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ICHABOD CHARLES WRIGHT, M.A.,
LATE FELLOW OF MAGDALEN COLLEGE, OXFORD.
A NEW EDITION, REVISED AND CORRECTED,
LONGMAN, ORME, BROWN, GREEN, AND LONGMAN.
“In exhibiting the works of great Poets in another language
were, the gait of the original.”—Bishop Lowth. Sacred Poet
Printed by W. DEARDEN, Carlton Street.
The present Translation of Dante's triple Poem was originally published at intervals of several years. It is now for the first time published as a whole, and in a form accessible to the general reader. A Memoir of Dante has been added ; also an Index ; and the rhymes of the Inferno considerably improved.
The text has been selected from the “ Various Readings" of the original, and not from any single edition ;
and this will account for many apparent mistakes. (See À note to the 31st line of the third canto of the Inferno.) 2 That the Poet of the Middle Ages should be called
upon to give light to the present century, may appear extraordinary :--but greatly revered as he was in former ages, his authority is now, if possible, held in still higher estimation. During the last few years the press of the continent has teemed with translations and commentaries. Dante is there consulted as an Oracle, as well as a Poet; and Professorships have been lately re-established in the foreign Universities, for the explanation of the Divina Commedia. At such a time, no apology is required for the endeavour to make Dante more known in England.
MEMOIR OF DANTE.
Dante was born at Florence in 1265, and derived his descent from the noble family of the Alighieri. He received a learned educațion under the instruction of Brunetto Latini, the most distinguished scholar of the age, and applied himself to literature and science with astonishing ardour and success. At the age of 24 he became a soldier, and gained great distinction in the field.
In his boyhood he conceived a strong affection for the daughter of Folco Portinari. This passion increased with his age; and Beatrice first inspired him with that love of poetry which proved his consolation amid all the subsequent calamities of his eventful life. What were the obstacles to their union we are not informed; but the cause may perhaps be found in the violent family disputes and political schisms which in that age were carried to an extent not easily imagined. She married Simone de' Bardi, and died in the 24th year of her age. Her death caused Dante the greatest grief; and it appears to have been with the view of distracting his mind from the melancholy into which he was plunged, that his friends exerted themselves to bring about a marriage between him and a lady of the Donati family, by whom he had five sons and a daughter. The memory, however, of Beatrice was so little effaced, that his devotion to her, after her death, acquired an increased intensity. And