The Third Bolgia: Simoniacs. Pope Nicholas III.
Some kind of amuse-bouche for the altar of Canto Nineteen,
And Malebolge parts three, four, five, coming seriatim…
Yo there, roll up, roll up,
You’ll see psychics burned to crisps,
You’ll see quacks turned to dust
Roll up, roll up, to see sorcerers!
But most, here will be cardinals,
Here will be popes stashed upside down, what better?
Tawdry, but all the fun o’ the fair.
And first of Simon Magus, who gives his name to the sin here,
Approaching the Apostles,
He offered payment in return for his initiation.
Therefore, his name blackened…?
It’s said he later had a magician’s shootout with Simon Peter,
Simon, he levitated himself, which was impressive,
But Simon Peter prayed to his God, according to that gospel,
And was given the power to perform some even better tricks.
We were on the bridge, at its keystone, exactly over the middle of the ditch, perfect,
Up and over the saddlepoint, the col, next, there’s rhythm, there’s plan,
I like this.
They get exactly what they deserve,
Delivered with wit and style, the irony and skill of highest Wisdom, I like this,
It’s clever justice, the punishment just right to fit the crime.