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1 It is to be remembered that Dante has typified the same thing when he describes how Reason (Virgil) first carries him down by clinging to the fell of Satan, and then in the same way upwards again a riveder le stelle. Satan is the symbol of materialism, fixed at the point ‘To which things heavy draw from every side’;as God is Light and Warmth, so is he ‘cold obstruction’; the very effort which he makes to rise by the motion of his wings begets the chilly blast that freezes him more immovably in his place of doom. The danger of all science save the highest (theology) was that it led to materialism. There appears to have been a great deal of it in Florence in the time of Dante. Its followers called themselves Epicureans, and burn in living tombs (Inferno, X.). Dante held them in special horror. ‘Of all bestialities that is the most foolish and vile and hurtful which believes there is no other life after this.’ ‘And I so believe, so affirm, and so am certain that we pass to another better life after this’ (Convito, Tr. II. c. 9). It is a fine divination of Carlyle from the Non han speranza di morte that ‘one day it had risen sternly benign in the scathed heart of Dante that he, wretched, never resting, worn as he was, would shouldj full surely die.’
2 Purgatorio, XXXI. 103.
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