Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Dante 19

The Hell Hounds
From Dante's Inferno canto xiii:

In the same way as he is who perceives
  The boar and chase approaching to his stand,
  Who hears the crashing of the beasts and branches;

And two behold! upon our left-hand side,
  Naked and scratched, fleeing so furiously,
  That of the forest, every fan they broke.

He who was in advance: "Now help, Death, help!"
  And the other one, who seemed to lag too much,
  Was shouting: "Lano, were not so alert

Those legs of thine at joustings of the Toppo!"
  And then, perchance because his breath was failing,
  He grouped himself together with a bush.

Behind them was the forest full of black
  She-mastiffs, ravenous, and swift of foot
  As greyhounds, who are issuing from the chain.

On him who had crouched down they set their teeth,
  And him they lacerated piece by piece,
  Thereafter bore away those aching members.

Thereat my Escort took me by the hand,
  And led me to the bush, that all in vain
  Was weeping from its bloody lacerations.

"O Jacopo," it said, "of Sant' Andrea,
  What helped it thee of me to make a screen?
  What blame have I in thy nefarious life?"

When near him had the Master stayed his steps,
  He said: "Who wast thou, that through wounds so many
  Art blowing out with blood thy dolorous speech?"

And he to us: "O souls, that hither come
  To look upon the shameful massacre
  That has so rent away from me my leaves,

Gather them up beneath the dismal bush;
  I of that city was which to the Baptist
  Changed its first patron, wherefore he for this

Forever with his art will make it sad.
  And were it not that on the pass of Arno
  Some glimpses of him are remaining still,

Those citizens, who afterwards rebuilt it
  Upon the ashes left by Attila,
  In vain had caused their labour to be done.

Of my own house I made myself a gibbet."

Blake's Hell Hounds Plate 26 The Hell Hounds

what it mewhat it means

The two nudes are said to be Giacomo da Sant' Andrea 

133 Jacopo da Sant' Andrea of Padua, another squanderer, was murdered in 1239.

and Lano da Siena:
120 Lano da Siena, a well-known spendthrift, died fighting the Aretines in 12Cultural Reference:

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