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[15] nowhere alludes to it, as he certainly would have done had he heard of it. According to Balbo, Dante spent the time from August, 1313, to November, 1314, in Pisa and Lucca, and then took refuge at Verona, with Can Grande della Seala (whom Voltaire calls, drolly enough, le grand-can de Verone, as if he had been a Tartar), where he remained till 1318. Foscolo with equal positiveness sends him, immediately after the death of Henry, to Guido da Polenta1 at Ravenna, and makes him join Can Grande only after the latter became captain of the Ghibelline league in December, 1318. In 1316 the government of Florence set forth a new decree allowing the exiles to return on conditions of fine and penance. Dante rejected the offer (by accepting which his guilt would have been admitted), in a letter still hot, after these five centuries, with indignant scorn. β€˜Is this then the glorious return of Dante Alighieri to his country after nearly three lustres of suffering and exile? Did an innocence, patent to all, merit this?β€” this, the perpetual sweat and toil of study? Far from a man, the housemate of philosophy, be so rash and earthen-hearted a humility as to allow himself to be offered up bound like a school-boy or a criminal! Far from a man, the preacher of justice, to pay those who have done him wrong as for a favor! This is not the way of returning to my country; but if another can be found that shall not derogate from the fame and honor of Dante, that I will enter on with no lagging steps. For if by none such Florence may be entered, by me then never! Can I not everywhere behold the mirrors of the sun and stars? speculate on sweetest truths ’

1 A mistake, for Guido did not become lord of Ravenna till several years later. But Boccaccio also assigns 1313 as the date of Dante's withdrawal to that city, and his first protector may have been one of the other Polentani to whom Guido (surnamed Novello, or the Younger; his grandfather having borne the same name) succeeded.

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