previous next
[53] Dante's thought. When his ancestor Cacciaguida prophesies to him the life which is to be his after 1300,1 he says, speaking of his exile:—

And that which most shall weigh upon thy shoulders
Will be the bad and foolish company
With which into this valley thou shalt fall;

Of their bestiality their own proceedings
Shall furnish proof; so 't will be well for thee
A party to have made thee by thyself.

Here both context and grammatical construction (infallible guides in a writer so scrupulous and exact) imply irresistibly that Dante had become a party by himself before his exile. The measure adopted by the Priors of Florence while he was one of them (with his assent and probably by his counsel), of sending to the frontier the leading men of both factions, confirms this implication. Among the persons thus removed from the opportunity of doing mischief was his dearest friend Guido Cavalcanti, to whom he had not long before addressed the Vita Nuova.2 Dante evidently looked back with satisfaction on his conduct at this time, and thought it both honest and patriotic, as it certainly was disinterested. ‘We whose country is the world, as the ocean to the fish,’ he tells us, ‘though we drank of the Arno in infancy, and love Florence so much that, because we loved her, we suffer exile unjustly, support the shoulders of our judgment rather upon reason than the senses.’3 And again, speaking of old

1 Paradise, XVII. 61-69.

2 It is worth mentioning that the sufferers in his Inferno are in like manner pretty exactly divided between the two parties. This is answer enough to the charge of partiality. He even puts persons there for whom he felt affection (as Brunetto Latini) and respect (as Farinata degli Uberti and Frederick II.). Till the French looked up their Mss., it was taken for granted that the beccajo di Parigi (Purgatorio, XX. 52) was a drop of Dante's gall. ‘Ce fu Huez Capez ca on apelle bouchier.’ Hugues Capet, p. 1.

3 De Vulgari Eloquio, Lib. I. Cap. VI. Cf. Inferno, XV. 61-64,

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Florence (Italy) (2)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Jacopo Di Dante (4)
Vita Nuova (1)
I. Lib (1)
I. Cap (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1300 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: