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For now doth Cain with fork of thorns confine
On either hemisphere, touching the wave
Beneath the towers of Seville. Yesternight
The moon was round. Thou mayst remember well :
For she good service did thee in the gloom
Of the deep wood.” This said, both onward moved.
Still in the eighth circle, which bears the name of Malebolge, they look down from the
bridge that passes over its fifth gulf, upon the barterers or public peculators. These are plunged in a lake of boiling pitch, and guarded by Demons, to whom Virgil, leaving Dante apart, presents himself; and license being obtained to pass onward, both pursue their way.
Thus we from bridge to bridge, with other talk,
The which my drama cares not to rehearse,
Passed on; and to the summit reaching, stood
To view another gap, within the round
Of Malebolge, other bootless pangs.
Marvellous darkness shadowed o'er the place.
In the Venetians' arsenal as boils
Through wintry months tenacious pitch, to smear
Their unsound vessels; for the inclement time
Sea-faring men restrains, and in that while
His bark one builds anew, another stops
The ribs of his that hath made many a voyage,
One hammers at the prow, one at the poop,
This shapeth oars, that other cables twirls,
The mizen one repairs, and main-sail rent;
So, not by force of fire but art divine,
Boiled here a glutinous thick mass, that round
Lined all the shore beneath. I that beheld,
But therein nought distinguished, save the bubbles
123. By Cain and the thorns, or what is still 4. The fourth pit where barterers are punvulgarly called the Man in the Moon, the Poet ished, that is, those who sell justice or public denotes that luminary. The same superstition offices for bribes. They are to the state what is alluded to in the Paradise, Canto ii. 52 and the simoniacs are to the church. The word Convito, ii. 14.
is also used for cheats in general. 2. The original has commedia; so, also, 7. Dante refers to the old arsenal, built in Hell, xvi. 125, where Cary translates, “by 1104, considered in the Poet's time one of these notes which now I sing."
the most important in Europe. In the De Vulg. Elog. Dante gives a defini- 16. It was God who caused the pitch to boil. tion of tragedy (as he calls the Æneid) and 17. “Vidi flumen magno de Inferno procecomedy: “Per tragediam superiorem stilum dere ardens, atque piceum." Alberici Visio, induimus, per commcdiam inferiorem,” ii. 4. & 17.
Raised by the boiling, and one mighty swell
Heave, and by turns subsiding fall. While there
I fixed my ken below," Mark! mark !" my guide
Exclaiming, drew me towards him from the place
Wherein I stood. I turned myself, as one
Impatient to behold that which beheld
He needs must shun, whom sudden fear unmans,
That he his flight delays not for the view.
Behind me I discerned a devil black,
That running up advanced along the rock.
Ah! what fierce cruelty his look bespake.
In act how bitter did he seem, with wings
Buoyant outstretched and feet of nimblest tread.
His shoulder, proudly eminent and sharp,
Was with a sinner charged; by either haunch
He held him, the foot's sinew griping fast.
“Ye of our bridge!” he cried, " keen-taloned fiends!
Lo! one of Santa Zita's elders. Him
Whelm ye beneath, while I return for more.
That land hath store of such. All men are there,
Except Bonturo, barterers : of.no'
For lucre there an 'ay'is quickly made."
Him dashing down, o'er the rough rock he turned ;
Nor ever after thief a mastiff loosed
Sped with like eager haste. That other sank,
And forth with writhing to the surface rose.
But those dark demons, shrouded by the bridge,
Cried, “ Here the hallowed visage saves not : here
Is other swimming than in Serchio's wave,
Wherefore, if thou desire we rend thee not,
Take heed thou mount not o'er the pitch." This said,
They grappled him with more than hundred hooks,
And shouted : “ Covered thou must sport thee here;
So, if thou canst, in secret thou mayst filch."
E'en thus the cook bestirs him, with his grooms,
To thrust the flesh into the caldron down
With flesh-hooks, that it float not on the top.
Me then my guide bespake: “ Lest they descry
That thou art here, behind a craggy rock
Bend low and screen thee: and whate'er of force
Be offered me, or insult, fear thou not;
For I am well advised, who have been erst
In the like fray.” Beyond the bridge's head
Therewith he passed; and reaching the sixth pier,
Behoved him then a forehead terror-proof.
With storm and fury, as when dogs rush forth
Upon the poor man's back, who suddenly
From whence he standeth makes his suit; so rushed
Those from beneath the arch, and against him
Their weapons all they pointed. He, aloud :
“ Be none of you outrageous : ere your tine
Dare seize me, come forth from amongst you one,
Who having heard my words, decide he then
If he shall tear these limbs." They shouted loud,
“ Go, Malacoda!" Whereat one advanced,
The others standing firm, and as he came,
“ What may this turn avail him?" he exclaimed.
“ Believest thou, Malacoda! I had come
Thus far from all your skirmishing secure,”
My teacher answered, “ without will divine
And destiny propitious ? Pass we then;
For so Heaven's pleasure is, that I should lead
Another through this savage wilderness."
Forthwith so fell his pride, that he let drop
The instrument of torture at his feet,
And to the rest exclaimed: “We have no power
To strike him.” Then to me my guide: “0 thou !
Who on the bridge among the crags dost sit
Low crouching, safely now to me return."
I rose, and towards him moved with speed; the fiends
Meantime all forward drew: me terror seized,
Lest they should break the compact they had made.
Thus issuing from Caprona, once I saw
The infantry, dreading lest his covenant
The foe should break; so close he hemmed them round.
I to my leader's side adhered, mine eyes
With fixt and motionless observance bent
On their unkindly visage. They their hooks.
Protruding, one the other thus bespake :
“Wilt thou I touch him on the hip?" To whom
Was answered: “Even so; nor miss thy aim."
61. He refers to the time when he was sent 92. The surrender of the castle of Caprona, below by Erichtho. Cf. Hell, ix. 22 ff. belonging to the Pisans, to the combined forces
74. Malacoda = evil tail. As Dante calls all of Florence and Lucca, on condition that the demons in this pit by the general name of Male- garrison should march out in safety, to which branche, so here he distinguishes between the event Dante was a witness, took place in 1289. different individuals. The events which follow, It was said that when the garrison marched in which a number of actors engage, seem to out, loud cries were heard: "appica! appica!" render this necessary.
" hang them! hang them!"
But he, who was in conference with my guide,
Turned rapid round; and thus the demon spake :
“ Stay, stay thee, Scarmiglione!” Then to us
He added : “Further footing to your step
This rock affords not, shivered to the base
Of the sixth arch. But would ye still proceed,
Up by this cavern go: not distant far,
Another rock will yield you passage safe.
Yesterday, later by five hours than now,
Twelve hundred threescore years and six had filled
The circuit of their course, since here the way
Was broken. Thitherward I straight dispatch
Certain of these my scouts, who shall espy
If any on the surface bask. With them
Go ye: for ye shall find them nothing fell.
Come, Alichino, forth,” with that he cried,
“ And Calcabrina, and Cagnazzo thou!
The troop of ten let Barbariccia lead.
With Libicocco, Draghinazzo haste,
Fanged Ciriatto, Graffiacane fierce,
And Farfarello, and mad Rubicant.
Search ye around the bubbling tar. For these,
In safety lead them, where the other crag
Uninterrupted traverses the dens."
I then: “O master! what a sight is there.
Ah ! without escort, journey we alone,
Which, if thou know the way, I covet not.
Unless thy prudence fail thee, dost not mark
How they do gnarl upon us, and their scowl
Threatens us present tortures?" He replied:
“ I charge thee, fear not: let them, as they will,
Gnarl on: 't is but a token of their spite
Against the souls who mourn in torinent steeped."
To leftward o'er the pier they turned; but each
Had first between his teeth prest close the tongue,
Toward their leader for a signal looking,
Which he with sound obscene triumphant gave.
108. This turns out to be a lie. See Canto 116. Various explanations have been given xxiii. 142.
for the following names. It is doubtful if Dante 110. Christ died in the year 34; hence from meant very much by them, nor is it of importhat time to the date of Dante's supposed jour- tance for the English reader to know the details ney, - 1300 A.D.,— 1266 years have passed. At of the various etymologies proposed. his death the earth trembled and rocks were broken (Matt. xxvii. 51), and the bridges over the pit of hypocrites were destroyed.
Virgil and Dante proceed, accompanied by the Demons, and see other sinners of the
same description in the same gulf. The device of Ciampolo, one of these, to escape from the Demons, who had laid hold on him.
It hath been heretofore my chance to see
Horsemen with martial order shifting camp,
To onset sallying, or in muster ranged,
Or in retreat sometimes outstretched for flight:
Light-armed squadrons and feet foragers
Scouring thy plains, Arezzo! have I seen,
And clashing tournaments, and tilting jousts,
Now with the sound of trumpets, now of bells,
Tabors, or signals made from castled heights,
And with inventions multiform, our own,
Or introduced from foreign land; but ne'er
To such a strange recorder I beheld,
In evolution moving, horse nor foot,
Nor ship, that tacked by sign from land or star.
With the ten demons on our way we went;
Ah, fearful company! but in the church
With saints, with gluttons at the tavern's mess.
Still earnest on the pitch I gazed, to mark
All things whate'er the chasm contained, and those
Who burned within. As dolphins that, in sign
To mariners, heave high their arched backs,
That thence forewarned they may advise to save
Their threatened vessel ; so, at intervals,
To ease the pain, his back some sinner showed,
Then hid more nimbly than the lightning-glance.
E'en as the frogs, that of a watery moat
Stand at the brink, with the jaws only out,
Their feet and of the trunk all else concealed,
Thus on each part the sinners stood; but soon
As Barbariccia was at hand, so they
Drew back under the wave. I saw, and yet
My heart doth stagger, one, that waited thus,
As it befalls that oft one frog remains,
While the next springs away: and Graffiacan,