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Rhea once chose it for the faithful cradle

Of her own son; and to conceal him better,

Whene'er he cried, she there had clamours r A grand old man stands in the mount erect,

Who holds his shoulders turned tow'rds Dan

And looks at Rome as if it were his mirror, Iis head is fashioned of refined gold,

And of pure silver are the arms and breast;

Then he is brass as far down as the fork. From that point downward all is chosen iron,

Save that the right foot is of kiln-baked clay

And more he stands on that than on the oth Each part, except the gold, is hy a fissure

Asunder cleft, that dripping is with tears,

Which gathered together perforate that cave From rock to rock they fall into this valley;

Acheron, Styx, and Phlegethon they form ;

Then downward go along this narrow sluice Unto that point where is no more descending.

They form Cocytus; what that pool may be

Thou shalt lehold, so here 'tis not narrated. And I to him : “If so the present runnel

Doth take its rise in this way from our worl

Why only on this verge appears it to us?” And he io me: “Thou knowest the place is rou

And notwithstanding thou hast journeyed fa

Still to the left descending to the bottom, Thou hast not yet through all the circle turned.

Therefore if something new appear to us,

It should not bring amazement to thy face.' And I again : “Master, where shall be found

Lethe and Phlegethon, for of one thou'rt si

And sayest the other of this rain is made ?' "In all thy questions truly thou dost please me,'

Replied he ; "but the boiling of the red

Water might well solve one of them thou n Thou shalt see Lethe, but outside this moat,

There where the souls repair to lave thems

When sin repented of has been removed.” Then said he : “It is time now to abandon

The wood; take heed that thou come after

A way the margins make that are not burni And over them all vapours are extinguished.”

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Now bears us onward one of the hard margins,

And so the brooklet's mist o'ershadows it,

From fire it saves the water and the dikes. Even as the Flemings, 'twixt Cadsand and Bruges,

Fearing the flood that tow'rds them hurls itself,

Their bulwarks build to put the sea to flight ; And as the Paduans along the Brenta,

To guard their villas and their villages,

Or ever Chiarentana feel the heat; In such similitude had those been made,

Albeit not so lofty nor so thick,

Whoever he might be, the master made them. Now were we from the forest so remote,

I could not have discovered where it was,

Even if backward I had turned myself, When we a company of souls encountered,

Who came beside the dike, and every one

Gazed at us, as at evening we are wont To eye each other under a new moon,

And so towards us sharpened they their brows

As an old tailor at the needie's eye. Thus scrutinised by such a family,

By some one I was recognised, who scized

My garment's hem, and cried out, “What a marvel !" And I, when he stretched forth his me,

On his baked aspect fastened so mine eyes,

That the scorched countenance prevented not His recognition by my intellect ;

And bowing down my face unto his own,

I made reply, “Are you here, Ser Brunetto ?” And he: May't not displease thee, O my son,

If a brief space with thee Brunetto Latini

Backward return and let the trail go on.” I said to him : “With all my power I ask it ;

And if you wish me to sit down with you,

I will, if he please, for I go with him.” “O son," he said, “ whoever of this herd

A moment stops, lies then a hundred years,
Nor fans himself when smiteth him the fire.


Therefore go on; I at thy skirts will come,

And afterward will I rejoin my band,

Which goes lamenting its eternal doom.”
I did not dare to go down from the road

Level to walk with him; but my head bowed

I held as one who goeth reverently.
And he began : “What fortune or what fate

Before the last day leadeth thee down here?

And who is this that showeth thee the “ Up there above us in the life serene,"

I answered him, “I lost me in a valley,

Or ever yet my age had been completed.
But yestermorn I turned my back upon it;

This one appeared to me, returning thither,

And homeward leadeth me along this road."
And he to me: “If thou thy star do follow,

Thou canst not fail thee of a glorious port,

If well I judged in the life beautiful.
And if I had not died so prematurely,

Seeing Heaven thus benignant unto thee,

I would have given thee comfort in the work.
But that ungrateful and malignant people,

Which of old time from Fesole descended,

And smacks still of the mountain and the granite,
Will make itself, for thy good deeds, thy foe;

And it is right; for among crabbed sorbs

It ill befits the sweet fig to bear fruit.
Old rumour in the world proclaims them blind;

A people avaricious, envious, proud;

Take heed that of their customs thou do cleanse thee Thy fortune so much honour doth reserve thee,

One party and the other shall be hungry

For thee; but far from goat shall be the grass.
Their litter let the beasts of Fesole

Make of themselves, nor let them touch the plant,

If any still upon their dunghill rise,
In which may yet revive the consecrated

Seed of those Romans, who remained there when

The nest of such great malice it became.” “ If my entreaty wholly were fulfilled,"

Replied I to him, “not yet would you be

In banishment from human nature placed ;
For in my mind is fixed, and touches now

My heart the dear and good paternal image
Of you, when in the world from hour to hour

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You taught me how a man becomes eternal ;

And how much I am grateful, while I live

Behoves that in my language be discerned. What you narrate of my career I write,

And keep it to be glossed with other text

By a Lady who can do it, if I reach her. This much will I have manifest to you;

Provided that my conscience do not chide me,

For whatsoever Fortune I am ready. Such handsel is not new unto mine ears ;

Therefore let Fortune turn her wheel around

As it may please her, and the churl his mattock." My Master thereupon on his right cheek

Did backward turn himself, and looked at me;

Then said : “He listeneth well who noteth it." Nor speaking less on that account, I go

With Ser Brunetto, and I ask who are

His most known and most eminent companions. And he to me: “To know of some is well;

Of others it were laudable to be silent,

For short would be the time for so much speech. Know then, in sum, that all of them were clerks,

And men of letters great and of great fame,

In the world tainted with the selfsame sin. Priscian goes yonder with that wretched crowd,

And Francis of Accorso ; and thou hadst seen there,

If thou hadst had a hankering for such scurf, That one, who by the Servant of the Servants

From Arno was transferred to Bacchiglione,

Where he has left his sin-excited nerves. More would I say, but coming and discoursing

Can be no longer; for that I behold

New smoke uprising yonder from the sand. A people comes with whom I may not be ;

Commended unto thee be my Tesoro,

In which I still live, and no more I ask.” Then he turned round, and seemed to be of those

Who at Verona run for the Green Mantle

Across the plain; and seemed to be among them The one who wins, and not the one who loses.

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Now was I where was heard the reverberation

Of water falling into the next round,

Like to that humming which the beehives make, When shadows three together started forth,

Running, from out a company that passed

Beneath the rain of the sharp martyrdom. Towards us came they, and each one cried out:

“Stop, thou; for by thy garb to us thou seemest

To be some one of our depraved city.” Ah me! what wounds I saw upon their limbs,

Recent and ancient by the flames burnt in!

It pains me still but to remember it.
Unto their cries my Teacher paused attentive;

He turned his face towards me, and “Now wait,”

He said ; "to these we should be courteous. And if it were not for the fire that darts

The nature of this region, I should say

That haste were more becoming thee than them." As soon as we stood still, they recommenced

The old refrain, and when they overtook us,

Formed of themselves a wheel, all three of them. As champions stripped and oiled are wont to do,

Watching for their advantage and their hold,

Before they come to blows and thrusts between them, Thus, wheeling round, did every one his visage

Direct to me, so that in opposite wise

His neck and feet continual journey made. And, "If the misery of this soft place

Bring in disdain ourselves and our entreaties,”

Began one, “and our aspect black and blistered, Let the renown of us thy mind incline

To tell us who thou art, who thus securely

Thy living feet dost move along through Hell. He in whose footprints thou dost see me treading,

Naked and skinless though he now may go,

Was of a greater rank than thou dost think;
He was the grandson of the good Gualdrada;

His name was Guidoguerra, and in life
Much did he with his wisdom and his sword.

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