v. 48. Is other swimming than in Serchio’s
Qui si nuota altrimenti che nel Serchio.
Serchio is the river that flows by Lucca. So Pulci, Morg. Mag.
Qui si nuota nel sangue, e non nel Serchio.
v. 92. From Caprona.] The surrender of the castle of Caprona to the combined forces of Florence and Lucca, on condition that the garrison should march out in safety, to which event Dante was a witness, took place in 1290. See G. Villani, Hist. l. vii. c. 136.
v. 109. Yesterday.] This passage fixes the era of Dante’s descent at Good Friday, in the year 1300 (34 years from our blessed Lord’s incarnation being added to 1266), and at the thirty-fifth year of our poet’s age. See Canto I. v. 1.
The awful event alluded to, the Evangelists inform us, happened “at the ninth hour,” that is, our sixth, when “the rocks were rent,” and the convulsion, according to Dante, was felt even in the depths in Hell. See Canto xii. 38.
v. 16. In the church.] This proverb is repeated by Pulci, Morg. Magg. c. xvii.
v. 47. Born in Navarre’s domain.] The name of this peculator is said to have been Ciampolo.
v. 51. The good king Thibault.] “Thibault I. king of Navarre, died on the 8th of June, 1233, as much to be commended for the desire he showed of aiding the war in the Holy Land, as reprehensible and faulty for his design of oppressing the rights and privileges of the church, on which account it is said that the whole kingdom was under an interdict for the space of three entire years. Thibault undoubtedly merits praise, as for his other endowments, so especially for his cultivation of the liberal arts, his exercise and knowledge of music and poetry in which he much excelled, that he was accustomed to compose verses and sing them to the viol, and to exhibit his poetical compositions publicly in his palace, that they might be criticized by all.” Mariana, History of Spain, b. xiii. c. 9.
An account of Thibault, and two of his songs, with what were probably the original melodies, may be seen in Dr. Burney’s History of Music, v. ii. c. iv. His poems, which are in the French language, were edited by M. l’Eveque de la Ravalliere. Paris. 1742. 2 vol. 12mo. Dante twice quotes one of his verses in the Treatise de Vulg. Eloq. l. i. c. ix. and l. ii. c. v. and refers to him again, l. ii. c. vi.
From “the good king Thibault” are descended the good, but more unfortunate monarch, Louis xvi. of France, and consequently the present legitimate sovereign of that realm. See Henault, Abrege Chron. 1252, 2, 4.
v. 80. The friar Gomita.] He was entrusted by Nino de’ Visconti with the government of Gallura, one of the four jurisdictions into which Sardinia was divided. Having his master’s enemies in his power, he took a bribe from them, and allowed them to escape. Mention of Nino will recur in the Notes to Canto xxxiii. and in the Purgatory, Canto viii.