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Toward the middle, at whose point unites
But, passing 'midst the heads, my foot did strike
"Wherefore dost bruise me?" weeping he exclaim'd.
Still cursed me in his wrath. "What art thou, speak,
Said he, "thou tender'st: hence! nor vex me more.
Then seizing on his hinder scalp I cried:
1 If will.] Whether upheld by strength, or chance, or fate.
Milton, P. L. b. 1. 133.
2 Montaperto.] The defeat of the Guelfi at Montaperto, occasioned by the treachery of Bocca degli Abbati, who, during the engagement, cut off the hand of Giacopo del Vacca de' Pazzi, bearer of the Florentine standard. G. Villani, lib. 6. cap. lxxx. and Notes to Canto x. This event happened in 1260.
3 Antenora.] "So called from Antenor, who, according to Dictys Cretensis (De Bello Troj. lib. 5.) and Dares Phrygius (De Excidio Troja) betrayed Troy his country." Lombardi. See note on Purg. Canto v. 75. Antenor acts this part in Boccaccio's Filostrato, and in Chaucer's Troilus and Creseide.
Forget not here he wails the Frenchman's gold.
We now had left him, passing on our way,
"O thou! who show'st so beastly sign of hate
If that, wherewith I speak, be moist so long."
1 Him of Duera. Buoso of Cremona, of the family of Duera, who was bribed by Guy de Montfort to leave a pass between Piedmont and Parma, with the defence of which he had been intrusted by the Ghibellines, open to the army of Charles of Anjou, A.D. 1265, at which the people of Cremona were so enraged, that they extirpated the whole family. G. Villani, lib. 7. cap. iv.
2 Beccaria.] Abbot of Vallombrosa, who was the Pope's legate at Florence, where his intrigues in favour of the Ghibellines being discovered, he was beheaded. I do not find the occurrence in Villani, nor do the commentators say to what Pope he was legate. By Landino he is reported to have been from Parma; by Vellutello, from Pavia.
3 Soldanieri.] "Gianni Soldanieri," says Villani, Hist. lib. 7. cap. xiv., "put himself at the head of the people, in the hopes of rising into power, not aware that the result would be mischief to the Ghibelline party, and his own ruin ; an event which seems ever to have befallen him who has headed the populace in Florence."-A.D. 1266.
4 Ganellon.] The betrayer of Charlemain, mentioned by Archbishop Turpin. He is a common instance of treachery with the poets of the Middle Ages.
Trop son fol e mal pensant,
Pis Valent que Guenelon.
O new Scariot and new Ganilion,
And in the Monke's Tale, Peter of Spaine.
Thibaut, Roi de Navarre.
Chaucer, Nonne's Prieste's Tale.
5 Tribaldello.] Tribaldello de' Manfredi, who was bribed to betray the city of Faenza, A.D. 1282. G. Villani, lib. 7. cap. lxxx.
Tydeus.] See Statius, Theb. lib. 8. ad finem.
The Poet is told by Count Ugolino de' Gherardeschi of the cruel manner in which he and his children were famished in the tower at Pisa, by command of the Archbishop Ruggieri. He next discourses of the third round, called Ptolomea, wherein those are punished who have betrayed others under the semblance of kindness; and among these he finds the Friar Alberigo de' Manfredi, who tells him of one whose soul was already tormented in that place, though his body appeared still to be alive upon the carth, being yielded up to the governance of a fiend.
His jaws uplifting from their fell repast,
That sinner wiped them on the hairs o' the head,
Sorrow past cure; which, but to think of, wrings
My heart, or ere I tell on 't. But if words,
Fruit of eternal infamy to him,
The traitor whom I gnaw at, thou at once
Shalt see me speak and weep. Who thou mayst be
I know not, nor how here below art come:
But Florentine thou seemest of a truth,
When I do hear thee. Know, I was on earth
1 Count Ugolino.] "In the year 1288, in the month of July, Pisa was much divided by competitors for the sovereignty; one party, composed of certain of the Guelfi, being headed by the Judge Nino di Gallura de' Visconti; another, consisting of others of the same faction, by the Count Ugolino de' Gherardeschi; and a third by the Archbishop Ruggieri degli Ubaldini, with the Lanfranchi, Sismondi, Gualandi, and other Ghibelline houses. The Count Ugolino, to effect his purpose, united with the Archbishop and his party, and having betrayed Nino, his sister's son, they contrived that he and his followers should either be driven out of Pisa, or their persons seized. Nino hearing this, and not seeing any means of defending himself, retired to Calci, his castle, and formed an alliance with the Florentines and people of Lucca against the Pisans. The Count, before Nino was gone, in order to cover his treachery, when everything was settled for his expulsion, quitted Pisa, and repaired to a manor of his called Settimo; whence, as soon as he was informed of Nino's departure, he returned to Pisa with great rejoicing and festivity, and was elevated to the supreme power with every demonstration of triumph and honour. But his greatness was not of long continuance. It pleased the Almighty that a total reverse of fortune should ensue, as a punishment for his acts of treachery and guilt; for he was said to have poisoned the Count Anselmo da Capraia, his sister's son, on account of the envy and fear excited in his mind by the high esteem in which the gracious manners of Anselmo were held by the Pisans.The power of the Guelfi being so much diminished, the Archbishop devised
Ruggieri. Why I neighbour him so close,
And after murder'd, need is not I tell.
What therefore thou canst not have heard, that is,
means to betray the Count Ugolino, and caused him to be suddenly attacked in his palace by the fury of the people, whom he had exasperated by telling them that Ugolino had betrayed Pisa, and given up their castles to the citizens of Florence and of Lucca. He was immediately compelled to surrender; his bastard son and his grandson fell in the assault; and two of his sons, with their two sons also, were conveyed to prison." G. Villani, lib. 7. cap. cxx. "In the following March, the Pisans, who had imprisoned the Count Ugolino, with two of his sons and two of his grandchildren, the offspring of his son the Count Guelfo, in a tower on the Piazza of the Anziani, caused the tower to be locked, the key thrown into the Arno, and all food to be withheld from them. In a few days they died of hunger; but the Count first with loud cries declared his penitence, and yet neither priest nor friar was allowed to shrive him. All the five, when dead, were dragged out of the prison, and meanly interred; and from thenceforward the tower was called the tower of famine, and so shall ever be." Ibid. cap. cxxvii. Troya asserts that Dante, for the sake of poetical effect, has much misrepresented the real facts. See his Veliro Allegorico di Dante, ed. 1826, p. 28, 9. This would render a conjecture, which the same writer elsewhere hazards, still more improbable; that the story might have been written by Dante when the facts were yet recent, and afterwards introduced into his poem. Ibid. p. 96. Chaucer has briefly told Ugolino's story. See Monke's Tale, Hugeline of Pise.
1 Several moons. Many editions, and the greater part of the MSS., instead of "più lune," read "più lume;" according to which reading Ugolino would say, that the day had broke, and shone through the grated window of the prison, before he fell asleep.
2 Unto the mountain.] The mountain S. Giuliano between Pisa and Lucca.
Now had they waken'd; and the hour drew near
The horrible tower: whence, uttering not a word,
I wept not so all stone I felt within.1
They wept and one, my little Anselm, cried,
Through agony I bit; and they, who thought
O' the sudden, and cried, 'Father, we should grieve
1 All stone I felt within.] "My heart is turn'd to stone; I strike it, and it hurts my hand." Shakspeare, Othello, act iv. sc. 1.
2 Thou gavest.]
Tu ne vestisti
Queste misere carni, e tu le spoglia.
Imitated by Filicaja, Canz. iii. :
Di questa Imperial caduca spoglia
Tu, Signor, me vestisti e tu mi spoglia:
And by Maffei in the Merope:
Queste misere membra e tu le annodi.