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If reverence of the keys restrained me not,
Which thou in happier time didst hold, I yet
Severer speech might use. Your avarice
O’ercasts the world with mourning, under foot
Treading the good, and raising bad men up.
Of shepherds like to you, the Evangelist
Was ware, when her, who sits upon the waves,
With kings in filthy whoredom he beheld;
She who with seven heads towered at her birth,
And from ten horns her proof of glory drew,
Long as her spouse in virtue took delight.
Of gold and silver ye have made your god,
Differing wherein from the idolater,
But that he worships one, a hundred ye?
Ah, Constantine! to how much ill gave birth,
Not thy conversion, but that plenteous dower,
Which the first wealthy Father gained from thee."

Meanwhile, as thus | sung, he, whether wrath
Or conscience smote him, violent upsprang
Spinning on either sole. I do believe
My teacher well was pleased, with so composed
A lip he listened ever to the sound
Of the true words I uttered. In both arms
He caught, and, to his bosom lifting me,
Upward retraced the way of his descent.

Nor weary of his weight, he pressed me close,
Till to the summit of the rock we came,
Our passage from the fourth to the fifth pier.
His cherished burden there gently he placed

112. It is not the woman who has the seven te gloriosam! si vel numquam informator imperii heads and ten horns, but the beast on which she tui extitisset; vel numquam sua pia intentio sits (Rev. xvii. 3). Many interpretations have ipsum fefellisset.”—O happy people! O gloribeen given of the allegory contained in this pas- ous Italy ! if either he who thus weakened thine sage of Revelation, but Dante probably con- empire had never been born, or had never sufceived the seven heads to mean the seven sacra- fered his own pious intentions to mislead him." ments, and the ten horns to stand for the ten Lib. ii. ad finem. The gift is by Ariosto very commandments.

humorously placed in the moon, among the 118. He alludes to the pretended gift of the things lost or abused on earth. 0. F. xxxiv. 80. Lateran by Constantine to Sylvester, of which Milton has translated both this passage and Dante himself seems to imply a doubt, in his that in the text, treatise “ De Monarchia.” -“ Ergo scindere

“Ah, Constantine! of how much ill was cause Imperium, Imperatori non licet. Si ergo aliquæ

Not thy conversion, but those rich domains dignitates per Constantinum essent alienatæ (ut dicunt) ab Imperio," etc., lib. iii. 10. “Therefore

That the first wealthy pope received of thee." to make a rent in the empire exceeds the lawful

Of Reformation in England, Bk. I. power of the emperor himself. If, then, some “Then pass'd he to a flowery mountain green, dignities were by Constantine alienated (as they Which once smelt sweet, now stinks as odia report) from the empire," etc. In another part ously; of the same treatise he speaks of the alienation This was that gist, (if you the truth will have,) with less doubt indeed, but not with less disap- That Constantine to good Sylvester gave." probation: “O felicem populum! O Ausoniam

Ibid.

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ARGUMENT. The Poet relates the punishment of such as presumed, while living, to predict future

events. It is to have their faces reversed and set the contrary way on their limbs, so that, being deprived of the power to see before them, they are constrained ever to walk backwards. Among these Virgil points out to him Amphiaraus, Tiresias, Aruns, and Manto (from the mention of whom he takes occasion to speak of the origin of Mantua), together with several others, who had practised the arts of divination and astrology.

And now the verse proceeds to torments new,
Fit argument of this the twentieth strain.
Of the first song, whose awful theme records
The spirits whelmed in woe. Earnest I looked
Into the depth, that opened to my view,
Moistened with tears of anguish, and beheld
A tribe, that came along the hollow vale,
In silence weeping: such their step as walk
Quires, chanting solemn litanies, on earth.

As on them more direct mine eye descends,
Each wonderously seemed to be reversed
At the neck-bone, so that the countenance
Was from the reins averted; and because
None might before him look, they were compelled
To advance with backward gait. Thus one perhaps
Hath been by force of palsy clean transposed,
But I ne'er saw it nor believe it so.

Now, reader! think within thyself, so God
Fruit of thy reading give thee! how I long
Could keep my visage dry, when I beheld
Near me our form distorted in such guise,
That on the hinder parts fallen from the face
The tears down-streaming rolled. Against a rock
I leant and wept, so that my guide exclaimed:

3. The first song=Hell.

Unlike to men, who, ever as they trace, 7. The soothsayers.

- Both feet and face one way are wont to 9. The word letane in the original means

lead." “religious processions."

Spenser, F. Q. I. viii. 31. 11. “But very uncouth sight was to behold 19. “May the reading of this poem make you

How he did fashion his untoward pace; better and happier."
For as he forward moved his footing old, 21. The human body.
So backward still was turned his wrin-

kled face;

“What, and art thou, too, witless as the rest?
Here pity most doth show herself alive,
When she is dead. What guilt exceedeth his,
Who with Heaven's judgment in his passion strives?
Raise up thy head, raise up, and see the man
Before whose eyes earth gaped in Thebes, when all
Cried out • Amphiaraus, whither rushest?
Why leavest thou the war?' He not the less
Fell ruining far as to Minos down,
Whose grapple none eludes. Lo! how he makes
The breast his shoulders; and who once too far
Before him wished to see, now backward looks,
And treads reverse his path. Tiresias note,
Who semblance changed, when woman he became
Of male, through every limb transformed; and then
Once more behoved him with his rod to strike
The two entwining serpents, ere the plumes,
That marked the better sex, might shoot again.

“ Aruns, with rere his belly facing, comes.
On Luni's mountains, midst the marbles white,
Where delves Carrara's hind, who wones beneath,
A cavern was his dwelling, whence the stars
And main-sea wide in boundless view he held.

“ The next, whose loosened tresses overspread
Her bosom, which thou seest not (for each hair
On that side grows) was Manto, she who searched
Through many regions, and at length her seat
Fixed in my native land: whence a short space
My words detain thy audience. When her sire
From life departed, and in servitude
The city dedicate to Bacchus mourned,
Long time she went a wanderer through the world.
Aloft in Italy's delightful land
A lake there lies, at foot of that proud Alp

26. There is a play on words in the original, – changed to a woman, and only after seven years, “Qui vive la pietá quando è ben morta.” by striking the same serpents, did he recover

Pietà in Italian has two meanings, one = pity, his former shape. Ovid, Met, iii. 320 ff. the other = piety. Virgil means to say that 43. Famous Etruscan diviner who, at the since God has condemned these souls, Dante's time of the civil wars between Cæsar and Pompity for them is not consistent with piety toward pey, foretold the victory of the former. Lucan, God.

Pharsalia, i. 586 ff. 31. Amphiaraus, a soothsayer, one of the 50. The daughter of Tiresias, and the founder seven kings against Thebes, who, foreseeing his of Mantua. death, refused at first to join the expedition 5 4. Thebes had fallen into the power of Creon, against that city. But, betrayed by his wife, uncle to Polynices and Eteocles. It was to he was finally forced to do so, and during the escape his tyranny that Manto fled to Italy. battle was swallowed up by the earth, which 5 8. In the following lines, Dante gives a opened to receive him.

beautiful description of the rise and progress of 37. Tiresias was a Theban soothsayer, who the river Mincio, and the location of the city of accompanied the Greeks to Troy. By striking Mantua. two serpents entwined together he became

That o'er the Tyrol locks Germania in,
Its name Benacus, from whose ample breast
A thousand springs, methinks, and more, between
Camonica and Garda, issuing forth,
Water the Apennine. There is a spot
At midway of that lake, where he who bears
Of Trento's flock the pastoral staff, with him
Of Brescia, and the Veronese, might each
Passing that way his benediction give.
A garrison of goodly site and strong
Peschiera stands, to awe with front opposed
The Bergamese and Brescian, whence the shore
More slope each way descends. There, whatsoe'er
Benacus' bosom holds not, tumbling o'er
Down falls, and winds a river flood beneath
Through the green pastures. Soon as in his course
The stream makes head, Benacus then no more
They call the name, but Mincius, till at last
Reaching Governo, into Po he falls.
Not far his course hath run, when a wide flat
It finds, which overstretching as a marsh
It covers, pestilent in summer oft.
Hence journeying, the savage maiden saw
Midst of the fen a territory waste
And naked of inhabitants. To shun
All human converse, here she with her slaves,
Plying her arts, remained, and lived, and left
Her body tenantless. Thenceforth the tribes,
Who round were scattered, gathering to that place,
Assembled ; for its strength was great, enclosed
On all parts by the fen. On those dead bones
They reared themselves a city, for her sake
Calling it Mantua, who first chose the spot,
Nor asked another omen for the name;
Wherein more numerous the people dwelt,
Ere Casalodi's madness by deceit

59. Which divides Germany from Italy. Mincio from lake Garda, fifteen miles west of

62. Val Camonica is one of the largest valleys Verona. of Lombardy. It is formed by branches of the 70. The Bergamese and Brescians at that Rhætian Alps, and in its bottom flows the river time were banded together against the family of which descends to form the lake Iseo.

Scala, to whom Peschiera belonged. 63. The Pennine Alps; not to be confused 77. Governo is to-day Governolo. with the chain of the Apennines which divide 81. Manto. She is called savage (original = Italy lengthwise into two parts.

cruda= cruel), in reference to the bloody rites The“ spot" referred to is variously given as used in divination, the island of Lecchi, Peschiera, etc. The mean- 85. Her arts = magic. ing is, the place where the three dioceses of 94. The Casalodi were a Guelph family forTrento, Verona, and Brescia meet.

merly lords of Mantua, they were driven out of 69. Peschiera is a fortified town in the prove the city in 1269, by Pinamonte, whose rule ince of Verona, situated at the exit of the lasted till 1291. The latter urged Count Albert

100

105

Was wronged of Pinamonte. If thou hear
Henceforth another origin assigned
Of that my country, I forewarn thee now,
That falsehood none beguile thee of the truth."
I answered, “ Teacher, I conclude thy words
So certain, that all else shall be to me
As embers lacking life. But now of these,
Who here proceed, instruct me, if thou see
Any that merit more especial note.
For thereon is my mind alone intent."

He straight replied : “ That spirit, from whose cheek
The beard sweeps o'er his shoulders brown, what time
Græcia was emptied of her males, that scarce
The cradles were supplied, the seer was he
In Aulis, who with Calchas gave the sign
When first to cut the cable. Him they named
Eurypilus : so sings my tragic strain,
In which majestic measure well thou know'st,
Who know'st it all. That other, round the loins
So slender of his shape, was Michael Scot,
Practised in every slight of magic wile.

“ Guido Bonatti see: Asdente mark,
Who now were willing he had tended still
The thread and cordwain, and too late repents.

“See next the wretches, who the needle left,
The shuttle and the spindle, and became
Diviners : baneful witcheries they wrought
With images and herbs. But onward now :

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of Casalodi to banish a large number of nobles, from Arabic to Latin. The traditional date of and then, putting himself at the head of the his death is about 1291. people, usurped the power for himself.

116. Bonatti was an astrologer of Forli, on 107. On account of the Trojan War, which whose skill Guido da Montefeltro, lord of that carried away all males in Greece, except those place, so much relied, that he is reported never of tender age.

to have gone into battle, except in the hour rec109. Aulis is a city in Bæotia where Aga- ommended to him as fortunate by Bonatti. He memnon gathered his army. Calchas was a lived toward the end of the 13th century. soothsayer who accompanied the expedition Asdente was a shoemaker at Parma, who against Troy. The reference in the words, deserted his business to practise the arts of “ to cut the cable,” is as follows. The fleet divination. How much this man had attracted which was to sail against Troy was becalmed at the public notice appears from a passage in our Aulis, and the oracle declared that the death of author's Convito, iv. 16, where it is said, in Iphigenia was the only means of propitiating speaking of the derivation of the word noble, the goddess Artemis, through whose anger the that " if those who were best known were acfleet was detained.

counted the most noble, Asdente, the shoemaker 111. Æn. ii. 114 ff.

of Parma, would be more noble than any one in 114. A Scottish schoolman, with posthumous that city.” fame as a wizard and magician. He is said to 122. A favorite method of bewitching in the have studied at Oxford and Paris, and to have Middle Ages was to form wax images, and to learned Arabic at Toledo. On the invitation of stick pins into them or place them in the fire, the Emperor Frederick II. he superintended a thus producing pain or death in the person translation of Aristotle and his commentators represented.

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