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the narrow way lay right up the hill,
“there creature never passed and the name of the going up the side of That back returned without heavenly grace." the hill is called Difficulty. ... They 30. Climbing the hillside slowly, so went then till they came to the De- that he rests longest on the foot that is lectable Mountains, which mountains lowest. belong to the Lord of that hill of which 31. Jeremiah v. 6: “Wherefore we have spoken before.”
a lion out of the forest shall slay them, 14. Bunyan, Pilgrim's Progress : a wolf of the evenings shall spoil them, “ But now in this valley of Humilia- a leopard shall watch over their cities : tion poor Christian was hard put to it; every one that goeth out thence shall for he had gone but a little way be. be torn in pieces.” fore he spied a foul fiend coming over 32. Worldly Pleasure ; and politithe field to meet him; his name is cally. Florence, with its factions of BiApollyon. Then did Christian begin anchi and Neri. to be afraid, and to cast in his mind 36. Più volte volto. Dante delights whether to go back or stand his ground. in a play upon words as much as Shake... Now at the end of this valley was speare. another, called the valley of the Shadow 38. The stars of Aries. Some phiof Death ; and Christian must needs losophers and fathers think the world go through it, because the way to was created in Spring. the Celestial City lay through the 45. Ambition ; and politically the midst of it.”
royal house of France. 17. The sun, with all its symbolical 48. Some editions read temesse, others meanings. This is the morning of Good tremesse. Friday.
49. Avarice ; and politically the In the Ptolemaic system the sun was Court of Rome, or temporal power one of the planets.
of the Popes. 20. The deep mountain tarn of his 60. Dante as a Ghibelline and Impeheart, dark with its own depth, and the rialist is in opposition to the Guelfs, shadows hanging over it.
Pope Boniface VIII., and the King of 27. Jeremiah ii. 6: “ That led us France, Philip the Fair, and is banthrough the wilderness, through a ished from Florence, out of the sunland of deserts and of pits, through shine, and into “the dry wind that a land of drought, and of the shadow blows from dolorous poverty." of death, through a land that no man c ato speaks of the “ silent moon" passed through, and where no man in De Re Rustica, XXIX., Evebito luna dwelt."
silenti; and XL., Vites inseri luna siIn his note upon this passage Mr. lenti. Also Pliny, XVI. 39, has Silens Wright quotes Spenser's lines, Faerie luna ; and Milton, in Samson Agonistes, Queene, I. v. 31,
“ Silent as the moon."
63. The long neglect of classic studies Universe, to whom Pythagoras gave the in Italy before Dante's time.
name of Philosophy.” 70. Born under Julius Cæsar, but too 87. Dante seems to have been allate to grow up to manhood during his ready conscious of the fame which his Imperial reign. He flourished later Vita Nuova and Canzoni had given him. under Augustus.
101. The greyhound is Can Grande 79. In this passage Dante but ex- della Scala, Lord of Verona, Imperial presses the universal veneration felt for Vicar, Ghibelline, and friend of Dante. Virgil during the Middle Ages, and Verona is between Feltro in the Marca especially in Italy. Petrarch's copy Trivigiana, and Montefeltro in Roof Virgil is still preserved in the Am- magna. Boccaccio, Decameron, I. 7, brosian Library at Milan; and at the speaks of him as “one of the most notbeginning of it he has recorded in a able and magnificent lords that had been Latin note the time of his first meeting known in Italy, since the Emperor Fredwith Laura, and the date of her death, erick the Second.” To him Dante which, he says, “I write in this book, dedicated the Paradiso. Some comrather than elsewhere, because it comes mentators think the Veltro is not Can often under my eye.”
Grande, but Ugguccione della Faggiola. In the popular imagination Virgil be- See Troya, Del Veltro Allegorico di Dante. came a mythical personage and a mighty 106. The plains of Italy, in contradismagician. See the story of Virgilius tinction to the mountains; the bumiin Thom's Early Prose Romances, 11. lemque Italiam of Virgil, Æneid, III. Dante selects him for his guide, as 522: “And now the stars being chased symbolizing human science or Philoso- away, blushing Aurora appeared, when phy. “ I say and affirm,” he remarks, far off we espy the hills obscure, and Convito, V. 16, “that the lady with lowly Italy." whom I became enamored after my 116. I give preference to the readfirst love was the most beautiful and ing, Di quegli antichi spiriti dolenti. modest daughter of the Emperor of the 122. Beatrice.
1. The evening of Good Friday.
Dante, Convito, III. 2, says: “Man
That reveth bestes from hir businesse
Mr. Ruskin, Modern Painters, III. 240, speaking of Dante's use of the word “ bruno," says :
“ In describing a simple twilight not a Hades twilight, but an ordinarily fair evening — (Inf. ii. 1), he says, the “brown' air took the animals away from their fatigues ; — the waves under Comento, “St. Peter the Apostle, called Charon's boat are brown' (Inf. iii. the greater on account of his papal dig117); and Lethe, which is perfectly nity, and to distinguish him from many clear and yet dark, as with oblivion, is other holy men of the same name.” 'bruna-bruna,'' brown, exceeding brown. 28. St. Paul. Acts, ix. 15: “He is Now, clearly in all these cases no a chosen vessel unto me.” Also, 2 Cowarmth is meant to be mingled in the rinthians, xii. 3, 4: “And I knew such color. Dante had never seen one of a man, whether in the body, or out of our bog-streams, with its porter-col- the body, I cannot tell; God knoweth; ored foam ; and there can be no doubt how that he was caught up into Parthat, in calling Lethe brown, he means adise, and heard unspeakable words, that it was dark slate-gray, inclining to which it is not lawful for a man to black; as, for instance, our clear Cum- utter.” berland lakes, which, looked straight 42. Shakespeare, Macbeth, IV. 1: down upon where they are deep, seem
“The Aighty purpose never is o’ertook, to be lakes of ink. I am sure this is
Unless the deed go with it." the color he means ; because no clear stream or lake on the Continent ever 52. Suspended in Limbo ; neither looks brown, but blue or green; and in pain nor in glory. Dante, by merely taking away the pleas
55. Brighter than the star ; than ant color, would get at once to this
" that star which is brightest,” comidea of grave clear gray. So, when he ments Boccaccio. Others say the Sun, was talking of twilight, his eye for color
and refer to Dante's Canzone, beginwas far too good to let him call it brown ning: in our sense. Twilight is not brown, “The star of beauty which doth measure time, but purple, golden, or dark gray; and The lady seems, who has enamored me, this last was what Dante meant. Far- Placed in the heaven of Love." ther, I find that this negation of color
56. Shakespeare, King Lear, V. 3:is always the means by which Dante subdues his tones. Thus the fatal in
“ Her voice was ever soft,
Gentle, and low; an excellent thing in woman." scription on the Hades gate is written in obscure color,' and the air which 67. This passage will recall Minerva torments the passionate spirits is • aer transmitting the message of Juno to nero,' black air (Inf. v. 51), called pres- Achilles, Iliad, II. : “Go thou forthently afterwards (line 81) malignant air, with to the army of the Achæans, and just as the gray cliffs are called malig- hesitate not; but restrain each man nant cliffs.”
with thy persuasive words, nor suffer 13. Æneas, founder of the Roman them to drag to the sea their doubleEmpire. Virgil, Æneid, B. VI. oared ships."
24. “ That is,” says Boccaccio, 70. Beatrice Portinari, Dante's first love, the inspiration of his song and caccio, Comento, “the sea cannot boast in his mind the symbol of the Divine. of being more impetuous or more dan... He says of her in the Vita Nuova:- gerous than that.” “ This most gentle lady, of whom there 127. This simile has been imitated has been discourse in what precedes, by Chaucer, Spenser, and many more. reached such favor among the people, Jeremy Taylor says:that when she passed along the way “So have I seen the sun kiss the persons ran to see her, which gave me frozen earth, which was bound up with wonderful delight. And when she was the images of death, and the colder near any one, such modesty took pos- breath of the north ; and then the wasession of his heart, that he did not ters break from their enclosures, and dare to raise his eyes or to return her melt with joy, and run in useful chansalutation ; and to this, should any one nels ; and the Aies do rise again from doubt it, many, as having experienced their little graves in walls, and dance it, could bear witness for me. She, awhile in the air, to tell that there is joy crowned and clothed with humility, within, and that the great mother of took her way, displaying no pride in creatures will open the stock of her that which she saw and heard. Many, new refreshment, become useful to when she had passed, said, “This is not mankind, and sing praises to her Rea woman, rather is she one of the most deemer.” beautiful angels of heaven. Others Rossetti, Spirito Antipapale del secolo said, “She is a miracle. Blessed be the di Dante, translated by Miss Ward, II. Lord who can perform such a marvel.' 216, makes this political application of I say, that she showed herself so gentle the lines: “The Florentines, called Sons and so full of all beauties, that those of Flora, are compared to flowers; and who looked on her felt within them. Dante calls the two parties who diselves a pure and sweet delight, such as vided the city white and black flowers, they could not tell in words.” — C. E. and himself white-flower,—the name by Norton, The New Life, 51, 52. which he was called by many. Now
78. The heaven of the moon, which he makes use of a very abstruse comcontains or encircles the earth. parison, to express how he became,
84. The ampler circles of Para- from a Guelph or Black, a Ghibelline dise.
or White. He describes himself as a 94. Divine Mercy.
flower, first bent and closed by the night 97. St. Lucia, emblem of enlight- frosts, and then blanched or whitened by ening Grace.
the sun (the symbol of reason), which 102. Rachel, emblem of Divine opens its leaves ; and what produces the Contemplation. See Par. XXXII. 9. effect of the sun on him is a speech of
108. Beside that flood, where ocean Virgil's, persuading him to follow his bas no vaunt; “ That is,” says Boc- guidance."
1. This canto begins with a repetition of sounds like the tolling of a funeral bell : dolente ... dolore!
Ruskin, Modern Painters, III. 215, speaking of the Inferno, says:
“ Milton's effort, in all that he tells us of his Inferno, is to make it indesinite; Dante's, to make it definite. Both, indeed, describe it as entered through gates ; but, within the gate, all is wild and fenceless with Milton, having indeed its four rivers, — the last vestige of the mediæval tradition, — but rivers which Aow through a waste of mountain and moorland, and by many a frozen, many a fiery Alp.' But Dante's Inferno is accurately separated into circles drawn with well-pointed compasses ; mapped and properly surveyed in every direction, trenched in a thoroughly good style of engineering from depth to depth, and divided, in the
accurate middle' (dritto mezzo) of its deepest abyss, into a concentric series of ten moats and embankments, like those about a castle, with bridges from each embankment to the next; precisely in the manner of those bridges over Hiddekel and Euphrates, which Mr. Macaulay thinks so innocently designed, apparently not aware that he is also laughing at Dante. These larger fosses are of rock, and the bridges also; but as he goes further into detail, Dante tells us of various minor fosses and embankments, in which he anxiously points out to us not only the formality, but the
neatness and perfectness, of the stonework. For instance, in describing the river Phlegethon, he tells us that it was
paved with stone at the bottom, and at the sides, and over the edges of the sides,' just as the water is at the baths of Bulicame ; and for fear we should think this embankment at all larger than it really was, Dante adds, carefully, that it was made just like the embankments of Ghent or Bruges against the sea, or those in Lombardy which bank the Brenta, only “not so high, nor so wide,' as any of these. And besides the trenches, we have two well-built castles ; one like Ecbatana, with seven circuits of wall (and surrounded by a fair stream), wherein the great poets and sages of antiquity live; and another, a great fortified city with walls of iron, red-hot, and a deep fosse round it, and full of “grave citizens,' - the city of Dis.
“Now, whether this be in what we moderns call “good taste,' or not, I do not mean just now to inquire, - Dante having nothing to do with .taste, but with the facts of what he had seen ; only, so far as the imaginative faculty of the two poets is concerned, note that Milton's vagueness is not the sign of imagination, but of its absence, so far as it is significative in the matter. For it does not follow, because Milton did not map out his Inferno as Dante did, that he could not have done so if he had chosen ; only it was the easier