Inferno Canto XVI

Inferno 16

‘He was grandson of the good Gualdrada.
Guido Guerra was his name. In his life
he did much with good sense, much with the sword.

vv. 37-39

Third round of the Seventh Circle: those who have done violence to Nature.—Guido Guerra, Tegghiaio Aldobrandi and Jacopo Rusticucci.—The roar of Phlegethon as it pours downward.— The cord thrown into the abyss.

When Dante had almost reached the place where the waters fell down to the next circle, three shades ran up to him, and called for him to stop, since he was a Florentine. Dante was struck with pity by the burn marks on their skin, and Virgil told him that these were honorable men and well worth talking to. One of the shades said that his companions were men of high degree: Guido Guerra, grandson of the good Gualdrada, and Tegghiaio Aldrobandi; he himself was Jacopo Rusticucci. Dante wanted to embrace them but dared not descend to the burning sands, so instead he said he was sorry for their state, and explained the reason for his journey. Jacopo wished him good fortune, and asked him whether the virtues still flourished in Florence; he had heard from a recent arrival, Guigliemo Borsiere, that the city wasn’t doing well. Dante replied: “Newcomers to the city and quick gains have brought excess and arrogance.” The three shades then asked him to remember them to the living, and ran off.

Dante followed Virgil to a roaring cascade which fell into a deep chasm. Dante gave Virgil the cord he wore around his waist, and Virgil threw one end of it down the chasm. To Dante’s amazement, a horrific figure soon appeared, swimming up the cord.

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