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From the profound abyss, behind the lid
Of a great monument we stood retired,
Whereon this scroll I marked : “I have in charge
Pope Anastasius, whom Photinus drew
From the right path.” — “Ere our descent, behoves
We make delay, that somewhat first the sense,
To the dire breath accustomed, afterward
Regard it not.” My master thus; to whom
Answering I spake : “Some compensation find,
That the time pass not wholly lost.” He then :
“Lo! how my thoughts e'en to thy wishes tend.
My son! within these rocks," he thus began,
“ Are three close circles in gradation placed,
As these which now thou leavest. Each one is full
Of spirits accurst; but that the sight alone
Hereafter may suffice thee, listen how
And for what cause in durance they abide.

“Of all malicious act abhorred in heaven,
The end is injury; and all such end
Either by force or fraud works other's woe.
But fraud, because of man peculiar evil,
To God is more displeasing; and beneath,
The fraudulent are therefore doomed to endure
Severer pang. The violent occupy
All the first circle; and because, to force,
Three persons are obnoxious, in three rounds,
Each within other separate, is it framed.
To God, his neighbor, and himself, by man
Force may be offered ; to himself I say,
And his possessions, as thou soon shalt hear
At full. Death, violent death, and painful wounds
Upon his neighbor he inflicts; and wastes,
By devastation, pillage, and the flames,
His substance. Slayers, and each one that smites
In malice, plunderers, and all robbers, hence
The torment undergo of the first round,
In different herds. Man can do violence
To himself and his own blessings: and for this,
He, in the second round must aye deplore

9. Anastasius, second of the name, ascended The two poets have already passed through the papal throne in 496 and died in 498. six circles, and Virgil now says that the seventh

Photinus, a disciple of Marcellus of Ancira, circle is divided into three sub-circles, and the later Bishop of Sirmio in Pannonia; he was eighth into ten concentric pits, while the ninth condemned as a heretic, together with his mas- lies at the very bottom of Hell. In these three ter, Marcellus, by the synod of Antioch in 351. remaining circles are punished the violent, the Dante confuses him with another Photinus, fraudulent, and the traitors. deacon of Thessalonica and follower of Acacius. 20. The first circle = the first of the remain

17. The remainder of the present canto may ing three, but the seventh in all. be considered as a syllabus of the whole of this 41. The first round = the river of blood seen part of the poem.


With unavailing penitence his crime,
Whoe'er deprives himself of life and light,
In reckless lavishment his talent wastes,
And sorrows there where he should dwell in joy
To God may force be offered, in the heart
Denying and blaspheming his high power,
And Nature with her kindly law contemning.
And thence the inmost round marks with its seal
Sodom, and Cahors, and all such as speak
Contemptuously of the Godhead in their hearts.

“Fraud, that in every conscience leaves a sting,
May be by man employed on one, whose trust
He wins, or on another who withholds
Strict confidence. Seems as the latter way
Broke but the bond of love which Nature makes.
Whence in the second circle have their nest,
Dissimulation, witchcraft, flatteries,
Theft, falsehood, simony, all who seduce
To lust, or set their honesty at pawn,
With such vile scum as these. The other way
Forgets both Nature's general love, and that
Which thereto added afterwards gives birth
To special faith. Whence in the lesser circle,
Point of the universe, dread seat of Dis,
The traitor is eternally consumed.”

I thus : “Instructor, clearly thy discourse Proceeds, distinguishing the hideous chasm And its inhabitants with skill exact. But tell me this: they of the dull, fat pool, Whom the rain beats, or whom the tempest drives, Or who with tongues so fierce conflicting meet,

46. The suicide.

59. Natural love of man for man. 47. Those who squander their property. 60. The second of the remaining three circles, Note the difference between these and the — the eighth in all, — divided into ten concentric prodigal in Canto vii.

pits. 48. Life and riches, instead of being a means 64. The other way=fraud against those who of joy to them, are, through misuse, an occasion put confidence in us. of sorrow.

67. The last of the nine circles of Hell, hence 51. Cary has not given accurately the mean- the smallest. ing of the original, “E spregiando Natura e sua 68. Dis = Lucifer. bontade.” Two classes are referred to, Sodom- 70. In the following lines Dante asks what is ites, “ spregiando Natura,” and Usurers despis- the difference between the sins of the gluttonous, ing His (God's, not Nature's) bounty.

the avaricious, the licentious, etc., and the sins 52. The third subdivision of the seventh punished in the following circles. Virgil replies circle.

that the former are sins of incontinence, or the 53. The allusion to Sodom is clear enough immoderate use of what is lawful in itself. The (Gen. xix.). Cahors is the capital of the latter are sins special to mankind, hence more department of Lot, France. It was the ancient heinous. capital of Quercy. It had the name in the Mid- 73. The dull, fat pool = Styx. dle Ages of being much frequented by usurers. 74. The gluttonous and licentious. 58. Seems = it seems as if.

75. Misers and prodigals.

Wherefore within the city fire-illumed
Are not these punished, if God's wrath be on them?
And if it be not, wherefore in such guise
Are they condemned?” He answer thus returned :
“Wherefore in dotage wanders thus thy mind,
Not so accustomed? or what other thoughts
Possess it? Dwell not in thy memory
The words, wherein thy ethic page describes
Three dispositions adverse to Heaven's will,
Incontinence, malice, and mad brutishness,
And how incontinence the least offends
God, and least guilt incurs? If well thou note
This judgment, and remember who they are,
Without these walls to vain repentance doomed,
Thou shalt discern why they apart are placed
From these fell spirits, and less wreakful pours
Justice divine on them its vengeance down."

“O sun! who healest all imperfect sight,
Thou so content'st me, when thou solvest my doubt,
That ignorance not less than knowledge charms.
Yet somewhat turn thee back," I in these words
Continued, “where thou said'st, that usury
Offends celestial Goodness; and this knot
Perplexed unravel.” He thus made reply:
“Philosophy, to an attentive ear,
Clearly points out, not in one part alone,
How imitative Nature takes her course
From the celestial mind, and from its art:
And where her laws the Stagirite unfolds,
Not many leaves scanned o'er, observing well
Thou shalt discover, that your art on her
Obsequious follows, as the learner treads
In his instructor's step; so that your art
Deserves the name of second in descent
From God. These two, if thou recall to mind
Creation's holy book, from the beginning

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83. He refers to Aristotle's Ethics, vii. 1. two man shall gain his living, i.e. from agri“ In the next place, entering on another division culture or from mechanic arts. The usurer, of the subject, let it be defined, that respecting however, who lives only on the interest of his morals there are three sorts of things to be money, does neither of these things, hence he is avoided, malice, incontinence, and brutishness.” said by Virgil to set at naught Nature and her 89. Those in the previous circles.

follower. 91. Fell spirits = the violent, the fraudulent, 104. “Art imitates Nature.” Aristotle, Phys. and traitors.

ics, ii. 2. 97. This corroborates the interpretation given 111. Genesis ii. 15: “And the Lord God to line 51. See note thereto.

took the man and put him into the garden of 100. Virgil's argument is as follows: Nature Eden, to dress it, and to keep it.” And Genesis proceeds from the mind of God. Aristotle says iii. 19: “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat that art proceeds from Nature, and hence is, as bread.” it were, the grandchild of God. From these

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Descending by a very rugged way into the seventh circle, where the violent are pun

ished, Dante and his leader find it guarded by the Minotaur; whose fury being pacified by Virgil, they step downwards from crag to crag; till, drawing near the bottom, t

a river of blood, wherein are tormented such as have committed violence against their neighbor. At these, when they strive to emerge from the blood, a troop of Centaurs, running along the side of the river, aim their arrows; and three of their band opposing our travellers at the foot of the steep, Virgil prevails so far, that one consents to carry them both across the stream; and on their passage, Dante is informed by him of the course of the river, and of those that are punished therein.

The place, where to descend the precipice
We came, was rough as Alp; and on its verge
Such object lay, as every eye would shun.

As is that ruin, which Adice's stream
On this side Trento struck, shouldering the wave,
Or loosed by earthquake or for lack of prop;
For from the mountain's summit, whence it moved
To the low level, so the headlong rock
Is shivered, that some passage it might give
To him who from above would pass; e'en such
Into the chasm was that descent: and there
At point of the disparted ridge lay stretched
The infamy of Crete, detested brood

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116. Elsewhere = in money.

referred to Monte Barco, near Rovereto. Scar118. The constellation of Pisces is already tazzini says, however, that Dante meant Chiusa, above the horizon. The sun is in the following near Verona. constellation of Aries, hence it will rise in a 13. The Minotaur, fruit of the unnatural lust short time, i.e. it is just before dawn.

of Pasiphaë, wife of Minos, and a bull sent by 120. Northwest in the original is coro = Poseidon. He is represented as having a Caurus, a wind which blows from that part of human body and the head of a bull. He was the heavens.

confined in the Cretan labyrinth and fed with 3. Such object = the Minotaur. See line 13. human flesh. He was finally killed by Theseus 4. This “ruin," or landslide, is usually

Of the feigned heifer : and at sight of us
It gnawed itself, as one with rage distract.
To him my guide exclaimed: "Perchance thou deem'st
The King of Athens here, who, in the world
Above, thy death contrived. Monster! avaunt!
He comes not tutored by thy sister's art,
But to behold your torments is he come.”

Like to a bull, that with impetuous spring
Darts, at the moment when the fatal blow
Hath struck him, but unable to proceed
Plunges on either side ; so saw I plunge
The Minotaur; whereat the sage exclaimed:
“Run to the passage! while he storms, 't is well
That thou descend." Thus down our road we took
Through those dilapidated crags, that oft
Moved underneath my feet, to weight like theirs
Unused. I pondering went, and thus he spake:
“Perhaps thy thoughts are of this ruined steep,
Guarded by the brute violence, which I
Have vanquished now. Know then, that when I erst
Hither descended to the nether hell,
This rock was not yet fallen. But past doubt,
(If well I mark) not long ere He arrived,
Who carried off from Dis the mighty spoil
Of the highest circle, then through all its bounds
Such trembling seized the deep concave and foul,
I thought the universe was thrilled with love,
Whereby, there are who deem, the world hath oft
Been into chaos turned : and in that point,
Here, and elsewhere, that old rock toppled down.
But fix thine eyes beneath : the river of blood
Approaches, in the which all those are steeped,
Who have by violence injured.” O blind lust!
O foolish wrath! who so dost goad us on
In the brief life, and in the eternal then
Thus miserably o’erwhelm us. I beheld
An ample foss, that in a bow was bent,

17. Theseus. The original has duca d' 36. Our Saviour, who, according to Dante, Atene, whence Chaucer,

when he ascended from Hell, carried with him “There was a duk, that highte Theseus.” the souls of the Patriarchs. See Canto iv. 52 ff.

Knight's Tale. 38. The highest circle = Limbo. And Shakespeare, –

40. Virgil alludes to the doctrine of Empedo“Happy be Theseus, our renowned Duke.” cles, who taught that the world was formed by

M. N. D. i. 1. the discord of atoms, and that their concord or 19. Referring to the clue given to Theseus harmony (what Dante calls love) would proby Ariadne, by means of which he found his duce chaos. way out of the labyrinth.

44. This river forms the first round of the 29. Another of the numerous references to seventh circle, and in it are punished the vioDante's being still in the body.

lent against others, - murderers, tyrants, rob33. Cf. Hell, ix. 22 ff.


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