Page images
PDF
EPUB

him with the allusion to the Santo Volto.

48. The Santo Volto, or Holy Face, is a crucifix still preserved in the Cathedral of Lucca, and held in great veneration by the people. The tradition is that it is the work of Nicodemus, who sculptured it from memory.

. See also Sacchetti, Nov. 73, in which a preacher mocks at the Santo Volto in the church of Santa Croce at Flor ence.

49. The Serchio Aows near Lucca. Shelley, in a poem called The Boat, on the Serchio, describes it as a “torrent fierce," “ Which fervid from its mountain source,

Shallow, smooth, and strong, doth come;
Swift as fire, tempestuously
It sweeps into the affrighted sea.
In morning's smile its eddies coil,
Its billows sparkle, toss, and boil,
Torturing all its quiet light
Into columns fierce and bright.”

them !” In this crowd was Dante, “a youth of twenty-five,” says Benvenuto da Imola,

110. Along the circular dike that separates one Bolgia from another.

11. This is a falsehood, as all the bridges over the next Bolgia are broken. See Canto XXIII. 140.

112. At the close of the preceding Canto the time is indicated as being an hour after sunrise. Five hours later would be noon, or the scriptural sixth hour, the hour of the Crucifixion. Dante understands St. Luke to say that Christ died at this hour. Convito, IV. 23 : “ Luke says that it was about the sixth hour when he died; that is, the culmination of the day.” Add to the one thousand and two hundred sixtysix years,” the thirty-four of Christ's life on earth, and it gives the year 1300, the date of the Infernal Pilgrimage.

114. Broken by the earthquake at the time of the Crucifixion, as the rock leading to the Circle of the Violent, Canto XII. 45:“ And at that moment this primeval rock Both here and elsewhere made such over

throw.” As in the next Bolgia Hypocrites are punished, Dante couples them with the Violent, by making the shock of the earthquake more felt near them than elsewhere.

125. The next crag or bridge, traversing the dikes and ditches.

137. See Canto XVII. 75.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

CANTO XXII.

1. The subject of the preceding adoption of the Carroccio by the FlorCanto is continued in this.

entines at this epoch, but it was long 5. Aretino, Vita di Dante, says, that before in use, and probably was copied Dante in his youth was present at the from the Milanese, as soon as Florence “great and memorable battle, which became strong and independent enough befell at Campaldino, fighting valiantly to equip a national army. Eribert, on horseback in the front rank.” It Archbishop of Milan, seems to have was there he saw the vaunt-couriers been its author, for in the war between of the Aretines, who began the battle Conrad I. and that city, besides other with such a vigorous charge, that they arrangements for military organization, routed the Florentine cavalry, and drove he is said to have finished by the inthem back upon the infantry.

vention of the Carroccio: it was a pious 7. Napier, Florentine Hist., I. 214- and not impolitic imitation of the ark 217, gives this description of the Car as it was carried before the Israelites. roccio and the Martinella of the Floren- This vehicle is described, and also reptines :

resented in ancient paintings, as a “In order to give more dignity to four-wheeled oblong car, drawn by the national army and form a rallying two, four, or six bullocks: the car was point for the troops, there had been always red, and the bullocks, even to established a great car, called the Car- their hoofs, covered as above described, roccio, drawn by two beautiful oxen, but with red or white according to the which, carrying the Florentine stand- faction ; the ensign staff was red, lofty, ard, generally accompanied them into and tapering, and surmounted by a cross the field. This car was painted ver- or golden ball: on this, between two milion, the bullocks were covered with white fringed veils, hung the national scarlet cloth, and the driver, a man or standard, and half-way down the mast, some consequence, was dressed in crim- a crucifix. A platform ran out in front son, was exempt from taxation, and of the car, spacious enough for a few served without pay; these oxen were chosen men to defend it, while behind, maintained at the public charge in a on a corresponding space, the musicians public hospital, and the white and red with their military instruments gave banner of the city was spread above spirit to the combat: mass was said on the car between two lofty spars. Those the Carroccio ere it quitted the city, taken at the battle of Monteaperto are the surgeons were stationed near it, and still exhibited in Siena Cathedral as not unfrequently a chaplain also attrophies of that fatal day.

tended it to the field. The loss of “Macchiavelli erroneously places the the Carroccio was a great disgrace, and betokened utter discomfiture ; it was 52. It is not very clear which King given to the most distinguished knight, Thibault is here meant, but it is probawho had a public salary and wore con- bly King Thibault IV., the crusader spicuous armor and a golden belt : the and poet, born 1201, died 1253. His best troops were stationed round it, poems have been published by Léand there was frequently the hottest of vêque de la Ravallière, under the title the fight. ....

of Les Poésies du Roi de Navarre ; and “ Besides the Carroccio, the Floren- in one of his songs (Chanson 53) he tine army was accompanied by a great makes a clerk address him as the Bons bell, called Martinella, or Campana Rois Thiebaut. Dante cites him two degli Asini, which, for thirty days be- or three times in his Volg. Eloq., and fore hostilities began, tolled continually may have taken this expression from day and night from the arch of Porta his song, as he does afterwards, Canto Santa Maria, as a public declaration of XXVIII. 135, lo Re joves, the Re Giowar, and, as the ancient chronicle hath vane, or Young King, from the songs it, for greatness of mind, that the of Bertrand de Born. enemy might have full time to prepare 65. A Latian, that is to say, an Italhimself.' At the same time also, the ian. Carroccio was drawn from its place in 82. This Frate Gomita was a Sarthe offices of San Giovanni by the most dinian in the employ of Nino de' Visdistinguished knights and noble vassals conti, judge in the jurisdiction of Galof the republic, and conducted in state lura, the “gentle Judge Nino" of Purg. to the Mercato Nuovo, where it was VIII. 53. The frauds and peculations placed upon the circular stone still of the Friar brought him finally to the existing, and remained there until the gallows. Gallura is the northeastern army took the field. Then also the jurisdiction of the island. Martinella was removed from its sta- 88. Don Michael Zanche was Sention to a wooden tower placed on an- eschal of King Enzo of Sardinia, a natother car, and with the Carroccio served ural son of the Emperor Frederick II. to guide the troops by night and day. Dante gives him the title of Don, still • And with these two pomps, of the used in Sardinia for Signore. After the Carroccio and Campana,' says Males- death of Enzo in prison at Bologna, pini, 'the pride of the old citizens, our in 1271, Don Michael won by fraud ancestors, was ruled.""

and flattery his widow Adelasia, and 15. Equivalent to the proverb, “Do became himself Lord of Logodoro, the in Rome as the Romans do.”

northwestern jurisdiction, adjoining that 48. Giampolo, or Ciampolo, say all of Gallura. the commentators ; but nothing more The gossip between the Friar and is known of him than his name, and the Seneschal, which is here described what he tells us here of his history by Ciampolo, recalls the Vision of the

Sardinian poet Araolla, a dialogue between himself and Gavino Sambigucci, written in the soft dialect of Logodoro, a mixture of Italian, Spanish, and Latin, and beginning:

“Dulche, amara memoria de giornadas

Fuggitivas cun doppia pena mia,

Qui quanto plus l' istringo sunt passadas.” See Valery, Voyages en Corse et en Sardaigne, II. 410.

CANTO XXIII.

1. In this Sixth Bolgia the Hypocrites are punished. “A painted people there below we found,

Who went about with footsteps very slow,
Weeping and in their looks subdued and

weary."
Chaucer, Knightes Tale, 2780:-

“In his colde grave Alone, withouten any compagnie.” And Gower, Conf. Amant. :

“To muse in his philosophie

Sole withouten compaignie.” 4. The Fables of Æsop, by Sir Roger L'Estrange, IV.: “ There fell out a bloody quarrel once betwixt the Frogs and the Mice, about the sovereignty of the Fenns; and whilst two of their champions were disputing it at swords point, down comes a kite powdering upon them in the interim, and gobbles up both together, to part the fray.”

7. Both words signifying “now”; mo, from the Latin modo; and issa, from the Latin ipsa ; meaning ipsa bora. “ The Tuscans say mo," remarks Benvenuto, “ the Lombards issa."

37. “When he is in a fright and hurry, and has a very steep place to go down, Virgil has to carry him altogether,” says Mr. Ruskin. See Canto XII., Note 2.

63. Benvenuto speaks of the cloaks of the German monks as “ill-fitting and shapeless.”

66. The leaden cloaks which Frederick put upon malefactors were straw in comparison. The Emperor Frederick II. is said to have punished traitors by wrapping them in lead, and throwing them into a heated caldron. I can find no historic authority for this. It rests only on tradition ; and on the same authority the same punishment is said to have been inflicted in Scotland, and is thus described in the ballad of “Lord Soulis,” Scott's Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, IV. 256:« On a circle of stones they placed the pot,

On a circle of stones but barely nine;
They heated it red and fiery hot,
Till the burnished brass did glimmer and

shine.

“They roll’d him up in a sheet of lead,

A sheet of lead for a funeral pall, And plunged him into the caldron red, And melted him, — lead, and bones, and

all."

We get also a glimpse of this punishment in Ducange, Glos. Capa Plumbea, where he cites the case in which one man tells another: “If our Holy Father the Pope knew the life you are leading, he would have you put to death in a cloak of lead.”

67. Comedy of Errors, IV. 2: “A devil in an everlasting gårment hath him."

91. Bologna was renowned for its University ; and the speaker, who was a Bolognese, is still mindful of his college.

95. Florence, the bellissima e famosissima figlia di Roma, as Dante calls it, Convito, I. 3.

103. An order of knighthood, established by Pope Urban IV. in 1261, under the title of “ Knights of Santa Maria.” The name Frati Gaudenti, or “Jovial Friars,” was a nickname, because they lived in their own homes and were not bound by strict monastic rules. Napier, Flor. Hist. I. 269, says:

“A short time before this a new order of religious knighthood under the name of Frati Gaudenti began in Italy: it was not bound by vows of celibacy, or any very severe regulations, but took the usual oaths to defend widows and orphans and make peace between man and man: the founder was a Bolognese gentleman, called Loderingo di Liandolo, who enjoyed a good reputation, and along with a brother of the same order, named Catalano di Malavolti, one a Guelph and the other a Ghibel line, was now invited to Florence by Count Guido to execute conjointly the office of Podestà. It was intended by thus dividing the supreme authority between two magistrates of different

politics, that one should correct the other, and justice be equally administered ; more especially as, in conjunction with the people, they were allowed to elect a deliberative council of thirtysix citizens, belonging to the principal trades without distinction of party.”

Farther on he says that these two Frati Gaudenti forfeited all public confidence by their peculation and hypocrisy.” And Villani, VII. 13: “ Although they were of different parties, under cover of a false hypocrisy, they were of accord in seeking rather their own private gains than the common good.”

108. A street in Florence, laid waste by the Guelfs.

113. Hamlet, I. 2:-
“Nor windy suspiration of forced breath."

115. Caiaphas, the High - Priest, who thought “ expediency” the best thing.

121. Annas, father-in-law of Caiaphas.

134. The great outer circle surrounding this division of the Inferno.

142. He may have heard in the lectures of the University an exposition of John viii. 44 : “ Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do: he was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own ; for he is a liar, and the father of it."

« PreviousContinue »