Wednesday, August 1, 2012


In Dante's cosmos the southern hemisphere was covered entirely in water, broken only by a single, lofty mountain island: Purgatory.

I turned to the right and contemplated all
            The other pole; and four stars o’er me came,
    Never yet seen save by the first people.
        All the heavens seemed exulting in their flame.
                   O widowed Northern clime, from which is ta’en
     The happy fortune of beholding them!
(Purgatorio I, trans. Laurence Binyon)

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