Front Page Titles (by Subject) INFERNO XXVIII - The Divine Comedy, Vol. 1 (Inferno) (Bilingual edition)
INFERNO XXVIII - 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 Ninth Trench. Sowers of Discord
- Who ever could, ev’n with unfettered words,
- tell fully of the blood and of the wounds
- which now I saw, though oft he told the tale?
- All tongues would certainly fall short of it,
- by reason of our speech and of our mind,
- whose means are small for taking in so much.
- If all the people should again assemble,
- who on Apulia’s fortune-ravaged soil
- suffered of old from all the loss of blood
- shed by the Trojans, and in that long war,
- which with its spoil of rings made such high heaps,
- as Livy writes, who maketh no mistakes;
- with those who felt the painful force of blows
- received in waging war with Robert Guiscard,
- and those whose bones are still heaped up together
- at Ceperano, where a faithless liar
- was each Apulian, and near Tagliacozzo,
- where old Alardo won, though all unarmed;
- and if, of these, one showed a limb pierced through,
- and one a limb lopped off, ’t would all be nothing,
- compared with this ninth trench’s foul display.
- No cask, indeed, by loss of middle-board
- or stave, is opened as was one I saw,
- split from the chin to where one breaketh wind;
- while down between his legs his entrails hung,
- his pluck appeared, and that disgusting sack,
- which maketh excrement of what is swallowed.
- While I on seeing him was all intent,
- he looked at me, and opening with his hands
- his breast, he said: “See now how I am cloven!
- Behold how torn apart Mahomet is!
- Ali in tears moves on ahead of me,
- cloven in his face from forelock down to chin;
- and all the others whom thou seest here
- disseminators were, when still alive,
- of strife and schism, and hence are cloven thus.
- There is a devil here behind, who thus
- fiercely adorns, and to the sword’s edge puts
- each member of this company anew,
- when we have gone around the woeful road;
- because, ere one return in front of him,
- the wounds thus made have all been closed again.
- But who art thou, that musest on the crag,
- perhaps to put off going to the torture
- adjudged thine accusation of thyself?”
- “Death hath not reached him yet,” replied my Teacher,
- “nor to a torment is he led by guilt,
- but that complete experience may be giv’n him,
- I, who am dead, must needs conduct him here
- from circle unto circle down through Hell;
- and this is true, as that I speak to thee.”
- On hearing him, more were there than a hundred
- who stopped there in the ditch to look at me,
- and who through their surprise forgot their pain.
- “To Fra Dolcino do thou therefore say,
- thou that, perhaps, wilt shortly see the sun,
- if soon he would not hither follow me,
- to arm him so with food, lest stress of snow
- should give the Novarese a victory,
- which else would not be easily obtained.”
- When one foot he had raised to go away,
- Mahomet said these words to me; which done,
- upon the ground he stretched it to depart.
- Another then, who had his neck pierced through,
- his nose cut off as far as ’neath his brows,
- and who had one ear only, having stopped
- to gaze in wonder with the others there,
- opened, before the rest, his throat, whose neck
- vermilion was on every side, and said:
- “O thou that by thy guilt art not condemned,
- and whom up in the Latin land I ’ve seen,
- unless too great resemblance play me false,
- call Pier da Medicina to thy mind,
- if e’er thou see again the lovely plain,
- which from Vercelli slopes to Marcabò.
- And make it known to Fano’s two best men,
- to Messer Guido and Angiolello, too,
- that they, unless foreseeing be in vain
- down here, will from their vessel be cast forth,
- and drowned in sacks near La Cattòlica,
- through a disloyal tyrant’s treachery.
- Between the isles Majolica and Cyprus
- Neptune ne’er saw so great a crime committed
- by pirates, nay, nor by the Argolic folk.
- That traitor who sees only with one eye,
- and holds the town, from seeing which, one now
- is with me here, who fain would fasting be,
- will to a conference have them come with him;
- he ’ll then so act, that ’gainst Focara’s wind
- they ’ll stand in need of neither vow nor prayer.”
- And I to him: “Point out and show to me,
- if news of thee thou ’dst have me bear above,
- which is the one who had the bitter sight.”
- Thereat he laid his hand upon the jaw
- of one of his companions, oped his mouth,
- and cried: “This is the one, for he speaks not;
- when exiled, he removed all doubt in Caesar,
- by saying that a man, when once prepared,
- ne’er brooked delay but to his detriment.”
- Oh, how dismayed that Curio seemed to me,
- who from his throat now had his tongue cut out,
- yet once had been so daring in his speech!
- Then one, from whom both hands had been lopped off,
- raising his maimed arms through the gloomy air,
- so that his blood befouled his face, cried out:
- “Mosca will thou remember, too, who said,
- alas! ‘What ’s done is done!’ a speech which proved
- the seed of evil for the Tuscan race.”
- “And death” I thereto added, “to thy tribe!”
- Then he, as woe on woe he heaped, went off,
- as one would whom his grief had made insane.
- But I remained to look upon the throng,
- and such a thing I saw as I should be
- afraid to tell of without further proof;
- if it were not that conscience reassures me,
- the good companion which, beneath the breastplate
- of conscious purity, emboldens man.
- I really saw, and still I seem to see it,
- a trunk without a head, which moved along,
- as moved the others of the mournful herd;
- and by the hair it held the severed head,
- which, hanging like a lantern from its hand,
- was saying as it gazed at us: “O me!”
- With his own self he made himself a lamp,
- and two in one they were, and one in two;
- how this can be, He knows who so ordains.
- When at the bridge’s very foot he was,
- he raised his arm above him, head and all,
- that he might thus bring near to us his words,
- which were: “Now see my baneful punishment,
- thou that, though breathing, go’st to see the dead!
- See whether any be as great as this!
- And that thou with thee mayst bear news of me,
- know that Bertran de Born I am, the man
- who gave the youthful king the ill support.
- Of sire and son I mutual rebels made;
- Ahithophel by Absalom and David,
- with his malicious goadings, did no more.
- Because I severed those who thus were joined,
- I bear my brain around with me, alas!
- severed from its foundation in this trunk;
- retaliation thus is seen in me.”