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[54] age, he says: ‘And the noble soul at this age blesses also the times past, and well may bless them, because, revolving them in memory, she recalls her righteous conduct, without which she could not enter the port to which she draws nigh, with so much riches and so great gain.’ This language is not that of a man who regrets some former action as mistaken, still less of one who repented it for any disastrous consequences to himself. So, in justifying a man for speaking of himself, he alleges two examples,—that of Boethius, who did so to ‘clear himself of the perpetual infamy of his exile’; and that of Augustine, ‘for, by the process of his life, which was from bad to good, from good to better, and from better to best, he gave us example and teaching.’1 After middle life, at least, Dante had that wisdom ‘whose use brings with it marvellous beauties, that is, contentment with every condition of time, and contempt of those things which others make their masters.’2 If Dante, moreover, wrote his treatise De Monarchia before 1302, and we think Witte's inference,3 from its style and from the fact that he nowhere alludes to his banishment in it, conclusive on this point, then he was already a Ghibelline in the same larger and unpartisan sense which ever after distinguished him from his Italian contemporaries.

Let, let the Ghibellines ply their handicraft
Beneath some other standard; for this ever
Ill follows he who it and justice parts,

he makes Justinian say, speaking of the Roman eagle.4 His Ghibellinism, though undoubtedly the result of what he had seen of Italian misgovernment, embraced

1 Convito, Tr. IV. c. 23. Ib. Tr. I. c. 2.

2 Convito, Tr. III. c. 13.

3 Opp. Min., ed. Fraticelli, Vol. II. pp. 281 and 283. Witte is inclined to put it even earlier than 1300, and we believe he is right.

4 Paradiso, VI. 103-105.

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