In the company of devils

“It was yesterday, five hours later than now,
That the twelve hundred and sixty-sixth year fell

Since the road here was ruined. I’m sending a crew
Out of my company in that direction
To see if sinners are taking the air. You go

With them, for they’ll not harm you in any fashion.
Come, Alichino and Calcabrina,” he cried,
“And you, Cagnazzo; and to be the captain

Of all ten, Barbariccia. And in the squad,
Take Libicocco and Draghignazzo too,
And Ciriatto with his tusky head,

And also Graffiacane and Farfarello,
And crazy Rubicante. Seach all around
The pools of boiling tar. And see these two

Get safely over to where the dens are spanned
By the next bridge, whose arc is undestroyed.”
“O me! O master, what do I see,” I groaned;

“We need no escort if you know the road —
And as for me, I want none. If you are cautious,
As is your custom, then how can you avoid

Seeing them grind their teeth and with ferocious
Brows threaten to do us harm?” And he returned,
“I tell you, have no fear: it is the wretches

Who boil here that they menace — so let them grind
As fiercely as they like, and scowl their worst.”
And then the company of devils turned,

Wheeling along the left-hand bank. But first
Each signaled their leader with the same grimace:
Baring their teeth, through which the tongue was pressed;

And the leader made a trumpet of his ass.

— The Inferno of Dante
tr. Robert Pinsky

ed elli avea del cul fatto trombetta.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s