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The other, who close by me treads the sand,

Tegghiaio Aldobrandi is, whose fame

Above there in the world should welcome be. And I, who with them on the cross am placed,

Jacopo Rusticucci was; and truly

My savage wife, more than aught else, doth harm me.” Could I have been protected from the fire,

Below I should have thrown myself among them,

And think the Teacher would have suffered it; But as I should have burned and baked myself,

My terror overmastered my good will,

Which made me greedy of embracing them. Then I began : “Sorrow and not disdain

Did your condition fix within me so,

That tardily it wholly is stripped off, As soon as this my Lord said unto me

Words, on account of which I thought within me

That people such as you are were approaching. I of your city am; and evermore

Your labours and your honourable names

I with affection have retraced and heard. I leave the gall, and go for the sweet fruits

Promised to me by the veracious Leader;

But to the centre first I needs must plunge.” “So may the soul for a long while conduct

Those limbs of thine," did he make answer then,

“And so may thy renown shine after thee, Valour and courtesy, say if they dwell

Within our city, as they used to do,

Or if they wholly have gone out of it; For Guglielmo Borsier, who is in torment

With us of late, and goes there with his comrades,

Doth greatly mortify us with his words.” “ The new inhabitants and the sudden gains,

Pride and extravagance have in thee engendered,

Florence, so that thou weep'st thereat already!” In this wise I exclaimed with face uplifted;

And the three, taking that for my reply,

Looked at each other, as one looks at truth. “If other times so little it doth cost thee,"

Replied they all, “ to satisfy another,

Happy art thou, thus speaking at thy will !
Therefore, if thou escape from these dark places,

And come to rebehold the beauteous stars,
When it shall pleasure thee to say, 'I was,

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See that thou speak of us unto the people.”

Then they broke up the wheel, and in their flight

It seemed as if their agile legs were wings. Not an Amen could possibly be said

So rapidly as they had disappeared ;

Wherefore the Master deemed best to depart. I followed him, and little had we gone,

Before the sound of water was so near us,

That speaking we should hardly have been heard. Even as that stream which holdeth its own course

The first from Monte Veso tow'rds the East,

Upon the left-hand slope of Apennine, Which is above called Acquacheta, ere

It down descendeth into its low bed,

And at Forlì is vacant of that name, Reverberates there above San Benedetto

From Alps, by falling at a single leap,

Where for a thousand there were room enough; Thus downward from a bank precipitate,

We found resounding that dark-tinted water,

So that it soon the ear would have offended. I had a cord around about me girt,

And therewithal I whilom had designed

To take the panther with the painted skin. After I this had all from me unloosed,

As my Conductor had commanded me,

I reached it to him, gathered up and coiled, Whereat he turned himself to the right side,

And at a little distance from the verge

He cast it down into that deep abyss. " It must needs be some novelty respond,"

I said within myself, “ to the new signal

The Master with his eye is following so.” Al me! how very cautious men should be

With those who not alone behold the act,

But with their wisdom look into the thoughts ! He said to me: “Soon there will upward come

What I await ; and what thy thought is dreaming

Must soon reveal itself unto thy sight.”
Aye to that truth which has the face of falsehood,

A man should close his lips as far as may be,

Because without his fault it causes shame;
But here I cannot; and, Reader, by the notes

Of this my Comedy to thee I swear,
So may they not be void of lasting favour,

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Athwart that dense and darksome atmosphere

I saw a figure swimming upward come,

Marvellous unto every steadfast heart, Even as he returns who goeth down

Sometimes to clear an anchor, which has grappled

Reef, or aught else that in the sea is hidden, Who upward stretches, and draws in his feet.

135

CANTO XVII.

“ BEHOLD the nionster with the pointed tail,

Who cleaves the hills, and breaketh walls and weapons,

Behold him who infecteth all the world.” Thus unto me my Guide began to say,

Ånd beckoned him that he should come to shore,

Near to the confine of the trodden marble ; And that uncleanly image of deceit

Came up and thrust ashore its head and bust,

But on the border did not drag its tail. The face was as the face of a just man,

Its semblance outwardly was so benign,

And of a serpent all the trunk beside. Two paws it had, hairy unto the armpits ;

The back, and breast, and both the sides it had

Depicted o'er with nooses and with shields. With colours more, groundwork or broidery

Never in cloth did Tartars make nor Turks,

Nor were such tissues by Arachne laid. As sometimes wherries lie upon the shore,

That part are in the water, part on land;

And as among the guzzling Germans there, The beaver plants himself to wage his war ;

So that vile monster lay upon the border,

Which is of stone, and shutteth in the sand. His tail was wholly quivering in the void,

Contorting upwards the envenomed fork,

That in the guise of scorpion armed its point. The Guide said : “Now perforce must turn aside

Our way a little, even to that beast

Malevolent, that yonder coucheth him."
We therefore on the right side descended,

And made ten steps upon the outer verge,
Completely to avoid the sand and flame;

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And after we are come to him, I see

A little farther off upon the sand

A people sitting near the hollow place. Then said to me the Master : “ So that full

Experience of this round thou bear away,

Now go and see what their condition is. There let thy conversation be concise ;

Till thou returnest I will speak with him,

That he concede to us his stalwart shoulders." Thus farther still upon the outermost

Head of that seventh circle all alone

I went, where sat the melancholy folk,
Out of their eyes was gushing forth their woe;

This way, that way, they helped them with their hands

Now from the flames and now from the hot soil. Not otherwise in summer do the dogs,

Now with the foot, now with the muzzle, when

By fleas, or flies, or gadflies, they are bitten. When I had turned mine eyes upon the faces

Of some, on whom the dolorous fire is falling,

Not one of them I knew; but I perceived That from the neck of each there hung a pouch,

Which certain colour had, and certain blazon;

And thereupon it seems their eyes are feeding. And as I gazing round me come among them,

Upon a yellow pouch I azure saw

That had the face and posture of a lion. Proceeding then the current of my sight,

Another of them saw I, red as blood,

Display a goose more white than butter is. And one, who with an azure sow and gravid

Emblazoned had his little pouch of white,

Said unto me : “What dost thou in this moat? Now get thee gone; and since thou’rt still alive,

Know that a neighbour of mine, Vitaliano,

Will have his seat here on my left-hand side. A Paduan am I with these Florentines;

Full many a time they thunder in mine ears,

Exclaiming, ‘Come the sovereign cavalier, He who shall bring the satchel with three goats ;'

Then twisted he his mouth, and forth he thrust

His tongue, like to an ox that licks its nose.
And fearing lest my longer stay might vex

Him who had warned me not to tarry long,
Backward I turned me from those weary souls

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I found my Guide, who had already mounted

Upon the back of that wild animal,

And said to me: “Now be both strong and bold, Now we descend by stairways such as these;

Mount thou in front, for I will be midway,

So that the tail may have no power to harm thee." Such as he is who has so near the ague

Of quartan that his nails are blue already,

And trembles all, but looking at the shade; Even such became I at those proffered words ;

But shame in me his menaces produced,

Which maketh servant strong before good master. I seated me upon those monstrous shoulders ;

I wished to say, and yet the voice came not

As I believed, “Take heed that thou embrace me.” But he, who other times had rescued me

In other peril, soon as I had mounted,

Within his arms encircled and sustained me, And said: “Now, Geryon, bestir thyself;

The circles large, and the descent be little ;

Think of the novel burden which thou hast." Even as the little vessel shoves from shore,

Backward, still backward, so he thence withdrew;

And when he wholly felt himself afloat,
There where his breast had been he turned his tail,

And that extended like an eel he moved,

And with his paws drew to himself the air. A greater fear I do not think there was

What time abandoned Phaeton the reins,

Whereby the heavens, as still appears, were scorched; Nor when the wretched Icarus his flanks

Felt stripped of feathers by the melting wax,

His father crying, “An ill way thou takest !" Than was my own, when I perceived myself

On all sides in the air, and saw extinguished

The sight of everything but of the monster. Onward he goeth, swimming slowly, slowly;

Wheels and descends, but I perceive it only

By wind upon my face and from below. I heard already on the right the whirlpool

Making a horrible crashing under us;

Whence I thrust out my head with eyes cast downward. 120 Then was I still more fearful of the abyss;

Because I fires beheld, and heard laments,
Whereat I, trembling, all the closer cling.

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