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It finds, which overstretching as a marsh
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.
Thus we from bridge to bridge, with other talk,
5 Marvellous darkness shadow'd o'er the place.
In the Venetians' arsenal as boils
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.
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,
55 With flesh-hooks, that it float not on the top.
Me then my guide bespake: “Lest they descry,
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
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,
105 Of the sixth arch. But would you still proceed,
Up by this cavern go : not distant far,
ye shall find them nothing fell.
I then : “O master! what a sight is there !
To leftward o'er the pier they turn’d; but each
It hath been heretofore my chance to see