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Inferno Canto 01

Written by: Dante Alighieri | Biography
 | Quotes (37) |
 Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
mi ritrovai per una selva oscura
ch? la diritta via era smarrita .
When I had journeyed half of our life's way, I found myself within a shadowed forest, for I had lost the path that does not stray.
Ahi quanto a dir qual era ? cosa dura esta selva selvaggia e aspra e forte che nel pensier rinova la paura ! Ah, it is hard to speak of what it was, that savage forest, dense and difficult, which even in recall renews my fear: Tant'? amara che poco ? pi? morte; ma per trattar del ben ch'i' vi trovai, dir? de l'altre cose ch'i' v'ho scorte .
so bitter-death is hardly more severe! But to retell the good discovered there, I'll also tell the other things I saw.
Io non so ben ridir com'i' v'intrai, tant'era pien di sonno a quel punto che la verace via abbandonai .
I cannot clearly say how I had entered the wood; I was so full of sleep just at the point where I abandoned the true path.
Ma poi ch'i' fui al pi? d'un colle giunto, l? dove terminava quella valle che m'avea di paura il cor compunto , But when I'd reached the bottom of a hill- it rose along the boundary of the valley that had harassed my heart with so much fear- guardai in alto, e vidi le sue spalle vestite gi? de' raggi del pianeta che mena dritto altrui per ogne calle .
I looked on high and saw its shoulders clothed already by the rays of that same planet which serves to lead men straight along all roads.
Allor fu la paura un poco queta che nel lago del cor m'era durata la notte ch'i' passai con tanta pieta .
At this my fear was somewhat quieted; for through the night of sorrow I had spent, the lake within my heart felt terror present.
E come quei che con lena affannata uscito fuor del pelago a la riva si volge a l'acqua perigliosa e guata , And just as he who, with exhausted breath, having escaped from sea to shore, turns back to watch the dangerous waters he has quit, cos? l'animo mio, ch'ancor fuggiva, si volse a retro a rimirar lo passo che non lasci? gi? mai persona viva .
so did my spirit, still a fugitive, turn back to look intently at the pass that never has let any man survive.
Poi ch'?i posato un poco il corpo lasso, ripresi via per la piaggia diserta, s? che 'l pi? fermo sempre era 'l pi? basso .
I let my tired body rest awhile.
Moving again, I tried the lonely slope- my firm foot always was the one below.
Ed ecco, quasi al cominciar de l'erta, una lonza leggera e presta molto, che di pel macolato era coverta ; And almost where the hillside starts to rise- look there!-a leopard, very quick and lithe, a leopard covered with a spotted hide.
e non mi si partia dinanzi al volto, anzi 'mpediva tanto il mio cammino, ch'i' fui per ritornar pi? volte v?lto .
He did not disappear from sight, but stayed; indeed, he so impeded my ascent that I had often to turn back again.
Temp'era dal principio del mattino, e 'l sol montava 'n s? con quelle stelle ch'eran con lui quando l'amor divino The time was the beginning of the morning; the sun was rising now in fellowship with the same stars that had escorted it mosse di prima quelle cose belle; s? ch'a bene sperar m'era cagione di quella fiera a la gaetta pelle when Divine Love first moved those things of beauty; so that the hour and the gentle season gave me good cause for hopefulness on seeing l'ora del tempo e la dolce stagione; ma non s? che paura non mi desse la vista che m'apparve d'un leone .
that beast before me with his speckled skin; but hope was hardly able to prevent the fear I felt when I beheld a lion.
Questi parea che contra me venisse con la test'alta e con rabbiosa fame, s? che parea che l'aere ne tremesse .
His head held high and ravenous with hunger- even the air around him seemed to shudder- this lion seemed to make his way against me.
Ed una lupa, che di tutte brame sembiava carca ne la sua magrezza, e molte genti f? gi? viver grame , And then a she-wolf showed herself; she seemed to carry every craving in her leanness; she had already brought despair to many.
questa mi porse tanto di gravezza con la paura ch'uscia di sua vista, ch'io perdei la speranza de l'altezza .
The very sight of her so weighted me with fearfulness that I abandoned hope of ever climbing up that mountain slope.
E qual ? quei che volontieri acquista, e giugne 'l tempo che perder lo face, che 'n tutt'i suoi pensier piange e s'attrista ; Even as he who glories while he gains will, when the time has come to tally loss, lament with every thought and turn despondent, tal mi fece la bestia sanza pace, che, venendomi 'ncontro, a poco a poco mi ripigneva l? dove 'l sol tace .
so was I when I faced that restless beast which, even as she stalked me, step by step had thrust me back to where the sun is speechless.
Mentre ch'i' rovinava in basso loco, dinanzi a li occhi mi si fu offerto chi per lungo silenzio parea fioco .
While I retreated down to lower ground, before my eyes there suddenly appeared one who seemed faint because of the long silence.
Quando vidi costui nel gran diserto, «Miserere di me», gridai a lui, «qual che tu sii, od ombra od omo certo !».
When I saw him in that vast wilderness, "Have pity on me," were the words I cried, "whatever you may be-a shade, a man.
" Rispuosemi: «Non omo, omo gi? fui, e li parenti miei furon lombardi, mantoani per patria ambedui .
He answered me: "Not man; I once was man.
Both of my parents came from Lombardy, and both claimed Mantua as native city.
Nacqui sub Iulio, ancor che fosse tardi, e vissi a Roma sotto 'l buono Augusto nel tempo de li d?i falsi e bugiardi .
And I was born, though late, sub Julio, and lived in Rome under the good Augustus- the season of the false and lying gods.
Poeta fui, e cantai di quel giusto figliuol d'Anchise che venne di Troia, poi che 'l superbo Ili?n fu combusto .
I was a poet, and I sang the righteous son of Anchises who had come from Troy when flames destroyed the pride of Ilium.
Ma tu perch? ritorni a tanta noia? perch? non sali il dilettoso monte ch'? principio e cagion di tutta gioia? ».
But why do you return to wretchedness? Why not climb up the mountain of delight, the origin and cause of every joy?" «Or se' tu quel Virgilio e quella fonte che spandi di parlar s? largo fiume?», rispuos'io lui con vergognosa fronte .
"And are you then that Virgil, you the fountain that freely pours so rich a stream of speech?" I answered him with shame upon my brow.
«O de li altri poeti onore e lume vagliami 'l lungo studio e 'l grande amore che m'ha fatto cercar lo tuo volume .
"O light and honor of all other poets, may my long study and the intense love that made me search your volume serve me now.
Tu se' lo mio maestro e 'l mio autore; tu se' solo colui da cu' io tolsi lo bello stilo che m'ha fatto onore .
You are my master and my author, you- the only one from whom my writing drew the noble style for which I have been honored.
Vedi la bestia per cu' io mi volsi: aiutami da lei, famoso saggio, ch'ella mi fa tremar le vene e i polsi ».
You see the beast that made me turn aside; help me, o famous sage, to stand against her, for she has made my blood and pulses shudder," «A te convien tenere altro viaggio», rispuose poi che lagrimar mi vide, «se vuo' campar d'esto loco selvaggio : "It is another path that you must take," he answered when he saw my tearfulness, "if you would leave this savage wilderness; ch? questa bestia, per la qual tu gride, non lascia altrui passar per la sua via, ma tanto lo 'mpedisce che l'uccide ; the beast that is the cause of your outcry allows no man to pass along her track, but blocks him even to the point of death; e ha natura s? malvagia e ria, che mai non empie la bramosa voglia, e dopo 'l pasto ha pi? fame che pria .
her nature is so squalid, so malicious that she can never sate her greedy will; when she has fed, she's hungrier than ever.
Molti son li animali a cui s'ammoglia, e pi? saranno ancora, infin che 'l veltro verr?, che la far? morir con doglia .
She mates with many living souls and shall yet mate with many more, until the Greyhound arrives, inflicting painful death on her.
Questi non ciber? terra n? peltro, ma sapienza, amore e virtute, e sua nazion sar? tra feltro e feltro .
That Hound will never feed on land or pewter, but find his fare in wisdom, love, and virtue; his place of birth shall be between two felts.
Di quella umile Italia fia salute per cui mor? la vergine Cammilla, Eurialo e Turno e Niso di ferute .
He will restore low-lying Italy for which the maid Camilla died of wounds, and Nisus, Turnus, and Euryalus.
Questi la caccer? per ogne villa, fin che l'avr? rimessa ne lo 'nferno, l? onde 'nvidia prima dipartilla .
And he will hunt that beast through every city until he thrusts her back again to Hell, for which she was first sent above by envy.
Ond'io per lo tuo me' penso e discerno che tu mi segui, e io sar? tua guida, e trarrotti di qui per loco etterno , Therefore, I think and judge it best for you to follow me, and I shall guide you, taking you from this place through an eternal place, ove udirai le disperate strida, vedrai li antichi spiriti dolenti, ch'a la seconda morte ciascun grida ; where you shall hear the howls of desperation and see the ancient spirits in their pain, as each of them laments his second death; e vederai color che son contenti nel foco, perch? speran di venire quando che sia a le beate genti .
and you shall see those souls who are content within the fire, for they hope to reach- whenever that may be-the blessed people.
A le quai poi se tu vorrai salire, anima fia a ci? pi? di me degna: con lei ti lascer? nel mio partire ; If you would then ascend as high as these, a soul more worthy than I am will guide you; I'll leave you in her care when I depart, ch? quello imperador che l? s? regna, perch'i' fu' ribellante a la sua legge, non vuol che 'n sua citt? per me si vegna .
because that Emperor who reigns above, since I have been rebellious to His law, will not allow me entry to His city.
In tutte parti impera e quivi regge; quivi ? la sua citt? e l'alto seggio: oh felice colui cu' ivi elegge! ».
He governs everywhere, but rules from there; there is His city, His high capital: o happy those He chooses to be there!" E io a lui: «Poeta, io ti richeggio per quello Dio che tu non conoscesti, acci? ch'io fugga questo male e peggio , And I replied: "O poet-by that God whom you had never come to know-I beg you, that I may flee this evil and worse evils, che tu mi meni l? dov'or dicesti, s? ch'io veggia la porta di san Pietro e color cui tu fai cotanto mesti ».
to lead me to the place of which you spoke, that I may see the gateway of Saint Peter and those whom you describe as sorrowful.
" Allor si mosse, e io li tenni dietro.
Then he set out, and I moved on behind him.



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