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Here they

languished through the murky vale,
Up-piled on many a stack. Confused they lay,
One o'er the belly, o'er the shoulders one
Rolld of another; sideling crawl'd a third
Along the dismal pathway. Step by step
We journey'd on, in silence looking round,
And listening those diseased, who strove in vain
To lift their forms.

One of the horde of Alchemists, who is suffering |

from the foulest form of leprosy, symbolical of the superficial and polluting effect of his so-called art, tells the poet :

I am Capocchio's ghost,
Who forged transmuted metals by the power
Of alchemy; and if I scan thee right,
Thou needs must well remember how I aped
Creative nature by my subtle art."

Adamo, a noted counterfeiter of Florence, whose body is swollen into a hideous mass by dropsy, the alloy of water in the blood being emblematical of his nefarious craft, exclaims, as the poets pass by,

"I falsified
The metal with the Baptist's form imprest,
For which on earth I left my body burnt.

I stamp'd
The forens with three carats of alloy.”

Elsewhere, those who have fraudulently personated others are engaged in a never-ending and brutal fight, symbolical of the violence done to personality by counterfeiting it; while liars and false witnesses for ever burn and rage with fever and delirium, emblem of the hallucinations and despondent depths that invariably accompany this species of Fraud.

Leaving this Circle, the poets, with the aid of the giant Antæus, come to the ninth and last Circle of Inferno, the Circle of Treason. In this, the lowest Circle of deepest Hell, Traitors are eternally imprisoned in ice, symbolic of the coldness and deadness of feeling which is the characteristic of the state of mind of those who are guilty of this transcendent crime. Dante tells us, that he saw before and underneath his feet,

A lake whose frozen surface liker seem'd
To glass than water. Not so thick a veil
In winter e'er hath Austrian Danube spread
O'er his still course, nor Tanais far remote
Under the chilling sky.

Blue pinch'd and shrined in ice the spirits stood,
Moving their teeth in shrill note like the stork.

In the first chasm of this Circle, Caïna (so named from Cain), is punished treason or treachery towards one's Family.

Two murderers, brothers and fratricides, especially attract the attention of Dante:

His face each downward held ; their mouth the cold,
Their eyes express'd the dolour of their heart.

A space I look'd around, then at my feet
Saw two so strictly join'd, that of their head
The very hairs were mingled. “Tell me ye,
Whose bosoms thus together press," said I,
“Who are ye?" At that sound their necks they bent ;
And when their looks were lifted up to me,
Straightway their eyes, before all moist within,
Distill'd upon their lips, and the frost bound
The tears betwixt those orbs and held them there.

They reply,

“Not him, whose breast and shadow Arthur's hand At that one blow dissever'd ;”

i. e., not Modred, but two brothers who had murdered each other.

As the poet is passing through the second chasm of ice, or valley of Antenora, where traitors to their Country are punished, he tells us,

A thousand visages
Then mark'd I, which the keen and eager cold
Had shaped into a doggish grin ; whence creeps
A shivering horror o'er me, at the thought
Of those frore shallows. While we journey'd on
Towards the middle, at whose point unites

All heavy substance, and I trembling went
Through that eternal chilness, I know not
If will it were, or destiny, or chance,

But, passing 'midst the heads, my foot did strike
With violent blow against the face of one.

This shade and others are shown to have been guilty of treachery to their native State or native land, and to be suffering condign punishment.

Leaving the valley of Antenora, the two poets pass to the next chasm, called Ptolemea, (perhaps from Ptolemy the betrayer of Pompey), the region where those are incarcerated who are guilty of treachery under the mask of friendship and hospitality.

Onward we pass'd,
Where others, skarf'd in rugged folds of ice,
Not on their feet were turn'd, but each reversed.
There, very weeping suffers not to weep;
For, at their eyes, grief, seeking passage, finds
Impediment, and rolling inward turns
For increase of sharp anguish the first tears
Hang cluster'd, and like crystal vizors show,
Under the socket brimming all the cup.

Now though the cold had from my face dislodged
Each feeling, as 't were callous, yet me seem'd
Some breath of wind I felt. "Whence cometh this,"
Said I, "my Master? Is not here below

All vapour quench'd?"-"Thou shalt be speedily,"
He answer'd, "where thine eyes shall tell thee whence,
The cause descrying of this airy shower."

Friar Alberigo, whose soul is being punished in this chasm, asks Dante to help him open his frozen eyelids and tells him,

" that thou mayst wipe out more willingly The glazed tear-drops that o'erlay mine eyes, Know that the soul, that moment she betrays As I did, yields her body to a fiend Who after moves and governs it at will, Till all its time be rounded : headlong she Falls to this cistern."

At length, Dante and Virgil arrive at the fourth and last chasm, named Giudecca, so called from Judas Iscariot. In this region of eternal ice are imbedded those who are traitors to their benefactors, their monarch, or their God.

Now came I (and with fear I bid my strain
Record the marvel) where the souls were all
Whelm'd underneath, transparent, as through glass
Pellucid the frail stem. Some prone were laid ;
Others stood upright, this upon the soles,
That on his head, a third with face to feet
Arch'd like a bow.

At the bottom of this chasm,--at the very centre of Earth, or apex of the cone of Inferno,-wedged in eternal ice is Lucifer, the Arch-Traitor of the Empyrean.

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