What use was there in a Justinian’s
mending your [Italy’s] bridle, when the saddle’s empty?
Indeed, were there no reins, your shame were less.
Ah you – who if you understood what God
ordained, would then attend to things devout
and in the saddle surely would allow
Caesar to sit – see how this beast turns fierce
because there are no spurs that would correct it,
since you have laid your hands upon the bit!
O German Albert, you who have abandoned
that steed become recalcitrant and savage,
you who should ride astride its saddlebows –
upon your blood may the just judgment of
the stars descend with signs so strange and plain
that your successor has to feel its terror!
For both you and your father, in your greed
for lands that lay more close at hand, allowed
the garden of the Empire to be gutted. (Purg. VI, 88-105)
My Florence, you indeed may be content
that this digression would leave you exempt:
your people’s strivings spare you this lament.
Others have justice in their hearts, and thought
is slow to let it fly off from their bow;
but your folk keep it ready – on their lips.
Others refuse the weight of public service;
whereas your people – eagerly – respond,
even unasked, and shout: “I’ll take it on.”
You might be happy now, for you have cause!
You with your riches, peace, judiciousness!
If I speak truly, facts won’t prove me wrong. (Purg. VI, 127-138)
[Oderisi of Gubbio]: …“Provenzan Salvani,”
he answered, “here because – presumptuously
he thought his grip could master all Siena.
So he has gone, and so he goes, with no
rest since his death; this is the penalty
exacted from those who – there – overreached.” (Purg. XI, 121-126)