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angel at the entrance of each ascent (').' Much confusion has arisen by the commentators not distinguishing between this golden devil, and the king of hell, and calling both Pluto. No such confusion is introduced by Dante himself; for he terms the king of Hell, Satano, Dite, Lucifero: and no better proof needs be of his considering the king of hell and this fiend of gold two different beings, than that we shall find the latter calling for assistance from the former in the first line of next Canto. In Italian it is easy to confuse them, because the distinction between the words Pluto and Plutone is small; and many writers have not chosen to observe it. But to translate this money-God's name into Latin Pluto, or into French Pluton , is surely an error; yet is it done lately by two Professors in France and Italy (»). In French and Latin, as well as in English, the name is Plutus, and in Greek llASros (3); the king of hell is termed in English and Latin Pluto, and (at least generally ) in Greek "Ait or Uxqtusv (*). Pluto was the son of Ops in Mythology and was

(i) Comento Vol. i. p. i57.

(a) Pluton le grand eunemi preside au quatrieme. M. Ginguene, Hilt. Litt. d'ltalie, vol. a. p. 64. — Hie Plutonem invenimui. Inf. trad, dal Dott. A. Catellacci, P. P. etc. etc.

(3) nX«ro;, Plutus, Deus divitiarura . Lexicon Ernest.

(4) *Al{, Orcus, Pluto rjXa'rw, Dis, Pluto. Id. Id.

So

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Alma Ceres Plutum peperit conjunct* in a more

Hesiod. — Nat. Com. Lib. a. p. i7ft.

(a) Plutonem ac Ccrerem Saturnus genult. Genealogia Deor. Lib. vin. cap. 4. — Eren Aquino it inaccurate here, for he translates Rex Erebi; and this is a title not appertaining to Plutus . — Pluto , quern iafernornin Deum putarint antiqui, natus eit ex Opi et Saturoo . Nat. Comitis, Myth. Lib. a. p. i73.

Note . I should have observed, Dante's vehemence against intemperance was, perhaps, heightened by his own habits; for these have more or less influence over our opinions. 'He was a man of singular sobriety both in eating and drinking: and, though he used to praise good cookery, he always chose for himself the plainest dish; and even of it eat most sparingly.' Jaun. Manetti, Vita Dan lis. p. Zj.

COMMENT

HELL

CANTO THE SEVESTH.
A i.

w e now enter the fourth Circle or the domain of the wolfish demon, Plutus; where the slaves of money, both misers and prodigals, are seen rolling about and tilting at each other frightfully breast to breast (0. They are moreover so disfigured by filth, that Dante finds it impossible to recognise any one among them. From their shaven crowns however, he perceives the majority to be Churchmen . This inability to know individuals engages the travellers to descend into a lower circle; and they do so through a hole, or conduit, which receiving a cataract that falls from above (to wit the Acheron before seen by us in the Vestibule, and which appears to have taken an invisible course ever since) leads down to the lake of Styx. This lake is the fifth Circle; and walking round it they behold a ferocious crew floundering

(i) . . . . . pugnanlia secum

Frontibus adttrsis .... noo ego avarurp
Cum veto te fieri, vappam jubeo aut nebulonem .

Hor. Sat- i. Lib. i.

C4BTO TiI.

therein: and at last, on approaching a tower, the Canto closes.

This fourth circle is, like the two preceding ones, without any division ; and, like them, presents a circular way i7 J miles wide , with a walk i4 miles high on its exterior edge, and on its interior the brink of the Tartarean pit. There is a spot near this interior edge, which is rendered remarkable by a cleft wherein is a rush of waters; which, having kepjt an invisible conduit throughout the three first circles, now reveal it for an instant, and then continue their course .

I have premised, that both avarice and prodigality are punished here together: and, if there be a golden mean which is virtue, there is perhaps no more exemplary mode of inculcating it , than by thus subjecting its various violators to one and the same punishment. This indeed is true with regard to vices in general; they are extremes that not only deviate from the point of reason, but that in proportion to that deviation decrease, instead of increasing, their mutual distance; so the more they are removed from tbeir common centre, the more they approach each other; and at last draw so near that it is difficult to distinguish which is which, the affinity twixt their most noxious qualities uniting them; and the consequent effects being very similar, or quite identical: thus luxurious delicacy and gross indelicacy are equally culpable, since when pushed to their GAHTO TiI.

full, they both lead to the self-same ruin, that of brutalizing the mind and enfeebling the body . But though luxury have its opposite, and voluptuousness likewise (for man is bound to preserve his frame by a cheerful partaking of the gifts of

God and nature and increase and multiply is

not less a command to most human creatures, because its fulfilment is recompensed in this existence by one of the purest of enjoyments, lawful love), yet the transgressions that really occur in this way are so few, and indicate such insanity, as not to merit notice in a didactic poem. And this is the reason why they were not inserted in the preceding circles of Tartarus : for as to those who so transgressed (or pretended to do ) with still more vicious inclinations, hypocrisy, revenge, or contempt of Providence, their dens are below any thing yet come to. But that both deviations from the centre of virtue are wicked , can be predicated with regard to nothing more strikingly than to avarice and prodigality: these at a certain temperature become completely amalgamated, and circumstances occur in which their infamous produce is exactly the same hard-heartedness and villainy. The miser will do any bad or dirty action to get money, and so will the spendthrift; and it is very dubious which of the two is more guilty towards himself and the public

he whose hoarding deprives industry of its

capital and corrupts his own mind by that sordid

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