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[74] Lady was already Philosophy, but philosophy applied to a lower range of thought, not yet ascended from flesh to spirit. The Lady who seduced him was the science which looks for truth in second causes, or even in effects, instead of seeking it, where alone it can be found, in the First Cause; she was the Philosophy which looks for happiness in the visible world (of shadows), and not in the spiritual (and therefore substantial) world. The guerdon of his search was doubt. But Dante, as we have seen, made his very doubts help him upward toward certainty; each became a round in the ladder by which he climbed to clearer and clearer vision till the end.1 Philosophy had made him forget Beatrice; it was Philosophy who was to bring him back to her again, washed clean in that very stream of forgetfulness that had made an impassable barrier between them.2 Dante had known how to find in her the gift of Achilles's lance,

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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