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wondrous; rather the wonder Would be, had he been devoid of that knowledge and yet translated the psalms as he did; but what most may make us wonder is that his crowds of Orientalisms could so long have escaped attention. Whether he was right in introducing foreign tongues into his-poem with whatever grammatical accuracy, and in writing them all in the same characters; are two questions that may be discussed: but still I must premise that the opinion of Dante (let that of his readers be what it may) was deliberately in the affirmative; for we shall find him delivering, without once changing his Roman letters, not merely words and phrases and whole verses, (like this present one) but sometimes entire tiercets and even many tiercets together, not only in Hebrew and Arabic, but in Latin, Greek, French, German, etc. But whatever may be thought as to the propriety of clothing the verse before us in a strange dialect, there can be no demur as to the sublimity of the ideas it conveys, nor as to the vexation to be proved at finding such sublime ideas not merely not apprehended, but converted by dogmatical pretenders into very loathsome mummery. One of the best peculiarities of Dante's poetry is its true, tangible commonsense; and on few occasions is this more observable than on the present. Concede hemight indulge in Roman-written Hebrew, and there cannot be a controversy as to the precision with which he fits it to his purpose; since C4ITO fit.
this evidently was to indicate the money-fiend's antiquity and foulness, by making him speak in what is usually believed to be the oldest discoverable language, and to be capable of the most discordant sounds. Thus, he intended to strike the illiterate by the horrible dissonance of the hell-wolfs scream, and the learned by its tremen dous signification. Of this latter here is the substance. Plutus rendered furious by the intrusive boldness of a mortal, bellows down the infernal gulf for the king of the abyss ( Sitan ) to put forth his fiery head and annihilate the intruder by a single glimpse of it; an l such it were likely might have been the effect, had Satan put it forth now; since we shall hereafter Qnd Dante (although he had acquired full experience of how innoxious to him were monsters and atrocities of hell) smote with such horror and dismay at the first appearance of the damned Monarch, that it were hard to tell whether he was alive or dead; a state thaf he expresses by the hyperbole of declaring he was neither(0 /
Pa pe Satan! Pa pe Satan aleppe! Risplendeat facies Satani! Risplendeat facies Satani primarii! Or,as in Italian: Ti mostra, Satanasso! Ti mostra nella maesta dei tuoi splendori, principe
(i) lo Don mori', e non rimasi vivo.
Inferno Canto xxxiv. v. aS.
Saranasso !(0.* Look out, Satan! Look out in the majesty of thy splendors, princely Satan !' What venerable concision is that of the Origiual! Two long lines
Forth, Satan, forth! Thine awful forehead shine!
O princely Satan, for one gleam of thine!
ate scarcely a paraphrase .
The first observation that occurs, on looking at the above, is the almost miraculous fidelity with which the verse has been handed down during five centuries, by a multitude of copyists and printers not one of whom knew what they were doing . It is in general printed thus:
Pape Satan ! pape Satan , aleppe! Here we see are only two deviations from correctness: one of which (that of changing aleph into aleppe ) was clearly introduced by the Author himself; and the second (that of making a single word of pa and pe) was most natural, particularly among people so inimical to monosyllables as the Italians . Aleph (pjSn ) has no reference whatever to the interjection Ah: but it is the first Hebrew element,and therefore denotes unity and pre-eminence , and issynonimous with the latin primaries. Nor is the adjective chioccia (that comes immediately after) properly interpreted as meaning hoarse (rauca); for its precise signification is guttural (gutturale), and no doubt but it was expressly
(i) Or exactly syllable by syllable: Spleudi aspetto di Satanol Splettdi aipetto di Satauo primajo!
employed by Dante, as an exact linguist, to inform us of the true mode of pronouncing the words of Plutus who repeats so often that harsh guttural airt (V), which is quite characteristic of the Hebrew (0.
That such is the clear, indubitable solution of the verse under consideration, all Hebrew students will aver; and their astonishment at this disclosure not having been made long since > may be somewhat mitigated by the reflection of how strange in our eyes becomes even the tongue with which we are best acquainted (then much more a dead one ) if written in letters not its own. For
(i) I think it now superfluous to mention another attempt at interpreting this passage; wherein aleppe is derived from a provincialism of Val d'Arno. It seems the country people there have a word of nearly similar sound to signify flee ( fuggire ); so that Plutus would be bidding Dante flee. But even were this interpretation less forced , it could merit no attention after the direct proof of the other: — which is corroborated by so many Hebrew translations and derivations up aud down in Dante, aud by those from the tongue most nearly related to it, the Arabic; a« well as by an entire Arabic verse, which we shall find in Canto my of this same Canticle; to none of which a provincial origin can be ascribed. The Hebrew scholar will observe that our Saviour himself uses Balkan for Lucifer; and that though pe means properly mouth, it may be taken in the larger sense of front, or the entire countenance — facies; aud must be so on the present occasion , for we shall find Lucifer has three mouths. Ed e bene a rammaricarci de' Retori, ch' an uso nelle moderne scuole citare il Pnpe di Dante come verso da prendersi a beffe; e Dio volesse che insegnassero a metier tanto concetto in uu solo vrrso, quanto quel ne contiene: perciocche non sarebbe si folia la turba de' verseggintori, che dnlla prima Alpe alt ultimo Appennino con ventose parole rimbombano. Dissertation? dell' Ab. M. A. Lanci sui versi di Netnbrotte, ec. p. 44. In fact, I ha«e lately read a little M. S. tract, in which those verseggintori are estimated as being never less than three hundred thousand between Maples and Milan.
example, many Englishmen travelling in Greece and finding in a Greek poem
TheiSe urteai efiflw ewtju) flfrvt might give their assent to the opinion of the natives, that the line was a jargon put together in mere wantonness by the author; but should some one either luckier, or more attentive than his predecessors, pronounce it English, and, as a proof, transcribe it correctly
Glide, Ocean, with thy wavy blue; adding that evQei, for with thy, was so written to avoid monosyllables and not to repeat the theta, that in Ocean a sigma was substitued for c there being no c in the Greek alphabet, that f5 is the dipthong most resembling our w, that the a in wavy is changed into i> because such is its pronunciation, and that it is with the same attention to pronunciation that the^ in thy is made &, and that in wavy, i: I say that though here would be much more unavoidable alteration than in Dante's Hebrew, yet no Englisman coming after the first discoverer but would affirm the same, and treat every argument drawn from the improbability of the Greek poet's possessing any knowledge of English as ridiculous, when balanced with the other positive evidence; for it were certainly easier to believe that a Greek knew English (although there were no records to inform as that either he or any of his countrymen at that time did) than to persuade ourselves that a verse nei