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James Russell Lowell, Among my books 1 1 Browse Search
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James Russell Lowell, Among my books, Dante. (search)
ce had been out of which Dante had constructed his theory. It is to be looked on as a purely scholastic demonstration of a speculative thesis, in which the manifold exceptions and modifications essential in practical application are necessarily left aside. Dante almost forestalls the famous proposition of Calvin, that it is possible to conceive a people without a prince, but not a prince without a people, when he says, Non enim gens propter regem, sed e converso rex propter genterm. Jean de Meung had already said,— Ge n'en met hors rois ne prelasQu'il sunt tui serf au menu pueple. Roman de la Rose (ed. Meon), V. II. pp. 78, 79. And in his letter to the princes and peoples of Italy on the coming of Henry VII., he bids them obey their prince, but so as freemen preserving their own constitutional forms. He says also expressly: Aninmadvertendum sane, quod cum dicitur humanum genus potest regi per unum supremum principem, non sic intelligendum est ut ab illo uno prodire possint