v. 23. Peter de la Brosse.] Secretary of Philip iii of France. The courtiers, envying the high place which he held in the king’s favour, prevailed on Mary of Brabant to charge him falsely with an attempt upon her person for which supposed crime he suffered death. So say the Italian commentators. Henault represents the matter very differently: “Pierre de la Brosse, formerly barber to St. Louis, afterwards the favorite of Philip, fearing the too great attachment of the king for his wife Mary, accuses this princess of having poisoned Louis, eldest son of Philip, by his first marriage. This calumny is discovered by a nun of Nivelle in Flanders. La Brosse is hung.” Abrege Chron. t. 275, &c.
v. 30. In thy text.] He refers to Virgil, Aen. 1, vi. 376. Desine fata deum flecti sperare precando, 37. The sacred height Of judgment. Shakespeare, Measure for Measure, a. ii. s. 2. If he, which is the top of judgment
v. 66. Eyeing us as a lion on his watch.] A guisa di Leon quando si posa. A line taken by Tasso, G. L. c. x. st. 56.
v. 76. Sordello.] The history of Sordello’s life is wrapt in the obscurity of romance. That he distinguished himself by his skill in Provencal poetry is certain. It is probable that he was born towards the end of the twelfth, and died about the middle of the succeeding century. Tiraboschi has taken much pains to sift all the notices he could collect relating to him. Honourable mention of his name is made by our Poet in the Treatise de Vulg. Eloq. 1. i. c. 15.
v. 76. Thou inn of grief.] Thou most beauteous inn Why should hard-favour’d grief be lodg’d in thee? Shakespeare, Richard ii a. 5. s. 1.
v. 89. Justinian’s hand.] “What avails it that Justinian delivered thee from the Goths, and reformed thy laws, if thou art no longer under the control of his successors in the empire?”
v. 94. That which God commands.] He alludes to the precept-“Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s.”
v. 98. O German Albert!] The Emperor Albert I. succeeded Adolphus in 1298, and was murdered in 1308. See Par Canto xix 114 v. 103. Thy successor.] The successor of Albert was Henry of Luxembourg, by whose interposition in the affairs of Italy our Poet hoped to have been reinstated in his native city.
v. 101. Thy sire.] The Emperor Rodolph, too intent on increasing his power in Germany to give much of his thoughts to Italy, “the garden of the empire.”
v. 107. Capulets and Montagues.] Our ears are so familiarized to the names of these rival families in the language of Shakespeare, that I have used them instead of the “Montecchi” and “Cappelletti.”
v. 108. Philippeschi and Monaldi.] Two other rival families in Orvieto.
v. 113. What safety, Santafiore can supply.] A place between Pisa and Sienna. What he alludes to is so doubtful, that it is not certain whether we should not read “come si cura”—” How Santafiore is governed.” Perhaps the event related in the note to v. 58, Canto xi. may be pointed at.