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The Divine Comedy by Dante, Illustrated, Purgatory, Volume 5

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While singly thus along the rim we walk'd,Oft the good master warn'd me: "Look thou well.Avail it that I caution thee."  The sunNow all the western clime irradiate chang'dFrom azure tinct to white; and, as I pass'd,My passing shadow made the umber'd flameBurn ruddier.  At so strange a sight I mark'dThat many a spirit marvel'd on his way.This bred occasion first to speak of me,"He seems," said they, "no insubstantial frame:"Then to obtain what certainty they might,Stretch'd towards me, careful not to overpassThe burning pale.  "O thou, who followestThe others, haply not more slow than they,But mov'd by rev'rence, answer me, who burnIn thirst and fire: nor I alone, but theseAll for thine answer do more thirst, than dothIndian or Aethiop for the cooling stream.Tell us, how is it that thou mak'st thyselfA wall against the sun, as thou not yetInto th' inextricable toils of deathHadst enter'd?"  Thus spake one, and I had straightDeclar'd me, if attention had not turn'dTo new appearance.  Meeting these, there came,Midway the burning path, a crowd, on whomEarnestly gazing, from each part I viewThe shadows all press forward, sev'rallyEach snatch a hasty kiss, and then away.E'en so the emmets, 'mid their dusky troops,Peer closely one at other, to spy outTheir mutual road perchance, and how they thrive.That friendly greeting parted, ere dispatchOf the first onward step, from either tribeLoud clamour rises: those, who newly come,Shout  "Sodom and Gomorrah!" these, "The cowPasiphae enter'd, that the beast she woo'dMight rush unto her luxury."  Then as cranes,That part towards the Riphaean mountains fly,Part towards the Lybic sands, these to avoidThe ice, and those the sun; so hasteth offOne crowd, advances th' other; and resumeTheir first song weeping, and their several shout.Again drew near my side the very same,Who had erewhile besought me, and their looksMark'd eagerness to listen.  I, who twiceTheir will had noted, spake: "O spirits secure,Whene'er the time may be, of peaceful end!My limbs, nor crude, nor in mature old age,Have I left yonder: here they bear me, fedWith blood, and sinew-strung.  That I no moreMay live in blindness, hence I tend aloft.There is a dame on high, who wind for usThis grace, by which my mortal through your realmI bear.  But may your utmost wish soon meetSuch full fruition, that the orb of heaven,Fullest of love, and of most ample space,Receive you, as ye tell (upon my pageHenceforth to stand recorded) who ye are,And what this multitude, that at your backsHave past behind us."  As one, mountain-bred,Rugged and clownish, if some city's wallsHe chance to enter, round him stares agape,Confounded and struck dumb; e'en such appear'dEach spirit.  But when rid of that amaze,(Not long the inmate of a noble heart)He, who before had question'd, thus resum'd:"O blessed, who, for death preparing, tak'stExperience of our limits, in thy bark!Their crime, who not with us proceed, was that,For which, as he did triumph, Caesar heardThe snout of 'queen,' to taunt him....