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The Divine Comedy by Dante, Illustrated, Hell, Volume 10

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COULD I command rough rhimes and hoarse, to suitThat hole of sorrow, o'er which ev'ry rockHis firm abutment rears, then might the veinOf fancy rise full springing: but not mineSuch measures, and with falt'ring awe I touchThe mighty theme; for to describe the depthOf all the universe, is no emprizeTo jest with, and demands a tongue not us'dTo infant babbling.  But let them assistMy song, the tuneful maidens, by whose aidAmphion wall'd in Thebes, so with the truthMy speech shall best accord.  Oh ill-starr'd folk,Beyond all others wretched! who abideIn such a mansion, as scarce thought finds wordsTo speak of, better had ye here on earthBeen flocks or mountain goats.  As down we stoodIn the dark pit beneath the giants' feet,But lower far than they, and I did gazeStill on the lofty battlement, a voiceBespoke me thus: "Look how thou walkest.  TakeGood heed, thy soles do tread not on the headsOf thy poor brethren."  Thereupon I turn'd,And saw before and underneath my feetA lake, whose frozen surface liker seem'dTo glass than water.  Not so thick a veilIn winter e'er hath Austrian Danube spreadO'er his still course, nor Tanais far remoteUnder the chilling sky.  Roll'd o'er that massHad Tabernich or Pietrapana fall'n,Not e'en its rim had creak'd. As peeps the frogCroaking above the wave, what time in dreamsThe village gleaner oft pursues her toil,So, to where modest shame appears, thus lowBlue pinch'd and shrin'd in ice the spirits stood,Moving their teeth in shrill note like the stork.His face each downward held; their mouth the cold,Their eyes express'd the dolour of their heart.A space I look'd around, then at my feetSaw two so strictly join'd, that of their headThe very hairs were mingled.  "Tell me ye,Whose bosoms thus together press," said I,"Who are ye?"  At that sound their necks they bent,And when their looks were lifted up to me,Straightway their eyes, before all moist within,Distill'd upon their lips, and the frost boundThe tears betwixt those orbs and held them there.Plank unto plank hath never cramp clos'd upSo stoutly.  Whence like two enraged goatsThey clash'd together; them such fury seiz'd.And one, from whom the cold both ears had reft,Exclaim'd, still looking downward: "Why on usDost speculate so long?  If thou wouldst knowWho are these two, the valley, whence his waveBisenzio slopes, did for its master ownTheir sire Alberto, and next him themselves.They from one body issued; and throughoutCaina thou mayst search, nor find a shadeMore worthy in congealment to be fix'd,Not him, whose breast and shadow Arthur's landAt that one blow dissever'd, not Focaccia,No not this spirit, whose o'erjutting headObstructs my onward view: he bore the nameOf Mascheroni: Tuscan if thou be,Well knowest who he was: and to cut shortAll further question, in my form beholdWhat once was Camiccione.  I awaitCarlino here my kinsman, whose deep guiltShall wash out mine."  A thousand visagesThen mark'd I, which the keen and eager coldHad shap'd into a doggish grin; whence creepsA shiv'ring horror o'er me, at the thoughtOf those frore shallows....