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James Russell Lowell, Among my books, Dante. (search)
d this Dante understood perfectly well. How Dante himself could allegorize even historical persoike him. In Provencal pareilh means like, and Dante may have formed his word from it. But the fourSanta Veronica at Rome. It should seem from Dante's words (at the time when much people went to eption of Beatrice had dawned upon the mind of Dante, dim as yet, or purposely made to seem so, andy of the late Lord Vernon, to whom students of Dante are also indebted for the parallel-text reprinrporated itself. It was to make its avatar in Dante. To understand fully what he accomplished we ence of the mediatorial God. But what gives Dante's poem a peculiar claim to the title of the fi higher plane on which we can believe and see. Dante had discovered the incalculable worth of a sinspeare be the most comprehensive intellect, so Dante is the highest spiritual nature that has exprenot its beauty nor the other its severity,—and Dante has done it. As he takes possession of it we s[128 more...]
James Russell Lowell, Among my books, Spenser (search)
onomy, the small politics of a provincial city of the Middle Ages, mix in at will Grecian, Roman, and Christian mythology, and tell me what chance there is to make an immortal poem of such an incongruous mixture. Can these dry bones live? Yes, Dante can create such a soul under these ribs of death that one hundred and fifty editions of his poem shall be called for in these last sixty years, the first half of the sixth century since his death. Accordingly I am apt to believe that the complaiyle of which I have been speaking seems to be as glad to get a pack of impertinences on its shoulders as Christian in the Pilgrim's Progress was to be rid of his. One strong verse that can hold itself upright (as the French critic Rivarol said of Dante) with the bare help of the substantive and verb, is worth acres of this dead cord-wood piled stick on stick, a boundless continuity of dryness. I would rather have written that half-stanza of Longfellow's, in the Wreck of the Hesperus, of the bi