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[83] then in being esteemed of men (‘to be clothed in purple, .... to sit next to Darius,.... and be called Darius his cousin’), then in power,1 then in the riches of the Holy Spirit in larger and larger measure.2 He, too, had found that there was but one straight road, whether to the Terrestrial Paradise or the Celestial City, and may come to question by and by whether they be not parallel one with the other, or even parts of the same road, by which only repose is to be reached at last. Then, when in old age ‘the noble soul returns to God as to that port whence she set forth on the sea of this life, . . . . just as to him who comes from a long journey, before he enters into the gate of his city, the citizens thereof go forth to meet him, so the citizens of the eternal life go to meet her, and do so because of her good deeds and contemplations, who, having already betaken herself to God, seems to see those whom she believes to be nigh unto God.’3 This also was to be the experience of Dante, for who can doubt that the Paradiso was something very unlike a poetical exercise to him who appeals to the visions even of sleep as proof of the soul's immortality?

When did his soul catch a glimpse of that certainty in which ‘the mind that museth upon many things’

1 Dante several times uses the sitting a horse as an image of rule. See especially Purgatorio, VI. 99, and Convito, Tr. IV. c. 11.

2 ‘O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God!’ Dante quotes this in speaking of the influence of the stars, which, interpreting it presently ‘by the theological way,’ he compares to that of the Holy Spirit. ‘And thy counsel who hath known, except thou give wisdom and send thy Holy Spirit from above?’ (Wisdom of Solomon, IX. 17.) The last words of the Convito are, ‘her [Philosophy] whose proper dwelling is in the depths of the Divine mind.’ The ordinary reading is ragione (reason), but it seems to us an obvious blunder for magione (mansion, dwelling).

3 Convito, Tr. IV. c. 28.

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Pietro Di Dante (3)
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