Poet Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) was born in Florence, Italy to a noble family and is best known for writing the medieval classic The Divine Comedy (1306-1321).
"No greater grief than to remember days/Of joy when misery is at hand," he wrote with sweet brilliance.
The poem is a masterpiece of 101 cantos, divided into three sections: Inferno (Hell), Purgatorio (Purgatory), and Paradiso (Paradise). With the ancient poet Virgil as guide, Dante explored the imaginary journey of the afterlife from Hell to Purgatory to Heaven where the beloved Beatrice awaits.
"The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in time of great moral crises maintain their neutrality," he explained. Composed in terza rima (third rhyme), the epic poem is a celebration of faith and spirituality.
A mix of religion and philosophy, a vision of beautiful words and allegories, Dante's creation established Tuscan as the literary voice of Italy and inspired historians and writers through the ages including Michelangelo, T.S. Eliot, and Franz Liszt.
"Each part is artistically valid in its own right," praised writer Lino Pertile. "The more I read, the more I come to appreciate it."
Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow , who eased his grief following his wife's death by translating Dante's work to English, composed four sonnets in praise of The Divine Comedy. Longfellow's Fourth Sonnet concluded with this tribute:
"What passionate outcry of a soul in pain,
Uprose this poem of the earth and air,
This medieval miracle of song!"
Love joins souls to resonate together!