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Euclid, geometrician, and Ptolemy,

Galen, Hippocrates, and Avicenna,

Averroes, whoʻthe great Comment made.
I cannot all of them pourtray in full,

Because so drives me onward the long theme,

That many times the word comes short of fact.
The sixfold company in two divides ;

Another way my sapient Guide conducts me

Forth from the quiet to the air that trembles ;
And to a place I come where nothing shines.


Thus I descended out of the first circle

Down to the second, that less space begirds,

And so much greater dole, that goads to wailing.
There standeth Minos horribly, and snarls ;

Examines the transgressions at the entrance ;

Judges, and sends according as he girds him.
I say, that when the spirit evil-beini

Cometh before him, wholly it confesses ;

And this discriminator of transgressions
Seeth what place in Hell is meet for it;

Girds himself with his tail as many times

As grades he wishes it should be thrust down.
Always before him many of them stand ;

They go by turns each one unto the judgment;

They speak, and hear, and then are downward hule! “ O thou, that to this dolorous hostelry

Comest,” said Minos to me, when he saw me,

Leaving the practice of so great an office, “ Look how thou enterest, and in whom thou trustest;

Let not the portal's amplitude deceive thee."

And unto him my Guide : “Why criest thou too? Do not impede his journey fate-ordained ;

It is so willed there where is power to do

That which is willed ; and ask no further question.” And now begin the dolesome notes to grow

Audible unto me ; now am I come

There where much lamentation strikes upon me.
I came into a place mute of all light,

Which bellows as the sea does in a tempest,
If by opposing winds 't is combated.

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The infernal hurricane that never rests

Hurtles the spirits onward in its rapine ;

Whirling them round, and smiting, it molests them. When they arrive before the precipice,

There are the shrieks, the plaints, and the laments,

There they blaspheme the puissance divine. I understood that unto such a torment

The carnal malefactors were condemned,

Who reason subjugate to appetite.
And as the wings of starlings bear them on

In the cold season in large band and full,

So doth that blast the spirits maledict ;
It hither, thither, downward, upward, drives them ;

No hope doth comfort them for evermore,

Not of repose, but even of lesser pain. And as the cranes go chanting forth their lays,

Making in air a long line of themselves,

So saw I coming, uttering lamentations, Shadows borne onward by the aforesaid stress.

Whereupon said I : "Master, who are those

People, whom the black air so castigates ?” “ The first of those, of whom intelligence

Thou fain wouldst have,” then said he unto me,

“ The empress was of many languages. To sensual vices she was so abandoned,

That lustful she made licit in her law,

To remove the blame to which she had been led. She is Semiramis, of whom we read

That she succeeded Ninus, and was his spouse ;

She held the land which now the Sultan rules. The next is she who killed herself for love,

And broke faith with the ashes of Sichæus;

Then Cleopatra the voluptuous." Helen I saw, for whom so many ruthless

Seasons revolved ; and saw the great Achilles,

Who at the last hour combated with Love. Paris I saw, Tristan ; and more than a thousand

Shades did he name and point out with his finger,

Whom Love had separated from our life. After that I had listened to my Teacher,

Naming the dames of eld and cavaliers,

Pity prevailed, and I was nigh bewildered.
And I began : "O Poet, willingly

Speak would I to those two, who go together,
And seem upon the wind to be so light."

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And he to me : “ Thou'lt mark, when they shall be

Nearer to us; and then do thou implore them

By love which leadeth them, and they will come.
Soon as the wind in our direction sways them,

My voice uplift I: “O ye weary souls !

Come speak to us, if no one interdicts it.”
As turtle doves, called onward by desire,

With open and steady wings to the sweet nest

Fly through the air by their volition borne,
So came they from the band where Dido is,

Approaching us athwart the air malign,

So strong was the affectionate appeal.
“O living creature gracious and benignant,

Who visiting goest through the purple air

Us, who have stained the world incarnadine,
If were the King of the Universe our friend,

We would pray unto him to give thee peace,

Since thou hast pity on our woe perverse.
Of what it pleases thee to hear and speak,

That will we hear, and we will speak to you,

While silent is the wind, as it is now.
Sitteth the city, wherein I was born,

Upon the sea-shore where the Po descends

To rest in peace with all his retinue.
Love, that on gentle heart doth swiftly seize,

Seized this man for the person beautiful

That was ta’en from me, and still the mode offends me
Love, that exempts no one beloved from loving,

Seized me with pleasure of this man so strongly,

That, as thou seest, it doth not yet desert me;
Love has conducted us unto one death ;

Caïna waiteth him who quenched our life !”

These words were borne along from them to us.
As soon as I had heard those souls tormented,

I bowed my face, and so long held it down

Until the Poet said to me: “What thinkest ?"
When I ade answer, I began : “Alas !

How many pleasant thoughts, how much desire,

Conducted ihese unto the dolorous pass !”
Then unto them I turned me, and I spake,

And I began : “ Thine agonies, Francesca,

Sad and compassionate to weeping make me.
Put tell me, at the time of those sweet sighs,

By what and in what manner Love conceded,
That you should know your dubious desires ?"

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And she to me :

One day we

When as we read of the much-longed-for smile

" There is no greater sorrow
Than to be mindful of the happy time

In misery, and that thy Teacher knows.
, if to recognise the earliest root
Of love in us thou hast so great desire,
I will do even as he who weeps and speaks

reading were for our delight
Of Launcelot, how Love did him enthral.

we were and without any fear. Full many a time our eyes together drew

That reading, and drove the colour from our faces;
But one point only was it that o'ercame us.
Being by such a noble lover kissed,

This one, who ne'er from me shall be divided,
Kissed me upon the mouth all palpitating.

Galeotto was the book and he who wrote it.

That day no farther did we read therein.”
And all the while one spirit uttered this,

The other one did weep so, that, for pity,
I swooned away as if I had been dying,

even as a dead body falls.


And fell,


At the return of consciousness, that closed

Before the pity of those two relations,

Which utterly with sadness had confused me, New torments I behold, and new tormented

Around me, whichsoever way I move,

And whichsoever way I turn, and gaze. In the third circle am I of the rain

Eternal, maledict, and cold, and heavy;

Its law and quality are never new.
Huge hail, and water sombre-hued, and snow,

Athwart the tenebrous air pour down amain ;

Noisome the earth is, that receiveth this. Cerberus, monster cruel and uncouth,

With his three gullets like a dog is barking

Over the people that are there submergei..
Reil eyes he has, and unctuous beard and black,

And belly large, and armed with claws his hands;
He rends the spirits, flays, and quarters them.

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Howl the rain maketh them like unto dogs;

One side they make a shelter for the other ;

Oft turn themselves the wretched reprobates. When Cerberus perceived us, the great worm !

His mouths he opened, and displayed his tusk

Not a limb had he that was motionless. And my Conductor, with his spans extended,

Took of the earth, and with his fists well filler,

He threw it into those rapacious gullets. Such as that dog is, who by barking craves,

And quiet grows soon as his food he gnaws,

For to devour it he but thinks and struggles, The like became those muzzles filth-begrimed

Of Cerberus the demon, who so thunders

Over the souls that they would fain be deaf. We passed across the shadows, which subdues

The heavy rain-storm, and we placed our feet

Upon their vanity that person seems. They all were lying prone upon the earth,

Excepting one, who sat upright as soon

As he beheld us passing on before him. “O thou that art conducted through this Hell,"

He said to me, recall me, if thou canst ;

Thyself wast made before I was unmade.” And I to him : “ The anguish which thou hast

Perhaps doth draw thee out of my remembrance,

So that it seems not I have ever seen thee. But tell me who thou art, that in so doleful

A place art put, and in such punishment,

If some are greater, none is so displeasing." And he to me: “ Thy city, which is full

Of envy so that now the sack runs over,

Held me within it in the life serene. You citizens were wont to call me Ciacco;

For the pernicious sin of gluttony

1, as thou seest, am battered by this rain. And I, sad soul, am not the only one,

For all these suffer the like penalty

For the like sin ;” and word no more spake he. I answered him: “Ciacco, thy wretchedness

Weighs on me so that it to weep invites me;

But tell me, if thou knowest, to what shall come
The citizens of the divided city;

If any there be just; and the occasion
Tell me why so much discord has assailed it."


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