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increased than diminished that reputation which it got at first. In his youth, Dante chieflj- followed the trade of a soldier and distinguished himself in many battles for his conduct, personal strength and intrepidity. He was afterwards admitted to be one of the chief magistrates of his country, that was then not an inconsiderable Commonwealth; but he had too much honesty and catonian severity for the vicious time in which he lived; and having expressed rather too much contempt for his fellowmagistrates, njade so many enemies amongst them, that, in spite of his superior talents for war and peace, he was banished his country’ and forced to fly for protection to Guido da Polenta, lord of Ravenna, who proved a steady friend to the exiled poet to the last of his days.
Dante had writ a multitude of lyric verses before he left Florence, but it was in Ravenna that he conceived the thought of writing his great poem , of which I choose to give three short specimens, one from each of the three parts of it.
From the first part intitled Meli:
Al tornar della niente che si chiuse dinanzi a la pietá dei due cognati, ecc. (’).
From the second part intitled Purgalory.
Era giá l’ora che volge V disio a i naviganti, e intenerisce il core, ecc. (2).
From the third part intitled Paradise:
Vergine Madre, figlia del tuo figlio, umile ed alta piú che creatura, ecc. (3).
(1) Sino a tutto il v. 33 [Ed.], (a) Sino a tutto il v. 18 [Ed.]. (3) Sino a tutto il v. 27 [Ed.].