The Inferno Canto I
"In the middle of the journey of our life I came to myself in a dark wood where the straight way was lost." Canto I, pg. 11 Dante finds himself lost in a dark wood, and spends a horrific night there. Though it is a suffering, he recounts his story in order to show how he was led to discover the real causes of all misery. He comes to a Hill upon which he can see the light of the morning Sun. This heartens him and he begins to ascend the hill along a deserted path. He meets a beautiful Leopard who impedes his way for some time, but he continues with a light heart until he is driven back by the terrifying appearance of a Lion and a She-wolf. As he is running down the hill, Dante meets the poet Virgil who tells him that the She-wolf traps and kills everyone who tries to climb the mountain by the road on which she stands. He says in the future a strong and vice-less Greyhound will save Italy by chasing the Wolf back into Hell where she came from. Virgil offers to take Dante by another path on which he will see the depths of misery and the heights of joy. Virgil says he will guide him only part of the way and then pass him onto another more worthy guide. Dante follows him.