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 Canto XI
      After a prayer uttered by the spirits, who were spoken of in the last
 Canto, Virgil inquires the way upward, and is answered by one, who declares
 himself to have been Omberto, son of the Count of Santafiore. Next our Poet
 distinguishes Oderigi, the illuminator, who discourses on the vanity of
 worldly fame, and points out to him the soul of Provenzano Salvani.
 O Thou Almighty Father! who dost make
 The heavens Thy dwelling, not in bounds confined,
 But that, with love intenser, there Thou view'st
 Thy primal effluence; hallow'd be thy name:
 Join, each created being, to extol
 Thy might; for worthy humblest thanks and praise
 Is Thy blest Spirit. May Thy kingdom's peace
 Come unto us; for we, unless it come,
 With all our striving, thither tend in vain.
 As, of their will, the Angels unto Thee
 Tender meet sacrifice, circling Thy throne
 With loud hosannas; so of theirs be done
 By saintly men on earth. Grant us, this day,
 Our daily manna, without which he roams
 Through this rough desert retrograde, who most
 Toils to advance his steps. As we to each
 Pardon the evil done us, pardon Thou
 Benign, and of our merit take no count.
 'Gainst the old adversary, prove Thou not
 Our virtue, easily subdued; but free
 From his incitements, and defeat his wiles.
 This last petition, dearest Lord! is made
 Not for ourselves; since that were needless now;
 But for their sakes who after us remain."
 Thus for themselves and us good speed imploring,
 Those spirits went beneath a weight like that
 We sometimes feel in dreams; all, sore beset,
 But with unequal anguish; wearied all;
 Round the first circuit; purging as they go
 The world's gross darkness off. In our behoof
 If their vows still be offer'd, what can here
 For them be vow'd and done by such, whose wills
 Have root of goodness in them? Well beseems
 That we should help them wash away the stains
 They carried hence; that so, made pure and light,
 They may spring upward to the starry spheres.
 "Ah! so may mercy - temper'd justice rid
 Your burdens speedily; that ye have power
 To stretch your wing, which e'en to your desire
 Shall lift you; as ye show us on which hand
 Toward the ladder leads the shortest way.
 And if there be more passages than one,
 Instruct us of that easiest to ascend:
 For this man, who comes with me, and bears yet
 The charge of fleshly raiment Adam left him,
 Despite his better will, but slowly mounts."
 From whom the answer came unto these words,
 Which my guide spake, appear'd not; but 'twas said:
 "Along the bank to rightward come with us;
 And ye shall find a pass that mocks not toil
 Of living man to climb: and were it not
 That I am hinder'd by the rock, wherewith
 This arrogant neck is tamed, whence needs I stoop
 My visage to the ground; him, who yet lives,
 Whose name thou speak'st not, him I fain would view;
 To mark if e'er I knew him, and to crave
 His pity for the fardel that I bear.
 I was of Latium;[1] of a Tuscan born,
 A mighty one: Aldobrandesco's name
 My sire's, I know not if ye e'er have heard.
 My old blood and forefathers' gallant deeds
 Made me so haughty, that I clean forgot
 The common mother; and to such excess
 Wax'd in my scorn of all men, that I fell,
 Fell therefore; by what fate, Siena's sons.
 Each child in Campagnatico, can tell.
 I am Omberto: not me, only, pride
 Hath injured, but my kindred all involved
 In mischief with her. Here my lot ordains
 Under this weight to groan, till I appease
 God's angry justice, since I did it not
 Amongst the living, here amongst the dead."
 [1: "I was of Latium." Omberto, the son of Guglielmo Aldobrandesco,
 Count of Santafiore, in the territory of Siena. His arrogance provoked his
 countrymen to such a pitch of fury against him that he was murdered by them at
 Listening I bent my visage down: and one
 (Not he who spake) twisted beneath the weight
 That urged him, saw me, knew me straight, and call'd;
 Holding his eyes with difficulty fix'd
 Intent upon me, stooping as I went
 Companion of their way. "O!" I exclaim'd,
 "Art thou not Oderigi?[2] art not thou
 Agobbio's glory, glory of that art
 Which they of Paris call the limner's skill?"
 [2: The illuminator, or miniature painter, a friend of Giotto and
 "Brother!" said he, "with tints, that gayer smile,
 Bolognian Franco's[3] pencil lines the leaves.
 His all the honour now; my light obscured.
 In truth, I had not been thus courteous to him
 The whilst I lived, through eagerness of zeal
 For that pre - eminence my heart was bent on.
 Here, of such pride, the forfeiture is paid.
 Nor were I even here, if, able still
 To sin, I had not turn'd me unto God.
 O powers of man! how vain your glory, nipt
 E'en in its height of verdure, if an age
 Less bright succeed not. Cimabue thought
 To lord it over painting's field; and now
 The cry is Giotto's,[4] and his name eclipsed.
 Thus hath one Guido from the other[5] snatch'd
 The letter'd prize: and he, perhaps, is born,
 Who shall drive either from their nest. The noise
 Of worldly fame is but a blast of wind,
 That blows from diverse points, and shifts its name,
 Shifting the point it blows from. Shalt thou more
 Live in the mouths of mankind, if thy flesh
 Part shrivel'd from thee, than if thou hadst died
 Before the coral and the pap were left;
 Or e'er some thousand years have past? and that
 Is, to eternity compared, a space
 Briefer than is the twinkling of an eye
 To the heaven's slowest orb. He there, who treads
 So leisurely before me, far and wide
 Through Tuscany resounded once; and now
 Is in Siena scarce with whispers named:
 There was he sovereign, when destruction caught
 The maddening rage of Florence, in that day
 Proud as she now is loathsome. Your renown
 Is as the herb, whose hue doth come and go;
 [3: Franco of Bologna, who is said to have been a pupil of
 [4: "The cry is Giotto's." In Giotto we have a proof at how early a
 period the fine arts were encouraged in Italy. His talents were discovered by
 Cimabue, while he was tending sheep for his father in the neighborhood of
 Florence, and he was afterward patronized by Pope Benedict XI and Robert, King
 of Naples; and enjoyed the society and friendship of Dante, whose likeness he
 has transmitted to posterity.]
 [5: Guido Cavalcanti, the friend of our Poet, had eclipsed the
 literary fame of Guido Guinicelli. See also the twenty - sixth Canto.]
 And his might withers it, by whom it sprang
 Crude from the lap of earth." I thus to him:
 "True are thy sayings: to my heart they breathe
 The kindly spirit of meekness, and allay
 What tumours rankle there. But who is he,
 Of whom thou spakest but now?" - "This," he replied,
 "I Provenzano. He is here, because
 He reach'd with grasp presumptuous, at the sway
 Of all Siena. Thus he still hath gone,
 Thus goeth never - resting, since he died.
 Such is the acquittance render'd back of him,
 Who, in the mortal life, too much hath dared."
 I then: "If soul, that to life's verge delays
 Repentance, linger in that lower space,
 Nor hither mount, (unless good prayers befriend),
 Or ever time, long as it lived, be past;
 How chanced admittance was vouchsafed to him?"
 "When at his glory's topmost height," said he,
 "Respect of dignity all cast aside,
 Freely he fix'd him on Siena's plain,
 A suitor[6] to redeem his suffering friend,
 Who languish'd in the prison - house of Charles;
 Nor, for his sake, refused through every vein
 To tremble. More I will not say; and dark,
 I know, my words are; but thy neighbours soon
 Shall help thee to a comment on the text.
 This is the work, that from these limits freed him."
 [6: Provenzano Salvani, for the sake of one of his friends who was
 detained in captivity by Charles I of Sicily, personally supplicated the
 people of Siena to contribute the ransom required by the King; and this act of
 self - abasement atoned for his general ambition. He fell at Vald' Elsa, where
 the Florentines discomfited the Sienese in June, 1269.]