Friday, July 31, 2015
Dante Inferno XXVIII 101-135 Then did he lay his hand upon the jaw Of one of his companions, and his mouth Oped, crying: "This is he, and he speaks not. This one, being banished, every doubt submerged In Caesar by affirming the forearmed Always with detriment allowed delay." O how bewildered unto me appeared, With tongue asunder in his windpipe slit, Curio, who in speaking was so bold! And one, who both his hands dissevered had, The stumps uplifting through the murky air, So that the blood made horrible his face, Cried out: "Thou shalt remember Mosca also, Who said, alas! 'A thing done has an end!' Which was an ill seed for the Tuscan people." "And death unto thy race," thereto I added; Whence he, accumulating woe on woe, Departed, like a person sad and crazed. But I remained to look upon the crowd; And saw a thing which I should be afraid, Without some further proof, even to recount, If it were not that conscience reassures me, That good companion which emboldens man Beneath the hauberk of its feeling pure. I truly saw, and still I seem to see it, A trunk without a head walk in like manner As walked the others of the mournful herd. And by the hair it held the head dissevered, Hung from the hand in fashion of a lantern, And that upon us gazed and said: "O me!" It of itself made to itself a lamp, And they were two in one, and one in two; How that can be, He knows who so ordains it. When it was come close to the bridge's foot, It lifted high its arm with all the head, To bring more closely unto us its words, Which were: "Behold now the sore penalty, Thou, who dost breathing go the dead beholding; Behold if any be as great as this. And so that thou may carry news of me, Know that Bertram de Born am I, the same Who gave to the Young King the evil comfort. I made the father and the son rebellious; Achitophel not more with Absalom And David did with his accursed goadings. Because I parted persons so united, Parted do I now bear my brain, alas! From its beginning, which is in this trunk. Thus is observed in me the counterpoise."
The Schismatics and Sowers of Discord: Mosca de' Lamberti and Bertrand de Born 1824-27
pen, ink and watercolour over pencil (NGV 24)
Felton Bequest, 1920
National Gallery of Victoria