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But tell me, those within the fat lagoon,

Whom the wind drives, and whom the rain doth beat,

And who encounter with such bitter tongues,
Wherefore are they inside of the red city

Not punished, if God has them in his wrath,

And if he has not, wherefore in such fashion ?
And unto me he said: “Why wanders so

Thine intellect from that which it is wont?

Or, sooth, thy mind where is it elsewhere looking ?
Hast thou no recollection of those words

With which thine Ethics thoroughly discusses

The dispositions three, that Heaven abides not,-
Incontinence, and Malice, and insane

Bestiality ? and how Incontinence

Less God offendeth, and less blame attracts ?
If thou regardest this conclusion well,

And to thy mind recallest who they are

That up outside are undergoing penance,
Clearly wilt thou perceive why from these felons

They separated are, and why less wroth

Justice divine doth smite them with its hammer.” “O Sun, that healest all distempered vision,

Thou dost content me so, when thou resolvest,

That doubting pleases me no less than knowing !
Once more a little backward turn thee,” said I,

“There where thou sayest that usury offends

Goodness divine, and disengage the knot.” • Philosophy," he said, “to him who heeds it,

Noteth, not only in one place alone,

After what manner Nature takes her course
From Intellect Divine, and from its art ;

And if thy Physics carefully thou notest,

After not many pages shalt thou find,
That this your art as far as possible

Follows, as the disciple doth the master;

So that your art is, as it were, God's grandchild.
From these two, if thou bringest to thy mind

Genesis at the beginning, it behoves

Mankind to gain their life and to advance ;
And since the usurer takes another way,

Nature herself and in her follower

Disdains he, for elsewhere he puts his hope.
But follow, now, as I would sain go on,

For quivering are the Fishes on the horizon,

And the Wain wholly over Caurus lies,
And far beyond there we descend the crag."

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The place where to descend the bank we came

Was alpine, and from what was there, moreover,

Of such a kind that every eye would shun it.
Such as that ruin is which in the flank

Smote, on this side of Trent, the Adige,

Either by earthquake or by failing stay,
For from the mountain's top, from which it moved,

Unto the plain the cliff is shattered so,

Some path 'twould give to him who was above;
Even such was the descent of that ravine,

And on the border of the broken chasm

The infamy of Crete was stretched along,
Who was conceived in the fictitious cow;

And when he us beheld, he bit himself,

Even as one whom anger racks within.
My Sage towards him shouted : “ Peradventure

Thou think'st that here may be the Duke of Athens,

Who in the world above brought death to thee?
Get thee gone, beast, for this one cometh not

Instructed by thy sister, but he comes

In order to behold your punishments.”
As is that bull who breaks loose at the moment

In which he has received the mortal' blow,

Who cannot walk, but staggers here and there,
The Minotaur beheld I do the like;

And he, the wary, cried : “Run to the passage ;

While he is wroth, 'tis well thou shouldst descerid."
Thus down we took our way o'er that discharge

Of stones, which oftentimes did move themselves

Beneath my feet, from the unwonted burden.
Thoughtful I went; and he said: “Thou art thinking

Perhaps upon this ruin, which is guarded

By that brute anger which just now I quenched,
Now will I have thee know, the other time

I here descended to the nether Hell,

This precipice had not yet fallen down.
But truly, if I well discern, a little

Before His coming who the mighty spoil
Bore off from Dis, in the supernal circle,

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Upon all sides the deep and loathsome valley

Trembled so, that I thought the Universe

Was thrilled with love, by which there are who think The world ofttimes converted into chaos;

And at that moment this primeval crag

Both here and elsewhere made such overthrow, But fix thine eyes below; for draweth near

The river of blood, within which boiling is

Whoe'er by violence doth injure others.” O blind cupidity, O wrath insane,

That spurs us onward so in our short life,

And in the eternal then so badly steeps us ! I saw an ample moat bent like a bow,

As one which all the plain encompasses,

Conformable to what my Guide had said. And between this and the embankment's foot

Centaurs in file were running, armed with arrows,

As in the world they used the chase to follow. Beholding us descend, each one stood still,

And from the squadron three detached themselves;

With bows and arrows in advance selected ; And from afar one cried : “Unto what torment

Come ye, who down the hillside are descending ?

Tell us from there; if not, I draw the bow.” My Master said : “Our answer will we make

To Chiron, near you there ; in evil hour,

That will of thine was evermore so hasty."
Then touched he me, and said : “ This one is Nessus,

Who perished for the lovely Dejanira,

And for himself, himself did vengeance take. And he in the midst, who at his breast is gazing,

Is the great Chiron, who brought up Achilles ;

That other Pholus is, who was so wrathful. Thousands and thousands go about the moat

Shooting with shafts whatever soul emerges

Out of the blood, more than his crime allots.” Near we approached unto those monsters fleet;

Chiron an arrow took, and with the notch

Backward upon his jaws he put his beard. After he had uncovered his great mouth,

He said to his companions : "Are you ware

That he behind moveth whate'er he touches?
Thus are not wont to do the feet of dead men."

And my good Guide, who now was at his breast,
Where the two natures are together joined,

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Replied : “Indeed he lives, and thus alone

Me it behoves to show him the dark valley ;

Necessity, and not delight, impels us. Seme one withdrew from singing Halleluja,

Who unto me committed this new office;

No thief is he, nor I a thievish spirit.
But by that virtue through which I am moving

My steps along this savage thoroughfare,

Give us some one of thine, to be with us, And who may show us where to pass the ford,

And who may carry this one on his back;

For 'tis no spirit that can walk the air.” Upon his right breast Chiron wheeled about,

And said to Nessus: “ Turn and do thou guide thein,

And warn aside, if other band may meet you." We with our faithful escort onward moved,

Along the brink of the vermilion boiling,

Wherein the boiled were uttering loud laments. Teople I saw within up to the eyebrows,

And the great Centaur said: “Tyrants are these,

Who dealt in bloodshed and in pillaging. Here they lament their pitiless mischiefs; here

Is Alexander, and fierce Dionysius

Who upon Sicily brought dolorous years. That forehead there which has the hair so black

Is Azzolin ; and the other who is blond,

Obizzo is of Esti, who, in truth,
Up in the world was by his stepson slain.”

Then turned I to the Poet; and he said,

“Now he be first to thee, and second I.” A little farther on the Centaur stopped

Above a folk, who far down as the throat

Seemed from that boiling stream to issue forth. A shade he showed us on one side alone,

Saying: “He cleft asunder in God's bosom

The heart that still upon the Thames is honoured." Then people saw I, who from out the river

Lifted their heads and also all the chest;

And many among these I recognised. Thus ever more and more grew shallower

That blood, so that the feet alone it covered;

And there across the moat our passage was. " Even as thou here upon this side beholdest

The boiling stream, that aye diminishes,"
The Centaur said, “I wish thee to believe


That on this other more and more declines

Its bed, until it reunites itself

Where it behoveth tyranny to groan. Justice divine, upon this side, is goading

That Attila, who was a scourge on earth,

And Pyrrhus, and Sextus ; and for ever milks The tears which with the boiling it unseals

In Rinier da Corneto and Rinier Pazzo,

Who made upon the highways so much war." Then back he turned, and passed again the ford.



Nor yet had Nessus reached the other side,

When we had put ourselves within a wood,

That was not marked by any path whatever. Not foliage green, but of a dusky colour,

Not branches smooth, but gnarled and intertangled,

Not apple-trees were there, but thorns with poison. Such tangled thickets have not, nor so dense,

Those savage wild beasts, that in hatred hold

'Twixt Cecina and Corneto the tilled places. There do the hideous Harpies make their nests,

Who chased the Trojans from the Strophades,

With sad announcement of impending doom; Broad wings have they, and necks and faces human,

And feet with claws, and their great bellies fledged ;

They make laments upon the wondrous trees. And the good Master : “ Ere thou enter farther,

Know that thou art within the second round,”

Thus he began to say, “and shalt be, till Thou comest out upon the horrible sand ;

Therefore look well around, and thou shalt see

Things that will credence give unto my speech." I heard on all sides lamentations uttered,

And person none beheld I who might make them,

Whence, utterly bewildered, I stood still. I think he thought that I perhaps might think

So many voices issued through those trunks

From people who concealed themselves from us;
Therefore the Master said: “If thou break off

Some little spray from any of these trees,
The thoughts thou hast will wholly be made vain.”

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