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ter of its joint rulers, Can Francisco and the anguish of irrevocable exile. and Alboino Scagligeri, the former of His last public act was an endeavor whom had the title of 1 Grande, on to negotiate peace on behalf of his account of his exploits in the war patron with the State of Venice, with with Padua, and both being celebrat- whom he had for some time been at ed throughout Italy for the splendor war; but the proud rulers of that city of their court, and their munificent refused him even an audience. His patronage of learning. On the death physical strength at length yielded to of the Emperor Albert, May, 1308, the weight of sorrow rather than years, Dante exerted himself with the ut- and in September, 1321, at the age of most vigor on behalf of Henry, Prince fifty-seven, he died at Ravenna, in the of Luxembourg, one of the candidates palace of his patron, who testified his for the imperial crown; from whose sorrow and respect by the splendor interposition, if successful, the Bianchi of his obsequies, and by giving orders hoped for a favorable change in their to erect a monument, which however condition, It was to encourage the he did not live to complete. But even partisans of Henry, that Dante wrote his death did not put an end to the his treatise De Monarchiâ, in which hostility of his enemies. He was exhe advocates, with great strength of communicated after his death by the argumont, the independence of the Pope. civil vower. To his great joy, the “Yet by their curse we are not quite so lost election of Henry was proclaimed, and But that eternal mercy from on high the imperial army was shortly on its Can save, while hope the least green bloom can way to Florence. Henry halted be- boast." fore he got within sight of the walls,
Purgatorio, canto iii. 132. and then withdrew his forces, to pur- Pope John XXII. had his treatise sue other measures more in accordance De Nonarchiâ publicly burnt, and we with his policy. The last glimmer of have seen a copy of the Roman index hope was extinguished by his prema- of prohibited books in which it is ture death in the following year, 1313. honored with a place.
On the exDante's next and latest sojourn was pulsion of Guido da Polenta from at Ravenna, with Guido Novella da Ravenna, the bones of Dante narrowly Polenta, the lord of that ancient city escaped a treatment similar to that and “fortress of falling empire," a undergone just a century later by nobleman of singular liberality, the those of Wicliff, whom in many refather of the unfortunate Francesca di spects he so much resembled. In 1677 Rimini. His love of literature and Cardinal Beltramo del Pogetto ordered admiration of the greatest man that his bones, being those of an Italy had produced in modern times, municated heretic, to be taken from made him rejoice in the society and their coffin and burnt. It was not feel honored by the presence of such known till very recently by what a guest. Here, enjoying the friend. means they escaped. The original ship of his generous and accomplished monument having gone to decayhost, the venerable exile, after many years of wandering and anxiety, like a
“Quandoquidem data sunt ipsis quoque fata sepulchris
Juvenal, x. 146 tempest-tost vessel that had reached the haven, was permitted to enjoy a -it was repaired and decorated in season of repose.
1483 by Bernardo Bembo, Podesta of It is said that about the year 1316 it Ravenna for the Republic of Venice, was intimated to him by a friend, that and father of the Cardinal. Again, in on condition of acknowledging his 1692 it was restored at the public e
exfault and soliciting pardon, he might pense; and finally replaced by the yet be permitted to return to Florence. present structure in 1780, at the cost But he refused, in words resembling of Cardinal Gonzaga of Mantua, the those of Job, “Till I die, I will hold legate of that period. This mausoleum fast mine integrity;" nor would he and the sarcophagus of Greek marble degrade himself, even to escape the bearing the poet's portrait, and supbitterness of dependence on strangers, posed to contain his ashes, have been
visited by thousands, including some friends, could overcome the weariness of the greatest poets. Alfieri pros- of exile, or mitigate the unquenchtrated himself there, and expressed his able desire which he ever felt for a feelings in one of the finest sonnets in return to his native home and family the Italian language. Byron deposit- hearth. His woes, and the injustice ed a copy of his works on the tomb, which inflicted and perpetuated them, and wrote:
had wrung from him expostulation, “ I pass each day where Dante's bones are laid : complaint, and entreaty; and their
A little cupola, more neat than solemn, want of success infused into his mind Protects his dust."
an enduring bitterness against FlorThey were deceived. “The monu
Yet amidst all his eloquent apment was but an empty cenotaph." peals and denunciations, we recognize While we write, a statement respect- a deep and ardent love to his ungrate ing “the discovery of Dante's bones ful country, a love which glowed amidst twelve days after the celebration of his anger, and refused to turn itself to his sexcentenary birthday,” is going hatred. Throughout the Divina Comthe round of the papers. It seems media we see the banished magistrate almost a coincidence too good to be of Florence, the exiled statesman, true, and too striking to be real, that whose bowels yearn to be restored to the preparation for the Dante festival “the City of Flowers.”
“ should have been the cause of the dis
"La carita del natio loro mi strinse.” covery. We copy from the Athe
For the love which he bears to “In the year 1677, Cardinal Pogetta, of Florence, he stoops to gather up and Ravenna, expressed his intention of having reverently deposit the human spoils of Dante's bones, being those of a heretic, taken one of her citizens, whom he meets from the coffin and burnt. The Archbishop, with in the hell of suicides. Like our less of a bigot than the Cardinal, and a sincere own Milton, he was one of the sternest admirer of the poet, had the remains secretly, and most active politicians, at a most excavated and concealed in another part of eventful era of his country's history: the church. When the danger was over, the like him he shared the ruin of his Archbishop died, and Dante's remains were not replaced in the original coffin. A few party; and solaced his exile and deyears more, and the grave in which they had pendence, as did Milton his obscurity been concealed was forgotten. ... On the and poverty, by the composition of his occasion of the festival, the town council had immortal work. Without a home on ordered some improvements to be made at earth, he made his home in eternity. the gravestone of the poet: this made some Like Milton he boldly plunged into digging necessary between a building called the dark infernal abyss, and then, Braccio-forte and the chapel in which Dante's sarcophagus stood. When the workmen tried passing through the region of milder to fix a pump, to get rid of the superfluous sorrow and corrective suffering, he water, and broke down an old wall of Braccio- uprose, as on the wings of seraphim, forte, they discovered in this very wall a to gaze with reverential awe on the wooden box which fell to the ground. The splendors of the eternal throne. His box, being made of deal and badly joined, great soul, filled with his mighty subopened in the fall and the bones fell out. The
ject, and long brooding over it in box had two inscriptions written with a pen. On the outside, Dantis ossa à me Fra Anto- speechless thought and wonder, at nio Santi hic posita, anno 1677, die ..
length broke forth into mystic and unOctobris.' The inscription inside
Dantis fathomable song. But the memory of ossa de nuper revisa 3 Junii 1677. The his wrongs pursues him into the imbones are well preserved; it is evident they mensity of eternal light. Florence, to have never been underground. They have her lasting shame, refused him the been replaced in the box, this one locked in satisfaction of returning even to die. another box, and deposited for the present in She kept aloof the heart that beat only the Dante Chapel”
for her, the breast that would gladly During the life-long struggle of have bled in her cause. Dante, not all the kindness and dis
“What mighty wrongs, what grief, great bard, tinction with which he was treated by
could turn his generous, hospitable, and illustrious
Thy love of Florence to indignant ire,
Which, long pent up within thy breast like on the unvailing of his image in the
fire, At last flashed forth to make the guilty mourn,
presence of eighteen thousand specAnd in thy verse through distant ages burn ?
tators—besides the ringing of the bells The pangs of hope deferred, the vain desire
of the Palazza Vecchio just at hand,
dignitaries, and the grand symphony Too late shalt thou repent what thou hast done;
of the band, A Hymn to Dante, comFor he who entered, by the Power Divine,
posed for the occasion, was sung by a The gates of Paradise, like banished John, band of vocalists and the great orchesWas not permitted to reënter thine."
tra. This will probably appear to Yes, Florence, that refused him a some, if not actual hero-and-imagehome when living, would gladly have worship, a narrow escape from “ peril received him to her bosom when dead. of idolatry !” Aided by this example, Like the Hebrew scribes and rulers, we can easily understand the origin of who slew the prophets and then built pseudo-religions; and but for the light and adorned their sepulchres, the and influence of Christianity, the pilFlorentines at length awoke to a per- grimage to Florence and Ravenna ception of their error, and eagerly might become for the admirers of the desired to bring home the remains of hero-poet what for a thousand years their illustrious countryman, and pro
Mecca and Medina have been for the posed to erect a mausoleum for their Moslem followers of their hero-proreception. The people of Ravenna, phet; or Dante and Garibaldi might however, resisted all their supplica- be first idolized and then deified, as tions. Michael Angelo, whose pencil heroes and public benefactors were in had portrayed in the Sistine Chapel ancient times. But the spirit of Dante, some of the scenes with Dante's pen enshrined in his volume, and so largely had painted in song, was vainly em- imbued with Christianity, however it ployed by the Pope of his time to may be supposed to tolerate the inaurenew the entreaty. And now, after guration of the new colossal statue, a remorse that has endured for five would frown on the inauguration of a centuries, we have seen in that very
new religion. There his lone figure Florence all Italy assembled to testify stands, overlooking the multitude, her deep repentance, and to inaugurate wrapt round with folded robe, the in front of her holiest place the marble laurel-wreath shading the brow, and effigy of her illustrious exile, sculp- showing those worn features of sorrow tured by a son of Ravenna,* the city and disdain, which the pencil of Giotto in which his ashes were deposited, had preserved, and the chisel of Pazzi and where they still sleep. It is true has now sculptured. The frown is that no papal canonization has been there, as on the original so many cendecreed him: this was not to be ex
ago, though now, by the artist's pected. The miracle of an awakened care, somewhat lightened and mitigatand renovated nation was not signal
ed. But what hand can erase, what enough to prove his title to that honor, art can cancel, those burning lines in which for him would have been sin
, gularly inappropriate. But he has wrongs and his country's injustice ? received from his country, united under her constitutional though excommuni
"Florence exult! thy greatness who can tell ? cated king, all but an apotheosis. For, Meantime thy name hath spread itself o'er hell.
O'er sea and land thy rushing wings resound:
Five such among the plunderers there I found * The statue of Dante thus inaugurated is by Thy citizens, whence shame befalleth me, Enrico Pazzi, of Ravenna ; its height near twenty
And to thyself no glory can redound. feet. It stands on a pedestal in the style of the But if our dreams near dawn may claim to bo fourteenth century, designed by Luigi del Sarto ;
The truth, much time will not elapse ere thou with the simple but sufficient inscription : "To Feel what not Plato only wisheth thee; DANTE ALIGHIERI, Italy, MDCCCLXV.” The like
And 'twould be not untimely if 'twere now; ness, expression, and attitude of the poet's figure Would that it were so, since it must take place, in this work of modern Italian art, have been
'Twill grieve me more the more with age I bow." very generally praised.
Inferno, canto xxvi. II. 1-12.
In the Daily Telegraph leader, in- mon with many readers, we have a dicated at the head of this article, distinct and vivid remembrance of our Dante is vividly described as, wea- first introduction to Dante, when a ried by ineffectual struggle, he strode single line — the terrible inscription through the throng in silence and con- over the gate of Hell-stamped itself tempt, or sate against the wall with on our memory, and determined at downcast eyes, in that street which at once and forever our admiration leads nowadays from the Duomo to of his genius. The whole passage is Benvenuto Cellini's house. The old thus rendered: stone bench remains where he might
“Lasciate ogni speranza voi ch' entrate." often be seen, as far away from Flor- “ Through me men reach the city of deploring, ence as heaven and hades are, medi Through me the path to endless woe they tating the boldest flight of fancy that
prove, human genius ever dared to take. Through me they join the lost beyond restoring. Donne, and Donzelle, and Signori pass
Justice did my Supreme Creator move;
I am the work of Power Divine, designed ing by, to flirt and pray, and make the
By Sovereign Wisdom and Primeval Love. most of a merry, doubtful world, Before me nothing save immortal mind pointed to him, and said to each other, Was made, and I eternally endure. with a shudder, “There sits the maes
O ye who enter, leave all hope behind.” tro who puts people into hell !' for Thomas Carlyle observes: “I know cantos of his tremendous comedy were nothing so intense as Dante. Consider already about Italy, and crimes, and how he paints. He has a great power treacheries, and villainies, of the past of vision--seizes the very type of a and present, sometimes found them- thing-presents that and nothing else. selves punished with the damnation of You remember the first view he gets a line, in that lovely Tuscan, which of the Hall of Dis, red pinnacle, redsung in men's ears like the trumpet of hot ccne of iron glowing through the the angel of doom.”
dim immensity of gloom; so vivid, so Dante was one of the very few master distinct, visible at once and forever! spirits who have created the national It is an emblem of the whole genius poetry of their country, and whose of Dante." works, having stood the test of ages, It is impossible to do full justice to are secure of immortality. He is the a long poem by selecting a few brief spokesman and interpreter of Medie- quotations ; for, as in a building or a val Europe, and in him ten silent cen- statue, the several parts derive much turies found a voice. He uttered what of their beauty from the relation they they had thought and felt; without bear to each other and to the whole. him they would have remained mute Let the reader bear this in mind, while
He has expounded the medita- we present him with a few of the pastions of the wise and good, and em- sages which are likely to suffer least bodied them in strains whose music by being separately given. In the pashas charmed every subsequent age, and sages referred to by Mr. Carlyle, when will continue to exert their charm to reading the poem, the mind is prepared the latest posterity.
by what precedes—“the signal fires,” The Divina Commedia, or, as we which the poet perceives at a distance; prefer calling it, the Trilogy, of Dante, the light skiff steered by the solitary is unique in its character; a narrative pilot over the stagnant channel to meet largely interspersed with dialogue, de- the poets; their voyage across; and scription, and discussion, theological the plunge of Philippo Argenti in the and philosophical; a vision of hades, “hell-broth” of the lake. Dante then or the intermediate state of souls, both
says: good and bad, between death and the
“Now smote mine ears a lamentation loud ; resurrection. It is thick-sown with Hence with wide opening eyes I gazed before, beauties, as the dark blue vault of mid And my good guide said, as the waves we night is with stars; while scenes of ploughed, exquisite pathos, and others of terrible
Now to the city named of Dis we come,
With its grieved citizens, a mighty crowd.' sublimity, are ever and anon presented Master,' I said, 'its towers already loom ; to the mind of the reader. In com There, certes, in the vale I see them well,
Vermilion—as if issuing through the gloom So, not by fire but by the art divine,
The eternal fire within makes them appear Daubing in every part the steep decline."
Inferno, xxi. Il. 7–18.
In sublimity, Dante is surpassed only
Inferno, canto viii. 11. 65–78. and by our own Milton. Yet, even in Here is his description of what he his most thrilling and tremendous desaw on the arid plain of the seventh scriptions of eternal misery, we are frecircle:
quently surprised by images of beauty
and calm delight, all the more welcome “ And hovering o'er the land with slow descent, Broad flakes of fire were falling all around,
and pleasing from their contrast with Like Alpine snow through the calm element. the scenes of suffering, the timeless
gloom, and the air forever shaken, Even so descended the eternal fire
from which we have just escaped, and From which the sand, like tinder from the into which we have again to pass. It steel,
is as if when treading “over the burnWas kindled up, doubling the anguish dire.
ing marle,” we suddenly came upon Without repose forever was the wheel Of wretched hands, now turning
here, now there, some happy valley, or entered some To shake from them the fresh fallen fire they sylvan shade, where the song of birds feel.”
is heard amidst the foliage, or the muHe then describes Capaneus, unsoft- sic of the rill that murmurs on the ened by the eternal fire, and obdurate verçe of the enameled green.
Take, as ever; a description which hardly for instance, the Limbo of the Unbapyields in grandeur to the Prometheus tized—a passage which also discovers of Æschylus, and is probably the pro- his veneration for the great writers of totype of Milton's Satan in Paradise antiquity, and his revulsion from the Lost :
doctrine which dooms all unbaptized “Who is that mighty one, morose and grim,
persons to eternal misery : for the exWho careless of the burning seems to lie,
press accommodation of the heroes, So that the fire-shower can not soften him? poets, and philosophers of heathen anAnd he, as to my leader I apply,
tiquity, whom the orthodox theology Perceiving 'twas of him I thus inquire,
of the age excluded from heaven, he Cried, "What I was alive, such dead am I.
has contrived a kind of paradise in If incensed Jupiter his workmen tire, From whom he snatched the thunderbolts that
hell : day
" Now to a noble castle's foot we came, Which was my last, and struck me in his ire ; Seven times with lofty walls encompassed If he—the rest all spent by turns while they
round; The sledge in Mongibello's black forge wield- And round it also flowed a pleasant stream,
Cry, 'Help, good Vulcan, help!' as in the fray O'er which we passed, as if upon firm ground: He cried of old in the Phlegræan field,
Through seven gates entering with the sages And launch his bolts at me with all his might,
there, A joyful vengeance it shall never yield.”
We reached a meadow with fresh verdure
With grave slow eyes, the crowds assembled As another instance of Dante's wonderful imagery and word-painting, we In their appearance of great majesty; quote the comparison of the boiling And as they talked their words were sweet and pitch seen below by the poets, when
Thus to one side retiring entered we standing on the bridge across the fifth
An open place, light, lofty, and serene, chasm of Malebolge:
So that all there were visible to me.
There just above, upon the enameled green, " As in the arsenal at Venice, where Boils through the winter the tenacious pitch,
The mighty spirits I could recognize,
Whom I esteem it honor to have seen.
Inferno, canto iv. 106, etc.
Of that which hath made many a voyage rich: vivid word-painting and striking de-
deep workings of the mysterious huThe mizzen and the mainsail some sew up :
man heart. Shakespeare is acknow