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Verse > Harvard classics > Dante Alighieri > The magnificent Comedy
Dante Alighieri (1265–1321).  The magnificent Comedy.The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.

You are watching: All hope abandon ye who enter here

Canto III
ARGUMENT.—Dante, following Virgil, involves the gate of Hell; where, after having actually read the dreadful words that are written thereon, lock both enter. Here, together he understands indigenous Virgil, those to be punished who had actually passed your time (for life it might not it is in called) in a state that apathy and also indifference both to good and evil. Then, pursuing their way, they come at the flow Acheron; and there find the old ferryman Charon, who takes the spirits over to the contrary shore; which, as quickly as Dante reaches, the is seized v terror, and also falls right into a trance.
“THROUGH me you pass right into the city the woe:
Through me you pass right into eternal pain:
Through me amongst the people lost because that aye.
Justice the founder of my cloth moved:
To rear me was the task of power divine,        5
Supremest Wisdom, and also primeval Love. 1
Before me things create were none, conserve things
Eternal, and also eternal ns endure.
All hope abandon, ye who enter here.”
  Such characters, in shade dim, i mark’d        10
Over a portal’s lofty arch inscribed.
Whereat ns thus: “Master, this words import
Hard meaning.” He as one prepared replied:
“Here thou should all mistrust behind thee leave;
Here be vile fear extinguish’d. We are come        15
Where I have told thee we shall view the souls
To misery doom’d, who intellectual good
Have lost.” and also when his hand he had actually stretch’d forth
To mine, with pleasant looks, whence ns was cheer’d,
Into that an enig place the led me on.        20
  Here sighs, with lamentations and loud moans,
Resounded v the waiting pierced through no star,
That e’en ns wept at entering. Miscellaneous tongues,
Horrible languages, outcries that woe,
Accents the anger, voices deep and hoarse,        25
With hands together smote that swell’d the sounds,
Made increase a tumult, the forever whirls
Round with that air with solid darkness stain’d,
Like to the sand the in the whirlwind flies.
  I then, through horror however encompast, cried:        30
“O master! what is this ns hear? what race
Are these, who seem so overcome with woe?”
  He therefore to me: “This miserable fate
Suffer the wretched souls of those, that lived
Without or worship or blame, with that ok band        35
Of angels mix’d, who nor rebellious proved,
Nor yet were true come God, however for themselves
Were only. Indigenous his bounds sky drove lock forth
Not to impair his lustre; nor the depth
Of Hell obtain them, lest the accursed tribe        40
Should glory thence v exultation vain.”
  I then: “Master! what doth aggrieve lock thus,
That castle lament for this reason loud?” He directly replied:
“That will certainly I tell thee briefly. These of death
No hope might entertain: and their remote life        45
So meanly passes, the all other lots
They envy. Reputation of them the human being hath none,
Nor suffers; Mercy and Justice scorn castle both.
Speak not of them, yet look, and also pass castle by.”
  And I, that straightway look’d, beheld a flag,        50
Which whirling ran about so rapidly,
That the no stop obtain’d: and also following came
Such a lengthy train that spirits, I have to ne’er
Have assumed that death so numerous had despoil’d.
  When several of these ns recognized, i saw        55
And knew the the shade of him, that to base fear 2
Yielding, abjured his high estate. Forthwith
I understood, because that certain, this the tribe
Of those ill soul both to God displeasing
And to His foes. These wretches, that ne’er lived,        60
Went on in nakedness, and sorely stung
By wasps and hornets, i beg your pardon bedew’d their cheeks
With blood, that, mix’d through tears, dropp’d to your feet,
And by disgustful worms to be gather’d there.

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  Then looking more onwards, ns beheld        65
A throng ~ above the coast of a an excellent stream:
Whereat i thus: “Sir! approve me now to know
Whom below we view, and also whence impell’d lock seem
So passionate to happen o’er, as I discern
Through the blear light?” He thus to me in few:        70
“This shalt she know, quickly as our procedures arrive
Beside the woful tide of Acheron.”
  Then through eyes bottom cast, and fill’d v shame,
Fearing my words attack to his ear,
Till we had reach’d the river, ns from speech        75
Abstain’d. And also lo! towards us in a bark
Comes on one old man, hoary white v eld,
Crying, “Woe to you, angry spirits! hope not
Ever to view the skies again. Ns come
To take it you come the other shore across,        80
Into eternal darkness, there to dwell
In fierce heat and also in ice. And thou, that there
Standest, live spirit! gain thee hence, and leave
These who space dead.” however soon together he beheld
I left castle not, “By other way,” claimed he,        85
“By various other haven shalt thou pertained to shore,
Not through this passage; thee a nimbler boat
Must carry.” then to him thus spake my guide:
“Charon! thyself torment not: so ’tis will’d,
Where will and power are one: ask she no more.”        90
  Straightway in silence fell the shaggy cheeks
Of him, the boatman o’er the livid lake,
Around whose eyes glared wheeling flames. Meanwhile
Those spirits, faint and also naked, color changed,
And gnash’d their teeth, quickly as the devilish words        95
They heard. God and their parental they blasphemed,
The person kind, the place, the time, and also seed,
That did engender them and also give them birth,
  Then all with each other sorely wailing drew
To the curst strand, the every guy must pass        100
Who fears no God. Charon, demoniac form,
With eye of burning coal, collection them all,
Beckoning, and each, the lingers, with his oar
Strikes. As autumn off the light autumnal leaves
One still one more following, it spins the bough        105
Strews every its honours ~ above the earth beneath;
E’en in favor manner Adam’s angry brood
Cast themselves, one by one, down from the shore,
Each at a beck, as falcon at his call. 3
  Thus go they over through the umber’d wave;        110
And ever they top top the opposing bank
Be landed, top top this side an additional throng
Still gathers. “Son,” for this reason spake the courteous guide,
“Those who die topic to the wrath that God
All right here together come native every clime        115
And to o’erpass the river room not loth:
For therefore Heaven’s justice goads lock on, the fear
Is turn’d right into desire. Therefore ne’er hath past
Good spirit. If of thee Charon complain,
Now mayst thou understand the import of his words.”        120
  This said, the gloomy an ar trembling shook
So terribly, the yet with clammy dews
Fear chills my brow. The sad earth gave a blast,
That, lightening, shot forth a vermilion flame,
Which every my senses conquer’d quite, and also I        125
Down dropp’d, as one with sudden slumber seized.
Note 1. “Power,” Wisdom,” “Love,” the 3 Persons the the Blessed Trinity. 
Note 2. This is commonly understood that Celestine V, who abdicated the papal power in 1249. Venturi mentions a work written by Innocenzio Barcellini, of the Celestine order, and printed at Milan in 1701, in which an effort is do to put a various interpretation top top this passage. Lombardi would use it to some one of Dante’s fellow-citizens, who, refusing, through avarice or want of spirit, to support the party the the Bianchi at Florence, had actually been the key occasion that the miseries that befell them. However the testimony that Fazio degli Uberti, that lived so close to the time of our author, seems almost decisive on this point. He specifically speaks of the Pope Celestine together being in Hell. 
Note 3. “As a falcon in ~ his call.” This is Vellutello’s explanation, and also seems preferable come that typically given: “as a bird the is enticed come the cage by the call of another.”