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As the Sicilian bull (that bellowed first

With the lament of him, and that was right,

Who with his file had modulated it) Bellowed so with the voice of the afflicted,

That, notwithstanding it was made of brass,

Still it appeared with agony transfixed; Thus, by not having any way or issue

At first from out the fire, to its own language

Converted were the melancholy words. But afterwards, when they had gathered way

Up through the point, giving it that vibration

The tongue had given them in their passage out, We heard it said: “O thou, at whom I aim

My voice, and who but now wast speaking Lombard,

Saying, “Now go thy way, no more I urge thee,' Because I come perchance a little late,

To stay and speak with me let it not irk thee;

Thou seest it irks not me, and I am burning. If thou but lately into this blind world

Hast fallen down from that sweet Latian land,

Wherefrom I bring the whole of my transgression, Say, if the Romagnuols have peace or war,

For I was from the mountains there between

Urbino and the yoke whence Tiber bursts.” I still was downward bent and listening,

When my Conductor touched me on the side,

Saying: “Speak thou: this one a Latian is.' And I, who had beforehand my reply

In readiness, forthwith began to speak :

“O soul, that down below there art concealed, Romagna thine is not and never has been

Without war in the bosom of its tyrants;

But open war I none have left there now. Ravenna stands as it long years has stood;

The Eagle of Polenta there is brooding,

So that she covers Cervia with her vans. The city which once made the long resistance,

And of the French a sanguinary heap,

Beneath the Green Paws finds itself again ; Verrucchio's ancient Mastiff and the new,

Who made such bad disposal of Montagna,

Where they are wont make wimbles of their teeth.
The cities of Lamone and Santerno

Governs the Lioncel of the white lair,
Who changes sides ’twixt summer-time and winter ;




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And that of which the Savio bathes the flank,

Even as it lies between the plain and mountain,

Lives between tyranny and a free state. Now I entreat thee tell us who thou art;

Be not more stubborn than the rest have been,

So may thy name hold front there in the world." After the fire a little more had roared

In its own fashion, the sharp point it moved

This way and that, and then gave forth such breath : “If I believed that my reply were made

To one who to the world would e'er return,

This flame without more flickering would stand still ; But inasmuch as never from this depth

Did any one return, if I hear true,

Without the fear of infamy I answer, I was a man of arms, then Cordelier,

Believing thus begirt to make amends;

And truly my belief had been fulfilled But for the High Priest, whom may ill betide,

Who put me back into my former sins;

And how and wherefore I will have thee hear. While I was still the form of bone and pulp

My mother gave to me, the deeds I did

Were not those of a lion, but a fox. The machinations and the covert ways

I knew them all, and practised so their craft,

That to the ends of earth the sound went forth. When now unto that portion of mine age

I saw myself arrived, when each one ought

To lower the sails, and coil away the ropes,
That which before had pleased me then displeased me;

And penitent and confessing I surrendered,

Ah woe is me! and it would have bestead me; The Leader of the modern Pharisees

Having a war near unto Lateran,

And not with Saracens nor with the Jews, For each one of his enemies was Christian,

And none of them had been to conquer Acre,

Nor merchandising in the Sultan's land, Nor the high office, nor the sacred orders,

In him regarded, nor in me that cord

Which used to make those girt with it more meagre ;
But even as Constantine sought out Sylvester

To cure his leprosy, within Soracte,
So this one sought me out as an adept

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To cure him of the fever of his pride.

Counsel he asked of me, and I was silent,

Because his words appeared inebriate. And then he said: Be not thy heart afraid ;

Henceforth I thee absolve; and thou instruct me

How to raze Palestrina to the ground. Heaven have I power to lock and to unlock,

As thou dost know; therefore the keys are two,

The which my predecessor held not dear.' Then urged me on his weighty arguments

There, where my silence was the worst advice;

And said I: ‘Father, since thou washest me Of that sin into which I now must fall,

The promise long with the fulfilment short

Will make thee triumph in thy lofty seat.'
Francis came afterward, when I was dead,

but one of the black Cherubim
Said to him: 'Take him not; do me no wrong;
He must come down among my servitors,

Because he gave the fraudulent advice

From which time forth I have been at his hair ; For who repents not cannot be absolved,

Nor can one both repent and will at once,

Because of the contradiction which consents not. O miserable me! how I did shudder

When he seized on me, saying: 'Peradventure

Thou didst not think that I was a logician !' He bore me unto Minos, who entwined

Eight times his tail about his stubborn back,

And after he had bitten it in great rage, Said: 'Of the thievish fire a culprit this ;'

Wherefore, here where thou seest, am I lost,

And vested thus in going I bemoan me.” When it had thus completed its recital,

The flame departed uttering lamentations,

Writhing and flapping its sharp-pointed horn. Onward we passed, both I and my Conductor,

Up o'er the crag above another arch,

Which the moat covers, where is paid the fee By those who, sowing discord, win their burden.

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Who ever could, e'en with untrammelled words,

Tell of the blood and of the wounds in full

Which now I saw, by many times narrating? Each tongue would for a certainty fall short

By reason of our speech and memory,

That have small room to comprehend so much. If were again assembled all the people

Which formerly upon the fateful land

Of Puglia were lamenting for their blood Shed by the Romans and the lingering war

That of the rings made such illustrious spoils,

As Livy has recorded, who errs not, With those who felt the agony of blows

By making counterstand to Robert Guiscard,

And all the rest, whose bones are gathered still At Ceperano, where a renegade

Was each Apulian, and at Tagliacozzo,

Where without arms the old Alardo conquered, And one his limb transpierced, and one lopped off,

Should show, it would be nothing to compare

With the disgusting mode of the ninth Bolgia. A cask by losing centre-piece or cant

Was never shattered so, as I saw one

Rent from the chin to where one breaketh wind. Between his legs were hanging down his entrails;

His heart was visible, and the dismal sack

That maketh excrement of what is eaten. While I was all absorbed in seeing him,

He looked at me, and opened with his hands

His bosom, saying: “See now how I rend me; How mutilated, see, is Mahomet;

In front of me doth Ali weeping go,

Cleft in the face from forelock unto chin; And all the others whom thou here beholdest,

Disseminators of scandal and of schism

While living were, and therefore are cleft thus.
A devil is behind here, who doth cleave us

Thus cruelly, unto the falchion's edge
Putting again each one of all this ream,

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When we have gone around the doleful road ;

By reason that our wounds are closed again

Ere any one in front of him repass. But who art thou, that musest on the crag,

Perchance to postpone going to the pain

That is adjudged upon thine accusations ?” s Nor death hath reached him yet, nor guilt doth bring him,"

My Master made reply, “to be tormented;

But to procure him full experience,
Me, who am dead, behoves it to conduct him

Down here through Hell, from circle unto circle ;

And this is true as that I speak to thee.”
More than a hundred were there when they heard him,

Who in the moat stood still to look at me,

Through wonderment oblivious of their torture. “Now say to Fra Dolcino, then, to arm him,

Thou, who perhaps wilt shortly see the sun,

If soon he wish not here to follow me, So with provisions, that no stress of snow

May give the victory to the Novarese,

Which otherwise to gain would not be easy." After one foot to go away he lifted,

This word did Mahomet say unto me,

Then to depart upon the ground he stretched it. Another one, who had his throat pierced through,

And nose cut off close underneath the brows,

And had no longer but a single ear, Staying to look in wonder with the others,

Before the others did his gullet open,

Which outwardly was red in every part,
And said: "O thou, whom guilt doth not condemn,

And whom I once saw up in Latian land,

Unless too great similitude deceive me, Call to remembrance Pier da Medicina,

If e'er thou see again the lovely plain

That from Vercelli slopes to Marcabò, And make it known to the best two of Fano,

To Messer Guido and Angiolello likewise,

That if foreseeing here be not in vain, Cast over from their vessel shall they be,

And drowned near unto the Cattolica,

By the betrayal of a tyrant fell.
Between the isles of Cyprus and Majorca

Neptune ne'er yet beheld so great a crime.
Neither of pirates nor Argolic people.

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