Excerpt from The Comedy of Dante Alighieri
That shook the placid depth within my breast, All the night long so saddened and perplexed. Like one who breathless issues from the waves Turns to the waters he no longer braves, My spirit, that still ﬂies, turns back to see The pass that living man ne'er trod but me. My weary frame once more refreshed, I paced The way along the desert ridge, and traced The hindmost footstep ever deepest placed. And, lo just where the steep ascents begin, A light swift leopard with a spotted skin Appeared never for once he left my view, As if he meant t' impede my journey through, That twice or thrice I from the path withdrew. The sun was mounting, with those stars that high Companioned with him when the heavenly 1 First moved those things so beautiful above. The hour of time, sweet season of the day, Made me hope better of the beast of prey, With variegated skin, that caused my stay. But so that terror might not leave me quite, A lion there appeared within my sight, With lofty head and raging famine's ﬂame, The very air was trembling as he came And in its leanness full of each desire, She - wolf that saddened nations with its ire. This creature put me in such painful plight, Assailed with fear that issued from its sight.
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