Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

There are two just men 6 there, who live defamed

And hated. Envy, pride, and avarice

Are the three sparks that have men's hearts inflamed.' 75 With that he from his mournful strain surceased.

And I resumed; 'Yet would I further learn

Of thee, and crave the gift of further speech. Of Farinata, and Tegghiaio, who

So worthy were; of Jacob Rusticucci, 80

Arrigo, Mosca, and the others, who
To do well enter'd fair; 7—say in what place

They dwell, for I have great desire to know

If they are lapt in bliss, or lost in Hell.' And he replied; 'Whelm'd in the deep below 85

Are they with blacker souls for heavier guilt;

As thou descending to that deep wilt know.

with neither. This is Buti's interpretation of the words 'che teste piaggia,' which he refers to Pope Boniface VIII., who brought about the expulsion of the Bianchi by the instrumentality of Charles de Valois.

6 It is not known who these are. Sigr. Bianchi thinks they may have been Dante himself, and Guido Cavalcanti, mentioned in Canto x., who is described by Benvenuto da Imola as ' Alter oculus Florentine tempore Dantis.'

7 These persons (with the exception of Arrigo Fifanti, who is not mentioned elsewhere) are introduced later in the poem; Farinata degli Uberti in the 10th, Tegghiaio Aldobrandi degli Adimari, and Jacob Rusticucci in the 16th, and Mosca degli Uberti (or, as some think, dei Lamberti) in the 28th, Canto.

But, when thou shalt be in the joyous world,

Make me to dwell in others' memory:

Ask now no more, for I no more will tell,' 90

This said, his fix'd eyes all askance he roll'd;

A moment look'd at me; then bow'd his head,

And with the other nighted spirits fell.
When thus my Guide; 'From yonder couch they rise

No more until the angel-trump shall sound. 95

Then, when the Adversary Power shall come, Each one will to the cheerless tomb repair,

His former shape and moulder'd flesh resume,

And hear the aye-resounding voice of doom.' Onward with slow steps o'er the loathsome mass 1co

Of rain and spirits blent we held our way,

Touching a little on the life to come.
Whence I inquired; 'O Master, say, these torments—

Will they increase after the general doom,

Or will they be as now, or less intense ? 105

Whereto he said; 'To thy science 8 repair,

Which wills that as each thing more perfect is,

It has a keener sense of joy and woe. Albeit this accursed people ne'er

Attaineth unto full perfection, yet no

Will they be nearer to it then than now.' 9

Thus round that circling road we wound our way,
Conversing more than I can here repeat:
We gain'd the pathway that conducts below:

There found we Plutus,10 the arch-enemy. 115

8 The Aristotelian philosophy. Metaph. iv. 16.

9 The inference—that on recovering their bodies they will experience an increase of suffering—is implied.

10 The God of riches.

[ocr errors]

CANTO VII.
Pape Satan.

ARGUMENT.

The Poets descend into the fourth circle. Here they view the souls of the Avaricious and of the Prodigal, in large troops, arranged in circles, and rolling heavy weights, which they dash against one another. The Prodigal taunt the Avaricious with their miserliness, and the Avaricious taunt the Prodigal with their reckless expenditure. Driven asunder, they retrace their steps, each pursuing the course of his own semi-circle, until they reach the extreme point, where they are again severed. Conversing on the office of Fortune, and the vicissitudes of which she is the author, the Poets descend into the fifth circle, following the course of a rivulet which brings them to the margin of Styx ;—where, wallowing on the surface of its filthy waters, they view the souls of the Angry, smiting and rending one another in ferocious conflict. From beneath they catch the echoes of the inarticulate wailings of the Slothful, who are fixed in the slime at the bottom of the pool. Having made a wide circuit round the edge of the lake, they arrive at the base of a tower.

'Pape Satan, Pape Satan, aleppe!'

Plutus 'gan bay with hideous din—but he,
The gentle-hearted sage who all things knew,

1 This line is said to mean, 'Ho! Satan, ho! Satan, my chief!' 'Pape,' is probably the Greek vairai. 'Aleppe' is Hebrew.

Spake word of comfort; 'Let not thy dismay

Confound thee : whatsoe'er his power, it shall 5

Not stay thy progress down this rock-hewn way.' Then rounding swift upon that passion-blown

Visage, he said; 'Accursed wolf, be still!

Within thyself that rabid wrath consume. Not without cause is this descent into 10

The gulf: 'tis willed on high, where Michael pour'd

Vengeance upon the Heaven-revolted crew.' As when a ship's sails swollen by the gale

Collapse and fall about the shivering mast;

So to the earth the savage monster fell. 15

Thus down into the fourth abyss we pass'd,

Traversing more of that dark region fill'd

With all the evils of the universe.
Ah me! Justice Divine—how dost thou heap

New pains and travails, which these eyes beheld: 20

Ah! wherefore take such vengeance on our sin? As wave with wave upon Charybdis' pool

Meets, and is broken, and runs diverse; so

The people here in eddying circles move. Here saw I folk more numerous than elsewhere 25

Thronging on either side with clamorous howls,

And rolling by main force huge weights along.

« AnteriorContinuar »