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They left above.1 On this side lie interr'd,
With Epicurus and his followers, all
Who with the body make the soul to die. 15
Touching the question which thou askest me,
Within here thou shalt soon be satisfied:
So shall that wish which thou unfoldest not.' 2 Whence I replied; 'I do not keep conceal'd
My thought from thee, kind Guide, save that I may 20
Speak little, as thou oft hast warnèd me.' 'Tuscan, who thro' the fiery city thus
Rovest alive such sweet speech uttering,
O stay thy course, and rest awhile with us.
That voice of thine declareth thee to be 25
A native of that noble land wherein
I wrought perhaps with a too troublous hand.' Suddenly from among the sepulchres
Issued this utterance, whereat I clung
Who said to me; 'Turn thee : what doest thou ?
1 That is, after the day of judgment. 'I will gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there.' Joel iii. 2. See also Inf. vi. 95; xiii. 103.
2 Probably the wish to see Farinata, already mentioned in Canto vi.
S I had already fix'd my gaze on him;
And he appear'd with breast and brow uprear'd, 35
As holding Hell itself in high disdain. Promptly and resolutely the Master then
Thrust me between the sepulchres to him;
And thus he added; 'Let thy speech be plain.' Soon as I came before his tomb, a while 40
At me he gazed, and then with lips of scorn
Demanded thusJ 'What ancestry was thine ?' I, who was all desirous to obey,
Conceal'd them not, but straight unfolded all;
Whence he his eye-brows somewhat raised, and then 45 Forthwith made answer; 'Fiercely opposed were they
To me, and to my kith, and to my party : 3
Once and again I drave them forth!' 'If they Were driven forth, yet did they from all parts
Return/ I answer'd swift, 'once and again! 50
But yours it seems have yet that art to learn.' Then rose there to the view—but not beneath
The chin disclosed—near where he stood—the shade
Of one who seem'd to rest upon his knees. 4
3 'The ancestors of Dante, and Dante himself, were Guelfs. He did not become a Ghibelline till after his banishment.' Longfellow.
4 Cavalcante Cavalcanti.
Round me he gazed a while, as tho' he were 55
Intent to know if any came with me:
He thus exclaim'd; 'If thro' this prison-house
To whom I answer'd; 'Of myself I come not,
His language and his mode of punishment
Already had reveal'd to me his name; 65
Whence my response was thus complete. Thereon
Suddenly to his feet he sprang, and cried;
His eyes ?' When he was conscious of some slight 70
Delay that intervened before I made
But he of stronger mind, at whose request
5 Guido Cavalcanti was more addicted to philosophy than to poetry. And, as a Guelf, he would naturally be hostile to the teaching of Virgil, the poet of the Empire.
'And if,' said he, his former speech renewing,
But ere the face of her who ruleth here 6
Thou shalt behold what progress they have made.
And—so ma/st thou to the sweet world return—
Whence I replied; 'The slaughter, and the great 85
Havoc, that dyed with crimson Arbia's waters,8
Then heaved he a deep sigh, and shook his head,
But there 10 I was alone, where 'twas by all
6 'The moon, called in the heavens Diana, on earth Luna, and in the infernal regions Proserpina.' Longfellow.
8 The battle of Monte Aperto, near the river Arbia, in which the Guelfs were routed by the Ghibellines, who were commanded by Farinata.
9 Prayers for deliverance from the Uberti were offered up in the Churches of Florence. Public deliberations were held in the Churches. Either of these facts may have been referred to in this line.
Again I spake; 'So may thy people find
Repose in other days—resolve for me 95
This doubt, which wraps me in a wildering maze:
It seems, if I hear rightly, that you see
Beforehand that which time brings on with it,
' We see, as those who have defective sight,' 100
He answer'd, 'things which are from us remote:
When they are near, or present, vanish'd quite
Whence easily thou may'st infer that all
Our power of knowing will expire, when once
Then for my negligence11 contrition feeling
I said; 'Now speak to him who there lies fallen, I 10
And if before I lingered in replying,
10 At the diet of the Ghibellines assembled, after the battle of Monte Aperto, by Guido Novello at Empoli.
11 In not answering Cavalcante's question contained in v. 69.