Dante Alighieri
     Traducere de George Pruteanu
   Ediţie digitală bilingvă

traducere īn limba engleză de Robert Pinsky1

So I descended from first to second circle--
Which girdles a smaller space and greater pain,
Which spurs more lamentation. Minos the dreadful

Snarls at the gate. He examines each one's sin,
Judging and disposing as he curls his tail:
That is, when an ill-begotten soul comes down,

7 It comes before him, and confesses all;
Minos, great connoisseur of sin, discerns
For every spirit its proper place in Hell,

And wraps himself in his tail with as many turns
As levels down that shade will have to dwell.
A crowd is always waiting: here each one learns

His judgment and is assigned a place in Hell.
They tell; they hear--and down they all are cast.
"You, who have come to sorrow's hospice, think well,"

Said Minos, who at the sight of me had paused
To interrupt his solemn task mid-deed:
"Beware how you come in and whom you trust,

19 Don't be deceived because the gate is wide."
My leader answered, "Must you too scold this way?
His destined path is not for you to impede:

Thus it is willed where every thing may be
Because it has been willed. So ask no more."
And now I can hear the notes of agony

In sad crescendo beginning to reach my ear;
Now I am where the noise of lamentation
Comes at me in blasts of sorrow. I am where

28 All light is mute, with a bellowing like the ocean
Turbulent in a storm of warring winds,
The hurricane of Hell in perpetual motion

Sweeping the ravaged spirits as it rends,
Twists, and torments them. Driven as if to land,
They reach the ruin: groaning, tears, laments,

And cursing of the power of Heaven. I learned
They suffer here who sinned in carnal things--
Their reason mastered by desire, suborned.

37 As winter starlings riding on their wings
Form crowded flocks, so spirits dip and veer
Foundering in the wind's rough buffetings,

Upward or downward, driven here and there
With never ease from pain nor hope of rest.
As chanting cranes will form a line in air,

So I saw souls come uttering cries--wind-tossed,
And lofted by the storm. "Master," I cried,
"Who are those people, by black air oppressed?"

46 "First among these you wish to know," he said,
"Was empress of many tongues--she so embraced
Lechery that she decreed it justified

Legally, to evade the scandal of her lust:
She is Semiramis of whom we read,
Successor and wife of Ninus, she possessed

52 The lands the Sultan rules. Next, she who died
By her own hand for love, and broke her vow
To Sychaeus's ashes. After her comes lewd

And wanton Cleopatra. See Helen, too,
Who caused a cycle of many evil years;
And great Achilles, the hero whom love slew

In his last battle. Paris and Tristan are here--"
He pointed out by name a thousand souls
Whom love had parted from our life, or more.

61 When I had heard my teacher tell the rolls
Of knights and ladies of antiquity,
Pity overwhelmed me. Half-lost in its coils,

"Poet," I told him, "I would willingly
Speak with those two who move along together,
And seem so light upon the wind." And he:

"When they drift closer--then entreat them hither,
In the name of love that leads them: They will respond."
Soon their course shifted, and the merciless weather

70 Battered them toward us. I called against the wind,
"O wearied souls! If Another does not forbid,
Come speak with us." As doves whom desire has summoned,

With raised wings steady against the current, glide
Guided by will to the sweetness of their nest,
So leaving the flock where Dido was, the two sped

Through the malignant air till they had crossed
To where we stood--so strong was the compulsion
Of my loving call. They spoke across the blast:

"O living soul, who with courtesy and compassion
Voyage through black air visiting us who stained
The world with blood: If heaven's King bore affection

82 For such as we are, suffering in this wind,
Then we would pray to Him to grant you peace
For pitying us in this, our evil end.

Now we will speak and hear as you may please
To speak and hear, while the wind, for our discourse,
Is still. My birthplace is a city that lies

Where the Po finds peace with all its followers.
Love, which in gentle hearts is quickly born,
Seized him for my fair body--which, in a fierce

91 Manner that still torments my soul, was torn
Untimely away from me. Love, which absolves
None who are loved from loving, made my heart burn

With joy so strong that as you see it cleaves
Still to him, here. Love gave us both one death.
Caina awaits the one who took our lives."

These words were borne across from them to us.
When I had heard those afflicted souls, I lowered
My head, and held it so till I heard the voice

100 Of the poet ask, "What are you thinking?" I answered,
"Alas--that sweet conceptions and passion so deep
Should bring them here!" Then, looking up toward

The lovers: "Francesca, your suffering makes me weep
For sorrow and pity--but tell me, in the hours
Of sweetest sighing, how and in what shape

Or manner did Love first show you those desires
So hemmed by doubt?" And then she to me: "No sadness
Is greater than in misery to rehearse

Memories of joy, as your teacher well can witness.
But if you have so great a craving to measure
Our love's first root, I'll tell it, with the fitness

112 Of one who weeps and tells. One day, for pleasure,
We read of Lancelot, by love constrained:
Alone, suspecting nothing, at our leisure.

Sometimes at what we read our glances joined,
Looking from the book each to the other's eyes,
And then the color in our faces drained.

But one particular moment alone it was
Defeated us: the longed-for smile, it said,
Was kissed by that most noble lover: at this,

121 This one, who will now never leave my side,
Kissed my mouth, trembling. A Galeotto, that book!
And so was he who wrote it; that day we read

No further." All the while the one shade spoke,
The other at her side was weeping; my pity
Overwhelmed me and I felt myself go slack:

127 Swooning as in death, I fell like a dying body.
1) New York, Farrar..., 1994.

                           CANTO V
traducere īn limba engleză de John Ciardi2

So we went down to the second ledge alone;
a smaller circle of so much greater pain
the voice of the damned rose in a bestial moan.

There Minos sits, grinning, grotesque, and hale.
He examines each lost souls as it arrives
and delivers his verdict with his coiling tail.

7 That is to say, when the ill-fated soul
appears before him it confesses all,
and that grim sorter of the dark and foul

decides which place in Hell shall be its end,
then wraps his twitching tail about himself
one coil for each degree it must descend.

The soul descends and others take its place:
each crowds in its turn to judgment, each confesses,
each hears its doom and falls away through space.

"O you who come into this camp of woe,"
cried Minos when he saw me turn away
without awaiting his judgment, "watch where you go

19 once you have entered here, and to whom you turn!
Do not be misled by that wide and easy passage!"
And my Guide to him: "That is not your concern;

it is his fate to enter every door.
This has been willed where what is willed must be,
and it is not yours to question. Say no more."

Now the choir of anguish, like a wound,
strikes through the tortured air. Now I have come
to Hell's full lamentation, sound beyond sound.

28 I came to a place stripped bare of every light
and roaring on the naked dark like seas
wracked by a war of winds. Their hellish flight

of storm and counterstorm through time forgone,
sweeps the souls of the damned before its charge.
Whirling and battering it drives them on,

and when they pass the ruined gap of Hell
through which we had come, their shrieks begin anew.
There they blaspheme the power of God eternal.

37 And this, I learned, was the never ending flight
of those who sinned in the flesh, the carnal and lusty
who betrayed reason to their appetite.

As the wings of wintering starlings bear them on
in their great wheeling flights, just so the blast
wherries these evil souls through time forgone.

Here, there, up, down, they whirl and, whirling, strain
with never a hope of hope to comfort them,
not of release, but even of less pain.

46 As cranes go over sounding their harsh cry,
leaving the long streak of their flight in air,
so come these spirits, wailing as they fly.

And watching their shadows lashed by wind, I cried:
"Master, what souls are these the very air
lashes with its black whips from side to side?"

52 "The first of these whose history you would know,"
he answered me, "was Empress of many tongues.
Mad sensuality corrupted her so

that to hide the guilt of her debauchery
she licensed all depravity alike,
and lust and law were one in her decree.

She is Semiramis of whom the tale is told
how she married Ninus and succeeded him
to the throne of that wide land the Sultans hold.

61 The other is Dido; faithless to the ashes
of Sichaeus, she killed herself for love.
The next whom the eternal tempest lashes

is sense-drugged Cleopatra. See Helen there,
from whom such ill arose. And great Achilles,
who fought at last with love in the house of prayer.

And Paris. And Tristan." As they whirled above
he pointed out more than a thousand shades
of those torn from the mortal life by love.

70 I stood there while my Teacher one by one
named the great knights and ladies of dim time;
and I was swept by pity and confusion.

At last I spoke: "Poet, I should be glad
to speak a word with those two swept together
so lightly on the wind and still so sad."

And he to me: "Watch them. When next they pass,
call to them in the name of love that drives
and damns them here. In that name they will pause."

Thus, as soon as the wind in its wild course
brought them around, I called: "O wearied souls!
if none forbid it, pause and speak to us."

82 As mating doves that love calls to their nest
glide through the air with motionless raised wings,
borne by the sweet desire that fills each breast--

Just so those spirits turned on the torn sky
from the band where Dido whirls across the air;
such was the power of pity in my cry.

"O living creature, gracious, kind, and good,
going this pilgrimage through the sick night,
visiting us who stained the earth with blood,

91 were the King of Time our friend, we would pray His peace
on you who have pitied us. As long as the wind
will let us pause, ask of us what you please.

The town where I was born lies by the shore
where the Po descends into its ocean rest
with its attendant streams in one long murmur.

Love, which in gentlest hearts will soonest bloom
seized my lover with passion for that sweet body
from which I was torn unshriven to my doom.

100 Love, which permits no loved one not to love,
took me so strongly with delight in him
that we are as one in Hell, as we were above.

Love led us to one death. In the depths of Hell
Caina waits for him who took our lives."
This was the piteous tale they stopped to tell.

And when I had heard those world-offended lovers
I bowed my head. At last the poet spoke:
"What painful thoughts are these your lowered brow covers?"

When at length I answered, I began: "Alas!
What sweetest thoughts, what green and young desire
led these two lovers to this sorry pass."

112 Then turning to those spirits once again,
I said: "Francesca, what you suffer here
melts me to tears of pity and of pain.

But tell me: in the time of your sweet sighs
by what appearances found love the way
to lure you to his perilous paradise?"

And she: "The double grief of a lost bliss
is to recall its happy hour in pain.
Your Guide and Teacher knows the truth of this.

121 But if there is indeed a soul in Hell
to ask of the beginning of our love
out of his pity, I will weep and tell:

On a day for dalliance we read the rhyme
of Lancelot
, how love had mastered him.
We were alone with innocence and dim time.

127 Pause after pause that high old story drew
our eyes together while we blushed and paled;
but it was one soft passage overthrew

our caution and our hearts. For when we read
how her fond smile was kissed by such a lover,
he who is one with me alive and dead

breathed on my lips the tremor of his kiss.
That book, and he who wrote it, was a pander.
That day we read no further." As she said this,

136 the other spirit, who stood by her, wept
so piteously, I felt my senses reel
and faint away with anguish. I was swept

by such a swoon as death is, and I fell,
140 as a corpse might fall, to the dead floor of Hell.

1) New American Library, 2001.