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.
The chief of the new Pharisees meantime,
Waging his warfare near the Lateran,
Not with the Saracens or Jews (his foes
All Christians were, nor against Acre one
Had fought, nor traffic’d in the Soldan’s land),
He his great charge nor sacred ministry
In himself, rev’renc’d, nor in me that cord,
Which us’d to mark with leanness whom it girded. 
As in Socrate, Constantine besought
To cure his leprosy Sylvester’s aid,
So me to cure the fever of his pride
This man besought:  my counsel to that end
He ask’d:  and I was silent:  for his words
Seem’d drunken:  but forthwith he thus resum’d: 
’From thy heart banish fear:  of all offence
I hitherto absolve thee.  In return,
Teach me my purpose so to execute,
That Penestrino cumber earth no more. 
Heav’n, as thou knowest, I have power to shut
And open:  and the keys are therefore twain,
The which my predecessor meanly priz’d.’”

Then, yielding to the forceful arguments,
Of silence as more perilous I deem’d,
And answer’d:  “Father! since thou washest me
Clear of that guilt wherein I now must fall,
Large promise with performance scant, be sure,
Shall make thee triumph in thy lofty seat.”

“When I was number’d with the dead, then came
Saint Francis for me; but a cherub dark
He met, who cried:  ’Wrong me not; he is mine,
And must below to join the wretched crew,
For the deceitful counsel which he gave. 
E’er since I watch’d him, hov’ring at his hair,
No power can the impenitent absolve;
Nor to repent and will at once consist,
By contradiction absolute forbid.’”
Oh mis’ry! how I shook myself, when he
Seiz’d me, and cried, “Thou haply thought’st me not
A disputant in logic so exact.” 
To Minos down he bore me, and the judge
Twin’d eight times round his callous back the tail,
Which biting with excess of rage, he spake: 
“This is a guilty soul, that in the fire
Must vanish.  Hence perdition-doom’d I rove
A prey to rankling sorrow in this garb.”

When he had thus fulfill’d his words, the flame
In dolour parted, beating to and fro,
And writhing its sharp horn.  We onward went,
I and my leader, up along the rock,
Far as another arch, that overhangs
The foss, wherein the penalty is paid
Of those, who load them with committed sin.

CANTO XXVIII

Who, e’en in words unfetter’d, might at full
Tell of the wounds and blood that now I saw,
Though he repeated oft the tale?  No tongue
So vast a theme could equal, speech and thought
Both impotent alike.  If in one band
Collected, stood the people all, who e’er
Pour’d on Apulia’s happy soil their blood,
Slain by the Trojans, and in that long war
When of the rings the measur’d booty made
A pile so high, as Rome’s historian writes
Who errs not, with the multitude, that felt

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