Divine Comedy, Cary's Translation, Complete eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 443 pages of information about Divine Comedy, Cary's Translation, Complete.

CANTO VI

My sense reviving, that erewhile had droop’d
With pity for the kindred shades, whence grief
O’ercame me wholly, straight around I see
New torments, new tormented souls, which way
Soe’er I move, or turn, or bend my sight. 
In the third circle I arrive, of show’rs
Ceaseless, accursed, heavy, and cold, unchang’d
For ever, both in kind and in degree. 
Large hail, discolour’d water, sleety flaw
Through the dun midnight air stream’d down amain: 
Stank all the land whereon that tempest fell. 
     Cerberus, cruel monster, fierce and strange,
Through his wide threefold throat barks as a dog
Over the multitude immers’d beneath. 
His eyes glare crimson, black his unctuous beard,
His belly large, and claw’d the hands, with which
He tears the spirits, flays them, and their limbs
Piecemeal disparts.  Howling there spread, as curs,
Under the rainy deluge, with one side
The other screening, oft they roll them round,
A wretched, godless crew.  When that great worm
Descried us, savage Cerberus, he op’d
His jaws, and the fangs show’d us; not a limb
Of him but trembled.  Then my guide, his palms
Expanding on the ground, thence filled with earth
Rais’d them, and cast it in his ravenous maw. 
E’en as a dog, that yelling bays for food
His keeper, when the morsel comes, lets fall
His fury, bent alone with eager haste
To swallow it; so dropp’d the loathsome cheeks
Of demon Cerberus, who thund’ring stuns
The spirits, that they for deafness wish in vain. 
     We, o’er the shades thrown prostrate by the brunt
Of the heavy tempest passing, set our feet
Upon their emptiness, that substance seem’d. 
     They all along the earth extended lay
Save one, that sudden rais’d himself to sit,
Soon as that way he saw us pass.  “O thou!”
He cried, “who through the infernal shades art led,
Own, if again thou know’st me.  Thou wast fram’d
Or ere my frame was broken.”  I replied: 
“The anguish thou endur’st perchance so takes
Thy form from my remembrance, that it seems
As if I saw thee never.  But inform
Me who thou art, that in a place so sad
Art set, and in such torment, that although
Other be greater, more disgustful none
Can be imagin’d.”  He in answer thus: 
“Thy city heap’d with envy to the brim,
Ay that the measure overflows its bounds,
Held me in brighter days.  Ye citizens
Were wont to name me Ciacco.  For the sin
Of glutt’ny, damned vice, beneath this rain,
E’en as thou see’st, I with fatigue am worn;
Nor I sole spirit in this woe:  all these
Have by like crime incurr’d like punishment.” 
     No more he said, and I my speech resum’d: 
“Ciacco! thy dire affliction grieves me much,
Even to tears.  But tell me, if thou know’st,
What shall at length befall the citizens

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