Stray as they need to be

I still think my point on the connection between affordability, accessibility, geography and cultural attitudes can have a say on how and why stray dogs persist to whatever degree in addition to owner irresponsibility. Same with cats really. You have owners who do want to stop their pets from straying and the like but can’t afford to go to the vet, let alone a good one that’s within their reach. Especially if it’s this far.

Likewise if dogs are believed to be dirty, not only people are made to clean their hands after touching them (as I know from personal experience) but also because it’s very tiring to constantly clean cat and dog poop and urine every now and then. Not that they’re bad but in the days before toilets and tissue paper (and even today), excluding them was and still is a practical hygienic necessity. Not that sheep, goats and pigs are any better.

I suppose the real excuse for them’s to keep them as food sources which came in handy before refrigerators. Though that involves a much more astute and considerate observation.

Stray breeds

I’d say dog breeds can come from stray dogs but in the sense of that stray dogs (and stray cats) occupy niches depending on occupation and degree of socialisation to people. You have owned dogs straying at will, stray dogs being habituated with humans to some extent, owned dogs roaming around in compounds and villages/farms and completely feral dogs (same with cats). Dog breeds as we know it came much more recently.

Had dogs been around for almost 20,000 years, dog breeds would’ve come much later really. Especially when it comes to regulating breeding and even then this is something rich people (even today) can afford to do and cope with. From my personal experience as well as from what I’ve read from German sources, the stingier or poorer people stick to mongrels. Not that they’re any healthier but they’re generally easier on the budget.

That and dogs being made to stay outside for long out of hygienic reasons can make canine commensalism an inevitability though the degree of socialisation to people in tandem with occupied niches can shape dog breeds.

A Handbook to the Reception of Ovid (Extrait/Excerpt)

The bella scola of Dante’s Limbo
We first meet an ancient poet in Dante’s Divine Comedy in the first canto of the
Inferno, as Dante finds himself in a dark wood on a mountain whose summit is
just illuminated by the light of dawn. He is driven down from the mountain by
three beasts: a leopard, a lion, and a wolf. Then Dante encounters a human. He
describes this apparition as a “man who seemed hoarse from a long silence” (Inf.
1.63), meaning, I think, that Virgil had been long silent in the Middle Ages until
Dante restored his voice. This figure identifies himself as a poet and the author of
the Aeneid. Dante responds by adapting Dido’s words when she recognized Aeneas
in Carthage: “Are you then Virgil?” (Inf. 1.79 “Or se’ tu quel Virgilio … ”; Aen. 1.617
tune ille Aeneas … ). There are more ancient poets Virgil and Dante will encounter,
until Virgil vanishes with the advent of Beatrice on the summit of the Mount
of Purgatory. Virgil and Dante reach the first group of poets in the faint light of
Limbo beyond the Acheron and the gate of Hell. Dante’s Limbo must be the most
agreeable place in the entire Commedia. Only pagans dwell there. As Virgil and
Dante enter Limbo a voice commands: “honor the highest poet whose shade that
departed has returned” (Inf. 4.80–81). The voice is that of Homer, commanding his
fellow poets in Limbo to honor Virgil as “the highest poet.” Virgil then introduces
Dante to Homer, who is gripping a sword in his hand—identifying him as the poet
of the Iliad. Homer and the other poets make up the bella scola— the “fair school,”
words which presumably mean that they instruct other poets as Virgil instructed
Dante (Inf. 1.82–87). The poets of this “school” are, after Homer and Virgil,
Horace of the Satires, Ovid, and Lucan last. Homer seems to have instructed them
all, for he is described as “the master of the most lofty song” (Inf. 4.95). After a
brief conversation with Virgil, this distinguished group invites Dante to join them
A Handbook to the Reception of Ovid, First Edition. Edited by John F. Miller and Carole E. Newlands.
© 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Published 2014 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Metamorphosis of Ovid in Dante’s Divine Comedy 175
as “sixth in a group of such great wisdom” (Inf. 4.100–2). The words Onorate
l’altissimo poeta are inscribed on Dante’s cenotaph in the church of Santa Croce
in Florence. Here they are hollow. He was never to return to Florence. Dante,
however, could not have known Homer directly, even in Latin translation—he
once quotes him from the Latin translation of Aristotle (who quotes Il. 24.258–59
in NE 7.1; VN 2.8)—and he seems to have known Horace only from his Ars Poetica
(which he quotes at VE 2.4.4 and in his Letter to Can Grande, 10.30 Toynbee).
This count is significant. The sequence of six great poets is meant to be historical, and in the fullness of time it will reach its fulfillment in Dante’s Christian Divine
Comedy. It is significant for Dante’s concept of history and his concept of “Latin”
(by which he means both Latin and Italian) poetry that his “fair school” makes him
“sixth among poets of such great wisdom” (“sesto tra cotanto senno,” Inf. 4.102).
The count and sequence becomes more complex as Dante and Virgil encounter
Statius on the terrace of the Mount of Purgatory where Avarice and Prodigality
are punished. Virgil is amazed that Statius is a Christian, as he must have been to
reach the Mount of Purgatory. By the divine dispensation that allows the poets
in Limbo knowledge of poetry written after their death, Virgil, whose Messianic
eclogue turned Statius to Christianity (Ecl. 4.1–13; Purg. 22.64–93), knows Statius’
epic of the Seven against Thebes (the Thebaid), but he can detect no sign of Christianity in it (Purg. 22.55–63). The reason that Dante does not count as seventh in the
bella scola of the poets of the Commedia is explained by Virgil in his words to Statius,
who has just been released from the fifth terrace: “I have led him as far as my school
can take him” (Purg. 21.33). That is, all the Latin poets named in Limbo, save Lucan,
were born before the birth of Christ; they are Virgil’s scola. Statius lived during the
reign of Domitian (AD 81–96), whose persecutions of the Christians Dante’s Statius
emphasizes. They coincide with the time “when the world was pregnant with the
true faith sown by the messengers of the eternal realm” (Purg. 22.76–78).
The Metamorphosis of Ovid in the Commedia
Ovid (43 BC–AD 17), who comes third and in the middle of Dante’s count, is, indeed,
an intermediary. He lived on into the Christian era. When, in canto 25 of the Inferno
(94–99), we encounter the incredible transformation of thieves into serpents and
serpents into thieves, Dante commands Lucan and Ovid to remain silent: “Taccia
Lucano… Taccia di Cadmo e d’Aretusa Ovidio / ché se quello in serpente e quella
in fonte / converte poetando io non lo ’nvidi” (“Let Lucan fall silent … Let Ovid
fall silent, / if in his poetry he transforms Cadmus into a serpent and Arethusa into
a spring, I do not envy him”). Indeed, Ovid is essential to an understanding of the
pagan poetry of Dante’s Commedia. Ovid’s Arethusa will become essential to an
appreciation of the densest allusion of the Commedia as the “dead poetry” of the
Inferno begins to “rise somewhat” when Dante invokes the tale of Proserpina sung
by Calliope (Purg. 1.1–12; Ovid, Met. 5.341–678). Lucan and Statius we will leave
176 Diskin Clay
aside to pursue the metamorphosis of Ovid in the Commedia and take the poet high
into heaven “above the stars,” as he would have wished (Met. 15.871–79).
Ovid comes third after Homer and Virgil. He is only a figure in Limbo and a text
visible in the poem. He is not an actor in the poem, as are Dante and Virgil, and
he cannot be expected to play an important role in the action of the Commedia. But
the text of the Ovidio Maggiore, that is, Ovid of the Metamorphoses (the term of
Con. 3.3.7, Brunetto Latini, and the author of the Ottimo Commento), does play that
role. Tabulations of Dante’s allusions to the poetry of Ovid— that is, the poetry
of the Metamorphoses (and perhaps also the Heroides)—have long been compiled
(Moore 1896: 206–28; Toynbee 1968: 483). Although many of these allusions have
been seen as ornamenta or borrowings, they are not, for they connect the pagan past
with the Christian present of Dante’s Divine Comedy (Hollander 1993: 230–31). No
poet before Dante had made this bridge. The Milvian bridge effected the transition
from paganism to Christianity with the defeat there of Maxentius by Constantine in
AD 312; the bridge Dante constructed was strengthened by his architect’s eye to the
intimations of Christian truth to be discovered in Ovid. In some ways, Dante read
Ovid as the church fathers recommended reading the Old Testament, as casting
shadowy intimations (figurae) of the New Testament. Dante would call them “umbriferi prefazi” (Par. 30.78). For instance, Ovid’s version of the creation of the world
with its creator (opifex rerum, Met. 1.79; Gen. 1:1), the Golden Age (Met. 1.89–112,
15.260), and the Eden on the banks of the Pergus (Met. 5.384–95) were open to a
Christian reading. For the later Christian poet the pomegranate eaten by Proserpina (Met. 5. 536 puniceum… pomum) must have seemed to be the pagan figura of
the fruit eaten by Eve and Adam in Eden (Gen. 3:6); the flood of Deucalion and
Pyrrha (Met. 1.260–347) is the pagan equivalent of the flood survived by Noah and
his family (Gen. 6:9–22). The apotheoses of Glaucus (Met. 13.898–968) and Aeneas
(14.583–608) might have seemed a pagan dream of how the Christian becomes
immortal with life everlasting. It was a dream only Dante of the canonical six poets
was privileged to experience. One could add that Ovid’s conception of the three
realms of this universe— that of Jupiter in the heavens, that of Ceres on earth, and
that of Pluto (or Dis) in the Underworld (Met. 5.368, 372, 15.859; cf. Inf. 8.85, Purg.
1.4, Par. 1.23)— reinforced Dante’s view that Ovid had an intimation of the Christian world (as did Statius in Theb. 4.516). Ceres’ earth would perish on the Last Day,
but not the realms of Heaven and Hell.
Ovid describes the underworld in three passages in the Metamorphoses: the City
of Dis, which Juno enters to summon a fury to drive Athamas insane (4.432–80);
in his long treatment of the rape of Proserpina (5.294–678, a passage recalled in
Purg. 1.1–12); and in his treatment of Orpheus’ descent into Hades to recover Eurydice (10.1–63). Ovid spends a good deal of time in Hell, but Ovid’s Hell, which his
Pythagoras mocks as the stock matter of poets (15.153–55), did not impress Dante
as much as the sixth book of Virgil’s Aeneid.
Metamorphosis of Ovid in Dante’s Divine Comedy 177
In 1945 Hermann Fränkel wrote a book with the suggestive title Ovid: A Poet
between Two Worlds. The meaning of the title is only suggested on the last page
of the book (163): Ovid’s life spanned the pagan and the Christian eras. Ovid,
however, would not have agreed that he was situated between these two worlds
(see Fielding in this volume). During his relegation to the Black Sea and Tomis
(modern Constanta, AD 8–17), and in his imagination, Ovid dwelt nostalgically
in pagan Rome, a Rome he had lost forever because of what he called a carmen
and an error. Ovid was like Actaeon viewing Diana and her nymphs bathing nude.
This was Actaeon’s crimen (Met. 3.3.141–42), but the carmen (the Ars Amatoria) was
Ovid’s other crimen (Tr. 2.207). Dante could not have known this Ovidian Rome
or Ovid’s poems of exile or the poem that helped prompt his exile decreed by
Augustus, the Ars Amatoria (but see Chapter 10 in this volume).
To return to the passage in the Inferno describing the metamorphosis of a thief
into a serpent and serpent into a thief—and to focus now on its language—Dante
boasts: “Taccia di Cadmo e d’Aretusa Ovidio, / ché se quello in serpente e quella in
fonte / converte poetando, io non lo ‘nvidio” (“Let Ovid fall silent about Cadmus
and Arethusa / if in his poetry he transforms Cadmus into a serpent and Arethusa
into a spring, I do not envy him,” Inf. 25.97–99; Met. 4. 571–89, 487–508). Converteis
a significant word, for it is the root of the word conversion, and points to the central
theme of Ovid’s epic. Poetando (“in his poetry”) is also significant since Dante will
use it at the end of the Purgatorio to describe the pagan dream of Paradise, a dream
Dante found reflected in Ovid’s description of the Golden Age (Met. 1.89–112; Purg.
28.139–44) and detected in the beginning of the song of Calliope (Met. 5.385–95).
In theMetamorphosesthere are other transformations of women into water—Ino
either into a Nereid of the sea or a fountain (4.543–603); Byblis (9.656–65) and
Egeria, the wife of Numa, into springs (15.547–51); and, perhaps, even the ships of
Aeneas (14.527–65). The passage that Dante has in mind when he says taccia Ovidio
is the long episode of the rape of Proserpina in Metamorphosis 5 in which Arethusa
of Elis plays a significant role (5.487–508). Her joy in returning to the light of the
stars after swimming underwater and surfacing in Sicily as a fountain (Arethusa,
5.501–3) is like that of both Proserpina returned to earth from the Underworld
and Dante returned to the light of day on the shores of the Mount of Purgatory
(Inf. 34.136–39; Clay 1999).
Dante did not read Ovid as did Petrarch’s friend, Pierre Bersuire (Petrus Bechorius, 1290–1362), whose Ovidius Moralizatus (in its many versions) could not be
more antithetical to Dante’s reading of Ovid. Dante saw in Ovid anticipations of
his own Christian truth, but he did not waste his energies in the cumbersome allegoresis of the pagan gods in terms of Christian doctrine that we find in Bersuire. An
example of this tedious Christian interpretation of the pagan comes in his account
of Pluto and the Underworld in the De Formis Figurisque Deorum—Book XV of
his Ovidius Moralizatus (Robson 1965; Engels 1966: 44–53). Paradoxically perhaps,
178 Diskin Clay
since it is Ovid and not Virgil who inspires the higher rhetoric of the Purgatorio, I will
now, in the second part of this study of the metamorphosis of Ovid in the Commedia, begin with the exordium to the now elevated style of the Purgatorio (1.1–12),
continue into the first canto of the Paradiso with Dante’s evocations of the fates
of Ovid’s Marsyas and Glaucus (Par. 1.19–21, 64–72) and, last, his description of
Jupiter and Semele in Paradiso 21.1–12 (Met. 3.287–315; dispersed in Par. 21–23
and analyzed by Brownlee 1991: 224–32). But first, I want to dispose of the very
notion of Dante’s “borrowings.”
Attempts have been made to discover and catalogue Dante’s “borrowings” from
Ovid and even to claim that Dante wrote of the madness of Athamas “with Ovid
before his eyes” (Met. 4.511–24; Purg. 23.22–27; Moore 1896: 212). Dante was no
copyist or borrower from his pagan poets. By far his allusions to Ovid’s Metamorphoses are concentrated in the Inferno and Purgatorio— the realms of damnation
and purgation—but Ovid is an important presence in the Paradiso, as will become
apparent. After his exile from Florence (formally declared in March 1302), Dante
might have had access to the libraries of the Conti Guidi in the Casentino, Can
Grande della Scala in Verona, and Guido Novello in Ravenna, but there were periods of enforced travel when his eyes were closed to texts of Virgil and Ovid. He also
was endowed with a good memory, as Virgil reminds us in the circle of the diviners. Virgil does not need to remind Dante of the passage in the Aeneid where he
speaks of Manto (Aen. 10.198–200; Inf. 20.52–99) or the Greek prophet Eurypylus
(Aen. 2.118–19). Most readers of the Aeneid will have forgotten these lines by the
time they come to the death of Turnus, but Dante did not. Like Calchas, Eurypylus
was a prophet who understood why the Greek fleet was becalmed at Aulis, across
the Aegean and its destination in Troy. He occupies two lines of the Inferno. As he
mentions Eurypylus “in a certain passage,” he adds: “as you are well aware who
know my poem entire” (“ben lo sai tu che la sai tutta quanta,” Inf. 20.112–14).
There is a modern mode of reading that is more focused on Dante’s pagan
authors than the Christian truth hidden under the integumenta (coverings or
cloaks) of Ovid’s myths. This mode of reading is more congenial to our literary
sensibilities; it is best known by the Italian term l’arte allusiva, used by Giorgio
Pasquali as the title of an essay he wrote in 1942 in which he distinguishes between
reminiscences and allusions. An author can be unconscious of reminiscences,
but when he makes an allusion both he and his reader must be aware of the text
alluded to for the art of allusion to have its effect (Pasquali 1968: 275–82; Picone
1994: 173–205). “Intertextuality” is now the term in vogue for this art. But it is
not enough to recognize the text Dante is alluding to. Dante’s reader must also
discover what Dante read into it. In the case of Ovid and Virgil of the “Messianic”
eclogue (4.1–13; cf. Purg. 22.64–73), it is not an allusion to another text that the
reader should be alert to, but the truth which Dante’s penetrating eye discovered
in pagan poetry. Ovid is like the Virgil who directed Statius to Christianity; he
carries a lantern behind him and illuminates the path of another who follows
(Purg. 22.67–69).

Spenser’s “Letter of the Authors” to Sir Walter Raleigh, “expounding his whole
intention” in the The Faerie Queene, places the poem within a tradition stretching
back to antiquity of an exemplary and allegorical reading of the epics of Homer
and Virgil for moral lessons. Spenser was also aware of the allegorical and moralizing tradition of reading Ovid, which developed in the Middle Ages with the
large-scale interpretations of Pierre Bersuire and the Ovide moralisé, and continued
A Handbook to the Reception of Ovid, First Edition. Edited by John F. Miller and Carole E. Newlands.
© 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Published 2014 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
292 Philip Hardie
through the Renaissance, in English notably in Golding’s interpretative paratexts
to his translation of the Metamorphoses (on Spenser’s use of Golding see Stapleton
2009: ch. 3). But the fact that a reading of Spenser’s Ovidianism responds easily
to modern critical approaches to Ovid should caution against the assumption that
Spenser was in any way blinkered by this medieval tradition. For one thing, moralizing is already fully at home within Ovidian narratives of metamorphosis, particularly in the mouths of internal narrators out to make a point. Metamorphosis slides
into moral and psychological metaphor. Anaxarete’s petrifaction (Met. 14.753–58)
is the material realization of her unyielding, stony heart, a condign punishment in
the eyes of the narrator, Vertumnus, who is trying to make a point to the reluctant
Pomona. The fountain that will not wash off the blood on the hands of Ruddymane
is the water that flows from the stone into which Diana transformed one of her
nymphs to save her from the pursuit of Faunus, in a typically Spenserian variation
on Ovidian themes (cf. also Daphne and Arethusa): “The goddesse heard, and suddeine where she sate, / Welling out streames of teares, and quite dismayd / With
stony feare of that rude rustic mate, / Transformd her to a stone from stedfast
virgins state” (FQ II. ii. 8.6–9).
The first metamorphosis of a human in the Metamorphoses, told by an indignantly censorious Jupiter, is that of the tyrant Lycaon into the wolf that he was all
along, both metaphorically and by name (Greek lukos) (1.209–39). This metamorphosis may not be as paradigmatic and programmatic for the future history of the
Ovidian world as Jupiter might like it to be, but it represents one possibility for
the meaning of metamorphosis. At the end of a narrative sequence in the Legend
of Justice that alludes to a plethora of episodes in the Metamorphoses (FQ V. viii),
Adicia, the wife of the wicked tyrant Soudan, flies into a vengeful rage and runs
into the wild wood. After, her husband, a figure for Elizabeth’s enemy Philip II
of Spain, loses control of his chariot (like Phaethon) and is torn to pieces (like
Hippolytus): “There they doe say, that she transformed was / Into a Tygre, and
that Tygres scath / In crueltie and outrage she did pas, / To proue her surname
true, that she imposed has” (V. viii. 49.6–9). By her name Adicia is a personification of injustice (Greek adikia), and she further proves her essential nature through
metamorphosis into an animal which typifies “crueltie and outrage,” just as Lycaon
proves his “wolfishness” by turning into a wolf. If she ceases thereby to be a personification in human form, the slippage from human to animal type of a vice or
passion is eased by the close connections that already exist in the Metamorphoses
between the dynamic process of metamorphosis and the fixed figure of a personification (Hardie 2002: 231–36). Ovidian personifications transform the characters
and landscapes on which they work. There is a general point to be made about
the importance of the Metamorphoses as a foundational text for the later history of
European personification allegory, of which The Faerie Queene is one of the major
monuments, although Spenser’s allegories bear the weight of the whole of the
intervening tradition rather than, in most cases, drawing directly on the Ovidian
Spenser and Ovid 293
Adicia’s metamorphosis is not directly narrated, and indeed has only the
authority of report (“they say”). And the cruel woman Adicia is not transformed
into a tiger without residue; report adds that she surpassed even a tiger’s cruelty.
In this and in other respects the story of Adicia is typical of the ease with which
Spenser inhabits and adapts Ovid’s metamorphic idiom, and an example of
“Spenser’s manipulation of the intersections between simile, metaphor, and
metamorphosis” (Lyne 2001: 138). At the beginning of the stanza in which Adicia
is (said to be) metamorphosed into a tiger, she is compared in a simile to “a mad
bitch.” That is the creature into which the enraged and grief-stricken Hecuba
is transformed at Met. 13.567–71, after she has been compared in a simile to a
lioness raging at the loss of her cub. Both Ovidian and Spenserian similes are
examples of a “protometamorphosis” (Barkan 1986: 20–21), the anticipation in
figurative language of a physical transformation. This is the last in a series of
similes applied to Adicia before her fixation in the shape of a tigress. In the first
she is said to be “like an enraged cow, / That is berobbed of her youngling dere”
(V. viii. 46.1–2), possibly alluding to Ovid’s bereaved lioness. In the next stanza
Adicia is compared in a triple simile to infuriated mythological women who all
appear in the Metamorphoses, Ino, Medea and Agave, only for the reader to be told
that “Yet neither Ino, nor Medea stout, / Nor all the Maenades so furious were, /
As this bold woman, when she saw that Damzell there” (V. viii. 47.8–9). Adicia
exceeds her human sisters in ferocity as she will exceed the tiger. This correction
of the simile is itself an Ovidian trick, an example of the “approximative simile,”
the simile which explicitly calibrates the exact degree of similarity between tenor
and vehicle (Hardie 2004).
Another tour de force of metamorphic imagining is the conclusion to the story
of Malbecco, cuckolded by his nymphomaniac wife Hellenore, at FQ III. x. To
get closer to the goat-like satyrs whose sex-toy Hellenore has become, Malbecco,
whose name already includes the Italian word meaning both “he-goat” and
“cuckold,” becco, creeps in among the satyrs’ goats, going on all fours and made
more complete in his “counterfeit” “through the helpe of his faire hornes on
hight” (47.4). The figurative horns of the cuckold have now become visible, a first
stage of transformation. After seeing a satyr make love nine times to his wife (the
number of which Ovid boasts that he was once capable with Corinna at Amores
3.7.25–26), and after she has refused to come back to him, Malbecco escapes from
the satyrs. On finding that his treasure, the other object of his desire, has been
stolen, he goes mad and runs “As if the wind him his winges had borne,” until he
comes to a hill overhanging the sea. At this point Ovidian models (Daedalion, Met.
11.336–45, and Aesacus, Met. 11.783–95) might lead us to expect that he would
grow his own wings and turn into a bird. But there is no metamorphosis other
than the wasting away over time that has left him no more than “an aery Spright,”
and he falls on to the cliff without hurt. Crawling into a cave, he feeds on toads
and frogs, and “through priuy griefe, and horrour vaine, / Is woxen so deform’d,
that he has quight / Forgot he was a man, and Gealosie is hight” (III. x. 60.7–9).
294 Philip Hardie
Colin Burrow correctly notes that “metamorphosis into an abstraction is not
something that ever happens in Ovid” (Burrow 1988: 115), but what happens to
Malbecco can be understood as an easy extension of the transformation by an
Ovidian personification of a human actor into a version of herself, for example
Envy’s (Invidia) infection of Aglauros (Met. 2.797–832).
Aglauros’ envy is itself a sexual jealousy, and Malbecco-Gealosie has some
similarities with Ovid’s Envy, but this is overlaid with other sources, for example
Ariosto’s Sospetto “Suspicion,” who lives on a cliff high above the sea (Cinque
Canti ii. 18). As often, Spenser combines imitation of Ovid and of the Ovidian
tradition; Ariosto’s Ovidianism in particular is a major presence in The Faerie
Queene (De Sa Wiggins 1991; on Ariosto and Ovid see Casali in this volume).


The emperor, of course, is only a special case of the process that Carlo
Martello described, by which the heavens provide talented specialists
adapted to the needs of society at a given time. For Dante, the most important of all these heaven-sent specialists was to be the Veltro, the Hound
whom he expected, would eventually appear and expelí from human society
the Old Wolf of Greed — or is it Fraud? (Inf. 1.101-111). By addressing his
expectations directly to the heavens, the narrator indicates that he considered the appearance of this mysterious reformer to be governed by the
stars: “O heaven, in whose revolution it seems conditions here below are
thought to be changed, when will he come through whom she shall depart?”
(Purg. 20.13). Similarly, Beatrice predicts that sometime in the next
seventy centuries or so, “before January be all unwintered,” a reforming
governor will appear when “these lofty circles shall so shine forth” (Par.
27.139-148). Whatever these prophecies meant — and I am not at all sure
that Dante himself could be precise about them — it is clear that they
depend on the action of the stars, and consequently they are most probably
derived from astrology.

“A shadow of Dante, being an essay towards studying himself, his world and his pilgrimage” (Extrait/Excerpt)

Barry Allen is Dante and Caitlin’s the she-wolf.

IN A.D. 1300, the year of the Jubilee; at dawn on the
25th of March, the Feast of the Annunciation, then
reckoned as New Year’s Day, and happening that year to
be also Maundy Thursday ; Dante, then nearly thirty-five,
and approaching the time of his election to the Priorato,
perceived himself to have wandered while half asleep from
the right path, and to be actually entangled in the mazes of
a dark wood. Before him rose a hill whose sides were
clothed with sunshine ; but no man walked thereon. Dante
took courage to begin the ascent, and had made some little
progress in climbing, the lower foot being ever the firmer,
when he found himself successively withstood and repelled
by three wild beasts, a swift Leopard, a raging Lion, and a
craving greedy Wolf These, but chiefly the last, were
gradually and irresistibly forcing him back upon the sun-
less plain, when suddenly he became aware that he was no
longer alone.

That, by the effecting of his evil thoughts,
Confiding in him, I was captured,
And after done to death, I need not tell.
Nevertheless, what thou canst not have heard, —
That is, how much my death was cruel, — thou
Shalt hear, and know whether he^’s injured me.
A scanty opening within the mew
Which has from me the name of Famine, and
Wherein it needs that others too be shut,
Had shown me through its loophole several moons
Already, when I had the evil sleep
Which rent away for me the future’s veil.
Master and lord this man unto me seemed.
Chasing the wolf and wolf-cubs to the mount
Because of which the Pisans see not Lucca.^
With bitches lean, and eager, and well-trained,
He had Gualandi, with Sismondi and
Lanfranchi,^ stationed in the front of him.
In little course, the father and the young
Seemed to me tired, and with the sharpened fangs
I seemed to see the flanks of them ripped up.
When I before the morrow was awake.
Weeping amid their sleep I heard my sons
Which were along with me, and asking bread.
Sure thou art cruel if thou grievest not
Already, thinking what was told my heart ;
And, if thou weep’st not, when art wont to weep ?
We now were wakened, and the hour approached
When food was customed to be brought to us,
And each was doubting, on his dream’s account :
And I heard locked the exit underneath

* ‘ Mount San Giuliano, which stands between the two cities.’
‘^ ‘ Three of the Ghibelline auxiliaries of the Archbishop. ‘

and of his death by starvation. 99

The horrible turret ; whereupon I looked

In my sons’ faces, saying not a word.

I wept not, I so petrified within :

They wept ; and said my Anselmuccio, ” Thou,

Father, art looking so ? How is ‘t with thee ? ”

I shed no tear, however, nor replied

The whole of that day, nor the after night,

Till issued in the world the other sun.

Whenas some little ray had got itself

Into the painful dungeon, and I marked

My selfsame aspect upon faces four,

I bit for anguish into both my hands :

And they, supposing I did that for need

Of eating, of a sudden raised themselves,

And said : ” ‘Twill give us, father, much less pain

If us thou eat’st of: thou induedst us

This miserable flesh, and doff it thou.”

I, not to make them sadder, stilled me then :

That and the next day we remained all dumb ;

Ah ! hardened earth, why openedst thou not ?

When to the fourth day we were come, before

My feet, distended, Gaddo threw himself,

Saying, ” My father, why not give me help ? ”

Herewith he died ; and, as thou seest me,

I saw the three fall one by one, between

The fifth day and the sixth : whereat I took,

Already blind, to groping over each,

And three days called them after they were dead.

Then fasting more availed than sorrowing.’

When he had spoken this, with eyes askew
He took again the wretched skull with teeth
Which like a dog’s upon the bone were strong.

The Vision, Or, Hell, Purgatory and Paradise of Dante Alighieri (Google Books)

Set upon sold and lying privileges:
Which makes me oft to bicker and turn red.
In shepherd’s clothing, greedy wolves’ below
Range wide o’er all the pastures. Arm of God!
Why longer sleep’st thou? Cahorsines and Gascons?
Prepare to quaff our blood. O good beginning !
To what a vile conclusion must thou stoop.
But the high providence, which did defend,
Through Scipio, the world’s empery for Rome,
Will not delay its succour; and thou, son”,
Who through thy mortal weight shalt yet again
Return below, open thy lips, nor hide
What is by me not hidden.” As a flood
Of frozen vapours streams adown the air,
What time the she-goat” with her skiey horn
Touches the sun; so saw I there stream wide
The vapours, who with us had linger’d late,
And with glad triumph deck the ethereal cope.
Onward my sight their semblances pursued;
So far pursued, as till the space between –
From its reach sever’d them : whereat the guide
Celestial, marking me no more intent
On upward gazing, said, “Look down, and see
What circuit thou hast compast.” From the hour?
When I before had cast my view beneath,
All the first region overpast I saw, –
Which from the midmost to the boundary winds; .
That onward, thence, from Gades”, I beheld
The unwise passage of Laertes’ son;
And hitherward the shoré), where thou, Europa,
Madest thee a joyful burden; and yet more
Of this dim spot had seen, but that the sun”,
A constellation off and more, had ta’en
His progress in the zodiac underneath.
Then by the spirit, that doth never leave
Its amorous dalliance with my lady’s looks,
Back with redoubled ardour were mine eyes
Led unto her: and from her radiant smiles,
Whenas I turn’d me, pleasure so divine
Did lighten on me, that whatever bait .
Or art or nature in the human flesh, .
Or in its limn’d resemblance, can combine
Through greedy eyes to take the soul withal,

From the fair nest of Leda? rapt me forth,

. . And wafted on into the swiftest heaven.

What place for entrance Beatrice chose, I may not say: so uniform was all, Liveliest and loftiest. She my secret wish Divined ; and, with such gladness, that God’s love Seem’d from her visage shining, thus began : “Here is the goal, whence motion on his race Starts: motionless the centre, and the rest All moved around. . Except the soul divine, Place in this heaven is none; the soul divine, . Wherein the love, which ruleth o’er its orb, Is kindled, and the virtue, that it sheds: One circle, light and love, enclasping it, . As this doth clasp the others; and to Him, “ .

| Who draws the bound, its limit only known.

Measured itself by none, it doth divide . . .
Motion to all, counted unto them forth,
As by the fifth or half ye count forth ten. [seest:
The vase, wherein time’s roots” are plunged, thou
Look elsewhere for the leaves. O mortal lust!
That canst not lift thy head above the waves –
Which whelm and sink thee down. The will in man
Bears goodly blossoms; but its ruddy promise
Is, by the dripping of perpetual rain, – – –
Made mere abortion : faith and innocence – –
Are met with but in babes ; each taking leave,
Ere cheeks with down are sprinkled : he, that fasts
While yet a stammerer, with his tongue let loose
Gluts every food alike in every moon:
One, yet a babbler, loves and listens to
His mother ; but no sooner hath free use
Of speech, than he doth wish her in her grave.
So suddenly-doth the fair child of him it, –

| Whose welcome is the morn and eve his parting,

To negro blackness change her virgin white. “Thou, to abate thy wonder, note, that none”

Bears rule in earth; and its frail family

Are therefore wanderers. Yet before the date”,

|When, through the hundredth in his reckoning .

Pale January must be shoved aside {dropt, From winter’s calendar, these heavenly spheres Shall roar so loud, that fortune shall be fain” . To turn the poop, where she hath now the prow ;

Were, to her beauty, nothing. Its boon influence

1 Wolves.] – . . . Wolves shall succeed to teachers, grievous wolves. * Milton, P. L. b. xii. 508. * Cahorsines and Gascons.]. He alludes to Jacques d’Ossa, a native of Cahors, who filled the papal chair in 1316, after it had been two years vacant, and assumed the name of John XXII. and to Clement W. a Gascon, of whom see Hell, Canto xix. 86, and note. – – – * Thou, son.] Beatrus Petrus—multaque lorutus est, et docuit me de veteri testamento, de hominibus etiam adhuc in seculo adhue virentibus plura peccata intonuit mihi, precepitolue, ut ea quae de illis audieram eis referrem. Alberio Visio, $45. * The she-goat.] When the sun is in Capricorn. * From the hour.]. Since he had last looked (see Cantoxxii.) he perceived that he had past from the meridian circle to the eastern horizon; the half of our hemisphere, and a quarter of the heaven. . . – • From Gades.] See Hell, Canto xxvi. 106. “ – * The shore.] Phoenicia, where Europa, the daughter of Agonor, mounted on the back of Jupiter, in his shape of a bull. – –

* The sun.] Dante was in the constellation Gemini, and the sun in Aries. There was, therefore, part of those two constellations, and the whole of Taurus, between them.

• The fair nest of Leda.] “From the Gemini;” thus called, because Leda was the mother of the twins, Castor and Pollux.

10 Time’s roots.] “Here,” says Beatrice, “are the roots, from whence time springs: for the parts, into which it is divided, the other heavens must be considered.” And she then breaks out into an exclamation on the degeneracy of

human nature, which does not lift itself to the contemplation of divine things. Thus in the Quadriregio, lib. ii, cap. vi. Il tempo, e’l ciel, che sopranoi e volto, – E una cosa, e non voltando il cielo, Cio che da tempo pende saria tolto. Time, and the heaven that turneth o’er our heads, Are but as one ; and if the heaven turn’d not, That, which depends on time, were done away. . . 11 The fair child of him.]. There is something very similar in our Author’s Treatise de Monarchià, lib. i. p. 104. “ Humanum genus filius est coeli quod est perfectissimum in omni opere sno. Generat enim homo hominem et sol juxta secundam in Naturali Auditu.” This, therefore, is intended for a philosophical truth, and not for a figure, as when Pindar calls “ the day” “child of the sun:”. – ‘Autézy – * – rzio,’ ‘Axsov. . . . Ol. ii. 59. 12 Nome.] Because, as has been before said, the shepherds are become wolves. : . . 13 Before the date.] “Before many ages are past: before those fractions, which are dropt in the reckoning of every . year, shall amount to so large a portion of time, that January shall be no more a winter month.” By this periphrasis is meant “in a short time;” as we say familiarly, such a thing will happen before a thousand years are over, when we mean, it will happen soon. Thus Petrarch — . . . .. Ben sa ch’il prova, e siati cosa piana Anzi mill’ anni. Trionfo d’Amore, cap, i. 14 Fortune shall be fain.] The commentators, in general, suppose, that our Poet here * that great reform, which – N

So that the fleet run onward : and true fruit, Expected long, shall crown at last the bloom.”



still in the ninth heaven, our Poet is permitted to behold

the divine essence; and then sees, in three hierarchies,

the nine choirs of angels. Beatrice clears some diffi

culties which occur to him on this occasion. So she, who doth imparadise my soul, Had drawn the veil from off our present life, And bared the truth of poor mortality: When lo! as one who, in a mirror, spies The shining of a flambeau at his back, Lit sudden ere he deem of its approach, And turneth to resolve him, if the glass Have told him true, and sees the record faithful As note is to its metre ; even thus, I well remember, did befal to me, Looking upon the beauteous eyes, whence love Had made the leash to take me. As I turn’d ; And that which none, who in that volume” looks, Can miss of, in itself apparent, struck My view; a point I saw, that darted light So sharp, no lid, unclosing, may bear up Against its keenness. The least star we ken From hence, had seem’d a moon; set by its side, As star by side of star. And so far off, Perchance, as is the halo from the light Which paintsit, when most dense the vapourspreads; There wheel’d about the point a circle of fire, More rapid than the motion which surrounds, Speediest, the world. Another this enring’d ; And that a third ; the third a fourth, and that A fifth encompass’d, which a sixth next bound; And over this, a seventh, following, reach’d Circumference so ample, that its bow, Within the span of Juno’s messenger, Had scarce been held entire. Beyond the seventh, Ensued yet other two. And every one, As more in number distant from the first, Was tardier in motion : and that glow’d With flame most pure, that to the sparkle of truth, Was nearest; as partaking most, methinks, Of its reality. The guide beloved Saw me in anxious thought suspense, and spake : “Heaven, and all nature, hangs upon that point”. The circle thereto most conjoin’d observe ; And know, that by intenser love its course Is, to this swiftness, wing’d.” To whom I thus:

he vainly hoped would follow on the arrival of the Emperor Henry VII. in Italy. Lombardi refers the prognostication to Can Grande della Scala; and when we consider that this Canto was not finished till after the death of Henry, as apars from the mention that is made of John XXII. it cannot e denied but the conjecture is probable. Troya (Veltro Allegorico, p. 1S6) suggests Matteo Visconti, or Castruccio Castracani, as the expected reformer. 1 That rolume.] The ninth heaven; as Vellutello, I think, rightly interprets it. 2 Hearen, and all nature, hangs upon that point.] łx rouzúrns àgz &zo; #871-2, 3 obézvo; xzi ž pool;. Aristot. Metaph. lib. xii. c. 7. “From that beginning depend heaven and nature.” 3 such difference.] The material world and the intelligential (the copy and the pattern) appear to Dante to differ in this respect, that the orbits of the latter are more swift, the nearer they are to the centre, whereas the contrary is the case with the orbits of the former. The seeming contradiction is thus accounted for by Beatrice. In the material world, the more ample the body is, the greater is the good,

“It were enough ; nor should I further seek,
Had I but witness’d order, in the world
Appointed, such as in these wheels is seen.
But in the sensible world such difference” is,
That in each round shows more divinity,
As each is wider from the centre. Hence,
If in this wondrous and angelic temple,
That hath, for confine, only light and love,
My wish may have completion, I must know,
Wherefore such disagreement is between
The exemplar and its copy: for myself,
Contemplating, I fail to pierce the cause.”
“It is no marvel, if thy fingers foil’d
Do leave the knot untied : so hard ‘t is grown
For want of tenting.” Thus she said: “But take,”
She added, “if thou wish thy cure, my words,
And entertain them subtly. Every orb,
Corporeal, doth proportion its extent
Unto the virtue through its parts diffused.
The greater blessedness preserves the more.
The greater is the body (if all parts
Share equally) the more is to preserve.
Therefore the circle, whose swift course enwheels
The universal frame, answers to that
Which is supreme in knowledge and in love.
Thus by the virtue, not the seeming breadth
Of substance, measuring, thou shalt see the heavens,
Each to the intelligence that ruleth it,
Greater to more, and smaller unto less,
Suited in strict and wondrous harmony.”
As when the north” blows from his milder cheek
A blast, that scours the sky, forthwith our air,
Clear’d of the rack that hung on it before,
Glitters; and, with his beauties all unveil’d,
The firmament looks forth serene, and smiles:
Such was my cheer, when Beatrice drove
With clear reply the shadows back, and truth
Was manifested, as a star in heaven.
And when the words were ended, not unlike
To iron in the furnace, every cirque,
Ebullient, shot forth scintillating fires:
And every sparkle shivering to new blaze,
In number * did outmillion the account
Reduplicate upon the chequer’d board.
Then heard I echoing on, from choir to choir,
“Hosanna,” to the fixed point, that holds,
And shall for ever hold them to their place,
From everlasting, irremovable.
Musing awhile I stood; and she, who saw
My inward meditations, thus began :
“In the first circles, they, whom thou beheld’st,
Are seraphim and dio. Thus swift

of which it is capable; supposing all the parts to be equally perfect. But in the intelligential world, the circles are more excellent and powerful, the more they approximate to the central point, which is God. Thus the first circle, that of the seraphim, corresponds to the ninth sphere, or primum mobile; the second, that of the cherubim, to the eighth sphere, or heaven of fixed stars; the third, or circle of thrones, to the seventh sphere, or planet of Saturn ; and in like manner throughout the two other trimes of circles and spheres. — In orbs Of circuit inexpressible they stood, Orb within orb. Milton, P. L. b. v. 596.

* The north.] By “ond’ epiù leno,” some understand that point from whence “the wind is mildest,” others, that “ in which there is most force.” The former interpretation is probably right.

5 in number.] The sparkles exceeded the number which would be produced by the sixty-four squares of a chessboard, if for the first we reckoned one; for the next, two; for the third, four; and so went on doubling to the end of the account.

Follow their hoops, in likeness to the point,
Near as they can, approaching; and they can
The more, the loftier their vision. Those,
That round them fleet, gazing the Godhead next,
Are thrones; in whom the first trine ends. And all
Are blessed, even as their sight descends
Deeper into the truth, wherein rest is
For every mind. Thus happiness hath root
In seeing, not in loving, which of sight
Is aftergrowth. And of the seeing such
The meed, as unto each, in due degree,
Grace and good-will their measure have assign’d.
The other trine, that with still opening buds
In this eternal springtide blossom fair,
Fearless of bruising from the nightly ram’,
Breathe up in warbled melodies threefold
Hosannas, blending ever; from the three,
Transmitted, hierarchy of gods, for aye
Rejoicing; dominations” first; next them,
Virtues; and powers the third; the next to whom
Are princedoms and archangels, with glad round
To tread their festal ring; and last, the band
Angelical, disporting in their sphere.
All, as they circle in their orders, look
Aloft; and, downward, with such sway prevail,
That all with mutual impulse tend to God.
These once a mortal view beheld. Desire,
In Dionysius”, so intensely wrought,
That he, as I have done, ranged them; and named
Their orders, marshal’d in his thought. From him,
Dissentient, one refused his sacred read.
But soon as in this heaven his doubting eyes
Were open’d, Gregory” at his error smiled.
Nor marvel, that a denizen of earth
Should scan such secret truth ; for he had learnt”
Both this and much beside of these our orbs,
From an eye-witness to heaven’s mysteries.”