[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

After she thus had spoken unto me,

Weeping, her shining eyes she turned away;

Whereby she made me swifter in my coming; And unto thee I came, as she desired;

I have delivered thee from that wild beast,

Which barred the beautiful mountain's short ascent. What is it, then? Why, why dost thou delay?

Why is such baseness bedded in thy heart?

Daring and hardihood why hast thou not, Seeing that three such Ladies benedight

Are caring for thee in the court of Heaven, 125

And so much good my speech doth promise thee ?” Even as the flowerets, by nocturnal chill,

Bowed down and closed, when the sun whitens them,

Uplift themselves all open on their stems; Such I became with my exhausted strength,

And such good courage to my heart there coursed,

That I began, like an intrepid person : “O she compassionate, who succored me,

And courteous thou, who hast obeyed so soon

The words of truth which she addressed to thee! 135 Thou hast my heart so with desire disposed

To the adventure, with these words of thine,
That to my first intent I have returned.




“THROUGH me the way is to the city dolent;

Through me the way is to eternal dole ;

Through me the way among the people lost. Justice incited my sublime Creator ;

Created me divine Omnipotence,

The highest Wisdom and the primal Love. Before me there were no created things,

Only eterne, and I eternal last.

All hope abandon, ye who enter in!” These words in sombre color I beheld

Written upon the summit of a gate;

Whence I: “Their sense is, Master, hard to me!” And he to me, as one experienced :

“Here all suspicion needs must be abandoned,

All cowardice must needs be here extinct. 15 We to the place have come, where I have told thee

Thou shalt behold the people dolorous
Who have foregone the good of intellect.”


[graphic][ocr errors][subsumed]
[ocr errors][merged small]

And I: “O Master, what so grievous is

To these, that maketh them lament so sore?

He answered: “I will tell thee very briefly. These have no longer any hope of death;

And this blind life of theirs is so debased,

They envious are of every other fate. No fame of them the world permits to be ;

Misericord and Justice both disdain them.

Let us not speak of them, but look, and pass.” And I, who looked again, beheld a banner,

Which, whirling round, ran on so rapidly,

That of all pause it seemed to me indignant; And after it there came so long a train

Of people, that I ne’er would have believed

That ever Death so many had undone. When some among them I had recognized,

I looked, and I beheld the shade of him

Who made through cowardice the great refusal. Forthwith I comprehended, and was certain,

That this the sect was of the caitiff wretches

Hateful to God and to his enemies.
These miscreants, who never were alive,

Were naked, and were stung exceedingly
By gadAies and by hornets that were there.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]
« ElőzőTovább »