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Title: Dante Alighieri, Apostle of Freedom - War-time and Peace-time Essays
Author: Ragg, Lonsdale
Language: English
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Internet Archive)



DANTE ALIGHIERI



_BY THE SAME AUTHOR_


    THE SECOND BOOK OF SAMUEL: Rivingtons, 1898. (‘_The Books of
    the Bible._’)

    CHRISTIAN EVIDENCES: Rivingtons, 1900; 2nd Edn. (4th
    Impression) 1913. (‘_Oxford Church Textbooks._’)

    ASPECTS OF THE ATONEMENT: Rivingtons, 1904.

    CHRIST AND OUR IDEALS: Rivingtons, 1906.

    DANTE AND HIS ITALY: Methuen, 1907.

    ¹THE MOHAMMEDAN GOSPEL OF BARNABAS: Clarendon Press, 1907.

    THE CHURCH OF THE APOSTLES: Rivingtons, 1909. (‘_The Church
    Universal._’)

    THE BOOK OF BOOKS: Edward Arnold, 1910.

    MEMOIR OF CHARLES EDWARD WICKHAM: Edward Arnold, 1911.

    ¹THINGS SEEN IN VENICE: Seeley, 1913.

    ¹VENICE: A. and C. Black, 1914.

    THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. LUKE: Methuen, 1922. (_Westminster
    Commentaries._)

¹ In collaboration with Mrs. Lonsdale Ragg.



[Illustration: INAUGURATION OF DANTE’S STATUE, FLORENCE, 1865.

(See pp. IX., 19 and 165)]



                             DANTE ALIGHIERI
                           APOSTLE OF FREEDOM

                     War-Time and Peace-Time Essays

                                   By
                           LONSDALE RAGG, B.D.
                          CHRIST CHURCH, OXFORD
          PREBENDARY OF LINCOLN, MEMBER OF THE SOCIETÀ DANTESCA
                                ITALIANA

                   _Author of “Dante and His Italy.”_

                                 LONDON
                           ARTHUR H. STOCKWELL
                         29 LUDGATE HILL, E.C. 4

     PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN BY WHITFELD & NEWMAN, LTD., DEVONPORT



    DEDICATED BY PERMISSION

    TO THE

    DOTTORESSA MARIA MONTESSORI

    A TRUE APOSTLE OF FREEDOM IN THE EDUCATIONAL SPHERE

    Tu m’ hai di servo tratto a libertate.

                         —_Par._ xxxi. 85.



CONTENTS


    CHAP.                                          PAGE

          AUTHOR’S PREFACE                           ix

          PROLOGUE: DANTE, APOSTLE OF LOVE            1

       I. DANTE AND THE REDEMPTION OF ITALY          10

      II. DANTE AND POLITICAL LIBERTY                24

     III. WIT AND HUMOUR IN DANTE                    41

      IV. DANTE AND MEDIAEVAL THOUGHT                72

       V. DANTE AND EDUCATIONAL PRINCIPLES           83

      VI. DANTE AND ISLAM                           118

     VII. DANTE AND THE CASENTINO                   137

    VIII. THE LAST CRUSADE                          151

          APPENDIX I—ANTONIO MASCHIO AND THE
            CELEBRATION OF 1865                     165

          APPENDIX II—DANTE AND THE POPE            168

          APPENDIX III—DANTE THE POET               171

          INDEX                                     175



AUTHOR’S PREFACE


Dante, like Shakespere, speaks to every age, and has a word for every
crisis in the life of men and nations. Perhaps at no time since he passed
into the other world has his spirit been so potent as in these last
years, when his Italy has been putting the last touches to the redemption
of that territory whose boundaries he sketched in famous phrase.[1]

Scarce were his ashes cold, ere Boccaccio began to expound, from the
professorial chair founded by a repentant Florence, the mysteries of his
great Poem. Scarcely had Italy awaked from her long sleep of slavery to
the foreigner ere she erected in Florence, in the very year in which it
became temporary capital of a free nation,[2] a statue of the prophet of
Italian liberty and unity.

Some forty-three years later, on the anniversary of the Poet’s death,
September 14th, 1908, Ravenna was _en fête_ with a gathering in which the
“Unredeemed” Brethren from Pola, Fiume, Trieste, and the Trentino mingled
their vows and gifts with those of the City that was his last refuge
and the City that bore him and cast him out. All along, and especially
in the crises of her fate, his great spirit has brooded over the Italy
he loved, the Italy to whom he bequeathed the splendid instrument of
a classical language. To-day, perchance he “sees of the travail of his
soul, and is satisfied.”

His many-sided genius reveals new splendours when viewed from fresh
angles; and the following Essays, which make no claim to special learning
or originality, attempt to approach him from different sides, and so to
bring out varied aspects of his greatness. But they all, or nearly all,
have one point in common: each sets him forth as an Apostle of Liberty.

Freedom political, intellectual, spiritual—all these ideals are wrought
into the “Sacred poem to which Heaven and Earth have set their hand,”[3]
and that Poem enshrines, as we have endeavoured to shew, principles
of liberty in the Educational Sphere,[4] which our present age is apt
to hug to itself as its own discovery. The Essays, in their present
form, are all coloured by the atmosphere of the world’s great fight for
freedom. From some of them, written at the very height of the conflict,
a few of the fiercer touches have been removed as “out of tune” in these
critical years of would-be reconciliation and reconstruction, when old
rancours must perforce be exorcised if we would save civilisation from
its post-War perils. If any undue traces of bitterness remain, may Dante
shelter them under the ample cloak of his righteous indignation. He, too,
spoke hotly—of a Florence and of an Italy whose highest good was ever in
his heart.

The problems and ideals of the Great War are still with us in a new
shape, and man’s greatest need is individual and corporate “freedom of
soul.” If these Essays be recognised as reflecting to any extent Dante’s
great mind on such problems and ideals, the Author will be more than
satisfied.

Two of these Essays had been published some years ago in the _Modern
Language Review_,[5] and have been slightly retouched: four appeared
during the course of the War, in a somewhat briefer form, in the
_Anglo-Italian Review_[6]; while the Prologue, product of the so-called
days of Peace, was published in the _Guardian_ of August 19th, 1921.
To the Editors and Publishers concerned the writer hereby accords his
acknowledgements and thanks; as also to his friend, Professor Cesare
Foligno,[7] for a kindly glance at the MS., and for the suggestion
that the critical text of 1921 should be cited.[8] Two of the Essays
now see the light for the first time.[9] The longer of these, “Dante
and Educational Principles,” a paper delivered at University College,
London, in the Sexcentenary Series of lectures last year, may perhaps,
with the reprinted articles on “Wit and Humour in Dante,” and “Dante and
Islam,” claim, in a manner, to break new ground. But all alike are humbly
commended to the patient indulgence of the Dante-reading public.

                                                           LONSDALE RAGG.

_Holy Cross Day_, 1921.



DANTE ALIGHIERI



PROLOGUE

DANTE, APOSTLE OF LOVE

    _But we all with unveiled face, reflecting as a mirror the
    glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image, from
    glory to glory._—2 Cor. iii. 18.


These words form the sequel of to-day’s Epistle[10] in which the
temporary reflection of the Shekinah in Moses’s face is contrasted with
the permanent and complete illumination of the Spirit. They form the
climax of a passage which, full of mystery and splendour, leads us up
to those things which eye hath not seen nor ear heard—to that beatific
Vision prepared for God’s unfeigned lovers, who shall shine with His own
likeness because and when they “see Him as He is.”

A month from to-day—on the day of the Holy Cross—we shall be celebrating
the six hundredth “birthday” into the world beyond of the man whose
eagle vision pierced, dazzled but unafraid, into the blazing glory of
Paradise—Dante, the pilgrim of the world to come. St. Paul’s inspired and
inspiring words bring back to mind the swift upward movement of Dante’s
_Paradiso_, where the spirit mounts from sphere to sphere, from glory to
glory, impelled and wafted by the sheer force of Love, till at last, in
face of the Triune blessedness, it is plunged into an ineffable joy and
wonder—ineffable because, as he says, “as it draweth nigh to its ideal,
the object of its longing, our intellect sinketh so deep that memory
cannot go back upon the track”—

    Perchè, appressando sè al suo disire
      Nostro intelletto si profonda tanto,
      Che dietro la memoria non può ire.[11]

The glory of which we speak—which makes the _Paradiso_ a marvel of
dazzling, but, so to speak, graduated splendour—is the glory of Love,
Divine and human; and it is of Dante, the Apostle of Love, that I would
speak to you to-day. In this sexcentenary year all the civilised world is
acclaiming him, and it is well that our Christian Churches should echo
thanksgiving to Almighty God for this most Christian poet, and for the
magnificent bequest that he left, not only to Italian literature, but
to the world. The Pope in his encyclical last spring[12] bore eloquent
testimony to Dante’s loyalty to the Christian heritage, and to the power
by which, as a teacher of the Faith, “he being dead, yet speaketh.”

He speaks, indeed, with a voice from six hundred years ago, yet not in
the remote language of one nurtured in leisure, ease, and comfort, far
from the annoyances and disappointments, the worries and anxieties and
ugly problems of the rough-and-tumble world we know. On the contrary,
the world in which Dante prayed and strove and studied and dreamed and
wrote-the world from which comes down to us the serene glory of his
Paradise of Love—was astonishingly like our own on its uglier side:
a world of religious and political unrest, of clashing interests and
ideals, of faction, violence, and cruelty, of individual and corporate
predatory self-assertion; a world in which the poet himself, called to
“abandon all that man holds most dear”—

                Ogni cosa diletta
    Più caramente[13]—

wrought out his great work as a nameless wanderer, and died in bitter
exile. So we may listen to him as to one who has a genuine message for us.


THE POET OF LOVE

Amid all that has been said and written this year about the author of the
_Divina Commedia_, there is one note that has rarely, if at all, been
struck; yet it is surely, in some sense, the keynote of all his singing.
Dante is, from the first and to the last, the poet of Love. “I am one,”
he says, “who, when Love breathes in me, take note, and that which he
dictates within I express”—

                I’ mi son un che quando
    Amor mi spira, noto, ed a quel modo
    Ch’ e’ ditta dentro vo significando.[14]

His first book—the _Vita Nuova_—testifies to this. It represents a new
movement in love-poetry.[15] The songs of the Troubadours had been, in
their earlier forms, with all their strange beauty, frankly sensual
and immoral; and when, after the religious movement of the Albigensian
Crusade, a greater strictness had perforce been introduced, they had lost
their first warmth and glow and naturalness. The “sweet new style”—_Dolce
Stil nuovo_[16]—of Dante and his circle combined the two requisites of
sincere purity and glowing life. The story of the _Vita Nuova_ is the
story of the precocious passion of a boy of nearly ten years old for a
little girl of nine. It passes through its phase of refined sensuousness
and self-absorption, but it emerges as a pure mystic love that leads
ultimately up to the very Throne of God.

In the vision with which the book closes—the vision of his Beatrice
after God has called her to Himself—lies the germ of the greatest poem
of Christendom; the poem which, just because it sings the story of man’s
freewill in contact with God’s redeeming grace, has as its supreme and
final theme—Love. We are familiar, no doubt, with the main lines of
Dante’s vision of the world beyond—of the three kingdoms as he conceived
them, of hell, purgatory, and heaven. But I will ask you to be patient if
I attempt to sketch for you something of the great contours of each, that
we may see together how, for this love-poet, eternal Love dominates and
shapes the universe.

His world beyond is conceived in terms partly belonging to the age
in which he lived, with its scholastic theology and its Ptolemaic
cosmography, partly in terms of the originality of his own genius. Its
details and its hard outlines may be largely obsolete; but its lessons
are true and effective. It is because of its essential Christianity
that Dante’s poetry is so much alive, is more “modern,” as the Papal
Encyclical put it, than much actually contemporary poetry that is
conceived in the spirit of paganism. Dante, for his soul’s health—and
for the benefit of untold generations—must needs pass through all three
kingdoms of the world to come, guided by Virgil, who represents human
reason. Descending down and down into the very bowels of the earth he
sees the doom of unrepented sin. Then, after a wearying subterranean
climb from earth’s centre to the antipodes, he emerges at the foot of
the lofty terraced mountain where repentant souls are cleansed and
brought back to their primal innocence. At the top of this mountain he
finds himself in the earthly paradise, and meets Beatrice, the glorified
“lady of his mind,” who now represents at once Revelation and Grace; sees
wondrous things, submits to mystic rites, and finally is drawn up side
by side with her, by the motive power of Love, from sphere to sphere,
up to the Throne of God, where the redeemed worship Him for ever in the
form of a mystic white rose. That Love is the motive power in Paradise is
obvious. It is the radiant beauty of Beatrice, ever more dazzling as they
mount higher, that lifts him up, and the spirits he meets glow one and
all with the fire of Divine charity. It is not easy, perhaps, to detect
the influence of Love in the dark abyss of the _Inferno_, or in the
stern, long discipline of the Mount of Purgation.

But love is written even across the portal of Hell. “Abandon hope all ye
that enter here” we all know as its inscription; but that is but the last
line of a nine-line title, and part of that title runs thus—“Divine Power
made me, and Highest Wisdom, and Primal Love”—

    Fecemi la divina potestate
    La somma sapienza e ’l primo amore.[17]

This means, of course, the Blessed Trinity, but the last word about the
Blessed Trinity is—Love. Love can be stern, and outraged love can draw
down, as it were, by the law of being rather than by such vengeful wrath
as we humanly attribute to the Most High, an unimaginable ruin and loss
upon the outrager. In the stern, grim, cruel, sometimes grotesquely
revolting picture Dante draws of the eternal future sinners can
deliberately make for themselves, we see but the fruits of Love offered
and rejected—the inevitable outcome of their own choice.

When we enter the second kingdom, and begin to climb the mount which
forms the pedestal to Eden, the home of man’s innocency, the breath of
Love is stronger and its radiance more clear. It reveals itself in the
changing beauty of sky and landscape, in the glories of star-light, dawn
and sunset and high noon, in the glad brilliance of wild-flowers, in the
melody and harmony of music, but, not least, in the very structure and
arrangement of Purgatory. Seven terraces ring the mountain round—one
above another—separated by rugged cliffs and sheer precipices which
Dante needs all his cragsmanship to overcome. And on each terrace one
of the seven deadly sins is purged—Pride, Envy, Anger, Sloth, Avarice,
Gluttony, Lust. These are arranged on a scheme which brings into relief
a great principle—that all our actions, good or evil, are the fruits of
Love—right love or wrong—

                    Esser convene
        Amor sementa in voi d’ogni virute
    E d’ ogne operazion che merta pene.[18]

These sins are all results of Love—excessive or defective, or aimed at
the wrong object; and the purgatorial discipline is just the action
of the educative Love of God upon willing penitents—straightening,
developing, governing, and directing the disordered love that has so
marred and stunted the beauty of their souls. The discipline and the
humiliation are seen for what they are, and the Divine Love that speaks
through them finds a ready and prompt response from souls “happy in the
fire,” because of the hope of what it can do for them.

                  Contenti
    Nel fuoco, perchè speran di venire
    Quando che sia a le beate genti.[19]

    Even as Christ ‘for the joy set before Him endured the Cross,’
    So they find in their ‘pain’ their ‘solace.’[20]

When we pass into the third kingdom, up and up through sphere after
sphere of the heavens, each more radiant with the light of Love, we feel
ourselves “reflecting, as a mirror, the glory of the Lord, transformed
into the same image from glory to glory.” “One star,” indeed, “differeth
from another star in glory.” There is higher and lower in the abode of
bliss, in the “many mansions” of the Father’s House. Dante questions
one whom he meets in the lower sphere—Piccarda—on earth a playmate of
his childhood. “Are you happy? Are you content? Have you no wish to
be placed higher still?” Her answer enunciates the basal principle of
heaven—“Brother, the quality of our love stilleth our will and maketh us
long only for what we have, and giveth us no other thirst.... In His Will
is our peace”—

    Frate, la nostra volontà quieta
      Virtù di carità, che fa volerne
      Sol quel ch’ avemo, e d’ altro non ci’asseta.
      ...
    E ’n la sua volontade è nostra pace.[21]

Here Love rules imperially, and the image of God’s Will is stamped in
glory on the souls of those who, “with unveiled face,” are granted to
feast upon the vision of His glory. Pure in heart, their whole being is
full of light. And so, too, the poet, when at last he looked upon God,
found his own will and desire moving in perfect harmony with that “Love
that moves the sun and the other stars.”

    L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.[22]

So a great lover of Dante, the late Bishop Boyd-Carpenter, summoned up
the teaching of the _Paradiso_: “Wouldst thou enter into God’s Kingdom, O
pilgrim of earth? then love. Wouldst thou share the sweet activities of
its citizens? then love. Wouldst thou know Him who rules over them and
all? then love. For love opens the Kingdom of Heaven, and love makes the
joyousness of its happy services, and none can know the heart of God save
through love; for God is love.”[23]

Is it not meet that we should thank God this year for the sublime
poet who has drawn for us so splendid a picture of the glory of Love
“penetrating the whole universe”; who has shown us in Love the one motive
force in the world, the one constructive principle? Was there ever a
time when the world needed this teaching more than it does to-day? A
true doctrine, if ever there was one. If God is Love, then Love is the
only principle of life. “He that abideth in love, abideth in God, and
God abideth in him.”[24] Real love—not selfish, sensual passion, not
sentimental sweetness, not unwise and poisonous indulgence; but love,
wise, strong, straight, and pure, like the love of God; love patient,
self-forgetful, self-giving, like the love of Jesus Christ; love
illuminating, invigorating, recreative, like that of the Holy Ghost. If
we could but “reflect” in life and character the “glory” of the Lord!...
There is no glory but love.

We must descend from the ethereal splendour of Dante’s _Paradiso_ into
the hard realities of workaday life, even as Peter, John, and James came
down from the Mount of Transfiguration to face the shouting, wrangling
crowd and the convulsions of the epileptic boy. But though the radiance
seems to fade, the glory is still with us, for it is the unfailing Love
of Him Who promised to be with us “all the days.” Love, then, accompanied
them down from the height, unlocked the prison house of afflicted souls,
and solved the problems of sin-stricken humanity. And Love, and Love
alone, can do the same to-day.

Let us face our bewildering problems with confidence, knowing that the
secret of life is ours. Love, the only constructive principle, the only
ultimately victorious power. Our enemies in the late war sounded their
own doom when they promulgated a gospel of hate. Hate can never build up,
only destroy. Alas! they sowed the seeds of hatred outside the sphere
where armies clash, and the devil’s doctrine of class-hatred has been
disseminated far and wide. If only the eyes of those concerned might be
opened to see the mad futility of hate! There is one force at work in the
world that can teach this, that can heal the bleeding wounds of society,
untie the knots of the industrial and social and international tangle—the
force of Christian Love—yours and mine—a love like that of Him Who came
not to be served, but to serve and to give His life as ransom for many;
a love that brought Him to die for a world yet steeped in rebellion
and sin, and moved Him to lay upon His disciples the injunction “Bless
them that curse you.” No merely human organisation for philanthropic
succour or for peace; not even a League of Nations, even though, thank
God, its power and capacity at last be recognised with a gift of solemn
responsibility; nothing but the steady action of that “love of God” which
His grace sheds into Christian hearts, leavening and inspiring such
movements, such organisations, can hope for final success. But Love,
after all, sits enthroned above the water floods, and abideth king for
ever. There is no limit to our opportunity for blessing this poor world
alike by prayer and by action—blessing our own immediate circle, our
civic and Church life, blessing our country, our Empire, and the world’s
fellowship of Nations—if but our wills are moving in one motion with His—

    L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.



CHAPTER I

DANTE AND THE REDEMPTION OF ITALY

    Sol nel tuo verbo è per noi la luce, o Rivelatore,
    Sol nel tuo canto è per noi la forza, o Liberatore,
    Sol nella tua melodia è la molt’ anni lagrimata pace, o Consolatore.

                                                          —_D’ Annunzio._

    La severa immagine del poeta governa tuttavia i fati delle
    generazioni d’ Italia.—_Mazzini._


Dante stands forth as the Apostle of Freedom in many spheres—that
Freedom for which all the world is now longing: freedom for unhindered
self-development of men and nations, freedom of spirit—the true
atmosphere of all education. The _Monarchia_, the Epistles, and, most of
all, the _Divina Commedia_—that “mystical epos of Man’s Free Will”—bear
witness to the truth of the word which Virgil speaks of him at the foot
of the Mount of Purgation—

    Libertà va cercando ...

This all-pervading spirit of his teaching might perhaps of itself have
been sufficient to make his name an inspiration to the heroes and martyrs
who struggled for Italy’s liberation in the nineteenth century; but it
may be worth while to draw attention to certain aspects of his work,
which give him a more definite and specific claim to be the Father of
Free Italy.

The other day I turned up, after many years of neglect, Karl Witte’s
Essay on Dante and United Italy. For this suspicious intercourse with
“enemy alien literature” I can plead two extenuating circumstances:
first, the absorbing nature of the topic at this moment, and secondly
that I approached Witte in an English translation. Another point which
might count in my favour is the fact that this particular Essay was
written before 1870. That certainly lends to it a special interest; and
the interest is rather enhanced than otherwise by the circumstance that
Witte prefixed a Prefatory note and added a peroration in 1878.

Karl Witte, who was born in 1800 and died in 1883, represents the old
vigorous and admirable type of German scholarship which was in very truth
“Stupor Mundi”: a blend of genius and conscientious painstaking on the
reputation of which the Prussianised Kultur of to-day bases a claim to
deference which Europe will more and more hesitate to accord.

How far, for instance, Germany has fallen from her former position as
regards Dante Scholarship may be gauged from E. Benvenuti’s slashing
article in the _Bullettino della Società dantesca italiana_ of June,
1914, of which a summary appeared in the _Times_ Literary Supplement
on March 4th. The article is the first instalment of a review of
Dante studies in Germany for the years 1908-1913. It is a record, as
the _Times_ reviewer remarks, of “monumental ignorance, inaccuracy,
arrogance, bad taste, and sheer stupidity ... hailed with salvoes of
approbation by the majority of German critics.”

But Karl Witte is a man of other build than these modern Pan-Germanisers
who are patriotic enough to attribute to Dante pure German ancestry, and
too patriotic by far to soil their hands with the recent works of sound
Italian critics, or their minds with the elements of Italian grammar and
idiom.

Karl Witte, on the contrary—though he began life as an Infant Prodigy,
matriculating at Leipsic when only nine and a half years old, and reading
his Doctor’s thesis before he was fourteen—won recognition in Italy and
England as well as in Germany as a real force in Dante scholarship: a
great pioneer, who made his mistakes, as all pioneers will, but has won
the gratitude of all subsequent Dantists.

In the Essay of which I have spoken, written and delivered as a lecture
in 1861, Witte notes the fact and investigates the grounds of the
constant association of Dante’s name with the patriotic aspirations
of Young Italy. “It is a fact,” he says, “that, during the last half
century, a great number of those who aimed at transforming Italy—and
not only men of such moderation as Cesare Balbo, Gino Capponi, or Carlo
Troya, but also the democratic revolutionaries who would take the world
by storm—have hung, and still hang, upon Dante’s _Divine Comedy_, with
passionate enthusiasm. Ugo Foscolo, who preferred poverty and exile to
place and honour under the rule of Austria, devoted the last years of
his life exclusively to a great work on the poem; and after Foscolo’s
death, this new edition of the ‘Prophecy of Italy’s Future,’ as he called
the Comedy, was published by no other than Giuseppe Mazzini himself....”
If the Italian of the Sixties “were asked whence his countrymen drew
their inspiration, he would scarcely hesitate,” says Witte, “to name the
greatest poet of his fatherland.” And again, “the fact that in the days
of foreign oppression patriots recognised each other by their love of the
immortal poet, and greeted one another, as by a secret password, with
the inspiring lines of the Divine Poem, is a symbol of the fact that the
roots of this temper of mind”—the temper of national “self-reliance and
self-renouncing enthusiasm”—“are to be sought in Dante.”

There are three passions, according to Witte, which are (rightly or
wrongly) traced back to Dante: (1) a glowing love for Italy, (2) a
hatred of the foreign, and above all of the Teuton yoke, and (3) a hatred
of the temporal power of the Pope.

In the first case—and this is the point that more immediately concerns
us—Witte holds that the contention is justified. “In hope, in sorrow, in
reproof, we see Dante filled,” he says, “with the same glowing love for
the Fatherland of Italy, a love which he is the first to put into words.”

Before Dante, at any rate, Italy was, in Metternich’s famous phrase,
“nothing but a geographical expression.” The Roman poets of the Empire
praise her scenery, but their devotion as patriots is to Rome itself.
When the Empire broke up, Italy lost her one bond of superficial
cohesion, though a shadowy unity emerged now and again under Visigothic
and Longobardic domination, and the pressure now of Gothic Arianism, now
of Byzantine Iconoclasm, drew Italy’s various groups in self defence
closer to Papal Rome.

The phenomenon of an apparently independent and united “Kingdom of Italy”
(888-961) after the fall of the House of Charlemagne, is, from this point
of view, as illusory as those of Odoacer and Theodoric, effecting little
or nothing towards the evolution of a national spirit or a national
self-consciousness. Dante is, it would seem, the first to see Italy with
a patriot’s eyes, as being, and as having been for countless ages, a
fatherland for whom one might sing—

    Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.

She is “that lowlying Italy” on whose behalf the heroes and heroines of
the _Aeneid_ shed their blood so freely:

      ... Quell’ umile Italia....
      Per cui morì la vergine Cammilla,
    Eurialo, e Turno, e Niso di ferute.

He loves her passionately, torn as she is by faction, her own worst
enemy; and he calls on the representative of the Holy Roman Empire to
control her madness and to bring her peace.

The close association of Italian aspiration with the name of Dante which
Witte observed in 1861, came forcibly under my own notice nearly fifty
years later, when I made a pilgrimage to Ravenna to take part in the
“Feste dantesche,” on September 13th, 1908. Isidoro del Lungo, perhaps
the greatest of Italy’s modern Dantists, was to inaugurate the opening of
a special Dante wing in the Ravenna library, and to dedicate a beautiful
silver lamp—an expiatory offering from the Commune of Florence—to adorn
his tomb.

The occasion was nominally a Dantist celebration; but it might with
equal truth have been described as an “Irredentist Orgy.” For one of
the great features of the festival was the arrival of a pilgrim-ship,
flying the Italian tricolour, from Trieste, bearing some hundreds of
Italian-speaking devotees from “Italia Irredenta”—the “unredeemed” cities
which remained under Austrian rule when the rest of Italy threw off the
yoke of the foreigner—Trieste itself, and Pola, and Fiume. The people
of Ravenna and the visitors to the Festival, spurred on by eloquent
“posters” exhibited in the streets at the instance of clubs and societies
of every description, and by the proclamation of the Municipality itself,
to give the “Fratelli irredenti” a fraternal welcome, poured out towards
the quay in their thousands, and escorted the pilgrims through the
streets with flags flying and bands playing patriotic airs. Conspicuous
in the procession were half a dozen Garibaldini, veterans of the War of
Liberation, clad in their red shirts; and emotion rose to a high point
when the monument was reached which commemorates those who fell in the
struggle for a free and united Italy. Laughter, tears, embraces and
echoing Evvivas proclaimed the arrival of the _cortège_ at the Municipal
Buildings.... It was a scene which one will never forget, as the Italians
from across the water flung themselves upon their fellow-disciples of
Dante, with the romping and vociferous enthusiasm of children just let
out of school!

There were, so far as one could judge, from the floods of printed and
of spoken eloquence which marked that day, two prominent thoughts
in people’s minds: two prominent points of contact and association
between the thought of the Divino Poeta and the aspirations of Italian
patriotism. The first of these is more general, the second more specific.
In general, Dante is rightly held to be the true Father of the Italian
language and literature—that “bond which unites us to our native place.”
“Love for our native tongue,” says Witte—and he has in mind a passage of
Dante’s _Convivio_—“is the expression of our love of our native land.”
For Dante Italy is—

    Il bel paese dove il _Si_ suona.

“The beauteous land where _si_ is uttered”; and to that land the work
of his mind and of his pen lent an added beauty, and wove a spell which
should draw together all her scattered elements in the enthusiasm of a
common speech and a common literary heritage. That is Dante’s first claim
to supply the inspiration of a “United Italy.”

The second claim is, as we have said, more specific. It is claimed for
him that he described, as it were prophetically, the future boundaries of
Italy.

In the ninth Canto of the _Inferno_ (113-114) he includes the whole of
the Istrian peninsula in Italy, describing the broad inlet to the east of
it—the bay which stretches northward up to Fiume—as “The Quarnaro which
shuts in Italy and bathes her boundaries”—

    Sì come a Pola presso del Carnaro,
    Che Italia chiude e suoi termini bagna....

Again, in his words about the Lago di Garda in the Twentieth Canto of the
_Inferno_ (61-63)—

    Suso in Italia bella giace un laco
      A piè dell’ alpe che serra Lamagna
      Sovra Tiralli, ch’ ha nome Benaco.

“Up in fair Italy there lies a lake afoot the Alp that bars out Germany
above Tyrol, that bears the name Benaco:” he seems to include not only
the whole of Lake Garda but the Trentino too, “barring out Germany”
beyond the great watershed.

At Ravenna, in 1908, one might have been led to suppose that these two
passages summed up the main interest of the _Divina Commedia_; but though
the utterances are, as a matter of fact incidental, they do point to
the fact that the Italy which Dante so passionately loved, and which
consciously or unconsciously he did so much to bring into being, was a
definite “geographical expression” if it was also something more.

If with Witte we go on to enquire how far Young Italy is justified in
fathering upon Dante the passion of “hatred of the foreign, and above
all of the Teuton yoke,” the question is at once confused by the fact
that in Dante’s day the authority and prestige of that Holy Roman Empire,
of which the Poet was so convinced and so enthusiastic an advocate, was
associated with a succession of German princes. Teutons of the Swabian
House of Hohenstaufen, albeit Italian born, were “the illustrious
heroes Frederic the Caesar and his well-begotten Manfred” whom in the
_De Vulgari Eloquentia_ (I. xii. 20; Bemp. p. 330) he extols for their
nurture, in the Sicilian Court, of the beginnings of Italian vernacular
poetry; Teutons the Rudolf and Albert of Hapsburg, to whom the poet of
the _Divine Comedy_ looks in vain for the liberation of Italy from its
overwhelming ills; Teuton also Henry of Luxemburg, on whom his hopes were
finally fixed, the “Alto Arrigo” of the _Paradiso_—

                ... Ch’ a drizzare Italia
    Verrà in prima ch’ ella sia disposta,

for whom he sees a vacant throne prepared in the White Rose of heaven.[25]

These heroes are not for him, however, Germans, _Tedeschi_, but Roman
Caesars; and had the sceptre of Empire chanced, then, as afterwards, to
have been wielded by other hands, we cannot doubt that a non-Teutonic
line of monarchs would have drawn from him a like reverence, a like
expectation and a like passionate appeal. Similarly, had the House of
Swabia been dissociated from the Roman Imperial tradition and played a
_rôle_ of overweening and unscrupulous self-aggrandisement like that
actually played by Philippe le Bel, Hugh Capet’s words in the fifth
Cornice of _Purgatory_—so well applied by a recent writer in the _Times_
to the Hohenzollern—would have been put into the mouth of an ancestor of
the two Frederics, and applied to the House of Hohenstaufen. “I was the
root,” he says, “of the evil plant whose shadow blights the whole land of
Christendom”—[26]

    Io fui radice de la mala pianta,
      Che la terra cristiana tutta aduggia.

There is indeed one passage at least where Dante mentions the German
people in a non-political context (_Inf._ xvii. 21), and designates them
from the point of view of their national or racial habits. _Tedeschi
lurchi_—“Guzzling Germans”—he calls them. How one’s heart goes out to
him, as one recalls memories of sojourns in Swiss hotels! Had poor Dante
like experiences or worse to put up with in the days of his wanderings?

Witte, who spontaneously brings forward this word of insight into
national character, is delightfully frank about it. “Only in one place,”
he says, “does he accuse us of a weakness which we would fain repudiate,
but it has been laid to the charge of Germany down even to our own day,
on so many hands, that we cannot escape the fear that our forefathers at
least must have given grounds for the accusation.” ...

This is a poor note on which to end our study of Witte. Yet it is one on
which recent events have thrown a portentous illumination. The tendency
which we are combating together, Italians and English, with the haughty
spirit of Dante on our side, is one which begins in grossness of bodily
appetite, and goes all lengths of cruel and brutalising bestiality.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is a relief to turn one’s back on this sordid atmosphere and launch
out once more into the “better waters”[27] of Italian Patriotism.

I have by me a book which corroborates very strongly—for the sixties at
least—Witte’s contention that Young Italy consciously draws her patriotic
inspiration from Dante. Some few years ago I picked up in Venice a bound
copy of the _Giornale del Centenario di Dante Allighieri_, of which
the first number was published in Florence on February 10th, 1864, and
the 48th on May 31st, 1865. There should by rights have been two more
numbers, published after an interval, with Index and Frontispiece.
Whether these ever appeared in fact, I have not been able to discover.
My copy concludes with Number 48, which describes the Festival, to which
the year’s publication was planned to lead up—the _Feste Dantesche_ held
in Piazza Sta Croce, in May, 1865, the six hundredth anniversary of the
Poet’s birth. In that year Florence became the temporary capital of an
Italy free and united, but still barred out from Rome by French bayonets;
and she signalised the occasion by welcoming back in spirit her exiled
Son to the “Bello ovile,” where as a lamb he had slept,[28] when the _Re
Galantuomo_ himself unveiled the Poet’s statue in the Piazza. A quaint
woodcut of the ceremony adorns the volume.[29]

The successive numbers of this _Giornale_, with their varied
contributions to the study and appreciation of the Poet—contributions
drawn from every part of the Peninsula—bear eloquent testimony to the
widespread feeling among the Italian patriots of that epoch, that Dante
was rightly to be acclaimed _Pater Patriae_.

The articles are of all sorts, from chronological and etymological notes
to formal and discursive interpretations and illustrations of Dante’s
writings and his life, and studies of contemporary political and social
problems in the light of his dicta. They would probably repay a fuller
investigation than the present writer has had opportunity to apply to
them. We will take one or two typical utterances to indicate something of
the general tone of the contributors.

“Dante was the first among his contemporaries,” says Prof. A.
Zoncada,[30] “to rise to the conception of a United Italy”—an Italy
united in powers, in purpose, in language, and that in spite of the
manifold disuniting influences at work in his day. “Fatto è che Dante
primo ne’ suoi tempi seppe levarsi al concetto d’un Italia unita e
concorde d’ intenti, di forze, di favella: primo abbraciò nel suo amore
tutta intera l’ Italia, senza divario di cielo, di usi, di memorie, di
legge, di stato, donde appunto risulta il sentimento di nazionalità.”
Dante’s desire for the establishment of an Imperial Court in Italy was,
he says, a desire for national and linguistic unity. “Non può essere
nazione senza una comune favella, nè comune favella dove nazione non sia.
Il perchè voleva Dante stabilito in Italia la sede degli imperatori,
unico mezzo, a suo credere, di conseguire l’ una e l’ altra unità,
della lingua, cioè, e della nazione.” There may perhaps be a little
exaggeration in this statement of the reciprocal relations of nationality
and vernacular, but at any rate it fastens on facts. Dante, as we have
seen, visualised Italy as one, sighed for her divisions, expostulated
with her on her undisciplined factiousness; longed, hoped, and prayed for
the speedy advent of a strong unifying force. He also devised for her
and bequeathed to her the noble instrument of a classical vernacular;
and if it be not strictly true that a nation cannot exist save where
there is one national language spoken, yet it is more than half true.
Dante doubtless did more in the end for the cause of Italian nationality
by his bequest of that splendid vehicle of thought and feeling which
the mother-tongue became in his hands, and by his initiation of a
glorious literary tradition, than he or any other man could have done
by actual utterances, however inspired. The importance of his work for
the vernacular is recognised again and again by the epigraphists who
in the _Giornale del Centenario_ have taken Dante as their theme. “The
mother-tongue supplies a bond of nationality which cannot be broken,”
exclaims Prof. Lorenzo Berardi in his epigraph,[31] “and that bond we owe
to Dante.”

    DANTE ALLIGHIERI
    FU IL PADRE IMMORTALE
    DI NOSTRA LINGUA
    QUESTA
    FU IL VINCOLO NAZIONALE
    CHE MAI SI RUPPE.

Father of the language, father of the national spirit, prophetic
delineator of the national frontiers.[32] So the Festa of 1865 joins
hands with that of 1908, wherein the official document drawn up by
Commendatore Guido Biagi to accompany the gifts offered at the Poet’s
shrine describes the offering communities as—

    CONCORDI IN LUI
    CHE NEL VERSO IMMORTALE
    SEGNAVA I TERMINI AUSPICATI
    DELLA PATRIA ITALIANA

But these festas are no longer an ideal and a dream; All-Saint’s-tide,
1918, has sounded a note of triumph which resounds, it may be, in the
world whither Dante is gone. Since the words above were penned, there has
rung out at once the knell of the justly hated Hapsburg autocracy, and
the joy-bells of _Italia Redenta_!

The Piave, associated by Dante[33] with the grim thought of a humbled
and degenerate Italy, harried by the outrageous violence of Eccelino
da Romano and his minions; associated for us all to-day with nobler
memories, as the line of defence where for long months and weary,
patriots shed their blood like water to ward off from Italy horrors of
brutality before which even Eccelino’s record—a byword in the Middle
Age—reads like a little ill-timed horseplay: the Piave and the land
behind it—

    ... Quella parte de la terra....
    Italica che siede tra Rialto
    E le fontane di Brenta e di Piava,

have witnessed wonderful events. That famous river of which D’Annunzio
exclaims:[34] “It runs beside the walls and past the doors and through
the streets of all the cities of Italy; runs past the threshold of all
our dwellings, of all our churches, of all our hospitals. It safeguards
from the destroyer all our altars and all our hearths”; it has witnessed
a great victorious onrush that has swamped the very memory of Caporetto,
just a year, exactly, after that day of disaster.

And the dream of the Ravenna pilgrims of 1908 has come true. Trento
and Trieste, “staked out,” as it were, by Dante’s verse as Italian,
proclaimed Italian by race and speech and aspiration, are at last Italian
in fact.

_Evviva Italia Redenta!_

       *       *       *       *       *

POSTSCRIPT.—September, 1921, takes us back once more to Ravenna. Once
more the short and narrow street that faces the “little cupola more neat
than solemn,” is packed with an enthusiastic crowd. Once more the soul of
Italy is concentrated in that exiguous space, offering votive gifts at
the shrine. But this time the men of the Trentino and of the Dalmatian
cities come as “Redeemed Brothers,” fused in the general life of the
larger Italy. The Army gives a Wreath of bronze and silver, the Communes
of Italy a Bell, the city of Rome a bronze Door.

The sexcentenary of Dante’s birth in 1865 marked a great stage in the
liberation and unification of Italy; the sexcentenary of his death, a
still greater.

May the Poet’s best dreams come true, as interpreted by the Prophet
Mazzini, and Dante’s native land find at last that “peace” which she
has been “seeking from world to world”—find it in the fulfilment of her
God-given mission to the nations.



II

DANTE AND POLITICAL LIBERTY

    Libertà va cercando, ch’ è sì cara
    Come sa chi per lei vita rifiuta.

                    —_Purg._ i. 71, 72.


These words, it will be remembered, are addressed by Virgil, at the foot
of the mountain of Purgatory, to Cato of Utica. Virgil is speaking of
Dante, and of his mystical journey through the eternal world. The object
of that quest, he says, is Liberty—that liberty which will make him
master of himself morally and spiritually, when Virgil himself, at the
summit of the Mountain, ere he takes his leave, shall crown him “King and
bishop of his own mind and soul.”[35]

    ... Te sopra te corono e mitrio.

These moving lines, as D’Ovidio reminds us,[36] have drawn tears
from many a patriot of the last century; they may well form for us
a starting-point for the consideration of Dante’s attitude towards
Political Liberty. True, it is ultimately _spiritual_ liberty, liberty
of soul, that the Poet “goes seeking” in his pilgrimage, even as it is
slavery of soul from which he announces in Paradise[37] that Beatrice
has delivered him. “Thou hast drawn me,” he says, “out of slavery into
freedom ... thou has given health to my soul”—

    Tu m’ hai di servo tratto a libertate
    ...
    ... l’ anima mia ... fatt’ hai sana....

But the conditions of spiritual and of bodily freedom are very close to
one another—as many a languishing prisoner of war can testify—interlaced
and interwoven if not identical.

    Stone walls do not a prison make,
      Nor iron bars a cage.

It is possible, thank God, for the human spirit to rise superior to the
most degrading conditions which inhuman brutality or fiendish hatred
can impose. Yet an atmosphere of justice and peace is the right and
normal environment for the soul’s free growth; and steady pressure of
tyranny and calculated injustice will all but infallibly blunt and stunt
the moral growth of its victims, as is witnessed by the universally
blighting effect of Turkish rule. Moreover, unless the received political
interpretation of the three Beasts of the Dark Wood[38] is wholly
unwarranted, Professor D’Ovidio is right in claiming[39] that, in a true
if subsidiary sense, Dante’s supernatural journey was “a refuge and a
remedy” from the troubles in which the Poet found himself immersed in the
tangled thicket[40] of an “enslaved Italy,” full of tyrants, and of that
tyrannous faction-spirit which is the worst enemy of Freedom.[41]

The Italy of his day, like the Florence which cast him out, is a stranger
to that Liberty which only Peace can give—a peace for which, on Dante’s
horizon, no other hope appeared than that of a common subjection to
the “Roman Emperor,” the divinely appointed guardian of justice among
men.[42] Peace is, indeed, so closely linked with freedom that Dante, in
one place,[43] speaks of it as the goal of his mystic quest.

                Quella pace, che ...
    Di mondo in mondo cercar mi si face.

whereas in the First Canto, Virgil has described that goal as liberty—

    Libertà va cercando....

We may pause, then, on the context of these lines, wherein Dante’s quest
of liberty is associated with Cato’s suicide. For the difficulty and
obscurity of the situation which they raise will plunge us at once into
the heart of Dante’s Political Theory.

       *       *       *       *       *

The opening Canto of the _Purgatorio_ shews us Cato of Utica, the
austere republican who killed himself rather than bow to the rising
dominance of Julius Caesar,[44] accorded a place of honour as Overseer
of the souls in Ante-Purgatory. His loving wife Marcia is in Limbo; his
fellow-republicans Brutus and Cassius are, with Judas Iscariot, in the
lowest depths of Hell. There is, moreover, a special place in Hell[45]
appointed for suicides, in a gruesome wood made fouler by the Harpies.
Yet here is Cato honoured, and, further, held up by Virgil as pattern of
the patriot who gives life for liberty! It has been a traditional crux
to interpreters of the _Divine Comedy_, to explain and justify Cato’s
position. To understand the fulness of the difficulty, and at the same
time familiarise ourselves with Dante’s theory of the ideal government
of the world, we shall need to turn to the treatise in which he holds up
for the general admiration of mankind that Empire which to Cato was more
hateful than death itself.

       *       *       *       *       *

Next to the _Divina Commedia_, the _De Monarchia_—the “_Monarchia_” as it
is more neatly styled in Italy—is, in many ways, Dante’s most important
work. It lacks the charm as well as the literary importance of the _Vita
Nuova_, and the autobiographical interest of that and the _Convivio_, but
in it Dante develops his political theory, and by it—through Marsiglio
da Padova and his _Defensor Pacis_[46]—he influences all subsequent
generations.

The “Monarchy” which he expounds therein is not Autocracy as such; it
is the traditional suzerainty of the Holy Roman Empire, in which, in
spite of its actual failure in history, he sees an ideal centre of unity
for Christian civilisation, an ideal Court of Appeal for international
quarrels, a divinely ordained curb for personal and national greed and
self-assertion, and so an unique guarantee of peace for the world.

The _Monarchia_ is comprised in three Books. In the First, Dante sets
himself to prove that the office of “Monarch” is necessary to the
well-being of the world, developing his theory of “Monarchy” as such. In
the Second, which is a long panegyric of the Roman Power, conceived as
one and continuous from the days of Aeneas son of Anchises, he points
to Rome as a providential instrument in God’s hand for the governing
of the world and the well-being of mankind.[47] He establishes to his
own satisfaction the thesis that the Holy Roman Empire, and it alone,
provides the “Monarchy” he is seeking. In the Third he argues that,
notwithstanding all that has been said and done by Popes, who (since
Gregory VII—and notably in the person of the Poet’s contemporary,
Boniface VIII)—claimed authority over all earthly potentates, the Secular
Authority is, in its own sphere, not derived from, or subject to the
Spiritual, but is independent; that the “Roman Prince” derives his
authority and his inalienable responsibility direct from God Himself.

This last is the most original part of Dante’s treatise, and that of most
general importance. For it saps the false temporal pretensions of the
Papacy, the rottenness of which Dante was clever enough to discern long
before the famous “Donation of Constantine” had been proved a forgery.
But this subject need not detain us now. Our interest will be focussed
mainly on the theme of the First Book; in a lesser degree on that of
the Second, and we shall consider them both in the light of the _Divina
Commedia_.

       *       *       *       *       *

Dante’s reverence for the Roman Empire dates probably from his first
study of the _Aeneid_, and is bound up with his passionate devotion
to Virgil,[48] whom he addresses in the opening Canto of the _Divina
Commedia_[49]

    O degli altri poeti onore e lume
      Vagliami il lungo studio e ’l grande amore
      Che m’ ha fatto cercar lo tuo volume!

For him, as we have said, the Roman Power is continuous—from Aeneas,
through Julius Caesar, and through Charlemagne to his own day. In the
Second Book of the _Monarchia_ he sets forth first the nobility of its
origin, then the attestation of its divine character by “miracles”; he
substantiates the claim of the Roman People to rule by the evidence of
their “public spirit” and rightness of aim, and their unique faculty for
governing; by their success against all competitors for world-empire—the
prize sought so keenly by Cyrus, Xerxes, Alexander and the rest was
attained by Rome alone. Finally, he adduces Christ Himself as a witness.
Did He not choose to be born and to die for the world’s salvation under
the authority of the Roman Empire?

In the Divine Comedy the theme of Rome’s glory receives an equally
enthusiastic and a more poetic treatment. Its echoes ring all through
the great poem, they become clamant and compelling in the Sixth Canto
of the _Paradiso_, where, from the mouth of Justinian, in the Heaven
of the world’s Workers, flows the story of the majestic flight of that
“Uccel di Dio,” the Roman Eagle, through the centuries from Aeneas to
Charlemagne.[50]

But the atmosphere of serene satisfaction which pervades the _Monarchia_
is not maintained here. The opening Paean of triumph gives place to a
more mournful note when the great Lawgiver turns to denounce the factions
of later times: “the Guelphs striving to Frenchify Italy, the Ghibellines
to Germanise it.”[51] Bitterly he assails the unworthy partisans of the
Empire. The Eagle stands for Justice; let them practise their intrigues
under some other standard[52]—

    Faccian li Ghibellin, faccian lor arte
        Sott’altro segno....

Here practice comes to blows with theory. The Roman “Monarchy” was,
in Dante’s days, a failure. This failure was partly due to negligence
of individual occupants of the throne of the Caesars, like Rudolf
and Albert of Hapsburg,[53] partly to the usurping pretensions of the
Papacy,[54] partly, again, to the turbulent, anarchic, and self-seeking
spirit of cities and states.[55]

It was Dante’s misfortune to be born into a world seething with political
faction, and into an Italy and a Florence in which the fever of faction
was at its hottest.[56] The two most potent influences in Christendom—the
Papacy and the Holy Roman Empire—were at feud; and half the people of
Italy (largely, if the truth must be told, to justify their existing
group-enmities) sided with the Papacy, and called themselves “Guelfs,”
half with the Empire, and called themselves “Ghibellines.” It is a mark
of Dante’s greatness that, unlike most of his contemporaries, he was able
to hold the balance true; to realise the immense value of each Authority,
the Spiritual and the Temporal, if rightly wielded; to discern the
God-given responsibility of each, and their mutual independence.

Exiled himself from Florence by political faction, victim of the ruthless
partisan spirit which ruled in his native city, he felt keenly the need
of a supreme controlling power, a generally accepted and incorruptible
Court of Appeal; and he looked forward to the descent into Italy of the
Emperor Henry VII in 1311 as to the return of a Golden Age[57]—of a Peace
long wept for, and still delayed:[58]

    Della molt’ anni lagrimata pace.

Many think that the _Monarchia_ was written to celebrate this advent of
one to whom he is not afraid to address the sacred words: “_Ecce Agnus
Dei, ecce qui tollit peccata mundi!_”[59]

Dante’s hopes in Henry VII were doomed to disappointment. The
disappointment did not shake his faith in the Holy Roman Empire as
a panacea for all the temporal ills of a Christendom distracted by
individual and national self-seeking and aggression.

If we turn to the First Book of the _Monarchia_, wherein Dante develops
his Political Theory, we shall find that, at first reading, the actual
person of the Emperor seems essential; just as, at first sight, he
seems to rule out Democracy, together with Oligarchy and Tyranny, as
a “perverted form of Government.”[60] Here we must remember Dante’s
environment. His personal experience of the chances of freedom and
justice in his native city would give him an instinctive bias against
a non-monarchial form of government. Whether the system by which
Florence ruled itself in the opening years of the fourteenth century is
technically to be styled Democracy or Oligarchy, or a compound of the
two, it was certainly, in practice, for Dante, a Hydra-headed Tyranny
of the worst description. Further, it may be well to realise that
_personal_ authority was the only type of Suzerainty, the only form in
which a paramount and impartial Sway, or a world-wide Court of Appeal had
appeared on his mental horizon.

It has been said of Mazzini’s Republicanism that it did not rule
out “Imperialism” in the sense familiar to British minds, of “The
White’s Man’s Burden.” He approved of the British _Raj_ in India, and
pictured his own free Italy of the future as possibly destined to
spread the blessings of her own historic civilisation by a similar
rule over pupil-peoples. May it be claimed in like manner for Dante,
whose writings so profoundly inspired Mazzini and his fellow patriots
of the _Risorgimento_, that though he is in a sense a thorough-going
Imperialist, yet his Imperialism is, at bottom, not inconsistent with a
more modern aspiration for a “World made safe for Democracy,” and kept
safe by a “League of Nations”?

Dante is Imperialist; but if we enquire of him what is the
_raison-d’-être_ of Empire, he will answer: “It is the temporal
well-being of mankind.” This “well-being” consists in the fulfilment
of the purpose of man’s earthly life; the true and unobstructed
self-expression of that personal freedom of choice—that prerogative of
self-determination—which God has given to man as His divinest gift:
unique and universal endowment of His intelligent creatures—that “Liberty
of Will” which is so nobly hymned by Beatrice in the _Paradiso_ (v.
19-24)—

    Lo maggior don che Dio per sua larghezza
        Fesse creando, ed a la sua bontate
        Più conformato, e quel ch’ e’ più apprezza,
    Fu de la volontà la libertate,
        Di che le creature intelligenti,
        E tutte e sole, fuoro e son dotate.

In his Political Theory, as in his Mystic Pilgrimage, Dante is the
Apostle of Liberty.

    Libertà va cercando, ch ’è si cara,
    Come sa chi per lei vita rifiuta.

This noble couplet, which has moved the hearts of countless heroes and
martyrs of the _Risorgimento_, even as our English Poetess was moved in
’48 at the sound of a child’s voice singing beneath her window “O bella
Libertà, O bella ...!”—this couplet bears with it, as we have seen, a
reference which has puzzled all the commentators, because it links with
Dante’s quest of spiritual liberty the deed of Cato of Utica: the suicide
by which that intransigent republican escaped submission to the founder
of the Empire. And not only is Cato given an honourable place at the
foot of the Mountain of Purgatory, and assured that, at the Great Day,
his self-slain body shall be glorified[61]; but in the _Monarchia_,[62]
Dante actually quotes with approval Cicero’s dictum in the _De Officiis_
that for Cato “it was more fitting to die than to look upon the face of
a _tyrant_!” There may be other reasons for this strange discrepancy in
Dante’s scheme; but one is clear. Liberty ranks so high in the Poet’s
mind that it over-rides all other considerations: its typical votary may
win most extraordinary and exceptional treatment!

Well, an essential condition of this all-precious Liberty, this full and
unobstructed self-expression and self-determination among nations, is
Peace.

Such a peace must needs embrace harmony within the individual life, in
the home circle, in smaller local and municipal units, and, finally,
harmony between the various nations of Christendom, over all of
which, ideally, the mantle of the one Empire would be spread. Such a
Christendom, and such an Empire, for Dante, ideally embraces the whole
of mankind. This all-embracing character is, in fact, essential to it;
and it is important for our purpose to note that this complete world-wide
embrace (the antidote to personal ambition) never has been, and is never
likely to be, achieved by any _personal_ sovereignty.

In this teaching the Monarchic Principle is, on the surface at least,
more than an abstraction. It is everywhere personified, though it claims
to exclude, as far as may be, the characteristically individual element
of greed and self-assertion.[63] To Dante it is self-evident that peace
in any of the concentric rings of human life—family, municipal, national,
international—can only be secured by the recognised dominance of a
single person in each circle.[64] In illustration of this principle he
quotes (from Aristotle) Homer’s verse about the Cyclops[65]: “Each of
them lays down the law for his own children and wives”; but he ignores
the anarchic conclusion of the sentence ... “and they take no heed of
each other.”[66] Nor does he follow Aristotle[67] in characterising this
as “an uncivilised form of government”; otherwise, he might have adduced
the Cyclops rather as an _abuse_ of the Monarchic Principle. The fact
is, that in each of the concentric circles the principle is only too
liable to abuse; and Dante knows it, else he would not have strewn the
realms of his _Inferno_ with the tormented shades of those who have been
guilty of such abuse—have been brutal tyrants in the home, in the city,
on the throne. If we would gauge the depth of indignation which such
abuse can rouse in Dante, we have only to turn to Hugh Capet’s speech in
_Purg._ xx. 40-96, where the denunciation of the savagely self-assertive
Royal House of France, with its infamous record of oppression, fraud,
treachery, murder, and sacrilege, might be applied directly, with scarce
a change of phrase, to the Hohenzollerns of to-day.

No doubt the personal guidance—even forceful guidance—may be necessary
in early stages, as we have found it necessary among the child-races of
Africa. Even the Hohenzollern style of rule, in our day so monstrous an
anachronism, might have had its justification in far-back ages. It would
perhaps compare favourably with its true antecedents, the Nineveh and
Babylon of Old Testament times. “The Mailed Fist” may have its place, ere
men have learnt—

            ... how to fill a breach
    With olive branches—how to quench a lie
    With truth, and smite a foe upon the cheek
    With Christ’s most conquering kiss....
    ...
            ... We needed Caesars to assist
    Man’s justice, and Napoleons to explain
    God’s counsel, when a point was nearly missed
    Until our generations should attain
    Christ’s stature nearer....

          —_E. B. Browning_: “_Casa Guidi Windows._”

But now we are beginning to realise that it is a thing—

    Worth a great nation’s finding, to prove weak
        The “glorious arms” of military kings.

Ultimately, it is a Supreme Tribunal that Dante yearns for, albeit
he conceives that Tribunal as personified—incarnate in the “Roman
Prince”.[68] It is impartiality,[69] above all, that Dante looks for;
an impartiality to be guaranteed by that absence of ambition which an
undisputed, world-wide supremacy might carry with it, “leaving nothing
to be desired.” The authority that is free from taint of greed and
self-interest, and so from the temptation to use human lives as means for
its own ends, will most effectually display that “charity or love which
gives vigour to justice.” For “Charity, scorning all other things, seeks
God and man, and, consequently, the good of man.”

Surely such impartiality and such human consideration might be looked
for in a representative tribunal at least as hopefully as in a fallible
individual like that Henry VII, on whom, in life, he built such soaring
hopes,[70] and for whom, beyond death, he prepared so high a seat in
Heaven?[71]

That it is a _Tribunal_ that Dante is really seeking, is clear from
the Tenth chapter of the First Book of the _Monarchia_. And it may be
permissible to adduce in this connection a note on that chapter by an
eminent Dante scholar (to whom not a few of the thoughts in this Essay
are indirectly due), written at least ten years before the outbreak of
the World-War.

“Nothing,” says Mr. Wicksteed, (_ad loc._ p. 149), “could better help
the student to distinguish between the substance and the form of the _De
Monarchia_, or to free himself from slavery to words, than reflection
upon this chapter. He will see that Dante’s ‘imperialism’ does not mean
the supremacy of one nation over others, but the existence of a supreme
law that can hold all national passions in check; so that the development
of international law and the establishment of arbitration are its nearest
modern equivalents; and the main difficulty is found in the want of any
power of compulsion by which the nations can be made to refer their
quarrels to the supreme tribunal and accept its awards, whether it sits
at Rome or at the Hague.”[72]

What shape, we may ask, would Dante’s theory of the Temporal and
Spiritual Authority have assumed, had it seen the light in the Twentieth
Century instead of the Fourteenth? How would he shape it now?... How,
perchance, _does_ he shape it now if he looks down from “an eternal
place” upon this “little plot” of an earth which has so often been the
cockpit of international ferocity—

    L’ aiuola che ci fa tanto feroci.[73]

He would see a world that has for generations clean forgotten that Holy
Roman Empire which loomed so large in his day, and is just giving the
_coup-de-grace_ to two unholy Empires that were playing a _rôle_ exactly
the opposite of that of Dante’s ideal Roman Prince, whose chief care is
to see that “in areola ista mortalium libere cum pace vivatur;”[74] a
world in which a bastard Roman Empire, seeking not peace and freedom for
the nations, but living for war, has striven for four long years with all
its might to crush the rest of the world under an iron heel.

He would see a world in which the Papacy is no longer paramount
in Western Christendom; in which its spiritual claims are largely
challenged, and its temporal pretensions reduced to the shadow of a
sham. A world in which industrialism and the fruits of applied science
have transfigured at once the material and the social landscape. With
the passing of German Military Autocracy, the last traces of Feudalism
are like to disappear.... A world in which the development of national
self-consciousness, in its infancy during his lifetime, has increased and
multiplied. He would see a world, in short, both inwardly and outwardly
utterly different from that for which he legislated in the _Monarchia_,
save for the two permanent factors—the identity of human nature, and the
continuity of Divine guidance, by Him “qui est omnium spiritualium et
temporalium gubernator” (_loc. cit._)

Would he not acclaim the passion for justice and freedom which has
inspired the nations of the _Entente_ to pile up their enormous
sacrifices in a five years’ struggle? Had he compared the conduct of each
side—had he compared merely their treatment of prisoners of war—could
he have doubted for a moment which side exhibited the princely spirit
of Charity “which gives vigour to justice:” _caritas maxime justitiam
vigorabit_.[75]

Would he not see in the actions and aims of Italy—“Redeemed Italy”—and
her victorious allies, a surer hope for the stable peace of mankind than
ever his “Romanus Princeps” could have furnished? Would he not have found
his own aspirations for a just and impartial and supra-national Tribunal
embodied in that arbitrament which the “League of Nations” carries with
it?

Would he not turn to individual nations (in the spirit of _Mon._ i. 5)
and say: “See to it that this principle of freedom and justice rules
throughout; that the spirit which looks ‘only to God and the good
of man’[76] inspires all your life-circles: the Home, the City, the
Province, the entire Nation. See to it that the brotherly, unselfish,
co-operating spirit has sway not only between the members of the various
classes and groups and interests of which your nation is composed,
but that it dominates also the relations of class to class and group
to group? What can better guarantee internal peace in a composite,
democratic community, than that each of the elements of which it is
composed shall be dominated by a single spirit—the spirit of free
fellowship, which is the surest antidote[77] to the anti-social poison of
greed and self-assertion?”

Would he not also see that the maintenance of such a spirit demands also
a Spiritual Authority, one and forceful?

The “Sun and Moon” of Spiritual and Temporal Authority of the
_Monarchia_,[78] which in the _Purgatorio_ have become “two Suns,” to
light men on the earthly and the heavenly path, he would find still
essential in a “World made safe for Democracy.” In 1300, he found the
Spiritual Sun usurping the powers of the Temporal, and so putting them
out of gear.[79] The Roman Prelate had annexed the Roman Prince’s sword
and united it incongruously with his own pastoral staff—

    Soleva Roma, che ’l buon mondo feo
    Due soli aver, che l’ una e l’ altra strada
    Facean vedere, e del mondo e di Deo:
    L’ un l’ altro ha spento; ed è giunta la spada
    Col pasturale, e l’ un con l’ altro insieme
    Per viva forza mal convien che vada;
    Pero che, giunti, l’ un l’ altro non teme.

To-day he might rather see the Spiritual Sun eclipsed by the Temporal.
Religious sanctions will be needed to inspire and elevate the democratic
and multi-personal successor of the “Roman Prince” as the guardian of the
world’s Justice and Freedom. God Himself is the “Living Justice,”[80] and
He alone can wean human hearts from envy and that to which envy leads—

    ... Addolcisce la viva giustizia
    In noi l’ affetto sì che non si puote
    Torcer già mai ad alcuna nequizia.

And “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty.”[81] For
Freedom’s sake and Justice’s sake, Dante would demand some independence
still, of the Sword and the Pastoral Staff. He would demand (to modify
Cavour’s famous phrase) “a free Church in a league of free States”—a
unified Church to match the union of Peoples; a democratic Church to
inspire a democratic World, no longer an Ecclesiastical Autocracy, but
a Federation (shall we say?) of free National Churches, parallel to the
Temporal Authority of the future—the United States of the World.

A democratic world, indeed, yet an “Empire” too, after all; gladly
submissive to the perfect sway, over Church and State alike, of the King
of Kings[82]—

    ... Quello imperador che là su regna:

A God whose influence, though more resplendently manifest in some spheres
than in others, interpenetrates the whole of His universe, as in the
magnificent opening words of the _Paradiso_—

    La gloria di colui che tutto move
        Per l’ universo penetra, e risplende
        In una parte più, e meno altrove;

A human world which reflects the peace of that wider creation which
“works like a giant and sleeps like a picture”—a peace built on the only
sure foundation, namely, the harmonious co-operation of mighty, God-given
forces, working together under the hand of God Himself.[83]

With his last breath, as it were, the great Poet reminds us, to look up
to the Eternal Love that sways the constellations ... and the hearts of
men[84]—

    L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.



III

WIT AND HUMOUR IN DANTE

    Che è ridere, se non una corruscazione della dilettazione
    dell’ anima, cioè un lume apparente di fuori secondo che sta
    dentro?—_Conv._ iii. 8.[85]


Freedom of spirit—that freedom wherewith the Truth can make us free—is
man’s rightful heritage indeed; but a heritage into the full enjoyment of
which he often needs must pass through suffering and strenuous struggle.
It is not a light, trivial, superficial thing. As Tasso sings—

    ... In cima all’ erto e faticoso colle
        Della virtù riposto è nostro bene.[86]

There is an easy shallowness that apes freedom, and looks like tolerance
which is the full recognition of other men’s right to Freedom. But the
Freedom which Dante “goes seeking” through “an eternal place”—through
the horror and murk of Hell, and by the steep ascent of the Mountain of
Hope, “l’erto e faticoso colle”—is a stern and noble guerdon, and can
only be enjoyed in its fulness by one who has attained to the fulness
of an ordered and disciplined humanity. It is deep conviction alone, as
Bishop Creighton taught us, that can beget true tolerance; the conviction
that the Truth is so sacred and so precious that it were impious to try
to force any soul to accept it (even were such a thing conceivable) by
external pressure.

The spirit of “Education by Frightfulness” which devastated the
civilised world for five long years cannot, however, be accused of want
of conviction. The mission of Teutonic _Kultur_ was taken only too
seriously. It is no burst of shallow lightheartedness that has driven
a whole people—nay, a group of peoples—forth upon this gruesome and
devilish crusade. They have shewn themselves, throughout, in deadly
earnest.[87]

What is it, then, that has brought forth from the womb of an earnestness
that breathes incredible industry and ingenuity and unsurpassed readiness
for individual sacrifice, this misbegotten offspring of a cruelly narrow
outlook and a ludicrous intolerance?

The answer proposed by one of our brilliant essayists in the first months
of the war was nothing more or less than “the lack of a saving sense of
humour.” It is only a partial answer, perhaps, but it is surely true
as far as it goes. The want of “the power to see ourselves as others
see us,” the power to put ourselves in another’s place and see how our
actions would look to him, would affect him, is very close to that
tragic blindness—blindness to the fact that others have a like claim
with ourselves to just and reverent treatment, a like right to peace and
prosperity, to self-government and self-determination. These, who would
set the world right by violently upsetting it and forcibly conforming it
to their own pattern, have not the grace to see how ugly and ungainly
that pattern looks to other eyes. Indeed, self looms so large with them
that it fills the entire foreground, and even obliterates all trace of
background and middle distance.

Life, as its Creator clearly intended it to be, with all the rich
variety and diversity in which alone its unity can find adequate
expression, is impossible on such terms. Freedom of self-development
and self-expression, which is of the essence of true life, is as likely
to flourish in such an atmosphere as is an “open-air” English girl in
the atmosphere of a stuffy German Wohnzimmer. Civilisation, under such
hegemony, would lose all the beauty of its spontaneity, all the romance
and mystery of its movement; its expansive forces would be imprisoned in
a minute and deadening code of regulations.

It would be like a “corrected” river flowing evenly between straight
banks of enforced concrete, with nothing except its sober, serious,
and self-concentrated current to speak of the sinuous, sparkling,
effervescent charm, the “careless rapture” of its native motion.

If we are to substantiate our claim for Dante as the many-sided Apostle
of Liberty, we must satisfy ourselves that he is at least not devoid of
that foundation of the sense of humour which takes a man outside himself,
makes possible to him something of a detached and external point of view,
enables him, if need be, even to see the ridiculous side of his own
earnest efforts.

That Dante is in earnest, no one doubts. But does he, in his earnestness,
“take himself so seriously” as to incapacitate himself from doing justice
to other points of view?

Prof. Sannia’s work on the humorous element in the _Divine Comedy_[88]
marks in some respects an epoch in the study of Dante. Its title may seem
audacious, to the verge of irreverence; but if this is so, the fault lies
partly in an age-long neglect of one aspect of the great poet’s nature,
partly in a difficulty (common to both the Italian language and our own)
confronting the critic who would define in appropriate language that
subtle element—now gently playful, now fiercely ironical—which redeems
Dante’s work as a whole from dulness, and makes the _Divine Comedy_ in
particular one of the most human books ever written.

Whether or not Prof. Sannia has fallen deep into the pit that ensnares
most critics who have a hobby and a mission, his pioneer movement is
certainly far from futile. We believe that he has largely proved his
point, and given us, in consequence, a living Dante in place of the
traditional wooden effigy. At any rate his work will have justified
itself if it turns the attention of all-too-serious Dante students to a
new field, and emphasizes those qualities in the Divine Poet which the
sheer sublimity of his work has hitherto tended to obscure.

In the following study we shall not confine ourselves to the limits of
the _Divina Commedia_, but gather all we can in so short a space from
his other works, and especially from the _Convivio_ and the _De Vulgari
Eloquentia_.

As a preliminary we shall do well to bestow a glance at least upon
Dante’s environment from this particular point of view—the temper of
the generation in which he lived, and that of his immediate circle,
not neglecting such inferences as may be suggested by the tradition of
his physiognomy and the evidence of his earliest biographers. For a
provisional definition of the subject we may turn to “The Philosopher”
from whom Dante and his contemporaries drew directly and indirectly.
“Melancholy men of all others are most witty.” So said the “Maestro di
color che sanno,” according to the author of the _Anatomy of Melancholy_;
and Boccaccio,[89] describing the habitual expression of Dante’s face,
says it was “always melancholy and thoughtful.”

Before we draw the enticing inference that Dante was a paragon of wit,
we shall, however, do well to verify our quotation from Aristotle, and
to bear in mind the fact that the words “wit” and “witty,” like their
companions “humour,” “humorous,” have changed their meaning since the
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. By “Wit and Humour,” as applied to
Dante, we mean something vague and general, yet sufficiently definite to
make our quest practicable. The phrase is intended to cover the playful
and fanciful use of the intellect upon literary material, in the broadest
sense: from the simplest and most elementary puns and word-plays to
the subtlest and most surprising analogies; from the most discursive
description of a laughably incongruous situation, to the swift agility
of brilliant paradox; from the quiet, genial sally of the man who laughs
_with_ you; while he laughs _at_ you, to the biting sarcasm of the
satirist, whose keen and often envenomed darts are winged with wrath and
indignation. It is this last phase that we shall naturally expect to find
most prominent in Dante.

In so far as it is to be expressed by a single Aristotelian word, our
subject corresponds most nearly in connotation to the Greek εὐτραπελία,
that intellectual elasticity and adroitness which seizes instinctively
upon the right subjects on which to vent its fun, and handles them with
a sure, artistic touch. It stands midway between the vulgarity of the
buffoon (βωμολόχος) and the insensibility to humour of the downright boor
(ἄγροικος). Indeed, in one place (_Mag. Mor_, i. 31, 1193) this quality
of εὐτραπελία is described by the Philosopher in terms which practically
identify it with our own useful phrase, “A sense of humour.” “The vulgar
buffoon,” he says, “deems everybody and everything a legitimate mark for
a jest, while the boor has no will to jest himself, and to be jested upon
makes him angry. The witty man”—the true humorist, as we may say—“avoids
both extremes. He selects his subjects—and is not a boor. On the one
hand he has the capacity of jesting with decency and decorum”—his
jokes do not jar on our good taste—“and on the other, he can bear good
humouredly jests of which he is himself the butt.”[90]

How far Dante would satisfy the second part of this canon, may perhaps
be open to discussion. But this is to anticipate. For the moment it
behoves us to observe that a somewhat tedious search in the Berlin Index
volume for the passage cited in the _Anatomy of Melancholy_ reveals the
fact that Burton’s “witty man” is not εὐτράπελος but εὔστοχος.[91] In
other words, what Aristotle attributes to the melancholy temperament is
inductive acumen, the qualification of the scientific discoverer, rather
than a sense of humour. The two qualities have, however, something in
common: the gift of seeing and grasping analogies not obvious to the
plain man in his plain moments.[92] So this crumb of comfort may hearten
us in our quest, although the path be at first sight as unpromising as
were certain stages of the Poet’s mystical journey.

If then we elect to follow Aristotle, as Dante followed Virgil (and
I feel sure the Divine Poet would approve our choice of guide), we
may draw one more drop of comfort from a passage in the _Endemian
Ethics_,[93] in which the Philosopher, discoursing of friendship, notes
how unlike characters often pair off together, “as austere people
with witty ones (εὐτράπελοι).” May we look for this friendly union of
playfulness and austerity within a single personality? in the redoubtable
person of Dante Alighieri?

Is it not almost as incongruous, it may be asked, to look for humour
in the _Divina Commedia_ as it would be to search for jokes in the
Bible? We are prepared to maintain that even the intense seriousness of
Dante—that sublime and solemn earnestness which can only be compared to
the temper of Holy Writ, is not merely compatible with a playful use of
the intellect, artistically restrained, but is rendered more complete and
effective thereby. And what about Holy Scripture itself? I speak with all
reverence.

Hebraists assure us that puns and plays on words are far from rare in the
Old Testament; and there are, in the Psalms and the Book of Isaiah,[94]
and elsewhere, passages of which the irony, at once keen and sublime,
cannot fail to strike the English reader. Would it not be possible
also to quote even from the New Testament—from the Gospels—phrases and
metaphors in which the deepest and most solemn truths are cast into a
form which, for want of a better word, must be described as playful or
witty? The picture of the children in the market place discontented with
their games; the ironical description of the “blind guides of the blind”;
and of the pedants who “strain at a gnat and swallow a camel,” the still
more terrible irony of the “whited sepulchres”—instances like these
show that Truth and Wisdom incarnate did not disdain to use the whip
wherewith the old Hebrew Prophets had scourged the idolatrous follies of
their contemporaries.[95]

In the light of what has just been said, we may perhaps be justified in
doubting whether the most perfect presentation of ideas—or at any rate
the most surely effective—does not involve of necessity the use of those
faculties with which we are at present concerned. “Without a sense of
humour,” it is often said, “no man can be a perfect Saint.” Surely it is
equally true to say that the same quality is essential for a really great
man of letters, be he Essayist, Historian or Poet.

One more question before we come to Dante himself. What about the age
and place in which the Poet lived? Were the Italians of Dante’s time
devoid of the spirit of mirth and of the power to express it? Boccaccio
and Sacchetti, the _Novellino_, nay, even the Franciscan Legend with its
_Jaculatores Domini_, and not least the charming _Fioretti_, cry out
with one voice against the unjust imputation. But one single name would
be enough to vindicate for the Italy of Dante’s elder contemporaries,
and for the men who figure largely in Dante’s writings, the possession
of the sense of humour and the gift of wit. Fra Salimbene of Parma, the
immortal gossip, who so dearly loves a joke, and is so ready to pardon
other failings in the man who has “a pretty wit.” He peoples the world
into which Dante Alighieri was born with folk whose joy of laughter and
rollicking sense of fun match in their intensity the sternness, cruelty,
savagery of those strange days. And to Florence he accords the palm for
wit and humour,[96] though not in the strict Aristotelian sense; for
Salimbene’s Florentines are far from being always seemly and decorous in
their jests.

The mirthful spirit that pervades the pages of Salimbene recalls
indeed most forcibly a passage of Aristotle to which we have not yet
referred, and a definition of _urbanitas_ (εὐτραπελία) which, if slightly
mysterious, is the most epigrammatic and the most suggestive of all his
utterances on the subject.

“The young,” he says in the second book of the _Rhetoric_, “are
laughter-loving, and therefore witty, for wittiness is πεπαιδευμένη
ὕβρις....[97]” How shall we render it? “A disciplined ‘cheek,’” an
“educated insolence!” The riotous, effervescent self-assertion of the
Middle Ages, outcome of abundant vitality, offered splendid raw material
for the manufacture of _urbanitas_. The uncontrollable vivacity which
vented itself in the field of life sometimes in horseplay or in huge
practical jokes; too often in fighting and bloodshed; which vented itself
in the field of Art in the fantastically contorted and quaintly humorous
subjects of the illuminations with which even sacred MSS. were adorned,
and in the carving of grotesque figures in wood or stone—

    Come, per sostentar solaio o tetto
      Per mensola tal volta una figura
      Si vede giugner le ginocchia al petto;[98]

and in the field of literature ranged from sheer profanity and lewdness
to the edifying if amusing hagiological tales which meet us everywhere in
the pages of Tammassia’s work upon St. Francis.[99]

That Dante’s own literary circle was not innocent of this πεπαιδευμένη
ὕβρις—ὕβρις, that is, more or less πεπαιδευμένη—a glance at the dainty
little collection in Rossetti’s volume will show at once.[100] Not
to speak of the famous _Tenzone_ or “literary wrangle” between Dante
and Forese Donati, of which the Poet, it would seem, was afterwards
ashamed[101]; a group which included the extravagantly humorous Cecco
Angiolieri cannot be described as wanting in the “playful use of the
intellect.”

“Del resto,” says Prof. Sannia, “Dante era un toscano, un fiorentino;
che è tutto dire ... nella facoltà comica e satirica ei fu degno
rappresentante della sua stirpe, il più degno e il più alto: il genio
comico e satirico fu in lui impronta, eredità etnica.”[102]

And though he fails to cross-examine the Friar of Parma—perhaps the
most telling of all witnesses on this point—he has much to adduce to
the same effect. Most pertinent is his quotation of D’Ancona’s remark
that the gay songs with which the streets of old Florence rang were not
all love-ditties. Popular poetry was one of the forces which ruled the
city, “Firenze fu un Comune nel quale la poesia era uno dei pubblici
poteri.” It cannot fail to be significant that Dante spent the most
impressionable years of his life where the _poesia popolare_, by the
inspiration of its eulogy and the stimulus of its satire, took the place
of our modern newspapers in the formation, guidance and control of
effective public opinion. And if the lessons of Florence were not fully
learned at the time—if the _Vita Nuova_ may be said by the unsympathetic
to reveal something of the prig—the rough and tumble of an exiled life in
fourteenth century Italy had no mean share of teaching to offer.

We have thus narrowed the field of observation to Dante himself, and are
justified in claiming to have established at the outset at least so much
as this: that if Dante was humourless, it was not for want of inspiration
in his environment, or of material in the human—the _very_ human—spirits
among whom he moved.

It is not unnatural to ask first of all, whether Dante’s physiognomy
has anything to tell us on the subject. Two features act emphatically
as index of the movements of the unseen spirit—as the Author himself
points out in the _Convivio_[103]—the eyes and the mouth, those “Balconi
della donna che nello edificio del corpo abita.” And though the spirit
of pleasantry and humour is apt to reveal itself through these windows
chiefly in momentary flashes, the genial temper will usually leave some
prominent tokens of its influence more especially about the corners of
the mouth. As regards the eye, that most expressive of all our features,
no fourteenth century portraiture, however faithful, could hope to
reproduce its living flesh. Moreover, the most authentic portrait
of Dante is blind, alas, or rather worse than blind: fitted with an
execrable false eye by the much-abused Marini. The pose of Dante’s mouth
might teach us something, if only we could be sure of it. Mr. Holbrook in
his recent monograph[104] has confirmed our suspicions about the famous
“Death Mask,” which at best would naturally have furnished nothing more
significant than the smile of peace which so often graces our poor clay,
a parting gift from the spirit as it leaves.

The magnificent Naples Bust is seemingly, like the so-called “Death Mask”
itself, the creation of some abnormally gifted artist, who derived his
inspiration, perhaps indirectly, through the Palatine Miniature (No.
320)[105] from the Bargello portrait to which we have already referred.
In vain, therefore, does its splendid physiognomy, completely human, give
such promise of a sense of humour as a face in repose can be expected
to give. Nor does it matter for our purpose that the “Ritratto brutto”
(as the Riccardian picture—attached to MS. 1040—is justly styled by some
distinguished Florentines) would suggest the bare possibility rather than
the probability of a sense of humour; for that work of Art (if it may be
so called), is probably derived, like the famous Torrigiani Mask, from
the Naples Bust.

The one probably genuine contemporary portrait, the Bargello Fresco,
which a merciful criticism still allows us to attribute to Giotto, is
only preserved in the drawings of Kirkup and Faltoni. In these, one
window of the soul, the eye, is wanting, and there is considerable
difference between the two reproductions of that most essential feature,
the mouth; where Kirkup has much more of the conventional “Cupid’s
Bow.”[106] The most that can be said here is what we said of the Naples
Bust, that it certainly leaves room for a play of humour, restrained and
dignified.

When we pass from portraiture to written record, we have but little
material that is really _à propos_ in the early biographers of Dante.
Boccaccio, after pourtraying his character and features says, “his
expression was ever melancholy and thoughtful”—“nella faccia sempre
malinconico e pensoso” (_Vita_, § 8), but goes on to describe him as
“smiling a little”—“sorridendo alquanto” (_ib._), when he overheard the
gossips of Verona commenting on the crisped hair and darkened complexion
of the man who “goes down to Hell and returns at will to bring back
word of those below.” Later on in his biography he draws out with
evident relish the power of the poet’s sarcastic satire: “with a fine
resourcefulness of invention,” says Boccaccio (§ 17), “he fixes his fangs
on the vices of many yet alive and lashes the vices of many that have
passed away”—“con invenzione acerbissima morde le colpe di molti viventi
e quelle de’ preteriti castiga.” And speaking, in an earlier passage,
of his courtesy in intercourse with others[107]—“più che alcun altro
cortese e civile”—he takes something of the edge off Giovanni Villani’s
description of a man “somewhat haughty, reserved and disdainful, and
after the fashion of a philosopher, careless of graces and not easy
in his intercourse with laymen.”[108] Yet we feel all the time that
Villani’s description is, speaking broadly, the more convincing; and are
relieved when we realise that it is the outwardly and obviously genial
temperament rather than the saving sense of humour that the Florentine
historian would deny to his great contemporary.

Next, before we turn to the testimony of Dante’s own works, we may
refer briefly to the stories told of him; for if none of these be
incontrovertibly authentic, and not a few of them be comparatively late
in origin, their cumulative evidence should be of some value, at any rate
in suggesting what his own countrymen of succeeding generations regarded
as compatible with the Poet’s temperament.[109]

We may dismiss, if we will, as apocryphal, the tale of Dante’s
conversation with the fish at the Venetian Doge’s banquet, and of the
smearing of his court dress at King Robert’s feast, we may reject,
perhaps, with more hesitation and regret, Sacchetti’s stories of the
harmonious but offending blacksmith and the donkey-driver who farced
Dante’s songs with an interpolated _Arrhi!_ We may relinquish the
pun on Can Grande’s name, while retaining Petrarca’s story (of which
Michele Savonarola’s is possibly a “doublet”) wherein Dante administers
a deserved rebuke to Can Grande and his court for their preference of
a buffoon to a poet. But even the rejected legends add their quota of
testimony to the general and traditional belief that the Divino Poeta
could unbend, and was capable of making a joke.

And there is a certain residuum—some would say larger, some smaller—of
anecdotes that may be believed to contain a nucleus of truth.

There is to me a convincing ring about the comment of the _Anonimo
Fiorentino_ on _Purg._ iv. 106. When Belacqua makes excuses for his
laziness on the ground of the Aristotelian dictum that “by repose and
quiet mind the mind attains to wisdom,” Dante retorts: “Certainly, if
repose will make a man wise, you ought to be the wisest man on earth!”

A like readiness of wit, in a moment where all depended on readiness,
is evinced in the story of his reply to the Florentine envoy who was
sent to Porciano to demand his extradition. “Is Dante Alighieri still
at Porciano?” asked the messenger who met the fore-warned exile on the
road, in the act of escaping. “When I was there, he was there,” was the
non-self-committing response: “quand io era, v’ era’.”[110] The stories
told of Dante, if they do not suggest a genial and convivial temperament,
do suggest a ready and caustic wit. But it is time to turn to Dante’s
own works, and taste for ourselves.

The _Divina Commedia_ is the criterion by which most would judge him,
and on this we shall spend the bulk of the space at our disposal; but
no discussion of this or any other aspect of Dante’s literary genius
can afford to neglect the field of his minor works, which are, in this
particular case, of not a little importance. The _Convivio_ (if we may
anticipate) supplies us, among other things, with Dante’s own idea of
what laughter should be; and the _De Vulgari Eloquentia_ furnishes a
practical illustration of his treatment of a subject like _patois_ which
lends itself to humorous handling even in a serious treatise.

These three works not only cover a large proportion of Dante’s total
literary remains, but they are also representative of his three chief
styles of writing: Poetry, Italian Prose, and Latin Prose.

In opening the _Divina Commedia_ one would venture to issue a further
warning on the mistake of limiting the field of observation to the
_Inferno_, or of allowing its temper and atmosphere too great a place
in our estimate of the characteristics of Dante. Whatever he was to the
women of Verona, Alighieri is to us much more than “the man who goes
down to Hell and comes up again at will.” Yet now and then even educated
Italians, if you mention Dante’s name, are apt to make it clear that they
knew him mainly as the creator of two episodes—_Paolo and Francesca_
and _Conte Ugolino_; and there is a real danger among Englishmen—amply
illustrated in Dr. Paget Toynbee’s _Dante in English Literature_—of
laying too much stress on the _Inferno_, even if they do not confine
themselves to it.

The humour of the _Inferno_ is, of necessity, prevailingly grim;
sometimes almost coarsely grotesque. Here we may see the hand of the
subtle artist, and detect a deliberate purpose on Dante’s part to pour
(as I have said elsewhere) “a disdainful and indignant ridicule upon
the futile, monstrous, hideousness of sin.”[111] “His fine scorn of sin
tempts him to heap upon it all the ... burden of loathsome grotesqueness
that the resources of his imagination can furnish.”

Typical of this method is the fierce sport of the scene described in
_Inf._ xxii-xxiii, which culminates in the “nuovo ludo”[112] (puzzlingly
compared by Dante to the apocryphal Aesopian Fable of the “Frog and the
Mouse”)[113] in which Ciampolo outwits the Demons and brings them to
confusion.[114] We are in mid-Hell, in the fifth _Bolgia_ of the eighth
circle, _Malebolge_, the place of the _Barattieri_, of those, that is,
who have made traffic of justice or of public interests. Dante, who had
been falsely accused of this crime, expends all the resources at his
command to express his detestation of it, and holds it up at once to
ridicule and loathing.

In Purgatory, on the terrace where pride is purged, he seems to
acknowledge his appropriate place; but far different is his attitude
towards the spot in Hell where his political enemies would fain have
placed him.

The whole of these two Cantos and a half is pervaded by an unholy reek of
boiling pitch; the appropriate similes are those of frogs immersed to the
muzzle in stagnant ditch water[115]; of clawings, flayings, proddings of
raw flesh.[116] Here, if anywhere, Dante verges on the vulgar. The names
of the Demons are fantastically ridiculous and unpleasantly suggestive;
their actions and their gestures, their badinage and their horseplay
all remind one that the stately pageant of the Middle Ages had its
unspeakable and unpresentable side. The Cantos are only redeemed from
unreadableness by the fine similes, the lofty poetical touches which
Dante, because he was Dante, could not but introduce here and there.

The graphic picture of the Venetian arsenal in full activity,[117] the
swiftly drawn but masterly sketches of the wild duck’s dive to escape the
swooping falcon,[118] of the mother’s rescue of her child by night from
a flaming house[119]; the vivid reminiscences of Dante’s own campaigning
days, at Caprona and before Arezzo: these play, like sunlit irridescence
on the surface of a noisome pool, where foul creatures sport and gambol
in a nightmare fashion.

We must note, however, one point; that Dante never represents himself
here as moved to mirth by the fiendish antics he so conscientiously
describes. Rather he is pictured as consistently consumed by fear and
loathing.[120]

More reprehensible from the point of view of good taste is the Poet’s
eager attention attracted to the vulgar harlequinade between Master Adam
the false-coiner and the Greek Sinon, where the latter strikes the former
on his “inflated paunch” till it resounds—

    Come fosse un tamburo.[121]

But Dante is careful to put things right in the sequel, and makes his own
blush of shame respond at once to Virgil’s chiding—

                    ... Or pur mira
    Ch’ è per poco che teco non mi risso![122]

Less broad in its grim playfulness is the taunt which the spendthrift
Jacomo da Sant’ Andrea, hunted and breathless, gasps out at his
fellow-sufferer: “Lano, at Toppo’s jousts thy legs were not so nimble”—

                Lano, sì non furo accorte
    Le gambe tue a le giostre dal Toppo![123]

Exquisite in the irony of its situation is in _Inf._ xix, in which Dante,
in order to find a place for solemn invective against Boniface VIII,[124]
and to assign him, while still alive, his place in Hell, makes Nicholas
III mistake the Poet’s voice for that of the Pontiff, and exclaim—

                  Se’ tu già costì ritto,
    Se’ tu già costì ritto, Bonifazio?

Whereat Dante represents himself as quite non-plussed and unable to grasp
the speaker’s meaning!

Nor is the scene itself without a picturesque absurdity that evinces a
subtle sense of humour, especially when we remember the over-weening
pretensions of Boniface to unearthly dignity. The flaming legs of
Simonists kicking to and fro above the surface of the ground wherein the
rest of them is buried headforemost; and the neat epigram in which Pope
Nicholas describes his plight—

    Su l’ avere, e qui me misi in borsa—

“I pursed wealth above, and here—myself.”[125]

Bearing in mind the Poet’s solemn and deliberate purpose, as we conceive
it, to pour scathing ridicule upon that which qualifies man for a place
in Hell, we may fairly aver that even in the most critical scenes and
episodes he does not transgress the canons of the Master whom he revered.
If there is βωμολοχία—unseemly and unrestrained jesting—in his Inferno,
it is not Dante’s, but the Demons’. Dante, as we have seen, deliberately
dissociates himself from it; and the absence of all such extravagance
from his description of Paradise and even of Purgatory confirms our
inference that the humorous element, even at its grimmest and coarsest,
is carefully proportioned to the environment with which he is dealing.

The _Purgatorio_ and _Paradiso_ are marked (like the scene with Nicholas
III) by occasional outbursts of political or quasi-political invective,
seasoned with stinging satire. In these tirades against Florence or the
Papacy Dante is sometimes his own spokesman; sometimes they are put into
another mouth.

The concluding verses of _Purg._ vi. will at once come to mind: the
famous invective in which he ironically congratulates his native city on
her “feverish” energy,[126] shown in the disinterested eagerness of her
citizens to take up the lucrative burdens of public office, and in the
amazing agility of her legislative activity, beside which the democratic
traditions of Ancient Athens—

    Fecero al viver ben un picciol cenno—[127]

the laws passed in October being superseded by the middle of November—

            ... Che fai tanto sotili
    Provedimenti, che a mezzo novembre
    Non giugne quel che tu d’ ottobre fili.

Then there is the scarcely less famous passage in _Par._ xxi,[128] where
St. Peter Damian, inveighing against the Roman Curia, describes the fat
Cardinals as supported on every side as they go—held up to right and
left, and pushed and pulled along—

    Or voglion quinci e quindi chi i rincalzi
    Li moderni pastori, e chi gli meni
    Tanto son gravi! e chi di rietro gli alzi.

And when they ride, covering their palfreys with their ample robes, “so
that two beasts are moving ’neath one hide”—

    Sì che due bestie van sott’ una pelle.[129]

Or again, there is Beatrice’s tirade in _Par._ xxix.[130] against the
farce of unauthorised indulgences, and against the fashions of the
contemporary pulpit: the fashion of neglecting the Gospel, and straining
after originality, as though Christ’s mandate had been: “Go ye into all
the world, and preach—frivolities!”

    Andate, e predicate al mondo ciance.[131]

The modern preacher’s “head is swelled” (if we may so translate _Gonfia
il cappuccio_), and he is perfectly content if by his jests and gibes he
can raise a laugh, while the fiend sits unseen in the corner of his hood.

This passage is as perennially applicable as any in Dante, and combines
the satire of Alexander Pope with the stern earnestness of the author of
the _Task_, so aptly compared to it by W. W. Vernon.

Dante no doubt felt a certain appropriateness which justified him
in putting these invectives into the mouths of his august _dramatis
personae_: but we are apt to hear the ring of _his_ voice in each of
them. There are, however, other passages in the _Purgatorio_ and the
_Paradiso_ of which the playfulness belongs to the characters themselves.

In _Purg._ xx. we have two instances given to show that the risible
faculties are not extinguished by the pains of purification.

Greedy Midas’ dismal surprise when, in answer to his ill-advised prayer,
his very food turned to gold and became uneatable, is a legitimate and
unfailing cause of laughter—

    Per la qual sempre convien che si rida—[132]

to those who lie fettered face downwards[133] in the terrace of the
avaricious. And it is with evident relish that the same souls repeat
their last lesson: “Tell us, Crassus, for thou knowest, what is the
flavour of gold?”

                    Crasso,
    Dilci, che ’l sai: di che sapore è l’ oro?[134]

In the next Cantos, xxi. and xxii., the Poet delights us with scenes of
a graceful and most appropriate playfulness. First there is the charming
episode, _Purg._ xxi. 100 _sqq._, where Statius, addressing Virgil, whom
he does not recognise, says: “What would I have given to have been on
earth when the author of the _Aeneid_ was alive!” and Dante, in spite
of Virgil’s unspoken but unmistakable “_Taci!_” betrays the situation
by an uncontrollable smile. Then in the next Canto (xxii.), when the
puzzled Virgil mistakes the guilt for which Statius is suffering for
_avarice_, it is Statius’ turn to laugh. The gentle, mirthful grace of
the whole scene is enhanced by the pathetic sequel, when Statius explains
that it was Virgil who converted him, by his famous fourth Eclogue,
to Christianity, like one who, walking himself in darkness, carries a
lantern behind his back to illumine the path of those who follow—

    Facesti come quei che va di notte
      Che porta il lume dietro, e sè non giova
      Ma dopo sè fa le persone dotte.[135]

Charming too is the playful irony of the scene in the Earthly Paradise
where Matelda gravely discourses to Dante, in presence of Virgil and
Statius, about the poets who in days of yore sang of the Golden Age—

    Quelli ch’ anticamente poetaro
      L’ età del’ oro e suo stato felice—[136]

and Dante looks round on them and sees them smiling.

    Io mi volsi in dietro allora tutto
      A’ miei poeti, e vidi che con riso
      Udito avevan l’ ultimo costrutto.[137]

The smiles which wreathe the lips of the denizens of the Heavenly
Paradise, like that which gleams in Beatrice’s eyes,[138] are something
ineffably solemn and sublime: like the _Gloria_ chanted in the Starry
Heaven, of which the Poet exclaims—

            ... mi sembiava
    Un riso de l’ universo.[139]

But there is a touch of the more distinctively human in the suggestion
thrown out in the following Canto that St. Gregory woke up in heaven
to the true facts about the Angelic Hierarchy, and “smiled at his own
mistake” in departing from the Dionysian scheme.

    Onde, sì tosto come li occhi aperse
    In questo ciel, di sè medesmo rise.[140]

The passages we have touched upon in the _Divina Commedia_ are those
most obviously to the point. Prof. Sannia’s Italian mind can discern
subtleties of humour in places where the foreigner cannot always hope
to follow. But there is one point on which he lays much stress, namely
the importance, for our purpose, of observing Dante’s attitude towards
himself throughout the mystical journey, and especially as he passes
through the dismal regions of the First Kingdom. The Dante so graphically
depicted to us in the _Divine Comedy_ is altogether different from the
cold, abstract Dante of tradition. He is an impatiently curious child,
in whom the passion of curiosity even conquers fear. And while the
pilgrim is depicted to us in very human guise, and his motions and his
attributes described in terms which presuppose not only a remarkable
degree of self-knowledge, and a striking power of psychological analysis,
but also a very real sense of humour; the poet who sings of the pilgrim,
reveals to us by the way, a whole group of characteristics which claim
the humorous gift as their inevitable associate. Such are his broad
humanity, his sympathy, his reverence even for the noble damned, his very
modern type of tenderness shown by interest in the ways of children,
animals, birds, insects, from whose life he loves to draw his similes.
“True humour,” says Carlyle, “is sensibility in the most catholic and
deepest sense.” Virgil—the Virgil of history—had this in a pre-eminent
degree—and so has his mystic companion of the Eternal World.[141]

Popular tradition has imagined him as a heartless, unfeeling judge,
without that indulgence towards human frailty which the gift of humour
presupposes: but the entire _Purgatorio_ belies this calumny, and not a
few episodes in the _Inferno_ itself.

To pass from the _Divina Commedia_ to the _Convivio_ is in any case a
drop down. If it is but one step from the sublime to the ridiculous,
the sublimity of the _Divina Commedia_ should bring us very close to
the regions where laughter is generated. The _Convivio_, with all its
manifold interest is obviously far below the level on which thought and
feeling habitually move in the _Divine Comedy_. Has it therefore less
promise in the matter of our quest?

I venture to think that there is a strain of playfulness underlying a
good deal of the argument of this work; and that even if we can bring
ourselves to believe Dante’s own solemnly elaborate interpretation of his
love-songs to be quite serious in the main.

And apart from this, if we take the _Convivio_ with the utmost
seriousness, we may remember for our comfort that πορίζεσθαι τὰ
γέλοια[142] is one of the qualifications of Aristotle’s εὐτράπελος and
the willingness to be laughed at another; and see in Dante (with all
reverence) an example of those who, more or less unconsciously provide
matter for amusement to posterity. Nay, we may treat him as he treats St.
Gregory, and look upon him as laughing now at his own certitude about
the ten heavens and the angelic hierarchy, from his place in the mystic
rose—or are we to say on the terrace of Pride?

But to return to the _Convivio_. It is here, as we have already
suggested, that Dante gives us his description of the ideal nature of
Laughter. “Ridere,” he says, “è una corruscazione della dilettazione de
l’ anima.”[143] On the Aristotelian principle of the Mean (though his
actual reference is not to Aristotle, but to Pseudo-Seneca “On the Four
Cardinal Virtues”), he urges that laughter should be moderate and modest,
with no violent movement (such as convulses the pages, e.g. of Franco
Sacchetti) and no “cackling” noise. Laughter is, in fact—like little
children—“best seen and not heard.”

From each of the four extant treatises, quotations may be adduced which
at any rate show the writer’s sympathy with that view of life which
fastens on the incongruous and sees in it matter for genial irony or for
bitter sarcasm, according to the moral context.

_Tratt. I._ Chapter xi. opens with a delicious satire on the “sheep-like
opinion” of the multitude, which I have elsewhere compared to the
charmingly nonsensical scene—“Less Bread, More Taxes!”—with which Lewis
Carroll inaugurates his _Sylvie and Bruno_.

The “man in the street,” says Dante, is ready to follow any cry that is
raised. Thus the populace will be found exclaiming “Viva la lor morte!
Muoia la lor vita!—purchè alcuno cominci.” They are for all the world
like sheep who follow their leader blindly over a high precipice or down
a well. He goes on to rail at “a bad workman who blames his tools,” the
many who “_sempre danno colpa alla materia dell’ arte apparecchiata,
overo alo strumento; siccome lo mal fabro biasima ferro appresentato a
lui_.”[144]

Nor can we fail to find in the next chapter (I, xii.) a touch of the
drily humorous spirit; in the passage which Dr. Toynbee in his Anthology
entitles _Of Silly Questions_.

“If flames were plainly to be seen issuing from the windows of a house,
and a bystander were to enquire whether that house were on fire, and
another man to reply that it was, I should find it difficult to decide
which of the two was the more ridiculous.”[145]

What are we to say of the _Trattato II_? Here, if anywhere, Dante poses
as the unconscious humorist; here, if anywhere, in his elaborately solemn
disquisition upon arrangement of the heavens and their analogues in the
_trivium_ and _quadrivium_, he is qualifying himself to play the _rôle_
of St. Gregory in the other world! But even here he finds leisure to cast
occasionally a satirist’s eye on the contemporary world—

    l’ aiuolo che ci fa tanto feroci;

and the naïveté of his references to it is delightful. They sometimes
come in incidentally in the form of similes. In Chapter vii.,[146] for
instance, is an illusion to the perennial banishments and sieges with
which the factions of Guelf and Ghibelline, Black and White, harassed the
cities of the peninsula: “When we speak of ‘the city,’” he says, “we
are wont to mean those who are in possession of it, not those who are
attacking it, albeit the one and the other be citizens.” Or again, in
Chapter xi.,[147] a reference to the decline of good taste and culture
is ingeniously worked into a question of etymology. “_Cortesia_” is
equivalent to “_onestade_,” and “because in courts of old time virtuous
and fair manners were in use (as now the contrary), this word was derived
from courts, and ‘courtesy’ was as much as to say ‘after the usage of
courts.’ If the word had been derived in modern days from the same
origin, it could have signified nothing else than _turpezza_.”

In _Tratt. III_, as elsewhere, the playfulness is for the most part so
spread out that it is difficult to quote. There is, however, a touch of
real satire in such passages as that in which Dante twits the lawyers,
physicians, and members of religious orders with their disqualification
for the reputation of a true philosopher.[148]

“We are not to call him a real philosopher who is a friend of wisdom for
profit’s sake, as are lawyers, physicians, and almost all the members of
the religious orders, who do not study in order to know, but in order
to get money or office; and if any one would give them that which it is
their purpose to acquire, they would linger over their study no longer.”

_Trattato IV_ is more obviously fruitful. Here again he girds at
the lawyers and doctors, suggesting that they might at least give
_un_professional advice gratis, and, in another place, ventures timidly
to assert that it may be possible “to be religious though married.”[149]
Again, in Ch. xvi., if _nobile_ simply meant _notus_, then the Obelisk
of St. Peter would be the noblest stone on earth, and Asdente the
cobbler (of whom Salimbene gives us so lively a sketch) would be noblest
among the citizens of Parma.[150]

Some arguments are so senseless, he says a little earlier, that they
deserve to be answered not with a word, but with a knife. “Risponder si
vorrebbe non colle parole ma col coltello a tanta bestialità.”[151]

Lastly, he has in this treatise the audacity to depict to us the
sublimest sage, “il maestro di color che sanno,” as indulging in a burst
of hypothetical laughter at the idea of a double origin of the human
race. “Senza dubbio, forte riderebbe Aristotile”; and, he adds, “those
who would divide mankind into two separate species like horses and asses
are (with apologies to Aristotle) themselves the asses.”[152]

In the _De Vulgari Eloquentia_, as we have already hinted, the “idioma
incomptum et ineptum” of various localities, alike on the right and on
the left of the Apennines, gives play for pleasantry of which does Dante
not fail to take advantage. It is with evident relish that he puts on
record typical uncouth phrases of each dialect: the Roman _Mezzure quinto
dici_, the _Chignamente_, _frate_, _sc-tate_ of the Marches of Ancona,
the Milanese _Mes d’ ochiover_, the _Çes fastú_ which men of Aquileja and
Istria “crudeliter accentuando, eructuant.” The feminine softness of the
Romagna, and especially of Forlì, with its _corada mea_;[153] the more
than masculine roughness of the men of Verona, Vicenza, Brescia—all those
who say “Magara”; the _nof_ and _vif_ of Treviso.

In Chapter xi. he has his knife into mediaeval Rome, the proud and
corrupt. “Sicut ergo Romani se cunctis preponendos extimant, in hac
eradicatione sive discerptione non immerito eos aliis preponamus,
protestantes eosdem in nulla vulgaris eloquentie ratione fore tangendos.”
The primacy which the Romans claim in all things may certainly be theirs
in this. In our eliminating process they shall be first to be rejected
from the candidature to furnish a classical vernacular for all Italy!

Their dialect (he goes on), like their morals, is the most degraded
in the whole peninsula, and has spread its corrupting influence into
neighbouring districts. It is indeed not worthy to be called a _vulgare_
(vernacular), but rather a depraved misuse of speech (_tristiloquium_),
and is “italorum vulgarium omnium ... turpissimum.”[154]

At the end of Chapter xiii. he tilts at the Genoese Z—an ugly sound in
itself, but one which, if lost or mislaid by defect of memory, would
leave the poor people of Genoa without a means of transmitting their
thoughts! The loss of this one letter would leave them dumb, or impose
on them the necessity of inventing an entirely new mode of speech. “Si
per oblivionem Ianuenses ammitterent _z_ litteram, vel mutire totaliter
eos vel novam reperare oporteret loquelam: est enim _z_ maxima pars eorum
locutionis: que quidem littera non sine multa rigiditate profertur.”[155]

On a different plane is Dante’s lamentation in Ch. xii. over the decay
of literary culture in Sicily since the glorious days of Frederic and
Manfred, which gave the title “Sicilianum” to the work of Dante’s
predecessors in the vernacular: a passage (to me at least) somewhat
obscure, in which Frederic II of Sicily, Charles II of Naples, Azzo
Marquis of Este, and John Marquis of Montferrat are accused of
blood-thirstiness, treachery and avarice: “Venite carnifices; venite
attriplices; venite avaritiae sectatores....”[156]

Turning to Bk. II we find the same Azzo ironically praised in Chapter
vi., in a “copy-book phrase” of which the incidental introduction gives
point to the satire: “Laudabilis discretio marchionis Estensis et sua
magnificentia preparata cunctis, cunctis illum facit esse dilectum.”

More delightful still is a sentence which closely follows, quoted
solemnly like the former merely as an example of good phraseology
appropriate to a lofty subject, in which Charles of Valois plays the
_rôle_ of a “second Totila,” and his calamitous dealings with Florence
(including, presumably, Dante’s own banishment) are adduced as a fitting
prelude to his futile descent upon Sicily. “Ejecta maxima parte florum de
sinu tuo, Florentia, nequicquam Trinacriam Totila secundus adivit.”[157]

Earlier in the book there is another humorous touch with which we may
conclude our list, at the risk, perchance, of an anti-climax. A passage
near the end of Chapter i. recalls, in a curious way, a line from the
_Epistles_ of Horace.

Dante, having premised that every one should adorn (_exornare_) his
verses as far as possible, goes on to point out that there are limits
beyond which adornment becomes incongruous and absurd. “We do not speak
of an ox caparisoned like a horse or a belted pig as _ornatus_; we
laugh at them, and would rather apply the word _deturpatus_.” This _bos
ephippiatus_ most aptly typifies incongruity of adornment. In Horace’s
well-known line—

    Optat ephippia bos piger, optat arare caballus,[158]

the point of the satire is different. It is the Roman poet’s favourite
theme of universal discontent—each envying another’s lot.

In Dante’s phrase we may perhaps detect an unconscious or semi-conscious
adoption or adaptation of a classical image: parallel, in a humble
way, with those splendid thefts from Virgil and Ovid with which he has
enriched the _Divina Commedia_: conceptions too unquestionably original
in their new form to be classed as mere plagiarisms.

“Cicero hath observed,” says the _Spectator_ of Nov. 5, 1714,[159] “that
a jest is never uttered with a better grace than when it is accompanied
with a serious countenance.”

If this be true, our quest may perhaps modestly congratulate itself on
the avoidance of undue levity. Nor need we take it seriously to heart if
we have failed to vindicate for Dante the character of a humorist in the
modern sense, and of the American type. The most that our investigation
can be said to have proved is that Dante, embittered as he was by his
exile, and emaciated by long and serious study, was not devoid of that
sense of humour whereby man is able to wring matter for cheerfulness and
mirth out of the most unlikely material, and, going through this vale of
misery—“questo aspro disorto”—to “use it for a well.” But neither is he
the cold abstraction, both less and more than human, which tradition,
of a sort, has handed down to us. His works display, for those who care
to look for them, a breadth of sympathy, a capacity for observation
and discernment, a keenness of interest, an eye for the incongruous,
a richness and sureness of self-expression that are guarantees of the
possession of the sense of humour.[160] The manifold play of the forces
of one of the most picturesque ages of human history found a sympathetic
response in Dante’s genius, though the sublimity and the restraint of
his work has obscured this. This side of his genius is well summed up by
Sannia.[161]

“La coscienza lucidissima di sè stesso, l’ attitudine all’ analisi
psicologica, la febbrile curiosità del mondo esterno, naturale ed umano,
lo spirito d’ osservazione, il senso più squisito dell’ arte, la divina
serenità, la multiforme impressionabilità dell’ artista, il senso del
tenero, la pietà umana, il pessimismo furono note spiccatissime, eminenti
del suo genio.”



IV

DANTE AND MEDIAEVAL THOUGHT

      Vidi ’l maestro di color che sanno
      Seder tra filosofica famiglia.
    Tutti lo miran, tutti onor li fanno.

                      —_Inf._ iv. 131-3.


Those who were privileged to listen to Mr. Trevelyan’s lecture on
“Italy’s Part in the War,” and to see the wonderful slides presented to
him by the _Comando Supremo_, will remember the thrill contributed by
the last picture—the great statue of Dante at Trento, with the fugitive
Austrian soldiers at its base, fleeing, as it were, before his face.
Dante, we felt, has at last come to his own; the Trentino is at last
indefeasibly—

    Suso in Italia bella,

and the “alps above Tiralli” effectively “bar out” the Teuton![162]

Dante’s inspiration has indeed brooded over the heroic efforts and
struggles of Italy’s twentieth century patriots, even as over their
forefathers of the Risorgimento. And this living influence of the Divine
Poet’s genius has been brought before our readers in the first two Essays
of this collection.

Perhaps it may not be amiss to follow up those former articles with a
complementary study of the Poet—no longer as the inspirer of nineteenth
and twentieth century ideals, but as the supreme representative of
the thought and feeling of his own century, the thirteenth. Like
Shakespeare, Dante never grows old. There is a quality of universality
about his genius, and a broad and deep human appeal in his writing which
renders it the proper heritage of every generation. And, haughty and
aloof as was his spirit during life, with an aloofness intensified by
bitter exile and by the sickness of ever-deferred hope, he was not one of
those great ones who are entirely out of touch with their contemporaries,
living in an age not yet born. Scarcely had he passed from mortal sight
when a chorus of appreciation made itself heard, which, though it has
waned in ages of waning taste, has never ceased to sound.

In a very true sense, Dante sums up in himself all that is best in
mediaeval thought.

So Mr. Henry Osborne Taylor, in his formidable study of _The Mediaeval
Mind_, significantly heads the forty-third and last chapter “The
Mediaeval Synthesis: Dante.” “There is unity,” he affirms, “throughout
the diversity of mediaeval life; and Dante is the proof of it.”[163] It
is pre-eminently as a religious thinker that Dante holds this place, and
supplies this synthesis.

Theology as conceived in the thirteenth century was not only the
“Queen of Sciences”; the religious conception of knowledge embraced
and included all else. To Dante, the theologian-poet, as to Thomas
Aquinas, the theologian-philosopher, all knowledge whatsoever was
ultimately _one_; its end and purpose, its ground and justification,
its key and explanation were to be found in the mystery of the Blessed
Trinity-in-Unity.

Theology was not one among many departments of knowledge; it was the
sum of knowledge, the key to all problems of the universe. Some of us
retain, deep down in our nature, a conviction that, in this point at
least, the scholastic theologians were right. While thankfully accepting
the results of the scientific “division of labour,” the marvellous
practical and theoretical fruits of a free and systematic investigation
of phenomena which have transformed our very conception of knowledge
and the knowable, we are apt to feel sometimes that the thirteenth
century thinkers, with their complete mastery and mapping-out of the
comparatively narrow field of the “scibile,” were not so liable as
ourselves to lose sight of the wood by reason of the multitude of the
trees, to lose the idea of an universe in the absorbing interest of its
details.

At any rate, it may be accepted as beyond discussion that to the great
mediaeval thinkers—to Peter Lombard, to Abelard, to St. Bernard, to
St. Bonaventura and Albertus Magnus, to Roger Bacon and Duns Scotus;
above all, perhaps, to St. Thomas Aquinas and to Dante, all knowledge
is ultimately religious knowledge: just because God is conceived and
realised as being the beginning and end and groundwork of all things.
This truth underlies the beautiful language of the first canto of
_Paradiso_—

    La gloria di colui che tutto move
      Per l’ universo penetra e risplende
      In una parte più e meno altrove.

and again—

            ... Le cose tutte quante
    Hanno ordine tra loro, e questo è forma
    Che ’l universo a Dio fa simigliante.[164]

It also underlies the description of the damned as those who have lost
“the Good of the intellect.”[165]

    Noi siam venuti al luogo ove io t’ ho detto
      Che tu vedrai le genti dolorose
      Ch’ hanno perduto il ben de l’ intelletto.

This tendency to subsume all knowledge under religious knowledge is
indeed one of the most important ways in which Dante is representative of
his time. To that we shall revert later on. Now let us turn to consider
for a moment some of the elements and sources of mediaeval knowledge as
Dante knew and mastered it.

Holy Scripture, the Patristic writings, ancient classical lore, the
Graeco-Arabian philosophy and science of which the groundwork was
Aristotle—these are the main antecedents of the mediaeval system of
knowledge, and they are blended together in characteristic ways, and
dissolved, as it were, in a fluid composed of romantic chivalry and other
elements of preponderatingly Teutonic and Celtic origin.

(1) The groundwork of all is, of course, Holy Scripture: known and
studied exclusively in the Latin Vulgate text, a rather degenerate
and corrupt representative of the (in its way) masterly and excellent
translation from the Hebrew and Greek made by St. Jerome in the fifth
century.

The Bible, as we know quite well to-day,—even those of us who are more
than ever convinced of its inspiration—is not a manual of natural science
or philosophy, nor even an absolutely infallible guide in matters of
history and chronology. Its scientific standpoint is that of the age in
which each part was composed, however eternal be the significance and
application of its fundamental religious principles.

To the mediaeval mind, however, Scripture was a universal text-book
of science. So that countless questions were regarded as foreclosed
because the Bible appeared to have pronounced upon them. The scientific
mind of the Middle Ages felt itself committed at a hundred points
to the rather crude conceptions of the ancient Hebrews, and to a
literal interpretation, very often, of figurative and highly poetical
expressions.

The disadvantages of this state of things are obvious to us: we must not
forget, however, that they were largely modified by the fact that while
all knowledge was regarded as ultimately religious knowledge, it is just
in its religious principles that the Bible is supreme, and is permanently
true.

(2) The interpretation of Scripture in the Middle Ages is largely based
on patristic exegesis; on the writings of the really great minds of the
third, fourth and fifth centuries, when men like Athanasius, Cyril of
Alexandria, Basil and the Gregories, Chrysostom, Jerome and Augustine,
laid the foundations of systematic Christian thought; men steeped in
the Holy Scriptures, and bringing to them an intellect furnished with
ideas and categories inherited in part from the classical world—from
Graeco-Roman literature and philosophy. The most influential of them all,
perhaps, upon mediaeval thought were Jerome (through his translation of
the Bible) and Augustine, the deepest and most original thinker (with the
exception of Origen) among all the “Fathers.”

Holy Scripture then, patristically interpreted, is the first and most
important element in mediaeval knowledge; and the place it holds in Dante
may be roughly estimated by the calculations of Dr. Moore in his _Dante
Studies_ (Vol. I), where he shows that in his extant works the Poet
quotes the Vulgate more than five hundred times.

Dante is representative of the Middle Ages in his reverence for and
his use of Holy Scripture, interpreted for the most part by traditions
derived from the Christian Fathers.

Scripture itself was mediaevally supplemented by hagiology—the lives and
legends of the Saints—nor is this element lacking in Dante.[166]

(3) But the place of honour, next to Scripture, in Dante, must be
assigned, surely, to classical lore—to the mythology and literature of
the ancient Graeco-Roman civilisation for which the mediaeval mind had so
profound a reverence. Greek philosophy, as represented by Aristotle—

    il maestro di color che sanno[167]

is a category by itself, to which we shall turn our attention in a
moment. But classical lore in general, as represented by such writers as
Virgil (quoted 200 times), Ovid (100), Cicero (50), Lucan (50), Horace
(15?), Livy (15?), finds very definite recognition in Dante’s works.

The old Roman Empire was viewed by Dante with a truly religious
veneration, as is clear not only from many a passage in the _Divina
Commedia_ (e.g. _Par._ vi), but from the whole argument of the _De
Monarchia_.[168] This veneration, which shed lustre and dignity upon a
“Holy Roman Empire” which even in Dante’s day had become actually, though
not technically, German, is characteristic especially of the Italian
mind; and Dante was Italian as well as mediaeval. The Italians even of
to-day are proud to regard themselves as the direct successors of the
old Romans of the Republic and of the Caesars: in Dante’s time they were
prepared to trace their ancestry to the divinely guided companions of
Aeneas of Troy.

Rome looms large in the providential ordering of human history: Dante’s
conception of her sovereign place is drawn from the author of the
princely _Aeneid_, whose function in the _Divine Comedy_ is guarantee of
the affectionate reverence which Dante bore to him.

But it is not only Roman history, but classical mythology that weaves
itself into the texture of Dante’s religious thought. If he quotes Virgil
some two hundred times, he quotes Ovid about one hundred.

The tendency to mingle together examples from Scripture and from pagan
mythology is characteristically mediaeval. In Dante it is a well known
feature, most typically represented perhaps in the sculptures, visions
and voices of the Purgatorio.

He who is bold enough in _Purg._ xxx. to blend together the Scriptural
_Benedictus qui venis_ with Virgil’s _Manibus o date lilia plenis_ is
not afraid to invoke the Muses and Apollo (mystically interpreted) as he
begins a new _cantica_.[169] He does not hesitate to apostrophise the
Saviour of the world in terms which blend the Christian with the antique
pagan tradition—[170]

            ... O Sommo Giove,
    Che fosti in terra per noi crucifisso!

This is well explained by Mr. Taylor. “With Dante,” he says,[171] “the
pagan antique represented much that was philosophically true, if not
veritably divine. In his mind, apparently, the heathen good stood for
the Christian good, and the conflict of the heathen deities with Titan
monsters[172] symbolised, if indeed it did not continue to make part of,
the Christian struggle against the power of sin.”

This principle may be regarded as being, in a way, the mediaeval analogue
of our broad modern conceptions derived from a comparative study of
religions.

(4) But supreme among the influences derived by the Middle Ages from
classical antiquity is the philosophy of Aristotle, which holds the next
place to Scripture alike in the “Summa” of Thomas Aquinas, and in the
_Divina Commedia_ of Dante.

Mediaeval Christianity drew its knowledge of Aristotelian philosophy
from Mohammedan sources. The great Arab scientists and philosophers of
mediaeval times, represented in the _Commedia_ by Avicenna and—

    Averroìs che il gran comento feo[173]

(his commentary on Aristotle was translated into Latin about 1250),
gave back, in a modified form, to Western Europe, the works of the
Philosopher, of which the original Greek was not acquired by them till
several centuries later.

This Graeco-Arabian philosophy forms the basis of those constantly
recurring, and to many of us rather tiresome, astronomical excursions
which form so characteristic a feature of the _Divine Comedy_.

This form of Aristotelianism plays an immense part in the scholastic
philosophy; and his deference to it is among Dante’s chief claims to be
representative of the religious thought and teaching of his day.

In countless other ways the Poet’s writings are representative of
what was best and highest in contemporary thought: the wide grasp of
innumerable topics and details, the encyclopaedic temper, quaintly
obvious in the _Convivio_ but more worthily embodied in the _Divina
Commedia_; the spiritualising of troubadour love, beautifully manifested
in the promise of _Vita Nuova_ and _Canzoniere_, but more sublimely
still in the Beatrice of the _Paradiso_; the blending of religious with
political theory so conspicuous in the _Monarchia_ and _Commedia_; the
realistic vividness of conception; the eye for contrast, which makes
Dante’s great poem a mirror of the kaleidoscopic life of the Middle Ages.

Among the qualities which made Dante what he was—and is—two would seem
to be supreme. First his encyclopaedic knowledge, and secondly the
unrivalled power of plastic visualisation, by which he was enabled “to
use as a poet what he had acquired as a scholar.”[174]

Dante has been described by Eliot Norton as an instance of “the
incredible diligence of the Middle Ages.” In days when there was no
Funk and Wagnalls Company to minister encyclopaedic knowledge by cheap
instalments—when everything must be painfully acquired from MSS. and
the diligent student ran the risk not only of leanness[175] but of
blindness[176] Dante appears, from his extant works, to have known all
that was to be known. Dr. Moore’s investigations (in _Dante Studies_,
Vol. I) go some way towards justifying—if anything can absolutely justify
so dogmatic a statement—the perhaps over-enthusiastic words of A. G.
Butler:

“Dante was born a student as he was born a poet, and had he never written
a single poem, he would still have been famous as the most profound
scholar of his time.”[177]

But if Dante had finished the _Convivio_, and written nothing else, his
vast learning would have been as uninteresting to the average modern
mind as is that of Albertus Magnus or Thomas Aquinas. Albertus Magnus
with his incredible learning and his more than incredible fecundity
and voluminousness is unknown to most of us. Thomas Aquinas, though
the soundness of his judgment and the depth of his insight have given
his writings a permanent place of honour, more especially in the Roman
Communion, is little more than a name to the average student even of
literature and philosophy.

Albert and Thomas were theologians: so was Dante, but he was a poet as
well.[178] Dante is saturated with the entire knowledge of the Middle
Ages; he has absorbed and assimilated it, and he gives it out again
transfigured—alive! It becomes in his hands an original and immortal
contribution to the intellectual, moral and aesthetic heritage of mankind.

From our present study the Divine Poet emerges once more as the “Apostle
of Freedom.” He handles his subject-matter with the master-touch that
makes it _live_, and with the independence of standpoint and sincerity
of judgment that draws Catholics to claim him as a Catholic, and
Protestants as a Protestant. As a matter of fact he is a loyal Catholic,
as was rightly proclaimed by the late lamented Pope Benedict XV in his
Encyclical of May, 1921.[179] A Catholic, but above all, a Christian.
And, as the Pope also justly remarked, his work and his message are alive
to-day—more living than that of many a present-day Poet—just because he
is not dependent on mere pagan models and sources, however classical, but
is saturated with Christian thought and feeling. For the future lies with
Christianity.

In our next Essay we shall endeavour to show how the free spirit of the
artist and the theologian merges into that of the Educationist: how the
characteristic modern principles of freedom in the educational sphere
underlie Dante’s thought and writing, and how, in particular, they
dominate his scheme of the _Purgatorio_.



V

DANTE AND MODERN EDUCATIONAL PRINCIPLES

                 ... Io sarò tua guida
    E trarrotti di qui per loco eterno.

                    —_Inf._ i. 177 _sq._


In face of Benedetto Croce’s new Book,[180] wherein all the meticulous
industry exerted by the typical Dantist upon side-issues of the _Divine
Comedy_ is held up to scorn, and denounced, like Cromwell’s House
of Lords, as “useless and dangerous,” one hardly dares to labour a
point—even if it be so exalted a point as the principles and method of
education. But it is the criticism of Dante’s Poesy that is Croce’s
concern: his jealous anxiety is directed against any admixture in that
criticism of any irrelevant considerations—allegorical, theological,
philosophical, poetical. As we are not attempting a criticism of Dante’s
Poesy (though none can approach the _Commedia_ without falling under the
spell of its beauty and passion), we may perhaps hope to evade the fiery
darts of the Poet’s latest critic.

Croce himself would be the last to deny Dante’s extraordinary
versatility: only he pleads that if the author of the _Divine Comedy_ had
not been, “as he is, _grandissimo poeta_,” the world would not have noted
his other accomplishments.[181] We may therefore perhaps be pardoned if
we indulge in something of that “sonorous but empty phraseology”[182]
which he attributes to those who look for much more than Poetry in the
great Poem; and come to the _Commedia_ as to a mine of varied treasures
reflecting the versatile spirit of one who was not only a sublime poet,
but also a man of many-sided knowledge and experience—theological,
philosophical, political, practical—and who poured all the wealth of his
knowledge and experience into the supreme effort of his genius:

                          Il poema sacro
    Al quale ha posto mano e cielo e terra.

Before Dante as a boy learnt his lessons of the good friars of Sta.
Croce, and in the school of the great lord, Love blossomed out into
verse under the sunshine of his “first friend’s” encouragement, pored
over crabbed manuscripts under the inspiration of the learned Ser
Brunetto, and grew up to be an unique exponent of mediaeval lore; that
lore, which formed the material out of which he wrought the scheme of
his immortal poem had very slowly and gradually come into being. The
course of Christian Education had passed through rhythmic vicissitudes
of advance and retrogression, of decadence and revival. Sown broadcast
over the fields of the Graeco-Roman world by Apostolic hands[183] the
seed fructified and gave forth foliage to delight and refresh mankind.
In the golden age of the Greek Fathers, when Clement and Origen wrote
and taught, when Basil and Gregory at the University of Athens drank in
all that the old world had to teach, and transmuted it into something
fresh and new by the fertilising power of the New Life that was in them,
the Christian Church became, in Harnack’s phrase, “the great elementary
schoolmistress of the Roman Empire.”

Then followed a decline. The barbarian invasions kept men fighting, and
left no time to muse or think, or write. Dante’s hero, Boethius, stands
out an almost solitary luminous figure in a world of growing intellectual
darkness, of which Gregory of Tours despairingly exclaimed: “Periit
studium litterarum.” By the middle of the eighth century the lamp was
nearly extinguished. To our own Alcuin of York belongs the glory of
having preserved the continuum of literary studies which made a Dante
possible. His patient and persevering labours at the court of Charles the
Great laid the foundations on which was ultimately built—of multifarious
material, partly recovered through Arabic sources—the splendid structure
of mediaeval scholasticism which forms much of Dante’s mental background.

After Dante’s death the same rhythmic alternation of advance and
retrogression, of greater and less vitality, may, on the whole, be
discerned in the course of educational history; and as our object is to
unearth in the _Divine Comedy_ some educational principles vaunted as
“peculiarly modern,” it may be best to dwell for a moment—if still all
too superficially—on this second half of the story.

When the impulse of Scholasticism had well-nigh spent itself—and with
it the splendid revival at once of practical and of intellectual
Christianity which came in with “The Coming of the Friars”—the dawn
of the Renaissance was already gleaming in the Eastern sky, and the
fall of Constantinople flooded Western Europe with a new interest in,
and passion for, Hellenic culture. The birth-throes of the Reformation
ushered into the world a “New Learning.” In a couple of centuries the
fire of this impulse in turn died down, and (in England, at any rate)
Education largely fell back, speaking generally—with smaller actions and
reactions—into something like a mere mechanical routine. The Classics
became an end, and not a means, and the study of them was divorced from
citizenship and from life. The aim and method of the average schoolmaster
would almost appear to have degenerated into a grinding of his pupils all
alike in the same mill, or a feeding of their diverse digestions all on
the same “iron rations”: the pedagogue himself innocent alike of an as
yet undiscovered psychological method in teaching, and in many cases also
failing to realise the paramount importance of the formation of character
as the only result worth striving for.

Then came, with Rousseau, the first streaks of the dawn of the “New
Teaching,” and there followed, in a brightening sky, Pestalozzi and
Froebel abroad, and here in England Arnold and Thring and the rest. And
this New Teaching, using the present-day opportunities of co-operation
and tabulation of experimental results on a large scale, has, by dint of
Conferences and Congresses, grown into something of a world-wide unity.
Modern Science has thus leavened educational method both in general and
in particular. In general, its spirit and principles have been employed
to make available for all the investigations of each; in particular,
the recent developments of psychology and psycho-physics have given a
new impulse and a new direction to child-study, and made possible an
elaboration of scientific method and of didactic apparatus such as was
not available in any previous age. Here the instinctive methods employed
unconsciously by the “born teachers” of all generations have been brought
up to the level of consciousness, and systematised and made available, to
a large extent, for those in whom the instinctive gift is not so great.

One of the prominent tendencies of the New Teaching is to revert to, and
elaborate, that Direct Method in the teaching of Languages which was
characteristic of the “New Learning” in the days of Erasmus and his
fellow pioneers. This we shall see foreshadowed in Dante. It is a part
of a tendency to make education “paido-centric”; to lay its emphasis on,
and find its focus in, the child rather than in the instructor; to make
it less of an imposition of the dominant teacher upon a submissive and
receptive pupil. The New Teaching requires that “the relative activities
of teacher and pupil” should be “reversed.” It recognises that pupils
need to be “trained in initiative,” and “made increasingly responsible
for their own education”; that the inertia of many pupils has to be met
not by force or browbeating, but “by taking steps to reach indirectly the
goal of stimulating their individual activity.”[184]

The watchword therefore of the modern teaching is _Liberty_. And this
principle of Liberty—the recognition that all education is, at bottom,
self-education; and that the teacher’s business is to liberate (or make
possible the liberation of) the inherent evolutionary forces latent in
the pupil—finds its climax in the doctrine of Dante’s compatriot and
sincere admirer, Madame Montessori. She is also, in a sense, the most
modern of the Modernists; for in her method is carried, probably to its
highest point, the application of psycho-physical science to education.
She represents in some ways—and especially on the individualistic
side—the extreme advance of the modern movement; and it is with her
system that we shall institute later on a somewhat detailed comparison of
the educational principles underlying Dante’s _Purgatorio_.

Dante’s name is not popularly associated with those of the World’s
Greatest Educators—with Aristotle and Quintilian, with Alcuin and Alfred,
with Colet and Erasmus, with Pestalozzi and Froebel and Montessori. He is
not claimed as the conscious originator of new didactic method. He has
not left us any systematic treatise on Education. Yet many have found in
him a mighty Teacher, “who being dead yet speaketh”; and to such it will
bring no surprise to find great educational principles embodied in his
work.

We may compare and contrast his opportunities with those of his great
contemporary, Robert Grosseteste, who as “First Chancellor,” if we may
call him so, of the University of Oxford, may rank in a sense as a
professional Teacher. Such a comparison would surely demonstrate that the
permanent influence of the illustrious Bishop of Lincoln upon subsequent
generations bears no comparison with that of the Florentine Poet.

Grosseteste may claim a place among the world’s Educators not only in
virtue of his general influence upon English education at a period when
the Oxford Franciscans were about to take the lead in European culture,
but also—and more especially—because, in an age when study had become
largely a second-hand matter of commenting on someone else’s commentary,
Robert called men back to a diligent first-hand study of originals;
a principle of the utmost importance alike for Education and for
Learning.[185]

Dante, too, was a keen, first-hand student; but his place in the history
of Education is different from that of Grosseteste. He attained to no
such commanding position in ecclesiastical or political life, with the
power that official status gives of forcing one’s ideas on public
notice. His brief tenure of the high office of Prior in his native city
of Florence was followed immediately by those years of exile and ignominy
in which his best work was done. His sole means of influencing his own
and succeeding generations was by his writings. But these writings not
only proclaimed him (as all the world admits) the very flower and crown
of Mediaeval Education—its justifying product—but also earn him, we would
contend, a place among the World’s Great Educators, and perhaps we may
add, its Educationalists. But first of all we may remind ourselves of
Dante’s position, as the finest and most typical product of Mediaeval
Education. Benedetto Croce[186] is doubtless right in denying him the
right to be called a _pioneer_ in metaphysics or ethics, in political
theory or philological science: in such lines it is vain to attribute to
him the same originality which is rightly his in the realm of Poetry.
Yet his learning remains encyclopaedic.[187] His amazing erudition is
displayed in his Minor Works; in the _Divine Comedy_ it is concealed with
the most consummate art. In the _Convivio_, where he is, perhaps, most
consciously and deliberately (if least successfully) the Teacher, he
revels in erudition, and so too in the _Monarchia_. Perhaps the clearest
and swiftest demonstration of the vast range of his learning is afforded
by a glance through the pages—or even the index—of Dr. Moore’s _Studies
in Dante_ (First Series).

Dante was not a Greek scholar, like Grosseteste, but he had a thorough
acquaintance with the Holy Scriptures in the Vulgate, and with a large
part of the theological and mystical writings of the Middle Age. He
was familiar with all the extant works of Aristotle in two Latin
translations. He quotes also, and in some cases very frequently, from
Classical and post-classical authors of repute. He has thoroughly
mastered the Graeco-Arabian Astronomy of his day: so thoroughly, that,
to the despair of some of his humbler votaries, he can toy with its
ponderous intricacies as with a plaything! Nor must we forget that his
studies were conducted in an age when printing had yet to be invented;
so that all his reading must needs be done with rare, costly, cumbrous
and eye-wearying manuscripts. Well may he, in the _Paradiso_, describe
his labours as “emaciating,” and in the _Convivio_ allude to a temporary
blindness caused by overstrain.[188]

It has been plausibly conjectured that he studied as a boy under the
Franciscan Fathers of Sta Croce.[189] The idea that Brunetto Latini
(or “Latino”), the author of the “Tesoro” (_Livre dou Tresor_), was
the regular preceptor of his youth, however just an inference it may
seem from the famous passage in the _Inferno_,[190] is disproved by the
exigencies of chronology. And, in the end, he must have been largely
self-taught, since his visit to the University of Paris, alleged by
Boccaccio, is placed towards the end of his life, when most of his extant
work was already done.

In his attitude Dante is a traditionalist, but not a blind one; his
originality everywhere tends to modify his conservatism. A true son of
the thirteenth century, he accepts loyally the traditional authority of
Scripture and of Aristotle. He accepts the tradition of the old Roman
culture: the “Seven Liberal Arts” of the Trivium and Quadrivium find a
place in the scheme of his world and a symbolic significance therein.
According to a well-known passage in the _Convivio_[191] these seven
sciences correspond to the seven lowest Heavens.

The mythology of Greece and Rome, on which the minds of our Public School
boys are still fed, are caught up into the scheme of the _Divine Comedy_
as “didactic material” side by side with scenes from history and from
Holy Writ. The Ptolemaic system of the universe is accepted; but Dante
uses his own genius freely in the handling of details, adorning the vast
framework with a symbolism of his own, and spreading over it a network of
intense human interest.[192]

So also in the sphere of Theology, he takes up traditional beliefs and
makes them living and concrete, vitalising them by the force of his
own originality. In his volume on _Dante and Aquinas_, Mr. Wicksteed
has drawn out very strikingly the contrast between the two: between
the “layman, poet, and prophet, and the ecclesiastic, theologian, and
philosopher.” “Aquinas,” he says, “regards the whole range of human
experiences and activities as the collecting ground for illustrations
of Christian truth; Dante regards Christian truth as the interpreting
and inspiring force that makes all human life live.”[193] This contrast
comes out, as we shall see, with special emphasis in the conception of
Purgatory, where Aquinas is thinking all along of the formal completion
of the sacrament of Penance, while Dante, who, with most daring
originality, makes his Mountain of Purgation the pedestal of the Earthly
Paradise, is intent on the redressing of man’s inner psychological and
spiritual balance. Eden itself is to be the immediate goal of penitence.
Before this earthly life is superseded by the heavenly, man shall win
his way to the primal Garden of Delight, and “experience the frank and
full fruition of his nature, as God first made it.”[194] He shall have
achieved inner balance and self-mastery. Says Virgil, on the threshold of
Eden—

    Free, sound and upright is thy will.... Wherefore over thyself
    I invest thee with supreme control.[195]

    Libero, dritto e sano è tuo arbitrio,
    ...
    Per ch’ io te sopra te corono e mitrio.

We may note then, in passing, that Dante, like all the best educators,
has his eye on the “formation of character.”

Such erudition, originality, insight, give promise that we shall find in
Dante a real teacher; and the promise is abundantly fulfilled to those
who tread the spacious halls of his School, which is his Poem.

The very language in which the _Divina Commedia_ is written is a
testimony to the Poet’s grasp of the fundamental condition of all
teaching—that it should be intelligible! There is a saying of Alcuin’s
great disciple, Rabanus Maurus, which expresses simply and well this
obvious, but oft-forgotten principle. “Teach,” he says, “in words that
teach; not in words that do not teach.” With this principle, surely, in
mind—for his purpose in creating the great Poem was a practical one—the
strangely haughty and aloof spirit of Dante girds itself to a humble use
of the “Vulgar Tongue.” When we remember that this magnificent structure
of his is the first big effort in the Italian vernacular, and that one
of his reasons for calling it a “Comedy” is that “its method of speech
is lax and humble, for it is the vernacular speech in which mere women
communicate,”[196] we cannot but see in this pioneer work of Italian
literature evidence of that discerning sympathy with the needs and
capacities of the learner which marks the born teacher. Another mark of
the true educator is his practical aim. Dante is not content to “teach
the classics _in vacuo_,” as our English Public Schools once were: he
does not divorce learning from life. In the famous Tenth Epistle he
defines the “Moral Sense” of the Poem as “The conversion of the Soul
from the grief and misery of sin to the state of grace”; and, again,
he describes “the end of the whole” thus: “To remove those living in
this life from the state of misery and to lead them to the state of
felicity.”[197] He has his eye upon life in the highest sense: “Come l’
uom s’eterna.” To this end he displays to us the unique means provided
by Heaven for his own salvation, and allows us in his company to visit
the three kingdoms of the Eternal World. He performs for us the office
fulfilled by Virgil towards himself—

    ... I will be thy guide, and will conduct thee hence
    through an eternal place.

                 ... Io sarò tua guida
    E trarrotti di qui per loco eterno.[198]

We must see with his eyes to what state of ineffable woe, not Divine
Justice merely, but the sinner’s own choice will bring him. We must watch
with him the Divine process of purgation, the eagerly-accepted suffering
of those whose penitent love longs above all things to undo the ruin that
sin has wrought—[199]

    ... Contented in the fire, for that they hope
    In God’s good time to reach the blessed folk

                    ... Contenti
    Nel foco, perchè speran di venire,
    Quando che sia, a le beate genti....

and finally he will take us up with him into the Blessed Place itself, to
behold “the things which God has prepared for them that unfeignedly love
Him.”

Here again is the true teacher, adopting the story-telling method of the
Teacher of Nazareth:[200] the method of which the usefulness—nay, the
indispensableness—was never more appreciated than to-day.

Nor is it merely that the Poet narrates instead of preaching. What he
does, he does with the most consummate art.[201] The story that he
tells—the pilgrimage on which he goes—is one which both he and we really
share; we become his fellow-pilgrims, his intimates, before whom, without
the least touch of self-consciousness, he manifests his joy and his
despondency, his courage and his cowardice, his native dignity and his
occasional lapses therefrom.... The narrative reads like a truthful and
vivid diary of his actual experiences from the night of Maundy Thursday
till Easter Wednesday in the Year of Grace One Thousand and Three Hundred.

It may be claimed for Dante’s method of teaching in the _Divina Commedia_
that it is in a very real sense a “direct method,” and one in which
teacher and pupil co-operate as fellow-learners.

The educational quality of the poem is at its highest in the
_Purgatorio_, because it is in this realm that the conditions approach
most nearly to those of our present life. Like the normal life of a
faithful Christian here below, that of the souls in this “Second Realm”
is a struggle, but a struggle upwards, inspired and sweetened by the
“sure and certain hope.” It is a process of growing transformation into
the Divine ideal, of gradual achievement of a perfect union of will
with the Will of God, wrought out by means of a providentially ordered
discipline eagerly embraced by the penitent.

All this may seem a little vague and elusive. Probably the quality
claimed for Dante will be brought into higher relief if we concentrate
our attention upon one or two definite points.

In the attempt to emphasise the “modern” character of Dante’s educational
principles we shall be bold enough to confront him with the very latest
of educational methods—that of Dr. Montessori, which originated but a few
years ago in Dante’s native Italy.

The fundamental principle of Madame Montessori’s Method is that of
Liberty. Education, she would say, must be a free organic process of
development from within. This vital growth may be guarded, nourished,
and (within limits) guided. The right kind of atmosphere and of
external stimulus is of immense importance; but mechanical pressure,
or domineering force, or inappropriate stimulus will only stunt and
distort the growth, deaden the life that is calling out for free
self-development. All this is not, of course, a new discovery. It was
enunciated in other forms by Pestalozzi and by Froebel; it is implied
in the words and works of all the greatest educators—of Vittorino da
Feltre in the Renaissance, of Quintilian in the early Empire, and of
Aristotle himself. But in Montessori the principle of individual freedom
acquires a new prominence, and is given a larger scope than ever before;
and the principle is coming to its own in many phases and many grades of
our present-day education. It is interesting, therefore, to note what
a fundamental position it holds in Dante’s _Purgatorio_, the central
Cantica of what Professor Edmund Gardner rightly calls “The mystical
Epos of the Freedom of Man’s Will.”

Liberty—that true liberty of soul which is found in perfect conformity
to the Will of God—is the end and purpose of the Poet’s grim journey.
_Libertà va cercando_—“he goes seeking freedom”—says Virgil to Cato at
the foot of the Mountain:[202] the freedom which Dante himself, a little
later, identifies with inward peace—“That peace which ... draws me on in
pursuit from world to world.”[203]

                          ... Quella pace
    Che, dietro a’ piedi di sî fatta guida
    Di mondo in mondo cercar mi si face.

It is to the entrance upon this peace and this freedom that Virgil refers
in his words quoted above, where on the threshold of the Earthly Paradise
he declares the pilgrim to be, at last, “King and Bishop of his own soul”—

    Perch’ io te sovra te corono e mitrio.[204]

And, finally, in the heaven of heavens itself Dante pours out his thanks
to Beatrice for liberty regained—“Thou has led me forth from bondage into
liberty.”

    Tu m’ hai di servo tratto a libertate.[205]

We have already spoken of the spontaneity of Dante’s Penitents; the eager
gladness and alacrity with which they embrace the discipline appointed
for them, “glad in the Fire”: a temper which finds its typical expression
in the attitude of the souls who are purging the sin of Lust in literally
burning flames. “Certain of them,” says the Poet, “made towards me, so
far as they could, ever on their guard not to come forth beyond the
range of the burning”—

    Poi verso me, quanto potean farsi,
      Certi si feron, sempre con riguardo
      Di non uscir dove non fosser arsi.[206]

Or, again, on the Terrace of the Gluttonous, where Forese explains to
Dante that the voluntary pain of the penitents (which is also their
solace) is mystically identified with that of Christ upon the Cross—“For
the same desire doth conduct us to the tree, which moved Christ to say
with joy: ‘Eli,’ when by His blood He won our freedom.”

    Che quella voglia a li albori ci mena
      Che menò Cristo lieto a dire ‘Elì,’
      Quando ne liberò con la sua vena.[207]

And this spontaneity on their part is matched and helped by the
atmosphere and environment provided for them. Their movements and
occupations are indeed, in one sense, unnatural; but this is because
their purpose is the counteraction of that most unnatural of all things,
Sin. Here, however, are no frequent warders and task-masters, like
the grotesque fiends of the Inferno. The Angel guardians of each of
the seven terraces where sins are purged are no more in evidence than
is the Teacher in a Montessori School; an unobtrusive, ever-present,
never-interfering inspiration to the pupil’s own spontaneous development.
There is no external voice to bid a spirit move on when its purgation is
done. So Statius explains to Dante when describing the impulse of his own
upward movement. “Of the cleansing, the will alone gives proof, which
fills the soul, all free to change her cloister, and avails her to will.
She wills indeed before; but that desire permits it not which Divine
justice sets, counter to will, toward the penalty, even as it was toward
the sin”—

    De la mondizia sol voler fa prova,
      Che, tutto libero a mutar convento,
      L’ alma sorprende, e di voler le giova.
    Prima vuol ben, ma non lascia il talento
      Che divina giustizia, contra voglia,
      Come fu al peccar, pone al tormento.[208]

When the soul is ready for another task, it moves on, naturally and
spontaneously,—like a Montessori child!

This consideration accounts for a feature of the purgatorial discipline
which at first sight would appear quite contrary to the Montessori
spirit. On the lower slopes of the Mountain, below the gate of
Purgatory proper, the souls whom Dante meets are grouped informally,
or encountered individually; but within the gate, on each of the seven
terraces where the seven capital sins are successively purged, the souls
are engaged in groups on the same task, or similar ones. How is this
consistent with free, spontaneous, individual development? Is not this
simultaneous occupation at the same lesson more like a Froebel class,
or even an old-fashioned Public School form than a Montessori group?
The answer, surely, is in the negative. Collective work has indeed its
permanent value, and simultaneous movements at intervals, their ample
justification. In the _Purgatorio_, as in the Montessori School, the
class-system in its extreme and rigid form has been superseded; though
scope is given, in certain ways (as in the _revised_ Montessori scheme),
for the expression of the social instinct.[209] When the pupil is
inwardly fit for a move, he “feels it in his bones”; and then—and not
till then—he moves. The task in which he is engaged in company with his
fellows holds him just so long as it is needful and appropriate to his
own case: the moment of its beginning and that of its ending are entirely
independent of the doings of his fellow-learners.

Once more, the Terrace of Purgatory resembles a Montessori group rather
than a Kindergarten class in its freedom from obvious direction. There is
no attractive, central, dominating figure, like the Froebelian teacher,
on whom all eyes are fixed in the spirit of Psalm cxxiii, _Ad te levavi
oculos meos._ The grouping of the learners is apparently spontaneous, and
different groups are sometimes engaged simultaneously on different tasks.

Again, the School of Purgatory is essentially modern in its emphasis on
“expression work,” and its abundant supply of “didactic material.”

By expression work we mean the endeavour to enforce a lesson, to hasten
its assimilation and ensure its retention, by means of some appropriate
activity on the part of the learner. This is of course much older than
Montessorism, as even our best Sunday school teachers can testify; it
can be traced back also beyond Froebel. Its origin is, surely, lost in
the prehistoric ages of pedagogy. But it was Froebel in the nineteenth
century who first claimed for this factor the importance which it holds
in modern education. Yet if we study Dante’s _Purgatorio_ we shall find
expression work on every terrace of the Mountain, from the humble,
stooping march of the cornice of Pride to the significant exclamations
wherewith the once Lustful, on the uppermost terrace, punctuate the
chanting of their hymn, _Summae Deus clementiae_. Purgatory is not for
Dante, as for Aquinas, merely penal suffering—“something to be borne.”
It must be (as Mr. Wicksteed observes)[210] something active—“something
to be and to do”—somewhat more definite, more specific, more varied than
mere suffering is needed for the building up of the new life which is to
be at home once more in Eden.

As in the Montessori school, so in these mystic “cloisters” the learners
are led to concentrate and focus on a single task a number of faculties
and senses: eye, ear, voice, memory, attitude, gesture and movement
all conspire to enforce the lesson. And this variety of expression
work is rendered effective by an abundant supply of didactic material,
an apparatus as carefully and scientifically thought out as that of
Italy’s latest educational leader. One need only instance the famous
wall-sculptures[211] and the inlaid pavement[212] of the Terrace of
Pride, the description of which forms one of the loveliest passages in
this most beautiful poem.

We have spoken of the Angels who preside over these terraces, engaged in
the apparently superfluous task of controlling those whose will is bent
manfully upon the task before them, lifted as they are for ever above the
zone where temptation has any power.[213] What a task, we are inclined to
say, for angelic faculties! What a sinecure! Yet the resemblance to the
human “Guardian Angel” of the Montessori school is surely too striking
to be without significance: and modern educational principles of which
the Dottoressa is by no means the exclusive exponent, may help us to
realise how—in this as in so many other things—we shall do well to range
ourselves “on the side of the Angels.” The Montessori teacher—may we
not say the truly modern teacher of whatever type?—submits to an arduous
and exacting course of training—far more arduous and exacting than that
which “qualified” previous generations of teachers ... and all for—what?
To know what _not_ to do, what _not_ to say; to be able to practise at
the right moment a fully qualified self-restraint, and so allow free
scope to the inner forces of expansion in the pupil’s personality: an
expansion which too heavy a hand, however lovingly laid upon the growing
life, might crush or stunt or warp! A constant presence, inspiring but
unobtrusive; realised but not dominant or over-insistent; not obviating
or unduly curtailing those movements and processes which in education
are infinitely more valuable than immediate results ... yet ever at hand
when really needed.... Is not this a _rôle_ worthy of angelic power and
dignity? Is it not precisely the traditional _rôle_ of the Guardian Angel
in whose beneficent existence some of us are still childlike enough to
believe?

Surely they were not mere figureheads, those “Birds of God,” whose
stately grace and beauty Dante delights to portray? Even so is it with
the “Guardian Angels” of the Montessori school—with the restrained
efficiency and enthusiasm and the carefully calculated use of personal
influence of the best teachers of all types and grades: their dignity
and essentially angelic quality is apt to be in proportion to their
unobtrusiveness. Education is, after all, not “forcible feeding” or
“cramming”; its office is to educe—to draw forth. In Socrates’ homely
phrase it is a midwife. “Sairey Gamp” was certainly not an angel; but
there are those of her craft who are. More and more this _maieutic_
office of the Teacher is realised, and with its realisation Teachers
grow less and less like the castigating demons of Inferno—more and more
angelic.

    Omai vedrai di sì fatti ufficiali.[214]

Another point which brings the _Purgatorio_, in its educational scheme,
down to our own days, is the _orderly progression_ of its lessons.
The tasks set for the penitents are carefully classified and, so to
speak, “graded.” The very form of the Mountain, with its system of
gigantic steps or terraces, signifies as much. It symbolises even
more: for education even in the infant stage involves the conquest of
external difficulties, and, still more, the arduous conquest of self.
The prominence of this “joy of overcoming” is one of the happiest
psychological phenomena of a Montessori school. And as relations with
our fellows become more complex and responsibilities multiply, this
“battle of life” is ever more consciously felt. The New Teaching aims at
“breaking the back” of a soul’s troubles in the early stage, by inducing
a habit of mind to which the appearance of difficulties, instead of
depressing, at once suggests victorious effort. In this way the battle of
the free will becomes, in a sense, most strenuous at the start, as Marco
Lombardo says, “And freewill, which, tho’ it hath a hard struggle in its
first encounter with the heavenly influences, in the end wins the day
completely, if it be well supported.”

    E libero voler; che, se fatica
      Ne le prime battaglie col ciel dura
      Poi vince tutto, se ben si notrica.[215]

And the same thought of a gradation, a succession of efforts, each of
which, bravely faced, makes those that follow lighter, is symbolised
in the shape of the mountain of Purgatory, which in reality would have
rather the form of a rounded dome than that of the tall pyramid of the
customary illustration. Says Virgil, in his comforting way, to Dante,
breathless after his first steep climb: “The nature of this eminence is
such, that ever at starting from below it is fatiguing, but in proportion
as a man mounts, he feels it less; wherefore, when it shall appear to
thee so gentle that the ascent is as easy as sailing downward with the
stream, then shalt thou be at the end of this path; there mayest thou
hope to rest thy weariness.”

        ... Questa montagna è tale
      Che sempre al cominciar di sotto è grave:
      E quant’ uom più va su, e men fa male.
    Però, quand’ ella ti parrà soave
      Tanto che il su andar ti fia leggero,
      Com’ a seconda giù andar per nave,
    Allor sarai al fin d’ esto sentiero:
      Quivi di riposar l’ affanno aspetta![216]

There is a moral progression by which man enters gradually and by
accumulation into the fulness of self-conquest, and so, of his
inheritance of Freedom.

But “grading” also, in the more specific sense, seems to be symbolised in
the _Purgatorio_. This principle was not born with Froebel, though its
emphatic recognition to-day may be an outcome of his message that each
stage of the child-life has its own absolute value and rights.

We are apt to wonder now how people were ever so psychologically
impious as to attempt to teach in a single group, by means of the same
cut-and-dried phrases, minds at every different stage of growth and of
receptiveness; hurling ready-made truths at the devoted heads of pupils
like so many tons of explosive bombs shot down from aircraft upon massed
enemy battalions! Grading, and the individual point of contact—which,
after all, is just Aristotle’s time-honoured principle of “beginning from
that which we know”—these we recognise to be of the first importance, and
that whether we be University professors or Sunday school teachers. And
so we are prepared to appreciate a fourteenth century scheme which is
dominated by the principle of graded progress.

We note that the souls which are not yet psychologically fit to begin
the regular course of purgation are kept outside, in Antepurgatory, for
a longer or shorter term of years, as each has need. The “Infants,”
so to speak, are graded among themselves, and are not grouped with
“Standard I.” Within the Gate, the seven terraces are arranged in an
order corresponding (not, of course, to a psychological series that would
be accepted as it stands to-day, but) to a very carefully-thought-out
classification of the seven capital sins; and until the lesson of a given
Terrace is completely mastered, there is no chance of moving up. When, on
the other hand, the teaching in that particular grade has been thoroughly
grasped and the pupil has nothing more to learn there, no power in heaven
or earth—or anywhere else—can keep him back. In Dante’s School there are
no mistakes in grading, and no wrong removes.

We have spoken of the “atmosphere” of the _Purgatorio_ as one of
“naturalness,” meaning by that, that it is an environment not calculated
to hamper or restrict normal and spontaneous development. It is “natural”
also in a more literal sense, in that the Poet has seen fit to depart
from the almost invariable tradition of his predecessors (who place
Purgatory underground, side by side with Hell, and make it scarcely
distinguishable therefrom save in the matter of duration) and to furnish
his penitents with an “open-air cure.”

It is this background of noble scenery, of landscape and skyscape, of
slope and scarp, of Flowery Valley and Divine Forest, of star-light and
dawn, of sunrise and high noon and sunset—it is this that gives its
peculiar beauty to the second _Cantica_ of the _Divine Comedy_. But
this open-air Purgatory is more than a clever artifice, by which a fine
dramatic contrast is produced after the murk and gloom of the _Inferno_.
It is, as we have seen, essential to Dante’s conception of the perfect
work of penitence in man, that it should draw his footsteps up to the
Earthly Paradise, the primal home of Innocence. And so the background
of the _Purgatorio_, as it were inevitably, completes the illusion of
“naturalness” in the world beyond, and enforces the parallel between
the upward struggle of those elect spirits and our own daily pilgrimage
in this life. It suggests further, all that the magic phrase “Open Air”
means to our modern ears: that healthy out-door life, nurse of the _mens
sana in corpore sano_, that life of robust activities in close contact
with external Nature of which the prime importance is recognised by all
schools of thought in the world of modern education.

Finally (and here we touch upon one of the most beautiful features of
Dante’s conception), the spiritual atmosphere, in spite of purgatorial
framework of the Seven Sins, is not that of the Decalogue, but of the
Beatitudes. The Sins themselves are interpreted as disordered Love,
and the manifold love which goes up to make a Saint is expressed in
sweetest harmony when each successive barrier is passed.[217] Love is the
atmosphere, and Love the supreme lesson, the learning whereof continues
beyond the grave.

The conception of Love as the universal motive power, expressed at length
in _Purg._ xvii. 91 _sqq._—

    Nè creator nè creatura mai
      Cominciò el, figliuol, fu sanza amore ...

suggests a comparison of Dante’s psychology with that of the most
modern school. In an age when (as a glance at Fra Salimbene’s pages
will demonstrate)—pages written, it must be remembered, for the eye of
a Sister of the Order of Sta Clara!—something more than Elizabethan
broadness of speech was not uncommon, Dante pours out volumes of prose
and verse, every line of which may be said to be suitable _pour les
jeunes filles_. He would scarcely have subscribed to that domination
of the Sex-instinct which is an axiom of the Freudian psychology. In
the lines referred to above he more or less adumbrates the doctrine of
“Libido”; but it does not occur to him to label that psychic force with
so doubtfully reputable a name as “Libido.” The noble title “Amor” is for
him, as for earlier philosophers, the more appropriate one.

It would, of course, be absurd to credit Dante with the place of a
pioneer of the twentieth century psychology of the Unconscious, which
had its roots in the Psychical Research of F. W. Myers and his friends,
and sprouted up to visible life and growth so recently under the hands
of the Viennese Freud and the Switzer Jung. But it would probably not
be too much to say, in view of his remarkably intelligent interest in
mental processes, and especially in the phenomena of dreams and of the
border-land between sleeping and waking, that, given the assets and the
advantages of our modern thinkers, he would have taken no mean place
among psychologists of the modern type.

From _Inf._ i. 10—Tant ’era pien di sonno—to _Par._ xxxiii. 58, we find
this interest displayed; and before we pass on to consider his teaching
on the more human aspect of Education, the personal relation between
Teacher and Pupil, it may be worth while to direct attention to one or
two passages which emphasise this point.

In the 30th Canto of _Inferno_[218] he uses as a simile that significant
situation in which the dreamer hopes he is dreaming—

    Qual è colui che suo dannaggio sogna,
      Che sognando desidera sognare ...

In another passage[219] he sketches a case where the wakened dreamer
forgets the “dream-cognition,” but is still dominated by the “affect”—

    ... Colui che somniando vede
    Che dopo il sogno la passione impressa
    Rimane, e l’ altro a la mente non riede....

Ere he quits the Terrace of Accidie, Dante falls asleep, and here he
describes[220] in vivid and picturesque language the process of going to
sleep, when thought follows thought in more or less inconsequent fashion—

      Novo pensiero dentro a me si mise
    Del qual più altri nacquero, e diversi;
      E tanto d’un in altro vaneggiai,
      Che gli occhi per vaghezza ricopersi,
    E ’l pensamento in sogno trasmutai.

At the opening of the next Canto[221] comes the dream—dream of the two
symbolic Ladies—and the awakening. The dreamer is apparently roused by
the intensity of a dream-stench; but his awakening is due as a matter of
fact to the arresting voice of Virgil, whose person is projected into the
“manifest content” of the dream a few lines earlier,[222] in the cry of
the “Donna Santa”—

    O Virgilio, o Virgilio, chi è questa?

“Three times,” says Dante’s Guide, “have I called you. Get up, and come
along!”

    ... Il buon maestro, “Almen tre
    Voci t’ ho messe,” dicea, “Surgi e viene!”

In the last Canto of _Purgatory_ proper[223] we have another picture of a
going to sleep and an awaking. The sleepiness has been induced by a sort
of natural self-hypnotism, the poet’s gaze steadily fixed on a few bright
stars seen through the confined opening between the cliffs as he lies on
the rocky stair.

    Poco potea parer li del di fori;
      Ma, per quel poco, vedev’ io le stelle
      Di lor solere e più chiare e maggiori
    Sì ruminando e sì mirando in quelle,
      Mi prese il sonno; il sonno che sovente,
      Anzi che ’l fatto sia, sa le novelle.

This time the awakening is not sudden or violent.[224] After the
altogether lovely dream of Lia—the sublimation of Dante’s desire,
suggested, or coloured, by the natural anticipations of one on the
threshold of the earthly Paradise—he wakes up quite naturally, his sleep
“breaking from him” with the breaking dawn.[225]

    Le tenebre fuggian da tutti lati
      E il sonno mio con esse; ond’ io leva’ mi.

Dante’s analysis of Dreams was naturally relative to the knowledge and
tendency of his day. The presaging quality of Dreams—

                   ... Il sonno che sovente
    Anzi che ’l fatto sia, sa le novelle;

like the proverbial belief that the truest dreams are those that come
before dawn—

    ... Presso al mattin del ver si sogna[226]

is not for him the fruit of scientific psycho-analysis; but rather the
unscientific or quasi-scientific deduction of untold generations of men
on whom the dreams that “came true” left a far deeper impress than the
large majority that proved fallacious.

Dante was, however, a real psychologist of his own time and date, as
many qualities of his thought and interest testify; and his discerning
interest in the dream-consciousness supplies a definite link between the
thinkers of the Trecento and our modern Masters.


III

It must not, however, be supposed that the somewhat specialised
comparison of Dante’s purgatorial scheme with the Montessori Method
sketched above[227] by any means exhausts the educational principles
of the _Purgatorio_; still less that it covers the whole area of
such principles enshrined in the _Divine Comedy_. The old-fashioned
relation between Master and Pupil has still something to be said for
it. The personal element cannot be eliminated, however great may be the
need—especially in certain stages of self-restraint and self-effacement.
This personal relation, in its permanently important aspects, is
beautifully figured in the relation between Dante as learner and Virgil,
Beatrice, and Statius as teachers.

Benedetto Croce[228] draws attention to the frequent _Intramesse
didascaliche_ which mark the XXIst and following Cantos of the
_Purgatorio_—notably the discourse of Statius on “generation” in _Purg._
xxv. “This poetry,” he says, “breathes throughout the spirit of the
Master who knows, and desires to make clear the idea he is expounding;
who stoops down towards the pupil to embrace him and lift him up
towards the Truth.”[229] Beatrice, again, as Croce points out,[230]
taking Virgil’s place in the journey through the skies, is like an
elder sister patiently schooling her younger brother. She helps him to
overcome his prejudices, to solve his problems, to conquer his doubts;
now turning upon him the eye of a fond mother nursing a delirious
child,[231] now laughing him out of his “childish notions,” the charm
of her resplendent beauty and the illumination of her smile giving just
that touch of romance to their relations that suggests the final stage
of the transfiguration of the half-earthly love of the _Vita Nuova_
into something wholly celestial. But the type of this relation between
Master and Pupil is most surely and most prominently drawn in that
which subsists all through the first two cantiche between Virgil and
Dante.[232] “Mia scuola,” Virgil calls this relation in the beautiful
scene with Statius;[233] and a striking feature of this “School,”
recurring in the same Canto[234] and elsewhere, is the close, intimate,
easy and even playful mutual understanding between Teacher and Pupil. To
this point we shall return; but first a word may be said on the sterner
aspect of Education, from the pupils’ point of view.

Granted that the “Primrose Path” is the only appropriate one for infant
steps to toddle on; that path itself has its ups and downs—slight
gradients from the adult point of view, but for the infant involving
a demand for real effort and adventure. And the end of man—our human
Good—lies above the zone where primroses bloom, on the heights: as Tasso
sings—

    ... In cima all’ erto e faticoso colle
    Della virtù è riposto il nostro bene.[235]

Let us glance, then, at what Dante has to say about the sterner side of
Education—the necessary sacrifices that must be made for Liberty—and
about the responsibilities of the teacher in his relation to the pupil
whom he would guide up to freedom of mind and soul.

To the former we have already referred above (p. 102) in connection with
the Montessori principle of the joyous facing of difficulties. The hard
initial battle[236] is symbolically represented by the place which the
_Inferno_ holds in Dante’s quest of Liberty. For him indeed the “prime
battaglie” are the hardest. No essential routine or inevitable drudgery
which beset the path of learning can match in sheer distastefulness
the weary horror of that first part of the Poet’s journey, of which
his self-pitying anticipations are recorded in the lovely and pathetic
opening lines of the second canto: “The day was departing, and the
darkened air was relieving from their labours the animals on earth, and I
was preparing all alone to sustain the struggle alike of the journey and
of my piteous thoughts.”

    Lo giorno se n’ andava, e l’ aere bruno
      Toglieva gli animai che sono in terra
      Dalle fatiche loro; e io sol uno
    M’ apparecchiava a sostener la guerra
      Sì del cammino e sì della pietate.[237]

The youthful scholar, in his quest for knowledge and truth and the
freedom that is truth’s guerdon, has not, as a rule, to face this literal
isolation in drudgery and painfulness. For him the social instinct and
the companionship of fellow-victims, not to say the healthy stimulus of
friendly rivalry and competition, are present to lighten his burden and
sweeten his lot. Yet each, after all, has to tackle the drudgery and the
difficulties for himself. There is no Royal Road. The Master may spur
him on with the vision of the “gladsome mountain which is the origin and
source of all joy.”

                  Dilettoso monte
    Ch’ è principio e cagion di tutta gioia;

may encourage him to face the flames by the thought of the welcoming
smile of Beatrice on the other side: “as you tempt a child with an
apple!” “Mark you, my son, this barrier separates thee from Beatrice.”

                      Or vedi, figlio:
    Tra Beatrice e te è questo muro;[238]

but, none the less, the grim journey has to be undertaken, the
distasteful plunge to be made. It is largely the Teacher’s attitude and
example that make this effort possible; that evoke the manly spirit in
the pupil, and encourage him to persevere in face of difficulties.

All this is recognised by the best modern theory and practice. “The New
Teaching,” says Professor Adams,[239] “does not seek to free the pupils
from effort”—we have seen that this is really the case, even in its
extremest form of Montessorianism, with its individualistic charter of
Child-liberty—“not ... to free the pupils from effort, but to encourage
them to strenuous work”; it “does not seek to get rid of drudgery, but
to make it tolerable by giving it a meaning, and shewing its relation to
the whole learning process in school, and to the whole process of living
in the world.” This is exactly Virgil’s attitude towards Dante. He is,
first of all, alert to cheer and encourage him in moments of special
difficulty. He encourages Dante both by example and by precept to mount
the grisly back of the monster Geryon, their sole means of descent into
the Abyss[240]; and later, when the flame has to be faced before entering
the Earthly Paradise,[241] he reminds him of the success of that past
experiment of faith, much in the manner of the noble self-encouragement
of that Homeric hero, who, known to Dante only at second-hand, yet
captured his imagination. “Be of good cheer, my heart, we have suffered
worse things ere this.”

    τέτλαθι δὴ κραδίη, καὶ κύντερον ἄλλος ποτ’ ἔτλης.[242]

Or again, when at the foot of the mountain Dante is dismayed at its
steepness, the Master explains: “It is ever easier as you ascend.”[243]
When Dante is frightened as the Mountain trembles (_Purg._ xx. 135)
Virgil interposes with a call to confidence—

    Non dubbiar mentr’ io ti guido

But Virgil not only encourages; he explains. From time to time he pauses
with the double object of giving his companion a breathing-space and
of enheartening him by an exposition of the end and purpose of the
drudgery—of the whole scheme, of which the experience they are now
undergoing is an integral and necessary part. Thus he expounds to his
disciple the topography of Hell when they have passed within the rampart
of the City of Dis, and before they begin the steep and terrible descent,
and encounter the Minotaur.[244] Again, after the uncomfortable ordeal
of the suffocating fumes on the Terrace of Wrath, he diverts his pupil’s
attention with a sketch of the order and inner meaning of the purgatorial
terraces, and explains how Sin, in all its deadly forms, is just
“disordered Love.”[245] And we may note in passing how this postponement
of the explanation and the detailed scheme till the movement of learning
is well on its course, is itself typical of the New Teaching,[246] and
grounded on sound psychological principles. Virgil supplies, indeed, in
the first Canto of the _Inferno_, a summary forecast of the journey, but
does not sit down at the beginning and burden his Pupil’s mind with an
elaboration of details. Nor can we leave the lecture on “Disordered Love”
of _Purg._ xvii. without drawing attention to the ideal relations of
Teacher and Pupil depicted in the following Canto, and especially to the
masterly way in which Virgil suggests ever fresh problems to Dante’s mind
and draws him on with an increasing “thirst to know.”[247]

The liberty which Education “goes seeking,” and in which its nobler forms
live and move as in a bracing atmosphere, demands some sacrifice alike
from Teacher and from Pupil. From the Pupil, especially in its earlier
middle stages, it demands a degree of submissiveness and docility,
and courage and perseverance to face distasteful drudgery; from the
Teacher, that self-restraint of which we have already spoken—yet not mere
self-effacement. Like the Divine Master, he must “begin to do and to
teach.”[248] He must be a fellow-pilgrim, sharing the toils of the road,
and over the roughest places a leader, even as Virgil volunteers to go
first where the grim descent begins into the “cieco mondo”: “I will go
first and thou shalt follow me.”

    Io sarò primo, e tu sarai secondo.[249]

As fellow-pilgrim, he will not hesitate to let the Pupil witness
something of his distress. The Master girds himself to the descent pallid
with sympathetic suffering—_tutto smorto_[250]—nor does he hide the
tokens of shame and confusion when he becomes conscious that he has been
a party to an unwarranted delay.[251] And we note the effect of this
frankness on the Pupil—an enhancement of loyal admiration for the Master;
and, for his own conscience, a more delicate perception of moral values:
“He appeared to me self-reproached. O noble, stainless, conscience, how
bitter to thy taste is a trifling fault!”

      El mi parea da se stesso rimorso;
      O dignitosa coscienza e netta,
    Come t’ è picciol fallo amaro morso!

Even so pleads the spirit of the New Teaching.[252] Let not the Teacher
“put on airs of omniscience and solemnity. He must be a part of the gay
company; he must not mind ‘giving himself away,’ he must be a human
being, not a wooden stick; gladly must he learn, and then he will gladly
teach.” Thus Virgil moves in Dante’s company as a fellow-learner, not
omniscient, not infallible; ever ready to confess with frankness his own
limitations, and to own up to his mistakes. In this spirit he apologises
to Pier delle Vigne[253] for the inconsiderate act to which he was forced
owing to his inability to convince Dante through the medium of his own
verses. In the same spirit he gives place to Nessus when a description is
needed of Nessus’ own region of the Inferno, reversing his _dictum_ about
the original descent: “Regard him (Nessus) as thy prime authority, and me
as secondary.”

    Questi ti sia or primo, e io secondo.[254]

In like manner he gives way to Statius when an explanation is wanted of
the emaciation of spirits no longer subject to bodily hunger,[255] and
leads Dante to expect from Beatrice the completion of his own careful but
yet not fully satisfying exposition of a heavenly matter: “And if this
argument of mine doth not appease thy cravings thou wilt see Beatrice,
and she will fully relieve thee of this and every other desire.”

    E se la mia ragion non ti disfama
      Vedrai Beatrice, ed ella pienamente
      Ti torrà questa e ciascun altra brama.[256]

Dante in his portrait of Virgil reminds us that the quest of Truth
demands “truth in the inward parts,” that a humble and limpid sincerity
is essential. Finally, he shews us this humility transfigured into a
Divine self-effacement, where the elder Poet hands over his disciple
entirely into his own guidance and that of Beatrice, in humble
acknowledgement of his own limitations.[257] This act of self-effacement
has indeed been in his mind from the first. When the time shall come
for Dante’s ascent to the realms of the _beate genti_, “a spirit more
worthy than I shall be appointed thereto, with whom I will leave thee at
my departure; for that Potentate who reigns in heaven above, because I
was rebellious against His law, wills not that any by my guidance should
enter His city.”

      Anima fia a ciò più di me degna;
      Con lei ti lascerò nel mio partire;
    Chè quello imperador che là su regna
      Perch’ io fu’ ribellante a la sua legge
      Non vuol che ’n sua città per me si vegna.[258]

And so Virgil’s work is done, and the Teacher shews himself sublimest in
the last act. “The hardest lesson,” says the apostle of the New Teaching,
“for a clever teacher to learn, is to let a clever pupil be clever in
his own way,” nor “has a teacher been really successful” until “he has,
by skilful preparation, enabled his pupil to do without him.”[259] This
final self-effacement of the Teacher, with its corollary, the achievement
of self-mastery and self-determination in the Pupil—the achievement of
that _liberty of soul_ which is the supreme aim of the pilgrimage—is best
described in Virgil’s matchless words of farewell, which we may now quote
in their fulness. His “skilful preparation” has all led up to this ... to
make itself dispensable! “By force of wit and skill I have conducted thee
hither; henceforward let thine own pleasure be thy guide; from both the
steep and the narrow ways thou art now free.... No longer await either
word or sign from me; free, sound, and upright is thy will, and it would
be amiss not to do its bidding; wherefore over thyself I invest thee with
supreme control.”

    Tratto t’ ho qui con ingegno e con arte;
      Lo tuo piacere omai prendi per duce;
      Fuor sei de l’ erte vie, fuor sei de l’ arte.
    ...
    Non aspettar mio dir più, nè mio cenno,
      Libero, dritto e sano è tuo arbitrio
      E fallo fora non far a suo senno:
    Perch’ io te sovra te corono e mitrio.[260]



VI

DANTE AND ISLAM

(_As represented by_ “THE GOSPEL OF BARNABAS”)

    E solo in parte vidi il Saladino.

                     —_Inf._ iv. 129.


The aim of these Essays has been to present Dante in different aspects as
the Apostle of Freedom: a man endowed with those profound convictions on
which alone true tolerance can be built, a man whose deep and passionate
earnestness is tempered and balanced by a saving sense of humour. The
substantiation of this claim may perhaps justify us in carrying the
reader into a remote by-way of Italian literature; in asking him to
note points of contact and of contrast which emerge when the Poet is
confronted, so to speak, with a document which we may be sure he never
saw,[261] but which yet seems to bear, here and there, strange marks of
the impress of his thoughts and of his phraseology. If the comparison of
the two writers should seem at first sight gratuitous and far-fetched, it
may yet succeed in throwing light on Dante’s genius and temper from an
unfamiliar angle.

The Clarendon Press published in 1907 an _Editio princeps_ of the
Mohammedan _Gospel of Barnabas_ from an unique MS. of the latter half
of the sixteenth century in the Imperial Library at Vienna.[262] This
document—apart from its theological and dogmatic importance—should prove
to be of considerable interest to students of Italian literature, as well
on account of its grammatical and orthographic peculiarities, as for
the positive literary merits which not infrequently relieve a style in
general somewhat rough and bald.

The task of preparing for the press a translation of this remarkable
document could not fail to bring before one’s mind certain points of
contact with Dante, more especially as the curious archaic Italian in
which the “Gospel” is written lends itself, in a certain measure, to
verbal coincidences and quasi-coincidences with passages in the Poet’s
writings. The points of contact which will be adduced in the present
paper are none the less interesting because the date of the original
_Gospel of Barnabas_ still remains to a certain extent an open question,
and with it also the nature of the relations, direct or indirect, that
may have subsisted between its compiler and the author of the _Divina
Commedia_.[263]

But first a word is due about the character and scope of this very
apocryphal Gospel. The MS., as we have already suggested, is of
comparatively recent date. Paper, binding, and orthography all combine
with the script to place it—not, as its eighteenth century critics
supposed, in the fifteenth century, or earlier, but—in the latter half of
the sixteenth century.[264] It is, however, of course possible that the
Vienna Codex may be a copy of an earlier MS.; and, curiously enough, one
of the strongest arguments for this earlier original arises, as we shall
shortly see, out of an apparent reference to the famous Jubilee of 1300
A.D. which looms so large in Dante’s life and writings.

The book is a frankly Mohammedan Gospel, giving a full, but garbled,
story of the life and teaching of Jesus Christ, from a Moslem point of
view. It claims to have been written by Saint Barnabas (who figures in
it as one of the Twelve—to the exclusion of poor Saint Thomas!) at the
injunction of his Master, for the express purpose of combating the errors
taught by Saint Paul and others. These errors are summed up under three
heads: (1) the doctrine that Jesus is Son of God, (2) the rejection of
Circumcision, and (3) the permission to eat unclean meats. Of these three
errors the first is regarded as of the greatest importance; and not only
is the Gospel narrative contorted and expurgated to suit the writer’s
purpose, but Christ Himself is made repeatedly to deny his own Divinity
and even his Messiahship, and to predict the advent of Mohammed, the
“Messenger of God.”

About two-thirds of the material is derived, without question, from our
four Canonical Gospels, of which a decidedly unscientific “harmony” forms
the framework of Barnabas’ narrative; the remaining third, which takes
the form of discourses put into the mouth of Christ, is purely oriental
in character, and largely an elaboration of germs or hints to be found in
the Koran or in Jewish tradition. It is on this section of the book that
the Dantist’s interest will be concentrated.

The brief words of awful solemnity in which the Gospels speak of the doom
of the lost are supplemented in Barnabas by elaborate descriptions of
infernal torments which, whencesoever ultimately derived, are expressed
in terms which exhibit remarkable coincidences with the _Inferno_ and
_Purgatorio_ of Dante. Mohammed’s two favourite themes were, the final
Judgment and the horrors of Hell on the one hand, and, on the other,
the delights of Paradise. And the second theme is treated in Barnabas
almost as fully as the first. The Paradise of Barnabas has perhaps little
in common with the Earthly Paradise of Dante, and still less with the
Celestial; but it gives our author scope for an excursion into the realms
of astronomy, whereby he finds himself (perhaps unconsciously), at the
end of his journey, much nearer to Dante’s scheme of the Ten Heavens than
to the normal tradition of the Jews and Arabs.

It will be convenient to deal first with this teaching on Paradise,
secondly with the _Inferno_ of Barnabas, and thirdly with certain verbal
and other points of contact between Barnabas and Dante; concluding with
some more general considerations regarding the tone and colouring of the
“Gospel.”

It would be strange if the Paradise of Barnabas had not some features
in common with Dante’s. Man’s dreams of an ideal resting-place, whether
past or future, have a tendency to express themselves in terms of
greensward and flowers and luscious fruits, cool streams and sunshine
tempered by refreshing shade. The name “Paradise” itself means “park” or
“plaisance” as we know, and though Barnabas is not conspicuously happy
when he poses as an etymologist,[265] the connotation of the word was too
securely established alike in Moslem and in Christian tradition to admit
of much variation. Paradise, of course, has two different meanings in
Dante, and the same is true of its use in Barnabas; but inasmuch as the
distinction in the latter is not expressly marked, it will be convenient
for our purpose to group together the conceptions of the Earthly and the
Celestial Paradise. In Barnabas, as in Dante, the name is applied to the
scene of man’s creation—

                  il loco
    Fatto per proprio dell’ umana spece,[266]

and of his temptation, fall and expulsion.[267] In both again it is
used also of the eternal home of God, the good angels and redeemed
mankind.[268] Speaking generally, the main features of the Paradise of
Barnabas resemble more closely those of Dante’s Earthly Paradise; while
its position in the scheme of the universe corresponds rather to that
of the Celestial Paradise of Dante. Thus the four perfumed rivers[269]
of this “Gospel,” though derived, almost certainly, from the Koran,
correspond, in a sense, to the miraculously clear and limpid stream which
arrested the poet’s progress[270]; while its profusion of flowers and
fruits[271] recall the scene portrayed in Virgil’s parting words—

    ... l’ erbetta, i fiori e li arbuscelli,[272]

and—

    La gran varïazion de’ freschi mai.[273]

which drew Dante’s wondering eyes across the stream to where Matelda
tripped singing through the painted meadow—

    Cantando ed iscegliendo fior da fiore
    Ond’ era pinta tutta la sua via.[274]

Again, a somewhat terse definition of Paradise in Barnabas reminds one
of a still shorter phrase of Dante’s. The author of the _De Vulgari
Eloquentia_ describes the home which man forfeited by his first sin as
“delitiarum patria[275]” while for Barnabas, “Il parradisso he chassa
doue DIO chonsserva le sui delitie[276]”; or, as he puts it further on
“DIO ha chreato il parradisso per chassa delle sui delitie.”[277]

But the heavenly Paradise of the Empyrean is also described by Dante in
material phrase as “God’s garden.” “Questo giardino”[278] is the name
by which Saint Bernard designates the Mystic Rose, as he unveils its
mysteries to Dante; and already in the Eighth Heaven Beatrice had essayed
to divert the Poet’s gaze from her own loveliness—

                    ... al bel giardino
    Che sotto i raggi di Cristo s’ infiora.[279]

Here we may note that in Barnabas[280] GOD (not Christ, of course) is the
sun of Paradise, while Mohammed is its moon.

But there is another passage in the _Paradiso_, where Dante himself is
speaking in answer to Saint John’s catechizing: a passage which may well
detain us a little longer. Here Paradise is described in so many words as
the “Garden of the Eternal Gardener”—

    Le fronde onde s’ infronda tutto l’ orto
      De l’ ortolano etterno, am’ io cotanto,
      Quanto da lui a lor di bene è porto.[281]

Is it fanciful to see a subtle resemblance—in thought, perhaps, more
than in phrase (though Dante’s symbolic meaning is wanting)—in Barnabas’
description of Paradise as a place “doue ... ogni chossa he _frutuossa,
di fruti proportionati ha cholui che lo ha choltiuato_?”[282]

There emerge, at any rate, from both passages, the thought of the
Divine Gardener ... and of a _proportion_ for which He is in some way
responsible. But perhaps a more striking coincidence—if coincidence
it be—is that between the answer given to a problem raised by Saint
Bartholomew in Barnabas and the assurance vouchsafed by Piccarda[283] in
resolution of Dante’s difficulty concerning degrees of glory in Heaven.

“O Master,” says Bartholomew,[284] “shall the glory of Paradise be
equal for every man? If it be equal, it will not be just, and if it be
unequal, the lesser will envy the greater.” Jesus answers: “Non sera
equalle perche dio he iusto he ogniuno si chontentera perche hiuui non
he inuidia,” and again, There shall be “tutta una gloria sebene sara ha
chi più ha chi meno. Non portera alloro inuidia ueruna.” So, when Dante
questions the beatified Piccarda, in her earth-shadowed sphere—

    Desiderate voi più alto loco ...?[285]

the spirit replies, in words which, though more beautiful and more
profound, are inevitably called up by the passage of Barnabas just quoted—

    Si che, come noi sem di soglia in soglia
        Per questo regno, a tutto il regno piace
        Com’ allo re ch’ a suo voler ne invoglia:
    En’ la sua voluntade è nostra pace.[286]

Turning now to the geographical or rather astronomical aspect of the
subject, we find in Barnabas a definite divergence from the doctrine of
the _Koran_, and adoption of a Ptolemaic scheme closely resembling that
of Dante’s _Paradiso_. There are nine heavens, not counting Paradise,
_i.e._ ten heavens in all. “Noue sono li cielli li quali sono distanti
luno dal altro chome he distante il primo cielo dala terra. Il quale he
lontano dalla terra cinquecento hanni di strada.”[287] In the “five
hundred years’ journey” there is a reminiscence of Jewish tradition:
but the seven heavens of the Talmud and of the _Koran_ have become ten.
And though these heavens are not definitely stated to be arranged, like
Dante’s, as a series of concentric spheres with earth as the centre,
they form a graduated series, in which each is to the next as a “punto
di ago,”[288] or as a grain of sand.[289] The planets, again, have their
place in the scheme. They are not, apparently, identified with the
several “cieli,” as in Dante’s arrangement, but are “set between” or
“amongst” them: “li cielli fra li qualli stano li pianeti.”[290]

The point of resemblance is to be found in a graduated series of ten (and
not seven) heavens, characterised by an ascending scale of magnitude, and
culminating in the Paradise of the Blessed.

The resemblances are indeed striking; but though ‘Barnabas is vastly
superior to previous Moslem writers in the richness of his conception
of Heaven,’ (they in common with their Christian contemporaries shewing
much more spontaneity and exuberance of fancy in describing the torments
of Hell), Dante excels markedly in the glowing wealth of his picture
of Paradise—its radiance, its variety, its peace, its activity, its
all-pervading love.[291]

So far, it may be said, the suggested points of contact between
Barnabas and Dante have been somewhat vague and hypothetical. They
may, perhaps, be adequately accounted for on the basis of a common
tradition—the practically universal tradition of a Garden-Paradise, and
the Aristotelo-Ptolemaic scheme of astronomy common to all the civilised
West, whether Christian or Mohammedan, till the days of Copernicus and
Galileo. But in the Inferno of Barnabas we may discover more definite
and more convincing resemblances to features and passages of the _Divina
Commedia_.

Islam, except in its later developments,[292] has no place for a
Purgatory. There is no mention of a Purgatorio in the Koran or in
this “Gospel,” though Barnabas gives even the Faithful a probationary
residence of torment in Hell, varying from Mohammed’s own brief term of
“the twinkling of an eye” to a duration of 70,000 years![293] But the
Barnaban arrangement of Hell itself furnishes an almost exact parallel
to the scheme of Dante’s Purgatorio. The framework of the arrangement is
that of the seven capital sins. Hell is divided[294] into seven circles
or “centri” wherein are punished respectively (1) lo irachondo, (2) il
gollosso, (3) lo acidiosso, (4) il lusuriosso, (5) lo hauaro, (6) lo
inuidiosso, (7) il superbo. The order of the sins differs considerably
from that adopted by Dante, and indeed is not repeated in any of the
typical arrangements given in Dr. Moore’s well-known Table;[295] coming
nearest to that of Aquinas. In common, however, with Dante’s arrangement
it has the juxtaposition of Pride and Envy and their position at the
lower end of the series: a point which is perhaps the more significant
in that Barnabas approaches his Inferno from the bottom (not, as one
would have expected, from the top), beginning with “il più basso centro”
of Pride. There is another point also, in which the Inferno of Barnabas
resembles both the Inferno and the Purgatorio of Dante—the principle
which runs through all its torments “per quae peccat quis ... per haec
et torquetur.” The proud shall be “trampled under-foot of Satan and his
devils,”[296] the envious shall be tormented with the delusion that
even in that joyless realm “ogniuno prendi allegrezza del suo malle he
si dolgia che lui non habia peggio”;[297] the slothful shall labour at
tasks like that of Sisyphus,[298] and the gluttonous be tantalised with
elusive dainties.[299] Nor can we fail to notice here how in the story
of the serpent’s doom[300] there comes out the idea of all pollutions of
human sin—especially repented sin—streaming back eventually to Satan:
the conception which underlies the system of Dante’s rivers of Hell,
including the “ruscelletto” that trickles down from Purgatory.[301]

There is a vivid description in _Barnabas_ of the “Harrowing of Hell”
at the coming of God’s Messenger, which though it has nothing in common
with the account of the Saviour’s Descent as related by Virgil in
Limbo, is strongly suggestive of a later scene where at the advent of
the much-debated “Messo del ciel,”[302] who comes to open the gates of
Dis, both banks of the Styx tremble, and more than a thousand “anime
distrutte” fly headlong like frogs before a water-snake.[303] “Onde
tremera,” says Barnabas, “lo infferno alla sua pressenzza[304] ... quando
elgi ui andera tutti li diauoli stridendo cercherano di asscondersi sotto
le ardente brasse dicendo luno allo altro: scampa scampa che elgi uiene
machometo nosstro innimicho.”[305]

While the general atmosphere of Hell in _Barnabas_, with its “neui he
giazi intollerabili,”[306] its torturing fiends, its biting serpents, its
Sisyphus-labours and Tantalus-pains, its harpies, its burning filth and
nameless horrors, has the same “reek” as that of Dante’s Inferno, there
are passages which present an almost verbal parallel. In his description
of the cries of the lost, Barnabas says: “malladirano ... il loro padre
he madre he il loro chreatore.” Who can but recall Dante’s words about
the dismal spirits assembled on the bank of Acheron, who—

    Bestemmiavano Dio e lor parenti?[307]

This brings us to the subject of actual verbal coincidences, of which
we must confess we have found but two, though a more systematic
investigation might well yield a much larger number.

Barnabas’ recurring characterisation of the idols of the heathen as
“dei falsi he bugiardi”[308] is surely too remarkable to be without
significance, and is enforced and supported by the occurrence of another
cadence of the same canto of the _Inferno_ in the phrase “rabbiosa fame,”
which in Barnabas, however, applies not to the symbolic lion of the
_Divina Commedia_,[309] but to the torments of the Lost.

There remains one more point to be adduced—an incidental and a
somewhat subtle one which makes, not so much for a relation between
Dante’s writings and the _Gospel of Barnabas_ as for a relation of
contemporaneity between the two writers. The inference which it would
suggest is so definite and precise, that it is only fair to remark
that there are puzzlingly contradictory arguments to be drawn from the
language and style of Barnabas.

Our point, then, is as follows. Barnabas puts into the mouth of our Lord,
as we have observed above, numerous predictions of the future advent of
Mohammed as “Messiah” and “Messenger of GOD.” In one of these a “Jubilee”
is spoken of as recurring every hundred years: “il iubileo ... che hora
uiene ogni cento hanni.”[310] The writer or compiler here, as often,
fails to throw himself back into the Palestine of the first century,
in which, as his very considerable knowledge of the Old Testament[311]
should have reminded him, the Hebrew Jubilee of fifty years would
have been in force. Whence, then, comes this Jubilee? He cannot have
derived it from the _Koran_. We are almost forced to the conclusion
that the “hora” of the passage quoted is a literal “now” and refers to
a contemporary institution—to the Jubilee as conceived of at the moment
when the lines were penned; and that, the Jubilee of Western Christendom.
This carries us back beyond the twenty-five years’ Jubilee of modern
times—beyond the year when Clement VI, for his own ends, instituted a
Jubilee of fifty years after the Hebrew model; and would give us as our
_terminus ad quem_ the year 1349. For the upper limit—the _terminus a
quo_ of the original Barnabas we must turn to the famous Jubilee of
1300, the ideal date of Dante’s pilgrimage. For though the Bull[312] by
which that Jubilee was promulgated alleged antecedent tradition, and the
contemporary chroniclers naturally followed suit,[313] there seems to
be no sufficient historical evidence for a precedent. Thus, between the
years 1300 and 1350—and, apparently, only during that period—it would
have been possible to speak of the centennial Jubilee as an established
institution. If this be so, the writing of this passage in _Barnabas_
is relegated to the years in which the _Divina Commedia_ took its final
shape, or those just after the poet’s death in 1321 when the poem so
swiftly took its place among the classics of the world’s literature.

The foregoing sketch does not pretend to be exhaustive;[314] it does not
even claim to have proved anything of a substantial nature: but it may
perhaps suggest to some more competent mind a line of study which has at
least the merit of freshness, and it may serve to introduce to those who
are not acquainted with it, a document of no ordinary interest and of no
little beauty.

It is sometimes stated that Dante places Mohammed not among pagans
nor among heretics but with the schismatics: as though he shared the
optimistic view of some of his contemporaries, that the Moslems were but
an extreme form of Christian “sect.”

But Dante distributes his pagans without prejudice throughout the
successive circles, from the “Nobile Castello” in Limbo[315] to the
central seat of infamy in the Giudecca; and, as a matter of fact, a
pagan, Curio, is partner of Mohammed’s doom in the penultimate “bolgia”
of Malebolge. Obviously “scisma” must not be taken too technically
from Mohammed’s lips, supplemented as it is by the more general phrase
“seminator di scandalo.”[316] The “schism” of which the False Prophet
is guilty is rather that introduction of discord and strife into the
civilised world which makes “Macometto cieco” in the eighteenth canzone a
personification of the factious spirit of Florence.

Yet if it had fallen to Dante’s lot to judge the Founder of Islam
by the spirit of this Mohammedan Gospel, he might have shared that
milder and more optimistic view of Mohammedanism which, according to
a recent writer,[317] inspired Saint Francis when he set out upon his
Egyptian mission. For here he would have found, side by side with
the inevitable denial of our Lord’s Divinity, an attribution to him
not only of the Gospel miracles, but of others beside. He would have
found deep teachings on prayer and fasting and almsgiving; on humility,
penitence[318] and self-discipline; on meditation and mystic love. He
would have found an asceticism in some ways as extravagant as any to
be discovered in mediaeval legend, yet tempered with saving humour and
common sense; a tolerant and charitable spirit which rivals even that of
the “Cristo d’ Italia,” and “a succession of noble and beautiful thoughts
concerning love of God, union with God, and God as Himself the final
reward of faithful service, which it would be difficult to match in any
literature.”[319]

       *       *       *       *       *

Eleven years after the above lines were written, there appeared in
Madrid a study of Dante’s relations with Mohammedan Eschatology,[320]
which may possibly prove to hold the key to some of the problems raised
by the _Gospel of Barnabas._ The learned Spanish Professor of Arabic
is by no means the first to explore the field of possible Oriental
sources for the Divine Comedy. Since Ozanam wrote his _La Philosophie
Chrétienne avant Dante_, a number of writers—D’Ancona, D’Ovidio and
others in Italy, and Vossler in Germany—have busied themselves with this
subject; and in 1901, M. Blochet[321] brought both the general idea of
the Unearthly Pilgrimage and some of its details into what looks like
a derivative relationship with the two great Oriental Ascension-myths:
the very ancient Mazdean story of Arda-Viraf, of Persian origin, and the
secondary legend of Mohammed’s one-night journey through the heavens,
founded on a short and obscure passage in the _Koran_[322] and known
as the _Miradj_. Together with other researchers in the same field, M.
Blochet brings in also Sinbad the Sailor, the Voyage of St. Brendan,
and all the family of the Quest of the Fortunate Isles; working up the
pedigree right back to the Hesperides of the Hellenic myths—themselves
descended from an ancestry more ancient still, and of origin further
East. He suggests the many possible channels of transmission of oriental
lore to Western Europe, and in particular to Ireland[323] by the more
easterly “Amber Route” which archaeology shews to have passed from
Mesopotamia over the Caucasus and through Russia to the Baltic. He
points again to the openings made by the Crusades, and singles out the
work of Dante’s Venetian contemporary, Marin Sanudo, _Liber secretorum
fidelium crucis_,[324] as evincing such a mastery of the entire “Eastern
Question” as would imply a very exact knowledge of the Moslem religion
and its legends. He points also to Paget Toynbee’s demonstration of
Dante’s indebtedness in no less than ten passages of the _Vita Nuova_ and
_Convivio_, to the Moslem astronomer Djaafer-îbn-Mohammed-el-Balkhi,
known to the mediaeval West by the less cumbrous name of Alfraganus.[325]

New ground has, however, undoubtedly been opened up by Dr. Asín. In his
Inaugural Lecture he makes claims which, no doubt, will be fiercely
combated, and in the end largely discounted. Dr. Parodi in his important
notice of this book[326] points out that Asín’s contention is two-fold,
and one half of it, at least, unprovable. The Spanish Orientalist claims
to have proved (1) that the Western legends of the World Beyond are
derived from Arab (and ultimately from Persian) sources, (2) that Dante
was acquainted with specific Moslem sources, and used them freely.

For the first of these contentions, which was, in substance
Blochet’s,[327] he has brought—so Parodi admits—fresh and varied
evidence; and this part of the claim may now be regarded as largely
substantiated. The second claim: that Dante actually knew, and drew from,
the Moslem legend “is” says the Italian reviewer, “and will remain, I
fear, incapable of demonstration.”[328] Yet he admits that the parallels
adduced between the Moslem Hell and Dante’s Inferno, and still more
between the _Miradj_ and the _Paradiso_, are such as to arouse perplexity
and astonishment in a mind hostile to, or unconvinced by, the theory of
the learned Spaniard. The parallels he interprets[329] as remarkable
instances of the similar working of human imagination on similar topics,
all over the world. Whether such a hypothesis meets all the facts may
still be an open question. But there can be no question whatever that
if Dante, who certainly owes the biggest debt to his “true precursor,”
Virgil, be indebted also to the _Miradj_ or other Mohammedan legend,[330]
he has more than repaid his debt in the splendid originality with which
he has bent and transformed such material to his own higher purposes:
a use which implies masterly assimilation and adaption, and amounts to
creative work.

Yet we would venture to plead for an open mind, even on the subject of
Asín’s second contention, and venture to ask whether the _Gospel of
Barnabas_ does not contribute some little additional force to the Spanish
professor’s argument? When all deductions have been made, has he not gone
far towards proving that Dante was more definitely indebted to Moslem
thought and legend than has been hitherto believed; and in particular
that he may have drawn, directly or indirectly, from Mohammedan sources
the architectonic idea of “Hell,” and other parts of his scheme of
which the affinity with “Barnabas” has been noted in the preceding
pages? If so, we may with some probability attribute to those same
sources the occasional striking identity of phraseology which we have
observed—regarding them as, in some sense, sources both for Dante and
for “Barnabas”; though in some cases it is difficult to believe that the
so-called “Barnabas” is not quoting Dante from memory.

The man who placed the Moslem Captain Saladin and the Moslem Philosophers
Averroes and Avicenna in the same region of the other world as his own
dear master Virgil[331]; who placed the condemned Averroist, Sigieri of
Brabant, in the Fourth Heaven as companion of the recognised Doctors
of the Church, and put an eulogy of him into the mouth of his opponent
Thomas Aquinas,[332] would surely not be willing to borrow from Moslem
sources ideas and materials for his mighty building—

    al quale ha posta mano e cielo e terra.[333]

That suitable material was in existence (though in the Arabic language)
has been abundantly proved. From the various mediaeval forms of the
Mohammedan legend of the Prophet’s visit to the other world, Professor
Asín draws numerous and striking parallels to the _Divina Commedia_. The
topography of Hell, with its most infamous of sinners in the lowest pit,
the scheme of the Heavens, which, like Dante’s, follows the Ptolemaic
system of concentric spheres, and many more detailed analogies. He
finds the closest affinity in a writer of the same century, Ibn Arabi,
a Spanish thinker, who died twenty-five years before Dante was born. By
this Arabi the legend—which may have formed the basis of much of the
eschatology of “Barnabas”—was presented together with a mystical and
allegorical interpretation, such as Dante himself suggests for his own
work in the Epistle to Can Grande.[334] Dante’s noble contemporary,
Raymond Lull, seems to have known this book of Arabi’s in the original.
Dante was not, like Raymond, an Arabic scholar, but he may well have
become, by oral means, acquainted with something of its substance.

The court of Alfonso X of Seville, into which Dante’s Brunetto plunged
in the abortive embassy of 1260, was a hive of Moslem learning and
speculation. And though Brunetto’s visit was but short (and from this
point Dr. Parodi does not fail to draw full capital), he was not
the only Florentine who found his way to Seville.[335] Commercial
relations between Tuscany and Seville were alive in Dante’s day; and the
intercourse of trade brings with it a measure of intellectual commerce.
The Papal Court to which the Poet paid his fatal visit as Florentine
Ambassador must still have held fresh memories of St. Peter Pascual, who
was conversant with the Mohammedan legends of Hell and Paradise; and
in Ricoldo of Montecroce Dante had an illustrious fellow-townsman who
was notably learned in Moslem lore,[336] though missionary travels kept
the good Dominican away from Florence during the years of the Poet’s
residence, and he only returned as Prior of Sta. Maria Novella in 1301,
the year of Dante’s exile, and died the year before his death, in 1320.

Altogether, there seems good reason to believe that Mohammedan materials,
if not actual Mohammedan sources, were accessible to Dante, and that with
large-hearted tolerance he was content to use them, and so to give them
an immortality which they could not otherwise have achieved.

Thus we may conjecture a definite relation between “Barnabas” and the
_Divine Comedy_: not through a debt of either to other (unless it be of
“Barnabas” to Dante), but through a measure of common ancestry.



VII

DANTE AND THE CASENTINO

    Li ruscelletti che de’ verdi colli
      Del Casentin discendon giuso in Arno.

                       —_Inf._ xxx. 64 _sq._


The “Apostle of Freedom” must needs be a patriot among his own people;
and patriotism involves readiness to fight for the community. Dante’s
temperament—like that of scores of our young poets and artists who have
fought and fallen in the Great War—was not naturally at home in the
practice of arms. Yet he took his place and “did his bit” as a valiant
Guelf of Florence in the battle of Campaldino; and so the Casentino
valley still speaks to us to-day of a thirteenth century “Student
in Arms.” It speaks to us, again, of an exiled patriot, who went,
“seeking freedom,” “through well-nigh all the regions in which” the
Italian “tongue was spoken,”[337] and in the early days of his lifelong
banishment found shelter from his foes with the hospitable Conti Guidi,
and a comforting atmosphere of appreciation and respect as antidote to
the _piaga della fortuna_ and the _dolorosa povertà_ of an outcast.

The Valley has also for us, as it had already for Dante, hallowed
associations redolent of that “freedom of spirit” which comes to a simple
and austere life lived for highest ideals. St. Francis, whose name still
lingers in the Casentino, was, in a true sense, an “Apostle of Freedom”
too. So perhaps no apology is needed for associating with the other
essays in this volume a narrative of a visit paid to the scenes so
familiar both to St. Francis and to Dante. Since the words above were
written, Italy has herself officially set her seal upon the thought
contained in them.

“This could be no ordinary centenary,” writes Lina Waterfield (of the
Sexcentenary celebrations of Sept., 1921). “Italy had won the boundaries
Dante desired her to possess, and in honouring him she celebrated her
victory of complete liberation. The official visits ... to the castles of
the Casentino ... and to the battlefield of Campaldino, where he fought
for ‘Libertas’ in 1289, were all undertaken in the spirit of exalted
patriotism. Sometimes the poet was forgotten, or rather merged in the
spirit of ‘Italianità,’ when the rafters of the mediaeval banqueting hall
of Poppi rang to the cries of ‘Viva Fiume’! September 16th was spent
in the Casentino. Next day all Florence turned out to see the pageant
of victorious Florentines returning from Campaldino, perhaps the most
decisive battle ever fought in Tuscany, for it broke the power of the
Ghibelline nobles. ‘Evviva la Libertà!’”

Meanwhile, at Ravenna, a great band of Franciscan Tertiaries had paid
their homage at the Poet’s tomb.

And now for the record of a pre-war pilgrimage to the Casentino.

From Pontassieve, the third station on the railway line between Florence
and Arezzo, a drive of some four hours will take you into the heart
of the Casentino; into a country well worth a visit for its own wild
and delicate beauty, but rendered immeasurably more interesting by its
thronging memories of Dante.

The Casentino is the valley of the Upper Arno, whose course from its
source on Monte Falterona is sketched by the poet in those strangely
bitter lines put into the mouth of Rinier da Calboli in Purgatory,[338]
while its trickling tributary streams, bathing the verdant slopes, are
vividly described in a single _terzina_ by poor parched Adamo in Hell—

    Li ruscelletti che de’ verdi colli
      Del Casentin discendon giuso in Arno
      Facendo i lor canali freddi e molli.[339]

We are in the country of the famous Conti Guidi, that stalwart family
who so successfully maintained their feudal sway amid an environment of
burgher republicanism; the clan of strong men who, for more than four
centuries at least, were masters of this fertile district which stretches
from the slopes of Falterona southward to the walls of Arezzo—that city
of “curs” from which Arno “turns aside its nose in scorn.”[340]

The offspring of the romance[341] of Guido Vecchio and “la buona
Gualdrada,”[342] this grim four-branched family—the Guidi of Porciano,
of Romena, of Battifolle and of Dovandola—they have left their lasting
mark upon the country. Three of their castles remain, castles in which
Dante was harboured in the earlier years of his exile. Porciano—playfully
referred to, surely, in the “brutti porci” of Riniero?[343]—and Romena
both in picturesque ruin; Poppi (Arnolfo’s first draft, as it is said,
for the similar Palazzo Vecchio at Florence) repaired throughout the
centuries, since Count Francesco handed it over in 1440 to Neri Capponi,
representative of the Florentine Republic.

We are in the country of Campaldino, the battle where Dante fought,
and Corso Donati and Vieri de’ Cerchi, soon to be leaders of opposing
factions in their native town, performed prodigies of valour side by
side: the battle where on St. Barnabas’ Day in 1289 the Guelf party
decisively reversed the humiliation of twenty-nine years before, and that
under the very walls of the Convent of Certomondo, founded by the Guidi
two years after Montaperti, in thanksgiving for that bloody victory—

          Lo strazio e ’l grande scempio
    Che fece l’ Arbia colorata in rosso.[344]

We are in the country of St. Francis of Assisi, Dante’s great religious
ideal; for a morning’s drive or walk up the steep road from Bibbiena
brings us right up to the foot of the “Rude crag betwixt Tiber and
Arno”[345] which all Christendom reveres.

In taking the old road over the Consuma Pass from Pontassieve, we are
following in the tracks of the Florentine host as it marched forth in
June, 1289. After much discussion as to the best route, as Villani and
Dino Campagni tell us,[346] they wisely decided to take this steeper and
more perilous but shorter path. A short way beyond Pontassieve they would
have left the Val d’ Arno, to strike the river again but a few miles from
its source. They left it flowing north towards Florence; they would find
it again running southwards in the direction of Arezzo.

As Dante rode up from the valley with his comrades, his eyes so quick
to detect the characteristic features and moods of Nature would note
the growing severity of the landscape—in his day perhaps less marked
than now, when feckless generations of short-sighted inhabitants have
denuded the hills of their timber. As the road wound up the steep he
would glance now north, now south, and perhaps occasionally back to the
west. Northwards he would see towering up the mass of Monte Morello, the
bare heap of a mountain that rises above his native city. Besides it his
eye would light upon the small but conspicuous wooded hill of Monte
Senario, on which, nearly sixty years before, the sainted founders of
the Servite Order had established themselves: Florentines all of good
family, and one a scion of that famous house of the Amidei whose quarrel
with the Buondelmonti in 1215 had already begun to bear fruit of internal
discord in the city—the first drops of the storm that was to sweep poor
Dante into exile. Westward, beyond the Arno, the hill of the “Incontro”
would catch his eye, the traditional site of the meeting between Saint
Francis and Saint Dominic which has provided an inspiring theme for so
many artists; while on the south his view would be bounded by the thickly
wooded ridge of Vallombrosa, where San Giovanni Gualberto had gathered
more than two centuries before (in 1015) a band of followers for whom
the discipline of San Miniato had grown too lax. Almost at the watershed
of the Consuma range, he would observe the track upon the right—only a
few years ago (1905) converted into a _strada carrozzabile_—by which
one might pass on horseback or on foot from Vallombrosa to Consuma,
and so into the Casentino. Halting, perhaps, for a few moments in the
village of Consuma—probably not very different then from what it is
to-day, a collection of charcoal-burners’ dwellings—then trotting down
the other side, past the hamlet of Ponticelli, swerving to the right
over the shoulder of a ridge, they passed the ancient little hostelry of
Casaccia, and stopped, so tradition asserts, for rest and refreshment in
the bleakly situated Badiola, which crouches in the midst of a windswept
group of unhappy trees, on an outlying hillock to the left of the road,
looking down on the Casentino itself.

Resuming their downward journey with lighter hearts, yet some of them no
doubt a little fluttered already by the anticipation of an encounter (as
Dante confesses to have been on the morning of the battle),[347] they
would ride past the ill-omened mound which still gives to a neighbouring
hamlet, the grim name of Ommorto or _Omo Morto_, the spot where Adamo of
Brescia[348] was burned alive (as some think only a year before—1288)
for counterfeiting the coinage of Florence at the instigation of the
Conti Guidi of Romena. And but a little way further on that same Castle
of Romena would burst upon their view—the fortress with the seven-fold
circle of defensive walls which were to suggest to the poet, in his
sojourn of some fourteen years later, the _nobile castello_[349] of
Limbo, wherein the spirits of the just and illustrious pagans lived their
dignified life—_senza martiri_,[350] but also _senza speme_.[351]

The ruins that can be visited to-day shew but the vague outlines of its
former grandeur; yet one may see the green-carpeted _cortile_ where
the great spirits walked to and fro _sopra il verde smalto_,[352] and
fragments at least of the very walls within whose shelter the poet
probably elaborated this and much else of the Inferno: and within the
outer circle of defences, the famous Fonte Branda[353] whose cool waters
were recalled to mind by poor Adamo in his torment—waters sipped to-day
by the devout Dantist pilgrim almost as though it were indeed a holy
well.[354]

We hear of no assault made upon the Castle in passing. Probably the place
was too strong and the work before the Guelf Army needed haste. On the
other hand the force within, thinned to strengthen the Ghibelline host
below, was no doubt too weak to attempt an effective onslaught upon the
cavalcade; though, as Dino implies, the Florentines were passing through
awkward country, wherein “if they had been found of the foe, they had
received no small damage.”[355]

The armies faced one another in the valley’s bottom, on that level
stretch of alluvial land which lies to the north of the rock on which
stands the Castle and the town of Poppi. North and south the field was
commanded by a Guidi fortress; it stretched like a vast “lizza” or
tilting-ground between Poppi and Romena.

The corn would be well advanced on that eleventh of June: not so
rich a promise, perhaps as that on which the daughter of Ugolino
della Gherardesca afterwards commented so bitingly to the daughter
of Buonconte, when the ground had been fertilised with torrents of
Ghibelline blood.[356] Perchance the approaching harvest may have
been already ruined by the devastating march of the Aretines. But the
general features of the country would have lost none of their charm. The
graceful, whispering poplars and willows surely then as now lined Arno’s
banks, recalling to some of the elder warriors the poplars of Montaperti,
fringing the Biena, Malena and Arbia—the tall trees that still whisper
shudderingly of the day when their three streams ran red.

The vine-festoons—if then as now, and as in the Medicean days, the valley
was garlanded with vineyards—would still be in fresh verdure, and would
form an effective setting for the gay colours of a mediaeval armament.
Dante and his companions would indeed have as fair a scene to fight in
as poet or artist turned soldier could wish; albeit the day was cloudy,
presaging a night of storm.[357] Immediately behind the gaily decked
arena stood the bold grey mass of Poppi, and beyond this again the more
distant background of hills, flanked on the left by La Verna with its
hallowed and inspiring memories.

And what a glorious prospect of the whole field of battle had the ladies
of the Guidi household from the casements of that castle whose walls
are still adorned with fragments of _affreschi_, which Dante’s eyes
must have seen! All the pomp and pageantry of the war visible from a
place of security, a veritable eagle’s nest. And beyond the battle a
clear view across to Romena, Falterona and the sources of Arno; with a
peep, perhaps, of the castle of Porciano—the northernmost stronghold
of the clan since the practical demolition, after Montaperti, of the
neighbouring Castel Castagnajo.

Here in their own country they would have every confidence of success.
They would rejoice in the brave show of chivalry, the gorgeous
armour caparisons and banners—a spectacle of the meeting of the two
best-appointed hosts that the countryside had ever witnessed.[358] They
would watch with triumph the first irresistible charge of the Aretine
cavalry, which drove Dante and his fellows back in confusion upon their
infantry, and they would feel the victory already won.

They would mark with wonder and horror the unaccountable retreat of
Count Guido Novello, who was to have delivered a flank attack with his
hundred and fifty horse, remembering perchance with scorn that it was
his untimely flight which, twenty-three years before, had brought to a
premature end the Ghibelline domination in Florence.[359]

They would note the sudden move of Corso Donati and his Pistojesi, whose
charge upon the Aretine flank was the beginning of the end. Then came the
wholesale slaughter and pursuit, wherein unnerved warriors, forgetful of
everything but the fear of death, streamed in flight past Poppi and down
the valley towards Bibbiena. One of these hunted knights they may have
observed in the earlier stages of his flight; for the name and figure of
Buonconte di Montefeltro[360] would be well known to them. But if their
eyes were sharp and keen enough to catch a glimpse of him as he passed,
it was but a glimpse. His end none saw or knew till Dante met the dead
count’s spirit in Purgatory; though the scene of it, as there described,
may well be the faithful reminiscence of the Poet’s own impression as he
galloped with the pursuers towards Bibbiena.

The spot where Arno and Archiano meet is dear to every student of Dante,
though comparatively few are privileged to see it with their eyes.
And when you see it, it is just a confluence of two mountain-streams,
flanked by heaps of grey water-worn stones, and fringed by tall poplars
and brushwood—this in the flat bottom of a fertile and well cultivated
valley. But the rushing water has a voice unlike the sound of ordinary
streams: the grey piles of pebbles and boulders, the tall whispering
poplars and the bushes at their feet casting a dark line of shade along
the river’s brim—these have something pathetic, tragic, funereal in their
aspect.

One seems to see Buonconte[361] staggering to the brink, bursting his
way blindly through the hedge of trees and bushes, while his life-blood
ebbs out from the wounded throat, and leaves a crimson track upon the
plain—see him fall senseless, with just an instinctive crossing of
the arms and an inaudible invocation of the name of Mary, that was to
baulk the fiend of his prey. Then night falls, and the mountain tops
“from Pratomagno to the main ridge” of Apennine, and all the valley
between, are swathed in storm-clouds, and the _fossati_ are filled with
drenching rain. The Archiano dashes down its steep course from “above the
hermitage” of Camaldoli (whose founder, St. Romoald, has his place with
St. Benedict in Paradise),[362] a roaring, foaming torrent, and swirls
the corpse down the stream of Arno, unlocking the arms by force from that
cross upon the breast which had served the soul so well—

            Sciolse al mio petto la croce
    Ch’ i’ fe’ di me quando ’l doler mi vinse,[363]

and engulfs the body, soon to be covered with spoils of the river-bed.

It is but a short walk down the steep lane from Bibbiena and through the
meadows to the _imboccatura_, and the inhabitants of the hill-town may
well have witnessed from their walls many a like tragedy on that day,
as breathless Ghibellines at their last gasp found themselves caught in
the trap—pulled up suddenly by Arno or Archiano, and overtaken ere their
bewildered brains could decide what course to follow.

Far different memories from those of the northward plain cling to that
bold wooded peak which rises on the east of Bibbiena. The pilgrimage
to La Verna from that town is one of the most delightful that can be
imagined. After the first steep descent—for Bibbiena stands on the top
of a hill almost precipitous on every side—one mounts again, passing
through groves of tender spring green, the beautiful green of young oaks,
with rich, yellow-red soil as a foil to it; and then down a second time
past Campi into the fair valley of the Corsalone, with its long rows of
poplars like these of Campaldino and Montaperti. After that it is all
one long ascent, and for the most part a steep one. The lane winds up
through sparse woods again, mainly of small oaks, and is bordered, in
spring, by garlands of primroses and violets. For a time one loses sight
of the goal (which had been visible from Bibbiena, and again from above
Campi), though the view opens out wonderfully upon the left, up the Arno
valley past Poppi to Falterona. Then at last, after an hour or so of
steady climbing, the bold wooded cliff heaves in sight again, and one
distinguishes the buildings of the monastery perched high up on the edge
of a vast precipice. Another hour will bring us to its foot. As he toils
up to this sanctuary even the most devoted Dantist cannot but have in
mind, besides the eleventh Canto of _Paradiso_, certain passages also of
the _Fioretti_.

Every holy spot, almost, is marked by a chapel, wherein man’s handiwork
obscures—and dare we say mars?—while it exalts, the memories of the past.
It is all so unlike what Saint Francis saw when he rode up on his donkey
from the other side to take possession of Orlando’s gift of the ‘divoto
monte.’ Yet one cannot stand without emotion before the commonplace
chapel that marks the spot where the little birds came to welcome
him: “con cantare e con battere l’ ali,” making “grandissima festa e
allegrezza,” settling on his head and shoulders and arms and in his
bosom.[364] And when one has entered the portal, one is fain to see not
only the Chapel of the Stigmata, with the very spot marked out for honour
where in 1221 the Saint—

    Da Cristo preso l’ ultimo sigillo
    Che le sue membra due anni portarno,[365]

and the “_sasso spicco_”—that weird rent in the rocks concerning which
Saint Francis believed himself to have divine revelation, that it was
the result of the earthquake at the crucifixion: “quando, secondo che
dice il Vangelista, le pietre si spezzarono.”[366] This, too, is an
inevitable object of the Dantist’s pilgrimage, for he regards it as
extremely probable that the idea of the cloven rocks in the twelfth of
_Inferno_[367] came to Dante from La Verna and Franciscan lore. But
there are other spots untouched by Dante, yet hallowed by memories of
the “poverello di Cristo.” Such is the hollow _grembo_ in the cliff-side
where the rock received the Saint into her maternal bosom, yielding
“like molten wax” to the impress of his form,[368] when the fiend would
have hurled him down the precipice. Such, again, is the grotto where his
hermit-bed is shewn,[369] wherein he passed the first Lent of his sojourn
at La Verna; and such, too, is the stone, self-consecrate, and so used
without further benediction as an altar top, whereon, so legend says, the
Redeemer often-times stood and conversed familiarly with his poor servant
“face to face as a man speaketh unto his friend.”[370]

Dante rests under the shadow of Saint Francis—not at La Verna, indeed,
but at Ravenna. The Campanile of the Franciscan church stands sentry over
his tomb. It is known that he was buried in the Franciscan habit: and it
has been justly conjectured that his association with the Order was no
mere thing of sentiment. One of the earliest commentators on the _Divina
Commedia_[371] asserts that for a time he actually joined the Order, to
whose girdle of cord he seems to refer,[372] as worn formerly by him as a
safeguard against youthful lusts—

    Io avea una corda intorno cinta
      E con essa pensai alcuna volta
      Prender la lonza a la pelle dipinta.

And a living Dantist has recently put forth the suggestion that this
connection with the Franciscans began with his boyish studies. Between
his ninth and his eighteenth year, when, according to the _Vita Nuova_, a
something unnamed kept him apart from the lady of his heart, he was, so
it is thought, living under strict rule, studying as a pupil under the
good friars of Santa Croce,[373] and laying the foundations at once of
that theological lore which amazes us to-day, and of that lofty ideal of
virtue of which he sings—

            ... già m’ avea trafitto
    Prima ch’ io fuor di puerizia fosse.[374]

But apart from all conjecture, ancient or modern, the Poet’s admiration
of Saint Francis is so obvious and his appreciation of him so just and
true, that none can read the eleventh canto of _Paradiso_ without feeling
that a Dantist’s pilgrimage to the Casentino culminates not in the
memories of Campaldino or of the meeting of the waters; not even in the
personal reminiscences of the Poet’s exile suggested by the modern tablet
on the ruined walls of Romena, but rather at La Verna—

    Nel crudo sasso intra Tevere ed Arno

where the re-discoverer of Christ for the Middle Ages—

    Da Cristo preso l’ ultimo sigillo
    Che le sue membra due anni portarno.[375]
    ...

Valour, and sincerity, and simplicity. The Casentino of Dante and St.
Francis recalls to us the golden principles which alone make life worth
living now. Patriotism, keen and fervid as that whose echoes rang just
now thro’ the ancient hall at Poppi: but “Patriotism is not enough.”

Readiness to lay down one’s life for a Cause: that is the temper which
has saved civilisation from utter shipwreck: but is it securely saved?

Purity of purpose, sincerity in speech and conduct—_sancta
simplicitas_—ready to cast away earthly privilege, to face joyfully the
call to “low living and high thinking,” and to find freedom in fewness of
material possessions and richness of moral and spiritual endowment—that
is the temper eagerly embraced by Francis and his followers, loyally
accepted by Dante, exile and pilgrim; and it is the only temper which can
adapt itself to live happily in a denuded world: the temper which, when
saturated with the passion of loving service as was that of “Christ’s
Poor Man” may hope, Franciscan-wise, to heal the world’s wounds, to
assuage its quarrels, and to build up better and more strongly that which
has been broken down.

BEATI MITES; QUONIAM IPSI POSSIDEBUNT TERRAM.

BEATI PACIFICI: QUONIAM FILII DEI VOCABUNTUR.



VIII

THE LAST CRUSADE

    Pero ch’ me venia “Resurgi e Vinci.”

                      —_Par._ xiv. 125.


It is a far cry from Dante Alighieri to Torquato Tasso: from
thirteenth-century Florence to seventeenth-century Ferrara. Yet Tasso is,
poetically, a direct descendant of the great Florentine, down the line
of Petrarca and Ariosto. His Italian represents the utmost legitimate
development of Dante’s language, beyond which lies decadence. The
purity, if not the exuberance, of his style and the grandeur of his epic
treatment flows direct from the fountain-head of _Italianità_—the _Divine
Comedy_; and the great poem has left its clear impress now and again upon
the _Gerusalemme Liberata_, in haunting phrases.

Thus the “fierce Circassian,” in Canto x. 56 of the _Gerusalemme_,
assumes the attitude of Sordello in _Purg._ vi. 66—

    A guisa di leon quando si posa;

and two Cantos further on (x. 59) we have a reminiscence of _Purg._ iii.
9, the dignity of Virgil’s sensitive conscience, when Armida’s dupes
stand abashed before Gottofredo—

    Vergognando tenean basse le fronti
    Ch’ era al cor piccol fallo amaro morso.

Dante and Tasso alike wrote for all time, and wrote in circumstances of
personal straitness and distress: each gave to the world his best, out
of the treasure of a bleeding heart; and if Tasso’s work cannot compare
for grandeur of conception with Dante’s immortal epic of the spiritual
liberty of Man, yet it too has Liberty for its theme, and a background
ideal and spiritual.

Contemporary critics dealt with Tasso more cruelly than ever any dared to
deal with Dante; yet Tasso has outlived his critics. And the sympathy and
admiration bestowed on him by his English contemporaries, and notably by
Edmund Spencer, was well bestowed, and forms a link in that long chain
of intellectual sympathy between England and Italy which we trust to see
strengthened year by year.

Tasso’s great poem may therefore not inappropriately supply an epilogue
to those studies of his greater predecessor which are associated in
different ways with the horrors and splendours of the great World War.

In a recent article in the _Anglo-Italian Review_,[376] an organ whose
special aim has been to foster and develop that intellectual sympathy
between England and Italy of which we have spoken above, Sir Sidney Lee
draws our attention to the _Gerusalemme Liberata_.

“There is some special appropriateness,” he says, “at the moment in
recalling attention to Tasso’s association with English poetry—with
that manifestation of English genius whence Great Britain derives no
inconspicuous part of her renown. For Tasso made his chief bid for
immortality as the poetic chronicler of the First Crusade whereby the
City of Jerusalem was first wrested from the Moslem sway and restored
to Christian rule. The army which achieved the hardly won victory was
drawn from the chivalry of all Western Europe; but the chief command was
in French hands, and Godfrey of Bouillon, a nobleman of France, is the
hero of Tasso’s epic. The Italian poet credits the French generalissimo
with every moral and military virtue. His courage goes hand in hand
with a dignified caution. He is pious, humane, far-seeing in counsel,
resolute in action, modest in bearing. The stirring military adventures
which Tasso narrates with abundance of romantic embellishment and magical
episode end on a strikingly subdued note. The last stanza of the long
poem shows Godfrey with his aides-de-camp, just after the last strenuous
resistance of the enemy had been overcome, reverently walking in the
light of the setting sun through the captured city. Without pausing to
change their war-stained habiliments, Godfrey and his companions enter
the Holy Sepulchre, and there, hanging up their arms, they offer on their
knees humble prayer.”

General Allenby’s ever-memorable entry through the Golden Gate, on foot,
into a Jerusalem freed from an even more blighting and desolating tyranny
than that of the eleventh century, may well form a starting-point for
a comparison of the great movement of the First Crusade with a still
greater movement of to-day.

We might, indeed, concentrate our attention upon the history itself,
rather than upon the Poet’s imaginative presentment of it at a distance
of nearly five centuries; for Tasso was further removed from Godfrey and
his contemporaries than we are from him. We might dwell on the fruitful
analogies between the two Crusades—that earliest of all, and this last
and greatest. We might note the curious resemblances and the curious
differences, and see our own World-War prefigured in that old-time
adventure which, like our own linked together representatives of almost
all the European nations in one great league for an ideal, impelling
them to give up all that the individual life holds dear, to forego all
material hopes and prospects, for the sake of a Cause that offered as
immediate guerdon little but danger and extreme discomfort, wounds and
death, or worse than death.

We might point to striking coincidences in detail, as, for instance, the
original costly and disastrous attempt upon Nicaea—like our tragedy of
Gallipoli in the same region—and the part there played by the treachery
of a Greek King, a perfidy which, even when the place was won, robbed the
Crusaders of the fruits of their victory. We might adduce the importance
of the help rendered in each case by the allied flotilla, and the timely
aid given in Palestine of old, as in Europe to-day, by the “handyman” of
the Marine forces. Or again we might consider the fruits and consequences
of the old Crusades, and see the promise of them on a larger scale
to-day; the first-fruits already harvested even in the midst of the
struggle—the widening of insular minds, the growth of international
comradeship, the manifold educational potencies of an experience that
involves at once the intellectual stimulus of foreign travel, the moral
inspiration of strenuous, exacting and self-reliant effort in entirely
new conditions, the spiritual stimulus of a daily and hourly converse
with Death.

If the Crusades did so much to educate Europe in olden days, what may not
the World-War achieve, if followed by a “brotherly covenant” and a League
of Peoples?

But our present aim is a rather different one; following the lead given
by Sir Sidney Lee to try, so far as we may, to look at our own times
through Tasso’s eyes; to search and see if the _Gerusalemme Liberata_ has
not a direct word to speak to our own generation.

       *       *       *       *       *

Does Tasso’s own generous use of fancy make such an attempt too fanciful?
We are dealing with hard, stern facts—the hardest and sternest that any
generation has ever had to face; Tasso’s theme had the mellowing light
of intervening centuries playing upon it, and his treatment is frankly
imaginative. He opens his Poem (i. 2) with an apology to the Muse for his
fanciful embroidering of the historical material—

                      ... Tu perdona
    S’ intesso fregi al ver, s’ adorno in parte
    D’ altri diletti, che de’ tuoi, le carte.

Sometimes his imagination works simply on a gorgeous description, as when
he depicts for us the pageant of the rival armies: the Crusading host
reviewed by Godfrey beneath the walls of Tortosa (i. 36 _sqq._), and the
Egyptian army by the King of Egypt (xvii. 9 _sqq._) in the frontier town
of Gaza, famous—as our own troops realised to their cost in the early
stages of the Palestinian campaign—for its “Immensi solitudini d’ arena,”
(xvii. 1).

Marvellous as are these descriptions, and more full of colour—be it
conceded—than any modern massing of khaki-clad armed men, Tasso would
have had greatly vaster, if not more varied, groups to depict on our
Eastern-European front when the Russian army was still a factor, and
vaster still in these last months on the West. And for picturesqueness
and glamour, our Oriental battlefields and movements of troops offer
scenes which would run even Tasso’s gorgeous pages very close. Take for
instance the picture, drawn by the Australian official correspondent,
of the entry of the allied troops into Damascus on the first days of
October, 1918—

    “Past applauding multitudes ... rode the dashing Australian
    Light Horsemen, followed by brilliant cavalry from the
    Indian Highlands, then by Yeomanry from the English Shires,
    black-skinned French Colonials from North Africa on their barb
    stallions, sturdy New Zealand machine-gunners and batteries
    from England and Scotland.” These, with the “swarthy Hedjaz
    Arabs beautifully mounted on black and white horses and on
    camels ... formed a magnificent demonstration of the might of
    the British and allied forces.”

How well this would look in Tasso’s sonorous verse!

But the characteristic products of Tasso’s fancy are more imaginative
than these, outrageously imaginative, one might call them, though they
have, withal, a dramatic appropriateness, since he is treading on Moslem
soil, and his magicians and fair women, his bejewelled halls beneath the
river-bed, his enchanted forest and spellbound island-mountain give us
the true savour of the Arabian Nights.

But was it ever so true as it is to-day that “truth is stranger than
fiction?” Was ever enchanted forest more repellent in its horrors than
some of those stricken woods on our Western Front? If it had fallen to
Tasso to describe in his verse our modern air-fighting, would it not
have afforded his genius far more scope than was offered even by the
wonderful description of the journey of the enchanted boat in which the
two paladins sail out along the coast of Africa and between the Pillars
of Hercules into the great Ocean to rescue Rinaldo (xv. 6 _sqq._)? Or
Ismeno’s magic car, mist-swathed, and leaving no track upon the sand?
When, in his first Canto (i. 14, 15), he depicts the Angel Gabriel
cutting his way through winds and clouds, hovering over Lebanon, and then
swooping down upon Tortosa—

    Pria sul Libano monte ei si ritenne
    E si librò su l’ adeguate penne,
    E ver le piazze di Tortosa poi
    Drizzò precipitando il volo in giuso ...

might it not have been, almost, a literal description of a flight of his
own compatriot and fellow-poet Gabriele d’ Annunzio?

Again, one of the most characteristic of the _fregi_ with which Tasso
adorns the chroniclers’ story is found in the prominence of his
heroines. Doubtless we owe this largely to the brilliant originality of
the Italian ladies of the Renaissance, in which the House of Este, under
his patron Alfonso, was _facile princeps_; just as the poet’s exuberance
of fancy and occasionally melodramatic touch reflects the eager, playful,
pleasure-loving, fanciful, and histrionic tone of his favourite Court
of Ferrara. His heroines certainly stand forth in dazzling prominence.
Clorinda, the fair Amazon, is a fighting man to all intents, with a man’s
mien, a man’s directness, a man’s sense of fair play, added to the charm
of a beautiful, high-born Lady. Armida, matchless in her witchery, is a
doughty warrior too; but also, by turns, languishing lover and ruthless,
Circe-like enchantress. Erminia, disinherited Princess, gracious, tender,
shy and sensitive, is yet bold to face all things—even the sight and
touch of blood—if so she may help and tend the man who, in the day of her
calamity, saved her from shame.

Fanciful figures: yet Clorinda and Armida (in her warrior-rôle) have not
been without their parallels on the Russian front. And the fair Erminia
might stand for us as the prototype of the gently nurtured girl of our
time who has found herself and her true _métier_ in the self-sacrificing
toils of Red Cross work. Of the knowledge of healing herbs, says Tasso
(vi. 67)—

    Arte, che, per usanza, in quel paese
    Nelle figlie de’ re par che si serbe;

And indeed the tendance of the wounded is essentially a royal task in
any country; and one in which not a few royal princesses have shewn
themselves versed in our day. Erminia, when at last she finds her love,
tends him right royally (xix. 111 _sqq._), but her address to the
exhausted Tancred evinces also something peculiarly modern. What could be
more in the professional Red Cross style than her injunction: “You shall
know all you ask in good time; now you must be obedient and hold your
tongue, and try to get some sleep” (xix. 114)?—

    Saprai, rispose, il tutto: or (tel comando
        come medica tua), taci, e riposa.

But are Tasso’s heroines after all so wonderful? To-day is the day of
Women. They have proved and established in National Service their claim
to the National Franchise and to a place in the National Legislature,
and, what is more, their claim to be man’s companion and competitor in
countless fields of activity. For a large part of the last century we had
a woman on the throne: the present century may yet see a woman actually
leading the king’s government. It is their War as well as ours; and now
the victory is won, their part in it—without which victory had been
unattainable—shall have full recognition. Apart from the noble work of
the Red Cross Sisters and helpers, from the valour of the girl-chauffeurs
and others who have sought and found a place as near as possible to
the firing line, we have thousands of maidens and young matrons ready
to risk comeliness and health and their whole physical future in the
pestilent atmosphere of munition shops; thousands more who have donned
the King’s uniform as “Waac’s” and “Wrens” and “Penguins.” How few and
far between, in comparison, are the Women in Tasso’s scheme! How sorely
his imagination would have been taxed, yet withal how congenially, had it
fallen to him to describe the manifold activities—and the undiminished
charms—of our twentieth century girlhood! Erminia is in some ways more
of a Victorian type; but, if the fight is recognised as being fought
elsewhere than in the actual front line, Clorinda is with us everywhere;
strengthening the hands and inspiring the hearts of her compatriots,
striking the chill of fear into the foe, and the dart of cupid into the
susceptible hero at her side.

Armida, in Tasso’s scheme, bridges the gap between the seen and the
unseen, between women’s work and the work of the Angels—good Angels,
and bad. This brings us to another of Tasso’s _fregi_, and one of his
most imaginative “embroideries”: I mean his elaborate description of the
part played in the drama of the Crusade by the heavenly hosts and the
hosts of the infernal regions. To the latter, surely, and especially to
the magnificent picture of Satan’s Council of War (iv. 1-19), Milton
must probably owe more than we ordinarily recognise. Among the most
splendid passages of the Poem are, on the other hand, the descriptions
of the counter-activities of the heavenly armies: God’s sending
forth of Gabriel (i. 7), the Court of the Most High (ix. 55 _sqq._),
Michael’s scornful, single-handed rout of the massed battalions of
Hell (ix. 63-5). But mythological as is the tone in which these events
are narrated, and mythical as the whole conception might have seemed
to a more materialistic generation than our own, we shall be ready
to recognise that all this strain in the _Gerusalemme Liberata_ is,
after all, based, in a sense, on hard fact. It is, in fact, the Poet’s
recognition of the paramount spiritual impulse which drove those hordes
of Crusaders across a dangerous Europe into a still more dangerous Asia:
his consciousness that the war they were waging was, in our present-day
phrase, a “Spiritual War.” Have we not too our still warm and throbbing
legend of the “Angels at Mons” and of the “White Companion”? Have not our
own soldiers each his Guardian Angel, his “Defensor celeste” (vii. 84)?
Whether Angel forms were seen at Mons or not, those of us who believe in
their existence at all, believe that they were there, and not there only;
but their force is everywhere joined to ours as often as we are really
fighting “for God and the Right.”

One further point, as regards angelic agency—this time the evil angels.
Tasso, like Dante in his classic episode of Buonconte (_Purg._ v. 109
_sqq._), attributes to the fiends a certain control over the weather
(vii. 115 _sqq._) Many of us would like to share this conviction with
him when we think of the repeated occasions in which our well-planned
offensives in the West have been wrecked by the sudden break-up of a fine
spell. And to the intervention of St. Michael, on the contrary, we would
blithely ascribe that most opportune change of wind in the early morning
of the day when we first played with gas at Loos.

The spiritual motive of the Crusades is finely typified in the character
of Godfrey, who like our own loved Lord Roberts, initiated every fresh
plan with prayer; whose incorruptible soul saw nothing of the material
openings that a Crusade might offer—openings that were the very
_raison-d’-être_ of crusading to the shrewd merchants of Venice in later
years—Godfrey, to whom was unthinkable the mere notion of such bargaining
and traffic as Frederic of Swabia was to employ a century later. “We are
not out for gain,” he says to Altamoro of Samarcand, “we are not traders,
but Crusaders.”

    Che della vita altrui prezzo non cerco;
    Guerreggio an Asia, non cambio o merco.
    ...

We should like to picture Tasso weaving into his stately verse,
descriptions of submarine warfare, of the advance of the tanks, of
an artillery barrage on a fifty-mile front: and we could find in
_Gerusalemme Liberata_ a starting-point for most of these. But space
permits us only two more points.

The Hun-spirit, and the glory of our Boy-heroes, are both depicted in
Tasso’s magic tapestry: the one succinctly and sternly, the other more
diffusely and with all the glamour of his genius.

The brutal measures devised—some of them not put into practice—by the
Sultan against the subject Christian population of Jerusalem, and all the
other infidel horrors of oppression and cruelty which Tasso evidently
puts forth as the _ne plus ultra_ of bygone barbarism, have been matched
and exceeded by those wreaked upon Christian populations by the modern
Turk with the connivance of his Teutonic ally; matched and exceeded by
the votaries of the “good German God” themselves, upon defenceless civil
populations of invaded districts, and equally defenceless prisoners of
war. But the spirit of “Frightfulness” itself is sharply sketched with a
single stroke of the pen in the description of one of the leaders of the
Egyptian army (vii. 22): “no true knight, but a fierce, murderous robber.”

                Albiazar ch’ è fiero
    Omicida ladron, non cavaliero.

But now that victory is won, and those horrors (save for the deep wounds
of Europe) seem an evil dream, we fain would forget the unforgettable,
lest we retard the work of reconciliation.

Let us finish on a happier note, with Rinaldo—Rinaldo who, as Spenser
says in his Prefatory Letter to the _Faëry Queen_, represents “the
Vertues of a private man,” even as Godfrey those of a good governour.

Rinaldo’s very existence is, doubtless, largely due to “dynastic
reasons”: to the necessity of flattering, that is, the House of Este;
yet he concentrates in himself all the elements of the perfect knight,
the pattern of chivalry, as conceived by Tasso. If the desire to please
a patron, Alfonso d’ Este, brought Rinaldo into the world, did not a
similar motive assist at the birth of Virgil’s _Pius Aeneas_? Both Aeneas
and Rinaldo are strong enough to “stand on their own feet.”

Rinaldo is in many ways the true type of our modern Boy-heroes—yes, our
heroes, and those of the other side—as well as of mediaeval chivalry.
Unable to rest at home when war is raging across the world, he dashes
off, while still under sixteen years of age, by paths known only to
himself, and “joins up” in Palestine.

    Allor (ne pur tre lustri avea forniti)
    Fuggì soletto, e corse strade ignote,
    Varcò l’ Egeo, passò di Greca i liti,
    Giunse nel campo in region remote
    Nobilissima fuga, e che l’ imiti
    Ben degna alcun magnanima nipote.
    Tre anni son ch’ è in guerra: e intempestiva
    Molle piuma del mento appena usciva.

Many a lad of this generation has indeed imitated his “noble flight”; has
seen three years of war—and what a war!—ere his face first felt the touch
of the razor. They have sped forth from the fields, from the mines and
mills, and from luxurious homes where too much softness was in danger of
undermining their manhood. They have “climbed the steep ascent” of the
Hill of Valour—they have, in fact, heard and responded to a call like
that which came to Rinaldo after he had lain spell-bound in Armida’s
Garden, (xvii. 61)—

    Signor, non sotto l’ ombra in piaggia molle
    Tra fonti e fior, tra ninfe e tra sirene
    Ma in cima all’ erto e faticoso colle
    Della virtù è riposto il nostro bene.

“They in a short time have fulfilled a long time.” For them the fruits
of manhood have followed hard upon the bloom of youth. In them soft
gentleness is conjoined with royalty of mien and soldierly bearing.
In battle, Mars; in face, Eros; the cynosure of a world’s admiring
eyes—Behold Rinaldo!

    Dolcemente feroce alzar vedresti
    La regal fronte, e in lui mirar sol tutti.
    L’ età precorse, e la speranza; e presti
    Pareano i fior, quando n’ uscirò i frutti:
    Se ’l miri fulminar nell’ arme avvolto,
    Marte lo stimi: Amor, se scopre il volto.



APPENDICES



APPENDIX I

ANTONIO MASCHIO AND THE CELEBRATION OF 1865


The Dante Celebrations of the last fifty-six years—the years that mark
the duration of the Poet’s life—have always had about them, as was meet,
a touch of fervid Italian patriotism. For Dante is in a true sense
“Pater Patriae.” The sexcentenary of his birth in 1865 coincided with
the new dignity of Florence as temporary capital of a largely united and
independent Italy. It was celebrated by the unveiling of Dante’s statue
by Victor Emmanuel, protagonist of the New Italy in the chief Piazza of
his new Capital, and it was celebrated with military as well as civic
honours.

The Celebration of 1921, on the sexcentenary of the Poet’s death, was
marked again with patriotic fervour. The troops who had redeemed “Italia
irredenta” in the Great War offered a wreath of bronze and silver at his
shrine in Ravenna; and shouts of “Viva l’ Italia! Viva Fiume!” echoed in
the Banqueting Hall of the castle of Poppi in Casentino, where Dante had
been a guest of the Conti Guidi, and in sight of which he had fought as
a young man in defence of his native city. The patriotic cries had now
a new note of triumph about them, because Dante’s prophetic envisaging
of Italy as “one, and to be loved” and his incidental marking out of her
true boundaries had at last been verified.[377]

Between these two, on September 14th, 1908, Ravenna, his “last refuge,”
was the scene of a most enthusiastic ceremony, to which flocked
representatives of the as yet unredeemed Italian fringe, and men of Trent
and Trieste and Gorizia and Pola and Fiume claimed Dante as the prophet
of their own “italianità” and of their proximate liberation from the
foreign yoke.

There is a little-known incident connected with the first of these
Celebrations—that of 1865—which is worth recording, if only for its
simple pathos. The story of an attempt at Dante-worship that was motived
rather by personal loyalty than by patriotic ardour, yet was baulked by
the barrier set up by a foreign domination between a true-hearted Italian
and his goal.

Antonio Maschio[378] was close upon forty years old when the news came to
him in his humble Venetian dwelling that Italy was going to celebrate her
greatest Poet in his native City of Florence.

He was a simple gondolier, son of a small pork-butcher on the island
of Murano. In the year ’48, so notable in the annals of Italy’s fight
for freedom, he picked up some stray sheets of paper in a tobacconist’s
shop, on which were printed Cantos xiii. and xiv. of the _Inferno_. He
took them home and read and re-read them: From that day he took Dante
as his Master, and devoted all his spare moments to the study of the
_Divina Commedia_. He lived to see, as he conceived, Dante’s prophecy of
the “Veltro”—the great Liberator—fulfilled in 1871; when Victor Emmanuel
entered Rome, and before he died he was in correspondence with some of
the greatest Dante scholars in Italy and abroad.

Far advanced in his Dante studies in 1865, and over head and ears in love
with the great Poet, he dared to brave the Austrian frontier guards—for
Venetia was still Austrian territory—setting out on foot for Florence
to keep tryst with his Maestro “duca, signore e Maestro.” Before the
middle of March he packed up in two great bundles all the Dante material
he had collected and evolved, put a favourite “Dantino” in his pocket
and started with his precious burden on the adventurous pilgrimage. He
passed the first line of guards, posing as a wine-seller from Chioggia.
His great obstacle was the river Po, running high and with current all
too swift. Moreover it was night, and no boat was to be found. It was but
human to shrink back, but the love of Dante conquered his fear. Did he
recall the passage where Dante, shrinking from the wall of flame, hears
Virgil’s appeal: “Senti figlio, Fra Beatrice e te è questo muro”?[379]
Dauntless he flung himself into the chill waters and struck out for the
farther shore. In a life and death struggle with the current he lost his
precious bundles, and landed more dead than alive, with nothing in his
pocket but the little volume of the _Divina Commedia_; and he afterwards
declared that Dante had saved his disciple from drowning that night,
even as in his earthly life he had saved a child in the Baptistery at
Florence.[380] Next morning the hapless man fell into the hands of the
Sindaco of La Mesola, who handed him over to the police, and he suffered
a month’s durance in an Austrian prison, after which he was ignominiously
sent back to his native town.

It was a famous gathering on that 14th of May in the broad space before
the church of Santa Croce; and many learned and ingenious speeches marked
the occasion. But the Festival was the poorer by the enforced absence of
one who had risked his life to be there: Antonio Maschio, “il Gondolier
Dantista.”



APPENDIX II

DANTE AND THE POPE


Interesting on several grounds is the Encyclical of His Holiness Benedict
XV, published in the _Osservatore Romano_ of May 4th last, in which he
commends to all Catholic teachers and students the study of the works of
Italy’s greatest Poet. He seems to admit that a certain constraint lay
upon him in the matter, that the successor of St. Peter could not afford
to be silent while all the civilised world was sending up a chorus of
praise. That indeed, it would befit him to propose himself as Choragus:
“Jam vero tam mirifico quasi choro bonorum omnium non solum non deesse
Nos decet, sed quodammodo praeesse.” Yet the eulogy which he utters, if
here and there it suggests a touch of patronising, is, on the whole so
spontaneous and sincere in tone, that one is inclined to forgive the
half-evasion with which he manipulates the awkward fact of Dante’s fierce
invective—“perquam acerbe et contumeliose”—directed against the Holy
Father’s illustrious predecessors. First of all he suggests for Dante
the excuse of a harassed and embittered spirit, misled by the poison of
malicious tale-bearers; and next, with an appearance of candour which it
would be discourteous to discount, he asks, Who denies that there were
in those days; there were faults even in the ordained clergy—“Quis neget
nonnulla eo tempore fuisse in hominibus sacri ordinis haud probanda?”
... a somewhat general statement which might or might not include the
Infallible. For the rest, Dante is praised as a true-hearted Catholic—as
indeed he was—and as an extraordinarily effective teacher of the
Catholic Faith. The spirit and purpose of the _Divine Comedy_—the aim,
as set forth in the famous tenth Epistle[381]—and the Poet’s treatment
of his subject in his pictures of Hell, Paradise and Purgatory, all come
in for hearty commendation. His ever-living treatment of an ever-living
theme is rightly characterised as strikingly modern compared with
the revived Paganism of some modern poets. The teaching power of his
spiritual ideas outsteps the bounds of the archaic Ptolemaic system in
which they are framed. True to the teaching of his great master Aquinas,
he attracts moderns to that teaching by the sublimity of his poetic
genius. The Pope claims to know personally unbelievers who have been
converted to the Faith by the study of Dante.

This emphasis on Dante’s importance as a religious teacher is interesting
in view of Benedetto Croce’s recent critique, in which he dismisses the
theological aspect of Dante as irrelevant. In this connection it is worth
noting that a distinguished Friar has been lecturing in Rome on Dante’s
theology, and directly attacking Croce for his depreciation of the same.

We have thus two Benedicts disputing over the spirit of Dante, even as
the Archangel and another disputed over the body of Moses—Benedict the
Pope and Benedict the Philosopher, Critic and Minister of Education. That
the latter has the greater name in the realm of literary criticism, we
cannot doubt. His best friends go far to claim for him infallibility in
that line. The infallible claims of the former are confined to the region
of Faith and Morals; but if Dante could be called in as arbitrator he
would probably decide in favour of the Pope, pronouncing with regard to
his own religious teaching that it was meant to count, and does count. It
is, however, with no animus against the other Benedict in his official
capacity that His Holiness proceeds—making an excellent point, which
most of us would applaud—to note the absurdity of a State system of
secularised Education which tries to banish the Name and the thought of
God from the schools, and at the same time hold up the _Divina Commedia_
as an indispensable instrument of culture. Italian priests of to-day
are ready to defend the present Minister of Public Instruction as one
who, whatever his personal views may be, has endeavoured to mete out
evenhanded justice even to “denominational” Education.



APPENDIX III

DANTE THE POET


Benedetto Croce’s[382] contention is, of course, fundamentally true,
that Dante is first and last a Poet, and that it is the magnetism of his
poetic genius that attracts interest to all the varied subjects which
he touches. If he had not been a Poet, these essays would never have
been written; and the writer hopes that the poetic quality of his hero
will have been felt as a background all through the book. His lyrical
power is the driving force of his many-sided message. To the struggling
patriot, whether of 1848 or of 1918, he is a Tyrtaeus; to the artist in
poetry, a Horace (although he never saw the _Ars Poetica_); to the lover,
a Christian Anacreon; to the religious devotee, a Psalmist and Prophet
in one; to the student of human nature in its detail and its large epic
aspect, a Homer and a Virgil; in every aspect a supreme poet. The very
magnetism of his lyrical appeal will, however, continue to keep countless
disciples busy, in the future as in the past, exploring the by-ways
and investigating the by-products of his genius; gloating over his
obscurities, and glorying in everything, big or little, that Dante has
touched. Those “questioni dantesche” on the more puerile of which Croce
rightly pours his scorn,[383] will emerge to the end of the chapter—a
lush growth of mingled flowers and weeds witnessing to the extraordinary
fertility of the soil.

And we may go on to ask, what, exactly, is the value, or the nature
of that “lyrical quality” which Croce justly exalts if it is entirely
divorced from its content, its subject-matter?

True, Beauty has a value of its own, as Dante himself saw. In theory,
indeed, he makes Poetry a humble gilding of the didactic pill, on the
Horatian principle of _miscere utile dulci_; a beauteous fiction for a
moral purpose—“una verità ascosa sotto bella menzogna”[384] a “clumsy
device,” as Professor Foligno puts it, “to rivet the attention of readers
while the lessons of virtue and truth were expounded.”[385] In practice,
however, the author of the _Convivio_ “spoke as Love dictated”[386]—nay,
even in the _Convivio_ itself (as Prof. Foligno points out), in the
_envoi_ of the first Canzone,[387] he bids his poetry, if its argument
prove unintelligible, take heart of grace and draw attention to its own
sheer beauty—

    Allor ti priego che ti ricomforte,
    Dicendo lor, diletta mia novella.
    “Ponete mente almen com’ io son bella!”

But lyrical form cannot exist as a mere abstraction. It must needs
express itself in words that have a meaning—in “subject-matter.” The Poet
sings of what is in his heart, and sings—

        ... A quel modo
    Ch’ e’ ditta dentro;

he sings because he _must_. And Dante has this irresistible impulse of
the artist to express himself. He tells us in the XIXth chapter of the
_Vita Nuova_ the story of the birth of his canzone, “Donne ch’ avete
intelletto d’ amore,” the famous song by which Bonagiunta knew him in
Purgatory.[388] First, a great desire for utterance, then a pondering
over the appropriate mode, and finally, “I declare,” he says, “my tongue
spake as though by its own impulse and said—

    Donne ch’ avete intelletto d’ amore.”[389]

That is the artistic impulse to create, and represents, indeed, the sum
total of his “Message” as conceived by many an artist. But Dante took
his message and his mission seriously; and unless we recognise as a
factor in his poetry this sense of responsibility for the gift, and for
the use of it—in however exalted a sense—as the handmaid of Religion, we
surely misconceive him. He is essentially (not accidentally) didactic,
prophetic, a conscious and purposeful inspirer of his own generation and
of those to come.

From the point of view of purely aesthetic criticism his “Theological
Romance,” his “Epic of man’s freewill,” with its massive architectural
framework and its recurring theological, philosophical, political and
otherwise didactic passages may be entirely secondary—may be, in fact,
so much awkward and obstructive material which the poet only reduces to
order and dominates by force of titanic genius.[390]

Dante certainly rises superior in fact to the contemporary theory
of the Art of Poetry which he repeats in the _Convivio_ and the _De
Vulgari Eloquentia_.[391] It is this which makes his verse to be, as
we have called it, the driving power of his message. But this homage
to the traditional theory is not mere lip-service. Supreme poet as he
is, he deliberately makes his sublime verse the instrument of spiritual
teaching. And in so doing only renders it the more sublime.



FOOTNOTES


[1] See esp. _Inf._ ix. 113; xx. 61: “Dante and the Redemption of Italy,”
p. 15.

[2] 1865: See _ib._ p. 19.

[3] _Par._ xxv. 1, 2.

[4] “Dante and Educational Principles,” pp. 83 _sqq._

[5] Nos. III and VI.

[6] Nos. I, II, IV, and VIII.

[7] Prof. Foligno has, of course, no responsibility for the opinions set
forth in this volume.

[8] _Le opere di Dante: testo critico della Società dantescha italiana,
etc._ Firenze: R. Bemporad & Figlio. MCMXXI. Cited in the notes as
“Bemporad.” In the case of quotations from the prose works, an attempt
has been made to consult the convenience of English readers by the
reference to the paging of Dr. Moore’s Oxford Edition as well as to that
of the _Testo critico_ (Bemporad).

[9] Nos. V and VII.

[10] This Sermon was preached in Lincoln Cathedral on Aug. 14th, 1921
(Twelfth Sunday after Trinity).

[11] _Par._ i. 6-8.

[12] See _Osservatore Romano_, May 4th, 1921. And _cf._ Appendix II.

[13] _Par._ xvii. 55.

[14] _Purg._ xxiv. 52-4.

[15] _Cf._ A. G. Ferrers-Howell, “Dante and the Troubadours,” in the
Memorial Volume, _Dante, Essays in Commemoration_, 1321-1921, London
Univ. Press, 1921.

[16] _Purg._ xxiv. 57.

[17] _Inf._ iii. 5, 6.

[18] _Purg._ xvii. 103-105.

[19] _Inf._ i. 118-20.

[20] _Purg._ xxiii. 71-74.

[21] _Par._ iii. 70-72, 85.

[22] _Par._ xxxiii. 145.

[23] _The Spiritual Message of Dante_, Williams & Norgate, 1914, p. 225.

[24] 1 John iv. 16.

[25] _Par._ xxx. 133-7.

[26] _Purg._ xx. 43.

[27] _Purg._ i. 1.

[28] _Par._ xxv. 5.

[29] A pathetic episode connected with this Celebration is related in
Appendix I, p. 165.

[30] _Giornale_, p. 215: Art. “Firenze e Italia nel concetto e nel cuore
di Dante.”

[31] _Giornale_, p. 344.

[32] A similar chorus of reverent homage to Dante as the good genius of
Italy’s fortunes, was evoked by the war, in the shape of “Dante e la
Guerra,” Nos. 6-9 of _Nuovo Convito_, June-Sept., 1917.

[33] _Par._ ix. 27.

[34] “To the Defenders of the Piave: November, 1917, to November, 1918.”
Art. in _Anglo-Italian Review_, Nov., 1918, p. 244.

[35] _Purg._ xxvii. 142.

[36] _Il Purgatorio_, p. 58.

[37] _Par._ xxxi. 85-89.

[38] _Inf._ i. 31-34.

[39] _Loc. cit._

[40] Italy is likened by Dante to a wood (_silva_) in _V.E._, I, xi.

[41] _Purg._ vi. 76-fin.

[42] _Purg._ vi. 91 _sqq._; _Mon._ I, xii.

[43] _Purg._ v. 61.

[44] See _Mon._ II, v. 132 _sqq._; 159 _sqq._, quoted below; pp. 355
_sq._, Oxf. Ed.; p. 379, Bemporad.

[45] _Inf._ xii. 1-21.

[46] _Defensor Pacis_ written c. 1324 (three years after Dante’s death)
to support the claims of the Emperor Lewis IX (of Bavaria) against Pope
John XXII, starts, as Dante does, from Aristotle and Holy Scripture, but
carries the relentless exposure of papal pretensions much further, and
strikes the note of appeal to a General Council which was one of the
watchwords of the Reformation.

[47] This theme he took up earlier in the Fourth Treatise of the
_Convivio_, chaps. iv. and v.

[48] _Cf._ especially his quotations from the _Aeneid_ in _Conv._
IV, iv. (Bemp., 252) and _Mon._ II, vii. 70 _sqq._ (Bemp., 381); the
Divine injunction is taken by Dante, almost as though the _Aeneid_ were
‘Scripture’!

    Tu regere imperio populos, Romane, momento,
    Hae tibi erunt artes, pacique imponere morem;
    Parcere subjectis et debellare superbos.

                               —_Aen._ vi. 852-4.

[49] _Inf._ i. 82.

[50] vi. 34-96.

[51] W. W. Vernon, _Readings on the Paradiso_, Vol. I, p. 199.

[52] _Par._ vi. 103-104.

[53] _Purg._ vii. 94; vi. 97.

[54] _Purg._ xvi. 106 _sqq._; 127 _sqq._

[55] _Purg._ vi. 76 _sqq._

[56] _Purg._ vi. fin.

[57] _Ep._ vii.

[58] _Cf._ _Purg._ x. 35.

[59] _Ep._ vii. 44, p. 410, Oxf. Ed.; p. 427, Bemporad.

[60] I. xii. 58; Oxf. Ed. p. 347; p. 365, Bemporad.

[61] _Purg._ i. 75.

[62] II, v. 158 _sqq._; Oxf. Ed. II, v. 17; p. 379, Bemporad.

[63] _Cf._ _Mon._ I, xi. Bemporad, pp. 362-364.

[64] _Mon._ I, v.

[65] _Od._ ix. 114-115. θεμιστεύει δὲ ἕκαστος Παίδων ἠδ’ ἀλόγων....

[66] οὐδ’ ἀλλήων ἀλέγουσιν.

[67] _Pol._ i. 2.

[68] It is interesting to note, in this connection, that when Dante,
in his work on “The Vulgar Tongue,” is seeking a _Literary_ Tribunal—a
sort of Academy of Letters—he asserts that where there is no Prince, his
presence may be supplied by ‘the gracious light of reason.’ There is no
king, he says, in Italy, as there is in Germany, to gather to his court
poets and _literati_ and form in his own person the centre of a brilliant
literary circle; but the members of such a court—the elements of such a
circle—are there, though scattered, and they have a bond of union in the
_gratioso lumine rationis_.—_V.E._ I, xviii. fin; Oxf. p. 389; Bemporad,
p. 336.

[69] _Mon._ I, xi. 78-110. Oxf., p. 346; Bemp., pp. 363 _sq._

[70] _Ep._ vii.

[71] _Par._ xxx. 133 _sqq._

[72] At the last moment before going to press, it is cheering to find
this contention (treated more fully by the present writer in an article
in the _Anglo-Italian Review_, Dec., 1918), corroborated by Prof. A. J.
Grant, who, in an article on “Dante’s conception of History” (_History_,
Vol. VI, Jan., 1922), speaks thus of the Poet’s praise of the Empire:
“It is a demand for a world-order resting on laws that are sensible and
generally known, and which control the lives of states as well as of
individuals. It is little exaggeration to say that it is a plea for a
League of Nations; and the _De Monarchia_ is not a bad handbook for those
who are called upon to speak for the League” (p. 229).

[73] _Par._ xxii. 151.

[74] _Mon._ iii. 16; Oxf., p. 376; Bemp. p. 411.

[75] _Mon._ I, xi; Oxf. p. 345; Bemporad, p. 364.

[76] _Mon._ I, xi., _ut supra_.

[77] _Mon._ I, xi.

[78] III, iv. init. Oxf., p. 365; Bemporad, p. 394. Dante combats and
refutes the traditional argument in vogue in his day, which assumed that
the creation of sun and moon in Gen. i. had a mystical reference to the
Spiritual and Temporal powers respectively and argued that therefore,
because the moon derives her _light_ from the sun, the Temporal must owe
its _authority_ to the Spiritual; but, later in the chapter (Oxf., p. 366
_sq._; Bemporad, p. 396), he seems to admit a workable _analogy_ between
the luminaries and the authorities.

[79] _Purg._ xvi. 106 _sqq._

[80] _Par._ vi. 121 _sq._

[81] 2 Cor. iii. 17.

[82] _Inf._, i. p. 124.

[83] _Cf._ _V.E._, I, vii. 28; p. 382, Oxf.; p. 324, Bemporad. _Ipsum
naturantem, qui est Deus._

[84] _Par._ xxxiii. 145.

[85] Oxf. Ed., p. 282; Bemporad, p. 222.

[86] _Gerusalemme Liberata_, xvii. 63.

[87] The best spirits among our late enemies have already begun to
reap the reward of their deadly earnestness in a wider and saner point
of view: a realisation of variety of national characteristics and
an appreciation of them; a longing to clear away misapprehensions,
and “openly to call injustice injustice—to forgive and to expect
forgiveness.” See an excellent article by Hedwig von Saenger in _Student
Movement_, Oct., 1921.

[88] _Il comico, l’ umorismo e la satira nella Divina Commedia._ Da
Enrico Sannia. 2 vols. Milan, 1909.

[89] _Vita_, s. 8.

[90] _Mag. Mar._ i, 31, 1193. εὐτραπελία δ’ ἐστὶ μεσότης βωμολοχίας
καὶ ἀγροικίας. ὅ τε γὰρ βωμολόχος ἐστὶν ὁ πάντα καὶ πᾶν οἰόμενος δεῖν
σκώπτειν, ὅ τε ἄγροικος ὁ μήτε σκώπτειν βουλόμενος, μήτε σκωφθῆναι,
ἀλλ’ ὀργιζόμενος. ὁ δ’ εὐτράπελος ἀνὰ μέσον τούτων, ὁ μήτε πάντας καὶ
παντῶς σκώπτων, μητ’ αὐτὸς ἄγροικος ὤν. ἔσται δ’ ὁ εὐτράπελος διττῶς
πως λεγόμενος. καὶ γὰρ ὁ δυνάμενος σκῶψαι ἐμμελῶς, καὶ ὃς ἂν ὑπομείνῃ
σκωπτόμενος.

[91] _De divinatione per somnum_ ii. (464ᵃ 33) οἱ δὲ μελαγχολικοὶ διὰ τὸ
σφόδρα, ὥσπερ βάλλοντες πόρρωθεν, εὔστοχοί εἰσιν. _Cf._ _Eth. Nic._ vi.
10 (1142ᵇ 2), where εὐστοχία is distinguished from βούλευσις as “swift
and wordless”; ἄνευ τε γὰρ λόγου καὶ ταχύ τι ἡ εὐστοχία. And a little
further on it is said that ἀγχίνοια—“ready wit,” “shrewdness,” is a kind
of εὐστοχία.

[92] _Rhet._ iii. II, 1412ᵃ. εὐστοχία sees analogies, like Archytas, who
says “a διαιτητὴς is like an altar”—for to both the injured flee!

[93] _Eth. Eud._ vii. 5, 1240ᵃ 2.

[94] _Cf._ Ps. cxv. 4-8. Esp. Isaiah xliv. and xlvi.

[95] A recent writer, H. McLachlan (_St. Luke, the Man and his Work_,
Manchester Univ. Press, 1920), has drawn attention to the humorous
gift of the third Evangelist, and entitles one of his chapters “Luke
the Humorist.” See also the present writer’s _St. Luke_ (Westminster
Commentaries, Methuen, 1922, Introduction, pp. xxix. _sq._).

[96] _Cronica Fratris Salimbene de Adam_ (Ed. Holder-Egger, Hanover,
1905-1913), pp. 77 _sqq._ “Florentini ... trufatores maximi sunt.”

[97] _Rhet._ ii. 1389ᵇ 10. οἰ νέοι ... φιλογέλωτες, διὸ καὶ εὐτράπελοι; ἡ
γὰρ εὐτραπελία πεπαιδευμένη ὕβρις ἐστίν.

[98] _Purg._ x. 130-3.

[99] Nino Tammassia, _S. Francesco d’ Assisi e la sua Leggenda_, Padova,
Drucker, 1906. (Eng. Tr. Fisher Unwin, 1910).

[100] D. G. Rossetti, _The Early Italian Poets, etc._

[101] _Purg._ xxiii. 115 _sqq._

[102] _Op. cit._ pp. 55-6.

[103] _Conv._ III, viii. 70; Oxf., p. 282; Bemporad, p. 222.

[104] _Portraits of Dante from Giotto to Raffael: a critical study, with
a concise iconography_, by Richard Thayer Holbrook. London: Philip Lee
Warner, 1911.

[105] Holbrook, _l.c._ pp. 68-72.

[106] Holbrook, _op. cit._ p. 102 and illustration opposite p. 98.

[107] _Vita_, § 8. Ne’ costumi domestici e publici mirabilmente fu
ordinato e composto, e in tutti più che un altro cortese e civile.

[108] _Hist._ ix. 136. Per lo suo sapere fu alquanto presuntuoso e schifo
e isdegnoso, e quasi a guisa di filosofo mal grazioso. Non bene sapea
conversare co’ laici.

[109] _Cf._ Toynbee, _Dante Alighieri_, Methuen, 3rd ed., 1904, p. 176
_sqq._

[110] This is quoted from C. Bruni’s excellent _Guida al Casentino_, p.
167. B. does not specify his authorities, but says in a footnote: “Questo
aneddoto è così riferito da varii scrittori danteschi.”

[111] _Dante and His Italy_, pp. 141, 2.

[112] _Inf._ xxii. 118.

[113] _Inf._ xxiii, 4 _sqq._

[114] Sannia not inappropriately describes this passage as “il comico
populare della D.C.” (p. 193).

[115] _Inf._ xxii. 25.

[116] _Inf._ xxii. 41, 57, 60, 72, _cf._ xxi. 55 _sqq._

[117] _Inf._ xxi. 7-15.

[118] _Inf._ xxii. 130.

[119] _Inf._ xxiii. 37.

[120] _Inf._ xxi. 31, 88 _sqq._, 127 _sqq._; xxii. 31.

[121] _Inf._ xxx. 103.

[122] _Inf._ xxx. 131, 2.

[123] _Inf._ xiii. 120 _sqq._

[124] _Inf._ xix. 52 _sqq._ _Cf._ Boccaccio, _Vita_, § 17.

[125] _Inf._ xix. 72.

[126] _Purg._ vi. 149 _sqq._

[127] _Purg._ vi. 141.

[128] _Par._ xxi. 130 _sqq._

[129] _Par._ xxi. 134.

[130] _Par._ xxix. 34 _sqq._

[131] _Par._ xxix. 110.

[132] _Purg._ xx. 108.

[133] _Purg._ xix. 72, 124.

[134] _Purg._ xx. 116-17.

[135] _Purg._ xxii. 67-9.

[136] _Purg._ xxviii. 139.

[137] _Purg._ xxviii. 145.

[138] _Par._ xxiii. 22.

[139] _Par._ xxvii. 4.

[140] _Par._ xxviii. 137-8.

[141] _Essay on Richter_, cited by Glover, _Virgil_, Methuen, 1920, p. 27.

[142] _Eth. Eud._ iii. 1234ᵃ 17.

[143] _Conv._ III, viii., 95 _sqq._ p. 282, Oxf.; p. 222, Bemporad.

[144] Oxf. Ed. p. 248; Bemporad, p. 165.

[145] Oxf. Ed. p. 249; Bemporad, p. 166; Toynbee, _In the Footprints of
Dante_, p. 303.

[146] (vi.) Oxf. Ed. p. 259; Bemporad, p. 183.

[147] xi. 60 _sqq._; p. 263, Oxf. Ed.; (x.) p. 190, Bemporad.

[148] xi. 100 _sqq._; p. 287, Oxf. Ed.; p. 230, Bemporad.

[149] IV, xxviii. 70 _sqq._; p. 335, Oxf. Ed.; p. 311, Bemporad.

[150] IV, xvi. 69; p. 318, Oxf. Ed.; p. 283, Bemporad. Salimbene (_ed.
cit._), pp. 457, 512, 530 _sqq._

[151] IV, xiv. 105; p. 315, Oxf. Ed.; p. 278, Bemporad.

[152] IV, xv. 135; p. 316, Oxf. Ed.; p. 280, Bemporad.

[153] I, xiv.; p. 387, Oxf. Ed.; pp. 329, 332, Bemporad.

[154] p. 385, Oxf. Ed.; p. 329, Bemporad.

[155] _V.E._ I, xiii. _fin._; p. 387, Oxf. Ed.; p. 331, Bemporad.

[156] “Quid nunc personat tuba novissimi Frederici? quid tintinabulum
secundi Caroli? quid cornua Iohannis et Azzonis marchionum potentum? quid
aliorum magnatum tibiae? nisi _Venite carnifices, etc._,” p. 386, Oxf.
Ed.; p. 330, Bemporad.

[157] _V.E._ II, vi. 42-6; p. 394, Oxf. Ed.; p. 343 _sq._, Bemporad.

[158] Hor. _Ep._ I., xiv, 43.

[159] No. 616.

[160] Dr. Reid, in an article on “Humour” (_Encyclopaedia of Religion
and Ethics_, Vol. VI, p. 272), which had not yet appeared when these
lines were written, describing the gift as follows: “Humour is
invariably associated with alertness and breadth of mind, a keen sense
of proportion, and faculties of quick observation and comparison. It
involves a certain detachment from, or superiority to, the disturbing
experiences of life. It appreciates the whimsicalities and contradictions
of life, recognises the existence of what is unexpected or absurd, and
extracts joy out of what might be a cause of sadness....”

[161] _Op. cit._ p. 51.

[162] _Inf._ xx. 61-3.

[163] Vol. II, p. 534.

[164] _Par._ i. 1 _sqq._, 103 _sqq._

[165] _Inf._ iii. 16-18.

[166] _Cf._ e.g., the legend of St. Gregory alluded to in _Purg._ x. 75.

[167] _Inf._ iv. 131.

[168] See above, pp. 28 _sqq._ and “Dante and A League of Nations,”
_Anglo-Italian Review_, December, 1918, pp. 327-335.

[169] _Purg._ i. 7 _sqq._; _Par._ i. 13 _sqq._; _cf._ _Inf._ ii. 7.

[170] _Purg._ vi. 118.

[171] _Mediaeval Mind_, Vol. II, p. 544.

[172] _Inf._ xxxi.

[173] _Inf._ iv. 144.

[174] _Mediaeval Mind_, Vol. II, p. 541, note.

[175] _Par._ xxv. 3.

[176] _Conv._ III, ix., fin.; p. 285, Oxf. Ed.; p. 227, Bemporad.

[177] Croce on the contrary urges with perhaps too great a bias in the
other direction, that if Dante were not so great as a Poet, little would
be thought of his achievements in other lines: “Se Dante non fosse,
com’ è, grandissimo poeta, è da presumere che tutte quelle altre cose
perderebbero rilievo.”—_Poesia di Dante_, p. 10.

[178] “On Dante the Poet,” see an admirable lecture delivered before the
British Academy on May 4th, 1921, by Professor Cesare Foligno. (Humphrey
Milford, 1/6 net). See also Appendix III.

[179] _Osservatore Romano_, May 4th, 1921. See Appendix II.

[180] _La Poesia di Dante_, Laterza, 1921.

[181] _Id._, pp. 9, 10.

[182] _Id._, p. 27.

[183] _Cf._ Statius’ words in _Purg._ xxii. 76—

    Già era ’l mondo tutto quanto pregno
        De la vera credenza, seminata
        Per li messaggi dell’ etterno regno.

[184] See _The New Teaching_, edited by Prof. John Adams (Hodder and
Stoughton, 1918, 10/6), pp. 9, 11. This work came into the writer’s
hands after the virtual completion of the present essay; but it sums up
so compactly the point of view of the modern principles he desired to
illustrate, that he has found occasion to refer to it with some frequency.

[185] _Cf._ _The New Teaching_, p. 64, where Prof. J. Adams says of the
study of English Literature: “the radical difference between the old
teaching and the new is that we have passed from books about books to the
books themselves.”

[186] See _La Poesia di Dante_, pp. 14, 15.

[187] See H. O. Taylor, _The Mediaeval Mind_. Mr. Taylor heads his 43rd
and last chapter “The Mediaeval Synthesis: Dante.” See Vol. II, p. 534;
and _Dante and Mediaeval Thought_, in the present volume, p. 80.

[188] _Par._ xxv. 3; _Conv._ III, ix. 146 _sqq._; p. 285, Oxf. Ed.; p.
226 _sq._, Bemporad.

[189] Federzoni, _Vita di Beatrice Portinari_, 2nd Ed., p. 14; and below
_Dante and Casentino_, pp. 148 _sq._

[190] _Inf._ xv. 82-85.

[191] _Conv._ II, xiv. (xiii.), pp. 265-7, Oxf. Ed.; pp. 193-7, Bemporad.

[192] Benedetto Croce (_op. cit._) has much to say on the power of
Dante’s poetic genius to transmute the intractable and unpoetical
scholastic and didactic matter. See esp. pp. 67, 161.

[193] _Dante and Aquinas_, p. vii; _cf._ and pp. 226 _sqq._, and esp. p.
232.

[194] Wicksteed, _loc. cit._

[195] _Purg._ xxvii. 140, 142. The English renderings are mainly from
Tozer’s Translation. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

[196] _Epist._ x. (xiii.), p. 416, Oxf. Ed.; p. 439, Bemporad. “Locutio
vulgaris in qua et muliercule communicant.”

[197] _Epist._ x. (xiii.) 265 _sqq._; p. 417, Oxf. Ed.; p. 440, Bemporad.

[198] _Inf._ i. 113 _sq._

[199] _Inf._ i. 118-120.

[200] See esp. Luke vii. 18-23, where, in answer to a question from the
Baptist’s disciple, He gives a “demonstration” of Messianic works, and
says “Go and describe what you have seen.”

[201] Not only in the formally “didactic passages” does he act—in Croce’s
words, “like a master who knows, and is bent on making it clear to the
pupil.” _Op. cit._, p. 121.

[202] _Purg._ i. 71.

[203] _Purg._ v. 61 _sqq._

[204] _Purg._ xxvii. 142.

[205] _Par._ xxxi. 85.

[206] _Purg._ xxvi. 13.

[207] _Purg._ xxiii. 73 _sqq._

[208] _Purg._ xxi. 61 _sqq._

[209] Mme. Montessori’s earlier utterances were justly criticised for a
too thoroughgoing individualism that claimed to have rung the death-knell
of the “class system.” The individualist attitude and the collective
have each a place in the New Teaching, though the former tends to be
emphasised most. The characteristic Montessorian expression of the social
instinct is the “Silence Game.” See _The New Teaching_, pp. 15, 16, 22.

[210] _Op. cit._, p. 234.

[211] _Purg._ x. 31 _sqq._

[212] _Purg._ xii. 16 _sqq._

[213] Very little transpires as to the office and function of those
Angels except in the matter of removal of the P’s from the forehead of
penitents as they mount up to the successive Terraces. In _Purg._ xvi.
142-5, there is a glimpse of their usefulness, where Marco Lombardo is
reminded of the boundary of his “beat” by the nearness of the Angel of
the Anger-Terrace. “L’Angelo è i’vi!”

[214] _Purg._ ii. 30.

[215] _Purg._ xvi. 76-78. For this reference and several others the
writer is indebted to an illuminating article on “La Pedagogia in Dante
Alighieri,” by Sac. Dott. Fernando Cento in _Il VIº Centenario Dantesco_,
March, 1916.

[216] _Purg._ iv. 88-95.

[217] _Purg._ xii. 110; xv. 38; xvii. 68 etc.

[218] _Inf._ xxx. 136 _sqq._

[219] _Par._ xxxiii. 58 _sqq._

[220] _Purg._ xviii. 141.

[221] _Purg._ xix. 1 _sqq._

[222] _Purg._ xix. 28.

[223] _Purg._ xxvii. 88 _sqq._

[224] As in the case last quoted, or e.g. in _Purg._ xvii. 40 _sqq._:
_Come si frange il sonno, etc._, where the sleep is broken by the sudden
striking of a light upon the sleeper’s eyes.

[225] _Purg._ xxvii. 112.

[226] _Inf._ xxvi. 7.

[227] See pp. 95 _sqq._

[228] p. 120 _sq._

[229] p. 121. He goes on: “Perciò i concetti esposti vi si rivestono
d’immagini corpulenti e fulgidissimi.”

[230] Croce, p. 135.

[231] _Par._ i. 100.

[232] Strictly, from _Inf._ i. 112 to _Purg._ xxvii. 142; Virgil
disappears, _Purg._ xxx. 49.

[233] _Purg._ xxi. 33.

[234] _Purg._ xxi. 103; _cf._ i. 125; xix. 85 _sqq._, etc.

[235] _Gerus. Lib._ xvii. 63.

[236] _Purg._ xvi. 77.

[237] _Inf._ ii. 1-5.

[238] _Inf._ i. 77-78; _Purg._ xxvii. 35-36.

[239] _Op. cit._, p. 37.

[240] _Inf._ xvii. 79 _sqq._

[241] _Purg._ xxvii. 22 _sqq._

[242] Homer, _Od._ xx. 18. Dante, _Inf._ xxvi. 56 _sqq._; _Purg._ xix.
22; _Par._ xxvii. 83.

[243] _Purg._ iv. 89 _sqq._

[244] _Inf._ xi. 10-66; xii. init.

[245] _Purg._ xvii. 88-139.

[246] _Cf._ _The New Teaching_, p. 40, where Prof. Adams remarks,
“The postponing of grammar studies to a comparatively late stage in
school life is one of the most striking recognitions of the elementary
psychological truths that underlie the principles of teaching.”

[247] _Purg._ xviii. esp. 40-43.

[248] Acts i. 1.

[249] _Inf._ iv. 13-15; _cf._ _Inf._ xvii. 79 (above), and _Purg._ xxvii.
46.

[250] _Inf._ iv. 14.

[251] _Purg._ iii. 7-9.

[252] _New Teaching_, p. 153 (Dr. Rouse).

[253] _Inf._ xiii, 28 _sqq._; _Aen._ iii. 22 _sqq._

[254] _Inf._ xii. 114.

[255] _Purg._ xxv. 25 _sqq._

[256] _Purg._ xv. 76-78. _Cf._ _Purg._ xviii. 46-48.

[257] _Purg._ xxvii. 139 _sqq._

[258] _Inf._ i. 122 _sqq._

[259] _The New Teaching_, pp. 20, 26 (Prof. Adams).

[260] _Purg._ xxvii. 139-142.

[261] There is some reason (see below, pp. 121 _sqq._) for attributing
to a common origin some of the points of resemblance which are noted in
the body of this Essay. Professor Foligno, however, like Dr. Parodi (see
below, pp. 133 _sq._) is convinced of the fallaciousness of all arguments
hitherto adduced in favour of direct contact of Dante with Moslem
sources—and, in particular, of the reasoning of Professor Asín (p. 133).

[262] _The Gospel of Barnabas._ Edited and translated from the Italian
MS. in the Imperial Library at Vienna by Lonsdale and Laura Ragg. Oxford:
1907.

[263] On this subject, see below, pp.

[264] See Introduction to Oxford Ed., pp. xiii. _sq._ and xliii.

[265] As for instance in his definition of the word “Pharisee,”
“_farisseo propio uolle dire cercha DIO nella linggua di chanaam_”
(_Barnabas_, 157ᵇ).

[266] _Par._ i. 56-7. _Cf._ _Barn._ 40ᵃ, _sq._

[267] _Purg._ xxviii. 94, etc., _cf._ _Barn._ 41ᵇ-43ᵇ.

[268] _Barn._ 189ᵃ, _cf._ (for angels) Canz. iv. 24, 25, _Par._ xx. 102.

[269] _Barn._ 189ᵃ, _Koran_, Surah xlvii. The _original_ source is
perhaps _Gen._ ii. 10 _sqq._

[270] _Purg._ xxviii. 25 _sqq._

[271] _Barn._ 187ᵃ, 189ᵃ.

[272] _Purg._ xxvii. 134.

[273] _Purg._ xxviii. 36.

[274] _Purg._ xxviii. 41, 42.

[275] _V.E._ i. 7, 10-11. Oxf. p. 382; Bamp. p. 324.

[276] 185ᵃ.

[277] 185ᵇ.

[278] _Par._ xxxi. 97; xxxii. 39.

[279] _Par._ xxiii. 71, 72.

[280] 190ᵃ.

[281] _Par._ xxvi. 64-66.

[282] 185ᵇ.

[283] _Par._ iii. 70 _sqq._

[284] _Barn._ 189ᵇ.

[285] _Par._ iii. 65.

[286] _Par._ iii, 82-85. A reviewer of the Oxford Edition (_Guardian_,
Aug. 21st, 1907) points out a further significant resemblance between
_Par._ xxxi. 7 _sqq._ and _Barn._ 56ᵇ, where it is said of the angels
that, “chome appe uenirano intorno per circuito dello nontio di DIO.”

[287] _Barn._ 111ᵃ, _cf._ 190ᵇ.

[288] 111ᵃ.

[289] iiiᵇ, 190ᵇ.

[290] 190ᵇ.

[291] _Cf._ E. Blochet, _Les sources orientales de la Divine Comédie_,
Paris, 1901, p. 193: “Ce qui distingue surtout la _Divine Comédie_ de
toutes les autres formes de la Legende de l’ Ascension, ce qui la rende
même supérieure aux livres religieux de toutes les epoques et de tous
les pays, c’est que le poête a su décrire aussi completement le bonheur
éternel du Paradis que les tortures infinies du Malebolge.”

[292] E.g. in the Motalizite Sect (see _Encycl. Brit._ vol. xvi, p. 592).

[293] 149ᵇ _sqq._

[294] 146ᵇ-149ᵃ.

[295] _Studies in Dante_, Series II.

[296] 146ᵇ.

[297] 147ᵃ.

[298] 148ᵃ.

[299] 148ᵇ.

[300] 43ᵃ.

[301] _Inf._ xiv. 85 _sqq._; xxxiv. 130.

[302] _Inf._ ix. 85.

[303] _Inf._ ix. 66 and 76 _sqq._

[304] 149ᵇ.

[305] 150ᵃ.

[306] _Barn._ 113ᵃ, _cf._ _Inf._ xxxii. 22 _sqq._

[307] _Barn._ 63ᵃ: Dante, _Inf._ iii. 103.

[308] In 23ᵃ, 81ᵃ, 225ᵇ. It is characteristic of the MS. that the three
passages furnish as many different spellings of the last word: _bugiari_,
_bugiardi_ and _buggiardi_! Cf. _Inf._ i. 72.

[309] _Inf._ i. 47; _Barn._ 62ᵇ.

[310] 85ᵇ and 87ᵃ.

[311] A little earlier (76ᵇ) he has what seems to be a quotation from
memory of Lev. xxvi. 11, 12; the Law of the Jubilee is to be found, of
course, in the chapter immediately preceding.

[312] _Antiquorum habet_ (Coqueline, iii. 94).

[313] E.g. Cron. Astense (Muratori, R. S. I., tom. xi. p. 192): Jacobus
Cardinalis (in Raynald, tom. iv. sub an. 1300): Villani, viii. 36.

[314] Another point that might have been adduced is the counsel
“habbandonare il perchè,” _Barn._ 95ᵇ; _cf._ _Purg._ iii. 37.

[315] _Inf._ iv. 67 _sqq._ Here, standing apart, but near the heroes and
heroines of ancient Rome, Dante places the Moslem champion Saladin (_ib._
129).

[316] _Inf._ xxviii. 35.

[317] Prof. N. Tamassia, _S. Francesco d’ Assisi e la sua Leggenda_, p.
88.

[318] Including (38ᵇ) a striking statement of the impossibility of
penitence (and therefore of absolution) to one meditating fresh sin:
_cf._ Dante, _Inf._ xxvii. 118 _sq._

[319] Introduction to Oxford Edition, p. xxxiv.

[320] _La Escatologia musulmana en la “Divina Commedia.”_ Discorso leído
en el acto de su recepción, par D. Miguel Asín Palacios ... Madrid,
Estanislao Maestre, 1919.

[321] _Les sources Orientales de la Divina Comédie._ Paris, E. Blochet.
Paris, Maisonneuve, 1901.

[322] _Koran_, chap. xvii. (xv.) init. “Praise be unto him who
transported his servant by night, from the sacred temple of Mecca to
the further temple of Jerusalem, the circuit of which we have blessed,
that we might shew him some of our signs; for God is he who heareth and
seeth.” (Sale’s translation). On this passage a most elaborate story was
built up by subsequent legend-makers.

[323] Ireland is undoubtedly the focus in Europe of legends _Persian_ in
origin. Appropriate to our subject are not only the St. Brendan Legend,
but also the Purgatory of St. Patrick and the Descent of St. Paul.
Blochet, _op. cit._, p. 117 _sqq._

[324] _Ib._ p. 161.

[325] _Ib._ p. 172.

[326] _Bulletino della Società dantesca italiana_, Nov. Ser., fasc. 4,
(Dec., 1919), pp. 163-181.

[327] See above, p. 131, note 4.

[328] _Bulletino_ _ut supra_, p. 166.

[329] _Bulletino_ _ut supra_, esp. p. 181. Ma il meglio sarà contentarsi
di meditare sull’ affinità delle menti umane e sulla verosimiglianza che
cause simili producano, in luoghi diversi, effetti non troppo dissimili.

[330] Dr. Parodi’s view would probably be like that of Gherardo de’ Rossi
about the vision of Alberic, which he quotes on p. 163: that the _Miradj_
“possa aver all’ Omero italiano suggerito l’ idea della _Commedia_ come
un pezzo di marmo potrebbe somministrare ad uno scultore l’ idea d’ una
statua.”

[331] _Inf._ iv. 129, 143-4.

[332] _Par._ x. 136-8.

[333] _Par._ xxv. 2.

[334] _Ep._ x. (Oxford Ed.), xiii. (Bemporad), 87 _sqq._ See Sir T. W.
Arnold, “Dante and Islam,” _Contemp. Review_, Aug., 1921, to which the
present writer owes most of the substance of this paragraph and what
follows.

[335] Arnold, p. 205-6.

[336] _Ib._ p. 206-7.

[337] _Conv._ I, iii.; Oxf. Ed., p. 240; Bemporad, p. 151 _sq._

[338] _Purg._ xiv. 16 _sqq._

[339] _Inf._ xxx. 64 _sqq._

[340] _Purg._ xiv. 46 _sqq._

[341] _Villani_, v. 37.

[342] _Inf._ xvi. 37.

[343] _Purg._ xiv. 43.

[344] _Inf._ x. 85.

[345] _Par._ xi. 106.

[346] _Vill._ vii. 131; _Dino_, i. 9.

[347] Leonardo Bruni Vita di Dante. Dove mi trovai non fanciullo nelle
armi, e dove ebbi temenza molta....

[348] _Inf._ xxx. 37 _sqq._ Perhaps of English extraction: in a document
at Ravenna he is described as “de Anglia.”

[349] _Inf._ iv. 106 _sqq._

[350] _Inf._ iv. 48.

[351] _Inf._ iv. 42.

[352] _Inf._ iv. 118.

[353] _Inf._ xxx. 78.

[354] It is strange to find even in so recent a work as Mr. Tozer’s Prose
Translation of the _Divine Comedy_, reference still made to the fountain
of the name in _Siena_. The context is all in favour of a spring near
Romena.

[355] _Dino_, i. 10.

[356] _Sacchetti_, Nov. clxxix.

[357] _Purg._ v. 116 _sqq._

[358] _Villani_, vii. 130-131.

[359] _Villani_, vii. 13-14.

[360] _Purg._ v. 85-129.

[361] _Purg._ v. 97 _sqq._

[362] _Par._ xxii. 49.

[363] _Purg._ v. 126 _sq._

[364] Fioretti: Prima considerazione delle sacre sante stimate.

[365] _Par._ xi. 107-8.

[366] Fioretti: seconda considerazione.

[367] _Inf._ xii. 1-45.

[368] _Fioretti_: _loc. cit._

[369] _loc. cit._

[370] _Ex._ xxxiii. 11.

[371] Buti, on _Inf._ xvi. 106. _Purg._ xxx. 42.

[372] _Inf._ xvi. 106. For further “Franciscan” references see Paget
Toynbee, _Life of Dante_ (last Ed.) p. 72 n.

[373] _Federzoni_, _Vita di Beatrice Portinari_, 2nd Ed., p. 14.

[374] _Purg._ xxx. 41 _sq._

[375] _Par._ xi. 106-108.

[376] Vol. II, p. 18, (Sept., 1918). _Tasso and Shakespeare’s England._

[377] _Inf._ i. 104 _sqq._ _Inf._ ix. 133 _sqq._ and xx. 59 _sqq._ (See
above, pp. 13 _sq._)

[378] The facts about Maschio are drawn from an article in the _Strenna
per l’ anno._ 1897, of the Venetian _Educatorio Rachitici, “Regina
Margherita,”_ by Signor Giuseppe Bianchini.

[379] _Purg._ xxvii. 25.

[380] _Inf._ xix. 16, _sqq._

[381] _Thirteenth_ in the _Testo Critico_ of 1921 (Bemporad).

[382] Benedetto Croce, _La Poesia di Dante_. Bari: Laterza, 1921, p. 10.

[383] _Ib._ pp. 63, 197 _sqq._

[384] Foligno, _Dante, the Poet_, p. 8.

[385] Foligno, p. 15.

[386] _Purg._ xxiv. 52-54.

[387] Oxford Ed., p. 251; Bemporad, p. 171.

[388] _Purg._ xxiv. 51.

[389] _V.N._, xix. _ad init._ (Oxf. Ed., p. 215; Bemporad, p. 21).

[390] Croce, _Poesia di Dante_, p. 67.

[391] _V.E._, II, iv. _sub init._ (Oxf. Ed., p. 393; Bemporad, p. 341;
_cf._ Foligno, p. 8.)



INDEX

PROPER NAMES, ETC.


N.B.—_Names of characters in the DIVINE COMEDY are not included as such.
See INDEX OF REFERENCES TO DANTE’S WORKS._

    Abelard: p. 74

    Adams, Professor: pp. 87, 112 _sq._

    Albertus, Magnus: pp. 74, 80 _sq._

    Alcuin: pp. 85, 88

    Alfonso X: p. 135

    Alfraganus: 132 _sq._

    _Anglo-Italian Review_: pp. 22, 36, 77, 152 _sq._

    Aquinas, S. Thomas: pp. 74, 79, 80 _sq._, 126

    Arabi, Ibn: p. 135 _sq._

    Archiano (river): p. 146 _sq._

    Arda-Viraf: p. 132

    Aristotle: pp. 34, 45 _sqq._, 64, 75, 77, 88, 90

    Ariosto: p. 151

    Arnold, Dr. Thomas: p. 86

    Arnold, Sir T. W.: 135

    Asín, Professor: 118 _sqq._

    Augustine, S.: p. 76

    Averroes: pp. 79, 134


    Bacon, Roger: p. 74

    Balbo, Cesare: p. 12

    _Barnabas, Gospel of_: pp. 118 _sqq._

    Basil, S.: p. 84

    Benedict XV, Pope: pp. 81, 168 _sqq._

    Benvenuti, E.: p. 11

    Berardi, L.: p. 20

    Bernard, S.: p. 74

    Biagi, Dr. Guido: p. 21

    Bianchini: p. 166

    Blochet, E.: pp. 125, 131

    Boccaccio, Giovanni: pp. ix, 44, 53, 58

    Boethius: p. 85

    Bonaventura, S.: p. 74

    Boyd Carpenter, Bishop: pp. 7 _sq._

    Browning, Mrs. E. B.: pp. 32, 35

    Bruni, C.: p. 54

    Bruni, Leonardo: p. 142

    Brunetto Latino: p. 135

    _Bulletino della Società dantesca italiana_: pp. 11, 118, 133 _sq._

    Burton (_Anatomy of Melancholy_): pp. 44, 46

    Buti: p. 148

    Butler, A. G.: p. 80


    Capponi, Gino: p. 12

    Carlyle, Thomas: p. 63

    Carroll, Lewis: p. 64

    Casentino, Valley of: pp. 137 _sqq._

    Croce, Benedetto: pp. 83, 89, 91, 94, 109, 169, 171

    Crusades: pp. 152 _sqq._, 160

    _Centenario Dantesco, Il viº_: 102

    _Centenario, Giornale del_: pp. 18 _sq._

    Cento, F.: p. 102

    Clement of Alexandria, S.: p. 84

    Creighton, Bishop: p. 41

    Campagni, Dino: pp. 140, 143

    _Cronicon Astense_: p. 129


    D’Ancona: p. 131

    D’Annunzio: pp. 10, 22, 156

    Dante Alighieri: _passim_

    ——, Commemorations of: pp. ix, 2, 14 _sqq._, 18 _sqq._, 138, 165 _sqq._

    ——, Educational principles in: pp. 83 _sqq._

    ——, Franciscan relations of: pp. 148 _sq._

    ——, and Italian language and literature: p. x, 15, 20 _sqq._, 93

    ——, learning of: pp. 72 _sqq._

    ——, love-poetry of: pp. 3 _sqq._

    —— as patriot: pp. ix, 13 _sqq._

    —— as poet: pp. 171 _sqq._

    —— as psychologist: pp. 106 _sqq._

    —— as religious teacher: pp. 168 _sqq._

    Del Lungo, Isidoro: p. 14

    D’Ovidio, F.: pp. 24, 25, 131

    Duns Scotus: p. 74


    Emperor, Empire, Roman: pp. 16 _sqq._, 25, 27 _sqq._, 34 _sq._, 77, 84

    Erasmus: pp. 87, 88


    Federzoni, Prof.: pp. 90, 149

    Ferrara, Court of,: p. 157

    _Fioretti di S. Francesco_: pp. 48, 147 _sqq._

    Fiume: pp. 14, 15

    Florence: pp. 19, 30, 48 _sq._, 50, 59

    Foligno, Prof. Cesare: pp. 81, 118, 172 _sq._

    Fonte Branda: p. 142

    Foscolo, Ugo: p. 12

    Francis, S.: pp. 137 _sqq._, 140, 146 _sqq._

    Freud, Dr.: p. 106

    Froebel: 86, 88, 98 _sq._


    Gardner, Prof. E. G.: p. 95

    Giotto: p. 52

    Glover, Dr.: p. 63

    Grant, Prof. A. J.: p. 36

    Gregory, Nazianzeu, S.: p. 84

    Gregory the Great, S.: pp. 62, 76

    Gregory of Tours: p. 85

    Grosseteste: p. 88 _sq._

    Guidi, Couti: pp. 142 _sq._


    Harnack, Dr. A.: p. 84

    Henry VII, Emperor: pp. 17, 30, 36

    Holbrook, R. T.: pp. 51 _sqq._

    Homer: p. 34, 113

    Horace: p. 69, 172

    Howell, A. G. Ferrars: p. 3


    Islam: pp. 118 _sqq._


    Jerome, S.: p. 76

    Jerusalem: p. 153

    Jubilee: pp. 129 _sq._

    Jung, Dr.: p. 106


    Kirkup, Seymour: p. 52

    Koran: pp. 120, 126, 129, 132


    _League of Nations_: pp. 36 _sqq._, 77

    Lee, Sir Sidney: pp. 152 _sq._


    McLachlan, H.: p. 48

    Marsiglio da Padova: p. 27

    Maschio, Antonio: pp. 165 _sqq._

    Mazzini, Giuseppe: pp. 10, 12, 23, 31

    Metternich: p. 13

    _Miradj_: p. 132

    Mohammed: pp. 120 _sqq._

    Montaperti, Battle of: p. 140

    Montessori, Dr.: pp. 87 _sq._, 95, 97 _sqq._, 101 _sq._, 111 _sq._

    Moore, Dr. E.: pp. 76, 80, 89, 126

    Myers, F. W.: p. 106


    _New Teaching, The_: 87 _sq._, 98, 112 _sq._

    Norton, Eliot: p. 80

    _Nuovo Convito, Il_: p. 21


    Origen: p. 84

    _Osservatore Romano_: pp. 2, 168


    Parodi, Dr.: pp. 118, 133 _sq._

    Pestalozzi: pp. 86, 88, 95

    Peter Pascual, S.: p. 136

    Petrarch: p. 151

    Piave, river: pp. 21 _sqq._

    Pola: pp. 14 _sqq._

    Pope, Alexander: p. 60

    Psychology: pp. 86, 106 _sqq._


    _Quadrivium_: p. 90

    Quintilian: p. 88


    Rabanus Maurus: p. 92

    Ragg, Lonsdale: pp. 48, 56, 77, 119

    Ravenna: pp. 14, 148

    Raymond Lull: p. 135

    Reid, Dr.: p. 70

    Roman, _see_ Empire

    Rossetti, D. G.: p. 50

    Rouse, Dr.: p. 115

    Rousseau: p. 86


    Sacchetti, Franco: p. 48

    Salimbene: pp. 48 _sqq._, 67, 105

    Sannia, Prof. E.: pp. 43 _sqq._, 56

    Sanudo, Marin: p. 132

    Shakespeare: p. 73

    _Spectator, The_: p. 70

    Spenser: p. 152

    Statius: pp. 61 _sqq._

    _Student Movement, The_: p. 42


    Tamassia, Prof. N.: pp. 49, 130

    Tasso: pp. 41, 110, 151-162

    Taylor, H. O.: pp. 73 _sqq._

    Thring, Dr.: p. 86

    Toynbee, Dr. Paget: pp. 53, 55, 65, 132, 148

    Tozer, H. F.: pp. 92, 142

    Trentino, The: pp. 16, 22, 72

    Trevelyan, G. M.: p. 72

    Trieste: pp. 16, 22

    Troya, Carlo: p. 12


    Verna, La: pp. 146 _sqq._

    Vernon, W. W.: pp. 29, 60

    Villani, Giovanni: pp. 53, 129, 139 _sq._, 144

    Virgil: pp. 10, 13, 28, 61, 63, 77, 96, 112 _sqq._, 134

    Vossler, K.: p. 131


    Wicksteed, P.: pp. 91, 99 _sq._

    Witte, K.: pp. 10, 11


    Zoncada, A.: p. 19



REFERENCES TO DANTE’S WORKS


    _VITA NUOVA_
      xix _ad init_: p. 172 _sq._

    _CONVIVIO:_ pp. 15, 44, 55, 80
      I: p. 64
      I, iii: p. 137
      I, xi: p. 64
      II: p. 65
      II, vii: p. 65
      II, xi: p. 66
      II, xiv: pp. 67, 91
      III, viii: pp. 41, 51, 64
      III, ix: pp. 80, 90
      III, xi: p. 66
      IV, iv, v: p. 27
      IV, xv: p. 67
      IV, xvi: pp. 66, 67
      IV, xxviii: p. 66

    _MONARCHIA:_ pp. 10, 27
      I: p. 27
      I, v: p. 34
      I, xi: pp. 33, 35, 38
      I, xii: p. 31
      II, p. 28
      II, v: pp. 26, 33
      III, iv: p. 39
      III, xvi: p. 37

    _DE VULGARI ELOQUENTIA_
      I, vii: pp. 40, 122
      I, xi: pp. 25
      I, xii: p. 16
      I, xiii: p. 68
      I, xiv: p. 67
      II, iv: p. 173
      II, vi: p. 69

    _EPISTOLAE_
      vii: pp. 30, 36
      x (xiii): pp. 92 _sq._, 135

    _LA DIVINA COMMEDIA_

    _Inferno:_ p. 126

    _Inf. i:_
      31-34: p. 25
      47: p. 128
      72: p. 128
      77, 78: p. 112
      82: p. 28
      104 _sqq._: p. 165
      113 _sq._: p. 93
      118-120: pp. 6, 93
      122 _sqq._: p. 116
      124: p. 40
      177 _sq._: p. 83

    _Inf. ii:_
      1-5: p. 111
      7: p. 78

    _Inf. iii:_
      5, 6: p. 5
      16-18: p. 74
      103: p. 128

    _Inf. iv:_
      13-15: p. 114
      42: p. 142
      48: p. 142
      67 _sqq._: p. 130
      106 _sqq._: p. 142
      118: p. 142
      129: p. 130
      131-133: pp. 72, 77
      143, 144: pp. 79, 134

    _Inf. ix:_
      66: p. 127
      76 _sqq._: p. 127
      85: p. 127
      113: pp. ix, 15
      133 _sqq._: p. 165

    _Inf. x:_
      85: p. 140

    _Inf. xi:_
      10-66: p. 113

    _Inf. xii:_
      1 _sqq._: p. 113
      1-21: p. 26
      1-45: p. 148
      114: p. 115

    _Inf. xiii:_
      28 _sqq._: p. 115
      120 _sqq._: p. 58

    _Inf. xiv:_
      85 _sqq._: p. 127

    _Inf. xv:_
      82-85: p. 90

    _Inf. xvi:_
      87: p. 139
      106: p. 148

    _Inf. xvii:_
      79 _sqq._: p. 112

    _Inf. xix:_
      16: p. 167
      52 _sqq._: p. 58
      72: p. 58

    _Inf. xx:_
      59 _sqq._: p. 165
      61: pp. ix, 16, 72

    _Inf. xxi:_
      7-15: p. 57
      31: p. 57
      55 _sqq._: p. 56
      88 _sqq._: p. 57
      127 _sqq._: p. 57

    _Inf. xxii:_
      25: p. 56
      31: p. 57
      41: p. 56
      57: p. 56
      60: p. 56
      72: p. 56
      118: p. 86
      130: p. 57

    _Inf. xxii, xxiii:_ p. 56

    _Inf. xxiii:_
      4 _sqq._: p. 56
      37: p. 57

    _Inf. xxvi:_
      7: p. 108
      56 _sqq._: p. 113

    _Inf. xxvii:_
      118 _sq._: p. 131

    _Inf. xxviii:_
      35: p. 130

    _Inf. xxx:_
      37 _sqq._: p. 142
      64: pp. 137, 139
      78: p. 142
      103 _sq._: p. 57
      131: p. 57
      136 _sqq._: p. 106

    _Inf. xxxi:_ p. 78

    _Inf. xxxii:_
      22 _sqq._: p. 127

    _Inf. xxxiv:_
      130: p. 127

    _PURGATORIO:_ 87, 126

    _Purg. i:_
      1: p. 18
      7 _sqq._: p. 78
      71: p. 96
      71 _sq._: p. 24
      75: P. 33
      125: p. 110

    _Purg. ii:_
      30: p. 102

    _Purg. iii:_
      7-9: p. 115
      9: p. 151
      37: p. 130

    _Purg. iv:_
      88-95: p. 103
      89 _sqq._: p. 113
      106: p. 54

    _Purg. v:_
      61: pp. 25, 96
      85-129: p. 145
      97 _sqq._: p. 145
      116 _sqq._: p. 143
      126 _sq._: p. 146

    _Purg. vi:_
      66: p. 151
      76-_fin._: pp. 25, 30
      91 _sqq._: p. 25
      97: p. 30
      118: p. 78
      _fin._: p. 30

    _Purg. vii:_
      94: p. 30

    _Purg. x:_
      31 _sqq._: p. 100
      35: p. 30
      75: p. 76
      130-133: p. 49

    _Purg. xii:_
      16 _sqq._: p. 100
      110: p. 105

    _Purg. xiv:_
      16 _sqq._: 138
      43: 139
      46 _sqq._: 139

    _Purg. xv:_
      38: p. 105
      76-78: p. 116

    _Purg. xvi:_
      76-78: p. 102
      77: p. 111
      106 _sqq._: pp. 30, 39
      127 _sqq._: p. 30
      142-145: p. 108

    _Purg. xvii:_
      40 _sqq._: p. 108
      68: p. 105
      88-139: p. 113
      91 _sqq._: p. 105, 114
      103-105: p. 6

    _Purg. xviii:_ p. 114
      40-43: p. 114
      46-48: p. 116
      141: p. 107

    _Purg. xix:_
      1 _sqq._: p. 107
      22: p. 113
      25 _sqq._: p. 115
      28: p. 107
      72: p. 61
      85 _sqq._: p. 110
      124: p. 61

    _Purg. xx:_
      40-96: p. 34
      43: p. 17
      108: p. 60
      116 sq.: p. 61

    _Purg. xxi:_
      33: p. 110
      61 _sqq._: p. 98
      103: p. 110

    _Purg. xxi and xxii:_ p. 61

    _Purg. xxii:_
      67-69: p. 61
      76: p. 84

    _Purg. xxiii:_
      71-74: p. 6
      73 _sqq._: p. 97
      115 _sqq._: p. 50

    _Purg. xxiv:_
      51-54: p. 172

    _Purg. xxv:_
      25 _sqq._: p. 115

    _Purg. xxvi:_
      13: p. 97

    _Purg. xxvii:_
      22 _sq._: p. 112
      25: p. 167
      35 _sq._: p. 112
      46: p. 114
      88 _sqq._: p. 107
      112: p. 108
      134: p. 122
      139 _sqq._: pp. 116, 117
      140, 142: p. 92
      142: pp. 24, 96

    _Purg. xxviii:_
      25 _sqq._: p. 122
      36: p. 122
      41 _sq._: p. 122
      94: p. 122
      139: p. 61
      145: p. 62

    _Purg. xxx:_
      41 _sq._: p. 149
      42: p. 148
      49: p. 110

    _PARADISO i:_
      1 _sqq._: p. 75
      6-8: p. 2
      13 _sqq._: p. 78
      56 _sq._: p. 122
      100: p. 110
      103 _sqq._: p. 74

    _Par. iii:_
      65: p. 124
      70 _sqq._: p. 124
      70-72, 75: p. 7
      82-85: p. 124

    _Par. v:_
      19-24: p. 32

    _Par. vi:_ p. 77
      34-96: p. 29
      103 _sq._: p. 29
      121 _sq._: p. 39

    _Par. ix:_
      27: p. 21

    _Par. x:_
      136-8: p. 134

    _Par. xi:_
      106: p. 140
      106-108: p. 149
      107 _sq._: p. 147

    _Par. xiv:_
      125: p. 151

    _Par. xvii:_
      55: p. 3

    _Par. xx:_
      102: p. 122

    _Par. xxi:_
      130 _sqq._: p. 59
      134: p. 60

    _Par. xxii:_
      49: p. 146
      151: p. 37

    _Par. xxiii:_
      22: p. 62
      71 _sq._: p. 123

    _Par. xxiv:_
      52-54: p. 3
      57: p. 3

    _Par. xxv:_
      1, 2: p. x
      2: p. 135
      3: pp. 80, 90
      5: p. 19

    _Par. xxvi:_
      64-66: p. 123

    _Par. xxvii:_
      4: p. 62
      83: p. 113

    _Par. xxviii:_
      133-135: p. 62

    _Par. xxix:_
      34: _sqq._: p. 60
      110: p. 60

    _Par. xxx:_
      133 _sqq._: p. 36
      135-137: p. 17

    _Par. xxxi:_
      85: p. 96
      85-89: p. 24
      97: p. 123

    _Par. xxxii:_
      39: p. 123

    _Par. xxxiii:_
      58 _sqq._: p. 107
      145: pp. 7, 40





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