Inferno of Dante Alighieri

new verse translation by Michael Valerie!

Canto 1
Canto 2
Canto 3
Canto 4
Canto 5
Canto 6
Canto 7
Canto 8
Canto 9
Canto 10
Canto 11
Canto 12
Canto 13
Canto 14
Canto 15
Canto 16
Canto 17
Canto 18
Canto 19
Canto 20
Canto 21
Canto 22
Canto 23
Canto 24
Canto 25
Canto 26
Canto 27
Canto 28
Canto 29
Canto 30
Canto 31
Canto 32
Canto 33
Canto 34

 

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Vergil’s Occasional Verse for Octavian

These were the verses I was singing, right over the rightful observance at
th’ altar of sacrifice, and over about the trees, as Octavian Caesar, a great figure
on the deep, struck the Euphrates valley at war like a thunderbolt, and as conqueror
grants rule of law to willing peoples, and fixes his pathway to Mt. Olympus.

That famèd lord did assist me, at a moment in time when I was in full flower
about the zealous studies of the siren’s song, rather less than noble at leisure,
by stanzas for shepherds which I do perform — & what a daring youth am I — dear
Tityrus, as I recite poetic verses on you, beneath the cover of branching oak.

Il Rap de Enea, Assalti Frontali

the ruling class, future of our immature children

I’ve an idea, I got idea, Aeneas was saying, have one idea,
& he took his saying to the meeting: I have got idea,
the children’s future jives not with Gelmini.
I’ve an idea, I got idea, Aeneas was saying, have one idea,
& he took his saying to the meeting: I have got idea,
better to tell Mariestella no than try on mini-finery;
I’ve an idea, I got idea, Aeneas was saying, have one idea,
& he took his saying to the meeting: I have got idea,
let’s deny Gelmini 24/7, tell her no by day and night —
let’s deny Gelmini 24/7, tell her no by day and night.

Hey, they call me Aeneas — I went up to Iqbal Masih
and got a little green t-shirt, really classy tee, which
states: “I love my school and protect it.” Not one
bit the only master, Gelmini is just one solely;
I understand how great they are — I’m at elementary
level and already working two weeks at my school.
You say that they’re young people and I have a lot to  prepare,
but we’re all under assault and I’m giving myself a project:
not only am I certain, I’m with my mommy, along with my
master teachers, & we built a country shed with all the
pillows made from bags of hair, and the grand doormats
that won’t take one bit — all the same, the ones on
time are ever, I mean forever, at the reunion;
so that they’ll have something to say, I’m playing a bit of
football. They’re all in distress every hour, every moment
looks like a great big disgrace overcame my own world.

I’ve an idea, I got idea, Aeneas was saying, have one idea,
& he took his saying to the meeting: I have got idea,
the children’s future jives not with Gelmini.
I’ve an idea…

I have a pair of teachers, master Mari and Simona, &
come to think of it, I don’t know how to tell you
which is the better, with twenty l’il friends, what a marvel;
we’re every one together, from morning to afternoon
this is public school, everybody’s education,
the schooling that these scoundrels want to be cheeky —
I’m shedding flakes, slinging balloons:
now I’ve taken what backs Gelmini up,
districts 137 and 133.
But if they take Berlusconi’s way, I comprehend the reason
this school room will be empty, will be missing a piece,
which I’m sending them home to resume, from noon to
middle of the night. We’re the kids of a real sick Italy,
that demands them to be assets in the privatized schools,
so let’s shut the world down and chug like a choo-choo:
long live the public schooling system, at full time.

I’ve an idea, I got idea, Aeneas was saying, have one idea,
& he took his saying to the meeting: I have got idea,
the children’s future jives not with Gelmini.
I’ve an idea, I got idea, Aeneas was saying, have one idea,
& he took his saying to the meeting: I have got idea,
better to tell Mariestella no than try on mini-finery;
I’ve an idea, I got idea, Aeneas was saying, have one idea,
& he took his saying to the meeting: I have got idea,
let’s deny Gelmini 24/7, tell her no by day and night —
let’s deny Gelmini 24/7, tell her no by day and night.

I am not afraid, have no fear; and this is Aeneas’s
rhyme against tyranny. I’m not afraid, no, not
a fear — I want to be together with my own people
close to culture, & if this is the crisis that will
settle the problem? Let’s all be united together
at the university crib, since we have to win and
make it happen — this is a kinky wave of crowds
full time. If these are witches, dwarves, the returns
and little people, then I’m making rap of Aeneas
and do defend my interest in tomorrow, so too
the special boys and girls which complete the story,
but always recall: the cho-mo’s paying the bill.

This is Aeneas’s flow, oh yeah Aeneas über-rap,
This is Aeneas’s rap on the education system,
This is Aeneas’s flow, oh yeah Aeneas über-rap,
This is Aeneas’s rap, let’s cut the soldiers off.

Necesito Tenerte, Shuly Dal Riza

Two in the morning hiding between sheets, I
Do it so you can’t talk to my tears,
Break my days open, &
You’re coming so calm demeanor,
& now I’m thinking you never came, once…

I’m losing you — I do look not for these and lose hope!
& I think that now is even better as later than planned.
The sun demands I let you go where you’d want;
The floor is makin’ me shout to you, “…waiting for you.”
You find that hurting where it’s not desired?
Not wanting to admit it, but excuse of me please! —
I’m searching for reasons — my bad for all.,
I’m thinking that we should’ve never been alone,
& however many hugs I may not give you.
The kisses which you put to waste, I
wish didn’t happen, don’t want to mean to: again
I swear I don’t want one, but excuse you want-ties;
I cling to your smile at just the right moments in
Time, & the times just right;
You comprehend? I bet that’s right.

Tell it to me, starting right now: who do you make cause my
Smile? What’s more, more as I can do than give thanks to
You. This is the sensation you hold me for each time?
What more can I go do? — not begging pardon!
I’m thinking that the sole mistake is starting to
Be real. Listen!, I’m not sorry backing out, sorry feel!
I never did that.

I wish to be mistaken, there may be a thousand more times. . . .
But excuse you already late,
Call me arrogant, I prefer a mate.
If I didn’t go for it before, let’s go do it then?
I couldn’t be perfect without knocking back the hour,
Am already trying to and gave up doing you far off —
At least I’m making you and laugh about it,
Marveling with eyes stuck on the phone, couldn’t sleep;
Hope I’m waiting for a loss that I put an end to wasting, my-
Self. I know how you find me so confused,
If I start with no principles, then sorry for me, good-bye…
Fact that until away, you’re jealousies: killer
poison, what a shame, that which you present’s not forever.

Listen!
I need to hold you, & you’re coming like the wind blows
I’d rather just accept that I started to be no one
Before I thought of turning into somebody, I
Don’t want to do you gone, missing —
Listen!
I need to hold you, & you’re coming like the wind blows
I’d rather just accept that I started to be no one
Before I thought of turning into somebody, I
Don’t want to do you gone, missing —
Even less than desire, not to spill it!

Let me believe in one forever, I’m
a demon wanting to be, for surely. —
& I burn myself coming to meet you
losing it — and when lost do I discover it can bother me,
and no needies: no way I plan to wait for you,
I think I am a traveler
playing your game — lose me, burn me,
& tie me down, I take whatever decision it is, out of your
mouth; I plan not to claim I’m crying like a crazy
bitch, or thinking about being able to have other girls. . . .
Pft. Yeah!
I couldn’t want you like you may desire me,
can desire you with all my needs —
had enough of you? Too much of you? Blaming you?
You spill your soul to me, I give you
mojo; wishes fail me, you witches!

Listen!
I need to hold you, & you’re coming like the wind blows
I’d rather just accept that I started to be no one
Before I thought of turning into somebody, I
Don’t want to do you gone, missing —
Listen!
I need to hold you, & you’re coming like the wind blows
I’d rather just accept that I started to be no one
Before I thought of turning into somebody, I
Don’t want to do you gone, missing —
Even less than desire, not to spill it!

Suspend disbelief in an eternity, as one eternally. . . .

Vergil’s 9th Eclogue

LYCIDAS—MOERIS

L: Feet got you going, Moeris? How does the way take you, into town?

M: Well Lycidas, we made it through alive, so that a stranger trying
(which is never cause for concern to me) to master my field, should’ve
said: ‘These things are my stuff; move abroad, you old settlers!’
Now do we get these flocks going, in our defeat, humbled — which
might not go so well — because Fate causes all things to turn.

L: Really, I heard for sure — where the hills start to turn to rolling,
and send the mountain-ridge off at a soft slope, on to the water
front and old time beech (now breaking at peaks) trees — that
your boy Menalcas plays by the rules in his compositions.

M: You heard it here, & it was famed: but our tunes do so well,
Lycidas, among the arms of Mars, as well as what people
do call doves from Chaon, with the eagle arriving. As the crow
was warning me from the evergreen oak not to fall, in any way,
into clever legalese before the hung jury, so neither will
Moeris, nor even Menalcas himself, let you live off of here. . . .

L: Oh no! Did such an evil deed happen to anyone? Too bad! Were
your comforts taken from us nearly right off with you, Menalcas?
So that someone might set the Nymphs to singing? Who would sprinkle
flowering plants on the earth, or bring shade from the verdant source
of the stream? Or your poems which I recently had a peek at,
should you take them with you to my own favorite Amaryllis?
“Tityrus, please put the lambs to pasture (It’s a short way.) while I’m on my
way back; once fed, take them to stream, Tityrus, and watch out for the
boar (which does go wild in the glen) in the midst of heading to meet one.”

M: Alright, & what Varo was singing, albeit unfinished, goes: “Varo,
only our native Mantua should surpass your own name,
poor Mantua too close to lowly Cremona, as singing
swans head to the heavens in sublime fashion.”

L: Just as your flocks flee from the Corsican yew, as the pastured
herd of cattle, when fed on clover, does swell at the udder,
so begin, if you have any starting point. And the Muses made me
a poet; the songs are mine too: the shepherds, they also
call me a prophetic seer, but I don’t buy it from them — for neither
did I seem so to Varius yet, nor to say things appropriate for Cinna,
rather as the goose resounding among conspicuous, the swans.

M: Really, that’s what I’m doing, and considering such to myself in
silence, whether or not I can even remember; it’s not such an unpopular
song: “Here you are, oh Galatea — now what kind of game is upon
the waves’ deep? Now shining spring-time, now the very earth pour
diverse flowers about the stream; here the brilliant poplar impends
over a cave, & the light vines do intertwine with shaded alcoves.
There you are — let the crazy rushing waters rage along the shore.”

L: Why, what poems did I hear you singing alone under the naked
night? I remember the tune, if I still have the words right: “Daphnis,
why don’t you respect the age-old origin of symbols? Look, at
the morning star of Caesar’s love goddess, the star in which
the crops rejoice with flowering plants, and by which the vine
deploys its coloring upon sun-drenched ridges. Plant the
pear trees, Daphnis: your young ones are picking the apples.”

M: Summer’s age moves everything, including the mind — I recall
how often I kept watch over lengthening sunshine days as a boy chanting:
so many of my songs are forgotten already that even one’s voice now retreats
from Moeris: the vanguard of wolves are looking at Moeris. But
still, Menalcas should’ve offered you these answers often enough.

L: You’re leading my desirable loves a long way off, making excuses.
And currently every level field lies open to you in silence, & look,
all the wind-swept airs of heaven have landed with a mild roar.
That’s why our way is so far in between, since it started to make its
appearance with Bion’s memorial marker. Here, where the farmers
put the crowding branches and bushes together, right here, Moeris,
do we sing: leave the kids here all the same — we’re still going to town.
Or, if we’re afraid that night-time may muster a rainstorm beforehand,
then let’s go sing verses as long as one can (The shorter way’s a pain.)
get away with it: to go singing as we go, I’ll relieve you by this torch.

M: No more, young man, do cease what we are doing that’s coming up now.
Let us recite verses even better in song, when the poet will have arrived!

Vergil’s 2nd Eclogue

Corydon the shepherd used to be burning for hand-
some Alexis, & was missing what he wanted; so he kept heading
out again among the crowding beech-trees, the shaded mountain-
tops. Right there & then did he toss off these disorderly words,
by himself, to the hills and woods of an empty zeal:
“Oh heartless Alex, do you care not at all for my songs?
You have no pity on me? Then you’re going to make me die!
Now the sheep also seize the shadows and chills; now
the thorn bushes also abscond the chartreuse lizards;
Thestylis, too, in the sweltering heat — given the reapers[10
at rest — she mixes in thyme with other savory herbs.
But along with me under the burning sunlight, while I
illuminate your signs, do the trees resound with cicadas.
Was it not enough to suffer the wrath of sad Amaryllis and
the condescending compliments, wasn’t it Menalcas, to
want that boy as black as you are pale? Dear shapely
young man, don’t put too much faith in color’s shade!
The white privets fade, with dark hyacinths picked.
You/I hate you, me! — not who you want, Alexis, for
being rich in flocks, loaded with snowy white milk. A[20
thousand of my lambs do wander about in the Sicilian high-
lands; my milk is not bitter in summer, nor lacking in cold;
I recite what I’m accustomed to sing: since indeed he called
to the herd, Amphion of Dirce at Attic Aracynthus. It’s not
like I’m so misshapen: I saw myself in a pool recently,
since the sea came gentle on the breeze; I’m not afraid of
you sitting in judgment, Daphnis, if the image never errs.
Oh, how should it please you, along with me, to live in
shabby country abode and lowly houses, and strike stags,
and force the flock of lambs to pallid marshmallow plants![30

Do make like Pan singing together with me among the trees.
Pan was the first to invent how to unite a bunch of reeds
with wax; Pan, who takes care of the sheep and lords of the
flock. Don’t let it bother you, chafing your lip on a
pipe: so you may know the same things, why wasn’t Amyntas
doing them? I have a pipe composed of seven fretted flutes that
Damoetas gave to me some time ago: his dying words were,
‘Now that kind of woman currently holds you secondary.’
Damoetas said it; struck dumb, Amyntas gave him evil eye.
What’s more, two goats which I discovered in a less than safe[40
valley, with pelts still speckled white even now, they have
been dry of udder two days yet; I am tending them for you:
actually, Thestylis is now saying that I had abducted them;
and he will make good on it, since you find my services un-
tidy. Here you are, you shapely young man: the Nymphs,
just look!, bear lilies for you in loaded baskets; fair Nais,
your girl, plucking the pale violets and lofty poppies, does
combine narcissus flower and that of sweetly smelling anise;
then, weaving mezereon with other soft-scented shrubbery,
does tender hyacinth embroider the tawny hued marigold.[50

Myself, I shall pick apples gleaming with soft, light down, and
chestnuts, the ones my dear Amaryllis used to adore; I’ll
supplement it with plums light as beeswax: this fruit will be
a badge of honor too: and I’ll pluck you, oh you laurels, and you
too, neighboring myrtle blossom, since you mingle odors so
sweet. You’re a country bumpkin, Corydon: Alexis likes not your
offerings, & Iollas yields one’s place not, if you disagree about
our positions. Oh no!, what did I want for my pathetic state?
Lost, I launched the wind into flowers, boar to foaming springs.
Whom do you run from, crazyass? The gods dwell in the forest[60
too, as does Paris from Troy. Let Athena abide by those citadels
which she established; the woods please us better than every, all.
The golden lioness is pursuing the wolf; the wolf itself follows
the she-goat; the naughty lamb goes after the flowering clover;
Corydon’s after you, Alexis: one’s own pleasure pulls each a way.
Look here, plows do bear the yoke lifted over the young cow,
as the sun, when departing, mirrors the crescendo of shadows;
nonetheless love cinges me: now what way is there for love?

‘Oh Corydon, Don-Cory, what madness seized control of you!’

Half-pruned, a leafy stalk is upon the elm tree; weren’t you[70
at least getting ready rather to uncover something of those
practicality requires, with branches green and soft rushes?
You’ll find another man, if he looks down on you, Alex.”

Vergil’s 5th Eclogue

MENALCAS—MOPSVS

Menalcas
Why don’t we both, Mopsus, be right on, since we got together —
you, by blowing on your light reed-flute, while I recite
lines: shall we sit here among the elms mixed with hazels?

Mopsus
You are the greater, elder: it’s your job to make me equal to the task,
Menalcas, whether we come under the west winds as they stir up
uncertain shadows, or rather head to a cave: look at how the wild vine,
in the woodlands, scatters scant bunches of grapes about the cavern.

Menalcas
Amyntas is the only man to challenge you among our mountain peaks.

Mopsus
Why, what if he should overcome Phoebus Apollo in singing verses?!

Menalcas
Start first, Mopsus, if you have the fires of Phyllis, or[10
praise of Alco, or a rivalry with Codrus:
begin, ‘Tityrus will tend to the kids feeding…’

Mopsus
Actually, I jotted down these songs upon verdant bark of the
beech-tree recently, and did note this in changing the tune —
as I tried, so must you demand that Amyntas should compete.

Menalcas
As pliant willow yields to the pale olive tree,
as humble Asarum to purplish roses, is how much
Amyntas gives way to you, in my judgment.
You must give a lot up, boy; we’ve come to the cave.

Mopsus
The nymphs were bewailing Daphnis, snuffed out by a heart-[20
less death; you are a witness to the hazel and with respect
to the nymphs’ streams: for taking hold the pitiable
body of her own son, does fierce mother swear on the gods,
by the stars. Not a cow to take, oh Daphnis, along the
chilled streams for pasturing these days, no beasts of burden
have sipped the river, none to touch the growing blades.
Daphnis, the wild woods and savage peaks declare that
even the lions of Carthage bewailed your passing.
Daphnis made it a custom to drive Turkish tigers at chariot;
Daphnis did institute the ceremonial wands of Bachhus,[30
and wind slender spear with soft ivy green. As the
vine is glory to trees, as grapes grace the vines —
like the bulls with the flocks, just as crops for anointed altars,
so are you a guiding light to your own. After the fates took you,
did Pales the goddess and Apollo himself abandon the fields.
The barley by which we are fed is often plenty enough in the garden —
unfortunate darnel and infertile oats are produced: instead of
soft violet flower, rather than indigo narcissus,
the thistle and Christ’s thorn do arise of prickly spines.
Water the soil with foliage, go introduce your shadow to the springs,[40
you shepherds, should Daphnis command such affairs for his own
self — and build up a burial mound, & add this verse to the grave:
“I, Daphnis, will have been noted henceforth in the woods, on up
to the stars: oneself, a lovelier guardian for fine-looking flock.”

Menalcas
Such a song in verse as yours, oh holy poet, is
like slumber in the grass for the exhausted, like
the rushing of tasty waters to quench one’s thirst
through undulating stream: and you are not up to the task
on a reed-flute alone, but with the voice of masters.
Lucky young man, now you will be second only to that[50
famed poet. All the same will we recite these poems of ours
in whatever manner are yours, and raise your dear
Daphnis on up to the stars; we shall take him
even to stars: Daphnis was well-loved by me too.

Mopsus
Well if we found anything greater than such an offering,
then the young lad was worthy for singing, as well did
Stimicho praise those poems of ours some time ago.

Menalcas
The resplendent man marvels at the unfamiliar gate of Olympus,
with Daphnis up from the threshold looking at clouds and stars.
So a vivacious pleasure does cling to the forest’s trees, and
other country matters, as well as Pan and the shepherds, and the
wood-nymph girls; neither is the wolf considering plots for a flock,[60
nor do any hunting nets plot a stratagem for the deer: kind Daphnis is
in love with leisure. The rustic mountains themselves, they do
toss voices to the heavens in happiness; now do the very caves sing
verses, bristly trees resound: “God, the famed god, Menalcas!”
Oh, be noble and found lucky of your own. There are four altars, see:
look, two for you, Daphnis, with paired altars dedicated to Phoebus.
I dedicate twin goblets dripping with fresh milk the year-long, and
double fine jugs for your olive oil, & with a great rush right from
the start, delighting the revels for Bacchus, — right before the
hearth if it’s cold, and if summer, in the shade — will I offer[70
divine wine from Chios, poured from mixing bowls. Damoetas
and Aegon of Crete will recite lyrics for me; Alphesiboeus,
to make like the two-stepping satyrs. These things will
always be like this for you, both when return we pious offerings
sacred to the Nymphs, and when we shall the fields cleanse.
As long as the boar tends to hill-top peaks, long as the fish still
loves the deep, and while bees do feed upon thyme, as the cicadas
at murmur, will your your fame and name and compliments endure;
as with Bacchus and Ceres, so too will the farmers make you
annual offerings: you also shall condemn such by vows.[80

Mopsus
What’s it to you, that I should requite such a performance with presents?
For neither will the bluster of the south wind rushing in please me,
nor the shores battered by billowing wave help me so, no
streams rushing here & there from stony valleys.

Menalcas
We will dedicate this precious pipe to you beforehand:
this one taught us, “Corydon was burning for hand-
some Alex,” and also, “Whose flock, is it Meliboeus?”

Mopsus
Well then take your shepherd’s crook, which Antigenes did not get, even
though he often asked me for it (& he had reason for being bitter.), a
lovely looking staff with fine handles and bronze to match, Menalcas.[90