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.

He answer’d:  “Oh, ye spirits:  arriv’d in time
To spy the shameful havoc, that from me
My leaves hath sever’d thus, gather them up,
And at the foot of their sad parent-tree
Carefully lay them.  In that city’ I dwelt,
Who for the Baptist her first patron chang’d,
Whence he for this shall cease not with his art
To work her woe:  and if there still remain’d not
On Arno’s passage some faint glimpse of him,
Those citizens, who rear’d once more her walls
Upon the ashes left by Attila,
Had labour’d without profit of their toil. 
I slung the fatal noose from my own roof.”

CANTO XIV

Soon as the charity of native land
Wrought in my bosom, I the scatter’d leaves
Collected, and to him restor’d, who now
Was hoarse with utt’rance.  To the limit thence
We came, which from the third the second round
Divides, and where of justice is display’d
Contrivance horrible.  Things then first seen
Clearlier to manifest, I tell how next
A plain we reach’d, that from its sterile bed
Each plant repell’d.  The mournful wood waves round
Its garland on all sides, as round the wood
Spreads the sad foss.  There, on the very edge,
Our steps we stay’d.  It was an area wide
Of arid sand and thick, resembling most
The soil that erst by Cato’s foot was trod.

Vengeance of Heav’n!  Oh! how shouldst thou be fear’d
By all, who read what here my eyes beheld!

Of naked spirits many a flock I saw,
All weeping piteously, to different laws
Subjected:  for on the’ earth some lay supine,
Some crouching close were seated, others pac’d
Incessantly around; the latter tribe,
More numerous, those fewer who beneath
The torment lay, but louder in their grief.

O’er all the sand fell slowly wafting down
Dilated flakes of fire, as flakes of snow
On Alpine summit, when the wind is hush’d. 
As in the torrid Indian clime, the son
Of Ammon saw upon his warrior band
Descending, solid flames, that to the ground
Came down:  whence he bethought him with his troop
To trample on the soil; for easier thus
The vapour was extinguish’d, while alone;
So fell the eternal fiery flood, wherewith
The marble glow’d underneath, as under stove
The viands, doubly to augment the pain.

Unceasing was the play of wretched hands,
Now this, now that way glancing, to shake off
The heat, still falling fresh.  I thus began: 
“Instructor! thou who all things overcom’st,
Except the hardy demons, that rush’d forth
To stop our entrance at the gate, say who
Is yon huge spirit, that, as seems, heeds not
The burning, but lies writhen in proud scorn,
As by the sultry tempest immatur’d?”

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