Giosuè Carducci (27 July 1835 to 16 February 1907) refused the Dante Chair in Rome because, among other things, he feared its politicisation, no doubt correctly. Yet it must have rankled because Carducci knew what many of the wise knew: that the life and work of Dante Alighieri is a miraculous example to all.
In these times of artistic, financial, intellectual and moral bankruptcy, verged on a new theocratic age, it is salutary to consider this extract of Carducci’s poem to Dante:
“Dante, how comes it that my vows I pay
To thy proud image? Still I meditate
The verse that made thee lean, till sundown late,
And new dawn finds me pondering thy lay.
Empire and Church are in one ruin sped;
Thy song above them soars, to heaven resounds.
Jove dies, the poet’s hymn unscathed shall last.”
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