Inferno - Dante Alighieri - ebook
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Thirty five years old Dante is lost in a dark wood, assailed by beasts he cannot evade. Dante is rescued by Virgil, and the two of them begin their journey to the underworld where each sin's punishment is a contrapasso, a symbolic instance of poetic justice. Inferno is the first book in the Dante's Divine Comedy trilogy. Dante's Inferno is the original work which inspired Dan Brown's Inferno novel, EA's computer game Dante's Inferno and an animated epic Dante's Inferno.

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Dante Alighieri

INFERNO

DIVINE COMEDY VOL. 1

LONDON ∙ NEW YORK ∙ TORONTO ∙ SAO PAULO ∙ MOSCOW

PARIS ∙ MADRID ∙ BERLIN ∙ ROME ∙ MEXICO CITY ∙ MUMBAI ∙ SEOUL ∙ DOHA

TOKYO ∙ SYDNEY ∙ CAPE TOWN ∙ AUCKLAND ∙ BEIJING

New Edition, World Classics, Epic

Published by Sovereign

An imprint of Max Bollinger

27 Old Gloucester St,

London WC1N 3AX

[email protected]

www.interactive.eu.com

This Edition

First published in 2013

Author: Dante Alighieri

Editor: Max Bollinger

Translator: H. F. Cary

Copyright © 2013 Sovereign

Cover design and artwork © 2013 urban-pic.co.uk

All Rights Reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.

The greatest care has been taken in compiling this book. However, no responsibility can be accepted by the publishers or compilers for the accuracy of the information presented.

British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data.

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

Library of Congress Cataloguing in Publication Data.

A catalogue record for this book has been requested.

ISBN: 9781909904002 (pbk)

ISBN: 9781909904019 (ebk)

Bref: INF-03

Contents

CANTO I

CANTO II

CANTO III

CANTO IV

CANTO V

CANTO VI

CANTO VII

CANTO VIII

CANTO IX

CANTO X

CANTO XI

CANTO XII

CANTO XIII

CANTO XIV

CANTO XV

CANTO XVI

CANTO XVII

CANTO XVIII

CANTO XIX

CANTO XX

CANTO XXI

CANTO XXII

CANTO XXIII

CANTO XXIV

CANTO XXV

CANTO XXVI

CANTO XVII

CANTO XXVIII

CANTO XXIX

CANTO XXX

CANTO XXXI

CANTO XXXII

CANTO XXXIII

CANTO XXXIV

THE DIVINE COMEDY

CANTO I

IN the midway of this our mortal life,

I found me in a gloomy wood, astray

Gone from the path direct: and e’en to tell

It were no easy task, how savage wild

That forest, how robust and rough its growth,

Which to remember only, my dismay

Renews, in bitterness not far from death.

Yet to discourse of what there good befell,

All else will I relate discover’d there.

How first I enter’d it I scarce can say,

Such sleepy dullness in that instant weigh’d

My senses down, when the true path I left,

But when a mountain’s foot I reach’d, where clos’d

The valley, that had pierc’d my heart with dread,

I look’d aloft, and saw his shoulders broad

Already vested with that planet’s beam,

Who leads all wanderers safe through every way.

Then was a little respite to the fear,

That in my heart’s recesses deep had lain,

All of that night, so pitifully pass’d:

And as a man, with difficult short breath,

Forespent with toiling, ‘scap’d from sea to shore,

Turns to the perilous wide waste, and stands

At gaze; e’en so my spirit, that yet fail’d

Struggling with terror, turn’d to view the straits,

That none hath pass’d and liv’d. My weary frame

After short pause recomforted, again

I journey’d on over that lonely steep,

The hinder foot still firmer. Scarce the ascent

Began, when, lo! a panther, nimble, light,

And cover’d with a speckled skin, appear’d,

Nor, when it saw me, vanish’d, rather strove

To check my onward going; that ofttimes

With purpose to retrace my steps I turn’d.

The hour was morning’s prime, and on his way

Aloft the sun ascended with those stars,

That with him rose, when Love divine first mov’d

Those its fair works: so that with joyous hope

All things conspir’d to fill me, the gay skin

Of that swift animal, the matin dawn

And the sweet season. Soon that joy was chas’d,

And by new dread succeeded, when in view

A lion came, ‘gainst me, as it appear’d,

With his head held aloft and hunger-mad,

That e’en the air was fear-struck. A she-wolf

Was at his heels, who in her leanness seem’d

Full of all wants, and many a land hath made

Disconsolate ere now. She with such fear

O’erwhelmed me, at the sight of her appall’d,

That of the height all hope I lost. As one,

Who with his gain elated, sees the time

When all unwares is gone, he inwardly

Mourns with heart-griping anguish; such was I,

Haunted by that fell beast, never at peace,

Who coming o’er against me, by degrees

Impell’d me where the sun in silence rests.

While to the lower space with backward step

I fell, my ken discern’d the form one of one,

Whose voice seem’d faint through long disuse of speech.

When him in that great desert I espied,

“Have mercy on me!” cried I out aloud,

“Spirit! or living man! what e’er thou be!”

He answer’d: “Now not man, man once I was,

And born of Lombard parents, Mantuana both

By country, when the power of Julius yet

Was scarcely firm. At Rome my life was past

Beneath the mild Augustus, in the time

Of fabled deities and false. A bard

Was I, and made Anchises’ upright son

The subject of my song, who came from Troy,

When the flames prey’d on Ilium’s haughty towers.

But thou, say wherefore to such perils past

Return’st thou? wherefore not this pleasant mount

Ascendest, cause and source of all delight?”

“And art thou then that Virgil, that well-spring,

From which such copious floods of eloquence

Have issued?” I with front abash’d replied.

“Glory and light of all the tuneful train!

May it avail me that I long with zeal

Have sought thy volume, and with love immense

Have conn’d it o’er. My master thou and guide!

Thou he from whom alone I have deriv’d

That style, which for its beauty into fame

Exalts me. See the beast, from whom I fled.

O save me from her, thou illustrious sage!

“For every vein and pulse throughout my frame

She hath made tremble.” He, soon as he saw

That I was weeping, answer’d, “Thou must needs

Another way pursue, if thou wouldst ‘scape

From out that savage wilderness. This beast,

At whom thou criest, her way will suffer none

To pass, and no less hindrance makes than death:

So bad and so accursed in her kind,

That never sated is her ravenous will,

Still after food more craving than before.

To many an animal in wedlock vile

She fastens, and shall yet to many more,

Until that greyhound come, who shall destroy

Her with sharp pain. He will not life support

By earth nor its base metals, but by love,

Wisdom, and virtue, and his land shall be

The land ‘twixt either Feltro. In his might

Shall safety to Italia’s plains arise,

For whose fair realm, Camilla, virgin pure,

Nisus, Euryalus, and Turnus fell.

He with incessant chase through every town

Shall worry, until he to hell at length

Restore her, thence by envy first let loose.

I for thy profit pond’ring now devise,

That thou mayst follow me, and I thy guide

Will lead thee hence through an eternal space,

Where thou shalt hear despairing shrieks, and see

Spirits of old tormented, who invoke

A second death; and those next view, who dwell

Content in fire, for that they hope to come,

Whene’er the time may be, among the blest,

Into whose regions if thou then desire

T’ ascend, a spirit worthier then I

Must lead thee, in whose charge, when I depart,

Thou shalt be left: for that Almighty King,

Who reigns above, a rebel to his law,

Adjudges me, and therefore hath decreed,

That to his city none through me should come.

He in all parts hath sway; there rules, there holds

His citadel and throne. O happy those,

Whom there he chooses!” I to him in few:

“Bard! by that God, whom thou didst not adore,

I do beseech thee (that this ill and worse

I may escape) to lead me, where thou saidst,

That I Saint Peter’s gate may view, and those

Who as thou tell’st, are in such dismal plight.”

Onward he mov’d, I close his steps pursu’d.

CANTO II

NOW was the day departing, and the air,

Imbrown’d with shadows, from their toils releas’d

All animals on earth; and I alone

Prepar’d myself the conflict to sustain,

Both of sad pity, and that perilous road,

Which my unerring memory shall retrace.

O Muses! O high genius! now vouchsafe

Your aid! O mind! that all I saw hast kept

Safe in a written record, here thy worth

And eminent endowments come to proof.

I thus began: “Bard! thou who art my guide,

Consider well, if virtue be in me

Sufficient, ere to this high enterprise

Thou trust me. Thou hast told that Silvius’ sire,

Yet cloth’d in corruptible flesh, among

Th’ immortal tribes had entrance, and was there

Sensible present. Yet if heaven’s great Lord,

Almighty foe to ill, such favour shew’d,

In contemplation of the high effect,

Both what and who from him should issue forth,

It seems in reason’s judgment well deserv’d:

Sith he of Rome, and of Rome’s empire wide,

In heaven’s empyreal height was chosen sire:

Both which, if truth be spoken, were ordain’d

And ‘stablish’d for the holy place, where sits

Who to great Peter’s sacred chair succeeds.

He from this journey, in thy song renown’d,

Learn’d things, that to his victory gave rise

And to the papal robe. In after-times

The chosen vessel also travel’d there,

To bring us back assurance in that faith,

Which is the entrance to salvation’s way.

But I, why should I there presume? or who

Permits it? not, Aeneas I nor Paul.

Myself I deem not worthy, and none else

Will deem me. I, if on this voyage then

I venture, fear it will in folly end.

Thou, who art wise, better my meaning know’st,

Than I can speak.” As one, who unresolves

What he hath late resolv’d, and with new thoughts

Changes his purpose, from his first intent

Remov’d; e’en such was I on that dun coast,

Wasting in thought my enterprise, at first

So eagerly embrac’d. “If right thy words

I scan,” replied that shade magnanimous,

“Thy soul is by vile fear assail’d, which oft

So overcasts a man, that he recoils

From noblest resolution, like a beast

At some false semblance in the twilight gloom.

That from this terror thou mayst free thyself,

I will instruct thee why I came, and what

I heard in that same instant, when for thee

Grief touch’d me first. I was among the tribe,

Who rest suspended, when a dame, so blest

And lovely, I besought her to command,

Call’d me; her eyes were brighter than the star

Of day; and she with gentle voice and soft

Angelically tun’d her speech address’d:

“O courteous shade of Mantua! thou whose fame

Yet lives, and shall live long as nature lasts!

A friend, not of my fortune but myself,

On the wide desert in his road has met

Hindrance so great, that he through fear has turn’d.

Now much I dread lest he past help have stray’d,

And I be ris’n too late for his relief,

From what in heaven of him I heard. Speed now,

And by thy eloquent persuasive tongue,

And by all means for his deliverance meet,

Assist him. So to me will comfort spring.

I who now bid thee on this errand forth

Am Beatrice; from a place I come.

Revisited with joy. Love brought me thence,

Who prompts my speech. When in my Master’s sight

I stand, thy praise to him I oft will tell.”

She then was silent, and I thus began:

“O Lady! by whose influence alone,

Mankind excels whatever is contain’d

Within that heaven which hath the smallest orb,

So thy command delights me, that to obey,

If it were done already, would seem late.

No need hast thou farther to speak thy will;

Yet tell the reason, why thou art not loth

To leave that ample space, where to return

Thou burnest, for this centre here beneath.”

She then: “Since thou so deeply wouldst inquire,

I will instruct thee briefly, why no dread

Hinders my entrance here. Those things alone

Are to be fear’d, whence evil may proceed,

None else, for none are terrible beside.

I am so fram’d by God, thanks to his grace!

That any suff’rance of your misery

Touches me not, nor flame of that fierce fire

Assails me. In high heaven a blessed dame

Besides, who mourns with such effectual grief

That hindrance, which I send thee to remove,

That God’s stern judgment to her will inclines.”

To Lucia calling, her she thus bespake:

“Now doth thy faithful servant need thy aid

And I commend him to thee.” At her word

Sped Lucia, of all cruelty the foe,

And coming to the place, where I abode

Seated with Rachel, her of ancient days,

She thus address’d me: “Thou true praise of God!

Beatrice! why is not thy succour lent

To him, who so much lov’d thee, as to leave

For thy sake all the multitude admires?

Dost thou not hear how pitiful his wail,

Nor mark the death, which in the torrent flood,

Swoln mightier than a sea, him struggling holds?”

Ne’er among men did any with such speed

Haste to their profit, flee from their annoy,

As when these words were spoken, I came here,

Down from my blessed seat, trusting the force

Of thy pure eloquence, which thee, and all

Who well have mark’d it, into honour brings.”

“When she had ended, her bright beaming eyes

Tearful she turn’d aside; whereat I felt

Redoubled zeal to serve thee. As she will’d,

Thus am I come: I sav’d thee from the beast,

Who thy near way across the goodly mount

Prevented. What is this comes o’er thee then?

Why, why dost thou hang back? why in thy breast

Harbour vile fear? why hast not courage there

And noble daring? Since three maids so blest

Thy safety plan, e’en in the court of heaven;

And so much certain good my words forebode.”

As florets, by the frosty air of night

Bent down and clos’d, when day has blanch’d their leaves,

Rise all unfolded on their spiry stems;

So was my fainting vigour new restor’d,

And to my heart such kindly courage ran,

That I as one undaunted soon replied:

“O full of pity she, who undertook

My succour! and thou kind who didst perform

So soon her true behest! With such desire

Thou hast dispos’d me to renew my voyage,

That my first purpose fully is resum’d.

Lead on: one only will is in us both.

Thou art my guide, my master thou, and lord.”

So spake I; and when he had onward mov’d,

I enter’d on the deep and woody way.

CANTO III

“THROUGH me you pass into the city of woe:

Through me you pass into eternal pain:

Through me among the people lost for aye.

Justice the founder of my fabric mov’d:

To rear me was the task of power divine,

Supremest wisdom, and primeval love.

Before me things create were none, save things

Eternal, and eternal I endure.

“All hope abandon ye who enter here.”

Such characters in colour dim I mark’d

Over a portal’s lofty arch inscrib’d:

Whereat I thus: “Master, these words import

Hard meaning.” He as one prepar’d replied:

“Here thou must all distrust behind thee leave;

Here be vile fear extinguish’d. We are come

Where I have told thee we shall see the souls

To misery doom’d, who intellectual good

Have lost.” And when his hand he had stretch’d forth

To mine, with pleasant looks, whence I was cheer’d,

Into that secret place he led me on.

Here sighs with lamentations and loud moans

Resounded through the air pierc’d by no star,

That e’en I wept at entering. Various tongues,

Horrible languages, outcries of woe,

Accents of anger, voices deep and hoarse,

With hands together smote that swell’d the sounds,

Made up a tumult, that for ever whirls

Round through that air with solid darkness stain’d,

Like to the sand that in the whirlwind flies.

I then, with error yet encompass’d, cried:

“O master! What is this I hear? What race

Are these, who seem so overcome with woe?”

He thus to me: “This miserable fate

Suffer the wretched souls of those, who liv’d

Without or praise or blame, with that ill band

Of angels mix’d, who nor rebellious prov’d

Nor yet were true to God, but for themselves

Were only. From his bounds Heaven drove them forth,

Not to impair his lustre, nor the depth

Of Hell receives them, lest th’ accursed tribe

Should glory thence with exultation vain.”

I then: “Master! what doth aggrieve them thus,

That they lament so loud?” He straight replied:

“That will I tell thee briefly. These of death

No hope may entertain: and their blind life

So meanly passes, that all other lots

They envy. Fame of them the world hath none,

Nor suffers; mercy and justice scorn them both.

Speak not of them, but look, and pass them by.”

And I, who straightway look’d, beheld a flag,

Which whirling ran around so rapidly,

That it no pause obtain’d: and following came

Such a long train of spirits, I should ne’er

Have thought, that death so many had despoil’d.

When some of these I recogniz’d, I saw

And knew the shade of him, who to base fear

Yielding, abjur’d his high estate. Forthwith

I understood for certain this the tribe

Of those ill spirits both to God displeasing

And to his foes. These wretches, who ne’er lived,

Went on in nakedness, and sorely stung

By wasps and hornets, which bedew’d their cheeks

With blood, that mix’d with tears dropp’d to their feet,

And by disgustful worms was gather’d there.

Then looking farther onwards I beheld

A throng upon the shore of a great stream:

Whereat I thus: “Sir! grant me now to know

Whom here we view, and whence impell’d they seem

So eager to pass o’er, as I discern

Through the blear light?” He thus to me in few:

“This shalt thou know, soon as our steps arrive

Beside the woeful tide of Acheron.”

Then with eyes downward cast and fill’d with shame,

Fearing my words offensive to his ear,

Till we had reach’d the river, I from speech

Abstain’d. And lo! toward us in a bark

Comes on an old man hoary white with eld,

Crying, “Woe to you wicked spirits! hope not

Ever to see the sky again. I come

To take you to the other shore across,

Into eternal darkness, there to dwell

In fierce heat and in ice. And thou, who there

Standest, live spirit! get thee hence, and leave

These who are dead.” But soon as he beheld

I left them not, “By other way,” said he,

“By other haven shalt thou come to shore,

Not by this passage; thee a nimbler boat

Must carry.” Then to him thus spake my guide:

“Charon! thyself torment not: so ‘t is will’d,

Where will and power are one: ask thou no more.”

Straightway in silence fell the shaggy cheeks

Of him the boatman o’er the livid lake,

Around whose eyes glar’d wheeling flames. Meanwhile

Those spirits, faint and naked, color chang’d,

And gnash’d their teeth, soon as the cruel words

They heard. God and their parents they blasphem’d,

The human kind, the place, the time, and seed

That did engender them and give them birth.

Then all together sorely wailing drew

To the curs’d strand, that every man must pass

Who fears not God. Charon, demoniac form,

With eyes of burning coal, collects them all,

Beck’ning, and each, that lingers, with his oar

Strikes. As fall off the light autumnal leaves,

One still another following, till the bough

Strews all its honours on the earth beneath;

E’en in like manner Adam’s evil brood

Cast themselves one by one down from the shore,

Each at a beck, as falcon at his call.

Thus go they over through the umber’d wave,

And ever they on the opposing bank

Be landed, on this side another throng

Still gathers. “Son,” thus spake the courteous guide,

“Those, who die subject to the wrath of God,

All here together come from every clime,

And to o’erpass the river are not loth:

For so heaven’s justice goads them on, that fear

Is turn’d into desire. Hence ne’er hath past

Good spirit. If of thee Charon complain,

Now mayst thou know the import of his words.”

This said, the gloomy region trembling shook

So terribly, that yet with clammy dews

Fear chills my brow. The sad earth gave a blast,

That, lightening, shot forth a vermilion flame,

Which all my senses conquer’d quite, and I

Down dropp’d, as one with sudden slumber seiz’d.

CANTO IV

BROKE the deep slumber in my brain a crash

Of heavy thunder, that I shook myself,

As one by main force rous’d. Risen upright,

My rested eyes I mov’d around, and search’d

With fixed ken to know what place it was,

Wherein I stood. For certain on the brink

I found me of the lamentable vale,

The dread abyss, that joins a thund’rous sound

Of plaints innumerable. Dark and deep,

And thick with clouds o’erspread, mine eye in vain

Explor’d its bottom, nor could aught discern.

“Now let us to the blind world there beneath

Descend;” the bard began all pale of look:

“I go the first, and thou shalt follow next.”

Then I his alter’d hue perceiving, thus:

“How may I speed, if thou yieldest to dread,

Who still art wont to comfort me in doubt?”

He then: “The anguish of that race below

With pity stains my cheek, which thou for fear

Mistakest. Let us on. Our length of way

Urges to haste.” Onward, this said, he mov’d;

And ent’ring led me with him on the bounds

Of the first circle, that surrounds th’ abyss.

Here, as mine ear could note, no plaint was heard

Except of sighs, that made th’ eternal air

Tremble, not caus’d by tortures, but from grief

Felt by those multitudes, many and vast,

Of men, women, and infants. Then to me

The gentle guide: “Inquir’st thou not what spirits