Paradiso Canto XVII

Paradiso 17

‘You shall learn how salt is the taste
of another man’s bread and how hard is the way,
going down and then up another man’s stairs.

vv. 58-60

Dante questions Cacciaguida as to his fortunes.— Cacciaguida replies, foretelling the exile of Dante, and the renown of his Poem.

After a moment’s hesitation, Dante asks Cacciaguida about the misfortunes he will face when he returns to Earth. The future, Cacciaguida cautions, is not yet written in stone and thus cannot be predicted with perfect accuracy. Nonetheless, he prophesies Dante will be exiled from Florence and forced to rely on the kindness of strangers. He will, however, find “refuge” in the generosity of a “great Lombard” (Can Grande della Scala, 1291–1329). Dante resolves to bear his future sufferings bravely, but he worries reporting his visions accurately will make him unpopular. Revealing who is in Hell and who is in Heaven, he observes, “will leave in many mouths an acid taste.” Cacciaguida counsels him to tell his story clearly and without fear of reprisal, leaving posterity to judge its merits. He tells him to stick to his own principles and tell the truth of what has led him to his present condition. The future will bring what they can only foretell and hope for, not actually bring about.

Riassunto in inglese tratto da

Canto adopted by dr. Silvano Rosetti, a in memory of the schoolmate Roberto Bachi, deported and died in Auschwitz in the autumn of 1944.

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