Divine Comedy, Cary's Translation, Hell eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 106 pages of information about Divine Comedy, Cary's Translation, Hell.

CANTO VIII

My theme pursuing, I relate that ere
We reach’d the lofty turret’s base, our eyes
Its height ascended, where two cressets hung
We mark’d, and from afar another light
Return the signal, so remote, that scarce
The eye could catch its beam.  I turning round
To the deep source of knowledge, thus inquir’d: 
“Say what this means? and what that other light
In answer set? what agency doth this?”

“There on the filthy waters,” he replied,
“E’en now what next awaits us mayst thou see,
If the marsh-gender’d fog conceal it not.”

Never was arrow from the cord dismiss’d,
That ran its way so nimbly through the air,
As a small bark, that through the waves I spied
Toward us coming, under the sole sway
Of one that ferried it, who cried aloud: 
“Art thou arriv’d, fell spirit?”—­“Phlegyas, Phlegyas,
This time thou criest in vain,” my lord replied;
“No longer shalt thou have us, but while o’er
The slimy pool we pass.”  As one who hears
Of some great wrong he hath sustain’d, whereat
Inly he pines; so Phlegyas inly pin’d
In his fierce ire.  My guide descending stepp’d
Into the skiff, and bade me enter next
Close at his side; nor till my entrance seem’d
The vessel freighted.  Soon as both embark’d,
Cutting the waves, goes on the ancient prow,
More deeply than with others it is wont.

While we our course o’er the dead channel held. 
One drench’d in mire before me came, and said;
“Who art thou, that thou comest ere thine hour?”

I answer’d:  “Though I come, I tarry not;
But who art thou, that art become so foul?”

“One, as thou seest, who mourn:”  he straight replied.

To which I thus:  “In mourning and in woe,
Curs’d spirit! tarry thou.g I know thee well,
E’en thus in filth disguis’d.”  Then stretch’d he forth
Hands to the bark; whereof my teacher sage
Aware, thrusting him back:  “Away! down there;

“To the’ other dogs!” then, with his arms my neck
Encircling, kiss’d my cheek, and spake:  “O soul
Justly disdainful! blest was she in whom
Thou was conceiv’d!  He in the world was one
For arrogance noted; to his memory
No virtue lends its lustre; even so
Here is his shadow furious.  There above
How many now hold themselves mighty kings
Who here like swine shall wallow in the mire,
Leaving behind them horrible dispraise!”

I then:  “Master! him fain would I behold
Whelm’d in these dregs, before we quit the lake.”

He thus:  “Or ever to thy view the shore
Be offer’d, satisfied shall be that wish,
Which well deserves completion.”  Scarce his words
Were ended, when I saw the miry tribes
Set on him with such violence, that yet
For that render I thanks to God and praise
“To Filippo Argenti:”  cried they all: 
And on himself the moody Florentine
Turn’d his avenging fangs.  Him here we left,
Nor speak I of him more.  But on mine ear
Sudden a sound of lamentation smote,
Whereat mine eye unbarr’d I sent abroad.

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Divine Comedy, Cary's Translation, Hell from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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