Front Page Titles (by Subject) INFERNO XI - The Divine Comedy, Vol. 1 (Inferno) (Bilingual edition)
INFERNO XI - Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy, Vol. 1 (Inferno) (Bilingual edition) 
The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri. The Italian Text with a Translation in English Blank Verse and a Commentary by Courtney Langdon, vol. 1 (Inferno) (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1918).
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The Sixth Circle. Heresy
The Distribution of the Damned in the Inferno
- Upon the utmost verge of a high bank,
- formed in a circle by great broken rocks,
- we came upon a still more cruel pack;
- and there, by reason of the horrible
- excess of stench the deep abyss exhales,
- for shelter we withdrew behind the lid
- of a large tomb, whereon I saw a scroll
- which said: “Pope Anastasius I contain,
- whom out of the right way Photinus drew.”
- “Our going down from here must be delayed,
- so that our sense may first get used a little
- to this foul blast; we shall not mind it then.”
- The Teacher thus; and I: “Find thou therefor
- some compensation, lest our time be lost.”
- And he to me: “See how I think of this.”
- “My son, within these rocks,” he then began,
- “are three small circles which, from grade to grade,
- are similar to those thou leavest now.
- Full of accursèd spirits are they all;
- but that hereafter sight alone suffice thee,
- hear how, and wherefore they are packed together.
- Of all wrong-doing which in Heaven wins hate
- injustice is the end, and each such end
- aggrieves by either violence or fraud.
- But whereas fraud is man’s peculiar evil,
- God hates it most; therefore the fraudulent
- are down below, and greater pain assails them.
- All the first circle holds the violent;
- but since against three persons force is used,
- its shape divides it into three great rings.
- Both against God, one’s neighbor, and one ’s self
- may force be used; against themselves, I mean,
- and what is theirs, as clearly shown thou ’lt hear.
- By force both death and painful wounds are given
- one ’s neighbor, and thereby his property
- is ruined, burned, and by extortions robbed;
- the first ring, hence, torments in separate troops
- all homicides and those that smite with malice,
- spoilers of property and highway robbers.
- Upon oneself may one lay violent hands,
- and on one ’s goods; hence in the second ring
- must needs repentant be without avail
- whoever of your world deprives himself,
- gambles away and dissipates his means,
- and weepeth there where he should joyful be.
- ’Gainst God may force be used, by wittingly
- denying that He is, by blasphemy,
- and by disprizing Nature and His Goodness;
- and therefore with its mark the lesser ring
- sealeth both Sodom and Cahors, and him
- who, speaking from his heart, despises God.
- And fraud, whereby all consciences are bitten,
- one may employ against a man who trusts him,
- and ’gainst a man who storeth up no trust.
- This latter kind of fraud would seem to kill
- only the bond of love which Nature makes;
- hence in the second circle make their nest
- hypocrisy, and flatteries, and workers
- of magic, coining, theft and simony,
- panders and grafters, and such filth as these.
- In the other way forgotten is the love
- which Nature makes, and that which afterward
- is joined thereto, whence special trust is born;
- hence in the smallest ring, where the universe
- its center hath, and on which Dis is seated,
- whoe’er betrays is spent eternally.”
- “Teacher,” said I, “thine argument proceeds
- most lucidly, and full well classifies
- this deep abyss and those that people it.
- But tell me now: those of the muddy marsh,
- those whom the wind drives, those the rain beats down,
- and those that with such keen tongues meet each other,
- why are n’t they punished in the red-hot town,
- if God be angry with them? and, if not,
- why are they tortured in those several ways?”
- And he to me: “Why doth thine intellect
- wander so far from that which is its wont,
- or doth thy mind intently gaze elsewhere?
- Hast thou no recollection of the words
- with which thine Ethics treats extensively
- the dispositions three which Heaven rejects,
- Incontinence, and Malice, and insane
- Bestiality, and how Incontinence
- offends God least, and hence receives least blame?
- If thou consider this opinion well,
- and then remember who those are above,
- that outside undergo their punishment,
- well shalt thou see why from these wretches here
- they ’re set apart, and why less wrathfully
- Vengeance Divine is hammering on them there.”
- “O Sun that healest every troubled sight,
- thou so contentest me when answering questions,
- that doubt, no less than knowledge, pleases me.
- Return a little further back,” said I,
- “to where thou sayest usury offends
- Goodness Divine, and loose the tangled knot.”
- “Philosophy” said he to me, “points out
- to him that understandeth it, and not
- in one part only, that Nature takes her course
- from the Intellect Divine, and from its Art;
- and if thou note thy Physics carefully,
- after not many pages shalt thou find
- that your art follows that, as best it can,
- as the disciple him who teaches; hence,
- your art is grandchild, as it were, to God.
- From these two things, if thou recall to mind
- the first of Genesis, must people needs
- obtain their livelihood, and progress make.
- And as the usurer takes another course,
- Nature both in herself and in her follower
- he scorneth, since in something else he trusts.
- But follow me now, for I please to go;
- because the Fishes o’er the horizon quiver,
- and wholly over Caurus lies the Wain,
- and one descends the bank much further on.”