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Dante - Inferno - Canto 02 - 07

Identifier

005189

Type of Spiritual Experience

Background

Some selections and extracts about the underworld.  Like many manic depressives experiencing this area Dante perceived it to be filled with slime and muck - dirt 

 

A description of the experience

Dante – The Divine Comedy  INFERNO I

CANTO II
I have come to a place where every light is silenced
Which roars just as the sea roars in a storm
When it is beaten by conflicting winds
 
The infernal gale, which blows and never pauses
Directs the spirits which it carries before it
Harrassing them with turning and buffeting...............

And as starlings are carried on their wings
In the cold weather, in a vast wavering troop
So that breath carries the unfortunate spirits

It drives them here and there, now down, now up,
There is no hope ever to comfort them
They cannot stop, or ever suffer less pain
 
And as the cranes go, chanting as they fly
Stretched out in a long ribbon in the air
I saw the approaching shadows, uttering cries
 
As they were carried by the trouble I have spoken of........

And then there came towards us in a boat
An old man who was white with brittle hair
Calling out 'woe to you perverse spirits!'
 
You need not hope that you will ever see heaven
I have come to take you to the other side
Into eternal darkness fire and ice
.....................
There was no more movement of the bearded cheeks
Of that old pilot of the leaden marshes
Around whose eyes there burned red rings of flame
 
But these spirits, who were worn out and naked
Changed colour and their teeth began to chatter
Such was the effect of hearing those harsh words
 
Then they blasphemed God and cursed their parents
The human race, the place and time, the seed
The land that it was sown in, and their birth

CANTO III
When he had finished, the murky countryside
Trembled so much, that even to think of it
Still leaves me terrified and bathed in sweat

The melancholy land belched out a wind
From which there came a flash of carmine light
That left me utterly insensible

.........................

CANTO VI
I was in the third circle, where it rains
Eternally, icily and implacably
Weight and direction are invariable
 
Great hailstones, muddy water, mixed with snow
Fall through the darkened air without respite
They rot the ground they fall on, and it stinks
................................

CANTO VII

The water was more nearly black than blue
And we in company with that dark stream
Went further down, following a difficult path
 
It goes into the marsh which is called the Styx
That sad brooklet, when it has tumbled down
To the bottom of that long grey sloping hill
 
And I, who stood there looking down intently
Saw people covered in mud, there in the swamp
All naked and with anger in their faces

I said 'Master, among those who were like that
I certainly ought to recognise one or two
Who were befouled with evils of that kind.
He answered 'You are wasting your time to think of it
They saw nothing in life, they wallowed in muck

The source of the experience

Dante Alighieri

Concepts, symbols and science items

Concepts

Underworld

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps

Commonsteps

References