Truly I have been a vessel without sail or rudder, driven to diverse ports, estuaries, and shores by that hot blast, the breath of grievous poverty; and I have shown myself to the eyes of many who perhaps, through some fame of me, had imagined me in quite other guise, in whose view not only was my person debased, but every work of mine, whether done or yet to do, became of less account.
I. Cap. III. By the election of the emperor Henry VII.
(of Luxemburg, November, 1308), and the news of his proposed expedition into Italy, the hopes of Dante were raised to the highest pitch.
Henry entered Italy, October, 1310, and received the iron crown of Lombardy at Milan, on the day of Epiphany, 1311.
His movements being slow, and his policy undecided, Dante addressed him that famous letter, urging him to crush first the Hydra and Myrrha Florence, as the root of all the evils of Italy (April 16, 1311). To this year we must probably assign the new decree by which t