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I saw it, but I did not see within it
Aught but the bubbles that the boiling raised,
And all swell up and resubside compressed.
My Leader, crying out : “Beware, beware!"
Drew me unto himself from where I stood.
To see what it behoves him to escape,
And whom a sudden terror doth unman,
And I beheld behind us a black devil,
Running along upon the crag, approach.
And how he seemed to me in action ruthless,
With open wings and light upon his feet !
A sinner did encumber with both haunches,
And he held clutched the sinews of the feet.
Behold one of the elders of Saint Zita ;
Plunge him beneath, for I return for others
All there are barrators, except Bonturo;
No into Yes for money there is changed."
Turned round, and never was a mastiff loosened
In so much hurry to pursue a thief.
But the demons, under cover of the bridge,
Cried : “Here the Santo Volto has no place !
Therefore, if for our gaffs thou wishest not,
Do not uplift thyself above the pitch."
They said : “ It here behoves thee to dance covered,
That, if thou canst, thou secretly mayest pilfer."
Immerse into the middle of the caldron
The meat with hooks, so that it may not float.
Apparent thou art here, crouch thyself down
Behind a jag, that thou mayest have some screen ;
Be thou afraid, because these things I know,
Then he passed on beyond the bridge's head,
And as upon the sixth bank he arrived,
Need was for him to have a steadfast front. With the same fury, and the same uproar,
As dogs leap out upon a mendicant,
Who on a sudden begs, where'er he stops, They issued from beneath the little bridge,
And turned against him all their grappling-irons ;
But he cried out : “ Be none of you malignant ! Before those hooks of yours lay hold of me,
Let one of you step forward, who may hear me,
And then take counsel as to grappling me.” They all cried out : “Let Malacoda go ;'
Whereat one started, and the rest stood still,
And he came to him, saying: “What avails it ?" “ Thinkest thou, Malacoda, to behold me
Advanced into this place," my Master said,
“Safe hitherto from all your skill of fence, Without the will divine, and fate auspicious ?
Let me go on, for it in Heaven is willed
That I another show this savage road.” Then was his arrogance so humbled in him,
That he let fall his grapnel at his feet,
And to the others said: “Now strike him not.” And unto me my Guide: “O thou, who sittest
Among the splinters of the bridge crouched down,
Securely now return to me again.” Wherefore I started and came swiftly to him ;
And all the devils forward thrust themselves,
So that I feared they would not keep their compact. And thus beheld I once afraid the soldiers
Who issued under safeguard from Caprona,
Seeing themselves among so many foes. Close did I press myself with all my person
Beside my Leader, and turned not mine eyes
From off their countenance, which was not goo 1. They lowered their rakes, and “Wilt thou have me hit him,"
They said to one another, “ on the rump?”.
And answered: “ Yes; see that thou nick hiin with it." But the same demon who was holding parley
With my Conductor turned him very quickly,
And said: "Be quiet, be quiet, Scarmiglione;"
Forward upon this crag, because is lying
And if it still doth please you to go onward,
Pursue your way along upon this rock;
Near is another crag that yields a path. Yesterday, five hours later than this hour,
One thousand and two hundred sixty-six
Years were complete, that here the way was Lroken. I send in that direction some of mine
To see if any one doth air himself;
Go ye with them; for they will not be vicious Step forward Alichino and Calcabrina,"
Began he to cry out, “ and thou, Cagnazzo;
And Barbariccia do thou guide the ten. Come forward, Libicocco and Draghignazzo,
And tuskëd Ciriatto and Graffiacane,
And Farfarello and mad Rubicante; Search ye all round about the boiling pitch;
Let these be safe as far as the next crag,
That all unbroken passes o'er the dens." “O me! what is it, Master, that I see?
Pray let us go," I said, “ without an escort,
If thou knowest how, since for myself I ask none. Ii thou art as observant as thy wont is.
Dost thou not see that they do gnash their teeth,
And with their brows are threatening woe to us ?” And he to me: “I will not have thee fear;
Let them gnash on, according to their fancy,
Because they do it for those boiling wretches." Along the left-hand dike they wheeled about ;
But first had each one thrust his tongue between
His teeth towards their leader for a signal; And he had made a trumpet of his rump.
I have erewhile seen horsemen moving camp,
Begin the storming, and their muster make,
And sometimes starting off for their escape ; Vaunt-couriers have I seen upon your land,
O Aretines, and foragers go forth,
Tournaments stricken, and the joustings run,
With kettle-drums, and signals of the castles,
But never yet with bagpipe so uncouth
Did I see horsemen move, nor infantry,
Nor ship by any sign of land or star.
Ah, savage company! but in the church
the pitch was my intent,
And of the people who therein were burned.
To mariners by arching of the back,
That they should counsel take to save their vessel, Thus sometimes, to alleviate his pain,
One of the sinners would display his back,
And in less time conceal it than it lightens. As on the brink of water in a ditch
'The frogs stand only with their muzzles out,
So that they hide their feet and other bulk, So upon every side the sinners stood;
But ever as Barbariccia near them came,
Thus underneath the boiling they withdrew. I saw, and still my heart doth shudder at it,
One waiting thus, even as it comes to pass
One frog remains, and down another dives; And Graffiacan, who most confronted him,
Grappled him by his tresses smeared with pitch,
And drew him up, so that he seemed an otter. I knew, before, the names of all of them,
So had I noted them when they were chosen,
And when they called each other, listened how. “O Rubicante, see that thou do lay
Thy claws upon him, so that thou mayst flay him,"
Cried all together the accursed ones. And I: “My Master, see to it, if thou canst,
That thou mayst know who is the luckless wight,
Thus come into his adversaries' hands." Near to the side of him my Leader drew,
Asked of him whence he was; and he replied :
“I in the kingdom of Navarre was born; My mother placed me servant to a lord,
For she had borne me to a ribald knave,
Destroyer of himself and of his things.
I set me there to practise barratry,
And Ciriatto, from whose mouth projected,
On either side, a tusk, as in a boar,
Caused him to feel how one of them could rip. Among malicious cats the mouse had come;
But Barbariccia clasped him in his arms,
And said : “Stand ye aside, while I enfork him." And to my Master he turned round his head;
“Ask him again,” he said, “if more thou wish
To know from him, before some one destroy him." The Guide : “Now tell then of the other culprits ;
Knowest thou any one who is a Latian,
Under the pitch" And he: “I separated Lately from one who was a neighbour to it;
Would that I still were covered up with him,
For I should fear not either claw nor hook !" And Libicocco: “We have borne too much ;"
And with his grapnel seized him by the arm,
So that, by rending, he tore off a tendon. Eke Draghignazzo wished to pounce upon him
Down at the legs ; whence their Decurion
Turned round and round about with evil look. When they again somewhat were pacified,
Of him, who still was looking at his wound,
Demanded my Conductor without stay : “Who was that one, from whom a luckless parting
Thou sayest thou hast made, to come ashore ?"
And he replied: “It was the Friar Gomita, He of Gallura, vessel of all fraud,
Who had the enemies of his Lord in hand,
And dealt so with them each exults thereat; Money he took, and let them smoothly off,
As he says; and in other offices
A barrator was he, not mean but sovereign. Foregathers with him one Don Michael Zanche
Of Logodoro; and of Sardinia
To gossip never do their tongues feel tired. O me! see that one, how he grinds his teeth;
Still farther would I speak, but am afraid
Lest he to scratch my itch be making ready." And the grand Provost, turned to Farfarello,
Who rolled his eyes about as if to strike,
Said : “Stand aside there, thou malicious bird.” “ If you desire either to see or hear,"
The terror-stricken recommenced thereon,