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.

As a small vessel, back’ning out from land,
Her station quits; so thence the monster loos’d,
And when he felt himself at large, turn’d round
There where the breast had been, his forked tail. 
Thus, like an eel, outstretch’d at length he steer’d,
Gath’ring the air up with retractile claws.

Not greater was the dread when Phaeton
The reins let drop at random, whence high heaven,
Whereof signs yet appear, was wrapt in flames;
Nor when ill-fated Icarus perceiv’d,
By liquefaction of the scalded wax,
The trusted pennons loosen’d from his loins,
His sire exclaiming loud, “Ill way thou keep’st!”
Than was my dread, when round me on each part
The air I view’d, and other object none
Save the fell beast.  He slowly sailing, wheels
His downward motion, unobserv’d of me,
But that the wind, arising to my face,
Breathes on me from below.  Now on our right
I heard the cataract beneath us leap
With hideous crash; whence bending down to’ explore,
New terror I conceiv’d at the steep plunge: 

For flames I saw, and wailings smote mine ear: 
So that all trembling close I crouch’d my limbs,
And then distinguish’d, unperceiv’d before,
By the dread torments that on every side
Drew nearer, how our downward course we wound.

As falcon, that hath long been on the wing,
But lure nor bird hath seen, while in despair
The falconer cries, “Ah me! thou stoop’st to earth!”
Wearied descends, and swiftly down the sky
In many an orbit wheels, then lighting sits
At distance from his lord in angry mood;
So Geryon lighting places us on foot
Low down at base of the deep-furrow’d rock,
And, of his burden there discharg’d, forthwith
Sprang forward, like an arrow from the string.

CANTO XVIII

There is a place within the depths of hell
Call’d Malebolge, all of rock dark-stain’d
With hue ferruginous, e’en as the steep
That round it circling winds.  Right in the midst
Of that abominable region, yawns
A spacious gulf profound, whereof the frame
Due time shall tell.  The circle, that remains,
Throughout its round, between the gulf and base
Of the high craggy banks, successive forms
Ten trenches, in its hollow bottom sunk.

As where to guard the walls, full many a foss
Begirds some stately castle, sure defence
Affording to the space within, so here
Were model’d these; and as like fortresses
E’en from their threshold to the brink without,
Are flank’d with bridges; from the rock’s low base
Thus flinty paths advanc’d, that ’cross the moles
And dikes, struck onward far as to the gulf,
That in one bound collected cuts them off. 
Such was the place, wherein we found ourselves
From Geryon’s back dislodg’d.  The bard to left
Held on his way, and I behind him mov’d.

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