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Though he repeated oft the tale? No tongue
1 Happy soil.] There is a strange discordance here among the expounders. “Fortunata terra.” Because of the vicissitudes of fortune which it experienced : Landino. Fortunate, with respect to those who conquered in it: Vellutello. Or on account of its natural fertility: Venturi. The context requires that we should understand by “fortunata," "calamitous," "disgraziata,” to which sense the word is extended in the Vocabulary of La Crusca : Lombardi. Volpi is silent. On this note the late Archdeacon Fisher favoured me with the following remark : “ Volpi is, indeed, silent at the passage ; but in the article ‘Puglia,' in his second Index, he writes, Dante la chiama fortunata, cioè pingue e feconda. This is your own translation; and is the same word in meaning with tüdriuw and felix, in Xenophon's Anaba:is and Horace passim."
? The Trojans.] Some MSS. have "Romani ;” and Lombardi has admitted it into the text.“ Venturi had, indeed, before met with the same reading in some edition, but he has not told us in which.
3 In that long war.) The war of Hannibal in Italy. “When Mago brought news of his victories to Carthage, in order to make his successes more easily credited, he commanded the golden rings to be poured out in the senatehouse, which made so large a heap, that, as some relate, they filled three modii and a half. A more probable account represents them not to have exceeded one modius.” Livy, Hist. lib. 23. xii. 4 The rings.] So Frezzi: Non quella, che riempiè i moggi d'anella.
Il Quadrir. lib. 2. cap. ix. 5 Guiscard's Norman steel.] Robert Guiscard, who conquered the kingdom of Naples, and died in 1110. G. Villani, lib. 4. cap. xviii. He is introduced in the Paradise, Canto xviii.
6 And those the rest.] The army of Manfredi, which, through the treachery of the Apulian troops, was overcome by Charles of Anjou in 1265, and fell in such numbers, that the bones of the slain were still gathered near Ceperano. G. Villani, lib. 7. cap. ix. See the Purgatory, Canto iii.
70 Tagliacozzo.] He alludes to the victory which Charles gained over Conradino, by the sage advice of the Sieur de Valeri, in 1268. G. Villani, lib. 7. cap. xxvii.
As one I mark'd torn from the chin throughout
Whilst eagerly I fix on him my gaze,
More than a hundred spirits, when that they heard,
Bear to Dolcino : 2 bid him, if he wish not Ali.] The disciple of Mohammed. 2 Dolcino.) “In 1305, a friar, called Dolcino, who belonged to no regular order, contrived to raise in Novara, in Lombardy, a large company of the meaner sort of people, declaring himself to be a true apostle of Christ, and promulgating a community of property and of wives, with many other such heretical doctrines. He blamed the pope, cardinals, and other prelates of the holy church, for not observing their duty, nor leading the angelic life, and affirmed that he ought to be pope. He was followed by more than three thousand men and women, who lived promiscuously on the mountains to gether, like beasts, and, when they wanted provisions, supplied themselves by depredation and rapine. This lasted for two years, till many, being struck with compunction at the dissolute life they led, his sect was much diminished ; and, through failure of food and the severity of the snows, he was taken by the people of Novara, and burnt, with Margarita, his companion, and many other men and women whom his errors had seduced." G. Villani, lib. 8. cap. Ixxxiv. Landino observes, that he was possessed of singular eloquence, and that both he and Margarita endured their fate with a firmness worthy of a better cause. For a further account of him, see Muratori, Rer. Ital. Script. tom. ix. p. 427. Fazio degli Uberti, speaking of the polygamy allowed by Mahomet, adds:
L qui con fra Dolcin par che s'intenda. Dittamondo, lib. 5. cap. xii.
Here soon to follow me, that with good store
1 Medicina.] A place in the territory of Bologna. Piero fomented dissensions among the inhabitants of that city, and among the leaders of the neighbouring states.
2 The pleasant land.] Lombardy.
3 The twain.] Guido del Cassero and Angiolello da Cagnano, two of the worthiest and most distinguished citizens of Fano, were invited by Malatestino da Rimini to an entertainment, on pretence that he had some important business to transact with them; and, according to instructions given by him, they were drowned in their passage near Cattolica, between Rimini and Fano.
4 Out of life's tenement.] “Fuor di lor vasello,” is construed by the old Latin annotator on the Monte Casino MS. and by Lonibardi, “ont of the ship." Volpi understands “ vasello” to mean “their city or country.” Others take the word in the sense according to which, though not without some doubt, it is rendered in this translation.
5 Fočara's wind.] Focara is a mountain, from which a wind blows that is peculiarly dangerous to the navigators of that coast.
“Declare, as thou dost wish that I above
Forth with he laid his hand on the cheek-bone
I added : “Ay, and death to thine own tribe.”
Whence, heaping woe on woe, he hurried off,
Of the sad flock paced onward. By the hair 1 The doubt in Cæsar's mind.] Curio, whose speech (according to Lucan) determined Julius Cæsar to proceed when he had arrived at Rimini (thé ancient Ariminum), and doubted whether he should prosecute the civil war.
Tolle moras : semper nocuit differre paratis. Pharsal. lib. 1. 281.
When fair occasion calls, 'tis fatal to delay. Rowe. 2 Mosca.] Buondelmonte was engaged to marry a lady of the Amidei family, but broke his promise, and united himself to one of the Donati. This was so much resented by the former, that a meeting of themselves and their kinsmen was held, to consider of the best means of revenging the insult. Mosca degli Uberti, or de' Lamberti, persuaded them to resolve on the assassination of Buondelmonte, exclaiming to them, “The thing once done, there is an end." The counsel and its effects were the source of many terrible calamities to the state of Florence. “This murder," says G. Villani, lib. 5. cap. xxxviii., "was the cause and beginning of the accursed Guelph and Ghibelline parties in Florence.” It happened in 1215. See the Paradise, Canto xvi. 139. 3 The boon companion.] What stronger breastplate than a heart untainted ?
Shakspeare, 2 Henry l'I. act iii. sc. 2.
It bore the sever'd member, lantern-wise
When at the bridge's foot direct he stood,
Argument. Dante, at the desire of Virgil, proceeds onward to the bridge that crosses the
tenth gulf, from whence he hears the cries of the alchemists and forgers, who are tormented therein ; but not being able to discern any thing on
account of the darkness, they descend the rock, that bounds this the last i Bertrand.] Bertrand de Born, Vicomte de Hautefort, near Perigueux in Guienne, who incited John to rebel against his father, Henry II. of England. Bertrand holds a distinguished place among the Provençal poets. He is quoted in Dante, De Vulg. E 07. lib. 2. cap. ii., where it is said, "that he treated of war, which no Italian poet had yet done." "Arma vero nullum Italum adhuc poetasse invenio.” The triple division of subjects for poetry, made in this chapter of the De Vulg. Elo7., is very remarkable. It will be found in a Note on Purgatory, Canto xxvi. 113. For the translation of some extracts from Bertrand de Born's poems, see Millot, Hist. Littéraire des Troubadours, tom. i. p. 210 ; but the historical parts of that work are, I believe, not to be relied on. Bertrand had a son of the same name, who wrote a poem against John, king of England. It is that species of composition called the serventese ; and is in the Vatican, a MS. in Cod. 3204. See Bastero, La Crusca Provenzale, Roma, 1724, p. 86. For many particulars respecting both Bertrands, consult Raynouard's Poésies des Troubadours; in which excellent work, and in his Lexique Roman, Paris, 1838, several of their poems, in the Provençal language, may be seen.