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So on the rim, that fenced the sand with rock,
Sat perched the fiend of evil. In the void
Glancing, his tail upturned its venomous fork,
With sting like scorpion's armed. Then thus my guide:
Now need our way must turn few steps apart,
Far as to that ill beast, who couches there."

Thereat, toward the right our downward course
We shaped, and, better to escape the flame
And burning marle, ten paces on the verge
Proceeded. Soon as we to him arrive,
A little further on mine eye beholds
A tribe of spirits, seated on the sand
Near to the void. Forthwith my master spake:
“ That to the full thy knowledge may extend
Of all this round contains, go now, and mark
The mien these wear: but hold not long discourse.
Till thou returnest, I with him meantime
Will parley, that to us he may vouchsafe
The aid of his strong shoulders.” Thus alone,
Yet forward on the extremity I paced
Of that seventh circle, where the mournful tribe
Were seated. At the eyes forth gushed their pangs.
Against the vapors and the torrid soil
Alternately their shifting hands they plied.
Thus use the dogs in summer still to ply
Their jaws and feet by turns, when bitten sore
By gnats, or flies, or gadflies swarming round.

Noting the visages of some, who lay
Beneath the pelting of that dolorous fire, .
One of them all I knew not; but perceived,
That pendent from his neck each bore a pouch
With colors and with emblems various marked,
On which it seemed as if their eye did feed.

And when, amongst them, looking round I came,
A yellow purse I saw with azure.wrought,
That wore a lion's countenance and port.
Then, still my sight pursuing its career,
Another I beheld, than blood more red,
A goose display of whiter wing than curd.

23. The whole inner edge of the seventh his purse and his family. The description of circle forms, as it were, a continuation of the persons by their heraldic insignia is remarkable, stony border of Phlegethon.

both on the present and several other occasions 34. The violent against Art, or usurers. in this poem. The reader will remember that the blasphemers 57. The arms of the Gianfigliazzi of Florence. lie supine, and the Sodomites run about over 60. The arms of the Ubbriachi, another the plain.

Florentine family of high distinction. Dante's 53. A purse whereon the armorial bearings impartiality can be seen in the fact that this of each were emblazoned. According to Landino, family is Ghibelline, while the Gianfigliazzi our Poet implies that the usurer can pretend to were Guelphs. no other honor than such as he derives from

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And one, who bore a fat and azure swine
Pictured on his white scrip, addressed me thus :
“What dost thou in this deep? Go now and know,
Since yet thou livest, that my neighbor here
Vitaliano on my left shall sit.
A Paduan with these Florentines am I.
Oft-times they thunder in mine ears, exclaiming,

Oh! haste that noble knight, he who the pouch
With the three goats will bring."" This said, he writhed
The mouth, and lolled the tongue out, like an ox
That licks his nostrils. I, lest longer stay
He ill might brook, who bade me stay not long,
Backward my steps from those sad spirits turned.

My guide already seated on the haunch
Of the fierce animal I found; and thus
He me encouraged. “Be thou stout: be bold.
Down such a steep flight must we now descend.
Mount thou before : for, that no power the tail
May have to harm thee, I will be i' th' midst.”

As one, who hath an ague fit so near,
His nails already are turned blue, and he
Quivers all o'er, if he but eye the shade;
Such was my cheer at hearing of his words.
But shame soon interposed her threat, who makes
The servant bold in presence of his lord.

I settled me upon those shoulders huge,
And would have said, but that the words to aid
My purpose came not, “ Look thou clasp me firm."

But he whose succor then not first I proved,
Soon as I mounted, in his arms aloft,
Embracing, held me up; and thus he spake :
“ Geryon! now move thee: be thy wheeling gyres
Of ample circuit, easy thy descent.
Think on the unusual burden thou sustainest."

As a small vessel, backening out from land,
Her station quits ; so thence the monster loosed,
And, when he felt himself at large, turned round



62. The arms of the Scrovigni, a noble family who, expecting the return of a quartan ague, of Padua.

shakes even at the sight of a place made cool 66. Vitaliano del Dente, a rich nobleman of by the shade. Padua.

85. The original is, 69. Giovanni Buiamonte, a nobleman of Flor

“Ma vergogna mi fêr le sue minacce,' ence, and famous, or rather infamous, for his usury. He died in poverty. His arms were “His (Virgil's) threats (or reproaches) prothree becchi, a word which means either beaks duced shame in me.” Cary reads fe, and or goats. Cary in older editions translated makes vergogna the subject of the sentence. beaks, which in his last revision he changed to Scartazzini, Philalethes, Longfellow, and Norgoats. Longfellow and Norton use the last ton all adopt the fir expression.

95. The usual reference to Dante's being 81. Dante trembled with fear, like a man alive.

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There, where the breast had been, his forked tail.
Thus, like an eel, outstretched at length he steered,
Gathering the air up with retractile claws.

Not greater was the dread, when Phaëthon
The reins let drop at random, whence high heaven,
Whereof signs yet appear, was wrapt in flames;
Nor when ill-fated Icarus perceived,
By liquefaction of the scalded wax,
The trusted pennons loosened from his loins,
His sire exclaiming loud, “Ill way thou keep'st,"
Than was my dread, when round me on each part
The air I viewed, and other object none
Save the fell beast. He, slowly sailing, wheels
His downward motion, unobserved of me,
But that the wind, arising to my face,
Breathes on me from below. Now on our right
I heard the cataract beneath us leap
With hideous crash ; whence bending down to explore,
New terror I conceived at the steep plunge;
For flames I saw, and wailings smote mine ear:
So that, all trembling, close I crouched my limbs,
And then distinguished, unperceived before,
By the dread torments that on every side
Drew nearer, how our downward course we wound.

As falcon, that hath long been on the wing,
But lure nor bird hath seen, while in despair
The falconer cries, “ Ah me! thou stoop'st to earth.”
Wearied descends, whence nimbly he arose
· In many an airy wheel, and lighting sits
At distance from his lord in angry mood;
So Geryon lighting places us on foot
Low down at base of the deep-furrowed rock,
And, of his burden there discharged, forthwith
Sprang forward, like an arrow from the string.

I 20


102. The son of Helios. He obtained per- made by Dædalus, melted. Ovid, Met. viii mission from his father to drive his chariot (the 225 ff. sun) across the heavens; but, being unable to 113. Cary does not give the full force of the check his horses, nearly set the earth on fire, original here, where Dante, in a single line, says and was slain by Jupiter with a thunderbolt. that the circular and the descending motion only Ovid, Met. ii. 47–324.

made itself perceptible by the air which struck 104. In the Convito, ii. 15, Dante alludes to his face in front, and also came up from below. the theory of the Pythagoreans that the sun The line is an admirable example of the Poet's going out of its course produced the burnt conciscness. appearance in the heavens called the Milky 123. The trained hawk is carried on the wrist, Way. Dante, himself, however, follows Aris- with its head covered by a hood. When its totle in looking on the latter as formed by an master goes hunting, he takes off the hood, and agglomeration of minute stars.

the hawk flies after the game, remaining in the 105. Son of Dædalus, drowned in the Icarian air until the game is caught, or the hunter calls Sea (named, according to the legend, after him back by means of the lure, a contrivance him), near Samos, in his flight from Crete, by somewhat resembling a bird. Dante seems to flying so near the sun that his wings of wax, allude here to a hawk not thoroughly trained.



The Poet describes the situation and form of the eighth circle, divided into ten gulfs,

which contain as many different descriptions of fraudulent sinners; but in the present Canto he treats only of two sorts: the first is of those who, either for their own pleasure, or for that of another, have seduced any woman from her duty; and these are scourged of demons in the first gulf: the other sort is of flatterers, who in the second gulf are condemned to remain immersed in filth.

There is a place within the depths of hell
Called Malebolge, all of rock dark-stained
With hue ferruginous, e'en as the steep
That round it circling winds. Right in the midst
Of that abominable region yawns
A spacious gulf profound, whereof the frame
Due time shall tell. The circle, that remains,
Throughout its round, between the gulf and base
Of the high craggy banks, successive forms
Ten bastions, in its hollow bottom raised.

As where, to guard the walls, full many a foss
Begirds some stately castle, sure defence
Affording to the space within; so here
Were modelled these : and as like fortresses,
E’en from their threshold to the brink without,
Are flanked with bridges ; from the rock's low base
Thus finty paths advanced, that 'cross the moles
And dikes struck onward far as to the gulf,
That in one bound collected cuts them off.
Such was the place, wherein we found ourselves
From Geryon's back dislodged. The bard to left
Held on his way, and I behind him moved.

On our right hand new misery I saw,
New pains, new executioners of wrath,
That swarming peopled the first chasm. Below
Were naked sinners. Hitherward they came,
Meeting our faces, from the middle point;

2. Dante has formed the word Malebolge Pit IV. = Soothsayers, Canto xx. himself from male = evil, and bolgia = wallet “ V. = Barterers,

xxi.-xxii. or pocket, here = pit. Hence the whole word “ VI. = Hypocrites,

xxiii. means evil pits. Malebolge consists of ten “ VII. = Thieves,

xxiv.-xxv. concentric ditches, in which are punished ten " VIII. = Evil Counsellors, xxvi.-xxvii. different kinds of fraud against mankind in gen- “ IX. = Schismatics,

xxviii.-xxix. cral. The following scheme, taken from Scar. “ X. = Falsifiers,

xxix.-xxx. tazzini, may be of service.

6. The gulf leading down to the ninth circle. Pit I. = Seducers,

Canto xviii.

25. The first evil pit, that of the panders and « II. = Flatterers,

" xviii.

seducers. " III. Simoniacs,


With us beyond, but with a larger stride.
E'en thus the Romans, when the year returns
Of Jubilee, with better speed to rid
The thronging multitudes, their means devise
For such as pass the bridge; that on one side
All front toward the castle, and approach
Saint Peter's fane, on the other towards the mount.

Each diverse way, along the grisly rock,
Horned demons I beheld, with lashes huge,
That on their back ummercifully smote.
Ah! how they made them bound at the first stripe!
None for the second waited, nor the third.

Meantime, as on I passed, one met my sight,
Whom soon as viewed, “ Of him," cried I, “not yet
Mine eye hath had his fill.” I therefore stayed
My feet to scan him, and the teacher kind
Paused with me, and consented I should walk
Backward a space; and the tormented spirit,
Who thought to hide him, bent his visage down.
But it availed him naught; for I exclaimed:

Thou who dost cast thine eye upon the ground,
Unless thy features do belie thee much, .
Venedico art thou. But what brings thee
Into this bitter seasoning ?” He replied :
“Unwillingly I answer to thy words.
But thy clear speech, that to my mind recalls
The world I once inhabited, constrains me.
Know then 't was I who led fair Ghisola
To do the Marquis' will, however fame
The shameful tale have bruited. Nor alone
Bologna hither sendeth me to mourn.
Rather with us the place is so o'erthronged,
That not so many tongues this day are taught,

28. Beyond the middle point they tended the mole (or mausoleum) of Adrian, and changed to same way with us, but their pace was quicker a citadel in the Middle Ages. than ours.

50. Venedico Caccianimico, a Bolognese, 29. In the year 1300, Pope Boniface VIII., to who prevailed on his sister Ghisola to give remedy the inconvenience occasioned by the herself to Obizzo da Este, marquis of Ferpress of people who were passing over the rara, whom we have seen among the tyrants, bridge of Sant'Angelo during the time of the Jubi- Canto xii. lee, caused it to be divided lengthwise by a par. 51. The original salse is interpreted by some tition; and ordered that all those who were going to mean “bitter torment," by others, a lonely to St. Peter's should keep one side, and those valley about fifteen miles from Bologna, where returning the other. G. Villani, who was pres- were thrown the bodies of suicides, malefactors, ent, describes the order that was preserved, and the excommunicated, used figuratively for viii. 36. It was at this time, and on this Malebolge. The meaning in either case is, occasion, as the honest historian tells us, that he “for what sin are you here?” first conceived the design of “compiling his 59. Dante says here that the Bolognese were book."

celebrated for this vice, being led thereto by · 33. The castle of Sant'Angelo, originally the their avariciousness.

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