To Dream That One Is Dreaming

  • exordium transitions from tragical high style—“l’altezza de’ Troian che tutto ardiva” (Inf. 30.14)—to quotidian low style—“di quel modo / che ’l porco quando del porcil si schiude” (Inf. 30.26-27)—creating a hybrid mixed discourse that typifies comedìa and that is distilled in the hybridity of verse 128: “e per leccar lo specchio di Narcisso
  • the forma/norma rhyme
  • impersonation and the law
  • representational and economic fraud intertwined in this canto
  • connections to the tenzone with Forese Donati and to other moments of Dante’s lyric past: the sonnet O voi che per la via d’Amor passate and the longue durée of Lamentations in Dante’s poetry
  • the theme of vergogna reprised
  • to dream that one is dreaming = to dream the truth

The tenth bolgia, devoted to four different types of falsifiers, continues. Inferno 30 begins with elaborate classically inspired similes that led the great philologist Gianfranco Contini to speculate that Dante wrote this passage with Ovid open on the desk in front of him. In Dante’s Poets I describe in detail the cascading effect of the first 27 verses of Inferno 30, which opens with a great mythological panorama, as Dante moves from the “high” Ovidian sonority of the tragic madness of Athamas and Hecuba to the “low” simile that describes two souls running through Hell like pigs freed from a pigsty.

As discussed in Dante’s Poets, the effect is to persuade the reader that, when we reach the description of the first two sinners of this canto, we have in effect reached “reality”:

Dante devotes the first twenty-one lines of canto XXX to two classical examples of madness, one Theban and the other Trojan. The first is Athamas who, driven insane by Juno as part of her revenge on Semele, is responsible for the deaths of his wife Ino, Semele’s sister, and their two sons (1-12); the second is Hecuba, reduced to barking like a dog by the loss of her home, husband, and children (13-21). These exempla are executed in a deliberately high style: in each case the protagonist, Athamas or Hecuba, is presented only in the fourth line of the exemplum, after an initial terzina of background material. Thus, the canto opens with a great mythological panorama, which sets the madness of Athamas within the ongoing narrative of Jove’s amours and Juno’s anger: “Nel tempo che Iunone era crucciata / per Semelè contra ’l sangue tebano” (In the time when Juno was irate because of Semele against the Theban blood [1-2]); and Hecuba is preceded by a sweeping evocation of the fall of Troy: “E quando la fortuna volse in basso / l’altezza de’ Troian che tutto ardiva” (And when Fortune brought low the pride of the Trojans that dared all [13-14]).

The canto thus moves progressively forward in time: from remote Thebes, to less distant Troy, and finally to the present, in which the pilgrim sees “due ombre smorte e nude, / che mordendo correvan di quel modo / che ’l porco quando del porcil si schiude” (two pale and naked shades, who were running and biting like the pig when it is let out of the pigsty [25-27]). Here Dante presents the bolgia’s first sinners in a terzina whose style is in intentional opposition to the canto’s extraordinarily literary exordium; the unmediated realism of the brief simile of the pig loosened from the pigsty contrasts sharply with the elaborate Ovidian exempla. We note, moreover, that the introduction of low language, such as porco and porcil, corresponds to the moment in which the canto reaches “reality”: i.e. the sinners, the events of this bolgia. (Dante’s Poets pp. 235-236)

After the exordium, Inferno 30 moves on to the second sub-group of falsifiers (the falsifiers of persons, or impersonators), the third (falsifiers of money, or counterfeiters), and the fourth (falsifiers of words, or liars). Here we see the continued pairing of classical and contemporary figures that is a feature of Malebolge, pairings that reinforce the divergence between (Vergilian) tragedìa and (Dantean) comedìa. The impersonators, who are afflicted with madness, include the contemporary Florentine Gianni Schicchi and the classical figure Myrrha (Inf. 30.32-41). Later in the canto we will witness the quarrel between the contemporary Maestro Adamo of Brescia (a counterfeiter) and Sinon, protagonist of Book 2 of the Aeneid, perhaps the most famous liar of classical mythology (Inf. 100-129).

Let us begin with the two impersonators, described in verses 37-48. Myrrha, “l’anima antica / di Mirra scellerata” (the ancient soul / of wicked Myrrha [Inf. 30.37-38]), took on the form of another woman in order to consummate her incestuous erotic passion for her father: “Questa a peccar con esso così venne, / falsificando sé in altrui forma” (She came to sin with him by falsely taking / another’s shape upon herself [Inf. 30.40-41]).

The second impersonator is Gianni Schicchi, whose impersonation is motivated by greed rather than by lust. Gianni Schicchi was asked by Simone Donati to impersonate Simone’s uncle, Buoso Donati: “falsificare in sé Buoso Donati” (he disguised himself as Buoso Donati [Inf. 30.44]). The goal was to ensure that Buoso’s estate be left to Simone, with a cut of the proceeds (a prize mare) going to the impersonator.

Gianni Schicchi’s skills of impersonation were such that, upon taking Buoso’s place in his deathbed, he was able successfully to deceive the notary and the witnesses and thus to have them ratify the will. Dante’s language is legal and precise. Gianni Schicchi, pretending to be Buoso Donati, drew up a will (“testando”) and gave it all legal norms: “testando e dando al testamento norma” (Inf. 30.45).

Impersonation as a means of securing fraudulent gain continues to attract the attention of law enforcement. Here is an example of a debt collection scam that was closed by the FBI in 2014 because of false representations—impersonations—on the part of the debt collectors, who in effect were engaged in the kind of “falsificare in sé” practiced by Gianni Schicchi:

According to the joint press release by the offices of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and the Assistant FBI Director George Venizelos, the scam unfolded in 2009 and continued well into 2014. Employees working for WSA would routinely coerce victims into paying consumer debts through a variety of false statements and threats. Typically, the WSA employees would used aliases, sometimes referring to themselves as a “Detective” or “Investigator,” and falsely advise consumers they had committed crimes such as “check fraud” or “depository check fraud.” They then told the victims that a warrant would be issued for their arrest if they failed to make an immediate payment to WSA.

WSA employees also falsely claimed that the debt collection company had contracted with, or was otherwise affiliated with, certain federal or local law enforcement agencies, including the Department of Justice and the United States Marshals Service. Alternatively, they might say that they represented non-existent government agencies like the “Federal Government Task Force” and the “DOJ Task Force.” To further create the appearance that it was affiliated with the federal government, WSA would send victims correspondence containing the seal of the United States Department of State and the following language: “Warrant Services Association, A Division of the Federal Government Task Force.” (Story by Ken Berry, columnist in Accounting Web, dated 12/1/2014, accessed at http://www.accountingweb.com/crime-story-defendants-charged-in-massive-debt-collection-scam)

In the Myrrha-Gianni Schicchi passage we encounter the rare rhyme forma/norma. The word “forma” applies to Myrrha, who falsifies her form to have sex with her father: “falsificando sé in altrui forma (Inf. 30.41). The word “norma” instead describes the legally ratified but deceptive will achieved by Gianni Schicchi: “testando e dando al testamento norma” (Inf. 30.45).

The forma/norma rhyme, whose full philosophical unfolding in the divine form and shape of the universe is revealed in Paradiso 1.103-08, appears, in the plural forme/norme, on one other occasion, in Inferno 25:

ché due nature mai a fronte a fronte
non trasmutò sì ch’amendue le forme
a cambiar lor matera fosser pronte.
Insieme si rispuosero a tai norme . . . (Inf. 25.100-03) 

he never did transmute two natures,
face to face, so that both forms
were ready to exchange their matter.
Together they answered to such norms 

The forma/norma rhyme that is featured in both Inferno 25 and Inferno 30 signals the common themes of transformation, change of essence, mutation of self. The impersonation of Inferno 30 is a trivialized and anecdotal reduction of the grandiose but perverse metamorphosis of Inferno 25.

The unusual rhyme forma/norma rhymes with orma on two occasions: in Inferno 25 (“orme” in Inf. 25.105) and in Paradiso 1 (“orma” in Par. 1.106). It rhymes with “dorma” in Par. 3.100. Its only other appearance in the Commedia is in Inferno 30, where it rhymes with “torma” in verse 43. Gianni Schicchi, after securing Buoso Donati’s estate for Simone Donati, secures for himself Buoso’s prize mare: “la donna de la torma” (the lady of the herd [Inf. 30.43]).

The fraudulent lengths to which Gianni Schicchi will go for a horse and the greed and deceit of Simone Donati (the father of Dante’s friend Forese Donati) once more underscore the economic motivations that compete with representational issues as the key theme of the bolgia of the falsifiers. In Inferno 30 economic and representational matters are intertwined, as they are in Inferno 29. Economic issues are foregrounded in the treatment of two of the four sinners of this canto, the impersonator Gianni Schicchi and the counterfeiter Maestro Adamo.

Trivial and non-heroic desire—like Gianni’s desire for the prize mare, “the lady of the herd”—is very much in the spirit of the personal accusations that sprinkle the six sonnets that make up Dante’s tenzone with Forese Donati, a scurrilous sonnet-exchange that features as well the denigration of family members.

The Gianni Schicchi episode might be seen as a direct reprise of the tenzone with Forese Donati, for the episode indicts not only Gianni Schicchi but also Forese Donati’s father, Simone Donati, whose greed set the whole plot against Buoso Donati into motion.

By directing an accusation of greed squarely at Forese Donati’s father, the Gianni Schicchi episode of Inferno 30 picks up the familial vituperation of Dante’s youthful tenzone. Moreover, Dante seems to respond here to the tenzone’s denigration of his own father by Forese. In the sonnet L’altra notte Forese imagines that he has come across the ghost of Dante’s father, called by name “Alaghier”: “ch’io trovai Alaghier tra le fosse” (I found Alighieri among the graves). Forese’s sonnet L’altra notte puts Dante’s father into a sinister and unflattering light, and Dante’s retort is the denigration of Forese’s father in the Gianni Schicchi episode of Inferno 30.

Whereas the tenzone with Forese has long been linked to the second half of Inferno 30, through the figure of Simone Donati we can link the tenzone to the first half of the canto as well. For more on the tenzone and the Commedia, see my essay “Amicus eius: Dante and the Semantics of Friendship,” cited in Coordinated Reading.

In the latter part of canto 30, Dante models the art of altercation in language: “botta e riposta” in Italian (tit for tat or cut and thrust). This is an art he practiced as a young man in the tenzone with Forese Donati. A series of sonnets in which Dante and Forese viciously attack each other, the tenzone has long been considered by critics the developmental backdrop for the quarrel between Maestro Adamo, a famous contemporary counterfeiter, and Sinon, the Greek who according to the account of Aeneid 2 helped bring about the fall of Troy.

Before getting to the quarrel at the canto’s end, I will take a look at other echoes of Dante’s lyric past, whose presence in these lower reaches of Hell signal the stylistic incongruity that we have been tracking through Inferno: the hybrid mixed-style of comedìa A perfect example of this stylistic hybridity is verse 128, where Dante weds the crude verb “leccar” (to lick) to a precious periphrasis for water, “the mirror of Narcissus”, and creates “e per leccar lo specchio di Narcisso” (to have you lick the mirror of Narcissus [Inf. 30.128]). This verse is singled out by Battaglia Ricci as emblematic of the poetics that govern these cantos. (See Dante e la tradizione letteraria medievale [Pisa: Giardini, 1983], pp. 28-29.)

The words with which Maestro Adamo greets Dante and Virgilio echo, as commentators note, Lamentations 1:12: “O vos omnes qui transitis per viam, attendite et videte si est dolor sicut dolor meus” (Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow [King James Version]). Commentators also remind readers of the sonnet in the Vita Nuova that begins by echoing the same verse, quite remarkably inserting “d’Amor” into the first verse, so that the biblical passers-by are now on the road “of Love”:

O voi che per la via d’Amor passate,
attendete e guardate
s’egli è dolor alcun quanto ’l mio grave (1-3)

O you who walk along the path of Love,
behold and see
if there be any grief as deep as mine (Lansing trans.)

The sonnet O voi che per la via is, moreover, a sonnet that exists in a pre-Vita Nuova redaction, offering us therefore an opportunity to consider the longue durée of Lamentations in Dante’s poetry: used first in a courtly sonnet that predates the Vita Nuova, Lamentations then migrates to the Vita Nuova, whose theologized prose-frame draws attention to the biblical textuality that hybridizes the early courtly poem, and ultimately resurfaces in Inferno 30. For more on the sonnet O voi che per la via, see Dante’s Lyric Poetry, cited in Coordinated Reading.

There are further echoes of Dante’s lyric poetry in this section of Inferno 30. Maestro Adamo’s poigant recall of the “verdi colli / del Casentin” (green hills of the Casentino [Inf. 30.64-65]) reminds us of the lover’s location in Dante’s canzone montanina. Maestro Adamo’s reference to the castle of Romena “where I counterfeited / the currency that bears the Baptist’s seal” (“là dov’ io falsai / la lega suggellata del Batista” [Inf. 30.73-74]) is a reference to the castle in the Casentino that belonged to the Conti Guidi, and thus takes us back to the tenzone with Forese, where the Conti Guidi are mentioned as good marriage prospects because of their great wealth. In Maestro Adamo’s more jaundiced description they are the powerful lords who hired him to counterfeit the Florentine florin.

All the sins of the tenth bolgia are a form of falsificare, and Dante in the last sequence of this bolgia gives heightened resonance to the idea of falsification by staging a quarrel between Maestro Adamo, the falsifier of the florin, and Sinon, the falsifier of words. Thus the intertwining of economic and representational fraud, a central theme of Malebolge, literally takes central stage, and is performed in the quarrel between the counterfeiter and the liar.

The altercation between Sinon and Maestro Adamo features and repeats the words ver (truth, true) and falso (falsehood, false), as analyzed in Dante’s Poets:

Within the sequence of insults exchanged by Sinon and maestro Adamo, we shall focus on the passage in which ver and its opposite—here not menzogna, but falso—are featured, since these terms are connected to the issue of genre throughout the Inferno. In response to Sinon’s taunt that maestro Adamo’s hands were less agile while he was being led to the stake than while he was coining money, the counterfeiter replies first by acknowledging that the Greek speaks the truth in this—“Tu di’ ver di questo” (112)—and then by reminding Sinon of his great untruth, that most notorious of literary lies, the lie that drove Hecuba mad, to the very condition in which we find her at this canto’s beginning: “ma tu non fosti sì ver testimonio / là ’ve del ver fosti a Troia richesto” (but you were not so true a witness / there at Troy where the truth was requested from you [113-114]). To this insistence on the ver that he did not tell, and on his role as a non-true witness, Sinon throws back the generic falsification for which both are damned, further noting that maestro Adamo’s crimes, unlike his own, were multiple. While maestro Adamo stresses the word ver, Sinon stresses falso. (Dante’s Poets, p. 236)

This exchange of insults thus becomes a mise-en-abyme of the deep theme of Malebolge: the binary ver versus menzogna, the binary inherited from Inferno 16’s baptism of comedìa as “ver c’ha faccia di menzogna” (truth that has the face of a lie [Inf. 16.124]), is now cast as the binary ver versus falso. In the form of tagged insults, “truth” versus “falsehood” becomes the sing-song refrain that seals and concludes Hell’s circle of fraud.

At the end of Inferno 30 Virgilio severely rebukes Dante for watching the squabble between Maestro Adamo and Sinon so avidly:

  Ad ascoltarli er’ io del tutto fisso,
quando ’l maestro mi disse: «Or pur mira,
che per poco che teco non mi risso!».
  Quand’ io ’l senti’ a me parlar con ira,
volsimi verso lui con tal vergogna,
ch’ancor per la memoria mi si gira.
  Qual è colui che suo dannaggio sogna,
che sognando desidera sognare,
sì che quel ch’è, come non fosse, agogna,
  tal mi fec’ io, non possendo parlare,
che disiava scusarmi, e scusava
me tuttavia, e nol mi credea fare. (Inf. 30.130-141)
  I was intent on listening to them
when this was what my master said: "If you
insist on looking more, I'll quarrel with you!"
  And when I heard him speak so angrily,
I turned around to him with shame so great
that it still stirs within my memory.
  Even as one who dreams that he is harmed
and, dreaming, wishes he were dreaming, thus
desiring that which is, as if it were not,
  so I became within my speechlessness:
I wanted to excuse myself and did
excuse myself, although I knew it not.

The traditional reading of this passage assumes that Virgilio is correct to rebuke Dante. This reading assumes that Virgilio speaks as the mouthpiece of the author and does not consider Virgilio as a character who is frequently corrected in the Commedia. In other words, it does not take narrative voice into account.

In Dante’s Poets, I argue that Virgilio is wrong, and that “the pilgrim’s wish to listen is right, for his is the comedic desire to confront evil and to bear witness to all of reality, including hell” (p. 238). I still maintain the position that I take in Dante’s Poets, and as further support I would adduce the events of Inferno 32, in which Dante not only watches a quarrel, as he does in Inferno 30, but actually participates in it. In Inferno 32, Dante pulls Bocca degli Abati’s hair from his head, causing Bocca to howl in pain; Virgilio at that point does not rebuke Dante, nor does Dante apologize. Rather another sinner certifies Dante as a minister of divine vengeance, asking Bocca “what devil’s touching you?”: “qual diavol ti tocca?” (Inf. 32.108).

In conclusion, we come back to the theme of shame, discussed also in the Introductions to Inferno 28 and to Inferno 29. In Inferno 30.136-41 Dante describes his experience of shame at being rebuked by Virgilio. He compares his feeling to that of a man who dreams of his suffering and in his dream wishes that he were dreaming. This passage is fascinating both for what it tells us of Dante’s feelings about shame and for what it suggests about the experience of dreaming. Let us look at both issues.

Dante was always susceptible to feeling social shame, as we can see from the Vita Nuova, and as is evidenced as well in the Geri del Bello episode of Inferno 29. Here his great vergogna at being corrected by his guide reminds us that Dante did not reject authority lightly and that the feelings of social inadequacy incurred by Virgilio’s displeasure did not pass easily. In fact, in this passage Dante insists on the intensity of his feeling of shame, telling us that he still now—in the present tense, after the cessation of his vision—can conjure the feeling in his memory:

Quand’io ’l senti’ a me parlar con ira,
volsimi verso lui con tal vergogna,
ch’ancor per la memoria mi si gira. (Inf. 30.133-35)

And when I heard him speak so angrily,
I turned around to him with shame so great
that it still stirs within my memory.

The shame that Dante scripts for himself here confirms that his refusal to feel onta at not having avenged Geri del Bello is an acquired, not an innate, skill. In other words, Dante was naturally susceptible to the societal shame of family dishonor, but with his reason he resisted the feeling of onta and the actions that it triggered: vendetta.

Most fascinating in the concluding section of Inferno 30 is Dante’s comparison of himself to “one who dreams that he is harmed / and, dreaming, wishes he were dreaming, thus / desiring that which is, as if it were not”:

colui che suo dannaggio sogna,
che sognando desidera sognare,
sì che quel ch’è, come non fosse, agogna
tal mi fec’io          (Inf. 30.136-39)

Dante feels ashamed and wishes he were no longer experiencing shame. He does not know that Virgilio has already forgiven him, and that his desire has therefore already become reality. His desire to no longer feel bad is compared to the desire of a dreamer who dreams that he is experiencing harm and while dreaming wishes for release from harm—and thus while dreaming wishes to be dreaming.

The dreamer to whom Dante compares himself is therefore someone who craves the reality that is already his reality—to be dreaming—as though it were not his reality. Dante compresses and ends up with a profoundly existential statement: he is one who craves that which is—“quel ch’è”—as though it were not: “come non fosse” (138).

The simile depicts someone who craves a reality of which he is already in possession, if he could but recognize the reality of his dream. As I write in Chapter 7 of The Undivine Comedy, which treats true dreams: “Here the dream is reality; the dreamer need dream no more. All the while that he craves reality, ‘what is’—‘quel ch’è’—he is in possession of it, if he could but recognize the reality of his dream, the truth—nonfalsity—of his error” (The Undivine Comedy, p. 164).

To dream and to wish that one were dreaming is to dream the truth. One is dreaming of what one already possesses, although not knowing it. Hence, one is dreaming reality: one is dreaming what is.

Here, at the end of Malebolge, we therefore encounter another definition of comedìa: it is a true dream, a dream that is the truth.

And finally, for those like my son who saw and loved the movie Inception, in which dreams nest within dreams, we note the fascinating modernity and psychological suppleness of Dante’s extraordinary comparison.

Coordinated Reading

Coordinated Reading: Dante’s Poets, pp. 233-37; “Amicus eius: Dante and the Semantics of Friendship,” Dante Studies 133 (2015): 46-69; The Undivine Comedy, Chapter 7, “Nonfalse Errors and the True Dreams of the Evangelist”, p. 164; Dante’s Lyric Poetry: Poems of  Youth and of the ‘Vita Nuova’, ed. and comm. T. Barolini and trans. R. Lansing (Toronto: U. of Toronto Press, 2014).

Recommended Citation

Barolini, Teodolinda. “Inferno 30: To Dream That One Is Dreaming.” Commento Baroliniano, Digital Dante. New York, NY: Columbia University Libraries, 2017. https://digitaldante.columbia.edu/dante/divine-comedy/inferno/inferno-30/

About the Commento

1Nel tempo che Iunone era crucciata
2per Semelè contra ’l sangue tebano,
3come mostrò una e altra fïata,

4Atamante divenne tanto insano,
5che veggendo la moglie con due figli
6andar carcata da ciascuna mano,

7gridò: «Tendiam le reti, sì ch’io pigli
8la leonessa e ’ leoncini al varco»;
9e poi distese i dispietati artigli,

10prendendo l’un ch’avea nome Learco,
11e rotollo e percosselo ad un sasso;
12e quella s’annegò con l’altro carco.

13E quando la fortuna volse in basso
14l’altezza de’ Troian che tutto ardiva,
15sì che ’nsieme col regno il re fu casso,

16Ecuba trista, misera e cattiva,
17poscia che vide Polissena morta,
18e del suo Polidoro in su la riva

19del mar si fu la dolorosa accorta,
20forsennata latrò sì come cane;
21tanto il dolor le fé la mente torta.

22Ma né di Tebe furie né troiane
23si vider mäi in alcun tanto crude,
24non punger bestie, nonché membra umane,

25quant’ io vidi in due ombre smorte e nude,
26che mordendo correvan di quel modo
27che ’l porco quando del porcil si schiude.

28L’una giunse a Capocchio, e in sul nodo
29del collo l’assannò, sì che, tirando,
30grattar li fece il ventre al fondo sodo.

31E l’Aretin che rimase, tremando
32mi disse: «Quel folletto è Gianni Schicchi,
33e va rabbioso altrui così conciando».

34«Oh», diss’ io lui, «se l’altro non ti ficchi
35li denti a dosso, non ti sia fatica
36a dir chi è, pria che di qui si spicchi».

37Ed elli a me: «Quell’ è l’anima antica
38di Mirra scellerata, che divenne
39al padre, fuor del dritto amore, amica.

40Questa a peccar con esso così venne,
41falsificando sé in altrui forma,
42come l’altro che là sen va, sostenne,

43per guadagnar la donna de la torma,
44falsificare in sé Buoso Donati,
45testando e dando al testamento norma».

46E poi che i due rabbiosi fuor passati
47sovra cu’ io avea l’occhio tenuto,
48rivolsilo a guardar li altri mal nati.

49Io vidi un, fatto a guisa di lëuto,
50pur ch’elli avesse avuta l’anguinaia
51tronca da l’altro che l’uomo ha forcuto.

52La grave idropesì, che sì dispaia
53le membra con l’omor che mal converte,
54che ’l viso non risponde a la ventraia,

55faceva lui tener le labbra aperte
56come l’etico fa, che per la sete
57l’un verso ’l mento e l’altro in sù rinverte.

58«O voi che sanz’ alcuna pena siete,
59e non so io perché, nel mondo gramo»,
60diss’ elli a noi, «guardate e attendete

61a la miseria del maestro Adamo;
62io ebbi, vivo, assai di quel ch’i’ volli,
63e ora, lasso!, un gocciol d’acqua bramo.

64Li ruscelletti che d’i verdi colli
65del Casentin discendon giuso in Arno,
66faccendo i lor canali freddi e molli,

67sempre mi stanno innanzi, e non indarno,
68ché l’imagine lor vie più m’asciuga
69che ’l male ond’ io nel volto mi discarno.

70La rigida giustizia che mi fruga
71tragge cagion del loco ov’ io peccai
72a metter più li miei sospiri in fuga.

73Ivi è Romena, là dov’ io falsai
74la lega suggellata del Batista;
75per ch’io il corpo sù arso lasciai.

76Ma s’io vedessi qui l’anima trista
77di Guido o d’Alessandro o di lor frate,
78per Fonte Branda non darei la vista.

79Dentro c’è l’una già, se l’arrabbiate
80ombre che vanno intorno dicon vero;
81ma che mi val, c’ho le membra legate?

82S’io fossi pur di tanto ancor leggero
83ch’i’ potessi in cent’ anni andare un’oncia,
84io sarei messo già per lo sentiero,

85cercando lui tra questa gente sconcia,
86con tutto ch’ella volge undici miglia,
87e men d’un mezzo di traverso non ci ha.

88Io son per lor tra sì fatta famiglia;
89e’ m’indussero a batter li fiorini
90ch’avevan tre carati di mondiglia».

91E io a lui: «Chi son li due tapini
92che fumman come man bagnate ’l verno,
93giacendo stretti a’ tuoi destri confini?».

94«Qui li trovai—e poi volta non dierno—»,
95rispuose, «quando piovvi in questo greppo,
96e non credo che dieno in sempiterno.

97L’una è la falsa ch’accusò Gioseppo;
98l’altr’ è ’l falso Sinon greco di Troia:
99per febbre aguta gittan tanto leppo».

100E l’un di lor, che si recò a noia
101forse d’esser nomato sì oscuro,
102col pugno li percosse l’epa croia.

103Quella sonò come fosse un tamburo;
104e mastro Adamo li percosse il volto
105col braccio suo, che non parve men duro,

106dicendo a lui: «Ancor che mi sia tolto
107lo muover per le membra che son gravi,
108ho io il braccio a tal mestiere sciolto».

109Ond’ ei rispuose: «Quando tu andavi
110al fuoco, non l’avei tu così presto;
111ma sì e più l’avei quando coniavi».

112E l’idropico: «Tu di’ ver di questo:
113ma tu non fosti sì ver testimonio
114là ’ve del ver fosti a Troia richesto».

115«S’io dissi falso, e tu falsasti il conio»,
116disse Sinon; «e son qui per un fallo,
117e tu per più ch’alcun altro demonio!».

118«Ricorditi, spergiuro, del cavallo»,
119rispuose quel ch’avëa infiata l’epa;
120«e sieti reo che tutto il mondo sallo!».

121«E te sia rea la sete onde ti crepa»,
122disse ’l Greco, «la lingua, e l’acqua marcia
123che ’l ventre innanzi a li occhi sì t’assiepa!».

124Allora il monetier: «Così si squarcia
125la bocca tua per tuo mal come suole;
126ché, s’i’ ho sete e omor mi rinfarcia,

127tu hai l’arsura e ’l capo che ti duole,
128e per leccar lo specchio di Narcisso,
129non vorresti a ’nvitar molte parole».

130Ad ascoltarli er’ io del tutto fisso,
131quando ’l maestro mi disse: «Or pur mira,
132che per poco che teco non mi risso!».

133Quand’ io ’l senti’ a me parlar con ira,
134volsimi verso lui con tal vergogna,
135ch’ancor per la memoria mi si gira.

136Qual è colui che suo dannaggio sogna,
137che sognando desidera sognare,
138sì che quel ch’è, come non fosse, agogna,

139tal mi fec’ io, non possendo parlare,
140che disïava scusarmi, e scusava
141me tuttavia, e nol mi credea fare.

142«Maggior difetto men vergogna lava»,
143disse ’l maestro, «che ’l tuo non è stato;
144però d’ogne trestizia ti disgrava.

145E fa ragion ch’io ti sia sempre allato,
146se più avvien che fortuna t’accoglia
147dove sien genti in simigliante piato:

148ché voler ciò udire è bassa voglia».

When Juno was incensed with Semele
and, thus, against the Theban family
had shown her fury time and time again,

then Athamas was driven so insane
that, seeing both his wife and their two sons,
as she bore one upon each arm, he cried:

“Let’s spread the nets, to take the lioness
together with her cubs along the pass”;
and he stretched out his talons, pitiless,

and snatched the son who bore the name Learchus,
whirled him around and dashed him on a rock;
she, with her other burden, drowned herself.

And after fortune turned against the pride
of Troy, which had dared all, so that the king
together with his kingdom, was destroyed,

then Hecuba was wretched, sad, a captive;
and after she had seen Polyxena
dead and, in misery, had recognized

her Polydorus lying on the shore,
she barked, out of her senses, like a dog—
her agony had so deformed her mind.

But neither fury—Theban, Trojan—ever
was seen to be so cruel against another,
in rending beasts and even human limbs,

as were two shades I saw, both pale and naked,
who, biting, ran berserk in just the way
a hog does when it’s let loose from its sty.

The one came at Capocchio and sank
his tusks into his neck so that, by dragging,
he made the hard ground scrape against his belly.

And he who stayed behind, the Aretine,
trembled and said: “That phantom’s Gianni Schicchi,
and he goes raging, rending others so.”

And, “Oh,” I said to him, “so may the other
not sink its teeth in you, please tell me who
it is before it hurries off from here.”

And he to me: “That is the ancient soul
of the indecent Myrrha, she who loved
her father past the limits of just love.

She came to sin with him by falsely taking
another’s shape upon herself, just as
the other phantom who goes there had done,

that he might gain the lady of the herd,
when he disguised himself as Buoso Donati,
making a will as if most properly.”

And when the pair of raging ones had passed,
those two on whom my eyes were fixed, I turned
around to see the rest of the ill—born.

I saw one who’d be fashioned like a lute
if he had only had his groin cut off
from that part of his body where it forks.

The heavy dropsy, which so disproportions
the limbs with unassimilated humors
that there’s no match between the face and belly,

had made him part his lips like a consumptive,
who will, because of thirst, let one lip drop
down to his chin and lift the other up.

“O you exempt from every punishment
in this grim world, and I do not know why,”
he said to us, “look now and pay attention

to this, the misery of Master Adam:
alive, I had enough of all I wanted;
alas, I now long for one drop of water.

The rivulets that fall into the Arno
down from the green hills of the Casentino
with channels cool and moist, are constantly

before me; I am racked by memory—
the image of their flow parches me more
than the disease that robs my face of flesh.

The rigid Justice that would torment me
uses, as most appropriate, the place
where I had sinned, to draw swift sighs from me.

There is Romena, there I counterfeited
the currency that bears the Baptist’s seal;
for this I left my body, burned, above.

But could I see the miserable souls
of Guido, Alessandro, or their brother,
I’d not give up the sight for Fonte Branda.

And one of them is in this moat already,
if what the angry shades report is true.
What use is that to me whose limbs are tied?

Were I so light that, in a hundred years,
I could advance an inch, I should already
be well upon the road to search for him

among the mutilated ones, although
this circuit measures some eleven miles
and is at least a half a mile across.

Because of them I’m in this family;
it was those three who had incited me
to coin the florins with three carats’ dross.”

And I to him: “Who are those two poor sinners
who give off smoke like wet hands in the winter
and lie so close to you upon the right?”

“I found them here,” he answered, “when I rained
down to this rocky slope; they’ve not stirred since
and will not move, I think, eternally.

One is the lying woman who blamed Joseph;
the other, lying Sinon, Greek from Troy:
because of raging fever they reek so.”

And one of them, who seemed to take offense,
perhaps at being named so squalidly,
struck with his fist at Adam’s rigid belly.

It sounded as if it had been a drum;
and Master Adam struck him in the face,
using his arm, which did not seem less hard,

saying to him: “Although I cannot move
my limbs because they are too heavy, I
still have an arm that’s free to serve that need.”

And he replied: “But when you went to burning,
your arm was not as quick as it was now;
though when you coined, it was as quick and more.”

To which the dropsied one: “Here you speak true;
but you were not so true a witness there,
when you were asked to tell the truth at Troy.”

“If I spoke false, you falsified the coin,”
said Sinon; “I am here for just one crime—
but you’ve committed more than any demon.”

“Do not forget the horse, you perjurer,”
replied the one who had the bloated belly,
“may you be plagued because the whole world knows it.”

The Greek: “And you be plagued by thirst that cracks
your tongue, and putrid water that has made
your belly such a hedge before your eyes.”

And then the coiner: “So, as usual,
your mouth, because of racking fever, gapes;
for if I thirst and if my humor bloats me,

you have both dryness and a head that aches;
few words would be sufficient invitation
to have you lick the mirror of Narcissus.”

I was intent on listening to them
when this was what my master said: “If you
insist on looking more, I’ll quarrel with you!”

And when I heard him speak so angrily,
I turned around to him with shame so great
that it still stirs within my memory.

Even as one who dreams that he is harmed
and, dreaming, wishes he were dreaming, thus
desiring that which is, as if it were not,

so I became within my speechlessness:
I wanted to excuse myself and did
excuse myself, although I knew it not.

“Less shame would wash away a greater fault
than was your fault,” my master said to me;
“therefore release yourself from all remorse

and see that I am always at your side,
should it so happen—once again—that fortune
brings you where men would quarrel in this fashion:

to want to hear such bickering is base.”

‘TWAS at the time when Juno was enraged,
For Semele, against the Theban blood,
As she already more than once had shown,

So reft of reason Arthamas became,
That, seeing his own wife with children twain
Walking encumbered upon either hand,

He cried: “Spread out the nets, that I may take
The lioness and her whelps upon the passage;”
And then extended his unpitying claws,

Seizing the first, who had the name Learchus,
And whirled him round, and dashed him on a rock;
And she, with the other burthen, drowned herself;—

And at the time when fortune downward hurled
The Trojan’s arrogance, that all things dared,
So that the king was with his kingdom crushed,

Hecuba sad, disconsolate, and captive,
When lifeless she beheld Polyxena,
And of her Polydorus on the shore

Of ocean was the dolorous one aware,
Out of her senses like a dog she barked,
So much the anguish had her mind distorted;

But not of Thebes the furies nor the Trojan
Were ever seen in any one so cruel
In goading beasts, and much more human members,

As I beheld two shadows pale and naked,
Who, biting, in the manner ran along
That a boar does, when from the sty turned loose.

One to Capocchio came, and by the nape
Seized with its teeth his neck, so that in dragging
It made his belly grate the solid bottom.

And the Aretine, who trembling had remained,
Said to me: “That mad sprite is Gianni Schicchi,
And raving goes thus harrying other people.”

“O,” said I to him, “so may not the other
Set teeth on thee, let it not weary thee
To tell us who it is, ere it dart hence.”

And he to me: “That is the ancient ghost
Of the nefarious Myrrha, who became
Beyond all rightful love her father’s lover.

She came to sin with him after this manner,
By counterfeiting of another’s form;
As he who goeth yonder undertook,

That he might gain the lady of the herd,
To counterfeit in himself Buoso Donati,
Making a will and giving it due form.”

And after the two maniacs had passed
On whom I held mine eye, I turned it back
To look upon the other evil—born.

I saw one made in fashion of a lute,
If he had only had the groin cut off
Just at the point at which a man is forked.

The heavy dropsy, that so disproportions
The limbs with humours, which it ill concocts,
That the face corresponds not to the belly,

Compelled him so to hold his lips apart
As does the hectic, who because of thirst
One tow’rds the chin, the other upward turns.

“O ye, who without any torment are,
And why I know not, in the world of woe,”
He said to us,”behold, and be attentive

Unto the misery of Master Adam;
I had while living much of what I wished,
And now, alas ! a drop of water crave.

The rivulets, that from the verdant hills
Of Cassentin descend down into Arno,
Making their channels to be cold and moist,

Ever before me stand, and not in vain;
For far more doth their image dry me up
Than the disease which strips my face of flesh.

The rigid justice that chastises me
Draweth occasion from the place in which
I sinned, to put the more my sighs in flight.

There is Romena, where I counterfeited
The currency imprinted with the Baptist,
For which I left my body burned above.

But if I here could see the tristful soul
Of Guido, or Alessandro, or their brother,
For Branda’s fount I would Dot give the sight.

One is within already, if the raving
Shades that are going round about speak truth;
But what avails it me, whose limbs are tied ?

If I were only still so light, that in
A hundred years I could advance one inch,
I had already started on the way,

Seeking him out among this squalid folk,
Although the circuit be eleven miles,
And be not less than half a mile across.

For them am I in such a family;
They did induce me into coining florins,
Which had three carats of impurity.”

And I to him: “Who are the two poor wretches
That smoke like unto a wet hand in winter,
Lying there close upon thy right—hand confines ?”

“I found them here,” replied he, “when I rained
Into this chasm, and since they have not turned,
Nor do I think they will for evermore.

One the false woman is who accused Joseph,
The other the false Sinon, Greek of Troy;
From acute fever they send forth such reek.”

And one of them, who felt himself annoyed
At being, peradventure, named so darkly,
Smote with the fist upon his hardened paunch.

It gave a sound, as if it were a drum;
And Master Adam smote him in the face,
With arm that did not seem to be less hard,

Saying to him: “Although be taken from me
All motion, for my limbs that heavy are,
I have an arm unfettered for such need.”

Whereat he answer made: “When thou didst go
Unto the fire, thou hadst it not so ready:
But hadst it so and more when thou wast coining.”

The dropsical: “Thou sayest true in that;
But thou wast not so true a witness there,
Where thou wast questioned of the truth at Troy.”

“If I spake false, thou falsifiedst the coin,”
Said Sinon; “and for one fault I am here,
And thou for more than any other demon.”

“Remember, perjurer, about the horse,”
He made reply who had the swollen belly,
“And rueful be it thee the whole world knows it.”

“Rueful to thee the thirst be wherewith cracks
Thy tongue,” the Greek said, “and the putrid water
That hedges so thy paunch before thine eyes.”

Then the false—coiner: “So is gaping wide
Thy mouth for speaking evil, as ’tis wont;
Because if I have thirst, and humour stuff me

Thou hast the burning and the head that aches,
And to lick up the mirror of Narcissus
Thou wouldst not want words many to invite thee.”

In listening to them was I wholly fixed,
When said the Master to me: “Now just look,
For little wants it that I quarrel with thee.”

When him I heard in anger speak to me,
I turned me round towards him with such shame
That still it eddies through my memory.

And as he is who dreams of his own harm,
Who dreaming wishes it may be a dream,
So that he craves what is, as if it were not;

Such I became, not having power to speak,
For to excuse myself I wished, and still
Excused myself, and did not think I did it.

“Less shame doth wash away a greater fault,”
The Master said, “than this of thine has been;
Therefore thyself disburden of all sadness,

And make account that I am aye beside thee,
If e’er it come to pass that fortune bring thee
Where there are people in a like dispute;

For a base wish it is to wish to hear it.”

When Juno was incensed with Semele
and, thus, against the Theban family
had shown her fury time and time again,

then Athamas was driven so insane
that, seeing both his wife and their two sons,
as she bore one upon each arm, he cried:

“Let’s spread the nets, to take the lioness
together with her cubs along the pass”;
and he stretched out his talons, pitiless,

and snatched the son who bore the name Learchus,
whirled him around and dashed him on a rock;
she, with her other burden, drowned herself.

And after fortune turned against the pride
of Troy, which had dared all, so that the king
together with his kingdom, was destroyed,

then Hecuba was wretched, sad, a captive;
and after she had seen Polyxena
dead and, in misery, had recognized

her Polydorus lying on the shore,
she barked, out of her senses, like a dog—
her agony had so deformed her mind.

But neither fury—Theban, Trojan—ever
was seen to be so cruel against another,
in rending beasts and even human limbs,

as were two shades I saw, both pale and naked,
who, biting, ran berserk in just the way
a hog does when it’s let loose from its sty.

The one came at Capocchio and sank
his tusks into his neck so that, by dragging,
he made the hard ground scrape against his belly.

And he who stayed behind, the Aretine,
trembled and said: “That phantom’s Gianni Schicchi,
and he goes raging, rending others so.”

And, “Oh,” I said to him, “so may the other
not sink its teeth in you, please tell me who
it is before it hurries off from here.”

And he to me: “That is the ancient soul
of the indecent Myrrha, she who loved
her father past the limits of just love.

She came to sin with him by falsely taking
another’s shape upon herself, just as
the other phantom who goes there had done,

that he might gain the lady of the herd,
when he disguised himself as Buoso Donati,
making a will as if most properly.”

And when the pair of raging ones had passed,
those two on whom my eyes were fixed, I turned
around to see the rest of the ill—born.

I saw one who’d be fashioned like a lute
if he had only had his groin cut off
from that part of his body where it forks.

The heavy dropsy, which so disproportions
the limbs with unassimilated humors
that there’s no match between the face and belly,

had made him part his lips like a consumptive,
who will, because of thirst, let one lip drop
down to his chin and lift the other up.

“O you exempt from every punishment
in this grim world, and I do not know why,”
he said to us, “look now and pay attention

to this, the misery of Master Adam:
alive, I had enough of all I wanted;
alas, I now long for one drop of water.

The rivulets that fall into the Arno
down from the green hills of the Casentino
with channels cool and moist, are constantly

before me; I am racked by memory—
the image of their flow parches me more
than the disease that robs my face of flesh.

The rigid Justice that would torment me
uses, as most appropriate, the place
where I had sinned, to draw swift sighs from me.

There is Romena, there I counterfeited
the currency that bears the Baptist’s seal;
for this I left my body, burned, above.

But could I see the miserable souls
of Guido, Alessandro, or their brother,
I’d not give up the sight for Fonte Branda.

And one of them is in this moat already,
if what the angry shades report is true.
What use is that to me whose limbs are tied?

Were I so light that, in a hundred years,
I could advance an inch, I should already
be well upon the road to search for him

among the mutilated ones, although
this circuit measures some eleven miles
and is at least a half a mile across.

Because of them I’m in this family;
it was those three who had incited me
to coin the florins with three carats’ dross.”

And I to him: “Who are those two poor sinners
who give off smoke like wet hands in the winter
and lie so close to you upon the right?”

“I found them here,” he answered, “when I rained
down to this rocky slope; they’ve not stirred since
and will not move, I think, eternally.

One is the lying woman who blamed Joseph;
the other, lying Sinon, Greek from Troy:
because of raging fever they reek so.”

And one of them, who seemed to take offense,
perhaps at being named so squalidly,
struck with his fist at Adam’s rigid belly.

It sounded as if it had been a drum;
and Master Adam struck him in the face,
using his arm, which did not seem less hard,

saying to him: “Although I cannot move
my limbs because they are too heavy, I
still have an arm that’s free to serve that need.”

And he replied: “But when you went to burning,
your arm was not as quick as it was now;
though when you coined, it was as quick and more.”

To which the dropsied one: “Here you speak true;
but you were not so true a witness there,
when you were asked to tell the truth at Troy.”

“If I spoke false, you falsified the coin,”
said Sinon; “I am here for just one crime—
but you’ve committed more than any demon.”

“Do not forget the horse, you perjurer,”
replied the one who had the bloated belly,
“may you be plagued because the whole world knows it.”

The Greek: “And you be plagued by thirst that cracks
your tongue, and putrid water that has made
your belly such a hedge before your eyes.”

And then the coiner: “So, as usual,
your mouth, because of racking fever, gapes;
for if I thirst and if my humor bloats me,

you have both dryness and a head that aches;
few words would be sufficient invitation
to have you lick the mirror of Narcissus.”

I was intent on listening to them
when this was what my master said: “If you
insist on looking more, I’ll quarrel with you!”

And when I heard him speak so angrily,
I turned around to him with shame so great
that it still stirs within my memory.

Even as one who dreams that he is harmed
and, dreaming, wishes he were dreaming, thus
desiring that which is, as if it were not,

so I became within my speechlessness:
I wanted to excuse myself and did
excuse myself, although I knew it not.

“Less shame would wash away a greater fault
than was your fault,” my master said to me;
“therefore release yourself from all remorse

and see that I am always at your side,
should it so happen—once again—that fortune
brings you where men would quarrel in this fashion:

to want to hear such bickering is base.”

‘TWAS at the time when Juno was enraged,
For Semele, against the Theban blood,
As she already more than once had shown,

So reft of reason Arthamas became,
That, seeing his own wife with children twain
Walking encumbered upon either hand,

He cried: “Spread out the nets, that I may take
The lioness and her whelps upon the passage;”
And then extended his unpitying claws,

Seizing the first, who had the name Learchus,
And whirled him round, and dashed him on a rock;
And she, with the other burthen, drowned herself;—

And at the time when fortune downward hurled
The Trojan’s arrogance, that all things dared,
So that the king was with his kingdom crushed,

Hecuba sad, disconsolate, and captive,
When lifeless she beheld Polyxena,
And of her Polydorus on the shore

Of ocean was the dolorous one aware,
Out of her senses like a dog she barked,
So much the anguish had her mind distorted;

But not of Thebes the furies nor the Trojan
Were ever seen in any one so cruel
In goading beasts, and much more human members,

As I beheld two shadows pale and naked,
Who, biting, in the manner ran along
That a boar does, when from the sty turned loose.

One to Capocchio came, and by the nape
Seized with its teeth his neck, so that in dragging
It made his belly grate the solid bottom.

And the Aretine, who trembling had remained,
Said to me: “That mad sprite is Gianni Schicchi,
And raving goes thus harrying other people.”

“O,” said I to him, “so may not the other
Set teeth on thee, let it not weary thee
To tell us who it is, ere it dart hence.”

And he to me: “That is the ancient ghost
Of the nefarious Myrrha, who became
Beyond all rightful love her father’s lover.

She came to sin with him after this manner,
By counterfeiting of another’s form;
As he who goeth yonder undertook,

That he might gain the lady of the herd,
To counterfeit in himself Buoso Donati,
Making a will and giving it due form.”

And after the two maniacs had passed
On whom I held mine eye, I turned it back
To look upon the other evil—born.

I saw one made in fashion of a lute,
If he had only had the groin cut off
Just at the point at which a man is forked.

The heavy dropsy, that so disproportions
The limbs with humours, which it ill concocts,
That the face corresponds not to the belly,

Compelled him so to hold his lips apart
As does the hectic, who because of thirst
One tow’rds the chin, the other upward turns.

“O ye, who without any torment are,
And why I know not, in the world of woe,”
He said to us,”behold, and be attentive

Unto the misery of Master Adam;
I had while living much of what I wished,
And now, alas ! a drop of water crave.

The rivulets, that from the verdant hills
Of Cassentin descend down into Arno,
Making their channels to be cold and moist,

Ever before me stand, and not in vain;
For far more doth their image dry me up
Than the disease which strips my face of flesh.

The rigid justice that chastises me
Draweth occasion from the place in which
I sinned, to put the more my sighs in flight.

There is Romena, where I counterfeited
The currency imprinted with the Baptist,
For which I left my body burned above.

But if I here could see the tristful soul
Of Guido, or Alessandro, or their brother,
For Branda’s fount I would Dot give the sight.

One is within already, if the raving
Shades that are going round about speak truth;
But what avails it me, whose limbs are tied ?

If I were only still so light, that in
A hundred years I could advance one inch,
I had already started on the way,

Seeking him out among this squalid folk,
Although the circuit be eleven miles,
And be not less than half a mile across.

For them am I in such a family;
They did induce me into coining florins,
Which had three carats of impurity.”

And I to him: “Who are the two poor wretches
That smoke like unto a wet hand in winter,
Lying there close upon thy right—hand confines ?”

“I found them here,” replied he, “when I rained
Into this chasm, and since they have not turned,
Nor do I think they will for evermore.

One the false woman is who accused Joseph,
The other the false Sinon, Greek of Troy;
From acute fever they send forth such reek.”

And one of them, who felt himself annoyed
At being, peradventure, named so darkly,
Smote with the fist upon his hardened paunch.

It gave a sound, as if it were a drum;
And Master Adam smote him in the face,
With arm that did not seem to be less hard,

Saying to him: “Although be taken from me
All motion, for my limbs that heavy are,
I have an arm unfettered for such need.”

Whereat he answer made: “When thou didst go
Unto the fire, thou hadst it not so ready:
But hadst it so and more when thou wast coining.”

The dropsical: “Thou sayest true in that;
But thou wast not so true a witness there,
Where thou wast questioned of the truth at Troy.”

“If I spake false, thou falsifiedst the coin,”
Said Sinon; “and for one fault I am here,
And thou for more than any other demon.”

“Remember, perjurer, about the horse,”
He made reply who had the swollen belly,
“And rueful be it thee the whole world knows it.”

“Rueful to thee the thirst be wherewith cracks
Thy tongue,” the Greek said, “and the putrid water
That hedges so thy paunch before thine eyes.”

Then the false—coiner: “So is gaping wide
Thy mouth for speaking evil, as ’tis wont;
Because if I have thirst, and humour stuff me

Thou hast the burning and the head that aches,
And to lick up the mirror of Narcissus
Thou wouldst not want words many to invite thee.”

In listening to them was I wholly fixed,
When said the Master to me: “Now just look,
For little wants it that I quarrel with thee.”

When him I heard in anger speak to me,
I turned me round towards him with such shame
That still it eddies through my memory.

And as he is who dreams of his own harm,
Who dreaming wishes it may be a dream,
So that he craves what is, as if it were not;

Such I became, not having power to speak,
For to excuse myself I wished, and still
Excused myself, and did not think I did it.

“Less shame doth wash away a greater fault,”
The Master said, “than this of thine has been;
Therefore thyself disburden of all sadness,

And make account that I am aye beside thee,
If e’er it come to pass that fortune bring thee
Where there are people in a like dispute;

For a base wish it is to wish to hear it.”