Chapter 20: Dante
We come now to that great task which Longfellow
, after an early experiment, had dropped for years, and which he resumed after his wife's death, largely for the sake of an absorbing occupation.
Eighteen years before, November 24, 1843, he had written to Ferdinand Freiligrath
that he had translated sixteen cantos of Dante
, and there seems no reason to suppose that he had done aught farther in that direction until this new crisis.
After resuming the work, he translated for a time a canto as each day's task, and refers to this habit in his sonnet on the subject, where he says—
I enter here from day to day,
And leave my burden at this minster gate.
The work was not fully completed until 1866, and was published in part during the following year.
The whole picture of the manner in which the work was done has long been familiar to the literary world, including the pleasing glimpse of