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To whom, then, if thou wishest to ascend,
A soul shall be for that than I more worthy ;
With her at my departure I will leave thee; Because that Emperor, who reigns above,
In that I was rebellious to his law,
Wills that through me none come into his city. He governs everywhere, and there he reigns;
There is his city and his lofty throne;
O happy he whom thereto he elects !” And I to him: “Poet, I thee entreat,
By that same God whom thou didst never know,
So that I may escape this woe and worse, Thou wouldst conduct me there where thou hast said,
That I may see the portal of Saint Peter,
And those thou makest so disconsolate." Then he moved on, and I behind him followed.
D:Y was departing, and the embrowned air
Released the animals that are on earth
From their fatigues; and I the only one Made myself ready to sustain the war,
Both of the way and likewise of the woe,
Which memory that errs not shall retrace. O Muses, O high genius, now assist me!
O memory, that didst write down what I saw,
Here thy nobility shall be manifest! And I began : “Poet, who guidest me,
Regard my manhood, if it be sufficient,
Ere to the arduous pass thou dost confide me. Thou sayest, that of Silvius the parent,
While yet corruptible, unto the world
Immortal went, and was there bodily. But if the adversary of all evil
Was courteous, thinking of the high effect
That issue would from him, and who, and what, To men of intellect unmeet it seems not ;
For he was of great Rome, and of her empire
In the empyreal heaven as father chosen;
Were stablished as the holy place, wherein
Upon this journey, whence thou givest him vaunt,
Things did he hear, which the occasion were
Both of his victory and the papal mantle. Thither went afterwards the Chosen Vessel,
To bring back comfort thence unto tha: Faith,
Which of salvation's way is the beginning. But I, why thither come, or who concedes it?
I not Æneas am, I am not Paul,
Nor I, nor others, think me worthy of it. Therefore, if I resign myself to come,
I fear the coming may be ill-advised ;
Thou’rt wise, and knowest better than I speak." And as he is, who unwills what he willed,
And by new thoughts doth his intention change,
So that from his design he quite withdraws, Such I became, upon that dark hillside,
Because, in thinking, I consumed the emprise,
Which was sɔ very prompt in the beginning. “If I have well thy language understood,”
Replied that shade of the Magnanimous,
times a man encumbers so,
As false sight doth a beast, when he is shy.
I'll tell thee why I came, and what I heard
At the first moment when I grieved for thee. Among those was I who are in suspense,
And a fair, saintly Lady called to me
In such wise, I besought her to command me Her eyes where shining brighter than the Star;
And she began to say, gentle and low,
With voice angelical, in her own language : O spirit courteous of Mantua,
Of whom the fame still in the world endures,
And shall endure, long-lasting as the world; A friend of mine, and not the friend of fortune,
Upon the desert slope is so impeded
Upon his way, that he has turned through terror, And may, I fear, already be so lost,
That I too late have risen to his succour,
From that which I have heard of him in Heaven
And with what needful is for his release,
Beatrice am I, who do bid thee go ;
I come from there, where I would fain return;
Love moved me, which compelleth me to speak.
Full often will I praise thee unto him.'
Then paused she, and thereafter I began : "O Lady of virtue, thou alone through whom
The hurnan race exceedeth all contained
Within the heaven that has the lesser circles,
To obey, if 'twere already done, were late ;
No farther need'st thou ope to me thy wish.
The here descending down into this centre,
From the vast place thou burnest to return to.'
Briefly will I relate,' she answered me,
• Why I am not afraid to enter here. Of those things only should one be afraid
Which have the power of doing others harm;
Of the rest, no ; because they are not fearful.
That misery of yours attains me not,
Nor any flame assails me of this burning.
At this impediment, to which I send thee,
So that stern judgment there above is broken.
And said, “Thy faithful one now stands in need
Of thee, and unto thee I recommend him."
Hastened away, and came unto the place
Where I was sitting with the ancient Rachel. “ Beatrice,” said she, “the true praise of God,
Why succourest thou not him, who loved thee so,
For thee he issued from the vulgar herd ?
Dost thou not see the death that combats him
Beside that flood, where ocean has no vaunt ?"
To work their weal and to escape their woe,
As I, after such words as these were uttered,
Confiding in thy dignified discourse,
After she thus had spoken unto me,
Weeping, her shining eyes she turned away;
Whereby she made me swifter in my coming; And unto thee I came, as she desired;
I have delivered thee from that wild beast,
Which barred the beautiful mountain's short ascent. What is it, then? Why, why dost thou delay?
Why is such baseness bedded in thy heart?
Daring and hardihood why hast thou not, Seeing that three such Ladies benedight
Are caring for thee in the court of Heaven,
And so much good my speech doth promise thee?" Even as the flowerets, by nocturnal chill,
Bowed down and closed, when the sun whitens them,
Uplift themselves all open on their stenis; Such I became with my exhausted strength,
And such good courage to my heart there courseil,
That I began, like an intrepid person: “O she compassionate, who succoured me,
And courteous thou, who hast obeyed so soon
The words of truth which she addressed to thee ! Thou hast my heart so with desire disposed
To the adventure, with these words of thine,
That to my first intent I have returned. Now go, for one sole will is in us both,
Thou Leader, and thou Lord, and Master thou."
Thus said I to him; and when he had moved, I entered on the deep and savage way.
" THROUGH me the way is to the city dolent ;
Through me the way is to eternal dole ;
Through me the way among the people lost. Justice incited my sublime Creator;
Created me divine Omnipotence,
The highest Wisdom and the primal Love. Before me there were no created things,
Unly eterne, and I eternal last.
All hope abandon, ye who enter in !”
Written upon the summit of a gate ;
And he to me, as one experienced :
“ Here all suspicion needs must be abandoned,
All cowardice must needs be here extinct.
Thou shalt behold the people dolorous
Who have foregone the good of intellect.”
With joyful mien, whence I was comforted,
He led me in among the secret things.
Resounded through the air without a star,
Whence I, at the beginning, wept thercat.
Accents of anger, words of agony,
And voices high and hoarse, with sound of hands,
For ever in that air for ever black,
Even as the sand doth, when the whirlwind breathes. And I, who had my head with horror bound,
Said : “ Master, what is this which now I hear?
What folk is this, which seems by pain so vanquished ?"
Maintain the melancholy souls of those
infamy or praise.
Of Angels, who have not rebellious been,
Nor faithful were to God, but were for self.
Nor them the nethermore abyss receives,
For glory none the damned would have from them." And I: “O Master, what so grievous is
To these, that maketh them lament so sore ?"
He answered : “I will tell thee very briefly.
And this blind life of theirs is so debased,
They envious are of every other fate.
Misericord and Justice both disdain them.
Let us not speak of them, but look, and pass."
Which, whirling round, ran on so rapidly,
That of all pause it seemed to me indignant;
Of people, that I ne'er would have believed