“Living I am, and dear to thee it may be,”

Was my response, “ if thou demandest fame,

That ʼmid the other notes thy name I place.” And he to me: “For the reverse I long;

Take thyself hence, and give me no more trouble ; 95

For ill thou knowest to flatter in this hollow.” Then by the scalp behind I seized upon him,

And said: “It must needs be thou name thyself,

Or not a hair remain upon thee here.” Whence he to me: “Though thou strip off my hair, 100

I will not tell thee who I am, nor show thee,

If on my head a thousand times thou fall.” I had his hair in hand already twisted,

And more than one shock of it had pulled out,

He barking, with his eyes held firmly down, 105 When cried another: “What doth ail thee, Bocca ?

Is 't not enough to clatter with thy jaws,

But thou must bark? what devil touches thee?” “Now,” said I, “ I care not to have thee speak,

Accursed traitor ; for unto thy shame

I will report of thee veracious news.”
“ Begone,” replied he, “ and tell what thou wilt,

But be not silent, if thou issue hence,
Of him who had just now his tongue so prompt;


[ocr errors]


I 20


He weepeth here the silver of the French;

115 'I saw,' thus canst thou phrase it, ‘him of Duera

There where the sinners stand out in the cold.' If thou shouldst questioned be who else was there,

Thou hast beside thee him of Beccaria,

Of whom the gorget Florence slit asunder ; 120 Gianni del Soldanier, I think, may be

Yonder with Ganellon, and Tebaldello

Who oped Faenza when the people slept.” Already we had gone away from him,

When I beheld two frozen in one hole,

So that one head a hood was to the other ; And even as bread through hunger is devoured,

The uppermost on the other set his teeth,

There where the brain is to the nape united. Not in another fashion Tydeus gnawed

The temples of Menalippus in disdain,

Than that one did the skull and the other things. “O thou, who showest by such bestial sign

Thy hatred against him whom thou art eating, 134

Tell me the wherefore,” said I,“ with this compact, That if thou rightfully of him complain,

In knowing who ye are, and his transgression,

I in the world above repay thee for it, If that wherewith I speak be not dried up.”



H IS mouth uplifted from his grim repast,

That sinner, wiping it upon the hair

Of the same head that he behind had wasted. Then he began : “Thou wilt that I renew

The desperate grief, which wrings my heart already s

To think of only, ere I speak of it; But if my words be seed that may bear fruit

Of infamy to the traitor whom I gnaw,

Speaking and weeping shalt thou see together. I know not who thou art, nor by what mode

Thou hast come down here ; but a Florentine

Thou seemest to me truly, when I hear thee. Thou hast to know I was Count Ugolino,

And this one was Ruggieri the Archbishop;

Now I will tell thee why I am such a neighbor. 15 That, by effect of his malicious thoughts,

Trusting in him I was made prisoner,
And after put to death, I need not say ;

But ne'ertheless what thou canst not have heard,
That is to say, how cruel was my death,

20 Hear shalt thou, and shalt know if he has wronged me. A narrow perforation in the mew,

Which bears because of me the title of Famine,

And in which others still must be locked up, Had shown me through its opening many moons 25

Already, when I dreamed the evil dream

Which of the future rent for me the veil. This one appeared to me as lord and master,

Hunting the wolf and whelps upon the mountain

For which the Pisans cannot Lucca see. 30 With sleuth-hounds gaunt, and eager, and well trained,

Gualandi with Sismondi and Lanfranchi

He had sent out before him to the front. After brief course seemed unto me forespent

The father and the sons, and with sharp tushes 35

It seemed to me I saw their flanks ripped open. When I before the morrow was awake,

Moaning amid their sleep I heard my sons

Who with me were, and asking after bread.
Cruel indeed art thou, if yet thou grieve not,

Thinking of what my heart foreboded me,
And weep’st thou not, what art thou wont to weep at ?

They were awake now, and the hour drew nigh

At which our food used to be brought to us, 44

And through his dream was each one apprehensive ; And I heard locking up the under door

Of the horrible tower; whereat without a word

I gazed into the faces of my sons.
I wept not, I within so turned to stone;

They wept ; and darling little Anselm mine 50

Said: “Thou dost gaze so, father, what doth ail thee?' Still not a tear I shed, nor answer made

All of that day, nor yet the night thereafter,

Until another sun rose on the world. As now a little glimmer made its way

Into the dolorous prison, and I saw

Upon four faces my own very aspect, Both of my hands in agony I bit ;

And, thinking that I did it from desire

Of eating, on a sudden they uprose, And said they : 'Father, much less pain 't will give us

If thou do eat of us ; thyself didst clothe us

With this poor flesh, and do thou strip it off.'
I calmed me then, not to make them more sad.

That day we all were silent, and the next. 65
Ah! obdurate earth, wherefore didst thou not open ?

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« ElőzőTovább »