That Dante was the greatest mind produced by the medieval age of faith few people, we suppose, would deny. But to say of a man that he is the greatest product of his period and religion is not the same thing as saying that he is the most representative of either. A great deal of water has flowed beneath the well-constructed bridges of Catholicism since 1300, or rather has been carried along the indestructible Roman aqueducts over the temporal landscapes of a Christian cult which, admittedly, possesses an inherent and impressive talent for adapting itself to the mutations of political and civil existence. The lustral water itself, as Proust recognized in the element of time, remains water, but the bridges have been often repaired in a different style, and the aqueducts have been extended in ever changing proportions. Thus the fierce Ghibelline poet of the transitional Middle Age, with his merciless and almost indecent liberty of speech and his strangely unorthodox attitude toward the popular problem of Church in State, has become, in our time and country, one of the uncanonized saints and heroes of the former, whose poetry is eagerly studied in all Catholic universities, whose name is made the subject of competitive prizes, under episcopal patronage, in more than one Catholic periodical. There is no problem of transition from past to present involved here, for Dante has only once been the subject of ecclesiastical censure; but the contrast between the Florentine, as benevolently viewed by Catholic culture today, and the Florentine as he really was, at least in one of the most striking of his aspects, is not without interest, as we hope to demonstrate.
The historic background of Dante is important in a sense I unknown with Homer and Goethe because a preoccupation with Western European politics in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries forms, as it were, the network of nerves and sinews in the Divine Comedy. Perhaps the word “politics,” with all its modern and contemporary connotations, is misleading here. As a medieval Italian, the Florentine knew and cared nothing about that modern form of patriotism that we call nationalism. The natural order or circle of patriotic concepts in the case of such a being would be an allegiance to (1) his native city-state, which was Florence, (2) his religion, which was the Church Catholic, and (3) his temporal Empire, which was called Roman but which was really German. Such an order of ideas would seem to exclude the two modern ones of nation and of province (regionalism) . And in point of fact the last became first for Dante, and the man who began his public career as a home boy and a member of the Italian and papal faction ended his days in exile as a fanatical adherent to the unorthodox and German alien.
This appeal to the German Caesar, the Gothic Michael, which was to become Dante’s ultimate political attitude, was, in its origins, the work of the Roman papacy. Though Lord Bryce has written a long and interesting dissertation on the subject, the Holy Roman Empire continues to be an inextricable thorn in the side of students, but in reality it is very simple. The real founder of that immense and imposing figment was the Prankish king Charlemagne in 800. Pope Leo III had called the noble savage into Italy to chastise the Lombards by reviving the Roman Empire in the West. The Bona Dea became Germania, that was all, and took the Cross. Constantine’s “Donation” of the Romagna to the popes was a fake, but the donation of the same region by Charlemagne was a free gift that was never allowed to liquidate. In the tenth century, the young Pope John XII called in Otto the Great on the same holy business, this time to suppress the Roman barons and the Roman mob. Unable or unwilling to suffer the idea of Italian unity, the popes of the dark and middle ages were always demanding and receiving support from some external power, usually the Emperor, who had a valid claim on much of the peninsula. In a word, the papal Guelf originated as a pro-German Ghibelline.
But the situation was violently altered when in 1183 the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa married his son and heir of the Hohenstaufen family to the last heiress of South Italy. The popes began to look dubious. There were now Germans to north of them, Germans to south of them, and both regions were in the hands of this brilliant, chivalrous, and none too pious House of Swabia. In those days a great and good man occupied the chair of Saint Peter, Innocent III. The best of Catholic centuries, that of Dante, the thirteenth, was inaugurated by the most enlightened of medieval popes. His attitude toward the Hohenstaufen problem was personal and peculiar; he took the infant Frederick II, him who was to be the World’s Wonder, under his cope, and brought; him up at the Lateran till he was of age to accede in Germany. But Innocent died shortly afterward, and at once the war between the two powers was renewed, and to the death, penetrating and profoundly affecting all Italy. Lom-bardy and Tuscany, especially Florence, were against the Emperor; but the Italian baronage was, in general, for him. The new Franciscan order of Friars Minor, now pullulating in the peninsula, were strongly Guelf and for the Pope. Meanwhile the World’s Wonder, the cousin of Thomas Aquinas, and the most interesting Italian personality between Saint Francis and Dante himself, lounged on his terraces in the well-loved land where the orange trees grew, revising the manuscript of his book against Jesus; was excommunicated because he would not take the Cross; excommunicated all over again because he did take it; and finally crowned king of Jerusalem at the Church of the Sepulcher in a rather languid fashion, pursued everywhere by the Pope’s ban. The old lion died in 1250 with all his crowns (there were now five), and immediately, thanks to the successors of Innocent, all hell broke loose in Italy. Confronted with the “generation of vipers,” as the popes termed the remaining Hohenstaufens, they again called in the foreigner, this time the lilies of France in the not very clean person of Charles of Anjou, the bad brother of Saint Louis. As for the tragic children of Frederick, the air of Italy proved fatal to them. Their beauty, genius, feudal honor, the love and loyalty they evoked, availed them not at all. The new Emperor Conrad appeared in the peninsula only to die there. His brother, the beautiful King Enzio, perished in a Guelf prison at Bologna, betrayed, as he tried to escape, by a lock of his fair hair, Manfred, the gallant bastard, died on the field of honor. Corradino, aged fifteen, the last member of the family, galoped the length of the peninsula to recover Sicily, and perished on the scaffold. The pious holocaust was not complete, and the popes could rest on their laurels, manufactured in Paris. This was the general politico-ecclesiastic situation when Dante was born at Florence of a Guelf family, three years before the death of Corradino.
Our best knowledge of Dante is, of course, derived from his own works. Commencing with the sonnet he wrote at eighteen after saluting Beatrice on the Ponte Vecchio, and ending with the vision of God at the close of the Paradiso, we have unrolled a piece of self-revelation in certain respects unsurpassed in world literature.
We are fortunate, moreover, in possessing at least one reliable account of him by a contemporary. Pope Boniface VIII, whom the poet was to place by anticipation in one of the hottest nooks of the Inferno, had proclaimed the first Jubilee or Holy Year for 1300, the same year that Dante became a member of the Signory at Florence, Among the innumerable pilgrims who thronged the eternal city was a young Florentine named John Villani. “And I,” he wrote ecstatically, “finding myself on that blessed pilgrimage to the holy city, beholding the great and ancient things therein, reading the doings of the Romans in Virgil, Sallust, Titus Livius . . . thought it meet and right to chronicle all the gestes of my own Florence, together with her beginnings. . . . And so have I compiled this book in reverence to God and our bel San Giovanni in commendation of this Town.”
. The result extends from Biblical times to the year 1346, and includes an account of the death of Dante at fifty-six in Ravenna, with the circumstances of his long exile. Then follows a significant sentence. . . . “He was pleased in this poem [the Divine Comedy] to rail and cry out more than he should have done; perhaps it was his banishment that made him thus.” In character, Villani concludes, Dante was harsh, presumptuous, and disdainful . . . “resembling an ungracious philosopher.”
Boccaccio, the first lecturer on Dante at Florence (1373), was evidently one of the earliest of the debunkers. At all events he was the first to enliven his commentary on the Inferno by charging his distinguished subject with the ruling passion or sin of lusswia (sensuality), the same punished in an early circle of hell. Leonardo Bruni said of Boccaccio: “It struck me that, excellent man and charming writer as he was, he wrote the life of a sublime poet as if undertaking another Fiametta.” In short, there was too much Decameron in his biographical style. Bruni contradicts the lus-suria charge.
From these, and one or two other primary sources, we learn that Dante was elected to the Signory in 1300 to hold office from June 15 to the Assumption. That interminable and maddening Pistoyan quarrel between Neri and Bianchi, clerical Blacks and imperial Whites, had recently been transferred to Florence in order to feed the endless Guelf versus Ghibelline struggle in that city; and Dante, who originally knew and cared nothing about the complications of Italian politics, was sucked in much to his ultimate grief. (“All my hardships had their rise in the disastrous intrigues during my priorate.”) In the same year the new Pope Boniface VIII, so indefatigable in getting the world into trouble, arranged with Charles of Valois, brother to Philip the Fair, King of France, to suppress Ghibelline agitation at Florence. The French prince entered the city on All Saints’ Day, 1301, recalled the clericals, and instituted a reign of terror. At New ‘Year’s the podesta decreed that five prominent Florentines, including Dante, should. be banished from Tuscany. The poet entered the service of Can Grande Sealiger, tyrant of Verona, to whom he dedicated the Divine Comedy. In 1310, the striking, chivalrous Henry of Luxemburg prepared to enter Italy, reviving the imperial claim on the peninsula extinct since the death of Corradino forty years before. Late in the year Dante addressed the first of his famous epistles to the rulers and people of Italy in which his prose mounts with his new imperialism. “Behold now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation; efface, O most beautiful, the signs of mourning, for he is at hand who shall deliver thee!” Henry assumed the iron crown at Milan, but Tuscany le-volted, occasioning Dante’s second epistle to his fellow-countrymen . . . “gente avara, invidiam superba” It rendered any return to Florence thenceforth impossible, and perhaps at the same time he added to the Inferno the passage on the river Arno which seems etched in vitriol: “. . , cursed and ill-starred ditch, rising meanly among the human swine more fit for acorns than Christian food, then reaching the snarling curs of Arezzo, to seep out in the bogs and swamps of treacherous Pisa.” The Emperor died near Siena in 1813, and from this point one hears little of Dante, His last years were passed at Ravenna where he died on the eve of Holy Cross Day, 1821, supported by his two boys, and probably by a daughter, Beatrice, a nun. The Babylonian Captivity of the Church at Avignon, ascribed by Dante to the intrigues and intransigence of the late Pope Boniface, had in the meantime begun.
Among the various, and sometimes conflicting, interpretations of the Divine Comedy there is one that, within its limits, seems obvious and outstanding. The Inferno, at any rate, is a satire, though its author was not a satirist in the ordinary sense. That is to ray, he did not lash the various follies and imbecilities of the political and religious animal with the vivid impersonality of Juvenal or Dryden or Pope. The satire is less social than the expression of an intense personal reaction, the dilacerating saeve indignati of Swift mainly directed, in the case of Dante, upon Florence and upon the clergy. This reaction has produced a kind of infernal Dun-ciad where sinners, rather than imbeciles, are pinned down wriggling like entomological specimens, not for derision but for everlasting reprobation. When Michelangelo, a somewhat kindred spirit, covered the walls of the Sistine Chapel with his Last Judgment, he placed an enemy, one of the Pope’s chamberlains, among the damned. Monsignor Bi-agio protested to Paul III, but that witty Farnese pontiff replied: “I have the keys of Purgatory, but not of Hades.” In the case of Dante no man can deliver his Nicholas III, his Argenti, and many another contemporary, from that hell.
The limitation imposed upon the writer by that aspect of Dante he has chosen—his hatred of the political papacy— constrains us to remind the reader of the symbolism employed at the very outset of the Inferno in the first canto where the poet “in the midway of our mortal life” comes to himself in an obscure wood “where the straight path is lost.” The lour landscape is, of course, the map of Italy in the first year of the new century, the fourteenth, the year of the Jubilee, the climax of the Middle Age:
Ahi quanto a dir qual era e cosa dura questa selva selvaggia ed aspra e forte.
After the poet has reached the foot of a hill where the sinister valley ends, its shoulders already clothed with the light of that star which leads men straight, three symbolic animals impede his advance,—a leopard with a gay, spotted skin (Florence), a lion (Capetian France), and finally a she-wolf, “full of all craving in her leanness, who has ere now made many live in sorrow.” This last animal has been taken as the symbol of the Holy Father, Boniface VIII, the Guel-fic papacy. Dante is rescued from her by the gracious apparition of the poet Virgil, who remarks of the beast that “the animals whom she weds are many, and will be more, till the Greyhound come who will make her die in pain. . . . He will feed on wisdom, love and manfulness, and will be the salvation of Italy.” The allusion is to Can Grande Scal-iger, or to the Emperor Henry of Luxemburg. Our point is that the most powerful and satiric portion of the Divine Comedy begins with the portent that had assumed for Dante by the year 1800 the nature of an obsession, the fourteenth-century papacy.
That obsession continues in the third canto where the twain are confronted by the gateway of hell with the inscription: All hope abandon ye who enter here. “Sighs, plaints, and deep wailings resounded through the starless air, strange tongues, horrible outcries, words of pain.” When Dante asks his Latin guide: “What is this I hear?” Virgil answers that these are the dreary souls who lived without praise or blame, “neither rebellious nor faithful to God, but for themselves alone.” Dante scans the throng more narrowly and recognizes some, notably him who made the great refusal, and he forthwith understands that this is indeed that caitiff choir hateful to God and to His enemies. He who made the great refusal is not merely another sovereign pontiff; he is a canonized saint, Celestine V, a holy hermit elected Pope in 1294, but persuaded, by the clever and energetic prelate who succeeded him as Boniface VIII, to abdicate. That was evidently quite enough for Dante, who places the ex-pope and actual saint among those dismal unfortunates “who never were alive.”
In the fourth circle, reserved for the avaricious, Dante observes a good many tonsured heads and inquires of Virgil whether these damned souls are those of the reverend clergy, and is answered that they are indeed, and that they include several popes and cardinals whose undiscerning lives make them now too obscure for recognition.
The climax of this hatred is reached in the nineteenth canto where Dante penetrates that eighth circle of Dis, city of dreadful night, reserved for hypocrites, liars, and traffickers in sacred things, and encounters the tormented shade of Pope Nicholas III. “I saw the livid stone on the sides and bottom full of holes not less wide than those in mio bel San Giovanni, and from the mouth of each emerged human feet, the soles licked by fire.” He interrogates one of the sufferers, who howls in reply: “Ant thou there already, Boniface?” The reference is to Dante’s chief enemy among the priests, the Sovereign Pontiff who was still reigning. Hell gapes for him, and for his French successor, Clement V; and Dante concludes the canto with the famous lines founded on that medieval misconception known as the “Donation” of Constantine:
Ah Constantine! of how much ill the author,
Not thy conversion, but the dowery
Which the first wealthy Father took from thee!
Yet Dante can be sweet and liberal enough when, for instance, it is a question, not of priests or popes in the Guelf and French interest, but of Ghibelline captains and kings. In this respect he more than once goes counter to the whole ethic and spirit of his age. The early medieval period knew no sin more heinous, no penalty more devastating, than that resistance to the visible Church punished by formal excommunication. It was the preferred weapon in the hands of a post-Innocentine pope in dealing with any member of the rebellious House of Swabia. Thus Frederick II had been twice excommunicated, and when his natural son, the great King Manfred, seized Calabria and Sicily, contrary to the gracious permission of the Pope who had just given away both provinces, without a shadow of right, to Charles of An-jou, the glorious bastard was also excommunicated as a matter of course, and in 1266 had to fight the French prince at Benevento for his inheritance. Before the battle he sent ambassadors to negotiate a peace without victory. “Tell the Sultan of Nocera,” responded the odious Frenchman, “that I desire for combat only; and today I will thrust him into hell, or else he will haply put me in paradise.”
Thus the champion of the Church! It is said that he owed his victory to the unchivalrous order he gave to shoot first at the horses. Manfred was killed murmuring, “It is the will of God,” and Charles wished to refuse sepulcher to the poor excommunicate corpse. The French soldiers, the doughboys, more generous than their commander, raised it a rock tomb, each one bearing a stone. But woe to him who intervenes in the righteous warfare of Holy Church! One Pig-natelli, Bishop of Cosenza and papal legate, had the body of Manfred disinterred and scattered piecemeal like that of Orpheus in the desolate campagna between Rome and his own kingdom of Naples. His brilliant and unquiet spirit was indeed thrust into hell in so far as the Pope and Charles of Anjou could arrange matters. But Dante in 1300 meets him unexpectedly—in Paradise. Against that dawn tinting the horizon with orient saffron, trembling on the waves of the limitless, antipodal sea, the holy mountain rears itself in pure air and light, a place refrigerii, lucis, et pacis. “I turned me to him, and steadfastly did look; golden-haired was he and fair, of noble mien, but one of his eyebrows a cut had cleft. Then he smiling said: I am Manfred; wherefore I pray thee, that when thou returnest, tell how after my body was pierced by mortal wounds, I yielded my spirit weeping to Him who willingly doth pardon . . .’ “
And Dante, still speaking through the excommunicated King of Naples, adds in language as hardy as exquisite:
Their curse avails not so to damn the soul, But that God’s everlasting Love can turn Even while Hope shows but one leaf alive.
Dante is also very lenient to lovers, carnal sinners, and in this respect also he seems to us to contradict the monastic and official spirit of his age. One of the heavenly spheres, the planet Venus in the Paradiso, is full of such people, even if, like Cunizza, they were more famous for their follies than for their penance here below. In that purgatorial ascent, where the fall of man is repaired, it is the incontinent who expiate their offences most lightly, well near the summit or earthly Paradise where the soul, now free from temporal and ecclesiastical authority, regains its primal innocence and is ready to ascend through all the spheres and stars to an anticipated vision of God. Even in the Inferno, Paolo and Francesca are placed as high as possible and know no other punishment than to be driven through all eternity by the wind, naked, wrapped in each other’s arms. This astonishing episode has caused old-fashioned romantics like Alfred de Musset to reproach Dante (or rather to praise him with reservations) for not seeing in this destiny the perfect fulfillment of love. More discerningly, George Santayana has interpreted the punishment of Paolo and his mistress in words which it would be almost blasphemous to paraphrase:
Can an eternity of floating on the wind together be a heavy punishment for lovers? That is just what their passion, if left to itself, would have chosen. It is exactly what passion stops at, and would gladly prolong. Divine judgment has only taken it at its word. This fate is exactly what Aucassin, in the well-known medieval novelette, wishes for himself and his sweetheart,—the possession, even if in Hell, of what he loves and fancies. . . . There is a difference between the apprentices in life and the masters. Aucassin and Alfred de Musset are among the apprentices; Dante was one of the masters. He had discovered the necessity of saying continually to himself: “Thou shaft renounce.” And for this reason he needed no other furniture in Hell than the literal ideals and fulfillments of our absolute little earthly passions. Unlawful love is condemned to be a mere possession —possession in the dark, without environment, without a future, love among the ruins.
Mr. Santayana’s argument is apparently indestructible; none the less the peculiar sweetness of Dante regarding the sins of the flesh remains curious in an age which encouraged, by precept at any rate, a militant purity.
One remembers Boccaccio’s charge of lussuria as being Dante’s besetting sin, a charge repeated by the younger Villain, and denied by Bruni. For the episode of Paolo and Francesca is not the only one where this mansuetude is employed in the Inferno. There is yet another form of incontinence due, in certain cases perhaps, to an excess of masculinity, described in Catholic catechisms as one of the four sins crying to heaven for vengeance, and indeed punished in the Inferno—but, again, how lightly!—in the seventh circle, the dismal wood and burning plain reserved for those guilty of violence against God, themselves, or nature. Recognizing one of these damned, an old friend and tutor, Dante addresses him with the utmost affection and respect as Ser Brunetto; and he answers: “O my son, let it not displease thee if Brunetto Latini turn back with thee a little!” to whom Dante responds in these remarkable terms: “Were my desire fulfilled, you had not been banished from human nature, for in my memory is fixed, and now goes to my heart, the dear and kind paternal image of you who in the world, hour by hour, taught me how man can make himself immortal.”
Dante goes on to inquire of his former tutor the names of his companions. “All were clerks,” is the response, “and scholars, and of great renown. . . . Priscian goes there with the wretched crowd, and Francesco d’Accorso . . . to these courtesy is due” Others crowd around, all of them soldiers in the past, Ghibellines of course, Aldobrand, Guido Guerra, the captain Rusticucci. Instead of shrinking from all such like the modern Pharisee of conventional morality, Dante recalls their valiant and patriotic actions in the world above, and longs to embrace them, even in hell. “Of your land am I too a citizen; your deeds and honored names have ever been with love retained by me.” It is the sinner against human and social bonds and duties, like Boniface and Brutus, not the man or woman who injures self alone, like Francesca or Latini, who is the object of Dante’s scorching satire. Among the sodomites of the seventh circle there is one only for whom he finds words of contempt, and he was a bishop, Mozzi of Florence and Vic-enza.
We have perhaps said enough to indicate that Dante, though a product of the greatest of centuries, was not its most representative product. The early Middle Ages were, to be sure, chivalrous, mystical, profoundly Christian in their context; and to this extent Dante is their sublime voice. Yet the specific tendency of the thirteenth century, as manifested in the hard Guelf faction of Italy, the friends of liberty and the Church, prepared to immolate the whole race to an idea, was a union between theocracy and the commercial bourgeois class, gente avara, invidiosa, against the ardent feudality of the imperialists. The Ghibelline House of Swabia, on the other hand, amid a multitude of violent and tyrannical acts, did maintain a character which does not permit one to remain indifferent to its tragic history, namely, the tender heroism of its personal relationships. The common trait of all the Ghibelline party was the devotion of man to man. Never in their greatest misfortunes did the Hohenstaufens lack friends to combat for them, and if need be, to perish voluntarily in their cause. Corradino had possessed his Pa-troclus in a lad of about the same age, Frederick of Austria; heroic children whom death itself did not divide. Dante would not have been Dante had he not responded to this quality in the psychology of his feudal lords. He is constrained to place in the Inferno the heroic and heretical Fa-rinata, Ghibelline captain at Florence; but there was not one noble heart among his readers who would not have wished, momentarily at least, to share his couch of fire by such a man. “Alas!” says Farinata, “I was not alone at the battle where we conquered Florence, but when the victors proposed to destroy the city, I spoke alone, and I saved her.”
“And he rose upright with breast and countenance as if he entertained great scorn of Hell!”
How difficult then it is to read the Divine Comedy today with any degree of interest unless one penetrates the complexities of thirteenth- and fourteenth-century Italian politics, ecclesiastical and lay, with all their interactions, unimpeded by the mystical and theological framework, in order to touch at last the burning heart of the mystery! That heart was Dante’s own with all its wild, irrational loves and hates, neither the angel of the Thomists nor a hyena issuing from one of his own tombs, but a human being, a man. We know well that this romantic approach to the great Ghibelline writer is far from being popular in our time. The academic mind prefers a more antiquarian method; the Catholic and neo-Catholic mind, so much in the forefront of contemporary thought, prefers a more theological one. The modern Catholic does not relish being reminded that the greatest writer ever produced by that religion, the true voice of medieval Catholic Europe, as Carlyle admits, did not (up to the Paradiso) have one decent word for the ordained clergy any more than had Christ for the priests and scribes of the Jewish Temple. Such, however, is the fact. Let no one rashly conclude from this, as has been done in the case of Savonarola and Joan of Arc, that Dante was, in some undefinable fashion, a crypto-heretic, a noble pioneer of the Protestant revclt. Let not the more intelligent or fanciful discern in him a solitary and vociferate survival of that oriental heresy of the French Midi, incinerated in the Albigensian War, but lingering on in the Templars and echoed by the melodious sensuality of “Parsifal.” One of the sources of his mystic song may indeed be Arabic, but Dante was solidly of Christendom, of Gothic Italy, of the north. He was invulnerably Catholic, but also he was among the greatest of Catholic anticlericals. Writh the late Leon Bloy the species seems to have died out.
The average contemporary lover of Dante, to whom medieval or modern popes and kings are less than nothing, will be tempted to concur with Carducci in a chiseled sonnet which is worth quoting in part:
For me Saint Lucy prays not, nor the fair Matilda laves away my spirit’s grime, And Beatrice and her chaste lover climb Godward in vain along the starry stair.
I hate thy Holy Empire, and my sword
I would from thy good Frederick’s head had cleft
The crown when he in Val d’Olona warred.
Empire and Church are ruins life-bereft,
Whence soars thy song unto the skies outpoured . . . ?
It soars, we repeat, like the song of every great subjective poet, inward, as it were, to the deeps and heights of the human being, containing a whole universe within himself, eternal mystery and miracle as he is! And perhaps the best way of estimating the Divine Comedy is through the eyes of the author. It is not alone a political pamphlet in verse, though one of its essential burdens is a formidable attack on the organized Church, or at any rate on its clergy. It is not alone a dissection of the human soul, according to a nicely graded scale of scholastic values, though the ethical philosophy that inheres in the poem is ennobling and profound. It is not alone the “Summa” of St. Thomas Aquinas set to music. It is rather all these things, and something more. In Dante’s own words, the Divine Comedy is the Odyssey of Man, in so far as he is exposed, by the exercise of his free will, to the compensations and penalties of eternal Justice.
Hence the modern man with no interest in Dante’s literal religion, and no belief in its corollary ethic, and no specialized knowledge of his political views, can still read the Divine Comedy with profound emotion. “True souls will find a fraternity in him; the sincerity of his thought will speak to their sincerity; they will feel that he also was a brother.”