DANTE, attempting to escape from the valley of sin, and to ascend the hill of virtue, is driven back by three wild beasts. The poet Virgil comes to his assistance.
Dante is disheartened when he reflects on his arduous enterprise - a descent into Hell, accomplished only by such men as Æneas and St. Paul. Virgil relieves his fears, and relates how he had been sent to his assistance by Beatrice. He accompanies Dante to the gate of Hell.