[Guido del Duca]: “This is Rinieri, this is he – the glory,
the honor of the house of Balcoli;
but no one has inherited his worth.
It’s not his kin alone, between the Po
and mountains, and the Reno and the coast,
who’ve lost the truth’s grave good and lost the good
of gentle living, too; those lands are full
of poisoned stumps; but now, however much
one were to cultivate, it is too late.” (Purg. XIV, 88-96)
[Marco Lombardo]: “Thus, if the present world has gone astray,
in you is the cause, in you it’s to be sought;
and now I’ll serve as your true exegete.” (Purg. XVI, 82-84)
[Marco Lombardo]: “Therefore, one needed law to serve as curb;
a ruler, too, was needed, one who could
discern at least the tower of the true city.
The laws exist, but who applies them now?
No one – the shepherd who precedes his flock
can chew the cud but does not have cleft hooves;
and thus the people, who can see their guide
snatch only at that good for which they feel
some greed, would feed on that and seek no further.
Misrule, you see, has caused the world to be
malevolent; the cause is clearly not
celestial forces – they do not corrupt.
For Rome, which made the world good, used to have
two suns; and they made visible two paths –
the world’s path and the pathway that is God’s.
Each has eclipsed the other; now the sword
has joined the shepherd’s crook; the two together
must of necessity result in evil,
because, so joined, one need not fear the other:
and if you doubt me, watch the fruit and flower,
for every plant is known by what it seeds.” (Purg. XVI, 94-114)