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such a salute between such relatives was highly wrong; and if I pretended the contrary, I should be totally unworthy of the punctilious moralist, I aqi commenting, who in another world sentences their misdemeanour, and does not advert to any one of the palliations in their excuse . It suffered on earth condign punishment without delay: for a servant having, through a cranny in the wainscot, witnessed that unguarded act, he hurried to inform his master of it, who was, as usual, absent from home. Scanatus was not of the delicacy to scorn listening to a mercenary tale-bearer , nor of a character to bridle his indignation till the matter was investigated, much less to give way to any self-culpations: so he hurried back to Rimini with his ferocious temper irritated to madness . The servant had only told him what 'he Anew to be true, 'viz. that kiss (0; for that these words only imply a kiss, and by no means any thing adulterous, is certain from the very man who uses them, Boccaccio, being the same who, as I have shown already, affirms possitively that he had never heard Francesca accused of adultery. Unfertunately the husband, swelled up to that state of unreflecting violence, was led to the staircase at the very moment that his brother in full dress with the collar of his order of knighthood, and in his mantle and buff coat of mail 00, was entering Francesca's room.
(i) . . . cid clie sapea. Borcarc'to ut supra.
(») He bad on bis coreuo ( says Boccaccio ) which appears to have (UNTO T.
The cholerick Prince never considered that such visits were most wonted; and that, if his poor brother had any culpable design, he would never have resorted to it in those distinguished habiliments. No time was allowed to any indiscretion on the present occasion: for scarcely had Paul entered the room, when Scanatus called furiously to his wife to come down; upon which Paul, hearing the angry exclamation, instead of returning, went forward and descended to go away by another flight of stairs. But Scanatus hearing his tread turned into a corridore, so that he met Paul as he landed on the first floor; and when this latter, on beholding the other run towards him with fierce menaces and a drawn sword, sprang to elude if possible rather than wait a fraternal contest, the above mentioned golden collar got entangled with a nail projecting from the door of a draw-well fabricated
in the wall a curious contrivance to be found
in many rooms of old houses in Italy ('). At this
been a kind of rich mantle, for its jalda, or hem is spoken of. The M. S. describes him as wearing a losetto, which may mean a coat of mail of dressed skin; or a collar, since it mentions its maglia or links. Neither tosttto, nor corretto, however is to be found in the Vocabolario. That Paul was in some kind of a remarkably brilliant full dress is certain.
(i) I here rather follow the M. S. Boccaccio thinks it was down the draw-well iWelf Paul endeavoured to escape, and that when Franceses opened the door of her room ( for it had been bolted ) to Scanatus, he saw Paul who in descending had been caught by a nail in the well. But, in the first place, few rooms in old houses in Italy are without » second door through which there is an escape; and then those wells are so narrow that to descend by tham is nearly impracticable, anal . <UHTO v.
instant Francesca appeared, and, seeing one brother unarmed and hanging, and the other rushing towards him with a naked weapon,she flung herself between ; and struggling with her infuriated lord, who, perfectly out of his senses, struck about him with his blade, one of those random lounges ran both her and Paul through the body. Their death was then direful, but not premeditated; and their slayer was the brutalized personification of jealousy and rage, but no murderer (0. This bloody catastrophe was acted in i289 about two years before Polenta went as Podestato Florence. Scanatus lost no time in consoling himself with a new wife; and, on her death, married a third within two years after Francesca's tragical end. A son, whom he had by her, died in child-hood: but he left a numerous progeny by his other wives. ' Paul, the
even if it were otherwise, Paul hanging within it would not have been exposed to Scanatut's sword, much less could that sword have passed through him and Franceses at the same time; for to do so, it must also have passed through the wall. The M. S account then is the more credible. But this slight variance ( as well as whether it was by the hem of the comto, or one of the links of the tosetto he was caught ) is only a proof of the veracity of both writers. For it shows they did not copy each other, although they are perfectly agreed in substance.
(i) Veduto Polo entrare nella camera di Madonna Francesca, fu Gianciotto in quel panto menato all'uscio, e rhiam6 fuori la donna (Boccaccio ut supra): Polo fu sopraggiuuto da lui nella camera rhe rispondea di sotto; e si sarebbe partito senoncbe una maglia del tosetto (la falda del corctto, according to Boccaccio) ch'egli areva indosso s'appicco ad una punta d'aguto dclla cateratta , e rimase cosi appiccato. Lanciotto gli corse addosso con uno spun tone. La donna entr& nel mezzo , di die menando e credendo dare a lui (avvenne quello ch'egli non avrebbe vulutn, says Boccaccio) diede alia moglie ed uccisela, ed amazz6 ivi inedesimamente Polo dove era impiccato. M. S. ut supra.
beautiful* (who was a widower, though a very juvenile.one, when he first saw Francesca) had a son whom his uncle, Scanatus, was suspected of an intention 'to murder , in order to prevent his avenging his father's death . But the boy escaped , and, in turn, conspired against his uncle. Plots and counter-plots succeeded between the son and the slayer of ' Paul the beautiful;'nor did the nephew ever cease from roving, until the demise of Scanatus, in I3o4 , permitted him to return home. The palace in Rimini is still pointed out, where the unfortunate lovers are said to have been sacrificed; and they were certainly buried in the Augustine Church in that town; for their bodies were found there three hundred years afterwards, when the silk mantles in which they were wrapt up appeared still quite fresh and brilliant: but some pretend that their slaughter took place at Pesaro, where Scanatus had a castle, from the tower of which their bodies were flung into the sea; although 'they were soon piously picked up and conveyed to -Rimini for interment (').
If this account be correct (and, I believe, no qucs
(i) Cleroentini, Bacc. 1st. di Rimini. This difference as to whether they ?ere killed at Pesaro, or Rimini, as well as another with regard to the date ( for some postpone it as late as i296 , but evidently erroneously), proves there was much mystery endeavoured to be thrown over the whole catastrophe: aud as it was clearly the interest of the Malatesti to blacken Prancesca's fame, aud scarcely of her own family, who had so sacrificed her, to defend it, it is no wonder she was mal-trcatod by the chroniclers of both Rimini and Ravenna .
tion but it is) the imputation against all the three is much diminished; and not only the luckless ladj and her paramour, but even their slayer is to be held still more unfortunate than guilty: so that he, on whom the heaviest load of culpability presses, is the miserable father, Polenta. He however was Dante's intimate friend, and his repentance was so severe , that, it is likely, his state of mind rather challenged commiseration, than reproach: besides , it is Francesca herself that is about to speak, and what daughter shall ever be made reproach her parents? On recapitulating all the circumstances I dare say it will be thought, that, as a display of poetic judgment (in awaking the fullest sympathy for sufferers, without a single reference to the most hateful truths of the tale) nothing can be more perfect than this episode: but as to its pretensions to the grand qualities of composition , I am completely of the opinion of those, who ridicule the vulgar notion of its meriting any thing like the Grst rank in the Divine Comedy; and who aver that, if Oltremontani are more profuse than any Italian in extolling its beauties, it is not because they appreciate them better than a well educated Italian , but because they are ignorant of the numerous beauties of a vastly superior order, with which Italians are familiar in the Purgatory and
Paradise two canticles, that contain a quantity
of poetry incomparably finer, than any thing to be found in this one of Hell (0. (i) I have said nothing of Peter, or Jacob Alighieri in this Article;