Front Page Titles (by Subject) INFERNO XX - The Divine Comedy, Vol. 1 (Inferno) (Bilingual edition)
INFERNO XX - 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 Fourth Trench. Diviners and Soothsayers
- About strange punishments must I make verses,
- and furnish matter for the twentieth song
- of this first lay, which treats of those submerged.
- Already had I wholly given myself
- to looking down at its uncovered bottom,
- which with the tears of agony was bathed;
- when people in the great round trench I saw
- come weeping silently, and at the pace,
- at which in this world litanies advance.
- Then, as my sight fell on them lower down,
- wondrously twisted each of them appeared
- between the chin and where the chest begins;
- for toward his loins his face was turned around,
- and backward it behooved him to advance,
- because of foresight they had been deprived.
- By palsy some, perhaps, may thus have been
- entirely turned around, but I ’ve not seen it,
- nor do I think there ever was one such.
- So may God let thee, Reader, gather fruit
- from this thy reading, think now for thyself
- how I could ever keep my own face dry,
- when at close range I saw our human image
- so twisted, that the weeping of the eyes
- along the fissure bathed the back. Indeed,
- as on a rock of that hard crag I leaned,
- I wept so, that my Escort said to me:
- “Art thou still foolish as the others are?
- Here liveth piety when wholly dead
- is pity. Who, then, guiltier is than he
- who lets his feelings judge Divine Decrees?
- Lift, lift thy head, and see the man for whom,
- before the Trojans’ eyes, the earth was opened!
- whence all cried: ‘Whither art thou rushing now,
- Amphiaràus? Why quittest thou the war?’
- and he ceased not from plunging headlong down
- to Minos, who lays hold on every one.
- See how he makes a bosom of his shoulders;
- because he wished to see too far ahead,
- he looks behind, and backward goes his way.
- Behold Tiresias there, who changed his looks,
- when female he became, from being male,
- his members being each and all transformed;
- and afterward he needs must strike again
- the two entwining serpents with his rod,
- ere he the plumage of a male regained.
- He who to that one’s belly turns his back,
- is Aruns, who in Luni’s mountain quarries,
- where toils the Carrarese who dwells below,
- among white marbles had as dwelling-place
- a cave, from which his view was not cut off,
- when at the stars he gazed, or at the sea.
- And she who, yonder, with dishevelled locks
- covers the breasts which thou dost not behold,
- and has on that side all her hairy skin,
- was Manto, who first searched through many lands,
- then settled in the place where I was born;
- thereof I ’d have thee hear me speak a little.
- After her father had from life departed,
- and Bacchus’ city had become enslaved,
- she wandered long about the world. Up there
- in lovely Italy, beneath the Alps
- which o’er the Tyrol lock out Germany,
- there lies a lake which is Benàco called.
- From o’er a thousand springs, I trow, ’tween Garda
- and Val Camònica, the Pennine Alp
- is bathed by waters which therein find rest.
- A midway place there is, where Trento’s shepherd,
- and he of Brescia, and the Veronese,
- might each his blessing give, if there he went.
- Peschiera next, a fair and mighty fortress,
- and fit to face both Bergamasks and Brescians,
- sits where the shore lies lowest round about.
- There all that in Benàco’s spacious lap
- cannot be held, flows out of it perforce,
- and down through verdant pastures forms a stream.
- When once its water gathers head to run,
- no more Benàco, Mincio is its name,
- till at Govèrnolo it joins the Po.
- Not long its course, before it finds low ground,
- o’er which it spreads, and, making it a marsh,
- is wont at times to be unsound in summer.
- Passing that way, the cruel virgin saw
- a region in the middle of the fen,
- untilled and naked of inhabitants.
- There, to escape all human fellowship,
- and work her arts, she settled with her slaves,
- and lived, and there she left her empty body.
- Thereafter men, who all around were scattered,
- collected in that place, which was a strong one,
- because it had a fen on every side.
- O’er those dead bones of hers they built a town;
- then, after her, who first picked out the site,
- they called it Mantua, with no other lot.
- The people in it were more numerous once,
- before the foolishness of Casalodi
- had been deceived by Pinamonte’s guile.
- I charge thee, then, if e’er thou hear it said
- my town had its beginning otherwise,
- permit no falsehood to defraud the truth.”
- “Thy statements, Teacher, are so sure to me,”
- said I, “and take such hold upon my faith,
- that those of others would be burnt-out coals.
- But tell me if among these passing people
- thou seest any one deserving note;
- for my mind now is wholly bent on that.”
- He told me then: “The one who from his cheeks
- extends his beard across his swarthy shoulders,
- an augur was, when Greece lacked males so much,
- that for her cradles only few were left;
- ’t was he who set, with Chalcas’ aid, at Aulis
- the time to cut the fleet’s first rope. His name
- Eurỳpylus, and in a certain place
- he thus is called by my high Tragedy;
- this thou know’st well, who knowest all of it.
- That other one, so thin about his flanks,
- was Michael Scot, who surely understood
- the artful game of magical deceits.
- Guido Bonatti see; and see Asdente,
- who wishes now that he had given heed
- to cord and leather, but too late repents.
- See the sad women who abandoned needles,
- spindles and shuttles, to become diviners;
- these wrought their spells with herbs and images.
- But now come on, for Cain is with his thorns
- holding the bounds of both the hemispheres,
- and plays upon the waves below Seville,
- and round already was the moon last night;
- thou surely must recall it, since at times,
- it harmed thee not, when in the dark wood’s depths.”
- Thus he to me, as, meanwhile, on we went.