1265-1321 Dante Alighieri.

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DANTE ..ALIGHIERI
The anfee-purgatorio of Dante
Alighieri



PQ
4315.31

3



-i



THE



Ante-Purgatorio



OF



Dante Alighieri



TRANSLATED BY



T. W. PARSONS



CAMBRIDGE

PRESS OF JOHN WILSON AND SON

August, 1875



I THE

Ante-Purgatorio



Dante Alighieri



TRANSLATED BY



T. W. PARSONS



CAMBRIDGE
PRESS OF JOHN WILSON AND SON

August, 1S75



LIBRARY

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
SANTA BARBARA



The first nine Cantos of the Purgatorio of Dante are but
preliminary to the rest; and several German critics have
adopted the title of " Ante-Purgatorio," by which Italians
have sometimes distinguished them. It is not until the open-
ing of Canto X.,

" La dove '1 Purgatorio ha dritto inizio,"

that we pass the threshold of the gate which leads to the
several rounds of penance.

The present translator, being occupied with other portions
of the Divine Comedy, feels free to postpone for a time the
publication of his complete version of the Purgatory, together
with such notes as may have approved themselves the fruit of
a long study. But as these nine Cantos have already appeared
in the " Catholic World," and as they form one recognized
division of the poem, they are now reprinted for the use of
those who have desired to possess them in one collection.



" Every branch that beareth fruit
He purgeth it,

That it may bring forth more fruit.'''

In perusing this version of the " Purgatorio " of Dante, the reader
may profitably direct his attention less to any dogma of the church or
any formula of a special creed, than to the allegorical sense of the poet,
founded, as it must be acknowledged by all Christian believers, upon
the facts of our nature and the history of the human heart. "The
Romish doctrine concerning purgatory" may be combated as an article
of faith, but must be admitted as a true statement of the condition of
mankind, religiously considered. The wretched state of man " living
without God in the world; " the self-conviction of sin; the necessity
of a Saviour; and the possibility of attaining, through the heavy
passages of contrition and the wearisome stages of penance, to the
" peace which passeth understanding," — is the sum of the doctrines
embodied in the " Divina Commedia."

Dante, having partly in imagination, and partly (as we may justly
suppose) in reality, passed through the torments of the life of sin
and passion and unbelief that make the hell of this world, has come to
the antipodes of his poetical creation, whose way is up the toilsome hill
of penance to the terrestrial paradise of pardon and peace. Still, as
in the infernal realm, under the guidance of his master in song, Virgil,
he is met by another pagan spirit, Cato the Suicide, of Utica, who
teaches him the first lesson to be learned before the soul of man can
enter into the penitential state, — and that lesson is humility. The
"lowly reed " wherewith Dante is instructed to gird himself (v. 90) is
typical of that which He bare in his hand who wore at the same time
the crown of thorns, and who said, " Learn of me, for I am meek and
lowly of heart."



TRANSLATION



OF THE



ANTE-PURGATORIO OF DANTE.



PURGATORIO.
CANTO FIRST.

The little vessel of my genius now

Hoists sail o'er better waves to follow helm,
Turning from sea so terrible its prow :

And I will sing now of that second realm
Wherein are purified the souls of men

Until of heaven they worthy shall have grown.
But here, dead poesy must rise again :

O sacred Muses ! I am now your own ;
Nor let Calliope here fall below

But soar to my * song ! with that epic strain
Whereof those wretched magpies* felt the blow

So that their hope of pardon was but vain.

* Verses 10 and n :

" Soar to my song," &c.
"... magpies"


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Online Library1265-1321 Dante AlighieriThe ante-purgatorio → online text (page 1 of 3)