« PreviousContinue »
Stood manifest to view. Incontinent
Electra there I saw accompanied
Then when a little more I raised my brow,
114. For an interesting discussion of the use generosity. It is interesting to note that Dante's of enamel here, see Ruskin, Modern Painters, friend Giotto introduces Saladin in his frescoes iii. ch. 14.
on the life of S. Francis, in the Church of S. 117. The daughter of Atlas, and mother of Croce in Florence. Dardanus, the founder of Troy. See Virg. Æn. 128. Aristotle, Petrarch assigns the first place viii. 134, as referred to by Dante in his treatise to Plato. See Triumph of Fame. iii. In De Monarchia, ii, 3. “Electra, scilicet, nata the Convito (iv. 2) Dante calls Aristotle “the magni nominis regis Atlantis, ut de ambobus master of human reason.” testimonium reddit poeta noster in octavo ubi 132. Democritus, who taught that the world Æneas ad Avandrum sic ait
was made by the fortuitous concourse of atoms. “Dardanus Iliacæ," etc.
133. Diogenes the Cynic. 120. Camilla is also mentioned, Hell, i. 104. 134. Heraclitus of Ephesus,called the "Weep
121. Queen of the Amazons, who fell in Asia ing Philosopher.” Empedocles, follower of fighting for the Trojans.
Pythagoras; said to have thrown himself into 122. Father-in-law of Æneas.
the crater of Ætna. 123. Junius Brutus, the first consul. The 135. Anaxagoras, master of Pericles. Thales other Brutus, together with Cassius and Judas, of Miletus was founder of the Ionic School. is placed by the Poet in the lowest circle of Hell, 136. Zeno, chief of the Stoics. — that of the traitors..
Dioscorides wrote a treatise on the properties 124. Lucretia, wife of Collatinus.
of plants and stones. 125. Julia was the daughter of Julius Cæsar 138. Linus, fabulous singer, son of Apollo. and wife of Pompey. Cornelia was the Others, and with more probability, read Livius. daughter of Scipio Africanus, and mother of Tully=Marcus Tullius Cicero. L. Annæus the Gracchi.
Seneca == the celebrated Roman Stoic philoso126. Saladin, Sultan of Egypt and Syria, born pher, teacher of Nero. 1137, died 1193, celebrated for his virtue and
Euclid and Ptolemy, Hippocrates,
Of all to speak at full were vain attempt;
Coming into the second circle of Hell, Dante at the entrance beholds Minos the Infer
nal Judge, by whom he is admonished to beware how he enters those regions. Here he witnesses the punishment of carnal sinners, who are tossed about ceaselessly in the dark air by the most furious winds. Amongst these, he meets with Francesca of Rimini, through pity at whose sad tale he falls fainting to the ground.
FROM the first circle I descended thus
139. Ptolemy, the astronomer and geographer, follows that each one of the nine concentric whose system Dante follows in the Divine circles is narrower than its predecessor. Comedy. Hippocrates, Galenus, and Avi- 4. Minos was king of Crete. Virgil also cenna were three famous physicians, the first makes him one of the judges in Hell (Æn. a Greek, the second from Pergamos in Asia, vi. 432). the third an Arab.
5. Cf. Milton, 141. Arab philosopher, author of a celebrated
“ Death commentary on Aristotle.
Grinned horrible a ghastly smile.” 2. Hell being shaped like an inverted cone, it
P. L. ii. 845.
“O thou! who to this residence of woe
Now 'gin the rueful wailings to be heard.
I understood that to this torment sad
25. Cf. Hell, iii. 89-90, wherc the same words Wheel their due flight in varied ranks de. are spoken to Charon.
scried; 35. The precipice which surrounds the vast And each with outstretched neck his rank maincentral abyss of Hell.
tains, 46. This simile is imitated by Lorenzo de' In marshalled order through the ethereal void." Medici, in his Ambra, a poem, first published Cf. Homer, N. iii. 3. Virgil, Æn. X. 264, by Mr. Roscoe, in the Appendix to his Life of and Dante's Purgatory, Canto xxiv. 63. Lorenzo:
57. Queen of Assyria, famous for her licen“Marking the tracts of air, the clamorous tiousness. The expression “ of whom 't is writ” cranes
refers to a passage in Orosius (Hist. i. c. 4),
That she succeeded Ninus her espoused;
There marked I Helen, for whose sake so long
When I had heard my sage instructor name
“O gracious creature and benign! who goest
which Dante has here almost literally trans-' 66. Some take Paris to be the son of Priam lated, “Huic mortuo Semiramis uxor successit." and the lover of Helen; others believe a knight
so. In Dante's time the Sultan of Egypt was of mediæval romance to be meant. also called Sultan of Babylon. The word “ now” Tristan was a knight of King Arthur's means in the year 1300.
Round Table. He fell in love with Iseult, wife 60. Dido, referred to by name in line 84. The of his uncle Mark, King of Cornwall, and was story of her love is told in the Æneid i. and iv. wounded by the latter by a poisoned arrow.
62. Queen of Egypt, mistress of Julius Cæsar Iseult came to him on his death-bed, and as the and of Mark Antony. Made prisoner by lovers embraced, both died of love and despair. Octavius, she killed herself.
This beautiful legend forms the subject of a long 63. Wife of Menelaus. Her flight with Paris poem by Gottfried von Strassburg, and one by was the cause of the Trojan War.
Chrétien de Troye (lost), and has been treated in 65. Achilles' love for Polyxena was the cause modern times by Tennyson, Matthew Arnold, of his death, he having been killed treacherously Swinburne, and Wagner. by her brother Paris, while the marriage was taking place.
Since thou hast pity on our evil plight.
“Love, that in gentle heart is quickly learnt,
96. Ravenna. M. Ampère speaks of the of Rimini, a man of extraordinary courage, but topographical accuracy of this passage, in his deformied in his person. His brother Paolo, Voyage Dantesque.
who unhappily possessed those graces which the 99. Cf, the first line of the sonnet in the New husband of Francesca wanted, engaged her Life, $ xx:
affections; and being taken in adultery, they “ Love and gentle heart are one same thing." were both put to death by the enraged
101. Because she died in sin, without a Gianciotto. chance to repent; or perhaps because she was The whole of this passage is alluded to by caught in flagrante delicto.
Petrarch, in his Triumph of Love, iii. 102. “ Amor, ch'a null'amato amar perdona.” Leigh Hunt has expanded the episode into a So Boccaccio, in his Filocopo :
long poem, - called Story of Rimini.
“For of Fortunis sharp adversite And Pulci, in the Morgante Maggiore, iv.:
The worst kind of infortune is this, “E perchè amor mal volontier perdona,
A man to have been in prosperite, Che non sia al fin sempre amato chi ama.”
And it remembir when it passid is." Indeed many of the Italian poets have
Troilus and Creseide, iii, 233. repeated this verse.
Tennyson also refers to these lines in 105. Caïna is the place where fratricides, or Locksley Hall, traitors against their kindred, are punished. “Comfort, comfort, scorned of devils, this is Cary's note here is inaccurate. See Hell, truth the Poet sings, xxxii.
That a sorrow's crown of sorrows is remem113. Francesca, daughter of Guido da Polenta, bering happier things." lord of Ravenna, was given by her father in Alfred de Musset protests against the truth marriage to Gianciotto, son of Malatesta, lord of the sentiment in his poem, - La Solitude.