rtus Magnus, seven; Boethius, six; Plato (at second-hand), four; Aquinas, Avicenna, Ptolemy, the Digest, Lucan, and Ovid, three each; Virgil, Juvenal, Statius, Seneca, and Horace, twice each; and Algazzali, Alfrogan, Augustine, Livy, Orosius, and Homer (at second-hand), once.
Of Greek he seems to have understood little; of Hebrew and Arabic, a few words.
But it was not only in the closet and from books that Dante received his education.
He acquired, perhaps, the better part of it in the strw much more keenly do we feel the parched lips of Master Adam for those rivulets of the Casentino which run down into the Arno, making their channels cool and soft!
His comparisons are as fresh, as simple, and as directly from nature as those of Homer.
See, for example, Inferno, XVII. 127-132; Ib. XXIV. 7-12; Purgatorio, II. 124-129; Ib., III. 79-84; Ib., XXVII. 76-81; Paradiso, XIX. 91-93; Ib. XXI. 34-39; Ib. XXIII. 1-9. Sometimes they show a more subtle observation, as where he compares t
expansion of natural growth in the rich soil of his own mind, wherein the merest stick of a verse puts forth leaves and blossoms.
Here is one of his, suggested by Homer:
Iliad, XVII. 55 seqq. Referred to in Upton's note on Faery Queen, B. I. c. VII. 32.
Into what a breezy couplet trailing off with an alexandrine has Homer's pnrrow, always coming and never come, where ideas shall reign supreme.
Strictly taken, perhaps his world is not much more imaginary than that of other epic poets, Homer (in the Iliad) included.
He who is familiar with medieval epics will be extremely cautious in drawing inferences as to contemporary manners from Homer.
He evidently archaizes like the rest. But I am keeping my readers from the sweetest idealization that love ever wrought:—
Unto this place whenas the elfin knight Approached, him seemed that the merry sound Of a shrill pipe, he playing heard on height, And many feet fast thumping the hollow ground, That through the woods their echo did
ty, but never emulates its pomp.
Keats has caught something of its large utterance, but altogether fails of its nervous severity of phrase.
Cowper's muse (that moved with such graceful ease in slippers) becomes stiff when (in his translation of Homer) she buckles on her feet the cothurnus of Milton.
Thomson grows tumid wherever he assays the grandiosity of his model.
It is instructive to get any glimpse of the slow processes by which Milton arrived at that classicism which sets him apart fe marriage covenant.
If he is blind, it is with excess of light, it is a divine partiality, an overshadowing with angels' wings.
Phineus and Teiresias are admitted among the prophets because they, too, had lost their sight, and the blindness of Homer is of more account than his Iliad.
After writing in rhyme till he was past fifty, he finds it unsuitable for his epic, and it at once becomes the invention of a barbarous age to set off wretched matter and lame metre.
If the structure of his mi