v. 80. The viper.] The arms of Galeazzo and the ensign of the Milanese.
v. 81. Shrill Gallura’s bird.] The cock was the ensign of Gallura, Nino’s province in Sardinia. Hell, Canto xxii. 80. and Notes.
v. 115. Valdimagra.] See Hell, Canto xxiv. 144. and Notes.
v. 133. Sev’n times the tired sun.] “The sun shall not enter into the constellation of Aries seven times more, before thou shalt have still better cause for the good opinion thou expresses” of Valdimagra, in the kind reception thou shalt there meet with.” Dante was hospitably received by the Marchese Marcello Malaspina, during his banishment. A.D. 1307.
v. 1. Now the fair consort of Tithonus old.] La concubina di Titone antico. So Tassoni, Secchia Rapita, c. viii. st. 15. La puttanella del canuto amante.
v. 5. Of that chill animal.] The scorpion.
v. 14. Our minds.] Compare Hell, Canto xxvi. 7.
v. 18. A golden-feathered eagle. ] Chaucer, in the house of Fame at the conclusion of the first book and beginning of the second, represents himself carried up by the “grim pawes” of a golden eagle. Much of his description is closely imitated from Dante.
v. 50. Lucia.] The enIightening, grace of heaven Hell, Canto ii. 97.
v. 85. The lowest stair.] By the white step is meant the distinctness with which the conscience of the penitent reflects his offences, by the burnt and cracked one, his contrition on, their account; and by that of porphyry, the fervour with which he resolves on the future pursuit of piety and virtue. Hence, no doubt, Milton describing “the gate of heaven,” P. L. b. iii. 516.
Each stair mysteriously was meant.
v. 100. Seven times.] Seven P’s, to denote the seven sins (Peccata) of which he was to be cleansed in his passage through purgatory.
v. 115. One is more precious.] The golden key denotes the divine authority by which the priest absolves the sinners the silver expresses the learning and judgment requisite for the due discharge of that office.
v. 127. Harsh was the grating.]
On a sudden open fly
With impetuous recoil and jarring, sound
Th’ infernal doors, and on their hinges grate
Milton, P. L. b. ii 882
v. 128. The Turpeian.]
Protinus, abducto patuerunt temple Metello.
Tunc rupes Tarpeia sonat: magnoque reclusas
Testatur stridore fores: tune conditus imo
Eruitur tempo multis intactus ab annnis
Romani census populi, &c.
Lucan. Ph. 1. iii. 157.
v. 6. That Wound.] Venturi justly observes, that the Padre d’Aquino has misrepresented the sense of this passage in his translation.
—dabat ascensum tendentibus ultra Scissa tremensque silex, tenuique erratica motu.