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And were 't not for the nature of the place,
Whence glide the fiery darts, I should have said,
That haste had better suited thee than them."

They, when we stopp'd, resumed their ancient wail,
And, soon as they had reach'd us, all the three
Whirld round together in one restless wheel.
As naked champions, smeard with slippery oil,
Are wont, intent, to watch their place of hold
And vantage, ere in closer strife they meet;
Thus each one, as he wheel’d, his countenance
At me directed, so that opposite
The neck moved ever to the twinkling feet.

“If woe of this unsound and dreary waste,"
Thus one began, “added to our sad cheer
Thus peeld with flame, do call forth scorn on us
And our entreaties, let our great renown
Incline thee to inform us who thou art,
That dost imprint, with living feet unharm'd,
The soil of Hell

. He, in whose track thou seest
My steps pursuing, naked though he be
And reft of all, was of more high estate
Than thou believest ; grandchild of the chaste

Gualdrada,1 him they Guidoguerra call’d, Gualdrada.] Gualdrada was the daughter of Bellincione Berti, of whom mention is made in the Paradise, Canto xv. and xvi. He was of the family of Ravignani, a branch of the Adimari. The Emperor Otho IV., being at a festival in Florence, where Gualdrada was present, was struck with her beauty; and inquiring who she was, was answered by Bellincione, that she was the daughter of one who, if it was his Majesty's pleasure, would make her admit the honour of his salute. On overhearing this, she arose from her seat, and blushing, in an animated tone of voice, desired her father that he would not be so liberal in his offers, for that no man should ever be allowed that freedom except him who should be her lawful husband. The Emperor was not less delighted by her resolute modesty than he had before been by the loveliness of her person; and calling to him Guido, one of his barons, gave her to him in marriage ; at the same time raising him to the rank of a count, and bestowing on her the whole of Casentino, and a part of the territory of Romagna, as her portion. Two sons were 'the offspring of this union, Ġuglielmo and Ruggieri ; the latter of whom was father of Guidoguerra, a man of great military skill and prowess; who, at the head of four hundred Florentines of the Guelph party, was signally instrumental to the victory obtained at Benevento by Charles of Anjou, over Manfredi, King of Naples, in 1265. One of the consequences of this victory was the expulsion of the Ghibellini, and the re-establishment of the Guelfi at Florence. Borghini (Disc. dell''Orig. di Firenze, ediz. 1755, pag. 6), as cited by Lombardi, endeavours by a comparison of dates to throw discredit on the above relation of Gualdrada's answer to her father, which is found in G, Villani, lib. 5. cap. xxxvii. : and Lombardi adds, that if it had been true, Bellincione would have been worthy of a place in the eighteeenth Canto of Hell, rather than of being mentioned with praise in the Paradise : to which it may be answered, that the proposal of the father, however irreconcileable it may be to our notions of modern refinement, might possibly in those times have been considered rather as a sportive sally than as à serious exposure of his daughter's innocence. The incident is related, in a

Who in his lifetime many a noble act 1
Achieved, both by his wisdom and his sword.
The other, next to me that beats the sand,
Is Aldobrandi," name deserving well,
In the upper world, of honour; and myself,
Who in this torment do partake with them,
Am Rusticucci,whom, past doubt, my wife,
Of savage temper, more than aught beside
Hath to this evil brought.” If from the fire
I had been shelter'd, down amidst them straight
I then had cast me; nor my guide, I deem,
Would have restrain'd my going : but that fear
Of the dire burning vanquish'd the desire,
Which made me eager of their wish'd embrace.

I then began : "Not scorn, but grief much more,
Such as long time alone can cure, your doom
Fix'd deep within me, soon as this my lord
Spake words, whose tenor taught me to expect
That such a race, as ye are, was at hand.
I am a countryman of yours, who still
Affectionate have utter'd, and have heard
Your deeds and names renown'd. Leaving the gall,
For the sweet fruit I go, that a sure guide
Hath promised to me. But behoves, that far
As to the centre first I downward tend."

"So may long space thy spirit guide thy limbs,"
He answer straight return'd; "and so thy fame
Shine bright when thou art gone, as thou shalt tell,
If courtesy and valour, as they wont,
Dwell in our city, or have vanish'd clean :
For one amidst us late condemn'd to wail,
Borsiere, 4 yonder walking with his peers,
Grieves us no little by the news he brings.”

“An upstart multitude and sudden gains, manner very unfavourable to Berti, by Francesco Sansovino, in one of his Novelle, inserted by Mr. Thomas Roscoe in his entertaining selection from the Italian Novelists, vol. iii. p. 137. | Many a noble act.]

Molto egli oprò col senno e con la mano. Tasso, G. L. c. i. st. 1. ? Aldobrandi.] Tegghiaio Aldobrandi was of the noble family of Adimari, and much esteemed for his military talents. He endeavoured to dissuade the Florentines from the attack which they meditated against the Siennese ; and the rejection of his counsel occasioned the memorable defeat which the former sustained at Montaperto, and the consequent banishment of the Guelfi from Florence.

3 Rusticucci.] Giacopo Rusticucci, a Florentine, remarkable for his opulence and the generosity of his spirit.

4 Borsiere.] Guglielmo Borsiere, another Florentine, whom Boccaccio, in a story which he relates of him, terms "a man of courteous and elegant manners, and of great readiness in conversation.” Dec. Giorn. i. Nov. 8.

Pride and excess, O Florence! have in thee
Engender'd, so that now in tears thou mourn’st !"

Thus cried I, with my face upraised, and they
All three, who for an answer took my words,
Look'd at each other, as men look when truth
Comes to their ear. “If at so little cost," 1
They all at once rejoin'd, "thou satisfy
Others who question thee, O happy thou !
Gifted with words so apt to speak thy thought.
Wherefore, if thou escape this darksome clime,
Returning to behold the radiant stars,
When thou with pleasure shalt retrace the past,
See that of us thou speak among mankind.'

This said, they broke the circle, and so swist
Fled, that as pinions seem'd their nimble feet.

Not in so short a time might one have said
“Amen," as they had vanish'd. Straight my guide
Pursued his track. I follow'd : and small space
Had we past onward, when the water's sound
Was now so near at hand, that we had scarce
Heard one another's speech for the loud din.

E'en as the river, that first holds its course
Unmingled, from the Mount of Vesulo,
On the left side of Apennine, toward
The east, which Acquacheta higher up
They call, ere it descend into the vale,
At Forli,. by that name no longer known,
Rebellows o'er Saint Benedict, rolld on
From the Alpine summit down a precipice,
Where space 5 enough to lodge a thousand spreads;

Thus downward from a craggy steep we found 1 At so little cost.] They intimate to our poet (as Lombardi well observes) the inconveniences to which his freedom of speech was about to expose him in the future course of his life. 2 When thou with pleasure shalt retrace the past.]

Quando ti gioverà dicere io fui. So Tasso, G. L. c. xv. st. 38 :

Quando mi gioverà narrar altrui

Le novità vedute, e dire ; io fui. 3 E'en as the river.] He compares the fall of Phlegethon to that of the Montone (a river in Romagna) from the Apennine above the Abbey of St. Benedict. . All the other streams, that rise between the sources of the Po and the Montone, and fall from the left side of the Apennine, join the Po, and accompany it to the sea.

4 Al Förli.] Because there it loses the name of Acquacheta, and takes that of Montone.

5 Where space.] Either because the abbey was capable of containing more than those who occupied it, or because (says Landino) the lords of that territory, as Boccaccio related on the authority of the abbot, had intended to build a castle near the waterfall, and to collect within its walls the population of the neighbouring villages.

That this dark wave resounded, roaring loud,
So that the ear its clamour soon had stunn'd.

I had a cord 1 that braced my girdle round,
Wherewith I erst had thought fast bound to take
The painted leopard. This when I had all
Unloosen'd from me (so my master bade)
I gather'd up, and stretch'd it forth to hím.
Then to the right he turn’d, and from the brink
Standing few paces distant, cast it down
Into the deep abyss. “And somewhat strange,"
Thus to myself I spake, "signal so strange
Betokens, which my guide with earnest eye
Thus follows." Ah! what caution must men use
With those who look not at the deed alone,
But spy into the thoughts with subtle skill.?

“Quickly shall come,” he said, “what I expect ;
Thine eye discover quickly that, whereof
Thy thought is dreaming." Ever to that truth,
Which but the semblance of a falsehood wears,
A man, if possible, should bar his lip;
Since, although blameless, he incurs reproach.

But silence here were vain ; and by these notes, ! A cord.] This passage, as it is confessed by Landino, involves a fiction sufficiently obscure. His own attempt to unravel it does not much lessen the difficulty. That which Lombardi has made is something better. It is believed that our Poet, in the earlier part of his life, had entered into the order of St. Francis. By observing the rules of that profession, he had designed to mortify his carnal appetites, or, as he expresses it, “to take the painted leopard” (that animal, which, as we have seen in a note to the first Canto, represented Pleasure) “ with this cord.” This part of the habit he is now desired by Virgil to take off; and it is thrown down the gulf, to allure Geryon to them with the expectation of carrying down one who had cloaked his iniquities under the garb of penitence and self-mortification; and thus (to apply to Dante on this occasion the words of Milton)

He, as Franciscan, thought to pass disguised. ? But spy into the thoughts with subtle skill.]

Sorrise Uranio, che per entro vede

Gli altrui pensier col senno. Menzini, Sonetto, Mentre io dormia. 3 Ever to that truth.] This memorable apophthegm is repeated by Luigi Pulci and Trissino:

Sempre a quel ver, ch' ha faccia di menzogna,
E più senno tacer la lingua cheta,
Che spesso senza colpa fa vergogna. Morgante Magg. c. xxiv.

La verità che par mensogna,

Si dovrebbe tacer dall'uom ch'è saggio. Italia Lib. c. xvi. 4 By these notes.] So Frezzi :

Per queste rime mie, lettor, ti giuro. n Quadrir. lib. 3. cap. xvi. In like manner, Pindar confirms his veracity by an oath : Ναι μα γαρ "Ορκον, έμαν δόξαν.

Nem. xi, 30. which is imitated, as usual, by Chiabrera :

Ed io lungo il Permesso
Sacro alle Muse obligherò mia fede. Canz. Erioche, xliii, 75.

Which now I sing, reader, I swear to thee,
So may they favour find to latest times !
That through the gross and murky air I spied
A shape come swimming up, that might have quell’d
The stoutest heart with wonder; in such guise
As one returns, who hath been down to loose
An anchor grappled fast against some rock,
Or to aught else that in the salt wave lies,
Who, upward springing, close draws in his feet.

CANTO XVII.

Argument. The monster Geryon is described ; to whom while Virgil is speaking in order

that he may carry them both down to the next circle, Dante, by permission, goes a little farther along the edge of the void, to descry the third species of sinners contained in this compartment, namely, those who have done violence to Art; and then returning to his master, they both descend, seated on the back of Geryon.

“Lo! the fell monster with the deadly sting,
Who passes mountains, breaks throughofenced walls
And firm embattled spears, and with his filth
Taints all the world." Thus me my guide address’d,
And beckon'd him, that he should come to shore,
Near to the stony causeway's utmost edge.

Forthwith that image vile of Fraud appeard,
His head and upper part exposed on land,
But laid not on the shore his bestial train.
His face the semblance of a just man's wore,
So kind and gracious was its outward cheer;
The rest was serpent all : two shaggy claws
Reach'd to the arm-pits ; and the back and breast,
And either side, were painted o'er with nodes
And orbits. Colours variegated more
Nor Turks nor Tartars e'er on cloth of state
With interchangeable embroidery wove,
Nor spread Arachne o'er her curious loom.
As oft-times a light skiff, moor'd to the shore,
Stands part in water, part upon the land;
Or, as where dwells the greedy German boor,
The beaver settles, watching for his prey ;
So on the rim, that fenced the sand with rock,
Sat perch'd the fiend of evil. In the void
Glancing, his tail upturn’d its venomous fork,

1 The fell monster.] Fraud.

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