Canto XI


"Our Father, thou who dwellest in the heavens,

  Not circumscribed, but from the greater love

  Thou bearest to the first effects on high,


Praised be thy name and thine omnipotence

5  By every creature, as befitting is

  To render thanks to thy sweet effluence.


Come unto us the peace of thy dominion,

  For unto it we cannot of ourselves,

  If it come not, with all our intellect.


10Even as thine own Angels of their will

  Make sacrifice to thee, Hosanna singing,

  So may all men make sacrifice of theirs.


Give unto us this day our daily manna,

  Withouten which in this rough wilderness

15  Backward goes he who toils most to advance.


And even as we the trespass we have suffered

  Pardon in one another, pardon thou

  Benignly, and regard not our desert.


Our virtue, which is easily o'ercome,

20  Put not to proof with the old Adversary,

  But thou from him who spurs it so, deliver.


This last petition verily, dear Lord,

  Not for ourselves is made, who need it not,

  But for their sake who have remained behind us."


25Thus for themselves and us good furtherance

  Those shades imploring, went beneath a weight

  Like unto that of which we sometimes dream,


Unequally in anguish round and round

  And weary all, upon that foremost cornice,

30  Purging away the smoke-stains of the world.


If there good words are always said for us,

  What may not here be said and done for them,

  By those who have a good root to their will?


Well may we help them wash away the marks

35  That hence they carried, so that clean and light

  They may ascend unto the starry wheels!


"Ah! so may pity and justice you disburden

  Soon, that ye may have power to move the wing,

  That shall uplift you after your desire,


40Show us on which hand tow'rd the stairs the way

  Is shortest, and if more than one the passes,

  Point us out that which least abruptly falls;


For he who cometh with me, through the burden

  Of Adam's flesh wherewith he is invested,

45  Against his will is chary of his climbing."


The words of theirs which they returned to those

  That he whom I was following had spoken,

  It was not manifest from whom they came,


But it was said: "To the right hand come with us

50  Along the bank, and ye shall find a pass

  Possible for living person to ascend.


And were I not impeded by the stone,

  Which this proud neck of mine doth subjugate,

  Whence I am forced to hold my visage down,


55Him, who still lives and does not name himself,

  Would I regard, to see if I may know him

  And make him piteous unto this burden.


A Latian was I, and born of a great Tuscan;

  Guglielmo Aldobrandeschi was my father;

60  I know not if his name were ever with you.


The ancient blood and deeds of gallantry

  Of my progenitors so arrogant made me

  That, thinking not upon the common mother,


All men I held in scorn to such extent

65  I died therefor, as know the Sienese,

  And every child in Campagnatico.


I am Omberto; and not to me alone

  Has pride done harm, but all my kith and kin

  Has with it dragged into adversity.


70And here must I this burden bear for it

  Till God be satisfied, since I did not

  Among the living, here among the dead."


Listening I downward bent my countenance;

  And one of them, not this one who was speaking,

75  Twisted himself beneath the weight that cramps him,


And looked at me, and knew me, and called out,

  Keeping his eyes laboriously fixed

  On me, who all bowed down was going with them.


"O," asked I him, "art thou not Oderisi,

80  Agobbio's honour, and honour of that art

  Which is in Paris called illuminating?"


"Brother," said he, "more laughing are the leaves

  Touched by the brush of Franco Bolognese;

  All his the honour now, and mine in part.


85In sooth I had not been so courteous

  While I was living, for the great desire

  Of excellence, on which my heart was bent.


Here of such pride is paid the forfeiture;

  And yet I should not be here, were it not

90  That, having power to sin, I turned to God.


O thou vain glory of the human powers,

  How little green upon thy summit lingers,

  If't be not followed by an age of grossness!


In painting Cimabue thought that he

95  Should hold the field, now Giotto has the cry,

  So that the other's fame is growing dim.


So has one Guido from the other taken

  The glory of our tongue, and he perchance

  Is born, who from the nest shall chase them both.


100Naught is this mundane rumour but a breath

  Of wind, that comes now this way and now that,

  And changes name, because it changes side.


What fame shalt thou have more, if old peel off

  From thee thy flesh, than if thou hadst been dead

105  Before thou left the pappo and the dindi,


Ere pass a thousand years? which is a shorter

  Space to the eterne, than twinkling of an eye

  Unto the circle that in heaven wheels slowest.


With him, who takes so little of the road

110  In front of me, all Tuscany resounded;

  And now he scarce is lisped of in Siena,


Where he was lord, what time was overthrown

  The Florentine delirium, that superb

  Was at that day as now 'tis prostitute.


115Your reputation is the colour of grass

  Which comes and goes, and that discolours it

  By which it issues green from out the earth."


And I: "Thy true speech fills my heart with good

  Humility, and great tumour thou assuagest;

120  But who is he, of whom just now thou spakest?"


"That," he replied, "is Provenzan Salvani,

  And he is here because he had presumed

  To bring Siena all into his hands.


He has gone thus, and goeth without rest

125  E'er since he died; such money renders back

  In payment he who is on earth too daring."


And I: "If every spirit who awaits

  The verge of life before that he repent,

  Remains below there and ascends not hither,


130(Unless good orison shall him bestead,)

  Until as much time as he lived be passed,

  How was the coming granted him in largess?"


"When he in greatest splendour lived," said he,

  "Freely upon the Campo of Siena,

135  All shame being laid aside, he placed himself;


And there to draw his friend from the duress

  Which in the prison-house of Charles he suffered,

  He brought himself to tremble in each vein.


I say no more, and know that I speak darkly;

140  Yet little time shall pass before thy neighbours

  Will so demean themselves that thou canst gloss it.


This action has released him from those confines."