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[51] and again embraces him and calls the mother that bore him blessed, when he bids Filippo Argenti begone among the other dogs.1 This latter case shocks our modern feelings the more rudely for the simple pathos with which Dante makes Argenti answer when asked who he was, ‘Thou seest I am one that weeps.’ It is also the one that makes most strongly for the theory of Dante's personal vindictiveness,2 and it may count for what it is worth. We are not greatly concerned to defend him on that score, for he believed in the righteous use of anger, and that baseness was its legitimate quarry. He did not think the Tweeds and Fisks, the political wire-pullers and convention-packers, of his day merely amusing, and he certainly did think it the duty of an upright and thoroughly trained citizen to speak out severely and unmistakably. He believed firmly, almost fiercely, in a divine order of the universe, a conception whereof had been vouchsafed him, and that whatever and whoever hindered or jostled it, whether wilfully or blindly it mattered not, was to be got out

1 Inferno, VIII 40.

2 ‘I following her (Moral Philosophy) in the work as well as the passion, so far as I could, abominated and disparaged the errors of men, not to the infamy and shame of the erring, but of the errors.’ (Convito, Tr. IV. c. 1.) ‘Wherefore in my judgment as he who defames a worthy man ought to be avoided by people and not listened to, so a vile man descended of worthy ancestors ought to be hunted out by all.’ (Convito, Tr. IV. c. 29.)

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