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His Brother's Castoff by Lena Nelson Dooley

After the Flowers Fade by Amy Rognlie. Ice Castle by Joyce Livingston. Finding Courtney by Birdie L. Texas Lady by Debra White Smith. Whiter Than Snow by Yvonne Lehman. Undaunted Faith by Andrea Boeshaar. The Name Game by Muncy G. Stacy's Wedding by Aisha Ford. Rebellious Heart by Rachel Druten. Light Beckons the Dawn by Susannah Hayden. Still Waters by Gina Fields. Twin Victories by Cathy Marie Hake. Storm by Dianne Christner. Catch of a Lifetime by Yvonne Lehman. Frieda's Song by Kathleen Scarth.

Mark of Cain by Darlene Mindrup. Never a Bride by Denise Hunter. Southern Sympathies by Andrea Boeshaar. Lisa's Broken Arrow by Rosey Dow. Texas Angel by Debra White Smith. Dance from the Heart by Louise Tucker Jones. Grant Me Mercy by Jill Stengl. Lessons in Love by Nancy Lavo. Familiar Strangers by Gina Fields. Love Abounds by Ann Bell. C for Victory by Joan Croston. Healing Sarah's Heart by Tammy Shuttlesworth. Equestrian Charm by DiAnn Mills. A Time to Embrace by Lynn A. Susannah's Secret by Kimberley Comeaux. Castle in the Clouds by Andrea Boeshaar. Secret Ballot by Yvonne Lehman.

At the Golden Gate by Freda Chrisman. The Wife Degree by Aisha Ford. Almost Twins Heartsong Presents, No. Sleigh Bells Heartsong Presents, No. A Living Soul by Hannah Alexander. Spirit of the Eagle by Gina Fields. Remnant of Victory by Jeri Odell. The Sea Beckons by Birdie L. Sonoran Sunrise by Nancy J. Both Sides of the Easel by Barbara Youree. From Russia with Love by Colleen Coble.

Yesteryear by Gloria Brandt. Captive Heart by Darlene Mindrup. In the Secret Place by Pamela Griffin. Condo Mania by Muncy G. Darling Cassidy by Tracey V. Mustering Courage by Lynn A. To the Extreme by Tish Davis. Remnant of Grace by Susan K. An Unmasked Heart by Andrea Boeshaar. Love Ahoy by Colleen Coble. Myles from Anywhere by Jill Stengl. Tears in a Bottle by Gina Fields. A Few Flowers by Gail Sattler. Northern Exposure by Joyce Livingston.

Out in the Real World by Kathleen Paul. One with the Wind by Kelly R. The Stranger's Kiss by Yvonne Lehman. Cassidy's Charm by DiAnn Mills. Vision of Hope by Marilou H. Lizzy's Hope by Lynn A. The Prodigal's Welcome by Kristin Billerbeck. Viking Pride by Darlene Mindrup. Chastity's Angel by Linda Ford. An Ostrich a Day by Nancy J. The Elusive Mr.

Perfect by Tamela Hancock Murray. My Beloved Waits by Peggy Darty. Candy Cane Calaboose by Janet Spaeth. Remnant Of Light by Melanie Panagiotopoulos. Sweet Spring by Marilou H. Pride and Pumpernickel by Aisha Ford. Secrets Within by Gail Gaymer Martin. Crane's Bride by Linda Ford. Talking for Two by Wanda E. Risa's Rainbow by Andrea Boeshaar. Hidden Treasures by Jeri Odell. Tarah's Lessons by Tracey V.

Beacon of Truth by Pamela Griffin. Carolina Pride by Terry Fowler. Bittersweet Bride by Denise Hunter. Extreme Grace by Tish Davis. Sonoran Star by Nancy J. Unexpected Delivery by Cathy Marie Hake. Hand Quilted with Love by Joyce Livingston. The Heart Knows by Elaine Bonner. Ring of Hope by Birdie L. Maggie's Mistake by Colleen Coble.

Sonoran Sweetheart by Nancy J. An Unexpected Surprise by Rosey Dow. Mended Wheels by Ann Bell. Flames of Deceit by Rosey Dow. Charade by Priscilla Humphrey. Great Southland Gold by Mary Hawkins. Whole in One by Alisha Ford. Sonoran Secret by Nancy J. Happily Ever After by Melanie Panagiotopoulos. Cords of Love by Lynn A. Trunk Of Surprises by Diann Hunt. Dark Side of the Sun by Rachel Druten. His Christmas Angel by Gail Sattler. Past the Ps Please by Yvonne Lehman. To Walk in Sunshine by Sally Laity. Precious Burdens by Cathy Marie Hake. Licorice Kisses by DiAnn Mills. Lucy's Quilt by Joyce Livingston.

The Neighborly Thing by Wanda E. Red River Bride by Colleen Coble. Be My Valentine by Joyce Livingston. Angel's Roost by Janet Spaeth.

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Raining Fire by Lynn A. Laney's Kiss by Tracey V. In Search of Love by Christine Lynxwiler. Precious Jewels by Nancy J. Lizzie Heartsong Presents, No. Term of Love by Myrtlemay Pittman Crane. Viking Honor by Darlene Mindrup. Emily's Place by Tracey V. A Storybook Finish by Lauralee Bliss. Two Hearts Wait by Freda Chrisman. Double Exposure by Sally Laity. The Summer Girl by Andrea Boeshaar. Clowning Around by Wanda E. Cora by Mildred Colvin.

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Bayou Fever by Kathleen Y'Barbo. Temporary Husband by DiAnn Mills. Anita's Fortune by Kay Cornelius. The Birthday Wish by Joyce Livingston. Ramshackle Rose by Cathy Marie Hake. Compassion's Charm by DiAnn Mills. A Single Rose by Pamela Griffin. Torey's Prayer by Tracey V. Changing Seasons by Colleen L. Eliza by Mildred Colvin. Out on a Limb by Gail Gaymer Martin. Double Deception by Lena Nelson Dooley. The Restoration by Cathy Marie Hake. Timing is Everything by Tracey V. Dandelion Bride by Joyce Livingston. A Whale of a Marriage by Diann Hunt. Picture Imperfect by Nancy J.

Mary's Choice by Kay Cornelius. Protecting Amy by Susan Page Davis. The Engagement by Kimberley Comeaux. Faithful Traitor by Jill Stengl. Michaela's Choice by Lisa Harris. Gerda's Lawman by Lena Nelson Dooley. Everlasting Hope by Tracey V. Basket of Secrets by Diann Hunt. Forever Friends by Tamela Hancock Murray. Love's Image by Debby Mayne. Down from the Cross by Joyce Livingston. Silent Heart by Barbara Youree. Second Chance by Tracey V. This Child is Mine by Mildred Colvin. Hogtied by Lynn A. Renegade Husband by DiAnn Mills. Mother's Day by Joyce Livingston.

Divine Comedy

Real Treasure by Tish Davis. Love's Denial by Tamela Hancock Murray. Taking a Chance by Kelly Eileen Hake. What's Cooking? Heartsong Presents by Gail Sattler. Escape to Sanctuary Heartsong Presents by M. Making Amends by Janet Lee Barton. The Hunt for Home by Ginny Aiken. His name is Guido Guerra, grandson of the good lady Gualdrada, and in his life he achieved much in council, and with his sword.

The other, that treads the sand behind me, is Tegghiaio Aldobrandi, whose words should have been listened to in the world. And I, who am placed with them in torment, am Jacopo Rusticucci, and certainly my fierce wife injured me more than anything else. If I had been sheltered from the fire, I would have dropped down among them below, and I believe my teacher would have allowed it, but as I would have been burned and baked, myself, my fear overcame the goodwill, that made me eager to embrace them.

I am of your city, and I have always heard, and rehearsed, your names and your deeds, with affection. I leave the gall behind, and go towards the sweet fruits promised me by my truthful guide, but first I must go downwards to the centre. Gugliemo Borsiere, who has been in pain with us, a little while, and goes along there with our companions, torments us greatly with what he says. An Amen could not have been said in so quick a time as their vanishing took, at which my Master was pleased to depart. I followed him. We had gone only a little way, when the sound of the water came so near us, that if we had been speaking we would hardly have heard each other.

I had a cord tied round me, and with it I had once thought to catch the leopard with the spotted skin. After I had completely unwound it from myself, as my guide commanded, I held it out to him, gathered up and coiled. Then he turned towards the right, and threw the end of it, away from the edge a little, down into the steep gulf. Ah, how careful men should be with those who do not only see our actions but, with their understanding, see into our thoughts! A man should always shut his lips, as far as he can, to truth that seems like falsehood, since he incurs reproach, though he is blameless, but I cannot be silent here: and Reader, I swear to you, by the words of this Commedia, that they may not be free of lasting favour, that I saw a shape, marvellous, to every unshaken heart, come swimming upwards through the dense, dark air, as a man rises, who has gone down, sometime, to loose an anchor, caught on a rock or something else, hidden in the water, who spreads his arms out, and draws up his feet.

Both arms were covered with hair to the armpits; the back and chest and both flanks were adorned with knots and circles. Tartars or Turks never made cloths with more colour, background and embroidery: nor did Arachne spread such webs on her loom. As the boats rest on the shore, part in water and part on land, and as the beaver, among the guzzling Germans, readies himself for a fight, so that worst of savage creatures lay on the cliff that surrounds the great sand with stone.

The whole of his tail glanced into space, twisting the venomous fork upwards, that armed the tip, like a scorpion. Then we went down, on the right, and took ten steps towards the edge, so that we could fully avoid the sand and flame, and when we reached him, I saw people sitting near the empty space, a little further away, on the ground. Talk briefly with them: I will speak with this creature, until you return, so that he might carry us on his strong shoulders.

Their grief was gushing from their eyes: they kept flicking away the flames and sometimes the burning dust, on this side, or on that, with their hands, no differently than dogs do in summer, now with their muzzle, now with their paws, when they are bitten by fleas, or gnats, or horse-flies. When I set my eyes on the faces of several of them, on whom the grievous fire falls, I did not recognise any, but I saw that a pouch hung from the neck of each, that had a certain colour, and a certain seal, and it seemed their eye was feeding on it.

And as I came among them, looking, I saw, on a golden-yellow purse, an azure seal that had the look and attitude of a lion. Then my gaze continuing on its track, I saw another, red as blood, showing a goose whiter than butter. Now go away, and since you are still alive, know that my neighbour, Vitaliano, will come to sit here on my left. I, a Paduan, am with these Florentines. Then he distorted his mouth, and thrust his tongue out, like an ox licking its nose, and I, dreading lest a longer stay might anger him, who had warned me to make a brief stay, turned back from those weary spirits.

Now we must descend by means of these stairs: you climb in front: I wish to be in the centre, so that the tail may not harm you. I set myself on those vast shoulders. He, who helped me in other difficulties, at other times, embraced me, as soon as I mounted, and held me upright. Make large circles, and let your descent be gentle: think of the strange burden that you carry. As a little boat goes backwards, backwards, from its mooring, so the monster left the cliff, and when he felt himself quite free, he turned his tail around, to where his chest had been, and stretching, flicked it like an eel, and gathered the air towards him with his paws.

He goes down, swimming slowly, slowly: wheels and falls: but I do not see it except by the wind, on my face, and from below. Already I heard the cataract, on the right, make a terrible roaring underneath us, at which I stretched my neck out, with my gaze downwards. Then I was more afraid to dismount, because I saw fires, and heard moaning, so that I cowered, trembling all over. And then I saw what I had not seen before, our sinking and circling through the great evils that drew close on every side.

There is a place in Hell called Malebolge, all of stone, and coloured like iron, as is the cliff that surrounds it. Right in the centre of the malignant space, a well yawns, very wide and deep, whose structure I will speak of in due place. The margin that remains, between the base of the high rocky bank and the well, is circular, and its floor is divided into ten moats.

Like the form the ground reveals, where successive ditches circle a castle, to defend the walls, such was the layout displayed here. And as there are bridges to the outer banks from the thresholds of the fortress, so, from the base of the cliff, causeways ran, crossing the successive banks and ditches, down to the well that terminates and links them. On the right I saw new pain and torment, and new tormentors, with which the first chasm was filled. In its depths the sinners were naked: on our inner side of its central round they came towards us, on the outer side, with us, but with larger steps.

On this side and on that, along the fearful rock, I saw horned demons with large whips, who struck them fiercely, from behind. Ah, how it made them quicken their steps at the first stroke! Truly none waited for the second or third. As I went on, my eyes encountered one of them, and instantly I said: This shade I have seen before. If you want assurance and testimony of it, recall to mind our avaricious hearts. I rejoined my guide: then in a few steps we came to where a causeway ran from the cliff. This we climbed very easily, and, turning to the right on its jagged ridge, we moved away from that eternal round.

That is Jason, who, by wisdom and courage, robbed the Colchians of the Golden Fleece. He sailed by the Isle of Lemnos, after the bold merciless women there had put all their males to death. There with gifts and sweet words he deceived the young Hypsipyle, who had saved her father by deceiving all the rest. He left her there, pregnant and lonely: such guilt condemns him to such torment: and revenge is also taken for his abandoning Medea. With him go all who practise like deceit, and let this be enough for knowledge of the first chasm, and those whom it swallows.

We had already come to where the narrow causeway crosses the second bank, and forms a buttress to a second arch. Here we heard people whining in the next chasm, and blowing with their muzzles, and striking themselves with their palms. The banks were crusted, with a mould from the fumes below that condenses on them, and attacks the eyes and nose. The floor is so deep, that we could not see any part of it, except by climbing to the ridge of the arch, where the rock is highest.

We came there, and from it, in the ditch below, I saw people immersed in excrement, that looked as if it flowed from human privies. And while I was searching it, down there, with my eyes, I saw one with a head so smeared with ordure, that it was not clear if he was clerk or layman. O Simon Magus! O you, his rapacious, wretched followers, who prostitute, for gold and silver, the things of God that should be wedded to virtue! Now the trumpets must sound for you, since you are in the third chasm.

Already we had climbed to the next arch, onto that part of the causeway that hangs right over the centre of the ditch. O Supreme Wisdom, how great the art is, that you display, in the heavens, on earth, and in the underworld, and how justly your virtue acts. On the sides and floor of the fosse, I saw the livid stone full of holes, all of one width, and each one rounded.

They seemed no narrower or larger, than those in my beautiful Baptistery of St John, made as places to protect those baptising, one of which I broke, not many years ago, to aid a child inside: and let this be a sign of the truth to end all speculation. The soles were all on fire, so that the joints quivered so strongly, that they would have snapped grass ropes and willow branches. As the flame of burning oily liquids moves only on the surface, so it was in their case, from the heels to the legs.

The kind master did not let me leave his side until he took me to the hole occupied by the one who so agonised with his feet. The book of the future has deceived me by several years. Are you sated, so swiftly, with that wealth, for which you did not hesitate to seize the Church, our lovely lady, and then destroy her? I became like those who stand, not knowing what has been said to them, and unable to reply, exposed to scorn.

If it concerns you so much to know who I am, that you have left the ridge, know that I wore the Great Mantle, and truly I was son of the Orsini she-bear, so eager to advance her cubs, that I pursed up wealth, above, and here myself. The other simonists, who came before me, are drawn down below my head, cowering inside the cracks in the stone.

I too will drop down there, when Boniface comes, the one I mistook you for when I put my startled question. But the extent of time, in which I have baked my feet, and stood like this, reversed, is already longer than the time he shall stand planted in turn with glowing feet, since, after him, will come Clement, the lawless shepherd, of uglier actions, fit indeed to cap Boniface and me. He will be a new Jason, the high priest, whom we read about in Maccabees: and as his king Antiochus was compliant, so will Philip be, who governs France.

So, remain here, since you are justly punished, and keep well the ill-gotten money, that made you so bold against Charles of Anjou. And were it not that I am still restrained by reverence for the great keys that you held in your hand in the joyful life, I would use even more forceful words, since your avarice grieves the world, trampling the good, and raising the wicked.

You have made a god for yourselves of gold and silver, and how do you differ from the idolaters, except that he worships one image and you a hundred? Ah, Constantine, how much evil you gave birth to, not in your conversion, but in that Donation that the first wealthy Pope, Sylvester, received from you! And while I sung these notes to him, he thrashed violently with both his feet, either rage or conscience gnawing him. I think it pleased my guide, greatly, he had so satisfied an expression, listening to the sound of the true words I spoke.

So he lifted me with both his arms, and when he had me quite upon his breast, climbed back up the path he had descended, and did not tire of carrying me clasped to him, till he had borne me to the summit of the arch, that crosses from the fourth to the fifth rampart. Here he set his burden down, lightly: light for him, on the rough steep cliff, that would be a difficult path for a goat.

From there another valley was visible to me. I must make verses of new torments, and give matter for this twentieth Canto, of the Inferno that treats of the damned. I was now quite ready to look into the ditch, bathed with tears of anguish, which was revealed to me: I saw people coming, silent and weeping, through the circling valley, at a pace which processions, that chant Litanies, take through the world. When my eyes looked further down on them, each of them appeared strangely distorted, between the chin and the start of the chest, since the head was reversed towards the body, and they had to move backwards, since they were not allowed to look forwards.

Perhaps one might be so distorted by palsy, but I have not seen it, and do not credit it. Reader, as God may grant that you profit from your reading, think now yourself how I could keep from weeping, when I saw our image so contorted, nearby, that the tears from their eyes bathed their hind parts at the cleft. Pity is alive here, where it is best forgotten.

Why do you quit the battle? Note how he has made a chest of his shoulders: because he willed to see too far beyond him, he now looks behind and goes backwards. See Tiresias, who changed his form, when he was made a woman, all his limbs altering: and later he had to strike the two entwined snakes with his staff, a second time, before he could resume a male aspect.

After her father departed from life, and Thebes, the city of Bacchus, came to be enslaved, she roamed the world a long time. A lake, Lake Garda, lies at the foot of the Alps, up in beautiful Italy, where Germany is closed off beyond the Tyrol. Mount Apennino, between the town of Garda and Val Camonica, is bathed by the water that settles in the lake.

In the middle there is a place where the Bishops of Trent, Brescia, and Verona might equally give the blessing if they went that way. A strong and beautiful fortress stands, where the shoreline is lowest, to challenge the Brescians and Bergamese. There, all the water that cannot remain in the breast of Lake Garda, has to descend through the green fields, and form a river.

As soon as the water has its head, it is no longer Garda, but Mincio, down to Governolo where it joins the Po. It has not flowed far before it finds the level, on which it spreads and makes a marsh there, and in summer tends to be unwholesome.

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Manto, the wild virgin, passing that way, saw untilled land, naked of inhabitants, among the fens. There, to avoid all human contact, she stayed, with her followers, to practise her arts, and lived there, and left her empty body. Then the people who were scattered round gathered together in that place, which was well defended by the marshes on every side. They built the city over those dead bones, and without other augury, called it Mantua, after her who first chose the place.

Once there were more inhabitants, before Casalodi, was foolishly deceived by Pinamonte. So, I charge you, if you ever hear another story of the origin of my city, do not let falsehoods destroy the truth. But tell me about the people who are passing, if you see any of them worth noting, since my mind returns to that alone. Like Calchas at Aulis, he set the moment for cutting loose the first cable.

Eurypylus is his name, and my high Poem sings of it in a certain place: you know it well, who know the whole thing. The other, so thin about the flanks, is Michael Scott, who truly understood the fraudulent game of magic. See the miserable women who abandoned needle, shuttle and spindle, and became prophetesses: they made witchcraft, using herbs and images. But come, now, for Cain with his bundle of thorns, that Man in the Moon, reaches the western confines of both hemispheres, and touches the waves south of Seville, and already, last night, the Moon was full: you must remember it clearly, since she did not serve you badly in the deep wood.

As, in the Venetian Arsenal, the glutinous pitch boils in winter, that they use to caulk the leaking boats they cannot sail; and so, instead one man builds a new boat, another plugs the seams of his, that has made many voyages, one hammers at the prow, another at the stern, some make oars, and some twist rope, one mends a jib, the other a mainsail; so, a dense pitch boiled down there, not melted by fire, but by divine skill, and glued the banks over, on every side. Take care! Then I turned round, like one who has to see what he must run from, and who is attacked by sudden fear, so that he dare not stop to look: and behind us I saw a black Demon come running up the cliff.

Ah, how fierce his aspect was! And how cruel he seemed in action, with his outspread wings, and nimble legs! He threw him down, then wheeled back along the stony cliff, and never was a mastiff loosed so readily to catch a thief. The demons rushed from below the bridge, and turned their weapons against him, with the storm and fury with which a dog rushes at a poor beggar, who suddenly seeks alms when he stops. Before you touch me with your forks, one of you come over here, to listen, and then discuss whether you will grapple me.

Let me go by, since it is willed, in Heaven, that I show another this wild road. So I once saw the infantry, marching out, under treaty of surrender, from Caprona, afraid at finding themselves surrounded by so many enemies. I pressed my whole body close to my guide, and did not take my eyes away from their aspect, which was hostile. Yesterday, five hours later than this hour, twelve hundred and sixty-six years were completed, since this path here was destroyed. I am sending some of my company here to see if anyone is out for an airing: go with them, they will not commit treachery.

Search round the boiling glue: see these two safe, as far as the other cliff that crosses the chasms, completely, without a break. Master, what do I see? Oh, let us go alone, without an escort, if you know the way: as for me, I would prefer not. If you are as cautious as usual, do you not see how they grind their teeth, and darken their brows, threatening us with mischief?

They turned by the left bank: but first, each of them had stuck his tongue out, between his teeth, towards their leader, as a signal, and he had made a trumpet of his arse. I have seen cavalry moving camp, before now, starting a foray, holding muster, and now and then retiring to escape; I have seen war-horses on your territory, O Aretines, and seen the foraging parties, the clash of tournaments, and repeated jousts; now with trumpets, now with bells, with drums and rampart signals, with native and foreign devices, but I never yet saw infantry or cavalry, or ship at sight of shore or star, move to such an obscene trumpet.

We went with the ten demons: ah, savage company! Like dolphins, arching their backs, telling the sailors to get ready to save their ship, so, now and then, to ease the punishment, some sinner showed his back, and hid as quick as lightning. And as frogs squat, at the edge of the ditchwater, with only mouths showing, so that their feet and the rest of them are hidden, so the sinners stood on every side: but they instantly shot beneath the seething, as Barbariccia approached.

I saw, and my heart still shudders at it, one linger, just as one frog remains when the others scatter: and Graffiacane, who was nearest him, hooked his pitchy hair, and hauled him up, looking, to me, like an otter. I already knew the names of every demon, so I noted them well as they were called, and when they shouted to each other, listened out.

My mother placed me as a servant to a lord, since she had borne me to a scurrilous waster of himself and his possessions. Then I was of the household of good King Thibaut, and there I took to selling offices, for which I serve my sentence in this heat. Draghignazzo, too, wanted a swipe at the legs, below: at which their leader twisted round and round on them with an evil frown.

With him, Don Michel Zanche of Logodoro, keeps company, and their tongues never tire of speaking of Sardinia. See that other demon grinning: I would speak more, but I fear he is getting ready to claw my skin. They all glanced towards the cliff side, he above all who had been most unwilling for this. The Navarrese picked his moment well, planted his feet on the ground, and in an instant plunged, and freed himself from their intention. The duck dives like that when the falcon nears, and the hawk flies back up, angry and thwarted.

Calcabrina, furious at the trick, flew on after him, wanting the sinner to escape, in order to quarrel. And when the barrator had vanished, he turned his claws on his friend, and grappled with him above the ditch. But the other was sparrow hawk enough to claw him thoroughly, and both dropped down, into the centre of the boiling pond.

The heat, instantly, separated them, but they could not rise, their wings were so glued up. Barbariccia, lamenting with the rest, made four fly over to the other bank, with all their grappling irons, and they dropped rapidly on both sides to the shore. They stretched their hooks out to the trapped pair, who were already scaled by the crust, and we left them, like that, embroiled. Silent, alone, and free of company, we went on, one in front, and the other after, like minor friars journeying on their way.

And as one thought springs from another, so another sprang from that, redoubling my fear. If anger is added to their malice, they will chase after us, fiercer than snapping dogs that chase a leveret. Even now your thoughts were entering mine, with similar form and action, so that, from both, I have made one decision. If the right bank slopes enough, that we can drop down, into the next chasm, we will escape this imaginary pursuit.

My guide suddenly took me up like a mother, wakened by a noise, seeing flames burning in front of her eyes, who takes her child and runs, and caring more about him than herself, does not even wait to look around her. Down from the ridge of the solid bank, he threw himself forward on to the hanging cliff that dams up the side of the next chasm. Water never ran as fast through the conduit, turning a mill-wheel on land, when it reaches the paddles, as my Master, down that bank, carrying me, against his breast, like a son, and not a companion.

His feet had hardly touched the floor, of the depth below, before the demons were on the heights above us, but it gave him no fear, since the high Providence, that willed them to be the guardians of the fifth moat, takes, from all of them, the power to leave it. Down below we found a metal-coated tribe, weeping, circling with very slow steps, and weary and defeated in their aspect.

They had cloaks, with deep hoods over the eyes, in the shape they make for the monks of Cologne. O weary mantle for eternity! We turned to the left again, beside them, who were intent on their sad weeping, but those people, tired by their burden, came on so slowly that our companions were new at every step. I stood still, and saw two spirits, who were eager in mind to join me, but their burden and the narrow path delayed them. But you, who are you, from whom such sadness is distilled, that I see, coursing down your cheeks?

And what punishment is this, that glitters so? Crosswise and naked he lies in the road, as you see, and feels the weight of everyone who passes: and his father-in-law Annas is racked, in this chasm, and the others of that Council, that was a source of evil to the Jews. For, when we reached the shattered arch, my guide turned to me with that sweet aspect, that I first saw at the base of the mountain. He opened his arms, after having made some plan in his mind, first looking carefully at the ruin, and took hold of me.

It was no route for one clothed in a cloak of lead, since we could hardly climb from rock to rock, he weighing little, and I pushed from behind. And if the ascent were not shorter on that side than on the other, I would truly have been defeated, I do not know about him. But as Malebolge all drops towards the entrance to the lowest well, the position of every valley implies that the one side rises, and the other falls: at last, we came, however, to the point at which the last boulder ends.

The breath was so driven from my lungs, when I was up, that I could go no further: in fact, I sat down when I arrived. A longer ladder must be climbed: to have left these behind is not enough: if you understand me, act now so it may profit you. We made our way along the causeway, which was rugged, narrow, difficult, and much steeper than before. I went, speaking, so that I might not seem weak, at which a voice came from the next moat, inadequate for forming words.

I do not know what it said, though I was already on the summit of the bridge that crosses there, but he who spoke seemed full of anger. I saw a fearful mass of snakes inside, and of such strange appearance, that even now the memory freezes my blood. Let Libya no longer vaunt its sands: though it engenders chelydri, and jaculi; pareae; and cenchres with amphisbaena; it never showed pests so numerous or dreadful, nor did Ethiopia, nor Arabia, the land that lies along the Red Sea.

Amongst this cruel and mournful swarm, people were running, naked and terrified, without hope of concealment, or of that stone, the heliotrope, that renders the wearer invisible. They had their hands tied behind them, with serpents, that fixed their head and tail between the loins, and were coiled in knots in front. And see, a serpent struck at one who was near our bank, and transfixed him, there, where the neck is joined to the shoulders.

So, great sages say, the phoenix dies, and then renews, when it nears its five-hundredth year. In its life it does not eat grass or grain, but only tears of incense, and amomum: and its last shroud is nard and myrrh. The sinner when he rose was like one who falls, and does not know how, through the power of a demon that drags him down to the ground, or through some other affliction that binds men, and, when he rises, gazes round himself, all dazed by the great anguish he has suffered, and as he gazes, sighs. O how heavy the power of God, that showers down such blows in vengeance!

Brutish, not human, life pleased me, mule that I was: I am Vanni Fucci, the wild beast, and Pistoia was a fitting den for me. And the sinner, who heard me, did not pretend, but turned his face and mind on me, and gave a look of saddened shame. I cannot deny you what you ask. I am placed so deep down because I robbed the sacristy of its fine treasures, and it was once wrongly attributed to others.

But, so that you might not take joy from this sight if you ever escape the gloomy regions, open your ears, and hear what I declare: Pistoia first is thinned of Blacks: then Florence changes her people and her laws. Mars brings a vapour, from Valdimagra cloaked in turbid cloud, and a battle will be fought on the field of Piceno, in an angry and eager tempest, that will suddenly tear the mist open, so that every White is wounded by it.

And I have said this to give you pain. Ah, Pistoia, Pistoia, why do you not order yourself to be turned to ash, so that you may remain no longer, since you outdo your seed in evil-doing? I saw no spirit so arrogant towards God, through all the dark circles of the Inferno, not even, Capaneus, he who fell from the wall at Thebes. I do not believe Maremma has as many snakes, as he had on his haunches, there, where the human part begins. Over his shoulders, behind the head, lay a dragon with outstretched wings, and it scorches every one he meets.

He does not go with his brothers on the same road, above, because of his cunning theft from the great herd of oxen, pastured near him: for which his thieving actions ended, under the club of Hercules, who gave him a hundred blows perhaps with it, and he did not feel a tenth. Reader, if you are slow to credit, now, what I have to tell, it will be no wonder, since I who saw it, scarcely credit it myself. While I kept looking at them, a six-footed serpent darted in front of one of them, and fastened itself on him, completely.

It clasped his belly with it middle feet, seized his arms with the front ones, and then fixed its teeth in both his cheeks. The rear feet it stretched along his thighs, and put its tail between them, and curled it upwards round his loins, behind.

Ivy was never rooted to a tree, as the foul monster twined its limbs around the other. Then they clung together, as if they were melted wax, and mixed their colours: neither the one nor the other seemed what it had at first: just as in front of the flame on burning paper, a brown colour appears, not yet black, and the white is consumed. See, you are already not two, not one! Two limbs were made of the four forearms, the thighs, legs, belly and chest became such members as were never seen before. The former shape was all extinguished in them: the perverse image seemed both, and neither, and like that it moved away with slow steps.

As the lizard, in the great heat of the Dog days, appears like a flash of lightning, scurrying from hedge to hedge, if it crosses the track, so a little reptile came towards the bellies of the other two, burning with rage, black and livid as peppercorn. And it pierced that part, in one of them, where we first receive our nourishment from our mothers: then fell down, stretched out in front of him.

The thief, transfixed, gazed at it but said nothing, but with motionless feet, only yawned, as if sleep or fever had overcome him. He looked at the snake: it looked at him: the one gave out smoke, violently, from his wound, the other from its mouth, and the smoke met. Let Lucan now be silent, about Sabellus and Nasidius, and wait to hear that which I now tell. Let Ovid be silent about Cadmus and Arethusa: if he in poetry changes one into a snake, and the other into a fountain, I do not envy him, since he never transmuted two natures, face to face, so that both forms were eager to exchange their substance.

They merged together in such a way, that the serpent split its tail into a fork, and the wounded spirit brought his feet together. Along with them, the legs and thighs, so stuck to one another, that soon the join left no visible mark. I saw the arms enter the armpits: and the two feet of the beast that were short, lengthened themselves by as much as the arms were shortened. Then the two hind feet twisted together, and became the organ that a man conceals, and the wretch, from his, had two pushed out.

While the smoke covers them both with a new colour, and generates hair on one part, and strips it from another, the one rose up, erect, and the other fell, prostrate: not by that shifting their impious gaze, beneath which they mutually exchanged features. The erect one drew his face towards the temples, and from the excess of matter that swelled there, ears came, out of the smooth cheeks. That which did not slip back, but remained, formed a nose from the superfluous flesh, and enlarged the lips to their right size.

He that lay prone, thrust his sharpened visage forward, and drew his ears back into his head, as the snail does its horns into its shell, and his tongue, which was solid before, and fit for speech, splits itself. In the other the forked tongue melds, and the smoke is still. The soul that had become a beast, sped, hissing, along the valley, leaving the other, speaking and spluttering, behind him. Though my sight was somewhat confused, and my mind dismayed, they could not flee so secretly, but that I clearly saw Puccio Sciancato: and it was he, alone, of the three companions, who had first arrived, who was not changed.

One of the others, Francesco, was he who caused you, the people of Gaville, to weep. Rejoice, Florence, that, since you are so mighty, you beat your wings over land and sea, and your name spreads through Hell itself. So, among the thieves, I found five of your citizens: at which I am ashamed, and you do not rise to great honour by it either. But if the truth is dreamed, as morning comes, you will soon feel what Prato, and others, wish on you. And, if it were come already, it would not be too soon: would it were so, now, as indeed it must come, since it will trouble me more, the older I am.

We left there, and my guide remounted by the stairs that the stones had made for us to descend, and drew me up: and, following our solitary way, among the crags and splinters of the cliff, the foot made no progress without the hand. I was saddened then, and sadden now, again, when I direct my mind to what I saw, and rein in my intellect more than I am used, so that it does not run where virtue would not guide it, and so that, if a good star, or some truer power, has granted me the talent, I may not abuse the gift.

The eighth chasm was gleaming with flames, as numerous as the fireflies the peasant sees, as he rests on the hill, when the sun, who lights the world, hides his face least from us, and the fly gives way to the gnat down there, along the valley, where he gathers grapes, perhaps, and ploughs.

I stood on the bridge, having so risen to look, that if I had not caught hold of a rock I should have fallen in without being pushed. In there they lament the trick, by which Deidamia, in death, still weeps for Achilles: and there, for the Palladium, they endure punishment.

Let me speak: since I conceive what you wish, and because they were Greeks they might disdain your Trojan words. The greater horn of the ancient flame started to shake itself, murmuring, like a flame struggling in the wind. I set out on the wide, deep ocean, with only one ship, and that little company, that had not abandoned me. I saw both shores, as far as Spain, as far as Morocco, and the isle of Sardinia, and the other islands that sea washes. I, and my companions, were old, and slow, when we came to that narrow strait, where Hercules set up his pillars, to warn men from going further.

I left Seville to starboard: already Ceuta was left behind on the other side. Consider your origin: you were not made to live like brutes, but to follow virtue and knowledge. Night already saw the southern pole, with all its stars, and our northern pole was so low, it did not rise from the ocean bed. Vera's Turn For Love. Into The Deep. The Preacher's Bride Collection.

Heart of Honor. Connie Stevens. Great Plains Brides. If the Prospect Pleases. Beside Still Waters. Almost Arizona. Susan Page Davis. Heart's Heritage. Along Unfamiliar Paths. Second Chance. Darling Cassidy. A Daughter's Return. Lily and the Lawman. Cathy Marie Hake. Love Is Patient Romance Collection.

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