v. 90. Singly there I stood.] Guido Novello assembled a council of the Ghibellini at Empoli where it was agreed by all, that, in order to maintain the ascendancy of the Ghibelline party in Tuscany, it was necessary to destroy Florence, which could serve only (the people of that city beingvGuelfi) to enable the party attached to the church to recover its strength. This cruel sentence, passed upon so noble a city, met with no opposition from any of its citizens or friends, except Farinata degli Uberti, who openly and without reserve forbade the measure, affirming that he had endured so many hardships, and encountered so many dangers, with no other view than that of being able to pass his days in his own country. Macchiavelli. Hist. of Flor. b. 2.
v. 103. My fault.] Dante felt remorse for not having returned an immediate answer to the inquiry of Cavalcante, from which delay he was led to believe that his son Guido was no longer living.
v. 120. Frederick.] The Emperor Frederick the Second, who died in 1250. See Notes to Canto xiii.
v. 121. The Lord Cardinal.] Ottaviano Ubaldini, a Florentine, made Cardinal in 1245, and deceased about 1273. On account of his great influence, he was generally known by the appellation of “the Cardinal.” It is reported of him that he declared, if there were any such thing as a human soul, he had lost his for the Ghibellini.
v. 132. Her gracious beam.] Beatrice.
v. 9. Pope Anastasius.] The commentators are not agreed concerning the identity of the person, who is here mentioned as a follower of the heretical Photinus. By some he is supposed to have been Anastasius the Second, by others, the Fourth of that name; while a third set, jealous of the integrity of the papal faith, contend that our poet has confounded him with Anastasius 1. Emperor of the East.
v. 17. My son.] The remainder of the present Canto may be considered as a syllabus of the whole of this part of the poem.
v. 48. And sorrows.] This fine moral, that
not to enjoy our being is to be ungrateful to the
Author of it, is well expressed in Spenser, F. Q.
b. iv. c. viii. st. 15.
For he whose daies in wilful woe are worne
The grace of his Creator doth despise,
That will not use his gifts for thankless
v. 53. Cahors.] A city in Guienne, much frequented by usurers
v. 83. Thy ethic page.] He refers to Aristotle’s Ethics.
“In the next place, entering, on another division of the subject, let it be defined. that respecting morals there are three sorts of things to be avoided, malice, incontinence, and brutishness.”
v. 104. Her laws.] Aristotle’s Physics. [Greek here] “Art imitates nature.” —See the Coltivazione of Alamanni, l. i.