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Chapter 5 Those who died by Violence, but repentant. Buonconte d_onfeltro. La Pia.

  • I had already from those shades departed,
  • And followed in the footsteps of my Guide,
  • When from behind, pointing his finger at me,
  • One shouted: "See, it seems as if shone not
  • The sunshine on the left of him below,
  • And like one living seems he to conduct him."
  • Mine eyes I turned at utterance of these words,
  • And saw them watching with astonishment
  • But me, but me, and the light which was broken!
  • "Why doth thy mind so occupy itself,"
  • The Master said, "that thou thy pace dost slacken?
  • What matters it to thee what here is whispered?
  • Come after me, and let the people talk;
  • Stand like a steadfast tower, that never wags
  • Its top for all the blowing of the winds;
  • For evermore the man in whom is springing
  • Thought upon thought, removes from him the mark,
  • Because the force of one the other weakens."
  • What could I say in answer but "I come"?
  • I said it somewhat with that colour tinged
  • Which makes a man of pardon sometimes worthy.
  • Meanwhile along the mountain-side across
  • Came people in advance of us a little,
  • Singing the Miserere verse by verse.
  • When they became aware I gave no place
  • For passage of the sunshine through my body,
  • They changed their song into a long, hoarse "Oh!"
  • And two of them, in form of messengers,
  • Ran forth to meet us, and demanded of us,
  • "Of your condition make us cognisant."
  • And said my Master: "Ye can go your way
  • And carry back again to those who sent you,
  • That this one's body is of very flesh.
  • If they stood still because they saw his shadow,
  • As I suppose, enough is answered them;
  • Him let them honour, it may profit them."
  • Vapours enkindled saw I ne'er so swiftly
  • At early nightfall cleave the air serene,
  • Nor, at the set of sun, the clouds of August,
  • But upward they returned in briefer time,
  • And, on arriving, with the others wheeled
  • Tow'rds us, like troops that run without a rein.
  • "This folk that presses unto us is great,
  • And cometh to implore thee," said the Poet;
  • "So still go onward, and in going listen."
  • "O soul that goest to beatitude
  • With the same members wherewith thou wast born,"
  • Shouting they came, "a little stay thy steps,
  • Look, if thou e'er hast any of us seen,
  • So that o'er yonder thou bear news of him;
  • Ah, why dost thou go on? Ah, why not stay?
  • Long since we all were slain by violence,
  • And sinners even to the latest hour;
  • Then did a light from heaven admonish us,
  • So that, both penitent and pardoning, forth
  • From life we issued reconciled to God,
  • Who with desire to see Him stirs our hearts."
  • And I: "Although I gaze into your faces,
  • No one I recognize; but if may please you
  • Aught I have power to do, ye well-born spirits,
  • Speak ye, and I will do it, by that peace
  • Which, following the feet of such a Guide,
  • From world to world makes itself sought by me."
  • And one began: "Each one has confidence
  • In thy good offices without an oath,
  • Unless the I cannot cut off the I will;
  • Whence I, who speak alone before the others,
  • Pray thee, if ever thou dost see the land
  • That 'twixt Romagna lies and that of Charles,
  • Thou be so courteous to me of thy prayers
  • In Fano, that they pray for me devoutly,
  • That I may purge away my grave offences.
  • From thence was I; but the deep wounds, through which
  • Issued the blood wherein I had my seat,
  • Were dealt me in bosom of the Antenori,
  • There where I thought to be the most secure;
  • 'Twas he of Este had it done, who held me
  • In hatred far beyond what justice willed.
  • But if towards the Mira I had fled,
  • When I was overtaken at Oriaco,
  • I still should be o'er yonder where men breathe.
  • I ran to the lagoon, and reeds and mire
  • Did so entangle me I fell, and saw there
  • A lake made from my veins upon the ground."
  • Then said another: "Ah, be that desire
  • Fulfilled that draws thee to the lofty mountain,
  • As thou with pious pity aidest mine.
  • I was of Montefeltro, and am Buonconte;
  • Giovanna, nor none other cares for me;
  • Hence among these I go with downcast front."
  • And I to him: "What violence or what chance
  • Led thee astray so far from Campaldino,
  • That never has thy sepulture been known?"
  • "Oh," he replied, "at Casentino's foot
  • A river crosses named Archiano, born
  • Above the Hermitage in Apennine.
  • There where the name thereof becometh void
  • Did I arrive, pierced through and through the throat,
  • Fleeing on foot, and bloodying the plain;
  • There my sight lost I, and my utterance
  • Ceased in the name of Mary, and thereat
  • I fell, and tenantless my flesh remained.
  • Truth will I speak, repeat it to the living;
  • God's Angel took me up, and he of hell
  • Shouted: 'O thou from heaven, why dost thou rob me?
  • Thou bearest away the eternal part of him,
  • For one poor little tear, that takes him from me;
  • But with the rest I'll deal in other fashion!'
  • Well knowest thou how in the air is gathered
  • That humid vapour which to water turns,
  • Soon as it rises where the cold doth grasp it.
  • He joined that evil will, which aye seeks evil,
  • To intellect, and moved the mist and wind
  • By means of power, which his own nature gave;
  • Thereafter, when the day was spent, the valley
  • From Pratomagno to the great yoke covered
  • With fog, and made the heaven above intent,
  • So that the pregnant air to water changed;
  • Down fell the rain, and to the gullies came
  • Whate'er of it earth tolerated not;
  • And as it mingled with the mighty torrents,
  • Towards the royal river with such speed
  • It headlong rushed, that nothing held it back.
  • My frozen body near unto its outlet
  • The robust Archian found, and into Arno
  • Thrust it, and loosened from my breast the cross
  • I made of me, when agony o'ercame me;
  • It rolled me on the banks and on the bottom,
  • Then with its booty covered and begirt me."
  • "Ah, when thou hast returned unto the world,
  • And rested thee from thy long journeying,"
  • After the second followed the third spirit,
  • "Do thou remember me who am the Pia;
  • Siena made me, unmade me Maremma;
  • He knoweth it, who had encircled first,
  • Espousing me, my finger with his gem."