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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 5

Cantos 26 - 33

CANTO XXVI

While singly thus along the rim we walk'd, Oft the good master warn'd me: "Look thou well. Avail it that I caution thee." The sun Now all the western clime irradiate chang'd From azure tinct to white; and, as I pass'd, My passing shadow made the umber'd flame Burn ruddier. At so strange a sight I mark'd That many a spirit marvel'd on his way.

This bred occasion first to speak of me, "He seems," said they, "no insubstantial frame:" Then to obtain what certainty they might, Stretch'd towards me, careful not to overpass The burning pale. "O thou, who followest The others, haply not more slow than they, But mov'd by rev'rence, answer me, who burn In thirst and fire: nor I alone, but these All for thine answer do more thirst, than doth Indian or Aethiop for the cooling stream. Tell us, how is it that thou mak'st thyself A wall against the sun, as thou not yet Into th' inextricable toils of death Hadst enter'd?" Thus spake one, and I had straight Declar'd me, if attention had not turn'd To new appearance. Meeting these, there came, Midway the burning path, a crowd, on whom Earnestly gazing, from each part I view The shadows all press forward, sev'rally Each snatch a hasty kiss, and then away. E'en so the emmets, 'mid their dusky troops, Peer closely one at other, to spy out Their mutual road perchance, and how they thrive.

That friendly greeting parted, ere dispatch Of the first onward step, from either tribe Loud clamour rises: those, who newly come, Shout "Sodom and Gomorrah!" these, "The cow Pasiphae enter'd, that the beast she woo'd Might rush unto her luxury." Then as cranes, That part towards the Riphaean mountains fly, Part towards the Lybic sands, these to avoid The ice, and those the sun; so hasteth off One crowd, advances th' other; and resume Their first song weeping, and their several shout.

Again drew near my side the very same, Who had erewhile besought me, and their looks Mark'd eagerness to listen. I, who twice Their will had noted, spake: "O spirits secure, Whene'er the time may be, of peaceful end! My limbs, nor crude, nor in mature old age, Have I left yonder: here they bear me, fed With blood, and sinew-strung. That I no more May live in blindness, hence I tend aloft. There is a dame on high, who wind for us This grace, by which my mortal through your realm I bear. But may your utmost wish soon meet Such full fruition, that the orb of heaven, Fullest of love, and of most ample space, Receive you, as ye tell (upon my page Henceforth to stand recorded) who ye are, And what this multitude, that at your backs Have past behind us." As one, mountain-bred, Rugged and clownish, if some city's walls He chance to enter, round him stares agape, Confounded and struck dumb; e'en such appear'd Each spirit. But when rid of that amaze, (Not long the inmate of a noble heart) He, who before had question'd, thus resum'd: "O blessed,


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