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- Dante Alighieri.
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- Dante Alighieri, His Life and Works;
Read poems by this poet. Read texts about this poet. Now was I, and with fear in verse I put it, There where the shades were wholly covered up, And glimmered through like unto straws in glass.
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Some prone are lying, others stand erect, This with the head, and that one with the soles; Another, bow-like, face to feet inverts. When in advance so far we had proceeded, That it my Master pleased to show to me The creature who once had the beauteous semblance, He from before me moved and made me stop, Saying: "Behold Dis, and behold the place Where thou with fortitude must arm thyself. I did not die, and I alive remained not; Think for thyself now, hast thou aught of wit, What I became, being of both deprived.
The Emperor of the kingdom dolorous From his mid-breast forth issued from the ice; And better with a giant I compare Than do the giants with those arms of his; Consider now how great must be that whole, Which unto such a part conforms itself. Were he as fair once, as he now is foul, And lifted up his brow against his Maker, Well may proceed from him all tribulation. O, what a marvel it appeared to me, When I beheld three faces on his head! The one in front, and that vermilion was; Two were the others, that were joined with this Above the middle part of either shoulder, And they were joined together at the crest; And the right-hand one seemed 'twixt white and yellow; The left was such to look upon as those Who come from where the Nile falls valley-ward.
Underneath each came forth two mighty wings, Such as befitting were so great a bird; Sails of the sea I never saw so large.
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- DANTE ALIGHIERI.
- Dante Alighieri: Life & Works;
- Dante Alighieri: His Life and Works by Paget Toynbee.
No feathers had they, but as of a bat Their fashion was; and he was waving them, So that three winds proceeded forth therefrom. Thereby Cocytus wholly was congealed. With six eyes did he weep, and down three chins Trickled the tear-drops and the bloody drivel. At every mouth he with his teeth was crunching A sinner, in the manner of a brake, So that he three of them tormented thus. To him in front the biting was as naught Unto the clawing, for sometimes the spine Utterly stripped of all the skin remained. Of the two others, who head downward are, The one who hangs from the black jowl is Brutus; See how he writhes himself, and speaks no word.
And the other, who so stalwart seems, is Cassius. But night is reascending, and 'tis time That we depart, for we have seen the whole.
Dante Alighieri: his Life, The Divine Comedy & Other Books
When we were come to where the thigh revolves Exactly on the thickness of the haunch, The Guide, with labour and with hard-drawn breath, Turned round his head where he had had his legs, And grappled to the hair, as one who mounts, So that to Hell I thought we were returning. I lifted up mine eyes and thought to see Lucifer in the same way I had left him; And I beheld him upward hold his legs. And if I then became disquieted, Let stolid people think who do not see What the point is beyond which I had passed.
That side thou wast, so long as I descended; When round I turned me, thou didst pass the point To which things heavy draw from every side, And now beneath the hemisphere art come Opposite that which overhangs the vast Dry-land, and 'neath whose cope was put to death The Man who without sin was born and lived. Thou hast thy feet upon the little sphere Which makes the other face of the Judecca. Here it is morn when it is evening there; And he who with his hair a stairway made us Still fixed remaineth as he was before.
Upon this side he fell down out of heaven; And all the land, that whilom here emerged, For fear of him made of the sea a veil, And came to our hemisphere; and peradventure To flee from him, what on this side appears Left the place vacant here, and back recoiled. The Guide and I into that hidden road Now entered, to return to the bright world; And without care of having any rest We mounted up, he first and I the second, Till I beheld through a round aperture Some of the beauteous things that Heaven doth bear; Thence we came forth to rebehold the stars.
Dante's Early Life
Dante Alighieri Purgatorio, Canto X When we had crossed the threshold of the door Which the perverted love of souls disuses, Because it makes the crooked way seem straight, Re-echoing I heard it closed again; And if I had turned back mine eyes upon it, What for my failing had been fit excuse? We mounted upward through a rifted rock, Which undulated to this side and that, Even as a wave receding and advancing.
From where its margin borders on the void, To foot of the high bank that ever rises, A human body three times told would measure; And far as eye of mine could wing its flight, Now on the left, and on the right flank now, The same this cornice did appear to me. Thereon our feet had not been moved as yet, When I perceived the embankment round about, Which all right of ascent had interdicted, To be of marble white, and so adorned With sculptures, that not only Polycletus, But Nature's self, had there been put to shame.
The Angel, who came down to earth with tidings Of peace, that had been wept for many a year, And opened Heaven from its long interdict, In front of us appeared so truthfully There sculptured in a gracious attitude, He did not seem an image that is silent.
One would have sworn that he was saying, "Ave;" For she was there in effigy portrayed Who turned the key to ope the exalted love, And in her mien this language had impressed, "Ecce ancilla Dei," as distinctly As any figure stamps itself in wax. There sculptured in the self-same marble were The cart and oxen, drawing the holy ark, Wherefore one dreads an office not appointed. People appeared in front, and all of them In seven choirs divided, of two senses Made one say "No," the other, "Yes, they sing. Preceded there the vessel benedight, Dancing with girded loins, the humble Psalmist, And more and less than King was he in this.
Opposite, represented at the window Of a great palace, Michal looked upon him, Even as a woman scornful and afflicted. I moved my feet from where I had been standing, To examine near at hand another story, Which after Michal glimmered white upon me. There the high glory of the Roman Prince Was chronicled, whose great beneficence Moved Gregory to his great victory; 'Tis of the Emperor Trajan I am speaking; And a poor widow at his bridle stood, In attitude of weeping and of grief.
Around about him seemed it thronged and full Of cavaliers, and the eagles in the gold Above them visibly in the wind were moving. The wretched woman in the midst of these Seemed to be saying: "Give me vengeance, Lord, For my dead son, for whom my heart is breaking. While I delighted me in contemplating The images of such humility, And dear to look on for their Maker's sake, "Behold, upon this side, but rare they make Their steps," the Poet murmured, "many people; These will direct us to the lofty stairs.
Il romanzo della sua vita. Each of his works, in the first instance, defines a particular environment: in the Vita Nova it is that of his contemporaries in Florence who shared his way of life and his idea about literature; in the Commedia it is the families of his patrons and the political parties he encountered from time to time along his path as an exile. And the two treatises are no exception, as we shall see.
It should be added that he sometimes seems to be seeking the support, if not the collaboration, of a specific interlocutor: in the Vita Nova it was Cavalcanti; in De vulgaris it is Cino da Pistoria. Santagata follows up the main text of his book with dozens of exuberant point-by-point discussions in his End Notes, so Dante: The Story of His Life leaves its readers with a very appropriate sense of many complex and fascinating ongoing debates on everything from the precise matrimonial links between powerful families to the inner workings of great literature.
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