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When Love Divine those glorious worlds along
So by that beast was I dishearten'd quite,
Downward involved me in the shades of night.
" The hour of the day, and the season of the year, induced the hope that the Leopard would prove harmless. This animal is said to retire to its den at sun-rise in the spring. Allegorically, envy is subdued by the tranquillizing influence of the morning, and by love inspired by the season.
Thus hurrying down the shelter'd ground to reach
I answer'd all abash'd. ‘O light and glory
* Pride. * Avarice.
* This line is said to refer to the neglect of classical 'literature in
Italy during the dark ages,
Of other bards ! now may the long endeavour
Who will afflict her sore, and bruise her head.
* Contemplation, and not action, was the vocation of the Poet. It was indirectly—by means of his poem—that he was to benefit his country and mankind.
* Comparing this passage with Parad. xvii. 76—90, and especially
Not of the earth or earthly vanities,
Each one a second death invoking there.
with the lines
it seems probable that the Veltro, or Greyhound, is intended to denote Can Grande della Scala, who is unquestionably the person referred to in the above passage from the Paradiso. Can Grande was one of Dante's chief friends in exile. He was called ‘catulus Veronae.' Other references to him are traced in Purg. xx. 13 ; xxxiii. 40.
* Feltro, in the Marca Trivigiana, and Montefeltro, in Romagna.
* ‘Umile Italia.' So interpreted by Buti. Cary and others think
And thou shalt see those others, who are fain
That I from this and greater evil may
that the expression was suggested by Virgil's
* Beatrice, the daughter of Folco Portinari, whom Dante met for the first time in A.D. 1274, when he was nine years old. He describes this meeting and its effect upon him at the opening of “La vita nuova.'
* Dante's words, “ribellante alla sua legge,' must be taken to mean simply—as Signor Bianchi remarks—‘alieno dalla sua legge o non seguace di essa.' Otherwise the passage is directly at variance with the statement in Canto iv., that the spirits in Limbo, of whom Virgil was one, had not 'sinned.' See Cant. iv, 34, &c.