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I was agnized of one, who by the skirt
Caught me, and cried, “What wonder have we here ?"

And I, when he to me outstretch'd his arm,
Intently fix'd my ken on his parch'd looks,
That, although smirch'd with fire, they hinder'd not
But I remember'd him ; and towards his face

My hand inclining, answer'd : “Ser Brunetto !1 1 Brunetto.] “Ser Brunetto, a Florentine, the secretary or chancellor of the city, and Dante's preceptor, hath left us á work so little read, that both the subject of it and the language of it have been mistaken. It is in the French spoken in the reign of St. Louis, under the title of Tresor , and contains a species of philosophical course of lectures divided into theory and practice, or, as he expresses it, un enchaussement des choses divines et humaines,” etc. Sir R. Clayton's Translation of Tenhove's Memoirs of the Medici, vol. i. ch. ii. p. 104. The Tresor has never been printed in the original language. There is a fine manuscript of it in the British Museum, with an illuminated portrait of Brunetto in his study, prefixed. Mus. Brit. MSS. 17. E. 1. Tesor. It is divided into four books : the first, on Cosmogony and Theology ; the second, a translation of Aristotle's Ethics; the third, on Virtues and Vices; the fourth, on Rhetoric. For an interesting memoir relating to this work, sec Hist. de l'Acad. des Inscriptions, tom. vii. 296. His Tesoretto, one of the earliest productions of Italian poetry, is a curious work, not unlike the writings of Chaucer in style and numbers; though Bembo remarks, that his pupil, however largely he had stolen from it, could not have much enriched himself. As it is perhaps but little known, I will here add a slight sketch of it. Brunetto describes himself as returning from an embassy to the King of Spain, on which he had been sent by the Guelph party from Florence. On the plain of Roncesvalles he meets a scholar on a bay mule-un scolaio

There a scholar I espied
Sur un muletto baio.

On a bay mule that did ride. --who tells him that the Guelfi are driven out of the city with great loss. Struck with grief at these mournful tidings, and musing with his head bent downwards, he loses his road, and wanders into a wood. Here Nature, whose figure is described with sublimity, appears, and discloses to him the secrets of her operations. After this, he wanders into a desertDeh che paese fiero

Well-away! what fearsul ground
Trovai in quella parte. In that savage part I found.

Che s'io sapessi d'arte If of art I aught could ken,
Quivi mi bisognava.

Well behoved me use it then.
Che quanto più mirava More I look’d, the more I deem'l
Più mi parea selvaggio.

That it wild and desert seem'd.
Quivi non a viaggio,

Not a road was there in sight,
Quivi non a persone,

Not a house, and not a wight;
Quivi non a magione. Not a bird, and not a brute,
Non bestia non uccello, Not a rill, and not a root;

Non fiume non ruscello, Not an emmet, not a fly,
Non formica non mosca, Not a thing I mote descry:

Non cosa ch'io conosca. Sore I doubted therewithal
Ed io pensando forte

Whether death would me befal:
Dottai ben della morte, Nor was wonder, for around
E non è maraviglia,

Full three hundred miles of grounıl
Che ben trecento miglia, Right across on every side
Durava d'ogni lato,

Lay the desert bare and wide.
Quel paese smagato.

And are ye here ?" He thus to me: “My son !
Oh let it not displease thee, if Brunetto
Latini but a little space with thee
Turn back, and leave his fellows to proceed."

I thus to him replied: "Much as I can,
I thereto pray thee; and if thou be willing
That I here seat me with thee, I consent;
His leave, with whom I journey, first obtain'd.”

“O son!” said he, “whoever of this throng
One instant stops, lies then a hundred years,
No fan to ventilate him, when the fire
Smites sorest. Pass thou therefore on. I close
Will at thy garments walk, and then rejoin
My troop, who go mourning their endless doom.”

I dared not from the path descend to tread
On equal ground with him, but held my head

Bent down, as one who walks in reverent guise. -and proceeds on his way, under the protection of a banner with which Nature had furnished him, till on the third day he finds himself in a pleasant champain, where are assembled many emperors, kings, and sages :

Un gran piano giocondo Wide and far the champain lay,

Lo più gajo del mondo None in all the earth so gay.

E lo più degnitoso. It is thy habitation of Virtue and her daughters, the four Cardinal Virtues. Here Brunetto sees also Courtesy, Bounty, Loyalty, and Prowess, and hears the instructions they give to a knight, which occupy about a fourth part of the poem. Leaving this territory, he passes over valleys, mountains, woods, forests, and bridges, till he arrives in a beautiful valley covered with flowers on all sides, and the richest in the world ; but which was continually shifting its appearance from a round figure to a square, from obscurity to light, and from populousness to solitude. This is the region of Pleasure, or Cupid, who is accompanied by four ladies, Love, Hope, Fear, and Desire. In one part of it he meets with Ovid, and is instructed by him how to conquer the passion of love, and to escape from that place. After his escape, he makes his confession to a friar, and then returns to the forest of visions ; and, ascending a mountain, meets with Ptolemy, a venerable old man. Here the narrative breaks off

. The poem ends, as it began, with an address to Rustico di Filippo, on whom he lavishes every sort of praise.

It has been observed that Dante derived the idea of opening his poem by describing himself as lost in a wood, from the Tesoretto of his master. * I know not whether it has been remarked, that the crime of usury is branded by both these poets as offensive to God and Nature :

Un altro, che non cura One, that holdeth not in mind

Di Dio ne di Natura, Law of God or Nature's kind,
Si diventa usuriere.

Taketh him to usury. or that the sin for which Brunetto is condemned by his pupil is mentioned in his Tesoretto with great horror. But see what is said on this subject by Perticari, Degli Scrittori del Trecento, lib. 1. cap. iv. Dante's twenty-fifth sonnet is a jocose one, addressed to Brunetto, of which a translation is inserted in the Life of Dante prefixed. He died in 1295. G. Villani sums up his account of him by saying, that he was himself a worldly man ; but that be was the first to refine the Florentines from their grossness, and to instruct them in speaking properly, and in conducting the affairs of the republic on principles of policy.

“What chance or destiny," thus he began,
“Ere the last day, conducts thee here below ?
And who is this that shows to thee the way ?"

“There up aloft," I answerd, “in the life
Serene, I wander'd in a valley lost,
Before mine age 1 had to its fulness reach'd.
But yester-morn I left it: then once more
Into that vale returning, him I met;
And by this path homeward he leads me back.”

“If thou," he answer'd, "follow but thy star,
Thou canst not miss at last a glorious haven;
Unless in fairer days my judgment err'd.
And if my fate so early had not chanced,
Seeing the heavens thus bounteous to thee, I
Had gladly given thee comfort in thy work.
But that ungrateful and malignant race,
Who in old times came down from Fesole,?
Ay and still smack of their rough mountain-flint,
Will for thy good deeds show thee enmity:
Nor wonder; for amongst ill-savour'd crabs
It suits not the sweet fig-tree lay her fruit.
Old fame reports them in the world for blind, 3
Covetous, envious, proud. Look to it well :
Take heed thou cleanse thee of their ways. For thee,
Thy fortune hath such honour in reserve,
That thou by either party shalt be craved
With hunger keen : but be the fresh herb far
From the goat's tooth. The herd of Fesole
May of themselves make litter, not touch the plant,
If any such yet spring on their rank bed,
In which the holy seed revives, transmitted
From those true Romans, who still there remain'il,
When it was made the nest of so much ill."

“Were all my wish fulfill'd," I straight replierl,
“Thou from the confines of man's nature yet
Hadst not been driven forth ; for in my mind
Is fix'l, and now strikes full upon my heart,
The dear, benign, paternal image, such

? Before mine age.] On the whole, Vellutello's explanation of this is, I think, most satisfactory. He supposes it to mean, "before the appointed end of his life was arrived—before his days were accomplished.” Lombardi, concluding that the fulness of age must be the same as "the midway of this our mortal life” (see Canto i. v. 1), understands that he had lost himself in the wood before that time, and that he then only discovered his having gone astray.

2 iho in old times came down from Fesole.] See G. Villani, Hist. lib. 4. cap. v. and Macchiav. Hist. of Flor. b. 2.

Blind.] It is said that the Florentines were thus called, in consequence of their having been deceived by a shallow artifice practised on them by the Pisans, in the year 1117. See G. Villani, lib. 4. cap. xxx.

As thine was, when so lately thou didst teach me
The way for man to win eternity: **
And how I prized the lesson, it behoves,
That, long as life endures, my tongue should speak.
What of my fate thou tell’st, that write I down ;
And, with another text 1 to comment on,
For her I keep it, the celestial dame,
Who will know all, if I to her arrive.
This only would I have thee clearly note :
That, so my conscience have no plea against me,
Do Fortune as she list, I stand prepared.
Not new or strange such earnest to inine ear.
Speed Fortune then her wheel, as likes her best ;
The clown his mattock ; all things have their course.”

Thereat my sapient guide upon his right
Turn'd himself back, then look'd at me, and spake :
“He listens to good purpose who takes note.”

I not the less still on my way proceed,
Discoursing with Brunetto, and inquire
Who are most known and chief among his tribe.

“To know of some is well ;" he thus replied,
“But of the rest silence may best beseem.
Time would not serve us for report so long:
In brief I tell thee, that all these were clerks,
Men of great learning and no less renown,
By one same sin polluted in the world.
With them is Priscian ;? and Accorso's son,
Francesco, herds among that wretched throng :
And, if the wish of so impure a blotch
Possess'd thee, him 4 thou also mightst have seen,

Who by the servants' servantó was transferr'd With another text.] He refers to the prediction of Farinata, in Canto x. 2 Priscian.] There is no reason to believe, as the commentators observe, that the grammarian of this name was stained with the vice imputed to him; and we must therefore suppose that Dante puts the individual for the species, and implies the frequency of the crime among those who abused the opportunities which the education of youth afforded them, to so abominable a purpose.

3 Francesco.] Accorso, a Florentine, interpreted the Roman law at Bologna, and died in 1229, at the age of 78. His authority was so great as to exceed that of all the other interpreters, so that Cino da Pistoia termed him the Idol of Advocates. His sepulchre, and that of his son Francesco here spoken of, is at Bologna, with this short epitaph: “Sepulcrum Accursii Glossatoris et Francisci ejus Filii.” See Guidi Panziroli, De Claris Legum Interpretibus, lib. 2. cap. xxix. Lips. 4to, 1721.

4 Him.] Andrea de' Mozzi, who, that his scandalous life might be less exposed to observation, was translated either by Nicolas III. or Boniface VIII. from the see of Florence to that of Vicenza, through which passes the river Bacchiglione. At the latter of these places he died. 5 The servants' servant.) Servo de servi. So Ariosto, Sat. iii.

Degli servi
Io sia il gran servo

From Arno's seat to Bacchiglione, where
His ill-strain'd nerves he left. I'more would add,
But must from further speech and onward way
Alike desist ; for yonder I behold
A mist new-risen on the sandy plain.
A company, with whom I may not sort,
Approaches. I commend my Treasure to thee,
Wherein I yet survive; my sole request."

This said, he turn'd, and seem'd as one of those
Who o'er Verona’s champain try their speed
For the green mantle ; and of them he seem’d,
Not he who loses but who gains the prize,


Argument. Journeying along the pier, which crosses the sand, they are now so near the

end of it as to hear the noise of the stream falling into the eighth circle, when they meet the spirits of three military men ; who judging Dante, from his dress, to be a countryman of theirs, entreat him to stop. He complies, and speaks with them. The two Poets then reach the place where the water descends, being the termination of this third compartment in the seventh circle; and here Virgil having thrown down into the hollow a cord, wherewith Dante was girt, they behold at that signal a monstrous and horrible figure come swimming up to them.

Now came I where the water's din was heard,
As down it fell into the other round,
Resounding like the hum of swarming bees :
When forth together issued from a troop,
That pass'd beneath the fierce tormenting storm,
Three spirits, running swift. They towards us came,
And each one cried aloud, “Oh! do thou stay,
Whom, by the fashion of thy garb, we deem
To be some inmate of our evil land."

Ah me! what wounds I mark'd upon their limbs,
Recent and old, inflicted by the flames.
E'en the remembrance of them grieves me yet.

Attentive to their cry, my teacher paused,
And turn'd to me his visage, and then spake :

“Wait now : our courtesy these merit well :
1 I commend my Treasure to thee.] Brunetto's great work, the Tresor :

Sieti raccomandato 'l mio Tesoro.
So Giusto de' Conti, in his Bella Mano, Son. “Occhi :

Siavi raccomandato il mio Tesoro.

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