Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Dante's Inferno

Part 7 out of 8

Adobe PDF icon
Download Dante's Inferno - Full Text Free Book (Part 7/8) pdf
File size: 0.8 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

that they amounted to no more than one peck. He also explained to
them, in order to show the greater extent of the slaughter, that
none but those of equestrian rank, and of these only the
principal, wore this ornament."

14. Robert Guiscard, the renowned Norman conqueror of southern
Italy. Dante places him in the Fifth Heaven of Paradise, in the planet
Mars. For an account of his character and achievements see
Gibbon, Ch. LVI. See also Parad. XVIII. Note 20.
Matthew Paris, Giles's Tr., I. 171, A.D. 1239, gives the
following account of the manner in which he captured the
monastery of Monte Cassino:--
"In the same year, the monks of Monte Cassino (where St. Benedict
had planted a monastery), to the number of thirteen, came to the
Pope in old and torn garments, with dishevelled hair and unshorn
beards, and with tears in their eyes; and on being introduced to
the presence of his Holiness, they fell at his feet, and laid a
complaint that the Emperor had ejected them from their house at
Monte Cassino. This mountain was impregnable, and indeed
inaccessible to any one unless at the will of the monks and
others who dwelt on it; however R. Guiscard, by a device,
pretending that he was dead and being carried thither on a bier,
thus took possession of the monks' castle. When the Pope heard
this, he concealed his grief, and asked the reason; to which the
monks replied, `Because, in obedience to you, we excommunicated
the Emperor.' The Pope then said, `You obedience shall save you';
on which the monks went away without receiving anything more from
the Pope."

16. The battle of Ceperano, near Monte Cassino, was fought in
1265, between Charles of Anjou and Manfred, king of Apulia and Sicily.
The Apulians, seeing the battle going against them, deserted
their king and passed over to the enemy.

17. The battle of Tagliacozzo in Abruzzo was fought in 1268,
between Charles of Anjou and Curradino or Conradin, nephew of Manfred.
Charles gained the victory by the strategy of Count Alardo di
Valleri, who, "weaponless himself, Made arms ridiculous." This
valiant but wary crusader persuaded the king to keep a third of
his forces in reserve; and when the soldiers of Curradino,
thinking they had won the day, were scattered over the field in
pursuit of plunder, Charles fell upon them, and routed them.
Alardo is mentioned in the Cento Novelle Antiche, Nov. LVII., as
"celebrated for his wonderful prowess even among the chief
nobles, and no less esteemed for his singular virtues than for
his courage."

31. Gibbon, ch. L., says:"At the conclusion of the Life of
Mahomet, it may perhaps be expected that I should balance his
faults and virtues, that I should decide whether the title of
enthusiast or impostor more properly belongs to that extraordinary
man. Had I been intimately conversant with the son of Abdallah,
the task would still be difficult, and the success uncertain; at the
distance of twelve centuries, I darkly contemplate his shade through
a cloud of religious incense; and could I truly delineate the portrait
an hour, the fleeting resemblance would not equally apply to the
solitary of Mount Hera, to the preacher of Mecca, and to the
conqueror of Arabia..... From enthusiasm to imposture the step is
perilous and slippery; the daemon of Socrates affords a
memorable instance how a wise man may deceive himself, how a good
man may deceive others, how the conscience may slumber in a mixed
and middle state between self-illusion and voluntary fraud." Of
Ali, the son-in-law and faithful follower of Mahomet, he goes on
to say: "He united the qualifications of a poet, a soldier, and a
saint; his wisdom still breathes in a collection of moral and
religious sayings; and every antagonist, in the combats of the
tongue or of the sword, was subdued by his eloquence and valor.
From the first hour of his mission to the last rites of his
funeral, the apostle was never forsaken by a generous friend,
whom he delighted to name his brother, his vice-gerent, and the
faithful Aaron of a second Moses."

55. Fra Dolcino was one of the early social and religious
reformers in the North of Italy. His sect bore the name of "Apostles,"
its chief, if not only, heresy was a desire to bring back the
Church to the simplicity of the apostolic times. In 1305 he
withdrew with his followers to the mountains overlooking the Val
Sesia in Piedmont, where he was pursued and besieged by the
Church party, and, after various fortunes of victory and defeat,
being reduced by "stress of snow" and famine, was taken prisoner,
together with his companion, the beautiful Margaret of Trent.
Both were burned at Vercelli on the 1st of June, 1307. This "last
act of the tragedy" is thus described by Mr. Mariotti, Historical
Memoir of Fra Dolcino and his Times, p. 290:--
"Margaret of Trent enjoyed the precedence due to her sex. She was
first led out into a spot near Vercelli, bearing the name of
`Arena Servi,' or more properly `Arena Cervi,' in the sands, that
is, of the torrent Cervo, which has its confluent with the Sesia
at about one mile above the city. A high stake had been erected
in a conspicuous part of the place. To this she was fastened, and
a pile of wood was reared at her feet. The eyes of the
inhabitants of town and country were upon her. On her also were
the eyes of Dolcino. She was burnt alive with slow fire.
"Next came the turn of Dolcino: he was seated high on a car drawn
by oxen, and thus paraded from street to street all over
Vercelli. His tormentors were all around him. Beside the car,
iron pots were carried, filled with burning charcoals; deep in
the charcoals were iron pincers, glowing at white heat. These
pincers were continually applied to the various parts of
Dolcino's naked body, all along his progress, till all his flesh
was torn piecemeal from his limbs: when every bone was bare and
the whole town was preambulated, they drove the still living
carcass back to the same arena, and threw it on the burning mass
in which Margaret had been consumed. "
Farther on he adds:--
"Divested of all fables which ignorance, prejudice, or open
calumny involved it in, Dolcino's scheme amounted to nothing more
than a reformation, not of religion, but of the Church; his aim
was merely the destruction of the temporal power of the clergy,
and he died for his country no less than for his God. The wealth,
arrogance, and corruption of the Papal See appeared to him, as it
appeared to Dante, as it appeared to a thousand other patriots
before and after him, an eternal hindrance to the union, peace,
and welfare of Italy, as it was a perpetual check upon the
progress of the human race, and a source of infinite scandal to
the piety of earnest believers.....true throughout. If we bring
the light of even the clumsiest criticism to bear on his creed,
even such as it has been summed up by the ignorance of malignity
of men who never utter his name without an imprecation, we have
reason to be astonished at the little we find in it that may be
construed into a wilful deviation from the strictest orthodoxy.
Luther and Calvin would equally have repudiated him. He was
neither a Presbyterian nor an Episcopalian, but an
uncompromising, stanch Papist. His was, most eminently, the
heresy of those whom we have designated as `literal Christians.'
He would have the Gospel strictly -- perhaps blindly--adhered to.
Neither was that, in the abstract, an unpardonable offence in the
eys of the Romanism of those times -- witness St. Francis and his
early flock--provided he had limited himself to make Gospel-law
binding upon himself and his followers only. But Dolcino must
needs enforce it upon the whole Christian community, enforce it
especially on those who set up as teachers of the Gospel, on
those who laid claim to Apostolical succession. That was the
error that damned him."
Of Margaret he still farther says, referring to some old
manuscript as authority:--
"She was known by the emphatic appellation of Margaret the
Beautiful. It is added, that she was an orphan, heiress of noble
parents, and had been placed for her education in a monastery of
St. Catherine in Trent; that there Dolcino --who had also been a
monk, or at least a novice, in a convent of the Order of the
Humiliati, in the same town, and had been expelled in consequence
either of his heretic tenets, or of immoral conduct--succeeded
nevertheless in becoming domesticated in the nunnery of St.
Catherine, as a steward or agent to the nuns, and there
accomplished the fascination and abduction of the wealthy

59. Val Sesia, among whose mountains Fra Dolcino was taken
prisoner, is in the diocese of Novara.

73. A Bolognese, who stirred up dissensions among the citizens.

74. The plain of Lombardy sloping down two hundred miles and
more, from Vercelli in Piedmont to Marcabo, a village near Ravenna.

76. Guido del Cassero and Angiolello da Cagnano, two honorable
citizens of Fano, going to Rimini by invitation of Malatestino,
were by his order thrown into the sea and drowned, as here
prophesied or narrated, near the village of Cattolica on the

85. Malatestino had lost one eye.

86. Rimini.

89. Focara is a headland near Catolica, famous for dangerous
winds, to be preserved from which mariners offered up vows and prayers.
These men will not need to do it; they will not reach that cape.

102. Curio, the banished Tribune, who, fleeing to Caesar's camp
on the Rubicon, urged him to advance upon Rome. Lucan, Pharsalia,
I., Rowe's Tr.:--

"To Caesar's camp the busy Curio fled;
Curio, a speaker turbulent and bold,
Of venal eloquence, that served for gold,
And principles that might be bought and sold.

To Caesar thus, while thousand cares infest,
Revolving round the warrior's anxious breast,
His speech the ready orator addressed.

`Haste, then, thy towering eagles on their way;
When fair occasion calls, `t is fatal to delay.'"

106. Mosca degl'Uberti, or dei Lamberti, who, by advising the
murder of Buondelmonte, gave rise to the parties of Guelf and
Ghibelline, which so long divided Florence. See Canto X. Note 51.

134. Bertrand de Born, the turbulent Troubadour of the last half
of the twelfth century, was alike skilful with his pen and his
sword, and passed his life in alternately singing and fighting,
and in stirring up dissension and strife among his neighbors. He
is the author of that spirited war-song, well known to all
readers of Troubadour verse, beginning

"The beautiful spring delights me well,
When flowers and leaves are growing;
And it pleases my heart to hear the swell
Of the birds' sweet chorus flowing
In the echoing wood;
And I love to see, all scattered around,
Pavilions and tents on the martial ground;
And my spirit finds it good,
To see, on the level plains beyond
Gay knights and steeds caparison'd";--

and ending with a challenge to Richard Coeur de Lion,
telling his minstrel Papiol to go

"And tell the Lord of `Yes and No'
That peace already too long has been."

"Bertrand de Born," says the old Provenal biography, published by
Raynouard, Choix de Poesies Originales des Troubadours, V. 76,
"was a chatelain of the bishopric of Perigueux, Viscount of
Hautefort, a castle with nearly a thousand retainers. He had a
brother, and would have dispossessed him of his inheritance, had
it not been for the king of England. He was always at war with
all his neighbors, with the Count of Perigueux, and with the
Viscount of Limoges, and with his brother Constantine, and with
Richard, when he was count of Poitou. He was a good cavalier, and
a good warrior, and a good lover, and a good troubadour; and well
informed and well spoken; and knew well how to bear good and evil
fortune. Whenever he wished, he was master of King Henry of
England and of his son; but always desired that father and son
should be at war with each other, and one brother with the other.
And he always wished that the king of France and the king of
England should be at variance; and if there were either peace or
truce, straightway he sought and endeavored by his satires to
undo the peace, and to show how each was dishonored by it. And he
had great advantages and great misfortunes by thus exciting feuds
between them. He wrote many satires, but only two songs. The king
of Aragon called the songs of Giraud de Borneil the wives of
Bertrand de Born's satires. And he who sang for him bore the name
of Papiol. And he was handsome and courteous; and called the
Count of Britany, Rassa; and the king of England, Yes and No; and
his son, the young king, Marinier. And he set his whole heart on
fomenting war; and embroiled the father and son of England, until
the young king was killed by an arrow in a castle of Bertrand de
"And Bertrand used to boast that he had more wits than he needed.
And when the king took him prisoner, he asked him, `Have you all
your wits, for you will need them now?' And he answered, `I lost
them all when the young king died.' Then the king wept, and
pardoned him, and gave him robes, and lands, and honors. And he
lived long and became a Cistercian monk."
Fauriel, Histoire de la Poesie Provenale, Adler's Tr., p. 483,
quoting part of this passage, adds:--
"In this notice the old biographer indicates the dominant trait
of Bertrand's character very distinctly; it was an unbridled
passion for war. He loved it not only as the occasion for
exhibiting proofs of valor, for acquiring power, and for winning
glory, but also, and even more on account of its hazards, on
account of the exaltation of courage and of life which it
produced, nay, even for the sake of the tumult, the disorders,
and the evils which are accustomed to follow in its train.
Bertrand de Born is the ideal of the undisciplined and
adventuresome warrior of the Middle Age, rather than that of the
chevalier in the proper sense of the term."
See also Millot, Hist. Litt. des Troubadours, I. 210, and Hist.
Litt. de la France par les Benedictins de St. Maur,
continuation, XVII. 425. Bertrand de Born, if not the best of the
Troubadours, is the most prominent and striking character among
them. His life is a drama full of romantic interest; beginning
with the old castle in Gascony, "the dames, the cavaliers, the
arms, the loves, the courtesy, the bold emprise"; and ending in a
Cistercian convent, among friars and fastings and penitence and

135. A vast majority of manuscripts and printed editions read in
this line, Re Giovanni, King John, instead of Re Giovane, the Young
King. Even Boccaccio's copy, which he wrote out with his own had
for Petrarca, has Re Giovanni. Out of seventy-nine Codici
examined by Barlow, he says, Study of the Divina Commedia, p.
153, "Only five were found with the correct reading--re
giovane..... The reading re giovane is not found in any of the
early editions, nor is it noticed by any of the early
commentators." Se also Ginguene, Hist. Litt. de l'Italie, II,
486, where the subject is elaborately discussed, and the note of
Biagioli, who takes the opposite side of the question.
Henry II. of England had four sons, all of whom were more or less
rebellious against him. They were, Henry, surnamed Curt-Mantle,
and called by the Troubadours and novelists of his time "The
Young King," because he was crowned during his father's life;
Richard Coeur-de-Lion, Count of Guienne and Poitou; Geoffroy,
Duke of Brittany; and John Lackland. Henry was the only one of
these who bore the title of king at the time in question.
Bertrand de Born was on terms of intimacy with him, and speaks of
him in his poems as lo Reys joves, sometimes lauding, and
sometimes reproving him. One of the best of these poems in his
Complainte, on the death of Henry, which took place in 1183, from
disease, say some accounts, from the bolt of a crossbow say
others. He complains that he has lost "the best king that was
ever born of mother"; and goes on to say, "King of the courteous,
and emperor of the valiant, you would have been Seigneur if you
had lived longer; for you bore the name of the Young King, and
were the chief and peer of youth. Ay! hauberk and sword, and
beautiful buckler, helmet and gonfalon, and purpoint and sark,
and joy and love, there is none to maintain them!" See Raynouard,
Choix de Poesies, IV. 49. In the Bible Guiot de Provins,
Barbazan, Fabliaux et Contes, II. 518, he is spoken of as "li
jones Rois, Li proux, li saiges, li cortois." In the Cento
Novelle Antiche, XVIII., XIX., XXXV., he is called il Re Giovane;
and in Roger de Wendover's Flowers of History, A. D. 1179--1183,
"Henry the Young King."
It was to him that Bertrand de Born "gave the evil counsels,"
embroiling him with his father and his brothers. Therefore, when
the commentators challenge us as Pistol does Shallow, "Under
which king, Bezonian? speak or die!" I think we must answer as
Shallow does, "Under King Harry."

137. See 2 Samuel xvii. I, 2:-- "Moreover, Ahithophel said unto
Absalom, let me now choose out twelve thousand men, and I will
arise and pursue after David this night. And I will come upon him
while he is weary and weak-handed, and will make him afraid; and
all the people that are with him shall flee; and I will smite the
king only."
Dryden, in his poem of Absalom and Achitophel, gives this
portrait of the latter:--

"Of these the false Achitophel was first;
A name to all succeeding ages curst;
For close designs and crooked counsels fit;
Sagacious, bold, and turbulent of wit;
Restless, unfix'd in principles and place;
In power unpleas'd, impatient of disgrace:
A fiery soul, which, working out its way,
Fretted the pigmy body to decay,
And o'er inform'd the tenement of clay."

Then he puts into the mouth of Archiophel the following

"Auspicious prince, at whose nativity
Some royal planet rul'd the southern sky;
Thy longing country's darling and desire;
Their cloudy pillar and their guardian fire;
Their second Moses, whose extended wand
Divides the seas, and shows the promised land;
Whose dawning day, in every distant age,
Has exercised the sacred prophet's rage;
The people's prayer, the glad diviner's theme,
The young men's vision, and the old men's dream."

Canto 29

1. The Tenth and last "cloister of Malebolge," where

"Justice infallible
Punishes forgers,"

and falsifiers of all kinds. This Canto is devoted to the

27. Geri del Bello was a disreputable member of the Alighieri
family, and was murdered by one of the Sacchetti. His death was
afterwards avenged by his brother, who in turn slew one of the
Sacchetti at the door of his house.

29. Bertrand de Born.

35. Like the ghost of Ajax in the Odyssey, XI. "He answered me
not at all, but went to Erebus amongst the other souls of the dead. "

36. Dante seems to share the feeling of the Italian vendetta,
which required retaliation from some member of the injured family.
"Among the Italians of this age," says Napier, Florentine Hist.,
I. Ch. VII., "and for centuries after, private offence was never
forgotten until revenged, and generally involved a succession of
mutual injuries; vengeance was not only considered lawful and
just, but a positive duty, dishonorable to omit; and, as may be
learned from ancient private journals, it was sometimes allowed
to sleep for five-and-thirty years, and then suddently struck a
victim who perhaps had not yet seen the light when the original
injury was inflicted."

46. The Val di Chiana, near Arezzo, was in Dante's time marshy
and pestilential. Now, by the effect of drainage, it is one of the
most beautiful and fruitful of the Tuscan valleys. The Maremma
was and is notoriously unhealthy; see Canto XIII. Note 9, and
Sardinia would seem to have shared its ill repute.

57. Forgers or falsifiers in a general sense. The "false
semblaunt" of Gower, Confes. Amant., II.:--

"Of fals semblaunt if I shall telle,
Above all other it is the welle
Out of the which deceipte floweth."
They are registered here on earth to be punished hereafter.

59. The plague of Aegina is described by Ovid, Metamorph. VII.,
Stonestreet's Tr.:--

"Their black dry tongues are swelled, and scarce can move,
And short thick sighs from panting lungs are drove.
They gape for air, with flatt'ring hopes t'abate
Their raging flames, but that augments their heat.
No bed, no cov'ring can the wretches bear,
But on the ground, exposed to open air,
They lie, and hope to find a pleasing coolness there.
The suff'ring earth, with that oppression curst,
Returns the heat which they imparted first.

Here one, with fainting steps, does slowly creep
O'er heaps of dead, and straight augments the heap;
Another, while his strength and tongue prevailed,
Bewails his friend, and falls himself bewailed;
This with imploring looks surveys the skies,
The last dear office of his closing eyes,
But finds the Heav'ns implacable, and dies."

The birth of the Myrmidons, "who still retain the thrift of ants,
though now transformed to men," is thus given in the same book:--

"As many ants the num'rous branches bear,
The same their labor, and their frugal care;
The branches too alike commotion found,
And shook th' industrious creatures on the ground,
Who by degrees (what's scarce to be believed)
A nobler form and larger bulk received,
And on the earth walked an unusual pace,
With manly strides, and an erected face;
Their num'rous legs, and former color lost
The insects could a human figure boast."

88. Latian, or Italian; any one of the Latin race.

109. The speaker is a certain Griffolino, an alchemist of Arezzo,
who practised upon the credulity of Albert, a natural son of the
Bishop of Siena. For this he was burned; but was "condemned to
the last Bolgia of the ten for alchemy."

116. The inventor of the Cretan labyrinth. Ovid, Metamorph.
VIII.: --

"Great Daedalus of Athens was the man
Who made the draught, and formed the wondrous plan."
Not being able to find his way out of the labyrinth, he made
wings for himself and his son Icarus, and escaped by flight.

122. Speaking of the people of Siena, Forsyth, Italy, 532, says:
"Vain, flighty, fanciful, they want the judgment and penetration
of their Florentine neighbors; who, nationally severe, call a
nail without a head chiodo Sanese. The accomplished Signora
Rinieri told me, that her father, while Governor of Siena, was
once stopped in his carriage by a crowd at Florence, where the
mob, recognizing him, called out: `Lasciate passare il
Governatore de' matti.' A native of Siena is presently know at
Florence; for his very walk, being formed to a hilly town,
detects him on the plain."

125. The persons here mentioned gain a kind of immortality from
Dante's verse. The Stricca, or Baldastricca, was a lawyer of
Siena; and Niccolo dei Salimbeni, or Bonsignori, introduced the
fashion of stuffing pheasants with cloves, or, as Benvenuto says,
of roasting them at a fire of cloves. Though Dante mentions them
apart, they seem, like the two others named afterwards, to have
been members of the Brigata Spendereccia, or Prodigal Club, of
Siena, whose extravagances are recorded by Benvenuto da Imola.
This club consisted of "twelve very rich young gentlemen, who
took it into their heads to do things that would make a great
part of the world wonder." Accordingly each contributed eighteen
thousand golden florins to a common fund, amounting in all to two
hundred and sixteen thousand florins. They built a palace, in
which each member had a splendid chamber, and they gave sumptuous
dinners and suppers; ending their banquets sometimes by throwing
all the dishes, table- ornaments, and knives of gold and silver
out of the window. "This silly institution," continues Benvenuto,
"lasted only ten months, the treasury being exhausted, and the
wretched members became the fable and laughing-stock of all the
world." In honor of this club, Folgore da San Geminiano, a clever
poet of the day (1260) , wrote a series of twelve convivial
sonnets, one for each month of the year, with Dedication and
Conclusion. A translation of these sonnets may be found in D. G.
Rossetti's Early Italian Poets. The Dedication runs as

"Unto the blithe and lordly Fellowship,
(I know not where, but wheresoe'er, I know,
Lordly and blithe,) be greeting; and thereto,
Dogs, hawks, and a full purse wherein to dip;
Quails struck i' the flight; nags mettled to the whip;
Hart-hounds, hare-hounds, and blood-hounds even so;
And o'er that realm, a crown for Niccolo,
Whose praise in Siena springs from lip to lip.
Tingoccio, Atuin di Togno, and Ancaian,
Bartolo, and Mugaro, and Faenot,
Who well might pass for children of King Ban,
Courteous and valiant more than Lancelot,
To each, God speed! How worthy every man
To hold high tournament in Camelot."

136. "This Capocchio," says the Ottimo, "was a very subtle
alchemist; and because he was burned for practising alchemy in Siena,
exhibits his hatred to the Sienese, and gives us to understand
that the author knew him."

Canto 30

1. In this Canto the same Bolgia is continued, with different
kinds of Falsifiers.

4. Athamas, king of Thebes and husband of Ino, daughter of
His madness is thus described by Ovid, Metamorph. IV., Eusden's

"Now Athamas cries out, his reason fled,
`Here, fellow-hunters, let the toils be spread.
I saw a lioness, in quest of food,
With her two young, run roaring in this wood.'
Again the fancied savages were seen,
As thro' his palace still he chased his queen;
Then tore Learchus from her breast: the child
Streched little arms, and on its father smiled,--
A father now no more,--who now begun
Around his head to whirl his giddy son,
And, quite insensible to nature's call,
The helpless infant flung against the wall.
The same mad poison in the mother wrought;
Young Melicerta in her arms she caught,
And with disordered tresses, howling, flies,
`O Bacchus, Evoe, Bacchus!' loud she cries.
The name of Bacchus Juno laughed to hear,
And said, `Thy foster-god has cost thee dear.'
A rock there stood, whose side the beating waves
Had long consumed, and hollowed into caves.
The head shot forwards in a bending steep,
And cast a dreadful covert o'er the deep.
The wretched Ino, on destruction bent,
Climbed up the cliff,--such strength her fury lent:
Thence with her guiltless boy, who wept in vain,
At one bold spring she plunged into the main."

16. Hecuba, wife of Priam of Troy, and mother of Polyxena and
Polydorus. Ovid, XIII., Stanyan's Tr.:--

"When on the banks her son in ghastly hue
Transfixed with Thracian arrows strikes her view,
The matrons shrieked; her big swoln grief surpassed
The power of utterance; she stood aghast;
She had nor speech, nor tears to give relief:
Excess of woe suppressed the rising grief.
Lifeless as stone, on earth she fix'd her eyes;
And then look'd up to Heav'n with wild surprise,
Now she contemplates o'er with sad delight
Her son's pale visage; then her aking sight
Dwells on his wounds: she varies thus by turns,
Till with collected rage at length she burns,
Wild as the mother-lion, when among
The haunts of prey she seeks her ravished young:
Swift flies the ravisher; she marks his trace,
And by the print directs her anxious chase.
So Hecuba with mingled grief and rage
Pursues the king, regardless of her age.

Fastens her forky fingers in his eyes;
Tears out the rooted balls; her rage pursues,
And in the hollow orbs her hand imbrues.
"The Thracians, fired at this inhuman scene,
With darts and stones assail the frantic queen.
She snarls and growls, nor in an human tone;
Then bites impatient at the bounding stone;
Extends her jaws, as she her voice would raise
To keen invectives in her wonted phrase;
But barks, and thence the yelping brute betrays."

31. Griffolino d'Arezzo, mentioned in Canto XXIX. 109.

42. The same "mad sprite," Gianni Schicchi, mentioned in line 32.
"Buoso Donati of Florence," says Benvenuto, "although a nobleman
and of an illustrious house, was nevertheless like other noblemen
of his time, and by means of thefts had greatly increased his
patrimony. When the hour of death drew near, the sting of
conscience caused him to make a will in which he gave fat
legacies to many people; whereupon his son Simon, (the Ottimo
says his nephew,) thinking himself enormously aggrieved, suborned
Vanni Schicchi dei Cavalcanti, who got into Buoso's bed, and made
a will in opposition to the other. Gianni much resembled Buoso."
In this will Gianni Schicchi did not forget himself, while making
Simon heir; for, according to the Ottimo, he put this clause into
it: "To Gianni Schicchi I bequeath my mare." This was the "lady
of the herd," and Benvenuto adds, "none more beautiful was to be
found in Tuscany; and it was valued at a thousand florins."

61. Messer Adamo, a false-coiner of Brescia, who at the
instigation of the Counts Guido, Alessandro, and Aghinolfo of Romena,
counterfeited the golden florin of Florence, which bore on one
side a lily, and on the other the figure of John the Baptist.

64. Tasso, Gerusalemme, XIII. 60, Fairfax's Tr.:--

"He that the gliding rivers erst had seen
Adown their verdant channels gently rolled,
Or falling streams, which to the valleys green,
Distilled from tops of Alpine mountains cold,
Those he desired in vain, new torments been
Augumented thus with wish of comforts old;
Those waters cool he drank in vain conceit,
Which more increased his thirst, increased his heat."

65. The upper valley of the Arno is in the province of
Quoting these three lines, Ampere, Voyage Dantesque, 246, says:
"In these untranslatable verses, there is a feeling of humid
freshness, which almost makes one shudder. I owe it to truth to
say, that the Cassentine was a great deal less fresh and less
verdant in reality than in the poetry of Dante, and that in the
midst of the aridity which surrounded me, this poetry, by its
very perfection, made one feel something of the punishment of
Master Adam."

73. Forsyth, Italy, 116, says: "The castle of Romena, mentioned
in these verses, now stands in ruins on a precipice about a mile
from our inn, and not far off is a spring which the peasants call
Fonte Branda. Might I presume to differ from his commentators,
Dante, in my opinion, does not mean the great fountain of Siena,
but rather this obscure spring; which, though less known to the world,
was an object more familiar to the poet himself, who took refuge
here from proscription, and an image more natural to the coiner who was
burnt on the spot. "
Ampere is of the same opinion, Voyage Dantesque, 246: "The Fonte
Branda, mentioned by Master Adam, is assuredly the fountain thus
named, which still flows not far from the tower of Romena,
between the place of the crime and that of its punishment." On
the other hand, Mr. Barlow, Contributions, remarks: "This little
fount was known only to so few, that Dante, who wrote for the
Italian people generally, can scarcely be thought to have meant
this, when the famous Fonte Branda at Siena was, at least by
name, familiar to them all, and formed an image more in character
with the insatiable thirst of Master Adam."
Poetically the question is of slight importance; for, as Fluellen
says, "There is a river in Macedon, and there is also moreover a
river at Monmount,.....and there is salmons in both."

86. This line and line II of Canto XXIX. are cited by Gabrielle
Rossetti in confirmation of his theory of the "Principal Allegory
of the Inferno," that the city of Dis is Rome. He says, Spirito
Antipapale, I. 62, Miss Ward's Tr.:--
"This well is surrounded by a high wall, and the wall by a vast
trench; the circuit of the trench is twenty-two miles, and that
of the wall eleven miles. Now the outward trench of the walls of
Rome (whether real or imaginary we say not) was reckoned by
Dante's contemporaries to be exactly twenty-two miles; and the
walls of the city were then, and still are, eleven miles round.
Hence it is clear, that the wicked time which looks into Rome, as
into a mirror, sees there the corrupt place which is the final
goal to its waters or people, that is, the figurative Rome,
`dread seat of Dis.'"
The trench here spoken of is the last trench of Malebolge. Dante
mentions no wall about the well; only giants standiing round it
like towers.

97. Potiphar's wife.

98. Virgil's "perjured Sinon," the Greek who persuaded the
Trojans to accept the wooden horse, telling them it was meant to
protect the city, in lieu of the statue of Pallas, stolen by Diomed and
Chaucer, Nonnes Preestes Tale:--

"O false dissimilour, O Greek Sinon,
That broughtest Troye at utterly to sorwe."

103. The disease of tympanites is so called "because the abdomen
is distended with wind, and sounds like a drum when struck."

128. Ovid, Metamorph. III.:--

"A fountain in a darksome wood,
Nor stained with falling leaves nor rising mud."

Canto 31

1. This Canto describes the Plain of the Giants, between
Malebolge and the mouth of the Infernal Pit.

4. Iliad, XVI.: "A Pelion ash, which Chiron gave to his
(Achilles') father, cut from the top of Mount Pelion, to be the
death of heroes."
Chaucer, Squieres Tale:--

"And of Achilles for his queinte spere,
For he coude with it bothe hele and drere."

And Shakespeare, in King Henry the Sixth, V. i.:--

"Whose smile and frown, like to Achilles' spear,
Is able with the change to kill and cure."

16. The battle of Roncesvalles,

"When Charlemain with all his peerage fell
By Fontarabia."

18. Archbishop Turpin, Chronicle, XXIII., Rodd's Tr., thus
describes the blowing or Orlando's horn:--
"He now blew a loud blast with his horn, to summon any Christian
concealed in the adjacent woods to his assistance, or to recall
his friends beyond the pass. This horn was endued with such
power, that all other horns were split by its sound; and it is
said that Orlando at that time blew it with such vehemence, that
he burst the veins and nerves of his neck. The sound reached the
king's ears, who lay encamped in the valley still called by his
name, about eight miles from Ronceval, towards Gascony, being
carried so far by supernatural power. Charles would have flown to
his succor, but was prevented by Ganalon, who, conscious of
Orlando's sufferings, insinuated it was usual with him to sound
his horn on light occasions. `He is, perhaps', said he, `pursuing
some wild beast, and the sound echoes through the woods; it will
be fruitless, therefore, to seek him.' O wicked traitor,
deceitful as Judas! What dost thou merit?"
Walter Scott in Marmion, VI. 33, makes allusion to Orlando's
horn: --

"O for a blast of that dread horn,
On Fontarabian echoes borne,
That to King Charles did come,
When Rowland brave, and Oliver,
And every paladin and peer,
On Roncesvalles died!"

Orlando's horn is one of the favorite fictions of old romance,
and is surpassed in power only by that of Alexander, which took
sixty men to blow it and could be heard at a distance of sixty

41. Montereggione is a picturesque old castle on an eminence near
Siena. Ampere, Vogage Dantesque, 251, remarks: "This fortress,
as the commentators say, was furnished with towers all round
about, and had none in the centre. In its present state it is
still very faithfully described by the verse, 'Montereggion de
torri si corona.'"

59. This pine-cone of bronze, which is now in the gardens of the
Vatican, was found in the mausoleum of Hadrian, and is supposed
to have crowned its summit. "I have looked daily", says Mrs.
Kemble, Year of Consolation, 152, "over the lonely, sunny
gardens, open like the palace halls to me, where the widesweeping
orange-walks end in some distant view of the sad and noble
Campagna, where silver fountains call to each other through the
silent, over-arching cloisters of dark and fragrant green, and
where the huge bronze pine, by which Dante measured his great
giant, yet stands in the midst of graceful vases and bass-reliefs
wrought in former ages, and the more graceful blossoms blown
within the very hour." And Ampere, Voyage Dantesque, 277,
"Here Dante takes as a point of comparison an object of
determinate size; the pigna is eleven feet high, the giant then
must be seventy; it performs, in the description, the office of
those figures which are placed near monuments to render it easier
for the eye to measure their height."
Mr. Norton, Travel and Study in Italy, 253, thus speaks of the
same object:
"This pine-cone, of bronze, was set originally upon the summit of
the Mausoleum of Hadrian. After this imperial sepulchre had
undergone many evil fates, and as its ornaments were stripped one
by one from it, the cone was in the sixth century taken down, and
carried off to adorn a fountain, which had been constructed for
the use of dusty and thirsty pilgrims, in a pillared enclosure,
called the Paradiso, in front of the old basilica of St. Peter.
Here it remained for centuries; and when the old church gave way
to the new, it was put where it now stands, useless and out of
place, in the trim and formal gardens of the Papal palace." And
adds in a note:--
"At the present day it serves the bronze-workers of Rome as a
model for an inkstand, such as is seen in the shop windows every
winter, and is sold to travellers, few of whom know the history
and the poetry belonging to its original."

67. "The gaping monotony of this jargon", says Leigh Hunt, "full
of the vowel a, is admirably suited to the mouth of the vast half-
stupid speaker. It is like a babble of the gigantic infancy of
the world."

77. Nimrod, the "mighty hunter before the Lord", who built the
tower of Babel, which, according to the Italian popular tradition, was
so high that whoever mounted to the top of it could hear the
angels sing.
Cory, Ancient Fragments, 51, gives this extract from the
Sibylline Oracles:--
"But when the judgments of the Almighty God Were ripe for
execution, when the Tower Rose to the skies upon Assyria's plain,
And all mankind one language only knew; A dread commission from
on high was given To the fell whirlwinds, which with dire alarms
Beat on the Tower, and to its lowest base Shook it convulsed. And
now all intercourse, By some occult and overruling power, Ceased
among men: by utterance they strove Perplexed and anxious to
disclose their mind; But their lip failed them, and in lieu of
words Produced a painful babbling sound: the place Was thence
called Babel; by th' apostate crew Named from the event. Then
severed far away They sped uncertain into realms unknown; Thus
kingdoms rose, and the glad world was filled."

94. Odyssey, XI., Buckley's Tr.:
"God-like Otus and far-famed Ephialtes; whom the faithful earth
nourished, the tallest and far the most beautiful, at least after
illustrious Orion. For at nine years old they were also nine
cubits in width, and in height they were nine fathoms. Who even
threatened the immortals that they would set up a strife of
impetuous war in Olympus. They attempted to place Ossa upon
Olympus, and upon Ossa leafy Pelion, that heaven might be
accessible. And they would have accomplished it, if they had
reached the measure of youth; but the son of Jove, whom
fair-haired Latona bore, destroyed them both, before the down
flowered under their temples and thickened upon their cheeks with
a flowering beard."

98. The giant with a hundred hands. Aeneid, X.:
"Aegaeon, who, they say, had a hundred arms and a hundred
hands, and flashed fire from fifty mouths and breasts; when
against the thunder-bolts of Jove he on so many equal bucklers
clashed; unsheathed so many swords." He is supposed to have been
a famous pirate, and the fable of the hundred hands arose from
the hundred sailors that manned his ship.

100. The giant Antaeus is here unbound, because he had not been
at "the mighty war" against the gods.

115. The valley of the Bagrada, one of whose branches flows by
Zama, the scene of Scipo's great victory over Hannibal, by which he
gained his greatest renown and his title of Africanus.
Among the neighboring hills, according to Lucan, Pharsalia, IV. ,
the giant Antaeus had his cave. Speaking of Curio's voyage, he

"To Afric's coast he cuts the foamy way,
Where low the once victorious Carthage lay.
There landing, to the well-known camp he hies,
Where from afar the distant seas he spies;
Where Bagrada's dull waves the sands divide,
And slowly downward roll their sluggish tide.
From thence he seeks the highest renowned by fame,
And hallowed by the great Cornelian name:
The rocks and hills which long, traditions say,
Where held by huge Antaeus' horrid sway.
But greater deeds this rising mountain grace,
And Scipio's name ennobles much the place,
While, fixing here his famous camp, he calls
Fierce Hannibal from Rome's devoted walls.
As yet the mouldering works remain in view,
Where dreadful once the Latin eagles flew."

124. |Aeneid, VI.: "Here too you might have seen Tityus,
the foster-child of all-bearing earth, whose body is extended
over nine whole acres; and a huge vulture, with her hooked
beak, pecking at his immortal liver." Also Odyssey, XI., in
similar words.
Typhoeus was a giant wih a hundred heads, like a dragon's who
made war upon the gods as soon as he was born. He was the father
of Geryon and Cerberus.

132. The battle between Hercules and Antaeus is described by
Lucan, Pharsalia, IV.:--

"Bright in Olympic oil Alcides shone,
Antaeus with his mother's dust is strown,
And seeks her friendly force to aid his own."

136. One of the leaning towers of Bologna, which Eustace,
Classical Tour, I. 167, thinks are "remarkable only for their unmeaning
elevation and dangerous deviation from the perpendicular."

Canto 32

1. In this Canto begins the Ninth and last Circle of the Inferno,
where Traitors are punished.

"Hence in the smallest circle, at the point
Of all the Universe, where Dis is seated,
Whoe'er betrays forever is consumed."

3. The word thrust is here used in its architectural sense, as
the thrust of a bridge against its abutments, and the like.

9. Still using the babble of childhood.

11. The Muses; the poetic tradition being that Amphion built the
walls of Thebes by the sound of his lyre; and the prosaic
interpretation, that he did it by his persuasive eloquence.

15. Matthew xxvi. 24: "Woe unto that man by whom the son of
man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been

28. Tambernich is a mountain of Sclavonia, and Pietrapana another
near Lucca.

55. These two "miserable brothers" are Alessandro and Napoleone,
sons of Alberto degli Alberti, lord of Falterona in the valley of the
Bisenzio. After their father's death they quarrelled, and one
treacherously slew the other.

58. Caina is the first of the four divisions of this Circle, and
takes its name from the first fratricide.

62. Sir Mordred, son of King Arthur. See La Mort d'Arthure, III.
ch. 167: "And there King Arthur smote Sir Mordred under the shield
with a foine of his speare throughout the body more than a
Nothing is said here of the sun's shining through the wound, so
as to break the shadow on the ground, but that incident is
mentioned in the Italian version of the Romance of Launcelot of
the Lake, L'illustre e famosa istoria di Lancillotto del Lago,
III. ch. 162: "Behind the opening made by the lance there passed
through the wound a ray of the sun so manifestly, that Girflet
saw it. "

63. Focaccia was one of the Cancellieri Bianchi, of Pistoia, and
was engaged in the affair of cutting off the hand of his
half-brother. See Note 65, Canto VI. He is said also to have
killed his uncle.

65. Sassol Mascheroni, according to Benvenuto, was one of the
Toschi family of Florence. He murdered his nephew in order to get
possession of his property; for which crime he was carried
through the streets of Florence nailed up in a cask, and then

68. Camicion de' Pazzi of Valdarno, who murdered his kinsman
Ubertino. But his crime will seem small and excusable when
compared with that of another kinsman, Carlino de' Pazzi, who
treacherously surrendered the castle of Piano in Valdarno,
wherein many Florentine exiles were taken and put to death.

81. The speaker is Bocca degli Abati, whose treason caused the
defeat of the Guelfs at the famous battle of Montaperti in 1260. See
Note 86, Canto X. "Messer Bocca degli Abati, the traitor," says
Malispini, Storia, ch. 171, "with his sword in hand, smote and cut off
the hand of Messer Jacopo de' Pazzi of Florence, who bore the
standard of the cavalry of the Commune of Florence. And the
knights and the people, seeing the standard down, and the treachery,
were put to rout."

88. The second division of the Circle, called Antenora, from
Antenor, the Trojan prince, who betrayed his country by keeping up a
secret correspondence with the Greeks. Virgil, Aeneid, I. 242,
makes him founder of Padua.

106. See Note 81 of this Canto.

116. Buoso da Duera of Cremona, being bribed, suffered the French
cavalry under Guido da Monforte to pass through Lombardy on their
way to Apulia, without opposing them as he had been commanded.

117. There is a double meaning in the Italian expression sta
fresco, which is well rendered by the vulgarism, left out in the cold,
familiar in American politics.

119. Beccaria of Pavia, Abbot of Vallombrosa, and Papal Legate at
Florence, where he was beheaded in 1258 for plotting against the

121. Gianni de' Soldanieri, of Florence, a Ghibelline, who
betrayed his party. Villani, VII, 14, says: "Messer Gianni de'
put himself at the head of the populace from motives of ambition,
regardless of consequences which were injurious to the Ghibelline
party, and to his own detriment, which seems always to have been
the case in Florence with those who became popular leaders."

122. The traitor Ganellon, or Ganalon, who betrayed the Christian
cause at Roncesvalles, persuading Charlemagne not to go to the
assistance of Orlando. See Canto XXXI. Note 18.
Tebaldello de' Manfredi treacherously opened the gates of Faenza
to the French in the night.

130. Tydeus, son of the king of Calydon, slew Menalippus at the
siege of Thebes and was himself mortally wounded. Statius, Thebaid,
VIII. , thus describes what followed:--

O'ercome with joy and anger, Tydeus tries
To raise himself, and meets with eager eyes
The deathful object, pleased as he surveyed
His own condition in his foe's portrayed.
The severed head impatient he demands,
And grasps with fever in his trembling hands,
While he remarks the restless balls of sight
That sought and shunned alternately the light.
Contented now, his wrath began to cease,
And the fierce warrior had expired in peace;
But the fell fiend a thought of vengeance bred,
Unworthy of himself and of the dead.
Meanwhile, her sire unmoved, Tritonia came,
To crown her hero with immortal fame;
But when she saw his jaws besprinkled o'er
With spattered brains, and tinged with living gore,
Whilst his imploring friends attempt in vain
To calm his fury, and his rage restrain,
Again, recoiling from the loathsome view,
The sculptur'd target o'er her face she threw."

Canto 33

1. In this Canto the subject of the preceding is continued.

13. Count Ugolino della Ghererardesca was Podesta of Pisa.
"Raised to the highest offices of the republic for ten years," says
Napier, Florentine History, I. 318, "he would soon have become
absolute, had not his own nephew, Nino Visconte, Judge of
Gallura, contested this supremacy and forced himself into
conjoint and equal authority; this could not continue, and a sort
of compromise was for the moment effected, by which Visconte
retired to the absolute government of Sardinia. But Ugolino,
still dissatisfied, sent his son to disturb the island; a deadly
feud was the consequence, Guelph against Guelph, while the latent
spirit of Ghibellinism, which filled the breasts of the citizens
and was encouraged by priest and friar, felt its advantage; the
Archbishop Ruggiero Rubaldino was its real head, but he worked
with hidden caution as the apparent friend of either chieftain.
In 1287, after some sharp contests, both of them abdicated, for
the sake, as it was alleged, of public tranquillity; but, soon
perceiving their error, again united, and, scouring the streets
with all their followers, forcibly re-established their
authority. Ruggieri seemed to assent quietly to this new outrage,
even looked without emotion on the bloody corpse of his favorite
nephew, who had been stabbed by Ugolino; and so deep was his
dissimulation, that he not only refused to believe the murdered
body to be his kinsman's, but zealously assisted the Count to
establish himself alone in the government, and accomplish
Visconte's ruin. The design was successful; Nino was overcome and
driven from the town, and in 1288 Ugolino entered Pisa in triumph
from his villa, where he had retired to await the catastrophe.
The Archbishop had neglected nothing, and Ugolino found himself
associated with this prelate in the public government; events now
began to thicken; the Count could not brook a competitor, much
less a Ghibelline priest: in the month of July both parties flew
to arms, and the Archbishop was victorious. After a feeble
attempt to rally in the public palace, Count Ugolino, his two
sons, Uguccione and Gaddo, and two young grandsons, Anselmuccio
and Brigata, surrendered at discretion, and were immediately
imprisoned in a tower, afterwards called the Torre della fame,
and there perished by starvation. Count Ugolino della
Gherardesca, whose tragic story after five hundred years still
sounds in awful numbers from the lyre of Dante, was stained with
the ambition and darker vices of the age; like other potent
chiefs, he sought to enslave his country, and checked at nothing
in his impetuous career; he was accused of many crimes; of
poisoning his own nephew, of failing in war, making a disgraceful
peace, of flying shamefully, perhaps traitorously, at Meloria,
and of obstructing all negotiations with Genoa for the return of
his imprisoned countrymen. Like most others of his rank in those
frenzied times he belonged more to faction than his country, and
made the former subservient to his own ambition; but all these
accusations, even if well founded, would not draw him from the
general standard; they would only prove that he shared the
ambition, the cruelty, the ferocity, the recklessness of human
life and suffering, and the relentless pursuit of power in common
with other chieftains of his age and country. Ugolino was
overcome, and suffered a cruel death; his family was dispersed,
and his memory has perhaps been blackened with a darker coloring
to excuse the severity of his punishment; but his sons, who
naturally followed their parent's fortune, were scarcely
implicated in his crimes, although they shared his fate; and his
grandsons, though not children, were still less guilty, though
one of these was not unstained with blood. The Archbishop had
public and private wrongs to revenge, and had he fallen, his
sacred character alone would probably have procured for him a
milder destiny."
Villani, VII. 128, gives this account of the imprisonment: "The
Pisans, who had imprisoned Count Ugolino and his two sons and two
grandsons, children of Count Guelfo, as we have before mentioned,
in a tower on the Piazza degli Anziani, ordered the door of the
tower to be locked, and the keys to be thrown into the Arno, and
forbade any food should be given to the prisoners, who in a few
days died of hunger. And the five dead bodies, being taken
together out of the tower, were ignominiously buried; and from
that day forth the tower was called the Tower of Famine, and
shall be forever more, For this cruelty the Pisans were much
blamed through all the world where it was known; not so much for
the Count's sake, as on account of his crimes and treasons he
perhaps deserved such a death, but for the sake of his children
and grandchildren, who were young and innocent boys; and this
sin, committed by the Pisans, did not remain unpunished."
Chaucer's version of the story in the Monkes Tale is as follows:

"Of the erl Hugelin of Pise the langour
There may no tonge tellen for pitee.
But litel out of Pise stant a tour,
In whiche tour in prison yput was he,
And with him ben his litel children three,
The eldest scarsely five yere was of age:
Alas! fortune, it was gret crueltee
Swiche briddes for to put in swiche a cage.

Dampned was he to die in that prison,
For Roger, which that bishop of Pise,
Had on him made a false suggestion,
Thurgh which the peple gan upon him rise,
And put him in prison, in swiche a wise,
As ye han herd; and mete and drinke he had
So smale, that wel unnethe it may suffise,
And therwithal it was ful poure and bad.

And on a day befell, that in that houre,
Whan that his mete wont was to be brought,
The gailer shette the dores of the toure;
He hered it wel, but he spake right nought.
And in his herte anon ther fell a thought,
That they for hunger wolden do him dien;
Alas! quod he, alas that I was wrought!
Therwith the teres fellen fro his eyen.

His yonge sone, that three yere was of age,
Unto him said fader, why do ye wepe?
Whan will the gailer bringen our potage?
Is ther no morsel bred that ye do kepe?
I am so hungry, that I may not slepe.
Now wolde God that I might slepen ever,
Than shuld not hunger in my wombe crepe;
Ther n'is no thing, sauf bred, that mo were lever.

Thus day by day this childe began to crie,
Till in his fadres barme adoun it lay,
And saide, farewel, fader, I mote die;
And kist his fader, and dide the same day.
And whan the woful fader did it sey,
For wo his armes two he gan to bite,
And saide, alas! fortune, and wala wa!
Thy false whele my wo all may I wite.

His children wenden, that for hunger it was
That he his armes gnowe, and not for wo,
And sayden: fader, do not so, alas!
But rather ete the flesh upon us two.
Our flesh thou yaf us, take our flesh us fro,
And ete ynough: right thus they to him seide,
And after that, within a day or two,
They laide hem in his lappe adoun, and deide.

Himself dispeired eke for hunger starf.
Thus ended in this mighty Erl of Pise:
From high estat fortune away him carf.
Of this tragedie it ought ynough suffice;
Who so wol here it in a longer wise,
Redeth the grete poete of Itaille,
That highte Dante, for he can it devise
Fro point to point, not o word wol he faille."

Buti, Commento, says: "After eight days they were removed from
prison and carried wrapped in matting to the church of the Minor
Friars at San Francesco, and buried in the monument, which is on
the side of the steps leading into the church near the gate of
the cloister, with irons on their legs, which irons I myself saw
taken out of the monument."

22. The remains of this tower," says Napier, Florentine History, I.
319, note, "still exist in the Piazza de' Cavalieri, on the right
of the archway as the spectator looks toward the clock."
According to Buti it was called the Mew, "because the eagles of
the Commune were kept there to moult."
Shelley thus sings of it, Poems, III. 91:

"Amid the desolation of a city,
Which was the cradle, and is now the grave
Of an extinguished people, so that pity
Weeps o'er the shipwrecks of oblivion's wave,
There stands the Tower of Famine. It is built
Upon some prison-homes, whose dwellers rave
For bread, and gold, and blood: pain, linked to guilt,
Agitates the light flame of their hours,
Until its vital oil is spent or spilt;
There stands the pile, a tower amid the towers
And sacred domes; each marble-ribbed roof,
The brazen-gated temples, and the bowers
Of solitary wealth! The tempest-proof
Pavilions of the dark Italian air
Are by its presence dimmed,--they stand aloof,
And are withdrawn,--so that the world is bare,
As if a spectre, wrapt in shapeless terror,
Amid a company of ladies fair
Should glide and glow, till it became a mirror
Of all their beauty, and their hair and hue,
The life of their sweet eyes, with all its error,
Should be absorbed till they to marble grew."

30. Monte San Giuliano, between Pisa and Lucca. Shelley, Poems,
III. 166:
"It was that hill whose intervening brow Screens Lucca from the
Pisan's envious eye, Which the circumfluous plain waving below,
Like a wide lake of green fertility, With streams and fields and
marshes bare, Divides from the far Apennine, which lie Islanded
in the immeasurable air."

31. The hounds are the Pisan mob; the hunters, the Pisan noblemen
here mentioned; the wolf and whelps, Ugolino and his sons.

46. It is a question whether in this line chiavar is to be
rendered nailed up or locked. Villani and Benvenuto say the tower was
locked, and the keys thrown into the Arno; and I believe most of
the commentators interpret the line in this way. But the locking
of a prison door, which must have been a daily occurrence, could
hardly have caused the dismay here portrayed, unless it can be
shown that the lower door of the tower was usually left unlocked.
"The thirty lines from Ed io senti' are unequalled," says Landor,
Pentameron, 40, by any other continuous thirty in the whole
dominions of poetry."

80. Italy; it being an old custom to call countries by the
affirmative particle of the language.

82. Capraia and Gorgona are two islands opposite the mouth of the
Arno. Ampere, Voyage Dantesque, 217, remarks: "This imagination
may appear grotesque and forced if one looks at the map, for the
isle of Gorgona is at some distance from the mouth of the Arno,
and I had always thought so, until the day when, having ascended
the tower of Pisa, I was struck with the aspect which the Gorgona
presented from that point. It seemed to shut up the Arno. I then
understood how Dante might naturally have had this idea, which
had seemed strange to me, and his imagination was justified in my
eyes. He had not seen the Gorgona from the Leaning Tower, which
did not exist in his time, but from some one of the numerous
towers which protected the ramparts of Pisa. This fact alone
would be sufficient to show what an excellent interpretation of a
poet travelling is."

86. Napier, Florentine History, I. 313: "He without hesitation
surrendered Santa Maria a Monte Fuccechio, Santa Croce, and Monte
Calvole to Florence; exiled the most zealous Ghibellines from
Pisa, and reduced it to a purely Guelphic republic; he was
accused of treachery, and certainly his own objects were
admirably forwarded by the continued captivity of so many of his
countrymen, by the banishment of the adverse faction, and by the
friendship and support of Florence. "

87. Thebes was renowned for its misfortunes and grim tragedies,
from the days of the sowing of the dragon's teeth by Cadmus, down to
the destruction of the city by Alexander, who commanded it to be
utterly demolished, excepting only the house in which the poet
Pindar was born. Moreover, the tradition runs that Pisa was
founded by Pelops, son of King Tantalus of Thebes, although it
derived its name from "the Olympic Pisa on the banks of the

118. Friar Alberigo, of the family of the Manfredi, Lords of
Faenza, was one of the Frati Gaudenti, or Jovial Friars, mentioned in
Canto XXIII. 103. The account which the Ottimo gives of his
treason is as follows: "Having made peace with certain hostile
fellow- citizens, he betrayed them in this wise. One evening he
invited them to supper, and had armed retainers in the chambers
round the supper-room. It was in summer-time, and he gave orders
to his servants that, when after the meats he should order the
fruit, the chambers should be opened, and the armed men should
come forth and should murder all the guests. And so it was done.
And he did the like the year before at Castello delle Mura at
Pistoia. These are the fruits of the Garden of Treason, of which
he speaks." Benvenuto says that his guests were his brother
Manfred and his (Manfred's) son. Other commentators say they were
certain members of the Order of Frati Gaudenti. In 1300, the date
of the poem, Alberigo was still living.

120. A Rowland for an Oliver.

124. This division of Cocytus, the Lake of Lamentation, is called
Ptolom aea from Ptolomeus, 1 Maccabees xvi. 11, where "the
captain of Jericho inviteth Simon and two of his sons into his
castle, and there treacherously murdereth them"; for "when simon
and his sons had drunk largely, Ptolomee and his men rose up, and
took their weapons, and came upon Simon into the
banqueting-place, and slew him, and his two sons, and certain of
his servants."
Or perhaps from Ptolemy, who murdered Pompey after the battle of

126. Of the three Fates, Clotho held the distaff, Lachesis spun
the thread, and Atropos cut it.
Odyssey, XI.:

"After him I perceived the might of Hercules, an image; for he
himself amongst the immortal gods is delighted with banquets, and
has the fair-legged Hebe, daughter of mighty Jove, and golden-
sandalled Juno."

137. Ser Branco d'Oria was a Genoese, and a member of the
celebrated Doria family of that city. Nevertheless he murdered at table
father-in-law, Michel Zanche, who is mentioned Canto XXII. 88.

151. This vituperation of the Genoese reminds one of the bitter
Tuscan proverb against them: "Sea without fish; mountains without
men without faith; and women without shame."

154. Friar Alberigo.

Canto 34

1. The fourth and last division of the Ninth Circle, the Judecca, --

"the smallest circle, at the point Of all the Universe, where
Dis is seated."
The first line, "The banners of the king of Hell come forth," is
a parody of the first line of a Latin hymn of the sixth century,
sung in the churches during Passion week, and written by
Fortunatus, an Italian by birth, but who died Bishop of Poitiers
in 600. The first stanza of this hymn is,--

"Vexilla regis prodeunt,
Fulget crucis mysterium,
Quo carne carnis conditor,
Suspensus est patibulo."

See K,onigsfeld, Latenische Hymnen und Ges,ange aus dem
Mittelalter, 64.

18. Milton, Parad. Lost, V. 708:--

"His countenance as the morning star, that guides
The starry flock."

28. Compare Milton's descriptions of Satan, Parad. Lost, I. 192,
589, II. 636, IV. 985:--

"Thus Satan, talking to his nearest mate,
With head uplift above the wave, and eyes
That sparkling blazed; his other parts besides
Prone on the flood, extended long and large,
Lay floating many a rood, in bulk as huge
As whom the fables name of monstrous size,
Titanian, or Earth-born, that warred on Jove,
Briareus, or Typhon, whom the den
By ancient Tarsus held, or that sea-beast
Leviathan, which God of all his works
Created hugest that swim the ocean stream:
Him, haply, slumbering on the Norway foam,
The pilot of some small night-foundered skiff,
Deeming some island, oft, as seamen tell,
With fixed anchor in his scaly rind
Moors by his side under the lee, while night
Invests the sea, and wished morn delays.
So stretched out huge in length the Arch-fiend lay
Chained on the burning lake."

"He, above the rest
In shape and gesture proudly eminent,
Stood like a tower: his form had yet not lost
All her original brightness, nor appeared
Less than archangel ruined, and the excess
Of glory obscured: as when the sun new-risen
Looks through the horizontal misty air,
Shorn of his beams; or from behind the moon,
In dim eclipse, disastrous twilight sheds
On half the nations, and with fear of change
Perplexes monarchs: darkened so, yet shone
Above them all the Archangel."

"As when far off at sea a fleet descried
Hangs in the clouds, by equinoctial winds
Close sailing from Bengala or the isles
Of Ternate and Tidore, whence merchants bring
Their spicy drugs: they on the trading flood
Through the wide AEthiopian to the Cape
Ply, stemming nightly toward the pole: so seemed
Far off the flying fiend."

"On the other side, Satan, alarmed,
Collecting all his might, dilated stood,
Like Teneriff or Atlas, unremoved:
His stature reached the sky, and on his crest
Sat horror plumed; nor wanted in his grasp
What seemed both spear and shield."

38. The Ottimo and Benvenuto both interpret the three faces as
symbolizing Ignorance, Hatred, and Impotence. Others interpret
them as signifying the three quarters of the then known world,
Europe, Asia, and Africa.

45. Ethiopia; the region about the Cataracts of the Nile.

48. Milton, Parad. Lost, II. 527:--

"At last his sail-broad vans
He spreads for flight, and in the surging smoke
Uplifted spurns the ground."

55. Landor in his Pentameron, 527, makes Petrarca say:
"This is atrocious, not terrific nor grand. Alighieri is grand by
his lights, not by his shadows; by his human affections, not by
his infernal. As the minutest sands are the labors of some
profound sea, or the spoils of some vast mountain, in like manner
his horrid wastes and wearying minutenesses are the chafings of a
turbulent spirit, grasping the loftiest things, and penetrating
the deepest, and moving and moaning on the earth in loneliness
and sadness."

62. Gabriele Rossetti, Spirito Antipapale, I. 75, Miss Ward's
Tr., says:

"The three spirits, who hang from the mouths of his Satan, are
Judas, Brutus, and Cassius. The poet's reason for selecting those
names has never yet been satisfactorily accounted for; but we
have no hesitation in pronouncing it to have been this,--he
considered the Pope not only a betrayer and seller of
Christ,--`Where gainful merchandise is made of Christ throughout
the livelong day,' (Parad. 17,) and for that reason put Judas
into his centre mouth; but a traitor and rebel to Caesar, and
therefore placed Brutus and Cassius in the other two mouths; for
the Pope, who was originally no more than Caesar's vicar,
became his enemy, and usurped the capital of his empire, and the
supreme authority. His treason to Christ was not discovered by
the world in general; hence the face of Judas is hidden,--`He
that hath his head within, and plies the feet without' (Inf. 34);
his treason to Caesar was open and manifest, therefore Brutus
and Cassius show their faces. "
He adds in a note: "The situation of Judas is the same as that of
the Popes who were guilty of simony."

68. The evening of Holy Saturday.

77. Iliad, V. 305: "With this he struck the hip of AEneas, where
the thigh turns on the hip."

95. The canonical day, from sunrise to sunset, was divided into
four equal parts, called in Italian Terza, Sesta, Nona, and Vespro,
and varying in length with the change of season. "These hours, "
says Dante, Convito, III. 6, "are short or long.....according as
day and night increase or diminish." Terza was the first division
after sunrise; and at the equinox would be from six till nine.
Consequently mezza terza, or middle tierce, would be half past seven.

114. Jerusalem.

125. The Mountain of Purgatory, rising out of the sea at a point
directly opposite Jerusalem, upon the other side of the globe. It
is an island in the South Pacific Ocean.

130. This brooklet is Lethe, whose source is on the summit of the
Mountain of Purgatory, flowing down to mingle with Acheron, Styx,
and Phlegethon, and form Cocytus. See Canto XIV. 136.

138. It will be observed that each of the three divisions of the
Divine Comedy ends with the word "Stars," suggesting and
symbolizing endless aspiration. At the end of the Inferno Dante
"re-beholds the stars"; at the end of the Purgatorio he is "ready
to ascend to the stars"; at the end of the Paradiso he feels the
power of "that Love which moves the sun and other stars." He is
now looking upon the morning stars of Easter Sunday.


1265 May.

Dante, son of Alighieri degli Alghieri and Bella, is born at Florence.
Of his own ancestory he speaks in Paradise, Canto XV. and XVI.
In the same year, Manfred, king of Naples and Sicily, is defeated and
slain by Charles of Anjou. H. XVII.13, and Purg. II. 110
Guido Novello of Polenta obtains the sovereignty of Ravenna. H. XVII. 38.
Battle of Evesham. Simon de Montfort, leader of the barons,
defeated and slain.


Two of the Frati Godenti chosen arbitrators of the differences of
Florence. H. XXIII. 104
Gianni de' Soldanieri heads the populace in that City. H. XXXII. 118.
Roger Bacon sends a copy of his Opus Majus to Pope Clement IV.


Charles of Anjou puts Conradine to death, and becomes king of Naples.
H. XXVIII. 16, and Purg. XX. 66.


Louis IX of France dies before Tunis. His widow Beatrice, daughter of
Raymond Berenger, lived till 1295. Purg. VII. 126. Par. VI 135.


Guy de Montfort murders Prince Henry, son of Richard, king of the
Romans, and nephew of Henry II of England, at Viterbo. H. XII. 119.
Richard dies, as is supposed of grief for this event.
Abulfeda, the Arabic writer is born.
Henry III of England is succeeded by Edward I. Purg. VII. 129


Our Poet first sees Beatrice, daughter of Folco Portinari.
Rodolph acknowledged emperor.
Phillip of France marries Mary of Brabant, who lived till 1321.
Purg.VI. 24.
Thomas Aquinas dies. Purg. XX.67, and Par. X. 96.
Buonaventura dies. Par. XII. 26.


Pierre de la Brosse, secretary to Phillip III of France, executed.
Purg. VI. 23.


Giotto, the painter, is born. Purg. XI. 95.
Pope Adrian V dies. Purg. XIX. 97.
Guido Guinicelli, the poet, dies. Purg. XI. 96, and XXVI. 83.


Pope John XXI dies. Par. XII. 126.


Ottocar, king of Bohemia, dies. Purg. VII. 97.
Robert of Gloucester is living at this time.


Dionysius succeds to the throne of Portugal. Par. XIX. 136.


Albertus Magnus dies. Par X. 95.
Our Poet's firend, Busone da Gubbio, is born about this time.
William of Ockham is born about this time.


Pope Nicholas III dies. H. XIX. 71.
Dante studies at the universities of Bologna and Padua.
About this time Ricordano Malaspina, the Florentine annalist, dies.


The Sicilian vespers. Par. VII. 80.
The French defeated by the people of Forli. H. XXVII. 41.
Tribaldello de' Manfredi betrays the city of Faenza. H. XXII. 119.


Prince Charles of Anjou is defeated and made prisoner by Rugier de
Lauria, admiral to Peter II of Arragon. Purg. XX. 78.
Charles i, King of Naples, dies. Purg. VII. 111.
Alonzo X of Castile dies. He cause the Bible to be translated into
Castillian, and all legal instruments to be drawn up in that language.
Sancho IV succeeds him.


Phillip (next year IV of France) marries Jane, daughter of Henry of
Navarre. Purg. VII. 102.


Pope Martin IV dies. Purg. XXIV. 23.
Philip III of France and Peter of Arragon die. Purg. VII. 101 and 110.
Henry II, king of Cyprus, comes to the Throne. Par. XIX. 144.
Simon Memi, the painter, celebrated by Petrarch, is born.


Guido dalle Colonne (mentioned by Dante in his De Vulgari Eloquio)
writes "The War of Troy."
Pope Honorius IV dies.


Haquin, king of Norway, makes war on Denmark. Par. XIX. 135.
Count Ugolino de' Gherardeschi dies of famine. H. XXXIII. 14.
The Scottish poet, Thomas Learmouth, commonly called Thomas the Phymer,
is living at this time.


Dante is in the battle of Campaldino, where the Florentines defeat the
people of Arezzo, June 11. Purg. V. 90.


Beatrice dies. Purg. XXII. 2.
He serves in the war waged by the Florentines upon the Pisans, and is
present at the surrender of Caprona in the autumn. H. XXI. 92.
Guido dalle Conne dies.
William, marquis of Montferrat, is made prisoner by his traitorous
subject, at Alessandria in Lombardy. Purg. VII. 133.
Michael Scott dies. H. XX. 115.


Dante marries Gemma de' Donati, with whom he lives unhappily.
By this marriage he had five sons and a daughter.
Can Grade della Scala is born, March 9. H. I. 98. Purg. XX. 16 Par.
XVII. 75 and XXVII. 135.
The renegade Christians assist the Saracens to recover St. John D'Acre.
H. XXVII. 84.
The Emperor Rodolph dies. Purg. VI. 104, and VII. 91.
Alonzo III of Arragon dies, and is succeeded by James II. Purg. VII.
113, and Par. XIX. 133.
Eleanor, widow of Henry II, dies. Par. VI. 135.


Pope Nicholas IV dies.
Roger Bacon dies.
John Baliol, king of Scotland, crowned.


Clement V abdicated the papal chair. H. III. 56.
Dante writes his Vita Nuova.
Fra Guittone d'Arezzo, the poet, dies. Pirg. XXIV. 56.
Andrea Taffi, of Florence, the worker in Mossic, dies.


Dante's preceptor, Brunetto Latini, dies. H. XV. 28.
Charles Martel, king of Hungry, visits Florence. Par. VIII. 57,
and dies the same year.
Frederick, son of Peter III of Arragon, becomes king of Sicily.
Purg. VII 117, and Par. XIX. 127.
Taddeo, the physician of Florence, called the Hippocratean, dies.
Par. XII. 77.
Marco Polo, the traveler, returns from the East to Venice.
Ferdinand IV of Castile comes to the throne. Par. XIX. 122.


Forese, the companion of Dante, dies. Purg XXIII. 44.
Sadi, the most celebrated of the Persian writers, dies.
War between England and Scotland, which terminates in the submission
of the Scotts to Edward I; but int he following year, Sir William Wallace
attempts the deliverance of Scotland. Par. XIX. 121.


The Emperor Adolphus falls in battle with his rival, Albert I,
who succeeds him in the Empire. Purg. VI. 98.
Jacopo da Varagine, archbishop of Genoa,
author of the Legenda Aurea, dies.


The Bianca and Mera parties take their rise in Pistoia. H. XXXII. 60.
This is the year in which he supposes himself to see his Vision. H. I.
1. And XXI. 109.
He is chosen chief magistrate, or first of the Priors of Florence; and
continues in
the office from June 15 to August 15.
Guido Cavalcanti,ost beloved of our Poet's friends, dies. H. X. 59, and
Purg. XI. 96.
Cimabue, the painter, dies. Purg. XI. 96.


The Bianca Party expels the Nera from Pistoia. H. XXIV. 142.


January 27.
During his absence at Rome, Dante is mulcted by his fellow-citizens
in the come of 8,000 lire, and condemned to two years banishment.
March 10. He is sentencd, if taken, to be burned.
Fulcieri de' Calboli commits great atrocities on certain of the
Ghibelline party. Purg. XVI 61.
Carlino de' Pazzi betrays the castle di Piano Travigne, in Valdarno, to
the Florentines. He. XXXII. 67.
The French vanquished in the battle of Coufgfal. Purg. XX. 47
James, King of Majorca and Minorea, dies. Par. XIX. 133.


Pope Boniface VIII dies. H. XIX. 55. Purg. XX. 86. ; XXXII. 146, and
The other exiles appoint Dante one of a council of twelve, under
Alessandro da Romena.
He appears to have been much dissatisfied with his colleagues. Par.
XVII. 61.
Robert of Brunne translates into English verse the Manuel de Peches,
a treatise written in French by Robert Grosseteste, Bishop of Lincoln.


Dante joins with the exiles in an unsuccessful attack on the city of
May. The bridge over the Arno breaks down during a representation of
the infernal torments exhibited on that river. H. XXVI. 9.
July 20. Petrarch,whose father had been banished two years before from
Florence, is born in Arezzo.


Winceslaus II, king of Bohemia, dies. Purg. VII. 99 and Par. XIX. 123.
A conflagration happens at Florence. H. XXVI. 9.
Sir William Wallace is executed at London.

Dante visits Padua.

He is in Lunigians with the Marchese Marcello Malaspina. Purg. VII.
133; XIX. 140.
Dolcino, the fanatic,is burned. H. XXVIII. 53.
Edward II of England comes to the throne.


The Emperor Albert I murdered. Purg. VI. 98, and Far. XIX. 114.
Corso Donati, Dante's political enemy, slain. Purg. XXIV. 81.
He seeks an asylum at Verona, under the roof of the Signori della
Scala, Par. XVII. 69.
He wanders, about this time. Over various parts of Italy.
See his Convito. He is at Paris a second time; and, according to one
of the early commentators, visits Oxford.
Robert, the patron of Petrarch, is crowned king of Sicily. Par. IX. 2.
Duns Scotus dies. He was born about the same time as Dante.


Charles II, king of Naples, dies. Par. XIX. 125.
1310 The order of the Templars abolished. Pur. XX. 94.
{?}ean de Meun, the continuer of the Roman de la Rose, dies about this

Pier Crescensi of Bologna writes his book on agriculture, in Latin.


Fra Giordan da Rivalta, of Pisa, a Dominican, the author of sermons
esteemed for the purity of the Tuscan language, dies.


Robert, king of Sicily, opposes the coronation of the Emperor Henry
VII. Par. VIII. 59.
Ferdinand IV of Castile dies, and is succeded by Alonzo XI.
Dino Compagni, a distinguished Florentine, concluded his history of his
own time, written in elegant Italian.

The Emporor Henry of Luxemburgh, bu whom he had hoped
to be restored to Florence, dies.
Par. XVII. 80, and XXX. 133.
Henry is succeeded by Lewis of Bavaria.
Dante takes refuge at Ravenna, with Guido Novello da Polenta.
Giovanni Boccaccio is born.
Pope Clememnt V dies. H. XIX. 86, and Par. XXVII 53, and XXX. 141.


Philip IV of France dies. Purg. VII. 108, and Par. XIX. 117.


Louis X Succeeds.
Ferdinand IV of Spain dies. Par. XIX. 122.
Giacopo da Carrara defeated by Can Grande,
who makes himself master of Vicenza. Par. IX. 45.


Louis X of France Marries Clemenza, sister to our Poet's friend,
Charles Martel, King of {?}Hungary. Par. IX. 2.


Louis X of France dies, and is succeeded by Philip V.
John XXIV elected Pope. Par. XXVII. 53.
Joinville, tghe French Historian, dies about this time.


About this time John Gower is born,
eight years before his friend Chaucer.

1321 July.

Dante dies at Ravenna, of a complaint brought on by
disappointment at his failure in a negotiation which
he had been conducting witht he "Venetians, for his
patron Guido Novella da Polenta.
His obsequies are sumptuously performed at Ravenna by Guido,
who himself died in the ensuing year.


(Or The Prose Story in Brief) of That Part of "The Divine Comedy"
Which is called "Hell"

Canto 1. The writer, having lost his way in a gloomy forest, and
being hindered by certain wild beasts from ascending a mountain,
is met by Virgil, who promises to show him the punishments of
Hell, and afterward of Purgatory; and that he shall then be
conducted by Beatrice into Paradise. He follows the Roman poet.

Canto 2 After the invocation, which poets are used to prefix to
their works, he shows that, on a consideration of his own strength,
he doubted whether it sufficed for the journey proposed to him,
but that, being comforted by Virgil, he at last took courage, and
followed him as his guide and master.

Canto 3 Dante, following Virgil, comes to the gate of Hell;
where, after having read the dreadful words that are written
thereon, they both enter. Here, as he understands from Virgil,
those were punished who passed their time (for living it could
not be called in a state of apathy and indifference both to
good and evil. Then pursuing their way, they arrive at the
river Acheron; and there find the old ferryman Charon, who
takes the spirits over to the opposite shore; which as soon as
Dante reaches, he is seized with terror, and falls into a trance.

Canto 4 The Poet, being roused by a clap of thunder and
following his guide, onward, descends into Limbo, which is the
first circle of Hell, where he finds the souls of those, who
although they have lived virtuously and have not to suffer for
great sins, nevertheless, through lack of baptism, merit not
the bliss of Paradise. Hence he is led on by Virgil to descend
into the second circle.

Canto 5 Coming tot he seconds circle of Hell, Dante at the
entrance beholds Minos the Infernal Judge, by whom he is
admonished to beware how he enters those regions. Here he
witnesses the punishment of carnal sinners, who are tossed about
ceaselessly in the dark air by the most furious winds. Among
these, he meets with Fracesca of Rimini, through pity at whose
sad tale he falls fainting to the ground.

Canto 6 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 division
with which Florence is about to be distracted. Dante proposes
a question to his guide, who solves it; and they proceed toward
the fourth circle.

Canto 7 In the present Canto, Date described 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 upbraiding. From
hence Virgil takes occasion to show how vail 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;
hich question being resolved, they go down into the fifth circle,
where they find the wrathful and gloomy tormented in the
Stygian Lake. Having made a compass round a great part of
this lake, they come at last to the base of a lofty towner.

Canto 8 A signal having been made from the tower, Phlegyas,
the ferryman of the lake, speedily crosses it, and conveys
Virgil and Dante to the other side. On their passage, they
meet with Filippe Argenti, whose fury and torment are described.
Then they arrive at the city of Dis, the entrance whereto is denied,
and the portals closed against them by many Demons.

Canto 9 After some hindrances, and having seen the hellish
furies and other monsters, the Poet, by the help of an angle,
enters the city of Dis, wherein he discovers that heretics are
punished in tombs burning with intense fire; and he, together with
Virgil, passes onward between the sepulchers and walls of the city.

Canto 10 Dante having obtained permission from his guide, holds
discourse with Farinata degli Uberti and Cavalcante Cavalcanti,
who lie in their fiery tombs that are yet open, and not to be closed
up till after the last judgement. Farinata predicts the Poet's exile
Florence; and shows him that the condemned have knowledge
of future things, but are ignorant of what is at present passing,
unless it be revealed by some new-comer from earth.

Canto 11 Dante arrives at the verge of a rocky precipice which
incloses the seventh circle, where he sees the sepulcher of
Anastasius the Heretic; behind the lid of which, pausing a little,
to make himself capable by degrees of enduring the fetid smell
that steamed upward from the abyss, he is instructed by Virgil
concerning the manner in which the three following circles are
disposed, and what description of sinners is punished in each.
He then inquires the reason why the carnal, the gluttonous, the
avaricious and prodigal, the wrathful and gloomy, suffer not their
punishments within the city of Dis. He next asks how the crime
of usury is an offense against God; and at length the two Poets go
toward the place from whence a passage leads down to the seventh

Canto 12 Descending by a very rugged way into the seventh
circle, where the violent are punished, Dante and his leader
find it guarded by the minotaur; whose fury being pacified
by Virgil, they step downward from crag to crag; till, drawing
near the bottom, they descry a river of blood, wherein are
tormented such as have committed violence against their
neighbor. At these, when they strive to emerge from the brook,
a troop of Centaurs, running along the side of the river, aim their
arrows; and three of their band opposing our travelers at the
foot of their band opposing our travelers 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.

Canto 13 Still in the seventh circle, Dante enters its second
compartment, which contains both those who have done
violence on their own persons and those who have violently
consumed their goods; the first changed into rough and knotted
trees whereon the harpies build their nests, the latter chased
and turn by black female mastiffs. Among the former,
Piero delle Vigne is one who tells him the cause of his having
committed suicide, and moreover in what manner the souls are
transformed into those trunks. Of the latter crew, he recognizes
Lano, a Siennese and Giacomo, a Paduan: and lastly, a Florentine,
who had hung himself from his own roof, speaks to him of the
calamities of his countrymen.

Canto 14 They arrive at the beginning of the third of those
compartments into which this seventh circle is divided.
It is a plain of dry and hot sand, where three kinds of
violence are punished: namely, against God, against Nature,
and against Art; and those who have thus sinned are tormented
by flakes of fire, which are eternally showering down upon
them. Among the violent against God is found Capaneus
whose blasphemies they hear. Next, turning to the left
along the forest of self-slayers, and having journeyed a little
onward, they meed with a streamlet of blood that issue from
the forest and traverses the sandy plain. Here Virgil speaks to
our Poet a huge ancient statue that stands within Mount Ida
in Crete, from a fissure in which statue there is a dripping of
tears, from which the said streamlet, together with the tree
other infernal rivers are formed.

Canto 15 Taking their way upon one of the mounds by which the
streamlet, spoken of in the last Canto, was embanked, and having
gone so far that they could no longer have discerned the forest if
they had turned round to look for it, they meet a troop
of spirits that come along the sand by the side of the pier.
These are they who have done violence by Nature; and
among them Dante distinguishes Brunetto Latini, who had
been formerly his master; with whom, turning a little
backward, he holds a discourse which occupies the reminder
of this Canto.

Canto 16 Journeying along the pier, which crosses the sand, they
are now so near the end of it as to hear the noise of the stream
falling to the eighth circle, when they meet the spirits of three
military men; who judging Dante, from his dress, to be a
countryman of theirs, entreat him to stop. He complies, and
speaks with them. The two Poets then reach the place where
the water descends, being the termination of this third
compartment in the seventh circle; and here Virgil having
thrown down into the hollow a cord, wherewith Dante was girt,
they behold at that signal a monstrous and horrible figure
come swimming up to them.

Canto 17 The monster Geryon is described; to whom while
Virgil is speaking in order that he may carry them both
down to the next circle, Dante, by permission, goes a
little further along the edge of the void, to descry the third
species of sinners contained in this compartment, namely,
those who have done violence to Art; and then returning to
his master they both descend, seated on the back of Geryon.

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit Twitter Pinterest