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A Krfth Circle,or Stygian l,ake .
I . Ij ower Circle
.* Path .
3 S i6 n. alt o w r r .
4 Ditcn and. bastion.
may require a little drawing, to be quite clear. "Make no friendship with an angry man," (thus says the holy proverb) " and with a furious man thou shalt not go (0." Here are manifestly two kinds of wrathful men ; the first of whom we are told not to select for a friend, but with the second are absolutely prohibited from having any communication whatever: and 1 believe such was precisely the authority which induced Dante to make the distinction, which we find he does, of choler into two kinds. One of these (ungovernable, impetuous anger) is tormented on the surface of
Styx; and it is surely a wretched infirmity:
"make no friendship with an angry man ."
X. — Hi.
The obvious signification of Virgil's words is: 'it is anger that is punished in this lake; those whom you see on the surface, were men who allowed themselves to be habitually overpowered by transports of violence; and the bubbles that you see rising (or rather bourgeoning i,*)) all along the water, are the hard breathings of crowds who are there deeply immersed for having been con
(i) Proverbs, xxn, 24.
(a) The word is pullulate, and is a figurative expression drawn from the bourgeoning of plants. E propriamente lo spuntar de'ger- mogli dalle piante. Felice metafora! che esprime un siroil cang'tamento sulla saperficie dell'acqua per 1'eruzione dell'aria, ec. Poggiali, Ed- I.ivorn. vol. 3.p. i0i. Mr. Cary attends not to the metaphor.
• l>TO Tit.
taminated with a still worse description of the
same iniquity pent up anger, or hate.' This is
of a piece with what we shall see in the 'river of blood' of a future Canto; where the sufferers are plunged more or less deeply according to their gradations in the same crime, tyranny Ci). The ira of the Latins was divided into ira, and lehta ira. It is the first is on the surface of Styx. Greek, with characteristic abundance, has several words to express each of these two angers. Opyij ( ira vehementior) has a peculiar application to the flounderers on the top of the pool; for it is derived from ofkyojicu (porrectis manibus vel pedibus capto ) 'to struggle with hands or legs widely extended (a).'
I am quite of Daniello's opinion, that it is the second and worse description of anger that is below the surface sticking in the hellish mud (3). We call it hate. " With a furious man thou shalt not go." 'It is an implacability of nature with which' ( thus Boccaccio) ' the Tuscans are cursed above all other Italians, and the Florentines above all other Tuscans. The Florentines never pardon (4).' Yet Dante's manner of rendering his idea is
(i) Inferno, Canto xtI. T. ia*. (a) Lexicon Ernest.
(3) Comento, p. H
(4) Comento, vol. ii. p. 56.
B.t MO Til.
somewhat defective in clearness; for (accidioso furamo ) ' lazy smoke ' induces many to contend that it is no description of anger, but merely sloth that is stifling in the bottom of Styx . But why make sloth more criminal than anger? Dante does quite the contrary in Purgatory: nor would he have subverted there, the ethical scale which he had adopted here. Besides, the slothful are evidently included among the despicable crew * who ne'er were living yet'(chemai non fur vivi(O) and whom we saw in the Vestibule. The epithet 'sorrowful ' ( tristi ) applied to haters, has a twofold propriety; from hate being always melancholy,and from 'sorrowful' ( tristo ) and 'wicked' ( scellerato ) being most commonly employed as synonimes in Italian. The 'lazy smoke of hate'comes near the Latin ira tenia, and still near the jj.v,i/i; ( irapermanens ) of the Greeks. But the situation in which these haters are, being buried in the mud, is so naturally suggested by another Greek name for deep hate, Ksto! (ira vetus), that I can scarcely forbear affirming that Dante had it in his mind. Koto? is a derivative of vAizi (jaceo, vel sepultus sum) 'to lie buried (»).' It were to make our Author more habitually familiar with Greek than I ever intended (5): yet the coincidence of the wrathful striking about their members (nou
(i) Inferno , Canto in. T. 64.
(a) Lexicon Ernest.
(3) Hell, Comment, Cihto iii. p. ao».
pur con mano, ma con la testa, piedi, ec. ) with the original signification of opyy\, and of that of haters with the radical meaning of Xoto? , makes me doubt, whether it would not be far more difficult to believe in such circumstances being casual, than to allow Dante was a little more versed in Greek, than was at first imagined .
I said there was a path close under the wall and bordering the lake CO. It is along that path they now go.
ft) Pag. 4J«.