And he [Virgil] to me: “Whatever makes them suffer their
heavy torment bends them to the ground;
at first I was unsure of what they were.
But look intently there, and let your eyes
unravel what’s beneath those stones: you can
already see what penalty strikes each.” (Purg. X, 115-120)
O Christians, arrogant, exhausted, wretched,
whose intellects are sick and cannot see,
who place our confidence in backward steps,
do you not know that we are worms and born
to form the angelic butterfly that soars,
without defenses, to confront His judgment?
Why does your mind presume to flight when you
are still like the imperfect grub, the worm
before it has attained its final form? (Purg. X, 121-129)
[Omberto Aldobrandeschi]: “And were I not impeded by the stone
that, since it has subdued my haughty neck,
compels my eyes to look below, then I
should look at this man who is still alive
and nameless, to see if I recognize
him – and to move his pity for my burden.
I was Italian, son of a great Tuscan:
my father was Guiglielmo Aldobrandesco;
I do not know if you have heard his name.
The ancient blood and splendid deeds of my
forefathers made me so presumptuous
that, without thinking on our common mother,
I scorned all men past measure, and that scorn
brought me my death – the Sienese know how,
as does each child in Campagnatico.
I am Omberto; and my arrogance
has not harmed me alone, for it has drawn
all of my kin into calamity.” (Purg. XI, 52-69)