Born too far into life: the metaphor of the bee in Walden
In The Banquet Dante Alighieri described the "senses" in which a text might be expounded and understood. The immediate and common sense was the literal; the remaining senses were the allegorical, the moral, and the anagogic, or spiritual. A text could be meaningful on all four levels, but the highest and ultimately most valued sense was the spiritual. For Dante the world itself was symbolic, pointing to a greater truth beyond it.