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Ever before me stand, and not in vain;

For far more doth their image dry me up

Than the disease which strips my face of flesh. The rigid justice that chastises me

Draweth occasion from the place in which

I sinned, to put the more my sighs in flight. There is Romena, where I counterfeited

The currency imprinted with the Baptist,

For which I left my body burned above. But if I here could see the tristful soul

Of Guido, or Alessandro, or their brother,

For Branda’s fount I would not give the sight. One is within already, if the raving

Shades that are going round about speak truth;

But what avails it me, whose limbs are tied ? If I were only still so light, that in

A hundred years I could advance one inch,

I had already started on the way, Seeking him out among this squalid folk,

Although the circuit be eleven miles,

And be not less than half a mile across.
For them am I in such a family;

They did induce me into coining florins,
Which had three carats of impurity.”

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And I to him: “Who are the two poor wretches

That smoke like unto a wet hand in winter,

Lying there close upon thy right-hand confines ?” “I found them here,” replied he, “when I rained

Into this chasm, and since they have not turned, 95

Nor do I think they will for evermore. One the false woman is who accused Joseph,

The other the false Sinon, Greek of Troy ;

From acute fever they send forth such reek.” And one of them, who felt himself annoyed

100 At being, peradventure, named so darkly,

Smote with the fist upon his hardened paunch. It gave a sound, as if it were a drum ;

And Master Adam smote him in the face,

With arm that did not seem to be less hard, Saying to him : “ Although be taken from me

All motion, for my limbs that heavy are,

I have an arm unfettered for such need.” Whereat he answer made : “ When thou didst go

Unto the fire, thou hadst it not so ready; 110

But hadst it so and more when thou wast coining.” The dropsical : “ Thou sayest true in that;

But thou wast not so true a witness there,
Where thou wast questioned of the truth at Troy."


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“ If I spake false, thou falsifiedst the coin,”

Said Sinon; “and for one fault I am here,

And thou for more than any other demon.” “Remember, perjurer, about the horse,”

He made reply who had the swollen belly,

“And rueful be it thee the whole world knows it.” 120 “Rueful to thee the thirst be wherewith cracks

Thy tongue,” the Greek said, “ and the putrid water

That hedges so thy paunch before thine eyes.” Then the false-coiner : “So is gaping wide

Thy mouth for speaking evil, as ’t is wont; 125

Because if I have thirst, and humor stuff me, Thou hast the burning and the head that aches,

And to lick up the mirror of Narcissus

Thou wouldst not want words many to invite thee.” In listening to them was I wholly fixed,

When said the Master to me: “Now just look,

For little wants it that I quarrel with thee.” When him I heard in anger speak to me,

I turned me round towards him with such shame

That still it eddies through my memory. - 135 And as he is who dreams of his own harm,

Who dreaming wishes it may be a dream,
So that he craves what is, as if it were not;



Such I became, not having power to speak,

For to excuse myself I wished, and still

Excused myself, and did not think I did it. “Less shame doth wash away a greater fault,”

The Master said, “than this of thine has been;

Therefore thyself disburden of all sadness, And make account that I am aye beside thee,

If e'er it come to pass that fortune bring thee

Where there are people in a like dispute ; For a base wish it is to wish to hear it.”

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ONE and the self-same tongue first wounded me,

So that it tinged the one cheek and the other,

And then held out to me the medicine; Thus do I hear that once Achilles' spear,

His and his father's, used to be the cause

First of a sad and then a gracious boon. We turned our backs upon the wretched valley,

Upon the bank that girds it round about,

Going across it without any speech.
There it was less than night, and less than day,

So that my sight went little in advance;

But I could hear the blare of a loud horn, So loud it would have made each thunder faint,

Which, counter to it following its way,

Mine eyes directed wholly to one place.
After the dolorous discomfiture

When Charlemagne the holy emprise lost,
So terribly Orlando sounded not.

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