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Thus we, descending to the fourth steep ledge,
Gain'd on the dismal shore, that all the woe
Hems in of all the universe. Ah me!
Almighty Justice! in what store thou heap'st
New pains, new troubles, as I here beheld!
Wherefore doth fault of ours bring us to this?
“Now may'st thou see, my son, how brief, how vain,
The goods committed into fortune's hands,
For which the human race keep such a coil!
Not all the gold, that is beneath the moon,
Or ever hath been, of these toil-worn souls
Might purchase rest for one.”
Far murkier was the wave Than sablest grain: and we in company Of th’inky waters, journeying by their side, Enter'd, though by a different track, beneath. Into a lake, the Stygian nam’d, expands The dismal stream, when it hath reach'd the foot Of the grey wither'd cliffs. Intent I stood To gaze, and in the marish sunk descried A miry tribe a.l naked, and with looks Betok’ning rage. They with their hands alone Struck not, but with the head, the breast, the feet, Cutting each other piecemeal with their fangs.
The good instructor spake: “Now seest thou, son, The souls of those whom anger overcame. This too for certain know, that underneath The water dwells a multitude, whose sighs Into these bubbles make the surface heave, As thine eye tells thee wheresoe'r it turn.
Upon the utmost verge of a high bank,
By craggy rocks environ'd round, we came,
Where woes beneath more cruel yet were stow'd:
And here to shun the horrible excess
Of fetid exhalation, upward cast
From the profound abyss, behind the lid
Of a great monument we stood retir'd,
Whereon this scroll I marked: “I have in charge
Pope Anastasius, whom Photinus drew
From the right path.”—“Ere our descent behoves
We make delay, that somewhat first the sense,
To the dire breath accustom'd, afterward
Regard it not.” My master thus; to whom
Answering I spake: “Some compensation find
That the time past not wholly lost.” He then:
“Lo! how my thoughts e'en to thy wishes tend!
My son! within these rocks,” he thus began,
“Are three close circles in gradation plac'd,
As these which now thou leav'st. Each one is full
Of spirits accurs’d; but that the sight alone
Hereafter may suffice thee, listen how
And for what cause in durance they abide.”
“Of all malicious act abhorr'd in heaven,
The end is injury; and all such end
Either by force or fraud works other's woe.
But fraud, because of man peculiar evil,
To God is more displeasing: and beneath
The fraudulent are therefore doom'd to endure
Severer pang. The violent occupy
All the first circle; and because to force
Threc persons are obnoxious, in three rounds
Each within other sep'rate is il fram’d.
To God, his neighbor, and himself, by man
Force may be offer'd; to himself I say
And his possessions, as thou soon shalt hear
At full. Death, violent death, and painful wounds
Upon his neighbor he inflicts; and wastes
By devastation, pillage, and the flames,
His substance. Slayers, and each one that smites
In malice, plund'rers, and all robbers, hence
The torment undergo of the first round
In different herds. Man can do violence
To himself and his own blessings: and for this
He in the second round must aye deplore
With unavailing penitence his crime,
Whoe'r deprives himself of life and light
In reckless lavishment his talent wastes,
And sorrows there where he should dwell in joy.
To God may force be offer'd, in the heart
Denying and blaspheming his high power,
And nature with her kindly law contemning.
And thence the inmost round marks with its seal
Sodom and Cahors, and all such as speak
Contemptuously of the Godhead in their hearts.
“Fraud, that in ev'ry conscience leaves a sting,
May be by man employ'd on one, whose trust
He wins, or on another who withholds
Strict confidence. Seems as the latter way
Broke but the bond of love which Nature makes.
Whence in the second circle have their nest
Dissimulation, witchcraft, flatteries,
Theft, falsehood, simony, all who seduce
To lust set their honesty at pawn,
With such vile scum as these. The other way
Forgets both Nature's general love, and that
Which thereto added afterward gives birth
To special faith. Whence in the lesser circle,
Point of the universe, dread seat of Dis,
The traitor is eternally consumid."
Ere Nessus yet had reached the other bank,
We enter'd on a forest, where no track
Of steps had worn a way. . Not verdant there
The foliage, but of dusky hue; not ligh
The boughs and tapering, but with knarla deform'd
And matted thick: fruits there were none, but thorns
Instead with venom fill'd. Less sharp than these,
Less intricate with brakes, wherein abide
Those animals that hate the cultured fields
Betwixt Corneto and Cecina's stream.
Here the brute Harpies make their nest, the same
Who from the Strophades the Trojan band
Drove with dire boding of their future wor
Broad are their pennons, of the human form
Their neck and count'nance, armed with talons keen
The feet, and the huge belly fledg’d with wings.
These sit and wail on the drear mystic wood.
The kind instructor in these words began:
“ Ere farther thou proceed, know thou art now
I'th' second round, and shalt be, till thou come
Upon the horrid sand: look therefore well
Around thee, and such things thou shalt behold,
As would my speech discredit.” On all sides
1 heard sad plainings breathe, and none could see
From whom they might have issued. In amaze
Fast bound I stood. He, as it seem'd, believ'd
That I had thought so many voices came
From some amid those thickets close conceal'd,
And thus his speech resum'd: “If thou lop off
A single twig from one of those ill plants,
The thought thou hast conceiv'd shall vanish quite."
Thereat a little stretching forth my hand,
From a great wilding gathered I a branch,
And straight the trunk exclaim'd: "why pluck'st
Then as the dark blood trickled down its side,
These words it added: “Wherelore tear'st me thus?
Is there no touch of mercy in thy breast?
Men once were we that now are rooted here.
Thy hand might well have spared us, had we been
The souls of erpents.” As a brand yet green,
That burning at one end from th' other sends
A groaning sound, and hisses with the wind
That forces out its way, so burst at once,
Forth from the broken splinter words and blood.
1, letting fall the bough, remain'd as one
Assail'd by terror, and the sage replied:
"If he, O injured spirit! could have believ'd
What he hath seen but in my verse describ'd,
He never against thee had stretch'd his hand.
But I, because the thing surpass'd belief,
Prompted him to this deed, which even now
Myself I rue. But tell me, who thou wast;
That for this wrong to do thee some amends,
In th' upper world (for thither to return
Is granted him) thy fame he may revive."
“That pleasant word of thine,” the trunk replied,
“Hath so inveigled me that I from speech
Cannot refrain, wherein if I indulge
A little longer, in the snare detainid,
Count it not grievous. I it was, who held
Both keys to Frederick's heart, and turn’d the wards,
Opening and shutting, with a skill so sweet,
That besides me, into his inmost breast
Scare any other could admittance find.
The faith I bore to my high charge was such,
It cost me the life-blood that warm'd
The harlot, who ne'er turn'd her gloating eyes
From Caesar's household, common vice and pest
Of courts, 'gainst me inflamed the minds of all;
And to Augustus they so spread the flame,
That my glad honors chang'd to bitter woes.
My soul, disdainful and disgusted, sought
Refuge in death from scorn, and I became,
Just as I was, unjust toward myself,
By the new roots, which fix this stem, I swear
That never faith I broke to my liege lord,
Who merited such honour; and of you,
If any to the world indeed return,
Clear ye from wrong my memory, that lies
Yet prostrate under envy's cruel blow.”
Thus we from bridge to bridge, with other talk,
The which my drama cares not to rehearse,
Pass'd on; and to the summit reaching, stood
To view another gap within the round
Of Malebolge, other bootless pangs.
I that beheld,
But therein nought distinguish'd, save the surge,
Rais'd by the boiling, in one mighty swell
Heave, and by turns subsiding and fall. While there
I fix'd my ken below, “Mark! mark!” my guide
Exclaiming, drew me towards him from the place,
Wherein I stood. I turn'd myself as one,
Impatient to behold that which beheld
He needs must shun, whom sudden fear unmans,
That he his Aight delays not for the view.
Behind me I discern'd a devil black,
That running up advanc'd along the rock.
Ah! what fierce cruelty his look bespake!
In act how bitter did he seem, with wings
Buoyant outstretch'd and feet of nimblest tread!
His shoulder proudly eminent and sharp
Was with a sinner charg'd; by either haunch
He held him, the foot's sinew griping fast.
“Ye of our bridge!” he cried, “keen-talon'd fiends! Lo! one of Santa Zita's elders! Him Whelm ye beneath, while I return for more. That land hath store of such. All men are there, Except Bonturo, barterers: of 'no' For lucre there an “aye’ is quickly made.”
Him dashing down, o'er the rough rock he turn'dh
Nor ever after thief a mastiff loos'd
Sped with like eager haste. That other sank
And forth with writhing to the surface rose.
But those dark demons, shrouded by the bridge,
Cried, “ Here the allow'd visage saves not: here
Is other swimmin than in Serchio's wave.
Wherefore if tho" desire we rend thee not,
Take heed thou mount not o'er the pitch.” This said,
They grappled him with more than hundred hooks,
And shouted: “Cover'd thou must sport thee here;
So, if thou canst, in secret mayst thou filch.”
E'en thus the cook bestirs him, with his grooms,
To thrust the flesh into the caldron down
With flesh-hooks, that it float not on the top.
If, O reader! now
Thou be not apt to credit what I tell,
No marvel; for myself do scarce allow
The witness of mine eyes. But as I looked
Toward them, lo! a serpent with six feet
Springs forth on one, and fastens full upon him:
His midmost grasp'd the belly, a forefoot
Seiz'd on each arm (while deep in either cheek
He flesh'd his fangs); the hinder on the thighs
Were spread, 'twixt which the tail inserted curl'd
Upon the reins behind. Ivy ne'er clasp'd
A dodder'd oak, as round the other's limbs
The hideous monster intertwin' his own.
Then, as they both had been of burning was,
Each melted into other, mingling hues,
That which was either now was seen no more,
Thus up the shrinking paper, ere it burns,
A brown tint glides, not turning yet to black,
And the clean white expires.
Who, e'en in words unfetter'd, might at full
Tell of the wounds and blood that now I saw,
Though he repeated oft the tale?
No tongue So vast a theme could equal, speech and thought Both impotent alike.
A spectacle like this Were but a thing of nought, to the hideous sight Of the ninth chasm. A rundlet, that hath lost Its middle or side stave, gapes not so wide, As one I mark’d, torn from the chin t'roughout Down to the hinder passage: 'twixt the legs Dangling his entrails hung, the midriff lay Open to view, and wretched ventricle, That turns th' englutted aliment to dross.
Whilst eagerly I fix on him my gaze, He ey'd me, with his hands laid his breast bare, And cried : “ Now mark how I do rip me! lo! How is Mohammed mangled! before me Walks Ali weeping, from the chin his face Cleft to the forelock; and the others all Whom here thou seest, while they liv'd, did sow Scandal and schism, and therefore thus are rent, A fiend is here behind, who with his sword Hacks us thus cruelly, slivering again Each of this ream, when we have compast round The dismal way, for first our gashes close Ere we repass before him.
SATAN'S ADDRESS TO THE SUN.
O thou, that, with surpassing glory crowned,
Look'st from thy sole dominion like the god
Of this new world; at whose sight all the stars
Hide their diminished heads; to thee I call,
But with no friendly voice; and add thy name,
O Sun, to tell thee how I hate thy beams,
That bring to my remembrance from what state
I fell, how glorious once above thy sphere;
Till pride and worse ambition threw me down,
Warring in heaven against heaven's matchless king
Ah, wherefore? He deserved no such return
From me, whom he created what I was
In that bright eminence, and with his good
Upbraided none; nor was his service hard.
What could be less than to afford him praise,
The easiest recompense, and pay him thanks?
How due!-yet all his good proved ill in me,
And wrought but malice; lifted up so high,
I 'sdained subjection, and thought one step higher
Would set me highest, and in a moment quit
The debt immense of endless gratitude,
So burdensome still paying, still to owe;
Forgetful what from him I still received;
And understood not that a grateful mind
By owing owes not, but still pays, at once
Indebted and discharged: what burden then?
Oh, had his powerful destiny ordained
Me some inferior angel, I had stood
Then happy; no unbounded hope had raised
Ambition! Yet why not?—some other power
As great might have aspired, and me, though mean,
Drawn to his part; but other powers as great
Fell not, but stand unshaken, from within
Or from without, to all temptations armed.
Hadst thou the same free will and power to stard?
Thou hadst: whom hast thou, then, or what to
But Heaven's free love dealt equaily to all?
Be then his love accursed; since love or hate.
To me alike, it deals eternal woe:
Nay, cursed be thou; since against his thy will
Choose freely what it now so justly rues.
Me miserable!—which way shall I fly
Infinite wrath and infinite despair?
Which way I fly is hell; myself am hell;
And in the lowest deep a lower deep
Still threatening to devour me opens wide,
To which the hell I suffer seems a heaven.
Oh, then at last relent: is there no place
Left for repentance, none for pardon left?
None lest but my submission; and that word
Disdain forbids me, and my dread of shame
Among the spirits beneath, whom I seduced
With other promises and other vaunts
Than to submit, boasting I could subdue
The Omnipotert. Ay me! they little know
SONG OF THE FLOWER-GIRLS.
GOETHE-"FAUST." Girls of Florence, come we in
To your German Court so bright; Your sweet praises all to win,
We have decked us out to-night.
Flowery wreath and flowery spray
On brown locks we lightly show; Here alike their parts must play
Silken thread and silken bow.
Meritorious work we know
Of some praise is well secure; Flowers we bring that by art's glow
All the varied year endure.
By its color each bit took
What was its symmetric place; Pleasing is the whole in look,
Though the parts have not your grace.
Pretty are we, fair of feature,
Garden girls, with lightsome heart; The deepest that's in woman-nature
Is so very like to art.
How dearly I abide that boasts so vain;
Under what torments inwardly I groan,
While they adore me on the throne of hell.
With diadem and spectre high advanced,
The lower still I fall; only supreme
In misery: such joy ambition finds.
But say I could repent, and could obtain
By act of grace my former state; how soon
Would height recall high thoughts, how soon unsay
What feigned submission swore! Ease would recant
Vows made in pain, as violent and void.
For never can true reconcilement grow
Where wounds of deadly hate have pierced so deep;
Which would but lead me to a worse relapse
And heavier fall: so should I purchase dear
Short intermission bought with double smart.
This knows my punisher; therefore as far
From granting he, as I from begging, peace:
All hope excluded thus, behold, instead
Of us outcast, exiled, his new delight,
Mankind created, and for him this world.
So farewell hope; and with hope, farewell fear;
Farewell remorse! all good to me is lost;
Evil, be thou my good; by thee at least
Divided empire with heaven's king I hold,
By thee, and more than half perhaps will reign;
As man ere long and this new world shall know.
AssemblING OF THE FALLEN ANGELS.
All these and more came flocking; but with looks
Downcast and damp, yet such wherein appeared
Obscure some glimpse of joy, to have found their
chief Not in despair, to have found themselves not lost In loss itself; which on his countenance cast Like doubtful hue: but he, his wonted pride Soon recollecting, with high words that bore Semblance of worth, not substance, gently raised Their fainting courage, and dispelled their fears, Then straight commands that, at the warlike sound Of trumpets loud and clarions, be upreared His mighty standard, that proud honour claimed Azazel as his right, a cherub tall; Who forth with from the glittering staff unfurled The imperial ensign, which, full high advanced, Shone like meteor streaming to the wind, With gems and golden lustre rich emblazed, Sera; hic arms and trophies; all the while Sonorous metal blowing martial sounds: At which the universal host up sent A shout, that tore Hell's concave, and beyond Frighted the reign of Chaos and old Night. All in a moment through the gloom were seen Ten thousand banners rise into the air With orient colours waving: with them rose A forest huge of spears, and thronging helms Appeared, and serried shields in thick array, Of depth immeasurable: anon they move In perfect phalanx to the Dorian mood Of flutes and soft recorders; such as raised
To height of noblest temper heroes old
Arming to battle; and, instead of rage,
Deliberate valour breathed, firm and unmoved,
With dread of death, to fight or foul retreat;
Nor wanting power to mitigate and 'suage,
With solemn touches, troubled thoughts, and chase
Anguish, and doubt, and fear, and sorrow, and pain,
From morial or immortal minds. Thus they,
Breathing united force, with fixed thought,
Moved on in silence to soft pipes, that charmed
Their painful steps o'er the burnt soil; and now
Advanced in view, they stand a horrid front
Of dreadful length, and dazzling arms, in guise
Of warriors old with ordered spear, and shield,
A waiting what command their mighty chief
Had to impose. ... He, above the rest
In shape and gesture proudly eminent,
Stood like a tower; his form had not yet lost
All her original brightness, or appeared
Less than Archangel ruined, and th' excess
Of glory obscured; as when the sun, new risen,
Looks through the horizontal misty air,
Shorn of his beams; or from behind the nioon,
In dim eclipse, disastrous twilight sheds
On half the nations, and with tear of change
Perplexes monarchs. Darkened so, yet shone
Above them all the Archangel: but his face
Deep scars of thunder had intrenched, and care
Sat on his faded cheek, but under brows
Of dauntless courage and considerate pride,
Waiting revenge: cruel his eye, but cast
Signs of remorse and passion to behold
The fellows of his crime, the followers rather-
Far other once beheld in bliss-condemned
For.ever now to have their lot in pain;
Millions of spirits for his fault amerced
Of heaven, and from eternal splendours flung
For his revolt, yet faithful how they stood,
Their glory withered: as when heaven's fire
Hath scathed the forest oaks, or mountain pines,
With singed top their stately growth, though bare,
Stands on the blasted heath. He now prepared
To speak; whereat their doubled ranks they bend
From wing to wing, and half inclose him round
With all his peers: attention held them mute.
Thrice he assaved; and thrice, in spite of scorn,
Tears, such as angels weep, burst forth; at last
Words, interwove with sighs, found out their way,
Shade above shade, a woody theatre
And nourish all things; let your ceaseless change Of stateliest view. Yet higher than their tops Vary to our great Maker still new praise. The verdurous wall of Paradise up-sprung:
Ye mists and exhalations, that now rise Which to our general sire gave prospect large From hill or steaming lake, dusky or gray, Into his nether empire neighbouring round.
Till the sun paints your fleecy skirts with gold, And higher than that wall a circling row
In honour to the world's great Author rise; Of goodliest trees, laden with fairest fruit,
Whether to deck with clouds the uncoloured sky, Blossoms and fruits at once of golden hue,
· Or wet the thir-ty earth with falling showers, Appeared, with gay enamelled colours mixed; Rising or falling, still advance his praise. On which the sun more glad impressed his beams His praise, ye winds, that from four quarters blow, Than in fair evening cloud, or humid bow,
Breathe soft or loud; and wave your tops, ye pines, When God hath showered the earth; so lovely With every plant, in sign of worship wave. seemed
Fountains, and ye that warble as ye flow, That landscape; and of pure, now purer air
Melodious murmurs, warbling tune his prais . Meets his approach, and to the heart inspires
Join voices, all ye living souls; ye birds, Vernal delight and joy, able to drive
That singing up to heaven-gate ascend, All sadness but despair: now gentle gales,
Bear on your wings and in your notes his praise. Fanning their odoriferous wings, dispense
Ye that in waters glide, and ye that walk
Native perfumes, and whisper whence they stole The earth, and stately tread, or lowly creep,
Those balmy spoils. As when to them who sail Witness if I be silent, morn or even,
Beyond the Cape of Hope, and now are past
To hill, or valley, fountain, or fresh shade,
Mozambique, off at sea northeast winds blow
Made vocal by my song, and taught his praise. Sabean odors from the spicy shore
Hail, universal Lord! be bounteous still Of Araby the blest; with such delay
To give us only good; and, if the night Well pleased they slack their course, and many a Have gathered aught of evil or concealed, league,
Disperse it, as now light dispels the dark!' Cheered with the grateful smell, old Ocean siniles. So prayed they innocent, and to their thoughts
Firm peace recovered soon, and wonted calm.
MORNING HYMN IN PARADISE.
On to their morning's rural work they haste •These are thy glorious works, Parent of good, Among sweet dews and flowers; where any row Almighty! thine this universal frame,
Of fruit-trees, over-woody, reached too far Thus wondrous fair; thyself how wondrous then, Their pampered boughs, and needed hands to check Unspeakable! who sitt'st above these heavens, Fruitless embraces; or they led the vine To us invisible, or dimly seen
To wed her elm; she, spoused, about him twines In these thy lowest works; yet these declare
Her marriageable arms, and with her brings Thy goodness beyond thought, and power divine. Her dower, the adopted clusters, to adorn Speak, ye who best can tell, ye sons of light,
His barren leaves.
Angels! for ye behold him, and with songs
EVENING IN PARADISE.
And choral symphonies, day without night,
Circle his throne rejoicing; ye in heaven,
Now came still evening on, and twilight gray,
On earth join all ye creatures to extol
And in her sober livery all things clad; Him first, him last, him midst, and without end! Silence accompanied; for beast and bird, Fairest of stars, last in the train of night,
They to their grassy couch, these to their nests, If better thou belong not to the dawn,
Were slunk, all but the wakeful nightingale. Sure pledge of day, that crown'st the smiling morn She all night long her amorous descant surg; With thy bright circlet, praise him in thy sphere, Silence was pleased: now glowed the firmament While day arises, that sweet hour of prime.
With living sapphires; Hesperus, that led
Thou sun, of this great world both eye and soul, The starry host, rode brightest, till the moon,
Acknowledge him thy greater; sound his praise Rising in clouded majesty, at length,
In thy eternal course, both when thou climb'st, Apparent queen, unveiled her peerless light,
And when high noon has gained, and when thou And o'er the dark her silver mantle threw.
When Adam thus to Eve: Fair consort, the Moon, that now meet'st the orient sun, now fly'st,
hour With the fixed stars, fixed in their orb that flies; Of night, and all things now retired to rest, And ye five other wandering fires, that move
Mind us of like repose, since God hath set In mystic dance not without song, resound
Labour and rest, as day and night, to men His praise, who out of darkness called up light. Successive; and the timely dew of sleep, Ai, and ve elements, the eldest birth
Now falling with soft slumberous weight, inclines Of nature's womb that in quaternion sun
Our eyelids : other creatures all day long Perpetual circle, multiform; and mix
Rove idle unemployed, and less need rest;