v. 37. The great Maccabee.] Judas Maccabeus.
v. 39. Charlemagne.] L. Pulci commends Dante
Charlemagne and Orlando here:
Io mi confido ancor molto qui a Dante
Che non sanza cagion nel ciel su misse
Carlo ed Orlando in quelle croci sante,
Che come diligente intese e scrisse.
Morg. Magg. c. 28.
v. 43. William and Renard.] Probably not, as the commentators have imagined, William ii of Orange, and his kinsman Raimbaud, two of the crusaders under Godfrey of Bouillon, (Maimbourg, Hist. des Croisades, ed. Par. 1682. 12mo. t. i. p. 96.) but rather the two more celebrated heroes in the age of Charlemagne. The former, William l. of Orange, supposed to have been the founder of the present illustrious family of that name, died about 808, according to Joseph de la Piser, Tableau de l’Hist. des Princes et Principante d’Orange. Our countryman, Ordericus Vitalis, professes to give his true life, which had been misrepresented in the songs of the itinerant bards.” Vulgo canitur a joculatoribus de illo, cantilena; sed jure praeferenda est relatio authentica.” Eccl. Hist. in Duchesne, Hist. Normann Script. p. 508. The latter is better known by having been celebrated by Ariosto, under the name of Rinaldo.
v. 43. Duke Godfey.] Godfrey of Bouillon.
v. 46. Robert Guiscard.] See Hell, Canto xxviii. v. 12.
v. 81. The characters.] Diligite justitiam qui judicatis terrarm. “Love righteousness, ye that be judges of the earth " Wisdom of Solomon, c. i. 1.
v. 116. That once more.] “That he may again drive out those who buy and sell in the temple.”
v. 124. Taking the bread away.] “Excommunication, or the interdiction of the Eucharist, is now employed as a weapon of warfare.”
v. 126. That writest but to cancel.] “And thou, Pope Boniface, who writest thy ecclesiastical censures for no other purpose than to be paid for revoking them.”
v. 130. To him.] The coin of Florence was stamped with the impression of John the Baptist.
v. 38. Who turn’d his compass.] Compare Proverbs, c. viii. 27. And Milton, P. L. b. vii 224.
v. 42. The Word] “The divine nature still remained incomprehensible. Of this Lucifer was a proof; for had he thoroughly comprehended it, he would not have fallen.”
v. 108. The Ethiop.] Matt. c. xii. 41.
v. 112. That volume.] Rev. c. xx. 12.
v. 114. Albert.] Purgatory, Canto vi. v. 98.
v. 116. Prague.] The eagle predicts the devastation of Bohemia by Albert, which happened soon after this time, when that Emperor obtained the kingdom for his eldest son Rodolph. See Coxe’s House of Austria, 4to. ed. v. i. part 1. p. 87
v. 117. He.] Philip iv of France, after the battle of Courtrai, 1302, in which the French were defeated by the Flemings, raised the nominal value of the coin. This king died in consequence of his horse being thrown to the ground by a wild boar, in 1314