THE DIVINE COMEDY: Hell
Prose rendering of Dantes epic poem by Arthur John Butler (1844-1910), Late Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge.
(Butler provides not an insignificant number of notes in the full text version. The prose copy is English text only, no analysis or Italian.)
…when the soul born to ill comes before him, it confesses itself wholly; and that appraiser of the sins sees what place of hell is meet for it; he girds himself with his tail so many times as the degrees he will that it be sent down. Ever before him are standing many of them; they come in turn each to the judgement; they say, and hear, and then are turned downward.
…O proud Christians, wretched and weary, who, weak in the sight of the mind, have confidence in your backward paces, do ye not perceive that we are worms, born to form the angelic butterfly which flies without screen to the judgement? For what does your mind float on high, since ye are as it were defective insects, like a worm in which formation is in default?
…O predestination, how remote is thy root from those sights which see not the first cause in its wholeness! And you, mortals, hold yourselves strictly in judging; for we who see God, know not yet all the elect. And a stint of such sort is dear to us, because our good is refined in this good, that what God wills we will also.
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