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Descried us, savage Cerberus, he oped
We, o'er the shades thrown prostrate by the brunt
They all along the earth extended lay,
No more he said, and I my speech resumed :
He then : “After long striving they will come
1 Ciacco.] So called from his inordinate appetite; Ciacco, in Italian, signifying a pig. The real name of this glutton has not been transmitted to us. He is introduced in Boccaccio's Decameron, Giorn. ix. Nov. 8.
2 The divided city.] The city of Florence, divided into the Bianchi and Neri factions.
To blool ; and the wild party from the woods 1
Their minds on working good. Oh! tell me where
They bide, and to their knowledge let me come. 1 The wild party from the woods.) So called, because it was headed by Veri de' Cerchi, whose family had lately come into the city from Acone, and the woody country of the Val di Nievole.
2 The other.] The opposite party of the Neri, at the head of which was Corso Donati.
3 This must fall.] The Bianchi.
Of one, who under shorc
6 The just are two in number.] Who these two were, the commentators are not agreed. Some understand them to be Dante himself and his friend Guido Cavalcanti. But this would argue a presumption, which our Poet himself elsewhere contradicts; for, in the Purgatory, he owns his consciousness of not being exempted from one at least of the three fatal sparks, which had set the hearts of all on fire." See Canto xiii. 126. Others refer the encomium to Barduccio and Giovanni Vespignano, adducing the following passage from Villani in support of their opinion: “In the year 1331 died in Florence two just and good men, of holy life and conversation, and bountiful in almsgiving, although laymen. The one was named Barduccio, and was buried in & Spirito, in the place of the Frati Romitani : the other, named Giovanni da Vespignano, was buried in S. Pietro Maggiore. And by each, God showed open miracles, in healing the sick and lunatic after divers manners; and for each there was ordained a solemn funeral, and many images of wax set up in discharge of vows that had been made. G. Villani, lib. 10. cap. clxxix. * Avarice, envy, pride.] Invidia, superbia ed avarizia
Vedea moltiplicar tra miei figliuoli.
Fazio degli Uberti, Dittamondo, lib. 1. cap. xxix. 8 Of Farinata and Tegghiaio.] See Canto x. and Notes, and Canto xvi. and 9 Giacopo.] Giacopo Rusticucci. See Canto xvi. and Notes.
10 Arrigo, Mosca.] Of Arrigo, who is said by the commentators to have been of the noble family of the Fifanti, no mention afterwards occurs. Mosca degli Uberti, or de' Lamberti, is introduced in Canto xxviii.
For I am prest with keen desire to hear
This said, his fixed eyes he turn'd askance,
When thus my guide : "No more his bed he leaves,
He then : “Consult thy knowledge ;3 that decides,
1 Resume.] Imitatel by Frezzi :
Allor ripiglieran la carne e l'ossa ;
Li rei oscuri, e i buon con splendori
Per la virtù della divina possa. Il Quadr. lib. 4. cap. xv. ? Touching.] Conversing, though in a slight and superficial manner, on the life to come.
3 Consult thy knowledge.] We are referred to the following passage in St. Augustin :-“Cum fiet resurrectio carnis, et bonorum gaulia et malorum tormenta majora erunt.”_" At the resurrection of the flesh, both the happi. ness of the good and the torments of the wicked will be increased."
Argument. In the present Canto, Dante describes his descent into the fourth circle, at the
beginning of which he sees Plutus stationed. Here one like doom awaits the prodigal and the avaricious; which is, to meet in direful conflict, rolling great weights against each other with mutual upbraidings. From hence Virgil takes occasion to show how vain the goods that are committed into the charge of Fortune ; and this moves our author to inquire what being that Fortune is, of whom he speaks : which question being resolved, they go down into the fifth circle, where they find the wrathful and gloomy tormented in the Stygian lake. Having made a compass round great part of this lake, they come at last to the base of a lofty tower.
“Ah me! O Satan! Satan!”1 loud exclaim'd
As sails, full spread and bellying with the wind,
Thus we, descending to the fourth steep ledge,
Gain'd on the dismal shore, that all the woe 11h me! O Satan! Satan!] Pape Satan, pape Satan, aleppe.
Pape is said by the commentators to be the same as the Latin word papo, “strange!” Of aleppe they do not give a more satisfactory account. See the Life of Benvenuto Cellini, translated by Dr. Nugent, v. ii. b. 3. cap. vii. p. 113, where he mentions “having heard the words, Paix, paix, Satan ! allez, paix ! in the courts of justice at Paris. I recollected what Dante said, when he with his master Virgil entered the gates of hell: for Dante, and Giotto the painter, were together in France, and visited Paris with particular attention, where the court of justice may be considered as hell. Hence it is that Dante, who was likewise perfect master of the French, made use of that expression ; and I have often been surprised that it was never understood in that sense.
The first adulterer proud.], Satan. The word “fornication," or “adultery," "strupo,” is here used for a revolt of the affections from God, according to the sense in which it is often applied in Scripture. But Monti, following. Grassi's Essay on Synonymes, supposes "strupo” to mean " troop; " the word "strup” being still used in the Piemontese dialect for “a flock of sheep," and answering to “troupeau" in French. In that case, "i superbo strupo” would signify “the troop of rebel angels who sinned through pride,"
Hems in of all the universe. Ah me!
E'en as a billow,2 on Charybdis rising,
He straight replied: "In their first life, these all
Avarice dominion absolute maintains." 1 In what store thou heap'st.] Some understand “chi stipa” to mean either “who can imagine," or " who can describe the torments,” etc. I have followed Landino, whose words, though very plain, seem to have been mistaken by Lombardi : "Chi stipa, chi accumula, ed insieme raccoglie ; quasi dica, tu giustizia aduni tanti supplicii.", 2 'Een as a billow.]
As when two billows in the Irish sowndes,
Spenser, F. Q. b. 4. c. i. st. 42. 3 Popes and Cardinals.] Ariosto, having personified Avarice as a strange and hideous monster, says of her-
Peggio facea nella Romana corte,