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 Canto X
      Dante, having obtained permission from his guide, holds discourse with
 Farinata degli Uberti and Cavalcante Cavalcanti, who lie in their fiery tombs
 that are yet open, and not to be closed up till after the last judgment.
 Farinata predicts the Poet's exile from Florence; and shows him that the
 condemned have knowledge of future things, but are ignorant of what is at
 present passing, unless it be revealed by some newcomer from earth.
 Now by a secret pathway we proceed,
 Between the walls, that hem the region round,
 And the tormented souls: my master first,
 I close behind his steps. "Virtue supreme!"
 I thus began: "Who through these ample orbs
 In circuit lead'st me, even as thou will'st;
 Speak thou, and satisfy my wish. May those,
 Who lie within these sepulchres, be seen?
 Already all the lids are raised, and none
 O'er them keeps watch." He thus in answer spake:
 "They shall be closed all, what - time they here
 From Josaphat[1] return'd shall come, and bring
 Their bodies, which above they now have left.
 The cemetery on this part obtain,
 With Epicurus, all his followers,
 Who with the body make the spirit die.
 Here therefore satisfaction shall be soon,
 Both to the question ask'd, and to the wish[2]
 Which thou conceal'st in silence." I replied:
 "I keep not, guide beloved! from thee my heart
 Secreted, but to shun vain length of words;
 A lesson erewhile taught me by thyself."
 [1: "Josaphat." It seems to have been a common opinion among the
 Jews, as well as among many Christians, that the general judgment will be held
 in the valley of Josaphat, or Jehoshaphat. "I will also gather all nations,
 and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with
 them there for my people, and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered
 among the nations, and parted my land." - Joel, iii. 2.]
 [2: "The wish." The wish that Dante had not expressed was to see and
 converse with the followers of Epicurus; among whom, we shall see, were
 Farinata degli Uberti and Cavalcante Cavalcanti.]
 "O Tuscan! thou, who through the city of fire
 Alive art passing, so discreet of speech:
 Here, please thee, stay awhile. Thy utterance
 Declares the place of thy nativity
 To be that noble land, with which perchance
 I too severely dealt." Sudden that sound
 Forth issued from a vault, whereat, in fear,
 I somewhat closer to my leader's side
 Approaching, he thus spake: "What dost thou? Turn:
 Lo! Farinata[3] there, who hath himself
 Uplifted: from his girdle upwards, all
 Exposed, behold him." On his face was mine
 Already fix'd: his breast and forehead there
 Erecting, seem'd as in high scorn he held
 E'en Hell. Between the sepulchres, to him
 My guide thrust me, with fearless hands and prompt;
 This warning added: "See thy words be clear."
 [3: "Farinata." Farinata degli Uberti, a noble Florentine, was the
 leader of the Ghibelline faction, when they obtained a signal victory over the
 Guelfi at Montaperto, near the river Arbia. Macchiavelli calls him "a man of
 exalted soul, and great military talents." - "Hist. of Flor." b. ii. His
 grandson, Bonifacio, commonly called Fazio degli Uberti, wrote a poem,
 entitled the "Dittamonodo," in imitation of Dante.]
 He, soon as there I stood at the tomb's foot,
 Eyed me a space; then in disdainful mood
 Address'd me: "Say what ancestors were thine."
 I, willing to obey him, straight reveal'd
 The whole, nor kept back aught: whence he, his brow
 Somewhat uplifting, cried: "Fiercely were they
 Adverse to me, my party, and the blood
 From whence I sprang: twice,[4] therefore, I abroad
 Scatter'd them." "Though driven out, yet they each time
 From all parts," answer'd I, "return'd; an art
 Which yours have shown they are not skill'd to learn."
 [4: "Twice." The first time in 1248, when they were driven out by
 Frederick the Second. See G. Villani, lib. vi. c. xxxiv.; and the second time
 in 1260. See note to v. 83.]
 Then, peering forth from the unclosed jaw,
 Rose from his side a shade,[5] high as the chin,
 Leaning, methought, upon its knees upraised.
 It look'd around, as eager to explore
 If there were other with me; but perceiving
 That fond imagination quench'd, with tears
 Thus spake: "If thou through this blind prison go'st,
 Led by thy lofty genius and profound,
 [5: "A shade." The spirit of Cavalcante Cavalcanti, a noble
 Florentine, of the Guelf party.]
 Where is my son?[6] and wherefore not with thee?"
 I straight replied: "Not of myself I come;
 By him, who there expects me, through this clime
 Conducted, whom perchance Guido thy son
 Had in contempt."[7] Already had his words
 And mode of punishment read me his name,
 Whence I so fully answer'd. He at once
 Exclaim'd, up starting, "How! said'st thou, he had?
 No longer lives he? Strikes not on his eye
 The blessed daylight?" Then, of some delay
 I made ere my reply, aware, down fell
 Supine, nor after forth appear'd he more.
 Meanwhile the other, great of soul, near whom
 I yet was station'd, changed not countenance stern,
 Nor moved the neck, nor bent his ribbed side.
 "And if," continuing the first discourse,
 "They in this art," he cried, "small skill have shown;
 That doth torment me more e'en than this bed.
 But not yet fifty times[8] shall be relumed
 Her aspect, who reigns here queen of this realm,[9]
 Ere thou shalt know the full weight of that art.
 So to the pleasant world mayst thou return,
 As thou shalt tell me why, in all their laws,
 Against my kin this people is so fell."
 "The slaughter[10] and great havoc," I replied,
 "That color'd Arbia's flood with crimson stain -
 [6: "My son." Guido, the son of Cavalcante Cavalcanti; "he whom I
 call the first of my friends," says Dante in his "Vita Nuova" where the
 commencement of their friendship is related. From the character given of him
 by contemporary writers, his temper was well formed to assimilate with that of
 our Poet. "He was," according to G. Villani, lib. viii. c. xli., "of a
 philosophical and elegant mind, if he had not been too delicate and
 [7: "_____ Guido they soon Had in contempt." Guido Cavalcanti, being
 more given to philosophy than poetry, was perhaps no great admirer of Virgil.]
 [8: "Not yet fifty times." "Not fifty months shall be passed, before
 thou shalt learn, by woeful experience, the difficulty of returning from
 banishment to thy native city."]
 [9: "Queen of this realm." The moon, one of whose titles in heathen
 mythology was Proserpine, queen of the shades below.]
 [10: "The slaughter." "By means of Farinata degli Uberti, the Guelfi
 were conquered by the army of King Manfredi, near the river Arbia, with so
 great a slaughter, that those who escaped from that defeat took refuge, not in
 Florence, which city they considered as lost to them, but in Lucca." -
 Macchiavelli, "Hist. of Flor." b. ii. and G. Villani, lib. vi. c. lxxx. and
 To these impute, that in our hallow'd dome
 Such orisons[11] ascend." Sighing he shook
 The head, then thus resumed: "In that affray
 I stood not singly, nor, without just cause,
 Assuredly, should with the rest have stirr'd;
 But singly there I stood,[12] when, by consent
 Of all, Florence had to the ground been razed,
 The one who openly forbade the deed."
 [11: "Such orisons." This appears to allude to certain prayers which
 were offered up in the churches of Florence, for deliverance from the hostile
 attempts of the Uberti; or, it may be that the public councils being held in
 churches, the speeches delivered in them against the Uberti are termed
 "orisons," or prayers.]
 [12: "Singly there I stood." Guido Novello assembled a council of the
 Ghibellini at Empoli; where it was agreed by all, that, in order to maintain
 the ascendancy of the Ghibelline party in Tuscany, it was necessary to destroy
 Florence, which could serve only (the people of that city being Guelfi) to
 enable the party attached to the church to recover its strength. This cruel
 sentence, passed upon so noble a city, met with no opposition from any of its
 citizens or friends, except Farinata degli Uberti, who openly and without
 reserve forbade the measure; affirming, that he had endured so many hardships,
 with no other view than that of being able to pass his days in his own
 country. Macchiavelli, Hist. of Flor. b. ii.]
 "So may thy lineage find at last repose,"
 I thus adjured him, "as thou solve this knot,
 Which now involves my mind. If right I hear,
 Ye seem to view beforehand that which time
 Leads with him, of the present uninform'd."
 "We view, as one who hath an evil sight,"
 He answer'd, "plainly, objects far remote;
 So much of his large splendor yet imparts
 The Almighty Ruler: but when they approach,
 Or actually exist, our intellect
 Then wholly fails; nor of your human state,
 Except what others bring us, know we aught.
 Hence therefore mayst thou understand, that all
 Our knowledge in that instant shall expire,
 When on futurity the portals close."
 Then conscious of my fault,[13] and by remorse
 Smitten, I added thus: "Now shalt thou say
 To him there fallen, that his offspring still
 Is to the living join'd; and bid him know,
 That if from answer, silent, I abstain'd,
 [13: "My fault." Dante felt remorse for not having returned an
 immediate answer to the inquiry of Cavalcante, from which delay he was led to
 believe that his son Guido was no longer living.]
 'Twas that my thought was occupied, intent
 Upon that error, which thy help hath solved."
 But now my master summoning me back
 I heard, and with more eager haste besought
 The spirit to inform me, who with him
 Partook his lot. He answer thus return'd:
 "More than a thousand with me here are laid.
 Within is Frederick,[14] second of that name,
 And the Lord Cardinal,[15] and of the rest
 I speak not." He, this said, from sight withdrew.
 But I my steps toward the ancient bard
 Reverting, remunated on the words
 Betokening me such ill. Onward he moved,
 And thus, in going, question'd: "Whence the amaze
 That holds thy senses wrapt?" I satisfied
 The inquiry, and the sage enjoin'd me straight:
 "Let thy safe memory store what thou hast heard,
 To thee importing harm; and note thou this,"
 With his raised finger bidding me take heed,
 "When thou shalt stand before her gracious beam,[16]
 Whose bright eye all surveys, she of thy life
 The future tenor will to thee unfold."
 [14: "Frederick." The Emperor Frederick II., who died in 1250. See
 notes to Canto xiii.]
 [15: "The Lord Cardinal." Ottaviano Ubaldini, a Florentine, made
 cardinal in 1245, and deceased about 1273. On account of his great influence,
 he was generally known by the appellation of "the Cardinal." It is reported of
 him that he declared if there were any such thing as a human soul he had lost
 his for the Ghibellini.]
 [16: "Her gracious beam." Beatrice.]
 Forthwith he to the left hand turn'd his feet:
 We left the wall, and toward the middle space
 Went by a path that to a valley strikes,
 Which e'en thus high exhaled its noisome steam.