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The lustful: Arnault Daniel

VII cornice. Two groups of penitents walk in opposite directions and sing the hymn Summae Deus clementiae along a wall of flames, symbol of the loving passion that consumed them when they were alive. They are the lustful "according to nature" and "against nature", and when they meet, they exchange kisses and caresses, and tell each other stories of chastity and punished lust. Arnault Daniel was a famous Provençal poet who lived between 12th and 13th centuries. He was a master of "trobar clus" ("difficult poetic style"), characterized by metric virtuosity and complex technicalities, referred to as a model by many Stilnovisti poets, including Dante himself who imitate that style in his "Rime Petrose". Daniel's lust is not documented historically. After all, Dante also placed Guinizzelli (and himself) among the lustful, probably alluding to the fact that by simply devoting themselves to love, poets gave evidence of being trapped by earthly pleasure. In the final part of the Canto, Arnault Daniel speaks in his mother tongue, langue d'Oc, which Dante apparently knew very well. It is the only case in the Comedy in which the poet makes a character speak in a foreign language.

“So pleases me your courteous demand,
I cannot and I will not hide me from you.
I am Arnaut, who weep and singing go;
Contrite I see the folly of the past,
And joyous see the hoped-for day before me.
Therefore do I implore you, by that power
Which guides you to the summit of the stairs,
Be mindful to assuage my suffering!”.

Purgatory, XXVI, 140-47.

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