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of the compartments in which the eighth circle is divided, and then behold the spirits who are afflicted by divers plagues and diseases. Two of them, namely, Grifolino of Arezzo and Capocchio of Sienna, are introduced speaking
So were mine eyes inebriate with the view
Of the vast multitude, whom various wounds
Disfigured, that they longd to stay and weep.
But Virgil roused me: “What yet gazest on ?
Wherefore doth fasten yet thy sigħt below
Among the maim'd and miserable shades?
Thou hast not shown in any chasm beside
This weakness. Know, if thou wouldst number them,
That two-and-twenty miles the valley winds
Its circuit, and already is the moon
Beneath our feet : the time permitted now
Is short ; and more, not seen, remains to see.”.
"If thou," I straight replied, "hadst weigh'd the cause,
For which I look'd, thou hadst perchance excused
The tarrying still.” My leader part pursued
His way, the while I follow'd, answering him,
And adding thus: “Within that cave I deem,
Whereon so fixedly I held my ken,
There is a spirit d'wells, one of my blood,
Wailing the crime that costs him now so dear.”
Then spake my master : "Let thy soul no more
Afflict itself for him. Direct elsewhere
Its thought, and leave him. At the bridge's foot
I mark'd how he did point with menacing look
At thee, and heard him by the others named
Geri of Bello.1 Thou so wholly then
Wert busied with his spirit, who once ruled
The towers of Hautefort, that thou lookedst not
That way, ere he was gone.”—“O guide beloved !
His violent death yet unavenged,” said I,
“By any, who are partners in his shame,
Made him contemptuous; therefore, as I think,
He pass'd me speechless by ; and, doing so,
Hath made me more compassionate his fate."
So we discoursed to where the rock first show'd
The other valley, had more light been there,
E’en to the lowest depth. Soon as we came
O'er the last cloister in the dismal rounds
i Geri of Bello.] A kinsman of the Poet's, who was murdered by one of the Sacchetti family. His being placed here, may be considered as a proof that Dante was more impartial in the allotment of his punishments than has generally been supposed. He was the son of Bello, who was brother to Bellincione, our Poet's grandfather." Pelli, Mem. per la Vita di Dante, Opere di Dante, Zatta ediz. tom. iv. part ii. p. 23.
Of Malebolge, and the brotherhood
Were to our view exposed, then many a dart
Of sore lament assail'd me, headed all
With points of thrilling pity, that I closed
Both ears against the volley with mine hands.
As were the torment, if each lazar-house
Of Valdichiana, in the sultry time
"Twixt July and September, with the isle
Sardinia and Maremma's pestilent fen,
Had heap'd their maladies all in one foss
Together ; such was here the torment: dire
The stench, as issuing steams from fester'd limbs.
We on the utmost shore of the long rock
Descended still to leftward. Then my sight
Was livelier to explore the depth, wherein
The minister of the most mighty Lord,
All-searching Justice, dooms to punishment
The forgers noted on her dread record.
More rueful was it not methinks to see
The nation in Ægina 4 droop, what time
Each living things, c'en to the little worm,
All fell, so full of malice was the air
(And afterward, as bards of yore have told,
The ancient people were restored anew
From seed of emmets), than was here to see
1 As were the torment.] It is very probable that these lines gave Milton the idea of his celebrated description :
Immediately a place
Before their eyes appear’d, sad, noisome, dark.
A lazar-house it seem'd, wherein were laid
Numbers of all diseased, all maladies, etc. P. L. b. 11. 477. Yet the enumeration of diseases, which follows, appears to have been taken by Milton from the Quadriregio :
Quivi eran zoppi, monchi, sordi, e orbi,
Quivi era il mal podagrico e di fianco,
Quivi la frenesia cogli occhi torbi.
Quivi il dolor gridante, e non mai stanco,
Quivi il catarro con la gran cianfarda,
L'asma, la polmonia quivi eran' anco.
L'idropisia quivi era grave e tarda,
Di tutte febbri quel piano era pieno,
Quivi quel mal, che par che la carné arda. Lib. 2. cap. viii. ? Of l'aldichiana.] The valley through which passes the river Chiana, hounded by Arezzo, Cortona, Montepulciano, and Chiusi. In the heat of autumn it was formerly rendered unwholesome by the stagnation of the water, but has since been drained by the Emperor Leopold II. The Chiana is mentioned as a remarkably sluggish stream, in the Paradise, Canto xiii. 21.
3 Maremma's pestilent fen.] See Note to Canto xxv. v. 18.
4 In Ægina.]" He alludes to the fable of the ants changed into Myrmidons. Ovid, Met. lib. 7.
The spirits, that languish'd through the murky vale,
Up-piled on many a stack. Confused they lay,
One o'er the belly, o'er the shoulders one
Rolld of another; sideling crawlid a third
Along the dismal pathway. Step by step,
We journey'd on, in silence looking round,
And listening those diseased, who strove in vain
To lift their forms. Then two I mark’d, that sat
Propt 'gainst each other, as two brazen pans
Set to retain the heat. From head to foot,
A tetter bark'd them round. Nor saw I e'er
Groom currying so fast, for whom his lord
Impatient waited, or himself perchance
Tired with long watching, as of these each one
Plied quickly his keen nails, through furiousness
Of ne'er abated pruriency. The crust
Came drawn from underneath in flakes, like scales
Scraped from the bream, or fish of broader mail.
“O thou ! who with thy fingers rendest off
Thy coat of proof,” thus spake my guide to one,
“And sometimes makest tearing pincers of them,
Tell me if any born of Latian land
Be among these within : so may thy nails
Serve thee for everlasting to this toil.”
“Both are of Latium, weeping he replied,
“Whom tortured thus thou seest : but who art thou
That hast inquired of us?". To whom my guide :
“One that descend with this man, who yet lives,
From rock to rock, and show him hell's abyss.”
Then started they asunder, and each turn'd
Trembling toward us, with the rest, whose ear
Those words redounding struck. To me my liege
Address'd him : "Speak to them whate’er thou list.”
And I therewith began : “So may no time
Filch your remembrance from the thoughts of men
In the upper world, but after many suns
Survive it, as ye tell me, who ye are,
And of what race ye come. Your punishment,
Unseemly and disgustful in its kind,
Deter you not from opening thus much to me."
“Arezzo was my dwelling, ” 1 answer'd one,
“And me Albero of Sienna brought
To die by fire : but that, for which I died,
Leads me not here. True is, in sport I told him,
That I had learn’d to wing my flight in air ; 1 Arezzo was my dwelling.) Grifolino of Arezzo, who promised Albero, son of the Bishop of Sienna, that he would teach him the art of flying; and, because he did not keep his promise, Albero prevailed on his father to have him burnt for a necromancer.
And he, admiring much, as he was void
Of wisdom, willd me to declare to him
The secret of mine art: and only hence,
Because I made him not a Dædalus,
Prevail'd on one supposed his sire to burn me.
But Minos to this chasm, last of the ten,
For that I practised alchemy on earth,
Has doom'd me. Him no subterfuge eludes.”
Then to the bard I spake : “Was ever race
Light as Sienna's ?1 Sure not France herself
Can show a tribe so frivolous and vain."
The other leprous spirit heard my words,
And thus return'd: "Be Stricca 2 from this charge
Exempted, he who knew so temperately
To lay out fortune's gifts ; and Niccolo,
Who first the spice's costly luxury
Discover'd in that garden, where such sced
Roots deepest in the soil ; and be that troop
Exempted, with whom Caccia of Asciano
Lavish'd his vineyards and wide-spreading woods,
And his rare wisdom Abbagliato 4 show'd
Was erer race
Light as Sienna's ?] The same imputation is again cast on the Siennese,
Purg. Canto xiii. 141.
Stricca.] This is said ironically. Stricca, Niccolo Salimbeni, Caccia of Asciano, and Abbagliato or Meo de' Folcacchieri, belonged to å company of pro ligal and luxurious young men in Sienna, called the brigata godereccia." Niccolo was the inventor of a new manner of using cloves in cookery, not very well understood by the commentators, and which was termed the "costuma ricca.” Pagliarini, in his Historical Observations on the Quadriregio, lib. 3. cap. xiii., adduces a passage from a MS. History of Sienna, in which it is told that these spendthrifts, out of the sum raised from the sale of their estates, built a palace, which they inhabited in common, and made the receptacle of their apparatus for luxurious enjoyment; and that, amongst their other extravagancies, they had their horses shod with silver, and forbade their servants to pick up the precious shoes if they dropped off. The end was, as might be expected, extreme poverty and wretchedness. Landino says, they spent two hundred thousand florins in twenty months. Horses shod with silver are mentioned by Fazio degli Uberti :
Ancora in questo tempo si fù visto
Quel Roberto Guiscardo, che d'argento
I cavagli ferrò per far l'acquisto.
Dittamon:lo, lib. 2. cap. xxiv. as corrected by Perticari. 3 In that garden.) Sienna.
4 Abbagliato.] Lombardi understands “ Abbagliato” not to be the name of a man, but to be the epithet to “senno," and construes “E l'abbagliato suo senno proferse," "and manifested to the world the blindness of their understanding.” So little doubt, however, is made of there being such a person, that Allacci speaks of his grandfather Folcacchiero de' Folcacchieri of Sienna, as one who may dispute with the Sicilians the praise of being the first inventor of Italian poetry. Tiraboschi, indeed, observes, that this genealogy is not authenticated by Allacci ; yet it is difficult to suppose that he should have mentioned it at all, if Meo de' Folcacchieri, or Abbagliato, as he was called, had never existed.' Vol. i. p. 95, Mr. Mathias's edit.
A spectacle for all. That thou mayst know
Who seconds thee against the Siennese
Thus gladly, bend this way thy sharpen'd sight,
That well my face may answer to thy ken;
So shalt thou see I am Capocchio's ghost,
Who forged transmuted metals by the power
Of alchemy; and if I scan thee right,
Thou needs must well remember how I aped
Creative nature by my subtle art.”
Argument. In the same gulf, other kinds of impostors, as those who have counterfeiteil
the persons of others, or debased the current coin, or deceived by speech under false pretences, are described as suffering various diseases. Sinon of Troy and Adamo of Brescia mutually reproach each other with their several impostures.
WHAT time resentment burn'd in Juno's breast
For Semele against the Theban blood,
As more than once in dire mischance was rued ;
Such fatal frenzy seized on Athamas, 2
That he his spouse beholding with a babe
Laden on either arm, “Spread out,” he cried,
“The meshes, that I take the lioness
And the young lions at the pass :" then forth
Stretch'd he his merciless talons, grasping one,
One helpless innocent, Learchus named,
Whom swinging down he dash'd upon a rock ;
And with her other burden, self-destroy'd,
The hapless mother plunged. And when the pride
Of all presuming Troy fell from its height,
By fortune overwhelm'd, and the old king
With his realm perishd; then did Hecuba, 4
A wretch forlorn and captive, when she saw
Polyxena first slaughter'd, and her son,
1 Capocchio's ghost.] Capocchio of Sienna, who is said to have been a fellow-student of Dante's, in natural philosophy.
2 Athamas.] From Ovid, Metam. lib. 4: Protinus Æolides, ctc.
3 With her other burden.)
Seque super pontum nullo tardata timore
Mittit, onusque suum.
Ovid, Metam. lib. 4. 4 Hecuba.] See Euripides, Hecuba ; and Ovid, Metam. lib. 13.