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 XIII

We reach’d the summit of the scale, and stood
Upon the second buttress of that mount
Which healeth him who climbs.  A cornice there,
Like to the former, girdles round the hill;
Save that its arch with sweep less ample bends. 
     Shadow nor image there is seen; all smooth
The rampart and the path, reflecting nought
But the rock’s sullen hue.  “If here we wait
For some to question,” said the bard, “I fear
Our choice may haply meet too long delay.” 
     Then fixedly upon the sun his eyes
He fastn’d, made his right the central point
From whence to move, and turn’d the left aside. 
“O pleasant light, my confidence and hope,
Conduct us thou,” he cried, “on this new way,
Where now I venture, leading to the bourn
We seek.  The universal world to thee
Owes warmth and lustre.  If no other cause
Forbid, thy beams should ever be our guide.” 
     Far, as is measur’d for a mile on earth,
In brief space had we journey’d; such prompt will
Impell’d; and towards us flying, now were heard
Spirits invisible, who courteously
Unto love’s table bade the welcome guest. 
The voice, that first? flew by, call’d forth aloud,
“They have no wine; " so on behind us past,
Those sounds reiterating, nor yet lost
In the faint distance, when another came
Crying, “I am Orestes,” and alike
Wing’d its fleet way.  “Oh father!” I exclaim’d,
“What tongues are these?” and as I question’d, lo! 
A third exclaiming, “Love ye those have wrong’d you.” 
     “This circuit,” said my teacher, “knots the scourge
For envy, and the cords are therefore drawn
By charity’s correcting hand.  The curb
Is of a harsher sound, as thou shalt hear
(If I deem rightly), ere thou reach the pass,
Where pardon sets them free.  But fix thine eyes
Intently through the air, and thou shalt see
A multitude before thee seated, each
Along the shelving grot.”  Then more than erst
I op’d my eyes, before me view’d, and saw
Shadows with garments dark as was the rock;
And when we pass’d a little forth, I heard
A crying, “Blessed Mary! pray for us,
Michael and Peter! all ye saintly host!”
     I do not think there walks on earth this day
Man so remorseless, that he hath not yearn’d
With pity at the sight that next I saw. 
Mine eyes a load of sorrow teemed, when now
I stood so near them, that their semblances
Came clearly to my view.  Of sackcloth vile
Their cov’ring seem’d; and on his shoulder one
Did stay another, leaning, and all lean’d
Against the cliff.  E’en thus the blind and poor,
Near the confessionals, to crave an alms,
Stand, each his head upon his fellow’s sunk,
So most to stir compassion, not by sound
Of words alone, but that, which moves not less,
The sight of mis’ry.  And as never beam
Of noonday visiteth the eyeless man,

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