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The slimy pool we pass.” As one who hears
Of some great wrong he hath sustain’d, whereat
Inly he pines ; so Phlegyas inly pin'd
In his fierce ire. My guide descending stepp'd
Into the skiff, and bade me enter next

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Close at his side; nor till my entrance seem'd
The vessel freighted. Soon as both embark’d,
Cutting the waves, goes on the ancient prow,
More deeply than with others it is wont.

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

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Turn’d his avenging fangs. IIim here we left,
Nor speak I of him more. But on mine ear
Sudden a sound of lamentation smote,
Whereat mine eye unbarr'd I sent abroad.

And thus the good instructor : “Now, my son! 65
Draws near the city, that of Dis is nam’d,
With its grave denizens, a mighty throng."

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,

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Replied : “Fear not: for of our passage none
Hath power to disappoint us, by such high
Authority permitted. But do thou
Expect me here; mean while thy wearied spirit
Comfort, and feed with kindly hope, assurd
I will not leave thee in this lower world.”

This said, departs the sire benevolent,
And quits me. Hesitating I remain
At war 'twixt will and will not in my thoughts.

I could not hear what terms he offer'd them,
But they conferr'd not long, for all at once
To trial fled within. Clos'd were the gates
By those our adversaries on the breast
Of my liege lord : excluded he return'd
To me with tardy steps. Upon the ground
His eyes were bent, and from his brow eras'd
All confidence, while thus with sighs he spake:
“ Who hath denied me these abodes of woe?'
Then thus to me: “ That I am anger’d, think
No ground of terror: in this trial I
Shall vanquish, use what arts they may within
For hindrance. This their insolence, not new,
Erewhile at gate less secret they display'd,
Which still is without bolt; upon its arch
Thou saw'st the deadly scroll: and even now
On side of its entrance, down the steep,
Passing the circles, unescorted, comes
One whose strong might can open us this land.”

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CANTO IX.

Tue hue, which coward dread on my pale cheeks
Imprinted, when I saw my guide turn back,
Chas'd that from his which newly they had worn,
And inwardly restrain’d it. He, as one
Who listens, stood attentive: for his eye
Not far could lead him through the sable air,
And the thick-gath’ring cloud. “It yet behoves
We win this fight”-thus he began-“if not--

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Such aid to us is offer'd.-Oh, how long
Me seems it, ere the promis'd help arrive!”

I noted, how the sequel of his words
Clok’l their beginning; for the last he spake
Agreed not with the first. But not the less
My fear was at his saying; sith I drew
To import worse perchance, than that he held,
His mutilated speech.

“ Doth ever any
Into this rueful concave's extreme depth
Descend, out of the first degree, whose pain
Is deprivation merely of sweet hope?"

Thus I inquiring. “Rarely,” he replied,
“ It chances, that among us any makes
This journey, which I wend. Erewhile 't is true
Once came I here beneath, conjur'd by fell
Erictho, sorceress, who compelld the shades
Back to their bodies. No long space my flesh
Was naked of me, when within these walls
She made me enter, to draw forth a spirit
From out of Judas' circle. Lowest place
Is that of all, obscurest, and remov’d
Farthest from heav'n's all-circling orb. The road
Full well I know: thou therefore rest secure.
That lake, the noisome stench exhaling, round
The city' of grief encompasses, which now
We may not enter without rage.”.

Yet more
He added: but I hold it not in mind,
For that mine eye toward the lofty tower
Had drawn me wholly, to its burning top.
Where in an instant I beheld uprisen
At once three hellish furies stain’d with blood :
In limb and motion feminine they seem'd;
Around them greenest hydras twisting rolld
Their volumes; adders and cerastes crept
Instead of hair, and their fierce temples bound.

He knowing well the miserable hags
Who tend the queen of endless woe, thus spake :
"Mark thou each dire Erinnys. To the left
This is Megæra; on the right hand she,
Who wails, Alecto: and Tisiphone

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['th' midst.” This said, in silence he remain'd
Their breast they each one clawing tore; themselves 50
Smote with their palms, and such shrill clamour rais’d,
That to the bard I clung, suspicion-bound.

Hasten Medusa : so to adamant
Him shall we change;" all looking down exclaim'd.
“ E’en when by Theseus' might assail'd, we took

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

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