Imágenes de páginas

earth to the last moment. An angel es-step approach nearer to its confines. corts the wanderers over three thresholds, Whenever a soul has completed its purifiwhich represent the three stages of peni- cation, a trembling of the whole mountain tence, (confessio, contritio, and satisfactio,) announces its entrance into Heaven.* Havthrough the gate of repentance, and, in or- ing reached the Terrestrial Paradise, on der that he may think of the seven mortal | the summit of the mountain, Dante sees in sins, cuts the letter P (peccata) seven times a great vision, the Church triumphant, unupon his forehead with his sword. The der the image of a triumphal car drawn mountain itself has seven broad terraces by a griffon, representing Christ. Beatrice cut into its sides, and on these dwell the now descends from Heaven, and appears penitent. The different penances corre- to him in the car, and takes the place of spond with the punishments of Hell, in in- Virgil, who is not permitted to tread the verted order. In Hell Dante descended courts of Heaven, as his conductor. She from the lesser to the greater transgres- represents to him, in strong language, his sions ; in Purgatory he leads us from the errors, and exhorts him to bathe in the greater sins and penances upwards to those brook Lethe, that he may forget all evil of less enormity. The sins for which pen- and all past afflictions. A second vision ance is done here, are the same which are displays to him the corruption of the punished there; but with this difference, Church. In this Beatrice prophecies to him that we have to do here with contrite, but its restoration, and causes him to drink there with obdurate souls. As in Hell, conversion from the brook Eunoë, wheresin and punishment, so in Purgatory, sin by he becomes capable of rising upward and penance, stand in a causal relation to Heaven. tward one another; but the relation here Lightly now, as upon the wings of light, is one of opposition, sin being destroyed, Dante Alies upward through the different since the will is brought to break and yield, portions of the Celestial Paradise, and in direct contrariety to what it was before. marks his progress only by the higher gloThe proud, who fill the first and lowest ry of his exalted companion.

In acterrace, are compelled to totter under huge cordance with the Ptolemaic system, he stones, in order that they may learn hu- places Paradise in the heavenly bodies mility. The indolent, in the fourth terrace, known at that time, and views them as ire compelled to be constantly and active transparent spheres, rolling around the y walking. In the fifth, the avaricious earth with different degrees of velocity, so ind prodigal, their hands tied together, that those which are nearest move slowie with their faces in the dust, weeping est, while the most distant revolve with ind wailing. In the sixth, gluttons are the greatest rapidity. He reminds us, ompelled to suffer hunger and thirst, in however, that the Planet-Heaven indicates iew of a tree richly laden with fruits, and only the different stages of felicity, and of a fresh flowing fountain, like Tantalus, that the proper seat of blessedness is the intil they have learned moderation. In Empyrean.I Between the different abodes he seventh, the licentious wander about and their inhabitants, and the grade of n flames, that their sensual passion may their felicity, there is again an intimate corse purged from them by fire.

respondence. Paradise consists of three At the entrance into every circle, the chief regions, the Star-Heaven, the Crystal ngel who conducts them obliterates one Heaven, and the Empyrean. With the seven f the P's upon the forehead of the poet. subdivisions of the first, it comprehends n the same measure also his ascent be- ten places of abode for the blessed, whereomes easier at every terrace. In place by is indicated the fullness and perfection f the fearful darkness, he is here lighted of Paradise. The Star-Heaven consists of n his way by the three stars of the theo- the seven planets, and the fixed stars. gical virtues, Faith, Love and Hope. In According to the view and arrangement of lace of the heart-rending lamentations of that age, the seven stars were the followne damned, he hears here the ever sweet- ing :-First the moon; this is first reached • sounding tones of the hymns of salvaon, as sung by the souls which are long

* Purgat. xvi. 58 ff. gly gazing towards Paradise, and step by + Parad. xxi. 7 ff.

#Parad. iv. 37.

by Dante, after passing through the region point—the Divinity. Now Dante nears of air and fire, and he here sees the souls the pinnacle of glory and blessedness, the of those who did not quite fulfil their spir- Empyrean, which, in itself immovable, is itual vows. Second, Mercury, where dwell yet the original cause of all movement. the souls of those who, although virtuous, For God is without longing for anything yet strove in their bodily life after earthly that is without him, but yet gives forth all fame. Third, Venus, which contains life from himself. The poet here sees all spirits that in their pious strivings were not those blessed spirits, which, like innumerasufficiently free from earthly love. Fourth, ble leaves, form an endless sweet-scented the Sun, which holds a middle position rose. Beatrice now leaves him, to resume among the stars, sending forth its rays her place among the blessed. The godly equally in all directions, and which is the Shystic, the holy Bernard of Clairvaux, now clearest mirror of God for the inhabitants stands by his side, and, on his request, perof the earth. Here reside the most worthy mits him one fearful gaze upon the Godtheologians and doctors of the Church, head. He beholds three circles of equal (comp. Dan. xii. 3, Matt. viii. 43.) Thomas circumference, but of different colors; one Aquinas, Bonaventura, Francis of Assissi, of these exhibits a human countenance. instruct the poet in the mysteries of salva- The pen refuses its office ; his spirit is, as tion, and the depth of the Divinity. Fifth, it were, electrified by a sudden shock; and Mars, the abode of the blessed heroes who he is inexpressibly happy in the contemhave fought for the true faith. These plation of the Love of the Trinity, which 1. shine as stars, and are arranged in the form lumines the sun and the stars, gives heaven of a bright cross, from the midst of which and earth their motions, fills Time and Eterbeams forth the form of Christ. Sixth, nity, and draws from the choir of the blessed Jupiter, the star of justice, (a Jove justitia,) and angels an endless song of praise. where are found the souls of just and Thus have we attempted to give a bridi righteous princes. These are arranged so sketch of this poem, in its organic units. as to express, in the first place, the words, It is a mirror of the universe ; a “mystis Diligite justitiam, qui judicatis mundum ; unfathomable song," as Tieck calls it. Its afterwards in the form of an eagle, as the “encyclopædic” in its very nature, as Fillsymbol of the German empire, in which main well remarks in his tableau de la Litté Dante saw the concentration of secular rature du Moyen Age, because it carries is power according to divine institution. Sev- its bosom “a complete history of the science enth, Saturn, where reside the pious her- and poetry of its time.” If we cast a glass mits and contemplative souls, which like once more at the mutual relation of the flames are constantly ascending and de- separate parts, we shall be struck with the scending a ladder. Dante reaches now profound truth of the bint first given by the fixed-star-heaven. Here, in a vision, Schelling, that the first is sculptural, the he sees the triumph of Christ and the Vir- second picturesque, and the third musical gin Mary, and is instructed in the nature in accordance with the subjects theres of Faith by the apostle Peter, in the treated.* Hell is an immense group nature of Hope by James, and in the na- sharply defined statues, of dusky, shadowy ture of Love by John. This last Dante forms, fearful monuments of Divine jis explains to be that which gives Heaven its tice, illuminated by the torch of poetry. peace—the Alpha and the Omega of the Purgatory is a gallery of variegated pie Holy Scriptures. It arises from a knowl-tures, opening, in an endless perspective edge of God, who is Love itself. It is into Heaven. Paradise is a harmonica

port that he becomes aware of unison of the music of the spheres, så being in possession of the true apostolic the song of praise of the blessed ration faith, over which Heaven exults, and creation : here all swims in light; bere the blessed spirits shout for joy. In the is feeling, sound, Hallelujah. The poes ninth sphere, the Crystal Heaven, or pri- opens with the cry of despair; it tori mum mobile, he sees the eternal hierarchy forward through the sadness of longias. of angels who rule the nine heavenly it closes with the jubilee of bliss. spheres, and move in nine concentric cir

In the Critical Journal of Philosophy, issued cles around a bright, light-giving central | him in conjunction with Hegel, Vol. II.

with tra

III. What, we may now ask, in the also a description of human life in general, third place, is the proper object of the Di- in its course from the world towards God, vina Commedia ? We do not mean to from time towards eternity, from sin speak of its object or use, in the common towards holiness, from misery towards sense of the term. Poetry, like Philoso- bliss." It is, we may say, a poetical phy and Religion, is no mere means to * Pilgrim's Progress from this world to serve some object lying out of itself. It that which is to come.” The way of salis its own end, bearing its absolute worth vation leads, for all, through the knowledge in itself, and hence to be sought after for of sin, (Inferno,) through the pains of penits own sake. Nor does it aim at any itence, (Purgatorio,) and through the conspecial practical use, but is sufficient in templation of the mercy and glory of God itself

, and moves in the ether of liberty. and the salvation of his saints, (Paradiso.) But precisely on account of this high po- On this way towards saving knowledge, sition, it is more than merely useful and man is not left to himself, but, on the serviceable in the common sense. In using contrary, he has for his guide history, or the term object, then, we mean something tradition in its widest and best sense, which immanent, that cannot be separated at all God himself uses as his instrument. This from the poem itself, and is identical with leads us to remark on the meaning of the ts proper sense. Dante himself makes it companions of Dante in his journey to the o consist in this : to lead the living out of other world. These are three : Virgil, he condition of misery into the condition | Beatrice, and Bernard of Clairvaux. Virof happiness.* He himself had, out of gil is the representative of human wisdom is errors, which he represents under the and natural virtue. The scholastic theorm of a dark forest, at the commence- ology did not look upon heathenism as nent of the poem, led by a higher hand, altogether without truth, but as irradiated nd through the contemplation of eternity in some measure, remotely at least, by the nd the whole world, sub specie æterni- beams of the Logos; and the system of atis, found rest for the out-goings of his Roman Catholicism, as a whole, it is well onging soul, in the peace-giving garden of known, has taken up into its own life much Christ, the object of his desire. I So far of heathenism itself even, under a Chrisne Divine Comedy is a history of his er- tian form. In general, too, classical literors and his deliverance. On this account ature still forms the foundation of all higher e represents himself as in Hell, a partici- scientific culture. Dante has interwoven ant and deeply interested spectator; in into the first part of his poem manifold urgatory as a penitent, to whom the first elements of Grecian and Roman mythology, eps were immensely difficult, and from which is sufficient to show, that he did not hose heart the seven mortal sins, like the regard it as purely error. Aristotle was ven P's upon his forehead, pass away generally regarded during the middle oly gradually and through actual pen- ages, as the highest representative of mereice. Then first does he become worthy ly human wisdom. Hence his philosophy

obtaining, as a foretaste, a glimpse of forms the foundation of the whole schoat blessedness, of which he also is once lastic theology. It was usual to compare become a participant. But to this sub- him with the morning-dawn, ushering in ctive meaning of the poem, we must add the sun of Christianity, Hence he was so its objective. For in Dante's heart called the heathen John the Baptist,f the d life is mirrored forth the whole world, precursor Christi in naturalibus ; and there d in this view, the Divine Comedy is was no end to the praises of his acuteness

In his letter to Cangrande: Finis totius et par. * In the letter of Dante, already quoted, he says: (namely, Paradiso especially) est, removere Est subjectum totius operis litteraliter tantum acentes in hac vita de statu miseriæ et perducere cepti siarus animarum post mortem simpliciter statum felicitatis, (Epist. Dantis, Ed. Witte, p. sumplus. Nam de illo et circa illum totius operis

The false views of the tendeucy of the poem versatur processus. Si vero opus accipiatur allegole been carefully refused by Blanc, in his article, ricè, subjectum est homo, prout merendo e deme. ady cited, in Ersch and Gruber's Encyclopædia, rendo per arbitrii libertatem justitiæ præmiandi et ol. 23, p. 64 ff.

puniendi obnoxius est, Parad. xxvi. 8; xxvi. 64.

+ Comp. Inf. i. 65, where gran deserto, referring to Purgat. xxiv. 76-78.

Virgil, may perhaps allude to the “vox clamantis Purgat. xxxij. 100; Parad. v. 105 ; XXX. 135. in deserto; parate viam Domini."

and profundity. But Dante chose Virgil | he makes uncertain and timid steps, and in preference to Aristotle as the represen- calls himself a stranger who is unactative of human wisdom, for the following quainted with the way. Hence he him. reasons probably. In the first place Vir- self needs the guidance of angels from gil was a poetical personage, and hence a terrace to terrace. On the mountain of much more suitable conductor and ex- Purgatory Virgil is hence the representapounder in a poem than the abstract phi- tive, not of the common Paganism, but of losopher Aristotle. And then also, Dante that which in prophetic anticipation goes stood to Virgil in the near relation of a beyond itself. grateful scholar.* By his means had he Having reached the summit of the developed his poetical talent, and could mount of purification, Virgil is compelled hence call him “sweet father.”+ Further, to return, and the office of conductor is Virgil, in the sixth book of the Æneid, gives now fulfilled by a higher spirit. For Poia description of the spiritual world as far losophy can come only to the threshold of as Elysium, (which Dante regards as, to a revelation ; God himself and the proper certain extent, a shadowy picture of the blessedness of the soul, the natural man is Terrestrial Paradise,) and comes even to a unable to comprehend. Beatrice, who aecertain kind of Purgatory.I Hence it was companies our poet through Paradi-e, is also customary to look upon this book as evidently the representative of Theolos prophetical of Christianity. And lastly, (which rests upon Divine revelation,) or if Virgil was highly celebrated during the Christian Wisdom. Since the centre of middle ages, as the singer of proud, this, and the chief object of its knowledge heathen Rome, in which Dante saw a is the love of God, subjectively and type of the world-dominion of the Chris- jectively, (that of God towards men, ar: tian Papacy.

men towards God,) Beatrice is well suim Virgil, then, is the representative here to be its representative; for in ber, Daa". of worldly wisdom. He comes not of his as a boy had already seen the ideal of : own accord to Dante, but as sent by Bea- pure ethereal love, and through her first trice, who has been incited thereto by had his sense for poetry and a hige Saint Lucia, at the desire of the Virgin world unfolded itself. I Saint Bernama Mary, the symbol of sympathetic, prevent- lastly, is the representative of mystic o". ing, and intercessory grace. This is templation, which is required necessa intended to show that even heathen wis. by the scholastic theology as its pret dom stands under the guidance of a higher complement. In opposition to the schia influence, and is compelled to become sub- tic Abelard, who drew everything di servient to revelation. He accompanies into the sphere of the dialectic understa. the singer of the Divine Comedy through ing, his motto was: “God is known a Hell and Purgatory, for natural reason and far as he is loved.” The contemplada philosophy may bring men to a certain of the pious heart, according to knowledge of themselves in the state of stands even higher than Faith its sin, punishment, and penitence. But it is Hence it is he that leads Dante to 2 plain, at the same time, that Virgil is most upon the Trinity, after preparing human at home in Hell. Here he takes sure steps. for it by previous prayer. “Ben so il cammin,” says he: ("I know IV. In conclusion, it remains stili the way well.”). Only in that region cast a glance on the relation of Dial!! where Hell has changed its form, by rea- Protestantism. This sublime poet son of the earthquake at Christ's death, urally not been wanting in internas is he forced to inquire the way. In Purgatory, on the other hand, he finds himself

* Purg. ii. 61-63. more in the sphere of mere presentiment;

E Virgilio rispose: voi credete
Forse, che siamo esperti di esto loco;

Ma uoi sem peregrin, come voi siete. . Inf. i. 85-87.

† Purgat. xvii. 46-48; xxxiii. 30. CE 7 Inf. viii. 109; Purgat. xxvii. 52.

xxxi. 130. where the three so called the

virtues, Faith, Love, and Hope, dance stig Ś Inf. ii 52 ff. 95 ff.

around Beatrice. Inf. ix. 30

I lof. ii. 103; Purg xxx. 121-123. Inf. xii. 91-94 ; xxiii. 127-132.

Ś Parad. xxx. 147-151.

B, vị. 135-147.

who use him as a weapon against Protes- | ically, to the Catholic Church of the midtantism, as though belonging exclusively dle ages, of which he may be regarded to the Roman Church. The ablest inter- as the poetical representative. His theolpreter of this kind is the Frenchman, Dr. ogy, especially the eschatology, apart from Ozanam, a jurist, whose work has also the formal additions of a poetic fancy, been translated into the German.* He agrees with the scholastic, whose object even goes so far as to put Luther on a par was, as is well known, to justify the tradiwith the Monk Dolcino, whom Dante pla- tion of the Roman Catholic Church, in its ces in the eighth circle of Hell, among the whole compass. In accordance with this, disturbers of the peace.f Some on the he sees in the papacy also a divine instituother hand, with a profound and thorough tion. He regards the Roman Bishop as knowledge of Danté, have attempted to lay the successor of St. Peter, the chief shepclaim to his work in favor of the reforma- herd of the Church.* But on the other tion, especially so Goschelf and Graul.ş hand, he is no friend of the absolute power Nay, some have even gone so far as to at of the Pope. He does not regard him as tribute to Dante a prophecy of Luther, standing above a General Council of Bishsince Veltro, the grayhound, under the ops, and as being infallible separately figure of which Virgil predicts to our taken. For in the eleventh song of the poet a reformer that was soon to arise in Inferno (v. 7–9) we meet with a heretical the Church, has the signification anagram. Pope, Anatasius, of the fifth century, who, matically of L V TER O; and the Flor- as the story goes, had denied the divine entine Landino, in his commentary on the nature of Christ. Besides, Dante will Divine Comedy, which appeared in 1481, allow to the Popes only the spiritual sucalculates that the birth of this reformer, premacy of the Church, assigning the temaccording to the passage in Purgat. xxx. poral to the German Emperor. His histo31, would take place on the 25th Nov., rico-philosophical view was this. In anti1484, which coincided almost with the quity, there were two chosen nations, a date of Luther's birth, (10th Nov., 1483.) spiritual and a secular one. The Jewish This, to be sure, is a mere conceit, although nation was chosen to prepare the way for a remarkable coincidence. Under the the introduction of the Church of Christ, swift grayhound, Dante understands Can- and its spiritual head; the Roman nation, grande della Scala, (can means hound,) whose authority in secular matters even who afterwards became the chief of the Christ acknowledged, was chosen to preGhibelline party in Italy ; and he at that pare the way for the introduction of the ime indulged in the pleasing hope, that Christian state, and its imperial head. le, in connection with the German Empe- Both branches of history united in Chrisor, might put an end to the pernicious tianity, and its middle point, Rome, but ecular dominion of Rome.

under two sceptres: to the Pope belongs There is no doubt but that Dante, in his the spiritual supremacy of the church undamental religious views, belongs, rad- and its Bishops; to the German Roman Em

peror, the secular supremacy of the Chris

tian States and their princes. Hence he Dante et la Philosophie Catholique au Treizième iècle. Par A. T. Ozanarn. Paris, 1839. With im agrees on this point also, Artand de Montor, in * Parad. v. 76; Purg. xvi. 98; Inf. xix., 100, is Historie de Dante Al. Paris, 1811.

103. However strongly Dante inveighs against + Infer. xxviii. 55.

Boniface VIII., (Inf. xix. 52 ff.,) be still regards Bruchstürke aus Dante Aligh.'s Glaubenslehre. his imprisonmeni in Anagui, by Philip the Beautihree articles in Hengstenberg's Evangel. Kirchen- | ful, as a sin against Christ. ilung, 1841.

† This passage was made use of as early as the $ The Divina Commedia of Dante Alighieri, ime of Bellarmin in a Protestant work, which anslated into the German, with historical elucida- had for its object to win Italy for the evangelical ons, &c., by Charles Graul, Leipsig, 1813, P. I. faith through the authority of its greatest poet. It

lv. ff. Comp. his article on Dante, in the Gen- bears the title, Avviso piacevole data alla bella al Repertory for Theological Literature and Italia da un nobile giovane Francese. Comp. Bel. hurch Statistic, by Lie. H. Reuter, Berlin, 1845, larmin's Controv. lib. IV. de Rom. Ponuit. c. 10. b. number, p. 118 ff., and especially 129 and 130. # Comp Purg. xvi., 97-114; 127-129; Parad. Iright, in his English translation, in three vols., vi: 82-90, 91, 92; and Dante's Latin work De Mo

the 'D. Comm. in rhyme, London, 1839-1840, narchia, which was most probably composed beis accompanied it with parallels and elucidations tween the years 1310 and 1313, during the time om Protestant writers ; but the work we have not Henry VII. was endeavoring to restore again the

Imperial authority in Italy.


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