Inferno

by: Dante Alighieri

Cantos XII–XIII

1

“[F]ix thine eyes below, for draweth near
The river of blood, within which boiling is
Whoe’er by violence doth injure others.”
O blind cupidity, O wrath insane,
That spurs us onward so in our short life,
And in the eternal then so badly steeps us!

2

Centaurs in file were running, armed with arrows,
As in the world they used the chase to follow.
Beholding us descend, each one stood still….
“Thousands and thousands go about the moat
Shooting with shafts whatever soul emerges
Out of the blood, more than his crime allots.”

3

People I saw within up to the eyebrows,
And the great Centaur said: “Tyrants are these,
Who dealt in bloodshed and in pillaging.”

4

“My spirit, in disdainful exultation,
Thinking by dying to escape disdain,
Made me unjust against myself, the just.”

5

“When the exasperated soul abandons
The body whence it rent itself away,
Minos consigns it to the seventh abyss.
It falls into the forest, and no part
Is chosen for it; but where Fortune hurls it,
There like a grain of spelt it germinates.
It springs a sapling, and a forest tree;
The Harpies, feeding then upon its leaves,
Do pain create, and for the pain an outlet.”