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It finds, which overstretching as a marsh
It covers, pestilent in summer oft.

80 Hence journeying, the savage maiden saw 'Midst of the fen a territory waste And naked of inhabitants. To shun All human converse, here she with her slaves Plying her arts remain’d, and liv’d, and left

85 Her body tenantless. Thenceforth the tribes, Who round were scatter'd, gath’ring to that place Assembled ; for its strength was great, enclos'd On all parts by the fen. On those dead bones They rear'd themselves a city, for her sake,

90 Calling it Mantua, who first chose the spot, Nor ask'd another omen for the name, Wherein more numerous the people dwelt, Ere Casalodi's madness by deceit Was wrong'd of Pinamonte. If thou hear

95 Henceforth another origin assign'd Of that my country, I forewarn thee now, That falsehood none beguile thee of the truth.”

I answer'd : “Teacher, I conclude thy words So certain, that all else shall be to me

100 As embers lacking life. But now of these, Who here proceed, instruct me, if thou see Any that merit more especial note. For thereon is my mind alone intent.”

104 He straight replied: “ That spirit, from whose cheek The beard sweeps o'er his shoulders brown, what time Grecia was emptied of her males, that scarce The cradles were supplied, the seer was he In Aulis, who with Calchas gave the sign When first to cut the cable. Him they nam’d 110 Eurypilus : so sings my tragic strain, In which majestic measure well thou know'st, Who know'st it all. That other, round the loins So slender of his shape, was Michael Scot, Practis'd in ev'ry slight of magic wile.

115 “Guido Bonatti see : Asdente mark, Who now were willing, he had tended still The thread and cordwain ; and too late repents.

“See next the wretches, who the needle left, The shuttle and the spindle, and became

120 Diviners : baneful witcheries they wrought With images and herbs. But onward now: For now doth Cain with fork of thorns confine On either hemisphere, touching the wave Beneath the towers of Seville. Yesternight

125 The moon was round. Thou mayst remember well : For she good service did thee in the gloom Of the deep wood.” This said, both onward mov'd.

CANTO XXI.

Thus we from bridge to bridge, with other talk,
The which my drama cares not to rehearse,
Pass'd on; and to the summit reaching, stood
To view another gap, within the round
Of Malebolge, other bootless pangs.

5 Marvellous darkness shadow'd o'er the place.

In the Venetians' arsenal as boils
Through wintry months tenacious pitch, to smear
Their unsound vessels; for th’ inclement time
Sea-faring men restrains, and in that while

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His bark one builds anew, another stops
The ribs of his, that hath made many a voyage ;
One hammers at the prow, one at the poop;
This shapeth oars, that other cables twirls,
The mizen one repairs and main-sail rent

15 So not by force of fire but art divine Boil'd here a glutinous thick mass, that round Lim'd all the shore beneath. I that beheld, But therein nought distinguish'd, save the surge, Rais'd by the boiling, in one mighty swell

20 Heave, and by turns subsiding and fall. While there I fix'd my ken below, “ Mark! mark!” my guide Exclaiming, drew me towards him from the place, Wherein I stood. I turn'd myself as one, Impatient to behold that which beheld

25 He needs must shun, whom sudden fear unmans,

That he his flight delays not for the view.
Behind me I discern’d a devil black,
That running up advanc'd along the rock.
Ah! what fierce cruelty his look bespake!

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In act how bitter did he seem, with wings
Buoyant outstretch'd and feet of nimblest tread !
His shoulder proudly eminent and sharp
Was with a sinner charg’d; by either haunch
He held him, the foot's sinew griping fast.

35 “ Ye of our bridge!” he cried, " keen-talon'd fiends! Lo! one of Santa Zita's elders! Ilim Whelm ye beneath, while I return for more. That land hath store of such. All men are there, Except Bonturo, barterers: of 'no'

40 For lucre there an “aye’ is quickly made.”

Him dashing down, o'er the rough rock he turn'd,
Nor ever after thief a mastiff loos’d
Sped with like eager haste. That other sank
And forth with writing to the surface rose.

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But those dark demons, shrouded by the bridge,
Cried “Here the hallow'd visage saves not: here
Is other swimming than in Serchio's wave.
Wherefore if thou desire we rend thee not,
Take heed thou mount not o'er the pitch.” This said,
They grappled him with more than hundred hooks, 51
And shouted : “ Cover'd thou must sport thee here;
So, if thou canst, in secret mayst thou filch.”
E’en thus the cook bestirs him, with his grooms,
To thrust the flesh into the caldron down

55 With flesh-hooks, that it float not on the top.

Me then my guide bespake: “Lest they descry,
That thou art here, behind a craggy rock
Bend low and screen thee; and whate’er of force
Be offer'd me, or insult, fear thou not:

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For I am well advis’d, who have been erst
In the like fray.” Beyond the bridge's head
Therewith he pass'd, and reaching the sixth pier,
Behov'd him then a forehead terror-proof.

With storm and fury, as when dogs rush forth 65 Upon the poor man's back, who suddenly

From whence he standeth makes his suit; so rush'd
Those from beneath the arch, and against him
Their weapons all they pointed. He aloud :
“Be none of you outrageous : ere your time

70 Dare seize me, come forth from amongst you one, Who having heard my words, decide he then If he shall tear these limbs.” They shouted loud, “Go, Malacoda!” Whereat one advanc'd, The others standing firm, and as he came,

75 “What may this turn avail him ?” he exclaim’d.

“ Believ'st thou, Malacoda! I had come Thus far from all your skirmishing secure,' My teacher answered, “ without will divine And destiny propitious ? Pass we then

80 For so Heaven's pleasure is, that I should lead Another through this savage wilderness.”

Forthwith so fell his pride, that he let drop The instrument of torture at his feet, And to the rest exclaim’d: “We have no power 85 To strike him." Then to me my guide: “O thou ! Who on the bridge among the crags dost sit Low crouching, safely now to me return."

I rose, and towards him moved with speed: the fiends Meantime all forward drew: me terror seiz'd

90 Lest they should break the compact they had made. Thus issuing from Caprona, once I saw Th’infantry dreading, lest his covenant The foe should break; so close he hemm'd them round. I to my leader's side adher’l, mine eyes

95 With fixt and motionless observance bent On their unkindly visage. They their hooks Protruding, one the other thus bespake: “ Wilt thou I touch him on the hip ?” To whom Was answer'd : “ Even so ; nor miss thy aim.” 100

But he, who was in conf'rence with my guide,
Turn'd rapid round, and thus the demon spake :
“Stay, stay thee, Scarmiglione!” Then to us
He added: “ Further footing to your step
This rock affords not, shiver'd to the base

105 Of the sixth arch. But would you still proceed,

110

ye:

115

120

Up by this cavern go : not distant far,
Another rock will yield you passage safe.
Yesterday, later by five hours than now,
Twelve hundred threescore years and six had fill'd
The circuit of their course, since here the way
Was broken. Thitherward I straight dispatch
Certain of these my scouts, who shall espy
If any on the surface bask. With them
Go for

ye shall find them nothing fell.
Come Alichino forth,” with that he cried,
“And Calcabrina, and Cagnazzo thou!
The troop of ten let Barbariccia lead.
With Libicocco Draghinazzo haste,
Fang'd Ciriatto, Graffiacane fierce,
And Farfarello, and mad Rubicant.
Search ye around the bubbling tar. For these,
In safety lead them, where the other crag
Uninterrupted traverses the dens.”

I then : “O master! what a sight is there !
Ah! withont escort, journey we alone,
Which, if thou know the way, I covet not.
Unless thy prudence fail thee, dost not mark
How they do gnarl upon us, and their scowl
Threatens is present tortures ?” He replied :
“I charge thee fear not: let them, as they will,
Gnarl on : 't is but in token of their spite
Against the souls, who mourn in torment steep'd."

To leftward o'er the pier they turn’d; but each
llad first between his teeth prest close the tongue,
Toward their leader for a signal looking,
Which he with sound obscene triumphant gave.

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130

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CANTO XXII.

It hath been heretofore my chance to see
Horsemen with martial order shifting camp,
To onset sallying, or in muster rang’d,
Or in retreat sometimes outstretch'd for flight:
Light-armed squadrons and fleet foragers

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