Dantes Purgatory In Plain and Simple English

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Behold That way an angel hasting towards us! Lo Where duly the sixth handmaid doth return From service on the day. Wear thou in look And gesture seemly grace of reverent awe, That gladly he may forward us aloft. Consider that this day ne'er dawns again. The goodly shape approach'd us, snowy white In vesture, and with visage casting streams Of tremulous lustre like the matin star. His arms he open'd, then his wings; and spake: "Onward: the steps, behold! O ye race of men Though born to soar, why suffer ye a wind So slight to baffle ye?

He led us on Where the rock parted; here against my front Did beat his wings, then promis'd I should fare In safety on my way. As to ascend That steep, upon whose brow the chapel stands O'er Rubaconte, looking lordly down On the well-guided city, up the right Th' impetuous rise is broken by the steps Carv'd in that old and simple age, when still The registry and label rested safe; Thus is th' acclivity reliev'd, which here Precipitous from the other circuit falls: But on each hand the tall cliff presses close. As ent'ring there we turn'd, voices, in strain Ineffable, sang: "Blessed are the poor In spirit.

We climb the holy stairs: And lighter to myself by far I seem'd Than on the plain before, whence thus I spake: "Say, master, of what heavy thing have I Been lighten'd, that scarce aught the sense of toil Affects me journeying? The leader, as he mark'd mine action, smil'd. We reach'd the summit of the scale, and stood Upon the second buttress of that mount Which healeth him who climbs.

A cornice there, Like to the former, girdles round the hill; Save that its arch with sweep less ample bends. Shadow nor image there is seen; all smooth The rampart and the path, reflecting nought But the rock's sullen hue.

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The universal world to thee Owes warmth and lustre. If no other cause Forbid, thy beams should ever be our guide.


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The voice, that first? A third exclaiming, "Love ye those have wrong'd you. The curb Is of a harsher sound, as thou shalt hear If I deem rightly , ere thou reach the pass, Where pardon sets them free. But fix thine eyes Intently through the air, and thou shalt see A multitude before thee seated, each Along the shelving grot.

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Mine eyes a load of sorrow teemed, when now I stood so near them, that their semblances Came clearly to my view. Of sackcloth vile Their cov'ring seem'd; and on his shoulder one Did stay another, leaning, and all lean'd Against the cliff. So most to stir compassion, not by sound Of words alone, but that, which moves not less, The sight of mis'ry.

And as never beam Of noonday visiteth the eyeless man, E'en so was heav'n a niggard unto these Of his fair light; for, through the orbs of all, A thread of wire, impiercing, knits them up, As for the taming of a haggard hawk. It were a wrong, methought, to pass and look On others, yet myself the while unseen. To my sage counsel therefore did I turn. He knew the meaning of the mute appeal, Nor waited for my questioning, but said: "Speak; and be brief, be subtle in thy words.

I turn'd me to them, and "O shades! Any thou wouldst say, Who lived a stranger in Italia's land. A spirit I noted, in whose look was mark'd Expectance. Ask ye how? The chin was rais'd As in one reft of sight. Though Sapia nam'd In sapience I excell'd not, gladder far Of others' hurt, than of the good befell me. That thou mayst own I now deceive thee not, Hear, if my folly were not as I speak it. When now my years slop'd waning down the arch, It so bechanc'd, my fellow citizens Near Colle met their enemies in the field, And I pray'd God to grant what He had will'd.

There were they vanquish'd, and betook themselves Unto the bitter passages of flight. I mark'd the hunt, and waxing out of bounds In gladness, lifted up my shameless brow, And like the merlin cheated by a gleam, Cried, "It is over. I fear thee not. But the woe beneath Urges my soul with more exceeding dread. That nether load already weighs me down.

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I live: of me ask therefore, chosen spirit, If thou desire I yonder yet should move For thee my mortal feet. Therefore with thy prayer Sometime assist me: and by that I crave, Which most thou covetest, that if thy feet E'er tread on Tuscan soil, thou save my fame Amongst my kindred. Them shalt thou behold With that vain multitude, who set their hope On Telamone's haven, there to fail Confounded, more shall when the fancied stream They sought of Dian call'd: but they who lead Their navies, more than ruin'd hopes shall mourn.

Do thou ask of him, For thou art nearer to him, and take heed Accost him gently, so that he may speak. For charity, we pray thee' comfort us, Recounting whence thou com'st, and who thou art: For thou dost make us at the favour shown thee Marvel, as at a thing that ne'er hath been. From his banks bring, I this frame. To tell you who I am were words misspent: For yet my name scarce sounds on rumour's lip. Descending still Through yet more hollow eddies, next he meets A race of foxes, so replete with craft, They do not fear that skill can master it. Nor will I cease because my words are heard By other ears than thine.

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It shall be well For this man, if he keep in memory What from no erring Spirit I reveal. I behold thy grandson, that becomes A hunter of those wolves, upon the shore Of the fierce stream, and cows them all with dread: Their flesh yet living sets he up to sale, Then like an aged beast to slaughter dooms. Many of life he reaves, himself of worth And goodly estimation.

Smear'd with gore Mark how he issues from the rueful wood, Leaving such havoc, that in thousand years It spreads not to prime lustihood again. His visage and the other's speech did raise Desire in me to know the names of both, whereof with meek entreaty I inquir'd. The shade, who late addrest me, thus resum'd: "Thy wish imports that I vouchsafe to do For thy sake what thou wilt not do for mine.

But since God's will is that so largely shine His grace in thee, I will be liberal too. Guido of Duca know then that I am. Envy so parch'd my blood, that had I seen A fellow man made joyous, thou hadst mark'd A livid paleness overspread my cheek. Such harvest reap I of the seed I sow'd.

O man, why place thy heart where there doth need Exclusion of participants in good? This is Rinieri's spirit, this the boast And honour of the house of Calboli, Where of his worth no heritage remains. Nor his the only blood, that hath been stript 'twixt Po, the mount, the Reno, and the shore, Of all that truth or fancy asks for bliss; But in those limits such a growth has sprung Of rank and venom'd roots, as long would mock Slow culture's toil.

Where is good Lizio? O bastard slips of old Romagna's line! When in Bologna the low artisan, And in Faenza yon Bernardin sprouts, A gentle cyon from ignoble stem. Wonder not, Tuscan, if thou see me weep, When I recall to mind those once lov'd names, Guido of Prata, and of Azzo him That dwelt with you; Tignoso and his troop, With Traversaro's house and Anastagio's, Each race disherited and beside these, The ladies and the knights, the toils and ease, That witch'd us into love and courtesy; Where now such malice reigns in recreant hearts.

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O Brettinoro! Well doeth he, that bids his lineage cease, Bagnacavallo; Castracaro ill, And Conio worse, who care to propagate A race of Counties from such blood as theirs. Well shall ye also do, Pagani, then When from amongst you tries your demon child. Not so, howe'er, that henceforth there remain True proof of what ye were. O Hugolin! Thou sprung of Fantolini's line!

But, Tuscan, go thy ways; for now I take Far more delight in weeping than in words. Such pity for your sakes hath wrung my heart. Their silence therefore of our way Assur'd us.


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Soon as we had quitted them, Advancing onward, lo! When it had giv'n short truce unto our hearing, Behold the other with a crash as loud As the quick-following thunder: "Mark in me Aglauros turn'd to rock. Now in mute stillness rested all the air: And thus he spake: "There was the galling bit. But your old enemy so baits his hook, He drags you eager to him. Hence nor curb Avails you, nor reclaiming call.

Heav'n calls And round about you wheeling courts your gaze With everlasting beauties. Yet your eye Turns with fond doting still upon the earth. Therefore He smites you who discerneth all. As much as 'twixt the third hour's close and dawn, Appeareth of heav'n's sphere, that ever whirls As restless as an infant in his play, So much appear'd remaining to the sun Of his slope journey towards the western goal.

Evening was there, and here the noon of night; and full upon our forehead smote the beams. The cause unknown, amaze Possess'd me, and both hands against my brow Lifting, I interpos'd them, as a screen, That of its gorgeous superflux of light Clipp'd the diminish'd orb. As when the ray, Striking On water or the surface clear Of mirror, leaps unto the opposite part, Ascending at a glance, e'en as it fell, And so much differs from the stone, that falls Through equal space, as practice skill hath shown; Thus with refracted light before me seemed The ground there smitten; whence in sudden haste My sight recoil'd.

Such sights ere long, Not grievous, shall impart to thee delight, As thy perception is by nature wrought Up to their pitch. That conquer'st. Because ye point your wishes at a mark, Where, by communion of possessors, part Is lessen'd, envy bloweth up the sighs of men.