v. 138. Four others.] “The commentators,” says Venturi; “suppose these four to be the four evangelists, but I should rather take them to be four principal doctors of the church.” Yet both Landino and Vellutello expressly call them the authors of the epistles, James, Peter, John and Jude.
v. 140. One single old man.] As some say, St. John, under his character of the author of the Apocalypse. But in the poem attributed to Giacopo, the son of our Poet, which in some MSS, accompanies the original of this work, and is descriptive of its plan, this old man is said to be Moses.
E’l vecchio, ch’ era dietro a tutti loro
And the old man, who was behind them all,
See No. 3459 of the Harl. MSS. in the British Museum.
v. 1. The polar light.] The seven candlesticks.
v. 12. Come.] Song of Solomon, c. iv. 8.
v. 19. Blessed.] Matt. c. xxi. 9.
v. 20. From full hands.] Virg. Aen 1. vi. 884.
v. 97. The old flame.] Agnosco veteris vestigia flammae Virg. Aen. I. I. 23.
Conosco i segni dell’ antico fuoco.
Giusto de’ Conti, La Bella Mano.
v. 61. Nor.] “Not all the beauties of the terrestrial Paradise; in which I was, were sufficient to allay my grief.”
v. 85. But.] They sang the thirty-first Psalm, to the end of the eighth verse.
v. 87. The living rafters.] The leafless woods on the Apennine.
v. 90. The land whereon no shadow falls.] “When the wind blows, from off Africa, where, at the time of the equinox, bodies being under the equator cast little or no shadow; or, in other words, when the wind is south.”
v. 98. The ice.] Milton has transferred this conceit, though scarcely worth the pains of removing, into one of his Italian poems, son.
v. 3. With lateral edge.] The words of Beatrice, when not addressed directly to himself, but speaking to the angel of hell, Dante had thought sufficiently harsh.
v. 39. Counter to the edge.] “The weapons of divine justice are blunted by the confession and sorrow of the offender.”
v. 58. Bird.] Prov. c. i. 17
v. 69. From Iarbas’ land.] The south.
v. 71. The beard.] “I perceived, that when she desired me to raise my beard, instead of telling me to lift up my head, a severe reflection was implied on my want of that wisdom which should accompany the age of manhood.”
v. 98. Tu asperges me.] A prayer repeated by the priest at sprinkling the holy water.
v. 106. And in the heaven are stars.] See Canto I. 24.
v. 116. The emeralds.] The eyes of Beatrice.
v. 2. Their ten years’ thirst.] Beatrice had been dead ten years.