It has been observed, that Dante derived the idea of opening his poem by describing himself as lost in a wood, from the Tesoretto of his master. I know not whether it has been remarked, that the crime of usury is branded by both these poets as offensive to God and Nature: or that the sin for which Brunetto is condemned by his pupil, is mentioned in the Tesoretto with great horror. Dante’s twenty-fifth sonnet is a jocose one, addressed to Brunetto. He died in 1295.
v. 62. Who in old times came down from Fesole.] See G. Villani Hist. l. iv. c. 5. and Macchiavelli Hist. of Flor. b. ii.
v. 89. With another text.] He refers to the prediction of Farinata, in Canto X.
v. 110. Priscian.] There is no reason to believe, as the commentators observe that the grammarian of this name was stained with the vice imputed to him; and we must therefore suppose that Dante puts the individual for the species, and implies the frequency of the crime among those who abused the opportunities which the education of youth afforded them, to so abominable a purpose.
v. 111. Francesco.] Son of Accorso, a Florentine, celebrated for his skill in jurisprudence, and commonly known by the name of Accursius.
v. 113. Him.] Andrea de’ Mozzi, who, that his scandalous life might be less exposed to observation, was translated either by Nicholas iii, or Boniface viii from the see of Florence to that of Vicenza, through which passes the river Baccchiglione. At the latter of these places he died.
v. 114. The servants’ servant.] Servo
de’ servi. So Ariosto,
Io sia il gran servo.
v. 124. I commend my Treasure to thee.] Brunetto’s
Sieti raccomandato ’l mio Tesoro.
So Giusto de’ Conti, in his Bella Mano, Son. “Occhi:”
Siavi raccommandato il mio Tesoro.
v. 38. Gualdrada.] Gualdrada was the daughter of Bellincione Berti, of whom mention is made in the Paradise, Canto xv, and xvi. He was of the family of Ravignani, a branch of the Adimari.
The Emperor Otho iv. being at a festival in Florence, where Gualdrada was present, was struck with her beauty; and inquiring who she was, was answered by Bellincione, that she was the daughter of one who, if it was his Majesty’s pleasure, would make her admit the honour of his salute. On overhearing this, she arose from her seat, and blushing, in an animated tone of voice, desired her father that he would not be so liberal in his offers, for that no man should ever be allowed that freedom, except him who should be her lawful husband. The Emperor was not less delighted by her resolute modesty than he had before been by the loveliness of her person, and calling to him Guido, one of his barons, gave her to him in marriage, at the same time raising him