Dante’s wisdom ~ Inferno (part 1)

I have reached Canto IV ~ Limbo, the first circle of Hell. What’s struck me so far? Despair, seeing her presented as a virulent and hungry beast. Fear, seeing how she shrewdly and unceasingly hunts us down, and preys upon our frail souls. Faith, presented as akin to the botanical process of embracing the light … of striving toward the light, and therefore, as necessary to flourish and grow. Hell and Evil, seeing these as manifestations of the power of the Supernal being. Therefore, one who denies the existence of Hell and Evil also denies the power of the Supernal – the One who resides in the empyrean sphere.

Something BIG happened late last weekend in my personal life. As in, life or death heavy duty stuff. It jolted me. As in, suddenly, things that seem to hold such importance really seem so trivial and obtuse. As in, I know … and I no longer doubt (perhaps I have travelled the road to Damascus?). As in, it fuelled my search … I seek wisdom of some kind. And in my search, I heard the call of Dante. Something that humanity has revered for 700 years must contain a plethora of golden wisdom, right? Indeed, it does. More than any human can imagine. I had no idea. The journey which Dante makes in The Divine Comedy seems so allegorical and so parallel to my own.

Expand the post to read the snippets that have so far grabbed me. And take out of them what you will. You will likely need to return here and re-read them several times. And each time you do, a new level of wisdom will avail itself to you.

I have written further posts ~ as I continue my journey with Dante, I will continue writing about it here. Another post waits, in the wings, actually, held back.

on the virulence of despair ~

“…a starved horror

ravening and wasted beyond all belief.
She seemed a rack for avarice, gaunt and craving.
Oh many the souls she has brought to endless grief!

She brought such heaviness upon my spirit
at sight of her savagery and desperation,
I died from every hope of that high summit.

And like a miser–eager in acquisition
but desperate in self-reproach when Fortune’s wheel turns to the hour of his loss–all tears and attrition

I wavered back; and still the beast purused,
forcing herself against me bit by bit
till I slid back into the sunless wood.”

on the hunger of despair ~

“…that mad beast that fleers

before you there, suffers no man to pass.
She tracks down all, kills all, and knows no glut,
but, feeding, she grows hungrier than she was.”

on fear, that shrewd predator ~

“…’your soul is sunken in that cowardice

that bears down many men, turning their course
and resolution by imagined perils,
as his own shadow turns the frightened horse.’…”

on faith, embracing the light ~

“As flowerlets drooped and puckered in the night
turn up to the returning sun and spread
their petals wide on his new warmth and light–

just so my wilted spirit rose again
and such a heat of zeal surged through my veins
that I was born anew…”

on denial of hell as denial of the Father’s power ~

“I am the way into the city of woe
I am the way to a foresaken people
I am the way to eternal sorrow

Sacred justice moved my architect
I was raised here by Divine Omnipotence
Primordial love and ulitmate intellect

Only those elements time cannot wear
Were made before me, and beyond time I stand.
Abandon all hope ye who enter here.”

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~ by frizzyscissorhands on August 24, 2007.

7 Responses to “Dante’s wisdom ~ Inferno (part 1)”

  1. Dear Lord in heaven, Baby Doll!
    I’ve checked the email and replied.

    Thanky fer the peek-a-boo thang…I’ll try it.

  2. thanx aunty … lemme know how you do with the peekaboo thang.

  3. oh, wow, mantissa. this is pretty heavy. like you said i’m gonna have to reread this quotes a few times.
    But it does take a wise person to realize that, really, so much is trivial and obtuse. it really doesn’t matter..

  4. Red, over mah years I done delved into both Pinsky and Ciardi. One thang is, iffin’ ya wanna write, readin’ Dante and Cervantes will show you how to look at the inner world while dealin’ wif’ the outer. Whar’ every human action begins–in the heart. What is history after all? right? A catalog of human action and response. Understandin’ whar’ actions come from…

    I’se so impressed wif’ ya’.

  5. foam ~ heavy duty … sort of deep stuff. yes, much of it is so fleeting.

    AB ~ right about Dante, how to balance the two. i am working on a short story and Dante is one of the characters. i’m having fun constructing him …

  6. Thank you friend for posting this as I read along in my own copy of the Divine Comedy…I can’t believe it’s been in my possession for almost my entire married life and I had not read it.
    Like Paradise Lost- I’ll probably need a guide/cliff notes to help me along- and of course I have you and Susan to pester questions with too! 🙂
    Yeahhhh for blog friends!!!
    Hugs- and thanks again.
    -me 🙂

  7. dear coe-ruh ~ i have another post already written, based on readings of Canto 5 thru to 9. I have yet to ready 9 ~ i have only read the synposis. I have taken to reading aloud, to include mr. mantissa in my reading (reading is such a solitary activity) and he finds it immensely interesting, and deep.

    i can hardly wait to publish that post-in-waiting … i will try to wait until sunday night. 🙂

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