Divine Comedy - Hell (Inferno)

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The Divine Comedy, Volume 1, Hell [The Inferno]

by Dante Aligheri

Translated by Charles Eliot Norton




E come sare' io sense lui corso?

It is a happiness for me to connect this volume with the memory of my friend and master from youth. I was but a beginner in the study of the Divine Comedy when I first had his incomparable aid in the understanding of it. During the last year of his life he read the proofs of this volume, to what great advantage to my work may readily be conceived.

When, in the early summer of this year, the printing of the Purgatory began, though illness made it an exertion to him, he continued this act of friendship, and did not cease till, at the fifth canto, he laid down the pencil forever from his dear and honored hand.



1 October, 1891

The text followed in this translation is, in general, that of Witte. In a few cases I have preferred the readings which the more recent researches of the Rev. Dr. Edward Moore, of Oxford, seem to have established as correct.


CANTO I. Dante, astray in a wood, reaches the foot of a hill which he begins to ascend; he is hindered by three beasts; he turns back and is met by Virgil, who proposes to guide him into the eternal world.

CANTO II. Dante, doubtful of his own powers, is discouraged at the outset.--Virgil cheers him by telling him that he has been sent to his aid by a blessed Spirit from Heaven.--Dante casts off fear, and the poets proceed.

CANTO III. The gate of Hell. Virgil leads Dante in.--The punishment of the neither good nor bad.--Acheron, and the sinners on its bank.--Charon.--Earthquake.--Dante swoons.

CANTO IV. The further side of Acheron.--Virgil leads Dante into Limbo, the First Circle of Hell, containing the spirits of those who lived virtuously but without Christianity.--Greeting of Virgil by his fellow poets.--They enter a castle, where are the shades of ancient worthies.--Virgil and Dante depart.

CANTO V. The Second Circle: Carnal sinners.--Minos.--Shades renowned of old.--Francesca da Rimini.

CANTO VI. The Third Circle: the Gluttonous.--Cerberus.--Ciacco.

CANTO VII. The Fourth Circle: the Avaricious and the Prodigal.-- Pluto.--Fortune.--The Styx.--The Fifth Circle: the Wrathful and the Sullen.

CANTO VIII. The Fifth Circle.--Phlegyas and his boat.--Passage of the Styx.--Filippo Argenti.--The City of Dis.--The demons refuse entrance to the poets.

CANTO IX. The City of Dis.--Eriehtho.--The Three Furies.--The Heavenly Messenger.--The Sixth Circle: Heresiarchs.

CANTO X. The Sixth Circle: Heresiarchs.--Farinata degli Uberti.-- Cavalcante Cavalcanti.--Frederick II.

CANTO XI. The Sixth Circle: Heretics.--Tomb of Pope Anastasius.-- Discourse of Virgil on the divisions of the lower Hell.

CANTO XII. First round of the Seventh Circle: those who do violence to others.--Tyrants and Homicides.--The Minotaur.--The Centaurs.--Chiron.--Nessus.--The River of Boiling Blood, and the Sinners in it.

CANTO XIII. Second round of the Seventh Circle: those who have done violence to themselves and to their goods.--The Wood of Self-murderers.--The Harpies.--Pier della Vigne.--Lano of Siena and others.

CANTO XIV. Third round of the Seventh Circle those who have done violence to God.--The Burning Sand.--Capaneus.--Figure of the Old Man in Crete.--The Rivers of Hell.

CANTO XV. Third round of the Seventh Circle: those who have done violence to Nature.--Brunetto Latini.--Prophecies of misfortune to Dante.

CANTO XVI. Third round of the Seventh Circle: those who have done violence to Nature.--Guido Guerra, Tegghiaio Aldobrandi and Jacopo Rusticucci.--The roar of Phlegethon as it pours downward.-- The cord thrown into the abyss.

CANTO XVII. Third round of the Seventh Circle: those who have done violence to Art.--Geryon.--The Usurers.--Descent to the Eighth Circle.

CANTO XVIII. Eighth Circle: the first pit: Panders and Seducers.-- Venedico Caccianimico.--Jason.--Second pit: false flatterers.-- Alessio Interminei.--Thais.

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