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Thereafter with his arms he clasped my neck;

He kissed my face, and said: “Disdainful soul,

Blessed be she who bore thee in her bosom. That was an arrogant person in the world;

Goodness is none, that decks his memory;

So likewise here his shade is furious.
How many are esteemed great kings up there,

Who here shall be like unto swine in mire,

Leaving behind them horrible dispraises !” And I: “My Master, much should I be pleased,

If I could see him soused into this broth,

Before we issue forth out of the lake.” And he to me: “Ere unto thee the shore

Reveal itself, thou shalt be satisfied;

Such a desire 't is meet thou shouldst enjoy.” A little after that, I saw such havoc

Made of him by the people of the mire,

That still I praise and thank my God for it. They all were shouting, “At Philippo Argenti!”

And that exasperate spirit Florentine

Turned round upon himself with his own teeth.
We left him there, and more of him I tell not ;

But on mine ears there smote a lamentation,
Whence forward I intent unbar mine eyes.

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And the good Master said : “Even now, my son,

The city draweth near whose name is Dis,

With the grave citizens, with the great throng.” And I : “ Its mosques already, Master, clearly

Within there in the valley I discern

Vermilion, as if issuing from the fire
They were.” And he to me: “The fire eternal

That kindles them within makes them look red,

As thou beholdest in this nether Hell.” Then we arrived within the moats profound,

That circumvallate that disconsolate city;

The walls appeared to me to be of iron. Not without making first a circuit wide,

We came unto a place where loud the pilot

Cried out to us, “ Debark, here is the entrance.” More than a thousand at the gates I saw

Out of the Heavens rained down, who angrily

Were saying, “Who is this that without death Goes through the kingdom of the people dead ?”

And my sagacious Master made a sign

Of wishing secretly to speak with them.
A little then they quelled their great disdain,

And said : “Come thou alone, and he begone
Who has so boldly entered these dominions.

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Let him return alone by his mad road;

Try, if he can; for thou shalt here remain,

Who hast escorted him through such dark regions.” Think, Reader, if I was discomforted

At utterance of the accursed words ;

For never to return here I believed. “O my dear Guide, who more than seven times

Hast rendered me security, and drawn me

From imminent peril that before me stood, Do not desert me," said I, “thus undone ; . 100

And if the going farther be denied us,

Let us retrace our steps together swiftly.” And that Lord, who had led me thitherward,

Said unto me: “Fear not; because our passage

None can take from us, it by Such is given. But here await me, and thy weary spirit

Comfort and nourish with a better hope ;

For in this nether world I will not leave thee.” So onward goes and there abandons me

My Father sweet, and I remain in doubt,

For No and Yes within my head contend.
I could not hear what he proposed to them;

But with them there he did not linger long,
Ere each within in rivalry ran back.


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They closed the portals, those our adversaries, 115

On my Lord's breast, who had remained without

And turned to me with footsteps far between. His eyes cast down, his forehead shorn had he

Of all its boldness, and he said, with sighs,

“Who has denied to me the dolesome houses ? ” 120 And unto me: “Thou, because I am angry,

Fear not, for I will conquer in the trial,

Whatever for defence within be planned. This arrogance of theirs is nothing new;

For once they used it at less secret gate,

Which finds itself without a fastening still. O’er it didst thou behold the dead inscription;

And now this side of it descends the steep,

Passing across the circles without escort, One by whose means the city shall be opened.”




THAT hue which cowardice brought out on me,

Beholding my Conductor backward turn,

Sooner repressed within him his new color. He stopped attentive, like a man who listens, Because the eye could not conduct him far

5 Through the black air, and through the heavy fog. “ Still it behoveth us to win the fight,”

Began he ; “Else ... Such offered us herself...

O how I long that some one here arrive!” Well I perceived, as soon as the beginning

He covered up with what came afterward,

That they were words quite different from the first; But none the less his saying gave me fear,

Because I carried out the broken phrase,

Perhaps to a worse meaning than he had. “ Into this bottom of the doleful conch

Doth any e'er descend from the first grade,
Which for its pain has only hope cut off?”

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