Divine Comedy, Cary's Translation, Hell eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 144 pages of information about Divine Comedy, Cary's Translation, Hell.

Straight he himself, who was aware I ask’d
My guide of him, exclaim’d:  “Such as I was
When living, dead such now I am.  If Jove
Weary his workman out, from whom in ire
He snatch’d the lightnings, that at my last day
Transfix’d me, if the rest be weary out
At their black smithy labouring by turns
In Mongibello, while he cries aloud;
“Help, help, good Mulciber!” as erst he cried
In the Phlegraean warfare, and the bolts
Launch he full aim’d at me with all his might,
He never should enjoy a sweet revenge.”

Then thus my guide, in accent higher rais’d
Than I before had heard him:  “Capaneus! 
Thou art more punish’d, in that this thy pride
Lives yet unquench’d:  no torrent, save thy rage,
Were to thy fury pain proportion’d full.”

Next turning round to me with milder lip
He spake:  “This of the seven kings was one,
Who girt the Theban walls with siege, and held,
As still he seems to hold, God in disdain,
And sets his high omnipotence at nought. 
But, as I told him, his despiteful mood
Is ornament well suits the breast that wears it. 
Follow me now; and look thou set not yet
Thy foot in the hot sand, but to the wood
Keep ever close.”  Silently on we pass’d
To where there gushes from the forest’s bound
A little brook, whose crimson’d wave yet lifts
My hair with horror.  As the rill, that runs
From Bulicame, to be portion’d out
Among the sinful women; so ran this
Down through the sand, its bottom and each bank
Stone-built, and either margin at its side,
Whereon I straight perceiv’d our passage lay.

“Of all that I have shown thee, since that gate
We enter’d first, whose threshold is to none
Denied, nought else so worthy of regard,
As is this river, has thine eye discern’d,
O’er which the flaming volley all is quench’d.”

So spake my guide; and I him thence besought,
That having giv’n me appetite to know,
The food he too would give, that hunger crav’d.

“In midst of ocean,” forthwith he began,
“A desolate country lies, which Crete is nam’d,
Under whose monarch in old times the world
Liv’d pure and chaste.  A mountain rises there,
Call’d Ida, joyous once with leaves and streams,
Deserted now like a forbidden thing. 
It was the spot which Rhea, Saturn’s spouse,
Chose for the secret cradle of her son;
And better to conceal him, drown’d in shouts
His infant cries.  Within the mount, upright
An ancient form there stands and huge, that turns
His shoulders towards Damiata, and at Rome
As in his mirror looks.  Of finest gold
His head is shap’d, pure silver are the breast
And arms; thence to the middle is of brass. 
And downward all beneath well-temper’d steel,
Save the right foot of potter’s clay, on which
Than on the other more erect he stands,
Each part except the gold, is rent throughout;
And from the fissure tears distil, which join’d
Penetrate to that cave.  They in their course
Thus far precipitated down the rock
Form Acheron, and Styx, and Phlegethon;
Then by this straiten’d channel passing hence
Beneath, e’en to the lowest depth of all,
Form there Cocytus, of whose lake (thyself
Shall see it) I here give thee no account.”

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