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Now there came, o'er the perturbed waves, Dinanzi polveroso va superbo.
The appearance of the spirits flying
before the angelic vision, is no less viThat 'gainst some forest driving all its
vidly described in one of those origiInight,
nal similies for which this poet is so rePlucks off the branches, beats them down, markable; and the calm conscious power and burls
of the angel, and the painful feeling Afar; then, onward passing, proudly which he seems to have, of some highSweeps .
er office interrupted, probably, by this Its whirlwind rage, while beasts and shep opposition of the infernal spirits to herds fly.
the will of the Deity, are all brou ht Mine eyes he loosed, and spake," And
before us in a few words, and painted now direct Thy visual nerve along that ancient foam,
at once to the eye and to the minil. There thickest where the smoke ascends."
Within the city, the first circle As frogs
is that of the heretics, who are Before their foe, the serpent, through the laid in open coffins, surrounded by Wave
flame. The poet has some livePly swiftly all, till at the ground each one ly dialogues with several of these Lies on a heap; more than a thousand personages, who had been very emispirits
nent in their day; but we must proDestroyed, so saw I fleeing before one ceed more rapidly than our inclination Who pass'd with unwet feet the Stygian
would lead us to do. On the verge sound.
of a high bank, which descended to He, from his face removing the gross air, Oft his left hand forth stretched, and seem
the next circle, he is instructed by his
master in the various gracations of ed alone By that annoyance Fearied. I perceived
punishment which were next to enThat he was sent from heaven, and to my
sue ; but a violent fetid smell arising guide
from the abyss below, they took shelTurnd me, who signal made that I should ter, we are told, while they were con
versing, behind the lid of one of Quiet, and bend to him. Ah me! how the coffins. Minute circumstances of full
this kind, which Dante so often introOf noble anger seemed he! To the gate
duces, add much to the air of truth He eame, and with his hand touched it,
which pervades his poem. The puwhereat
nishments which follow are, first, of Open without impediment it few.
those who do violence to others, to The departure of the angel is equal
themselves, or to God and nature. ly grand.
Fraud, however, is, in the poet's view,
still worse than violence, so that the He turnd back o'er the filthy way, whole variety of frauds, ending with And syllable to us spoke none, but wore treachery, forms the next class of crimes, The semblance of a man by other care
and these are punished to the very botBeset and keenly pressed, than thought of tom of the pit. The poets are conveyed him
down the precipice on the back of a Who in his presence stands. Then we our
Centaur, where they find, in a pool of steps Toward that territory mov'd, &c.
boiling blood, all those who have used
violence on the persons of their felWe have made this long quotation, low creatures. The pool is very probecause it is a fair specimen of Dante's perly of different depths, and tyrants peculiar cast of conception and pictur- are consigned with much justice to the ing. His pictures, in general, consist deepest place, where the blood bubof only one or two figures. Here it bles up to their brows. The Centaur is an angel moving through the dark- carries his companions across the lake ness of Hell, over a pitchy lake; at where it is shallowest,--they then first distinguished only by the sound find themselves in a thick wood, the which precedes him, and which is trees of which are peopled by the spie strongly brought to our imagination rits of self-murderers; and, to make in the fine simile of the whirlwind. the scene more horrible, the slaughiThere is in the original here one very tered bodies appear hanging from the expressive line, the force of which Mr branches. This wood skirted a barCary has not been able to reach ren plain; .
There, on the very edge, sources of his materials, are shewn in Our steps we stayed. It was an area wide the ingenious criticism now alluded to Of arid sand, and thick, resembling most to have very little foundation. It is The soil that erst by Cato's foot was trod. a matter of no consequence, indeed, Vengeance of Heaven! Oh! how shouldst
whether the idea of Dante's vision is thou be feared By all, who read what here my eyes bem
her to be found elsewhere, or no. His ori.
ginality does not consist in the general Of naked spirits, many a flock I saw,
notion of visiting Hell, Purgatory, All weeping piteously, to different laws
and Paradise, which most likely may Subjected ; for on the earth some lay su. have occurred to thousands of crazy pine,
monks in their cells ; nor is there any Some crouching close were seated, others great merit in the invention of the paced
incirlents. His merit lies mainly in Incessantly around ; the latter tribe, his forcible and picturesque descripMore numerous, those fewer who beneath tions in which we
tions, in which, we will venture to The torment lay, but louder in their grief.
say, he cannot but be quite original, O'er all the sand fell slowly wafting down
as it is impossible they could be ex Dilated flakes of fire, as flakes of snow On Alpine summit, when the wind is
je ecuted in the same way by any two
different minds. Michael Angelo and hushed. As in the torrid Indian clime, the son Raphael would both be perfectly oriOf Ammon saw upon his warrior band
ginal in their manner of representing Descending, solid flames,
the same subject in painting. Dante So fell the eternal fiery food, wlierewith is the Michael Angelo of poetry. The marle gloved underneath.
The poets are conveyed down a deep Unceasing was the play of wretched hands descent, into the circles of Fraud, on Now this, now that way glancing, to shake the back of the winged monster Geroff
yon. The description of this aërial The heat still falling fresh.
voyage affords another fine exemplificaIn this manner were punished those tion of the little circumstances wbich, in whose pride carried them even to de- the hands of this great master, add so spise the Deity. The chief figure in much to the vividness of his pictures. the picture is Capaneus, one of the seven chiefs who warred against Thebes. As a small vessel, back'ning out from land Dante then meets among an obscure
re Her station quits, so thence the monster set of men, who were scarcely to be
And when he felt himself at large, turn'd seen wandering along the margin of
round a stream that divided this plain, and There where his breast had been, his forkto recognize any of whom he was o ed tail. bliged (to use his own very singular Thus like an eel, outstretched, at length he yet picturesque simile) to look at them steerd, with the same anxious sharpened Gath'ring the air up with retractile claws. sight with which an old tailor looks Not greater was the dread, when Phaeton at the eve of a needle when he is The reins let drop at random, whence high threading it; he meets among these heaven, his master in letters, Brunetto. Not
Whereof signs yet appear, was wrapt in
flaines, withstanding the disgraceful crime
Than was my dread, when round me on for which this man was suffering pu
each part nishment, our poet, as it is remarked The air I view'd, and other object none by the very learned critic in the Edin- Save the fell beast. He slowly sailing burgh Review, treats him with a re- wheels spectful deference, shewn in the very His downward motion, unobserved of me, form of his address, which is entirely But that the wind arising to my face, lost in the translation, and which no Breathes on me from below. Now on our one but an extremely accurate critic .. right could have discovered.. There is no I heard the cataract beneath us leap great poet, indeed, 60 attentive as
With hideous crash; whence bending down Dante to the slightest and most minute
New terror I conceived at the steep plunge, shades of things. The Tesoretto of this
For flames I saw, and wailings smote mine Brunetto has been supposed, by some
ear; critics, to have given Dante the idea So that all trembling close, I crouched my of his own poem ; but this supposi limbs, tion, as well as many other alleged And then distinguished, unperceived before,
By the dread, torments that on every side were immersed in ice, in a vast lake, Drew nearer, how our downward course bounded by rocks, upon which enorwe wound.
mous giants (Nimrod among the rest) We cannot follow the various crimes were stationed. The approach to these and punishments comprehended un- giants is marvellously sublime. der the general head of Fraud. Some Turning our back upon the vale of woe, sinners, guilty of simony, appear with We crossed th' encircled mound in silence. their feet sticking upwards, while
There their heads are concealed, with flames Was twilight dim, that far along the dancing upon the soles ; diviners and gloom, witches, with their heads turned the
Mine eye advanced not : but I heard a wrong way; public defrauders boil
horn ing in pitch ;-and in his way among
Sounded aloud. The peal it blew had
made these last, the poet has a strange ad
The thunder feeble. Following its course venture with a set of devils, who are The adverse way, my strained eyes were einployed in tossing in, with pitch bent forks, the souls that endeavour to cs- On that one spot. So terrible a blast cape from their torment. We must Orlando blew not, when that dismal rout give a little specimen of this scene. O'erthrew the host of Charlemain, and
quench'd Still earnest on the pitch I gazed, to mark
His saintly warfare. Thitherward, not All things whate'er the chasm contain'd,
long, and those
My head was raised, when many lofty Who burn'd within. As dolphins that in
Methought I spied. To mariners, heave high their arched backs, "That thenec forewarnd they may advise to
We can conceive nothing more dreasave
ry than this sound of this solitary horni Their threaten'd vessel ; so at intervals, pealing through that vast and melanTo ease the pain, his back some sinner choly region. The towers turn out
to be giants. One of them hands the Then hid more nimbly than the lightning two poets down to the base of the glance.
rock. We give the description of the E'en as the frogs, that of a wat'ry moat
icy lake, in a rhyme translation of Stand at the brink, with the jaws only out, Their feet, and of the trunk all else con
this passage, which we have some
where seen, and which seems, to us, cealed, Thus on each part the sinners stood, but
to retain the character of Dante's comsoon
position still more accurately, perAs Barbariccis was at hand, so they haps, than Mr Cary's blank verse. Drew back under the wave. I saw, and Were my rude rlıymes as rugged, rough, yet
and harsh, My heart doth stagger, one, that waited As the o'erhanging rocks, whose horror thus,
stood As it befalls, that oft one frog remains Around the margin of that murky marsh, While the next springs away : and Graf. Then might I chew, in hope, bright fan
fiacan, Who of the fiends was nearest, grappling
But, since my purpose cannot be made 1 seized
good, His clotted locks, and dragged him sprawl. With fear and trembling each weak verse ing up,
I frame! That he appeared to me an otter.
O can it be that one of human blood, We must pass over the hypocrites,
Whose tongue first stammer'd out a pawhose heads are loacled with leaden,
rent's name, caps; the impostors of various kinds,
" Should of that black abyss the secrets whose limbs were hacked and dismem
strange proclaim ? bered: those who go about clothed in Assist me, then, ye ladies of the lyre ; fire, (Ulysses was arnong this num
Give to my verse your own dread energy, ber, who tells a story of his voyage and
E'en as Amphion's ye could once inspire, its termination, quite different from
Which girded Thebes with towers and turHomer's,) and, when they speak,
So shall my song with its great subject vie ! the tip of whose flame moves like a Ah! wretched race! in that internal den, fongue: and we must go on to the (For which, in vain, appropriate terms I concluding scene of the traitors, who try,) " FOL. IV.
That next I met; much happier had ye says, that it is his humour. “At this been
point is the termination of Hell, and Made sheep or goats at first, or any thing Virgil conducts Dante out of it by a but men!
very singular contrivance,-they let When we had reach'd the low and gloomy themselves down Lucifer's shaggy pond
sides, for the head and shoulders of that Beneath the giant sentinels, whose seat
“ great worm," as he is called, are all Was on the fencing rock, which still I
tbat appear sticking out of the central conn'd With up-turn'd eyes, I heard a voice re
bole, and his limbs reach to where
there is an opening into the repeat Beside me,_Take care where you set your gions of day. In the course of this feet,
descent, too, Dante is astonished at Lest you should crush some wretched bro. seeing Virgil turn round and ascend, ther's head,
and he thinks that he is to appear And, with hard heels, his face all rudely again under Lucifer's mouth, but this beat!
revolution was made exactly at the I turn'd, and saw before me, where was centre of the world, so that their as- spread
cending course brings them out at the A mighty frozen lake, that seem'd like
arch-fiend's feet. This is all abunglass or lead.
dantly ridiculous, and it is a pity that Never as yet did winter's ruffian force
so grand a poem should have soludicrous Wrap Austrian Danaw in such mantle
a conclusion. Take it on the whole, bleak,
however, it is, perhaps, an unequalled Nor so enchain the Tanais in its course :
exhibition of genius; and even the Not, (on that lake were massy Tabernique To fall, or vast Pietrapana's peak,
imperfect view that we have given of Would from the margin of its icy floor, it may have opened glimpses, we One running rent be heard to growl and trust, into its dark vistas and windcreak :
ings, which may suffice to incline our And, (in the season, when, their little readers to search them more thoroughstore
ly for themselves. Its great excelTo heap, the female gleaners o'er the corn lence, indeed, cannot be described in fields pour :)
any general view of its contents, E'en in that season, as a group of frogs, which, on the contrary, when stripFrom green and slimy pool, push forth the ped of the divine poetry which ensnout
circles them, may often appear extraWhile ceaseless croaking murmurs o'er the vagant and absurd ; and it can only be bogs:
thoroughly felt when we surrender So, with dull livid cheeks, were sticking
eks, were sticking our spirits with a devout submission Above the glassy surface, all about,
to the spell of the mighty magician. Sad faces of the damn'd. Their teeth they
It is impossible, too, we suspect, to regnash'd
tain this spell in any translation whatLike to the stork's bill clattering, as they ever. Many translations of great lout
poets give us fine poems, if they do With downcast looks :--the cold their lips not give us exactly the poem. There had gashid,
is no making any thing of Dante, if And from their wecping eyes despair's we have not bim as lie is himself. The black ensigns flash'd.
mixture of any other mind with his, The story of Count Ugolino, with at once reduces him to the race of which every one is familiar, follows mortals. There must be no water this horrible description; and the close mingled with his wine-no alloy with of the whole drama is the appearance his fine gold.
D. of Lucifer himself, who, with wings flapping about him like the sails of
ON HYGROMETRY AND METEOROLOGIa windmill, and with three vast
CAL OBSERVATIONS IN GENERAL mouths, is employing himself, very much to his satistaction, in devour As circumstances have occurred to ing three grand traitors, Judas Isca. render certain changes in our meriot, Cassius, and Brutus. Why the teorological reports both expedient and illustrious patriots are placed in such necessary, we shall take this opportushabby company, Dante does not think nity of explaining to our readers the it worth his while to explain, and so cause and the nature of these altera. we must only suppose, as Shylock tions, as well as stating some of the
results of our experiments on that ter the atmosphere has undergone a branch of science.
very sensible change. Neither does Since the commencement of the the cover completely prevent the deyear 1918, we have regularly report- rangement of the scale alluded to ed the average state of Wilson's hy- above, and though it does no doubt grometer, but, in future, we shall delay, we suspect it will not arrest the cease to do so, partly on account of natural tendency of the bladder to our instrument having lately given decay. way, and partly because, in our opi- From these facts, it is obvious, we nion, it is radically imperfeet. It was apprehend, that the invention of Mr early suggested to us, by a scientific Wilson, though both simple and ingefriend, that, from the very nature of nious, must be rankerl among the mathe instrument, its indications were ny unsuccessful attempts that have not to be relied on, and our own ex- been made to discover a permanently perience has completely verified his accurate hygrometer. The detect unconjecture. Most of our readers, we der which it labours, is common to it suppose, know that the instrument with De Luc's, Saussure's, and, inconsists of a rat's bladder, filled with deed, every other instrument of the mercury, and attached to a wide ther- kind that depends on the expansion mometer tube. As the air increases and contraction of animal or vegetable in dryness, the bladder is contracted, substances; and it is impossible to reand forces the mercury up into the flect on the imperfection of all these tube, and when the atmosphere be- hygrometers, without being more forcomes more moist, the bladder expands, cibly struck with the unequalled exand the mercury again descends. We cellence of Professor Leslie's elegant have found, however, that though the and philosophical invention. It must, points of extreme moisture and dry- at the same time, be acknowledged, ness be at first fixed with the greatest however, that even the differential possible accuracy, they are soon liable thermometer, when applied to the to derangement, from the change that purposes of hygrometry, is, in some takes place in the texture of the blad- measure, an imperfect instrument. der, by being alternately wet and dry. Its indications, taken by themselves, For some time, perhaps weeks, or even do not always convey a correct idea of months, we found that the instru- the state of the atmosphere, with rement with which we observed, coin- spect to moisture or dryness; or, in cided with Leslie's very nearly, at other words, we cannot always infer the point of extreme moisture, but, that the air is either relatively or abafter the continuance of damp or wet solutely in the same state, when the weather, it soon began to sink below instrument stands at the same point. zero, and gradually continued to do so, To explain this more fully by an extill, at last, it stood eight or ten de- ample, let us suppose that Leslie's hygrees below the bottom of the scale. groineter indicates 30 degrees of dryIn our reports, we made allowance for ness, while the thermometer stands at this alteration, but, during the rainy 50, and that the latter rises to 55, weather in the early part of Decem- while the atmosphere suffers no absober, the bladder gave way, and, on lute increase or diminution of moisexamination, proved to be quite rot- ture, then the hygrometer, instead of ten and decayed. The instrument 30, would be found to indicate about might, no doubt, be fitted up so as to 43. In like manner, if, on two differbe protected from the rain, and, conse- ent days, the hygrometer stands at 30, quently, less liable to sudden changes but the thermometer, on the one, at from wetness to dryness. We have, 40, and on the other at 50, the absoindeed, seen them in this form, and, lute quantities of moisture, in a given from the liberality of a nobleman, portion of the air, instead of being who had a number of them con- equal, would be to one another as 75 structed by Adie, of Edinburgh, for to 115, and the relative quantities, the purpose of giving them a fair trial, supposing absolute moisture to be dewe have had a covered one for some noted by 100, and absolute dryness time in our possession. We have by 0, as 43 to 58. In all cases, and tound, however, that the instrument, at all temperatures, when the air is in this state, is exceedingly sluggish completely saturated with moistur, in its movements, frequently remains the hygrometer must stand at zero, ing a considerable time stationary af- but as the air, by an increase of tem