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 X

Now by a secret pathway we proceed,
Between the walls, that hem the region round,
And the tormented souls:  my master first,
I close behind his steps.  “Virtue supreme!”
I thus began; “who through these ample orbs
In circuit lead’st me, even as thou will’st,
Speak thou, and satisfy my wish.  May those,
Who lie within these sepulchres, be seen? 
Already all the lids are rais’d, and none
O’er them keeps watch.”  He thus in answer spake
“They shall be closed all, what-time they here
From Josaphat return’d shall come, and bring
Their bodies, which above they now have left. 
The cemetery on this part obtain
With Epicurus all his followers,
Who with the body make the spirit die. 
Here therefore satisfaction shall be soon
Both to the question ask’d, and to the wish,
Which thou conceal’st in silence.”  I replied: 
“I keep not, guide belov’d! from thee my heart
Secreted, but to shun vain length of words,
A lesson erewhile taught me by thyself.”

“O Tuscan! thou who through the city of fire
Alive art passing, so discreet of speech! 
Here please thee stay awhile.  Thy utterance
Declares the place of thy nativity
To be that noble land, with which perchance
I too severely dealt.”  Sudden that sound
Forth issu’d from a vault, whereat in fear
I somewhat closer to my leader’s side
Approaching, he thus spake:  “What dost thou?  Turn. 
Lo, Farinata, there! who hath himself
Uplifted:  from his girdle upwards all
Expos’d behold him.”  On his face was mine
Already fix’d; his breast and forehead there
Erecting, seem’d as in high scorn he held
E’en hell.  Between the sepulchres to him
My guide thrust me with fearless hands and prompt,
This warning added:  “See thy words be clear!”

He, soon as there I stood at the tomb’s foot,
Ey’d me a space, then in disdainful mood
Address’d me:  “Say, what ancestors were thine?”

I, willing to obey him, straight reveal’d
The whole, nor kept back aught:  whence he, his brow
Somewhat uplifting, cried:  “Fiercely were they
Adverse to me, my party, and the blood
From whence I sprang:  twice therefore I abroad
Scatter’d them.”  “Though driv’n out, yet they each time
From all parts,” answer’d I, “return’d; an art
Which yours have shown, they are not skill’d to learn.”

Then, peering forth from the unclosed jaw,
Rose from his side a shade, high as the chin,
Leaning, methought, upon its knees uprais’d. 
It look’d around, as eager to explore
If there were other with me; but perceiving
That fond imagination quench’d, with tears
Thus spake:  “If thou through this blind prison go’st. 
Led by thy lofty genius and profound,
Where is my son? and wherefore not with thee?”

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