Dante Alighieri - La Divina Commedia - Purgatorio
Courtney Langdon - The Divine Comedy

Purgatory. The First Ring. Pride
The Lord's Prayer. The Proud

"Our Father, Thou that in the Heavens dost dwell,
not circumscribed, but for the greater love
Thou hast for what Thou madest first on high;
let both Thy Name and Worth be given praise
by every creature, ev'n as it is meet
that to Thy loving Spirit thanks be given!
And may Thy Kingdom's Peace come down to us,
since we can not attain it of ourselves,
for all our striving, save it also come!
As gladly of their wills Thine Angels make
a sacrifice to Thee, singing 'All Hail!',
so likewise gladly may men do with theirs!
Give us this day our daily spirit-food,
without which, through this bitter wilderness,
he backward goes, who onward toileth most!
And as we pardon every one the wrong
we 've suffered, of Thy Mercy do Thou us
forgive, regarding not what we deserve!
Our virtue which is easily o'ercome,
test Thou not through our ancient Enemy,
but set us free from him, who tempts it so!
This last request, dear Lord, is not, indeed,
made for ourselves, who need not make it here,
but is for their sake who behind us stayed."

Thus praying good speed for themselves and us,
those shades beneath a burden went their way,
not unlike that whereof one dreams at times,
unequally tormented, all of them,
and weary, o'er the first ring, round and round,
purging away the world's defiling mists.

If good things there be always said for us,
what can be said and done on their behalf
down here, by those whose will is rooted well?
Surely one ought to help them wash away
the stains they brought with them, that they may issue,
cleansed and unburdened, to the starry spheres.

"Pray, so may pity and Justice speedily
unburden you, that ye may move your wings,
and raise yourselves according to your wish,
show us on which hand lies the shortest way
to reach the stairs; and, be there more than one,
teach us the pass that hath the gentlest slope;
for, owing to the load of Adam's flesh,
which clothes his spirit, he who with me comes
is slow in climbing, though against his will."

As to the words, which in reply they said
to those which he, whom I was following, spoke,
it was not evident from whom they came;
but this was said: "Come with us on the right
along the bank, and ye shall find the pass,
which may be climbed by one that's still alive.
And were I not prevented by the stone,
which tames my haughty neck, and forces me
to keep my face bowed down, at this man here,
who liveth still and telleth not his name,
I 'd look, to see if he is one I know,
and stir his pity for this heavy load.
Latin I was, and born to a great Tuscan;
Guglielmo Aldobrandesco was my father;
I know not if you ever knew his name.
My forebears' ancient blood and noble deeds
caused me to be so arrogant, that I,
unmindful of our common mother, earth,
held every man in scorn to such extent,
I died for it, as well knows Siena's folk,
and every child in Campagnątico.
I am Omberto; nor to me alone
doth this work ill, for pride hath with itself
drawn all my kin into calamity.
And here, for this, must I needs bear this load
among the dead, till God be satisfied,
since I among the living bore it not."

Listening, I bowed my face; and one of them,
not he who had been speaking, writhed around
under the burden which was hampering him;
and, having seen and recognized me, called,
and kept his eyes with effort fixed on me,
who, as I went along with them, was stooping.

Then "Oh!" said I, "Art thou not Oderisi,
the glory of Agobbio and the art,
which is in Paris called 'illuminating'?"

"Brother," said he, "more smiling are the parchments
which Franco Bolognese paints; the glory
is now all his and only partly mine.
Because of that great longing to excel,
whereon my heart was set, I certainly
would not have been so courteous while I lived.
Here is the forfeit paid for pride like this;
nor should I be here yet, had it not been
that, while I still could sin, I turned to God.
O empty glory of our human powers,
how short a time green lasts upon its top,
unless uncultured ages overtake it!
Once Cimabłe thought that he would hold
the field in painting, yet the cry is all
for Giotto now, hence that one's fame is dark.
Thus hath one Guido taken from the other
the glory of our tongue; and he is born,
perhaps, who from the nest will banish both.
Worldly repute is but a breath of wind,
which cometh now from here, and now from there,
and shifts its name, because its quarter shifts.
What greater fame shalt thou have - if when old
thou quit thy flesh, than hadst thou died ere 'pap'
and 'chink' were dropped, - a thousand years from now?
For that, if to eternity compared,
is shorter than the twinkling of an eye
is to the sky's most slowly moving sphere.
All Tuscany proclaimed the fame of him,
who walks so slowly on the road before me;
yet hardly is a whisper of him left
in Siena now, whose governor he was,
what time the rage of Florence was destroyed,
which then as haughty was, as abject now.
Your worldly fame is like the hue of grass,
which comes and goes, and he discolors it,
through whom it springs up tender from the ground."

And I: "Thy true speech heart'ning me with good
humility, thou prickst my swollen pride;
but who is he of whom thou spok'st just now?

"That" he replied, "is Provenząn Salvani;
and here he is, because presumptuously
he brought all Siena under his control.
Thus hath he gone, and without rest he goes,
e'er since he died; who yonder dares too much,
in satisfaction pays such coin as this."

And I then: "If the spirit who delays,
before repenting, till the verge of life,
abides below, and cometh not up here,
unless good prayers assist him, till as long
a time be passed as he had been alive,
wherefore hath this man's coming been vouchsafed?"

"When in his greatest glory," he replied,
"all shame removed, he freely took his stand
in Siena's Campo;
and there, to free a friend
suffering in Charles' prison, he brought himself
to quake in every vein. I 'll say no more,
and know that what I say is darkly spoken;
but so, ere long, will thine own neighbors act,
that thou 'lt be able to interpret it.
This deed of his relieved him from those bounds."

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