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If who I am thou carest so much to know,
That thou on that account hast crossed the bank,
Know that I vested was with the great mantle ; And truly was I son of the She-bear,
So eager to advance the cubs, that wealth
Above, and here myself, I pocketed. Beneath my head the others are dragged down
Who have preceded me in simony,
Flattened along the fissure of the rock. Below there I shall likewise fall, whenever
That one shall come who I belived thou wast,
What time the sudden question proposed. But longer I my feet already toast,
And here have been in this way upside down,
Than he will planted stay with reddened feet; For after him shall come of fouler deed
From tow'rds the west a Pastor without law,
Such as befits to cover him and me. New Jason will he be, of whom we read
In Maccabees; and as his king was pliant,
So he who governs France shall be to this one." I do not know if I were here too bold,
That him I answered only in this metre:
“I pray thee tell me now how great a treasure Our Lord demanded of Saint Peter first,
Before he put the keys into his keeping ?
Truly he nothing asked but ‘Follow me.' Nor Peter nor the rest asked of Matthias
Silver or gold, when he by lot was chosen
Unto the place the guilty soul had lost. Therefore stay here, for thou art justly punished,
And keep safe guard o'er the ill-gotten money,
Which caused thee to be valiant against Charles. And were it not that still forbids it me
The reverence for the keys superlative
Thou hadst in keeping in the gladsome life, I would make use of words more grievous still ;
Because your avarice afflicts the world,
Trampling the good and lifting the depraved. The Evangelist you Pastors had in mind,
When she who sitteth upon many waters
To fornicate with kings by him was seen ;
And power and strength from the ten horns received,
Ye have made yourselves a god of gold and silver;
And from the idolater how differ ye,
Save that he one, and ye a hundred worship?
Not thy conversion, but that marriage dowe:
Which the first wealthy Father took from thee!” And while I sang to him sud notes as these,
Either that anger or that conscience stung him,
He struggled violently with both his feet.
With such contented lip he listened ever
Unto the sound of the true words expressed.
And when he had me all upon his breast,
Remounted by the way where he descended.
But bore me to the summit of the arch
Which from the fourth dike to the fifth is passage. There tenderly he laid his burden down,
Tenderly on the crag uneven and steep,
That would have been hard passage for the goats : Thence was unveiled to me another valley.
Of a new pain behoves me to make verses
And give material to the twentieth canto
Of the first song, which is of the submerged.
To peer down into the uncovered depth,
Which bathed itself with tears of agony;
Silent and weeping, coming at the pace
Which in this world the Litanies assume.
Wondrously each one seemed to be distorted
From chin to the beginning of the chest ;
And backward it behoved them to advance,
As to look forward had been taken from them.
Some one has been thus wholly turned awry;
As God may let thee, Reader, gather fruit
From this thy reading, think now for thyself
How I could ever keep my face unmoistened,
Distorted so, the weeping of the eyes
Along the fissure bathed the hinder parts.
Of the hard crag, so that my Escort said
To me: “Art thou, too, of the other fools ?
Who is a greater reprobate than he
Who feels compassion at the doom divine ?
Opened the earth before the Thebans' eyes;
Wherefore they all cried : Whither rushest thou,
And downward ceased he not to fall amain
As far as Minos, who lays hold on all.
Because he wished to see too far before him
When from a male a female he became,
His members being all of them transformed ;
The two entangled serpents with his rod,
Ere he could have again his manly plumes.
Who in the hills of Luni, there where grubs
The Carrarese who houses underneath,
For his abode; whence to behold the stars
And sea, the view was not cut off from him.
Which thou beholdest not, with loosened tresses,
And on that side has all the hairy skin,
Afterwards tarried there where I was born;
Whereof I would thou list to me a little.
season wandered through the world.
At the Alp's foot that shuts in Germany
She a long
By a thousand springs, I think, and more, is bathed,
'Twixt Garda and Val Camonica, Pennino,
With water that grows stagnant in that lake.
And he of Brescia, and the Veronese
Might give his blessing, if he passed that way,
To front the Brescians and the Bergamasks,
Where round about the bank descendeth lowest.
In bosom of Benaco cannot stay,
And grows a river down through verdant pastures.
No more Benaco is it called, but Mincio,
Far as Governo, where it falls in Po.
In which it spreads itself, and makes it marshy,
And oft 'tis wont in summer to be sickly.
Land in the middle of the fen descried,
Untilled and naked of inhabitants ;
She with her servants stayed, her arts to practise,
And lived, and left her empty body there.
Collected in that place, which was made strong
By the lagoon it had on every side ;
And, after her who first the place selected,
Mantua named it, without other omen.
Ere the stupidity of Casalodi
From Pinamonte had received deceit.
Originate my city otherwise,
No falsehood may the verity defraud.”
To me so certain, and take my faith,
That unto me the rest would be spent coals.
If any one note-worthy thou beholdest,
For only unto that my mind reverts.”
Thrusts out his beard upon his swarthy shoulders
So that there scarce remained one in the cradle,
An augur, and with Calchas gave the moment,
In Aulis, when to sever the first cable. Eryphylus his name was, and so sings
My lofty Tragedy in some part or other ;
That knowest thou weli, who knoweg* the whole of it. The nexi, who is so slender in the flanks,
Was Michael Scott, who of a verity
Of magical illusions knew the game. Behold Guido Bonatti, behold Asdente,
Who now unto his leather and his thread
Would fain have stuck, but he too late repents. Behold the wretched ones, who left the needle,
The spool and rock, and made them fortune-tellers;
They wrought their magic spells with herb and image. But come now, for already holds the confines
Of both the hemispheres, and under Seville
Touches the ocean-wave, Cain and the thorns, And yesternight the moon was round already;
Thou shouldst remember well it did not harm thee
From time to time within the forest deep." Thus spake he to me, and we walked the while.
From bridge to bridge thus, speaking other things
Of which my Comedy cares not to sing,
We came along, and held the summit, when We halted to behold another fissure
Of Malebolge and other vain laments;
And I beheld it marvellously dark. As in the Arsenal of the Venetians
Boils in the winter the tenacious pitch
To smear their unsound vessels o'er again, For sail they cannot; and instead thereof
One makes his vessel new, and one recaulks
The ribs of that which many a voyage has made ; One hammers at the prow, one at the stern,
This one makes oars, and that one cordage twists,
Another mends the mainsail and the mizzen ;
Was boiling down below there a dense pitch