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Of joy, when misery is at hand! That kens
Thy learned instructor. Yet so eagerly
If thou art bent to know the primal root,
From whence our love gat being, I will do,
As one, who weeps and tells his tale. One day,
For our delight we read of Lancelot,
How him love thralled. Alone we were, and no
Suspicion near us. Ofttimes by that reading
Our eyes were drawn together, and the hue
Fled from our altered cheek. But at one point
Alone we fell. When of that smile we read,
The wished smile, rapturously kissed
By one so deep in love, then he, who ne'er
From me shall separate, at once my lips
All trembling kissed. The book and writer both
(Were love's purveyors. In its leaves that day
We read no more." While thus one spirit spake,
The other wailed so sorely, that heart-struck
I, through compassion fainting, seemed not far
From death, and like a corpse fell to the ground.



On his recovery, the Poet finds himself in the third circle, where the gluttonous are

punished. Their torment is, to lie in the mire, under a continual and heavy storm of hail, snow, and discolored water; Cerberus meanwhile barking over them with his threefold throat, and rending them piecemeal. One of these, who on earth was named Ciacco, foretells the divisions with which Florence is about to be distracted. Dante proposes a question to his guide, who solves it; and they proceed towards the fourth circle.

My sense reviving, that erewhile had drooped
With pity for the kindred shades, whence grief
O’ercame me wholly, straight around I see

The original perhaps is in Boëthius, De was the means of bringing Launcelot and Consol. Philosoph. “In omni adversitate Guinever together. fortunæ infelicissimum genus est infortunii 136. “E caddi, come corpo morto cade.” fuisse felicem et non esse.” II. 4.

So Pulci: 124. One of the knights of the Round Table, “E cadde come morto in terra cade.” and the lover of Ginevra, or Guinever, cele

Morgante Maggoire, c. xxii. brated in romance. The incident alluded to And Ariosto: seems to have made a strong impression on the “E cada, come corpo morto cade." imagination of Dante, who introduces it again,

Orl, Fur. ii. 55. less happily, in the Paradise, xvi. 14, 15.

Dante's last refuge was at the house of a 128. “Questo quel punto fù, che sol mi vinse." nephew of Francesca, - Guido Novello da

Tasso, Il Torrismondo. Polenta. Hence his grief at the sad fate of the 134. “Love's purveyors ” in the original = lovers. Galeotto, who according to the old romances

New torments, new tormented souls, which way
Soe'er I move, or turn, or bend my sight.
In the third circle I arrive, of showers
Ceaseless, accursed, heavy and cold, unchanged
Forever, both in kind and in degree.
Large hail, discolored water, sleety flaw
Through the dun midnight air streamed down amain :
Stank all the land whereon that tempest fell.

Cerberus, cruel monster, fierce and strange,
Through his wide threefold throat, barks as a dog
Over the multitude immersed beneath.

His eyes glare crimson, black his unctuous beard,
- His belly large, and clawed the hands, with which

He tears the spirits, flays them, and their limbs
Piecemeal disparts. Howling there spread, as curs,
Under the rainy deluge, with one side
The other screening, oft they roll them round,
A wretched, godless crew. When that great worm
Descried us, savage Cerberus, he oped
His jaws, and the fangs showed us ; not a limb
Of him but trembled. Then my guide, his palms
Expanding on the ground, thence filled with earth
Raised them, and cast it in his ravenous maw.
E'en as a dog, that yelling bays for food
His keeper, when the morsel comes, lets fall
His fury, bent alone with eager haste
To swallow it; so dropped the loathsome cheeks
Of demon Cerberus, who thundering stuns
The spirits, that they for deafness wish in vain.

We, o'er the shades thrown prostrate by the brunt
Of the heavy tempest passing, set our feet
Upon their emptiness, that substance seemed.

They all along the earth extended lay,
Save one, that sudden raised himself to sit,
Soon as that way he saw us pass. “O thou!”
He cried, “ who through the infernal shades art led,
Own, if again thou know'st me. Thou wast framed
Or ere my frame was broken." I replied:

9. Flaw=sudden gust or burst of wind. cf. cf. Ariosto, Milton,

“ Ch'al gran verme infernal mette la briglia, “Snow and hail, and stormy gust and E che di lui come a lei par dispone." flaw."

Orl. Fur. xlvi. 78. 12. Cerberus, a dog with three heads, in 35. The spirits have not yet their body, but ancient mythology, guardian of Hell.

merely the appearance of them. Only after the 21. “ Juxta - infernum vermis erat infinitæ Last Judgment will their human forms be remagnitudinæ ligatus maximâ catena." Alberici stored to them, Visio, $ 9.

10. “ You were born before I died.” Dante In Canto xxxiv. 102, Lucifer is called

was born in 1265; Ciacco died in 1286. “ The abhorred worm, that boreth through the


« The anguish thou endurest perchance so takes
Thy form from my remembrance, that it seems
As if I saw thee neyer. But inform
Me who thou art, that in a place so sad
Art set, and in such torment, that although
Other be greater, none disgusteth more."
He thus in answer to my words rejoined:
“Thy city heaped with envy to the brim,
Aye, that the measure overflows its bounds,
Held me in brighter days. Ye citizens
Were wont to name me Ciacco. For the sin
Of gluttony, damned vice, beneath this rain,
E'en as thou seest, I with fatigue am worn;
Nor I sole spirit in this woe: all these
Have by like crime incurred like punishment."

No more he said, and I my speech resumed :
“Ciacco! thy dire affliction grieves me much,
Even to tears. But tell me, if thou knowest,
What shall at length befall the citizens
Of the divided city; whether any
Just one inhabit there: and tell the cause,
Whence jarring discord hath assailed it thus ?"

He then: “ After long striving they will come
To blood; and the wild party from the woods
Will chase the other with much injury forth.
Then it behoves, that this must fall, within
Three solar circles; and the other rise
By borrowed force of one, who under shore
Now rests. It shall a long space hold aloof
Its forehead, keeping under heavy weight
The other opprest, indignant at the load,
And grieving sore. The just are two in number,
But they neglected. Avarice, envy, pride,
Three fatal sparks, have set the hearts of all
On fire.” Here ceased the lamentable sound;
And I continued thus : “ Still would I learn

49. Florence.

67. The Bianchi must fall. 52. Ciacco, according to some commentators, 68. Within three years. Ciacco is speaking is a nickname, meaning “hog.” Others hold in 1300; the Bianchi and with them Dante were that it is the man's real name. He is intro- banished from Florence in 1302. duced in Boccaccio's Decameron, Giorn. ix. 69. Charles of Valois, by whose means the Nov. 8.

Neri were replaced. . 61. Divided into the Bianchi and Neri fac- Better than this, however, is to interpret tions.

"one" to mean Boniface VIII., in which case the 65. So called because it was headed by Veri word piaggia of the original should be transde' Cerchi, whose family had lately come into lated, “using flattery, blandishments.” Prothe city from Acone, and the woody country of fessor Norton translates, “tacking,"i.e. playing the Val di Nievole.

fast and loose with both parties. 66. The opposite party of the Neri, at the 73. It is not known who these two are. head of which was Corso Donati.

More from thee, further parley still entreat.
Of Farinata and Tegghiaio say,
They who so well deserved; of Giacopo,
Arrigo, Mosca, and the rest, who bent
Their minds on working good. Oh! tell me where
They bide, and to their knowledge let me come.
For I am prest with keen desire to hear
If heaven's sweet cup or poisonous drug of hell,
Be to their lip assigned.” He answered straight :
66 These are yet blacker spirits. Various crimes
Have sunk them deeper in the dark abyss.
If thou so far descendest, thou mayst see them.
But to the pleasant world when thou returnest,
Of me make mention, I entreat thee, there.
No more I tell thee, answer thee no more."

This said, his fixed eyes he turned askance,
A little eyed me, then bent down his head,
And 'midst his blind companions with it fell.

When thus my guide: “ No more his bed he leaves,
Ere the last angel-trumpet blow. The Power
Adverse to these shall then in glory come,
Each one forthwith to his sad tomb repair,
Resume his fleshly vesture and his form,
And hear the eternal doom re-echoing rend
The vault.” So passed we through that mixture foul
Of spirits and rain, with tardy steps; meanwhile
Touching, though slightly, on the life to come.
For thus I questioned : “Shall these tortures, Sir!
When the great sentence passes, be increased,
Or mitigated, or as now severe?”

He then: “ Consult thy knowledge; that decides
That, as each thing to more perfection grows,
It feels more sensibly both good and pain.
Though ne'er to true perfection may arrive
This race accurst, yet nearer then, than now,
They shall approach it.” Compassing that path,
Circuitous we journeyed, and discourse,
Much more than I relate between us passed :
Till at the point, whence the steps led below,
Arrived, there Plutus, the great foe, we found.


79. See notes to Hell, x. 32, and xvi. 42. 108. The usual explanation of this passage is 80. See note to Hell, xvi. 45.

to refer the word "knowledge" to the teachings 81. Of Arrigo, who is said by the commenta. of Aristotle, who declares that the more perfect tors to have been of the noble family of the the body, the more susceptible is it to pain and Fifanti, no mention afterwards occurs. Mosca pleasure. degli Uberti is introduced in Canto xxviii.

117. Plutus, the god of Riches, is made by 91. Ciacco, like other souls in Hell, desires Dante a demon, in accordance with his custom Dante to keep his name alive in the world above. when introducing mythological characters in

97. The trumpet announcing the Last Judg- Hell. ment. Cf. Matth. xxiv. 31. The “ adverse Power" is Christ.



In the present Canto, Dante describes his descent into the fourth circle, at the beginning

of which he sees Plutus stationed. Here one like doom awaits the prodigal and the avaricious; which is, to meet in direful conflict, rolling great weights against each other with mutual upbraidings. From hence Virgil takes occasion to show how vain the goods that are committed into the charge of Fortune; and this moves our author to inquire what being that Fortune is, of whom he speaks: which question being resolved, they go down into the fifth circle, where they find the wrathful and slothful tormented in the Stygian lake. Having made a compass round great part of this lake, they come at last to the base of a lofty tower.

“ Ah me! O Satan! Satan!" loud exclaimed
Plutus, in accent hoarse of wild alarm :
And the kind sage, whom no event surprised,
To comfort me thus spake: “Let not thy fear
Harm thee, for power in him, be sure, is none
To hinder down this rock thy safe descent."
Then to that swoln lip turning, “ Peace!” he cried,
“Curst wolf! thy fury inward on thyself
Prey, and consume thee! Through the dark profound
Not without cause he passes. So't is willed
On high, there where the great Archangel poured
Heaven's vengeance on the first adulterer proud.”

As sails, full spread and bellying with the wind,
Drop suddenly collapsed, if the mast split;
So to the ground down dropped the cruel fiend.

Thus we, descending to the fourth steep ledge,
Gained on the dismal shore, that all the woe
Hems in of all the universe. Ah me!
Almighty Justice! in what store thou heap'st
New pains, new troubles, as I here beheld.
Wherefore doth fault of ours bring us to this?

E’en as a billow, on Charybdis rising,
Against encountered billow dashing breaks;
Such is the dance this wretched race must lead,
Whom more than elsewhere numerous here I found,


1. “Pape Satan, pape Satan aleppe.”

22. Cf.of the many efforts to explain this line none “As when two billows in the Irish sowndes are satisfactory, and perhaps it is better to under- Forcibly driven with contrarie tides, stand it simply as an exclamation of rage.

Do meet together; each aback rebounds 11. Michael, as it is in the original.

With roaring rage, and dashing on all sides, 12. Satan. The best commentary on this That filleth all the sea with foam, divides passage is contained in Rev. xii. 7-9. The The doubtful current into divers wayes." word strupo, translated here “adulterer," means

Spenser, F. Q. iv, 1, 42. rather adultery in the sense of infidelity.

25. In Purg. xx. 11, Dante says that Ava16. The word lacca, which Cary translates rice – antica lupa – is more universal than “ledge," means cavity, hollow.

all other vices.

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