialy before Danie's time. one of the planets.
70. Born under Julius Cæsar, but too 20. The deep mountain tarn of his late to grow up to manhood during his heart, dark with its own depth, and the Imperial reign. He flourished later under shadows hanging over it.
Augustus. 27. Jeremiah ii. 6: “That led us 79. In this passage Dante but exthrough the wilderness, through a land presses the universal veneration selt for of deserts and of pits, through a land of Virgil during the Middle Ages, and drought, and of the shadow of deat, especially in Italy. Petrarch's copy of through a land that no man passed Virgil is still preserved in the Ambrosian through, and where no man dwelt. Library at Milan; and at the beginning
In his note upon this passage Mr. of it he has recorded in a Latin nute the Wright quotes Spenser's lines, Fadrie time of his first meeting with Laura, and Qucine, I. v. 31,
the date of her death, which, he says,
“I write in this book, rather than else“there creature never passed That back returned without heavenly grace.” where, because it comes often under my
30. Climbing the hillside slowly, so In the popular imagination Virgil be. that he rests longest on the foot that is came a mythical personage and a mighty lowest.
magician. See the story of Virgilius in 31. Jeremiah v. 6: “Wherefore a Thom's Early Prose Romances, 11. Dante licn out of the forest shall slay them, a selects him for his guide, as symbolizing wolf of the evenings shall spoil them, a inuman science or Philosophy. “I say leopard shall watch over their cities : and affirm," he remarks, Convito, V. 16, every one that goeth out thence shall be that the lady with whom I became torn in pieces.
enamoured after my first love was the 32. Worldly Pleasure ; and politi- inost beautiful and modest daughter of cally Florence, with its factions of the Emperor of the Universe, to whom Bianchi and Neri.
Pythagoras gave the name of Philo. 36. Più volte volto. Dante delights sophy.” in a play upon words as much as Shake. 87. Dante seems to have been al. speare.
ready conscious of the fine which his 38. The stars of Aries. Some philo. Vita Nuova and Canzoni had given him,
IOI. The greyhound is Can Grande colour he means; because no clear stream nella Scala, Lord of Verona, Imperial or lake on the Continent ever looks Vicar, Ghibelline, and friend of Dante. brown, but blue or green ; and Dante, Verona is between Feltro in the Marca by merely taking away the pleasant colour, Trivigiana, and Montefeltro in Romagna. would get at once to this idea of grave Boccaccio, Decameron, I. 7, speaks of clear gray. So, when he was talking of him as “one of the most notable and twilight, his eye for colour was far too magnificent lords that had been known good to let him call it brown in our sense. in Italy, since the Emperor Frederick the Twilight is not brown, but purple, Second." To him Dante dedicated the golden, or dark gray; and this last was Paradiso. Some commentators think what Dante meant. Farther, I find that The Veltro is not Can Grande, but Ugo this negation of colour is always the means guccione della Faggiola. See Troya, by which Dante subdues his tones. Thus Del Veltro Allegorico di Dante.
the fatal inscription on the Hades gate 106. The plains of Italy, in contra- is written in 'obscure colour,' and the air distinction to the mountains; the humi- which torments the passionate spirits is lemque Italiam of Virgil, Æneid 111. ' aer nero,' black air (Inf. v. 51), called 522 : “And now the stars being chased presently afterwards (line 81) malignant away, blushing Aurora appeared, when air, just as the gray cliffs are called ma. far off we espy the hills obscure, and lignant cliffs.” lowly Italy."
13. Æneas, founder of the Roman 116. I give preference to the read. Empire. Virgil, Æneid, B. VI. ing, Vedrai gli antichi spiriti dolenti. 24. “That is,” says Boccaccio, Co. Beatrice.
mento, “St. Peter the Apostle, called
the greater on account of his papal dig. CANTO II.
nity, and to distinguish him from many
other holy men of the same name. The evening of Good Friday. 28. St. Paul. Acts, ix. 15: "He is Dante, Convito, III. 2, says : "Man is a chosen vessel unto me.' Also 2 Cocalled by philosophers the divine ani- rinthians, xii. 3, 4: " And I knew such mal.” Chaucer's Assemble of Foules :- a man, whether in the body, or out of “The daie gan failen, and the darke night the body, I cannot tell; God knoweth; That reveth bestes from hir businesse how that he was caught up into Para. Berafte me my boke for lacke of light.”
dise, and heard unspeakable words, Mr. Ruskin, Modern Painters, III. which it is not lawful for a man to 240, speaking of Dante's use of the word utter.” bruno,” says
42. Shakespeare, Macbeth, IV. 1: "In describing a simple twilight-not “The flighty purpose never is o'ertook, a Hades twilight, but an ordinarily fair Unless the deed go with it." evening—(Inf. ii. 1), he says, the brown'
52. Suspended in Limbo ; neither in air took the animals away from their fatigues ; – the waves under Charon's
pain nor in glory boat are “brown' (Inf. iii. 117); and star which is brightest," comments Boxes
55. Brighter than the star; than that Lethe, which is perfectly clear and yet caccio. Others say the Sun, and refer dark, as with oblivion, is bruna-bruna,' to Dante's Canzoné, beginning:
brown, exceeding brown.' Now, clearly in all these cases no warmth is meant to
“ The star of beauty which doth measure time,
The lady seems, who has enamoured nie, be mingled in the colour. Dante had Placed in the heaven of Love." never seen one of our bog-streams, with its porter-coloured foam; and there can
56. Shakespeare, King Lear, V. 3:— be no doubt that, in calling Lethe brown,
“Her voice was ever soft, he means that it was dark slate-gray, inGentle, and low ; an excellent thing in woman. clining to black; as, for instance, our clear 67. This passage will recall Minerva Cumberland iakes, which, looked straight transmitting the message of Juno to down upon where they are deep, seem Achilles, Iliad, II. : “Go thou forthwith to be lakes of ink. I am sure this is the to the army of the Achæans, and hesi
tate not ; bụt restrain each man with thy that there is joy within, and that the persuasive words, nor suffer them to drag great mother of creatures will open the to the sea their double-oarej ships." stock of her new refreshment, become
70. Beatrice Portinari, Dante's first useful to mankind, and sing praises to love, the inspiration of his song, and in her Redeemer.” his mind the symbol of the Divine. He Rossetti, Spirito Antipapale del secolo ways of her in the Vita Nuova:-“This di Dante, translated by Miss Ward, II. must gentle lady, of whom there has 216, makes this political application of teen discourse in what precedes, reached the lines: “The Florentines, called Sons such favour among the people, that when of Flora, are compared to flowers ; and she passed along the way persons ran to Dante calls the two panies who divided see her, which gave me wonderful de. the city white and black flowers, and him. light. And when she was near any one, self white-flower,--the name by which such modesty took possession of his he was called by many. Now he makes heart, that he did not dare to raise his use of a very abstruse comparison, to eyes or to return her salutation ; and to express how he became, from a Guelph this, should any one doubt it, many, as or Black, a Ghibelline or White. He having experienced it, could bear witness describes himself as a flower, first bent for me. She, crowned and clothed with and closed by the night frosts, and then humility, took her way, displaying no blanched or 'whitened by the sun (the pride in that which she saw and heard. symbol of reason), which opens its leaves; Many, when she had passed, said, 'This and what produces the effect of the sun is not a woman, rather is she one of the on him is a specch of Virgil's,,persuadmost beautiful angels of heaven.' Others ing him to follow his guidance." said, 'She is a miracle. Blessed be the Lord who can perform such a marvel.' I say, that she showed herself so gentle
CANTO III. and so full of all beauties, that those who This canto begins with a repeti. looked on her felt within themselves a tion of sounds like the tolling of a funeral pure and sweet delight, such as they bell : dolente . . . dolore ! could not tell in words."-C. E. Norton, Ruskin, Modern Painters, III. 215, The New Life, 51, 52.
speaking of the Inferno, says:78. The heaven of the moon, which “Milton's effort, in all that he tells contains or encircles the earth.
us of his Inferno, is to make it indefi. 84. The ampler circles of Paradise. nite; Dante's, to make it definite. Both, 94. Divine Mercy.
indeed, describe it as entered through 97. St. Lucia, emblem of enlighten- gates; but, within the gate, all is wild ing Grace.
and fenceless with Milton, having indeed 102. Rachel, emblem of Divine Con- its four rivers,—the last vestige of the templation. See Par. XXXII. 9. mediæval tradition, — but rivers which
108. Beside that flood, where ocean has flow through a waste of mountain and no vaunt; “That is,” says Boccaccio, moorland, and by many a frozen, many Comento, “ the sea cannot boast of being a fiery Alp. But Dante's Inferno is more impetuous or more dangerous than accurately separated into circles drawn that."
with well-pointed compasses ; mapped 127. This simile has been imitated and properly surveyed in every direcby Chaucer, Spenser, and many more. tion, trenched in a thoroughly good Jeremy Taylor says:
style of engineering from depth to depth, "So have I seen the sun kiss the and divided, in the accurate middle' frozen earth, which was bound up with (dritto mezzo) of its deepest abyss, into a the images of death, and the colder breath concentric series of ten moats and emof the north ; and then the waters break bankments, like those about a castle, from their enclosures, and melt with joy with bridges from each embankment and run in useful channels ; and the files to the next; precisely in the manner do rise again from their little graves in of those bridges over Hiddekel and walls, and dance awhile in the air, to tell Euphrates, which Mr. Macaulay thinks
so innocently designed, apparently not words, the knowledge of God is intel aware that he is also laughing at Dante. lectual good. These larger fosses are of rock, and the “It is a most just punishment," says bridges also; but as he goes further into St. Augustine, that man should lose detail, Dante tells us of various minor that freedom which man could not use, fosses and embankments, in which he yet had power to keep if he would, anxiously points out to us not only the and that he who had knowledge to do formality, but the neatness and perfect. what was right, and did not do it, ness, of the stonework. For instance, should be deprived of the knowledge in describing the river Phlegethon, he of what was right; and that he who tells us that it was ‘paved with stone at would not do righteously, when he had the bottom, and at the sides, and over the the power, should lose the power to do edges of the sides,' just as the water is at it when he had the will." the baths of Bulicame; and for fear we The description given of the should think this embankment at all Mouth of Hell by Frate Alberico, li larger than it really was, Dante adds, sio, 9, is in the grotesque spirit of the carefully, that it was made just like the Mediæval Mysteries. embankments of Ghent or Bruges against “ After all these things, I was led to the sea, or those in Lombardy which the Tartarean Regions, and to the mouth bank the Brenta, only 'not so high, nor of the Infernal Pit, which seemed like so wide,' as any of these. And besides unto a well ; regions full of horrid the trenches, we have two well-built darkness, of fetid exhalations, of shrieks castles; one like Ecbatana, with seven and loud howlings. Near this Hell circuits of wall (and surrounded by a there was a Worm of immeasurable fair stream), wherein the great poets and size, bound with a huge chain, one end sages of antiquity live; and another, a of which seemed to be fastened in Hell. great fortified city with walls of iron, Before the mouth of this Hell there red-hot, and a deep fosse round it, and stood a great multitude of souls, which full of 'grave citizens,'—the city of he absorbed at once, as if they were Dis.
flies ; so that, drawing in his breath, “Now, whether this be in what we he swallowed them all together; then, moderns call 'good taste,' or not, I do breathing, exhaled them all on fire, like not mean jast now to inquire, -Dante sparks.' having nothing to do with taste, but 36. The reader will here be rewith the facts of what he had seen; minded of Bunyan's town of Fair only, so far as the imaginative faculty of speech. the two poets is concerned, note that “ Christian. Pray who are your kinMilton's vagueness is not the sign of dred there, if a man may be so bold? imagination, but of its absence, so far as "By-ends. Almost the whole town; it is significative in the matter. For it and in particular my Lord Turnabout, does not follow, because Milton did not my Lord Timeserver, my Lord Fairmap out his Inferno as Dante did, that speech, from whose ancestors that town he could not have done so if he had first took its name ; also Mr. Smoothchosen; only it was the easier and less man, Mr. Facing-both-ways, Mr. Any imaginative process to leave it vague than thing, -and the parson of our parish, to define it." Imagination is always the Mr. Two-tongues, was my mother's own seeing and asserting faculty; that which brother by father's side obscures or conceals may be judgment, “There Christian stepped a little or feeling, but not invention. The in- aside to his fellow Hopeful, saying, vention, whether good or bad, is in the It runs in my mind that this is one accurate engineering, not in the fog and By-ends of Fair-speech ; and if it be uncertainty.
he, we have as very a knave in our 18. Aristotle says: “The good of cr apany as dwelleth in all these the intellect is the highest beatitude;" | parts.'” and Dante in the Convito : "The True 42. Many commentators and trans is the good of the intellect." In other lators interpret alcuna in its usual signifi