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In that part of the youthful year wherein
his locks beneath Aquarius
And now the nights draw near to half the day,
What time the hoar-frost
copies on the ground
The outward semblance
of her sister white
But little lasts the temper of her pen,
, whose forage faileth
Rises, and looks, and seeth the champaign
All gleaming white
, whereat he beats his flank
Returns in doors, and up and down laments,
Like a poor wretch, who knows not what to do;
Then he returns and hope revives again,
Seeing the world
has changed its countenance
In little time, and takes his shepherd
And forth the little lambs to pasture drives.
Thus did the Master
fill me with alarm,
When I beheld his forehead so disturbed
And to the ailment came as soon the plaster
For as we came unto the ruined bridge,
The Leader turned to me with that sweet look
Which at the mountain's foot
I first beheld.
His arms he opened, after some advisement
Within himself elected, looking first
Well at the ruin
, and laid hold of me.
And even as he who acts and meditates,
For aye it seems that he provides beforehand,
So upward lifting me towards the summit
Of a huge rock, he scanned another crag,
Saying: "To that one grapple
But try first if 'tis such that it will hold thee."
This was no way for one clothed
with a cloak
For hardly we, he light
, and I pushed upward,
Were able to ascend from jag
And had it not been, that upon that precinct
Shorter was the ascent than on the other,
He I know not, but I had been dead beat.
But because Malebolge
tow'rds the mouth
Of the profoundest
well is all inclining,
The structure of each valley doth import
That one bank rises and the other sinks
Still we arrived at length upon the point
Wherefrom the last stone
breaks itself asunder
The breath was from my lungs so milked away,
When I was up, that I could go no farther,
Nay, I sat down upon my first arrival.
"Now it behoves thee thus to put off sloth
said; "for sitting upon down,
Or under quilt, one cometh not to fame
Withouten which whoso his life consumes
leaveth of himself on earth
As smoke in air or in the water foam.
And therefore raise thee up, o'ercome the anguish
that o'ercometh every battle,
If with its heavy body
A longer stairway
it behoves thee mount;
'Tis not enough from these to have departed;
Let it avail thee, if thou understand me."
Then I uprose
, showing myself provided
Better with breath
than I did feel myself,
And said: "Go on, for I am strong
Upward we took our way along the crag,
Which jagged was, and narrow
, and difficult,
And more precipitous
far than that before.
Speaking I went, not to appear exhausted
Whereat a voice
from the next moat
Not well adapted to articulate
I know not what it said, though o'er the back
I now was of the arch that passes there;
But he seemed moved to anger who was speaking.
I was bent downward
, but my living eyes
Could not attain
, for the dark;
Wherefore I: "Master
, see that thou arrive
At the next round, and let us descend the wall;
For as from hence I hear and understand not,
So I look down and nothing I distinguish
"Other response," he said, "I make thee not,
Except the doing; for the modest asking
Ought to be followed by the deed in silence."
We from the bridge descended at its head,
Where it connects itself with the eighth bank,
And then was manifest to me the Bolgia
And I beheld therein a terrible throng
, and of such a monstrous kind,
That the remembrance still congeal
s my Blood
Let Libya boast no longer with her sand;
For if Chelydri
, and Phareae
She breeds, with Cenchri
and with Amphisbaena
Neither so many plagues nor so malignant
E'er showed she with all Ethiopia
Nor with whatever on the Red Sea
Among this cruel and most dismal
People were running naked and affrighted.
Without the hope of hole or heliotrope
They had their hands with serpents bound behind them;
These riveted upon their reins the tail
And head, and were in front of them entwined.
And lo! at one who was upon our side
There darted forth a serpent, which transfixed him
There where the neck
is knotted to the shoulders.
Nor 'O' so quickly e'er, nor 'I' was written,
As he took fire
, and burned; and ashes wholly
Behoved it that in falling he became.
And when he on the ground was thus destroyed,
The ashes drew together, and of themselves
Into himself they instantly returned.
Even thus by the great sages 'tis confessed
dies, and then is born again
When it approaches its five-hundredth
On herb or grain
it feeds not in its life,
But only on tears of incense
And nard and myrrh are its last winding-sheet.
And as he is who falls, and knows not how,
By force of demon
s who to earth
down drag him,
Or other oppilation
When he arises and around him looks,
Wholly bewildered by the mighty anguish
Which he has suffered, and in looking sighs;
Such was that sin
ner after he had risen.
! O how severe it is,
That blows like these in vengeance poureth down!
thereafter asked him who he was;
Whence he replied: "I rain
ed from Tuscany
A short time since
into this cruel gorge.
A bestial life, and not a human, pleased me,
Even as the mule I was; I'm Vanni Fucci
, and Pistoia
was my worthy den."
And I unto the Guide
: "Tell him to stir not,
And ask what crime
has thrust him here below,
For once a man of Blood
and wrath I saw him."
And the sinner
, who had heard, dissembled not,
But unto me directed mind and face,
And with a melancholy
shame was painted.
Then said: "It pains me more that thou hast caught me
Amid this misery
where thou seest me,
Than when I from the other life was taken.
What thou demandest I cannot deny;
So low am I put down because I robbed
The sacristy of the fair
And falsely once 'twas laid upon another;
But that thou mayst not such a sight enjoy,
If thou shalt
e'er be out of the dark places,
Thine ears to my announcement ope
first of Neri
doth renew her men and manners;
draws a vapour
up from Val di Magra
Which is with turbid clouds enveloped round,
And with impetuous and bitter tempest
Over Campo Picen
shall be the battle
When it shall suddenly rend the mist asunder
So that each Bianco
shall thereby be smitten.
And this I've said that it may give thee pain."
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