« PreviousContinue »
Of joy, when misery is at hand! That kens
On his recovery, the Poet finds himself in the third circle, where the gluttonous are
punished. Their torment is, to lie in the mire, under a continual and heavy storm of hail, snow, and discolored water; Cerberus meanwhile barking over them with his threefold throat, and rending them piecemeal. One of these, who on earth was named Ciacco, foretells the divisions with which Florence is about to be distracted. Dante proposes a question to his guide, who solves it; and they proceed towards the fourth circle.
My sense reviving, that erewhile had drooped
The original perhaps is in Boëthius, De was the means of bringing Launcelot and Consol. Philosoph. “In omni adversitate Guinever together. fortunæ infelicissimum genus est infortunii 136. “E caddi, come corpo morto cade.” fuisse felicem et non esse.” II. 4.
So Pulci: 124. One of the knights of the Round Table, “E cadde come morto in terra cade.” and the lover of Ginevra, or Guinever, cele
Morgante Maggoire, c. xxii. brated in romance. The incident alluded to And Ariosto: seems to have made a strong impression on the “E cada, come corpo morto cade." imagination of Dante, who introduces it again,
Orl, Fur. ii. 55. less happily, in the Paradise, xvi. 14, 15.
Dante's last refuge was at the house of a 128. “Questo quel punto fù, che sol mi vinse." nephew of Francesca, - Guido Novello da
Tasso, Il Torrismondo. Polenta. Hence his grief at the sad fate of the 134. “Love's purveyors ” in the original = lovers. Galeotto, who according to the old romances
New torments, new tormented souls, which way
Cerberus, cruel monster, fierce and strange,
His eyes glare crimson, black his unctuous beard,
He tears the spirits, flays them, and their limbs
We, o'er the shades thrown prostrate by the brunt
They all along the earth extended lay,
9. Flaw=sudden gust or burst of wind. cf. cf. Ariosto, Milton,
“ Ch'al gran verme infernal mette la briglia, “Snow and hail, and stormy gust and E che di lui come a lei par dispone." flaw."
Orl. Fur. xlvi. 78. 12. Cerberus, a dog with three heads, in 35. The spirits have not yet their body, but ancient mythology, guardian of Hell.
merely the appearance of them. Only after the 21. “ Juxta - infernum vermis erat infinitæ Last Judgment will their human forms be remagnitudinæ ligatus maximâ catena." Alberici stored to them, Visio, $ 9.
10. “ You were born before I died.” Dante In Canto xxxiv. 102, Lucifer is called
was born in 1265; Ciacco died in 1286. “ The abhorred worm, that boreth through the
« The anguish thou endurest perchance so takes
No more he said, and I my speech resumed :
He then: “ After long striving they will come
67. The Bianchi must fall. 52. Ciacco, according to some commentators, 68. Within three years. Ciacco is speaking is a nickname, meaning “hog.” Others hold in 1300; the Bianchi and with them Dante were that it is the man's real name. He is intro- banished from Florence in 1302. duced in Boccaccio's Decameron, Giorn. ix. 69. Charles of Valois, by whose means the Nov. 8.
Neri were replaced. . 61. Divided into the Bianchi and Neri fac- Better than this, however, is to interpret tions.
"one" to mean Boniface VIII., in which case the 65. So called because it was headed by Veri word piaggia of the original should be transde' Cerchi, whose family had lately come into lated, “using flattery, blandishments.” Prothe city from Acone, and the woody country of fessor Norton translates, “tacking,"i.e. playing the Val di Nievole.
fast and loose with both parties. 66. The opposite party of the Neri, at the 73. It is not known who these two are. head of which was Corso Donati.
More from thee, further parley still entreat.
This said, his fixed eyes he turned askance,
When thus my guide: “ No more his bed he leaves,
He then: “ Consult thy knowledge; that decides
79. See notes to Hell, x. 32, and xvi. 42. 108. The usual explanation of this passage is 80. See note to Hell, xvi. 45.
to refer the word "knowledge" to the teachings 81. Of Arrigo, who is said by the commenta. of Aristotle, who declares that the more perfect tors to have been of the noble family of the the body, the more susceptible is it to pain and Fifanti, no mention afterwards occurs. Mosca pleasure. degli Uberti is introduced in Canto xxviii.
117. Plutus, the god of Riches, is made by 91. Ciacco, like other souls in Hell, desires Dante a demon, in accordance with his custom Dante to keep his name alive in the world above. when introducing mythological characters in
97. The trumpet announcing the Last Judg- Hell. ment. Cf. Matth. xxiv. 31. The “ adverse Power" is Christ.
In the present Canto, Dante describes his descent into the fourth circle, at the beginning
of which he sees Plutus stationed. Here one like doom awaits the prodigal and the avaricious; which is, to meet in direful conflict, rolling great weights against each other with mutual upbraidings. From hence Virgil takes occasion to show how vain the goods that are committed into the charge of Fortune; and this moves our author to inquire what being that Fortune is, of whom he speaks: which question being resolved, they go down into the fifth circle, where they find the wrathful and slothful tormented in the Stygian lake. Having made a compass round great part of this lake, they come at last to the base of a lofty tower.
“ Ah me! O Satan! Satan!" loud exclaimed
As sails, full spread and bellying with the wind,
Thus we, descending to the fourth steep ledge,
E’en as a billow, on Charybdis rising,
1. “Pape Satan, pape Satan aleppe.”
22. Cf.of the many efforts to explain this line none “As when two billows in the Irish sowndes are satisfactory, and perhaps it is better to under- Forcibly driven with contrarie tides, stand it simply as an exclamation of rage.
Do meet together; each aback rebounds 11. Michael, as it is in the original.
With roaring rage, and dashing on all sides, 12. Satan. The best commentary on this That filleth all the sea with foam, divides passage is contained in Rev. xii. 7-9. The The doubtful current into divers wayes." word strupo, translated here “adulterer," means
Spenser, F. Q. iv, 1, 42. rather adultery in the sense of infidelity.
25. In Purg. xx. 11, Dante says that Ava16. The word lacca, which Cary translates rice – antica lupa – is more universal than “ledge," means cavity, hollow.
all other vices.