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The Divine Comedy by Dante, Illustrated, Purgatory

Produced by David Widger

THE VISION

OF

HELL, PURGATORY, AND PARADISE

BY DANTE ALIGHIERI

TRANSLATED BY

THE REV. H. F. CARY

PURGATORY

Part 2

Cantos 5 - 10

CANTO V

Now had I left those spirits, and pursued The steps of my Conductor, when beheld Pointing the finger at me one exclaim'd: "See how it seems as if the light not shone From the left hand of him beneath, and he, As living, seems to be led on." Mine eyes I at that sound reverting, saw them gaze Through wonder first at me, and then at me And the light broken underneath, by turns. "Why are thy thoughts thus riveted?" my guide Exclaim'd, "that thou hast slack'd thy pace? or how Imports it thee, what thing is whisper'd here? Come after me, and to their babblings leave The crowd. Be as a tower, that, firmly set, Shakes not its top for any blast that blows! He, in whose bosom thought on thought shoots out, Still of his aim is wide, in that the one Sicklies and wastes to nought the other's strength."

What other could I answer save "I come?" I said it, somewhat with that colour ting'd Which ofttimes pardon meriteth for man.

Meanwhile traverse along the hill there came, A little way before us, some who sang The "Miserere" in responsive Strains. When they perceiv'd that through my body I Gave way not for the rays to pass, their song Straight to a long and hoarse exclaim they chang'd; And two of them, in guise of messengers, Ran on to meet us, and inquiring ask'd: "Of your condition we would gladly learn."

To them my guide. "Ye may return, and bear Tidings to them who sent you, that his frame Is real flesh. If, as I deem, to view His shade they paus'd, enough is answer'd them. Him let them honour, they may prize him well."

Ne'er saw I fiery vapours with such speed Cut through the serene air at fall of night, Nor August's clouds athwart the setting sun, That upward these did not in shorter space Return; and, there arriving, with the rest Wheel back on us, as with loose rein a troop.

"Many," exclaim'd the bard, "are these, who throng Around us: to petition thee they come. Go therefore on, and listen as thou go'st."

"O spirit! who go'st on to blessedness With the same limbs, that clad thee at thy birth." Shouting they came, "a little rest thy step. Look if thou any one amongst our tribe Hast e'er beheld, that tidings of him there Thou mayst report. Ah, wherefore go'st thou on? Ah wherefore tarriest thou not? We all By violence died, and to our latest hour Were sinners, but then warn'd by light from heav'n, So that, repenting and forgiving, we Did issue out of life at peace with God, Who with desire to see him fills our heart."

Then I: "The visages of all I scan Yet none of ye remember. But if aught, That I can do, may please you, gentle spirits! Speak; and I will perform it, by that peace, Which on the steps of guide so excellent Following from world to world intent I seek."

In answer he began: "None here distrusts Thy kindness, though not promis'd with an oath; So as the will fail not for want of power. Whence I, who sole before the others speak, Entreat thee, if thou ever see that land, Which lies between Romagna and the realm Of Charles, that of thy courtesy thou pray Those who inhabit Fano, that for me Their adorations duly be put up, By which I may purge off my grievous sins. From thence I came. But the deep passages, Whence issued out the blood wherein I dwelt, Upon my bosom in Antenor's land Were made, where to be more secure I thought. The author of the deed was Este's prince, Who, more than right could warrant, with his wrath Pursued me. Had I towards Mira fled, When overta'en at Oriaco, still Might I have breath'd. But to the marsh I sped, And in the mire and rushes tangled there Fell, and beheld my life-blood float the plain."


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