d busied itself particularly with the Mantuan poet.
The Church had given him a quasi-orthodoxy by interpreting his jam redit et virgo as a prophecy of the birth of Christ.
At Naples he had become a kind of patron saint, and his bones were exhibited as relics.
Dante himself may have heard at Mantua the hymn sung on the anniversary of St. Paul, in which the apostle to the Gentiles is represented as weeping at the tomb of the greatest of poets.
Above all, Virgil had described the descent of Aeneas to the under-world.
Dante's choice of a guide was therefore, in a certain degree, made for him. But the mere Reason
What Reason seeth here Myself [Virgil] can tell thee; beyond that await For Beatrice, since 'tis a work of Faith.—Purgatorio, XVIII. 46-48.
Beatrice here evidently impersonates Theology.
It would be interesting to know what was the precise date of Dante's theological studies.
The earlier commentators all make him go to Paris, the great fountain of such learning, after hi