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“Bought of my treacherous wife for cursed
gold, And in the list of Argive chiefs enrolled, Resigned to fate I sought the Theban plain; Whence flock the shades that scarce thy
realm contain ; When, how my soul yet dreads ! an earth
quake came, Big with destruction, and my trembling frame, Rapt from the midst of gaping thousands,
hurled To night eternal in thy nether world.”
40. The Theban soothsayer. Ovid, Met., III., Addison's Tr.:“It happen'd once, within a shady wood,
Two twisted snakes he in conjunction view'd,
Irradiates all his soul with inward light,
of sight.” 45. His beard. The word "plumes” is used by old English writers in this sense. Ford, Lady's Trial:
“Now the down Of softness is exchanged for plumes of age.” See also Purg. I. 42.
46. An Etrurian soothsayer. Lucan, Pharsalia, I., Rowe's Tr.:“Of these the chief, for learning famed and
age, Aruns by name, a venerable sage, At Luna lived.”
Ruskin, Modern Painters, III. p. 246, says :
“But in no part of the poem do we find allusion to mountains in any other than a stern light ; nor the slightest evidence that Dante cared to look at them. From that hill of San Miniato, whose steps he knew so well, the eye commands, at the farther extremity of the Val d'Arno, the whole purple range of the mountains of Carrara, peaked and mighty, seen always against the sunset light in silent outline, the chief forms that rule the scene as twilight fades away. By this vision Dante seems to have been wholly unmoved, and, but for Lucan's mention of Aruns at Luna, would seemingly not have spoken of the Carrara hills in the whole course of his poem : when he does allude to them, het speaks of their white marble, and their command of stars and sea, but has evidently no regard for the hills themselves. There is not a single phrase or syllable throughout the poem
Again he struck the snakes, and stood again New-sex’d, and straight recovered into man.
When Juno fired, More than so trivial an affair required, Deprived him, in her fury, of his sight, And left him groping round in sudden night. But Jove (for so it is in heav'n decreed That no one god repeal another's deed)
which indicates such a regard. Ugolino, in his dream, seemed to himself to be in the mountains, by cause of which the Pisan cannot see Lucca'; and it is impossible to look up from Pisa to that hoary slope without remembering the awe that there is in the passage ; nevertheless it was as a hunting-ground only that he remembered these hills. Adam of Brescia, tormented with eternal thirst, remembers the hills of Romena, but only for the sake of their sweet waters.”
55. Manto, daughter of Tiresias, who' Aled from Thebes, the “ City of Bacchus,” when it became subject to the tyranny of Cleon.
63. Lake Benacus is now called the Lago di Garda. It is pleasantly alluded to by Claudian in his “Old Man of Verona,” who has seen “the grove grow old coeval with himself.”
“ Verona seems To him remoter than the swarthy Ind; He deems the Lake Benacus as the shore
Of the Red Sea.” 65. The Pennine Alps, or Alpes Pænæ, watered by the brooklets flowing into the Sarca, which is the principal tributary of Benaco. . 69. The place where the three dioceses of Trent, Brescia, and Verona meet.
70. At the outlet of the lake.
Milton, Lycidas: “Smooth-sliding Mincius, crowned with vocal
reeds." 82. Manto. Benvenuto da Imola
says: “Virgin should here be rendered Virago.”
93. Æneid, X.: “Ocnus, . . . . son of the prophetic Manto, and of the Tuscan river, who gave walls and the name of his mother to thee, O Mantua !”
95. Pinamonte dei Buonacossi, a bold, ambitious man, persuaded Alberto, Count of Casalodi and Lord of Mantua, to banish to their estates the chief nobles of the city, and then, stirring up a popular tumult, fell upon the rest, laying waste their houses, and sending them into exile or to prison, and thus greatly depopulating the city.
110. Iliad, I. 69: “ And Calchas, the son of Thestor, arose, the best of augurs, a man who knew the present, the future, and the past, and who had guided the ships of the Achæans to Ilium, by that power of prophecy which Phæbus Apollo gave him.”
112. Æneid, II. 114: “In suspense we send Eurypylus to consult the oracle of Apollo, and he brings back from the shrine these mournful words : 0 Greeks, ye appeased the winds with Gree blood and a virgin slain, when first ye came to the Trojan shores; your return is to be sought by blood, and atonement made by a Grecian life.”
Dante calls Virgil's poem a Tragedy, to mark its sustained and lofty style, in contrast with that of his own Comedy, of which he has already spoken once, Canto XVI. 138, and speaks again, Canto XXI. 2; as if he wished the reader to bear in mind that he is wearing the sock, and not the buskin.
116. “ Michael Scott, the Magi
cian,” says Benvenuto da Imola,“ prac His hoary beard in silver rolled, tised divination at the court of Fred He seemed some seventy winters old; erick II., and dedicated to him a book
A palmer's amice wrapped him round,
With a wrought Spanish baldric bound, on natural history, which I have seen,
Like a pilgrim from beyond the sea; and in which among other things he
His left hand held his book of might; treats of Astrology, then deemed in A silver cross was in his right; fallible. . . . . It is said, moreover, that The lamp was placed beside his knee: he foresaw his own death, but could High and majestic was his look, not escape it. He had prognosticated
At which the fellest fiends had shook,
And all unruffled was his face: that he should be killed by the falling
They trusted his soul had gotten grace.” of a small stone upon his head, and always wore an iron skull-cap under his See also Appendix to the Lay of the hood, to prevent this disaster. But Last Minstrel. entering a church on the festival of 118. Guido Bonatti, a tiler and asCorpus Domini, he lowered his hood trologer of Forlì, who accompanied in sign of veneration, not of Christ, in Guido di Montefeltro when he marched whom he did not believe, but to de. out of Forlì to attack the French “unceive the common people, and a small der the great oak.” Villani, VII. 81, stone fell from aloft on his bare head.” in a passage in which the he and bim
The reader will recall the midnight get a little entangled, says: “It is scene of the monk of St. Mary's and said that the Count of Montefeltro was William of Deloraine in Scott's Lay of guided by divination and the advice of the Last Minstrel, Canto II.:
Guido Bonatti (a tiler who had be“In these far climes it was my lot
come an astrologer), or some other To meet the wondrous Michael Scott;
strategy, and he gave the orders; and A wizard of such dreaded fame
in this enterprise he gave him the gonThat when, in Salamanca's cave,
falon and said, “So long as a rag of Him listed his magic wand to wave,
it remains, wherever thou bearest it, The bells would ring in Notre Dame !
thou shalt be victorious'; but I rather Some of his skill he taught to me; And, warrior, I could say to thee
think his victories were owing to his The words that cleft Eildon hills in three,
own wits and his mastery in war.” And bridled the Tweed with a curb of stone; Benvenuto da Imola reports the folBut to speak them were a deadly sin; lowing anecdote of the same personAnd for having but thought them my heart ages. « As the Count was standing one within,
day in the large and beautiful square of A treble penance must be done."
Forlì, there came a rustic mountaineer And the opening of the tomb to re- and gave him a basket of pears. And cover the Magic Book:
when the Count said, “Stay and sup “Before their eyes the wizard lay,
with me,' the rustic answered, My As if he had not been dead a day.
Lord, I wish to go home before it rains; for infallibly there will be much luded me? Who has put me to shame?' rain to-day.' The Count, wondering And for a long time this was a great at him, sent for Guido Bonatti, as a source of merriment among the people.” great astrologer, and said to him, Dost Asdente, a cobbler of Parma. “I thou hear what this man says?' Guido think he must have had acuteness of answered, “He does not know what he mind, although illiterate ; some having is saying; but wait a little.' Guido the gift of prophecy by the inspirawent to his study, and, having taken tion of Heaven.” Dante mentions him his astrolabe, observed the aspect of in the Convito, IV. 16, where he says the heavens. And on returning he said that, if nobility consisted in being known that it was impossible it should rain and talked about, “Asdente the shoethat day. But the rustic obstinately af- maker of Parma would be more noble firming what he had said, Guido asked than any of his fellow-citizens." him, “How dost thou know?' The 126. The moon setting in the sea rustic answered, “Because to-day my west of Seville. In the Italian popular ass, in coming out of the stable, shook tradition to which Dante again alludes, his head and pricked up his ears, and Par. II. 51, the Man in the Moon is Cain whenever he does this, it is a certain with his Thorns. This belief seems to sign that the weather will soon change.' have been current too in England, MidThen Guido replied, “Supposing this summer Night's Dream, III. I: “ Or to be so, how dost thou know there else one must come in with a bush of will be much rain?' • Because,' said thorns and a lantern, and say he comes he, ‘my ass, with his ears pricked up, to disfigure, or to present, the person turned his head aside, and wheeled of moon-shine.” And again, V. 1: about more than usual.' Then, with “ The man should be put into the lanthe Count's leave, the rustic departed tern. How is it else the man i' the in haste, much fearing the rain, though moon ? ..... All that I have to say the weather was very clear. And an is to tell you, that the lantern is the hour afterwards, lo, it began to thun- moon ; I, the man in the moon ; this der, and there was a great down-pour- thorn-bush, my thorn-bush; and this ing of waters, like a deluge. Then dog, my dog." Guido began to cry out, with great in- The time here indicated is an hour dignation and derision, · Who has de- after sunrise on Saturday morning.
1. The Fifth Bolgia, and the punishment of Barrators, or “ Judges who take bribes for giving judgment.”
2. Having spoken in the preceding
Canto of Virgil's “ lofty Tragedy," Dante here speaks of his own Comedy, as if to prepare the reader for the scenes which are to follow, and for
which he apologizes in Canto XXII. ing works of art. Of these two, one is 14, by repeating the proverb,
by far the oldest thing in Venice, being “In the church . not much younger than the battle of With saints, and in the tavern with carousers.” Marathon ; and thus, from the height
7. Of the Arsenal of Venice Mr. of twenty-three centuries, entitled to Hillard thus speaks in his Six Months look down upon St. Mark's as the growth in Italy, I. 63:
of yesterday. The other two are non“No reader of Dante will fail to pay descript animals, of the class commonly a visit to the Arsenal, from which, in called heraldic, and can be styled lions order to illustrate the terrors of his only by courtesy. In the armory are • Inferno,' the great poet drew one of some very interesting objects, and none these striking and picturesque images, more so than the great standard of the characteristic alike of the boldness and Turkish admiral, made of crimson silk, the power of his genius, which never taken at the battle of Lepanto, and hesitated to look for its materials among which Cervantes may have grasped the homely details and familiar inci- with his unwounded hand. A few dents of life. In his hands, the boil. fragments of some of the very galleys ing of pitch and the calking of seams that were engaged in that memorable ascend to the dignity of poetry. Be- fight are also preserved here.” sides, it is the most impressive and char- 37. Malebranche, Evil-claws, a genacteristic spot in Venice. The Ducal eral name for the devils. Palace and the Church of St. Mark's 38. Santa Zita, the Patron Saint of are symbols of pride and power, but the Lucca, where the magistrates were strength of Venice resided here. Her called Elders, or Aldermen. In Florwhole history, for six hundred years, ence they bore the name of Priors. was here epitomized, and as she rose 41. A Barrator, in Dante's use of and sunk, the hum of labor here swelled the word, is to the State what a Simoand subsided. Here was the index- niac is to the Church ; one who sells hand which marked the culmination · justice, office, or employment. and decline of her greatness. Built Benvenuto says that Dante includes upon several small islands, which are Bontura with the rest, « because he is united by a wall of two miles in cir- speaking ironically, as who should say, cuit, its extent and completeness, de- “Bontura is the greatest barrator of all.' cayed as it is, show what the naval For Bontura was an arch-barrator, who power of Venice once was, as the dis- sagaciously led and managed the whole used armor of a giant enables us to commune, and gave offices to whom he measure his stature and strength. Near wished. He likewise excluded whom the entrance are four marble lions, he wished.” brought by Morosini from the Pelopon- 46. Bent down in the attitude of one nesus in 1685, two of which are strik. in prayer ; therefore the demons mock