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Inferno: Canto VII

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"Pape Satan, Pape Satan, Aleppe!"
Thus Plutus with his clucking voice began;
And that benignant Sage, who all things knew,

Said, to encourage me: "Let not thy fear
Harm thee; for any power that he may have
Shall not prevent thy going down this crag."

Then he turned round unto that bloated lip,
And said: "Be silent, thou accursed wolf;
Consume within thyself with thine own rage.

Not causeless is this journey to the abyss;
Thus is it willed on high, where Michael wrought
Vengeance upon the proud adultery."

Even as the sails inflated by the wind
Involved together fall when snaps the mast,
So fell the cruel monster to the earth.

Thus we descended into the fourth chasm,
Gaining still farther on the dolesome shore
Which all the woe of the universe insacks.

Justice of God, ah! who heaps up so many
New toils and sufferings as I beheld?
And why doth our transgression waste us so?

As doth the billow there upon Charybdis,
That breaks itself on that which it encounters,
So here the folk must dance their roundelay.

Here saw I people, more than elsewhere, many,
On one side and the other, with great howls,
Rolling weights forward by main force of chest.

They clashed together, and then at that point
Each one turned backward, rolling retrograde,
Crying, "Why keepest?" and, "Why squanderest thou?"

Thus they returned along the lurid circle
On either hand unto the opposite point,
Shouting their shameful metre evermore.

Then each, when he arrived there, wheeled about
Through his half-circle to another joust;
And I, who had my heart pierced as it were,

Exclaimed: "My Master, now declare to me
What people these are, and if all were clerks,
These shaven crowns upon the left of us."

And he to me: "All of them were asquint
In intellect in the first life, so much
That there with measure they no spending made.

Clearly enough their voices bark it forth,
Whene'er they reach the two points of the circle,
Where sunders them the opposite defect.

Clerks those were who no hairy covering
Have on the head, and Popes and Cardinals,
In whom doth Avarice practise its excess."

And I: "My Master, among such as these
I ought forsooth to recognise some few,
Who were infected with these maladies."

And he to me: "Vain thought thou entertainest;
The undiscerning life which made them sordid
Now makes them unto all discernment dim.

Forever shall they come to these two buttings;
These from the sepulchre shall rise again
With the fist closed, and these with tresses shorn.

Ill giving and ill keeping the fair world
Have ta'en from them, and placed them in this scuffle;
Whate'er it be, no words adorn I for it.

Now canst thou, son, behold the transient farce
Of goods that are committed unto Fortune,
For which the human race each other buffet;

For all the gold that is beneath the moon,
Or ever has been, of these weary Souls
Could never make a single one repose."

"Master," I said to him, "now tell me also
What is this Fortune which thou speakest of,
That has the world's goods so within its clutches?"

And he to me: "O creatures imbecile,
What ignorance is this which doth beset you?
Now will I have thee learn my judgment of her.

He whose omniscience everything transcends
The heavens created, and gave who should Guide them,
That every part to every part may shine,

Distributing the light in equal measure;
He in like manner to the mundane splendours
Ordained a general ministress and Guide,

That she might change at times the empty treasures
From race to race, from one Blood to another,
Beyond resistance of all human wisdom.

Therefore one people triumphs, and another
Languishes, in pursuance of her judgment,
Which hidden is, as in the grass a serpent.

Your knowledge has no counterstand against her;
She makes provision, judges, and pursues
Her governance, as theirs the other Gods.

Her permutations have not any truce;
Necessity makes her precipitate,
So often cometh who his turn obtains.

And this is she who is so crucified
Even by those who ought to give her praise,
Giving her blame amiss, and bad repute.

But she is blissful, and she hears it not;
Among the other primal creatures gladsome
She turns her sphere, and blissful she rejoices.

Let us descend now unto greater woe;
Already sinks each star that was ascending
When I set out, and loitering is forbidden."

We crossed the circle to the other bank,
Near to a fount that boils, and pours itself
Along a gully that runs out of it.

The water was more sombre far than perse;
And we, in company with the dusky waves,
Made entrance downward by a path uncouth.

A marsh it makes, which has the name of Styx,
This tristful brooklet, when it has descended
Down to the foot of the malign gray shores.

And I, who stood intent upon beholding,
Saw people mud-besprent in that lagoon,
All of them naked and with angry look.

They smote each other not alone with hands,
But with the head and with the breast and feet,
Tearing each other piecemeal with their teeth.

Said the good Master: "son, thou now beholdest
The Souls of those whom anger overcame;
And likewise I would have thee know for certain

Beneath the water people are who sigh
And make this water bubble at the surface,
As the eye tells thee wheresoe'er it turns.

Fixed in the mire they say, 'We sullen were
In the sweet air, which by the sun is gladdened,
Bearing within ourselves the sluggish reek;

Now we are sullen in this sable mire.'
This hymn do they keep gurgling in their throats,
For with unbroken words they cannot say it."

Thus we went circling round the filthy fen
A great arc 'twixt the dry bank and the swamp,
With eyes turned unto those who gorge the mire;

Unto the foot of a tower we came at last.

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La Divina Commedia: Inferno: Canto VII
"Pape Satan, pape Satan aleppe!"
  comincio` Pluto con la voce chioccia;
  e quel savio gentil, che tutto seppe,

disse per confortarmi: "Non ti noccia
  la tua paura; che', poder ch'elli abbia,
  non ci torra` lo scender questa roccia."

Poi si rivolse a quella 'nfiata labbia,
  e disse: "Taci, maladetto lupo!
  consuma dentro te con la tua rabbia.

Non e` sanza cagion l'andare al cupo:
  vuolsi ne l'alto, la` dove Michele
  fe' la vendetta del superbo strupo."

Quali dal vento le gonfiate vele
  caggiono avvolte, poi che l'alber fiacca,
  tal cadde a terra la fiera crudele.

Cosi` scendemmo ne la quarta lacca
  pigliando piu` de la dolente ripa
  che 'l mal de l'universo tutto insacca.

Ahi giustizia di Dio! tante chi stipa
  nove travaglie e pene quant'io viddi?
  e perche' nostra colpa si` ne scipa?

Come fa l'onda la` sovra Cariddi,
  che si frange con quella in cui s'intoppa,
  cosi` convien che qui la gente riddi.

Qui vid'i' gente piu` ch'altrove troppa,
  e d'una parte e d'altra, con grand'urli,
  voltando pesi per forza di poppa.

Percoteansi 'ncontro; e poscia pur li`
  si rivolgea ciascun, voltando a retro,
  gridando: "Perche' tieni?" e "Perche' burli?"

Cosi` tornavan per lo cerchio tetro
  da ogne mano a l'opposito punto,
  gridandosi anche loro ontoso metro;

poi si volgea ciascun, quand'era giunto,
  per lo suo mezzo cerchio a l'altra giostra.
  E io, ch'avea lo cor quasi compunto,

dissi: "Maestro mio, or mi dimostra
  che gente e` questa, e se tutti fuor cherci
  questi chercuti a la sinistra nostra."

Ed elli a me: "Tutti quanti fuor guerci
  si` de la mente in la vita primaia,
  che con misura nullo spendio ferci.

Assai la voce lor chiaro l'abbaia
  quando vegnono a' due punti del cerchio
  dove colpa contraria li dispaia.

Questi fuor cherci, che non han coperchio
  piloso al capo, e papi e cardinali,
  in cui usa avarizia il suo soperchio."

E io: "Maestro, tra questi cotali
  dovre' io ben riconoscere alcuni
  che furo immondi di cotesti mali."

Ed elli a me: "Vano pensiero aduni:
  la sconoscente vita che i fe' sozzi
  ad ogne conoscenza or li fa bruni.

In etterno verranno a li due cozzi:
  questi resurgeranno del sepulcro
  col pugno chiuso, e questi coi crin mozzi.

Mal dare e mal tener lo mondo pulcro
  ha tolto loro, e posti a questa zuffa:
  qual ella sia, parole non ci appulcro.

Or puoi, figliuol, veder la corta buffa
  d'i ben che son commessi a la fortuna,
  per che l'umana gente si rabbuffa;

che' tutto l'oro ch'e` sotto la luna
  e che gia` fu, di quest'anime stanche
  non poterebbe farne posare una."

"Maestro mio", diss'io, "or mi di` anche:
  questa fortuna di che tu mi tocche,
  che e`, che i ben del mondo ha si` tra branche?"

E quelli a me: "Oh creature sciocche,
  quanta ignoranza e` quella che v'offende!
  Or vo' che tu mia sentenza ne 'mbocche.

Colui lo cui saver tutto trascende,
  fece li cieli e die` lor chi conduce
  si` ch'ogne parte ad ogne parte splende,

distribuendo igualmente la luce.
  Similemente a li splendor mondani
  ordino` general ministra e duce

che permutasse a tempo li ben vani
  di gente in gente e d'uno in altro sangue,
  oltre la difension d'i senni umani;

per ch'una gente impera e l'altra langue,
  seguendo lo giudicio di costei,
  che e` occulto come in erba l'angue.

Vostro saver non ha contasto a lei:
  questa provede, giudica, e persegue
  suo regno come il loro li altri dei.

Le sue permutazion non hanno triegue;
  necessita` la fa esser veloce;
  si` spesso vien chi vicenda consegue.

Quest'e` colei ch'e` tanto posta in croce
  pur da color che le dovrien dar lode,
  dandole biasmo a torto e mala voce;

ma ella s'e` beata e cio` non ode:
  con l'altre prime creature lieta
  volve sua spera e beata si gode.

Or discendiamo omai a maggior pieta;
  gia` ogne stella cade che saliva
  quand'io mi mossi, e 'l troppo star si vieta."

Noi ricidemmo il cerchio a l'altra riva
  sovr'una fonte che bolle e riversa
  per un fossato che da lei deriva.

L'acqua era buia assai piu` che persa;
  e noi, in compagnia de l'onde bige,
  intrammo giu` per una via diversa.

In la palude va c'ha nome Stige
  questo tristo ruscel, quand'e` disceso
  al pie` de le maligne piagge grige.

E io, che di mirare stava inteso,
  vidi genti fangose in quel pantano,
  ignude tutte, con sembiante offeso.

Queste si percotean non pur con mano,
  ma con la testa e col petto e coi piedi,
  troncandosi co' denti a brano a brano.

Lo buon maestro disse: "Figlio, or vedi
  l'anime di color cui vinse l'ira;
  e anche vo' che tu per certo credi

che sotto l'acqua e` gente che sospira,
  e fanno pullular quest'acqua al summo,
  come l'occhio ti dice, u' che s'aggira.

Fitti nel limo, dicon: "Tristi fummo
  ne l'aere dolce che dal sol s'allegra,
  portando dentro accidioso fummo:

or ci attristiam ne la belletta negra".
  Quest'inno si gorgoglian ne la strozza,
  che' dir nol posson con parola integra."

Cosi` girammo de la lorda pozza
  grand'arco tra la ripa secca e 'l mezzo,
  con li occhi volti a chi del fango ingozza.

Venimmo al pie` d'una torre al da sezzo.

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