August 14, 2011

Literary Quote

"Here sighs and cries and shrieks of lamentation
echoed throughout the starless air of Hell;
at first these sounds resounding made me weep:

tongues confused, a language strained in anguish
with cadences of anger, shrill outcries
and raucous groans that joined with sounds of hands,
raising a whirling storm that turns itself
forever through that air of endless black,
like grains of sand swirling when a whirlwind blows.

And I, in the midst of all this circling horror,
began, "Teacher, what are these sounds I hear?
What souls are these so overwhelmed by grief?"

And he to me: "This wretched state of being
is the fate of those sad souls who lived a life
but lived it with no blame and with no praise.
They are mixed with that repulsive choir of angels
neither faithful nor unfaithful to their God,
who undecided stood but for themselves.

Heaven, to keep its beauty, cast them out,
but even Hell itself would not receive them,
for fear the damned might glory over them."

And I. "Master, what torments do they suffer
that force them to lament so bitterly?"
He answered: "I will tell you in few words:

these wretches have no hope of truly dying,
and this blind life they lead is so abject
it makes them envy every other fate.

The world will not record their having been there;
Heaven's mercy and its justice turn from them.
Let's not discuss them; look and pass them by..."
Dante Alighieri

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