v. 44. Sails.]
—His sail-broad vans
He spreads for flight.
Milton, P. L. b. ii. 927.
Compare Spenser, F. Q. b. i. c. xi. st. 10; Ben Jonson’s Every
Man out of his humour, v. 7; and Fletcher’s Prophetess, a. 2. s.
v. 46. Like a bat.] The description of an imaginary being, who is called Typhurgo, in the Zodiacus Vitae, has some touches very like this of Dante’s Lucifer.
vidi regem ingentique sedentem
In solio, crines flammanti stemmate cinctum
Alae humeris magnae, quales vespertilionum
Membranis contextae amplis—
Nudus erat longis sed opertus corpora villis.
M. Palingenii, Zod. Vit. l. ix.
A mighty king I might discerne,
Plac’d hie on lofty chaire,
His haire with fyry garland deckt
Puft up in fiendish wise.
x x x x x x
Large wings on him did grow
Framde like the wings of flinder mice, &c.
v. 61. Brutus.] Landino struggles, but I fear in vain, to extricate Brutus from the unworthy lot which is here assigned him. He maintains, that by Brutus and Cassius are not meant the individuals known by those names, but any who put a lawful monarch to death. Yet if Caesar was such, the conspirators might be regarded as deserving of their doom.
v. 89. Within one hour and half of noon.] The poet uses the Hebrew manner of computing the day, according to which the third hour answers to our twelve o’clock at noon.
v. 120. By what of firm land on this side appears.] The mountain of Purgatory.
v.123. The vaulted tomb.] “La tomba.” This word is used to express the whole depth of the infernal region.
O’er better waves to speed her rapid course
The light bark of my genius lifts the sail,
Well pleas’d to leave so cruel sea behind;
And of that second region will I sing,
In which the human spirit from sinful blot
Is purg’d, and for ascent to Heaven prepares.
Here, O ye hallow’d Nine! for in your train
I follow, here the deadened strain revive;
Nor let Calliope refuse to sound
A somewhat higher song, of that loud tone,
Which when the wretched birds of chattering note
Had heard, they of forgiveness lost all hope.
Sweet hue of eastern sapphire, that was spread
O’er the serene aspect of the pure air,
High up as the first circle, to mine eyes
Unwonted joy renew’d, soon as I ’scap’d
Forth from the atmosphere of deadly gloom,
That had mine eyes and bosom fill’d with grief.
The radiant planet, that to love invites,
Made all the orient laugh, and veil’d beneath