Imagens das páginas

They left above." On this side lie interr'd,
With Epicurus and his followers, all
Who with the body make the soul to die.

Touching the question which thou askest me,

[ocr errors]

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 Speak little, as thou oft hast warned 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 In fear somewhat more closely to my Guide; 30 Who said to me ; “Turn thee : what doest thou ? See see where Farinata stands upright: From the waist upward thou may’st him behold.” * 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. * Probably the wish to see Farinata, already mentioned in Canto vi.

I had already fix'd my gaze on him ;
And he appear'd with breast and brow uprear'd,
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
At me he gazed, and then with lips of Scorn
Demanded thus ; ‘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
Forthwith made answer; “Fiercely opposed were they
To me, and to my kith, and to my party: *
Once and again I drave them forth !’ ‘If they
Were driven forth, yet did they from all parts
Return, I answer'd swist, “once and again
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. *

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

* “The ancestors of Dante, and Dante himself, were Guelss. He did

not become a Ghibelline till after his banishment.' Longfellow.

* Cavalcante Cavalcanti.

Round me he gazed a while, as tho’ he were 55
Intent to know if any came with me:
But, when his surmise was all spent, with tears
He thus exclaim’d ; “If thro’ this prison-house
Thou goest by loftiness of mind, O say—
My son—where is he and wherefore not with thee!’ 60
To whom I answer'd ; “Of myself I come not,
But led by him who tarries there—one whom
Perhaps thy Guidoo held in light esteem.'
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 ;
‘How said'st thou “held in light esteem 7" Lives he
Not then Falls not Heaven's blessed light upon
His eyes?' When he was conscious of some slight 7o
Delay that intervened before I made
Response, he fell back, and was seen no more.
But he of stronger mind, at whose request
I linger'd, neither changed his countenance,

Nor moved his neck, nor from his state inclined. 75

* 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,
“They have but ill acquired that art of thine,
More than this fiery couch that thought torments me.
But ere the face of her who ruleth here 6
Hath been refill'd with light the fiftieth time, So
Thou shalt behold what progress they have made.
And—so may'st thou to the sweet world return—
Say for what cause that state 7 in all its laws
Pursues my people with such rancorous hate 1'
Whence I replied ; “The slaughter, and the great 85
Havoc, that dyed with crimson Arbia's waters,”
Are not forgotten in our temples yet.'9
Then heaved he a deep sigh, and shook his head,
And ‘I was not alone in that,’ he said ;
“Nor without cause moved I with the others then : go
But there 10 I was alone, where 'twas by all
Consented to raze Florence to the ground:
'Twas I defended her before them all.”

* “The moon, called in the heavens Diana, on earth Luna, and in the infernal regions Proserpina.' Longfellow.

7 Florence.

* The battle of Monte Aperto, near the river Arbia, in which the Guelfs were routed by the Ghibellines, who were commanded by Farinata.

* 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, While of things present you are unaware?” “We see, as those who have defective sight,’ ICO He answer'd, 'things which are from us remote : So much of light the sovran Lord vouchsafes. - When they are near, or present, vanish'd quite Is that foreknowledge ; and, unless inform'd, We have no knowledge of your actual state. IO5 Whence easily thou may'st infer that all Our power of knowing will expire, when once The portal of futurity is closed.' Then for my negligence 11 contrition feeling I said; 'Now speak to him who there lies fallen, I IO And say his son is yet among the living : And if before I lingered in replying, Tell him that I was mentally revolving This doubt, which thy solution has resolved.'

* At the diet of the Ghibellines assembled, after the battle of Monte Aperto, by Guido Novello at Empoli. * In not answering Cavalcante's question contained in v. 69.

« AnteriorContinuar »