d his admirers even in that flippant century: There are found among us, and in the eighteenth century, people who strive to admire imaginations so stupidly extravagant and barbarous.
Corresp. gen., Oeuvres, Tome LVII. pp. 80, 81. Elsewhere he says that the Commedia was an odd poem, but gleaming with natural beauties, a work in which the author rose in parts above the bad taste of his age and his subject, and full of passages written as purely as if they had been of the time of Ariosto and Tasso.
Essai sur les moeurs, Oeuvres, Tome XVII. pp. 371, 372. It is curious to see this antipathetic fascination which Dante exercised over a nature so opposite to his own.
At the beginning of this century Chateaubriand speaks of Dante with vague commendation, evidently from a very superficial acquaintance, and that only with the Inferno, probably from Rivarol's version.
Genie du Christianisme, Cap. IV. Since then there have been four or five French versions in prose or verse, including
reaches its climax in the Paradise Lost.
He produces his effects by dilating our imaginations with an impalpable hint rather than by concentrating them upon too precise particulars.
Thus in a famous comparison of his, the fleet has no definite port, but plies stemming nightly toward the pole in a wide ocean of conjecture.
He generalizes always instead of specifying,— the true secret of the ideal treatment in which he is without peer, and, though everywhere grandiose, he is never turgid.
Tasso begins finely with
Chiama gli abitator della ombre eterne II rauco suon della tartarea tromba; Treman le spaziose atre caverne, E la aer cieco a quel rurtiar rumor,???mbombaZZZ but soon spoils all by condescending to definite comparisons with thunder and intestinal convulsions of the earth; in other words, he is unwary enough to give us a standard of measurement, and the moment you furnish Imagination with a yardstick she abdicates in favor of her statistical poor-relation Commonplace.