v. 99. The goodliest sapphire.] The Virgin
v. 126. Those rich-laden coffers.] Those spirits who, having sown the seed of good works on earth, now contain the fruit of their pious endeavours.
v. 129. In the Babylonian exile.] During their abode in this world.
v. 133. He.] St. Peter, with the other holy men of the Old and New testament.
v. 28. Such folds.] Pindar has the same bold image: [Greek here?] On which Hayne strangely remarks: Ad ambitus stropharum vldetur
v. 65. Faith.] Hebrews, c. xi. 1. So Marino, in one of his sonnets, which calls Divozioni:
Fede e sustanza di sperate cose,
E delle non visioili argomento.
v. 82. Current.] “The answer thou hast made is right; but let me know if thy inward persuasion is conformable to thy profession.”
v. 91. The ancient bond and new.] The Old and New Testament.
v. 114. That Worthy.] Quel Baron. In the next Canto, St. James is called “Barone.” So in Boccaccio, G. vi. N. 10, we find “Baron Messer Santo Antonio.” v. 124. As to outstrip.] Venturi insists that the Poet has here, “made a slip;” for that John came first to the sepulchre, though Peter was the first to enter it. But let Dante have leave to explain his own meaning, in a passage from his third book De Monarchia: “Dicit etiam Johannes ipsum (scilicet Petrum) introiisse subito, cum venit in monumentum, videns allum discipulum cunctantem ad ostium.” Opere de Dante, Ven. 1793. T. ii. P. 146.
v. 6. The fair sheep-fold.] Florence, whence he was banished.
v. 13. For its sake.] For the sake of that faith.
v. 20. Galicia throng’d with visitants.] See Mariana, Hist. 1. xi.
v. 13. “En el tiempo,” &c. “At the time that the sepulchre of the apostle St. James was discovered, the devotion for that place extended itself not only over all Spain, but even round about to foreign nations. Multitudes from all parts of the world came to visit it. Many others were deterred by the difficulty for the journey, by the roughness and barrenness of those parts, and by the incursions of the Moors, who made captives many of the pilgrims. The canons of St. Eloy afterwards (the precise time is not known), with a desire of remedying these evils, built, in many places, along the whole read, which reached as far as to France, hospitals for the reception of the pilgrims.”
v. 31. Who.] The Epistle of St. James is here attributed to the elder apostle of that name, whose shrine was at Compostella, in Galicia. Which of the two was the author of it is yet doubtful. The learned and candid Michaelis contends very forcibly for its having been written by James the Elder. Lardner rejects that opinion as absurd; while Benson argues against it, but is well answered by Michaelis, who after all, is obliged to leave the question undecided. See his Introduction to the New Testament, translated by Dr. Marsh, ed. Cambridge, 1793. V. iv. c. 26. — 1, 2, 3.