This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text.
Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book
(without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated.
1903 edition. Excerpt: ...from Dante. The Active Life is
represented as Leah, who holds a mirror in one hand and in the
other a wreath of flowers, the symbol of cheerfulness. The
Contemplative Life, under the name of Rachel, indicates by the bent
knee, by the upraised head and eye, that her rapt soul is mounting
heavenwards, 'And looks commercing with the skies, Thy wrapt soul
sitting in thine eyes, Forget thyself to marble.' According to
Dante, Leah, the Active Life, is thus introduced at morning: 'About
the hour, As I believe, when Venus from the east First lightened on
the mountain, she whose orb Seems always glowing with the fire of
love, A lady young and beautiful, I dreamed, Was passing o'er a
lea: and, as she came, Methought I saw her ever and anon Bending to
cull the flowers; and thus she sang: Know ye, whoever of my name
would ask, That I am Leah: for my brow to weave A garland, these
fair hands unwearied ply. To please me at the crystal mirror, here
I deck me.' Michael Angelo followed Dante's idea in giving her the
flowers and the mirror: 'But my sister Rachel, she Before her glass
abides the livelong day Her radiant eyes beholding, charmed no less
Than I with this delightful task. Her joy In contemplation, as in
labour mine.' 'Purg., ' xxvii. The ideas attributed to Hermes and
Zoroaster are creations of the modern Platonists of the Florentine
Academy, founded more than a century before Milton's passage in
Italy. They thought that our present existence is death, and our
body our sepulture. Milton echoes their thoughts in his Ninth
Sonnet: 'Meekly thou didst resign this earthly load Of death,
called life; which us from life doth sever.' We cannot refrain from
quoting here a few lines from Pic de la Mirandole, which are very
Miltonic in spirit: 'Dieu a crde 1'homme...
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