La Divina Commedia
Ichabod Charles Wright
The Divine Comedy
Inferno - Canto 01
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.
IN the mid-journey of our life below,
I found myself within a gloomy wood, -
No traces left, the path direct to show.
Ah! what a painful task to tell how drear,
How savage, and how rank that forest stood,
Which e'en to think upon renews my fear!
More bitter scarcely death itself can be.
But to disclose the good which there I found,
I will relate what else 'twas mine to see.
IIow first I entered, it is hard to say;
In such deep slumber were my senses bound,
When from the path of truth I went astray.
But soon as I had reached a Mountain's base,
(Where the low vale that struck me with dismay
Obtains a limit to its dreadful space)
I looked on high, and saw its shoulders bright
Already with that glorious planet's ray
Which guideth man through every path aright.
Then was awhile allayed the chilling fear
That in my heart's deep lake had trembling stood,
The night I passed in anguish so severe:
And like to one all breathless - who at last
Escaped ashore from out the perilous flood,
Turns to the wave, and gazing, stands aghast;
E'en so my mind, though yet intent on flight,
Turned backward to review that vale of gloom
Which never spared the life of mortal wight.
Soon as my weary frame had rest obtained,
Up the lone steep my journey I resume;
But firmer still the lowest foot remained.
To climb the ascent I scarcely had essayed,
When lo! an agile Panther barred my way,
Exceeding swift, in spotted coat arrayed.
Confronting me, she plied her nimble feet,
And in my progress caused me such delay,
That oft I turned with purpose to retreat.
It was the hour when morning dawns on high;
And now the sun was rising in the east,
With those fair stars that bore him company
When Love Divine first launched them in the sky:
These happy omens now my hope increased -
The Panther's coat that shone with brilliant dye -
The season sweet, and early morning bright:
Not that without dismay I saw appear
A Lion's form that burst upon my sight.
With ravening hunger, and uplifted head,
He came against me in his fell career; -
Methought the very air partook of dread:
A She-Wolf too; who ravenous and lean
Seemed by innumerable wants possessed,
And had of multitudes the ruin been.
With terror were her glaring eyeballs fired;
And thence my soul was by such weight oppressed,
All hope I lost to win that mount desired.
And e'en as one intent to swell his stores,
When comes the hour that sweepeth them away,
Gives up his thoughts to grief, and still deplores;
Such I became, as that insatiate brute
Approaching nearer filled me with dismay,
And drove me back to where the sun is mute.
While sadly I retraced my former course
Down to the vale, - before me I descried
One, who by long disuse of speech was hoarse.
Him when I saw on that wide desert coast, -
»Have pity, whatsoe'er thou be,« I cried -
»Or living man, or melancholy ghost.«
»Not man,« he answered, »though I once was man;
My parents were of Lombardy; and they
In Mantua both their mortal journey ran.
Late in great Julius' reign I had my birth,
And lived at Rome 'neath good Augustus' sway,
When false and lying gods prevailed on earth.
A bard I was; and sang that just one's fame -
Anchises' son, - who left the Trojan shore,
When fell proud Ilion, wrapt in hostile flame.
But why returnest thou to such annoy?
Why dost thou climb yon pleasant mount no more -
The origin and cause of every joy?«
With looks abashed I answered, bending low:
»Art thou that Virgil then - that fountain clear,
Whence streams of eloquence so richly flow?
O thou, of bards the honour and the light,
Let my long study of thy volume dear,
And mighty love gain favour in thy sight.
My master thou - my author most admired
To thee alone that beauteous style I owe,
Which for my name such honour hath acquired.
Behold the beast which caused me to retreat!
Protection from her wrath, great sage, bestow;
Through fear of her my veins and pulses beat.«
»Thee it behoves another path to take,«
He answered, (seeing how my sorrow flowed,)
»If thou this savage desert would'st forsake;
For yonder beast which fills thee with dismay
Doth none permit to journey o'er her road,
But hinders sore, till she destroy her prey.
So vile her nature - so disposed to ill,
Her ravenous wants she ne'er can satisfy;
And food but serves to whet her hunger still.
She links herself to many an animal;
And till the Greyhound come, to make her die
A painful death, yet more will she enthral.
(Him neither land nor lucre shall sustain,
By love, by wisdom, and by virtue fed:
From Feltro e'en to Feltro shall he reign.
His might Italia's lowly plains shall save,
For which Euryalus and Nisus bled,
Turnus the king, Camilla, virgin brave.)
Back to the limits of her native hell,
Whence Envy drew her first - with potent sway
From town to town shall he the beast repel.
Now, pondering on thy welfare, I decide
Through an eternal realm to lead the way;
If thou wilt follow, I will be thy guide.
There shalt thou hear the cries of hopeless woe;
There see the mournful shades of olden time
Imploring death to strike the second blow:
Others, in fire contented to remain;
For hope is their's, in heaven's untroubled clime,
Some future day an honoured seat to gain.
But would'st thou mount to where the blessed dwell,
A soul more worthy shall conduct thy flight;
Her care shall guide thee when I bid farewell;
For that great Emperor who rules above
Grants not that I, a rebel in his sight,
Lead to his City those He may approve.
Lord of the universe - his seat is there;
There his divine abode, and lofty throne:
O happy he who doth his favour share!«
»Poet, I do conjure thee,» I replied,
»By that dread God whom thou hast never known,
(So may I shun this ill and worse beside)
Lead me, O lead me thither, where the gate
Of holy Peter may by me be viewed,
And those thou speak'st of in such mournful state.«
He then led on; and I his steps pursued.
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.
THE day was closing, and the dusky air
On all the creatures of the earth bestowed
Rest from their labours: - I alone prepare
To war with pity, and in strenuous fight
Contend against the horrors of the road,
Which an unerring memory shall recite.
O Muse, O lofty Genius, grant your aid: -
O Memory - 'faithful record of the past -
Be here thy true nobility displayed.
»Poet,« I then began, »my honoured guide,
O trust me not in an attempt so vast,
Until my strength and virtue have been tried.
Thy verse relates how Sylvius' parent gained
Immortal realms, while yet corruptible,
And still in bonds of human flesh detained.
If then the great Antagonist of ill
So honoured him, whoso considers well,
The mighty destinies he should fulfil,
Will that especial favour justly rate
Not unbecoming one ordained to be
Father of Rome, and her imperial state; -
There, where the holy place, if truth be told,
Was instituted by divine decree
As the high seat St. Peter's heir should hold.
In that descent, made famous by thy rhyme,
He heard the announcement of his victory,
And of the Papal See in coming time.
Next went the 'chosen vessel' to convey
Comfort to those, who on that Faith rely
Which to salvation opens first the way.
But I - why go I there? - who sanction gives?
Æneas am not I, nor righteous Paul:
That I am worthy, surely none believes.
If then I venture on this enterprise,
Great is my dread in the attempt to fall:
More need I not to say, for thou art wise.«
And like to one who swerves from his intent,
Changing his purpose as fresh thoughts succeed,
Till his original design is spent;
Such I became on that benighted coast;
So that my enterprise, commenced with speed,
Amid a crowd of idle thoughts was lost.
»If rightly I thy meaning understand,«
The poet of exalted soul replied,
»By coward fear thy spirit is unmanned, -
Fear - that oft-times doth so weigh down the heart,
It makes man turn from nobler deeds aside,
Like beasts that at some fancied object start.
From this alarm that thou may'st be relieved,
The reason of my coming I declare,
And what I heard when first for thee I grieved. -
'Mid those in Limbo was I dwelling still,
When I was called by one so blest and fair,
That I entreated her to speak her will.
Her eyes shone brighter than the star on high;
And on mine ear in her own accents fell
Tones soft and sweet of angel harmony:
»O Mantuan poet! kind and courteous soul!
Whose honoured memory yet on earth doth dwell,
And shall endure till ages cease to roll; -
A friend I have (by cruel fortune spurned)
So hindered, journeying up the lone ascent,
That in despair his footsteps he hath turned;
And so bewildered is he, that I fear
My tardy succour will in vain be lent, -
If I may judge from what in heaven I hear.
Now rise - and with thy polished words unfold
All that to rescue him may needful be,
And aid him so, that I may be consoled.
Know - I am Beatrice who bid thee go;
The place I left I long again to see:
Love brought me here, Love makes these words to flow.
Oft-times, when in the presence of my Lord,
My voice shall rise to celebrate thy praise.«
Then I resumed, as ceased the angelic word:
»O virtuous Lady, whose excelling worth
Alone hath influence mortal man to raise
O'er all the creatures that inhabit earth, -
Such my delight thy mandate to fulfil,
That were it done, there still would seem delay;
Seek then no further to disclose thy will:
But tell the cause - why, fearless and unmoved,
To this low centre thou hast won thy way
From those high realms by thee so well beloved.«
»Since of my nature thou so much would'st know,
To thee I briefly will reveal,« she said,
»Why undismay'd I venture here below. -
Those things alone should we regard with fear,
Which bring misfortune on another's head;
All else are harmless, nor deserve our care.
Such - thanks to God, by Him have I been made.
That your calamities assail me not,
Nor do these flaming realms my peace invade.
In heaven there dwells a generous Maid, who sees
With such concern this wanderer's hapless lot,
That Justice yields to her its stern decrees.
She called on Lucia in her prayer: »Thy friend -
Thy faithful friend, of thee now stands in need;
Him to thy grateful care do I commend.«
Lucia, to deeds of mercy ever given,
Rose at her gentle words, and came with speed
Where I with ancient Rachel sate in heaven.
»O Beatrice! she said, »true praise of God!
Wherefore not succour him who loved thee so,
That for thy sake he fled the vulgar crowd?
Dost thou not hear his piteous cry - nor see
The death he combats on the flood below,
Which not by ocean's rage surpassed can be?«
Not with such haste on earth do men arise
To shun misfortune, or to compass gains,
As I, acquainted with his miseries,
Descended from the blest angelic choir,
Confiding in thy sweet persuasive strains,
Which honour thee, and all who thee admire.«
This said - her eyes, all glistening in her tears
Beauteous - she turned; whereat my zeal increased
To speed me hither, and relieve thy fears.
Thus, at her wish I hastened to thine aid,
And snatched thee from the fury of the beast,
Which up the mount thy shorter road forbade.
Then wherefore linger? wherefore this delay?
Why harbour in thy breast this coward fear?
Why o'er thy soul hath courage lost its sway,
Since three blest damsels in the court of heaven
Watch o'er thy safety with such tender care,
And in my words such promised help is given?«
As flow'rets, bent and closed by chilling night,
Soon as the sun his radiance hath bestowed,
Rise on their stems, and opening hail the light;
Thus to my wearied breast fresh vigour ran;
And o'er my heart such goodly courage flowed,
Like one restored to freedom, I began.
»O how compassionate the heavenly Maid
Who lent me succour! and thyself how kind,
Who hast so soon her words of truth obeyed!
Such strong desire my journey to pursue
Thy cheering speech hath kindled in my mind,
That I with joy my first design renew.
Lead on; - one impulse doth our bosoms sway;
Thou art my guide - my master - and my lord.«
I spake; - and soon as he resumed the way,
That deep and savage pathway I explored.
CAN TO III v AIRGUMENT Inscription over the gate of Hell Dante enters and in the outskirts called Limbo sees spirits who having lived in a state of indifference 116 Heavenly Wisdom weeps at the infirmity of human nature 119 The She wolf See canto i 49 124 Mercy Grace and Wisdom as mentioned above 136 Dante is confirmed in the design of executing his mission in spite of the Court of Rome and all earthly opposition He accordingly proceeds towards the gate of Hell 189 Human Will submits to Human Wisdom When the human will shall have submitted to a higher instructor the full object of the Pilgrim will be rompiled and his will identified with the will of God Par xxxiii
both to good and evil are assigned the same portion as the neutral angels They are ferried over the river Acheron A blast of lightning stuns Dante and he falls into a swoon THROUGH me ye enter the abode of woe 1 Through me to endless sorrow are ye brought Through me amid the souls accurst ye go Justice did first my lofty Maker move By Power Almighty was my fabric wrought By highest Wisdom and by Primal Love Ere I was form d no things created were 7 Save those eternal I eternal last All hope abandon ye who enter here These words inscribed in colour dark I saw High on the summit of a portal vast Whereat I cried O master with deep awe Their sense I mark Like one prepared he said 13 Here from thy soul must doubt be cast away Here must each thought of cowardice be dead Now at that place whereof I spake arrived The melancholy shades shalt thou survey Of God the mind's supremest good deprived Then as he clasped my hand with cheerful mien 19 That comfort gave and bade me cease to fear He led me down into the world unseen There sobs and wailings and heart rending cries Resounded through the starless atmosphere Whence tears began to gather in mine eyes Harsh tongues discordant horrible discourse 25 Words of despair fierce accents of despite Striking of hands with curses deep and hoarse Raised a loud tumult that unceasing whirled Throughout that gloom of everlasting night Like to the sand in circling eddies hurled
Then horror compassing my head around 31 I cried O master what is this I hear And who are these so plunged in grief profound He answered me The groans which thou hast heard Proceed from those who when on earth they were Nor praise deserved nor infamy incurred Bere with those caitiff angels they abide 37 Who stood aloof in heaven to God untrue Yet wanting courage with his foes to side Heaven drove them forth its beauty not to stain And Hell refuses to receive them too From them no glory could the damned obtain O master what infliction do they bear 43 I said which makes them raise such shrieks of woe He answered That I will in brief declare No hope of death have this unhappy crew And their degraded life is sunk so low With envy every other state o view Fame is on earth denied this wretched class 49 Alike by Justice and by Pity spurned Speak we no more of them but look and pass I looked beyond and lo a banner rose That whirling round and round so swiftly turned Its rapid motion seemed to scorn repose So large a troop of spirits came behind 55 I ne er forsooth could have believed it true That Death had slain such myriads of mankind And when I had examined many a shade Behold that abject one appeared in view
Who mean of soul the great refusal made Straight I perceived and instant recognized In that vast concourse the assembly vile Of those by God and by his foes despised These wretched ones who never were alive All naked stood full sorely stung the while By wasps and hornets that around them drive The cruel swarm bedeved their cheeks with blood Which trickled to their feet with many a tear Where worms disgusting drank the mingled flood Then onward as I stretched mine eye I saw A mighty stream with numbers standing near Whereat I said O master by what law Do these sad souls whose state I fain would learn So eagerly to cross the river haste As by the doubtful twilight I discern These things he answered me shall all be told Soon as our feet upon the bank are placed Of Acheron that mournful river old Mine eyes cast down my looks o erwhelmed with shame Fearing my questions had displeased the sage I spake not till beside the stream we came Lo in a vessel o er the gloomy tide An old man comes his locks all white with age Woe woe to you ye guilty souls he cried Hope not that heaven shall ever bless your sight I come to bear you to the other shoreTo ice and fire in realms of endless night And thou who breathest still the vital air Begone nor stay with these who live no more But when he saw that yet I lingered there By other port he said by other way And not by this a passage must thou find Thee a far lighter vessel shall convey Charon my guide returned thy wrath restrain CANTO III
Thus it is willed where will and power are joined Therefore submit nor question us again The dark lake's pilot heard and at the sound Fell instant his rough cheeks while flashing ranged His angry eyes in flaming circles round But they soon as these threatenings met their ear Poor naked weary souls their colour changed And their teeth chattered through excess of fear God they blasphemed their parents man's whole race The hour the spot and e en the very seed To which their miserable life they trace Then while full bitterly their sorrows flowed They gathered to that evil strand decreed To all who live not in the fear of God Charon the fiend with eyes of living coal Beckoning the mournful troop collects them there And with his oar strikes each reluctant soul As leaves in autumn borne before the wind Drop one by one until the branch laid bare Sees all its honours to the earth consigned So from that coast at his dread signal all The guilty race of Adam downward pour Each as a falcon answering to the call Thus pass they slowly o er the water brown And ere they land on the opposing shore Fresh numbers from this bank come crowding down All those my son exclaimed the courteous guide Who in the wrath of the Almighty die Are gathered here from every region wide Goaded by heavenly Justice in its ire To pass the stream they rush thus hastily So that their fear is turned into desire By virtuous soul this wave is never crossed Wherefore if Charon warn thee to depart The meaning of his words will not be lost This converse closed the dusky region dread Trembled so awfully that o er my heart Doth terror still a chilly moisture shed
Sent forth a blast that melancholy realm 133 Which flashing a vermilion light around At once did all my senses overwhelm And down I sank like one in slumber bound CAN TO IV ARGUIMIENT Dante roused from his swoon by a sound of lamentations like thunder finds himself on the brink of the Vale of Woe He follows his guide down into Limbo where darkness reigns till he arrives at the luminous habitation of the Poets who receive him into their band and shew him the honoured spirits of Antiquity When they leave him he re enters the region of darkness BROKE the deep slumber in my brain a hoarse 1 And heavy thunder starting at the sound I shook like one who is aroused by force And straightway rising turned my rested eye With stedfast gaze if haply looking round The place wherein I was I might descry Beneath me lay in truth the Wale of Woe 7 In whose abyss eternal groans unite And blend o thunders in the depth below Obscure it was so cloudy deep and dense That though to pierce the gloom Istrained my sight Nought could I see within the gulf immense Now go we down to dusky regions blind 13 The poet said with visage deadly pale I lead the way do thou pursue behind Then I exclaimed of his pale looks aware How shall I speed if even thou dost quail Thou who art wont to cheer me in despair He answered me The loud laments I hear 19 From tortured souls beneath us on my face Pourtray that pity thou mistak st for fear But let us on for we have far to go He led me then within that circle's space Which first encompasseth the Vale of Woe No wailings there were audible the sound 25 Of sighs alone was heard convulsive sighs That shook the everlasting air around CANTO III 15
Yet flowed this sorrow from no outward pain Beneath the weight of mental agonies Men women children sighed a countless train Dost thou not wish the master said to know What spirits here their sad estate bewail This understand ere thou proceed below They sinned not but the good they may have wrought For want of baptism is of no avail A doctrine of the faith thou hast been taught Or if they lived ere Christ brought saving grace Due worship unto God they failed to give And I am one of this benighted race Heav n have we lost for these defects alone And our's is this sole punishment to live Tormented by desire when hope is flown Great sorrow at his words my soul o ercame For in this Limbo knew I many a wight Once high distinguished in the ranks of fame And I who wished to be instructed well In the true faith which error puts to flight Exclaimed O tell my lord and master tell Went ever spirit hence who by his own Or other's worth in aftertime was blest Then he to whom my covert thought was known Gave answer I had lately reached this round When lo arrived a great and glorious Guest Whose head with wreath of victory was crowned The soul of man's first Parent hence he drew Abel his son and also Noah's shade Moses the lawgiver and just and true The Patriarch Abraham David Israel His father and his sons that call obeyed And Rachel fair whose love he earned so well IFor these and many others grace he gained Rnow that till these with happiness were blest No human souls salvation e er obtained While thus he spoke our journey we pursued And onward through the shadowy wood we pressed The wood of souls I mean so thick they stood Not far had we descended from the height 53 Our Saviour in reference to 1 Peter iii 19
When I observed a flame so brightly burn That it o ercame the hemisphere of night Though we were distant still no little space A noble band I could afar discern Inhabiting this ample dwelling place O glory thou of science and of art Say who are these before me so renowned That from the vulgar throng they dwell apart 2 Then answered he Their honourable fame Which in your world continues to resound Gains grace in heaven and here exalts their name Meanwhile I heard a voice in lofty strain Receive the mighty bard with honour due His shade that left us now returns again eased had the voice when in composed array Four noble shades approaching met my view Nor joy nor sorrow did their looks betray Him said the gracious master now admire Who in his hand a falchion doth uphold Before the rest advancing as their sire Homer the bard sublime who all surpass d The next is Horace Satirist famed of old Ovid the third and Lucan is the last And since to each appropriate is the name Which their voice assigned to me In honouring me to them redounds the fame Assembled thus was offered to my sight The school of him the Prince of poetry Who eagle like o er others takes his flight When they together had conversed awhile They turned saluting me with courteous sign Which from my master drew a friendly smile And greater glory still they bade me share Their honourable band they made me join The sixth united to such genius rare
Thus we proceeded till we reached the flame Speaking of things I may not now recall owever well they then the place became Ere long we reached a noble castle's base Seven times surrounded by ao wall A limpid streamlet flowed around the place O er this as o er dry land we made our way With these great sages through seven gates I passed Before us then a verdant meadow lay Souls with sedate and placid eyes were there And looks of dignity around they cast Seldom they spake but sweet their voices were Our steps aside we gently thence withdrew And reached an opening spacious light and high Where all became apparent to our view There on the verdant and enamelled green Were glorious spirits shown to me whom I Felt exaltation to have even seen y I saw Electra and could recognize Hector Æneas mid a numerous band And mighty Caesar armed with griffon's eyes Penthesilea and Camilla there I saw conspicuous on the other hand And king with Lavinia fair Brutus who chased proud Tarquin from the throne Lucretia Julia cia I beheld Cornelia Saladin apart alone IIim too I saw when I had raised mine eye Seated aloft in wisdom who excelled Amidst his philosophic family All look on him to him all homage pay And Socrates and Plato near him stand Advanced in front of that august array Mid these Democritus Diogenes Thales and Anaxagoras I scanned Sage Heraclitus and Empedocles w
With Orpheus Zeno and Hippocrates 139 Tullius and Linus Seneca and wise In nature's secrets Dioscorides Galieno Avicen and more of note Euclid and Ptolemy too met mine eyes Averroes who the learned comment wrote I cannot now the names of more detail 145 Spurred on to haste by all I fain would say Full oft my pen must in description fail Our band of six in twain divided there My guide conducts me by another way Forth from the tranquil to the trembling air And now I came where all in darkness lay 1 C AN TO W ARGUMENT Entering the second circle Dante sees Minos the infernal judge H witnesses the punishment of carnal sinners who wrapt in darkness are swept along by a violent hurricane Semiramis Dido Helen Paris Francesca of Rimini who at Dante's request relates her misfortunes FROM the first circle made we our descent 1 Down to the second which though less in size Holds grief more poignant forcing shrill lament Grinding his teeth there Minos dreadful stands The culprits as they enter in he tries Awards their sentence issues his commands The guilty soul confesses all its crimes 7 When brought before him then the judge decrees Its proper place in hell as many times As he himself encircles with his tail Such is the destined number of degrees The souls are plunged within the infernal scale Crowds ever stand before him doomed to woe 13 All in succession to the Judge repair They speak they hear and then are hurled below O thou who comest to this sad abode Minos exclaimed when he beheld me there His dread employ suspending mark thy road CANTO TV 19
And heed thee well on whom thou dost rely Let not the spacious entrance tempt thee on To him my guide made answer Why this cry Check not his passage which the fates ordain Thus it is willed where will and power are one Therefore submit nor question us again Proceeding onward I begin to hear The melancholy sound of those who weep Now sharper lamentations strike mine ear Throughout the place speaks not the light of heaven And the vast region bellows loud and deep As when o er ocean warring winds are driven The infernal blast unceasing in its course Hurries along the miserable crowd Whirling and tossing with resistless force When they arrive before the brink extreme There shrieks are heard complaint and wailing loud There the Almighty Spirit they blaspheme Torments like these I learnt were here assigned To carnal sinners who to appetite Subject the nobler faculty of mind As starlings ere the winter in a vast Innumerable squadron wheel their flight So ever and anon this sweeping blast Now up now down this way and that again Impels the wretched souls no comfort springs From hope of rest nor e en of lessened pain As chaunting forth their melancholy lay The clamorous cranes are borne upon their wings High marshalling in air their long array Bepeating thus their lamentable song ouls I beheld who towards us quickly sped Swept by the dreadful hurricane along O master tell me who are these I cried Lashed by the cutting wind The first he said Reigned empress over nations far and wide While so abandoned to voluptuousness That lest opprobrium should on her be laid She made her law the sanction of excess Semiramis her name who we are told
At Ninus death her husband's sceptre swayed That land was her's which now the Sultans hold Then she who slew herself for love is seen And to Sichaeus ashes proved untrue Lo Cleopatra next luxurious queen Helen I saw for whom such years were past Of toil and woe the great Achilles too With mighty Love contending to the last Sir Tristram Paris and the thousands more Whom Love had slain he bade me then behold Pointing them to me and recounting o er When I had heard my sage instructor name Those beauteous dames and valiant knights of old Compassion seized on my bewildered frame Fain would I speak O gracious bard I cried With those two shades together flitting there Who seem before the wind so light to glide He answered me When they approach this way Invoke them by that love which brings them here And they will speedily thy call obey Soon as the hurricane had brought them nigh I raise my voice Come O ye souls distrest And speak with us unless High power deny As doves by strong affection urged repair With firm expanded wings to their sweet nest Borne by the impulse of their will through air E en thus from Dido's band these two were seen lightly through that region drear So urgent the impassioned cry had been O thou benign compassionate and good CANTo v
That wendest through the lurid atmosphere To visit us who stained the earth with blood Were He who rules the universe our friend We should implore him to give peace to thee Since thou hast pity for our hapless end Whether to hear or speak make É thy will And we will hear or speak accordingly While e en as now the cutting wind is still My native place is seated on the coast Where Po rolls down his waters to the sea To blend in peace his tributary host Love that in noble heart is quickly caught Enamour d him of that fair form from me So rudely torn there's anguish in the thought Love that permits no loved one not to love Me so enthralled with thought of pleasing him That as thou see st its influence still I prove Ilove caused us both to share one common tomb Hell's lowest depth Căina dark and dim Awaits our murderer thus she told their doom Soon as I heard their tale my head I bent Nor from the ground my drooping eyes retire Till cried the bard On what art thou intent P When I could answer him Alas I said How sweet the thoughts how ardent the desire That to the mournful step these lovers led Then turning round to them these words I spake Francesca thy misfortunes fill mine eyes With sorrowing tears such pity they awake But tell me how and by what sign confest Did Love reveal in that sweet time of sighs The doubtful passion struggling in each breast P Then she to me There is no greater woe Than to remember days of happiness Amid affliction this thy guide doth know But if how love did first our hearts beguile
Thou fain wouldst hear I will the truth confess As one who tells her tale and weeps the while One day it chanced for pastime we were reading 127 How Lancelot to love became a prey Alone we were of danger all unheeding Our eyes oft met as we that tale pursued And from our cheeks the colour died away But in a moment were our hearts subdued For when we read of him so deep in love 133 Kissing at last the smile long time desired Then he who from my side will ne er remove My lips all trembling kissed well may I sa That book was Galeot Galeot he who fire Its baneful page we read no more that day While thus one spake such tears the other shed 139 That pity all my faculties did quell And reft of sense like one already dead As falls a lifeless body down I fell CAN TO WI ARGUMENT On recovering his senses Dante finds himself in the third circle where the Gluttons are punished lying on the ground beneath a pelting storm of rain snow and hail Ciacco foretels to Dante the future change of parties in Florence where he says only two just men are to be found Soon as my mind its wonted powers renewed l Which at the sufferings of that kindred pair By overwhelming sorrow was subdued New torments all around me I descry Tormented spirits I behold where er I move or turn where er I cast mine eye Now the third circle have I reached where rain 7 Accursed heavy cold eternal flows No change no respite in this dread domain Dark water tumbled through the gloom profound With snow and hail terrific whence arose A noisome stench from all the putrid ground CAN TO W 23