Front Page Titles (by Subject) INFERNO XXVI - The Divine Comedy, Vol. 1 (Inferno) (Bilingual edition)
INFERNO XXVI - 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).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
The Eighth Circle. Fraud
The Eighth Trench. Fraudulent Counselors
- Rejoice, O Florence, since thou art so great,
- that thou dost beat thy wings o’er sea and land,
- while ev’n through Hell thy name is spread abroad!
- Among the thieves five such as these I found,
- thy citizens, whence shame accrues to me,
- nor to great honor risest thou thereby.
- But if the truth be dreamed at dawn’s approach,
- thou ’lt feel a little while from now what Prato,
- of others not to speak, is craving for thee;
- and were it now, it would not be too soon;
- so were it, then, since thus it needs must be!
- for it will grieve me more, the more I age.
- We went away, and up the flight of stairs,
- the bournes had formed for our descent before,
- my Teacher climbed again, and drew me with him;
- and as we followed up the lonely path
- among the rocks and boulders of the crag,
- our feet proceeded not without our hands.
- I sorrowed then, and now again I sorrow,
- when I direct my mind to what I saw,
- and curb my genius more than I am wont,
- lest it should run when virtue guides it not;
- that, if a kindly star, or aught that’s better,
- have blest me, I myself may not regret it.
- As many glow-worms as the countryman, —
- who on the hillside takes his rest, when he,
- who lights the world, least hides his face from us,
- while to the gnat the fly is giving way, —
- sees down along the valley where, perchance,
- he gathers in his grapes, or ploughs his field;
- with just as many flames the whole eighth trench
- was gleaming bright, as I perceived at once,
- when I was where its bottom came in view.
- As he who by the bears avenged himself,
- beheld Elijah’s chariot when it left,
- and when to heaven its horses rose erect,
- since he could not so trace it with his eyes,
- as to see more than just the flame alone,
- when like a little cloud it rose on high;
- of such a nature were the flames that moved
- along the gulley of the ditch, for none
- displays its theft, though each a sinner hides.
- Risen up to look, I so stood on the bridge,
- that without being pushed I would have fallen,
- had I not grasped a great projecting rock.
- My Leader, who perceived me thus intent,
- then said: “The spirits are within the fires,
- and each is swathed by that wherewith he burns.”
- “My Teacher,” I replied, “I ’m more assured
- through hearing thee, but deemed it so already,
- and wished to ask thee: ‘Who is in the flame
- which comes along so cloven at the top,
- that from the pyre it seems to rise, whereon
- Etèocles was with his brother placed?’”
- He answered me: “Therein are both Ulysses
- and Diomed tormented, who in pain
- thus go together, as they did in wrath;
- and in that flame of theirs they now bewail
- the ambush of the horse, which made the gate,
- from which the Roman’s noble seed went forth;
- there they lament the trick, because of which
- Deidamìa, dead, still mourns Achilles;
- there the Palladium’s penalty is paid.”
- “If they can speak within those sparks,” said I,
- “I pray thee, Teacher, much, and pray again
- that mine be worth to thee a thousand prayers,
- refuse not my request to linger here
- until the horned flame come this way; thou see’st
- that toward it I ’m inclined by great desire.”
- And he replied to me: “Thy prayer deserves
- much praise and therefore I accede to it,
- but see thou that thy tongue restrain itself.
- Leave speech to me, who have a clear idea
- of what thou wouldst; for they, since Greeks they were,
- might be, perchance, disdainful of thy words.”
- After the flame had come so near to us,
- that time and place seemed fitting to my Leader,
- ’t was in this fashion that I heard him speak:
- “O ye that in a single flame are two,
- if I deserved of you, when still alive,
- if I deserved of you or much or little,
- when in the world I wrote the lofty verses,
- depart not; but let one of you inform us
- whither, when lost, he went away to die.”
- The greater horn then of the ancient flame
- began to quiver with a murmuring sound,
- as would a flame made weary by the wind;
- and then, while swaying here and there its tip,
- as if the latter were the tongue that spoke,
- gave forth a voice, and said: “When I departed
- from Circe, who concealed me near Gaeta
- more than a year before Aeneas so
- had named the place, nor fondness for my son,
- nor pious reverence for my agèd father,
- nor ev’n the bounden love which should have cheered
- Penelope, could overcome within me
- the eagerness I had to gain experience
- both of the world, and of the vice and worth
- of men; but forth I put upon the deep
- and open sea with but a single ship,
- and with that little company, by whom
- I had not been deserted. Both its shores
- I then beheld, as far away as Spain,
- Morocco and the island of the Sards,
- and all the rest that sea bathes round about.
- Both old and slow were I and my companions,
- when we attained that narrow passage-way,
- where Hercules set up those signs of his,
- which warned men not to sail beyond their bounds;
- Seville I left behind me on the right hand,
- Ceuta I’d left already on the other.
- And then I said: ‘O brothers, ye who now
- have through a hundred thousand perils reached
- the West, to this so short a waking-time
- still left your senses, will not to refuse
- experience of that world behind the sun
- which knows not man! Bethink you of the seed
- whence ye have sprung; for ye were not created
- to lead the life of stupid animals,
- but manliness and knowledge to pursue.’
- So eager for the voyage did I make
- my fellows by this little speech of mine,
- that, after it, I hardly could have checked them.
- Hence, to the morning having turned our stern,
- we with our oars made wings for our mad flight,
- e’er veering toward the left as on we sped.
- Night was already seeing all the stars
- of the other pole, and our pole so low down,
- that from the ocean’s floor it never rose.
- Five times rekindled, and as often quenched,
- had been the light beneath the moon, since first
- we entered on the passage of the deep,
- when lo, a mountain loomed before us, dim
- by reason of the distance, and so high
- it seemed to me, that I had seen none such.
- And we rejoiced; but soon our happiness
- was turned to grief; for from the new-found land
- a whirlwind rose, and smote our vessel’s prow;
- three times it made her whirl with all the waters;
- then at the fourth it made her stern go up,
- and prow go down, even as Another pleased,
- till over us the ocean’s waves had closed.”