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And in that part whereat is first received

Our alimert, it one of them transfixed;

Then downward fell in front of him extended. The one transfixed looked at it, but said naught;

Nay, rather with feet motionless he yawned,

Just as if sleep or fever had assailed him. He at the serpent gazed, and it at him ;

One through the wound, the other through the inouth

Smoked violently, and the smoke commingled. Henceforth be silent Lucan, where he mentions

Wretched Sabellus and Nassidius,

And wait to hear what now shall be shot forth. Be silent Ovid, of Cadmus and Arethusa ;

For if him to a snake, her to a fountain,

Converts he fabling, that I grudge him not; Because two natures never front to front

Has he transmuted, so that both the forms

To interchange their matter ready were. Together they responded in such wise,

That to a fork the serpent cleft his tail,

And eke the wounded drew his feet together. The legs together with the thighs themselves

Adhered so, that in little time the juncture

No sign whatever made that was apparent He with the cloven tail assumed the figure

The other one was losing, and his skin

Became elastic, and the other's hard.
I saw the arms draw inward at the armpits,

And both feet of the reptile, that were short,

Lengthen as much as those contracted were. Thereafter the hind feet, together twisted,

Became the member that a man conceals,

And of his own the wretch had two created. While both of them the exhalation veils

With a new colour, and engenders hair

On one of them and depilates the other, The one uprose and down the other fell,

Though turning not away their impious lamps,

Underneath which each one his muzzle changed. He who was standing drew it tow'rds the temples,

And from excess of matter, which came thither,

Issued the ears from out the hollow cheeks;
What did not backward run and was retained

Of that excess made to the face a nose,
And the lips thickened far as was befitting.

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He who lay prostrate thrusts his muzzle forward,

And backward draws the ears into his head,

In the same manner as the snail its horns ;
And so the tongue, which was entire and apt

For speech before, is cleft, and the bi-forked

In the other closes up, and the smoke ceases.
The soul, which to a reptile had been changed,

Along the valley hissing takes to flight,

And after him the other speaking sputters.
Then did he turn upon him his new shoulders,

And said to the other: “ I'll have Buoso run,

Crawling as I have done, along this road.”
In this way I beheld the seventh ballast

Shift and reshift, and here be my excuse

The novelty, if aught my pen transgress.
And notwithstanding that mine eyes might be

Somewhat bewildered, and my mind dismayed,

They could not flee away so secretly
But that I plainly saw Puccio Sciancato ;

And he it was who sole of three companions,

Which came in the beginning, was not changed; The other was he whom thou, Gaville, weepest.


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REJOICE, O Florence, since thou art so great,

That over sea and land thou beatest thy wings,

And throughout Hell thy name is spread abroad! Among the thieves five citizens of thine

Like these I found, whence shame comes unto me,

And thou thereby to no great honour risest.
But if when morn is near our dreams are true,

Feel shalt thou in a little time from now

What Prato, if none other, craves for thee.
And if it now were, it were not too soon ;

Would that it were, seeing it needs must be,

For 'twill aggrieve me more the more I age.
We went our way, and up along the stairs

The bourns had made us to descend before,

Remounted my Conductor and drew me.
And following the solitary path

Among the rocks and ridges of the crag,
The foot without the hand sped not at all.

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Then sorrowed I, and sorrow now again,

When I direct my mind to what I saw,

And more my genius curb than I am wont, That it may run not unless virtue guide it ;

So that if some good star, or better thing,

Have given me good, I may myself not grudge it. As many as the hind (who on the hill

Rests at the time when he who lights the world

His countenance keeps least concealed from us, While as the fly gives place unto the gnat)

Seeth the glow-worms down along the valley,

Perchance there where he ploughs and makes his vintage : With flames as manifold resplendent all

Was the eighth Bolgia, as I grew aware

As soon as I was where the depth appeared. And such as he who with the bears avenged him

Beheld Elijah's chariot at departing,

What time the steeds to heaven erect uprose, For with his eye he could not follow it

So as to see aught else than flame alone,

Even as a little cloud ascending upward, Thus each along the gorge of the intrenchment

Was moving ; for not one reveals the theft,

And every flame a sinner steals away. I stood upon the bridge uprisen to see,

So that, if I had seized.not on a rock,

Down had I fallen without being pushed. And the Leader, who beheld me so attent,

Exclaimed: “Within the fires the spirits are ;

Each swathes himself with that wherewith he burns." "My Master," I replied, “ by hearing thee

I ain more sure ; but I surmised already

It might be so, and already wished to ask thee Who is within that fire, which comes so cleft

At top, it seems uprising from the pyre

Where was Eteocles with his brother placed." He answered me: “Within there are tormented

Ulysses and Diomed, and thus together

They unto vengeance run as unto wrath.
And there within their flame do they lament

The ambush of the horse, which made the door
Whence issued forth the Romans' gentle seed;

59 Therein is wept the craft, for which being dead

Deidamia still deplores Achilles,
And pain for the Palladium there is borne.”


“If they within those sparks possess the power

To speak,” I said, “thee, Master, much I pray,

And re-pray, that the prayer be worth a thousand, Chat thou make no denial of awaiting

Until the hornöd flame shall hither come ;

Thou seest that with desire I lean towards it." And he to me: “Worthy is thy entreaty

Of much applause, and therefore I accept it;

But take heed that thy tongue restrain itself. Leave me to speak, because I have conceived

That which thou wishest ; for they might disdain

Perchance, since they were Greeks, discourse of thinc.” 1 When now the flame had come unto that point,

Where to my Leader it seemed time and place,

After this fashion did I hear him speak: “Oye, who are twofold within one fire,

If I deserved of you, while I was living,

If I deserved of you or much or little When in the world I wrote the lofty verses,

Do not move on, but one of you declare

Whither, being lost, he went away to die." Then of the antique flame the greater horn,

Murmuring, began to wave itself about

Even as a flame doth which the wind fatigues. Thereafterward, the summit to and fro

Moving as if it were the tongue that spake,

It uttered forth a voice, and said : “When I From Circe had departed, who concealed me

More than a year there near unto Gaëta.

Or ever yet Æneas named it so, Nor fondness for my son, nor reverence

For my old father, nor the due affection

Which joyous should have made Penelope, Could overcome within me the desire

I had to be experienced of the world,

And of the vice and virtue of mankind; But I put forth on the high open sea

With one sole ship, and that small company

By which I never had deserted been. Both of the shores I saw as far as Spain,

Far as Morocco, and the isle of Sardes,

And the others which that sea bathes round about
I and my company were old and slow

When at that narrow passage we arrived
Where Hercules his landmarks set as signals,

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That man no farther onward should adventure.

On the right hand behind me left I Seville,

And on the other already had left Ceuta.
O brothers, who amid a hundred thousand

Perils,' I said, “have come unto the West,

To this so inconsiderable vigil
Which is remaining of your senses still

Be ye unwilling to deny the knowledge,

Following the sun, of the unpeopled world.
Consider ye the seed from which ye sprang ;

Ye were not made to live like unto brutes,

But for pursuit of virtue and of knowledge.'
So eager did I render my companions,

With this brief exhortation, for the voyage,

That then I hardly could have held them back.
And having turned our stern unto the morning,

We of the oars made wings for our mad flight,

Evermore gaining on the larboard side.
Already all the stars of the other pole

The night beheld, and ours so very low

It did not rise above the ocean floor.
Five times rekindled and as many quenched

Had been the splendour underneath the moon,

Since we had entered into the deep pass,
When there appeared to us a mountain, dim

From distance, and it seemed to me so high

As I had never any one beheld.
Joyful were we, and soon it turned to weeping;

For out of the new land a whirlwind rose,

And smote upon the fore part of the ship.
Three times it made her whirl with all the waters,

At the fourth time it made the stern uplift,

And the prow downward go, as pleased Another,
Until the sea above us closed again.”



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ALREADY was the flame erect and quiet,

To speak no more, and now departed from us

With the permission of the gentle Poet ;
When yet another, which behind it came,

Caused us to turn our eyes upon its top
By a confusëd sound that issued from it.

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