Midway upon the journey of our life
I found myself within a forest dark,
For the straightforward pathway had been lost.
Ah, me! How hard a thing it is to say
What was this forest savage, rough, and stern,
Which in the very thought renews the fear.
So bitter is it, death is little more;
But of the good to treat, which there I found,
Speak will I of the other things I saw there.
“Poet, I thee entreat,
By that same God whom thou didst never know,
So that I may escape this woe and worse,
Thou wouldst conduct me there where thou hast said,
That I may see the portal of Saint Peter,
And those thou makest so disconsolate.”
“I have delivered thee from that wild beast,
Which barred the beautiful mountain’s short ascent.
What is it, then? Why, why dost thou delay?
Why is such baseness bedded in thy heart?
Daring and hardihood why hast thou not,
Seeing that three such Ladies benedight
Are caring for thee in the court of Heaven
And so much good my speech doth promise thee?”
“O she compassionate, who succored me,
And courteous thou, who hast obeyed so soon
The words of truth which she addressed to thee!
Thou hast my heart with so desire disposed
To the adventure, with these words of thine…
Now go, for one sole will is in us both…”