Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso (Beware) :smiling_imp:

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Abandon your fear. Look forward.
Aug 3, 2022
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My Inner World

The words on the door were clear 😈 (Abandon all hope, ye who enter here)

This is one of a three-part epic poem, Dante Alighieri takes his readers on a pilgrimage to Heaven via journeys first through Hell and Purgatory. It is a spiritual journey expounding the evils of sin through the first-person narration of the aptly named main character, Dante the Pilgrim. The title, The Divine Comedy, is not an implication that the poem is humorous in nature. Rather, the poem is a “comedy” in that it is of the classical style that existed in partnership with tragedy. Traditional tragedies had plotlines that began with an optimistic, or positive, event but ended in sadness, death, or a downtrodden existence. Comedy, considered a base genre, flowed in the opposite direction with tragedy, or at least unhappiness, reaching a happy or optimistic culmination.

About the Author:

Dante Alighieri was born in the city-state of Florence, probably in the year 1265, under the sign of Gemini (May-June) as he tells us in The Divine Comedy. At that time, Florence was consumed by a fierce struggle between two competing factions, the Guelphs and the Ghibellines, not unlike the deadly struggle in ancient Rome between the followers of Marius and the followers of Sulla. The Guelphs supported the Pope and the Ghibellines supported the Holy Roman Emperor. Dante’s family were Guelphs, and Dante recounts how, as a youth, he fought as a cavalryman against the Ghibellines. After a series of brutal battles in which at first the Ghibellines were ascendant, the Guelphs finally triumphed and expelled the Ghibellines from Florence. But, as often happens, the victorious Guelphs split into rival parties, the Blacks and the Whites, to which Dante belonged.

The Whites (Guelphs) had separated from the Blacks (Guelphs) in their desire for more freedom from papal influence. In a bitter fight, the Whites finally defeated the Blacks, confiscated all their property and sent them into exile. However, Pope Boniface VIII then formed an alliance with Charles of Valois, brother of the King of France, and the exiled Black Guelphs. When, in 1301, Charles demanded entry into Florence, the city fathers sent a delegation of three men, including Dante, to Rome to learn what the Pope intended to do. But the Pope discharged the other two delegates and detained Dante. After further discussion, Charles and his army were permitted entrance into Florence. The night that Charles and his forces entered Florence, the Black Guelphs stole into the city and wreaked havoc for six days. They laid waste to Florence and murdered many opposing Whites. The new Black Guelph government of Florence, in 1302, commanded Dante to appear before them and accused him of corruption and fiscal malfeasance. When Dante refused to return to Florence and appear before them, he was sentenced to perpetual banishment. If he returned to Florence, he was condemned to be burned at the stake. In exile, Dante fell in with some other White Guelphs who had also been banished, in an effort to regain power through military force, but these efforts came to a sorry end because of treason and infighting.

Disillusioned with his supposed allies, Dante determined to strike out on his own. He lived the last nineteen years of his life in exile from his beloved Florence. In Paradise, he writes, of his banishment, “Everything you love most dearly you shall loose…You shall beg for the bitter bread of other men. You shall learn how steep is the climb up and down other men’s stairs. And that which shall weigh most heavily upon your shoulders will be the malign and unwise company with whom you shall fall into these dire straits of exile. Ungrateful, wrathful, and impious, they will all turn against you.” Little is known about Dante’s life in exile. It is believed he went to Bologna in 1304, but all the Florentine exiles were expelled from Bologna in 1306. From there he traveled to Padua, Verona and Lucca. Scholars think he began writing The Divine Comedy about 1308 and completed it a year before his death. Dante died from malarial fever about September 14, 1321, in Ravenna, where he had lived at the end of his life, after returning from a diplomatic mission to Venice. Dante is often called the father of Italian literature because he was the first to write in the vernacular. Up to this time, Latin was the predominant language in the writing of poetry, as well as that of worship, learning and legal documents. Dante was the first to employ the verse style of terza rima, that is aba, bcb, cdc, ded. There are 14,233 lines in The Divine Comedy, divided into three canticles, Inferno, Purgatory and Paradise, consisting of one hundred cantos in total, and the story takes place in the time frame between the night of Holy Thursday and the Wednesday after Easter in the year 1300.This work was originally called Commedia, but, in 1373, Giovanni Boccaccio delivered a series of lectures on the book and Dante became known as the divino poeta.

From this, the poem became known as La Divina Commedia. The reader may wonder about the use of the term Comedy. The word has nothing to do with our modern meaning of Comedy as indicating something funny or humorous. By way of explanation, there was a convention that a story was a Comedy or a Tragedy. A Comedy had a good ending, and a Tragedy had a bad ending. Concerning Beatrice, before Dante wrote The Divine Comedy he wrote La Vita Nuova, an autobiographical compendium of verse and prose. In it, he describes his relationship to the unattainable object of his affection. Dante writes that he first met Beatrice Portinari when they were both nine years old and fell in love with her at first sight. He says that he met her only two times before her death in 1290 at the age of twenty-five. This is yet another example of courtly love in the Middle Ages, idealized, distant and unrequited, just like Don Quixote’s love for Dulcinea, whom he barely knew. This is a prose translation. There are no footnotes or endnotes in this translation. If any explanations or clarifications are needed, they are embedded in the body of the text, so as not to interrupt the flow of the words. After all, as Noel Coward once famously remarked, “Having to read a footnote resembles having to go downstairs to answer the door while in the midst of making love.” Every translation is an interpretation and a series of acts of selection, judgment and calculation. Any flaws or faults in this edition are solely mine, and not those of Dante Alighieri or any other source. And so, Dear Reader, let us journey back in time seven hundred years and join Dante as he travels through the Inferno and Purgatory in order to ascend into Paradise.

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Canto I

Midway through our life’s journey, I found myself in a dark woods, for I had gone astray from the correct path. Ah, how hard it is to describe this forest, so savage and strange and stark, the very memory of which brings back my fear. So bitter is my dread of the forest that death is but little more frightening. Yet, in order to relate the Good that I found, I will tell you of other things I discovered there. Verily, I know not how I first entered therein, for I was so drowsy from slumber at the point at which I had abandoned the true way. But, after I had reached the foot of a mountain, where ended the valley that had frozen my heart with fright, I glanced upward and beheld the mountaintop bathed in those sunbeams which lead one toward the right way along every road. Then was my terror somewhat abated, which, in the depths of my heart, had lasted throughout all the night that I had endured so wretchedly. And thus, just as he who, short of breath, issues forth from the sea unto the shore and turns to behold the perilous waters, so did my spirit, which was yet fleeing from that distress, turn back to look again upon the pass through which never did a living person exit.

After I had rested my weary body a little, I resumed my journey upward upon the slope of the incline, firmly planting one foot above the other. And, lo, almost as soon as I had begun to climb, a Leopard, exceedingly nimble and swift, all covered with a spotted hide, appeared before me. The beast did not move from in front of me, but rather did try to block my way, so that, many times, I was tempted to return the way I had come. The hour was early in the morning, when the sun was beginning its ascent with those stars which accompanied it when Love Divine first set in motion this beautiful creation of the universe. So the time of day and the sweet season of spring occasioned in me some hope that I might overcome my fear of that wild animal. But then did I perceive a Lion come toward me, foretelling even greater horrors, its head held high and ravenous with hunger, so that it seemed the very air was fearful. Then there came a She-Wolf, most lean and hungry. O, many are the souls that she has laid low. And the sight of her overwhelmed me with such disquiet, from fear of her dreadful aspect, that I surrendered all hope of reaching the summit. Thus, like one who delights in his winnings, but when the time comes that he suffers a loss, he weeps and is downcast, so did this creature cause me to be agitated.

This She-Wolf, approaching me little by little, drove me back to a place where I could no longer see the sun. Whereupon, as I retreated with backward step toward the lowland, there appeared before mine eyes the figure of a man whose voice, when he attempted to speak, sounded weak from long disuse. And, as I beheld him in that deserted wasteland, I cried out, “Have pity upon me, whatsoever you may be, whether you are a ghost or a mortal man!” At which he answered me, “I am not now a man, although I was once a man. My parents were of Lombardy, both Mantuan by birthplace. I was born late in the time of Julius Caesar and lived at Rome under the good Augustus, during that era of the false and lying Gods. A Poet I was, and I sang the praises of Aeneas, that righteous son of Anchises, who fled to Italy after haughty Troy had been set aflame. But you, why do you turn back in the face of such disheartening perils? Why do you not ascend this pleasing mountain which is the source and cause of every delight?” “Are you then Virgil, that fountainhead from which springs such magnificent splendor of speech?” I abashedly responded. “O, glory and light of Poets, I have long studied and greatly love your verses. You are my Master and my Author. You alone are the one from whom I stole that exquisite style which has brought me honor.

Look at this beast that has caused me to turn back. Protect me from her, O famous Sage, for she makes my body to tremble.” “Then you must pursue another path if you wish to escape from this savage place,” he said, when he perceived me weeping. “For this beast, because of which you cry out, permits no man to pass by her, but instead does so much impede him till she destroys him. And she has a nature so malignant and so ruthless that never sated is her ravenous appetite and, after she has eaten, she is even hungrier than before. Many are the animals with whom she mates, and yet many more will there be, until that Champion comes who shall at last put her to a sorrowful death. This Champion shall not seek lands or chattel, but instead wisdom, love and virtue. And his birthplace shall be in Verona, betwixt Feltro and Montefeltro. He shall be the salvation of fallen Italy, on whose account the virginal Camilla was slain in battle, and also Euryalus, Turnus and Nisus, who perished from their wounds in the war against Troy. He shall pursue the She-Devil through every village till he drives her back unto Hell, from whence Envy first set her loose to unleash Death upon the world.

“Therefore I think and I believe it would be best for you to follow me and I will be your guide. I shall lead you from hence through an eternal place. There will you witness many unhappy ancient spirits, each one uttering its despairing lamentations, bewailing the second death, which is the lake that burns with fire and brimstone. And you shall see those who are contented, even within the flames of Purgatory, for they hope to dwell among the blessed, whenever that may chance to be. If you wish to ascend into those regions, a soul more worthy than I will lead you. And I will leave you with her upon my departure. For that Eternal King, Who rules above, has decreed that none shall enter His city through me, because I rebelled against His law. He governs in every place, and reigns over all. There is His city and His exalted throne. O, happy is the one whom He chooses to reside there.” And so I said unto him, “Poet, I beg you, by the God you never knew, in order that I may escape from this evil and malevolence, lead me to where you said, so that I can espy Saint Peter’s Portal, the Gate of Purgatory, and those you say are so disconsolate.” Then he moved on, and close behind him did I follow.

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Canto II

The daylight was departing, and the air, darkening with shadows, released all earthly animals from their daily toil. And I resolved to continue this effort which my unerring memory will herein relate, both of the way and of the woe. O Muses, O Lofty Genius, do now come to my aid. O Memory, which did inscribe what I saw, here shall your worth become apparent. Thus did I begin: “Poet who guides me, regard my virtue, if it be sufficient, before you entrust to me this difficult passage. You say that Aeneas, the father of Silvius, while still embodying his corruptible flesh, journeyed unto the immortal world, and was present there in corporeal form. But if God, implacable foe to all evil, showed him such favor, considering the illustrious progeny who would issue forth from his loins, this does not appear unseemly to a reasonable man. For Aeneas was chosen by empyrean Heaven to be the father of mighty Rome and her Empire. And that is where, to tell the truth, was ordained and established the holy place wherein sits the successor to great Peter. On his heroic journey, which you so well described, Aeneas did learn of his impending victory and the foretelling of the Papal mantle.

And, later, Paul the Chosen Vessel went thither to bring confirmation of that Faith which is the beginning of the way to true salvation. “But I, why do I go thither? Who does permit it? I am not Aeneas. I am not Paul. I do not deem myself worthy of it, nor do others. Therefore, if I allow myself to go, I fear this voyage will only end in folly. You are wise. My meaning do you comprehend better than I can express it.” And I, as one who no longer desires what he has once desired, and because of second thoughts does change his former intention, so did I withdraw from my objective. Thus, did I become hesitant upon that dark mountainside, for, with further deliberation, I decided to forsake the enterprise I had at first so eagerly embraced. “If I have correctly understood your words,” said the ghost of that great Poet, “your soul is overcome by cowardice, something which oft times does encumber a man. It makes him to recoil from an honorable undertaking, just as a false sight does cause a beast to shy away. So that you may free yourself from this fear, I shall tell you why I came hither and what I heard from the first moment I pitied you.

“I was one among those souls in Limbo,” Virgil continued, “suspended betwixt torment and bliss, when a Lady, so lovely and so saintly, called out unto me in such a way that I beseeched her to command me. Brighter than the brightest stars did her eyes shine. And she began to say, with an angelic voice, soft and low, ‘O courteous spirit of Mantua, whose famous verses are still renowned throughout all the world, and will endure as long as the world endures, hearken unto my words. A friend of mine, but not a friend of Fortune, is so impeded by fear on his climb up the desolate slope that he may already be lost. I am afraid that I have come too late to succor him, from what I have heard of him in Heaven. And so, I beseech you to make haste now and, with your elegant words, and with whatever else is necessary for his deliverance, assist him so that I may rest contented. I am Beatrice, who does fervently bid you to go unto him.

I come from that exalted place unto which I greatly desire to return. Love carried me hence and compelled me to speak thus. When I am once again in the presence of my Lord, full oft will I sing your praises unto Him.’ “She then paused, and so I began to say, ‘O virtuous Lady, because of whom mankind surpasses everything contained within that Heaven of the lesser circles, so pleasing to me is your commandment that, even if it were already done, it would indeed seem too late. There is no need for you to further explain your wish. But tell me the reason why you do not hesitate to descend into these depths, so far below that celestial place unto which you so ardently desire to return?’ “Beatrice answered me, ‘Since you want to know, I shall tell you briefly why I do not dread to enter herein. One should fear only those things which have the power to do harm. Nothing else, for they are not to be feared. God, of His mercy, created me such that no agony of yours touches me, nor does any flame of this fierce fire assail me.

The Blessed Virgin in Heaven has so much pity for this impediment which hinders my friend, which I send you to remove, that God’s unbending decree bends to her Will. So, the Virgin Mary summoned Saint Lucia and said to her, “Your faithful servant now stands in need of your aid, and unto you do I commend him.” ‘Whereupon Saint Lucia, inimical enemy of all that is cruel, hurried away and came to the place where I was seated with Rachel of ancient times. And Saint Lucia said, “Beatrice, true praise of God, why do you not succor him who loved you so? For you did he forsake the vulgar masses. Do you not hear his pitiful lament? Do you not see the Fate that awaits him because of the flood over which the sea itself holds no dominion?” ‘Never was a soul so swift,’ Beatrice said, ‘to work for its good and to free from its harm as I was when I heard these words.

And so, I descended hither from my blessed seat, trusting in your eloquence, which honors you and all those who listen to your stanzas.’ “After Beatrice, weeping, had thus spoken unto me, she turned her luminous eyes away. And so, because of her tearful entreaty, I swiftly hastened unto you as she wished. I delivered you from that beast which prevented you from ascending the heavenly mountain. What does trouble you now? Why, why do you tarry? Why is this cowardice lodged in fearless man, I said, “O, compassionate Lady, who succored me, and courteous Virgil, who so speedily obeyed her earnest commandment, you have, by your words, infused my heart with such a desire to return unto my first intent. Now proceed onward. Only one Will is there in both of us. You are my Guide, my Lord and my Master.” Thus, did I speak unto him. And, when he led the way, I followed him along that dark and dangerous passage.

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Canto III







These words in black characters, inscribed atop the Gate of Hell, did I perceive. Whereupon I said, “Master, what means these fearsome writings?” So he, as one who was knowledgeable, said unto me, “Here must you leave behind all doubt. Here must you leave behind all cowardice. We have come to the place whereof I have spoken. Here shall you behold the doomed people who have lost the virtue of understanding.” And, after saying this, with a pleasing countenance, he placed his hand upon mine, which greatly comforted me. Then he led me unto that secret place. There did untold sighs, plaints and loud bewailings resound under the starless skies. At this, I began to weep. I heard many diverse tongues, terrible outcries, sounds of pain, utterings of agony, voices high and hoarse, together with the thump of punishing blows, all of this making a tumult that seemed to whirl forever in that dark unchanging air, like unto the sand which eddies in the whirlwind. With this, holding my head in horror, I said, “Master, what is this I hear? Who are these people that seem so overcome by despair?” And he said unto me, “This miserable state is suffered by the sad souls of those who lived their lives without praise or blame.

They are comingled with that contemptible body of Angels who were neither rebels against God nor faithful to God but were for themselves alone. And thus, the Supreme Being expelled them from Heaven so as not to impair its perfection. And the depths of Hell will not receive them, because of the reflected glory that the damned might obtain from them.” Then I said, “Master, what grieves these people that they lament so loudly?” He answered me, “I shall tell you briefly. These people have no hope of death. And their sightless existence is so abject that they envy every other sort. The world permits no word of them to be spoken. Mercy and Justice, both scorn them. Let us not speak of them. But let us simply gaze upon them and pass by.” Whereupon I, looking upward, beheld a banner whirling about in the air so swiftly that it seemed to be unstoppable. And, after it, there came such a long train of people that I never would have believed that Death had undone so many. When I chanced to recognize some of the faces amongst them, I looked and perceived the ghost of Celestine, who, because of cowardice, made the Great Refusal and abdicated his Papal seat. Forthwith I understood and was certain that this was the throng of lowly wretches who were hateful both to God and to His enemies. These reprobates, who had never been truly alive, were all naked. And they were ever and ever stung by wasps and hornets. Thus were their faces streaked with blood, which, comingled with their tears, dripped to their feet, where it was taken up by hideous worms.

Then, looking further afield, I espied a multitude of folk upon the shore of a great river. And so, I said, “Master, now tell me who these are and why they seem so eager to cross over, since I can scarce see in this dim light.” At this, he said unto me, “These things shall be known to you as soon as our footsteps tread upon that melancholy strand of Acheron, the River of Woe.” So then, with mine eyes downcast and full of shame, I said no more till we reached the river, for fear that my words had displeased him. And lo, there came drifting toward us in a boat an old man with an abundance of flowing white hair, who cried out, “Woe unto you, debauched souls! Surrender every hope of ever seeing Heaven. I come to carry you unto the other shore, into eternal darkness, there to dwell in fire and frost. And you,” he said to me, “living soul who stands there, remove yourself from those that are dead.” But, when he saw that I did not move, he said, “It is not for you to pass unto the other side by means of this boat. You must travel another way, through another port. A swifter vessel shall transport you.” Whereupon my Guide said unto him, “Charon, distress yourself not.

This comes from that place where what is willed must be so. Do not question further.” With this, the hairy jaws of the Ferryman of this gloomy river were silenced. But from his eyes there flared forth flames of fire. And all those souls, who were weary and naked, grew pale and gnashed their teeth when they heard the Ferryman’s cruel words. They did blaspheme God and their parents, the human race, and the place and hour and seed of their begetting and their birth. Then all together, weeping bitterly, they withdrew onto that accursed shore which awaits every man who fears not God. Whereupon Charon, the Demonic Ferryman, with eyes like fiery embers of coal, beckoned unto them, collecting them in, and beating with his oar all those who lagged behind. As in autumn, when leaves fall one by one till the branch surrenders all its spoils to the earth, just so did the wicked seed of Adam hurl themselves one by one from this shore into his boat upon the Ferryman’s command, like birds of prey at his call.

And thus, they departed over the murky waves, and, even before they had reached the opposing embankment, once again, on this side, a new throng did assemble. “My son,” said my courteous Master unto me, “all those who perish by the wrath of God gather here together from every land. And they are eager to cross this river because Heavenly Justice impels them on, so that their fear is transformed into desire. Never has a righteous soul passed this way. Therefore, if Charon does chide you, you may well now understand the import of his words.” When he spoke thus, the dusky realm trembled so violently that the very memory of that terror once again bathes me in sweat. Then this tearful land gave forth a blast of wind and a blaze of red light which quite overcame all my senses, and I swooned just as a man who had been taken hold of by slumber.

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Canto IV

From my profound sleep did a great thunderclap awaken me, so that I leapt up like a person who is startled. Anon, standing upright, I cast my eyes about and fixed my gaze in order to discern the place wherein I stood. True it is that I found myself on the edge of the Valley of Abysmal Grief, where one could hear the wailing of infinite lamentations. Dark and deep this valley was, and so foggy that, in spite of my efforts to espy the bottom, I could see nothing. “Let us now descend into the sightless world,” said the Poet, his face deathly pallid. “I shall go first, and you must follow me.” And I, perceiving his fear-stricken visage, said, “But how can I proceed if you are afeared, you who are supposed to be a comfort to me?

” So, he said unto me, “Pity for the anguish of the people who are below pales my face, which you mistake for terror. Let us go on, for the way is long.” Whereupon he entered, and then did I enter the First Circle which surrounds the abyss. There could my ears discern no cries, but only endless sighs that caused the very air to tremble. And all this arose from the multitudes, many and great, of infants and women and men, as the result of grief itself without torment. At this, my good Master said unto me, “Do you not ask who are these sorrowful spirits which you behold? I would have you know, ere you go any farther, that they have not sinned. And, if they had any merit, it was not enough to avail them, because they had not been Baptized, which is the entryway to the Faith in which you believe.

If they were born before the advent of Christianity, they did not worship God in the correct manner. And I myself am one of these. Because of such a defect, and not for any other fault, are we lost. We are afflicted only in that we live with desire but without hope.” Overwhelming grief oppressed my heart when I heard this, for I knew well that many worthy people were suspended in that Limbo. “Tell me, my Master, tell me, my Lord,” I said, wishing to be assured of that perfect Christian Faith which vanquishes every error, “did any soul ever depart this place, either by his own merit or by another’s, who was thereafter blessed?” And he, who grasped the hidden meaning of my question, replied, “I was but a newcomer to this state of lamentation when I saw come hither the Mighty One crowned with His sign of victory. Whereupon He, who had been crucified upon the Cross, freed from this place the souls of Adam our first father, and of Abel his son, of Noah, of obedient Moses the lawgiver, of patriarch Abraham, of King David, and also the souls of Jacob, with his father and his children, and of Rachel, for whom Jacob did so much, together with many others. And He elevated them to a blissful state. Before these, I would have you know, never did a human soul attain salvation.” We continued to advance upon our way as he spoke, and we passed through a veritable thicket of souls, I say, like unto a forest of trees. Not very far had we gone from the place where I slept when I perceived a fire which lit up this dusky hemisphere.

We were yet a little distance from it, but not so far that I could not faintly discern that honorable folk were there. So, I said, “O you, who honors every science and art, who may these souls be, to have such great distinction that they are set apart from the fate of all the rest?” And he said unto me, “The praiseworthy fame of their names, which resounds throughout your world above, earns them favor in Heaven, and thus advances them.” At that moment, I heard a voice which cried out, “All honor the venerable Poet. His spirit returns, which had departed from us of late.” After the voice had spoken thus, I saw four mighty spirits come toward us. Their countenances were neither sorrowful nor joyful. Upon which my good Master said to me, “Behold the one with sword in hand who comes first, as if he were their leader. That one is Homer, the supreme Poet. The one who comes next is Horace, who excelled in satire. Ovid is the third, and the last is Lucan. But, because to each of them also applies the same appellation they called me, that is to say venerable Poet, they do me honor, and in that they honor themselves.” And so I saw assemble this eminent school of Masters of sublime song, whose writings soar like an Eagle above all others. After they had discoursed together for a while, they turned to me with a sign of salutation.

At this, my Master smiled broadly. And greater honor still did they afford me, in that they made me one of their own, so that I was the sixth amidst such an abundance of wisdom. Thus did we continue onward toward the light, speaking of matters about which it now behooves us to be silent, as it was, at that time, fitting to speak of then. Finally we came to the base of a noble castle, encompassed about by seven lofty walls, and defended by a fair river. This moat we did walk upon as if it were dry land. Through seven portals did I enter with these Sages. Whereupon we came to a fresh green meadow. There we saw people with solemn and slow-moving eyes, their deportment manifesting great authority. They seldom spoke, but, when they did, it was with a soft and gentle voice. And then we drew apart to one side, unto a space open and bright and high, so that we might observe all of them. Opposite us, upon the verdant grassland, the Sages showed me the great spirits, the sight of whom caused me to feel uplifted. I saw Electra beside many companions, amongst whom I recognized Hector and Aeneas, and Caesar in armor with his hawk-like eyes. I saw Camilla and Penthesilea, the Amazon Queen, on the other side. I saw King Latinus, who sat with his daughter Lavinia. I saw Brutus, who drove Tarquin out. I saw Lucretia, Julia, Marcia and Cornelia. And by himself, seated apart from the others, I saw the Saladin. Then I lifted my gaze a little and beheld Aristotle, the Master of those who are knowledgeable, seated with his philosophic family. At him did they all look with reverence and all did honor him.

There did I also see Socrates and Plato, who stood nearer to him than the others. I beheld Democritus, who ascribes the world to mere chance. And I beheld Diogenes, Anaxagoras, Thales, Empedocles, Heraclitus and Zeno. Then I saw Dioscorides, the learned collector of healing herbs. I saw Orpheus, Cicero, Linus, Seneca the Moralist, Euclid the companions, amongst whom I recognized Hector and Aeneas, and Caesar in armor with his hawk-like eyes. I saw Camilla and Penthesilea, the Amazon Queen, on the other side. I saw King Latinus, who sat with his daughter Lavinia. I saw Brutus, who drove Tarquin out. I saw Lucretia, Julia, Marcia and Cornelia. And by himself, seated apart from the others, I saw the Saladin. Then I lifted my gaze a little and beheld Aristotle, the Master of those who are knowledgeable, seated with his philosophic family. At him did they all look with reverence, and all did honor him. There did I also see Socrates and Plato, who stood nearer to him than the others.

I beheld Democritus, who ascribes the world to mere chance. And I beheld Diogenes, Anaxagoras, Thales, Empedocles, Heraclitus and Zeno. Then I saw Dioscorides, the learned collector of healing herbs. I saw Orpheus, Cicero, Linus, Seneca the Moralist, Euclid the Geometrician, Ptolemy, Hippocrates, Avicenna, Galen, and Averroes, who wrote the Great Commentary. I cannot describe them all in full, for the length of my theme so urges me onward that often times my words fall short of what I would wish to convey. At this moment our company of six divided into two parts. Whereupon my wise Guide led me forth, by another way, from that serene location to a place where the air trembled. And so, then I came to the region where there is no light.



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Canto V

Thus, did I descend from the First Circle down into the Second, where, though it encompassed a smaller space, it contained much more woe, which in turn caused even greater whining. There stands horrible, snarling Minos, Judge of the Dead. He examines each person’s culpability at the entrance. Then he judges each one and sentences each soul according to how many times he wraps his tail about himself. I mean to say that, when the misbegotten spirit comes there before him, it confesses all. Whereupon this Judge of sins determines which place in Hell is fit for that transgression. Then Minos encircles himself with his tail as many times as degrees he dooms the sinner to be cast down. And always before him do many sinners stand. They go in turn each one to judgment. They speak and hear their fate, and then are hurled downward. “O you, who comes to this abode of anguish,” said Minos to me when he saw me, leaving aside his important office for the moment, “beware of how you enter here, and in whom you place your trust. Let not this easy entrance deceive you.” Unto him then my Guide said, “Why do you cry out thus to him?

Do not hinder the journey that Fate has ordained for him. This is indeed willed there where it must be done. And so, inquire no further.” Now did I begin to hear the doleful sounds. Now had I come to where the plaints of endless tormented crying assailed my ears. I came into a place devoid of all light, where I heard a noise like the sea bellowing in a tempest, storm-tossed by contrary winds. This infernal hurricane, which never rests, drives the condemned spirits onward before it. Whirling them about, it assaults them and molests them. And, when they can stand it no longer, there are screams, groans and laments, and they blaspheme Almighty God. Then I understood that, to this torment, were condemned the carnal sinners who chose lust over reason. And, just as the winds of winter drive the wings of starlings aloft in a multitudinous flock, just so do these winds drive these wicked souls. Hither, thither, downward and upward it carries them. No hope can ever comfort them. No hope of relief, nor even of less pain. And, like cranes, flying one behind the other in the air above, uttering their shrieks, I be held aloft a string of spirits bewailing their fate, shadows borne upward by their troubles. At this, I said, “Master, who are these people that the bleak wind chastises so?” “The first of these, about whom you question,” he then said unto me, “was Empress of numerous tribes.

To so many sinful vices did she abandon herself that she made lust legal under her law, in order to excuse herself from the guilt she had incurred. Her name is Semiramis, Queen of Assyria, of whom we read that she succeeded her husband King Ninus upon his death and held the land over which the Sultan now rules. The next one is Dido, Queen of Carthage, who slew herself for love of Aeneas, and thus broke faith with the ashes of her husband Sichaeus. And the next one is the lecherous Cleopatra. See Helen, for whose sake many war-torn times followed. And behold the great Achilles, who was brought to his end by Love. Now see Paris. Now see Tristan.” More than a thousand souls did he name and point at with his finger, whom love had sundered from life. After I had listened to my Master name the ancient Ladies and Knights, I was overwhelmed by pity and bewilderment. And so I said, “Poet, I would speak with those two lovers who come this way together and appear to be swept so softly upon the wind.” At this he said unto me, “Hearken when they approach nearer to us. Then implore them, by the Love which carries them onward, and they will come.” So, as soon as the wind blew them toward us, I raised my voice and cried, “O weary souls, come and speak to us, if it is not forbidden.”

Just as doves, summoned by desire, fly through the sky with wings open wide and steady to their sweet nest, so did these two descend from the flock amongst which Dido sailed through that malignant air, such was the force of my heartfelt cry. And, when they appeared before me, the Damsel said, “O visitor, gracious and benign creature that summons us, we who stained the world with our blood, if the King of the Universe were our friend, we would pray Him to give you peace, because you have taken pity upon our woeful plight. Say whatever it pleases you to ask. We shall listen to you, and we shall reply to you while the wind is still, as it is now. Ravenna, the city where I was born, lies near the shore where the river Po, with its tributary streams, descends to its rest in the sea. Love, which swiftly takes hold of a gentle heart, seized Paolo my paramour with a passion for the comely person that I was. But my mortal body was untimely taken from me, and the manner of its taking distresses me yet. Love, which exempts no beloved from loving in return, consumed me with such an unbridled desire for him that, as you can see, it does not ever leave me. Love has brought us to our one death.

But Caina, the deepest circle of Hell, awaits my jealous husband who took our lives.” We listened to these sad words. And, after I had heard this anguished discourse, my head did I bow. Whereupon the Poet said unto me, “What are you thinking?” I replied, “Alas, how pleasurable thoughts and tender desires led these unfortunate lovers to this dolorous pass.” Then I turned unto them and said, “Francesca, your suffering brings me to tears of sympathy and consolation. But tell me, at the time of your sweet sighs, how did Love first allow you to discover this dangerous longing?” And she said unto me, “There is no greater sorrow than to recall a happy time when you are miserable. Your Master well understands this.

But, if you have such a great longing to learn the first blossoming of our love, I will do as one who weeps as he tells his tale. One day, we were reading for pleasure about Lancelot, and how Love had enthralled him. We were alone and without any trepidation. Many times, did our eyes meet during that reading, so that the color slowly drained from our faces. But it was what we read at one moment that absolutely conquered us. When we read how Guinevere’s lips were so softly kissed by her enraptured lover, then did he, who never shall be parted from me, all trembling, kiss my mouth. We read no more that day.” All the while one spirit spoke these words, the other one wept so piteously that, from compassion, I swooned like unto a man who is dying, and I fell as a dead body falls.

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Canto VI

As my mind returned to consciousness, which had been lost from pity of those two unfortunates, when sadness had completely overcome me, I beheld yet new torments. I see new tormented souls about me; however, I move and in whichever direction I turn and gaze. I am in the Third Circle, where there is unending rain, malodorous, cold and accursed. These fetid torrents never change in measure or degree. Monstrous hailstones, filthy water and sleet-steeped snow pour down in the darkness. And putrid is the ground that receives it. In front of me, Cerberus, monstrous and cruel beast with three heads, barks like a dog at the people foundering there beneath him. He has red eyes and a greasy black beard. His belly is big. And his hands are large claws, with which he scourges and flays and dismembers the spirits. The endless and unrelenting deluge makes the spirits also howl like curs. And so these miserable wretches turn from one side to the other, in the vain hope of sheltering themselves from the bitter onslaught. When Cerberus espied us, he opened his mouths and showed to us his fangs.

Not one of his limbs was without movement. At this, my Master thrust his hands deep into the earth and, with his palms full of foul dirt, flung it into the creature’s ravenous jaws. And, just as a dog barks when it is hungry, and becomes quiet when it feeds, all absorbed in devouring its food, just so did those muck-begrimed maws of the demon Cerberus fall silent, whose thunderous barking makes these damned souls pray in vain for merciful deafness. We then stepped over these ghosts, who had been laid low by the savage tempest. But our feet passed through them as though they had no substance. They all lay flat upon the ground, except one, who sat up as soon as he saw us walking before him. “O, you who are being led through this Hell,” he said to me, “recall me, if you can. You were twenty-one when my life came to an end.” And I said to him, “Perchance the anguish you suffer here erases you from my memory. It appears to me that I have never seen you. But tell me who you are and why you have been condemned to such an unhappy place and to such dire punishment. For, if any other punishment is greater, none is so unpleasant.” In reply he said unto me, “Your city Florence, which is so full of Greed that it overflows, contained me in better days. You citizens called me Ciacco, the Hog.

For the damnable sin of Gluttony, as you see, do I lie here, chastised by this downpour. And I, miserable soul, am not the only one. All these wretches suffer a similar penalty for the same sin.” He spoke not another word. I answered him thus, “Ciacco, your misery weighs upon me so much that it brings tears to my eyes. But tell me, if you know, what fate shall befall the citizens of our divided city? Are there any righteous men therein? And tell me why such great discord has assailed our beloved home.” Whereupon he said unto me, “After a long dispute, it will finally come to bloodshed. The Whites, your party of the people, shall drive out the Blacks, the party of the elites, with untold carnage. Thereafter, within three summers, it shall befall that the Whites will be defeated, and the Blacks will rise through the efforts of our Pope, Boniface VIII, who now equivocates. This victorious party shall hold its head high for a long time, burdening the losers with heavy penalties, no matter how much they weep or are resentful. There are two righteous men, but no one will listen to them. Pride, Envy and Avarice are the three sparks that have set all hearts aflame.” Here did he put an end to his tearful prophecy. Then I said unto him, “I wish to learn yet more from you. I implore you to grant me some additional words. What becomes of Farinata and Tegghiaio, who once were so worthy?

What of Jacopo Rusticucci, Arrigo, Mosca dei Lamberti, and the others who set their hearts on performing good deeds? Tell me where they are, so that I might have knowledge of them. For I have a great desire to learn if they partake of the sweetness of Heaven or the bitterness of Hell.” He said, “They abide amongst the blackest of souls. Their various sins have condemned them to the deepest reaches of Hell. If you go down so far, you may be able to see them. But, when you again return to the sweetest world, I pray you to make mention of me there and remind the living of me. No more do I tell you, and no more will I answer you.” With this, he turned his fixed gaze to regard me for a moment. Then he lowered his head and fell to the ground with the other sightless spirits. And my Guide said unto me, “He will not awake again till the last Angel sounds the trumpet. Then He who was sacrificed upon the Cross shall come to pass judgment on all men.
Whereupon each one shall betake himself to his sorrowful tomb and reassume his earthly form and learn of his eternal punishment.” So, we continued onward with slow steps over the squalid mixture of spirits and rain, touching a little on the life to come. I said, “Master, these torments, will they increase after the Last Judgment, or will they be lessened, or will they remain the same?” And he replied unto me, “You must read the writings of Aristotle once again. He says the more perfect a thing is, the more it feels pleasure and the more it feels pain. Although these misbegotten souls can never attain true perfection, in the time to come, they will approach nearer to it than they are now.” Along that road in a circle did we walk, speaking about many matters of which I shall not relate. Then we came to the place where the descent begins. And there did we encounter Plutus, God of Wealth, the great enemy.

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Canto VII

“Pape Satan, Pape Satan, aleppe!” cackled Plutus in a voice like that of a chicken. And my gentle Guide, who knew all things, in order to comfort me, said, “Let not your fear dismay you. Any power that he has shall not prevent your descending this rock.” Then he turned to that bloated being and said, “Silence, accursed wolf! Consume yourself with your own rage. Not without cause is this journey to the Abyss. Thus, is it willed on high, where the Archangel Michael wrought vengeance upon Satan and the rebellious Angels.” And just as sails, swollen full-blown by the wind, fall when the mast snaps, so fell this cruel fiend to the ground. At this, we descended into the Fourth Circle, passing even further down that cheerless shore which contains all the evil of the universe. Ah, God’s Justice! Who piles on all the torments and sufferings I beheld? And wherefore does our guilt punish us so? Just as a wave breaks upon the whirlpool Charybdis, as wave upon wave breaks against the surging sea, so do these people, in waves, surge against the relentless tide. Here did I see spirits, many more than elsewhere, on the one side and on the other side.

Uttering loud outcries, each group rolled forward an enormous boulder toward the other party with great effort. At last, the two boulders crashed against each other. Then, forthwith, each side wheeled about, rolling its boulder backward, one group shouting, “Why do you hoard?” and the other group shouting, “Why do you squander?” Whereupon they circled about to the opposite position, always crying out their shameful taunts. Then, when each side had reached its position, it spun around to begin yet another encounter. And I, who felt as if my heart had been pierced, said, “My Master, tell me what people these are. Those with shaven skulls to the left of us, were they all Clergymen?” He said unto me, “All of them, in the first life, were so niggardly or so profligate that they did not make wise use of their wealth. Their voices clearly enough cry it aloud when they meet at those two points of the circle where their contrary sins separate them. These were Clergymen, with hair clipped from their heads, and Popes and Cardinals, over whom Avarice held absolute power.” So, I said, “Master, surely I ought to recognize a few among these who were undone by such transgressions.” And he said unto me, “You embrace a futile thought.

The ignoble life they led, which formerly made them loathsome, now makes them indiscernible. Forever shall they clash together so. These spirits will ever rise from the sepulcher, both the miser and the spendthrift. Amassing riches and squandering riches has taken the beautiful world from them and set them against each other in this fray. Whatever this may be, I have no words to describe it. Now may you see, my son, the transient nature of the goods that Fortune bestows upon us, for which the human race struggles eternally. For all the gold that is under the sun can not give repose to any one of these weary souls.” “My Master,” I said unto him, “now also tell me, who is this Fortune that you speak of, who has all the goods of the world within her grasp?” Whereupon he said unto me, “O, stupid mortal creatures, what ignorance is this that overwhelms you? Now will I tell you my view of Fortune. God, whose omniscience transcends everything, created the Heavens. And He placed squadrons of Angels there so that the Everlasting Light might shine on every part thereof in equal measure. In like manner did He ordain a Mistress and Guide over the riches of the world, who, from time to time, may allot these pointless treasures to one race or another, to one blood or another, beyond the ability of human beings to understand why or wherefore.

Thus does one nation triumph while another languishes as a result of Fortune’s decree, which is concealed from us like unto the serpent in the grass. All your reason is useless against her. She makes her plans, then judges and pursues her governance, as do the other Heavenly Powers. Her altering and rearranging of Destiny has no end. Of necessity she is swift, because so often do come those who seek their turn in her favor. Thus, is she most reviled even by those who ought to praise her. They blame her and give her a bad name. But she is blessed and hears not their curses. Amidst the other sublime Primal Beings, she does spin her wheel and rejoice. But now let us descend unto even greater woe. Every star is falling now that was rising when I began, for it is already past midnight of Good Friday, and we are forbidden to remain here.” So, we crossed the Circle to the rim of the abyss, and there we beheld a boiling spring that flowed down a gully.

Its water was much darker than the darkest purple. And we, accompanying these murky currents, made our way downwards via a tortuous trail. This stream, when it reached the foot of the malignant gray slopes, formed a fetid marsh named Styx. This was the Fifth Circle. And I, who stood there gazing intently, saw muck-spattered people in that quagmire, all of them naked, with enraged faces. And they were smiting each other, not only with their hands, but also with their heads, breasts and feet, and they were tearing each other to pieces with their teeth. At this, the good Master said, “My son, now do you espy the souls of those who were overcome with Wrath. Likewise, I would have you know for certain that, beneath these waves, are people whose sighs cause this water to bubble up to the surface, as your eye tells you whichever way it turns. Stuck in the slime, they say, ‘Sullen were we in the sweet air made happy by the Sun. We bore within our hearts a foul and bitter surliness. Now are we forever sullen in this black sludge.’ This dolorous refrain do they gurgle over and over in their throats, for they are unable to utter distinct words.” So, we encompassed a great arc between the dry embankment and the foul fen, our eyes fixed on those deplorable wretches who gorged themselves upon the mud. At last, we came to the base of a Tower.

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Hi Bam, I love Dante's Divine Comedy and appreciate your work, however, I think you should really try translation from the original language :) A lifetime long struggle though, I guess
Hi Bam, I love Dante's Divine Comedy and appreciate your work, however, I think you should really try translation from the original language :) A lifetime long struggle though, I guess
I am glad someone also likes the book and yea it would be nice to translate it from the source but then would others still want to read it? Seems hard for some to even want to read this translation I am trying to make available to others I even went to the trouble of videos and pictures I appreciate you coming here and posting nice to see others who enjoy Dante's novel. have a wonderful day
hello Cherubino thanks for sharing I am watching the video as we speak thank you for visiting my project, I know it's not the original, but I hope people will like what I was trying to do in time. I think that this book was worth trying to translate.

finished it I really appreciate the translation thank you I know mine is nowhere near as beautiful as the originals is, but I wanted to try and translate it for others

oh, my I love the music
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I often imagined that Mozart's theme from the beginning can be heard while you enter the Inferno on the Charon boat under the "Abandon all hope" gate
I often imagined that Mozart's theme can be heard while you enter the Inferno on the Charon boat under the "Abandon all hope" gate

oh, I could picture this as well

so talented I do love opera Don Giovanni has an amazing voice

Canto VIII

I say, to continue, that long before we reached the foot of that lofty Tower, our eyes surveyed the top of it. Placed there we saw two flames lit. To this, we then perceived another flame, so remote and distant that we could scarce make it out, return the signal in answer. So I turned to my Master, who knew everything, and said, “What means this signal? And what means that other fire? And who are they that made the reply?” He said unto me, “Over these dirty waves you may discern the one they summon, if the miasmas of this bog conceal him not.” Never did an arrow shot from a bowstring fly through the air more swiftly than did a small boat glide over the water toward us at that moment. Its crew was a single Ferryman who cried, “Now have you arrived in my domain, foul soul?” “Phlegyas, Phlegyas,” said my Master, “this time you cry out in vain. You shall not have us longer than the time it takes to cross this slough of despond.” With this, Phlegyas became resentful, as one who believed he had been deceived, and he displayed his ire toward us. But my Master descended into the boat and beckoned me to follow after him. And only when I was in the boat did it seem fully laden, because of the weight of my mortal body. Then, as soon as my Master and I had embarked, this ancient vessel cut through the water at a greater depth than it had ever done so before. But, as we passed through that infernal swamp, there arose before me out of the waters a spirit all covered with mud. And he said, “Who are you that comes before his appointed hour?” So I said to him, “Although I come, I remain not. But who are you that has become so foul?”

He answered, “You may see that I am one who weeps.” Then I said to him, “With weeping and with wailing may you always remain, malevolent spirit. I know you well, even though you are all befouled with dirt.” But then he extended both his hands toward the boat, whereupon my watchful Master pushed him away, saying, “Begone with the other dogs!” Then my Master placed his arms about my neck and kissed my cheek, and said, “Indignant man, I am glad you scolded that rascal. Blessed be she who bore you. In the world was that fellow most arrogant and most wrathful. There was no goodness in him to grace his memory. Therefore his spirit is furious here. How many now account themselves great Princes above, who shall in the end wallow here in the mire, leaving behind them everlasting curses.” And I said, “Master, I fain would see him submerged in this swill ere we issue forth from this lake.” So my Master said unto me, “Before you see yonder shore you shall have satisfaction. It is altogether fitting that your wish should be gratified.” Soon after this, I witnessed such havoc wrought upon that malign spirit

by the people of the swamp that I yet praise and thank God for it. “Attack Filippo Argenti!” the people all shrieked. Whereupon that enraged Florentine spirit turned and began to bite himself. There we left him. I speak no more of him. But then a loud sound of lamentation smote my ears, so I looked ahead for the source of this sound. And my good Master said, “Now, my son, there draws near Dis, the city of Pluto, King of the Underworld, with its grave citizens, a teeming throng.” I said, “Master, I can already discern clearly its Mosques of the Infidels, flaming red-hot from the fires.” So he said unto me, “The eternal fire that burns within these Mosques makes them appear red, as you may perceive in this lower Hell.” Then we sailed into the deep moat which encompasses that disconsolate city. The walls of the city seemed to me to be wrought of iron. And we made a wide circle around the moat until we came to a place where the Ferryman cried aloud to us, “Get out of my boat. The entrance is here.” Above the gate I saw more than a thousand Angels who had rebelled against God and had been expelled from Heaven. And they shouted angrily, “Who is this that, not being dead, travels through the regions of the dead folk?” At this, my wise Master made a sign that he wished to speak secretly with them.

So then their great disdain was abated a bit, and they said, “Come alone. But let him begone who has so boldly entered this realm. Let him return alone along his journey of folly. Let him try, and we shall see if he knows the way. You will abide here, you who have escorted him through these dismal regions.” Now think, dear Reader, how much I was discomfited at the sound of these accursed words. For I truly believed I would never again return unto our world. So then I said, “O my dear Guide, who has rescued me more than seven times, and has saved me from imminent peril before which I stood exposed, do not desert me now in this moment of despair. And, if further passage is denied to us, let us together swiftly retrace our steps.” And my Master, who had led me hither, said unto me, “Fear not. No one can hinder our passage, for it is granted to us by the Highest Authority. But await me here. In the meanwhile, comfort and sustain your flagging spirit with renewed hope. You may be assured that I shall not leave you in this nether world.” With this, my sweet Master went forward and abandoned me. And I remained in suspense, for yea and nay contended within my head. I could not hear what he proposed to them. But he did not linger long with them, because soon those fallen Angels rushed headlong back within the city walls. And then our adversaries slammed shut the gate against my Master. So, he returned to me with hesitant steps and downcast eyes, his brow bereft of all self-assurance. And he, sighing, said unto me, “Who are they to deny me these regions of sorrow? Do not be afeared because I am angry. In this contest I will prevail, regardless of whatever plans they contrive. This insolence of theirs is nothing new. They once displayed it at that less-secret Gate of Hell when Our Savior broke open the bolt upon the door of the dead and He harrowed Hell. Above that Gate you read those fearsome words inscribed. Even now, on this side of it, there descends, Circle by Circle, an Emissary from Heaven by whose means the city shall be opened unto us.”

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Canto IX

My pale face, which cowardice had caused in me when I saw my Master turn back toward me, restored the color to his face. He paused, listening intently, because his eye could not see far through the shadowy air and the dense fog. “It behooves us to win this battle. If not…,” he said. “Such assistance was offered to us by Beatrice herself. Oh, how long must we wait for the one who comes to help us?” But I perceived that the words he spoke at the end clearly contradicted his words at the beginning. Nevertheless, his utterance engendered fear in me, for perhaps I understood a worse meaning than he intended. “Master,” I asked him, “does anyone ever descend from the First Circle, whose only punishment is loss of Hope, unto these depths of dolorous despair?” So, he answered me, “Seldom does it happen that one of us makes this journey upon which I travel. ‘Tis true that, once before, I was conjured here below by that cruel Greek Sorceress Erichtho, who summoned the spirits back into their bodies. Not long before that, my soul had left my mortal flesh. But she made me enter herein in order to fetch a spirit from the Circle of Judas. That is the lowest region and the darkest region. And it is the farthest region from the Heaven which encircles all. Well do I know the way.

Therefore, rest assured. This marsh, which exudes a noxious stench, encompasses the entire city, which we may not enter without dispute.” He spoke more words, but I do not recall what he said. Instead, mine eye was drawn upward toward that high Tower with its fiery red summit. There, suddenly, I beheld three infernal Furies, all be stained with blood. They had the aspect and bearing of women. But they were girting about the waist with green serpents, and their hair was little snakes and vipers which encircled their haughty foreheads. Whereupon my Master, who knew well the Handmaidens of the Queen of Hell, said to me, “See there the ferocious Furies. That is Megaera on the left. She who wails on the right is Alecto. And Tisiphone is in the middle.” With this, he fell silent. I looked and saw that each of the Furies was clawing at her breast with her nails and beating herself with her fists. They shrieked so loud that I pressed close to my Master with dread. And, looking down at me, the Furies shouted, “Come Medusa! The sight of you will turn him into stone! This will recompense us for the ill hour when we did not avenge the assault by Theseus upon our Queen.” At this, my Master said, “Turn your back and keep your eyes shut. For, if Medusa should appear, and you did view her, you would never again return upward.” Then he, himself, turned me around. And, not trusting my hands, he covered my eyes with his hands also. O, you of sound intellect, consider carefully the doctrine that is concealed beneath the veil of these enigmatic lines.

But now there rolled across the turbid waves the clamor of a mighty sound, fraught with terror, at which both banks trembled. It was like unto the noise of a violent storm, driven by contrary winds, that smites the forest and, without restraint, upends trees and rips off boughs and flings them away, and, continuing onward, scatters clouds of dust before the whirlwind, and sends the beasts and the shepherds to flight. My Master took his hands from my eyes, and said, “Now direct your gaze to where the smoke is thickest in the foam.” And, just as frogs scatter across the water before the hostile snake, I saw more than a thousand ruined souls scatter before the Emissary from Heaven who crossed over the waters of the Styx with dry feet. He was waving his left hand again and again in front of his face, in order to ward off the putrid fumes, and only from that slight vexation did he seem annoyed. Well did I perceive that he was sent from Heaven. So, I turned unto my Master. But he made a signal to me that I should stand silently and bow before the newcomer. Ah, how full of disdain did this Emissary appear to me! He went unto the Gate, and, with his wand, he opened it without hindrance. “O, banished from Heaven, despised people,” he said, standing on that horrible threshold, “whence comes this insolence of yours? Why do you oppose that Force which can never be opposed, and has many a time only increased your misery? What does it avail you to fight against Fate?

Your Cerberus, if you remember well, was dragged from Hell with a chain about his neck by Hercules, and his chin and gullet are still scraped raw.” Thereupon he turned and, without a word to us, strode away o’er the filthy road. But he had the look of a man who was more concerned with matters other than the one before him. So, then we directed our steps toward the city, feeling secure after the Emissary’s sacred words. And we entered it without any resistance. Now were we in the Sixth Circle. Since I was eager to learn what such a fortress held, as soon as I was within, I cast my eyes about. And I saw, on every side, a wide plain full of terrible torment and pain. Just as in the ancient gravesites at Arles, where the Rhone stagnates, and at Pola, near the Gulf of Quarnaro, whose waters bathe the borders of Italy, the place was all overspread with sepulchers. But here the manner of burial was more bitter, because, between the tombs, were many great fires which burned the iron coffins. All the lids of the coffins were uplifted, and, from these coffins, there issued forth innumerable pathetic laments, such as those from the wretched and the tormented. At this, I said, “Master, who are the people interred in these tombs that give forth those mournful sighs?” And he said unto me, “They are the Arch-Heretics, with their followers of every sect. Their tombs are much more populous than you would believe. Here is like buried with like in their various Heresies. And their monuments have varying degrees of heat, depending upon the gravity of each Heresy.” Then he turned to the right, and we passed betwixt the afflicted souls and the high battlements.

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Canto X

Now my Master walked onward along a concealed pathway betwixt the city wall and the tormented, and I followed behind him. “O, you of supreme virtue,” I said unto him, “who leads me through these unholy Circles, speak to me and satisfy my desire to know. Is it permitted to see the people who lie in these sepulchers? The covers of these tombs are all open, and no one keeps guard over them.” And he said unto me, “All these tombs will be closed forever when they return from the Last Judgment at the Valley of Jehoshaphat together with the corporeal bodies they have left above. On this side is the cemetery of Epicurus and all his followers, who believe that the soul dies with the body. But, as to the question you put to me, together with your unspoken wish to converse with these spirits, both shall soon be here satisfied.” To which I replied, “Good Master, I merely keep my heart concealed from you in order to speak fewer words. And you, yourself, taught me this not long ago.” Suddenly a voice cried forth from one of the tombs, “O Tuscan, you who travel alive through the city of fire, speaking so honorably, may it please you to remain a while in this place. Your manner of speech clearly makes manifest that you are a native of Florence, that noble fatherland, against which I was perchance too hardhearted while I was alive.” At these words, afraid, I pressed myself a little closer to my Master. But he said to me, “What are you doing? Turn around and look. Behold there Farinata degli Uberti who has arisen from the grave.”

I fixed my eyes upon Farinata’s. And he rose up to his waist from the coffin with a haughty aspect, as if he held Hell itself in great disdain. So then my Master pushed me toward him, saying, “Let your words befit the occasion.” When I was at the foot of his tomb, Farinata eyed me guardedly and demanded of me, somewhat scornfully, “Who were your ancestors?” And I, who was desirous of obeying, concealed nothing, but revealed everything to him. Whereupon he raised his eyebrows and then said, “Your people were fierce adversaries to me and to my fathers and to my party. For that reason did I twice banish them.” “If they were banished,” I answered him, “they returned from all parts both times. But your people have not yet properly learned that art.” Then there arose before mine eyes, the head of another spirit by Farinata’s side. Methinks he was on his knees. And this spirit peered about me to see if another was with me. But, when he saw there was no one, he said, weeping, “You, who journey through this prison of the blind by virtue of your lofty genius, where is my son? Why is he not with you?” So I said unto him, “I come not by myself. He who attends me yonder is my Guide. Perhaps your son Guido held him in contempt.” His words and his mode of punishment told me his name. I recognized him as Cavalcante dei Cavalcanti. On account of that, I answered him fully.

He started up suddenly and cried out, “What did you say? He ‘held’? Does he not still live? Does not the sweet sunlight of day still strike his eyes?” When he became aware of some hesitancy in my answer, he fell back into the coffin and did not reappear any more. But the other imposing spirit, in front of whom I had remained at his request, did not change his aspect, nor turn his neck, nor move aside. “And if my people have not yet properly learned that art,” Farinata continued his discourse unabated, “that troubles me more than does this bed of flames. But not fifty times shall the moon show its face before you taste of the bitterness which attends that art, for you will be banished and exiled from Florence. And, since you intend to return to that most pleasing world, tell me why the Florentines are so pitiless against my kin in all their laws.” Whereupon I said unto him, “The untold slaughter and great carnage that made the waters of the Arbia run a bloody red decades ago is the reason such decrees were ordained.” After he sighed and shook his head, he said, “In that decision I was not alone, nor would I have stood alone without just cause. But I stood alone when it was agreed by every one of my people to raze Florence to the ground. I was the one who openly defended her and forbade that action.”

“Ah, so that your soul may repose in peace at last,” I prayed him, “please answer this question for me, which has confused me. If I understand correctly, it appears that you can foresee beforehand what the future has in store for me. But, as to the present, you have no knowledge, because Cavalcanti knows not whether his son is alive or dead.” “We see, as one who is farsighted, those things that are at a distance from us,” he said. “This much does the Almighty God grant us. But, when events draw near, or are actually occurring, our intellect fails us. If no one informs us, we know nothing of your present human condition. Thus you must see that all our foresight and knowledge of the future will be extinguished at that moment when time comes to an end on the Day of Judgment.” Then, stricken by remorse and conscious of my fault, I said, “Tell Cavalcanti, who has fallen next to you, that his son is still alive. If I did delay in my response to him, it was because I was preoccupied by the question that you have answered for me.” And now my Master called unto me. So I hurriedly asked the spirit to tell me who was there with him. He said unto me, “Here with more than a thousand souls do I abide. Here lies the Emperor Frederick, second of that name. Also Cardinal Ottaviano degli Ubaldini. Concerning the others, I remain silent.” With this, Farinata disappeared. So I retraced my steps toward the ancient Poet, reflecting upon those words which betokened ill tidings for me. My Master moved on and, after a while, said unto me, “Why do you appear so distraught?” And I answered his question. To which he replied, “Bear in mind what you have heard concerning your future. But now heed this.” He raised his finger and said, “When you stand before the sweet radiance of Beatrice, whose beautiful eyes behold everything, from her shall you come to know of the destiny that Fate decrees for you.” Then to the left did he turn, and we stepped away from the wall and walked to the middle. There we took a path that went down into a valley. Even from these heights, we could smell the offensive stench emanating from it.

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it's really frustrating they didn't make a film after this masterpiece that has everything in it to yield a masterpiece as well ... I think it is too daunting for a scriptwriter, soundtrack composer, actors, director and all the processing team
it's really frustrating they didn't make a film after this masterpiece that has everything in it to yield a masterpiece as well ... I think it is too daunting for a scriptwriter, soundtrack composer, actors, director and all the processing team
It is more frustrating to me that through all his works and his devotion to his belief system the Dante Alighieri was still never acknowledge and welcomed back to his hometown until years upon years have passed and not until recently was Dante welcomed back into the town he was born and raised in, after many years in exile he died before he was able to return and ultimately see how his works Impacted those who resonated with his works. Thank you for sharing have a wonderful day

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