Friday, October 21, 2011

Four of Ten

Of a new pain behoves me to make verses
And give material to the twentieth canto

Of the first song, which is of the submerged.

I was already thoroughly disposed
To peer down into the uncovered depth,

Which bathed itself with the tears of agony;

And people saw I through the circular valley,
Silent and weeping, coming at the pace
Which in this world the Litanies assume.

As lower down my sight descended on them,

each one seem to be distorted
From chin to the beginning of the chest

For tow'rds the reins the countenance was turned,
And backward it beehoved them to advance,
As to look forward had been taken from them.

Perchance indeed by violence of palsy

Some one has been thus wholly turned awry;

But I ne'er saw it, nor believe it can be.

In the fourth Bolge, the fortune tellers, diviners and false prophets are punished, forced to walk their heads turned backwards unable to see what lies before them in death, as they strove to see the future in life.