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Then unto them I turned me, and I spake,
And I began : “Thine agonies, Francesca,
Sad and compassionate to weeping make me. But tell me, at the time of those sweet sighs,
By what and in what manner Love conceded,
That you should know your dubious desires ?” 120 And she to me: “There is no greater sorrow
Than to be mindful of the happy time
In misery, and that thy Teacher knows. But, if to recognize the earliest root
Of love in us thou hast so great desire,
I will do even as he who weeps and speaks. One day we reading were for our delight
Of Launcelot, how Love did him enthrall.
Alone we were and without any fear. Full many a time our eyes together drew
That reading, and drove the color from our faces ;
But one point only was it that o'ercame us. Whenas we read of the much longed-for smile
Being by such a noble lover kissed,
This one, who ne'er from me shall be divided, 135 Kissed me upon the mouth all palpitating.
Galeotto was the book and he who wrote it.
And all the while one spirit uttered this,
The other one did weep so, that, for pity,
I swooned away as if I had been dying, And fell, even as a dead body falls.
AT the return of consciousness, that closed
Before the pity of those two relations,
Which utterly with sadness had confused me, New torments I behold, and new tormented
Around me, whichsoever way I move,
And whichsoever way I turn, and gaze. In the third circle am I of the rain
Eternal, maledict, and cold, and heavy;
Its law and quality are never new.
Athwart the tenebrous air pour down amain;
Noisome the earth is, that receiveth this. Cerberus, monster cruel and uncouth,
With his three gullets like a dog is barking
Over the people that are there submerged.
And belly large, and armed with claws his hands ;
Howl the rain maketh them like unto dogs ;
One side they make a shelter for the other ;
Oft turn themselves the wretched reprobates. When Cerberus perceived us, the great worm!
His mouths he opened, and displayed his tusks ;
Not a limb had he that was motionless.
Took of the earth, and with his fists well filled,
He threw it into those rapacious gullets. Such as that dog is, who by barking craves,
And quiet grows soon as his food he gnaws,
For to devour it he but thinks and struggles, The like became those muzzles filth-begrimed
Of Cerberus the demon, who so thunders
Over the souls that they would fain be deaf. We passed across the shadows, which subdues
The heavy rain-storm, and we placed our feet
Upon their vanity that person seems. They all were lying prone upon the earth,
Excepting one, who sat upright as soon
As he beheld us passing on before him.
He said to me, “ recall me, if thou canst ;
And I to him: “The anguish which thou hast
Perhaps doth draw thee out of my remembrance,
So that it seems not I have ever seen thee. 45 But tell me who thou art, that in so doleful
A place art put, and in such punishment,
If some are greater, none is so displeasing.” And he to me: “Thy city, which is full
Of envy so that now the sack runs over,
Held me within it in the life serene. You citizens were wont to call me Ciacco;
For the pernicious sin of gluttony
I, as thou seest, am battered by this rain. And I, sad soul, am not the only one,
For all these suffer the like penalty
For the like sin”; and word no more spake he. I answered him: “Ciacco, thy wretchedness
Weighs on me so that it to weep invites me ;
But tell me, if thou knowest, to what shall come 60 The citizens of the divided city ;
If any there be just; and the occasion
Tell me why so much discord has assailed it."
Will come to bloodshed; and the rustic party 65