When I had journeyed half of our life’s way,
I found myself within a shadowed forest,
for I had lost the path that does not stray.
Ah, it is hard to speak of what it was,
that savage forest, dense and difficult,
which even in recall renews my fear:
so bitter – death is hardly more severe!
But to retell the good discovered there,
I’ll also tell the other things I saw.
I cannot clearly say how I had entered
the wood; I was so full of sleep just at
the point where I abandoned the true path. (Inf. I. 1-12)
[Cavalcanti]: … "If it is your high intellect
that lets you journey here, through this blind prison,
where is my son? Why is he not with you?"
I answered: "My own powers have not brought me;
he who awaits me there, leads me through here
perhaps to one your Guido did disdain."
His words, the nature of his punishment –
these had already let me read his name;
therefore, my answer was so fully made.
Then suddenly erect, he cried: "What’s that:
He ‘did disdain’? He is not still alive?
The sweet light does not strike against his eyes?"
And when he noticed how I hesitated
a moment in my answer, he fell back –
supine – and did not show himself again. (Inf. X, 58-72)
Then, as if penitent for my omission,
I said, "Will you now tell that fallen man
his son is still among the living ones;
and if, a while ago, I held my tongue
before his question, let him know it was
because I had in mind the doubt you’ve answered." (Inf. X, 109-114)