Sunday, March 11, 2012

Inferno 4

Translated into English terza rima by Peter D’Epiro
[Note: A revised version of this translation was posted on 3.23.15]

A deafening peal of thunder broke the deep
Slumber inside my head and made me start
Like someone forcibly aroused from sleep.
Standing, I let my rested vision dart
Around that place, then fixed my gaze to know
What clue to where I was it could impart.
I stood at the edge of a cliff—down below
There gaped the abysmal vale of suffering, where
The blare of countless shrieks gives voice to woe.
It was dark, and deep, and full of misty air,
And though I peered to plumb its vast extent,
I failed to see a single thing down there.
“To that blind world now let us make descent,”
The poet, deathly pale, began to say;
“See that you follow me.” And I, intent
On learning what his pallor might convey,
Said, “How shall I come if you yourself appear
Frightened, who comfort me in my dismay?”