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[18] life, like that of selected souls always, had been a warfare, calls heaven another camp,—a better one, thank God! The wanderer 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 in haranguing; a most noble speaker. . . . This Dante, on account of his learning, was a little haughty, and shy, and disdainful, and like a philosopher almost ungracious, knew not well how to deal with unlettered folk.’ Benvenuto da Imola tells us that he was very abstracted, as we may well believe of a man who carried the Commedia in his brain. Boccaccio paints him in this wise: ‘Our poet was of middle height; his face was long, his nose aquiline, his jaw large, and the lower lip protruding somewhat beyond the upper; a little stooping in the shoulders; his eyes rather large than small; dark of complexion; his hair and beard thick, crisp, and black; and his countenance always sad and thoughtful. His garments were always dignified; the style such as suited ripeness of years; his gait was grave and gentlemanlike; and his bearing, whether public or private, wonderfully composed and polished. In meat and drink he was most temperate, nor was ever any more zealous in study or whatever other pursuit. Seldom spake he, save when spoken to, though a most eloquent person. In his youth he delighted especially in music and singing, and was intimate with almost all the singers and musicians of his day. He was much inclined to solitude, ’

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