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ARGUMENT.-Among those of the fifth cornice, Hugh Capet records illustrious examples of voluntary poverty and of bounty; then tells who himself is, and speaks of his descendants on the French throne; and, lastly, adds some noted instances of avarice. When he has ended, the mountain shakes, and all the spirits sing “Glory to God.”
TLL strives the will, 'gainst will more wise that strives :
His pleasure therefore to mine own preferr'd,
I drew the sponge yet thirsty from the wave.
The words so pleased me, that desire to know
: An angel having revealed to him 2 He is thought to allude to Can that the father of a family was so Grande della Scala. See “Hell,” impoverished as to resolve on exposCanto i. 98.
ing the chastity of his three daugh.
Bounteous bestow'd, to save their youthful prime
“I," answer'd he,“ will tell thee; not for help,
ters to sale, Nicholas threw in at the window of their house three bags of money, containing a sufficient portion for each of them.
4“ Root.” Hugh Capet, ancestor of Philip IV.
B These cities had lately been seized by Philip IV. The spirit intimates the approaching defeat of the French army by the Flemings, in the battle of Courtrai, which happened in 1302.
O“ The slaughterer's trade." This reflection on the birth of his ances. tor induced Francis I to forbid the reading of Dante in his dominions. Hugh Capet, who came to the throne of France in 987, was, however, the grandson of Robert, who was the brother of Eudes, King of France in 888; and it may, therefore, well be
questioned whether by Beccaio di Parigi is meant literally one who carried on the trade of a butcher, at Paris, and whether the sanguinary disposition of Hugh Capet's father is not stigmatized by this opprobrious appellation.
? The posterity of Charlemain, the second race of French monarchs, had failed, with the exception of Charles of Lorraine, who is said, on account of the melancholy temper of his mind, to have always clothed himself in black, Venturi suggests that Dante may have confounded him with Childeric III, the last of the Merovingian, or first, race, who was deposed and made a monk in 751.
8 Hugh Capet caused his son Rob. ert to be crowned at Orleans.
He, from whose bones the anointed race begins.
Still for amends.
I see the time at hand,
That forth from France invites another Charles”
* “The great dower of Provence.” Louis IX and his brother Charles of Anjou married two of the four daughters of Raymond Berenger, Count of Provence. See “Paradise,” c. vi. '8;
10 “Young Conradine.” Charles of Anjou put Conradino to death in 1268, and became King of Naples.
* “The angelic teacher.” Thomas Aquinas. He was reported to have been son; by a physician, who wished to ingratiate himself with Charles of Anjou. “In the year 1323, at the end of July, by the said Pope John and by his cardinals, was canonized at Avignon Thomas Aquinas, of the order of Saint Dominic, a master in divinity and philosophy, a man most excellent in all science, and who expounded the sense of Scripture better than anyone since the time of Augustin. He lived in the time of Charles I, King of Sicily; and going to the Council at Lyons, it is said that he was killed by a physician of the said King, who put poison for him into some sweetmeats,...thinking, to ingratiate himself with King Charles,
because he was of the lineage of the Lords of Aquino, who had rebelled against the King, and doubting lest he should be made cardinal; whence the Church of God received great damage. He died at the abbey of Fossanova, in Campagna.”
in “Another Charles.” Charles of Valois, brother of Philip IV, was sent by Pope Boniface VIII to settle the disturbed state of Florence. In consequence of the measures he adopted for that purpose, our Poet and his friends were condemned to exile and death.
13 ** with that lance.” If I remember right, in one of the old romances, Judas is represented tilting with our Saviour.
14 “ The other.” Charles, King of Naples, the eldest son of Charles of Anjou, having, contrary to the directions of his father, engaged with Ruggieri de Lauria, the admiral of Peter of Arragon, was made prisoner, and carried into Sicily, June, 1284. He afterward, in consideration of a large sum of money, married his daughter to Azzo VIII, Marquis of Ferrara.
Had stept on shore) exposing to the mart
The Corsairs for their slaves. O avarice!
“O sovran Master! when shall I rejoice To see the vengeance, which Thy wrath, well-pleased, In secret silence broods ? —While daylight lasts, So long what thou didst hear of her, sole spouse Of the Great Spirit, and on which thou turn'dst To me for comment, is the general theme Of all our prayers; but, when it darkens, then A different strain we utter; then record Pygmalion, whom his gluttonous thirst of gold Made traitor, robber, parricide: the woes Of Midas, which his greedy wish ensued, Mark'd for derision to all future times: And the fond Achan,7 how he stole the prey, That yet he seems by Joshua's ire pursued. Sapphira with her husband next we blame;
15 “ The flower-de-luce.” Boniface VIII was seized at Alagna in Campagna, by the order of Philip IV, in the year 1303, and soon after died of grief. G. Villani, lib. viii. cap. lxiii. “ As it pleased God, the heart of Boniface being petrified with grief, through the injury he had sustained, when he came to Rome, he fell into a strange malady, for he gnawed himself as one frantic, and in this state expired." His character is strongly drawn by the
annalist in the next chapter. Thus, says Landino, was verified the prophecy of Celestine respecting him, that he should enter on the popedom like a fox, reign like a lion, and die like a dog.
16 It is uncertain whether our Poet alludes still to the event mentioned in the preceding note, or to the destruction of the order of the Templars in 1310, but the latter appears more probable.
17 *Achan." Joshua vii.
And praise the forefeet, that with furious ramp
From him we now had parted, and essay'd
Forthwith from every side a shout arose So vehement, that suddenly my guide Drew near, and cried: “Doubt not, while I conduct thee.” “Glory!" all shouted (such the sounds mine ear Gather'd from those, who near me swell’d the sounds) “Glory in the highest be to God.” We stood Immovably suspended, like to those, The shepherds, who first heard in Bethlehem's field That song : till ceased the trembling, and the song Was ended: then our hallow'd path resumed, Eying the prostrate shadows, who renew'd Their custom'd mourning. Never in my breast Did ignorance so struggle with desire Of knowledge, if my memory do not err, As in that moment; nor through haste dared I To question, nor myself could aught discern. So on I fared, in thoughtfulness and dread.
18 “ Heliodorus.” “For there appeared unto them an horse, with a terrible rider upon him, and adorned with a very fair covering, and he ran fiercely and smote at Heliodorus with his fore feet.” 2 Macc. iii. 25.
19 “ Thracia's king.". Polymnestor, the murderer of Polydorus.“ Hell," Canto XXX. 19.
20“ Crassus.“ Marcus Crassus, who fell miserably in the Parthian war.