Friday, October 14, 2011

The Second Round: Suicide

Not yet had Nessus reached the other side,
When we had put ourselves within a wood,
That was not marked by any path whatever.

Not foliage green, but of a dusky colour,
Not branches smooth, but gnarled and intertangled,
Not apple-trees were there, but thorns with poison.

And the good Master: Ere thou enter farther,
Know that thou art within the second round,
Thus he began to say, and shalt be, till

Thou comest out upon the horrible sand;
Therefore look well around, and thou shalt see
Things that will credence give unto my speech.

I heard on all sides lamentations uttered,
And person none beheld I who might make them,
Whence, utterly bewildered, I stood still.

I think he thought that I perhaps might think
So many voices issues through those trunks
From people who concealed themselves from us;

Therefore the Master said: If thou break off
Some little spray from any of these trees,
The thoughts thou hast will wholly be made vain.

Then blew the trunk amain and afterward
The wind was into such a voice converted:
With brevity shall be explained to you.

When the exasperated soul abandons
The body whence it rent itself away
Minos consigns it to the seventh abyss

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