“Non ti rimembra di quelle parole
con le quai la tua Etica pertratta
le tre disposizion che il ciel non vuole,
incontinenza, malizia, e la matta
“Have you forgotten, then, the words with which
your Ethics treats of those three dispositions
that strike at Heaven’s will: incontinence
and malice and mad bestiality?”
“‘Filosofia’, mi disse, ‘a chi la intende,
nota, non pure in una sola parte,
come natura lo suo corso prende
dal divino intelletto e da sua arte:
e se tu ben la tua Fisica note,
tu troverai, non dopo molte carte,
che l’arte vostra quella, quanto puote,
segue, come il maestro fa il discente:
sì che vostr’arte a Dio quasi è nepote.
Da queste due, se tu ti rechi a mente
lo Genesì dal principio, conviene
prender sua vita ed avanzar la gente;
e perché l’usuriere altra via tiene,
per sé natura e per la sua seguace
dispregia, poi che in altro pon la spene.”
“‘Philosophy, for one who understands,
points out, and not in just one place,’ he said,
‘how nature follows—as she takes her course–
the Divine Intellect and Divine Art;
and if you read your Physics carefully,
not many pages from the start, you’ll see
that when it can, your art would follow nature,
just as a pupil imitates his master;
so that your art is almost God’s grandchild.
From these two, art and nature, it is fitting,
if you recall how Genesis begins,
for men to make their way, to gain their living;
and since the usurer prefers another
pathway, he scorns both nature in herself
and art, her follower; his hope is elsewhere.”
“God creates nature, and human art springs from and imitates nature [Aristotle]. Usury thus offends both nature (God’s ‘child’) and art (His ‘grandchild’).”
“And to the man he said, ‘Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree about which I commanded you, “You shall not eat of it,” cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return.’”
1. Botticelli, Sandro. Violent against others. 1495.
2. Dante Alighieri. La Divina Commedia. BUR Rizzoli, 2016.
3. Dante Alighieri. The Divine Comedy. Translator Allen Mandelbaum.
4. Dante Alighieri. La Divina Commedia. BUR Rizzoli, 2016.
5. Dante Alighieri. The Divine Comedy. Translator Allen Mandelbaum.
6. Notes by Peter Armour
7. Genesis 3:17-19 (NRSV).
8. Crumb, Robert, and Robert Alter. The Book of Genesis Illustrated.