Inferno: Canto XXII

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I have erewhile seen horsemen moving camp,
Begin the storming, and their muster make,
And sometimes starting off for their escape;

Vaunt-couriers have I seen upon your land,
O Aretines, and foragers go forth,
Tournaments stricken, and the joustings run,

Sometimes with trumpets and sometimes with bells,
With kettle-drums, and signals of the castles,
And with our own, and with outlandish things,

But never yet with bagpipe so uncouth
Did I see horsemen move, nor infantry,
Nor ship by any sign of land or star.

We went upon our way with the ten demons;
Ah, savage company! but in the church
With saints, and in the tavern with the gluttons!

Ever upon the pitch was my intent,
To see the whole condition of that Bolgia,
And of the people who therein were burned.

Even as the dolphins, when they make a sign
To mariners by arching of the back,
That they should counsel take to save their vessel,

Thus sometimes, to alleviate his pain,
One of the sinners would display his back,
And in less time conceal it than it lightens.

As on the brink of water in a ditch
The frogs stand only with their muzzles out,
So that they hide their feet and other bulk,

So upon every side the sinners stood;
But ever as Barbariccia near them came,
Thus underneath the boiling they withdrew.

I saw, and still my heart doth shudder at it,
One waiting thus, even as it comes to pass
One frog remains, and down another dives;

And Graffiacan, who most confronted him,
Grappled him by his tresses smeared with pitch,
And drew him up, so that he seemed an otter.

I knew, before, the names of all of them,
So had I noted them when they were chosen,
And when they called each other, listened how.

"O Rubicante, see that thou do lay
Thy claws upon him, so that thou mayst flay him,"
Cried all together the accursed ones.

And I: "My Master, see to it, if thou canst,
That thou mayst know who is the luckless wight,
Thus come into his adversaries' hands."

Near to the side of him my Leader drew,
Asked of him whence he was; and he replied:
"I in the kingdom of Navarre was born;

My mother placed me servant to a lord,
For she had borne me to a ribald knave,
Destroyer of himself and of his things.

Then I domestic was of good King Thibault;
I set me there to practise barratry,
For which I pay the reckoning in this heat."

And Ciriatto, from whose mouth projected,
On either side, a tusk, as in a boar,
Caused him to feel how one of them could rip.

Among malicious cats the mouse had come;
But Barbariccia clasped him in his arms,
And said: "Stand ye aside, while I enfork him."

And to my Master he turned round his head;
"Ask him again," he said, "if more thou wish
To know from him, before some one destroy him."

The Guide: "Now tell then of the other culprits;
Knowest thou any one who is a Latian,
Under the pitch?" And he: "I separated

Lately from one who was a neighbour to it;
Would that I still were covered up with him,
For I should fear not either claw nor hook!"

And Libicocco: "We have borne too much;"
And with his grapnel seized him by the arm,
So that, by rending, he tore off a tendon.

Eke Draghignazzo wished to pounce upon him
Down at the legs; whence their Decurion
Turned round and round about with evil look.

When they again somewhat were pacified,
Of him, who still was looking at his wound,
Demanded my Conductor without stay:

"Who was that one, from whom a luckless parting
Thou sayest thou hast made, to come ashore?"
And he replied: "It was the Friar Gomita,

He of Gallura, vessel of all fraud,
Who had the enemies of his lord in hand,
And dealt so with them each exults thereat;

Money he took, and let them smoothly off,
As he says; and in other offices
A barrator was he, not mean but sovereign.

Foregathers with him one Don Michael Zanche
Of Logodoro; and of Sardinia
To gossip never do their tongues feel tired.

O me! see that one, how he grinds his teeth;
Still farther would I speak, but am afraid
Lest he to scratch my itch be making ready."

And the grand Provost, turned to Farfarello,
Who rolled his eyes about as if to strike,
Said: "Stand aside there, thou malicious bird."

"If you desire either to see or hear,"
The terror-stricken recommenced thereon,
"Tuscans or Lombards, I will make them come.

But let the Malebranche cease a little,
So that these may not their revenges fear,
And I, down sitting in this very place,

For one that I am will make seven come,
When I shall whistle, as our custom is
To do whenever one of us comes out."

Cagnazzo at these words his muzzle lifted,
Shaking his head, and said: "Just hear the trick
Which he has thought of, down to throw himself!"

Whence he, who snares in great abundance had,
Responded: "I by far too cunning am,
When I procure for mine a greater sadness."

Alichin held not in, but running counter
Unto the rest, said to him: "If thou dive,
I will not follow thee upon the gallop,

But I will beat my wings above the pitch;
The height be left, and be the bank a shield
To see if thou alone dost countervail us."

O thou who readest, thou shalt hear new sport!
Each to the other side his eyes averted;
He first, who most reluctant was to do it.

The Navarrese selected well his time;
Planted his feet on land, and in a moment
Leaped, and released himself from their design.

Whereat each one was suddenly stung with shame,
But he most who was cause of the defeat;
Therefore he moved, and cried: "Thou art o'ertakern."

But little it availed, for wings could not
Outstrip the fear; the other one went under,
And, flying, upward he his breast directed;

Not otherwise the duck upon a sudden
Dives under, when the falcon is approaching,
And upward he returneth cross and weary.

Infuriate at the mockery, Calcabrina
Flying behind him followed close, desirous
The other should escape, to have a quarrel.

And when the barrator had disappeared,
He turned his talons upon his companion,
And grappled with him right above the moat.

But sooth the other was a doughty sparhawk
To clapperclaw him well; and both of them
Fell in the middle of the boiling pond.

A sudden intercessor was the heat;
But ne'ertheless of rising there was naught,
To such degree they had their wings belimed.

Lamenting with the others, Barbariccia
Made four of them fly to the other side
With all their gaffs, and very speedily

This side and that they to their posts descended;
They stretched their hooks towards the pitch-ensnared,
Who were already baked within the crust,

And in this manner busied did we leave them.

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La Divina Commedia: Inferno: Canto XXII
Io vidi gia` cavalier muover campo,
  e cominciare stormo e far lor mostra,
  e talvolta partir per loro scampo;

corridor vidi per la terra vostra,
  o Aretini, e vidi gir gualdane,
  fedir torneamenti e correr giostra;

quando con trombe, e quando con campane,
  con tamburi e con cenni di castella,
  e con cose nostrali e con istrane;

ne' gia` con si` diversa cennamella
  cavalier vidi muover ne' pedoni,
  ne' nave a segno di terra o di stella.

Noi andavam con li diece demoni.
  Ahi fiera compagnia! ma ne la chiesa
  coi santi, e in taverna coi ghiottoni.

Pur a la pegola era la mia 'ntesa,
  per veder de la bolgia ogne contegno
  e de la gente ch'entro v'era incesa.

Come i dalfini, quando fanno segno
  a' marinar con l'arco de la schiena,
  che s'argomentin di campar lor legno,

talor cosi`, ad alleggiar la pena,
  mostrav'alcun de' peccatori il dosso
  e nascondea in men che non balena.

E come a l'orlo de l'acqua d'un fosso
  stanno i ranocchi pur col muso fuori,
  si` che celano i piedi e l'altro grosso,

si` stavan d'ogne parte i peccatori;
  ma come s'appressava Barbariccia,
  cosi` si ritraen sotto i bollori.

I' vidi, e anco il cor me n'accapriccia,
  uno aspettar cosi`, com'elli 'ncontra
  ch'una rana rimane e l'altra spiccia;

e Graffiacan, che li era piu` di contra,
  li arrunciglio` le 'mpegolate chiome
  e trassel su`, che mi parve una lontra.

I' sapea gia` di tutti quanti 'l nome,
  si` li notai quando fuorono eletti,
  e poi ch'e' si chiamaro, attesi come.

"O Rubicante, fa che tu li metti
  li unghioni a dosso, si` che tu lo scuoi!",
  gridavan tutti insieme i maladetti.

E io: "Maestro mio, fa, se tu puoi,
  che tu sappi chi e` lo sciagurato
  venuto a man de li avversari suoi".

Lo duca mio li s'accosto` allato;
  domandollo ond'ei fosse, e quei rispuose:
  "I' fui del regno di Navarra nato.

Mia madre a servo d'un segnor mi puose,
  che m'avea generato d'un ribaldo,
  distruggitor di se' e di sue cose.

Poi fui famiglia del buon re Tebaldo:
  quivi mi misi a far baratteria;
  di ch'io rendo ragione in questo caldo".

E Ciriatto, a cui di bocca uscia
  d'ogne parte una sanna come a porco,
  li fe' sentir come l'una sdruscia.

Tra male gatte era venuto 'l sorco;
  ma Barbariccia il chiuse con le braccia,
  e disse: "State in la`, mentr'io lo 'nforco".

E al maestro mio volse la faccia:
  "Domanda", disse, "ancor, se piu` disii
  saper da lui, prima ch'altri 'l disfaccia".

Lo duca dunque: "Or di`: de li altri rii
  conosci tu alcun che sia latino
  sotto la pece?".  E quelli: "I' mi partii,

poco e`, da un che fu di la` vicino.
  Cosi` foss'io ancor con lui coperto,
  ch'i' non temerei unghia ne' uncino!".

E Libicocco "Troppo avem sofferto",
  disse; e preseli 'l braccio col runciglio,
  si` che, stracciando, ne porto` un lacerto.

Draghignazzo anco i volle dar di piglio
  giuso a le gambe; onde 'l decurio loro
  si volse intorno intorno con mal piglio.

Quand'elli un poco rappaciati fuoro,
  a lui, ch'ancor mirava sua ferita,
  domando` 'l duca mio sanza dimoro:

"Chi fu colui da cui mala partita
  di' che facesti per venire a proda?".
  Ed ei rispuose: "Fu frate Gomita,

quel di Gallura, vasel d'ogne froda,
  ch'ebbe i nemici di suo donno in mano,
  e fe' si` lor, che ciascun se ne loda.

Danar si tolse, e lasciolli di piano,
  si` com'e' dice; e ne li altri offici anche
  barattier fu non picciol, ma sovrano.

Usa con esso donno Michel Zanche
  di Logodoro; e a dir di Sardigna
  le lingue lor non si sentono stanche.

Ome`, vedete l'altro che digrigna:
  i' direi anche, ma i' temo ch'ello
  non s'apparecchi a grattarmi la tigna".

E 'l gran proposto, volto a Farfarello
  che stralunava li occhi per fedire,
  disse: "Fatti 'n costa`, malvagio uccello!".

"Se voi volete vedere o udire",
  ricomincio` lo spaurato appresso
  "Toschi o Lombardi, io ne faro` venire;

ma stieno i Malebranche un poco in cesso,
  si` ch'ei non teman de le lor vendette;
  e io, seggendo in questo loco stesso,

per un ch'io son, ne faro` venir sette
  quand'io suffolero`, com'e` nostro uso
  di fare allor che fori alcun si mette".

Cagnazzo a cotal motto levo` 'l muso,
  crollando 'l capo, e disse: "Odi malizia
  ch'elli ha pensata per gittarsi giuso!".

Ond'ei, ch'avea lacciuoli a gran divizia,
  rispuose: "Malizioso son io troppo,
  quand'io procuro a' mia maggior trestizia".

Alichin non si tenne e, di rintoppo
  a li altri, disse a lui: "Se tu ti cali,
  io non ti verro` dietro di gualoppo,

ma battero` sovra la pece l'ali.
  Lascisi 'l collo, e sia la ripa scudo,
  a veder se tu sol piu` di noi vali".

O tu che leggi, udirai nuovo ludo:
  ciascun da l'altra costa li occhi volse;
  quel prima, ch'a cio` fare era piu` crudo.

Lo Navarrese ben suo tempo colse;
  fermo` le piante a terra, e in un punto
  salto` e dal proposto lor si sciolse.

Di che ciascun di colpa fu compunto,
  ma quei piu` che cagion fu del difetto;
  pero` si mosse e grido`: "Tu se' giunto!".

Ma poco i valse: che' l'ali al sospetto
  non potero avanzar: quelli ando` sotto,
  e quei drizzo` volando suso il petto:

non altrimenti l'anitra di botto,
  quando 'l falcon s'appressa, giu` s'attuffa,
  ed ei ritorna su` crucciato e rotto.

Irato Calcabrina de la buffa,
  volando dietro li tenne, invaghito
  che quei campasse per aver la zuffa;

e come 'l barattier fu disparito,
  cosi` volse li artigli al suo compagno,
  e fu con lui sopra 'l fosso ghermito.

Ma l'altro fu bene sparvier grifagno
  ad artigliar ben lui, e amendue
  cadder nel mezzo del bogliente stagno.

Lo caldo sghermitor subito fue;
  ma pero` di levarsi era neente,
  si` avieno inviscate l'ali sue.

Barbariccia, con li altri suoi dolente,
  quattro ne fe' volar da l'altra costa
  con tutt'i raffi, e assai prestamente

di qua, di la` discesero a la posta;
  porser li uncini verso li 'mpaniati,
  ch'eran gia` cotti dentro da la crosta;

e noi lasciammo lor cosi` 'mpacciati.

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