Dante, Inferno Canto 26 (1st part)

The Eighth Bolgia: Evil Counsellors. Ulysses and Diomed. Ulysses’ Last Voyage.

For Florence to be so magnificent,
Excellent, and such fame, echoing to the four imagined corners,
Excellent, and with its dark wings casting shadows across land and sea,
Excellent, and so well represented here,
Among the thieves, excellent.

Ashamed to see five of you, five well-regarded, stalwart citizens
On the civic roll of honour graven, lauded,
Among the thieves, ashamed.

But if there’s any truth in the sleepless debate at dawn,
It won’t be long before it catches up,
Prato, to name just the one, has this in mind for you,
Overdue and inevitable.

It drags me back, the further I go on the road,
Future and past, the future does draw up,
The past does drag down

We ascended, for a moment, a curious thing,
Climbing back up the rubble,
Which had caused fear the first time,

Cue, sometimes you have to go back to go forward,
Or some such wisdom from him,
But Virgil went first, among the juts and crags of the escarpment,
Needing to use our hands, back to the bridge.

As for Florence,
Pain then and pain now, as I reconsider what I saw,
And best if I speak no more on it,
Don’t want to get myself somewhere where virtue isn’t with me.
It’s not for me to judge.

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