v. 135. Four daughters.] Of the four daughters of Raymond Berenger, Margaret, the eldest, was married to Louis ix of France; Eleanor; the next, to Henry iii, of England; Sancha, the third, to Richard, Henry’s brother, and King of the Romans; and the youngest, Beatrice, to Charles I, King of Naples and Sicily, and brother to Louis.
v. 136. Raymond Berenger.] This prince, the last of the house of Barcelona, who was count of Provence, died in 1245. He is in the list of Provencal poets. See Millot, Hist, Litt des Troubadours, t. ii. P. 112.
v. 3. Malahoth.] A Hebrew word, signifying “kingdoms.”
v. 4. That substance bright.] Justinian.
v. 17. As might have made one blest amid the flames.] So Giusto de’ Conti, Bella Mano. “Qual salamandra.”
Che puommi nelle fiammi far beato.
v. 23. That man who was unborn.] Adam.
v. 61. What distils.] “That which proceeds immediately from God, and without intervention of secondary causes, in immortal.”
v. 140. Our resurrection certain.] “Venturi appears to mistake the Poet’s reasoning, when he observes: “Wretched for us, if we had not arguments more convincing, and of a higher kind, to assure us of the truth of our resurrection.” It is here intended, I think, that the whole of God’s dispensations to man should be considered as a proof of our resurrection. The conclusion is that as before sin man was immortal, so being restored to the favor of heaven by the expiation made for sin, he necessarily recovers his claim to immortality.
There is much in this poem to justify the encomium which the learned Salvini has passed on it, when, in an epistle to Redi, imitating what Horace had said of Homer, that the duties of life might be better learnt from the Grecian bard than from the teachers of the porch or the academy, he says—
And dost thou ask, what themes my mind engage?
The lonely hours I give to Dante’s page;
And meet more sacred learning in his lines
Than I had gain’d from all the school divines.
Se volete saper la vita mia,
Studiando io sto lungi da tutti gli nomini
Ed ho irnparato piu teologia
In questi giorni, che ho riletto Dante,
Che nelle scuole fattto io non avria.
v. 4. Epicycle,] “In sul dosso di questo cerchio,” &c. Convito di Dante, Opere, t. i. p. 48, ed. Ven. 1793. “Upon the back of this circle, in the heaven of Venus, whereof we are now treating, is a little sphere, which has in that heaven a revolution of its own: whose circle the astronomers term epicycle.”
v. 11. To sit in Dido’s bosom.] Virgil. Aen. 1. i. 718,
v. 40. ’O ye whose intellectual ministry.] Voi ch’ intendendo il terzo ciel movete. The first line in our Poet” first canzone. See his Convito, Ibid. p. 40.