« PreviousContinue »
So on the rim, that fenced the sand with rock,
Thereat, toward the right our downward course
Noting the visages of some, who lay
And when, amongst them, looking round I came,
23. The whole inner edge of the seventh his purse and his family. The description of circle forms, as it were, a continuation of the persons by their heraldic insignia is remarkable, stony border of Phlegethon.
both on the present and several other occasions 34. The violent against Art, or usurers. in this poem. The reader will remember that the blasphemers 57. The arms of the Gianfigliazzi of Florence. lie supine, and the Sodomites run about over 60. The arms of the Ubbriachi, another the plain.
Florentine family of high distinction. Dante's 53. A purse whereon the armorial bearings impartiality can be seen in the fact that this of each were emblazoned. According to Landino, family is Ghibelline, while the Gianfigliazzi our Poet implies that the usurer can pretend to were Guelphs. no other honor than such as he derives from
And one, who bore a fat and azure swine
Oh! haste that noble knight, he who the pouch
My guide already seated on the haunch
As one, who hath an ague fit so near,
I settled me upon those shoulders huge,
But he whose succor then not first I proved,
As a small vessel, backening out from land,
62. The arms of the Scrovigni, a noble family who, expecting the return of a quartan ague, of Padua.
shakes even at the sight of a place made cool 66. Vitaliano del Dente, a rich nobleman of by the shade. Padua.
85. The original is, 69. Giovanni Buiamonte, a nobleman of Flor
“Ma vergogna mi fêr le sue minacce,' ence, and famous, or rather infamous, for his usury. He died in poverty. His arms were “His (Virgil's) threats (or reproaches) prothree becchi, a word which means either beaks duced shame in me.” Cary reads fe, and or goats. Cary in older editions translated makes vergogna the subject of the sentence. beaks, which in his last revision he changed to Scartazzini, Philalethes, Longfellow, and Norgoats. Longfellow and Norton use the last ton all adopt the fir expression.
95. The usual reference to Dante's being 81. Dante trembled with fear, like a man alive.
There, where the breast had been, his forked tail.
Not greater was the dread, when Phaëthon
As falcon, that hath long been on the wing,
102. The son of Helios. He obtained per- made by Dædalus, melted. Ovid, Met. viii mission from his father to drive his chariot (the 225 ff. sun) across the heavens; but, being unable to 113. Cary does not give the full force of the check his horses, nearly set the earth on fire, original here, where Dante, in a single line, says and was slain by Jupiter with a thunderbolt. that the circular and the descending motion only Ovid, Met. ii. 47–324.
made itself perceptible by the air which struck 104. In the Convito, ii. 15, Dante alludes to his face in front, and also came up from below. the theory of the Pythagoreans that the sun The line is an admirable example of the Poet's going out of its course produced the burnt conciscness. appearance in the heavens called the Milky 123. The trained hawk is carried on the wrist, Way. Dante, himself, however, follows Aris- with its head covered by a hood. When its totle in looking on the latter as formed by an master goes hunting, he takes off the hood, and agglomeration of minute stars.
the hawk flies after the game, remaining in the 105. Son of Dædalus, drowned in the Icarian air until the game is caught, or the hunter calls Sea (named, according to the legend, after him back by means of the lure, a contrivance him), near Samos, in his flight from Crete, by somewhat resembling a bird. Dante seems to flying so near the sun that his wings of wax, allude here to a hawk not thoroughly trained.
The Poet describes the situation and form of the eighth circle, divided into ten gulfs,
which contain as many different descriptions of fraudulent sinners; but in the present Canto he treats only of two sorts: the first is of those who, either for their own pleasure, or for that of another, have seduced any woman from her duty; and these are scourged of demons in the first gulf: the other sort is of flatterers, who in the second gulf are condemned to remain immersed in filth.
There is a place within the depths of hell
As where, to guard the walls, full many a foss
On our right hand new misery I saw,
2. Dante has formed the word Malebolge Pit IV. = Soothsayers, Canto xx. himself from male = evil, and bolgia = wallet “ V. = Barterers,
xxi.-xxii. or pocket, here = pit. Hence the whole word “ VI. = Hypocrites,
xxiii. means evil pits. Malebolge consists of ten “ VII. = Thieves,
xxiv.-xxv. concentric ditches, in which are punished ten " VIII. = Evil Counsellors, xxvi.-xxvii. different kinds of fraud against mankind in gen- “ IX. = Schismatics,
xxviii.-xxix. cral. The following scheme, taken from Scar. “ X. = Falsifiers,
xxix.-xxx. tazzini, may be of service.
6. The gulf leading down to the ninth circle. Pit I. = Seducers,
25. The first evil pit, that of the panders and « II. = Flatterers,
seducers. " III. Simoniacs,
With us beyond, but with a larger stride.
Each diverse way, along the grisly rock,
Meantime, as on I passed, one met my sight,
Thou who dost cast thine eye upon the ground,
28. Beyond the middle point they tended the mole (or mausoleum) of Adrian, and changed to same way with us, but their pace was quicker a citadel in the Middle Ages. than ours.
50. Venedico Caccianimico, a Bolognese, 29. In the year 1300, Pope Boniface VIII., to who prevailed on his sister Ghisola to give remedy the inconvenience occasioned by the herself to Obizzo da Este, marquis of Ferpress of people who were passing over the rara, whom we have seen among the tyrants, bridge of Sant'Angelo during the time of the Jubi- Canto xii. lee, caused it to be divided lengthwise by a par. 51. The original salse is interpreted by some tition; and ordered that all those who were going to mean “bitter torment," by others, a lonely to St. Peter's should keep one side, and those valley about fifteen miles from Bologna, where returning the other. G. Villani, who was pres- were thrown the bodies of suicides, malefactors, ent, describes the order that was preserved, and the excommunicated, used figuratively for viii. 36. It was at this time, and on this Malebolge. The meaning in either case is, occasion, as the honest historian tells us, that he “for what sin are you here?” first conceived the design of “compiling his 59. Dante says here that the Bolognese were book."
celebrated for this vice, being led thereto by · 33. The castle of Sant'Angelo, originally the their avariciousness.