Down in the Dark Pit
Dante's Inferno XXXII:
" XXXII. The Ninth Circle: Traitors. The Frozen Lake of Cocytus.
First Division, Caina: Traitors to their Kindred. Camicion de' Pazzi. Second Division, Antenora: Traitors to their Country. Dante questions Bocca degli Abati. Buoso da Duera"
Inferno: Canto XXXII ****************************************************** When we were down within the darksome well, Beneath the giant's feet, but lower far, And I was scanning still the lofty wall, I heard it said to me: "Look how thou steppest! Take heed thou do not trample with thy feet The heads of the tired, miserable brothers!" Whereat I turned me round, and saw before me And underfoot a lake, that from the frost The semblance had of glass, and not of water. So thick a veil ne'er made upon its current In winter-time Danube in Austria, Nor there beneath the frigid sky the Don, As there was here; so that if Tambernich Had fallen upon it, or Pietrapana, E'en at the edge 'twould not have given a creak. And as to croak the frog doth place himself With muzzle out of water,--when is dreaming Of gleaning oftentimes the peasant-girl,-- Livid, as far down as where shame appears, Were the disconsolate shades within the ice, Setting their teeth unto the note of storks. Each one his countenance held downward bent; From mouth the cold, from eyes the doleful heart Among them witness of itself procures. When round about me somewhat I had looked, I downward turned me, and saw two so close, The hair upon their heads together mingled. "Ye who so strain your breasts together, tell me," I said, "who are you;" and they bent their necks, And when to me their faces they had lifted, Their eyes, which first were only moist within, Gushed o'er the eyelids, and the frost congealed The tears between, and locked them up again. Thy hatred against him whom thou art eating, Tell me the wherefore," said I, "with this compact, That if thou rightfully of him complain, In knowing who ye are, and his transgression, I in the world above repay thee for it, If that wherewith I speak be not dried up."
|The Circle of Traitors; the Alberti Brothers|
William Blake's Illustrations of Dante
From Page 152 of Blake's Dante (Milton Klonski):
They are said to have killed each other squabblling over their inheritance;
Speaking of sibling rivalry! They belonged to (what might be called demo and
repub) Guelph and Ghibelline parties.
Two figures are found 'frozen in an ice-mountain.
Klonski refers us to the Four Zoes:
|"The Eternal Mind bounded began to roll eddies of wrath ceaseless|
|Round & round & the sulphureous foam surgeing thick|
|Settled a Lake bright & shining clear. White as the snow|
|Forgetfulness dumbness necessity in chains of the mind lockd up|
|In fetters of ice shrinking. disorganizd rent from Eternity"|