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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.
terms he offer’d them,
But they conferr’d not long, for all at once
To trial fled within.  Clos’d were the gates
By those our adversaries on the breast
Of my liege lord:  excluded he return’d
To me with tardy steps.  Upon the ground
His eyes were bent, and from his brow eras’d
All confidence, while thus with sighs he spake: 
“Who hath denied me these abodes of woe?”
Then thus to me:  “That I am anger’d, think
No ground of terror:  in this trial I
Shall vanquish, use what arts they may within
For hindrance.  This their insolence, not new,
Erewhile at gate less secret they display’d,
Which still is without bolt; upon its arch
Thou saw’st the deadly scroll:  and even now
On this side of its entrance, down the steep,
Passing the circles, unescorted, comes
One whose strong might can open us this land.”

CANTO IX

The hue, which coward dread on my pale cheeks
Imprinted, when I saw my guide turn back,
Chas’d that from his which newly they had worn,
And inwardly restrain’d it.  He, as one
Who listens, stood attentive:  for his eye
Not far could lead him through the sable air,
And the thick-gath’ring cloud.  “It yet behooves
We win this fight”—­thus he began—­” if not—­
Such aid to us is offer’d. —­Oh, how long
Me seems it, ere the promis’d help arrive!”
     I noted, how the sequel of his words
Clok’d their beginning; for the last he spake
Agreed not with the first.  But not the less
My fear was at his saying; sith I drew
To import worse perchance, than that he held,
His mutilated speech.  “Doth ever any
Into this rueful concave’s extreme depth
Descend, out of the first degree, whose pain
Is deprivation merely of sweet hope?”
     Thus I inquiring.  “Rarely,” he replied,
“It chances, that among us any makes
This journey, which I wend.  Erewhile ’tis true
Once came I here beneath, conjur’d by fell
Erictho, sorceress, who compell’d the shades
Back to their bodies.  No long space my flesh
Was naked of me, when within these walls
She made me enter, to draw forth a spirit
From out of Judas’ circle.  Lowest place
Is that of all, obscurest, and remov’d
Farthest from heav’n’s all-circling orb.  The road
Full well I know:  thou therefore rest secure. 
That lake, the noisome stench exhaling, round
The city’ of grief encompasses, which now
We may not enter without rage.”  Yet more
He added:  but I hold it not in mind,
For that mine eye toward the lofty tower
Had drawn me wholly, to its burning top. 
Where in an instant I beheld uprisen
At once three hellish furies stain’d with blood: 
In limb and motion feminine they seem’d;
Around them greenest hydras twisting roll’d
Their volumes; adders and cerastes crept
Instead of hair, and their fierce temples bound. 

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