Page images

Roma in Vigilia Nativitatis Christi, vidi and the Golden Fleece, see Ovid, New turham magnam, quam dinumerare nemo tamorph. VII. Also Chaucer, Legende peterat; e fama erat inter Romanos, of Goode Women :quad ibi fuerant plusquam vigenti centum “Thou roote of fals loveres, duke Jason ! millia virorum et mulierum. Pluries ego Thou slye devourer and confusyon ridi ibi tam viros quam mulieres concul.

of gentil wommen, gentil creatures !" talos sub pedibus aliorum ; et etiam ego- 92. When the women of Lemnos mit in eodem periculo plures vices evasi. put to death all the male inhabitants Papa innumerabilem pecuniam ab eisdem of the island, Hypsipyle concealed her recepit, quia die ac nocte duo clerici sta- father Thoas, and spared his life. bant ad altare Sancti Pauli tenentes in Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautics, II., erum manibus rastellos, rastellantes pe Fawkes's Tr. :cuniam infinitam.' To accommodate

" Hipsipyle alone, illustrious maid, the throng of pilgrims, and to protect Spared her sire Thoas, who the sceptre them as far as possible from the danger

swayed." which Ventura feelingly describes, a I 22.

“ Allessio Interminelli,” says harrier was erected along the middle of Benvenuto da Imola, "a soldier, a no the bridge, under the Castle of Sant' bleman, and of gentle manners, was of Angelo, so that those going to St. Lucca, and from him descended that Peter's and those coming from the tyrant Castruccio who filled all Tuscany church, passing on opposite sides, with fear, and was lord of Pisa, Lucca, might noi interfere with each other. and Pistoja, of whom Dante makes no It seems not unlikely that Dante him- mention, because he became illustrious self was one of the crowd who thus after the author's death. Allessio took crossed the old bridge, over whose such delight in flattery, that he could arches, during this year, a flood of men not open his mouth without flattering. was flowing almost as constantly as the He besmeared everybody, even the lowriver's flood ran through below.” est menials." 31. The castle is the Castle of St. The Ottimo says, that in the dialect of Angelo, and the mountain Monte Gia- Lucca, the head” was sacetiously called nicolo. See Barlow, Study of Dante, p. a pumpkin.' 126. Others say Monte Giordano. 133. Thaïs, the famous courtesan of

50. “This Caccianimico,” says Ben- Athens. Terence, The Eunuch, Act venuto da Imola, was a Bolognese ; III. Sc. 1:a liberal, noble, pleasant, and very * Thraso.

Did Thaïs really return powerful man." Nevertheless, he was

me many thanks ? so utterly corrupt as to sell his sister, Gnatho. Exceeding thanks. the fair Ghisola, to the Marquis of Este. " Thraso. Was she delighted, say 51. In the original the word is salse. you?

1 ? In

Bologna,” says Benvenuto da Imo- Gnatho. Not so much, indeed, at 2," the name of Salse is given to a the present itself, as because it was given certain valley outside the city, and near by you; really, in right earnest, she does to Santa Maria in Monte, into which the exult at that.' mortal remains of desperadoes, usurers, 136. “The filthiness of some pasand other insamous persons are wont to sages,” exclaims Landor, Pen!ameron,

Hence I have sometimes p. 15, “would disgrace the drunkenest heard boys in Bologna say to each other, horse-dealer ; and the names of such by way of insult, * Your father was criminals are recorded by the poet, as thrown into the Salse.'

would be forgotten by the hangman in 61. The two rivers between which six months.” Bologna is situated. In the Bolognese dialect sipa is used for si.

CANTO XIX. 72. They cease going round the circles as heretofore, and now go straight The Third Bolgia is devoted to forward to the centre of the abyss. the Simoniacs, so called from Simon 86. For the story of Jason, Medea, Mogus, the Sorcerer mentioned in Acts

[ocr errors]

be thrown.

[ocr errors]


vii. 9, 18. See Par. XXX. Note Dante, but Lami, staring at the moon, 147.

fell into the hole." Brunetto Latini touches lightly upon

Dante's enemies had accused them in the Tesoretto, XXI. 259, on him of committing this act through im account of their high ecclesiastical dig. piety: He takes this occasion to vindi. nity. His pupil is less reverential in cate himself. this particular.

33. Probably an allusion to the red

stockings worn by the Popes.
Altri per simonia
Si getta in mala via,

50. Burying alive with the head E Dio e' Santi offende

downward and the feet in the air was E vende le prebende,

the inhuman punishment of hired assas. E Sante Sagramente,

sins, “according to justice and the muE mette infra la gente Assempri di mal fare.

nicipal law in Florence,” says the Of. Ma questo lascio stare,

timo. It was called Propagginare, to Chè tocca a ta' persone,

plant in the manner of vine-stocks.
Che non è mia ragione
Di dirne lungamente."

Dante stood bowed down like the

confessor called back by the criminal Chaucer, Persones Tale, speaks thus in order to delay the moment of his of Simony :

death. “Certes simonie is cleped of Simon 53. Benedetto Gaetani, Pope Boni. Magus, that wold have bought for tem- face VIII. Gower, Conf. Amant. II., porel catel the yeste that God had yeven calls him by the holy gost to Seint Peter, and to the Apostles : and therfore understond

“ Thou Boneface, thou proude clerke,

Misleder of the papacie. ye, that both he that selleth and he that byeth thinges spirituel ben called Simoni. This is the Boniface who frightened ackes, be it by catel, be it by procuring, Celestine from the papacy, and perse. or hy fleshly praier of his frendes, fleshly cuted him to death after his resignation. frendes, or spirituel frendes, fleshly in “ The lovely Lady” is the Church. two maners, as by kindrede or other The fraud was his collusion with Charles frendes : sothly, if they pray for him 11. of Naples. “ He went to king that is not worthy and able, it is simonie, Charles by night, secretly, and with few if he take the benefice : and if he be attendants," says Villani, VIII. ch. 6, worthy and able, ther is non."

“and said to him : ‘King, thy Pope 5. Gower, Confes. Amant. I. :- Celestine had the will and the power to

serve thee in thy Sicilian wars, but did " A trompe with a sterne breth, Which was cleped the trompe of deth.

not know how : but if thou wilt contrive

with thy friends the cardinals to have He shall this dredfull trompe blowe

me elected Pope, I shall know how, and To-fore his gate and make it knowe, How that the jugement is yive

shall have the will and the power : ' Of deth, which shall nought be foryive." promising upon his faith and oath to

aid him with all the power of the 19. Lami, in his Delicia Eruditorum, Church." Farther on he continues : makes a strange blunder in reference to “He was very magnanimous and lordly, this passage. He says : “Not long ago and demanded great honour, and knew the baptismal font, which stood in the well how to maintain and advance the middle of Saint John's at Florence, was caine of the Church, and on account of removed ; and in the pavement may his knowledge and power was much still be seen the octagonal shape of its dreaded and feared. He was avaricious ample outline. Dante says, that, when exceedingly in order to aggrandize the a boy, he fell into it and was near Church and his relations, not being over drowning; or rather he fell into one of scrupulous about gains, for he said that the circular basins of water, which sur- all things were lawful which were of the rounded the principal font.” Upon this Church." Arrivabeni, Comento Storico, p. 588, He was chosen Pope in 1294. "The where I find this extract, remarks: “ Not inauguration of Boniface," says Milman,

[ocr errors]

Latin Christ., Book IX., ch. 7, was Roman house, 'ne Orsini, a man of re. the most magnificent which Rome had markable beauty of person and dezver beheld. In his procession to St. meanour. His name, 'the Accoml'aer's and back to the Lateran palace, plished,' implied that in him met all a tere he was entertained, he rode not a the graces of the handsomest clerks in Emble ass, but a noble white horse, the world, but he was a man likewise of They caparisoned : he had a crown on irreproachable morals, of vast ambition, shead; the King of Naples held the and of great ability.” He died in 1280. ridle on one side, his son, the King of 83. The French Pope Clement V., Hiragary, on the other. The nobility elected in 1305, by the influence of of Rome, the Orsinis, the Colonnas, the Philip the Fair of France, with sundry Sareilis, the Stefaneschi, the Annibaldi, humiliating conditions. He transferrel who had not only welcomed him to the Papal See from Rome to Avignon, Korne, but conferred on him the Sena- where it remained for seventy-one years corial dignity, followed in a body: the in what Italian writers call its “ Baby. procession could hardly force its way lonian captivity.' He died in 1314, on taroegh the masses of the kneeling his way to Bordeaux. He had hardly people. In the midst, a furious hurri- crossed the Rhone,” says Milman, Lat. cane burst over the city, and extin- Christ., Book XII. ch. 5, “when he Fished every lamp and torch in the was seized with mortal” sickness at church. A darker omen followed : a Roquemaure. The Papal treasure was tot broke out among the populace, in seized by his followers, especially his which forty lives were lost. The day nephew; his remains were treated with after, the Pope dined in public in the such utter neglect, that the torches set Lateran; the two Kings waited behind fire to the catafalque under which he his chair."

lay, not in state. His body, covered Dante indulges towards him a fierce only with a single sheet, all that his raGhibelline hatred, and assigns him his pacious retinue had left to shroud their place of torment before he is dead. In forgotten master, was half burned Canto XXVII. 85, he calls him “the before alarm was raised. His ashes were Prince of the new Pharisees ;” and, after borne back to Carpentras and solemnly many other bitter allusions in various interred.” parts of the poem, puts into the mouth 85. Jason, to whom Antiochus Epiof St. Peter, Par. XXVII. 22, the ter-phanes granted a "license to set him up rible invective that makes the whole a place for exercise, and for the train

ing up of youth in the fashions of the

heathen." "He who usurps upon the earth my place, 2 Maccabees iv. 13: “Now such was

My place, my place, which vacant has be- the height of Greek fashions, and inNow in the presence of the Son of God,

crease of the heathenish manners, Has of my cemetery made a sewer

through the exceeding profaneness of Of blood and fetor, whereat the Perverse, Who fell from here, below there is ap-high priest, that the priests had no cou

Jason, that ungodly wretch and not peased."

rage to serve any more at the altar, but, He died in 1303. See Note 87, despising the temple, and neglecting the Purg. XX.

sacrifices, hastened to be partakers of 70. Nicholas III., of the Orsini (the the unlawful allowance in the place of Bears

) of Rome, chosen Pope in 1277. exercise, after the game of Discus called **He was the first Pope, or one of the them forth.” first," says Villani, VII. ch. 54, "in 87. Philip the Fair of France. See whose court simony was openly prac. Note 82. "He was one of the handtiseci."

On account of his many accom- somest men in the world,” says Villani, plishments he was surnamed Il compiuto. IX. 66, “and one of the largest in dilman, Lat. Christ., Book XI. ch. 4, person, and well proportioned in every Says of him : “At length the election limb,--a wise and good man for a lay. fell or John Gaetano, of the noble man."

heavens red with anger.



their way.

94. Matthew, chosen as an Apostle which, in direct defiance of history, acı in the place of Judas.

lerated the baptism of Constantine, ar 99. According to Villani, VII. 54, sanctified a porphyry vessel as approp Pope Nicholas III. wished to marry his ated to, or connected with, that ho niece to a nephew of Charles of Anjou, use : and at a later period produced u King of Sicily. To this alliance the monstrous fable of the Donation. King would not consent, saying: “Al- “ But that with which Constantin though he wears the red stockings, his actually did invest the Church, the ris lineage is not worthy to mingle with of holding landed property, and receivin ours, and his power is not hereditary." it by bequest, was far more valuable This made the Pope indignant, and to the Christian hierarchy, and not least i gether with the bribes of John of Procida the Bishop of Rome, than a prematur led him to encourage the rebellion in and prodigal endowment.' Sicily, which broke out a year after the Pope's death in the “Sicilian Vespers,” 1282.

CANTO XX. 107. The Church of Rome under

1. In the Fourth Bolgia are punished Nicholas, Boniface, and Clement. Retelation xvii. 1-3

the Soothsayers :“And there came one of the seven

“ Because they wished to see too far belon

them, angels which had the seven vials, and

Backward they look, and backward maka talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon

9. Processions chanting prayers and many waters ; with whom the kings of supplications. the earth have committed fornication,

13. Ignaro in Spenser's Faerie Queeni, and the inhabitants of the earth have

1. viii. 31: been made drunk with the wine of her

“But very uncouth sight was to behold, fornication. So he carried me away in

How he did fashion his untoward pace ; the Spirit into the wilderness: and I saw

For as he forward moved his footing old,

So backward still was turned his wrinka a woman sit upon a scarlet-coloured

face.” beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.”

34. Amphiaraus was one of the seven The seven heads are interpreted to kings against Thebes. Foreseeing lis mean the Seven Virtues, and the ten own fate, he concealed himself, to avo horns the Ten Commandments.

going to the war; but his wife Eriphyle. 110. Revelation xvii. 12, 13:

bribed by a diamond necklace (as famous And the ten horns which thou sawest in ancient story as the Cardinal de are ten kings, and shall give their Rohan's in modern), revealed his hiding. power and strength unto the beast." place, and he went to his doom with the

117. Gower, Confes. Amant., Pro- others. logus :

Æschylus, The Seven against Theks:

“I will tell of the sixth, a man ma “The patrimonie and the richesse Which to Silvester in pure almesse

prudent and in valour the best, the sett, The firste Constantinus lefte.' the mighty Amphiaraus.

And Upon this supposed donation of im- through his mouth he gives utterance to mense domains by Constantine to the this speech

'I, for my part, in Pope, called the " Patrimony of St. very truth shall fatten this soil, seer as I Peter,” Milman, Lat. Christ.,' Book I. am, buried beneath a hostile earth.' ch. 2, remarks :

Statius, Thebaid, VIII. 47, Louis's “ Silvester has become a kind of hero | Tr. :of religious fable. But it was not so

“Bought of my treacherous wife for and much ihe genuine mythical spirit which gold, unconsciously transmutes history into And in the list of Argive chiefs enrolled, legenit; it was rather deliberate inven- Resigned to fate I sought the Theban plan

Whence flock the shades that seine tion, with a specific aim and design, realm contain ;

[ocr errors]


When, how my soul yet dreads ! an earth- would seemingly not have spoken of the quake care,

Carrara hills in the whole course of his Biz with destruction, and my trembling frame,

poem : when he does allude to them, he Rape from the midst of gaping thousands speaks of their white marble, and their harled

command of stars and sea, but has Te night eternal in thy nether world."

evidently no regard for the hills them. 40. The Theban soothsayer. Ovid, selves. There is not a single phrase or Va., III., Addison's Tr. :

syllable throughout the poem which in.

dicates such a regard. Ugolino, in his ** It happen'd once, within a shady wood, Two twisted snakes he in conjunction view'd, dream, seemed to himself to be in the When with his staff their slimy folds he broke, mountains, 'by cause of which the Pisan And lost his manhood at the fatal stroke.

cannot see Lucca ;' and it is impossible Bus, after seven revolving years he view'd The self same serpents in the self-same wood: to look up from Pisa to that hoary slope "And if,' says he, such virtue in you lie, without remembering the awe that there That he who dares your slimy folds untie is in the passage ; nevertheless it was as Hus! change his kind, a second stroke I'll

a hunting-ground only that he remem. try,' Again he struck the snakes, and stood again

bered these hills. Adam of Brescia, Newsexd, and straight recovered into man. tormented with eternal thirst, remembers

the hills of Romena, but only for the When Juno fired, More than so trivial an affair required,

sake of their sweet waters. Depriveri him, in her fury, of his sight, 55. Manto, daughter of Tiresias, who And left him groping round in sudden night. fled from Thebes, the "City of Bacchus, But Jove for so it is in heav'n decreed when it became subject to the tyranny of That no one god repeal another's deed) Irradiates all his soul with inward light,

Cleon. And with the prophet's art relieves the want 63. Lake Benacus is now called the of sight."

Lago di Garda. It is pleasantly alluded 45. His beard. The word "plumes"

to by Claudian in his “Old Man of is used by old English writers in this Verona,” who has seen the grove grow

old coeval with himself.” sense. Ford, Lady's Trial :

" Verona seems "Now the down Of softness is exchanged for plumes of age.”

To him remoter than the swarthy Ind,
He deems the Lake Benacus as the shore

he Red Sea,See also Purg. I. 42. 46. An Etrurian soothsayer. Lucan, 65. The Pennine Alps, or Alpes Pana, Pharsalia, I., Rowe's Tr. :

watered by the brooklets flowing into “Of these the chief, for learning famed and the Sarca, which is the principal tribu

tary of Benaco. Aruns by name, a venerable sage,

69. The place where the three dioceses At Luna lived."

of Trent, Brescia, and Verona meet. Ruskin, Modern Painters, III. p. 246, 70. At the outlet of the lake. says :

77. Eneid, X. :" But in no part of the poem do we “Mincius crowned with sea-green reeds.* find allusion to mountains in any other than a stern light ; nor the slightest evi.

Milton, Lycidas : dence that Dante cared to look at them. Smooth-sliding Mincius, crowned with vocal From that hill of San Miniato, whose

reeds." steps he knew so well, the eye com- 82. Manto. Benvenuto da Imola says: mands, at the farther extremity of the “ Virgin should here be rendered Vi. Val d'Amo, the whole purple range of|rago. the mountains of Carrara, peaked and 93. Æneid, X. : “ Ocnus, .

seen always against the sunset of the prophetic Manto, and of the Tuslight in silent outline, the chief forms can river, who gave walls and the name that rule the scene as twilight fades of his mother to thee, O Mantua !” away. By this vision Dante seems to 95. Pinamonte dei Buonacossi, a bold, have been wholly unmoved, and, but ambitious man, persuaded Alberto, Count for Lucan's mention of Aruns at Luna, of Casalodi and Lord of Mantua, to




« PreviousContinue »