Florentine gone wild with spleen

And while we steered across the stagnant channel,
before me stood a sinner thick with mud,
saying: "Who are you, come before your time?"

And I to him: "I've come, but I don't stay;
but who are you, who have become so ugly?
"He answered: "You can see-I'm one who weeps."

And I to him: "In weeping and in grieving,
accursed spirit, may you long remain;
though you're disguised by filth, I know your name."

Then he stretched both his hands out toward the boat
at which my master quickly shoved him back,
saying: "Be off there with the other dogs!"

That done, he threw his arms around my neck
and kissed my face and said: "Indignant soul,
blessed is she who bore you in her womb!

When in the world, he was presumptuous;
there is no good to gild his memory,
and so his shade down here is hot with fury.

How many up above now count themselves
great kings, who'll wallow here like pigs in slime,
leaving behind foul memories of their crimes!"

And I: "O master, I am very eager
to see that spirit so used within this broth
before we've made our way across the lake."

And he to me: "Before the other shore
comes into view, you shall be satisfied;
to gratify so fine a wish is right."

Soon after I had heard these words, I saw
the muddy sinners so dismember him
that even now I praise and thank God for it.

They all were shouting: "At Filippo Argenti!"
At this, the Florentine, gone wild with spleen,
began to turn his teeth against himself.

We left him there; I tell no more of him.
But in my ears so loud a wailing pounded
that I lean forward, all intent to see.


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