Purgatorio: Canto XXVI

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While on the brink thus one before the other
We went upon our way, oft the good Master
Said: "Take thou heed! suffice it that I warn thee."

On the right shoulder smote me now the sun,
That, raying out, already the whole west
Changed from its azure aspect into white.

And with my shadow did I make the flame
Appear more red; and even to such a sign
Shades saw I many, as they went, give heed.

This was the cause that gave them a beginning
To speak of me; and to themselves began they
To say: "That seems not a factitious body!"

Then towards me, as far as they could come,
Came certain of them, always with regard
Not to step forth where they would not be burned.

"O thou who goest, not from being slower
But reverent perhaps, behind the others,
Answer me, who in thirst and fire am burning.

Nor to me only is thine answer needful;
For all of these have greater thirst for it
Than for cold water Ethiop or Indian.

Tell us how is it that thou makest thyself
A wall unto the sun, as if thou hadst not
Entered as yet into the net of death."

Thus one of them addressed me, and I straight
Should have revealed myself, were I not bent
On other novelty that then appeared.

For through the middle of the burning road
There came a people face to face with these,
Which held me in suspense with gazing at them.

There see I hastening upon either side
Each of the shades, and kissing one another
Without a pause, content with brief salute.

Thus in the middle of their brown battalions
Muzzle to muzzle one ant meets another
Perchance to spy their journey or their fortune.

No sooner is the friendly greeting ended,
Or ever the first footstep passes onward,
Each one endeavours to outcry the other;

The new-come people: "Sodom and Gomorrah!"
The rest: "Into the cow Pasiphae enters,
So that the bull unto her lust may run!"

Then as the cranes, that to Riphaean Mountains
Might fly in part, and part towards the sands,
These of the frost, those of the sun avoidant,

One folk is going, and the other coming,
And weeping they return to their first songs,
And to the cry that most befitteth them;

And close to me approached, even as before,
The very same who had entreated me,
Attent to listen in their countenance.

I, who their inclination twice had seen,
Began: "O souls secure in the possession,
Whene'er it may be, of a state of peace,

Neither unripe nor ripened have remained
My members upon earth, but here are with me
With their own blood and their articulations.

I go up here to be no longer blind;
A Lady is above, who wins this grace,
Whereby the mortal through your world I bring.

But as your greatest longing satisfied
May soon become, so that the Heaven may house you
Which full of love is, and most amply spreads,

Tell me, that I again in books may write it,
Who are you, and what is that multitude
Which goes upon its way behind your backs?"

Not otherwise with wonder is bewildered
The Mountaineer, and staring round is dumb,
When rough and rustic to the town he goes,

Than every shade became in its appearance;
But when they of their stupor were disburdened,
Which in high hearts is quickly quieted,

"Blessed be thou, who of our border-lands,"
He recommenced who first had questioned us,
"Experience freightest for a better life.

The folk that comes not with us have offended
In that for which once Caesar, triumphing,
Heard himself called in contumely, 'Queen.'

Therefore they separate, exclaiming, 'Sodom!'
Themselves reproving, even as thou hast heard,
And add unto their burning by their shame.

Our own transgression was hermaphrodite;
But because we observed not human law,
Following like unto beasts our appetite,

In our opprobrium by us is read,
When we part company, the name of her
Who bestialized herself in bestial wood.

Now knowest thou our acts, and what our crime was;
Wouldst thou perchance by name know who we are,
There is not time to tell, nor could I do it.

Thy wish to know me shall in sooth be granted;
I'm Guido Guinicelli, and now purge me,
Having repented ere the hour extreme."

The same that in the sadness of Lycurgus
Two sons became, their mother re-beholding,
Such I became, but rise not to such height,

The moment I heard name himself the father
Of me and of my betters, who had ever
Practised the sweet and gracious rhymes of love;

And without speech and hearing thoughtfully
For a long time I went, beholding him,
Nor for the fire did I approach him nearer.

When I was fed with looking, utterly
Myself I offered ready for his service,
With affirmation that compels belief.

And he to me: "Thou leavest footprints such
In me, from what I hear, and so distinct,
Lethe cannot efface them, nor make dim.

But if thy words just now the truth have sworn,
Tell me what is the cause why thou displayest
In word and look that dear thou holdest me?"

And I to him: "Those dulcet lays of yours
Which, long as shall endure our modern fashion,
Shall make for ever dear their very ink!"

"O brother," said he, "he whom I point out,"
And here he pointed at a spirit in front,
"Was of the mother tongue a better smith.

Verses of love and proses of romance,
He mastered all; and let the idiots talk,
Who think the Lemosin surpasses him.

To clamour more than truth they turn their faces,
And in this way establish their opinion,
Ere art or Reason has by them been heard.

Thus many ancients with Guittone did,
From cry to cry still giving him applause,
Until the truth has conquered with most persons.

Now, if thou hast such ample privilege
'Tis granted thee to go unto the cloister
Wherein is Christ the abbot of the college,

To him repeat for me a Paternoster,
So far as needful to us of this world,
Where power of sinning is no longer ours."

Then, to give place perchance to one behind,
Whom he had near, he vanished in the fire
As fish in water going to the bottom.

I moved a little tow'rds him pointed out,
And said that to his name my own desire
An honourable place was making ready.

He of his own free will began to say:
'Tan m' abellis vostre cortes deman,
So pleases me your courteous demand,
Que jeu nom' puesc ni vueill a vos cobrire;
I cannot and I will not hide me from you.

Jeu sui Arnaut, que plor e vai chantan;
I am Arnaut, who weep and singing go;
Consiros vei la passada folor,
Contrite I see the folly of the past,
E vei jauzen lo jorn qu' esper denan.
And joyous see the hoped-for day before me.

Ara vus prec per aquella valor,
Therefore do I implore you, by that power
Que vus condus al som de la scalina,
Which guides you to the summit of the stairs,
Sovenga vus a temprar ma dolor.'
Be mindful to assuage my suffering!

Then hid him in the fire that purifies them.

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La Divina Commedia di Dante: Purgatorio: Canto XXVI

Mentre che si` per l'orlo, uno innanzi altro,
  ce n'andavamo, e spesso il buon maestro
  diceami: "Guarda: giovi ch'io ti scaltro";

feriami il sole in su l'omero destro,
  che gia`, raggiando, tutto l'occidente
  mutava in bianco aspetto di cilestro;

e io facea con l'ombra piu` rovente
  parer la fiamma; e pur a tanto indizio
  vidi molt'ombre, andando, poner mente.

Questa fu la cagion che diede inizio
  loro a parlar di me; e cominciarsi
  a dir: "Colui non par corpo fittizio";

poi verso me, quanto potean farsi,
  certi si fero, sempre con riguardo
  di non uscir dove non fosser arsi.

"O tu che vai, non per esser piu` tardo,
  ma forse reverente, a li altri dopo,
  rispondi a me che 'n sete e 'n foco ardo.

Ne' solo a me la tua risposta e` uopo;
  che' tutti questi n'hanno maggior sete
  che d'acqua fredda Indo o Etiopo.

Dinne com'e` che fai di te parete
  al sol, pur come tu non fossi ancora
  di morte intrato dentro da la rete".

Si` mi parlava un d'essi; e io mi fora
  gia` manifesto, s'io non fossi atteso
  ad altra novita` ch'apparve allora;

che' per lo mezzo del cammino acceso
  venne gente col viso incontro a questa,
  la qual mi fece a rimirar sospeso.

Li` veggio d'ogne parte farsi presta
  ciascun'ombra e basciarsi una con una
  sanza restar, contente a brieve festa;

cosi` per entro loro schiera bruna
  s'ammusa l'una con l'altra formica,
  forse a spiar lor via e lor fortuna.

Tosto che parton l'accoglienza amica,
  prima che 'l primo passo li` trascorra,
  sopragridar ciascuna s'affatica:

la nova gente: "Soddoma e Gomorra";
  e l'altra: "Ne la vacca entra Pasife,
  perche' 'l torello a sua lussuria corra".

Poi, come grue ch'a le montagne Rife
  volasser parte, e parte inver' l'arene,
  queste del gel, quelle del sole schife,

l'una gente sen va, l'altra sen vene;
  e tornan, lagrimando, a' primi canti
  e al gridar che piu` lor si convene;

e raccostansi a me, come davanti,
  essi medesmi che m'avean pregato,
  attenti ad ascoltar ne' lor sembianti.

Io, che due volte avea visto lor grato,
  incominciai: "O anime sicure
  d'aver, quando che sia, di pace stato,

non son rimase acerbe ne' mature
  le membra mie di la`, ma son qui meco
  col sangue suo e con le sue giunture.

Quinci su` vo per non esser piu` cieco;
  donna e` di sopra che m'acquista grazia,
  per che 'l mortal per vostro mondo reco.

Ma se la vostra maggior voglia sazia
  tosto divegna, si` che 'l ciel v'alberghi
  ch'e` pien d'amore e piu` ampio si spazia,

ditemi, accio` ch'ancor carte ne verghi,
  chi siete voi, e chi e` quella turba
  che se ne va di retro a' vostri terghi".

Non altrimenti stupido si turba
  lo montanaro, e rimirando ammuta,
  quando rozzo e salvatico s'inurba,

che ciascun'ombra fece in sua paruta;
  ma poi che furon di stupore scarche,
  lo qual ne li alti cuor tosto s'attuta,

"Beato te, che de le nostre marche",
  ricomincio` colei che pria m'inchiese,
  "per morir meglio, esperienza imbarche!

La gente che non vien con noi, offese
  di cio` per che gia` Cesar, triunfando,
  "Regina" contra se' chiamar s'intese:

pero` si parton 'Soddoma' gridando,
  rimproverando a se', com'hai udito,
  e aiutan l'arsura vergognando.

Nostro peccato fu ermafrodito;
  ma perche' non servammo umana legge,
  seguendo come bestie l'appetito,

in obbrobrio di noi, per noi si legge,
  quando partinci, il nome di colei
  che s'imbestio` ne le 'mbestiate schegge.

Or sai nostri atti e di che fummo rei:
  se forse a nome vuo' saper chi semo,
  tempo non e` di dire, e non saprei.

Farotti ben di me volere scemo:
  son Guido Guinizzelli; e gia` mi purgo
  per ben dolermi prima ch'a lo stremo".

Quali ne la tristizia di Ligurgo
  si fer due figli a riveder la madre,
  tal mi fec'io, ma non a tanto insurgo,

quand'io odo nomar se' stesso il padre
  mio e de li altri miei miglior che mai
  rime d'amore usar dolci e leggiadre;

e sanza udire e dir pensoso andai
  lunga fiata rimirando lui,
  ne', per lo foco, in la` piu` m'appressai.

Poi che di riguardar pasciuto fui,
  tutto m'offersi pronto al suo servigio
  con l'affermar che fa credere altrui.

Ed elli a me: "Tu lasci tal vestigio,
  per quel ch'i' odo, in me, e tanto chiaro,
  che Lete' nol puo` torre ne' far bigio.

Ma se le tue parole or ver giuraro,
  dimmi che e` cagion per che dimostri
  nel dire e nel guardar d'avermi caro".

E io a lui: "Li dolci detti vostri,
  che, quanto durera` l'uso moderno,
  faranno cari ancora i loro incostri".

"O frate", disse, "questi ch'io ti cerno
  col dito", e addito` un spirto innanzi,
  "fu miglior fabbro del parlar materno.

Versi d'amore e prose di romanzi
  soverchio` tutti; e lascia dir li stolti
  che quel di Lemosi` credon ch'avanzi.

A voce piu` ch'al ver drizzan li volti,
  e cosi` ferman sua oppinione
  prima ch'arte o ragion per lor s'ascolti.

Cosi` fer molti antichi di Guittone,
  di grido in grido pur lui dando pregio,
  fin che l'ha vinto il ver con piu` persone.

Or se tu hai si` ampio privilegio,
  che licito ti sia l'andare al chiostro
  nel quale e` Cristo abate del collegio,

falli per me un dir d'un paternostro,
  quanto bisogna a noi di questo mondo,
  dove poter peccar non e` piu` nostro".

Poi, forse per dar luogo altrui secondo
  che presso avea, disparve per lo foco,
  come per l'acqua il pesce andando al fondo.

Io mi fei al mostrato innanzi un poco,
  e dissi ch'al suo nome il mio disire
  apparecchiava grazioso loco.

El comincio` liberamente a dire:
  "Tan m'abellis vostre cortes deman,
  qu'ieu no me puesc ni voill a vos cobrire.

Ieu sui Arnaut, que plor e vau cantan;
  consiros vei la passada folor,
  e vei jausen lo joi qu'esper, denan.

Ara vos prec, per aquella valor
  que vos guida al som de l'escalina,
  sovenha vos a temps de ma dolor!".

Poi s'ascose nel foco che li affina.

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