DESCRIPTION OF FLORENCE.
DANTE, Paradieo, XV. vv. 97-130.
From which, e'en now, peal forth both tierce and nones,
In peace, shamefaced and modest, still abode.
Hers were not golden chains nor coronets,
Nor jewelled dames bedecked, nor costumes odd
Far more to see than were their wearers' selves.
At birth, the daughter caused no pangs of fear
Unto her father's heart, lest age or dowry
On this side or on that due bounds o'erpass.
Hers were no houses void of occupants,
Nor yet was here Sardanapalus come
To show us all that can be done in-doors.
Rome viewed from Montemalo yet was not
Surpassed by Florence from Uccellattoi',
But now just as surpassed in springing up,
So shall she be surpassed in utter fall.
Then did I see Bellincion Berti walk,
Begirt with simple leather clasped with bone;
And from her mirror came his spouse with face
Unpainted. Nerli's son and Vecchios, too,
Were full content with undressed skins alone;
With spindle, too, and distaff were their wives.
O, fortunate were ye! Then was each one
Sure of her burial-place, as yet was none
Deserted in her bed for gain in France.
Thus one would keep a loving watch beside
Her child, and lulling lisp that language old,
All fathers' first delight and mothers' joy.
Another, too, what time she busy spun,
Would tell to all her family round a tale
Of Fiesole, of Trojans, and of Rome.
Foul Lapo Saltarell', Cianghella lewd,
Had then been counted marvels great as now
Were Cincinnatus and Cornelia proud.