"Our Father, who are in heaven, encircled by
nothing except the greater love you have
for the first works that you made there on high,
praised be your name and your power by
every creature, with those thanks that are due
for the sweet emanation that flows from you.
May the peace of your kingdom come to us
who are not able to reach it by ourselves
try as we may, unless it comes to us.
As your angels make sacrifice to you
of their wills singing hosannas, even so
may humans offer their own wills to you.
Give us today the manna of every day
for without it, in this harsh desert we
go backward, straining forward as we may.
And as we pardon each one for the harm
that we have suffered, in loving-kindness
overlook what we deserve, and pardon us.
Do not oppose to the old adversary
our virtue that gives way so easily
but deliver us from his goading of it.
This last request we make not for ourselves,
dear Lord, who do not need it now for us.
It is for those who remain behind us."
Thus praying for Godspeed for themselves
and us whose souls went on under their burden
like one that sometimes in a dream is borne,
their torment differing, all of them wearily
making the circuit of the first terrace,
purging the mists of the world away.
If they are always asking for our good there
what can be said and done for them from here
by those whose will is rooted in the good?
We should help them to wash away the stains
they took there, so they can be light and pure
to go out to the wheeling of the stars.
"Oh, so may justice and mercy free you
soon of your burden and let you move the wing
that, according to your longing, lifts you,
show us on which hand is the shorter way
to the stair, and if there is more than one
tell us which passage is the less steep one,
for since the one who comes with me is clothed in
the burden of Adam, against his own
will, when it comes to climbing, he goes slowly."
It was not clear whose were the words of theirs
that came in answer after these had been
spoken by the one I was following
but they said, "To the right. Come with us
along the bank and you will find the pass
where a living person would be able to climb
and if I were not hindered by the stone
that overpowers my neck for its pride
so that I have to go with my face down
I would look at this one who is still alive
and is not named, and see whether I
know him, and have his pity for this weight I carry.
I was Italian and born of a great Tuscan.
Guglielmo Aldobrandesco was my father's name.
I wonder whether you ever heard of him.
The ancient blood and the resplendent
deeds of my forebears made me so arrogant
that without thinking of our common mother
I took my scorn of every man so far
it was the death of me, as they in Siena know
and every child in Campagnatico.
I am Omberto, and pride has brought injury
not only to me but my whole family
dragging them with it into calamity.
And here I must bear this because of that
until God is satisfied. What I would not
do among the living I do here among the dead."
I had put my face down where I could listen
and one of them, not the one who had spoken,
twisted under the weight that held him down
and saw me and knew me and called as he
went on struggling to keep his eyes on me
while I went along bent over with them.
"Oh," I said to him, "are you not Oderisi,
the honor of Gubbio, the honor of that art that in
Paris they call illumination?"
"Brother," he said, "the pages smile more
from the brush strokes of Franco of Bologna.
Now the honor is all his, apart from my share.
I would not, indeed, have been so courteous
while I was living, because of the great
desire to excel, on which my heart was set.
Here is where the fine for pride like that is paid,
and I would not be here yet, if it were not
that while I could still sin I turned to God.
Oh the vain glory in human powers!
How briefly, at the top, the green endures
unless an age of ignorance comes after!
In painting Cimabue thought the field
was his alone. Now the cry is Giotto
so the fame of the other is in shadow
and so the glory of our tongue was taken
from one Guido by another, and one
is born now, perhaps, who will push both from the nest.
The noise the world makes is nothing but a breath
of wind blowing from time to time back and forth,
the name changing according to where it comes from.
Do you think you will have more fame if you strip away
the flesh in age than if you die as a baby
still babbling baby words for bread and money
after a thousand years have passed, which is shorter
compared to eternity than the blink of an eye
is to that circle of heaven that turns most slowly?
That one inching so slowly ahead of me,
all Tuscany once resounded with him
and now in Siena there is hardly a whisper of him
where he was a lord when they destroyed
the haughty rabble of Florence that was as proud
at the time as now it is prostitute.
Your renown is the color of the grass
that comes and goes, and that which fades it is
what at first brings it green out of the ground."
And I to him, "The truth you say humbles
my heart as it should, and shrinks a great swelling in me,
but the one you were just talking about, who is he?"
"That one," he answered, "is Provenzan Salvani
who is here because in his presumption he
wanted to have all Siena in his hands.
The way he is going is the way he has gone
ever since he died. That is the coin
in which he pays up for his rashness over there."
And I, "If a spirit waits until the edge
of life before repenting, and remains there
down below and does not come up here
until as much time passes as he lived
unless he is assisted by good prayer
how was he given leave to come here?"
"When he was living in his glory," he said,
"one time, putting aside all shame, he stood,
by his own will, in the market place of Siena
where, to ransom a friend from the pains
he was suffering in Carlo's prison, he
brought himself to tremble in all his veins.
I will say no more, and I speak, as I know,
darkly, but something your neighbors will do
before long will allow you to expound this.
What he did there released him from those confines."