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If reverence of the keys restrained me not,
Meanwhile, as thus | sung, he, whether wrath
Nor weary of his weight, he pressed me close,
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
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,
As on them more direct mine eye descends,
Now, reader! think within thyself, so God
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."
“What, and art thou, too, witless as the rest?
“ Aruns, with rere his belly facing, comes.
“ The next, whose loosened tresses overspread
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,
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
Was wronged of Pinamonte. If thou hear
He straight replied : “ That spirit, from whose cheek
“ Guido Bonatti see: Asdente mark,
“See next the wretches, who the needle left,
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.