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Then stretched I forth my hand a little forward,

And plucked a branchlet off from a great thorn ;

And the trunk cried, “Why dost thou mangle me?" After it had become embrowned with blood,

It recommenced its cry : “Why dost thou rend me?

Hast thou no spirit of pity whatsoever ?
Men once we were, and now are changed to trees;

Indeed, thy hand should be more pitiful,

Even if the souls of serpents we had been." As out of a green brand, that is on fire

At one of the ends, and from the other drips

And hisses with the wind that is escaping , So from that splinter issued forth together

Both words and blood ; whereat I let the tip

Fall, and stood like a man who is afraid. · Had he been able sooner to believe,"

My Sage made answer, “O thou wounded soul,

What only in my verses he has seen,
Not upon thee had he stretched forth his hand ;

Whereas the thing incredible has caused me

To put him to an act which grieveth me. But tell him who thou wast, so that by way

Of some amends thy fame he may refresh

Up in the world, to which he can return."
And the trunk said : “So thy sweet words allure me,

I cannot silent be; and you be vexed not,

That I a little to discourse am tempted. I am the one who both keys had in keeping

Of Frederick's heart, and turned them to and fro

So softly in unlocking and in locking, That from his secrets most men I withheld;

Fidelity I bore the glorious office

So great, I lost thereby my sleep and pulses. The courtesan who never from the dwelling

Of Cæsar turned aside her strumpet eyes,

Death universal and the vice of courts, Inflamed against me all the other minds,

And they, inflamed, did so inflame Augustus,

That my glad honours turned to dismal mournings My spirit, in disdainful exultation,

Thinking by dying to escape disdain,

Made me unjust against myself, the just.
I, by the roots unwonted of this wood,

Do swear to you that never broke I faith
Unto my lord, who was so worthy of honour ;


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And to the world if one of you return,

Let him my memory comfort, which is lying

Still prostrate from the blow that envy dealt it." Waited awhile, and then : “Since he is silent,"

The Poet said to me, “lose not the time,

But speak, and question him, if more may please thee.' Whence I to him: “Do thou again inquire

Concerning what thou thinks't will satisfy me;

For I cannot, such pity is in my heart.” Therefore he recommenced : “So may the man

Do for thee freely what thy speech implores,

Spirit incarcerate, again be pleased To tell us in what way the soul is bound

Within these knots; and tell us, if thou canst,

If any from such members e'er is freed." Then blew the trunk amain, and afterward

The wind was into such a voice converted :

“With brevity shall be replied to you. When the exasperated soul abandons

The body whence it rent itself away,

Minos consigns it to the seventh abyss. It falls into the forest, and no part

Is chosen for it; but where Fortune hurls it,

There like a grain of spelt it germinates. It springs a sapling, and a forest tree;

The Harpies, feeding then upon its leaves,

Do pain create, and for the pain an outlet. Like others for our spoils shall we return;

But not that any one may them revest,

For 'tis not just to have what one casts off. llere we shall drag them, and along the dismal

Forest our bodies shall suspended be,

Each to the thorn of his molested shade.” We were attentive still unto the trunk,

Thinking that more it yet might wish to tell us,

When by a tumult we were overtaken, In the same way as he is who perceives

The boar and chase approaching to his stand,

Who hears the crashing of the beasts and branches; And two behold ! upon our left-hand side,

Naked and scratched, fleeing so furiously,

That of the forest every fan they broke.
Ile who was in advance : “Now help, Death, help!"

And the other one, who seemed to lag too much,
Was shouting : “ Lano, were not so alert

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Those legs of thine at joustings of the Toppo!"

And then, perchance because his breath was failing.

He grouped himself together with a bush. Behind them was the forest full of black

She-mastiffs, ravenous, and swift of foot

As greyhounds, who are issuing from the chain. On him who had crouched down they set their teeth,

And him they lacerated piece by piece,

Thereafter bore away those aching members. Thereat my Escort took me by the hand,

And led me to the bush, that all in vain

Was weeping from its bloody lacerations, “O Jacopo," it said, “ of Sant Andrea,

What helped it thee of me to make a screen ?

What blame have I in thy nefarious life?” When near him had the Master stayed his steps,

He said: “Who wast thou, that through wounds so bil!!!

Art blowing out with blood thy dolorous speech ?" And he to us : “O souls, that hither come

To look upon the shameful massacre

That has so rent away from me my leaves, Gainer them up beneath the dismal buslı ;

I of that city was which to the Baptist

Changed its first patron, wherefore he for this Forever with his art will make it sad.

And were it not that on the pass of Arno

Some glimpses of him are remaining stili, Those citizens, who afterwards rebuilt it

Upon the ashes left by Attila,

In vain had caused their labour to be done. Of my own house I made myself a gibbet.”


BECAUSE the charity of my native place

Constrained me, gathered I the scattered leaves,

And gave them back to him, who now was hoarsc. Then came we to the confine, where disparted

The second round is from the third, and where

A horrible form of Justice is beheld.
Clearly to manifest these novel things,

I say that we arrived upon a plain,
Which fron its bed rejecteth e, iry plant :

The dolorous forest is a garland to it

All round about, as the sad moat to that;

There close upon the edge we stayed our see l'he soil was of an arid and thick sand,

Not of another fashion made than that

Which by the feet of Cato once was pressed. Vengeance of God, O how much oughtest thou

By each one to be dreaded, who doth read

That which was manifest unto mine eyes ! Of naked souls beheld I many herds,

Who all were weeping very miserably,

And over them seemed set a law diverse. Supine upon the ground some folk were lying ;

And some were sitting all drawn up together

And others went about continually.
Those who were going round were far the more,

And those were less who lay down to their to

But had their tongues more loosed to lament O'er all the sand-waste, with a gradual fall,

Were raining down dilated flakes of fire,

As of the snow on Alp without a wind.
As Alexander, in those torrid parts

Of India, beheld upon his host

Flames fall unbroken till they reached the gr Whence he provided with his phalanxes

To trample down the soil, because the vapou

Better extinguished was while it was single ; Thus was descending the eternal heat,

Whereby the sand was set on fire, like tinder

Beneath the steel, for doubling of the dole. Without repose forever was the dance

Of miserable hands, now there, now here,

Shaking away from off them the fresh gleeds. “ Master," began I, “thou who overcomest

All things except the demons dire, that issue

Against us at the entrance of the gate, Who is that mighty one who seems to heed not

The fire, and lieth lowering and disdainful,

So that the rain seems not to ripen him ?" And he himself

, who had become aware That I was questioning my Guide about hins

Cried : “Such as I was living, am I, dead !
If Jove should weary out his smith, from whom

He seized in anger the sharp thunderbolt,
Wherewith upon the last day I was smilten,

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And if he wearied out by turns the others

In Mongibello at the swarthy forge,

Vociferating, 'Help, good Vulcan, help!'
Even as he did there at the fight of Phlegra,

And shot his bolts at me with all his might,

He would not have thereby a joyous vengeance."
Then did my Leader speak with such great force,

That I had never heard him speak so loud :

“O Capaneus, in that is not extinguished Thine arrogance, thou punished art the more ;

Not any torment, saving thine own rage,

Would be unto thy fury pain complete.'
Then he turned round to me with better lip,

Saying: “One of the Seven Kings was he

Who Thebes besieged, and held, and seems to hold
God in disdain, and little seems to prize him ;

But, as I said to him, his own despites

Are for his breast the fittest ornaments.
Now follow me, and mind thou do not place

As yet thy feet upon the burning sand,

But always keep them close unto the wood.”
Speaking no word, we came to where there gushes

Forth from the wood a little rivulet,

Whose redness makes my hair still stand on end,
As from the Bulicamë springs the brooklet,

The sinful women later share among them,

So downward through the sand it went its way.
The bottom of it, and both sloping banks,

Were made of stone, and the margins at the side ;

Whence I perceived that there the passage was. "In all the rest which I have shown to thee

Since we have entered in within the gate

Whose threshold unto no one is denied,
Nothing has been discovered by thine eyes

So notable as is the present river,

Which all the little flames above it quenches."
These words were of my Leader; whence I prayed him

That he would give me largess of the food,

For which he had given me largess of desire. “In the mid-sea there sits a wasted land,"

Said he thereafterward, “whose name is Crete,

Under whose king the world of old was chaste.
There is a mountain there, that once was glad

With waters and with leaves, which was called Idla;
Now 'tis deserted, as a thing worn ont

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