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rock, this Pietra, la novità che non fu fatta in alcun tempo, "the novelty which was never done in any time.” We know from the “De Vulgari Eloquentia” what the novità in question is : it is the peculiar form of this Canzone or double sestina, the “nimia ejusdem rithmi repercussio," or excessive repetition of the same rhyme, which is to be avoided by the poet who would sing in the highest style

Nisi forte novum aliquid atque intentatum Artis hoc sibi preroget hoc et enim nos facere visi sumus ibi : Amor tu vedi ben che questa Donna.'

In the last of these four poems (Canzone XI. ed. Fraticelli) winter is full upon us and around us, and it is a winter unusually cold and severe. Dante's natal star, the Gemini, rises at sunset, but the star of Love is veiled and Saturn reigns supreme in his chilling influence :

E però non disgombra
Un sol pensier d'amore ond'io son carco
La mente mia, ch'è più dura che pietra

In tener sorte immagine di pietra. “And yet one sole thought of Love with which I am laden does not leave my mind, which is more firm than a rock in holding fast an image of stone.”

Snow and sleet are falling round him, the birds are fled or cease their song, all living things are benumbed with cold. The grass with which his lady had crowned herself at their first meeting is dead and withered now with the leaves and flowers of summer, only the laurel, pine and fir keep their green. Still the poet bears in his heart Love's amorosa spina, and, though all around is bound with ice and shrouded with snow, he feels vividly as ever the dolce martiro of Love's fire :

Canzone, or che sarà di me nell'altro
Dolce tempo novello, quando piove
Amore in terra da tutti li cieli ;
Quando per questi geli
Amore è solo in me, e non altrove ?
Saranne quello, ch'è d'un uom di marmo
Se in pargoletta fia per cuore un marmo.
What then, my Canzon, will become of me
In the sweet spring-tide season, when, with showers,
Love the wide earth from all the heavens shall fill;
When, in this freezing chill,
Love doth in me, not elsewhere, show his powers ?
'Twill be the state of one as marble cold,
If maiden fair for heart hath marble cold.

(Plumptre's Translation.) 1 “Unless Perchance this expedient claim for itself the merit of being some. thing new and before unattempted in the art (of the Canzone) ... and this we appear to have achieved in the Canzone beginning Amor tu vedi ben,” Dante's " De Vulgari Eloquentia,” translated by A. G. F. Howell.

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The dolce tempo novello—the “sweet spring-tide season ”-came indeed; but, if we may take as Dante's next poem the twelfth Canzone Amor, che muovi tua virtù dal cielo (Love, thou that movest thy power from heaven"), it found Pietra forgotten and the poet once more at the feet of Philosophy. Love had ever been leading him

Con sua dolce favella
A rimirar ciascuna cosa bella

Con più diletto quanto è più piacente. " with his sweet speech to gaze upon each lovely object with the more delight the more beautiful it be," and, through this gazing, Love had brought him from and through the lady of the “Canzoni Pietrose” back to his allegorical lady Philosophy,

A colei che fu nel mondo nata
Per aver signoria
Sovra la mente d'ogni uom che la guata.

"To her who was born into the world to reign over the mind of every one that beholds her." And this lady Philosophy, too, is but a step onward towards the glorified Beatrice of the Earthly and Celestial Paradise to which Love will yet lead him. The passion for Donna Pietra had been a short one : fierce and stormy indeed while it lasted flaming well nigh to the height of frenzy in the winter, but dying out with the return of spring. It has found utterance in four noble poems, but now Philosophy once more claims her votary.

Perhaps, had the work ever been completed, the Canzoni Pietrose would have formed part of the “Convito,” and Donna Pietra, even if a real woman, would have been subjected to allegorical treatment. She may be a mere critical dream, but yet it is impossible not to sympathise with the view that regards all the allegorical meanings of the Canzoni as after-thoughts on the part of the poet—that the Canzoni were real love poems which Dante afterwards regretted and endeavoured in the “Convito ” to represent as strictly allegorical. The concluding lines of the last stanza of the Canzone on winter

Saranne quello ch'è d'un uomo di marmo

Se in pargoletta fia per cuore un marmo, recall the two better known Dantesque poems in which the word pargoletta appears—though not necessarily referring to the same object--and are echoed in the famous rebuke which Beatrice administers to Dante in the thirty-first Canto of the “Purgatorio for his way of life after her death :

E se il sommo piacer si ti fallio

Per la mia morte, qual cosa mortale

Dovea poi trarre te nel suo disio ?
Ben ti dovevi per lo primo strale

Delle cose fallaci levar suso

Di retro a me, che non era più tale.
Non ti dovea gravar le penne in giuso

Ad aspettar più colpi o pargoletta,

O altra vanità con si breve uso.' These amori of Dante, about which his biographers and early commentators write much and know little, may have been innocent enough, though afterwards exaggerated by his sensitive conscience. Literal or allegorical, we know from his own words in the “Convito that his passionate canzoni were taken as literal by his contemporaries, and might have given rise to suggestions which he desired to repudiate, and which to some extent moved him to apply his allegorical method of interpretation to them in the “Convito”:

"Temo la infamia di tanta passione avere seguita quanta concepe chi legge le soprannominate canzoni in me avere signoreggiato; la quale infamia si cessa per lo presente di me parlare interamente ; lo quale mostra che non passione ma virtù sia stata la movente cagione" (i.e. not earthly love, but philosophical devotion).

But how is this to be reconciled with his bitter repentance in the “Purgatorio,” when he dares not meet the eyes of Beatrice in the Earthly Paradise ? The very divergence and contradiction proves the existence of the basis of reality which for a time (before quite out of the dark wood) he would fain have denied in the “Convito." These poems were the passionate utterances of youth and early manhood; the matured man, the Florentine statesman and philosopher of the “Convito," would fain have repudiated one side of them, and thrown an allegorical cloak about them. | Purg. xxxi. 52-60:

And if the highest pleasure thus did fail thee

By reason of my death, what mortal thing
Should then have drawn thee into its desire ?
Thou oughtest verily at the first shaft
Of things fallacious to have risen up
To follow me who was no longer such.
Thou oughtest not to have stooped thy pinions downward
To wait for further blows or pargoletta,

Or other vanity of such brief use." (Longfellow's translation, except that he renders pargoletta as “ little girl.”) 3 “ Convito,” i. 2 : “I fear the infamy of being held subject to such passion as those who read the above-named canzoni will consider possessed me; the which infamy will be entirely removed by my speaking now of myself, and showing that it was not passion but virtue which was their moving cause.” (Miss K. Hillard's translation of the “ Banquet.”)

In such a work as the “Convito" there would be no occasion for a confession-the desiderio di dottrina dare (Conv. I. 2) would suffice. But in the “Divina Commedia" it is the Proclaimer of Justice, the supreme singer of Truth, that speaks ; it is the man to whom Truth appeals from its changeless throne (“ De Monarchia ” III. I). Not only are the souls of other men laid bare to him in Hell and Purgatory, but it is with absolute self-revelation and sincerity that he mirrors himself in the stream of Lethe, and makes full confession without reserve in the presence of Beatrice.

Riddling confession finds but riddling shrift, was the admonition of good Friar Lawrence to Romeo. There is no allegorical veil now; to Beatrice's accusation, Dante's own confession and sorrow are conjoined :

Piangendo dissi : Le presenti cose

Col falso lor piacer volser miei passi,

Tosto che il vostro viso si nascose.
Ed ella ; Se tacessi, o se negassi

Ciò che confessi, non fora men nota

La colpa tua ; da tal giudice sassi.
Ma quando scoppia dalla propria gota

L'accusa del peccato, in nostra corte

Rivolge sè contra il taglio la ruota.' He is drawn through the mystical stream with its three paces, and the pargoletta, be she Pietra or another, real or imaginary, is with all else forgiven him in the reunion with Beatrice.

· Purg. xxxi. 34-42 :

Weeping I said : “The things that present were
With their false pleasure turned aside my steps,
Soon as your countenance concealed itself.”
And she : “ Shouldst thou be silent or deny
What thou confessest, not less manifest
Would be thy fault, by such a judge 'tis known.
But when from one's own cheeks comes bursting forth
The accusal of the sin, in our tribunal
Against the edge the wheel doth turn itself."

(Longfellow's Translation.)





"HERE is possibly no country in the habitable globe-taking

all its advantages, in the way of pleasure, scenery, and capacity for satisfying every requirement that a human being can reasonably demand-that can compete with England, and when one speaks of England one naturally means the British Islands as a whole. It is a country of strong men and fair women. Its climate makes them hardy, and its food-for it is a well-fed and prosperous country-makes them strong. There is scarcely a square mile in this land that has not from some date, from the time of Boadicea to that of our present Most Gracious Sovereign, sent out men who have founded empires ; and as the Englishman, wherever he goes, carries freedom and justice with him, a third of the human race are benefited. Their bones lie in many a quiet churchyard that dots its seagirt shores, or in the National Pantheon at Westminster, where, sleeping their everlasting sleep, rest the warriors, poets, painters, and men of science who have made England what it is. Indeed, one may say that not only do these islands teem with places of undying interest, but that they furnish variations of climate which are suitable for almost every condition of life, both in health and disease, that the human system can require. After wandering in many lands, whether it be amongst the scented groves of Ceylon, under the shadow of the Himalayas, 'neath the ever-varying tropical flowers of southern Africa, or in that earthly paradise the Riviera, the wanderer will realise the truth of those well-known lines :

'Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam,

Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home. It is said that a prophet has no honour in his own country, and so I suppose for a similar reason we fail to appreciate the land we live in, its multitudinous luxuries and pleasures, its freedom of speech, and the justice of its laws-sometimes, it is true, a little too grand

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