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[89] illumination of divine Grace cannot be trusted, and accordingly the intervention of Beatrice was needed,— of Beatrice, as Miss Rossetti admirably well expresses it, ‘already transfigured, potent not only now to charm and soothe, potent to rule; to the Intellect a light, to the Affections a compass and a balance, a sceptre over the Will.’

The wood obscure in which Dante finds himself is the world.1 The three beasts who dispute his way are the sins that most easily beset us, Pride, the Lusts of the Flesh, and Greed. We are surprised that Miss Rossetti should so localize and confine Dante's meaning as to explain them by Florence, France, and Rome. Had he written in so narrow a sense as this, it would indeed be hard to account for the persistent power of his poem. But it was no political pamphlet that Dante was writing. Subjectum est Homo, and it only takes the form of a diary by Dante Alighieri because of the intense realism of his imagination, a realism as striking in the Paradiso as the Inferno, though it takes a different shape. Everything, the most supersensual, presented itself to his mind, not as abstract idea, but as visible type. As men could once embody a quality of good in a saint and see it, as they even now in moments of heightened fantasy or enthusiasm can personify their country and

1 In a more general view, matter, the domain of the senses, no doubt with a recollection of Aristotle's ὕλη.

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