Purgatorio -- Canto XIV

The Envious, Guido del Duca, Rinier

 

Notes

 

 

 

 

 

10 The first soul among the envious is Guido del Duca, a renowned nobleman of Ravenna and a Ghibelline of the Onesti family.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

25 The second is Rinier da Calboli (d. 1296), a Guelph of the Paolucci family, a native Forlė and an administrator of Ravenna.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

58 Fulcieri da Calboli, grandson of Rinier, was a magistrate for Florence in 1303 and persecuted the White Guelphs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

97 Here begins a catalogue of great families of Romagna which have degenerated from their heyday. Among the noble individuals named are: Fabbro dei Lambertazzi (d. 1259), a Ghibelline of Bologna (l. 100); Bernadin di Fosco, gallant defender of Faenza against Frederick II in 1240 and a Guelph (l. 101); Guido da Prata (d.1245?), a grandee of Ravenna (l. 104); Ugolin d’Azzo (d.1293), of the Ulbaldini family (l.105); and Federigo Tignoso, a generous nobleman of Rimini (l. 106). The Traversari and the Anastagi were distinguished Ghibelline families of Ravenna (l. 107). After praising the achievements of the past, the poet turns (l. 112) to lament the present sad state of affairs, with heirs extinct or degenerate. The Manardi family who once held Bretinoro (l. 112) and the Malvicini family that were lords of Bagnacavallo (l. 115) are without survivors, while the Pagani clan have produced the demon Maghinardo. Finally, Ugolino de’ Fantolini of Faenza (d.1278), who led an honorable quiet life, had lost both his sons by 1286 (ll. 121-23).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

133 The words are those of Cain to God after killing his brother Abel (Genesis 4:14).

 

 

139 Aglauros, daughter of King Cecrops of Athens, envied her sister Herse because Mercury loved her; the god turned Aglauros into stone. See Metamorphoses II, 737-832.

          "Who is this who winds around our mountain
          Even before death gives him wings to fly,
          And opens and shuts his eyes just as he wills?"
 
          "I don’t know, but I know he is not alone:
5         You question him, since you are the closer,
          And greet him gently so that he will answer."
 
          This way two spirits, leaning on each other,
          Talked about me, off to my right hand,
          Then turned their faces up to speak to me,
 
10       And one said, "O soul, you who are still lodged
          In your body while you pass toward heaven,
          Out of your love console us here and say
 
          "Where you come from and who you are, for you
          Make us marvel so much at your grace
15       As one must at a thing not seen before."
 
          And I: "Through central Tuscany there rambles
          A little brook that rises in Falterona
          And its course runs more than a hundred miles.
 
          "From the banks of that stream I bring this body.
20       It would waste words to tell you who I am,
          Since men as yet noise not my name abroad."
 
          "If I correctly grasp what you allude to,"
          The one who had addressed me first, replied,
          "It is the Arno that you just described."
 
25       And the other asked him, "Why did he hide
          The true name of that river, as men do
          When they refer to something horrible?"
 
          The shade who had been questioned commented,
          "I do not know, but it is only right
30       That the name of such a valley perish,
 
          "For from its source — where the high mountain range
          Which cuts Pelorus off is there so teeming
          With water that few places match the spot —
 
          "Downward to where it pours out to restore
35       What the sky then draws upward from the sea
          And lets rain down to make the rivers flow,
 
          "Virtue there is shunned like an enemy —
          As if it were a snake — either a curse
          Grips the place or old bad habits goad it.
 
40       "And so the dwellers in that wretched valley
          Have so changed their true nature that it seems
          As if Circe keeps them feeding in her pen.
 
          "Among the filthy hogs, more fit for acorns
          Than for the food prepared for human use,
45       The river first directs its paltry course.
 
          "Then, flowing down, it comes to packs of curs
          Whose snarling sounds much worse than is their bite
          And in derision turns aside its snout.
 
          "Continuing to fall, the more it gathers
50       The more it finds dogs turning into wolves
          Along the damnable and fateful ditch.
 
          "Then, dropping downward through the hollowed gorges,
          It finds the foxes that are so full of fraud
          They have no fear of traps set to outsmart them.
 
55       "I will not stop, though this man hears me speak,
          For it should do him good to learn the truth
          My prophecy reveals to him about you.
 
          "I see your grandson turning out to hunt
          Those wolves upon the bank of that wild stream,
60       And with the chase he strikes them all with terror.
 
          "While they are still alive, he sells their flesh,
          And then he slaughters them like worn-out cattle:
          Many he robs of life, himself of honor.
 
          "Bloody he comes out of the sorry forest:
65       He leaves it such that in a thousand years
          It won’t rewood itself the way it once was."
 
          As at the news of some distressful menace
          The face of the listener clouds with trouble,
          No matter from what side the blow may fall,
 
70       Just so I saw the other soul who’d turned
          To hear grow cloudy with concern and sadness
          When he absorbed the impact of these words.
 
          The speech of one, and then the other’s face,
          Made me impatient to learn both of their names,
75       And so I pleaded with them as I asked.
 
          At this the spirit who addressed me first
          Began again, "You want me to agree
          To do for you what you won’t do for me!
 
          "But since God wills that such abundant grace
80       Shines through you, I shall not begrudge you this:
          Know then that I once was Guido del Duca.
 
          "My blood was then so fired up with envy
          That if I noticed someone else made happy
          You would have seen my own face turning livid.
 
85       "From the seed that I sowed I reap this straw.
          O human race, why do you set your hearts
          Upon the goods you may not share not with others'?
 
          "This is Rinier; this is the praise and glory
          Of the house of Calboli, where no one since
90       Has proved himself the heir to his high worth.
 
          "And not his line alone — from Po to mountains
          And from the coast to Reno — has been stripped
          Of virtues needed for truth and chivalry,
 
          "Because within these boundaries all the land
95       Is so choked up with poisonous weeds that years
          Of tillage now will hardly root them out.
 
          "Where is the good Lizio? Arrigo Manardi?
          Pier Traversaro? Guido di Carpigna?
          You men of Romagna are their bastards!
 
100      "When will a Fabbro spring up in Bologna?
          When in Faenza a Bernadin di Fosco,
          The noble offshoot of a lowly stock?
 
          "Do not wonder, Tuscan, if I weep
          When I remember, with Guido da Prata,
105      Ugolin d’Azzo who lived among us,
 
          "Federigo Tignoso and his friends,
          The Traversaro house and the Anastagi —
          Both of these families now without an heir —
 
          "The ladies and knights, the labors and pastimes
110      Which love and courtesy inspired in us,
          There where the hearts have grown so villainous!
 
          "O Bretinoro, why do you not vanish,
          Now that your progeny has run away,
          With many others, to avoid the shame?
 
115      "Bagnacaval does well to have no sons,
          But Castrocaro ill, and Conio worse
          In bothering to father counts like theirs!
 
          "The Pagani shall do well when their fiend
          Takes his flight, although their reputation
120      Will never last a day again in court.
 
          "Oh, Ugolin de’ Fantolin, your name
          Is safe since no one left can be discovered
          To blacken it by more degeneracy!
 
          "But go your way here, Tuscan, for I wish
125      Rather to shed tears now than to talk on,
          Our conversation has so touched my heart."
 
          We knew that those dear souls heard us depart,
          And, therefore, because they kept their silence,
          They made us confident about the route.
 
130      We then had hardly set out on our own
          When, like a lightning bolt that split the air,
          A voice hurtled against us with the words,
 
          "Everyone that finds me shall destroy me!"
          And it fled on like thunder that rolls away
135      If suddenly the cloud is ripped apart.
 
          As soon as our ears rested from the roar,
          Listen! the second broke with so loud a crash
          It seemed like thunder quickly coming after:
 
          "I am Aglauros who was turned to stone!"
140      At that I huddled closer to the poet
          By stepping to the right instead of forward.
 
          Once more the air grew quiet on all sides.
          Virgil told me, "That was the iron curb
          Which ought to keep mankind within due limits.
 
145      "But you men grab the bait to let the hook
          Of the old adversary pull you in:
          And check or lure can offer little help.
 
          "The heavens call to you and ring you round,
          Revealing to you their eternal beauties,
150     And yet your eyes stare only on the ground:
 
          "This is the reason He who sees all strikes you."
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