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The Epistle to Can Grande Alighieri, Dante Published: 1319 Categorie(s): Non-Fiction Source: Feedbooks 1 About Alighieri: Durante degli Alighieri, better known as Dante Alighieri or simply Dante, (May 14/June 13, 1265 – September 13/14, 1321) was an Italian poet from Florence. His central work, the Commedia (The Divine Comedy), is considered the greatest literary work composed in the Italian language and a masterpiece of world literature. He was the first Italian to have his works published.
  The Epistle to Can Grande Alighieri, Dante Published: 1319 Categorie(s): Non-Fiction Source: Feedbooks 1  About Alighieri: Durante degli Alighieri, better known as Dante Alighieri or simplyDante, (May 14/June 13, 1265 – September 13/14, 1321) was an Italianpoet from Florence. His central work, the Commedia (The Divine Com-edy), is considered the greatest literary work composed in the Italian lan-guage and a masterpiece of world literature. He was the first Italian tohave his works published. Source: Wikipedia Also available on Feedbooks for Alighieri: ã The Divine Comedy (1306) Note: This book is brought to you by Feedbookshttp://www.feedbooks.comStrictly for personal use, do not use this file for commercial purposes.  2  T o the great and most victorious lord, Lord Can Grande della Scala,Vicar General of the Principate of the Holy Roman Emperor in thetown of Verona and the municipality of Vicenza, his most devoted DanteAlighieri, Florentine in birth but not in manners, wishes him a happy lifethrough long years, as well as a continuous increase in his gloriousreputation.1. The outstanding praise of your Magnificence, which watchful famespreads abroad on flying wing, pulls different people in different direc-tions, so that it brings some to hope in their prosperity, casts down oth-ers in fear of destruction. The report of such fame, exceeding by far thatof any present day person, as somewhat beyond the truth, I judged to besomewhat exaggerated. In truth, so that this great uncertainty mightkeep me in suspense longer, as the Queen of Sheba came to Jerusalem, asPallas came to Helicon, I came to Verona to be an eye-witness for myself what I had heard. And there I saw your great works, I saw your bene-fices and touched them; and just as I had earlier suspected excess in partin your praisers, now later I know the excess of the deeds themselves. Sothat, just as by hearsay alone I was favorably inclined by a sort of sub-mission of the mind, now I am through sight your faithful servant andfriend.2. I am not afraid, in taking on the name of friend, as some perchancemay object, that I will incur the guilt of presumption, since unequals arenot less bound by the sacred bonds of friendship than are equals. Indeed,if one is willing to look at pleasureable and useful friendships, most fre-quently it will be obvious to him that they join persons of preeminence totheir inferiors. And if the understanding turns to true, disinterestedfriendship, will it not show that frequently men of obscure fortune, out-standing in honesty, were friends of most illustrious princes? Why not?Since not even friendship between God and man is impeded by the dis-parity! But if to anyone that which is asserted seems now to be improper,let him hear the Holy Spirit offering certain men the sharing of his love.For in Wisdom one reads concerning wisdom: For she is an infinite treas-ure to men; which they that use, become the friends of God. But the in-experience of the common people has judgment without discrimination;and just as the sun is though to be the size of a foot, thus concerning cus-toms they are deceived in vain credulity. For us, however, to whom it isgiven to know the best that is in us, it is not proper to follow the tracks of the herd, but rather we ought to confront their errors. For, being lackingin intellect and reason, though endowed as it were by divine freedom,they are restricted by no custom. It is not strange, since they are not 3  directed by law, but rather the law by them. It is is clear then, as I saidabove, viz. that I am your servant and friend, is in no waypresumptuous.3. Therefore, holding your friendship in high esteem, like a most pre-cious treasure, I wish to preserve it with diligent care and close soli-citude. Thus, as it is taught in moral philosophy that friendship is re-turned and preserved by similarity, I have purposed to follow similarityin paying back the benefits more than once conferred upon me; and forthat reason I have often looked at my little gifts and separated them eachfrom the other and then looked through them, looking for ones whichmight be worthy of and pleasing to you. Nor did I find anything morefitting for your very Preeminence, than the exalted canticle of the Com-edy which is entitled Paradiso; and I dedicate it to you by the present let-ter, as if by a proper epigram; in fine, I dedicate, I offer, I recommend itto you.4. My burning affection will also not permit me simply to pass over insilence the fact that it would seem that in this donation honor is con-ferred more on the gift than on yourself; on the contrary, since in its title(salutation) already the prediction of the amplification of your fame willhave been seen to be expressed by any attentive reader, as I intended.But, desire for your favor, for which I thirst, little estimating my life(own person), urges me forward to the goal set from the beginning.Thus, the form of the letter having been fulfilled, I shall move to the in-troduction of the work offered, rather compendiously, under the guise of reader.5. As the Philosopher says in the second book of Metaphysics: Aseach thing is in respect of being, so it is with respect to truth ; the reasonfor this is that the truth about a thing, which consists in truth as in thesubject, is the perfect image of the thing as it is. Of those things whichare, there are some which are absolute within themselves; there are somewhich are dependent on something else through some relationship, suchas to be at the same time and to exist with something else, as the relat-ives, like father and son, lord and servant, double and half, whole andpart, and many other like things. Wherefore, since such a being dependson another, it follows that the truth of them depends on something else:if the concept of half is not known, never will double be known, and thesame with the others.6. Those who wish to give some kind of introduction to a part of anykind of work ought to offer some information about the whole of whichit is a part. Whence also I, wishing to offer something concerning the  4
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