Page images
PDF
EPUB

away in fire.

out in a vast watery abyss, or burned 5. It is near sunset, and the western

We each endure his own sky is white, as the sky always is in the manes, thence are we conveyed along the neighbourhood of the sun. spacious Elysium, and we, the happy 12. A ghostly or spiritual body. few, possess the fields of bliss ; till 41. Pasiphae, wife of Minos, king of length of time, after the fixed period is Crete, and mother of the Minotaur. elapsed, hath done away the inherent Virgil

, Eclogue VI. 45, Davidson's stain, and hath left the pure celestial Tr. :reason, and the fiery energy of the “ And he soothes Pasiphae in her simple spirit."

passion for the snow-white bull : happy 121. “God of clemency supreme;" woman if herds had never been! Ah, the church hymn, sung at matins on ill-fated maid, what madness seized thee? Saturday morning, and containing a The daughters of Protus with imaginary prayer for purity.

lowings filled the fields ; yet none of 128. Luke i. 34 : “ Then said Mary them pursued such vile embraces of a unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing beast, however they might dread the I know not a man?"

plough about their necks, and often feel 131. Helice, or Callisto, was a daugh- for horns on their smooth foreheads. ter of Lycaon king of Arcadia. She Ah, ill-fated maid, thou now art roamwas one of the attendant nymphs of ing on the mountains ! He, resting his Diana, who discarded her on account of snowy side on the soft hyacinth, rumian amour with Jupiter, for which Juno nates the blanched herbs under some turned her into a bear. Arcas was the gloomy oak, or courts some female in offspring of this amour. Jupiter changed the numerous herd.” them to the constellations of the Great 43. The Riphæan mountains are in and Little Bear.

the north of Russia. The sands are the Ovid, Net. II., Addison's Tr. : sands of the deserts.

59. Beatrice. But now her son had fifteen summers told,

62. The highest heaven. Par. Fierce at the chase, and in the forest bold; When, as he beat the woods in quest of prey,

XXVII. He chanced to rouse his mother where she lay. 78. In one of Cæsar's triumphs the She knew her son, and kept him in her sight, Róman soldiery around his chariot And fondly gazed: the boy was in a fright, And aimed a pointed arrow at her breast,

called him “Queen ;” thus reviling him And would have slain his mother in the beast; for his youthful debaucheries with But Jove forbad, and snatched them through Nicomedes, king of Bithynia. the air

87. The cow made by Dædalus. In whirlwinds up to heaven, and fixed them there ;

92. Guido Guinicelli, the best of Where the new constellations nightly rise, the Italian poets before Dante, flourished And add a lustre to the Northern skies.

in the first half of the thirteenth century. " When Juno saw the rival in her height, Spangled with stars, and circled round with He was a native of Bologna, but of his life light,

nothing is known. His most celebrated She sought old Ocean in his deep abodes, poem is a Canzone on the Nature of And Tethys, both revered among the gods. They ask what brings her there : Ne'er ask, Love, which goes far to justify the

Dante's says she,

warmth and tenderness of • What brings me here; heaven i, no place for praise. Rossetti, Early Italian Foets, You'll see, when Night has cuvered all things under the title of The Gentle Heart :

p. 24, gives the following version of it, Jove's starry bastard and triumphant whore “Within the gentle heart Love shelters him, Usurp the heavens; you'll see them proudly roll As birds within the green shade of the In their new orbs, and brighten all the pole.'

grove.
Before the gentle heart, in Nature's scheme,
Love was not, nor the gentle heart ere Love

For with the sun, at once,
CANTO XXVI.

So sprang the light immediately; nor was

its birth before the sun's 1. The punishment of the sin of

And Love hath his effect in gentleness
Lust.

of very self: even as
Within the middle fire the heat's excess

me.

o'er,

" The fire of Love comes to the gentle heart about to put her to death for neglecting Like as its virtue to a precious stone;

the care of his child, who through hier To which no star its influence can impart Till it is made a pure thing by the sun :

neglect had been stung by a serpent. For when the sun hath smit

Statius, Thebaid, V. 949, says it was From out its essence that which there was Tydeus who saved Hypsipyle :

vile,
The star endoweth it.

But interposing Tydeus rushed between,
And so the heart created by God's breath

And with his shield protects the Lemnian Pure, true, and clean from guile,

queen. A woman, like a star, enamoureth,

118. In the old Romance languages "In gentle heart Love for like reason is For which the lamp's high flame is fanned the name of prosa was applied generally and bowed :

to all narrative poems, and particularly Clear, piercing bright, it shines for its own to the monorhythmic romances. Thus

bliss ; Nor would it burn there else, it is so proud. the thirteenth century, begins a poem on

Gonzalo de Berceo, a Spanish poet of For evil natures meet With Love as it were water met with fire, the Vida del Glorioso Confessor Santo As cold abhorring heat.

Domingo de Silos :Through gentle heart Love doth a track divine,

De un confessor Sancto quiero ser una prosa, Like knowing like ; the same

Quiero fer una prosa en roman paladino, As diamond runs through iron in the mine, En qual suele el pueblo fablar á su vecino,

Ca non so tan letrado per ser otro Latino." "The sun strikes full upon the mud all day ;

It remains vile, nor the sun's worth is less. 120. Gerault de Berneil of Limoges, • By race I am gentle,' the proud inan doth born of poor parents, but a man of

say: He is the mud, the sun is gentleness.

talent and learning, was one of the Let no man predicate

most famous Troubadours of the thirThat aught the name of gentleness should teenth century. The old Provençal

have,
Even in a king's estate,

biographer, quoted by Raynouard, Choix Except the heart there be a gentle man's. de Poésies, V. 166, says:

“ He was a The star-beam lights the wave, better poet than any who preceded or Heaven holds the star and the star's radiance. followed him, and was therefore called God, in the understanding of high Heaven,

the Master of the Troubadours. . Burns more than in our sight the living sun: He passed his winters in study, and his There to behold His Face unveiled is given ; And Heaven, whose will is homage paid to

summers in wandering from court to One,

court with two minstrels who sang his Fulfils the things which live

songs." In God, from the beginning excellent.

The following specimen of his poems So should my lady give That truth which in her eyes is glorified,

is from [Taylor's] Lays of the MinOn which her heart is bent,

nesingers and Troubadours, p. 247. It To me whose service waiteth at her side. is an Aubade, or song of the morning :My lady, God shall ask, “What daredst thou?'

“ Companion doar ! or sleeping or awaking, (When my soul stands with all her acts Sleep not again ! for lo! the morn is nigh, reviewed :)

And in the east that early star is breaking, Thou passedst Heaven, into My sight, as The day's forerunner, known unto

cye; To make Me of vain love similitude.

The morn, the morn is near.
To Me doth praise belong,
And to the Queen of all the realm of grace

Companion dear! with carols sweet I call
Who endeth fraud and wrong.

thee;

Sleep not again! I hear the birds' blithe Then may I plead : “As though from Thee

song Love wore an angel's face:

Loud in the woodlands ; evil may befall thee, Lord, if I loved her, count it not my shame.'”

And jealous eyes awaken, tarrying long,

Now that the morn is near. 94. Hypsipyle was discovered and Companion dear! forth from the window rescued by her sons Eumenius and

looking, Thoas, (whose father was the “bland Attentive mark the signs of yonder heaven; Jason,' as Statius calls him,) just as

Judge if aright I read what they betoken:

Thine all the loss, if vain the warning given; King Lycurgus in his great grief was

The morn, the morn is gear.

mine

now,

he came,

or

Companion dear! since thou from hence wert this Troubadour, it is difficult to con.

straying, Nor sleep nor rest these cyes have visited;

ceive the cause of the great celebrity he My prayers unceasing to the Virgin paying, enjoyed during his lise. That ihou in peace thy backward way might Arnaud Daniel was the inventor of

tread.
The morn, the morn is near.

the Sestina, a song of six stanzas of six

lines each, with the same rhymes repeated " Companion dear! hence to the fields with me! in all, though arranged in different and Me thou forbad'st to slumber through the intricate order, which must be seen to be

night, And I have watched that livelong night for understood. He was also author of the thee;

metrical romance of Lancillotto, But thou in song or me hast no delight, And now the morn is near.

Launcelot of the Lake, to which Dante

doubtless refers in his expression prose di ANSWER.

romanzi, or proses of romance. The " Companion dear! so happily sojourning, following anecdote is from the old Pro

So blest am I, I care not forth to speed : Here brightest beauty reigns, her smiles vençal authority, quoted both by Millot adorning

and Raynouard, and is thus translated Her dwelling place, then wherefore should by Miss Costello, Early Poetry of France,

I heed
The morn or jealous eyes?

p. 37:

“Arnaud visited the court of Richard According to Nostrodamus he died in Coeur de Lion in England, and encoun1278. Notwithstanding his great repute, tered there a jongleur, who defied him Dante gives the palm of excellence to to a trial of skill, and boasted of being Arraud Daniel, his rival and contem- able to make more difficult rhymes than porary. But this is not the general Arnaud, a proficiency on which he chiefly verdict of literary history.

prided himself

. He accepted the chal124.

Fra Guittone d'Arezzo. See lenge, and the two poets separated, and Canto XXIV. Note 56.

retired to their respective chambers to 137. Venturi has the indiscretion to prepare for the contest. The Muse of say: “ This is a disgusting compliment Arnaud was not propitious, and he vainly after the manner of the French ; in the endeavoured to string two rhymes togę. Italian fashion we should say, “You will ther. His rival, on the other hand, do me a favour, if you will tell me your quickly caught the inspiration. The

Whereupon Biagioli thunders king had allowed ten days as the term at him in this wise : “Infamous dirty of preparation, five for composition, and dog that you are, how can you call this the remainder for learning it by heart to a compliment after the manner of the sing before the court. On the third day French? How can you set off against the jongleur declared that he had finishe l it what any cobbler might say ? Away! his poem, and was ready to recite it, but and a murrain on you!"

Arnaud replied that he had not yet 142. Arnaud Daniel, the Trouba- thought of his. It was the jongleur's dour of the thirteenth century, whom custom to repeat his verses out loud Dante lauds so highly, and whom Pe. every day, in order to learn them better, trarca calls “the Grand Master of Love," and Arnaud, who was in vain endeavour. was born of a noble family at the castle ing to devise some means to save himself of Ribeyrac in Périgord. Millot, Hist. from the mockery of the court at being des Troub., II. 479, says of him : “In outdone in this contest, happened to all ages there have been false reputations, overhear the jongleur singing. He went founded on some individual judgment, I to his door and listened, and succeeded whose authority has prevailed without in retaining the words and the air. examination, until at last criticism dis- the day appointed they both appeared cusses, the truth penetrates, and the before the king. Araud desired to be phantom of prejudice vanishes. Such allowed to sing first, and immediately has been the reputation of Arnaud gave the song which the jongleur haul Daniel."

composed. The latter, slupiñed with Raynouard confirms this judgment, astonishment, could only exciaim : ?! and says that, “in reading the works of is mysong, it is my song. Impossible!'

name.

16.

cried the king ; but the jongleur, per With the hands clasped and sisting, requested Richard to interrogate turned palm downwards, and the body Amaud, who would not dare, he said, straightened backward in attitude of re to deny it. Daniel confessed the fact, sistance. and related the manner in which the

23. Inf. XVII. affair had been conducted, which amused 33. Knowing that he ought to con Richard far more than the song itself. fide in Virgil and go forward. The stakes of the wager were restored 37. The story of the Babylonian to each, and the king loaded them both lovers, whose trysting-place was under with presents."

the white mulberry-tree near the tomb of According to Nostrodamus, Arnaud Ninus, and whose blood changed the died about 1189. There is no other fruit from white to purple, is too well reason for making him speak in Pro- known to need comment. Ovid, Met. vençal than the evident delight which IV., Eusden's Tr. :Dante took in the sound of the words,

At Thisbe's name awaked, he opened wide and the peculiar flavour they give to the His dying eyes ; with dying eyes he tried close of the canto. Raynouard says that On her to dwell, but closed them slow and the writings of none of the Troubadours

died." have been so disfigured by copyists as 48. Statius had for a long while been those of Arnaud. This would seem to between Virgil and Dante. be true of the very lines which Dante 58. Matthew xxv. 34 : “Then shall writes for him ; as there are at least the king say unto them on his right seven different readings of them. hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father,

Here Venturi has again the indiscre- inherit the kingdom prepared for you tion to say that Arnaud answers Dante from the foundation of the world." in "a kind of lingua.franca, part Pro 70. Dr. Furness's Hymn :vençal and part Catalan, joining together

“ Slowly by God's hand unfurled, the perfidious French with the vile Down around the weary world Spanish, perhaps to show that Arnaud

Falls the darkness." was a clever speaker of the two." And 90. Evening of the Third Day of again Biagioli suppresses him with "that Purgatory. Milton, Parad. Lost, IV. unbridled beast of a Venturi,” and this 598 :“ most potent argument of his presump "Now came still Evening on, and Twilight gray tuous ignorance and impertinence."

Had in her sober livery all things clad :
Silence accompanied ; for beast and bird,

They to their grassy couch, these to their
CANTO XXVII.

Were slunk, all but the wakesul nightingale ;

She all night long her amorous descant sung ; 1. The description of the Seventh

Silence was pleased : now glowed the firma and last Circle continued.

With living sapphires : Hesperus, that led Cowley, Hymn to Light :

The starry host, rode brighicst, till the moon

Rising in clouded majesty, at length, "Say from what golden quivers of the sky Apparent queen, unveiled her peerless light, Do all thy winged arrows fly?”

And o'er the dark her silver mantle threw." 2. When the sun is rising at Jerusa 93. The vision which Dante sees is a lem, it is setting on the Mountain of foreshadowing of Matilda and Beatrice Purgatory; it is midnight in Spain, with in the Terrestrial Paradise. In the Old Libra in the meridian, and noon in Testament Leah is a symbol of the India,

Active Life, and Rachel of the ContemA great labyrinth of words and plative; as Martha and Mary are in the things,” says Venturi,“ meaning only New Testament, and Matilda and Beathat the sun was setting !” and this time trice in the Divine Comedy. “ Happy the “ dolce pedagogo" Biagioli lets him is that house," says Saint Bernard, “and escape without the usual reprimand. blessed is that congregation, where Mar.

8. Matthew v. 8: “Blessed are the tha still complaineth of Mary.” pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Dante says in the Convilo, IV. 17:

nests

ment

II2.

“Truly, it should be known that we can her own Image. These are the types of have in this lise two felicities, by follow the Unglorified Active and Contemplaing two different and excellent roads, tive powers of Man. But Beatrice and which lead thereto ; namely, the Active Matilda are the same powers, glorified. life and the Contemplative."

And how are they glorified ? Leah took And Owen Feltham in his Resolves : delight in her own labour; but Matilda,

“ The mind can walk beyond the sight in operibus manuum Tuarum,-in Gal's of the eye, and, though in a cloud, can labour : Rachel, in the sight of her own lift us into heaven while we live. Medi- face; Beatrice, in the sight of God's tation is the soul's perspective glass, face.' whereby, in her long remove, she dis

The morning of the Fourth Day cerneth God as if he were nearer hand. of Purgatory. I persuade no man to make it his whole

115. Happiness. life's business. We have bodies as well as souls. And even this world, while we are in it, ought somewhat to be cared

CANTO XXVIII. for. As those states are likely to flourish, where execution follows sound advise. 1. The Terrestrial Paradise. Compare ments, so is man, when contemplation Milton, Parad. Lost, IV. 214:is seconded by action. Contemplation

“In this pleasant soil generates ; action propagates. Without His far more pleasant garden God ordained: the first, the latter is defective. With-Out of the fertile ground he caused to grow out the last, the first is but abortive and All trees of noblest kind for sight, smell, taste ; embryous. Saint Bernard compares con. High eminent, blooming ambrosial fruit

And all amid them stood the Pree of Lise, templation to Rachel, which was the or vegetable gold; and next to Life, more fair; bu action to Leah, which Our death, the Tree of Knowledge, grew last by, was the more fruitful. I will neither Knowledge of good bought dear by knowing ill.

Southward through Eden went a river large, always be busy and doing, nor ever shut Nor changed his course, but through the shaggy up in nothing but thoughts. Yet that which some would call idleness, I will passed underneath ingulsed; for God had thrown call the sweetest part of my life, and that That mountain as his garden mould, high raised

Upon the rapid current, which through veins is, my thinking."

of porous earth with kindly thirst up drawn, 95. Venus, the morning star, rising Rose a fresh fountain, and with many a rill with the constellation Pisces, two hours Down the steep glade, and met the nether flor? before the sun.

Which from his darksome passage now appears; Ruskin, Mod. Painters, III. 221 : And now, divided into four main streams, “This vision of Rachel and Leah has Runs diverse, wandering many a fainous realm been always, and with unquestionable But rather to tell how, if art could tell,

And country, whereof here needs no account ; truth, received as a type of the Active How from that sapphire fount the crisped brooks, and Contemplative life, and as an intro- Rolling on orient pearl and sands of gold, duction to the two divisions of the Para- Ran nectar, visiting each plant, and fed dise which Dante is about to enter.

Flowers worthy of Paradise; which not nice art Therefore the unwearied spirit of the In beds and curious knots, but nature boon Countess Matilda is understood to re

Poured forth profuse on hill, and dale, and plain :

Both where the morning sun first warmly smote present the Active life, which forms the The open field, and where the unpierced shade felicity of Earth ; and the spirit of Imbrowned the noontide bowers.

Thus sas Beatrice the Contemplative life, which forms the felicity of Heaven. This

A happy rural seat of various view:

Groves whose rich trees wept odorous gums and interpretation appears at first straight balm; forward and certain ; but it has missed Others, whose fruit, burnished with golden rind, count of exactly the most important fact Hung amiable, Hesperian fables true, in the two passages which we have to Betwixt them lawns, or level downs, and flocks explain. Observe : Leah gathers the Grazing the tender herb, were interposed, flowers to decorate herself, and delights Or palmy hillock, or the flowery lap in her own Labour. Rachel sits silent, Flowers of all hue, and without thom the rise contrwplating berself, and delights in Another side, umbrageous grots and caves

hill

100.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »