from hearsay only,1
till the time of Spenser
, who, like Milton
fifty years later, shows that he had read his works closely.
Thenceforward for more than a century Dante
became a mere name, used without meaning by literary sciolists.
Lord Chesterfield echoes Voltaire
, and Dr. Drake
in his ‘Literary Hours’2
could speak of Darwin
's ‘Botanic Garden’ as showing the ‘wild and terrible sublimity of Dante
’ The first complete English translation was by Boyd
,—of the Inferno
in 1785, of the whole poem in 1802.
There have been eight other complete translations, beginning with Cary
's in 1814, six since 1850, beside several of the Inferno
Of these that of Longfellow
is the best.
It is only within the last twenty years, however, that the study of Dante
, in any true sense, became at all general.
seems to have been familiar only with the Inferno
. In America Professor Ticknor
was the first to devote a special course of illustrative lectures to Dante
; he was followed by Longfellow
, whose lectures, illustrated by admirable translations, are remembered with grateful pleasure by many who were thus led to learn the full significance of the great Christian poet.
A translation of the Inferno
into quatrains by T. W. Parsons
ranks with the best for spirit, faithfulness, and elegance.
translations of the Inferno
have been published, beside separate volumes of comment and illustration.
We have thus sketched the steady growth of Dante
's fame and influence to a universality unparalleled except in the case of Shakespeare
, perhaps more remarkable if we consider the abstruse and mystical nature of his poetry.
It is to be noted as characteristic