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seem, there were large numbers of Americans who honestly believed that they were supporting an enlightened Republic—that of Venezuela !-against a benighted despotism. It did not occur to them that Venezuela is a Republic only in name, and that they were upholding barbarism against civilisation-gross corruption against pure government. The naïve surprise and delight of the boy journalist’ who recently paid us a visit tells a tale. Nothing was as his school-books had led him to expect. The nation which above all others has upheld the cause of human liberty remains unknown to the

in the United States, and in this ignorance there lurks real danger. The isolation of which Captain Mahan complains is not only political but intellectual.

The best, perhaps the only, hope of attaining to that mutual understanding which he and I alike earnestly desire lies in the chance that the Anglo-Saxon race may some day find itself united in the prosecution of a great common object. The Armenian question might have brought about a national rapprochement; the question of the Far East may yet draw the two peoples together. For, although divided on minor matters the importance of which is easily exaggerated, their essential external interests are more closely intertwined than those of any two other Powers. If then the United States, as sooner or later they must, accept the obligations and the responsibilities of a great nation, I believe that the movement will be of happy augury to the progress of the world. But the new policy, the policy of 'looking outwards,' will demand radical administrative changes, the abandonment of some cherished insular ideas, and the modification of a constitution eminently unfitted to meet the requirements of expansion across the seas. It is not a question only of a navy, of coast fortifications, of preparations for war, but of leading the people of the United States to forego their habitual concentration upon their internal affairs and to seek to play a worthy part in moulding the destinies of mankind. Thus arises the vital need of statesmanlike guidance and of fearless speaking, and it is because I have failed to find such guidance so expressed in these essays that I venture to criticise the master to whose brilliant teaching Great Britain is eternally indebted.



If any one, acquainted with the works of Dante, in prose as well as in poetry, and with the principal commentaries on those works, should ask himself the question, How did Dante regard the men and women of pre-Christian times? how did he estimate the value of their lives and works in the history of humanity, the moral character of their actions and writings, and their destiny under the scheme of providence ? and what, if any, reasons does he assign for his conclusions ? he would find the reply to be embarrassed by apparent contradictions. These contradictions appear not only upon a comparison of the utterances on this subject contained in the Sacred Drama with those in such works as the Banquet, but to a certain extent also in the Sacred Drama itself. It is my object in this essay to examine briefly this tangled subject, in the hope that I may induce some more learned or more acute critic than myself to consider the matter, and to make known the results of that consideration for the benefit of English Dantofili.

Dante's view of the position in the Scheme of Salvation of those who, living before the Redemption, are presented to us by the Bible as having known the true God, that God, as he says to Virgil, 'whom thou didst not know,' as exhibited to us in the Sacred Drama, is tolerably simple, and may be dismissed in a few words. The patriarchs of Scripture, the record of whose lives presents no conspicuous civil misconduct, and no obstinate disobedience to the commands, as they understood them, of that God-such as Abraham, Abel, Noah, Isaac, Jacob, and Rachel --were, at the time of the Resurrection, in Limbo, the Border of Hell, the region where no torment is imposed except that of unsatisfied desire. They were taken out of this region by the victorious and triumphant Christ, and translated by him to Paradise. So were also other personages of Scripture, whose lives were less immaculate, such as the man who brought sin into this world and all our woe,' and even his wife' who trusted to the Snake,' King David, and Jacob's sons; some of them being placed in the very highest region of the Heaven of Heavens, in company with the greatest Christian saints, and with the Mother of God. But in that same border region were, at the time of Christ's arrival, the souls of many others of the best and greatest men and women of antiquity, such as Socrates, Cornelia, Seneca, Marcia, and Virgil. And these were not rescued by Christ, but were left by Him to languish for ever in desire without hope.' What, if anything, passed between them and the Conqueror, whether He took any notice of them or they of Him, whether He addressed them, and if so with what result, the Sacred Drama does not expressly tell us, except that they were not among those rescued. So far indeed as Virgil's narrative of what then took place extends, we are rather led to infer that the selection then made was something preordained, and depended, not on what then occurred, but on whether during life those souls had known and 'duly worshipped God. And what the mystic Eagle says, in the 20th Canto of Paradise, concerning the resurrection, conversion, and consequent salvation of the Emperor Trajan, points to the same conclusion. In Hell, that is after death, says the Eagle-in a passage quite misunderstood by Cary, but the true meaning of which is shown by the words of Oderisi, the miniature painter, in the eleventh canto of the Purgatory—that goodwill which is necessary for a saving act of faith cannot be set in motion. It is necessary for that purpose that the soul should return to the body, as was the case with Trajan.

This, then, is the first cardinal principle of Dante's attitude towards Paganism, as set forth in the Sacred Drama; namely, that good Pagans are not saved. And the second principle, startling by its contrast with our fundamental conception of justice, is that bad Pagans are punished with the same torments, and precisely in the same manner in every respect, as bad Christians. I propose to examine these two principles, in detail, by the light both of the Sacred Drama and of the prose writings of Dante.

First, then, as to the doctrine that good Pagans are not saved. To this law there is throughout the Sacred Drama but one exception, at the most, and that a questionable one-namely, in the case of M. Cato the Younger. For the cases of Ripheus the Trojan and the Emperor Trajan are most carefully guarded by the language of the poem from being supposed to be exceptions. Dante finds Ripheus (the Trojan who is described in the Second Æneid as 'justissimus unus qui fuit in Teucris et servantissimus æqui ') and the Emperor Trajan in the Sixth Heaven, forming two of the five bright lights or jewels round the eye of the Eagle; and he breaks out into an exclamation of astonishment at finding there these two Pagans, two men who had died without knowing the true God, and who, therefore, according to the principle above mentioned, had no passport to Heaven. But the divine Bird explains to him that, in truth, those two bright lights did not die as Pagans but as Christians. Ripheus, though he lived before the Advent of Christ, because he directed all his love towards righteousness,' received from God's grace, while yet alive, a special revelation of the coming redemption, was 'persuaded of it and embraced it, so that he had, in fact, the baptism of repentance, or of desire, emerged from the foulness of Paganism,' and died, as St. Thomas of Aquinum might have said, 'an implicit, though not an explicit, Christian.' Trajan also died a Christian. For, though at his first and natural death he was a Pagan, he was restored to life by the prayers of St. Gregory, expressly in order that he might embrace the true faith (which was impossible for a soul once disunited from the body) and be saved ; and he lived just long enough to do so, and to be thus able to receive in Heaven the reward of his great natural goodness. These two cases, then, form no exception to the law. But the case of Cato is not so simple.

When Dante emerged, under Virgil's guidance, from Hell, through the subterranean passage which led from the Earth's centre to the Mountain of Purgatory, after feasting his eyes for a while upon the Southern Cross, he turned towards the North, and saw close to him a solitary old man, with long grey hair and beard, to whom Virgil made him pay the utmost reverence, causing him to kneel and cast down his eyes the whole time that he was in his presence. This was Cato of Utica. He died a Pagan and a suicide, 46 years before the birth of Christ; yet we find him the divinely appointed warder of the outer circle of Purgatory. How and when did he come there ? And what was to be his ultimate destiny at the Great Day when Time and Purgatory should be no more? The Sacred Drama affords no clear reply to these two questions, which, however, it is necessary to consider in order to judge whether Cato's case is to be regarded as an exception to the above-mentioned principle that good Pagans are not saved.

Cary, in a well-known note on the passage which describes this appearance of Cato, says that the commentators, and Lombardi among the rest, might have saved themselves and their readers much needless trouble if they would have consulted the prose writings of Dante with more diligence.' And he proceeds, in support of this criticism, to refer to certain well-known passages in the Banquet. But this criticism shows that Cary did not appreciate the difficulty which the commentators saw plainly, and which no reference to what is said about Cato in the Banquet will solve. The passages in that work which Cary quotes, and others which he does not mention, and to which I propose hereafter to refer, are indeed amply sufficient to explain why Dante did not place Cato with the other self-slain enemies of Cæsar in the jaws of Satan, or even with Piero delle Vigne and other suicides in the Seventh Circle of Hell; but they are by no means sufficient to solve the puzzles which exercise the commentators on Cato's case. Why Dante should have selected a Pagan, a suicide, and the enemy of the Founder of the Empire, instead of a repentant Christian, as the warder of the Ante-Purgatory, how and when Cato was removed from the Border of Hell, whether he is to be reckoned as among those who are ultimately saved, and, if not, what Dante supposes is to become of him when Purgatory ceases to exist, these puzzles are not fully solved by anything that Dante has written either in verse or prose.

The admiration which, in the Banquet, he expresses for Cato's character differs, not in kind but only in degree, and that not a very great degree, from that which he expresses for other worthy Romans from the beginning of the Republic to the time of the Cæsars. Yet he delivers him from Hell, without the justification of a legend of the Church, as in Trajan's case, or of a theory invented by himself, as in that of Ripheus; and he gives to him, a Pagan suicide, the high office of receiving the souls that are brought to Purgatory by an angel of God from the Tiber, and of starting them upon that long course of toil and patient endurance which is to work out their salvation. This is a puzzle which the most diligent consultation of the prose writings of Dante' does not solve.

That Cato was at one time in Limbo we learn from his own words addressed to Virgil. How and when did he pass from that place to the shore of Purgatory ? Scartazzini, in his commentary on this

passage, assumes that it was at the time of Christ's descent into Hell, and that he was removed from Limbo at the same time as the Patriarchs. But, if I might presume to question the conclusions of that most learned and most lucid commentator, I would venture to suggest a doubt of the correctness of this view, for the following reasons:

'I was,' says Virgil,' a novice in this estate' (that is to say, he had been about fifty years in Limbo), “when I beheld a Mighty One coming to us, crowned with token of victory' (that is, surely, with a garland of bays, and not, as Mr. Vernon in his interesting Readings says, with the Cross). 'He took from us the Shade of our first Parent' (and then follows an enumeration of Biblical Patriarchs) and many others, and made them blessed' (e fecegli beati); that is, ' took them with him to Paradise.' This word blessed' is the technical term throughout the Sacred Drama for souls in Heaven. It is, I believe, never applied to souls in any lower condition, not even to those in the Earthly Paradise, the highest region of Purgatory, much less to one who, like Cato, was only on its uttermost shore. On the contrary, the ' blessed' are strongly contrasted by Virgil, when he first proposes to Dante to accompany him, with those in Purgatory. . And then' (that is, after passing through Hell), thou shalt see those that are content in the fire, because they hope to come, be it when it may’(that is, after a trial the duration of which is uncertain, but which nevertheless must ultimately end—not, as Mr. Vernon renders it, whenever it may be the Will of God'), ‘to the blessed folk. And then he proceeds to explain that he is unable, and why he is unable to conduct him to that region. Spirits in purgatory are styled

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