Dante's Comedy and Heroic Poetry
J. K. Newman
At the opening of the Paradiso, Dante notes that now he has need of both peaks of Parnassus:
Infino a qui l'un giogo di Parnaso
assai mi fu; ma or con amendue
m' è uopo intrar ne I'aringo rímaso …
Si rade volte, padre, se ne coglie
per trïunfare o cesare o poeta,
colpa e vergogna de l'umane voglie,1
che parturir letizia in su la lieta
delfica deïtà dovria la fronda
peneia, quando alcun di sé asseta.
Poca favilla gran fiamma seconda:
forse di retro a me con miglior voci
si pregherà perché Cirra risponda.
So far one peak of Parnassus was enough for me, but now with both I have need to enter the arena that remains … So rarely, Father, is the laurel plucked to honor the triumph of emperor or poet (fault and shame of human wills) that the Peneian bough must give birth to joy upon the joyful Delphic god, when it fills someone with thirst for it. A great flame follows a small spark. Perhaps after me a better prayer will secure an answer from the Delphic shrine. (1.1618, 28–36)
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Publication information: Book title: Epic and Epoch: Essays on the Interpretation and History of a Genre. Contributors: Steven M. Oberhelman - Editor, Van Kelly - Editor, Richard J. Golsan - Editor. Publisher: Texas Tech University Press. Place of publication: Lubbock, TX. Publication year: 1994. Page number: 119.
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