Pagina:Baretti - Prefazioni e polemiche.djvu/118



wondered that Dante, by mere force of enthusiasm, shouid have thus hit upon a truth so remote from the knowledge of his time, as he has dona in the abovequoted verses, that afTorded matter for speculation to so great and singular a man as Vespucci. The other passage is the following, in the 28th. canto of Paradise, where after having poetically said that the globes form a circle round the throne of the divinity, and are moved and ruled by the Dominations, Virtues, Principalities, Powers, Archangels and Angels, divided into several Hyerarchies according to theír degrees of Dignity, he adds:

Quest’ ordini di su tutti riniiratio e di giú vincon si, che verso Dio tutti tirati sono, e tutti tirano.

Thus englished: «These globes arranged in order divinely wonderful, ali tend upwards by attraction, and downward by their gravity. They at once attract and are attracted towards God, the everlasting sun».

The abbot Tagliazucchi, a great mathematician and professor of the Greek and Tuscan languages in the University of Turin, who died two years ago and of whom I had the good fortune to be many years a pupil, endeavoured to prove in a dissertation that he wrote On the manner of educating yoiith in the belleletters, that in this triplet of Dante are clearly expressed sir Isaac Newton ’s notions of attraction. I will leave the English reader to judge if my honoured preceptor was in the right in his assertion.

If Dante is wonderful in painting the passions and making lively representations of objects, as in my opinion may be plainly seen by the above-quoted passages of his Inferno, he is stili more so in the justness of his similes, which are the nerves and soul of poetry. There no poet is superior, or even equal to him.

Another of his peculiar beauties I must take notice of : and that is, his having interspersed in his poem several words, phrases and whole lines and triplets in pure Latin. This he hath done