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But thus, the rest gainsaying, him bespake :
“If thou do cast thee down, I not on foot
Will chase thee, but above the pitch will beat
My plumes. Quit we the vantage ground, and let
The bank be as a shield ; that we may see,
If singly thou prevail against us all."
Now, reader, of new sport expect to hear.
They each one turn'd his eyes to the other shore,
He first, who was the hardest to persuade.
The spirit of Navarre chose well his time,
Planted his feet on land, and at one leap
Escaping, disappointed their resolve.
Them quick resentment stung, but him the most,
Who was the cause of failure : in pursuit
He therefore sped, exclaiming, “Thou art caught."
But little it avail'd ; terror outstripp'd
His following flight ; the other plunged beneath,
And he with upward pinion raised his breast :
E'en thus the water-fowl, when she perceives
The falcon near, dives instant down, while lie
Enraged and spent retires. That mockery
In Calcabrina fury stirr’d, who flew
After him, with desire of strife inflamed ;
And, for the barterer had 'scaped, so turn'd
His talons on his comrade. O'er the dyke
In grapple close they join'd ; but the other proved
A goshawk able to rend well his foe;
And in the boiling lake both fell. The heat
Was umpire soon between them ; but in vain
To lift themselves they strove, so fast were glued
Their pennons. Barbariccia, as the rest,
That chance lamenting, four in flight dispatch'd
From the other coast, with all their weapons arm’d.
They, to their post on each side speedily
Descending, stretch'd their hooks toward the fiends,
Who flounderd, inly burning from their scars :
And we departing left them to that broil.
1. Umpire.] Schermidor. The reader, if he thinks it worth while, may consult the Proposta of Monti on this word, which, with Lombardi, he would alter to sghermitor.
The enraged Demons pursue Dante, but he is preserved from them by Virgil.
On reaching the sixth gulf, he beholds the punishment of the hypocrites ; which is, to pace continually round the gulf under the pressure of caps and hoods, that are gilt on the outside, but leaden within. He is addressed by two of these, Catalano and Loderingo, knights of Saint Mary, otherwise called Joyous Friars of Bologna. Caïaphas is seen fixed to a cross on the ground, and lies so stretched along the way, that all tread on him in passing.
In silence and in solitude we went,
One first, the other following his steps,
As minor friars journeying on their road.
The present fray had turn'd my thoughts to muse
Upon old Æsop's fable, where he told
What fate unto the mouse and frog befel ;
For language hath not sounds more like in sense,
Than are these chances, if the origin
And end of each be heedfully compared.
And as one thought bursts from another forth,
So afterward from that another sprang,
Which added doubly to my former fear.
For thus I reason'd: “These through us have been
So foil'd, with loss and mockery so complete,
As needs must sting them sore. If anger then
Be to their evil will conjoin'd, more fell
They shall pursue us, than the savage hound
Snatches the leveret panting 'twixt his jaws.”
Already I perceived my liair stand all
On end with terror, and look'd eager back.
“ Teacher,” I thus began, “if speedily.
Thyself and me thou hide not, much I dread
Those evil talons. Even now behind
They urge us : quick imagination works
So forcibly, that I already feel them.”
He answer'd : “Were I form'd of leaded glass,
I should not sooner draw unto myself
Thy outward image, than I now imprint
That from within. This moment came thy thoughts
Presented before mine, with similar act
And countenance similar, so that from both 1 Æsop's fable.] The fable of the frog, who offered to carry the mouse across a ditch, with the intention of drowning him, when both were carried off by a kite. It is not among those Greek fables which go under the name of Æsop.
I one design have framed. If the right coast
Incline so much, that we may thence descend
Into the other chasin, we shall escape
Secure from this imagined pursuit."
He had not spoke 1 his purpose to the end,
When I from far beheld them with spread wings
Approach to take us. Suddenly my guide
Caught me, even as a mother that from sleep
Is by the noise aroused, and near her sees
The climbing fires, who snatches up her babe
And flies ne'er pausing, careful more of him
Than of herself, that but a single vest
Clings round her limbs. Down from the jutting beach
Supine he cast him to that pendent rock,
Which closes on one part the other chasm.
Never ran water with such hurrying pace
Adown the tube to turn a land-mill's wheel,
When nearest it approaches to the spokes,
As then along that edge my master ran,
Carrying me in his bosom, as a child,
Not a companion. Scarcely had his feet
Reach'd to the lowest of the bed beneath,
When over us the steep they reach'd : but fear
In him was none; for that high Providence,
Which placed them ministers of the fifth foss,
Power of departing thence took from them all.
There in the depth we saw a painted tribe,
Who paced with tardy steps around, and wept,
Faint in appearance and o'ercome with toil.
Caps had they on, with hoods, that fell low down
Before their eyes, in fashion like to those
Worn by the monks in Cologne.2 Their outside
Was overlaid with gold, dazzling to view,
But leaden all within, and of such weight,
That Frederick’so compared to these were straw.
Oh, everlasting wearisome attire!
We yet once more with them together turn'd
To leftward, on their dismal moan intent.
But by the weight opprest, so slowly came
The fainting people, that our company
Was changed, at every movement of the step. 1 He had not spoke.] Cumque ego cum angelis relictus starem pavidus, unus ex illis tartareis ministris horridis (Qu. horridus ?) hispidis (Qu. hispidus ?) aspectuque procerus festinus adveniens me impellere, et quomodocumque nocere conabatur : cum ecce apostolus velocius accurrens, meque subito arripiens in quendam locum gloriose projecit visionis. Alberici Visio, sec. 15.
2 Monks in Cologne.] They wore their cowls unusually large. :3 Frederick's.] The Emperor Frederick II. is said to have punished those who were guilty of high treason by wrapping them up in lead, and casting them into a furnace,
Whence I my guide address'd : “See that thou find
Some spirit, whose name may by his deeds be known;
And to that end look round thee as thou go'st.”
Then one, who understood the Tuscan voice,
Cried after us aloud : "Hold in your feet,
Ye who so swiftly speed through the dusk air.
Perchance from me thou shalt obtain thy wislı."
Whereat my leader, turning, me bespake :
“Pause, and then onward at their pace proceedl."
I staid, and saw two spirits in whose look
Impatient eagerness of mind was mark'd
To overtake me; but the load they bare
And narrrow path retarded their approach.
Soon as arrived, they with an eye askance
Perused me, but spake not: then turning, each
To other thus conferring said : "This one
Seems, by the action of his throat, alive;.
And, be they dead, what privilege allows
They walk unmantled by the cumbrous stole ?"
Then thus to me: “Tuscan, who visitest
The college of the mourning hypocrites,
Disclain not to instruct us who thou art.”
"By Arno's plensant stream," I thus replied,
“In the great city I was bred and grew,
And wear the body I have ever worn.
But who are ye, from whom such mighty grief,
As now I witness, courseth down your cheeks?
What torment breaks forth in this bitter woe?”
“Our bonnets gleaming bright with orange hue,"|
One of them answer'd, "are so leaden gross,
That with their weight they make the balances
To crack beneath them. Joyous friars 2 we were,
1 Our bonnets gleaming bright with orange hue.] It is observed by Venturi, that the word “rance” does not here signify “rancid or disgustful,” as it is explained by the old commentators, but orange-coloured," in which sense it occurs in the Purgatory, Canto ii. 9. By the erroneous interpretation Milton appears to have been misled : “Ever since the day peepe, till now the sun was grown somewhat ranke.” Prose Works, vol. i. p. 160, ed. 1753.
2 Joyous friars.] “Those who ruled the city of Florence on the part of the Ghibellines perceiving this discontent and murmuring, which they were fearful might produce a rebellion against themselves, in order to satisfy the people, made choice of two knights, Frati Godenti (joyous friars) of Bologna, on whom they conferred the chief power in Florence ; one named M. Catalano de' Malavolti, the other M. Loderingo di Liandolo; one an adherent of the Guelph, the other of the Ghibelline party. It is to be remarked, that the Joyous Friars were called Knights of St. Mary, and became knights on taking that habit : their robes were white, the mantle sable, and the arms a white field and red cross with two stars: their office was to defend widows and orphans ; they were to act as mediators; they had internal regulations, like other religious bodies. The above-mentioned M. Loderingo was the founder of that order, But it was not long before they too well deserved the
Bologna's natives ; Catalano I,
He Loderingo named ; and by thy land
Together taken, as men used to take
A single and indifferent arbiter,
To reconcile their strifes. How there we sped,
Gardingo's vicinage I can best declare."
“O friars !" I began, “your miseries,”
But there brake off, for one hal caught mine eye,
Fix'd to a cross with three stakes on the ground:
He, when he saw me, writhed himself, throughout
Distorted, ruffling with deep sighs his beard.
And Catalano, who thereof was 'ware,
Thus spake: “That pierced spirit, whom intent
Thou view'st, was he who gave the Pharisees
Counsel, that it were fitting for one man
To suffer for the people. He doth lie
Transverse ; nor any passes, but him first
Behoves make feeling trial how each weighıs.
In straits like this along the foss are placed
The father of his consort,3 and the rest
Partakers in that council
, seed of ill
And sorrow to the Jews." I noted then,
How Virgil gazed with wonder upon him,
Thus abjectly extended on the cross
In banishment eternal. To the friar
He next his words address'd : “We pray ye tell,
If so be lawful, whether on our right
Lies any opening in the rock, whereby
We both may issue hence, without constraint
On the dark angels, that compellid they come
To lead us from this depth.” He thus replied :
“Nearer than thou dost hope, there is a rock
From the great + circle moving, which o'ersteps
Each vale of horror, save that here his cope
appellation given them, and were found to be more bent on enjoying themselves than on any other object. These two friars were called in by the Florentines, and had a residence assigned them in the palace belonging to the people, over against the Abbey. Such was the dependence placed on the character of their order, that it was expected they would be impartial, and would save the commonwealth any unnecessary expense ; instead of which, though inclined to opposite parties, they secretly and hypocritically concurred in promoting their own advantage rather than the public good.” G. Villani, lib. 7. cap. xiii. This happened in 1266.
i Gardingo's vicinage. The name of that part of the city which was inhabited by the powerful Ghibelline family of the Uberti, and destroyed under the partial and iniquitous administration of Catalano anil Loderingo. ? That pierced spirit.] Caraphas. 3 The father of his consort.] ‘Annas, father-in-law to Caïaphas.
4 Great.] In the former editions it was printed “next." The error was observed by Mr. Carlyle.