Of a new pain
behoves me to make verses
And give material to the twentieth Canto
Of the first son
g, which is of the submerged.
I was already thoroughly disposed
To peer down into the uncovered depth,
Which bathed itself with tears of agony
And people saw I through the circular valley,
Silent and weep
ing, coming at the pace
Which in this world
As lower down my sight descended on them,
Wondrously each one seemed to be distorted
to the beginning of the chest
For tow'rds the reins the countenance
And backward it behoved them to advance,
As to look forward had been taken from them.
Perchance indeed by violence
Some one has been thus wholly turned awry
But I ne'er saw it, nor believe it can be.
may let thee, Reader
, gather fruit
From this thy reading, think now for thyself
How I could ever keep my face unmoistened,
When our own image near me I beheld
so, the weep
ing of the eyes
Along the fissure bathed
Truly I wept, leaning upon a peak
Of the hard crag, so that my Escort
To me: "Art thou, too, of the other fools?
Here pity lives when it is wholly dead;
Who is a greater reprobate than he
Who feels compassion at the doom divine
Lift up, lift up thy head, and see for whom
Opened the earth
before the Thebans
Wherefore they all cried: 'Whither
? Why dost leave the war
And downward ceased he not to fall amain
As far as Minos
, who lays hold on all.
See, he has made a bosom
of his shoulders!
Because he wished to see too far before him
Behind he looks, and backward goes his way:
, who his semblance
When from a male
His members being all of them transformed
And afterwards was forced to strike once more
The two entangled serpents
with his rod,
Ere he could have again his manly plumes.
That Aruns is, who backs the other's belly,
Who in the hills of Luni
, there where grubs
who houses underneath,
Among the marbles white
a cavern had
For his abode; whence to behold the stars
And sea, the view was not cut off from him.
And she there, who is covering up her breast
Which thou beholdest not, with loosened tresses,
And on that side has all the hairy skin,
, who made quest through many lands,
Afterwards tarried there where I was born;
Whereof I would thou list to me a little.
After her father
had from life departed,
And the city of Bacchus
had become enslaved,
She a long season
wandered through the world.
Above in beauteous Italy
lies a lake
At the Alp
that shuts in Germany
, and has the name enaco
By a thousand springs, I think, and more, is bathed,
and Val Camonica
With water that grows stagnant in that lake.
Midway a place is where the Trentine Pastor
And he of Brescia
, and the Veronese
Might give his blessing, if he passed that way.
, fortress fair
To front the Brescians
and the Bergamasks
Where round about the bank descendeth lowest.
There of necessity must fall whatever
In bosom of Benaco
And grows a river down through verdant pastures.
Soon as the water doth begin to run,
No more Benaco
is it called, but Mincio
Far as Governo
, where it falls in Po
Not far it runs before it finds a plain
In which it spreads itself, and makes it marsh
And oft 'tis wont in summer to be sick
Passing that way the virgin
Land in the middle of the fen descried,
Untilled and naked of inhabitant
There to escape all human intercourse
She with her servants stayed, her arts to practise
And lived, and left her empty body
The men, thereafter, who were scattered round,
Collected in that place, which was made strong
By the lagoon
it had on every side;
They built their city over those dead bones,
And, after her who first the place selected,
named it, without other omen.
Its people once within more crowded were,
the stupidity of Casalodi
had received deceit.
Therefore I caution thee, if e'er thou hearest
Originate my city otherwise,
No falsehood may the verity defraud
And I: "My Master
, thy discourses
To me so certain, and so take my faith,
That unto me the rest would be spent coals.
But tell me of the people who are passing,
If any one note-worthy
For only unto that my mind reverts."
Then said he to me: "He who from the cheek
Thrusts out his beard upon his swarthy shoulders
Was, at the time when Greece
was void of males
So that there scarce remained one in the cradle
, and with Calchas
gave the moment,
, when to sever the first cable.
his name was, and so sing
My lofty Tragedy
in some part or other;
That knowest thou well, who knowest the whole of it.
The next, who is so slender in the flanks,
Was Michael Scott
, who of a verity
Of magical illusions knew the game.
Behold Guido Bonatti
, behold Asdente
Who now unto his leather
and his thread
Would fain have stuck, but he too late repents.
Behold the wretched ones, who left the needle
The spool and rock, and made them fortune-tellers;
They wrought their magic spells with herb and image.
But come now, for already holds the confines
Of both the hemisphere
s, and under Seville
Touches the ocean-wave, Cain
and the thorns,
And yesternight the moon
was round already;
Thou shouldst remember well it did not harm thee
From time to time within the forest deep."
Thus spake he to me, and we walked the while.