« PreviousContinue »
The branches too alike commotion found, tlemen, who took it into their heads And shook th' industrious creatures on the to do things that would make a great ground,
Accord Who by degrees (what's scarce to be believed) part of the world wonder.” A noblér forin and larger bulk received, ingly each contributed eighteen thou: And on the earth walked an unusual pace, sand golden florins to a common fund, With manly strides, and an erected face ; Their num'rous legs, and former colour lost,
amounting in all to two hundred and The insects could a human figure boast.” sixteen thousand forins. They built 88. Latian, or Italian ; any one of Splendid chamber, and they gave sump
a palace, in which each member' had a the Latin race.
tuous dinners and suppers; ending their 109. The speaker is a certain Grif
banquets sometimes by throwing all the folino, an alchemist of Arezzo, who
dishes, table-ornaments, and knives of practised upon the credulity of Albert, a natural son of the Bishop of Siena: gold and silver out of the window
This silly institution," continues BenFor this he was burned ;
venuto, “lasted only ten months, the demned to the last Bolgia of the ten for alchemy."
treasury being exhausted, and the
wretched members became the fable 116. The inventor of the Cretan and laughing-stock of all the world." labyrinth. Ovid, Metamorph. VIII. :
In honour of this club, Folgore da “ Great Dædalus of Athens was the man San Geminiano, a clever poet of the Who made the draught, and formed the won- day (1260), wrote a series of twelve drous plan.
convivial sonnets, one for each month Not being able to find his way out of of the year, with Dedication and Conthe labyrinth, he made wings for him clusion. A translation of these sounels self and his son Icarus, and escaped by may be found in D. G. Rossetti's Earl: flight.
Italian Poets. The Dedication runs as 122. Speaking of the people of Sie follows :na, Forsyth, Italy, 532, says :
“ Unto the blithe and lordly Fellowship, flighty, fancisul, they want the judgment (I know not where, but wheresoe er, I know, and penetration of their Florentine neigh Lordly and blithe,) be greeting; and thereto, bours; who, nationally severe, call a nail
Dogs, hawks, and a full purse wherein to dip. without a head chiodo Sanese. The ac
Quails struck i' the flight ; nags mettled to the
whip; complished Signora Rinieri told me, that Hart-hounds, hare-hounds, and blood-hounds her father, while Governor of Siena, was
And o'er that realm, a crown for Niccold, once stopped in his carriage by a crowd
Whose praise in Siena springs from lip to lip at Florence, where the mob, recognizing Tingoccio, Atuin di Togno, and Ancaian, him, called out: ‘Lasciate passare il Go.
Bartolo, and Mugaro, and Faénot, vernatore de' matti,' A native of Siena is
Who well might pass for children of King
Ban, presently known at Florence; for his very Courteous and valiant more than Lancelot,ivalk, being formed to a hilly town, de To each, God speed! How worthy every tects him on the plain.”
To hold high tournament in Camelol." 125. The persons here mentioned gain a kind of immortality from Dante's 136. “This Capocchio," says the verse. The Stricca, or Baldastricca, Ottimo, “ was a very subtle alchemist; was a lawyer of Siena; and Niccolò dei and because he was burned for pracSalimbeni, or Bonsignori, introduced tising alchemy in Siena, he exhibits his the fashion of stuffing pheasants with hatred to the Sienese, and gives us to cloves, or, as Benvenuto says, of roast. understand that the author knew him." ing them at a fire of cloves. Though Dante mentions them apart, they seem, like the two others named afterwards,
. to have been members of the Brigata In this Canto the same Bolgia * Spendereccia, or Prodigal Club, of Siena, continued, with different kinds of Falsiwhose extravagances are recorded by fiers. Benvenuto da Imola. This club con
4. Athamas, king of Thebes and sisted of “twelve very rich young gen. husband of Ino, daughter of Cadmus
His madness is thus described by Ovid, Extends her jaws, as she her voice would raise
To keen invectives in her wonted phrase ; detamorph. IV. Eusden's Tr. :
But barks, and hence the yelping brute be. Now Athamas cries out, his reason fled,
trays." 'Here, fellerw-hunters, let the toils be spread. I saw a honcss, in quest of food,
31. Griffolino d'Arezzo, mentioned With her two young, run roaring in this wood.' in Canto XXIX. 109. Again the fancied savages were seen,
42. The same “mad sprite," Gianni As thro' his palace still he chased his queen: Then tore Learchus from her breast: the child Schicchi, mentioned in line 32.' "Buoso Suretched little arms, and
its father Donati of Florence," says Benvenuto, smiled,
although a nobleman and of an illusA fait now no mare --who now begun
trious house, was nevertheless like other Ar und his head iirl his giddy son,
noblemen of his time, and by means of And, quite insensible to nature's call, The helpless infant flung against the wall. thefts had greatly increased his patriThe same mad poison in the mother wrought; mony. When the hour of death drew Jaung Jelicerta in her arins she caughi, And with disordered tresses, howling, flies,
near the sting of conscience caused him O Bacchus, Evőe, Bacchus!' loud she cries.
to make a will in which he gave full The name of Bacchus Juno laughed to hear, legacies to many people ; whereupon his and said, 'Thy foster-god has cost thee dear.' À rock there stood, whose side the beating son Simon, (the Ottimo says his nephew, )
thinking himself enormously aggrievedl, Had long consumed, and hollowed into caves. suborned Vanni Schicchi dei Cavalcanti, The head shot forwaras in a bending steep, who got into Buoso's bed, and made And cast a dreadful covert o'er the decp. The wretched Ino, on destruction bent,
a will in opposition to the other. Cimbed up the cliff,-such strength her fury Gianni much resembled Buoso." In Icnt :
this will Gianni Schicchi did not forThence with her guiltless boy, who wept in
get himself while making Simon heir ; At one bold spring she plunged into the for, according to the Ottimo, he put biain."
this clause into it: “To Gianni Schic. chi I bequeath my mare.
This was 16. Hecuba, wise of Priam, çf Troy, the lady of the herd,” and Benvenuto and mother of Polyxena and Polydorus.
adds, none more beautiful was to be Ovid. XIII., Stanyan's Tr. :
found in Tuscany ; and it was valued at "When on the banks her son in ghastly hue a thousand florins." Transfixed with Thracian arrows strikes her 61. Messer Adamo, a false-coiner
view, The matrons shrieked : her big swoln grief
of Brescia, who at the instigation of surpassed
the Counts Guido, Alessandro, and The power of utterance; she stood aghast ; Aghinolfo of Romena, counterfeited the She had nor speech, nor tears to give relief : Laces of woe suppressed the rising grief,
golden forin of Florence, which bore on Lieless as stone, on earth she fix'd her eyes ;
one side a lily, and on the other the And then lookid up to leav'n with wild sur- figure of John the Baptist. prise,
64. Tasso, Gerusalemme, XIII. 6C Now she contemplates o'er with sad delight
Fairfax's Tr. :-
" He that the gliding rivers erst had seen TI! with collected rage at length she burns,
Adown their verdant channels gently rolled, WH as the mother-lion, when among
Or falling streams, which to the valleys green The haunts of prey she seeks her ravished
Distilled from tops of Alpine mountains cold,
Those he desired in vain, new torments been young : Swift Mies the ravisher; she marks his trace,
Augmented thus with wish of comforts old ; And by the print directs her anxious chase.
Those waiers cool hc drank in vain conceit, - Hecuba with mingled grief and rage
Which more increased his thirst, increased t's Pursues the king, regardless of her
age. Fetens her forky fingers in his eyes;
65. The upper valley of the Arno is Tears out the rooted balls; her rage pursues, in the province of Cassentino. Quoting And in the liollow orbs her hand imbrues. these three lines, Ampère, Voyage Dail.
"The Thracians, fired at this inhuman tesque, 246, says: “In these untrans With darts and stones assail the frantic queen. freshness, which almost makes one shade
latable verses, there is a feeling of hunnid She «nuls anl growls, nor in an human tone ; Then tales impatient at the bounding stone; der. I owe it to truth to say, that the
Cassentine was a great deal less fresh Now the outward trench of the walls of and less verdant in reality than in the Rome (whether real or imaginary we poetry of Dante, and that in the midst say not) was reckoned by Dante's con. of the aridity which surrounded me, this temporaries to be exactly twenty-two poetry, by its very perfection, made one miles ; and the walls of the city were feel something of the punishment of then, and still are, eleven miles round. Master Adam.."
Hence it is clear, that the wickat time 73. Forsyth, Italy, 116, says: "The which looks into Rome, as into a mirror, castle of Romena, mentioned in these sees there the corrupt place which is the veises, now stands in ruins on a pre final goal to its waters or people, that cipice about a mile from our inn, and is, the figurative Rome, 'dread seat of not far off is a spring which the peasants Dis.' call Fonte Branda. Might I presume The trench here spoken of is the last to differ from his commentators, Dante, trench of Malebolge. Dante mentions in my opinion, does not mean the great no wall about the well ; only giants fountain of Siena, but rather this ob- standing round it like towers. scure spring ; which, though less known
97. Potiphar's wife. to the world, was an object more fami 98. Virgil's "perjured Sinon,” the liar to the poet himself, who took refuge Greek who persuaded the Trojans to here from proscription, and an image accept the wooden horse, telling them it more natural to the coiner who was was meant to protect the city, in lieu of burnt on the spot.”
the statue of Pallas, stolen by Diomed Ampère is of the same opinion, and Ulysses. Voyage Dantesque, 246 : “ The Fonte Chaucer, Nonnes Preesies Tale:Branda, mentioned by Master Adam, “O false dissimilour, O Greek Sinon, is assuredly the fountain thus named, That broughtest Troye at utterly to sorwe." which still flows not far from the
103. The disease of tympanites is so tower of Romena, between the place called “because the abdomen is disof the crime and that of its punish- tended with wind, and sounds like a ment."
drum when struck.' On the other hand, Mr. Barlow, Con
128. Ovid, Metamorph. III. :tributions, remarks : “This little fount was known only to so few, that Dante,
“A fountain in a darksome wood,
Nor stained with falling leaves nor rising who wrote for the Italian people generally, can scarcely be thought to have meant this, when the famous Fonte Branda at Siena was, at least by name,
CANTO XXXI. familiar to them all, and formed an This Canto describes the Plain of image more in character with the in- the Giants, between Malebolge and the satiable thirst of Master Adam."
mouth of the Infernal Pit. Poetically the question is of slight im
4. Iliad, XVI.: "A Pelion ash, portance ; for, as Fluellen says, " There which Chiron gave to his (Achilles') is a river in Macedon, and there is also father, cut from the top of Moun: moreover a river at Monmouth,
Pelion, to be the death of heroes." and there is salmons in both.”
Chaucer, Squieres Tale :86. This line and line 11 of Canto
“And of Achilles for his queinte spere, XXIX. are cited by Gabrielle Rossetti For he coude with it bothe hele and drere." in confirmation of his theory of the And Shakspeare, in King Henry thi “Principal Allegory of the Inferno," Sixth, V. i. :chat the city of Dis is Rome. He says, Spirito Antipapale, I. 62, Miss Ward's
“Whose smile and frown, like to Achilles' spear
Is able with the change to kill and cure.' T. :“This well is surrounded by a high
16. The battle of Roncesvalles, wall, and the wall by a vast trench ; “When Charlemain with all his peerage fell the circuit of the trench is twenty-two
By Fontarabia." miles, and that of the wall eleven miles. 18. Archbishop Turpin, Ckronicis,
XXIII., Rodd's Tr., thus describes the summit. “I have looked daily,” says blowing or Orlando's horn :
Mrs. Kemble, Year of Consolation, 152, "He now blew a loud blast with his over the lonely, sunny gardens, open hom, to summon any Christian con- like the palace halls to me, where the cealed in the adjacent woods to his as- wide-sweeping orange-walks end in sistance, or to recall his friends beyond some distant view of the sad and noble the pass. This horn was endued with Campagna, where silver fountains call such power, that all other horns were to each other through the silent, over. split by its sound ; and it is said that arching cloisters of dark and fragrant Orlando at that time blew it with such green, and where the huge bronze pine, vehemence, that he burst the veins and by which Dante measured his great nerves of his neck. The sound reached giant, yet stands in the midst of graceful the king's ears, who lay encamped. in vases and bas-reliefs wrought in former the valley still called by his name, ages, and the more graceful blossoms about eight miles from Ronceval, to- blown within the very hour.” wards Gascony, being carried so far by And Ampère, Voyage Dantesque, 277, supernatural power.
Charles would remarks: “Here Dante takes as a point have flown to his succour, but was pre- of comparison an object of determinate vented by Ganalon, who, conscious of size ; the pigna is eleven feet high, the Orlando's sufferings, insinuated it was giant then must be seventy; it performs, usual with him to sound his horn on in the description, the office of those light occasions. He is, perhaps,' said figures which are placed near monuhe, 'pursuing some wild beast, and the ments to render it easier for the eye to sound echoes through the woods; it measure their height.” will be fruitless, therefore, to seek him.' Mr. Norton, Travel and Study in O wicked traitor, deceitful as Judas ! Italy, 253, thus speaks of the same ob. What dost thou merit?”
Iject :Walter Scott in Marmion, VI. 33, “This pine-cone, of bronze, was set makes allusion to Orlando's horn : originally upon the summit of the "O for a blast of that dread horn,
Mausoleum of Hadrian. After this On Fontarabian echoes borne,
imperial sepulchre had undergone many That to King Charles did come, evil fates, and as its ornaments were When Rowland brave, and Olivier, And every paladin and perr,
stripped one by one from it, the cone On Roncesvalles died!"
was in the sixth century taken down,
and carried off to adorn a fountain, Orlando's horn is one of the favourite which had been constructed for the fictions of old romance, and is surpassed use of dusty and thirsty pilgrims, in a in power only by that of Alexander, pillared enclosure, called the Paradiso, which took sixty men to blow it and in front of the old basilica of St. Peter. could be heard at a distance of sixty Here it remained for centuries ; and
when the old church gave way to the 41. Montereggione is a picturesque new, it was put where it now stands, old castle on an eminence near Siena. useless and out of place, in the trim and Ampère, Voyage Dantesque, 251, re- formal gardens of the Papal palace.” marks : “This fortress, as the com And adds in a note :say,
furnished with “At the present day it serves the lowers all round about, and had none bronze-workers of Rome as a model in the centre.
In its present state it is for an inkstand, such as is seen in this still very faithfully described by the shop-windows every winter, and is sola
to travellers, few of whom know the Montereggion di torri si corona.'"
history and the poetry belonging to its 59. This pine cone of bronze, which 67. “The gaping monotony of this is now in the gardens of the Vatican, jargon,” says Leigh Hunt, "full of the Yas found in the mausoleum of Hadrian, vowel' a, is admirably suited to the nd is supposed to liave crowned its mouth of the vast half-stupid speaker.
It is like a babble of the gigantic infancy pirate, and the fable of the hundred or the world."
hands arose from the hundred sailors 77. Nimrod, the "mighty hunter be that manned his ship. fore the Lord," who built the tower of 100. The giant Antæus is here un. Babel, which, according to the Italian bound, because he had not been at “ the popular tradition, was so high that who mighty war" against the gods. ever mounted to the top of it could hear 115. The valley of the Bagrada, one the angels sing,
of whose branches flows by Zama, the Cory, Ancient Fragments, 51, gives scene of Scipio's great victory over Ilan. This extract from the Sibylline Oracles : nibal, by which he gained his greatest
renown and his title of Africanus.
Among the neighbouring hills, accord-
ing to Lucan, Pharsalia, IV., the giant
There, landing, to the well-known camp he
The rocks and hills which long, traditions say,
But greater deeds this rising mountain grace,
And Scipio's name ennobles much the place, 94. Odyssey, XI., Buckley's Tr. : While, fixing here his famous camp, he calls 'Gou-like Otus and far-famed Ephialtes; Fierce Hannibal from Rome's devoted walls. whom the faithful earth nourished, the
As yet the mouldering works remain in view, tallest and far the most beautiful, at least
Where dreadful once the Latian eagles fiew." after illustrious Orion. For at nine 124. Eneid, VI. : “Here too you years old they were also nine cubits in might have seen Tityus, the foster-child width, and in height they were nine fa- of all-bearing earth, whose body is exthoms. Who even threatened the im- tended over nine whole acres; and a mortals that they would set up a strife of huge vulture, with her booked beak, impetuous war in Olympus. They at- pecking at his immortal liver.” Als), tempted to place Ossa upon Olympus, Odyssey, XI., in similar words. and upon Ossa leafy Pelion, that heaven Typheus was a giant with a hundred might be accessible. And they would heads, like a dragon's, who made war have accomplished it, if they had reached upon the gods as soon as he was born. the measure of youth; but the son of He was the father of Geryon and CerJove, whom fair-haired Latona bore, berus. destroyed them both, before the down 132. The battle between Hercules flowered under their temples and thick- and Antæus is described by Lucan, Phar. ened upon
their clieeks with a flowering salia, IV.:beard.
“ Bright in Olympic oil Alcides shone, 98. The giant with a hundred hands. Antæus with his mother's dust is strown, Æneid, X. : · Ægæon, who, they say,
seeks her friendly force to aid his own." had a hundred arms and a hundred hands, and Nashed fire from fifty mouths and Bologna, which Eustace, Classical Tour,
136. One of the leaning towers of breasts; when against the thunderbolts I. 167, thinks are "remarkable only for of Jove he on so many equal buck- their unmeaning elevation and dangerous lers clashed; unsheathed many deviation from the perpendicular.” swords."
He is supposed to have been a famous