Come and behold our lady where she lies."
These ‘wildering fantasies
Then carried me to see my lady dead.
Even as I there was led,
Her ladies with a veil were covering her
And with her was such a very humbleness
That she appeared to say, "I am at peace."
In the stanza above, Dante tells how in a dream he was led by a personification of Love to the deathbed of his beloved Beatrice. Dante actually met Beatrice only twice in his life. However, he writes that it was her purity that struck him so deeply and caused him to fall hopelessly in love with her. Dante practiced his courtship the medieval way—subtly and behind the scenes. He admired Beatrice from afar and idolized her in his writings.
In the painting, a dreaming Dante is led by Love to Beatrice just before she is carried off from this world forever. Dante’s unrequited love for Beatrice glows as Love gives Beatrice the kiss that Dante never gave.