v. 61. Between the vale.] The lake Benacus, now called the Lago di Garda, though here said to lie between Garda, Val Camonica, and the Apennine, is, however, very distant from the latter two
v. 63. There is a spot.] Prato di Fame, where the dioceses of Trento, Verona, and Brescia met.
v. 69. Peschiera.] A garrison situated to the south of the lake, where it empties itself and forms the Mincius.
v. 94. Casalodi’s madness.] Alberto da Casalodi, who had got possession of Mantua, was persuaded by Pinamonte Buonacossi, that he might ingratiate himself with the people by banishing to their
own castles the nobles, who were obnoxious to them. No sooner was this done, than Pinamonte put himself at the head of the populace, drove out Casalodi and his adherents, and obtained the sovereignty for himself.
v. 111. So sings my tragic strain.]
Suspensi Eurypilum scitatum oracula Phoebi
Virg. Aeneid. ii. 14.
v. 115. Michael Scot.] Sir Michael Scott, of Balwearie, astrologer to the Emperor Frederick ii. lived in the thirteenth century. For further particulars relating to this singular man, see Warton’s History of English Poetry, vol. i. diss. ii. and sect. ix. p 292, and the Notes to Mr. Scott’s “Lay of the Last Minstrel,” a poem in which a happy use is made of the traditions that are still current in North Britain concerning him. He is mentioned by G. Villani. Hist. l. x. c. cv. and cxli. and l. xii. c. xviii. and by Boccaccio, Dec. Giorn. viii. Nov. 9.
v. 116. Guido Bonatti.] An astrologer of Forli, on whose skill Guido da Montefeltro, lord of that place, so much relied, that he is reported never to have gone into battle, except in the hour recommended to him as fortunate by Bonatti.
Landino and Vellutello, speak of a book, which he composed on the subject of his art.
v. 116. Asdente.] A shoemaker at Parma, who deserted his business to practice the arts of divination.
v. 123. Cain with fork of thorns.] By Cain and the thorns, or what is still vulgarly called the Man in the Moon, the Poet denotes that luminary. The same superstition is alluded to in the Paradise, Canto ii. 52. The curious reader may consult Brand on Popular Antiquities, 4to. 1813. vol. ii. p. 476.
v. 7. In the Venetians’ arsenal.] Compare Ruccellai, Le Api, 165, and Dryden’s Annus Mirabilis, st. 146, &c.
v. 37. One of Santa Zita’s elders.] The elders or chief magistrates of Lucca, where Santa Zita was held in especial veneration. The name of this sinner is supposed to have been Martino Botaio.
v. 40. Except Bonturo, barterers.] This is said ironically of Bonturo de’ Dati. By barterers are meant peculators, of every description; all who traffic the interests of the public for their own private advantage.