v. 126. He had learnt.] Dionysius, he says, had learnt from St. Paul. It is almost unnecessary to add, that the book, above referred to, which goes under his name, was the production of a later age.
v. 1. No longer.] As short a space, as the sun and moon are in changing hemispheres, when they are opposite to one another, the one under the sign of Aries, and the other under that of Libra, and both hang for a moment, noised as it were in the hand of the zenith.
v. 22. For, not in process of before or aft.] There was neither “before nor after,” no distinction, that is, of time, till the creation of the world.
v. 30. His threefold operation.] He seems to mean that spiritual beings, brute matter, and the intermediate part of the creation, which participates both of spirit and matter, were produced at once.
v. 38. On Jerome’s pages.] St. Jerome had described the angels as created before the rest of the universe: an opinion which Thomas Aquinas controverted; and the latter, as Dante thinks, had Scripture on his side.
v. 51. Pent.] See Hell, Canto xxxiv. 105.
v. 111. Of Bindi and of Lapi.] Common names of men at Florence
v. 112. The sheep.] So Milton, Lycidas. The hungry sheep look up and are not fed, But, swoln with wind and the rank mist they draw, Rot inwardly.
v. 121. The preacher.] Thus Cowper, Task, b. ii.
To court a grin, when you should woo a soul, &c.
v. 131. Saint Anthony. Fattens with this his swine.] On the sale of these blessings, the brothers of St. Anthony supported themselves and their paramours. From behind the swine of St. Anthony, our Poet levels a blow at the object of his inveterate enmity, Boniface viii, from whom, “in 1297, they obtained the dignity and privileges of an independent congregation.” See Mosheim’s Eccles. History in Dr. Maclaine’s Translation, v. ii. cent. xi. p. 2. c. 2. — 28.
v. 140. Daniel.] “Thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.” Dan. c. vii. 10.
v. 1. Six thousand miles.] He compares the vanishing of the vision to the fading away of the stars at dawn, when it is noon-day six thousand miles off, and the shadow, formed by the earth over the part of it inhabited by the Poet, is about to disappear.
v. 13. Engirt.] " ppearing to be encompassed by these angelic bands, which are in reality encompassed by it.”
v. 18. This turn.] Questa vice. Hence perhaps Milton, P. L. b. viii. 491. This turn hath made amends.
v. 39. Forth.] From the ninth sphere to the empyrean, which is more light.
v. 44. Either mighty host.] Of angels, that remained faithful, and of beatified souls, the latter in that form which they will have at the last day. v. 61. Light flowing.] “And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.” Rev. cxxii. I.