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James Russell Lowell, Among my books 4 0 Browse Search
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James Russell Lowell, Among my books, Dante. (search)
of so many years speaks of his soul as a guest,—glad to be gone, doubtless. The exile, whose sharpest reproaches of Florence are always those of an outraged lover, finds it bitter that even his unconscious bones should lie in alien soil. Giovanni Villani, the earliest authority, and a contemporary, thus sketches him: This man was a great scholar in almost every science, though a layman; was a most excellent poet, philosopher, and rhetorician; perfect, as well in composing and versifying as iight, that his allusion (Inferno, XIII. 28-33) to a device of Boniface VIII. for passing the crowds quietly across the bridge of Saint Angelo, renders it not unlikely that he was in Rome at that time, and perhaps conceived his poem there as Giovanni Villani his chronicle. That Rome would deeply stir his mind and heart is beyond question. And certes I am of a firm opinion that the stones that stand in her walls are worthy of reverence, and the soil where she sits worthy beyond what is preached