In their midst, one could almost hear the plea
of that unhappy creature: ‘My lord, avenge
my murdered son for me. It is for him I grieve,’
First Ledge the Proud. – Examples of humility sculptured on the Rock.
Now in Purgatory proper, Dante and Virgil navigate a narrow path, described as a “needle’s eye.” Suddenly they reach a high wall, stretching three times their height above them. The wall is made of “white marble”; it is “carved with so much art / that Polycletus and Nature’s very self / would there be put to shame.” Dante’s attention first sticks to a carving of Gabriel and Mary, in which the angel is depicted announcing Jesus’ coming birth. Virgil prods Dante to look at other carvings. Moving past Virgil, Dante observes King David “the humble psalmist,” dancing and singing by a cart and oxen. Above him, his wife Michal scornfully looks down. Dante writes that these figures are so artful that they “made one sense argue ‘No’ / and the other: ‘Yes, they sing.’” Beyond them is an image of the virtuous Roman Emperor Trajan, who seems to converse with the widow before him. As Dante enjoys “the sight / of images of such humility,” Virgil redirects his attention to a group of souls moving towards them. Dante asks that the reader “not … fall away / from good intentions when you hear / the way God wills the debt be paid.” We quickly learn why. Dante, at first, cannot recognize the souls as human, but a closer inspection reveals what he thought were moving rocks are actually souls “bent beneath… stones.” The contorted figures beat their breasts. Dante calls on “vainglorious Christians,” asking if they do not remember that “we are born as worms / though able to transform into angel butterflies / that unimpeded soar to justice?” The canto ends with a simile comparing their bodies to a corbel carved to look like “a crouching figure, / its knees pushed up against its chest.” He writes, “that unreal depiction may arouse / in him who sees it real distress…”
Riassunto in inglese tratto da https://www.gradesaver.com/divine-comedy-purgatorio
Canto adopted by Arch. Sergio Minghetti