Side by Side Translations of Dante's Inferno - Canto 10

Longfellow Translation

Inferno: Canto X

Now onward goes, along a narrow path
  Between the torments and the city wall,
  My Master, and I follow at his back.

"O power supreme, that through these impious circles
  Turnest me," I began, "as pleases thee,
  Speak to me, and my longings satisfy;

The people who are lying in these tombs,
  Might they be seen? already are uplifted
  The covers all, and no one keepeth guard."

And he to me: "They all will be closed up
  When from Jehoshaphat they shall return
  Here with the bodies they have left above.

Their cemetery have upon this side
  With Epicurus all his followers,
  Who with the body mortal make the soul;

But in the question thou dost put to me,
  Within here shalt thou soon be satisfied,
  And likewise in the wish thou keepest silent."

And I: "Good Leader, I but keep concealed
  From thee my heart, that I may speak the less,
  Nor only now hast thou thereto disposed me."

"O Tuscan, thou who through the city of fire
  Goest alive, thus speaking modestly,
  Be pleased to stay thy footsteps in this place.

Thy mode of speaking makes thee manifest
  A native of that noble fatherland,
  To which perhaps I too molestful was."

Upon a sudden issued forth this sound
  From out one of the tombs; wherefore I pressed,
  Fearing, a little nearer to my Leader.

And unto me he said: "Turn thee; what dost thou?
  Behold there Farinata who has risen;
  From the waist upwards wholly shalt thou see him."

I had already fixed mine eyes on his,
  And he uprose erect with breast and front
  E'en as if Hell he had in great despite.

And with courageous hands and prompt my Leader
  Thrust me between the sepulchres towards him,
  Exclaiming, "Let thy words explicit be."

As soon as I was at the foot of his tomb
  Somewhat he eyed me, and, as if disdainful,
  Then asked of me, "Who were thine ancestors?"

I, who desirous of obeying was,
  Concealed it not, but all revealed to him;
  Whereat he raised his brows a little upward.

Then said he: "Fiercely adverse have they been
  To me, and to my fathers, and my party;
  So that two several times I scattered them."

"If they were banished, they returned on all sides,"
  I answered him, "the first time and the second;
  But yours have not acquired that art aright."

Then there uprose upon the sight, uncovered
  Down to the chin, a shadow at his side;
  I think that he had risen on his knees.

Round me he gazed, as if solicitude
  He had to see if some one else were with me,
  But after his suspicion was all spent,

Weeping, he said to me: "If through this blind
  Prison thou goest by loftiness of genius,
  Where is my son? and why is he not with thee?"

And I to him: "I come not of myself;
  He who is waiting yonder leads me here,
  Whom in disdain perhaps your Guido had."

His language and the mode of punishment
  Already unto me had read his name;
  On that account my answer was so full.

Up starting suddenly, he cried out: "How
  Saidst thou,--he had?  Is he not still alive?
  Does not the sweet light strike upon his eyes?"

When he became aware of some delay,
  Which I before my answer made, supine
  He fell again, and forth appeared no more.

But the other, magnanimous, at whose desire
  I had remained, did not his aspect change,
  Neither his neck he moved, nor bent his side.

"And if," continuing his first discourse,
  "They have that art," he said, "not learned aright,
  That more tormenteth me, than doth this bed.

But fifty times shall not rekindled be
  The countenance of the Lady who reigns here,
  Ere thou shalt know how heavy is that art;

And as thou wouldst to the sweet world return,
  Say why that people is so pitiless
  Against my race in each one of its laws?"

Whence I to him: "The slaughter and great carnage
  Which have with crimson stained the Arbia, cause
  Such orisons in our temple to be made."

After his head he with a sigh had shaken,
  "There I was not alone," he said, "nor surely
  Without a cause had with the others moved.

But there I was alone, where every one
  Consented to the laying waste of Florence,
  He who defended her with open face."

"Ah! so hereafter may your seed repose,"
  I him entreated, "solve for me that knot,
  Which has entangled my conceptions here.

It seems that you can see, if I hear rightly,
  Beforehand whatsoe'er time brings with it,
  And in the present have another mode."

"We see, like those who have imperfect sight,
  The things," he said, "that distant are from us;
  So much still shines on us the Sovereign Ruler.

When they draw near, or are, is wholly vain
  Our intellect, and if none brings it to us,
  Not anything know we of your human state.

Hence thou canst understand, that wholly dead
  Will be our knowledge from the moment when
  The portal of the future shall be closed."

Then I, as if compunctious for my fault,
  Said: "Now, then, you will tell that fallen one,
  That still his son is with the living joined.

And if just now, in answering, I was dumb,
  Tell him I did it because I was thinking
  Already of the error you have solved me."

And now my Master was recalling me,
  Wherefore more eagerly I prayed the spirit
  That he would tell me who was with him there.

He said: "With more than a thousand here I lie;
  Within here is the second Frederick,
  And the Cardinal, and of the rest I speak not."

Thereon he hid himself; and I towards
  The ancient poet turned my steps, reflecting
  Upon that saying, which seemed hostile to me.

He moved along; and afterward thus going,
  He said to me, "Why art thou so bewildered?"
  And I in his inquiry satisfied him.

"Let memory preserve what thou hast heard
  Against thyself," that Sage commanded me,
  "And now attend here;" and he raised his finger.

"When thou shalt be before the radiance sweet
  Of her whose beauteous eyes all things behold,
  From her thou'lt know the journey of thy life."

Unto the left hand then he turned his feet;
  We left the wall, and went towards the middle,
  Along a path that strikes into a valley,

Which even up there unpleasant made its stench.

Cary Translation


NOW by a secret pathway we proceed,
Between the walls, that hem the region round,
And the tormented souls: my master first,
I close behind his steps. "Virtue supreme!"
I thus began; "who through these ample orbs
In circuit lead'st me, even as thou will'st,
Speak thou, and satisfy my wish. May those,
Who lie within these sepulchres, be seen?
Already all the lids are rais'd, and none
O'er them keeps watch." He thus in answer spake
"They shall be closed all, what-time they here
From Josaphat return'd shall come, and bring
Their bodies, which above they now have left.
The cemetery on this part obtain
With Epicurus all his followers,
Who with the body make the spirit die.
Here therefore satisfaction shall be soon
Both to the question ask'd, and to the wish,
Which thou conceal'st in silence." I replied:
"I keep not, guide belov'd! from thee my heart
Secreted, but to shun vain length of words,
A lesson erewhile taught me by thyself."

"O Tuscan! thou who through the city of fire
Alive art passing, so discreet of speech!
Here please thee stay awhile. Thy utterance
Declares the place of thy nativity
To be that noble land, with which perchance
I too severely dealt." Sudden that sound
Forth issu'd from a vault, whereat in fear
I somewhat closer to my leader's side
Approaching, he thus spake: "What dost thou? Turn.
Lo, Farinata, there! who hath himself
Uplifted: from his girdle upwards all
Expos'd behold him." On his face was mine
Already fix'd; his breast and forehead there
Erecting, seem'd as in high scorn he held
E'en hell. Between the sepulchres to him
My guide thrust me with fearless hands and prompt,
This warning added: "See thy words be clear!"

He, soon as there I stood at the tomb's foot,
Ey'd me a space, then in disdainful mood
Address'd me: "Say, what ancestors were thine?"

I, willing to obey him, straight reveal'd
The whole, nor kept back aught: whence he, his brow
Somewhat uplifting, cried: "Fiercely were they
Adverse to me, my party, and the blood
From whence I sprang: twice therefore I abroad
Scatter'd them." "Though driv'n out, yet they each time
From all parts," answer'd I, "return'd; an art
Which yours have shown, they are not skill'd to learn."

Then, peering forth from the unclosed jaw,
Rose from his side a shade, high as the chin,
Leaning, methought, upon its knees uprais'd.
It look'd around, as eager to explore
If there were other with me; but perceiving
That fond imagination quench'd, with tears
Thus spake: "If thou through this blind prison go'st.
Led by thy lofty genius and profound,
Where is my son? and wherefore not with thee?"

I straight replied: "Not of myself I come,
By him, who there expects me, through this clime
Conducted, whom perchance Guido thy son
Had in contempt." Already had his words
And mode of punishment read me his name,
Whence I so fully answer'd. He at once
Exclaim'd, up starting, "How! said'st thou he HAD?
No longer lives he? Strikes not on his eye
The blessed daylight?" Then of some delay
I made ere my reply aware, down fell
Supine, not after forth appear'd he more.

Meanwhile the other, great of soul, near whom
I yet was station'd, chang'd not count'nance stern,
Nor mov'd the neck, nor bent his ribbed side.
"And if," continuing the first discourse,
"They in this art," he cried, "small skill have shown,
That doth torment me more e'en than this bed.
But not yet fifty times shall be relum'd
Her aspect, who reigns here Queen of this realm,
Ere thou shalt know the full weight of that art.
So to the pleasant world mayst thou return,
As thou shalt tell me, why in all their laws,
Against my kin this people is so fell?"

"The slaughter and great havoc," I replied,
"That colour'd Arbia's flood with crimson stain--
To these impute, that in our hallow'd dome
Such orisons ascend." Sighing he shook
The head, then thus resum'd: "In that affray
I stood not singly, nor without just cause
Assuredly should with the rest have stirr'd;
But singly there I stood, when by consent
Of all, Florence had to the ground been raz'd,
The one who openly forbad the deed."

"So may thy lineage find at last repose,"
I thus adjur'd him, "as thou solve this knot,
Which now involves my mind. If right I hear,
Ye seem to view beforehand, that which time
Leads with him, of the present uninform'd."

"We view, as one who hath an evil sight,"
He answer'd, "plainly, objects far remote:
So much of his large spendour yet imparts
The' Almighty Ruler; but when they approach
Or actually exist, our intellect
Then wholly fails, nor of your human state
Except what others bring us know we aught.
Hence therefore mayst thou understand, that all
Our knowledge in that instant shall expire,
When on futurity the portals close."

Then conscious of my fault, and by remorse
Smitten, I added thus: "Now shalt thou say
To him there fallen, that his offspring still
Is to the living join'd; and bid him know,
That if from answer silent I abstain'd,
'Twas that my thought was occupied intent
Upon that error, which thy help hath solv'd."

But now my master summoning me back
I heard, and with more eager haste besought
The spirit to inform me, who with him
Partook his lot. He answer thus return'd:

"More than a thousand with me here are laid
Within is Frederick, second of that name,
And the Lord Cardinal, and of the rest
I speak not." He, this said, from sight withdrew.
But I my steps towards the ancient bard
Reverting, ruminated on the words
Betokening me such ill. Onward he mov'd,
And thus in going question'd: "Whence the' amaze
That holds thy senses wrapt?" I satisfied
The' inquiry, and the sage enjoin'd me straight:
"Let thy safe memory store what thou hast heard
To thee importing harm; and note thou this,"
With his rais'd finger bidding me take heed,

"When thou shalt stand before her gracious beam,
Whose bright eye all surveys, she of thy life
The future tenour will to thee unfold."

Forthwith he to the left hand turn'd his feet:
We left the wall, and tow'rds the middle space
Went by a path, that to a valley strikes;
Which e'en thus high exhal'd its noisome steam.

Norton Translation

CANTO X. The Sixth Circle: Heresiarchs.--Farinata degli
Uberti.-Cavalcante Cavalcanti.--Frederick II.

Now along a narrow path between the wall of the city and the
torments my Master goeth on, and I behind his shoulders.

"O Virtue supreme," I began, "that through the impious circles
turnest me, according to thy pleasure, speak to me and satisfy my
desires. The folk that are lying in the sepulchres, can they be
seen? All the lids are now lifted, and no one keepeth guard." And
he to me, "All shall be locked in when from Jehoshaphat they
shall here return with the bodies which they have left on earth.
Upon this side Epicurus with all his followers, who make the soul
mortal with the body, have their burial place. Therefore as to
the demand that thou makest of me, thou shalt soon be satisfied
here within; and also as to the desire concerning which thou art
silent to me." And I, "Good Leader, I hold not my heart hidden
from thee except in order to speak little; and not only now to
that hast thou disposed me."

"O Tuscan, who through the city of fire alive art going, speaking
thus modestly, may it please thee to stop in this place. Thy
speech makes manifest that thou art native of that noble
fatherland to which perchance I was too molestful." Suddenly this
sound issued from one of the coffers, wherefore I drew, in fear,
a little nearer to my Leader. And he said to me, "Turn, what dost
thou? Behold Farinata who hath uprisen; thou shalt see him all
from the girdle up."

I had already fixed my face on his, and he straightened himself
up with breast and front as though he had Hell in great scorn.
And the bold and ready hands of my Leader pushed me among the
sepulchres to him, saying, "Let thy words be choice."

When I was at the foot of his tomb, he looked at me a little, and
then, as though disdainful, asked me, "Who were thy ancestors?"
I, who was desirous to obey, concealed them not, but disclosed
them all to him; whereon he raised his brows a little up, then
said, "Fiercely were they adverse to me, and to my fathers, and
to my party, so that twice I scattered them." [1] "If they were
driven out, they returned from every side," replied I to him,
"both one and the other time, but yours have not learned well
that art."

[1] Dante's ancestors were Guelphs.

Then there arose, to view uncovered down to the chin, a shade at
the side of this one; I think that it had risen on its knees.
Round about me it looked, as if it had desire to see if another
were with me, but when its expectancy was quite extinct, weeping
it said, "If through this blind dungeon thou goest through
loftiness of genius, my son, where is he? and why is he not with
thee?" And I to him, "Of myself I come not; he who waits yonder
leads me through here, whom perchance your Guido held in

[1] Guido Cavalcanti was charged with the same sin of unbelief as
his father. Dante regards this as a sin specially contrary to
right reason, typified by Virgil.

His words and the mode of the punishment had already read to me
the name of this one, wherefore my answer was so full.

Suddenly straightening up, he cried, "How didst thou say, 'he
held'? lives he not still? doth not the sweet light strike his
eyes?" When he took note of some delay that I made before
answering, he fell again supine, and forth appeared no more.

But that other magnanimous one, at whose instance I had stayed,
changed not aspect, nor moved his neck, nor bent his side. "And
if," he said, continuing his first words, "they have ill learned
that art, it torments me more than this bed. But the face of the
lady who ruleth here will not be rekindled fifty times ere thou
shalt know how much that art weighs. And, so mayest thou return
unto the sweet world, tell me wherefore is that people so
pitiless against my race in its every law?" Then I to him, "The
rout and the great carnage that colored the Arbia red cause such
orison to be made in our temple." After he had, sighing, shaken
his head, "In that I was not alone," he said, "nor surely without
cause would I have moved with the rest; but I was alone,--there
[1] where it was agreed by every one to lay Florence waste,--he
who defended her with open face." "Ah! so hereafter may your seed
repose," I prayed to him, "loose for me that knot, which here has
entangled my judgment. It seems, if I rightly hear, that ye
foresee that which time is bringing with him, and as to the
present have another way." "We see," he said, "like those who
have feeble light, the things that are far from us, so much still
shineth on us the supreme Leader; when they draw near, or are,
our intelligence is all vain, and, if some one report not to us,
we know nothing of your human state. Therefore thou canst
comprehend that our knowledge will be utterly dead from that
moment when the gate of the future shall he closed." Then, as
compunctious for my fault I said, "Now wilt thou therefore tell
that fallen one that his son is still conjoined with the living,
and if just now I was dumb to answer, make him know that I was so
because I was still thinking in that error which you have solved
for me." [2]

[1] At Empoli, in 1260, after the defeat of the Florentine
Guelphs at Montaperti on the Arbia.

[2] Guido Cavalcanti died in August, 1300; his death, being near
at hand at the time of Dante's journey, was not known to his

And now my Master was calling me back, wherefore I prayed the
spirit more hastily that he would tell me who was with him. He
said to me, "Here with more than a thousand do I lie; here within
is the second Frederick and the Cardinal,[1] and of the others I
am silent."

[1] Ottaviano degli Ubaldini, a fierce Ghibelline, who was
reported as saying, "If there be a soul I have lost it for the

Thereon he hid himself; and I toward the ancient Poet turned my
steps, reflecting on that speech which seemed hostile to me. He
moved on, and then, thus going, he said to me, "Why art thou so
distraught?" And I satisfied his demand. "Let thy memory preserve
that which thou hast heard against thyself," commanded me that
Sage, "and now attend to this," and he raised his finger. "When
thou shalt be in presence of the sweet radiance of her whose
beautiful eye sees everything, from her thou shalt learn the
journey of thy life." Then to the left he turned his step.

We left the wall, and went toward the middle by a path which
strikes into a valley that even up there its stench made

Browse the cantos of the Inferno:

[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] [22] [23] [24] [25] [26] [27] [28] [29] [30] [31] [32] [33] [34]