Wednesday, 15 April 2009
Extract from Dante, Inferno:
Midway along the journey of our life
I woke to find myself in a dark wood,
for I had wandered off the straight path.
How hard it is to tell what it was like,
this wood of wilderness, savage and stubborn
(the thought of it brings back all my old fears),
a bitter place! Death could scarce be bitterer.
But if I would show the good that came of it
I must talk about things other than the good.
How I entered there I cannot truly say,
I had become so sleepy at the moment
when I first strayed, leaving the path of truth;
but when I first found myself at the foot of a hill,
at the edge of the world’s beginning, down in the valley,
where I first felt my heart plunged deep in fear,
I raised my head and saw the hilltop shawled
in morning rays of light sent from the planet
that leads men straight ahead on every road.
And then only did terror start subsiding
in my heart’s lake, which rose to heights of fear
that night I spent in deepest desperation.
Translated by Mark Musa