Dante, Inferno Canto 24 (4th part)

A shake of the head, and off again,
Like someone having the falling sickness, an epilpetic fit,
A seizure, looks around him, shakes off the dizziness,
Bewildered, knowing hit by something insuperable,
Stares at anything that might be responsible,
Feeling the hurt, a brilliant proof of God’s power.

My guide then asked the sinner who he was:

—Not long ago, I fell from Tuscany into this savagery.
Illegitimate, that I was, tatooed with that,
The bestial life suited me and not the human,
An enforcer, a capo, I am Vanni Fucci, the beast,
And Pistoia was the slum that suited me best.

I to Virgil:

—Don’t let him get away quite so easily,
Definitely not without confessing his sin fully,
I certainly knew him as a man of plain anger,
Which would get him as far as the circle of the Wrathful,
But he hasn’t told it all yet, there’s a greater sin,
Which has brought him lower,

The sinner heard and did not try to dissemble,
Turned his attention toward me and actually coloured with shame,
Forced to cough it up,

—You’ve seen me like this, reduced, miserable,
Which is worse than dying, frankly.

My crime was the theft of the reliquary of San Jacopo from the sacristy,
At Pistoia, my town,
And laying the blame on someone else, Rampino Foresi,
The authorities, stupid enough to imprison him,
And nearly execute him, truth be told.

Tiny casket in the brute mitt,
Cackles in the taverns, the wrong man has the rope at his neck,
What a world, above, up there.

—But just so you don’t take too much pleasure in looking at me down here,
Even if, I’m not quite sure how, you’re just passing through
And may find your way back to the light,
Listen to this, you’ve asked for it.

And here his damnable pride began a steady improvement,
The venom still in him, recycling.

—Pistoia first will cleanse herself of Black Guelfs,
They will come back to Florence, where else would they go?
Joining up with the Black faction that still follows the Pope,
Even with that fool Boniface VII,
And with the assistance of Charles de Valois, force out the White Guelfs,

And more, Mars on the side of the Blacks,
Will neutralize the thunderbolt of Val di Magra,
With his Lucchese dogs of war,
The dark clouds will enfold him, surround him,
Bring him down.

So no need to look quite so smug.

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