Dante in Exile
Through sorrow’s mist God’s glory shines most bright,
Then may we feel His presence doubly nigh.
Save for the dark no stars would stud the sky.
Our lamps would be untrimmed save for the night.
Thus Dante, shrouded in misfortune’s blight—
A prince in pilgrim’s guise—trod gloriously
The bitter paths which in the darkness lie,
Strove through the Forest thick, and reached the height,
Raised from the earth where hopes like leaves lay dead.
His vision pierced the clouds, and soul grew strong
Dwelling upon the mysteries, till no signs
Mystic of heavenly love were left unread.
The highest found an utterance in that song
Sung lonesomely beneath Ravenna’s pines.
¶ c. 1891 Beardsleys interest in Dante
was stimulated by his friend A. H. Pargeter, a fellow-clerk in the
Guardian Fire and Life Assurance Office. The hand-lettering in the
illuminated manuscript of this poem carries the strong whiff of
the influence of Dante Gabriel Rossettis work on the young