Divine Comedy, Cary's Translation, Purgatory eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 107 pages of information about Divine Comedy, Cary's Translation, Purgatory.

Then from the bosom of the burning mass,
“O God of mercy!” heard I sung; and felt
No less desire to turn.  And when I saw
Spirits along the flame proceeding, I
Between their footsteps and mine own was fain
To share by turns my view.  At the hymn’s close
They shouted loud, “I do not know a man;”
Then in low voice again took up the strain,
Which once more ended, “To the wood,” they cried,
“Ran Dian, and drave forth Callisto, stung
With Cytherea’s poison:”  then return’d
Unto their song; then marry a pair extoll’d,
Who liv’d in virtue chastely, and the bands
Of wedded love.  Nor from that task, I ween,
Surcease they; whilesoe’er the scorching fire
Enclasps them.  Of such skill appliance needs
To medicine the wound, that healeth last.

CANTO XXVI

While singly thus along the rim we walk’d,
Oft the good master warn’d me:  “Look thou well. 
Avail it that I caution thee.”  The sun
Now all the western clime irradiate chang’d
From azure tinct to white; and, as I pass’d,
My passing shadow made the umber’d flame
Burn ruddier.  At so strange a sight I mark’d
That many a spirit marvel’d on his way.

This bred occasion first to speak of me,
“He seems,” said they, “no insubstantial frame:” 
Then to obtain what certainty they might,
Stretch’d towards me, careful not to overpass
The burning pale.  “O thou, who followest
The others, haply not more slow than they,
But mov’d by rev’rence, answer me, who burn
In thirst and fire:  nor I alone, but these
All for thine answer do more thirst, than doth
Indian or Aethiop for the cooling stream. 
Tell us, how is it that thou mak’st thyself
A wall against the sun, as thou not yet
Into th’ inextricable toils of death
Hadst enter’d?” Thus spake one, and I had straight
Declar’d me, if attention had not turn’d
To new appearance.  Meeting these, there came,
Midway the burning path, a crowd, on whom
Earnestly gazing, from each part I view
The shadows all press forward, sev’rally
Each snatch a hasty kiss, and then away. 
E’en so the emmets, ’mid their dusky troops,
Peer closely one at other, to spy out
Their mutual road perchance, and how they thrive.

That friendly greeting parted, ere dispatch
Of the first onward step, from either tribe
Loud clamour rises:  those, who newly come,
Shout “Sodom and Gomorrah!” these, “The cow
Pasiphae enter’d, that the beast she woo’d
Might rush unto her luxury.”  Then as cranes,
That part towards the Riphaean mountains fly,
Part towards the Lybic sands, these to avoid
The ice, and those the sun; so hasteth off
One crowd, advances th’ other; and resume
Their first song weeping, and their several shout.

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