The fourth ring of the Ninth Circle of Hell, the very bottom of the Inferno. Following is Canto XXXIV of the Inferno, the first part of Dante Aliegheri's Divine Comedy. Contained herein is a description of Lucifer and the punishment of those who betray their benefactors (i.e. Jesus, Julius Caesar). Here it is, straight from the horse's mouth in both Italian and English, translated by Allen Mandelbaum:

   "Vexilla regis prodeunt inferni
verso di noi; però dinanzi mira,"
disse ?l maestro mio, "se tu ?l discerni."
   Come quando una grossa nebbia spira,
o quando l?emisperio nostro annotta,
par di lungi un molin che ?l vento gira,
   veder mi parve un tal dificio allotta;
poi per lo vento mi ristrinsi retro
al duca mio, ché non lì era altra grotta.
   Già era, e con paura il metto in metro,
là dove l?ombre tutte eran coperte,
e trasparien come festuca in vetro.
   Altre sono a giacere; altre stanno erte,
quella col capo e quella con le piante;
altra, com? arco, il volto a? piè rinverte.
   Quando noi fummo fatti tanto avante,
ch?al mio maestro piacque di mostrarmi
la creatura ch?ebbe il bel sembiante,
   d?innanzi mi si tolse e fé restarmi,
"Ecco Dite", dicendo, "ed ecco il loco
ove convien che di fortezza t?armi."
   Com? io divenni allor gelato e fioco,
nol dimandar, lettor, ch?i? non lo scrivo,
però ch?ogne parlar sarebbe poco.
   Io non mori? e non rimasi vivo;
pensa oggimai per te, s?hai fior d?ingegno,
qual io divenni, d?uno e d?altro privo.
   Lo ?mperador del doloroso regno
da mezzo ?l petto uscia fuor de la ghiaccia;
e più con un gigante io mi convegno,
   che i giganti non fan con le sue braccia:
vedi oggimai quant? esser dee quel tutto
ch?a così fatta parte si confaccia.
   S?el fu sì bel com? elli è ora brutto,
e contra ?l suo fattore alzò le ciglia,
ben dee da lui procedere ogne lutto.
   Oh quanto parve a me gran maraviglia
quand? io vidi tre facce a la sua testa!
L?una dinanzi, e quella era vermiglia;
   l?altr? eran due, che s?aggiugnieno a
questa sovresso ?l mezzo di ciascuna spalla,
e sé giugnieno al loco de la cresta:
   e la destra parea tra bianca e gialla;
la sinistra a vedere era tal, quali
vegnon di là onde ?l Nilo s?avvalla.
   Sotto ciascuna uscivan due grand? ali,
quanto si convenia a tanto uccello:
vele di mar non vid? io mai cotali.
   Non avean penne, ma di vispistrello
era lor modo; e quelle svolazzava,
sì che tre venti si movean da ello:
   quindi Cocito tutto s?aggelava.
Con sei occhi piangëa, e per tre menti
gocciava ?l pianto e sanguinosa bava.
   Da ogne bocca dirompea co? denti
un peccatore, a guisa di maciulla,
sì che tre ne facea così dolenti.
   A quel dinanzi il mordere era nulla
verso ?l graffiar, che talvolta la schiena
rimanea de la pelle tutta brulla.
   "Quell? anima là sù c?ha maggior pena,"
disse ?l maestro, "è Giuda Scarïotto,
che ?l capo ha dentro e fuor le gambe mena.
   De li altri due c?hanno il capo di sotto,
quel che pende dal nero ceffo è Bruto:
vedi come si storce, e non fa motto!;
   e l?altro è Cassio, che par sì membruto.
Ma la notte risurge, e oramai
è da partir, ché tutto avem veduto."
   Com? a lui piacque, il collo li avvinghiai;
ed el prese di tempo e loco poste,
e quando l?ali fuoro aperte assai,
   appigliò sé a le vellute coste;
di vello in vello giù discese poscia
tra ?l folto pelo e le gelate croste.
   Quando noi fummo là dove la coscia
si volge, a punto in sul grosso de l?anche,
lo duca, con fatica e con angoscia,
   volse la testa ov? elli avea le zanche,
e aggrappossi al pel com? om che sale,
sì che ?n inferno i? credea tornar anche.
   "Attienti ben, ché per cotali scale,"
disse ?l maestro, ansando com? uom lasso,
"conviensi dipartir da tanto male."
   Poi uscì fuor per lo fóro d?un sasso
e puose me in su l?orlo a sedere;
appresso porse a me l?accorto passo.
   Io levai li occhi e credetti vedere
Lucifero com? io l?avea lasciato,
e vidili le gambe in sù tenere;
   e s?io divenni allora travagliato,
la gente grossa il pensi, che non vede
qual è quel punto ch?io avea passato.
   "Lèvati sù," disse ?l maestro, "in piede:
la via è lunga e ?l cammino è malvagio,
e già il sole a mezza terza riede."
   Non era camminata di palagio
là ?v? eravam, ma natural burella
ch?avea mal suolo e di lume disagio.
   "Prima ch?io de l?abisso mi divella,
maestro mio," diss? io quando fui dritto,
"a trarmi d?erro un poco mi favella:
   ov? è la ghiaccia? e questi com? è fitto
sì sottosopra? e come, in sì poc? ora,
da sera a mane ha fatto il sol tragitto?"
   Ed elli a me: "Tu imagini ancora
d?esser di là dal centro, ov? io mi presi
al pel del vermo reo che ?l mondo fóra.
   Di là fosti cotanto quant? io scesi;
quand? io mi volsi, tu passasti ?l punto
al qual si traggon d?ogne parte i pesi.
   E se? or sotto l?emisperio giunto
ch?è contraposto a quel che la gran secca
coverchia, e sotto ?l cui colmo consunto
   fu l?uom che nacque e visse sanza pecca;
tu haï i piedi in su picciola spera
che l?altra faccia fa de la Giudecca.
   Qui è da man, quando di là è sera;
e questi, che ne fé scala col pelo,
fitto è ancora sì come prim? era.
   Da questa parte cadde giù dal cielo;
e la terra, che pria di qua si sporse,
per paura di lui fé del mar velo,
   e venne a l?emisperio nostro; e forse
per fuggir lui lasciò qui loco vòto
quella ch?appar di qua, e sù ricorse."
   Luogo è là giù da Belzebù remoto
tanto quanto la tomba si distende,
che non per vista, ma per suono è noto
   d?un ruscelletto che quivi discende
per la buca d?un sasso, ch?elli ha roso,
col corso ch?elli avvolge, e poco pende.
   Lo duca e io per quel cammino ascoso
intrammo a ritornar nel chiaro mondo;
e sanza cura aver d?alcun riposo,
   salimmo sù, el primo e io secondo,
tanto ch?i? vidi de le cose belle
che porta ?l ciel, per un pertugio tondo.
   E quindi uscimmo a riveder le stelle.

English
   "Vexilla regis prodeunt inferni"
toward us; and therefore keep your eyes ahead,"
my master said, "to see if you can spy him."
   Just as, when night falls on our hemisphere
or when a heavy fog is blowing thick,
a windmill seems to wheel when seen far off,
   so then I seemed to see that sort of structure.
And next, because the wind was strong, I shrank
behind my guide; there was no other shelter.
   And now--with fear I set it down in meter--
I was where all the shades were fully covered
but visible as wisps of straw in glass.
   There some lie flat and others stand erect,
one on his head, and one upon his soles;
and some bend face to feet, just like a bow.
   But after we had made our way ahead,
my master felt he now should have me see
that creature who was once a handsome presence;
   he stepped aside and made me stop, and said:
"Look! Here is Dis, and this the place where you
will have to arm yourself with fortitude."
   O reader, do not ask of me how I
grew faint and frozen then--I cannot write it:
all words would fall far short of what it was.
   I did not die, and I was not alive;
think for yourself, if you have any wit,
what I became, deprived of life and death.
   The emperor of the despondent kingdom
so towered from the ice, up from midchest,
that I match better with a giant's breadth
   than giants match the measure of his arms
now you can gauge the size of all of him
if it is in proportion to such parts.
   If he was once as handsome as he now
is ugly and, despite that, raised his brows
against his Maker, one can understand
   how every sorrow has its source in him!
I marveled when I saw that, on his head,
he had three faces: one--in front--bloodred;
   and then another two that, just above
the midpoint of each shoulder, joined the first;
and at the crown, all three were reattached;
   the right looked somewhat yellow, somewhat white;
the left in its appearance was like those
who come from where the Nile, descending, flows.
   Beneath each face of his, two wings spread out,
as broad as suited so immense a bird:
I've never seen a ship with sails so wide.
   They had no feathers, but were fashioned like
a bat's; and he was agitating them,
so that three winds made their way out from him--
   and all Cocytus froze before those winds.
He wept out of six eyes; and down three chins,
tears gushed together with a bloody froth.
   Within each mouth--he used it like a grinder--
with gnashing teeth he tore to bits a sinner,
so that he brought much pain to three at once.
   The forward sinner found that biting nothing
when matched against the clawing, for at times
his back was stripped completely of its hide.
   "That sould up there who has to suffer most,"
my master said: "Judas Iscariot--
his head inside, he jerks his legs without.
   Of those two others, with their heads beneath,
the one who hangs from that black snout is Brutus--
see how he writhes and does not say a word!
   That other, who seems so robust, is Cassius.
But night is come again, and it is time
for us to leave; we have seen everything."
   Just as he asked, I clasped him round the neck;
and he watched for the chance of time and place,
and when the wings were open wide enough,
   he took fast hold upon the shaggy flanks
and then descended, down from tuft to tuft,
between the tangled hair and icy crusts.
   When we had reached the point at which the thigh
revolves, just at the swelling of the hip,
my guide, with heavy strain and rugged work,
   reversed his head to where his legs had been
and grappled on the hair, as one who climbs--
I thought that we were going back to Hell.
   "Hold tight," my master said--he panted like
a man exhausted--"it is by such stairs
that we must take our leave of so much evil."
   Then he slipped through a crevice in a rock
and placed me on the edge of it, to sit;
that done, he climbed toward me with steady steps.
   I raised my eyes, believing I should see
the half of Lucifer that I had left;
instead I saw him with his legs turned up;
   and if I then became perplexed, do let
the ignorant be judges--those who can
not understnad what point I had just crossed.
   "Get up," my master said, "be on your feet:
the way is long, the path is difficult;
the sun's already back to middle tierce."
   It was no palace hall, the place in which
we found ourselves, but with its rough-hewn floor
and scanty light, a dungeon built by nature.
   "Before I free myself from this abyss,
master," I said when I had stood up straight,
"tell me enough to see I don't mistake:
   Where is the ice? And how is he so placed
head downward? Tell me, too, how has the sun
in so few hours gone from night to morning?"
   And he to me: "You still believe you are
north of the center, where I grasped the hair
of the damned worm who pierces through the world.
   And you were there as long as I descended;
but when I turned, that's when you passed the point
to which, from every part, all weights are drawn.
   And now you stand beneath the hemisphere
opposing that which cloaks the great dry lands
and underneath whose zenith died the man
   whose birth and life were sinless in this world.
Your feet are placed upon a little sphere
that forms the other face of the Judecca.
   Here it is morning when it's evening there;
and he whose hair has served us as a ladder
is still fixed, even as he was before.
   This was the side on which he fell from Heaven;
for fear of him, the land that once loomed here
made of the sea a veil and rose into
our hemisphere; and that land which appears
upon this side--perhaps to flee from him--
left here this hollow space and hurried upward."
   There is a place below, the limit of
that cave, its farthest point from Beelzebub,
a place one cannot see: it is discovered
   by ear--there is a sounding stream that flows
along the hollow of a rock eroded
by winding waters, and the slope is easy.
   My guide and I came on that hidden road
to make our way back into the bright world;
and with no care for any rest, we climbed--
   he first, I following--until I saw,
through a round opening, some of those things
of beauty Heaven bears. It was from there
   that we emerged, to see--once more--the stars.

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