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Midway upon the journey of our life
I found myself within a forest dark,
For the straight-forward pathway had been lost.
Ah me! how hard a thing it is to say
What was this forest savage, rough, and stern,
Which in the very thought renews the fear.
So bitter is it, death is little more;
But of the good to treat, which there I found,
Speak will I of the other things I saw there.
I cannot well repeat how there I entered,
So full was I of slumber at the moment
In which I had abandoned the true way.
But after I had reached a mountain's foot,
At that point where the valley terminated,
Which had with consternation pierced my heart,
Upward I looked, and I beheld its shoulders,
Vested already with that planet's rays
Which leadeth others right by every road.
1 Midway in the journey of our life
mi ritrovai per una selva oscura, 2 I came to myself in a dark wood,
ché la diritta via era smarrita. 3 for the straight way was lost.
Ahi quanto a dir qual era è cosa dura 4 Ah, how hard it is to tell
esta selva selvaggia e aspra e forte 5 the nature of that wood, savage, dense and harsh --
che nel pensier rinova la paura! 6 the very thought of it renews my fear!
Tant' è amara che poco è più morte; 7 It is so bitter death is hardly more so.
ma per trattar del ben ch'i' vi trovai, 8 But to set forth the good I found
dirò de l'altre cose ch'i' v'ho scorte. 9 I will recount the other things I saw.
Io non so ben ridir com' i' v'intrai, 10 How I came there I cannot really tell,
tant' era pien di sonno a quel punto 11 I was so full of sleep
che la verace via abbandonai. 12 when I forsook the one true way.
Ma poi ch'i' fui al piè d'un colle giunto, 13 But when I reached the foot of a hill,
là dove terminava quella valle 14 there where the valley ended
che m'avea di paura il cor compunto, 15 that had pierced my heart with fear,
guardai in alto e vidi le sue spalle 16 looking up, I saw its shoulders
vestite già de' raggi del pianeta 17 arrayed in the first light of the planet
che mena dritto altrui per ogne calle. 18 that leads men straight, no matter what their road.
IN the midway of this our mortal life,
I found me in a gloomy wood, astray
Gone from the path direct: and e'en to tell
It were no easy task, how savage wild
That forest, how robust and rough its growth,
Which to remember only, my dismay
Renews, in bitterness not far from death.
Yet to discourse of what there good befell,
All else will I relate discover'd there.
How first I enter'd it I scarce can say,
Such sleepy dullness in that instant weigh'd
My senses down, when the true path I left,
But when a mountain's foot I reach'd, where clos'd
The valley, that had pierc'd my heart with dread,
I look'd aloft, and saw his shoulders broad
Already vested with that planet's beam,
Who leads all wanderers safe through every way.
When half way through the journey of our life
I found that I was in a gloomy wood,
because the path which led aright was lost.
And ah, how hard it is to say just what
this wild and rough and stubborn woodland was,
the very thought of which renews my fear!
So bitter ’t is, that death is little worse;
but of the good to treat which there I found,
I ’ll speak of what I else discovered there.
I cannot well say how I entered it,
so full of slumber was I at the moment
when I forsook the pathway of the truth;
but after I had reached a mountain’s foot,
where that vale ended which had pierced my heart
with fear, I looked on high,
and saw its shoulders
mantled already with that planet’s rays
which leadeth one aright o’er every path.
Dante, astray in a wood, reaches the foot of a hill which he begins to ascend; he is hindered by three beasts; he turns back and is met by Virgil, who proposes to guide him into the eternal world. Midway upon the road of our life I found myself within a dark wood, for the right way had been missed. Ah! how hard a thing it is to tell what this wild and rough and dense wood was, which in thought renews the fear! So bitter is it that death is little more. But in order to treat of the good that there I found, I will tell of the other things that I have seen there. I cannot well recount how I entered it, so full was I of slumber at that point where I abandoned the true way. But after I had arrived at the foot of a hill, where that valley ended which had pierced my heart with fear, I looked on high, and saw its shoulders clothed already with the rays of the planet that leadeth men aright along every path.
1 Pe cînd e omu-n miezul vieții lui
m-aflam într-o pãdure-ntunecatã,
cãci dreapta mea cãrare mi-o pierdui.
4 Amar mi-e sã vorbesc cît de-nfundatã
pãdure-a fost, încît de-a ei cumplire
gîndind la ea mi-e mintea-ncrîncenatã !
7 Un strop mai mult de-amar și m-ar rãpune !
dar pînã sã v-arãt a mea scãpare,
eu de-alte stãri vãzute-n ea voi spune.
10 Intrai în ea, și nu știu felu-n care,
atît de mult eram de somn pãtruns,
pe cînd ieșeam din dreapta mea cãrare.
13 Dar cînd sub o colinã fui ajuns,
sub care se-nfunda și-aceastã vale,
de-a cãrei groazã mã simții strãpuns,
16 privind vãzut-am creștetele sale
scãldate-n focu-acelei dragi planete
ce mînã sigur pe-orișicare cale.
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