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We have scarcely entered on the threshold of the poem before this essentially self-scrutinizing analysis meets us. At first, indeed, his soul, as if in the joy of its escape from the darkness of the pit, exults in its recovered freedom, in its old joy, in itself a purifying joy, in light and the fresh breeze of dawn. If we would understand the opening of the “ Purgatorio we must go back to the Stygian waters of the nether world, wherein were plunged by a righteous Nemesis the souls of those who had in the bitterness of their discontent lost the capacity for entering into that joy :

“ Beneath the pool are those that sigh and groav,

And make the water bubble, as to thee,
Where'er thou look'st is at the surface shown.
Fixed in the mire they say, 'Full sad were we
Where the sun gladdens all the pleasant clime,
Bearing within dull mists of melancholy;

Now are we sadder in this black foul slime!"-Inf. vii. 115–121. Of that sullen discontent Dante had not been guilty even under the heavy burdens of exile and poverty, and therefore he had not lost the capacity for hope which was denied to those who dwelt in the “ dolorous city.” And so when he has left the region where “ silent is the sun and can once more look

upon the stars,” his spirit exults in its liberation :

“For fairer waters now before the wind

My spirit's little boat her sails doth spread,
And leaveth all that cruel sea behind;
And I will sing that second realm instead,
Wherein man's spirit frees itself from stain,

And groweth worthy Heaven's high courts to tread.”—Purg. i. 1-6. Nowhere in the whole poem, one might almost say in all poetry, is the brightness of that dawn, at once of the earthly and the heavenly morning, more beautifully painted :

“The Orient sapphire's hue of sweetest tone,

Which gathered in the aspect calm and bright?
Of that pure air, through all the Heaven's first zone,
Now to mine eyes brought back the old delight,
Soon as I passed forth from the deathlike air
Which eyes and heart had filled with sore despite.
The planet love-inbreathing, sweet and fair,

Made all the East to smile with her sweet grace.Purg. i. 13-20. Or once again, in that marvellous picture of which it is hard to say whether it excels most in beauty or in truth :

“Just then the dawn its victory did gain

O'er morning's mist that vanished, so that I

Saw the light trembling on the open main "-Purg. i. 115-117. But not the less, in the midst of this natural joy is there the thought present to the poet's mind that he is entering on a solemn work, that it is he himself, his own soul, that needs the cleansing which he is about to describe.. Bearing that thought in mind, we shall be able to follow his progress through the seven circles of the Mount of Purification with a clearer insight, to note what were the sins that weighed most heavily on his conscience, what

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were the healing remedies which he had found most effective against them. I start with the words in which Virgil, as the poet's guide, sets forth to Cato, who, as the representative of the natural virtues of which the four stars that cast their light upon his face are symbols, is the guardian of the entrance to Purgatory, the errand on which they have come :

“ His life's last eve he hath not seen indeed,

But through his madness came to it so near
He had but few short moments to recede.
So, as I said, this mission I did bear
To rescue him, nor was there other way
Than this by which I came, and now am here.
'Twas mine the race accursèd to display,
And now I purpose he those souls should know
Who here are cleansed beneath thy sov’reign sway ;
How I have led, 'tweré long to thee to show,
But power to help me doth from Heaven descend
That he may see thee, hear thee, as we go ;
Him on his course I pray thee now befriend;
He wanders seeking freedom, gift men bless,

As he knows well who life for it doth spend."-Purg. i. 58-72. As we advance we note a more distinct confession. He is conscious of the over-sensitiveness which makes him keenly alive to men's looks of wonder or their words of scorn, as the souls gazed at him, marvelling that his form, unlike theirs, cast a shadow:

Mine eyes I turned on hearing him speak so,
And saw them watching with astonishment
Me, only me, and that light's broken glow :

Why is thy mind thus on itself intent'
Then said my Master, 'tbat thou'rt slow to walk ?
What boots it thee what's by their whispers meant ?
Come behind me, and let the people talk;
Be thou like tower that bendeth pot its height,
Aud doth the fierce winds of their victory baulk.
For aye the man in whom thoughts spring to light,
One on the other, from the goal doth roam,
For this still weakens all the other's might.
What could I answer more than just · I come.'
So spake I, somewhat touched with that same hue,

Which worthy of compassion rendereth some.”Purg. v. 7-21. A little further on and we find a like confession of the love of praise, of which that sensitiveness was the natural outcome. He is in the circle where the pride of life is chastened by the bowed-down prostration of an enforced lowliness, which he thus describes :

As to give roof or ceiling bearing meet,

As corbel fixed, a form is often seen,
Of which the knees upthrust the bosom meet,
And by its pain untrue gives true pain keen
To him who on it looks, so these I saw,
With good heed gazing on their act and mien.
"Tis true their limbs did to each other draw,
As they upon their back bore more or less,
Aud he who most of patience owned the law

'I can no more,' seemed crying in distress.”Purg. x. 130-140. One of these tells him his name and his sin,

“My ancient blood and brave deeds nobly done

By my forefathers, me so haughty made
That I forgot our mother was but one,
And towards all men my proud scorn displayed."-Purg. xi. 61-64.


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And Dante as he listens, as if conscience pricked him, bowed his face low as if to hide his shame. In another of these he recognizes the painter Oderisi of Agubbio, who in like manner confesses that he had so gloried in his art as to speak contemptuously of his rivals.

'My courteous praise had then been far more faint
While I was living, so by longings made
For eminence, on which my heart was bent:
Of that foul pride the forfeit here is paid.
Yet had I not attained this place and hour

Save that to God, with power to sin, I prayed.” And then he moralizes on the transitoriness of human fame in words which touched at once the poet and two, at least, of his dearest friends

“Oh empty glory of all human power !

How little green doth on its height endure,
Save when rough times that follow darkly lour !
Once Cimabue seemed to hold full sure
His own 'gainst all; the palm now Giotto bears,
So that his fame the other's doth obscure.
So, too, one Guido from the other tears
The crown of poesy; and one perchance
Lives who to drive both from their high nest dares.
The world's best fame no higher doth advance
Than breath of wind whose tickle gusts deceive,
And changing side, leave name to change and chance."

Purg. xi. 85-104. And again,

" Your high repute, as bloom of grass, doth fly,

Which comes and goes, and that doth mar its grace

Through which from earth it burgeons verdantly." And then the conscience of the seer makes answer

“ And I to him, “Thy words in my heart trace

Lessons that humble, and bring low my pride.”—Purg. xi. 115-119. He does not, however, indulge in indiscriminate self-accusations. He passes into the circle where souls are purified from the sin of envy, by being for a time blinded. They had looked as with an evil eye on the good fortune of others, and this was their righteous chastisement. To that fault Daute does not plead guilty, as he did in the case of pride.

"'I too,' I said, "shall part here from mine eyes ;'

But for brief time, for little the otfence
Which they have given by envious jealousies ;
The fear which comes o’ermastering all my sense
Is from the torment working there below,

For even now I feel that weight immense.' -Purg. xiii. 133-138. But the supreme confession of unworthiness comes, as it was meet it should do, when the poet stands, after he has passed through the cleansing fire, face to face with his transfigured and glorified Beatrice. He sees her first, clothed in a green mantle and with a snow-white olive-bordered veil :

" Though nothing more to vision was displayed,

Through secret power that passed from her to me,
I the strong spell of ancient love obeyed.”--Purg. xxx. 37-39.

That intuitive consciousness of the presence of her who was at once beautiful and terrible in her purity filled him, at first, as it had filled him in his boyhood, with an overpowering awe, which made him look for help to the poet who had thus far been his guide :

“I to the left with wistful look did start,

As when an infant seeks his mother's breast,
When fear and anguish vex his troubled heart,-
To say to Virgil, Trembling, fear-opprest
Is every drop of blood in every vein ;

The signs of that old flame stand forth confest."- Purg. xxx. 43-48. But Virgil was there no longer. Human guidance, the teaching of the wise, the traditions of a venerable past, these had done their work, and he finds himself alone face to face with her whom he had loved as a woman, with an absorbing and passionate devotion, and who now met him on her chariot of glory as the embodied form of heavenly wisdom, the transfigured and glorified conscience of humanity. He stood awe-stricken, and the bitter tears flowed fast and cleansed his cheeks, and then a voice came from her which thrilled the abysmal depths of personality. “Dante," it said it is the one solitary passage in the whole poem in which the poet names himself

“Dante, weep not because thy Virgil's gone ;
Weep not as yet; as yet weep thou no more,
For other sword-wounds must thy tears flow down."

Purg. xxx. 55–57. He turns on hearing himself thus addressed by name, and then

I saw the lady whom I erst discerned,
Veiled underneath the angelic festal show :
Her eyes on me, across the stream she turned ;
Although the veil that from her head did flow,
By the wreath circled to Minerva dear,
Allowed no glimpse of that which lay below.
Queen-like in look and gesture yet severe,
She then resumed, as one whose speech flows fre ,
Yet keeps behind a speech too sharp to bear.
“Behold, in me thy Beatrice see !
How didst thou think it meet to climb the hill ?
Didst thou not know that here the blessed be?'
Mine eyes then fell upon the waters still,
But there myself beholding, to the grass
I turned, and shame upon my brow weighed ill.
As mother to her son for proud doth pass,
So she to me, for with a bitter twang

Tastes pity, which in sternness doth o'erpass.”—Purg. xxx. 54-81. The immediate result of this was, that the poet felt as if his heart was frost-bound, as are the Apennines when the snow lies heavy on the trees. His tears ceased to flow, as in the misery of that congelation of the soul. But the healing came from the angelic ministers who accompanied Beatrice, and sang their anthem of In te Domine speravi.

“ So stood I tearless, sighless, for a time,

While yet they sang whose praise ascends on high,
After the high spheres' everlasting chime,
But when I heard in their sweet melody
How me they pitied, more than if they said
•Why seek'st thou, lady, him to mortify?'

The ice that all around my heart was laid,
Passed into wind and water, and with pain
Through mouth and eyes from breast its issue made."

Purg. xxx. 91-99. But the stern work of the illumined conscience which Beatrice represents has yet to be done, and she speaks to her over-pitiful attendants

Ye in the day eternal know no rest,

So that nor night nor sleep from you can steal
One step the world upon its path hath prest;
Therefore my answer greater care must seal,
That he may hear me well who there doth weep,

And so a grief to guilt proportioned feel.”—Purg. xxx. 103-105. She presses on him the remembrance of his early days, naming the very book which he had consecrated to his reverential love for her :

“ He, when his New Life he did first attain,

Potentially was such that every good
In him had power a wondrous height to gain ;
But all the more perverse and wild and rude
Becomes the soil, with ill seed, left untilled,
As 'tis with more of natural strength endued.
Awhile my face was strong his life to build,
And I, unveiling to him my young eyes,
In the straight path to lead him on was skilled.

But soon as I had reached the point where lies
1 Our second age, and I my life had changed,

He left me, following other fantasies.
And when I had from tlesh to spirit ranged,
And loveliness and beauty in me grew,
I was to bim less dear and more estranged.
His feet he turned to way that was not true,
Following of good the semblance counterfeit
Which ne'er to promise gives fulfilment due.
Nought it availed the spirit to entreat,
Wherein in visions oft and otherwise,
I called him back, but little heed to meet.
So low he fell that ways, however wise,
Were all too feeble found his soul to save,
Save showing him the lost ones' miseries.
For this I trod the gateways of the grave,
And unto him who thus far was his guide
The prayers were borne with which my tears I gave,
The sov'reign will of God would be defied
If Lethe should be passed, and such a food
Be tasted, yet no reckoning be supplied

Of penitence that pours its tears in blood.”Purg. xxx. 115–145. This was terrible enough. It was, as it were, Dante's anticipation of the time when the books shall be opened, and the things done in the body shall be made manifest to Christ and to His angels. But this was not all. The voice of the Judge, which is also the voice of the Beloved, for Beatrice unites both characters, must say to the accused, as Nathan did to David, “Thou art the man." The sinner must confess his guilt, as David confessed it,—"Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned and done this evil in Thy sight." And so Beatrice speaks to the lover of her youth

"iO thou who art beyond the sacred stream,'

Turning her utterance then point-blank to me,

Which even edgewise keen and sharp did seem.” She then began again immediately –

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