« PreviousContinue »
In hinding him, who might the master be
I cannot say ; but he had pinioned close
Behind the right arm, and in front the other, With chains, that held him so begirt about
From the neck down, that on the part uncovere]
It wound itself as far as the fifth gyre. “ This proud one wished to make experiment
of his own power against the Supreme Jove,"
My Leader said, “whence he has such a guerdon. Ephialtes is his name; he showed great prowess,
What time the giants terrified the gods;
The arms he wielded never more he moves.” And I to him : “ If possible, I should wish
That of the measureless Briareus
These eyes of mine might have experience.” Whence he replied : “ Thou shalt behold Antæus
Close by here, who can speak and is unbound,
Who at the bottom of all crime shall place us. Much farther yon is he whom thou wouldst see,
And he is bound, and fashioned like to this one,
Save that he seems in aspect more ferocious.” There never was an earthquake of such might
That it could shake a tower so violently,
As Ephialtes suddenly shook himself. Then was I more afraid of death than ever,
For nothing more was needful than the fear,
If I had not beheld the manacles. Then we proceeded farther in advance,
And to Antæus came, who, full five ells
Without the head, forth issued from the cavern. O thou, who in the valley fortunate,
Which Scipio the heir of glory made,
When Hannibal turned back with all his hosts, Once brought'st a thousand lions for thy prey,
And who, hadst thou been at the mighty war
Among thy brothers, some it seems still think The sons of Earth the victory would have gained ;
Place us below, nor be disdainful of it,
There where the cold doth lock Cocytus up. Make us not go to Tityus nor Typhous;
This one can give of that which here is longed for;
Therefore stoop down, and do not curl thy lip.
Because he lives, and still expects long life,
So said the Master; and in haste the other
His hands extended and took up my Guide,
Hands whose great pressure Hercules once felt. Virgilius, when he felt himself embraced,
Said unto me: “ Draw nigh, that I may take thee;"
Then of himself and me one bundle made. As seems the Carisenda, to behold
Beneath the leaning side, when goes a cloud
Above it so that opposite it hangs ; Such did Antæus seem to me, who stood
Watching to see him stoop, and then it was
I could have wished to go some other way. But lightly in the abyss, which swallows up
Judas with Lucifer, he put us down ;
Nor thus bowed downward made he there delay, But, as a mast does in a ship, uprose.
If I had rhymes both rough and stridulous,
As were appropriate to the dismal hole
Down upon which thrust all the other rocks, I would press out the juice of my conception
More fully ; but because I have them not,
Not without fear I bring myself to speak; For 'tis no enterprise to take in jest,
To sketch the bottom of all the universe,
Nor for a tongue that cries Mamma and Babbo. But may those Ladies help this verse of mine,
Who helped Amphion in enclosing Thebes,
That from the fact the word be not diverse. O rabble ill-begotten above all,
Who're in the place to speak of which is hard,
'Twere better had here been sheep or goats! When we were down within the darksome well,
Beneath the giant's feet, but lower far,
And I was scanning still the lofty wall, i heard it said to me: “Look how thou steppest !
Take heed thou do not trample with thy feet
The heads of the tired, miserable brothers !
And underfoot a lake, that from the frost
So thick a veil ne'er made upon its current
In winter-time Danube in Austria,
Nor there beneath the frigid sky the Don,
Had fallen upon it, or Pietrapana,
E'en at the edge 'twould not have given a creak.
With muzzle out of water, — when is dreaming
Of gleaning oftentimes the peasant-girl,—
Were the disconsolate shades within the ice,
Setting their teeth unto the note of storks.
From mouth the cold, from eyes the doleful heart
Among them witness of itself procures.
I downward turned me, and saw two so close,
The hair upon their heads together mingled. “ Ye who so strain your breasts together, tell me,”
I said, “who are you;" and they bent their necks,
And when to me their faces they had lifted,
Gushed o'er the eyelids, and the frost congealed
The tears between, and locked them up again.
So strongly ; whereat they, like two he-goats,
Butted together, so much wrath o'ercame them.
Lost both his ears, still with his visage downward,
Said : “Why dost thou so mirror thyself in us?
The valley whence Bisenzio descends
Belonged to them and to their father Albert.
Thou shalt search through, and shalt not find a shade
More worthy to be fixed in gelatine;
At one and the same blow by Arthur's hand;
Focaccia not; not he who me encumbers
And bore the name of Sassol Mascheroni;
Well knowest thou who he was, if thou art Tuscan,
Know that I Camicion de' Pazzi was,
Then I beheld a thousand faces, made
Purple with cold; whence o'er me comes a shudder,
And evermore will come, at frozen ponds. And while we were advancing tow'rds the middle,
Where everything of weight unites together,
And I was shivering in the eternal shade, Whether 'twere will, or destiny, or chance,
I know not; but in walking ʼmong the heads
I struck my foot hard in the face of one. Weeping he growled: “Why dost thou trample me?
Unless thou comest to increase the vengeance
Of Montaperti, why dost thou molest me?" And I : “My Master, now wait here for me,
That I through him may issue from a doubt;
Then thou mayst hurry me, as thou shalt wish.” The Leader stopped; and to that one I said
Who was blaspheming vehemently still:
“Who art thou, that thus reprehendest others ? " “Now who art thou, that goest through Antenora
Smiting,” replied he, “ other people's cheeks,
So that, if thou wert living, 'twere too much ?” “Living I am, and dear to thee it may be,”
Was my response, “ if thou demandest fame,
That 'mid the other notes thy name I place.” And he to me:-“For the reverse I long;
Take thyself hence, and give me no more trouble ;
For ill thou knowest to flatter in this hollow." Then by the scalp behind I seized upon him,
And said : “It must needs be thou name thyself,
Or not a hair remain upon thee here."
I will not tell thee who I am, nor show thee,
If on my head a thousand times thou fall.” I had his hair in hand already twisted,
And more than one shock of it had pulled out,
He barking, with his eyes held firmly down, When cried another : “What doth ail thee, Bocca ?
Is't not enough to clatter with thy jaws,
But thou must bark ? what devil touches thee?” “Now,” said I, “I care not to have thee speak,
Accursed traitor ; for unto thy shame
I will report of thee veracious news.”
But be not silent, if thou issue hence,
He wespeth here the silver of the French ;
'I saw,' thus canst thou phrase it, 'him of Duera
There where the sinners stand out in the cold.' If thou shouldst questioned be who else was there,
Thou hast beside thee him of Beccaria,
Of whom the gorget Florence slit asunder; Gianni del Soldanier, I think, may be
Yonder with Ganellon, and Tebaldello
Who oped Faenza when the people slept.” Already we had gone away from him,
When I beheld two frozen in one hole,
So that one head a hood was to the other; And even as bread through hunger is devoured,
The uppermost on the other set his teeth,
There where the brain is to the nape united. Not in another fashion Tydeus gnawed
The temples of Menalippus in disdain,
Than that one did the skull and the other things. "O thou, who showest by such bestial sign
Thy hatred against him whom thou art eating,
Tell me the wherefore,” said I, “ with this compact, That if thou rightfully of him complain,
In knowing who ye are, and his transgression,
I in the world above repay thee for it, If that wherewith I speak be not dried up."
His mouth uplifted from his grim repast,
That sinner, wiping it upon the hair
Of the same head that he behind had wasted.
- Thou wilt that I renew
To think of only, ere I speak of it;
words be seed that may bear fruit Of infamy to the traitor whom I gnaw,
Speaking and weeping shalt thou see together. I know not who thou art, nor by what mode
Thou hast come down here ; but a Florentine
Thou seemest to me truly, when I hear thee.
And this one was Ruggieri the Archbishop ;