Front Page Titles (by Subject) INFERNO XIX - The Divine Comedy, Vol. 1 (Inferno) (Bilingual edition)
INFERNO XIX - 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 Eighth Circle. Fraud
The Third Trench. Simoniacs
- O Simon Magus, O his wretched followers,
- since ye the things of God, which ought to be
- the brides of righteousness, rapaciously
- adulterate for silver and for gold;
- it now behooves the trumpet sound for you,
- for in the third great trench your station is!
- We now had climbed the next tomb-spanning bridge,
- and were on that part of the crag, which hangs
- directly o’er the middle of the trench.
- Wisdom Supreme, how great the art thou showest
- in Heaven, on earth, and in the evil world!
- How justly, too, thy virtue makes awards!
- I saw that on its sloping sides and bottom
- the livid-colored stone was full of holes,
- all of one width, while each of them was round.
- Nor less nor more wide did they seem to me,
- than those which in my beautiful Saint John’s
- are made as places for baptizing priests;
- and one of which, not many years ago,
- I broke, to save one who was choking in it;
- be this a witness undeceiving all!
- Out of the mouth of each a sinner’s feet
- protruded, and, as far as to the calf,
- his legs; the rest of him remained within.
- The soles of all were, both of them, on fire;
- because of which their joints so strongly twitched,
- they would have snapped green twigs and cords of grass.
- And as a flame on oily things is wont
- to move along the outer surface only;
- so likewise was it there from heels to toes.
- “Who, Teacher, is he yonder, who is tortured
- by twitching more than all the rest, his mates,”
- said I, “and whom a redder flame is sucking?”
- And he to me: “If thou wouldst have me bear thee
- down yonder bank which lowest lies, from him
- thou ’lt know both of himself and of his sins.”
- And I: “What pleases thee I like; my lord
- thou art, and that I part not from thy will
- thou knowst, as also what is left unsaid.”
- We then upon the fourth embankment came,
- and, turning round, descended on our left
- into that narrow bottom pierced with holes;
- nor yet did my good Teacher set me down
- from off his back, but brought me to the hole
- of him who grieved so sorely with his shank.
- “Whoe’er thou art, sad soul, that holdest down
- thine upper portion, planted like a stake,”
- I then began, “say something, if thou canst.”
- I there was like a friar that confesses
- a base assassin, who, on being planted,
- calls him again, that death may be delayed.
- And he cried out: “Dost thou stand there already,
- dost thou stand there already, Boniface?
- By several years the writing lied to me.
- Art thou so quickly sated with the wealth,
- for which thou didst not fear to seize by fraud,
- and outrage next, the Lady beautiful?”
- Even such did I become, as those are, who,
- not understanding what is answered them,
- deem themselves mocked, and think of no reply.
- Then Virgil said: “Tell him immediately:
- ‘I ’m not the one, I ’m not the one thou thinkest!’”
- And I replied to him as I was bidden.
- Whereat the spirit writhed with both his feet;
- then, sighing, and with weeping voice, he said:
- “What is it, then, that thou dost ask of me?
- If to know who I am concern thee so,
- that for it thou hast crossed the bank; know, then,
- that I was with the mighty Mantle clothed;
- and verily the she-Bear’s son was I,
- so eager to advance the cubs, that wealth
- I pocketed up there, and here myself.
- The others, who in working simony
- preceded me, are gathered ’neath my head,
- flattened between the fissures of the rock.
- I, in like manner, shall down yonder fall,
- when he arrives, whom I believed thou wast,
- when I of thee the sudden question asked.
- But now already longer is the time,
- that I, thus up-side down, have cooked my feet,
- than he will planted stay with ruddy soles;
- for after him shall come from westward lands
- a lawless shepherd of still uglier deed,
- and fit to cover him and me. Renewed
- shall Jason be, of whom in Maccabees
- one reads; and as to that one his king yielded,
- even so who governs France shall yield to this.”
- I know not whether I was here too bold,
- in that I answered him in this strain only:
- “Now tell me, pray, how great the treasure was,
- our Lord demanded of Saint Peter first,
- before He placed the Keys in his control?
- Surely he asked for naught but ‘Follow me.’
- Nor yet did Peter or the rest take gold
- or silver from Matthias, when by lot
- he took the place the guilty soul had lost.
- Therefore keep still, for thou art rightly punished;
- and take good care of that ill-gotten wealth,
- which caused thee to be valiant against Charles.
- And were it not for this, that I am still
- forbidden by reverence for the Keys supreme
- thou hadst in keeping in the joyful life,
- words of still greater weight would I employ;
- because your greed, by trampling on the good
- and raising the depraved, afflicts the world.
- The Evangelist was thinking of your shepherds,
- when she, who on the waters hath her seat,
- was seen by him to fornicate with kings;
- the one who with the seven heads was born,
- and from the ten horns her support received,
- while virtue still was pleasing to her spouse.
- Ye’ ve made yourselves a god of gold and silver;
- and from idolaters how differ ye,
- save that they worship one, and ye a hundred?
- Ah, Constantine, of how much ill was mother,
- not thy conversion, but the dower-gift
- the earliest wealthy Father took from thee!”
- While I was singing him such notes as these,
- he, whether it were wrath or conscience bit him,
- was fiercely kicking out with both his feet.
- I verily believe it pleased my Leader,
- he heeded with so glad a look throughout
- the utterance of those true, clear words of mine.
- He therefore took me up with both his arms,
- and when he had me wholly on his breast,
- he climbed again the path down which he came;
- nor tired of holding me in his embrace,
- but bore me to the summit of the arch,
- which crosses from the fourth bank to the fifth.
- When there, he gently set his burden down,
- gently, because that crag was rough and steep,
- and would be difficult for goats to cross;
- from thence another trench was shown to me.