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countenance, displayed alike in the light and shade, is unsatisfactory. But broad forehead, the masculine nose, by taking a photograph from the mask, the firm lips, the heavy jaw and wide in the same position as that in which chin; and this strength, resulting from the face is painted by Giotto, and placthe main forms of the features, is en- ing it alongside of the fac-simile from forced by the strength of the lines of the painting, a very remarkable simiexpression. The look is grave and larity becomes at once apparent..... stern almost to grimness; there is a The differences are only such as must scornful lift to the eyebrow, and a exist between the portrait of a man in contraction of the forehead as from the freshness of a happy youth, and the painful thought; but obscured under portrait of him in his age, after much this look, yet not lost, are the marks experience and many trials. Dante of tenderness, refinement, and self- was fifty-six years old at the time of mastery, which, in combination with his death, when the mask was taken ; the more obvious characteristics, give the portrait by Giotto represents him to the countenance of the dead poet as not much past twenty. There is an an ineffable dignity and melancholy. interval of at least thirty years between There is neither weakness nor failure the two. And what years they had here. It is the image of the strong been for him! fortress of a strong soul “buttressed on The interest of this comparison lies conscience and impregnable will,” bat- not only in the mutual support which tered by the blows of enemies without the portraits afford each other, in the and within, bearing upon its walls the assurance each gives that the other is dints of many a siege, but standing firm genuine, but also in their joint illustraand unshaken against all attacks until tion of the life and character of Dante. the warfare was at end.
As Giotto painted him, he is the lover The intrinsic evidence for the truth of Beatrice, the gay companion of prinof this likeness, from its correspond- ces, the friend of poets, and himself ence, not only with the description of already the most famous writer of love the poet, but with the imagination that verses in Italy. There is an almost we form of him from his life and works, feminine softness in the lines of the is strongly confirmed by a comparison face, with a sweet and serious tenderof the mask with the portrait by Giotto. ness well befitting the lover, and the So far as I am aware, this comparison author of the sonnets and canzoni which has not hitherto been made in a manner were in a few years to be gathered into to exhibit effectively the resemblance the incomparable record of his Nezo between the two. A direct compari- Life. It is the face of Dante in the son between the painting and the mask, May-time of youthful hope, in that owing to the difficulty of reducing the serene season of promise and of joy, forms of the latter to a plain surface of which was so soon to reach its fore
ordained close in the death of her who
Upon those boughs which shake against the
cold, Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds
sang.” The face of the youth is grave, as with the shadow of distant sorrow; the face of the man is solemn, as of one who had gone
“Per tutti i cerchj del dolente regno.”
The one is the young poet of Florence, the other the supreme poet of the world,
“che al divino dall'umano, All'eterno dal tempo era venuto."
BOCCACCIO'S ACCOUNT OF THE COMMEDIA.
Balbo, Life of Dante. Tr. by Mrs. Bunbury, II. 61, 269, 290.
It should be known that Dante had and was one of its great leaders; and a sister who was married to one of our when Messer Vieri and many of his citizens, called Leon Poggi, by whom followers left Florence, Dante left that she had several children. Among these city also and went to Verona. And on was one called Andrew, who wonder- account of this departure, through the fully resembled Dante in the outline of solicitation of the opposite party, Meshis features, and in his height and fig. ser Vieri, and all who had left Florure ; and he also walked rather stoop- ence, especially the principal persons, ing, as Dante is said to have done. He were considered as rebels, and had their was a weak man, but with naturally persons condemned and their property good feelings, and his language and con- confiscated. When the people heard duct were regular and praiseworthy. this, they ran to the houses of those And I having become intimate with proscribed, and plundered all that was him, he often spoke to me of Dante's within them. It is true that Dante's habits and ways; but among those wife, Madonna Gemma, fearing this, things which I delight most in recol- and by the advice of some of her friends lecting, is what he told me relating to and relations, had withdrawn from his that of which we are now speaking house some chests containing certain He said then, that Dante belonged to precious things, and Dante's writings the party of Messer Vieri de' Cerchi, along with them, and had put them in
a place of safety. And not satisfied of it, still it appeared to him a very fine with having plundered the houses of thing; and therefore he determined, in the proscribed, the most powerful par- order to know what it was, to carry it tisans of the opposite faction occupied to an esteemed man of our city, who their possessions, — some taking one in those times was a much celebrated and some another, and thus Dante's reciter of verses, whose name was Dino, house was occupied.
the son of Messer Lambertuccio FrescoBut after five years or more had baldi. elapsed, and the city was more ration. It pleased Dino marvellously ; and ally governed, it is said, than it was having made copies of it for several of when Dante was sentenced, persons his friends, and knowing that the combegan to question their rights, on dif- position was merely begun, and not ferent grounds, to what had been the completed, he thought that it would be property of the exiles, and they were best to send it to Dante, and at the heard. Therefore Madonna Gemma same time to beg him to follow up his was advised to demand back Dante's design, and to finish it; and having inproperty, on the ground that it was quired, and ascertained that Dante was her dowry. She, to prepare this busi- at this time in the Lunigiana, with a ness, required certain writings and noble man of the family of Malaspina, documents which were in one of the called the Marquis Moroello, who was chests, which, in the violent plunder a man of understanding, and who had a of the effects, she had sent away, nor singular friendship for him, he thought had she ever since removed them from of sending it, not to Dante himself, but the place where she had deposited to the Marquis, in order that he should them. For this purpose, this Andrew show it to him: and so Dino did, begsaid, she had sent for him, and as Dan- ging him that, as far as it lay in his te's nephew had entrusted him with power, he would exert his good offices the keys of these chests, and had sent to induce Dante to continue and finish him with a lawyer to search for the his work. required papers ; while the lawyer The seven aforesaid cantos haying searched for these, he, Andrew, among reached the Marquis's hands, and havother of Dante's writings, found many ing marvellously pleased him, he showed sonnets, canzoni, and such similar pie- them to Dante; and having heard from ces. But among them what pleased him that they were his composition, he him the most was a sheet in which, entreated him to continue the work. in Dante's handwriting, the seven pre. To this it is said that Dante answered: ceding cantos were written; and there- “I really supposed that these, along fore he took it and carried it off with with many of my other writings and him, and read it over and over again ; effects, were lost when my house was and although he understood but little plundered, and therefore I had given
up all thoughts of them. But since it - and not only this, but another canto has pleased God that they should not after it? ..... be lost, and he has thus restored them And those friends he left behind to me, I shall endeavor, as far as I am him, his sons and his disciples, having able, to proceed with them according searched at many times and for several to my first design.” And recalling his months everything of his writing, to old thoughts, and resuming his inter- see whether he had left any conclusion rupted work, he speaks thus in the be- to his work, could find in nowise any ginning of the eighth canto : “ My of the remaining cantos ; his friends wondrous history I here renew." generally being much mortified that
Now precisely the same story, al- God had not at least lent him so long most without any alteration, has been to the world, that he might have been related to me by a Ser Dino Perino, able to complete the small remaining one of our citizens and an intelligent part of his work; and having sought man, who, according to his own ac- so long and never found it, they recount, had been on the most friendly mained in despair. Jacopo and Piero and familiar terms with Dante ; but he were sons of Dante, and each of them so far alters the story, that he says, being rhymers, they were induced by “ It was not Andrea Leoni, but I my- the persuasions of their friends to enself, who was sent by the lady to the deavor to complete, as far as they were chests for the papers, and that found able, their father's work, in order that these seven cantos and took them to it should not remain imperfect ; when Dino, the son of Messer Lambertuc- to Jacopo, who was more eager about cio.” I do not know to which of it than his brother, there appeared a these I ought to give most credit, but wonderful vision, which not only inwhichever of them spoke the truth, duced him to abandon such presumpstill a doubt occurs to me in what they tuous folly, but showed him where say, which I cannot in any manner the thirteen cantos were which were solve to my satisfaction; and my doubt wanting to the Divina Commedia, and is this. The poet introduces Ciacco which they had not been able to into the sixth canto, and makes him find. .... prophesy, that before three years had A worthy man of Ravenna, whose elapsed from the moment he was speak- name was Pier Giardino, and who had ing, the party to which Dante belonged long been Dante's disciple, grave in his should fall, and so it happened. But manner and worthy of credit, relates we know the removal of the Bianchi that, after the eighth month from the from office, and their departure from day of his master's death, there came Florence, all happened at once; and to his house before dawn Jacopo di therefore, if the author departed at that Dante, who told him that that night, time, how could he have written this, while he was asleep, his father Dante had appeared to him, clothed in the place thus pointed out to him, which whitest garments, and his face resplen- he had retained excellently in his dent with an extraordinary light; that memory, and to see whether this had he, Jacopo, asked him if he lived, and been pointed out by a true spirit, or that Dante replied : “ Yes, but in the a false delusion. For which purpose, true life, not our life.” Then he, Ja- although it was still far in the night, copo, asked him if he had completed they set off together, and went to the his work before passing into the true house in which Dante resided at the life, and, if he had done so, what had time of his death. Having called up become of that part of it which was its present owner, he admitted them, missing, which they none of them had and they went to the place thus pointed been able to find. To this Dante out; there they found a blind fixed to seemed to answer, “ Yes, I finished the wall, as they had always been used it”; and then took him, Jacopo, by to see it in past days; they lifted it the hand, and led him into that cham- gently up, when they found a little ber in which he, Dante, had been ac- window in the wall, never before seen customed to sleep when he lived in by any of them, nor did they even this life, and, touching one of the know it was there. In it they found walls, he said, “What you have sought several writings, all mouldy from the for so much, is here”; and at these dampness of the walls, and had they words both Dante and sleep Aed from remained there longer, in a little while Jacopo at once. For which reason they would have crumbled away. HavJacopo said he could not rest without ing thoroughly cleared away the mould, coming to explain what he had seen they found them to be the thirteen canto Pier Giardino, in order that they tos that had been wanting to complete should go together and search out the the Commedia.
THE POSTHUMOUS DANTE.
By J. R. Lowell in the American Cyclopædia, VI. 251.
Looked at outwardly, the life of Dante upon earth, and continually baffled and seems to have been an utter and disas- misunderstood, the far greater part or trous failure. What its inward satis- his mature life must have been labor and faction must have been, we, with the sorrow. We can see how essential all Paradiso open before us, can form some that sad experience was to him, can unfaint conception. To him, longing derstand why all the fairy stories hide with an intensity which only the word the luck in the ugly black casket ; but Dantesque will express to realize an ideal to him, then and there, how seemed it?