Selections from the Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri, Translated from the Italian, with a Commentary
Appeared in Autumn/Winter 2003, Vol. XXVIII, Nos. 3, 4
INFERNO – Canto Ten
In the sixth circle, Dante speaks to the Epicurean heretic Farinata, valorous leader of one of the Florentine factions. They are interrupted by Cavalcante de’ Cavalcanti, the father of Dante’s friend and fellow poet Guido Cavalcanti; he is dismayed to hear, as he thinks, that Guido is dead. Dante resumes speaking with Farinata, who prophesies Dante’s exile from Florence, and explains to Dante the limits of the knowledge of the damned.
Now he proceeded down a secret track between the torments and the city wall,
my Teacher, with me close behind his back. “O highest peak of virtue,” I began,
“who lead me at your pleasure round these rings, speak to me, let my wish be satisfied.”