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cation of some : "For some glory the an idiotic man, he took counsel with damned would have from them." This Messer Benedetto aforesaid, as to the would be a reason why these pusillani- best method of resigning: mous ghosts should not be sent into the Celestine having relinquished the profounder abyss, but no reason why papal office, this “Messer Benedetto they should not be received there. This aforesaid ” was elected Pope, under the is strengthened by what comes after- title of Boniface VIII. His greatest wards, I. 63. These souls were “hate misfortune was that he had Dante for an ful to God, and to his enemies.” They adversary. were not good enough for Heaven, nor Gower gives this legend of Pope Co. bad enough for Hell. “So then, be- lestine in his Confessio Amantis, Book II., cause thou art lukewarm, and neither as an example of “the vice of supplantacold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my cion.” He says : mouth." Revelation iii, 16. Macchiavelli represents this scorn of
“This clerk, when he hath herd the form,
How he the pope shuld enforin, inefficient mediocrity in an epigram on Toke of the cardinal his leve Peter Soderini:
And goth him home, till it was eve.
And prively the trompe he hadde “The night that Peter Soderini died
Til that the pope was abedde. He at the mouth of Hell himself presented.
And at midnight when he knewe "What, you come into Hell ? poor ghost de.
The pope slepte, than he blewe mented,
Within his trompe through the wall
And tolde in what maner he shall
papacie leve, and take
Milman, Hist. Latin Christianity, VI, She's nae fit for heaven, an' she'll ruin a'
194, speaks thus upon the subject : hell."
“ The abdication of Celestine V. was
an event unprecedented in the annals of 52. This restless flag is an emblem the Church, and jarred harshly against of the shifting and unstable minds of its some of the first principles of the Papal followers.
authority. It was a confession of coni. 59. Generally supposed to be Pope mon humanity, of weakness below the Celestine V. whose great refusal, or ab- ordinary standard of men in him whom dication, of the papal office is thus de- the Conclave, with more than usual ce:scribed by Boccaccio in his Comento :- titude, as guided by the special inter.
"Being a simple man and of a holy position of the Holy Ghost, had raised life, living as a hermit in the moun. to the spiritual throne of the world. tains of Morrone in Abruzzo, above Sel. The Conclave had been, as it seemel, mona, he was elected Pope' in Perugia either under an illusion as to this des after the death of Pope Nicola d'As- clared manifestation of the Holy Spirii, coli; and his name being Peter, he was or had been permitted to deceive itselí
. called Celestine. Considering his sim- Nor was there less incongruity in a plicity, Cardinal Messer Benedetto Ga- Pope, whose office invested him in taro, a very cunning man, of great something at least approaching to in. courage and desirous of being Pope, fallibility, acknowledging before the managing astutely, began to show him world his utter incapacity, his undeni that he held this high office much to able fallibility. That idea, formed out the prejudice of his own soul, inasmuch of many conflicting conceptions, yet as he did not feel himself competent forcibly harmonized by long traili. for it ;-others pretend that he con- tionary reverence, of unerring wisdom, trived with some private servants of oracular truth, authority which it was his to have voices heard in the chamber sinful to question or limit
, was strangely of the aforesaid Pope, which, as if they disturbed and confused, not as before ling were voices of angels sent from heaven, too overweening ambition, or even awful said, “Resign, Celestine! Resign, Ce- yet still unacknowledged crime, but ly lestine !'- moved by which, and being | avowed weakness, bordering on .imieci
lity. His profound piety hardly recon- old age. Hither the whole tribe is ciled the confusion. · A saint after all swarms come pouring to the banks, made but a bad Pope.
matrons and men, the souls of magnani“It was viewed, in his own time, in a mous heroes who had gone through life, different light by different minds. The boys and unmarried maids, and young monkish writers held it up as the most men who had been stretched on the funenoble example of monastic, of Christian ral pile before the eyes of their parents ; perfection. * Admirable as was his elec- as numerous as withered leaves fall in the tion, his abdication was even more to woods with the first cold of autumn, or be admired. It was an example of as numerous as birds flock to the land humility stupendous to all, imitable by from deep ocean, when the chilling year sew. The divine approval was said to drives them beyond sea, and sends them be shown by a miracle which followed to sunny climes. They stood praying to directly on his resignation; but the cross the flood the first, and were stretchscorn of man has been expressed by ing forth their hands with fond desire to the undying verse of Dante, who con gain the further bank : but the sullen demned him who who was guilty of the boatman admits sometimes these, somebaseness of the 'great refusal' to that times those ; while others to a great circle of hell where are those disdained distance removed, he debars from the alike by mercy and justice, on whom banks." the poet will not condescend to look. And Shakespeare, Richard III., I This sentence, so accordant with the 4:stirring and passionate soul of the great “I passed, methought, the melancholy food Florentine, has been feebly counter With that grim ferryman which poets write of acted, if counteracted, by the praise of
Unto the kingdom of perpetual night.** l'etrarch in his declamation on the
87. Shakespeare, Measure for Me beauty of a solitary life, for which the sure, III., 1:lyrist professed a somewhat hollow
" This sensible warm motion to become and poetic admiration. Assuredly there
A kneaded clod; and the delighted spirit was no magnanimity contemptuous of To bathe in fiery floods, or to reside the Papal greatness in the abdication In thrilling regions of thick-ribbed ice ; of Celestine ; it was the weariness, the
To be imprisoned in the viewless winds,
And blown with restless violence round about conscious inefficiency, the regret of a The pendent world; or to be worse than worst man suddenly wrenched away from all Of those that lawless and incertain thoughts his habits, pursuits, and avocations, and
Imagine howling." unnaturally compelled or tempted to 89. Virgil, Æneid, VI. : “ This is assume an uncongenial dignity. " It was the region of Ghosts, of Sleep and the cry of passionate feebleness to be drowsy Night; to wast over the bodies released from an insupportable burden. of the living in my Stygian boat is not Compassion is the highest emotion of permitted. sympathy which it would have desired or 93. The souls that were to be saved could deserve."
assembled at the mouth of the Tiber, 75. Spenser's “misty dampe of mis- where they were received by the celestial conceyving night."
pilot, or ferryman, who transported them 82.' Virgil, Aneid, Vi., Davidson's to the shores of Purgatory, as described translation :
in Purg. II. “A grim ferryman guards these floods 94. Many critics, and foremost among and rivers, Charon, of frightful sloven- them Padre Pompeo Venturi, blane liness ; on whose chin a load of gray Dante for mingling together things Pa: hair neglected lies ; his eyes are flame : gan and Christian. But they shoal: his vestments hang from his shoulders remember how through all the Middle by a knot, with filth overgrown. Him- Ages human thought was wrestling with self thrusts on the barge with a pole, the old traditions ; how many Pagan and tends the sails, and wafts over the observances passed into Christianity in bodies in his iron-coloured boat, now in those early days ; what reverence Dane years : but the god is of fresh and green had for Virgil and the classics ; and huis
many Christian nations still preserve inverts this image, and compares the some traces of Paganism in the names of dead leaves to ghosts :--the stars, the months, and the days. " O wild West Wind ! thou breath of Autumn's Padre Pompeo should not have forgotten being ! that he, though a Christian, bore a Pagan
Thou from whose presence the leaves dead name, which perhaps is as evidenta brutto
Are driven like ghosts, from an enchanter
fleeing, miscaglio in a learned Jesuit, as any which Yellow, ana black, and pale, and hectic red, he has pointed out in Dante.
Pestilence-stricken multitudes." Upon him and other commentators of the Divine Poem, a very amusing chapter might be written. While the great
CANTO IV. Comedy is going on upon the scene 1. Dante is borne across the river above, with all its pomp and music, these | Acheron in his sleep, he does not tell critics in the pit keep up such a per- us how, and awakes on the brink of petual wrangling among ihemselves, as “the dolorous valley of the abyss.” seriously to disturb the performance. He now enters the First Circle of the Biagioli is the most violent of all, parti. Inferno ; the Limbo of the Unbaptized, cularly against Venturi, whom he calls the border land, as the name denotes. an "infamous dirty dog," sozzo can vitu Frate Alberico in § 2 of his Vision percto, an epithet hardly permissible in says, that the divine punishments are the most heated literary controversy: tempered to extreme youth and old Whereupon in return Zani de' Ferranti age. calls Biagioli “an inurbane grammarian," Man is first a little child, then grows and a "most ungrateful ingrate,''-quel and reaches adolescence, and attains to grammatico inurvano ... ingrato in- youthful vigour; and, little by little gratissimo.
growing weaker, declines into old age; Any one who is desirous of tracing and at every step of life the sum of his out the presence of Paganism in Chris- sins increases. So likewise the little tianity will find the subject amply dis- children are punished least, and more cussed by Middleton in his Letter from and more the adolescents and the youths; kome.
until, their sins decreasing with the long109. Dryden's Aeneis, B. VI. : continued torments, punishment also be. like hollow furnaces on fire."
gins to decrease, as if by a kind of old
age (veluti quadam senectute)." 112. Homer, Iliad, VI.: “As is the Frate Alberico, in $ 9: " The nce of leaves, such is that of men ; darkness was so dense and impenetrable some leaves the wind scatters upon the that it was impossible to see anything ground, and others the budding wood there." produces, for they come again in the 28. Mental, not physical pain; what season of Spring. So is the race of the French theologians call la peine du men, one springs up and the other dam, the privation of the sight of God.
30. Virgil, Æneid, VI. : “ForthSee also Note 82 of this canto, with are heard voices, loud wailings, Mr. Ruskin, Modern Painters, III. and weeping ghosts of infants, in the first ico, says :
opening of the gate ; whom, bereaved "When Dante describes the spirits of sweet life out of the course of nature, uling from the bank of Acheron as and snatched from the breast, a black Head leaves flutter from a bough,' he day cut off, and buried in an untimely gises the most perfect image possible grave.' of their utter lightness, leebleness, pas 53. The descent of Christ into siveness, and scattering agony of despair, Limbo. Neither here nor elsewhere without, however, for an instant losing in the Inferno dves Dante mention the tis own clear perception that these are name of Christ. suuls, and those are leaves : he makes no 72. The reader will not fail to ob confusion of one with the other."
serve how Dante makes the word honour, Shelley in his Ode to the West Wind in its various forms, ring and reverberate
** His eye
through these lines,- orrevol, onori, or- of Dante, and not being able to get at ranzii, onrala, onorata!
him, shriek wildly for the Gorgon to 86. Dante puts the sword into the come up, too, that they may turn him hard of Ilomer as a symbol of his war- into stone, the word stone is not hard like epic, which is a Song of the Sword enough for them. Stone might crumble
93. Upon this line Boccaccio, Co- away after it was made, or something mento, says : A proper thing it is to with life might grow upon it; no, it honour every man, but especially those shall not be stone; they will make ename] who are of one and the same profession, of him; nothing can grow out of that ; as these were with Virgil.”
it is dead for ever. JOO. Another assertion of Dante's And yet just before, line ini, Dante -consciousness of his own power as a poet. speaks of this meadow as a “meadow
106. This is the Noble Castle of of fresh verdure." human wit and learning, encircled with Compare Brunette's Tesoretto, XIII. its seven scholastic walls, the Trivium, Logic, Grammar, Rhetoric, and the “ Or va mastro Brunetto
Per lo cammino stretto, Quadrivium, Arithmetic, Astronomy,
Cercando di vedere, Geometry, Music.
E toccare, e sapere The fair rivulet is Eloquence, which
Cid, che gli è destinato. Dante does not seem to consider a very
E non fui guari andato,
Ch'i' fui nella diserta, profound matter, as he and Virgil pass
Dow' i' non trovai certa over it as if it were dry ground.
Ne strada, nè sentiero. 118. Of this word " enamel " Mr.
Deh che paese scro
srovai in quelle parti ! Ruskin, Modern Förinters, III. 227, re
Che s' io sapessi d' arti marks :
Quivi mi bisognava, “The first instance I know of its
Chè quanto più mirava,
Più mi parea selvaggio. right use, though very probably it had
Quivi non ha viaggio, been so employed before, is in Dante.
Quivi non ha persone, The righteous spirits of the pre-Chris
Quivi non ha magione, tian ages are seen by him, ihough in
Non bestia, non uccello,
Non fiume, non ruscello, the Inferno, yet in a place open, lumi
Non formica, ne mosca, nous and high, walking upon the 'green
Ne cosa, ch' i conosca. enamel.'
E io pensando forte,
Dottai ben della morte. “I am very sure that Dante did not
E non è maraviglia ; use this phrase as we use it. He knew
Chè ben trecento miglia well what enamel was ; and his readers,
Girava d' ogni lato in order to understand him thoroughly,
Quel paese snagiato.
Ma si m assicurai must remember what it is,-a vitreous
Quando mi ricordai paste, dissolved in water, mixed with
Del sicuro segnale, metallic oxides, to give it the opacity
Che contra tutto male
Mi da securamento: and the colour required, spread in a moist
E io presi ardimento, state on metal, and afterwards hard
Quasi per avventura ened by fire, so as never to change. And
Per una valle scura, Dante means, in using this metaphor of
Tanto, ch' al terzo giorno
l' mi trovai d' intorno the grass of the Inferno, to mark that it
Un grande pian giocondo, is laid as a tempering and cooling sub
Lo più gaio del mondo, stance over the dark, metallic, gloomy
E lo più dilettoso.
Ma ricontar non oso ground; but yet so hardened by the fire,
Cid, ch' io trovai, e vidi, ihat it is not any more fresh or living
Sc Dio mi guardi, e guidi. grass, but a smooth, silent, lifeless bed
Io non sarei creduto of eternal green And we know how
Di cid, ch' i' ho veduto;
Ch' i' vidi Imperadori, hard Dante's idea of it was ; because
E Re, e gran signori, afterwards, in what is perhaps the most
E mastri di scienze, awful passage of the whole Inferno,
Che dittavan sentenze ; when the three furies rise at the top of
E vidi tante cose,
Che già 'n rime, nè 'n prose the burning tower, and, catching sight
Non le poria ritrare.
128. In the Comvito, IV. 28, Dante ground, he blamed the want of grati. makes Marcia, Cato's wise, a symbol of tude which permitted so many faithful the noble soul : “ Per la quale Marzia followers of their chief to fare so much si intende la nobile anima."
worse than the rest of their Christian 129. The Saladin of the Crusades, brethren. See Gibbon, Chap. LIX. Dante also “Afterwards, several of the Chris. makes mention of him, as worthy of tian leaders returned with the Sultan to affectionate remembrance, in the Con- observe the manners of the Saracens. pito, IV. 2. Mr. Cary quotes the fol. They appeared much shocked on seelowing passage from Knolles's llistory ing all ranks of people take their meals of the Turks, page 57 =
sitting upon the ground. The Sultan “ About this time (1193) died the led them into a grand pavilion where great Sultan Saladin, the greatest terror he feasted his court, surrounded with of the Christians, who, mindful of man's the most beautiful tapestries, and rich fragility and the vanity of worldly foot-cloths, on which were wrought honours, commanded at the time of his large embroidered figures of the cross. death no solemnity to be used at his The Christian chiefs trampled them burial, but only his shirt, in manner of under their feet with the utmost indif. an ensign, made fast unto the point of ference, and even rubbed their boots, a lance, to be carried before his dead and spat upon them. body as an ensign, a plain priest going “On perceiving this, the Sultan before, and crying aloud unto the peo- turned towards them in the greatest ple in this sort, «Saladin, Conqueror anger, exclaiming : “And do you who of the East, of all the greatness and pretend to preach the cross treat it riches he had in his life, carrieth not thus ignominiously? Gentlemen, I am with him anything more than his shirt.' shocked at your conduct. Am I to A sight worthy so great a king, as suppose from this that the worship of wanted nothing to his eternal commen- your Deity consists only in words, not dation more than the true knowledge in actions? Neither your manners nor of his salvation in Christ Jesus. He your conduct please me.' And on this reigned about sixteen years with great he dismissed ihem, breaking off the honour."
truce and commencing hostilities more The following story of Saladin is warmly than before.” from the Cento Novelle Antiche. Ros. 143. Avicenna, an Arabian physi. coe's Italian Novelists, I. 18:
cian of Ispahan in the eleventh century. "On another occasion the great Sa- Born 980, died 1036. ladin, in the career of victory, pro 144. Averrhoes, an Aralian scholar claimed a truce between the Christian of the twelfth century, who translated armics and his own. During this in the works of Aristotle, and wrote a terval he visited the camp and the cities commentary upon them. He was born pelonging to his enemies, with the de- in Cordova in 1149, and died in Mo. sign, should he approve of the customs rocco, about 1200. Ile was the lead and manners of the people, of embra of the Western School of philosophy, cing the Christian faith. He observed as Avicenna was of the Eastern. their tables spread with the finest damask coverings ready prepared for the
CANTO V. feast, and he praised their magnificence. On entering the tents of the king of
In the Second Circle are found the France during a festival, he was much souls of carnal sinners, whose punishpleased with the order and ceremony
ment is with which everything was conducted, “To be imprisoned in the viewless winds, and the courteous mainer in which he Leasted his nobles ; but when he ap
The pendent world.' proached the residence of the poorer The circles grow smaller an1 class, and perceived them devouring smaller as they descend. their miserable pittance upon the 4. Minos, the king of Crete, so re
And blown with restless violence rouod about