Canto V
[Lovers in Hell] "O animal grazioso e benigno
che visitando vai per l'aere perso
noi che tignemmo il mondo di sanguigno,
se fosse amico il re de l'universo,
noi pregheremmo lui de la tua pace,
poi c'hai pietà del nostro mal perverso.
Di quel che udire e che parlar vi piace,
noi udiremo e parleremo a voi,
mentre che 'l vento, come fa, ci tace."

"Oh living creature, gracious and kind,
through the murky air you come to see us,
we who have stained the world with blood.
Were the king of the universe our friend
we would ask that he commend you peace,
for you have pity on our plight perverse.
That of which you wish to hear and speak,
we will hear and we will tell
while the wind, as now, falls silent."

* * *
"Amor, ch'al cor gentil ratto s'apprende,
prese costui de la bella persona
che mi fu tolta; e 'l modo ancor m'offende.
Amor, ch'a nullo amato amar perdona,
mi prese del costui piacer sì forte,
che, come vedi, ancor non m'abbandona."

"Love, so swift to grasp a tender heart,
is what made him want my once fair form
wrenched from me with much yet felt offense.
Love, which won't let beloved stay apart
struck me with such strong enjoyment for this man
that, as you see, it has not yet abandoned me."

Dante Alighieri (1265-1321), from Canto V of Inferno, The Divine Comedy
"Dante in the Underworld" painted by Anselm Feuerbach (1829-80)
Translated by Damsel Plum, 1991
Back to Sapphire Salon