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From the profound abyss, behind the lid
“Of all malicious act abhorred in heaven,
9. Anastasius, second of the name, ascended The two poets have already passed through the papal throne in 496 and died in 498. six circles, and Virgil now says that the seventh
Photinus, a disciple of Marcellus of Ancira, circle is divided into three sub-circles, and the later Bishop of Sirmio in Pannonia; he was eighth into ten concentric pits, while the ninth condemned as a heretic, together with his mas- lies at the very bottom of Hell. In these three ter, Marcellus, by the synod of Antioch in 351. remaining circles are punished the violent, the Dante confuses him with another Photinus, fraudulent, and the traitors. deacon of Thessalonica and follower of Acacius. 20. The first circle = the first of the remain
17. The remainder of the present canto may ing three, but the seventh in all. be considered as a syllabus of the whole of this 41. The first round = the river of blood seen part of the poem.
With unavailing penitence his crime,
“Fraud, that in every conscience leaves a sting,
I thus : “Instructor, clearly thy discourse Proceeds, distinguishing the hideous chasm And its inhabitants with skill exact. But tell me this: they of the dull, fat pool, Whom the rain beats, or whom the tempest drives, Or who with tongues so fierce conflicting meet,
46. The suicide.
59. Natural love of man for man. 47. Those who squander their property. 60. The second of the remaining three circles, Note the difference between these and the — the eighth in all, — divided into ten concentric prodigal in Canto vii.
pits. 48. Life and riches, instead of being a means 64. The other way=fraud against those who of joy to them, are, through misuse, an occasion put confidence in us. of sorrow.
67. The last of the nine circles of Hell, hence 51. Cary has not given accurately the mean- the smallest. ing of the original, “E spregiando Natura e sua 68. Dis = Lucifer. bontade.” Two classes are referred to, Sodom- 70. In the following lines Dante asks what is ites, “ spregiando Natura,” and Usurers despis- the difference between the sins of the gluttonous, ing His (God's, not Nature's) bounty.
the avaricious, the licentious, etc., and the sins 52. The third subdivision of the seventh punished in the following circles. Virgil replies circle.
that the former are sins of incontinence, or the 53. The allusion to Sodom is clear enough immoderate use of what is lawful in itself. The (Gen. xix.). Cahors is the capital of the latter are sins special to mankind, hence more department of Lot, France. It was the ancient heinous. capital of Quercy. It had the name in the Mid- 73. The dull, fat pool = Styx. dle Ages of being much frequented by usurers. 74. The gluttonous and licentious. 58. Seems = it seems as if.
75. Misers and prodigals.
Wherefore within the city fire-illumed
“O sun! who healest all imperfect sight,
83. He refers to Aristotle's Ethics, vii. 1. two man shall gain his living, i.e. from agri“ In the next place, entering on another division culture or from mechanic arts. The usurer, of the subject, let it be defined, that respecting however, who lives only on the interest of his morals there are three sorts of things to be money, does neither of these things, hence he is avoided, malice, incontinence, and brutishness.” said by Virgil to set at naught Nature and her 89. Those in the previous circles.
follower. 91. Fell spirits = the violent, the fraudulent, 104. “Art imitates Nature.” Aristotle, Phys. and traitors.
ics, ii. 2. 97. This corroborates the interpretation given 111. Genesis ii. 15: “And the Lord God to line 51. See note thereto.
took the man and put him into the garden of 100. Virgil's argument is as follows: Nature Eden, to dress it, and to keep it.” And Genesis proceeds from the mind of God. Aristotle says iii. 19: “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat that art proceeds from Nature, and hence is, as bread.” it were, the grandchild of God. From these
Descending by a very rugged way into the seventh circle, where the violent are pun
ished, Dante and his leader find it guarded by the Minotaur; whose fury being pacified by Virgil, they step downwards from crag to crag; till, drawing near the bottom, t
a river of blood, wherein are tormented such as have committed violence against their neighbor. At these, when they strive to emerge from the blood, a troop of Centaurs, running along the side of the river, aim their arrows; and three of their band opposing our travellers at the foot of the steep, Virgil prevails so far, that one consents to carry them both across the stream; and on their passage, Dante is informed by him of the course of the river, and of those that are punished therein.
The place, where to descend the precipice
As is that ruin, which Adice's stream
116. Elsewhere = in money.
referred to Monte Barco, near Rovereto. Scar118. The constellation of Pisces is already tazzini says, however, that Dante meant Chiusa, above the horizon. The sun is in the following near Verona. constellation of Aries, hence it will rise in a 13. The Minotaur, fruit of the unnatural lust short time, i.e. it is just before dawn.
of Pasiphaë, wife of Minos, and a bull sent by 120. Northwest in the original is coro = Poseidon. He is represented as having a Caurus, a wind which blows from that part of human body and the head of a bull. He was the heavens.
confined in the Cretan labyrinth and fed with 3. Such object = the Minotaur. See line 13. human flesh. He was finally killed by Theseus 4. This “ruin," or landslide, is usually
Of the feigned heifer : and at sight of us
Like to a bull, that with impetuous spring
17. Theseus. The original has duca d' 36. Our Saviour, who, according to Dante, Atene, whence Chaucer,
when he ascended from Hell, carried with him “There was a duk, that highte Theseus.” the souls of the Patriarchs. See Canto iv. 52 ff.
Knight's Tale. 38. The highest circle = Limbo. And Shakespeare, –
40. Virgil alludes to the doctrine of Empedo“Happy be Theseus, our renowned Duke.” cles, who taught that the world was formed by
M. N. D. i. 1. the discord of atoms, and that their concord or 19. Referring to the clue given to Theseus harmony (what Dante calls love) would proby Ariadne, by means of which he found his duce chaos. way out of the labyrinth.
44. This river forms the first round of the 29. Another of the numerous references to seventh circle, and in it are punished the vioDante's being still in the body.
lent against others, - murderers, tyrants, rob33. Cf. Hell, ix. 22 ff.