Dante and Beatrice 1884 by Henry Holiday
He loved her from the moment he set eyes on her. He was nine. She spoke to him but once, briefly in passing…only to die a few years later. Heartbroken, he remained forever devoted to her. She would become the main inspiration for Dante’s romantic poem, La Vita Nuova. In that, she will live forever.
How does Beatrice kindle love? Dante narrates..
In her eyes my lady bears Love
by which she makes noble what she gazes on:
where she passes, all men turn their look on her
and she makes the heart tremble in him she greets,
so that all pale, he lowers his eyes and sighs, then,
over all his failings: anger and pride
fleeing before her.
Help me ladies, to do her honour.
All sweetness, all humble thought
are born in the heart of him who hears her speak,
and he who first saw her is blessed.
How she looks when she smiles a little,
can not be spoken of, or held in mind,
she is so rare a miracle and gentle.
– Dante Alighieri