Purgatorio: Canto VI
Whene'er is broken
up the game of Zara,
who has lost remains behind despondent,
The throws repeating, and in sadness learns;
The people with the
other all depart;
goes in front, and one behind doth pluck him,
And at his side one brings himself to mind;
He pauses not, and
this and that one hears;
crowd no more to whom his hand he stretches,
And from the throng he thus defends himself.
Even such was I in
that dense multitude,
to them this way and that my face,
And, promising, I freed myself therefrom.
There was the
Aretine, who from the arms
of Ghin di Tacco had his death,
And he who fleeing from pursuit was drowned.
There was imploring
with his hands outstretched
Novello, and that one of Pisa
Who made the good Marzucco seem so strong.
I saw Count Orso;
and the soul divided
hatred and by envy from its body,
As it declared, and not for crime committed,
Pierre de la Brosse
I say; and here provide
still on earth the Lady of Brabant,
So that for this she be of no worse flock!
As soon as I was
free from all those shades
only prayed that some one else may pray,
So as to hasten their becoming holy,
Began I: "It
appears that thou deniest,
light of mine, expressly in some text,
That orison can bend decree of Heaven;
these people pray for this.
then their expectation bootless be?
Or is to me thy saying not quite clear?"
And he to me: "My
writing is explicit,
not fallacious is the hope of these,
If with sane intellect 'tis well regarded;
For top of judgment
doth not vail itself,
the fire of love fulfils at once
What he must satisfy who here installs him.
And there, where I
affirmed that proposition,
was not amended by a prayer,
Because the prayer from God was separate.
Verily, in so deep
not decide, unless she tell it thee,
Who light 'twixt truth and intellect shall be.
I know not if thou
understand; I speak
Beatrice; her shalt thou see above,
Smiling and happy, on this mountain's top."
And I: "Good
Leader, let us make more haste,
I no longer tire me as before;
And see, e'en now the hill a shadow casts."
"We will go forward
with this day" he answered,
far as now is possible for us;
But otherwise the fact is than thou thinkest.
Ere thou art up
there, thou shalt see return
who now hides himself behind the hill,
So that thou dost not interrupt his rays.
But yonder there
behold! a soul that stationed
all alone is looking hitherward;
It will point out to us the quickest way."
We came up unto it;
O Lombard soul,
lofty and disdainful thou didst bear thee,
And grand and slow in moving of thine eyes!
did it say to us,
let us go our way, eying us only
After the manner of a couchant lion;
Still near to it
Virgilius drew, entreating
it would point us out the best ascent;
And it replied not unto his demand,
But of our native
land and of our life
questioned us; and the sweet Guide began:
"Mantua,"--and the shade, all in itself recluse,
Rose tow'rds him
from the place where first it was,
"O Mantuan, I am Sordello
Of thine own land!" and one embraced the other.
Ah! servile Italy,
ship without a pilot in great tempest!
No Lady thou of Provinces, but brothel!
That noble soul was
so impatient, only
the sweet sound of his own native land,
To make its citizen glad welcome there;
And now within thee
are not without war
living ones, and one doth gnaw the other
Of those whom one wall and one fosse shut in!
one, all round about the shores
seaboard, and then look within thy bosom,
If any part of thee enjoyeth peace!
What boots it, that
for thee Justinian
bridle mend, if empty be the saddle?
Withouten this the shame would be the less.
Ah! people, thou
that oughtest to be devout,
to let Caesar sit upon the saddle,
If well thou hearest what God teacheth thee,
Behold how fell
this wild beast has become,
no longer by the spur corrected,
Since thou hast laid thy hand upon the bridle.
O German Albert!
that has grown recalcitrant and savage,
And oughtest to bestride her saddle-bow,
May a just judgment
from the stars down fall
thy blood, and be it new and open,
That thy successor may have fear thereof;
Because thy father
and thyself have suffered,
greed of those transalpine lands distrained,
The garden of the empire to be waste.
Come and behold
Montecchi and Cappelletti,
and Fillippeschi, careless man!
Those sad already, and these doubt-depressed!
Come, cruel one!
come and behold the oppression
thy nobility, and cure their wounds,
And thou shalt see how safe is Santafiore!
Come and behold thy
Rome, that is lamenting,
alone, and day and night exclaims,
"My Caesar, why hast thou forsaken me?"
Come and behold how
loving are the people;
if for us no pity moveth thee,
Come and be made ashamed of thy renown!
And if it lawful
be, O Jove Supreme!
upon earth for us wast crucified,
Are thy just eyes averted otherwhere?
Or preparation is
't, that, in the abyss
thine own counsel, for some good thou makest
From our perception utterly cut off?
For all the towns
of Italy are full
tyrants, and becometh a Marcellus
Each peasant churl who plays the partisan!
My Florence! well
mayst thou contented be
this digression, which concerns thee not,
Thanks to thy people who such forethought take!
Many at heart have
justice, but shoot slowly,
unadvised they come not to the bow,
But on their very lips thy people have it!
Many refuse to bear
the common burden;
thy solicitous people answereth
Without being asked, and crieth: "I submit."
Now be thou joyful,
for thou hast good reason;
affluent, thou in peace, thou full of wisdom!
If I speak true, the event conceals it not.
Lacedaemon, they who made
ancient laws, and were so civilized,
Made towards living well a little sign
Compared with thee,
who makest such fine-spun
that to middle of November
Reaches not what thou in October spinnest.
How oft, within the
time of thy remembrance,
money, offices, and usages
Hast thou remodelled, and renewed thy members?
And if thou mind
thee well, and see the light,
shalt behold thyself like a sick woman,
Who cannot find repose upon her down,
But by her tossing
wardeth off her pain.