Page images
[ocr errors][merged small]

According as impress us our desires

And other affections, so the shade is shaped,

And this is cause of what thou wonderest at."
And now unto the last of all the circles

Had we arrived, and to the right hand turned,

And were attentive to another care.
There the embankment shoots forth flames of fire,

And upward doth the cornice breathe a blast

That drives them back, and from itself sequesters.
Hence we must needs go on the open side,

And one by one ; and I did fear the fire

On this side, and on that the falling down. My Leader said: “Along this place one ought

To keep upon the eyes a tightened rein,

Seeing that one so easily might err.” “Summæ Deus clementiæ,” in the bosom

Of the great burning chanted then I heard,

Which made me no less eager to turn round; And spirits saw I walking through the flame;

Wherefore I looked, to my own steps and theirs

Apportioning my sight from time to time. After the close which to that hymn is made,

Aloud they shouted, “Virum non cognosco ;"

Then recommenced the hymn with voices low. This also ended, cried they: “To the wood

Diana ran, and drove forth Helice

Therefrom, who had of Venus felt the poison.” Then to their song returned they ; then the wives

They shouted, and the husbands who were chaste

As virtue and the marriage vow imposes. And I believe that them this mode suffices,

For all the time the fire is burning them ;

With such care is it needful, and such food, That the last wound of all should be closed up.



Wule on the brink thus one before the other

We went upon our way, oft the good Master

Said: “Take thou heed ! suffice it that I warn thee.''
On the right shoulder smote me now the sun,

That, raying out, already the whole west
Changed from its azure aspect into white,

To say:

[ocr errors][ocr errors]


And with my shadow did I make the flame

Appear more red; and even to such a sign

Shades saw I many, as they went, give heerl.
This was the cause that gave them a beginning
To speak of me; and to themselves began they

“That seems not a factitious body !"
Then towards me, as far as they could come,

Came certain of them, always with regard

Not to step forth where they would not be burned. “O thou who goest, not from being slower

But reverent perhaps, behind the others,

Answer me, who in thirst and fire am burning.
Nor to me only is thine answer needful ;

For all of these have greater thirst for it

Than for cold water Ethiop or Indian.
Tell us how is it that thou makest thyself

A wall unto the sun, as if thou hadst not

Entered as yet into the net of death."
Thus one of them addressed me, and I straight

Should have revealed myself, were I not bent

On other novelty that then appeared.
For through the middle of the burning road

There came a people face to face with these,

Which held me in suspense with gazing at them.
There see I hastening upon either side

Each of the shades, and kissing one another

Without a pause, content with brief salute.
Thus in the middle of their brown battalions

Muzzle to muzzle one ant meets another

Perchance to spy their journey or their fortune.
No sooner is the friendly greeting ended,

Or ever the first footstep passes onward,

Each one endeavours to outcry the other;
The new-come people : “Sodom and Gomorrah !"
The rest :

Into the cow Pasiphae enters,
So that the bull unto her lust may run !"
Then as the cranes, that to Riphæan mountains

Might fly in part, and part towards the sands,

These of the frost, those of the sun avoidant,
One folk is going, and the other coming,

And weeping they return to their first songs,

And to the cry that most befitteth them;
And close to me approached, even as before,

The very same who had entreated me,
Attent to listen in their countenance.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

who their inclination twice had seen,

Began : “O souls secure in the possession,

Whene'er it may be, of a state of peace, either unripe nor ripened have remained

My members upon earth, but here are with me

With their own blood and their articulations. go up here to be no longer blind;

A Lady is above, who wins this grace,

Whereby the mortal through your world I bring. at as your greatest longing satisfied

May soon become, so that the Heaven may house you

Which full of love is, and most amply spreads, ell me, that I again in books may write it,

Who are you, and what is that multitude

Which goes upon its way behind your backs ?” ot otherwise with wonder is bewildered

The mountaineer, and staring round is dumb,

When rough and rustic to the town he goes, han every shade became in its appearance ;

But when they of their stupor were disburdened,

Which in high hearts is quickly quieted, Blessed be thou, who of our border-lands,"

He recommenced who first had questioned us,

“ Experience freightest for a better life. ne folk that comes not with us have offended

In that for which once Cæsar, triumphing,

Heard himself called in contumely, Queen.' herefore they separate, exclaiming, “Sodom!'

Themselves reproving, even as thou hast heard,

And add unto their burning by their shame. ur own transgression was hermaphrodite;

But because we observed not human law,

Following like unto beasts our appetite, our opprobrium by us is read,

When we part company, the name of her

Who bestialized herself in bestial wood. ow knowest thou our acts, and what our crime was;

Wouldst thou perchance by name know who we are,

There is not time to tell, nor could I do it. ny wish to know me shall in sooth be granted;

I'm Guido Guinicelli, and now purge me,

Having repented ere the hour extreme,” ne same that in the sadness of Lycurgus

Two sons became, their mother re-beholding,
Such I became, but rise not to such height,

[ocr errors]

The moment I heard name himsel

Of me and of my betters, who

Practised the sweet and graci And without speech and hearing

For a long time I went, beho

Nor for the fire did I approac When I was fed with looking, utte

Myself I offered ready for his

With affirmation that compel: And he to me: “ Thou leavest fo

In me, from what I hear, and

Lethe cannot efface them, no But if thy words just now the trut!

Tell me what is the cause wh

In word and look that dear t And I to him: “Those dulcet lay

Which, long as shall endure

Shall make for ever dear thei “O brother,” said he, “he whom

And here he pointed at a spi

“Was of the mother tongue a Verses of love and proses of roma

He mastered all; and let the

Who think the Lemosin surp= To clamour more than truth they

And in this way establish the

Ere art or reason has by then Thus many ancients with Guittone

From cry to cry still giving h

Until the truth has conquere Now, if thou hast such ample pri

"Tis granted thee to go unto

Wherein is Christ the abbot To him repeat for me a Paternost

So far as needful to us of this

Where power of sinning is no Then, to give place perchance to

Whom he had near, he vanis

As fish in water going to the I moved a little tow'rds him point

And said that to his name my

An honourable place was ma He of his own free will began to s

Tan m' abellis vostre cortes der
Que jeu nom' puese ni viteill a

Jeu sui Arnaut, que plor e vai chantan;

Consiros vei la passada folor,

E vei jauzen lo jorn.qu' esper denan. Ara vus prec per aquella valor,

Que vus condus al som de la scalinı,

Sovenga vus a temprar ma dolor. *
Hur lil him in the fire that purifies them.


[ocr errors]

As when he vibrates forth his earliest rays,

In regions where his Maker shed his blood,

(The Ebro falling under lofty Libra, And waters in the Ganges burnt with noon,)

So stood the Sun; hence was the day departing,

When the glad Angel of God appeared to us. Outside the flame he stood upon the verge,

And chanted forth, “ Beati mundo corde,"

In voice by far more living than our own. Then: “No one farther goes, souls sanctified,

If first the fire bite not; within it enter,

And be not deaf unto the song beyond.” When we were close beside him thus he said ;

Wherefore e'en such became I, when I heard him,

As he is who is put into the grave. Upon my clasped hands I straightened me,

Scanning the fire, and vividly recalling

The human bodies I had once seen burned. Towards me turned themselves my good Conductors,

And unto me Virgilius said : “My son,

Here may indeed be torment, but not death.
Remember thee, remember! and if I

On Geryon have safely guided thee,
What shall I do 'now I am nearer God?

So pleases me your courteous demand,

I cannot and I will not hide me from you.
I am Arnaut, who weep and sirging go;

Contrite I see the folly of the past,

And joyous see the hoped-for day before me.
Therefore do I implore you, by that power

Which guides you to the summit of the stairs,
Be mindful to assuage my suffering!

« PreviousContinue »