Part 7 out of 11
v. 26. To Naples.]
Virgil died at Brundusium, from whence his body is said to have
been removed to Naples.
v. 38. Desiring fruitlessly.] See H. Canto IV, 39.
v. 49. 'Twixt Lerice and Turbia.] At that time the two
extremities of the Genoese republic, the former on the east, the
latter on the west. A very ingenious writer has had occasion,
for a different purpose, to mention one of these places as
remarkably secluded by its mountainous situation "On an eminence
among the mountains, between the two little cities, Nice and
Manoca, is the village of Torbia, a name formed from the Greek
[GREEK HERE] Mitford on the Harmony of Language, sect. x. p. 351.
v. 78. As sheep.] The imitative nature of these animals
supplies our Poet with another comparison in his Convito Opere,
t. i. p 34. Ediz. Ven. 1793.
v. 110. Manfredi. King of Naples and Sicily, and the natural
son of Frederick II. He was lively end agreeable in his manners,
and delighted in poetry, music, and dancing. But he was luxurious
and ambitious. Void of religion, and in his philosophy an
Epicurean. See G. Villani l. vi. c. xlvii. and Mr. Matthias's
Tiraboschi, v. I. p. 38. He fell in the battle with Charles of
Anjou in 1265, alluded to in Canto XXVIII, of Hell, v. 13,
"Dying, excommunicated, King Charles did allow of his being
buried in sacred ground, but he was interred near the bridge of
Benevento, and on his grave there was cast a stone by every one
of the army whence there was formed a great mound of stones. But
some ave said, that afterwards, by command of the Pope. the
Bishop of Cosenza took up his body and sent it out of the
kingdom, because it was the land of the church, and that it was
buried by the river Verde, on the borders of the kingdom and of
Carapagna. this, however, we do not affirm." G. Villani, Hist.
l. vii. c. 9.
v. 111. Costanza.] See Paradise Canto III. v. 121.
v. 112. My fair daughter.] Costanza, the daughter of Manfredi,
and wife of Peter III. King of Arragon, by whom she was mother
to Frederick, King of Sicily and James, King of Arragon With the
latter of these she was at Rome 1296. See G. Villani, 1. viii. c.
18. and notes to Canto VII.
v. 122. Clement.] Pope Clement IV.
v. 127. The stream of Verde.] A river near Ascoli, that falls
into he Toronto. The "xtinguished lights " formed part of the
ceremony t the interment of one excommunicated.
v. 130. Hope.]
Mentre che la speranza ha fior del verde.
Tasso, G. L. c. xix. st. 53.
--infin che verde e fior di speme.
v. 1. When.] It must be owned the beginning of this Canto is
somewhat obscure. Bellutello refers, for an elucidation of it, to
the reasoning of Statius in the twenty-fifth canto. Perhaps some
illustration may be derived from the following, passage in
South's Sermons, in which I have ventured to supply the words
between crotchets that seemed to be wanting to complete
the sense. Now whether these three, judgement memory, and
invention, are three distinct things, both in being distinguished
from one another, and likewise from the substance of the soul
itself, considered without any such faculties, (or whether the
soul be one individual substance) but only receiving these
several denominations rom the several respects arising from the
several actions exerted immediately by itself upon several
objects, or several qualities of the same object, I say whether
of these it is, is not easy to decide, and it is well that it is
not necessary Aquinas, and most with him, affirm the former, and
Scotus with his followers the latter." Vol. iv. Serm. 1.
v. 23. Sanleo.] A fortress on the summit of Montefeltro.
v. 24. Noli.] In the Genoese territory, between Finale and
v. 25. Bismantua.] A steep mountain in the territory of Reggio.
v. 55. From the left.] Vellutello observes an imitation of
Lucan in this passage:
Ignotum vobis, Arabes, venistis in orbem,
Umbras mirati nemornm non ire sinistras.
Phars. s. 1. iii. 248
v. 69 Thou wilt see.] "If you consider that this mountain of
Purgatory and that of Sion are antipodal to each other, you will
perceive that the sun must rise on opposite sides of the
v. 119. Belacqua.] Concerning this man, the commentators afford
v. 14. Be as a tower.] Sta ome torre ferma
Berni, Orl. Inn. 1. 1. c. xvi. st. 48:
In quei due piedi sta fermo il gigante
Com' una torre in mezzo d'un castello.
And Milton, P. L. b. i. 591.
Stood like a tower.
v. 36. Ne'er saw I fiery vapours.] Imitated by Tasso, G. L, c.
xix t. 62:
Tal suol fendendo liquido sereno
Stella cader della gran madre in seno.
And by Milton, P. L. b. iv. 558:
Swift as a shooting star
In autumn thwarts the night, when vapours fir'd
Impress the air.
v. 67. That land.] The Marca d'Ancona, between Romagna and
Apulia, the kingdom of Charles of Anjou.
v. 76. From thence I came.] Giacopo del Cassero, a citizen of
Fano who having spoken ill of Azzo da Este, Marquis of Ferrara,
was by his orders put to death. Giacopo, was overtaken by the
assassins at Oriaco a place near the Brenta, from whence, if he
had fled towards Mira, higher up on that river, instead of making
for the marsh on the sea shore, he might have escaped.
v. 75. Antenor's land.] The city of Padua, said to be founded
v. 87. Of Montefeltro I.] Buonconte (son of Guido da
Montefeltro, whom we have had in the twenty-seventh Canto of
Hell) fell in the battle of Campaldino (1289), fighting on the
side of the Aretini.
v. 88. Giovanna.] Either the wife, or kinswoman, of Buonconte.
v. 91. The hermit's seat.] The hermitage of Camaldoli.
v. 95. Where its name is cancel'd.] That is, between Bibbiena
and Poppi, where the Archiano falls into the Arno.
v. 115. From Pratomagno to the mountain range.] From Pratomagno
now called Prato Vecchio (which divides the Valdarno from
Casentino) as far as to the Apennine.
v. 131. Pia.] She is said to have been a Siennese lady, of the
family of Tolommei, secretly made away with by her husband, Nello
della Pietra, of the same city, in Maremma, where he had some
v. 14. Of Arezzo him.] Benincasa of Arezzo, eminent for his
skill in jurisprudence, who, having condemned to death Turrino da
Turrita brother of Ghino di Tacco, for his robberies in Maremma,
was murdered by Ghino, in an apartment of his own house, in the
presence of many witnesses. Ghino was not only suffered to escape
in safety, but (as the commentators inform us) obtained so high a
reputation by the liberality with which he was accustomed to
dispense the fruits of his plunder, and treated those who fell
into his hands with so much courtesy, that he was afterwards
invited to Rome, and knighted by Boniface VIII. A story is told
of him by Boccaccio, G. x. N. 2.
v. 15. Him beside.] Ciacco de' Tariatti of Arezzo. He is said
to have been carried by his horse into the Arno, and there
drowned, while he was in pursuit of certain of his enemies.
v. 17. Frederic Novello.] Son of the Conte Guido da Battifolle,
and slain by one of the family of Bostoli.
v. 18. Of Pisa he.] Farinata de' Scornigiani of Pisa. His
father Marzuco, who had entered the order of the Frati Minori, so
entirely overcame the feelings of resentment, that he even kissed
the hands of the slayer of his son, and, as he was following the
funeral, exhorted his kinsmen to reconciliation.
v. 20. Count 0rso.] Son of Napoleone da Cerbaia, slain by
Alberto da Mangona, his uncle.
v. 23. Peter de la Brosse.] Secretary of Philip III of France.
The courtiers, envying the high place which he held in the king's
favour, prevailed on Mary of Brabant to charge him falsely with
an attempt upon her person for which supposed crime he suffered
death. So say the Italian commentators. Henault represents the
matter very differently: "Pierre de la Brosse, formerly barber to
St. Louis, afterwards the favorite of Philip, fearing the too
great attachment of the king for his wife Mary, accuses this
princess of having poisoned Louis, eldest son of Philip, by his
first marriage. This calumny is discovered by a nun of Nivelle in
Flanders. La Brosse is hung." Abrege Chron. t. 275, &c.
v. 30. In thy text.] He refers to Virgil, Aen. 1, vi. 376.
Desine fata deum flecti sperare precando, 37. The sacred height
Of judgment. Shakespeare, Measure for Measure, a. ii. s. 2.
If he, which is the top of judgment
v. 66. Eyeing us as a lion on his watch.]
A guisa di Leon quando si posa.
A line taken by Tasso, G. L. c. x. st. 56.
v. 76. Sordello.] The history of Sordello's life is wrapt in
the obscurity of romance. That he distinguished himself by his
skill in Provencal poetry is certain. It is probable that he was
born towards the end of the twelfth, and died about the middle of
the succeeding century. Tiraboschi has taken much pains to sift
all the notices he could collect relating to him. Honourable
mention of his name is made by our Poet in the Treatise de Vulg.
Eloq. 1. i. c. 15.
v. 76. Thou inn of grief.]
Thou most beauteous inn
Why should hard-favour'd grief be lodg'd in thee?
Shakespeare, Richard II a. 5. s. 1.
v. 89. Justinian's hand.] "What avails it that Justinian
delivered thee from the Goths, and reformed thy laws, if thou art
no longer under the control of his successors in the empire?"
v. 94. That which God commands.] He alludes to the precept-
"Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's."
v. 98. O German Albert!] The Emperor Albert I. succeeded
Adolphus in 1298, and was murdered in 1308. See Par Canto XIX
114 v. 103. Thy successor.] The successor of Albert was Henry
of Luxembourg, by whose interposition in the affairs of Italy our
Poet hoped to have been reinstated in his native city.
v. 101. Thy sire.] The Emperor Rodolph, too intent on
increasing his power in Germany to give much of his thoughts to
Italy, "the garden of the empire."
v. 107. Capulets and Montagues.] Our ears are so familiarized
to the names of these rival families in the language of
Shakespeare, that I have used them instead of the "Montecchi" and
v. 108. Philippeschi and Monaldi.] Two other rival families in
v. 113. What safety, Santafiore can supply.] A place between
Pisa and Sienna. What he alludes to is so doubtful, that it is
not certain whether we should not read "come si cura"--" How
Santafiore is governed." Perhaps the event related in the note to
v. 58, Canto XI. may be pointed at.
v. 127. Marcellus.]
Un Marcel diventa
Ogni villan che parteggiando viene.
Repeated by Alamanni in his Coltivazione, 1. i.
v. 51. I sick wretch.] Imitated by the Cardinal de Polignac in
his Anti-Lucretius, 1. i. 1052.
Ceu lectum peragrat membris languentibus aeger
In latus alterne faevum dextrumque recumbens
Nec javat: inde oculos tollit resupinus in altum:
Nusquam inventa quies; semper quaesita: quod illi
Primum in deliciis fuerat, mox torquet et angit:
Nec morburm sanat, nec fallit taedia morbi.
v. 14. Where one of mean estate might clasp his lord.]
Ariosto Orl. F. c. xxiv. st. 19
E l'abbracciaro, ove il maggior s'abbraccia
Col capo nudo e col ginocchio chino.
v. 31. The three holy virtues.] Faith, Hope and Charity.
v. 32. The red.] Prudence, Justice, Fortitude, and Temperance.
v. 72. Fresh emeralds.]
Under foot the violet,
Crocus, and hyacinth with rich inlay
Broider'd the ground, more colour'd than with stone
Of costliest emblem.
Milton, P. L. b. iv. 793
Compare Ariosto, Orl. F. c. xxxiv. st. 49.
v. 79. Salve Regina.] The beginning of a prayer to the Virgin.
It is sufficient here to observe, that in similar instances I
shall either preserve the original Latin words or translate them,
as it may seem best to suit the purpose of the verse.
v. 91. The Emperor Rodolph.] See the last Canto, v. 104. He
died in 1291.
v. 95. That country.] Bohemia.
v. 97. Ottocar.] King of Bohemia, was killed in the battle of
Marchfield, fought with Rodolph, August 26, 1278. Winceslaus II.
His son,who succeeded him in the kingdom of Bohemia. died in
1305. He is again taxed with luxury in the Paradise Canto XIX.
v. 101. That one with the nose deprest. ] Philip III of France,
who died in 1285, at Perpignan, in his retreat from Arragon.
v. 102. Him of gentle look.] Henry of Naverre, father of Jane
married to Philip IV of France, whom Dante calls "mal di Francia"
-" Gallia's bane."
v. 110. He so robust of limb.] Peter III called the Great,
King of Arragon, who died in 1285, leaving four sons, Alonzo,
James, Frederick and Peter. The two former succeeded him in the
kingdom of Arragon, and Frederick in that of Sicily.
See G. Villani, 1. vii. c. 102. and Mariana, I. xiv. c. 9.
He is enumerated among the Provencal poets by Millot, Hist. Litt.
Des Troubadours, t. iii. p. 150.
v. 111. Him of feature prominent.] "Dal maschio naso"-with the
masculine nose." Charles I. King of Naples, Count of Anjou, and
brother of St. Lonis. He died in 1284. The annalist of Florence
remarks, that "there had been no sovereign of the house of
France, since the time of Charlemagne, by whom Charles
was surpassed either in military renown, and prowess, or in the
loftiness of his understanding." G. Villani, 1. vii. c. 94.
We shall, however, find many of his actions severely reprobated
in the twentieth Canto.
v. 113. That stripling.] Either (as the old commentators
suppose) Alonzo III King of Arragon, the eldest son of Peter III
who died in 1291, at the age of 27, or, according to Venturi,
Peter the youngest son. The former was a young prince of virtue
sufficient to have justified the eulogium and the hopes of Dante.
See Mariana, 1. xiv. c. 14.
v. 119. Rarely.]
Full well can the wise poet of Florence
That hight Dante, speaken in this sentence
Lo! in such manner rime is Dantes tale.
Full selde upriseth by his branches smale
Prowesse of man for God of his goodnesse
Woll that we claim of him our gentlenesse:
For of our elders may we nothing claime
But temporal thing, that men may hurt and maime.
Chaucer, Wife of Bathe's Tale.
Compare Homer, Od. b. ii. v. 276; Pindar, Nem. xi. 48 and
Euripides, Electra, 369.
v. 122. To Charles.] "Al Nasuto." -"Charles II King of Naples,
is no less inferior to his father Charles I. than James and
Frederick to theirs, Peter III."
v. 127. Costanza.] Widow of Peter III She has been already
mentioned in the third Canto, v. 112. By Beatrice and Margaret
are probably meant two of the daughters of Raymond Berenger,
Count of Provence; the former married to St. Louis of France, the
latter to his brother Charles of Anjou.
See Paradise, Canto Vl. 135. Dante therefore considers Peter as
the most illustrious of the three monarchs.
v. 129. Harry of England.] Henry III.
v. 130. Better issue.] Edward l. of whose glory our Poet was
perhaps a witness, in his visit to England.
v. 133. William, that brave Marquis.] William, Marquis of
Monferrat, was treacherously seized by his own subjects, at
Alessandria, in Lombardy, A.D. 1290, and ended his life in
prison. See G. Villani, 1. vii. c. 135. A war ensued between the
people of Alessandria and those of Monferrat and the Canavese.
v. 6. That seems to mourn for the expiring day.]
The curfew tolls the knell of parting day. Gray's Elegy.
v. 13. Te Lucis Ante.] The beginning of one of the evening
v. 36. As faculty.]
My earthly by his heav'nly overpower'd
* * * *
As with an object, that excels the sense,
Dazzled and spent.
Milton, P. L. b. viii. 457.
v. 53. Nino, thou courteous judge.] Nino di Gallura de'
Visconti nephew to Count Ugolino de' Gherardeschi, and betrayed
by him. See Notes to Hell Canto XXXIII.
v. 65. Conrad.] Currado Malaspina.
v. 71 My Giovanna.] The daughter of Nino, and wife of
Riccardo da Cammino of Trevigi.
v. 73. Her mother.] Beatrice, marchioness of Este wife of Nino,
and after his death married to Galeazzo de' Visconti of Milan.
v. 74. The white and wimpled folds.] The weeds of widowhood.
v. 80. The viper.] The arms of Galeazzo and the ensign of the
v. 81. Shrill Gallura's bird.] The cock was the ensign of
Gallura, Nino's province in Sardinia. Hell, Canto XXII. 80. and
v. 115. Valdimagra.] See Hell, Canto XXIV. 144. and Notes.
v. 133. Sev'n times the tired sun.] "The sun shall not enter
into the constellation of Aries seven times more, before thou
shalt have still better cause for the good opinion thou
expresses" of Valdimagra, in the kind reception thou shalt there
meet with." Dante was hospitably received by the Marchese
Marcello Malaspina, during his banishment. A.D. 1307.
v. 1. Now the fair consort of Tithonus old.]
La concubina di Titone antico.
So Tassoni, Secchia Rapita, c. viii. st. 15.
La puttanella del canuto amante.
v. 5. Of that chill animal.] The scorpion.
v. 14. Our minds.] Compare Hell, Canto XXVI. 7.
v. 18. A golden-feathered eagle. ] Chaucer, in the house of
Fame at the conclusion of the first book and beginning of the
second, represents himself carried up by the "grim pawes" of a
golden eagle. Much of his description is closely imitated from
v. 50. Lucia.] The enIightening, grace of heaven Hell, Canto
v. 85. The lowest stair.] By the white step is meant the
distinctness with which the conscience of the penitent reflects
his offences, by the burnt and cracked one, his contrition on,
their account; and by that of porphyry, the fervour with which he
resolves on the future pursuit of piety and virtue. Hence, no
doubt, Milton describing "the gate of heaven," P. L. b.
Each stair mysteriously was meant.
v. 100. Seven times.] Seven P's, to denote the seven sins
(Peccata) of which he was to be cleansed in his passage through
v. 115. One is more precious.] The golden key denotes the
divine authority by which the priest absolves the sinners the
silver expresses the learning and
judgment requisite for the due discharge of that office.
v. 127. Harsh was the grating.]
On a sudden open fly
With impetuous recoil and jarring, sound
Th' infernal doors, and on their hinges grate
Milton, P. L. b. ii 882
v. 128. The Turpeian.]
Protinus, abducto patuerunt temple Metello.
Tunc rupes Tarpeia sonat: magnoque reclusas
Testatur stridore fores: tune conditus imo
Eruitur tempo multis intactus ab annnis
Romani census populi, &c.
Lucan. Ph. 1. iii. 157.
v. 6. That Wound.] Venturi justly observes, that the Padre
d'Aquino has misrepresented the sense of this passage in his
--dabat ascensum tendentibus ultra
Scissa tremensque silex, tenuique erratica motu.
The verb "muover"' is used in the same signification in the
Inferno, Canto XVIII. 21.
Cosi da imo della roccia scogli
--from the rock's low base
Thus flinty paths advanc'd.
In neither place is actual motion intended to be expressed.
v. 52. That from unbidden. office awes mankind.] Seo 2 Sam. G.
v 58. Preceding.] Ibid. 14, &c.
v. 68. Gregory.] St. Gregory's prayers are said to have
delivered Trajan from hell. See Paradise, Canto XX. 40.
v. 69. Trajan the Emperor. For this story, Landino refers to
two writers, whom he calls "Heunando," of France, by whom he
means Elinand, a monk and chronicler, in the reign of Philip
Augustus, and "Polycrato," of England, by whom is meant John of
Salisbury, author of the Polycraticus de Curialium Nugis, in the
twelfth century. The passage in the text I find to be
nearly a translation from that work, 1. v. c. 8. The original
appears to be in Dio Cassius, where it is told of the Emperor
Hadrian, lib. I xix. [GREEK HERE]
When a woman appeared to him with a suit, as he was on a journey,
at first he answered her, 'I have no leisure,' but she crying
out to him, 'then reign no longer' he turned about, and heard her
v. 119. As to support.] Chillingworth, ch.vi. 54. speaks of
"those crouching anticks, which seem in great buildings to labour
under the weight they bear." And Lord Shaftesbury has a similar
illustration in his Essay on Wit and Humour, p. 4. s. 3.
v. 1. 0 thou Mighty Father.] The first four lines are borrowed
by Pulci, Morg. Magg. c. vi.
Dante, in his 'Credo,' has again versified the Lord's prayer.
v. 58. I was of Latinum.] Omberto, the son of Guglielino
Aldobrandeseo, Count of Santafiore, in the territory of Sienna
His arrogance provoked his countrymen to such a pitch of fury
against him, that he was murdered by them at Campagnatico.
v. 79. Oderigi.] The illuminator, or miniature painter, a
friend of Giotto and Dante
v. 83. Bolognian Franco.] Franco of Bologna, who is said to
have been a pupil of Oderigi's.
v. 93. Cimabue.] Giovanni Cimabue, the restorer of painting,
was born at Florence, of a noble family, in 1240, and died in
1300. The passage in the text is an illusion to his epitaph:
Credidit ut Cimabos picturae castra tenere,
Sic tenuit vivens: nunc tenet astra poli.
v. 95. The cry is Giotto's.] In Giotto we have a proof at how
early a period the fine arts were encouraged in Italy. His
talents were discovered by Cimabue, while he was tending sheep
for his father in the neighbourhood of Florence, and he was
afterwards patronized by Pope Benedict XI and Robert King of
Naples, and enjoyed the society and friendship of Dante, whose
likeness he has transmitted to posterity. He died in 1336, at
the age of 60.
v. 96. One Guido from the other.] Guido Cavalcanti, the friend
of our Poet, (see Hell, Canto X. 59.) had eclipsed the literary
fame of Guido Guinicelli, of a noble family in Bologna, whom we
shall meet with in the twenty-sixth Canto and of whom frequent
mention is made by our Poet in his Treatise de Vulg. Eloq.
Guinicelli died in 1276. Many of Cavalcanti's writings, hitherto
in MS. are now publishing at Florence" Esprit des Journaux, Jan.
v. 97. He perhaps is born.] Some imagine, with much
probability, that Dante here augurs the greatness of his own
poetical reputation. Others have fancied that he prophesies the
glory of Petrarch. But Petrarch was not yet born.
v. 136. suitor.] Provenzano salvani humbled himself so far for
the sake of one of his friends, who was detained in captivity by
Charles I of Sicily, as personally to supplicate the people of
Sienna to contribute the sum required by the king for his ransom:
and this act of self-abasement atoned for his general ambition
v. 140. Thy neighbours soon.] "Thou wilt know in the time of
thy banishment, which is near at hand, what it is to solicit
favours of others and 'tremble through every vein,' lest they
should be refused thee."
v. 26. The Thymbraen god.] Apollo
Si modo, quem perhibes, pater est Thymbraeus Apollo. Virg. Georg.
v. 37. Mars.]
With such a grace,
The giants that attempted to scale heaven
When they lay dead on the Phlegren plain
Mars did appear to Jove.
Beaumont and Fletcher, The Prophetess, a. 2. s. 3.
v. 42. O Rehoboam.] 1 Kings, c. xii. 18.
v. 46. A1cmaeon.] Virg. Aen. l. vi. 445, and Homer, Od. xi. 325.
v. 48. Sennacherib.] 2 Kings, c. xix. 37.
v. 58. What master of the pencil or the style.]
--inimitable on earth
By model, or by shading pencil drawn.
Milton, P. L. b. iii. 509.
v. 94. The chapel stands.] The church of San Miniato in
Florence situated on a height that overlooks the Arno, where it
is crossed by the bridge Rubaconte, so called from Messer
Rubaconte da Mandelia, of Milan chief magistrate of Florence, by
whom the bridge was founded in 1237. See G. Villani, 1. vi. c.
v. 96. The well-guided city] This is said ironically of
v. 99. The registry.] In allusion to certain instances of fraud
committed with respect to the public accounts and measures See
Paradise Canto XVI. 103.
v. 26. They have no wine.] John, ii. 3. These words of the
Virgin are referred to as an instance of charity.
v. 29. Orestes] Alluding to his friendship with Pylades
v. 32. Love ye those have wrong'd you.] Matt. c. v. 44.
v. 33. The scourge.] "The chastisement of envy consists in
hearing examples of the opposite virtue, charity. As a curb and
restraint on this vice, you will presently hear very different
sounds, those of threatening and punishment."
v. 87. Citizens Of one true city.]
"For here we have no continuing city, but we seek to come." Heb.
C. xiii. 14.
v. 101. Sapia.] A lady of Sienna, who, living in exile at
Colle, was so overjoyed at a defeat which her countrymen
sustained near that place that she declared nothing more was
wanting to make her die contented.
v. 114. The merlin.] The story of the merlin is that having
been induced by a gleam of fine weather in the winter to escape
from his master, he was soon oppressed by the rigour of the
v. 119. The hermit Piero.] Piero Pettinagno, a holy hermit of
v. 141. That vain multitude.] The Siennese. See Hell, Canto
XXIX. 117. "Their acquisition of Telamone, a seaport on the
confines of the Maremma, has led them to conceive hopes of
becoming a naval power: but this scheme will prove as chimerical
as their former plan for the discovery of a subterraneous stream
under their city." Why they gave the appellation of Diana to the
imagined stream, Venturi says he leaves it to the antiquaries of
Sienna to conjecture.
v. 34. Maim'd of Pelorus.] Virg. Aen. 1. iii. 414.
Torn from Pelorus
Milton P. L. b. i. 232
v. 45. 'Midst brute swine.] The people of Casentino.
v. 49. Curs.] The Arno leaves Arezzo about four miles to the
v. 53. Wolves.] The Florentines.
v. 55. Foxes.] The Pisans
v. 61. Thy grandson.] Fulcieri de' Calboli, grandson of
Rinieri de' Calboli, who is here spoken to. The atrocities
predicted came to pass in 1302. See G. Villani, 1. viii c. 59
v. 95. 'Twixt Po, the mount, the Reno, and the shore.] The
boundaries of Romagna.
v. 99. Lizio.] Lizio da Valbona, introduced into Boccaccio's
Decameron, G. v. N, 4.
v. 100. Manardi, Traversaro, and Carpigna.1 Arrigo Manardi of
Faenza, or as some say, of Brettinoro, Pier Traversaro, lord of
Ravenna, and Guido di Carpigna of Montefeltro.
v. 102. In Bologna the low artisan.] One who had been a
mechanic named Lambertaccio, arrived at almost supreme power in
v. 103. Yon Bernardin.] Bernardin di Fosco, a man of low
origin but great talents, who governed at Faenza.
v. 107. Prata.] A place between Faenza and Ravenna
v. 107. Of Azzo him.] Ugolino of the Ubaldini family in Tuscany
He is recounted among the poets by Crescimbeni and Tiraboschi.
v. 108. Tignoso.] Federigo Tignoso of Rimini.
v. 109. Traversaro's house and Anastagio's.] Two noble families
of Ravenna. She to whom Dryden has given the name of Honoria, in
the fable so admirably paraphrased from Boccaccio, was of the
former: her lover and the specter were of the Anastagi family.
v. 111. The ladies, &c.] These two lines express the true
spirit of chivalry. "Agi" is understood by the commentators whom
I have consulted,to mean "the ease procured for others by the
exertions of knight-errantry." But surely it signifies the
alternation of ease with labour.
v. 114. O Brettinoro.] A beautifully situated castle in
Romagna, the hospitable residence of Guido del Duca, who is here
v. 118. Baynacavallo.] A castle between Imola and Ravenna
v. 118. Castracaro ill
And Conio worse.] Both in Romagna.
v. 121. Pagani.] The Pagani were lords of Faenza and Imola. One
of them Machinardo, was named the Demon, from his treachery.
See Hell, Canto XXVII. 47, and Note.
v. 124. Hugolin.] Ugolino Ubaldini, a noble and virtuous person
in Faenza, who, on account of his age probably, was not likely to
leave any offspring behind him. He is enumerated among the poets
by Crescimbeni, and Tiraboschi. Mr. Matthias's edit. vol. i. 143
v. 136. Whosoever finds Will slay me.] The words of Cain, Gen.
e. iv. 14.
v. 142. Aglauros.] Ovid, Met. I, ii. fate. 12.
v. 145. There was the galling bit.] Referring to what had been
before said, Canto XIII. 35.
v. 1. As much.] It wanted three hours of sunset.
v. 16. As when the ray.] Compare Virg. Aen. 1.viii. 22, and
Apol. Rhod. 1. iii. 755.
v. 19. Ascending at a glance.] Lucretius, 1. iv. 215.
v. 20. Differs from the stone.] The motion of light being
quicker than that of a stone through an equal space.
v. 38. Blessed the merciful. Matt. c. v. 7.
v. 43. Romagna's spirit.] Guido del Duea, of Brettinoro whom we
have seen in the preceding Canto.
v. 87. A dame.] Luke, c. ii. 18
v. 101. How shall we those requite.] The answer of Pisistratus
the tyrant to his wife, when she urged him to inflict the
punishment of death on a young man, who, inflamed with love for
his daughter, had snatched from her a kiss in public. The story
is told by Valerius Maximus, 1.v. 1.
v. 105. A stripling youth.] The protomartyr Stephen.
v. 94. As thou.] "If thou wert still living."
v. 46. I was of Lombardy, and Marco call'd.] A Venetian
gentleman. "Lombardo" both was his surname and denoted the
country to which he belonged. G. Villani, 1. vii. c. 120, terms
him "a wise and worthy courtier."
v. 58. Elsewhere.] He refers to what Guido del Duca had said in
the thirteenth Canto, concerning the degeneracy of his
v. 70. If this were so.] Mr. Crowe in his Lewesdon Hill has
expressed similar sentiments with much energy.
Of this be sure,
Where freedom is not, there no virtue is, &c.
Compare Origen in Genesim, Patrum Graecorum, vol. xi. p. 14.
v. 79. To mightier force.] "Though ye are subject to a higher
power than that of the heavenly constellations, e`en to the power
of the great Creator himself, yet ye are still left in the
possession of liberty."
v. 88. Like a babe that wantons sportively.] This reminds one
of the Emperor Hadrian's verses to his departing soul:
Animula vagula blandula, &c
v. 99. The fortress.] Justice, the most necessary virtue in the
chief magistrate, as the commentators explain it.
v. 103. Who.] He compares the Pope, on account of the union of
the temporal with the spiritual power in his person, to an
unclean beast in the levitical law. "The camel, because he
cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof, he is unclean unto
you." Levit. c. xi. 4.
v. 110. Two sons.] The Emperor and the Bishop of Rome.
v. 117. That land.] Lombardy.
v. 119. Ere the day.] Before the Emperor Frederick II was
defeated before Parma, in 1248. G. Villani, 1. vi. c. 35.
v. 126. The good Gherardo.] Gherardo di Camino of Trevigi.
He is honourably mentioned in our Poet's "Convito." Opere di
Dante, t. i. p. 173 Venez. 8vo. 1793. And Tiraboschi supposes
him to have been the same Gherardo with whom the Provencal poets
were used to meet with hospitable reception. See Mr. Matthias's
edition, t. i. p. 137, v. 127.
Conrad.] Currado da Palazzo, a gentleman of Brescia.
v. 127. Guido of Castello.] Of Reggio. All the Italians were
called Lombards by the French.
v. 144. His daughter Gaia.] A lady equally admired for her
modesty, the beauty of her person, and the excellency of her
talents. Gaia, says Tiraboschi, may perhaps lay claim to the
praise of having been the first among the Italian ladies, by whom
the vernacular poetry was cultivated. Ibid. p. 137.
v. 21. The bird, that most Delights itself in song.]
I cannot think with Vellutello, that the swallow is here meant.
Dante probably alludes to the story of Philomela, as it is found
in Homer's Odyssey, b. xix. 518 rather than as later poets have
told it. "She intended to slay the son of her husband's brother
Amphion, incited to it, by the envy of his wife, who had six
children, while herself had only two, but through mistake slew
her own son Itylus, and for her punishment was transformed by
Jupiter into a nightingale."
Cowper's note on the passage.
In speaking of the nightingale, let me observe, that while some
have considered its song as a melancholy, and others as a
cheerful one, Chiabrera appears to have come nearest the truth,
when he says, in the Alcippo, a. l. s. 1,
Non mal si stanca d' iterar le note
O gioconde o dogliose,
Al sentir dilettose.
Unwearied still reiterates her lays,
Jocund or sad, delightful to the ear.
v. 26. One crucified.] Haman. See the book of Esther, c. vii.
v. 34. A damsel.] Lavinia, mourning for her mother Amata, who,
impelled by grief and indignation for the supposed death of
Turnus, destroyed herself. Aen. 1. xii. 595.
v. 43. The broken slumber quivering ere it dies.] Venturi
suggests that this bold and unusual metaphor may have been formed
on that in Virgil.
Tempus erat quo prima quies mortalibus aegris
Incipit, et dono divun gratissima serpit.
Aen. 1. ii. 268.
v. 68. The peace-makers.] Matt. c. v. 9.
v. 81. The love.] "A defect in our love towards God, or
lukewarmness in piety, is here removed."
v. 94. The primal blessings.] Spiritual good.
v. 95. Th' inferior.] Temporal good.
v. 102. Now.] "It is impossible for any being, either to hate
itself, or to hate the First Cause of all, by which it exists.
We can therefore only rejoice in the evil which befalls others."
v. 111. There is.] The proud.
v. 114. There is.] The envious.
v. 117. There is he.] The resentful.
v. 135. Along Three circles.] According to the allegorical
commentators, as Venturi has observed, Reason is represented
under the person of Virgil, and Sense under that of Dante. The
former leaves to the latter to discover for itself the three
carnal sins, avarice, gluttony and libidinousness; having already
declared the nature of the spiritual sins, pride, envy, anger,
and indifference, or lukewarmness in piety, which the Italians
call accidia, from the Greek word.
v. 1. The teacher ended.] Compare Plato, Protagoras, v. iii.
p. 123. Bip. edit. [GREEK HERE] Apoll. Rhod. 1. i. 513,
and Milton, P. L. b. viii. 1.
The angel ended, &c.
v. 23. Your apprehension.] It is literally, "Your apprehensive
faculty derives intention from a thing really existing, and
displays the intention within you, so that it makes the soul turn
to it." The commentators labour in explaining this; and whatever
sense they have elicited may, I think, be resolved into the words
of the translation in the text.
v. 47. Spirit.] The human soul, which differs from that of
brutes, inasmuch as, though united with the body, it has a
separate existence of its own.
v. 65. Three men.] The great moral philosophers among the
v. 78. A crag.] I have preferred the reading of Landino,
scheggion, "crag," conceiving it to be more poetical than
secchion, "bucket," which is the common reading. The same cause,
the vapours, which the commentators say might give the appearance
of increased magnitude to the moon, might also make her seem
broken at her rise.
v. 78. Up the vault.] The moon passed with a motion opposite to
that of the heavens, through the constellation of the scorpion,
in which the sun is, when to those who are in Rome he appears to
set between the isles of Corsica and Sardinia.
v. 84. Andes.] Andes, now Pietola, made more famous than Mantua
near which it is situated, by having been the birthplace of
v. 92. Ismenus and Asopus.] Rivers near Thebes
v. 98. Mary.] Luke, c i. 39, 40
v. 99. Caesar.] See Lucan, Phars. I. iii. and iv, and
Caesar de Bello Civiii, I. i. Caesar left Brutus to complete
the siege of Marseilles, and hastened on to the attack of
Afranius and Petreius, the generals of Pompey, at Ilerda (Lerida)
v. 118. abbot.] Alberto, abbot of San Zeno in Verona, when
Frederick I was emperor, by whom Milan was besieged and reduced
v. 121. There is he.] Alberto della Scala, lord of Verona, who
had made his natural son abbot of San Zeno.
v. 133. First they died.] The Israelites, who, on account of
their disobedience, died before reaching the promised land.
v. 135. And they.] Virg Aen. 1. v.
v. 1. The hour.] Near the dawn.
v. 4. The geomancer.] The geomancers, says Landino, when they
divined, drew a figure consisting of sixteen marks, named from so
many stars which constitute the end of Aquarius and the beginning
of Pisces. One of these they called "the greater fortune."
v. 7. A woman's shape.] Worldly happiness. This allegory
reminds us of the "Choice of Hercules."
v. 14. Love's own hue.]
A smile that glow'd
Celestial rosy red, love's proper hue.
Milton, P. L. b. viii. 619
--facies pulcherrima tune est
Quum porphyriaco variatur candida rubro
Quid color hic roseus sibi vult? designat amorem:
Quippe amor est igni similis; flammasque rubentes
Ignus habere solet.
Palingenii Zodiacus Vitae, 1. xii.
v. 26. A dame.] Philosophy.
v. 49. Who mourn.] Matt. c. v. 4.
v. 72. My soul.] Psalm cxix. 5
v. 97. The successor of Peter Ottobuono, of the family of
Fieschi Counts of Lavagna, died thirty-nine days after he became
Pope, with the title of Adrian V, in 1276.
v. 98. That stream.] The river Lavagna, in the Genoese
v. 135. nor shall be giv'n in marriage.] Matt. c. xxii. 30.
"Since in this state we neither marry nor are given in marriage,
I am no longer the spouse of the church, and therefore no longer
retain my former dignity.
v. 140. A kinswoman.] Alagia is said to have been the wife of
the Marchese Marcello Malaspina, one of the poet's protectors
during his exile. See Canto VIII. 133.
v. 3. I drew the sponge.] "I did not persevere in my inquiries
from the spirit though still anxious to learn more."
v. 11. Wolf.] Avarice.
v. 16. Of his appearing.] He is thought to allude to
Can Grande della Scala. See Hell, Canto I. 98.
v. 25. Fabricius.] Compare Petrarch, Tr. della Fama, c. 1.
Un Curio ed un Fabricio, &c.
v. 30. Nicholas.] The story of Nicholas is, that an angel
having revealed to him that the father of a family was so
impoverished as to resolve on exposing the chastity of his three
daughters to sale, he threw in at the window of their house three
bags of money, containing a sufficient portion for each of them.
v. 42. Root.] Hugh Capet, ancestor of Philip IV.
v. 46. Had Ghent and Douay, Lille and Bruges power.] These
cities had lately been seized by Philip IV. The spirit is made
to imitate the approaching defeat of the French army by the
Flemings, in the battle of Courtrai, which happened in 1302.
v. 51. The slaughter's trade.] This reflection on the birth of
his ancestor induced Francis I to forbid the reading of Dante in
his dominions Hugh Capet, who came to the throne of France in
987, was however the grandson of Robert, who was the brother of
Eudes, King of France in 888.
v. 52. All save one.] The posterity of Charlemagne, the second
race of French monarchs, had failed, with the exception of
Charles of Lorraine who is said, on account of the melancholy
temper of his mind, to have always clothed himself in black.
Venturi suggest that Dante may have confounded him with Childeric
III the last of the Merosvingian, or first, race, who was
deposed and made a monk in 751.
v. 57. My son.] Hugh Capet caused his son Robert to be crowned
v. 59. The Great dower of Provence.] Louis IX, and his brother
Charles of Anjou, married two of the four daughters of Raymond
Berenger Count of Provence. See Par. Canto VI. 135.
v. 63. For amends.] This is ironical
v. 64. Poitou it seiz'd, Navarre and Gascony.] I venture to
Potti e Navarra prese e Guascogna,
Ponti e Normandia prese e Guascogna
Seiz'd Ponthieu, Normandy and Gascogny.
Landino has "Potti," and he is probably right for Poitou was
annexed to the French crown by Philip IV. See Henault, Abrege
Chron. A.D. l283, &c. Normandy had been united to it long before
by Philip Augustus, a circumstance of which it is difficult to
imagine that Dante should have been ignorant, but Philip IV, says
Henault, ibid., took the title of King of Navarre: and the
subjugation of Navarre is also alluded to in the
Paradise, Canto XIX. 140. In 1293, Philip IV summoned Edward I.
to do him homage for the duchy of Gascogny, which he had
conceived the design of seizing. See G. Villani, l. viii. c. 4.
v. 66. Young Conradine.] Charles of Anjou put Conradine to death
in 1268; and became King of Naples. See Hell, Canto XXVIII, 16,
v. 67. Th' angelic teacher.] Thomas Aquinas. He was reported
to have been poisoned by a physician, who wished to ingratiate
himself with Charles of Anjou. G. Villani, I. ix. c. 218. We
shall find him in the Paradise, Canto X.
v. 69. Another Charles.] Charles of Valois, brother of Philip
IV, was sent by Pope Boniface VIII to settle the disturbed state
of Florence. In consequence of the measures he adopted for that
purpose, our poet and his friend, were condemned to exile and
v. 71. -with that lance
Which the arch-traitor tilted with.]
con la lancia
Con la qual giostro Guida.
If I remember right, in one of the old romances, Judas is
represented tilting with our Saviour.
v. 78. The other.] Charles, King of Naples, the eldest son of
Charles of Anjou, having, contrary to the directions of his
father, engaged with Ruggier de Lauria, the admiral of Peter of
Arragon, was made prisoner and carried into Sicily, June, 1284.
He afterwards, in consideration of a large sum of money, married
his daughter to Azzo VI11, Marquis of Ferrara.
v. 85. The flower-de-luce.] Boniface VIII was seized at Alagna
in Campagna, by order of Philip IV., in the year 1303, and soon
after died of grief. G. Villani, 1. viii. c. 63.
v. 94. Into the temple.] It is uncertain whether our Poet
alludes still to the event mentioned in the preceding Note, or to
the destruction of the order of the Templars in 1310, but the
latter appears more probable.
v. 103. Pygmalion.] Virg. Aen. 1. i. 348.
v. 107. Achan.] Joshua, c. vii.
v. 111. Heliodorus.] 2 Maccabees, c. iii. 25. "For there
appeared unto them a horse, with a terrible rider upon him, and
adorned with a very fair covering, and he ran fiercely and smote
at Heliodorus with his forefeet."
v. 112. Thracia's king.] Polymnestor, the murderer of
Polydorus. Hell, Canto XXX, 19.
v. 114. Crassus.] Marcus Crassus, who fell miserably in the
Parthian war. See Appian, Parthica.
v. 26. She.] Lachesis, one of the three fates.
v. 43. --that, which heaven in itself
Doth of itself receive.]
Venturi, I think rightly interprets this to be light.
v. 49. Thaumantian.] Figlia di Taumante
Compare Plato, Theaet. v. ii. p. 76. Bip. edit., Virg; Aen.
ix. 5, and Spenser, Faery Queen, b. v. c. 3. st. 25.
v. 85. The name.] The name of Poet.
v. 89. From Tolosa.] Dante, as many others have done, confounds
Statius the poet, who was a Neapolitan, with a rhetorician of the
same name, who was of Tolosa, or Thoulouse. Thus Chaucer, Temple
of Fame, b. iii. The Tholason, that height Stace.
v. 94. Fell.] Statius lived to write only a small part of the
v. 5. Blessed.] Matt. v. 6.
v. 14. Aquinum's bard.] Juvenal had celebrated his contemporary
Statius, Sat. vii. 82; though some critics imagine that there is
a secret derision couched under his praise.
v. 28. Why.] Quid non mortalia pecaora cogis
Anri sacra fames?
Virg. Aen. 1. iii. 57
Venturi supposes that Dante might have mistaken the meaning of
the word sacra, and construed it "holy," instead of "cursed."
But I see no necessity for having recourse to so improbable a
v. 41. The fierce encounter.] See Hell, Canto VII. 26.
v. 46. With shorn locks.] Ibid. 58.
v. 57. The twin sorrow of Jocasta's womb.] Eteocles and
v. 71. A renovated world.] Virg. Ecl. iv. 5
v. 100. That Greek.] Homer
v. 107. Of thy train. ] Of those celebrated in thy Poem."
v. 112. Tiresias' daughter.] Dante appears to have forgotten
that he had placed Manto, the daughter of Tiresias, among the
sorcerers. See Hell Canto XX. Vellutello endeavours, rather
awkwardly, to reconcile the inconsistency, by observing, that
although she was placed there as a sinner, yet, as one of famous
memory, she had also a place among the worthies in Limbo.
Lombardi excuses our author better, by observing that Tiresias
had a daughter named Daphne. See Diodorus Siculus, 1. iv. 66.
v. 139. Mary took more thought.] "The blessed virgin, who
answers for yon now in heaven, when she said to Jesus, at the
marriage in Cana of Galilee, 'they have no wine,' regarded not
the gratification of her own taste, but the honour of the nuptial
v. 142 The women of old Rome.] See Valerius Maximus, 1. ii. c.
v. 9. My lips.] Psalm ii. 15.
v. 20. The eyes.] Compare Ovid, Metam. 1. viii. 801
v. 26. When Mary.] Josephus, De Bello Jud. 1. vii. c. xxi. p.
954 Ed Genev. fol. 1611. The shocking story is well told
v. 27. Rings.]
In this habit
Met I my father with his bleeding rings
Their precious stones new lost.
Shakespeare, Lear, a. 5. s. 3
v. 28. Who reads the name.] "He, who pretends to distinguish
the letters which form OMO in the features of the human face,
"might easily have traced out the M on their emaciated
countenances." The temples, nose, and forehead are supposed to
represent this letter; and the eyes the two O's
placed within each side of it.
v. 44. Forese.] One of the brothers of Piccarda, she who is
again spoken of in the next Canto, and introduced in the
Paradise, Canto III.
V. 72. If the power.] "If thou didst delay thy repentance to
the last, when thou hadst lost the power of sinning, how happens
it thou art arrived here so early?"
v. 76. Lower.] In the Ante-Purgatory. See Canto II.
v. 80. My Nella.] The wife of Forese.
v. 87. The tract most barb'rous of Sardinia's isle.] The
Barbagia is part of Sardinia, to which that name was given, on
account of the uncivilized state of its inhabitants, who are said
to have gone nearly naked.
v. 91. The' unblushing domes of Florence.] Landino's note
exhibits a curious instance of the changeableness of his
countrywomen. He even goes beyond the acrimony of the original.
"In those days," says the commentator, "no less than in ours, the
Florentine ladies exposed the neck and bosom, a dress, no doubt,
more suitable to a harlot than a matron. But, as
they changed soon after, insomuch that they wore collars up to
the chin, covering the whole of the neck and throat, so have I
hopes they will change again; not indeed so much from motives of
decency, as through that fickleness, which pervades every action
of their lives."
v. 97. Saracens.] "This word, during the middle ages, was
indiscriminately applied to Pagans and Mahometans; in short, to
all nations (except the Jew's) who did not profess Christianity."
Mr. Ellis's specimens of Early English Metrical Romances, vol. i.
page 196, a note. Lond. 8vo. 1805.
v. 20. Buonaggiunta.] Buonaggiunta Urbiciani, of Lucca.
"There is a canzone by this poet, printed in the collection made
by the Giunti, (p. 209,).land a sonnet to Guido Guinicelli in
that made by Corbinelli, (p 169,) from which we collect that he
lived not about 1230, as Quadrio supposes, (t. ii. p. 159,) but
towards the end of the thirteenth century. Concerning, other
poems by Buonaggiunta, that are preserved in MS. in some
libraries, Crescimbeni may be consulted." Tiraboschi, Mr.
Matthias's ed. v. i. p. 115.
v. 23. He was of Tours.] Simon of Tours became Pope, with the
title of Martin IV in 1281 and died in 1285.
v. 29. Ubaldino.] Ubaldino degli Ubaldini, of Pila, in the
v. 30. Boniface.] Archbishop of Ravenna. By Venturi he is
called Bonifazio de Fieschi, a Genoese, by Vellutello, the son of
the above, mentioned Ubaldini and by Laudino Francioso, a
v. 32. The Marquis.] The Marchese de' Rigogliosi, of Forli.
v. 38. gentucca.] Of this lady it is thought that our Poet
became enamoured during his exile.
v. 45. Whose brow no wimple shades yet.] "Who has not yet
assumed the dress of a woman."
v. 46. Blame it as they may.] See Hell, Canto XXI. 39.
v. 51. Ladies, ye that con the lore of love.]Donne ch' avete
intelletto d'amore.The first verse of a canzone in our author's
v. 56. The Notary.] Jucopo da Lentino, called the Notary, a
poet of these times. He was probably an Apulian: for Dante, (De
Vulg. Eloq. I. i. c 12.) quoting a verse which belongs to a
canzone of his published by the Giunti, without mentioning the
writer's name, terms him one of "the illustrious Apulians,"
praefulgentes Apuli. See Tiraboschi, Mr. Matthias's
edit. vol. i. p. 137. Crescimbeni (1. i. Della Volg. Poes p.
72. 4to. ed. 1698) gives an extract from one of his poems,
printed in Allacci's Collection, to show that the whimsical
compositions called "Ariette " are not of modern
v. 56. Guittone.] Fra Guittone, of Arezzo, holds a
distinguished place in Italian literature, as besides his poems
printed in the collection of the Giunti, he has left a collection
of letters, forty in number, which afford the earliest specimen
of that kind of writing in the language. They were
published at Rome in 1743, with learned illustrations by Giovanni
Bottari. He was also the first who gave to the sonnet its
regular and legitimate form, a species of composition in which
not only his own countrymen, but many of the best poets in all
the cultivated languages of modern Europe, have since so much
Guittone, a native of Arezzo, was the son of Viva di Michele.
He was of the order of the " Frati Godenti," of which an account
may be seen in the Notes to Hell, Canto XXIII. In the year 1293,
he founded a monastery of the order of Camaldoli, in Florence,
and died in the following year. Tiraboschi, Ibid. p. 119.
Dante, in the Treatise de Vulg. Eloq. 1. i. c. 13, and 1. ii. c.
6., blames him for preferring the plebeian to the mor
courtly style; and Petrarch twice places him in the company of
our Poet. Triumph of Love, cap. iv. and Son. Par. See "Sennuccio
v. 63. The birds.] Hell, Canto V. 46, Euripides, Helena, 1495,
and Statius; Theb. 1. V. 12.
v. 81. He.] Corso Donati was suspected of aiming at the
sovereignty of Florence. To escape the fury of his fellow
citizens, he fled away on horseback, but failing, was overtaken
and slain, A.D. 1308. The contemporary annalist, after relating
at length the circumstances of his fate, adds, "that he was one
of the wisest and most valorous knights the best speaker, the
most expert statesman, the most renowned and enterprising, man of
his age in Italy, a comely knight and of graceful carriage, but
very worldly, and in his time had formed many conspiracies in
Florence and entered into many scandalous practices, for the sake
of attaining state and lordship." G. Villani, 1. viii. c. 96.
The character of Corso is forcibly drawn by another
of his contemporaries Dino Compagni. 1. iii., Muratori, Rer.
Ital. Script. t. ix. p. 523.
v. 129. Creatures of the clouds.] The Centaurs. Ovid. Met. 1.
fab. 4 v. 123. The Hebrews.] Judges, c. vii.
v. 58. As sea-sponge.] The fetus is in this stage is zoophyte.
v. 66. -More wise
Than thou, has erred.]
Averroes is said to be here meant. Venturi refers to his
commentary on Aristotle, De Anim 1. iii. c. 5. for the opinion
that there is only one universal intellect or mind pervading
every individual of the human race. Much of the knowledge
displayed by our Poet in the present Canto appears to have been
derived from the medical work o+ Averroes, called the Colliget.
Lib. ii. f. 10. Ven. 1400. fol.
v. 79. Mark the sun's heat.] Redi and Tiraboschi (Mr.
Matthias's ed. v. ii. p. 36.) have considered this an
anticipation of a profound discovery of Galileo's in natural
philosophy, but it is in reality taken from a passage in Cicero
"de Senectute," where, speaking of the grape, he says, " quae, et
succo terrae et calore solis augescens, primo
est peracerba gustatu, deinde maturata dulcescit."
v. 123. I do, not know a man.] Luke, c. i. 34.
v. 126. Callisto.] See Ovid, Met. 1. ii. fab. 5.
v. 70. Caesar.] For the opprobrium east on Caesar's effeminacy,
see Suetonius, Julius Caesar, c. 49.
v. 83. Guinicelli.] See Note to Canto XI. 96.
v. 87. lycurgus.] Statius, Theb. 1. iv. and v. Hypsipile had
left her infant charge, the son of Lycurgus, on a bank, where it
was destroyed by a serpent, when she went to show the Argive army
the river of Langia: and, on her escaping the effects of
Lycurgus's resentment, the joy her own children felt at the sight
of her was such as our Poet felt on beholding his
The incidents are beautifully described in Statius, and seem to
have made an impression on Dante, for he again (Canto XXII. 110.)
characterizes Hypsipile, as her-
Who show'd Langia's wave.
v. 111. He.] The united testimony of Dante, and of Petrarch,
in his Triumph of Love, e. iv. places Arnault Daniel at the head
of the Provencal poets. That he was born of poor but noble
parents, at the castle of Ribeyrae in Perigord, and that he was
at the English court, is the amount of Millot's information
concerning him (t. ii. p. 479).
The account there given of his writings is not much more
satisfactory, and the criticism on them must go for little better
It is to be regretted that we have not an opportunity of judging
for ourselves of his "love ditties and his tales of prose "
Versi d'amore e prose di romanzi.
Our Poet frequently cities him in the work De Vulgari Eloquentia.
According to Crescimbeni, (Della Volg. Poes. 1. 1. p. 7. ed.
1698.) He died in 1189.
v. 113. The songster of Limoges.] Giraud de Borneil, of
Sideuil, a castle in Limoges. He was a troubadour, much admired
and caressed in his day, and appears to have been in favour with
the monarchs of Castile, Leon, Navarre, and Arragon He is quoted
by Dante, De Vulg. Eloq., and many of his poems are still
remaining in MS. According to Nostradamus he died in 1278.
Millot, Hist. Litt. des Troub. t. ii. p. 1 and 23. But I suspect
that there is some error in this date, and that he did not live
to see so late a period.
v. 118. Guittone.] See Cano XXIV. 56.
v. 123. Far as needs.] See Canto XI. 23.
v. 132. Thy courtesy.] Arnault is here made to speak in his own
tongue, the Provencal. According to Dante, (De Vulg. Eloq. 1. 1.
c. 8.) the Provencal was one language with the Spanish. What he
says on this subject is so curious, that the reader will perhaps
not be displeased it I give an abstract of it.
He first makes three great divisions of the European languages.
"One of these extends from the mouths of the Danube, or the lake
of Maeotis, to the western limits of England, and is bounded by
the limits of the French and Italians, and by the ocean. One
idiom obtained over the whole of this space: but was
afterwards subdivided into, the Sclavonian, Hungarian, Teutonic,
Saxon, English, and the vernacular tongues of several other
people, one sign remaining to all, that they use the affirmative
io, (our English ay.) The whole of Europe, beginning from the
Hungarian limits and stretching towards the east, has a second
idiom which reaches still further than the end of Europe into
Asia. This is the Greek. In all that remains of Europe, there is
a third idiom subdivided into three dialects, which may be
severally distinguished by the use of the affirmatives, oc, oil,
and si; the first spoken by the Spaniards, the next by the
French, and the third by the Latins (or Italians). The first
occupy the western part of southern Europe, beginning from the
limits of the Genoese. The third occupy the eastern part
from the said limits, as far, that is, as the promontory of
Italy, where the Adriatic sea begins, and to Sicily. The second
are in a manner northern with respect to these for they have the
Germans to the east and north, on the west they are bounded by
the English sea, and the mountains of Arragon, and on the
south by the people of Provence and the declivity of the
Apennine." Ibid. c. x. "Each of these three," he observes, "has
its own claims to distinction The excellency of the French
language consists in its being best adapted, on account of its
facility and agreeableness, to prose narration, (quicquid
redactum, sive inventum est ad vulgare prosaicum suum
est); and he instances the books compiled on the gests of the
Trojans and Romans and the delightful adventures of King Arthur,
with many other histories and works of instruction. The Spanish
(or Provencal) may boast of its having produced such
as first cultivated in this as in a more perfect and sweet
language, the vernacular poetry: among whom are Pierre
d'Auvergne, and others more ancient.
The privileges of the Latin, or Italian are two: first that it
may reckon for its own those writers who have adopted a more
sweet and subtle style of poetry, in the number of whom are Cino,
da Pistoia and his friend, and the next, that its writers seem to
adhere to, certain general rules of grammar, and in so doing give
it, in the opinion of the intelligent, a very weighty pretension
v. 1. The sun.] At Jerusalem it was dawn, in Spain midnight,
and in India noonday, while it was sunset in Purgatory
v. 10. Blessed.] Matt. c. v. 8.
v. 57. Come.] Matt. c. xxv. 34.
v. 102. I am Leah.] By Leah is understood the active life, as
Rachel figures the contemplative. The divinity is the mirror in
which the latter looks. Michel Angelo has made these allegorical
personages the subject of two statues on the monument of Julius
II. in the church of S. Pietro in Vincolo. See Mr. Duppa's Life
of Michel Angelo, Sculpture viii. And x. and p 247.
v. 135. Those bright eyes.] The eyes of Beatrice.
v. 11. To that part.] The west.
v. 14. The feather'd quiristers] Imitated by Boccaccio,
Fiammetta, 1. iv. "Odi i queruli uccelli," &c. --"Hear the
querulous birds plaining with sweet songs, and the boughs
trembling, and, moved by a gentle wind, as it were keeping tenor
to their notes."
v. 7. A pleasant air.] Compare Ariosto, O. F. c. xxxiv. st. 50.
v. Chiassi.] This is the wood where the scene of Boccaccio's
sublimest story is laid. See Dec. g. 5. n. 8. and Dryden's
Theodore and Honoria Our Poet perhaps wandered in it daring his
abode with Guido Novello da Polenta.
v. 41. A lady.] Most of the commentators suppose, that by this
lady, who in the last Canto is called Matilda, is to be
understood the Countess Matilda, who endowed the holy see with
the estates called the Patrimony of St. Peter,
and died in 1115. See G. Villani, 1. iv. e. 20 But it seems more
probable that she should be intended for an allegorical
v. 80. Thou, Lord hast made me glad.] Psalm xcii. 4
v. 146. On the Parnassian mountain.]
In bicipiti somniasse Parnasso.
v. 76. Listed colours.]
Di sette liste tutte in quel colori, &c.
Conspicuous with three listed colours gay.
Milton, P. L. b. xi. 865.
v. 79. Ten paces.] For an explanation of the allegorical
meaning of this mysterious procession, Venturi refers those "who
would see in the dark" to the commentaries of Landino,
Vellutello, and others: and adds that it is evident the Poet has
accommodated to his own fancy many sacred images in the
Apocalypse. In Vasari's Life of Giotto, we learn that Dante
recommended that book to his friend, as affording fit
subjects for his pencil.
v. 89. Four.] The four evangelists.
v. 96. Ezekiel.] Chap. 1. 4.
v. 101. John.] Rev. c. iv. 8.
v. 104. Gryphon.] Under the Gryphon, an imaginary creature, the
forepart of which is an eagle, and the hinder a lion, is shadowed
forth the union of the divine and human nature in Jesus Christ.
The car is the church.
v. 115. Tellus' prayer.] Ovid, Met. 1. ii. v. 279.
v. 116. 'Three nymphs.] The three evangelical virtues: the
first Charity, the next Hope, and the third Faith. Faith may be
produced by charity, or charity by faith, but the inducements to
hope must arise either from one or other of these.
v. 125. A band quaternion.] The four moral or cardinal virtues,
of whom Prudence directs the others.
v. 129. Two old men.] Saint Luke, characterized as the writer
of the Arts of the Apostles and Saint Paul.
v. 133. Of the great Coan.] Hippocrates, "whom nature made for
the benefit of her favourite creature, man."
v. 138. Four others.] "The commentators," says Venturi;
"suppose these four to be the four evangelists, but I should
rather take them to be four principal doctors of the church."
Yet both Landino and Vellutello expressly call them the authors
of the epistles, James, Peter, John and Jude.
v. 140. One single old man.] As some say, St. John, under his
character of the author of the Apocalypse. But in the poem
attributed to Giacopo, the son of our Poet, which in some MSS,
accompanies the original of this work, and is descriptive of its
plan, this old man is said to be Moses.
E'l vecchio, ch' era dietro a tutti loro
And the old man, who was behind them all,
See No. 3459 of the Harl. MSS. in the British Museum.
v. 1. The polar light.] The seven candlesticks.
v. 12. Come.] Song of Solomon, c. iv. 8.
v. 19. Blessed.] Matt. c. xxi. 9.
v. 20. From full hands.] Virg. Aen 1. vi. 884.
v. 97. The old flame.]
Agnosco veteris vestigia flammae
Virg. Aen. I. I. 23.
Conosco i segni dell' antico fuoco.
Giusto de' Conti, La Bella Mano.
v. 61. Nor.] "Not all the beauties of the terrestrial Paradise;
in which I was, were sufficient to allay my grief."
v. 85. But.] They sang the thirty-first Psalm, to the end of
the eighth verse.
v. 87. The living rafters.] The leafless woods on the Apennine.
v. 90. The land whereon no shadow falls.] "When the wind blows,
from off Africa, where, at the time of the equinox, bodies being
under the equator cast little or no shadow; or, in other words,
when the wind is south."
v. 98. The ice.] Milton has transferred this conceit, though
scarcely worth the pains of removing, into one of his Italian
v. 3. With lateral edge.] The words of Beatrice, when not
addressed directly to himself, but speaking to the angel of hell,
Dante had thought sufficiently harsh.
v. 39. Counter to the edge.] "The weapons of divine justice are
blunted by the confession and sorrow of the offender."
v. 58. Bird.] Prov. c. i. 17
v. 69. From Iarbas' land.] The south.
v. 71. The beard.] "I perceived, that when she desired me to
raise my beard, instead of telling me to lift up my head, a
severe reflection was implied on my want of that wisdom which
should accompany the age of manhood."
v. 98. Tu asperges me.] A prayer repeated by the priest at
sprinkling the holy water.
v. 106. And in the heaven are stars.] See Canto I. 24.
v. 116. The emeralds.] The eyes of Beatrice.
v. 2. Their ten years' thirst.] Beatrice had been dead ten
v. 9. Two fix'd a gaze.] The allegorical interpretation of
Vellutello whether it be considered as justly terrible from the
text or not, conveys so useful a lesson, that it deserves our
notice. "The understanding is sometimes so intently engaged in
contemplating the light of divine truth in the scriptures, that
it becomes dazzled, and is made less capable of attaining
such knowledge, than if it had sought after it with greater
v. 39. Its tresses.] Daniel, c. iv. 10, &c.
v. 41. The Indians.]
Quos oceano proprior gerit India lucos.
Virg. Georg. 1. ii. 122,
Such as at this day to Indians known.
Milton, P. L. b. ix. 1102.
v. 51. When large floods of radiance.] When the sun enters into
Aries, the constellation next to that of the Fish.
v. 63. Th' unpitying eyes.] See Ovid, Met. 1. i. 689.
v. 74. The blossoming of that fair tree.] Our Saviour's
v. 97. Those lights.] The tapers of gold.
v. 101. That true Rome.] Heaven.
v. 110. The bird of Jove.] This, which is imitated from
Ezekiel, c. xvii. 3, 4. appears to be typical of the
persecutions which the church sustained from the Roman Emperors.
v. 118. A fox.] By the fox perhaps is represented the treachery
of the heretics.
v. 124. With his feathers lin'd.]. An allusion to the donations
made by the Roman Emperors to the church.
v. 130. A dragon.] Probably Mahomet.
v. 136. With plumes.] The donations before mentioned.
v. 142. Heads.] By the seven heads, it is supposed with
sufficient probability, are meant the seven capital sins, by the
three with two horns, pride, anger, and avarice, injurious both
to man himself and to his neighbor: by the four with one horn,
gluttony, lukewarmness, concupiscence, and envy, hurtful, at
least in their primary effects, chiefly to him who is
guilty of them.
v. 146. O'er it.] The harlot is thought to represent the state
of the church under Boniface VIII and the giant to figure Philip
IV of France.
v. 155. Dragg'd on.] The removal of the Pope's residence from
Rome to Avignon is pointed at.
v. 1. The Heathen.] Psalm lxxix. 1.
v. 36. Hope not to scare God's vengeance with a sop.] "Let not
him who hath occasioned the destruction of the church, that
vessel which the serpent brake, hope to appease the anger of the
Deity by any outward acts of religious, or rather superstitious,
ceremony, such as was that, in our poet's time, performed by a
murderer at Florence, who imagined himself secure from vengeance,
if he ate a sop of bread in wine, upon the grave of the person
murdered, within the space of nine days."
v. 38. That eagle.] He prognosticates that the Emperor of
Germany will not always continue to submit to the usurpations of
the Pope, and foretells the coming of Henry VII Duke of
Luxembourg signified by the numerical figures DVX; or, as
Lombardi supposes, of Can Grande della Scala, appointed the
leader of the Ghibelline forces. It is unnecessary to point out
the imitation of the Apocalypse in the manner of this prophecy.
v. 50. The Naiads.] Dante, it is observed, has been led into a
mistake by a corruption in the text of Ovid's Metam. I. vii.
75, where he found-
Carmina Naiades non intellecta priorum;
instead of Carmina Laiades, &c. as it has been since corrected.
Lombardi refers to Pansanias, where "the Nymphs" are spoken of as
expounders of oracles for a vindication of the poet's accuracy.
Should the reader blame me for not departing from the error of
the original (if error it be), he may substitute
Events shall be the Oedipus will solve, &c.
v. 67. Elsa's numbing waters.] The Elsa, a little stream, which
flows into the Arno about twenty miles below Florence, is said to
possess a petrifying quality.
v. 78. That one brings home his staff inwreath'd with palm.]
"For the same cause that the pilgrim, returning from Palestine,
brings home his staff, or bourdon, bound with palm," that is, to
show where he has been.
Che si reca 'I bordon di palma cinto.
"In regard to the word bourdon, why it has been applied to a
pilgrim's staff, it is not easy to guess. I believe, however
that this name has been given to such sort of staves, because
pilgrims usually travel and perform their pilgrimages on foot,
their staves serving them instead of horses or mules, then called
bourdons and burdones, by writers in the middle ages."
Mr. Johnes's Translation of Joinville's Memoirs.
Dissertation xv, by M. du Cange p. 152. 4to. edit.
The word is thrice used by Chaucer in the Romaunt of the Rose.
His glory, by whose might all things are mov'd,
Pierces the universe, and in one part
Sheds more resplendence, elsewhere less. In heav'n,
That largeliest of his light partakes, was I,
Witness of things, which to relate again
Surpasseth power of him who comes from thence;
For that, so near approaching its desire
Our intellect is to such depth absorb'd,
That memory cannot follow. Nathless all,
That in my thoughts I of that sacred realm
Could store, shall now be matter of my song.
Benign Apollo! this last labour aid,
And make me such a vessel of thy worth,
As thy own laurel claims of me belov'd.
Thus far hath one of steep Parnassus' brows
Suffic'd me; henceforth there is need of both
For my remaining enterprise Do thou
Enter into my bosom, and there breathe
So, as when Marsyas by thy hand was dragg'd
Forth from his limbs unsheath'd. O power divine!
If thou to me of shine impart so much,
That of that happy realm the shadow'd form
Trac'd in my thoughts I may set forth to view,
Thou shalt behold me of thy favour'd tree
Come to the foot, and crown myself with leaves;
For to that honour thou, and my high theme
Will fit me. If but seldom, mighty Sire!
To grace his triumph gathers thence a wreath
Caesar or bard (more shame for human wills
Deprav'd) joy to the Delphic god must spring
From the Pierian foliage, when one breast
Is with such thirst inspir'd. From a small spark
Great flame hath risen: after me perchance
Others with better voice may pray, and gain
From the Cirrhaean city answer kind.
Through diver passages, the world's bright lamp
Rises to mortals, but through that which joins
Four circles with the threefold cross, in best
Course, and in happiest constellation set
He comes, and to the worldly wax best gives
Its temper and impression. Morning there,
Here eve was by almost such passage made;
And whiteness had o'erspread that hemisphere,
Blackness the other part; when to the left
I saw Beatrice turn'd, and on the sun
Gazing, as never eagle fix'd his ken.
As from the first a second beam is wont
To issue, and reflected upwards rise,
E'en as a pilgrim bent on his return,
So of her act, that through the eyesight pass'd
Into my fancy, mine was form'd; and straight,
Beyond our mortal wont, I fix'd mine eyes
Upon the sun. Much is allowed us there,
That here exceeds our pow'r; thanks to the place
Made for the dwelling of the human kind
I suffer'd it not long, and yet so long
That I beheld it bick'ring sparks around,
As iron that comes boiling from the fire.
And suddenly upon the day appear'd
A day new-ris'n, as he, who hath the power,
Had with another sun bedeck'd the sky.
Her eyes fast fix'd on the eternal wheels,
Beatrice stood unmov'd; and I with ken
Fix'd upon her, from upward gaze remov'd
At her aspect, such inwardly became
As Glaucus, when he tasted of the herb,
That made him peer among the ocean gods;
Words may not tell of that transhuman change:
And therefore let the example serve, though weak,
For those whom grace hath better proof in store
If I were only what thou didst create,
Then newly, Love! by whom the heav'n is rul'd,
Thou know'st, who by thy light didst bear me up.
Whenas the wheel which thou dost ever guide,
Desired Spirit! with its harmony
Temper'd of thee and measur'd, charm'd mine ear,
Then seem'd to me so much of heav'n to blaze
With the sun's flame, that rain or flood ne'er made
A lake so broad. The newness of the sound,
And that great light, inflam'd me with desire,
Keener than e'er was felt, to know their cause.
Whence she who saw me, clearly as myself,
To calm my troubled mind, before I ask'd,
Open'd her lips, and gracious thus began:
"With false imagination thou thyself
Mak'st dull, so that thou seest not the thing,
Which thou hadst seen, had that been shaken off.
Thou art not on the earth as thou believ'st;
For light'ning scap'd from its own proper place
Ne'er ran, as thou hast hither now return'd."
Although divested of my first-rais'd doubt,
By those brief words, accompanied with smiles,
Yet in new doubt was I entangled more,
And said: "Already satisfied, I rest
From admiration deep, but now admire
How I above those lighter bodies rise."
Whence, after utt'rance of a piteous sigh,
She tow'rds me bent her eyes, with such a look,
As on her frenzied child a mother casts;
Then thus began: "Among themselves all things
Have order; and from hence the form, which makes
The universe resemble God. In this
The higher creatures see the printed steps
Of that eternal worth, which is the end
Whither the line is drawn. All natures lean,
In this their order, diversely, some more,
Some less approaching to their primal source.
Thus they to different havens are mov'd on
Through the vast sea of being, and each one
With instinct giv'n, that bears it in its course;
This to the lunar sphere directs the fire,
This prompts the hearts of mortal animals,
This the brute earth together knits, and binds.
Nor only creatures, void of intellect,
Are aim'd at by this bow; hut even those,
That have intelligence and love, are pierc'd.
That Providence, who so well orders all,
With her own light makes ever calm the heaven,
In which the substance, that hath greatest speed,
Is turn'd: and thither now, as to our seat
Predestin'd, we are carried by the force
Of that strong cord, that never looses dart,
But at fair aim and glad. Yet is it true,
That as ofttimes but ill accords the form
To the design of art, through sluggishness
Of unreplying matter, so this course
Is sometimes quitted by the creature, who
Hath power, directed thus, to bend elsewhere;
As from a cloud the fire is seen to fall,
From its original impulse warp'd, to earth,
By vicious fondness. Thou no more admire
Thy soaring, (if I rightly deem,) than lapse
Of torrent downwards from a mountain's height.
There would in thee for wonder be more cause,
If, free of hind'rance, thou hadst fix'd thyself
Below, like fire unmoving on the earth."
So said, she turn'd toward the heav'n her face.
All ye, who in small bark have following sail'd,
Eager to listen, on the advent'rous track
Of my proud keel, that singing cuts its way,
Backward return with speed, and your own shores
Revisit, nor put out to open sea,
Where losing me, perchance ye may remain
Bewilder'd in deep maze. The way I pass
Ne'er yet was run: Minerva breathes the gale,
Apollo guides me, and another Nine
To my rapt sight the arctic beams reveal.
Ye other few, who have outstretch'd the neck.
Timely for food of angels, on which here
They live, yet never know satiety,
Through the deep brine ye fearless may put out
Your vessel, marking, well the furrow broad
Before you in the wave, that on both sides
Equal returns. Those, glorious, who pass'd o'er
To Colchos, wonder'd not as ye will do,
When they saw Jason following the plough.
The increate perpetual thirst, that draws
Toward the realm of God's own form, bore us
Swift almost as the heaven ye behold.
Beatrice upward gaz'd, and I on her,
And in such space as on the notch a dart
Is plac'd, then loosen'd flies, I saw myself
Arriv'd, where wond'rous thing engag'd my sight.
Whence she, to whom no work of mine was hid,
Turning to me, with aspect glad as fair,
Bespake me: "Gratefully direct thy mind
To God, through whom to this first star we come."
Me seem'd as if a cloud had cover'd us,
Translucent, solid, firm, and polish'd bright,
Like adamant, which the sun's beam had smit
Within itself the ever-during pearl
Receiv'd us, as the wave a ray of light
Receives, and rests unbroken. If I then
Was of corporeal frame, and it transcend
Our weaker thought, how one dimension thus
Another could endure, which needs must be
If body enter body, how much more
Must the desire inflame us to behold
That essence, which discovers by what means
God and our nature join'd! There will be seen
That which we hold through faith, not shown by proof,
But in itself intelligibly plain,
E'en as the truth that man at first believes.
I answered: "Lady! I with thoughts devout,
Such as I best can frame, give thanks to Him,
Who hath remov'd me from the mortal world.
But tell, I pray thee, whence the gloomy spots
Upon this body, which below on earth
Give rise to talk of Cain in fabling quaint?"
She somewhat smil'd, then spake: "If mortals err
In their opinion, when the key of sense
Unlocks not, surely wonder's weapon keen
Ought not to pierce thee; since thou find'st, the wings
Of reason to pursue the senses' flight
Are short. But what thy own thought is, declare."
Then I: "What various here above appears,
Is caus'd, I deem, by bodies dense or rare."
She then resum'd: "Thou certainly wilt see
In falsehood thy belief o'erwhelm'd, if well
Thou listen to the arguments, which I
Shall bring to face it. The eighth sphere displays
Numberless lights, the which in kind and size
May be remark'd of different aspects;
If rare or dense of that were cause alone,
One single virtue then would be in all,
Alike distributed, or more, or less.
Different virtues needs must be the fruits
Of formal principles, and these, save one,
Will by thy reasoning be destroy'd. Beside,
If rarity were of that dusk the cause,
Which thou inquirest, either in some part
That planet must throughout be void, nor fed
With its own matter; or, as bodies share
Their fat and leanness, in like manner this
Must in its volume change the leaves. The first,
If it were true, had through the sun's eclipse
Been manifested, by transparency
Of light, as through aught rare beside effus'd.
But this is not. Therefore remains to see
The other cause: and if the other fall,
Erroneous so must prove what seem'd to thee.
If not from side to side this rarity