they lived, Dante seems morally isolated and to have drawn his inspiration almost wholly from his own internal reserves.
Of his mastery in style we need say little here.
Of his mere language, nothing could be better than the expression of Rivarol: His verse holds itself erect by the mere force of the substantive and verb, without the help of a single epithet.
We will only add a word on what seems to us an extraordinary misapprehension of Coleridge, who disparages Dante by comparing his Lucifer with Milton's Satan.
He seems to have forgotten that the precise measurements of Dante were not prosaic, but absolutely demanded by the nature of his poem.
He is describing an actual journey, and his exactness makes a part of the verisimilitude.
We read the Paradise Lost as a poem, the Commedia as a record of fact; and no one can read Dante without believing his story, for it is plain that he believed it himself.
It is false aesthetics to confound the grandiose with the imaginative.