Purgatorio by Robert DantePurgatorio by Robert Dante

Purgatorio

byRobert DanteTranslated byJean Hollander, Robert Hollander

Paperback | January 6, 2004

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Jean Hollander, an accomplished poet, and Robert Hollander, a renowned scholar and master teacher, whose joint translation of the Inferno was acclaimed as a new standard in English, bring their respective gifts to Purgatorio in an arresting and clear verse translation. Featuring the original Italian text opposite the translation, their edition offers an extensive and accessible introduction as well as generous historical and interpretive commentaries that draw on centuries of scholarship and Robert Hollander’s own decades of teaching and reasearch.

In the second book of Dante’s epic poem The Divine Comedy, Dante has left hell and begins the ascent of the mount of purgatory. Just as hell had its circles, purgatory, situated at the threshold of heaven, has its terraces, each representing one of the seven mortal sins. With Virgil again as his guide, Dante climbs the mountain; the poet shows us, on its slopes, those whose lives were variously governed by pride, envy, wrath, sloth, avarice, gluttony, and lust. As he witnesses the penance required on each successive terrace, Dante often feels the smart of his own sins. His reward will be a walk through the garden of Eden, perhaps the most remarkable invention in the history of literature.
Robert Hollander taught Dante’s Divine Comedy to Princeton students for forty-two years, and is the author of a dozen books and more than seventy articles on Dante, Boccaccio, and other Italian authors. He is Professor in European Literature Emeritus at Princeton and the founding director of both the Dartmouth Dante Project and the Pri...
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Title:PurgatorioFormat:PaperbackDimensions:848 pages, 8 × 5.2 × 1.3 inPublished:January 6, 2004Publisher:Knopf Doubleday Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0385497008

ISBN - 13:9780385497008

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PURGATORIO IOUTLINEIntroduction1-6exordium: metaphor of little ship7-12invocation: holy Muses, especially CalliopeI. The setting at the shore13-18the restored delight caused by the sky before sunrise19-21to the east: Venus in Pisces22-27to the south: the four stars (apostrophe: "widowed hemisphere")28-30to the north (direction of Ursa Major)II. Cato the Younger31-39a fatherly figure to be revered, bearded, his face aglow40-48the challenge of this old man (Cato) to their presence49-51Virgil: Dante must kneel and bow his head52-84Virgil's responses to Cato:52-57I come, guiding this man, by agency of a lady58-66he is still alive, but was almost dead when I was sent to bring him through hell to here67-69my guidance is in turn guided from above70-75he seeks liberty, as you once did, dying for it in Utica on your way to heaven76-80we break no law, since he is still alive and I am not in hell proper but share your wife's abode81-84for love of Marcia let us proceed; then I will report to her your kindness to us when I return85-108Cato's rejoinder to Virgil:85-90I loved Marcia in the life below; now the new law that accompanied my release forbids further feeling91-93if a heavenly lady leads you there is no need for flattery94-99gird and bathe him so that he may approach the angel with his vision clear100-108descend to the edge of the sea to the rushes in the mud; then ascend by an easier path, guided by the sun109-111Cato's departure and Dante's acquiescenceIII. The shore again112-114Virgil urges Dante to descend the slope toward the sea115-117Dante makes out the waves of the sea118-121their going compared to that of a man who finds the path he had lost122-133in a place still moist with dew Virgil cleanses Dante's face and, at the shore, girds Dante as he had been bidden134-136a wonder: the plant, once plucked, grows back againPURGATORIO IPer correr miglior acque alza le veleomai la navicella del mio ingegno,3 che lascia dietro a se mar si crudele;e cantero di quel secondo regnodove l'umano spirito si purga6 e di salire al ciel diventa degno.Ma qui la morta poesi resurga,o sante Muse, poi che vostro sono;9 e qui Calliope alquanto surga,seguitando il mio canto con quel suonodi cui le Piche misere sentiro12 lo colpo tal, che disperar perdono.Dolce color d'or-ental zaffiro,che s'accoglieva nel sereno aspetto15 del mezzo, puro infino al primo giro,a li occhi miei ricomincio diletto,tosto ch'io usci' fuor de l'aura morta18 che m'avea contristati li occhi e 'l petto.Lo bel pianeto che d'amar confortafaceva tutto rider l'or-ente,21 velando i Pesci ch'erano in sua scorta.I' mi volsi a man destra, e puosi mentea l'altro polo, e vidi quattro stelle24 non viste mai fuor ch'a la prima gente.Goder pareva 'l ciel di lor fiammelle:oh settentr-onal vedovo sito,27 poi che privato se' di mirar quelle!To run its course through smoother waterthe small bark of my wit now hoists its sail,3 leaving that cruel sea behind.Now I shall sing the second kingdom,there where the soul of man is cleansed,6 made worthy to ascend to Heaven.Here from the dead let poetry rise up,O sacred Muses, since I am yours.9 Here let Calliope ariseto accompany my song with those same chordswhose force so struck the miserable magpies12 that, hearing them, they lost all hope of pardon.Sweet color of oriental sapphire,hovering in the calm and peaceful aspect15 of intervening air, pure to the horizon,pleased my eyes once moreas soon as I had left the morbid air18 that had afflicted both my chest and eyes.The fair planet that emboldens love,smiling, lit up the east,21 veiling the Fishes in her train.I turned to the right and, fixing my attentionon the other pole, I saw four stars24 not seen but by those first on earth.The very sky seemed to rejoicein their bright glittering. O widowed27 region of the north, denied that sight!Com' io da loro sguardo fui partito,un poco me volgendo a l'altro polo,30 la onde 'l Carro gia era sparito,vidi presso di me un veglio solo,degno di tanta reverenza in vista,33 che piu non dee a padre alcun figliuolo.Lunga la barba e di pel bianco mistaportava, a' suoi capelli simigliante,36 de' quai cadeva al petto doppia lista.Li raggi de le quattro luci santefregiavan si la sua faccia di lume,39 ch'i' 'l vedea come 'l sol fosse davante."Chi siete voi che contro al cieco fiumefuggita avete la pregione etterna?"42 diss' el, movendo quelle oneste piume."Chi v'ha guidati, o che vi fu lucerna,uscendo fuor de la profonda notte45 che sempre nera fa la valle inferna?Son le leggi d'abisso cosi rotte?o e mutato in ciel novo consiglio,48 che, dannati, venite a le mie grotte?"Lo duca mio allor mi die di piglio,e con parole e con mani e con cenni51 reverenti mi fe le gambe e 'l ciglio.Poscia rispuose lui: "Da me non venni:donna scese del ciel, per li cui prieghi54 de la mia compagnia costui sovvenni.Ma da ch'e tuo voler che piu si spieghidi nostra condizion com' ell' e vera,57 esser non puote il mio che a te si nieghi.Once I had drawn my gaze from them,barely turning toward the other pole30 where the constellation of the Wain had set,I saw beside me an old man, alone,who by his looks was so deserving of respect33 that no son owes his father more.His beard was long and streaked with white,as was his hair, which fell36 in double strands down to his chest.The rays of those four holy starsadorned his face with so much light39 he seemed to shine with brightness of the sun.'What souls are you to have fled the eternal prison,climbing against the dark and hidden stream?'42 he asked, shaking those venerable locks.'Who was your guide or who your lanternto lead you forth from that deep night45 which steeps the vale of hell in darkness?'Are the laws of the abyss thus broken,or has a new decree been made in Heaven,48 that, damned, you stand before my cliffs?'My leader then reached out to meand by his words and signs and with his hands51 made me show reverence with knee and brow,then answered him: 'I came not on my own.A lady descended from heaven and at her request54 I lent this man companionship and aid.'But since it is your will that I make plainthe true condition of our presence here,57 it cannot be that I deny your wish.Questi non vide mai l'ultima sera;ma per la sua follia le fu si presso,60 che molto poco tempo a volger era.Si com' io dissi, fui mandato ad essoper lui campare; e non li era altra via63 che questa per la quale i' mi son messo.Mostrata ho lui tutta la gente ria;e ora intendo mostrar quelli spirti66 che purgan se sotto la tua balia.Com' io l'ho tratto, saria lungo a dirti;de l'alto scende virtu che m'aiuta69 conducerlo a vederti e a udirti.Or ti piaccia gradir la sua venuta:liberta va cercando, ch'e si cara,72 come sa chi per lei vita rifiuta.Tu 'l sai, che non ti fu per lei amarain Utica la morte, ove lasciasti75 la vesta ch'al gran di sara si chiara.Non son li editti etterni per noi guasti,che questi vive e Minos me non lega;78 ma son del cerchio ove son li occhi castidi Marzia tua, che 'n vista ancor ti priega,o santo petto, che per tua la tegni:81 per lo suo amore adunque a noi ti piega.Lasciane andar per li tuoi sette regni;grazie riportero di te a lei,84 se d'esser mentovato la giu degni.""Marz*a piacque tanto a li occhi mieimentre ch'i' fu' di la," diss' elli allora,87 "che quanta grazie volse da me, fi.'This man has not yet seen his final sunset,but through his folly was so close to it60 his time was almost at an end.'I was sent to him, as I have said,for his deliverance. No other way63 but this could he be saved.'I have shown him all the guilty raceand now intend to let him see those spirits66 who cleanse themselves within your charge.'How I have led him would take long to tell.Descending from on high a power aids me69 to bring him here that he may see and hear you.'May it please you to welcome his arrival,since he's in search of liberty, which is so dear,72 as he well knows who gives his life for it.'You know this well, since death in Uticadid not seem bitter, there where you left75 the garment that will shine on that great day.'Not by us are the eternal edicts broken,for this man lives and Minos does not bind me,78 but I am of the circle where your Marcia'implores with her chaste eyes, O holy breast,that you still think of her as yours.81 For love of her, then, I beseech you,'allow us passage through your seven kingdoms.I will report to her your kindness--84 if you deign to be mentioned there below.''Marcia so pleased my eyes while I still lived,'he said, 'that whatever favor87 she sought of me, I granted.Or che di la dal mal fiume dimora,piu muover non mi puo, per quella legge90 che fatta fu quando me n'usci' fora.Ma se donna del ciel ti move e regge,come tu di', non c'e mestier lusinghe:93 bastisi ben che per lei mi richegge.Va dunque, e fa che tu costui ricinghed'un giunco schietto e che li lavi 'l viso,96 si ch'ogne sucidume quindi stinghe;che non si converria, l'occhio sorprisod'alcuna nebbia, andar dinanzi al primo99 ministro, ch'e di quei di paradiso.Questa isoletta intorno ad imo ad imo,la giu cola dove la batte l'onda,102 porta di giunchi sovra 'l molle limo:null' altra pianta che facesse frondao indurasse, vi puote aver vita,105 pero ch'a le percosse non seconda.Poscia non sia di qua vostra reddita;lo sol vi mosterra, che surge omai,108 prendere il monte a piu lieve salita."Cosi spari; e io su mi levaisanza parlare, e tutto mi ritrassi111 al duca mio, e li occhi a lui drizzai.El comincio: "Figliuol, segui i miei passi:volgianci in dietro, che di qua dichina114 questa pianura a' suoi termini bassi."L'alba vinceva l'ora mattutinache fuggia innanzi, si che di lontano117 conobbi il tremolar de la marina.'Now that she dwells beyond the evil streamshe cannot move me any longer,90 according to the law laid down at my deliverance.'But if, as you say, a lady from Heavenmoves and directs you, there is no need of flattery.93 It is enough you ask it in her name.'Go then, make sure you gird himwith a straight reed and bathe his face,96 to wipe all traces of defilement from it,'for it would not be fitting to appear,his eyes still dimmed by any mist,99 before the minister, the first from paradise.'This little island, at its lowest point,there where the waves beat down on it,102 grows reeds in soft and pliant mud.'There no other plant can leaf,or harden to endure,105 without succumbing to the battering waves.'After you are done, do not come back this way.The sun, now rising, will disclose108 an easier ascent to gain the peak.'With that he vanished, and I stood up,speechless. Coming closer to my leader,111 I turned my eyes to him.He began: 'My son, follow my steps.Let us turn around, for this plain slopes114 from here, down to its lowest edge.'Dawn was overtaking the darkness of the hour,which fled before it, and I saw and knew117 the distant trembling of the sea.Noi andavam per lo solingo pianocom' om che torna a la perduta strada,120 che 'nfino ad essa li pare ire in vano.Quando noi fummo la 've la rugiadapugna col sole, per essere in parte123 dove, ad orezza, poco si dirada,ambo le mani in su l'erbetta spartesoavemente 'l mio maestro pose:126 ond' io, che fui accorto di sua arte,porsi ver' lui le guance lagrimose;ivi mi fece tutto discoverto129 quel color che l'inferno mi nascose.Venimmo poi in sul lito diserto,che mai non vide navicar sue acque132 omo, che di tornar sia poscia esperto.Quivi mi cinse si com' altrui piacque:oh maraviglia! che qual si scelsel'umile pianta, cotal si rinacque136 subitamente la onde l'avelse.We went along the lonely plain,like someone who has lost the way120 and thinks he strays until he finds the road.When we came to a place where the dewcan hold its own against the sun123 because it is protected by a breeze,my master gently spreadhis hands upon the grass.126 And I, who understood what he intended,raised my tear-stained cheeksand he restored the color129 hell had obscured in me.Now we came to the empty shore.Upon those waters no man ever sailed132 who then experienced his return.There he girded me as it pleased Another.What a wonder it was that the humble planthe chose to pick sprang up at once136 in the very place where he had plucked it.

Editorial Reviews

”The Hollanders have rendered both the supple lyricism and the rich imagery of the Purgatorio with an admirably informed expertise. . . . A model for all translators.” The Literary Review“The Hollanders’ translation . . . seems the most accessible and the closest to the Italian. . . . The provision of informative notes . . . is impeccable . . . with ample commentary easily and unobturisvely available at the end of each canto.” --Tim Parks, The New Yorker“The Hollanders’ translation is probably the most finely accomplished and may well prove the most enduring.” --R.W. B. Lewis, Los Angeles Times