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The city which once made the long resistance,

And of the French a sanguinary heap,

Beneath the Green Paws finds itself again ; Verrucchio's ancient Mastiff and the new,

Who made such bad disposal of Montagna,

Where they are wont make wimbles of their teeth. The cities of Lamone and Santerno

Governs the Lioncel of the white lair,

Who changes sides 'twixt summer-time and winter ; And that of which the Savio bathes the flank,

Even as it lies between the plain and mountain,

Lives between tyranny and a free state. Now I entreat thee tell us who thou art;

55 Be not more stubborn than the rest have been,

So may thy name hold front there in the world.” After the fire a little more had roared

In its own fashion, the sharp point it moved

This way and that, and then gave forth such breath: 60 “If I believed that my reply were made

To one who to the world would e'er return,

This flame without more flickering would stand still; But inasmuch as never from this depth

Did any one return, if I hear true,
Without the fear of infamy I answer,

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I was a man of arms, then Cordelier,

Believing thus begirt to make amends ;

And truly my belief had been fulfilled But for the High Priest, whom may ill betide, 70

Who put me back into my former sins ;

And how and wherefore I will have thee hear. While I was still the form of bone and pulp

My mother gave to me, the deeds I did

Were not those of a lion, but a fox. The machinations and the covert ways

I knew them all, and practised so their craft,

That to the ends of earth the sound went forth. When now unto that portion of mine age

I saw myself arrived, when each one ought 80

To lower the sails, and coil away the ropes, That which before had pleased me then displeased me;

And penitent and confessing I surrendered,

Ah woe is me! and it would have bestead me; The Leader of the modern Pharisees

Having a war near unto Lateran,

And not with Saracens nor with the Jews,
For each one of his enemies was Christian,

And none of them had been to conquer Acre,
Nor merchandising in the Sultan's land,

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Nor the high office, nor the sacred orders,

In him regarded, nor in me that cord

Which used to make those girt with it more meagre; But even as Constantine sought out Sylvester

To cure his leprosy, within Soracte,

So this one sought me out as an adept To cure him of the fever of his pride.

Counsel he asked of me, and I was silent,

Because his words appeared inebriate. And then he said : ‘Be not thy heart afraid ;

Henceforth I thee absolve; and thou instruct me

How to raze Palestrina to the ground. Heaven have I power to lock and to unlock,

As thou dost know; therefore the keys are two,

The which my predecessor held not dear.' 105 Then urged me on his weighty arguments

There, where my silence was the worst advice;

And said I : ‘Father, since thou washest me Of that sin into which I now must fall,

The promise long with the fulfilment short 110

Will make thee triumph in thy lofty seat.'
Francis came afterward, when I was dead,

For me; but one of the black Cherubim
Said to him : 'Take him not; do me no wrong;

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He must come down among my servitors,

Because he gave the fraudulent advice

From which time forth I have been at his hair ; For who repents not cannot be absolved,

Nor can one both repent and will at once,

Because of the contradiction which consents not. 120 O miserable me! how I did shudder

When he seized on me, saying: 'Peradventure

Thou didst not think that I was a logician!' He bore me unto Minos, who entwined

Eight times his tail about his stubborn back,

And after he had bitten it in great rage, Said : Of the thievish fire a culprit this’;

Wherefore, here where thou seest, am I lost,

And vested thus in going I bemoan me.” When it had thus completed its recital,

The flame departed uttering lamentations,

Writhing and flapping its sharp-pointed horn. Onward we passed, both I and my Conductor,

Up o'er the crag above another arch,

Which the moat covers, where is paid the fee 135 By those who, sowing discord, win their burden.

130

CANTO XXVIII.

W HO ever could, e'en with untrammelled words,

Tell of the blood and of the wounds in full

Which now I saw, by many times narrating ? Each tongue would for a certainty fall short

By reason of our speech and memory,

That have small room to comprehend so much. If were again assembled all the people

Which formerly upon the fateful land

Of Puglia were lamenting for their blood Shed by the Romans and the lingering war

That of the rings made such illustrious spoils,

As Livy has recorded, who errs not, With those who felt the agony of blows

By making counterstand to Robert Guiscard,

And all the rest, whose bones are gathered still
At Ceperano, where a renegade

Was each Apulian, and at Tagliacozzo,
Where without arms the old Alardo conquered,

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