Thus I descended out of the first circle Down to the second, that less space begirds, And so much greater dole, that goads to wailing. There standeth Minos horribly, and snarls; Examines the transgressions at the entrance; Judges, and sends according as he girds him. I say, that when the spirit evil-born Cometh before him, wholly it confesses; And this discriminator of transgressions Seeth what place in Hell is meet for it; Girds himself with his tail as many times As grades he wishes it should be thrust down. Always before him many of them stand; They go by turns each one unto the judgment; They speak, and hear, and then are downward hurled. "O thou, that to this dolorous hostelry Comest," said Minos to me, when he saw me, Leaving the practice of so great an office, "Look how thou enterest, and in whom thou trustest; Let not the portal's amplitude deceive thee." And unto him my Guide: "Why criest thou too? Do not impede his journey fate-ordained; It is so willed there where is power to do That which is willed; and ask no further question." And now begin the dolesome notes to grow Audible unto me; now am I come There where much lamentation strikes upon me.
|Plate 9 of Blake's Illustrations|