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The slimy pool we pass.” As one who hears
While we our course o'er the dead channel held. 30 One drench'd in mire before me came, and said ; “ Who art thou, that thou comest ere thine hour ?”
I answer’d: “Though I come, I tarry not. But who art thou, that art become so foul ?
“One, as thou seest, who mourn :” he straight replied.
To which I thus: “In mourning and in woe, 36 Curs’d spirit! tarry thou. I know thee well, E'en thus in filth disguis'd." Then stretch'd he forth Hands to the bark; whereof my teacher sage Aware, thrusting himn back: “Away! down there 40 To the other dogs !” then, with his arms my neck Encircling, kiss'd my cheek, and spake: “O soul Justly disdainful! blest was she in whom Thou was conceiv'd! He in the world was one For arrogance noted; to his memory
45 No virtue lends its lustre; even so Here is his shadow furious. There above How many now hold themselves mighty kings Who here like swine shall wallow in the mire, Leaving behind them horrible dispraise !”
50 I then : “ Master ! him fain would I behold Whelm'd in these dregs, before we quit the lake."
He thus : “ Or ever to thy view the shore Be offer’d, satisfied shall be that wish, Which well deserves completion.” Scarce his words 55 Were ended, when I saw the miry tribes Set on him with such violence, that yet For that render I thanks to God and praise. “To Filippo Argenti:" cried they all : And on himself the moody Florentine
Turn’d his avenging fangs. IIim here we left,
And thus the good instructor : “Now, my son! 65
I thus : “ The minarets already, Sir! There certes in the valley I descry, Gleaming vermilion, as if they from fire
70 Had issu’d.” He replied : “Eternal fire, That inward burns, shows them with ruddy flame Illum’d; as in this nether hell thou seest."
We came within the fosses deep, that moat This region comfortless. The walls appear'd As they were fram'd of iron. We had made Wide circuit, ere a place we reach’d, where loud The mariner cried vehement: “ Go forth! The entrance is here !” Upon the gates I spied More than a thousand, who of old from heaven 80 Were hurl'd. With ireful gestures, “ Who is this,” They cried, “ that without death first felt, goes through The regions of the dead ?” My sapient guide Made sign that he for secret parley wish'd; Whereat their angry scorn abating, thus
85 They spake: “ Come thou alone; and let him
go Who hath so hardily enter'd this realm. Alone return he by his witless way; If well he know it, let him prove. For thee, Here shalt thou tarry, who through clime so dark 90 Hast been his escort.” Now bethink thee, reader! What cheer was mine at sound of those curs'd words. I did believe I never should return.
“O my lov'd guide! who more than seven times Security hast render'd me, and drawn
95 From peril deep, whereto I stood expos’d, Desert me not," I cried, “in this extreme. And if our onward going be denied, Together trace we back our steps with speed.” My liege, who thither had conducted me,
Replied : “Fear not: for of our passage none
This said, departs the sire benevolent,
I could not hear what terms he offer'd them,
Tue hue, which coward dread on my pale cheeks
Such aid to us is offer'd.-Oh, how long
I noted, how the sequel of his words
“ Doth ever any
Thus I inquiring. “Rarely,” he replied,
He knowing well the miserable hags
['th' midst.” This said, in silence he remain'd
Hasten Medusa : so to adamant
55 No ill revenge." "Turn thyself round, and keep Thy count'nance hid; for if the Gorgon dire Be shown, and thou shouldst view it, thy return Upwards would be for ever lost.”
This said, Himself my gentle master turn'd me round,
60 Nor trusted he my hands, but with his own He also hid me. Ye of intellect Sound and entire, mark well the lore conceal'd Under close texture of the mystic strain !
And now there came o'er the perturbed waves 65 Loud-crashing, terrible, a sound that made Either shore tremble, as if of a wind Impetuous, from conflicting vapours sprung, That 'gainst some forest driving all its might, Plucks off the branches, beats them down and hurls 70 Afar; then onward passing proudly sweeps Its whirlwind rage, while beasts and shepherds fly.
Mine eyes he loos’d, and spake: “And now direct Thy visual nerve along that ancient foam, There, thickest where the smoke ascends." As frogs 75 Before their foe the serpent, through the wave Ply swiftly all, till at the ground each one Lies on a heap; more than a thousand spirits Destroy'd, so saw I fleeing before one Who pass'd with unwet feet the Stygian sound. 80 He, from his face removing the gross air, Oft his left hand forth stretch'd, and seem'd alone By that annoyance wearied. I perceiv'd That he was sent from heav'n, and to my guide Turn’d me, who signal made that I should stand 85 Quiet, and bend to him. Ah me! how full Of noble anger seem'd he! To the gate He came, and with his wand touch'd it, whereat