Front Page Titles (by Subject) PURGATORIO XXIII - The Divine Comedy, Vol. 2 (Purgatorio) (English only trans.)
PURGATORIO XXIII - Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy, Vol. 2 (Purgatorio) (English only trans.) 
The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri. The Italian Text with a Translation in English Blank Verse and a Commentary by Courtney Langdon, vol. 2 (Purgatorio) (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1920).
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Purgatory. The Sixth Ring. Gluttony
The Punishment of Gluttons. Forese Donati
- While I, as likewise he is wont to do,
- who wastes his life in hunting little birds,
- was piercing thus the green leaves with mine eyes,
- my more than Father said to me: “My son,
- come on now, for the time assigned to us
- should be more usefully distributed.”
- I turned my face, and, no less soon, my steps
- behind the Sages, who so talked, that walking
- they caused to be of no expense to me.
- Then lo, in tearful and in singing tones
- “My lips, O Lord” was heard in such a way,
- that to delight and sorrow it gave birth.
- “O gentle Father, what is that I hear?”
- said I; and he then: “Shades who, moving on,
- loosen, perhaps, the knot of what they owe.”
- As pilgrim travellers do, who lost in thought,
- on meeting unknown people on the road,
- turn round to look at them, but do not stop;
- ev’n so behind us, though more quickly moving,
- there came a band of souls, who as they passed,
- devout and silent, gazed at us in wonder.
- Each was expressionless and hollow-eyed,
- pale in his face, and lacking so in flesh,
- that of his bones his skin assumed the shape.
- I do not think that even Erysìchthon
- became so withered into utter skin,
- because of fasting, when he feared it most.
- Thinking within myself, I said: “Behold
- the people who once lost Jerusalem,
- when Mary thrust her beak into her son!”
- The sockets of their eyes seemed gemless rings;
- and he that OMO reads in human faces,
- would surely there have recognized the M.
- Who would believe the perfume of a fruit
- and odor of a water could so act,
- and cause such craving, if he knew not how?
- I still was wondering what so famished them,
- because the reason of their being lean,
- and of their wretched scurf was not yet clear;
- when lo, a shade from deep within his head
- turning his eyes toward me, looked hard, and then
- cried out aloud: “What grace is this to me?”
- I never should have known him by his face;
- but that to me was in his voice revealed,
- which in itself his aspect had suppressed.
- That spark rekindled all that I had known
- of that disfigured countenance, and thus
- I recognized it as Forese’s face.
- “Ah, prithee, heed thou not the dried up scab,”
- he pleaded, “which discolors thus my skin,
- nor any lack of flesh that I may have!
- But tell the truth about thyself, and who
- those two souls are, who bear thee company;
- refrain no longer from addressing me.”
- I answered him: “Thy face, which once as dead
- I mourned for, gives me now no smaller cause
- for weeping, that I see it so disfigured.
- For God’s sake tell me, then, what strips you thus;
- make me not talk and wonder, too; for ill
- can he converse, who longs for something else.”
- “A virtue from the Eternal Will” he said,
- “comes down into the water and the Tree
- we left behind, whereby I thus grow lean.
- And all these people who in tears are singing,
- because of following unchecked love of food,
- are here resanctified in thirst and hunger.
- The pleasant odor, issuing from the fruit,
- and from the spray which o’er the verdure spreads,
- kindles in us the wish to eat and drink.
- And not once only is our pain renewed,
- as on this floor we move around — our pain,
- I say, though solace ought to be my word;
- for to the Tree doth that same longing lead us,
- which once led Christ in happiness to cry:
- ‘My God!’, when with His blood He set us free.”
- And I to him: “Forese, from the day,
- when thou didst for a better life change world,
- five years have not yet rolled away till now.
- If power of sinning further ended in thee
- before the coming of that happy hour
- of sorrow, which reweddeth us to God,
- how is it thou art come up here? I thought
- that I should find thee still below, down there,
- where time restores itself by means of time.”
- Whence he to me: “My Nella, with the tears
- which streamed from her, enabled me to drink
- the pleasant wormwood of this pain so soon.
- She, with her pious prayers and with her sighs,
- hath drawn me from the hillside where one waits,
- and freed me from the other lower rings.
- So much the dearer a delight to God
- is my poor widow whom I loved so much,
- the more alone she is in doing right;
- for far more modest in its women is
- the wild Barbagia region of Sardinia,
- than the Barbagia which I left her in.
- O my dear brother, what wouldst have me say?
- I have, e’en now, a future time in sight,
- to which this hour will not be very old,
- when from the pulpit shameless Florence women
- will be prohibited to go abroad
- showing their bosoms with the breasts exposed.
- What Barbary women, or what Saracens
- e’er needed spiritual or other laws,
- to keep them covered up when going out?
- But if the shameless ones were sure of what
- a swiftly moving heaven prepares for them,
- their mouths for howling would be open now;
- for, if my foresight here deceive me not,
- they ’ll grieve, ere that one’s cheek grows hair, who still
- is hushed with lullabies. Now, brother, see,
- I pray, that from me thou no longer hide!
- Thou seèst that not only I, but all
- these people gaze where thou dost veil the sun.”
- Hence I to him: “If thou recall to mind
- what thou with me wast once, and with thee I,
- still grievous will our present memory be.
- Who goes before me turned me from that life
- the other day, when that one’s sister round
- was seen by you;” (and at the sun I pointed).
- “Through the deep night hath he conducted me,
- and from among the truly dead, still clothed
- in this real flesh, which follows in his steps.
- Thence his encouragements have drawn me on,
- as up I climbed, and circled round the Mount,
- which straightens you whom crooked made the world.
- He says that he will make me his companion,
- till there I am, where Beatrice shall be;
- up there without him must I needs remain.
- Virgil is he, who tells me so,” (at him
- I pointed), “and this other one, the shade,
- because of whom just now on every slope
- your Realm, which from itself removes him, quaked.”