Inferno: Canto XXII
I have erewhile seen horsemen moving camp,
Begin the storming, and their muster make,
And sometimes starting off for their escape;
Vaunt-couriers have I seen upon your land,
O Aretines, and foragers go forth,
Tournaments stricken, and the joustings run,
Sometimes with trumpets and sometimes with bells,
With kettle-drums, and signals of the castles,
And with our own, and with outlandish things,
But never yet with bagpipe so uncouth
Did I see horsemen move, nor infantry,
Nor ship by any sign of land or star.
We went upon our way with the ten demons;
Ah, savage company! but in the church
With saints, and in the tavern with the gluttons!
Ever upon the pitch was my intent,
To see the whole condition of that Bolgia,
And of the people who therein were burned.
Even as the dolphins, when they make a sign
To mariners by arching of the back,
That they should counsel take to save their vessel,
Thus sometimes, to alleviate his pain,
One of the sinners would display his back,
And in less time conceal it than it lightens.
As on the brink of water in a ditch
The frogs stand only with their muzzles out,
So that they hide their feet and other bulk,
So upon every side the sinners stood;
But ever as Barbariccia near them came,
Thus underneath the boiling they withdrew.
I saw, and still my heart doth shudder at it,
One waiting thus, even as it comes to pass
One frog remains, and down another dives;
And Graffiacan, who most confronted him,
Grappled him by his tresses smeared with pitch,
And drew him up, so that he seemed an otter.
I knew, before, the names of all of them,
So had I noted them when they were chosen,
And when they called each other, listened how.
"O Rubicante, see that thou do lay
Thy claws upon him, so that thou mayst flay him,"
Cried all together the accursed ones.
And I: "My Master, see to it, if thou canst,
That thou mayst know who is the luckless wight,
Thus come into his adversaries' hands."
Near to the side of him my Leader drew,
Asked of him whence he was; and he replied:
"I in the kingdom of Navarre was born;
My mother placed me servant to a lord,
For she had borne me to a ribald knave,
Destroyer of himself and of his things.
Then I domestic was of good King Thibault;
I set me there to practise barratry,
For which I pay the reckoning in this heat."
And Ciriatto, from whose mouth projected,
On either side, a tusk, as in a boar,
Caused him to feel how one of them could rip.
Among malicious cats the mouse had come;
But Barbariccia clasped him in his arms,
And said: "Stand ye aside, while I enfork him."
And to my Master he turned round his head;
"Ask him again," he said, "if more thou wish
To know from him, before some one destroy him."
The Guide: "Now tell then of the other culprits;
Knowest thou any one who is a Latian,
Under the pitch?" And he: "I separated
Lately from one who was a neighbour to it;
Would that I still were covered up with him,
For I should fear not either claw nor hook!"
And Libicocco: "We have borne too much;"
And with his grapnel seized him by the arm,
So that, by rending, he tore off a tendon.
Eke Draghignazzo wished to pounce upon him
Down at the legs; whence their Decurion
Turned round and round about with evil look.
When they again somewhat were pacified,
Of him, who still was looking at his wound,
Demanded my Conductor without stay:
"Who was that one, from whom a luckless parting
Thou sayest thou hast made, to come ashore?"
And he replied: "It was the Friar Gomita,
He of Gallura, vessel of all fraud,
Who had the enemies of his Lord in hand,
And dealt so with them each exults thereat;
Money he took, and let them smoothly off,
As he says; and in other offices
A barrator was he, not mean but sovereign.
Foregathers with him one Don Michael Zanche
Of Logodoro; and of Sardinia
To gossip never do their tongues feel tired.
O me! see that one, how he grinds his teeth;
Still farther would I speak, but am afraid
Lest he to scratch my itch be making ready."
And the grand Provost, turned to Farfarello,
Who rolled his eyes about as if to strike,
Said: "Stand aside there, thou malicious bird."
"If you desire either to see or hear,"
The terror-stricken recommenced thereon,
"Tuscans or Lombards, I will make them come.
But let the Malebranche cease a little,
So that these may not their revenges fear,
And I, down sitting in this very place,
For one that I am will make seven come,
When I shall whistle, as our custom is
To do whenever one of us comes out."
Cagnazzo at these words his muzzle lifted,
Shaking his head, and said: "Just hear the trick
Which he has thought of, down to throw himself!"
Whence he, who snares in great abundance had,
Responded: "I by far too cunning am,
When I procure for mine a greater sadness."
Alichin held not in, but running counter
Unto the rest, said to him: "If thou dive,
I will not follow thee upon the gallop,
But I will beat my wings above the pitch;
The height be left, and be the bank a shield
To see if thou alone dost countervail us."
O thou who readest, thou shalt hear new sport!
Each to the other side his eyes averted;
He first, who most reluctant was to do it.
The Navarrese selected well his time;
Planted his feet on land, and in a moment
Leaped, and released himself from their design.
Whereat each one was suddenly stung with shame,
But he most who was cause of the defeat;
Therefore he moved, and cried: "Thou art o'ertakern."
But little it availed, for wings could not
Outstrip the fear; the other one went under,
And, flying, upward he his breast directed;
Not otherwise the duck upon a sudden
Dives under, when the falcon is approaching,
And upward he returneth cross and weary.
Infuriate at the mockery, Calcabrina
Flying behind him followed close, desirous
The other should escape, to have a quarrel.
And when the barrator had disappeared,
He turned his talons upon his companion,
And grappled with him right above the moat.
But sooth the other was a doughty sparhawk
To clapperclaw him well; and both of them
Fell in the middle of the boiling pond.
A sudden intercessor was the heat;
But ne'ertheless of rising there was naught,
To such degree they had their wings belimed.
Lamenting with the others, Barbariccia
Made four of them fly to the other side
With all their gaffs, and very speedily
This side and that they to their posts descended;
They stretched their hooks towards the pitch-ensnared,
Who were already baked within the crust,
And in this manner busied did we leave them.
IT hath been heretofore my chance to see
Horsemen with martial order shifting camp,
To onset sallying, or in muster rang'd,
Or in retreat sometimes outstretch'd for flight;
Light-armed squadrons and fleet foragers
Scouring thy plains, Arezzo! have I seen,
And clashing tournaments, and tilting jousts,
Now with the sound of trumpets, now of bells,
Tabors, or signals made from castled heights,
And with inventions multiform, our own,
Or introduc'd from foreign land; but ne'er
To such a strange recorder I beheld,
In evolution moving, horse nor foot,
Nor ship, that tack'd by sign from land or star.
With the ten demons on our way we went;
Ah fearful company! but in the church
With saints, with gluttons at the tavern's mess.
Still earnest on the pitch I gaz'd, to mark
All things whate'er the chasm contain'd, and those
Who burn'd within. As dolphins, that, in sign
To mariners, heave high their arched backs,
That thence forewarn'd they may advise to save
Their threaten'd vessels; so, at intervals,
To ease the pain his back some sinner show'd,
Then hid more nimbly than the lightning glance.
E'en as the frogs, that of a wat'ry moat
Stand at the brink, with the jaws only out,
Their feet and of the trunk all else concealed,
Thus on each part the sinners stood, but soon
As Barbariccia was at hand, so they
Drew back under the wave. I saw, and yet
My heart doth stagger, one, that waited thus,
As it befalls that oft one frog remains,
While the next springs away: and Graffiacan,
Who of the fiends was nearest, grappling seiz'd
His clotted locks, and dragg'd him sprawling up,
That he appear'd to me an otter. Each
Already by their names I knew, so well
When they were chosen, I observ'd, and mark'd
How one the other call'd. "O Rubicant!
See that his hide thou with thy talons flay,"
Shouted together all the cursed crew.
Then I: "Inform thee, master! if thou may,
What wretched soul is this, on whom their hand
His foes have laid." My leader to his side
Approach'd, and whence he came inquir'd, to whom
Was answer'd thus: "Born in Navarre's domain
My mother plac'd me in a lord's retinue,
For she had borne me to a losel vile,
A spendthrift of his substance and himself.
The good king Thibault after that I serv'd,
To peculating here my thoughts were turn'd,
Whereof I give account in this dire heat."
Straight Ciriatto, from whose mouth a tusk
Issued on either side, as from a boar,
Ript him with one of these. 'Twixt evil claws
The mouse had fall'n: but Barbariccia cried,
Seizing him with both arms: "Stand thou apart,
While I do fix him on my prong transpierc'd."
Then added, turning to my guide his face,
"Inquire of him, if more thou wish to learn,
Ere he again be rent." My leader thus:
"Then tell us of the partners in thy guilt;
Knowest thou any sprung of Latian land
Under the tar?"--"I parted," he replied,
"But now from one, who sojourn'd not far thence;
So were I under shelter now with him!
Nor hook nor talon then should scare me more."--.
"Too long we suffer," Libicocco cried,
Then, darting forth a prong, seiz'd on his arm,
And mangled bore away the sinewy part.
Him Draghinazzo by his thighs beneath
Would next have caught, whence angrily their chief,
Turning on all sides round, with threat'ning brow
Restrain'd them. When their strife a little ceas'd,
Of him, who yet was gazing on his wound,
My teacher thus without delay inquir'd:
"Who was the spirit, from whom by evil hap
Parting, as thou has told, thou cam'st to shore?"--
"It was the friar Gomita," he rejoin'd,
"He of Gallura, vessel of all guile,
Who had his master's enemies in hand,
And us'd them so that they commend him well.
Money he took, and them at large dismiss'd.
So he reports: and in each other charge
Committed to his keeping, play'd the part
Of barterer to the height: with him doth herd
The chief of Logodoro, Michel Zanche.
Sardinia is a theme, whereof their tongue
Is never weary. Out! alas! behold
That other, how he grins! More would I say,
But tremble lest he mean to maul me sore."
Their captain then to Farfarello turning,
Who roll'd his moony eyes in act to strike,
Rebuk'd him thus: "Off! cursed bird! Avaunt!"--
"If ye desire to see or hear," he thus
Quaking with dread resum'd, "or Tuscan spirits
Or Lombard, I will cause them to appear.
Meantime let these ill talons bate their fury,
So that no vengeance they may fear from them,
And I, remaining in this self-same place,
Will for myself but one, make sev'n appear,
When my shrill whistle shall be heard; for so
Our custom is to call each other up."
Cagnazzo at that word deriding grinn'd,
Then wagg'd the head and spake: "Hear his device,
Mischievous as he is, to plunge him down."
Whereto he thus, who fail'd not in rich store
Of nice-wove toils; "Mischief forsooth extreme,
Meant only to procure myself more woe!"
No longer Alichino then refrain'd,
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 plung'd beneath,
And he with upward pinion rais'd his breast:
E'en thus the water-fowl, when she perceives
The falcon near, dives instant down, while he
Enrag'd and spent retires. That mockery
In Calcabrina fury stirr'd, who flew
After him, with desire of strife inflam'd;
And, for the barterer had 'scap'd, so turn'd
His talons on his comrade. O'er the dyke
In grapple close they join'd; but the' other prov'd
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 flounder'd, inly burning from their scars:
And we departing left them to that broil.
CANTO XXII. Eighth Circle: fifth pit: barrators.--Ciampolo of
Navarre.--Fra Gomita.--Michaci Zanche.--Fray of the Malebranche.
I have seen of old horsemen moving camp, and beginning an
assault, and making their muster, and sometimes setting forth on
their escape; I have seen runners through your land, O Aretines,
and I have seen freebooters starting, tournaments struck and
jousts run, at times with trumpets, and at times with bells, with
drums, and with signals from strongholds, and with native things
and foreign,--but never with so strange a pipe did I see horsemen
or footmen set forth, or ship by sign of land or star.
We went along with the ten demons. Ah, the fell company! but in
the church with saints, and in the tavern with gluttons. Ever on
the pitch was I intent, to see every aspect of the pit, and of
the people that were burning in it.
As dolphins, when, by the arching of their back, they give a sign
to sailors that they take heed for the safety of their vessel,
so, now and then, to alleviate his pain, one of the sinners
showed his back and hid in less time than it lightens. And as at
the edge of the water of a ditch the frogs stand with only their
muzzle out, so that they conceal their feet and the rest of their
bulk, thus stood on every side the sinners; but as Barbariccia
approached so did they draw back beneath the boiling. I saw, and
still my heart shudders at it, one waiting, just as it happens
that one frog stays and another jumps. And Graffiacane, who was
nearest over against him, hooked him by his pitchy locks, and
drew him up so that he seemed to me an otter. I knew now the name
of every one of them, so had I noted them when they were chosen,
and when they had called each other I had listened how. "O
Rubicante, see thou set thy claws upon him so thou flay him,"
shouted all the accursed ones together.
And I, "My Master, see, if thou canst, that thou find out who is
the luckless one come into the hands of his adversaries." My
Leader drew up to his side, asked him whence he was, and he
replied, "I was born in the kingdom of Navarre; my mother placed
me in service of a lord, for she had borne me to a ribald,
destroyer of himself and of his substance. Afterward I was of the
household of the good King Thibault; there I set myself to
practice barratry, for which I pay reckoning in this heat."
 Probably Thibault II., the brother-in-law of St Louis, who
accompanied him on his last disastrous crusade, and died on his
way home in 1270.
And Ciriatto, from whose mouth protruded on either side a tusk,
as in a boar, made him feel how one of them rips. Among evil cats
the mouse had come; but Barbariccia clasped him in his arms, and
said, "Stand off, while I enfork him," and to my Master turned
his face. "Ask," said he, "if thou desirest to know more from
him, before some other undo him." The Leader, "Now, then, tell of
the other sinners; knowst thou any one under the pitch who is
Italian?" And he, "I parted short while since from one who was a
neighbor to it; would that with him I still were covered so that
I might not fear claw or hook." And Libicocco said, "We have
borne too much," and seized his arm with his grapple so that,
tearing, he carried off a sinew of it. Draghignazzo, also, he
wished to give him a clutch down at his legs, whereat their
decurion turned round about with evil look.
When they were a little appeased, my Leader, without delay, asked
him who still was gazing at his wound, "Who was he from whom thou
sayest thou madest in parting to come to shore?" And he replied,
"It was Brother Gomita, he of Gallura, vessel of all fraud,
who held the enemies of his lord in hand, and dealt so with them
that they all praise him for it. Money he took, and let them
smoothly off, so he says; and in other offices besides he was no
little barrator, but sovereign. With him frequents Don Michael
Zanche of Logodoro, and in talking of Sardinia their tongues
feel not weary. O me! see ye that other who is grinning: I would
say more, but I fear lest he is making ready to scratch my itch."
And the grand provost, turning to Farfarello, who was rolling his
eyes as if to strike, said, "Get thee away, wicked bird!"
 Gallura, one of the four divisions of Sardinia, called
judicatures, made by the Pisans, after their conquest of the
island. The lord of Gomita was the gentle Judge Nino, whom Dante
meets in Purgatory. Gomita was hung for his frauds.
 Logodoro was another of the judicatures of Sardinia. Don
Michael Zanche was a noted man, but of his special sins little or
nothing has been recorded by the chroniclers.
"If you wish to see or to hear Tuscans or Lombards," thereon
began again the frightened one, "I will make them come; but let
the Malebranche stand a little withdrawn, so that they may not be
afraid of their vengeance, and I, sitting in this very place, for
one that I am, will make seven of them come, when I shall whistle
as is our wont to do whenever one of us comes out." Cagnazzo at
this speech raised his muzzle, shaking his head, and said, "Hear
the knavery he has devised for throwing himself under!" Whereon
he who had snares in great plenty answered, "Too knavish am I,
when I procure for mine own companions greater sorrow." Alichino
held not in, and, in opposition to the others, said to him, "If
thou dive, I will not come behind thee at a gallop, but I will
beat my wings above the pitch; let the ridge be left, and be the
bank a shield, to see if thou alone availest more than we."
O thou that readest! thou shalt hear new sport. Each turned his
eyes to the other side, he first who had been most averse to
doing it. The Navarrese chose well his time, planted his feet
firmly on the ground, and in an instant leaped, and from their
purpose freed himself. At this, each of them was pricked with
shame, but he most who was the cause of the loss; wherefore he
started and cried out, "Thou art caught." But little it availed,
for wings could not outstrip fear. The one went under, and the
other, flying, turned his breast upward. Not otherwise the wild
duck on a sudden dives when the falcon comes close, and he
returns up vexed and baffled. Calcabrina, enraged at the flout,
kept flying behind him, desirous that the sinner should escape,
that he might have a scuffle; and when the barrator had
disappeared he turned his talons upon his companion, and grappled
with him above the ditch. But the other was indeed a sparrowhawk
full grown to gripe him well, and both fell into the midst of the
boiling pool. The heat was a sudden ungrappler, but nevertheless
there was no rising from it, they had their wings so glued.
Barbariccia, grieving with the rest of his troop, made four of
them fly to the other side with all their forks, and very
quickly, this side and that, they descended to their post. They
stretched out their hooks toward the belimed ones, who were
already baked within the crust: and we left them thus embroiled.