Front Page Titles (by Subject) INFERNO XVI - The Divine Comedy, Vol. 1 (Inferno) (Bilingual edition)
INFERNO XVI - 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 Seventh Circle. The Third Ring
Violence against Nature. Sodomites
- I now was where the booming of the water,
- which fell into the following round, was heard
- like the dull, buzzing sound which bee-hives make;
- when three shades separated from a group,
- which ’neath the rain’s tormenting punishment
- was passing by, and ran along together.
- Toward us they came, and each of them cried out:
- “Stop, thou, that by thy garb dost seem to us
- a citizen of our corrupted town!”
- Alas, what wounds I saw upon their limbs,
- both old and recent, by the flames burnt in!
- It pains me still but to remember them.
- My Leader, giving heed to these their cries,
- turned his face round toward me, and said: “Now wait!
- To those men yonder courtesy is due;
- and, were not for the fire, which, arrow-like,
- the nature of the place shoots forth, I ’d say
- that haste were more becoming thee than them.”
- And they, when we had stopped, began again
- their old refrain; and after they had reached us,
- all three of them made of themselves a wheel.
- As champions oiled and nude are wont to do,
- when looking for an advantageous grip,
- before they come to giving blows and wounds;
- thus, as he wheeled, each turned his face toward me,
- so that his feet continuous journey made
- in opposite direction to his neck.
- And one began: “Even if the wretched nature
- of this soft place, and our burned, shrivelled faces
- bring us and our requests into contempt,
- still let our reputation bend thy mind
- to tell us who thou art, that dost so safely
- rub on the soil of Hell thy living feet.
- He, in whose footprints thou dost see me tread,
- was, though he go both nude and hairless now,
- of higher rank then thou believest him.
- He was the grandson of the good Gualdrada;
- his name was Guido Guerra, and when alive,
- his wisdom and his sword accomplished much.
- The other, who behind me treads the sand,
- Tegghiàio Aldobrandi is, whose voice
- should have been welcomed in the world above.
- And I, who with them am tormented here,
- Iàcopo Rusticucci was; and surely
- my shrewish wife than aught else hurts me more.”
- If I had been protected from the fire,
- I would have lept into their midst below,
- and I believe my Leader had allowed it.
- But since I should have burned and baked myself,
- fear was victorious over my good will,
- which made me eager to embrace them there.
- I then began: “Your state impressed within me
- not scorn, but so much pain, that only late
- will all of it entirely disappear,
- as soon as this my Lord said words to me,
- because of which I thought within myself
- that there were people coming such as you.
- Of your own town am I, and evermore
- have I your doings and your honored names
- related, and heard mentioned, with regard.
- I leave the gall, and for the sweet fruit go,
- which my veracious Leader promised me;
- but to the center must I first descend.”
- “So may thy spirit lead thy members long,”
- the former thereupon replied to me,
- “and, after thou art gone, thy fame be bright,
- tell me if courtesy and worth abide
- within our town, as they were wont to do,
- or whether they have wholly gone from it;
- for Guglielmo Borsierë, who but newly
- has been in pain with us, and with our mates
- goes yonder, grieves us greatly with his words.”
- “The people newly come, and sudden gains,
- have bred in thee such pride and such excess,
- that, Florence, thou art even now in pain!”
- Thus with uplifted face I cried; whereat
- the three, who this as answer understood,
- looked at each other, as one looks at truth.
- “If satisfying others other times
- cost thee so little, happy thou, that thus
- at thy sweet will dost speak!” they all replied.
- “Hence, — so mayst thou, from these dark places saved,
- return to see the lovely stars again, —
- when saying ‘I was there’ shall do thee good,
- see that thou tell the people about us.”
- They then broke up their wheel, and in their flight
- it seemed as if their nimble legs were wings.
- Amen could not have been as quickly said,
- as they then disappeared; my Teacher, therefore,
- thought it advisable for us to leave.
- I followed him, and not far had we gone,
- before the water’s noise was so near by,
- that, had we spoken, we had not been heard.
- And as the stream, which is the first that eastward
- from Monte Veso takes a separate course
- upon the left slope of the Apennines,
- and which above is Acquacheta called,
- before it flows into its lowly bed,
- and at Forlì is of that name deprived,
- booms loud, because of falling o’er a cliff
- above San Benedetto of the Alp,
- where for a thousand there should refuge be;
- even thus, as o’er a precipice it fell,
- we found that colored water roaring so,
- that very soon it would have hurt our ears.
- I had a cord around about me girt,
- wherewith I once had thought that I could capture
- the Leopard with the brightly colored hide.
- When from me I had wholly loosened it,
- even as my Leader had commanded me,
- I coiled it up and held it out to him.
- Thereat upon his right he turned around,
- and hurled it to some distance from the edge
- down into that profound and dark abyss.
- “Surely some strange new thing must needs reply”
- said I within myself, “to this strange signal,
- which with his eye my Teacher follows thus.”
- Ah, with what caution men should deal with those,
- who see not only what is done by others,
- but with their wisdom see into their thoughts!
- He said to me: “What I am waiting for,
- and what thy thought now dreams, will soon come up;
- soon to thy vision will it be revealed.”
- E’er to a truth that hath a falsehood’s face
- ought one to close his lips as best he can,
- for, though one faultless be, it brings him shame;
- but I can not suppress it here; hence, Reader,
- even by the verses of this Comedy,
- so may they not be void of lasting favor,
- I swear to thee, that through that coarse, dark air
- I saw a shape, which would have chilled with wonder
- however brave a heart, come swimming up,
- as he returns, who, going down at times
- to clear an anchor clinging to a reef,
- or aught else lying hidden in the sea,
- above extends, and draweth in below.