Dante Alighieri - La Divina Commedia - Inferno - Canto 01
Peter Dale - Canto 01

Along the journey of our life half way,
I found myself again in a dark wood

Ah, tongue can never make it understood:
So harsh and dense and savage to traverse

lt is so bitter death is hardly worse.
But, for the good it was my chance to gain,
ll rehearse.

- Yet still I cannot readily explain
How I had entered it, so near to sleep
and plain.

But, when I trod the rising of a steep,
Toward the ending of that fearful vale

And then my fear lulled somewhat from its height
That on my heart's sea gathered more and more

As one who has escaped from sea to shore
With panting breath turns round to catch the sight

Exactly so, my mind, though still in flight,
Turned itself round to see that defile where

And, when my weary frame had rested there,
I took my way along the barren strand,

Then, see, near to the start of rising land,
A leopard stood, of swift and nimble grace,

It would not give its ground before my face;
No, but impeded me so that I turned

The time was earliest morning. I discerned
The sun mount with those stars that ever climb
Love had yearned

And moved those lovely things; so that the prime
Of day, and the sweetness of the season's air,

Towards this beast of the bright fur; but there
Were none to quell my fear of the next sight:

And head erect, before me, in its might
So that the air itself began to quake,
It the light.

And, with it, came a she-wolf that seemed to ache
With craving in her leanness; she has compelled

The terror of that visage I beheld
Brought so much heaviness I felt hope drain

And, as a person keen to make some gain,
When comes a time he sees what loss he'II meet,
and pain,

Like that, the restless beast made me, and beat
Me backward step by step, till its defiance,
my retreat.

And, as I rushed back downward in compliance,
It seemed, before my eyes someone drew near
long silence.

Seeing him in that Barren tract appear,
I cried, 'Haue pity on me; pity me,

He answered: 'No man; I used to be.
My parents were both Lombards and their their nativity.

And I was born sub Julio, though late;
In good Augustus' Rome my life was run,

I was a poet; I sang Anchises' son,
The just one, who embarked from Trojan ground

But you, why panicked now and turning round?
Why not ascend to that Delectable Height,
is found?'

'Are you that Vergil, then, the spring so bright
That pours abroad so rich a stream of speech?'
and white.

'Glory and Light of poets, may my long zeal teach
Me, and the deep love that made me pore
now beseech.

You are my origin and master. You're
The one alone from whom I take my style,
honoured for.

Ah, famous seer, look an that beast awhile
From which I ran away, and rescue me.

'You ought to go another way,' said he,
When he had seen my tearful eyes, 'if you

The beast you cry out at lets no one through;
Lets no one pass this way at all, unless
To her due.

She has a nature steeped in viciousness,
And satiates her appetite in vain,
Forto excess.

She mates with many brutes and then again
With many more until the hound shall rise

Lucre and Land he will not gourmandize;
But valour, wisdom, love shall be his fare.

He'll save that Italy of lowly air,
For which the virgin Camilla has died -
, share.

Through every town he'll chase her, far and wide,
Until he turn her back to Hell, the base
her stride.

Therefore, I think this course the best you face:
That I should be your guide; you, follow me.
eternal place,

Where you will hear the hopeless cry, and see
The ancient spirits in such pain they quest

And you will also see, among the rest,
Others, contented with the fire, aspire
To the blest.

If scaling to those Heights is your desire,
There shall arrive a worthier than I,
you higher.

That Emperor who holds his reign on high,
Because his law I never could obey,

He rules all parts and there he holds his sway.
There is his city, there is his high throne.

And I replied: 'Poet, by the God unknown
To you, I beg: so that I obviate
through that zone

That you have mentioned, so I see the Gate
St Peter guards and, in the interim,

Then he moved onward and I followed him.