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ARGUMENT.-The Poet describes the delight he experienced at' issuing a little before dawn from the infernal regions, into the pure air that surrounds the isle of Purgatory; and then relates how, turning to the right, he beheld four stars never seen before, but by our first parents, and met on his left the shade of Cato of Utica, who, having warned him and Virgil what is needful to be done before they proceed on their way through Purgatory, disappears; and the two poets go toward the shore, where Virgil cleanses Dante's face with the dew, and girds him with a reed, as Cato had commanded.
'ER better waves to speed her rapid course
The light bark of my genius lifts the sail,
Well pleased to leave so cruel sea behind;
Here, O ye hallow'd Nine! for in your train
Sweet hue of eastern sapphire, that was spread
The radiant planet, that to love invites,
To the right hand I turn'd, and fix'd my mind
As from this view I had desisted, straight
“Say who are ye, that stemming the blind stream, Forth from the eternal prison-house have fled ?” He spoke and moved those venerable plumes. “Who hath conducted, or with lantern sure Lights you emerging from the depth of night, That makes the infernal valley ever black ? Are the firm statutes of the dread abyss Broken, or in high Heaven new laws ordain'd, That thus, condemn'd, ye to my caves approach?"
My guide, then laying hold on me, by words And intimations given with hand and head, Made my bent knees and eye submissive pay Due reverence; then thus to him replied:
“ Not of myself I come; a Dame from heaven
3“ Planet.” Venus.
• The constellation of the Fish veiled by the more luminous body of Venus, then a morning star
5 Symbolical of the four cardinal virtues, Prudence, Justice, Fortitude, and Temperance.
8“ Our first parents.” In the terrestrial paradise, placed on the sum. mit of Purgatory.
? Charles's Wain, or Boötes.
Descending, him besought me in my charge
"Marcia so pleasing in my sight was found,"
Which was ordain'd me, when I issued thence. 10" Through thy seven regions.” 11“ By that law.” When he was The seven rounds of Purgatory, in delivered by Christ from Limbo, a which the seven capital sins are change of affections accompanied his punished.
change of place.
Not so, if Dame from Heaven, as thou sayst,
He disappear'd; and I myself upraised
The dawn had chased the matin hour of prime,
We traversed the deserted plain, as one Who, wander'd from his track, thinks every step Trodden in vain till he regain the path.
When we had come, where yet the tender dew Strove with the sun, and in a place where fresh The wind breathed o'er it, while it slowly dried; Both hands extended on the watery grass My master placed, in graceful act and kind. Whence I of his intent before appraised, Stretch'd out to him my cheeks suffused with tears. There to my visage he anew restored That hue which the dun shades of Hell conceal'd. Then on the solitary shore arrived,
12 A type of simplicity and patience.
That never sailing on its waters saw
ARGUMENT.-They behold a vessel under conduct of an angel, coming over the waves with spirits to Purgatory, among whom, when the passengers have landed, Dante recognizes his friend Casella; but, while they are entertained by him with a song, they hear Cato exclaiming against their negligent loitering, and at that rebuke hasten forward to the mountain.
TOW had the sun' to that horizon reach'd,
That covers, with the most exalted point
Of its meridian circle, Salem's walls;
Meanwhile we linger'd by the water's brink, Like men, who, musing on their road, in thought Journey, while motionless the body rests. When lo! as, near upon the hour of dawn, Through the thick vapors Mars with fiery beam Glares down in west, over the ocean floor; So seem'd, what once again I hope to view, A light, so swiftly coming through the sea, No winged course might equal its career. 1“ Now had the sun.” Dante was 3“ When she reigns highest” now antipodal to Jerusalem; so that is (according to Venturi, whom I while the sun was setting with re have followed) “ when the autumnal spect to that place, which he sup equinox is passed.” Lombardi supposes to be the middle of the in poses it to mean “ when the nights habited earth, to him it was rising. begin to increase, th t is, after the 3 The constellation Libra.