v. 56. Guittone.] Fra Guittone, of Arezzo, holds a distinguished place in Italian literature, as besides his poems printed in the collection of the Giunti, he has left a collection of letters, forty in number, which afford the earliest specimen of that kind of writing in the language. They were published at Rome in 1743, with learned illustrations by Giovanni Bottari. He was also the first who gave to the sonnet its regular and legitimate form, a species of composition in which not only his own countrymen, but many of the best poets in all the cultivated languages of modern Europe, have since so much delighted.
Guittone, a native of Arezzo, was the son of Viva di Michele. He was of the order of the " Frati Godenti,” of which an account may be seen in the Notes to Hell, Canto XXIII. In the year 1293, he founded a monastery of the order of Camaldoli, in Florence, and died in the following year. Tiraboschi, Ibid. p. 119. Dante, in the Treatise de Vulg. Eloq. 1. i. c. 13, and 1. ii. c. 6., blames him for preferring the plebeian to the mor courtly style; and Petrarch twice places him in the company of our Poet. Triumph of Love, cap. iv. and Son. Par. See “Sennuccio mio”
v. 63. The birds.] Hell, Canto V. 46, Euripides, Helena, 1495, and Statius; Theb. 1. V. 12. v. 81. He.] Corso Donati was suspected of aiming at the sovereignty of Florence. To escape the fury of his fellow citizens, he fled away on horseback, but failing, was overtaken and slain, A.D. 1308. The contemporary annalist, after relating at length the circumstances of his fate, adds, “that he was one of the wisest and most valorous knights the best speaker, the most expert statesman, the most renowned and enterprising, man of his age in Italy, a comely knight and of graceful carriage, but very worldly, and in his time had formed many conspiracies in Florence and entered into many scandalous practices, for the sake of attaining state and lordship.” G. Villani, 1. viii. c. 96. The character of Corso is forcibly drawn by another of his contemporaries Dino Compagni. 1. iii., Muratori, Rer. Ital. Script. t. ix. p. 523.
v. 129. Creatures of the clouds.] The Centaurs. Ovid. Met. 1. fab. 4 v. 123. The Hebrews.] Judges, c. vii.
v. 58. As sea-sponge.] The fetus is in this stage is zoophyte.
v. 66. -More wise Than thou, has erred.] Averroes is said to be here meant. Venturi refers to his commentary on Aristotle, De Anim 1. iii. c. 5. for the opinion that there is only one universal intellect or mind pervading every individual of the human race. Much of the knowledge displayed by our Poet in the present Canto appears to have been derived from the medical work o+ Averroes, called the Colliget. Lib. ii. f. 10. Ven. 1400. fol.
v. 79. Mark the sun’s heat.] Redi and Tiraboschi (Mr. Matthias’s ed. v. ii. p. 36.) have considered this an anticipation of a profound discovery of Galileo’s in natural philosophy, but it is in reality taken from a passage in Cicero “de Senectute,” where, speaking of the grape, he says, " quae, et succo terrae et calore solis augescens, primo est peracerba gustatu, deinde maturata dulcescit.”