Inferno: Canto XIX

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O Simon Magus, O forlorn Disciples,
Ye who the things of God, which ought to be
The brides of holiness, rapaciously

For silver and for gold do prostitute,
Now it behoves for you the trumpet sound,
Because in this third Bolgia ye abide.

We had already on the following tomb
Ascended to that portion of the crag
Which o'er the middle of the moat hangs plumb.

Wisdom supreme, O how great art thou showest
In Heaven, in earth, and in the evil world,
And with what justice doth thy power distribute!

I saw upon the sides and on the bottom
The livid stone with perforations filled,
All of one size, and every one was round.

To me less ample seemed they not, nor greater
Than those that in my beautiful Saint John
Are fashioned for the place of the baptisers,

And one of which, not many years ago,
I broke for some one, who was drowning in it;
Be this a seal all men to undeceive.

Out of the mouth of each one there protruded
The feet of a transgressor, and the legs
Up to the calf, the rest within remained.

In all of them the soles were both on fire;
Wherefore the joints so violently quivered,
They would have snapped asunder withes and bands.

Even as the flame of unctuous things is wont
To move upon the outer surface only,
So likewise was it there from heel to point.

"Master, who is that one who writhes himself,
More than his other comrades quivering,"
I said, "and whom a redder flame is sucking?"

And he to me: "If thou wilt have me bear thee
Down there along that bank which lowest lies,
From him thou'lt know his errors and himself."

And I: "What pleases thee, to me is pleasing;
Thou art my lord, and knowest that I depart not
From thy desire, and knowest what is not spoken."

Straightway upon the fourth dike we arrived;
We turned, and on the left-hand side descended
Down to the bottom full of holes and narrow.

And the good Master yet from off his haunch
Deposed me not, till to the hole he brought me
Of him who so lamented with his shanks.

"Whoe'er thou art, that standest upside down,
O doleful Soul, implanted like a stake,"
To say began I, "if thou canst, speak out."

I stood even as the Friar who is confessing
The false assassin, who, when he is fixed,
Recalls him, so that death may be delayed.

And he cried out: "Dost thou stand there already,
Dost thou stand there already, Boniface?
By many years the record lied to me.

Art thou so early satiate with that wealth,
For which thou didst not fear to take by fraud
The beautiful Lady, and then work her woe?"

Such I became, as people are who stand,
Not comprehending what is answered them,
As if bemocked, and know not how to answer.

Then said Virgilius: "Say to him straightway,
'I am not he, I am not he thou thinkest.'"
And I replied as was imposed on me.

Whereat the Spirit writhed with both his feet,
Then, sighing, with a voice of lamentation
Said to me: "Then what wantest thou of me?

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 believed thou wast,
What time the sudden question I 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;

The same who with the seven heads was born,
And power and strength from the ten horns received,
So long as Virtue to her spouse was pleasing.

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?

Ah, Constantine! of how much ill was mother,
Not thy conversion, but that marriage dower
Which the first wealthy Father took from thee!"

And while I sang to him such notes as these,
Either that anger or that conscience stung him,
He struggled violently with both his feet.

I think in sooth that it my Leader pleased,
With such contented lip he listened ever
Unto the sound of the true words expressed.

Therefore with both his arms he took me up,
And when he had me all upon his breast,
Remounted by the way where he descended.

Nor did he tire to have me clasped to him;
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.

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La Divina Commedia: Inferno: Canto XIX
O Simon mago, o miseri seguaci
  che le cose di Dio, che di bontate
  deon essere spose, e voi rapaci

per oro e per argento avolterate,
  or convien che per voi suoni la tromba,
  pero` che ne la terza bolgia state.

Gia` eravamo, a la seguente tomba,
  montati de lo scoglio in quella parte
  ch'a punto sovra mezzo 'l fosso piomba.

O somma sapienza, quanta e` l'arte
  che mostri in cielo, in terra e nel mal mondo,
  e quanto giusto tua virtu` comparte!

Io vidi per le coste e per lo fondo
  piena la pietra livida di fori,
  d'un largo tutti e ciascun era tondo.

Non mi parean men ampi ne' maggiori
  che que' che son nel mio bel San Giovanni,
  fatti per loco d'i battezzatori;

l'un de li quali, ancor non e` molt'anni,
  rupp'io per un che dentro v'annegava:
  e questo sia suggel ch'ogn'omo sganni.

Fuor de la bocca a ciascun soperchiava
  d'un peccator li piedi e de le gambe
  infino al grosso, e l'altro dentro stava.

Le piante erano a tutti accese intrambe;
  per che si` forte guizzavan le giunte,
  che spezzate averien ritorte e strambe.

Qual suole il fiammeggiar de le cose unte
  muoversi pur su per la strema buccia,
  tal era li` dai calcagni a le punte.

"Chi e` colui, maestro, che si cruccia
  guizzando piu` che li altri suoi consorti",
  diss'io, "e cui piu` roggia fiamma succia?".

Ed elli a me: "Se tu vuo' ch'i' ti porti
  la` giu` per quella ripa che piu` giace,
  da lui saprai di se' e de' suoi torti".

E io: "Tanto m'e` bel, quanto a te piace:
  tu se' segnore, e sai ch'i' non mi parto
  dal tuo volere, e sai quel che si tace".

Allor venimmo in su l'argine quarto:
  volgemmo e discendemmo a mano stanca
  la` giu` nel fondo foracchiato e arto.

Lo buon maestro ancor de la sua anca
  non mi dipuose, si` mi giunse al rotto
  di quel che si piangeva con la zanca.

"O qual che se' che 'l di su` tien di sotto,
  anima trista come pal commessa",
  comincia' io a dir, "se puoi, fa motto".

Io stava come 'l frate che confessa
  lo perfido assessin, che, poi ch'e` fitto,
  richiama lui, per che la morte cessa.

Ed el grido`: "Se' tu gia` costi` ritto,
  se' tu gia` costi` ritto, Bonifazio?
  Di parecchi anni mi menti` lo scritto.

Se' tu si` tosto di quell'aver sazio
  per lo qual non temesti torre a 'nganno
  la bella donna, e poi di farne strazio?".

Tal mi fec'io, quai son color che stanno,
  per non intender cio` ch'e` lor risposto,
  quasi scornati, e risponder non sanno.

Allor Virgilio disse: "Dilli tosto:
  "Non son colui, non son colui che credi"";
  e io rispuosi come a me fu imposto.

Per che lo spirto tutti storse i piedi;
  poi, sospirando e con voce di pianto,
  mi disse: "Dunque che a me richiedi?

Se di saper ch'i' sia ti cal cotanto,
  che tu abbi pero` la ripa corsa,
  sappi ch'i' fui vestito del gran manto;

e veramente fui figliuol de l'orsa,
  cupido si` per avanzar li orsatti,
  che su` l'avere e qui me misi in borsa.

Di sotto al capo mio son li altri tratti
  che precedetter me simoneggiando,
  per le fessure de la pietra piatti.

La` giu` caschero` io altresi` quando
  verra` colui ch'i' credea che tu fossi
  allor ch'i' feci 'l subito dimando.

Ma piu` e` 'l tempo gia` che i pie` mi cossi
  e ch'i' son stato cosi` sottosopra,
  ch'el non stara` piantato coi pie` rossi:

che' dopo lui verra` di piu` laida opra
  di ver' ponente, un pastor sanza legge,
  tal che convien che lui e me ricuopra.

Novo Iason sara`, di cui si legge
  ne' Maccabei; e come a quel fu molle
  suo re, cosi` fia lui chi Francia regge".

Io non so s'i' mi fui qui troppo folle,
  ch'i' pur rispuosi lui a questo metro:
  "Deh, or mi di`: quanto tesoro volle

Nostro Segnore in prima da san Pietro
  ch'ei ponesse le chiavi in sua balia?
  Certo non chiese se non "Viemmi retro".

Ne' Pier ne' li altri tolsero a Matia
  oro od argento, quando fu sortito
  al loco che perde' l'anima ria.

Pero` ti sta, che' tu se' ben punito;
  e guarda ben la mal tolta moneta
  ch'esser ti fece contra Carlo ardito.

E se non fosse ch'ancor lo mi vieta
  la reverenza delle somme chiavi
  che tu tenesti ne la vita lieta,

io userei parole ancor piu` gravi;
  che' la vostra avarizia il mondo attrista,
  calcando i buoni e sollevando i pravi.

Di voi pastor s'accorse il Vangelista,
  quando colei che siede sopra l'acque
  puttaneggiar coi regi a lui fu vista;

quella che con le sette teste nacque,
  e da le diece corna ebbe argomento,
  fin che virtute al suo marito piacque.

Fatto v'avete Dio d'oro e d'argento;
  e che altro e` da voi a l'idolatre,
  se non ch'elli uno, e voi ne orate cento?

Ahi, Costantin, di quanto mal fu matre,
  non la tua conversion, ma quella dote
  che da te prese il primo ricco patre!".

E mentr'io li cantava cotai note,
  o ira o coscienza che 'l mordesse,
  forte spingava con ambo le piote.

I' credo ben ch'al mio duca piacesse,
  con si` contenta labbia sempre attese
  lo suon de le parole vere espresse.

Pero` con ambo le braccia mi prese;
  e poi che tutto su mi s'ebbe al petto,
  rimonto` per la via onde discese.

Ne' si stanco` d'avermi a se' distretto,
  si` men porto` sovra 'l colmo de l'arco
  che dal quarto al quinto argine e` tragetto.

Quivi soavemente spuose il carco,
  soave per lo scoglio sconcio ed erto
  che sarebbe a le capre duro varco.

Indi un altro vallon mi fu scoperto.

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