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'O thou, that honourest each science and art,
'The blaze of fame,' he forthwith made response,
Suddenly thro' the gloom a voice was heard;
'All honour to the bard of loftiest strain: 80
His shade returns, that erst departed hence.'
Scarce had the voice its utterance ended, when
The Master then to me in brief began; 85
'Mark him with yonder falchion in his hand,
'Tis Homer, sovran poet: after him
Because that each of them had earnèd well
Thus I beheld united the fair school
Of that renownèd lord of loftiest song, 95
Who soars above the rest with eagle flight.
When they awhile had held discourse among
And greater honour yet than this they show'd ioo
To me, for of their train they made me one;
Thus onward to the light we paced along,
Unto a lordly castle's foot we came,
Seven times with lofty walls encompass'd round,
O'er this we pass'd with ease as on dry ground:
Thro' seven gates I enter'd with those sages: no
A meadow of fresh green within we found.
People were there with still and thoughtful faces;
We then withdrew to an open place, that lay 115
Upon one side, lofty and filled with light,
There on the smooth enamell'd green beneath
There did I 'mid a numerous throng behold
Electra, Hector, and Anchises' son,
Caesar all arm'd with falcon eyes; and bold Camilla, and the Amazonian queen
On the other side: and there the Latin king 125
Sitting beside Lavinia was seen.
Cornelia, Julia, Marcia, Lucrece;
Alone—apart—I saw the Saladin. And then, when I had somewhat lifted up 130
Mine eyes, I saw the chief of those who know,3
Retired amid the philosophic crew. Him all admire, all give him honour due:
And nearer to him standing than the rest
Plato and Socrates appear'd: he too 135
Who builds the world on chance, Democritus;
Diogenes, Anaxagoras, and Thales,
Zeno, Empedocles, and Heraclitus;
Dioscorides. Orpheus too was there, 140
Tully, and Linus, moral Seneca, Geometrician Euclid, Ptolemy,
Galen, Hippocrates, and Avicenna,
And he who made the famous commentary,
Averrois.—I cannot all retrace, 145
So hurried onward by the exhaustless theme
Our company of six divided here:
Another way I went with my sage Guide
Forth from the tranquil to the troubled air; 150
And came into a part where is no light.
5 Aristotle. I am indebted to Carfs translation for the expression 'thunderous sound ' in v. 9 of this Canto.
Dante and his Guide pass into the second circle, in which they view the souls of Carnal Sinners, in utter darkness—the sport and prey of racking whirlwinds. Dante converses with Francesca and Paolo Malatesta, from the former of whom he hears the narrative of their disastrous love.
Thus downward from the foremost circle I went
There with his grin terrific Minos standeth,
Examineth offences at the gate, 5
Judgeth, and doometh, as himself he windeth.
For when the spirit born with evil fate
Before him comes, it maketh full confession
What place in Hell befitteth its transgression; 10
Then girds him with his tail so oft as will