Dante Alighieri, born Durante di Alighiero degli Alighieri, was an Italian poet born in the 13th century, who was instrumental in shaping Italian and European literature. He was also a staunch supporter of the use of vernacular in literature and has been described as the Father of the Italian language. While he has been responsible for works in different languages, such as The New Life, which was written in the Tuscan dialect, his most famous work is 'The Divine Comedy', still today revered as one of the greatest works of literature.
'The Divine Comedy' is a long narrative describing the descent of Dante into Hell and his journey to reach Heaven, a medieval allegory of the travels of the soul to find God. The poem was divided into three parts, Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso, describing the poet's vision of hell, purgatory, and heaven respectively. For his incredible work, Dante was awarded the nickname 'the Supreme Poet'. His words, in any language, speak volumes of the nature of humankind with a resounding profundity that everyone can appreciate. These 25 lines have been taken straight from the many works of Dante to give you a new way of looking at things.
1. On Perfection
The more perfect a thing is, the more susceptible to good and evil it is.
2. On Being Firm
Be as a tower firmly set, and shakes not its top for any blast that blows.
3. On Growth
From a little spark may burst a flame.
4. On Fear
One ought to be afraid of nothing other than things possessed of power to do us harm, but things innocuous need not be feared.
5. On misery
There is no greater sorrow than to recall happiness in times of misery.
6. On Paradise
The path to paradise begins in hell.
7. On Beauty
Heat cannot be separated from fire, or beauty from The Eternal.
8. On Art
Art, as far as it is able, follows nature, as a pupil imitates his master; thus your art must be, as it were, God's grandchild.
9. On Our Origins
Consider your origins: you were not made to live as brutes, but to follow virtue and knowledge.
10. On Being Neutral
The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.
11. On Getting Things Done
The secret of getting things done is to act!
12. On the Fickleness of Fame
Worldly fame is but a breath of wind that blows now this way, and now that, and changes name as it changes direction.
13. On Fashion
The customs and fashions of men change like leaves on the bough, some of which go and others come.
14. On Powerlessness
For where the instrument of intelligence is added to brute power and evil will, mankind is powerless in its own.
15. On Exploration
My course is set for an uncharted sea.
16. On Love
Love insists the loved loves back.
17. On Kindness
He who sees a need and waits to be asked for help is as unkind as if he had refused it.
18. On Excessive Sleeping
The man who lies asleep will never waken fame, and his desire and all his life drift past him like a dream, and the traces of his memory fade from time like smoke in air, or ripples on a stream.
19. On Learning
He who hears, but does not hold what he has heard, learns nothing.
20. On Faith
Faith is the substance of the things we hope for,
And evidence of those that are not seen…
21. On Being Hasty
Haste denies all acts their dignity.
22. On God’s Greatest Gift to Humankind
God's greatest gift to man
In all the bounty He was moved to make
Throughout creation-the one gift the most
Close to his goodness and the one He calls
Most precious-is free will.
23. On Laughter
What is laughter but a flashing of the soul, that is, a light appearing externally as it is within.
24. On Behaving
Behave like men and not like witless sheep.
25. On Fate
Do not be afraid; our fate cannot be taken from us; it is a gift.