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The Divine Comedy

Dante Alighieri


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Description

With 136 beautiful illustrations and over 700 pages, this is the complete text of Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy. An epic poem, considered to be one of the greatest works of world literature, it tells the story of Dante's travels through Paradise, Purgatory and Hell. The Roman poet Virgil guides him through Hell and Purgatory; Beatrice, Dante's ideal woman, guides him through Heaven. Beatrice was a Florentine woman whom he had met in childhood and admired from afar.

Part of the Encyclopaedia Britannica’s Great Books of the Western World set.

This book has 725 pages in the PDF version, and was originally written between 1308 and 1321.

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Excerpt from 'The Divine Comedy'

IN the midway of this our mortal life,

I found me in a gloomy wood, astray

Gone from the path direct: and e’en to tell

It were no easy task, how savage wild

That forest, how robust and rough its growth,

Which to remember only, my dismay

Renews, in bitterness not far from death.

Yet to discourse of what there good befell,

All else will I relate discover’d there.

How first I enter’d it I scarce can say,

Such sleepy dullness in that instant weigh’d

My senses down, when the true path I left,

But when a mountain’s foot I reach’d, where clos’d

The valley, that had pierc’d my heart with dread,

I look’d aloft, and saw his shoulders broad

Already vested with that planet’s beam,

Who leads all wanderers safe through every way.

Then was a little respite to the fear,

That in my heart’s recesses deep had lain,

All of that night, so pitifully pass’d:

And as a man, with difficult short breath,

Forespent with toiling, ’scap’d from sea to shore,

Turns to the perilous wide waste, and stands

At gaze; e’en so my spirit, that yet fail’d

Struggling with terror, turn’d to view the straits,

That none hath pass’d and liv’d.  My weary frame

After short pause recomforted, again

I journey’d on over that lonely steep,

The hinder foot still firmer.  Scarce the ascent

Began, when, lo!  a panther, nimble, light,

And cover’d with a speckled skin, appear’d,

Nor, when it saw me, vanish’d, rather strove

To check my onward going; that ofttimes

With purpose to retrace my steps I turn’d.

The hour was morning’s prime, and on his way

Aloft the sun ascended with those stars,

That with him rose, when Love divine first mov’d

Those its fair works:  so that with joyous hope

All things conspir’d to fill me, the gay skin

Of that swift animal, the matin dawn

And the sweet season.  Soon that joy was chas’d,

And by new dread succeeded, when in view

A lion came, ’gainst me, as it appear’d,

With his head held aloft and hunger-mad,

That e’en the air was fear-struck.  A she-wolf

Was at his heels, who in her leanness seem’d

Full of all wants, and many a land hath made

Disconsolate ere now.  She with such fear

O’erwhelmed me, at the sight of her appall’d,

That of the height all hope I lost.  As one,

Who with his gain elated, sees the time

When all unwares is gone, he inwardly

Mourns with heart-griping anguish; such was I,

Haunted by that fell beast, never at peace,

Who coming o’er against me, by degrees

Impell’d me where the sun in silence rests.

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