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I saw then, for before I had not seen it,
The turning and descending, by great horrors
That were approaching upon divers sides
Who, without seeing either lure or bird,
Maketh the falconer say, “Ah me, thou stoopest,"
Thorough a hundred circles, and alights
Far from his master, sullen and disdainful;
Close to the bases of the rough-hewn rock,
And being disencumbered of our persons,
There is a place in Hell called Malebolge,
Wholly of stone and of an iron colour,
As is the circle that around it turns.
There yawns a well exceeding wide and deep,
Of which its place the structure will recount.
Between the well and foot of the high, hard bauk,
And has distinct in valleys ten its bottom.
Many and many moats surround the castles,
The part in which they are a figure forms,
And as about such strongholds from their gates
Unto the outer bank are little bridges,
Project, which intersected dikes and moats,
Unto the well that truncates and collects them.
Of Geryon, we found us; and the Poet
Held to the left, and I moved on behind.
New torments, and new wielders of the lash,
Wherewith the foremost Bolgia was replete.
This side the middle came they facing us,
Even as the Romans, for the mighty host,
The year of Jubilee, upon the bridge,
Have chosen a mode to pass the people over; For all upon one side towards the Castle
Their faces have, and go unto St. Peter's;
On the other side they go towards the Mountain. This side and that, along the livid stone
Beheld I hornëd demons with great scourges,
Who cruelly were beating them behind.
At the first blows! and sooth not any one
The second waited for, nor for the third. While I was going on, mine eyes by one
Encountered were; and straight I said : Already
With sight of this one I am not unfed.” Therefore I stayed my feet to make him out,
And with me the sweet Guide came to a stand,
And to my going somewhat back assented; And he, the scourged one, thought to hide himself,
Lowering his face, but little it availed him ;
For said I: “Thou that castest down thine eyes, If false are not the features which thou bearest,
Thou art Venedico Caccianimico;
But what doth bring thee to such pungent sauces?" And he to me: “Unwillingly I tell it;
But forces me thine utterance distinct,
Which makes me recollect the ancient world. I was the one who the fair Ghisola
Induced to grant the wishes of the Marquis,
Howe'er the shameless story may be told. Not the sole Bolognese am I who weeps here;
Nay, rather is this place so full of them,
That not so many tongues to-day are taught "Twixt Reno and Savena to say sipa;
And if thereof thou wishest pledge or proof,
Bring to thy mind our avaricious heart.” While speaking in this manner, with his scourge
A demon smote him, and said: “Get thee gone,
Pander, there are no women here for coin." I joined myself again unto mine Escort ;
Thereafterward with footsteps few we came
To where a crag projected from the bank,
And turning to the right along its ridge,
When we were there, where it is hollowed out
Beneath, to give a passage to the scourged,
The Guide said: “Wait, and see that on thee strike The vision of those others evil-born,
Of whom thou hast not yet beheld the faces,
Because together with us they have gone. From the old bridge we looked upon the train
Which tow'rds us came upon the other border,
And which the scourges in like manner smite. And the good Master, without my inquiring,
Said to me: “See that tall one who is coming,
And for his pain seems not to shed a tear; Still what a royal aspect he retains !
That Jason is, who by his heart and cunning
The Colchians of the Ram made destitute. He by the isle of Lemnos passed along
After the daring women pitiless
Had unto death devoted all their males. There with his tokens and with ornate words
Did he deceive Hypsipyle, the maiden
Who first, herself, had all the rest deceived. There did he leave her pregnant and forlorn ;
Such sin unto such punishment condemns him,
And also for Medea is vengeance done. With him go those who in such wise deceive;
And this sufficient be of the first valley
To know, and those that in its jaws it holds." We were already where the narrow path
Crosses athwart the second dike, and forms
Of that a buttress for another arch.
In the next Bolgia, snorting with their muzzles,
And with their palms beating upon themselves The margins were incrusted with a mould
By exhalation from below, that sticks there,
And with the eyes and nostrils wages war. The bottom is so deep, no place suffices
To give us sight of it, without ascending
The arch's back, where most the crag impends Thither we came, and thence down in the moat
I saw a people smothered in a filth.
That out of human privies seemed to flow;
I saw one with his head so foul with ordure,
He screamed to me: “Wherefore art thou so eager
To look at me more than the other foul ones?"
And I to him : “Because, if I remember, I have already seen thee with dry hair,
And thou'rt Alessio Interminei of Lucca;
Therefore I eye thee more than all the others.” And he thereon, belabouring his pumpkin :
"The flatteries have submerged me here below,
Wherewith my tongue was never surfeited.” Then said to me the Guide : “See that thou thrust
Thy visage somewhat farther in advance,
That with thine eyes thou well the face attain Or that uncleanly and dishevelled drab,
Who there doth scratch herself with filthy nails,
And crouches now, and now on foot is standing. Thais the harlot is it, who replied
Unto her paramour, when he said, 'Have I
Great gratitude from thee ?'— Nay, marvellous ;' And herewith let our sight be satisfied.”
O SIMON MAGUS O forlorn disciples,
Ye who the things of God, which ought to be
The brides of holiness, rapaciously For silver and for gold do prostitute,
Now it behoves for you the trumpet sound,
Because in this third Bolgia ye abide. We had already on the following tomb
Ascended to that portion of the crag
Which o'er the middle of the moat hangs plumb. Wisdom supreme, O how great art thou showest
In heaven, in earth, and in the evil world,
And with what justice doth thy power distribute ! saw upon the sides and on the bottom
The livid stone with perforations filled,
All of one size, and every one was round. To me less ample seemed they not, nor gieater
Than those that in my beautiful Saint John
Are fashioned for the place of the baptisers,
I broke for some one, who was drowning in it;
Out of the mouth of each one there protruded
The feet of a transgressor, and the legs
Up to the calf, the rest within remained.
Wherefore the joints so violently quiverer',
They would have snapped asunder withes and bands.
To move upon the outer surface only,
So likewise was it there from heel to point. “ Master, who is that one who writhes himself,
More than his other comrades quivering,"
I said, “and whom a redder flame is sucking ?"
Down there along that bank which lowest lies,
From him thou'lt know his errors and himself."
Thou art my Lord, and knowest that I depart not
From thy desire, and knowest what is not spoken.”
We turned, and on the left-hand side descended
Down to the bottom full of holes and narrow.
Deposed me not, till to the hole he brought me
Of him who so lamented with his shanks. “Whoe'er thou art, that standest upside down,
O doleful soul, implanted like a stake,"
To say began I, “if thou canst, speak out.”
The false assassin, who, when he is fixed,
Recalls him, so that death may be delayed.
Dost thou stand there already, Boniface?
By many years the record lied to me.
For which thou didst not fear to take by fraud
The beautiful Lady, and then work her woe?"
Not comprehending what is answered them,
Ás if bemocked, and know not how to answer.
*I am not he, I am not he thou thinkest.'
And I replied as was imposed on me.
Then, sighing, with a voice of lamentation