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But by that virtue through which I am moving

My steps along this savage thoroughfare,

Give us some one of thine, to be with us, And who may show us where to pass the ford,

And who may carry this one on his back;

For 't is no spirit that can walk the air.” Upon his right breast Chiron wheeled about,

And said to Nessus : “Turn and do thou guide them,

And warn aside, if other band may meet you.” We with our faithful escort onward moved,

100 Along the brink of the vermilion boiling,

Wherein the boiled were uttering loud laments. People I saw within up to the eyebrows,

And the great Centaur said: “Tyrants are these,

Who dealt in bloodshed and in pillaging. Here they lament their pitiless mischiefs ; here

Is Alexander, and fierce Dionysius

Who upon Sicily brought dolorous years. That forehead there which has the hair so black

Is Azzolin; and the other who is blond,

Obizzo is of Esti, who, in truth,
Up in the world was by his step-son slain.”

Then turned I to the Poet; and he said,
“ Now he be first to thee, and second I.”



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A little farther on the Centaur stopped

Above a folk, who far down as the throat

Seemed from that boiling stream to issue forth.
A shade he showed us on one side alone,
Saying: “He cleft asunder in God's bosom

119 The heart that still upon the Thames is honored.” Then people saw I, who from out the river

Lifted their heads and also all the chest;

And many among these I recognized. Thus ever more and more grew shallower

That blood, so that the feet alone it covered; 125

And there across the moat our passage was. “Even as thou here upon this side beholdest

The boiling stream; that aye diminishes,”

The Centaur said, “I wish thee to believe That on this other more and more declines

Its bed, until it reunites itself

Where it behoveth tyranny to groan. Justice divine, upon this side, is goading

That Attila, who was a scourge on earth,

And Pyrrhus, and Sextus; and forever milks 135 The tears which with the boiling it unseals

In Rinier da Corneto and Rinier Pazzo,

Who made upon the highways so much war.” Then back he turned, and passed again the ford.




SUS rea


N OT yet had Nessus reached the other side,

When we had put ourselves within a wood,

That was not marked by any path whatever. Not foliage green, but of a dusky color,

Not branches smooth, but gnarled and intertangled, s

Not apple-trees were there, but thorns with poison. Such tangled thickets have not, nor so dense,

Those savage wild-beasts, that in hatred hold

'Twixt Cecina and Corneto the tilled places. There do the hideous Harpies make their nests,

Who chased the Trojans from the Strophades,

With sad announcement of impending doom; Broad wings have they, and necks and faces human,

And feet with claws, and their great bellies fledged;

They make laments upon the wondrous trees. 15 And the good Master : “Ere thou enter farther,

Know that thou art within the second round,”
Thus he began to say, “and shalt be, till





Thou comest out upon the horrible sand;

Therefore look well around, and thou shalt see 20

Things that will credence give unto my speech.” I heard on all sides lamentations uttered,

And person none beheld I who might make them,

Whence, utterly bewildered, I stood still. I think he thought that I perhaps might think 25

So many voices issued through those trunks

From people who concealed themselves for us ; Therefore the Master said: “If thou break off

Some little spray from any of these trees,

The thoughts thou hast will wholly be made vain.” 30 Then stretched I forth my hand a little forward,

And plucked a branchlet off from a great thorn;

And the trunk cried, “Why dost thou mangle me?” After it had become embrowned with blood,

It recommenced its cry: “Why dost thou rend me? 35

Hast thou no spirit of pity whatsoever ?
Men once we were, and now are changed to trees;

Indeed, thy hand should be more pitiful,

'Even if the souls of serpents we had been.” As out of a green brand, that is on fire

At one of the ends, and from the other drips
And hisses with the wind that is

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So from that splinter issued forth together

Both words and blood; whereat I let the tip

Fall, and stood like a man who is afraid. “Had he been able sooner to believe,”

My Sage made answer, “O thou wounded soul,

What only in my verses he has seen,
Not upon thee had he stretched forth his hand;

Whereas the thing incredible has caused me

To put him to an act which grieveth me. But tell him who thou wast, so that by way

Of some amends thy fame he may refresh

Up in the world, to which he can return.”
And the trunk said: “So thy sweet words allure me,

I can not silent be; and you be vexed not,

That I a little to discourse am tempted. I am the one who both keys had in keeping

Of Frederick's heart, and turned them to and fro

So softly in unlocking and in locking, That from his secrets most men I withheld ; · Fidelity I bore the glorious office

So great, I lost thereby my sleep and pulses.
The courtesan who never from the dwelling

Of Cæsar turned aside her strumpet eyes,
Death universal and the vice of courts,

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