Such did Antæus seem to me, who stood

Watching to see him stoop, and then it was 140

I could have wished to go some other way. But lightly in the abyss, which swallows up

Judas with Lucifer, he put us down;

Nor thus bowed downward made he there delay, But, as a mast does in a ship, uprose.



JF I had rhymes both rough and stridulous,

As were appropriate to the dismal hole

Down upon which thrust all the other rocks, I would press out the juice of my conception

More fully; but because I have them not,

Not without fear I bring myself to speak; For 't is no enterprise to take in jest,

To sketch the bottom of all the universe,

Nor for a tongue that cries Mamma and Babbo. But may those Ladies help this verse of mine,

Who helped Amphion in enclosing Thebes,

That from the fact the word be not diverse. O rabble ill-begotten above all,

Who 're in the place to speak of which is hard,

’T were better ye had here been sheep or goats! When we were down within the darksome well,

Beneath the giant's feet, but lower far,
And I was scanning still the lofty wall,

15 I heard it said to me: “Look how thou steppest !

Take heed thou do not trample with thy feet 20

The heads of the tired, miserable brothers !” Whereat I turned me round, and saw before me

And underfoot a lake, that from the frost

The semblance had of glass, and not of water. So thick a veil ne'er made upon its current

25 In winter-time Danube in Austria,

Nor there beneath the frigid sky the Don, As there was here; so that if Tambernich

Had fallen upon it, or Pietrapana,

E'en at the edge 't would not have given a creak. 30 And as to croak the frog doth place himself

With muzzle out of water, — when is dreaming

Of gleaning oftentimes the peasant-girl, — Livid, as far down as where shame appears,

Were the disconsolate shades within the ice, 35

Setting their teeth unto the note of storks. Each one his countenance held downward bent;

From mouth the cold, from eyes the doleful heart

Among them witness of itself procures.
When round about me somewhat I had looked, 40

I downward turned me, and saw two so close,
The hair upon their heads together mingled.

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“ Ye who so strain your breasts together, tell me,”

I said, “who are you”; and they bent their necks,

And when to me their faces they had lifted, Their eyes, which first were only moist within,

Gushed o’er the eyelids, and the frost congealed

The tears between, and locked them up again. Clamp never bound together wood with wood

So strongly; whereat they, like two he-goats, so

Butted together, so much wrath o'ercame them. And one, who had by reason of the cold

Lost both his ears, still with his visage downward,

Said: “Why dost thou so mirror thyself in us ? If thou desire to know who these two are,

The valley whence Bisenzio descends

Belonged to them and to their father Albert. They from one body came, and all Caïna

Thou shalt search through, and shalt not find a shade

More worthy to be fixed in gelatine;
Not he in whom were broken breast and shadow

At one and the same blow by Arthur's hand;

Focaccia not; not he who me encumbers
So with his head I see no farther forward,

And bore the name of Sassol Mascheroni ; 65
Well knowest thou who he was, if thou art Tuscan.

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And that thou put me not to further speech,

Know that I Camicion de' Pazzi was,

And wait Carlino to exonerate me.” Then I beheld a thousand faces, made

Purple with cold; whence o'er me comes a shudder,

And evermore will come, at frozen ponds.
And while we were advancing tow'rds the middle,

Where everything of weight unites together,

And I was shivering in the eternal shade, 75 Whether 't were will, or destiny, or chance,

I know not ; but in walking ʼmong the heads

I struck my foot hard in the face of one. Weeping he growled: “Why dost thou trample me?

Unless thou comest to increase the vengeance

Of Montaperti, why dost thou molest me?” And I: “My Master, now wait here for me,

That I through him may issue from a doubt;

Then thou mayst hurry me, as thou shalt wish.” The Leader stopped ; and to that one I said

Who was blaspheming vehemently still :

“Who art thou, that thus reprehendest others ? ” “Now who art thou, that goest through Antenora

Smiting,” replied he, “ other people's cheeks,
So that, if thou wert living, 't were too much?” 90




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