Valor and courtesy, say if they dwell

Within our city, as they used to do,

Or if they wholly have gone out of it; For Guglielmo Borsier, who is in torment

With us of late, and goes there with his comrades,

Doth greatly mortify us with his words.” “The new inhabitants and the sudden gains,

Pride and extravagance have in thee engendered,

Florence, so that thou weep’st thereat already ! ” 75 In this wise I exclaimed with face uplifted;

And the three, taking that for my reply,

Looked at each other, as one looks at truth. “If other times so little it doth cost thee,”

Replied they all, “ to satisfy another,

Happy art thou, thus speaking at thy will! Therefore, if thou escape from these dark places,

And come to rebehold the beauteous stars,

When it shall pleasure thee to say, 'I was,' See that thou speak of us unto the people.”

Then they broke up the wheel, and in their flight

It seemed as if their agile legs were wings.
Not an Amen could possibly be said

So rapidly as they had disappeared ;
Wherefore the Master deemed best to depart. 90


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I followed him, and little had we gone,

Before the sound of water was so near us,

That speaking we should hardly have been heard. Even as that stream which holdeth its own course

The first from Monte Veso tow'rds the East,

Upon the left-hand slope of Apennine, Which is above called Acquacheta, ere

It down descendeth into its low bed,

And at Forlì is vacant of that name, Reverberates there above San Benedetto

From Alps, by falling at a single leap,

Where for a thousand there were room enough; Thus downward from a bank precipitate,

We found resounding that dark-tinted water,

So that it soon the ear would have offended. 105 I had a cord around about me girt,

And therewithal I whilom had designed

To take the panther with the painted skin. After I this had all from me unloosed,

As my Conductor had commanded me,

I reached it to him, gathered up and coiled,
Whereat he turned himself to the right side,

And at a little distance from the verge,
He cast it down into that de

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“It must needs be some novelty respond,”

I said within myself, “ to the new signal

The Master with his eye is following so.” Ah me! how very cautious men should be

With those who not alone behold the act,

But with their wisdom look into the thoughts! 120 He said to me: “Soon there will upward come

What I await; and what thy thought is dreaming

Must soon reveal itself unto thy sight.”
Aye to that truth which has the face of falsehood,

A man should close his lips as far as may be, 125

Because without his fault it causes shame; But here I can not; and, Reader, by the notes

Of this my Comedy to thee I swear,

So may they not be void of lasting favor, Athwart that dense and darksome atmosphere

I saw a figure swimming upward come,

Marvellous unto every steadfast heart, Even as he returns who goeth down

Sometimes to clear an anchor, which has grappled

Reef, or aught else that in the sea is hidden, 135 Who upward stretches, and draws in his feet.





“ BEHOLD the monster with the pointed tail,

Who cleaves the hills, and breaketh walls and weapons,

Behold him who infecteth all the world.” Thus unto me my Guide began to say,

And beckoned him that he should come to shore, 5

Near to the confine of the trodden marble ; And that uncleanly image of deceit

Came up and thrust ashore its head and bust,

But on the border did not drag its tail. The face was as the face of a just man,

Its semblance outwardly was so benign,

And of a serpent all the trunk beside. Two paws it had, hairy unto the armpits ;

The back, and breast, and both the sides it had

Depicted o’er with nooses and with shields. 15 With colors more, groundwork or broidery

Never in cloth did Tartars make nor Turks,
Nor were such tissues by Arachne laid.



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As sometimes wherries lie upon the shore,

That part are in the water, part on land;

And as among the guzzling Germans there, The beaver plants himself to wage his war;

So that vile monster lay upon the border,

Which is of stone, and shutteth in the sand His tail was wholly quivering in the void,

Contorting upwards the envenomed fork,

That in the guise of scorpion armed its point. The Guide said : “ Now perforce must turn aside

Our way a little, even to that beast

Malevolent, that yonder coucheth him.” We therefore on the right-hand side descended,

And made ten steps upon the outer verge,

Completely to avoid the sand and flame ; And after we are come to him, I see

A little farther off upon the sand

A people sitting near the hollow place. Then said to me the Master : “So that full

Experience of this round thou bear away,

Now go and see what their condition is.
There let thy conversation be concise ;

Till thou returnest I will speak with him,
That he concede to us his stalwart shoulders.”

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