« PreviousContinue »
pras married to Peter of Aragon, and 71. The Ecliptic. See Inf. XVII., was the mother of Frederic of Sicily and Note 107. of James of Aragon.
73. This, the Mountain of Purgatory; 124. The Bishop of Cosenza and and that, Mount Ziou. Pope Clement the Fourth.
83. The Seven Stars of Ursa Major, 131. The name of the river Verde the North Star. minds one of the old Spanish ballad, 109. Compare Thomson's description particularly when one recalls the fact of the "pleasing land of drowsy-head," that Manfredi had in his army a band of in the Castle of Indolence: Saracens :
“And there a season atween June and May, " Rio Verde, Rio Verde,
Half pranke with spring, with summer hall Many a corpse is bathed in thee,
imbrowned, Both of Moors and eke of Christians, A listless climate made, where, sooth to say, Slain with swords most cruelly."
No living wighe could work, nc cared even for
play." 132. Those who died “in contumely of holy Church," or under excoinmuni. 123. “Ile loved also in life,” says Are cation, were buried with extinguished rivabene, Commento Storico, 584, and inverted torches.
certain Belacqua, an excellent maker of musical instruments."
Benvenuto da Imola says of him : CANTO IV.
“He was a Florentine who made gui
tars and other musical instruments. He 6. Plato's doctrine of three souls : the carved and ornamented the necks and Vegetative in the liver ; the Sensative heads of the guitars with great care, and in the heart ; and the Intellectual in the sometimes also played. Hence Dante, brain. See Convito, IV. 7.
who delighted in music, knew him inti15. See Convito, II. 14, quoted Par. mately." This seems to be all that is XIV. Note 86.
known of Belacqua. 25. Sanleo, a fortress on a mountain
133. Measure for Measure, II. 2: in the duchy of Urbino ; Noli, a town in the Genoese territory, by the sea-side;
That shall be up at heaven, and enter there Bismantova, a mountain in the duchy of
Ere sunrise ; prayers from preserved souls, Modena.
From fasting maids, whose minds are dedicate 36. Like Christian going up the hill To nothing temporal." Difficulty in Bunyan, Pilgrim's Progress: "I looked then after Christian
CANTO V. to see him go up the hill, where I perceived he fell from running to going, 1. There is an air of reality about this and from going to clambering upon his passage, like some personal reminiscence hands and knees, because of the steep- of street gossip, which gives perhaps a ness of the place.”
little credibility to the otherwise incre. 43. More than forty-five degrees. dible anecdotes of Dante tole lsy Sac61. If the sun were in Gemini, or chetti and others ; --such as those of the
we were in the month of May, you ass-driver whom be beat, and the blackwould see the sun still farther to the smith whose tools he threw into the Aorth.
street for singing his verses amiss, and 64. Rubecchio is generally rendered the woman who pointed him out to her red or ruddy. But Jacopo dalla Lana companions as the man who had been in says : “Rubecchio in the Tuscan tongue Hell and brought back tidings of it. signifies an indented mill-wheel.” This 38. Some editions read in this line interpretation certainly renders the image mezza notle, midnight, instead of prima more distinct. The several signs of the notte, early nightfall. Zodiac are so many cogs in the great Of meteors Brunetto Latini, Tresor, I. wheel ; and the wheel is an image which pt. 3, ch. 107, writes : “Likewise it Dante more than once applies to the often comes to pass that a dry vapour, celestial bodies.
when it is mounted so high that it
" True prayers
takes fire from the heat which is above, Nothing can be truer to the action of a falls, when thus kindled, towards the stream in fury than these lines. And earth, until it is spent and extinguished, how desolate is it all! The lonely flight, whence some people think it is a dragon ---the grisly wound, “pierced in the or a star which falls."
throat," -- the death, without help or pity, Milton, Parad. Lost, IV. 556, de- -only the name of Mary on the lips, scribing the night of Uriel, says: and the cross folded over the heart.
Then the rage of the demon and the “ Swift as a shooting star In Autumn thwarts the night, when vapours
river,—the noteless grave,-and, at last, fired
even she who had been most trusted for. Impress the air, and show the mariner
getting him,From what point of his compass to beware Impetuous winds.
Giovanna nor none else have care for me.' 66. Shakespeare's“war 'twixt will and There is, I feel assured, nothing else will not,” and “ letting I dare not wait like it in all the range of poetry; a faint upon I would.”
and harsh echo of it, only, exists in one 67. This is Jacopo del Cassero of Scottish ballad, “The Twa Corbies.'' Fano, in the region between Romagna 89. The wife of Buonconte. and the kingdom of Naples, then ruled 92. Ampère, Voyage Dantesque, p. by Charles de Valois (Charles Lack 241, thus speaks of the battle of Cam. land). He was waylaid and murdered paldino : “In this plain of Campaldino, at Oriago, between Venice and Padua, now so pleasant and covered with vineby Azzone the Third of Este.
yards, took place, on the 11th of June, 74. Leviticus, xvii. 2: “ The life of 1289, a rude combat between the Guelphs the flesh is in the blood."
of Fiorence and the fuorusciti Ghibel75. Among the Paduans, who are lines, aided by the Aretines. Dante called Antenori, because their city was fought in the front rank of the Floren. founded by Antenor of Troy. Brunetto tine cavalry ; for it must needs be that Latini, Tresor, I. ch. 39, says : “Then this man, whose life was so complete, Antenor and Priam departed thence, should have been a soldier, before being with a great company of people, and a theologian, a diplomatist, and poet. went to the Marca Trevisana, not far He was then twenty-four years of age. from Venice, and there they built an- He himself described this battle in a other city which is called Padua, where letter, of which only a few lines remain. lies the body of Antenor, and his se. At the battle of Campaldino,' he says, pulchre is still there."
the Ghibelline party was routed and 79. La Mira is on the Brenta, or one almost wholly slain.
I was there, a of its canals, in the fen-lands between novice in arms; I had great fear, and Padua and Venice.
at last great joy, on account of the divers 88. Buonconte was a son of Guido di chances of the fight.' One must not see Montefeltro, and lost his life in the battle in this phrase the confession of cowof Campaldino in the Val d'Arno. His ardice, which could have no place in a body was never found ; Dante imagines soul tempered like that of Alighieri
. its fate.
The only fear he had was lest the battle Ruskin, Mod. Painters, III. 252, re- should be lost. In fact, the Florentines marks :
at first seemed beaten ; their infantry fell “Observe, Buonconte, as he dies, back before the Aretine cavalry; but crosses his arms over his breast, press- this first advantage of the enemy was its ing them together, partly in his pain, destruction, by dividing its forces. These partly in prayer. His body thus lies by were the vicissitudes of the battle to the river shore, as on a sepulchral monu- which Dante alludes, and which at first ment, the arms folded into a cross. The excited his fears, and then caused his rage of the river, under the influence of joy." the evil demon, unlooses this cross, dash 96. The Convent of Camaldoli, thus ing the body supinely away, and rolling described by Forsyth, Italy, p. 117,-, it over and over by bank and bottom.
“We now crossed the beautiful vale
of Prato Vecchio, rode round the modest him a railing accu
ccusation, but said, The arcades of the town, and arrived at the Lord rebuke thee.” luwer convent of Camaldoli, just at shut And Jeremy Taylor, speaking of the ting of the gates. The sun was set and pardon of sin, says: “ And while it is every object sinking into repose, except disputed between Christ and Christ's the stream which roared among the enemy who shall be Lord, the pardon mcks, and the convent-bells which were fluctuates like the wave, striving 10 then ringing the Angelus.
climb the rock, and is washed off like * This monastery is secluded from the its own retinue, and it gets possession approach of woman in a deep, narrow, by time and uncertainty, by difficulty woody dell. Its circuit of dead walls, and the degrees of a hard progression.” built on the conventual plan, gives it an 109. Brunetto Latini, Tresor, I. ch. uspect of confinement and defence ; yet 107 : " Then arise vapours like unto this is considered as a privileged retreat, smoke, and mount aloft in air, where where the rule of the order relaxes its little by little they gather and grow, rigour, and no monks can reside but the until they become dark and dense, su sick or the superannuated, the dignitary that they take away the sight of the or the steward, the apothecary or the sun ; and these are the clouds; but bead-turner. Here we passed the night, they never are so dark as to take away and next morning rode up by the steep tra- the light of day; for the sun shines Ferses to the Santo Eremo, where Saint through them, as if it were a candle Romualdo lived and established
in a lantern, which shines outwardly,
though it cannot itself be seen. And de tacenti cenobiti il coro,
when the cloud has waxed great, so that l'arcane penitenze, ed i digiuni Al Camalduli uo.
it can no longer support the abundance
of water, which is there as vapour, it "The Eremo is a city of hermits, must needs fall to earth, and that is the walled round, and divided into streets rain." of low, detached cells. Each cell con 112. In Ephesians ii. 2, the evil spirit sists of two or three naked rooms, built is called “the prince of the power of the exactly on the plan of the Saint's own air.” tenement, which remains just as Ro. Compare also Inf. XXIII. 16, mualdo left it eight hundred years ago. now too sacred and too damp foi a
“If anger upon evil will be grafted"; mortal tenant.
and Inf. XXXI. 55, "The unfeeling Saint has here established a rule which anticipates the
“ For where the argument of intellect
Is added unto evil will and power, pains of Purgatory. No stranger can No rampart can the people make against it." behold without emotion a number of noble, interesting young men bound to 116. This Pratomagno is the same as stand erect chanting at choir for eight the Prato Vecchio mentioned in Note 96. hours a day; their faces pale, their The “ great yoke is the ridge of the heads shaven, their beards shaggy, their Apennines. backs raw, their legs swollen, and their Dr. Barlow, Study of Dante, p. 139,
With this horrible institute has this note on the passage : the climate conspires in severity, and
" When rain falls from the upper selects from society the best constitu- region of the air, we observe at a contions. The sickly novice is cut off in siderable altitude a thin light veil, or a one or two winters, the rest are subject hazy turbidness; as this increases, the to dropsy, and few arrive at old age.'
lower clouds become diffused in it, and 97. Where the Archiano loses its form a uniform sheet. Such is the stra. name by flowing into the Amo. tus cloud described by Dantc (v. 115)
104 Epistle of Jude, 9: “Yet Mi- as covering the valley from Pratomagno chael the archangel, when contending to the ridge on the opposite side above with the devil he disputed about the Camaldoli. This cloud is a widely body of Moses, durst not bring against extended horizontal sheet cf vapour, in
creasing from below, and lying on or lovers, with such embellishments as his near the earth's surface. It is properly imagination suggested. the cloud of night, and first appears Ugo Foscolo, Edinb. Review, XXIX. about sunset, usually in autumn; it com- 458, speaks thus :prehends creeping mists and fogs which Shakespeare unfolds the character ascend from the bottom of valleys, and of his persons, and presents them under from the surface of lakes and rivers, in all the variety of forms which they can consequence of air colder than that of naturally assume. He surrounds them the surface descending and mingling with all the splendour of his imaginawith it, and from the air over the ad- tion, and bestows on them that full and jacent land cooling down more rapidly minute reality which his creative genius than that over the water, from which could alone confer. Of all tragic poets, increased evaporation is taking place." he most amply developes character. On 118. Milton, Parad. Lost, IV. 500 : the other hand, Dante, if compared not
only to Virgil, the most sober of poets,
“As Jupiter On Tuno smiles, when he impregns the clouds but even to Tacitus, will be found never That bring May-flowers."
to employ more than a stroke or two of
his pencil, which he aims at imprinting 126. Ilis
upon his almost insensibly on the hearts of his breast.
readers. Virgil has related the story of 134. Ampère, Voyage Dantesque, 255: Eurydice in two hundred verses ; Dante, “Who was this unhappy and perhaps in sixty verses, has finished his masterguilty woman ? The commentators piece,—the tale of Francesca da Rimini. say that she was of the family of Tolo- The history of Desdemona has a parallel mei, illustrious at Siena. Among the in the following passage of Dante. Nello different versions of her story there is della Pietra had espoused a lady of noble one truly terrible. The outraged hus- family at Siena, named Madonna Pia. band led his wife to an isolated castle Her beauty was the admiration of Tusin the Maremma of Siena, and there cany, and excited in the heart of her shut himself up with his victim, wait- husband a jealousy, which, exasperated ing his vengeance from the poisoned by false reports and groundless suspi. atmosphere of this solitude. Breathing cions, at length drove him to the des. with her the air which was killing her, perate resolution of Othello. It is he saw her slowly perish. 'This fu- difficult to decide whether the lady was neral tête-à-tête found him always im- quite innocent ; but so Dante represents passive, until, according to the ex- her. Her husband brought her into the pression of Dante, the Maremma had Maremma, which, then as now, was a unmade what he had once loved. This district destructive to health. He never melancholy story might well have no told his unfortunate wise the reason of other foundation than the enigma of her banishment to dangerous a Dante's lines, and the terror with which country. He did not deign to utter this enigma may have struck the imagi. complaint or accusation. He lived with nations of his contemporaries.
her alone, in cold silence, without an. “However this may be, one cannot swering her questions, or listening to her prevent an involuntary shudder, when, remonstrances. He patiently waited till showing you a pretty little brick palace the pestilential air should destroy the at Siena), they say, “That is the house health of this young lady. In a few of the Pia.'"
months she died. Some chronicler, Benvenuto da linola gives a different indeed, tell us, that Nello used the version of the story, and says that by dagger to hasten her death. It is tommand of the husband she was thrown certain that he survived her, plunged in from the window of her palace into the sadness and perpetual silence.
Dante street, and died of the fall.
had, in this incident, all the materials of Bandello, the Italian Novelist, Pt. I. an ample and very poetical narra. Nov. 12, says that the narrative is true, tive. But he bestows on it only four and gives minutely the story of the verses,
For a description of the Maremma, Papirius Cursor. He was of the no. see Inf. XIII. Note 9.
bles of La Fratta, in the county on Also Rogers, Italy, near the end : Siena ; who, being forcibly banisheil be " Where the path
the Counts of Santafiore, held the nobly Is lost in rank luxuriance, and to breathe casile of Radicofani against the Pope. I, to inhale distemper, if not death;
With his marauders he made many and Where the wild-buar retreats, when hunters chare,
great prizes, so that no one could go And, when the day-star flames, the buffalo- safely to Rome or elsewhere through herd
those regions Yet hardly any one fell Afflicted plunge into the stagnant pool, into his hands, who did not go away Nothing discerned amid the water-leaves, Save here and there the likeness of a head,
contented, and love and praise him. Savage, uncouth; where none in human shape If a merchant were taken prisoner, Come, save the herdaman, levelling his length Ghino asked him kindly how much he Of lance with many a cry, or Tartar-like l'rging his steed along the distant hill,
was able to give him ; and if he said sive As Iron a danger."
hundred pieces of gold, he kept three hundred for himself, and gave back two
hundred, saying, “I wish you to go on CANTO VI.
with your business and to thrive. If 1. Zara was a game of chance, played it were a rich and fat priest, he kept with three dice.
his handsome mule, and gave him a 13. Messer Benincasa of Arezzo, who, wretched horse. And if it were a poor while Vicario del Podestà, or Judge, in scholar, going to study, he gave him Siena, sentenced to death a brother and some money, and exhorted him to good a nephew of Ghino di Tacco for highway conduct and proficiency in learning. robbery. He was afterwards an Auditor Boccaccio, Decameron, X. 2, relates of the Ruota in Rome, where, says the following adventure of Ghino di Benvenuto, “one day as he sat in the Tacco and the Abbot of Cligni. tribunal, in the midst of a thousand “ Ghino di Tacco was a man famous people, Ghino di Tacco appeared like for his bold and insolent robberies, who Scævola, terrible and nothing daunted ; being banished from Siena, and at utter and having seized Benincasa, he plunged enmity with the Counts di Santa Fiore, his dagger into his heart, leaped from caused the town of Radicofani to rebel the balcony, and disappeared in the against the Church, and lived there midst of the crowd stupefied with terror.” whilst his gang robbed all who passed
14. This terrible Ghino di Tacco was that way. Now when Boniface the a nobleman of Asinalunga in the terri. Eighth was Pope, there came to court tory of Siena ; one of those splendid the Abbot of Cligni, reputed to be one fellows, who, from some real or imaginary of the richest prelates in the world, and wrong done them, take to the mountains having debauched his stomach with high and highways to avenge themselves on living, he was advised by his physicians society. He is the true type of the to go to the baths of Siena, as a certain traditionary stage bandit, the magnani- cure. And, having leave from the Pope, mous melodramatic hero, who utters he set out with a goodly train of coaches, such noble sentiments md commits such carriages, horses, and servants, paying trocious deeds.
no respect to the rumours concerning Benvenuto is evidently dazzled and fas- this robber. Ghino was apprised of mis inated by him, and has to throw two coming, and took his measures accord. Romans into the scale to do him justice. ingly; when, without the loss of a man, His account is as follows :
he enclosed the Abbot and his whole • Reader, I would have thee know retinue in a narrow defile, where it was that Ghino was not, as some write, so impossible for them to escape. This being infamous as to be a great assassin and done, he sent one of his principal highway robber. For this Ghino di fellows to the Abbot with his service, Tacco was a wonderful man, tall, mus requesting the favour of him to alighi cular, black-haired, and strong; as agile and visit him at his castle. Upon which as Scævela, as prudent and literal as the Abbot replied, with a great deal of