The Inferno, Canto 13 — Gustave Doré

4 thoughts on “The Inferno, Canto 13 — Gustave Doré”

  1. WOW!
    Canto 13 is the “Wood of the Self-Murderers” — not just suicides, but people whose actions have destroyed themselves.
    A selection from the blank verse translation of Henry Francis Cary, 1805:
    The kind instructor (Vergil) in these words began:
    “Ere farther thou proceed, know thou art now
    I’ th’ second round, and shalt be, till thou come
    Upon the horrid sand: look therefore well
    Around thee, and such things thou shalt behold,
    As would my speech discredit.” On all sides
    I heard sad plainings breathe, and none could see
    From whom they might have issu’d. In amaze
    Fast bound I stood. He, as it seem’d, believ’d,
    That I had thought so many voices came
    From some amid those thickets close conceal’d,
    And thus his speech resum’d: “If thou lop off
    A single twig from one of those ill plants,
    The thought thou hast conceiv’d shall vanish quite.”
    Thereat a little stretching forth my hand,
    From a great wilding gather’d I a branch,
    And straight the trunk exclaim’d: “Why pluck’st thou me?”
    Then as the dark blood trickled down its side,
    These words it added: “Wherefore tear’st me thus?
    Is there no touch of mercy in thy breast?
    Men once were we, that now are rooted here.
    Thy hand might well have spar’d us, had we been
    The souls of serpents.” As a brand yet green,
    That burning at one end from the’ other sends
    A groaning sound, and hisses with the wind
    That forces out its way, so burst at once,
    Forth from the broken splinter words and blood.


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