« PreviousContinue »
Like gentle soul, that maketh no excuse,
But makes its own will of another's will
As soon as by a sign it is disclosed, Even so, when she had taken hold of me,
The beautiful lady moved, and unto Statius
Said, in her womanly manner, “ Come with him.” If, Reader, I possessed a longer space
For writing it, I yet would sing in part
Of the sweet draught that ne'er would satiate me ; But inasmuch as full are all the leaves
Made ready for this second canticle,
The curb of art no farther lets me go. From the most holy water I returned
Regenerate, in the manner of new trees
That are renewed with a new foliage, Pure and disposed to mount unto the stars.
NOTES TO PURGATORIO.
ichæans imagined that all souls, before 1. The Mountain of Purgatory is a returning to their native heaven, must vast conical mountain, rising steep and be borne first to the moon, where with high from the waters of the Southern good waters they would be washed pure Ocean, at a point antipodal to Mount from outward filth, and then to the sun, Sion in Jerusalem. In Canto III. 14, where they would be purged by good Dante speaks of it as
fires from every inward stain. After
these lunar and solar lustrations, they
"The hill That highest tow'rds the heaven uplifts itself”;
were fit for the eternal world of light.
But the conception of Purgatory as it and in Paradiso, XXVI. 139, as was held by the early Christians, whether “ The mount that rises highest o'er the wave.”
| orthodox Fathers or heretical sects, was
| merely the just and necessary result oi Around it run seven terraces, on which applying to the subject of future punishare punished severally the Seven Deadly ment the two ethical ideas that punishSins. Rough stairways, cut in the rock, ment should partake of degrees prolead up from terrace to terrace, and on portioned to guilt, and that it should be the summit is the garden of the Ter- restorative. .... restrial Paradise.
“ Pope Gregory the Great, in the The Seven Sins punished in the Seven sixth century,-either borrowing some Circles are,-1. Pride; 2. Envy; 3. Anger; of the more objectionable features of the 4. Sloth; 5. Avarice and Prodigality ; Purgatory-doctrine previously held by 6. Gluttony ; 7. Lust.
the heathen, or else devising the same The threefold division of the Purga- things himself from a perception of the torio, marked only by more elaborate striking adaptedness of such notions preludes, or by a natural pause in the to secure an enviable power to the action of the poem, is,-1. From Canto Church, --constructed, established, and I. to Canto IX. ; 2. From Canto IX. gave working efficiency to the dogmatic to Canto XXVIII. ; 3, From Canto scheme of Purgatory ever since firmly XXVIII. to the end. The first of defended by the Papal adherents as an these divisions describes the region integral part of the Roman Catholic lying outside the gate of Purgatory ; system. The doctrine as matured and the second, the Seven Circles of the promulgated by Gregory, giving to mountain ; and the third, the Terres the representatives of the Church an trial Paradise on its summit.
almost unlimited power over Purgatory, “ Traces of belief in a Purgatory,” | rapidly grew into favour with the clergy, says Mr. Alger, Doctrine of a Future and sank with general conviction into Life, p. 410, “early appear among the the hopes and fears of the laity.” Christians. Many of the gravest Fathers 9. The Muse “of the beautiful voice," of the first five centuries naturally con- who presided over eloquence and heroic ceived and taught, -as is indeed intrin- verse. sically reasonable, – that after death 11. The nine daughters of Pierus, some souls will be punished for their king of Macedonia, called the Pieride: sins until they are cleansed, and then They challenged the Muses to a trial will be released from pain. The Man- of skill in singing, and being vanquished