The Vestibule of Hell

The Inferno
Canto III

THROUGH ME THE WAY INTO THE SUFFERING CITY,
THROUGH ME THE WAY TO THE ETERNAL PAIN,
THROUGH ME THE WAY THAT RUNS AMONG THE LOST.

JUSTICE URGED ON MY HIGH ARTIFICER;
MY MAKER WAS DIVINE AUTHORITY,
THE HIGHEST WISDOM, AND THE PRIMAL LOVE.

BEFORE ME THINGS CREATE WERE NONE, SAVE THINGS
ETERNAL, AND ETERNAL I ENDURE.
ABANDON ALL HOPE, YE WHO ENTER HERE.

These words their aspect was obscure I read
inscribed above a gateway, and I said:
Master, their meaning is difficult for me.

And he to me, as one who comprehends:
Here one must leave behind all hesitation;
here every cowardice must meet its death.

For we have reached the place of which I spoke,
.
.
.
Per me si va ne la città dolente,
per me si va ne l’etterno dolore,
per me si va tra la perduta gente.

Giustizia mosse il mio alto fattore:
fecemi la divina podestate,
la somma sapienza e ‘l primo amore.

Dinanzi a me non fuor cose create
se non etterne, e io etterno duro.
Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate.

Queste parole di colore oscuro
vid’io scritte al sommo d’una porta;
per ch’io: «Maestro, il senso lor m’è duro».

Ed elli a me, come persona accorta:
«Qui si convien lasciare ogne sospetto;
ogne viltà convien che qui sia morta.

Noi siam venuti al loco ov’i’ t’ho detto

[aba, bcb, cdc, ded, efe, f…
I loved Dante’s interwoven lines of rhyme, like weaving a fine embroidery, threading and stitching together a cadence so tight and strong…the divine terza rima schema]

2 thoughts on “The Vestibule of Hell

  1. Hi. Welcome to this dusty and little
    cobwebbed corner of the world wide sandbox;
    where over a mote, the smallest tittle,

    petulant kids throw sand and shout: “A pox!
    A pox on your nose, and your rump to boot!”
    A boot to their rumps and no cakes of chocs.

    Be it sand in eye, or mouth filled with foot,
    our rash words sadly are oft overlooked:
    Beware splinters and logs in eyes take root.

    Blind to our pride, Charon’s boat ride soon booked,
    a one-way ticket to warm climes and sand,
    of fire and brimstone, our rumps well-cooked.

    Humbled and broken, and with hat in hand,
    mumbled sorries – to reconcile we seek.
    “Forgive”, the highest virtue in the land,

    The earth, and all happiness, to the meek.

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