Treasure Island

Dante Alighieri

(1265 - 1321 / Florence / Italy)

Inferno Canto03


Per me si va ne la città dolente,
per me si va ne l'etterno dolore,
per me si va tra la perduta gente .

THROUGH ME THE WAY INTO THE SUFFERING CITY,
THROUGH ME THE WAY TO THE ETERNAL PAIN,
THROUGH ME THE WAY THAT RUNS AMONG THE LOST.


Giustizia mosse il mio alto fattore:
fecemi la divina podestate,
la somma sapienza e 'l primo amore .

JUSTICE URGED ON MY HIGH ARTIFICER;
MY MAKER WAS DIVINE AUTHORITY,
THE HIGHEST WISDOM, AND THE PRIMAL LOVE.


Dinanzi a me non fuor cose create
se non etterne, e io etterno duro.
Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate ".

BEFORE ME NOTHING BUT ETERNAL THINGS
WERE MADE, AND I ENDURE ETERNALLY.
ABANDON EVERY HOPE, WHO ENTER HERE.


Queste parole di colore oscuro
vid'io scritte al sommo d'una porta;
per ch'io: «Maestro, il senso lor m'è duro ».

These words-their aspect was obscure-I read
inscribed above a gateway, and I said:
"Master, their meaning is difficult for me."


Ed elli a me, come persona accorta:
«Qui si convien lasciare ogne sospetto;
ogne viltà convien che qui sia morta .

And he to me, as one who comprehends:
"Here one must leave behind all hesitation;
here every cowardice must meet its death.


Noi siam venuti al loco ov'i' t'ho detto
che tu vedrai le genti dolorose
c'hanno perduto il ben de l'intelletto ».

For we have reached the place of which I spoke,
where you will see the miserable people,
those who have lost the good of the intellect."


E poi che la sua mano a la mia puose
con lieto volto, ond'io mi confortai,
mi mise dentro a le segrete cose .

And when, with gladness in his face, he placed
his hand upon my own, to comfort me,
he drew me in among the hidden things.


Quivi sospiri, pianti e alti guai
risonavan per l'aere sanza stelle,
per ch'io al cominciar ne lagrimai .

Here sighs and lamentations and loud cries
were echoing across the starless air,
so that, as soon as I set out, I wept.


Diverse lingue, orribili favelle,
parole di dolore, accenti d'ira,
voci alte e fioche, e suon di man con elle

Strange utterances, horrible pronouncements,
accents of anger, words of suffering,
and voices shrill and faint, and beating hands-


facevano un tumulto, il qual s'aggira
sempre in quell'aura sanza tempo tinta,
come la rena quando turbo spira .

all went to make a tumult that will whirl
forever through that turbid, timeless air,
like sand that eddies when a whirlwind swirls.


E io ch'avea d'error la testa cinta,
dissi: «Maestro, che è quel ch'i' odo?
e che gent'è che par nel duol sì vinta ?».

And I-my head oppressed by horror-said:
"Master, what is it that I hear? Who are
those people so defeated by their pain?"


Ed elli a me: «Questo misero modo
tegnon l'anime triste di coloro
che visser sanza 'nfamia e sanza lodo .

And he to me: "This miserable way
is taken by the sorry souls of those
who lived without disgrace and without praise.


Mischiate sono a quel cattivo coro
de li angeli che non furon ribelli
né fur fedeli a Dio, ma per sé fuoro .

They now commingle with the coward angels,
the company of those who were not rebels
nor faithful to their God, but stood apart.


Caccianli i ciel per non esser men belli,
né lo profondo inferno li riceve,
ch'alcuna gloria i rei avrebber d'elli ».

The heavens, that their beauty not be lessened,
have cast them out, nor will deep Hell receive them-
even the wicked cannot glory in them."


E io: «Maestro, che è tanto greve
a lor, che lamentar li fa sì forte?».
Rispuose: «Dicerolti molto breve .

And I: "What is it, master, that oppresses
these souls, compelling them to wail so loud?"
He answered: "I shall tell you in few words.


Questi non hanno speranza di morte
e la lor cieca vita è tanto bassa,
che 'nvidiosi son d'ogne altra sorte .

Those who are here can place no hope in death,
and their blind life is so abject that they
are envious of every other fate.


Fama di loro il mondo esser non lassa;
misericordia e giustizia li sdegna:
non ragioniam di lor, ma guarda e passa ».

The world will let no fame of theirs endure;
both justice and compassion must disdain them;
let us not talk of them, but look and pass."


E io, che riguardai, vidi una 'nsegna
che girando correva tanto ratta,
che d'ogne posa mi parea indegna ;

And I, looking more closely, saw a banner
that, as it wheeled about, raced on-so quick
that any respite seemed unsuited to it.


e dietro le venìa sì lunga tratta
di gente, ch'i' non averei creduto
che morte tanta n'avesse disfatta .

Behind that banner trailed so long a file
of people-I should never have believed
that death could have unmade so many souls.


Poscia ch'io v'ebbi alcun riconosciuto,
vidi e conobbi l'ombra di colui
che fece per viltade il gran rifiuto .

After I had identified a few,
I saw and recognized the shade of him
who made, through cowardice, the great refusal.


Incontanente intesi e certo fui
che questa era la setta d'i cattivi,
a Dio spiacenti e a' nemici sui .

At once I understood with certainty:
this company contained the cowardly,
hateful to God and to His enemies.


Questi sciaurati, che mai non fur vivi,
erano ignudi e stimolati molto
da mosconi e da vespe ch'eran ivi .

These wretched ones, who never were alive,
went naked and were stung again, again
by horseflies and by wasps that circled them.


Elle rigavan lor di sangue il volto,
che, mischiato di lagrime, a' lor piedi
da fastidiosi vermi era ricolto .

The insects streaked their faces with their blood,
which, mingled with their tears, fell at their feet,
where it was gathered up by sickening worms.


E poi ch'a riguardar oltre mi diedi,
vidi genti a la riva d'un gran fiume;
per ch'io dissi: «Maestro, or mi concedi

And then, looking beyond them, I could see
a crowd along the bank of a great river;
at which I said: "Allow me now to know


ch'i' sappia quali sono, e qual costume
le fa di trapassar parer sì pronte,
com'io discerno per lo fioco lume ».

who are these people-master-and what law
has made them seem so eager for the crossing,
as I can see despite the feeble light."


Ed elli a me: «Le cose ti fier conte
quando noi fermerem li nostri passi
su la trista riviera d'Acheronte ».

And he to me: "When we have stopped along
the melancholy shore of Acheron,
then all these matters will be plain to you."


Allor con li occhi vergognosi e bassi,
temendo no 'l mio dir li fosse grave,
infino al fiume del parlar mi trassi .

At that, with eyes ashamed, downcast, and fearing
that what I said had given him offense,
I did not speak until we reached the river.


Ed ecco verso noi venir per nave
un vecchio, bianco per antico pelo,
gridando: «Guai a voi, anime prave !

And here, advancing toward us, in a boat,
an aged man-his hair was white with years-
was shouting: "Woe to you, corrupted souls!


Non isperate mai veder lo cielo:
i' vegno per menarvi a l'altra riva
ne le tenebre etterne, in caldo e 'n gelo .

Forget your hope of ever seeing Heaven:
I come to lead you to the other shore,
to the eternal dark, to fire and frost.


E tu che se' costì, anima viva,
pàrtiti da cotesti che son morti».
Ma poi che vide ch'io non mi partiva ,

And you approaching there, you living soul,
keep well away from these-they are the dead."
But when he saw I made no move to go,


disse: «Per altra via, per altri porti
verrai a piaggia, non qui, per passare:
più lieve legno convien che ti porti ».

he said: "Another way and other harbors-
not here-will bring you passage to your shore:
a lighter craft will have to carry you."


E 'l duca lui: «Caron, non ti crucciare:
vuolsi così colà dove si puote
ciò che si vuole, e più non dimandare ».

My guide then: "Charon, don't torment yourself:
our passage has been willed above, where One
can do what He has willed; and ask no more."


Quinci fuor quete le lanose gote
al nocchier de la livida palude,
che 'ntorno a li occhi avea di fiamme rote .

Now silence fell upon the wooly cheeks
of Charon, pilot of the livid marsh,
whose eyes were ringed about with wheels of flame.


Ma quell'anime, ch'eran lasse e nude,
cangiar colore e dibattero i denti,
ratto che 'nteser le parole crude .

But all those spirits, naked and exhausted,
had lost their color, and they gnashed their teeth
as soon as they heard Charon's cruel words;


Bestemmiavano Dio e lor parenti,
l'umana spezie e 'l loco e 'l tempo e 'l seme
di lor semenza e di lor nascimenti .

they execrated God and their own parents
and humankind, and then the place and time
of their conception's seed and of their birth.


Poi si ritrasser tutte quante insieme,
forte piangendo, a la riva malvagia
ch'attende ciascun uom che Dio non teme .

Then they forgathered, huddled in one throng,
weeping aloud along that wretched shore
which waits for all who have no fear of God.


Caron dimonio, con occhi di bragia,
loro accennando, tutte le raccoglie;
batte col remo qualunque s'adagia .

The demon Charon, with his eyes like embers,
by signaling to them, has all embark;
his oar strikes anyone who stretches out.


Come d'autunno si levan le foglie
l'una appresso de l'altra, fin che 'l ramo
vede a la terra tutte le sue spoglie ,

As, in the autumn, leaves detach themselves,
first one and then the other, till the bough
sees all its fallen garments on the ground,


Aen.VI.

similemente il mal seme d'Adamo
gittansi di quel lito ad una ad una,
per cenni come augel per suo richiamo .

similarly, the evil seed of Adam
descended from the shoreline one by one,
when signaled, as a falcon-called-will come.


Così sen vanno su per l'onda bruna,
e avanti che sien di là discese,
anche di qua nuova schiera s'auna .

So do they move across the darkened waters;
even before they reach the farther shore,
new ranks already gather on this bank.


«Figliuol mio», disse 'l maestro cortese,
«quelli che muoion ne l'ira di Dio
tutti convegnon qui d'ogne paese :

"My son," the gracious master said to me,
"those who have died beneath the wrath of God,
all these assemble here from every country;


e pronti sono a trapassar lo rio,
ché la divina giustizia li sprona,
sì che la tema si volve in disio .

and they are eager for the river crossing
because celestial justice spurs them on,
so that their fear is turned into desire.


Quinci non passa mai anima buona;
e però, se Caron di te si lagna,
ben puoi sapere omai che 'l suo dir suona ».

No good soul ever takes its passage here;
therefore, if Charon has complained of you,
by now you can be sure what his words mean."


Finito questo, la buia campagna
tremò sì forte, che de lo spavento
la mente di sudore ancor mi bagna .

And after this was said, the darkened plain
quaked so tremendously-the memory
of terror then, bathes me in sweat again.


La terra lagrimosa diede vento,
che balenò una luce vermiglia
la qual mi vinse ciascun sentimento ;

A whirlwind burst out of the tear-drenched earth,
a wind that crackled with a bloodred light,
a light that overcame all of my senses;


e caddi come l'uom cui sonno piglia.

and like a man whom sleep has seized, I fell.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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