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Now, for the first time, John Ciardi's brilliant and authoritative translations of Dante's three soaring canticles -- The ...
Now, for the first time, John Ciardi's brilliant and authoritative translations of Dante's three soaring canticles -- The Inferno, The Purgatorio, and The Paradiso -- have been gathered together in a single volume. Crystallizing the power and beauty inherent in the great poet's immortal conception of the aspiring soul, The Divine Comedy is a dazzling work of sublime truth and mystical intensity.
This title contains The Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise.
Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
mi ritrovai per una selva oscura,
che la diritta via era smarrita.
Ahi quanto a dir qual era è cosa dura4
esta selva selvaggia e aspra e forte
che nel pensier rinova la paura!
Tant' è amara che poco è più morte;7
ma per trattar del ben ch'i' vi trovai,
dirò de l'altre cose ch'i' v'ho scorte.
Io non so ben ridir com' i' v'intrai,10
tant' era pien di sonno a quel punto
che la verace via abbandonai.
Ma poi ch'i' fui al piè d'un colle giunto,13
là dove terminava quella valle
che m'avea di paura il cor compunto,
guardai in alto e vidi le sue spalle16
vestite già de' raggi del pianeta
che mena dritto altrui per ogne calle.
Allor fu la paura un poco queta,19
che nel lago del cor m'era durata
la notte ch'i' passai con tanta pieta.
E come quei che con lena affannata,22
uscito fuor del pelago a la riva,
si volge a l'acqua perigliosa e guata,
Lost in a dark wood and threatened by three beasts, Dante is rescued by Virgil, who proposes a journey to the other world.
Midway upon the journey of our life
I found myself in a dark wilderness,
for I had wandered from the straight and true.
How hard a thing it is to tell about,4
that wilderness so savage, dense, and harsh,
even to think of it renews my fear!
It is so bitter, death is hardly more-7
but to reveal the good that came to me,
I shall relate the other things I saw.
How I had entered, I can't bring to mind,10
I was so full of sleep just at that point
when I first left the way of truth behind.
But when I reached the foot of a high hill,13
right where the valley opened to its end-
the valley that had pierced my heart with fear-
I raised my eyes and saw its shoulders robed16
with the rays of that wandering light of Heaven°
that leads all men aright on every road.
That quieted a bit the dread that stirred19
trembling within the waters of my heart
all through that night of misery I endured.
And as a man with labored breathing drags22
his legs out of the water and, ashore,
fixes his eyes upon the dangerous sea,
° that wandering light of Heaven: Italian pianeta, "planet." It is the sun, considered a planet, or wandering light, revolving about the earth.
così l'animo mio, ch'ancor fuggiva,25
si volse a retro a rimirar lo passo
che non lasciò già mai persona viva.
Poi ch'èi posato un poco il corpo lasso,28
ripresi via per la piaggia diserta,
sì che 'l piè fermo sempre era 'l più basso.
Ed ecco, quasi al cominciar de l'erta,31
una lonza leggera e presta molto,
che di pel macolato era coverta;
e non mi si partia dinanzi al volto,34
anzi 'mpediva tanto il mio cammino,
ch'i' fui per ritornar più volte vòlto.
Temp' era dal principio del mattino,37
e 'l sol montava 'n sù con quelle stelle
ch'eran con lui quando l'amor divino
mosse di prima quelle cose belle;40
sì ch'a bene sperar m'era cagione
di quella fiera a la gaetta pelle
l'ora del tempo e la dolce stagione;43
ma non sì che paura non mi desse
la vista che m'apparve d'un leone.
Questi parea che contra me venisse46
con la test' alta e con rabbiosa fame,
sì che parea che l'aere ne tremesse.
Ed una lupa, che di tutte brame49
sembiava carca ne la sua magrezza,
e molte genti fé già viver grame,
questa mi porse tanto di gravezza52
con la paura ch'uscia di sua vista,
ch'io perdei la speranza de l'altezza.
E qual è quei che volontieri acquista,55
e giugne 'l tempo che perder lo face,
che 'n tutti suoi pensier piange e s'attrista;
tal mi fece la bestia sanza pace,58
che, venendomi 'ncontro, a poco a poco
mi ripigneva là dove 'l sol tace. So too my mind, while still a fugitive,25
turned back to gaze again upon that pass
which never let a man escape alive.
When I had given my weary body rest,28
I struck again over the desert slope,
ever the firmer foot the one below,
And look! just where the steeper rise began,31
a leopard light of foot and quick to lunge,
all covered in a pelt of flecks and spots,
Who stood before my face and would not leave,34
but did so check me in the path I trod,
I often turned to go the way I came.
The hour was morning at the break of dawn;37
the sun was mounting higher with those stars°
that shone beside him when the Love Divine
In the beginning made their beauty move,40
and so they were a cause of hope for me
to get free of that beast of flashy hide-
The waking hour and that sweet time of year;43
but hope was not so strong that I could stand
bold when a lion stepped before my eyes!
This one seemed to be coming straight for me,46
his head held high, his hunger hot with wrath-
seemed to strike tremors in the very air!
Then a she-wolf, whose scrawniness seemed stuffed49
with all men's cravings, sluggish with desires,
who had made many live in wretchedness-
So heavily she weighed my spirit down,52
pressing me by the terror of her glance,
I lost all hope to gain the mountaintop.
And as a gambler, winning with a will,55
happening on the time when he must lose,
turns all his thoughts to weeping and despair,
So I by that relentless beast, who came58
against me step by step, and drove me back
to where the sun is silent evermore.
those stars: the constellation Aries. It is the springtime of the year, recalling the springtime of the universe; see notes. Mentre ch'i' rovinava in basso loco,61
dinanzi a li occhi mi si fu offerto
chi per lungo silenzio parea fioco.
Quando vidi costui nel gran diserto,64
«Miserere di me», gridai a lui,
«qual che tu sii, od ombra od omo certo!».
Rispuosemi: «Non omo, omo già fui,67
e li parenti miei furon lombardi,
mantoani per patrïa ambedui.
Nacqui sub Iulio, ancor che fosse tardi,70
e vissi a Roma sotto 'l buono Augusto
nel tempo de li dèi falsi e bugiardi.
Poeta fui, e cantai di quel giusto73
figliuol d'Anchise che venne di Troia,
poi che 'l superbo Ilïón fu combusto.
Ma tu perché ritorni a tanta noia?76
perché non sali il dilettoso monte
ch'è principio e cagion di tutta gioia?».
«Or se' tu quel Virgilio e quella fonte79
che spandi di parlar sì largo fiume?»,
rispuos' io lui con vergognosa fronte.
«O de li altri poeti onore e lume,82
vagliami 'l lungo studio e 'l grande amore
che m'ha fatto cercar lo tuo volume.
Tu se' lo mio maestro e 'l mio autore,85
tu se' solo colui da cu' io tolsi
lo bello stilo che m'ha fatto onore.
Vedi la bestia per cu' io mi volsi;88
aiutami da lei, famoso saggio,
ch'ella mi fa tremar le vene e i polsi».
«A te convien tenere altro vïaggio»,91
rispuose, poi che lagrimar mi vide,
«se vuo' campar d'esto loco selvaggio;
ché questa bestia, per la qual tu gride,94
non lascia altrui passar per la sua via,
ma tanto lo 'mpedisce che l'uccide;
Now while I stumbled to the deepest wood,61
before my eyes appeared the form of one
who seemed hoarse, having held his words so long.
And when I saw him in that endless waste,64
"Mercy upon me, mercy!" I cried out,
"whatever you are, a shade, or man in truth!"
He answered me: "No man; I was a man,67
and both my parents came from Lombardy,
and Mantua they called their native land.
In the last days of Julius I was born,70
and lived in Rome under the good Augustus
in the time of the false and cheating gods.
I was a poet, and I sang of how73
that just son of Anchises° came from Troy
when her proud towers and walls were burnt to dust.
But you, why do you turn back to such pain?76
Why don't you climb that hill that brings delight,
the origin and cause of every joy?"
"Then are you-are you Virgil? And that spring79
swelling into so rich a stream of verse?"
I answered him, my forehead full of shame.
"Honor and light of every poet, may82
my long study avail me, and the love
that made me search the volume of your work.
You are my teacher, my authority;85
you alone are the one from whom I took
the style whose loveliness has honored me.
See there the beast that makes me turn aside.88
Save me from her, O man renowned and wise!
She sets the pulses trembling in my veins!"
"It is another journey you must take,"91
replied the poet when he saw me weep,
"if you wish to escape this savage place,
Because this beast that makes you cry for help94
never lets any pass along her way,
but checks his path until she takes his life.
|How to Read Dante||ix|
Posted February 20, 2011
The book, of course, is a classic but I was very disappointed in the translation and added notes. I find Charles Eliot Norton to be very big on himself. I would recommend (for anyone wanted to read The Divine Comedy) to find a different translation.
6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 1, 2012
Posted May 28, 2010
Posted December 5, 2010
The illustrations go on top of text and mesh together from page to page obscuring the written word. A huge mess. Pity, since G. Dore is the best illustrator ever. NOT RECOMMENDED-DO NOT BUY.
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 9, 2011
Posted April 16, 2001
This is a great disappointment. The reader lacks any dramatic range, natters on and on like a dotty old aunt through convoluted ideas, dialogue, and scenery. It is often a challenge to know which character is speaking, owing partly to very understated transitions provided by the translator. The publisher never does confess who the translator was, and fails to provide any supporting/critical materials such as the accompanying booklets in Penguin's Iliad and Odyssey readings which added so much depth to those (4 and 5 stars, respectively). I really wanted to enjoy this, but find I am loading each successive cassette more out of stubbornness than hopeful expectation.
1 out of 7 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 4, 2014
Posted January 23, 2014
You can not return books on your nook, but you can archive them. —@lexis :) PS: I did not read this book yet, but it sounds great!
0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 9, 2013
Posted June 10, 2013
I learned about Dante and the Divine Comedy in school. Not sure if I liked his whole idea about the area in between heaven and hell.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 23, 2012
I find it to be a very good book i say everyone should read it you will find it very interesting and you will not be sorry you read it
0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 27, 2012
Posted January 29, 2012
Posted December 16, 2011
Posted September 23, 2011
Posted July 3, 2011
Posted February 10, 2011
Posted December 28, 2010
Hi, trying to return this e-book. Not sure how to e-mail you if I cannot find an e-mail address. This is more toward the publisher. The book is excellent. Just not something that I want on my reader at the moment. Please and thank you.
0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 11, 2011
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Posted February 5, 2011
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