Thursday, September 7, 2017

The Ultimate Mid-Life Crisis by Dante Alighieri

The Ultimate Mid-Life Crisis

"Midway life's journey I was made aware
That I had strayed into a dark forest,
And the right path appeared not anywhere.

Ah, the tongue cannot describe how it oppressed,
This wood, so harsh, dismal and wild, that fear
As thought of it strikes now into my breast.

So bitter it is, death is scare bitterer.


The day was going, and the darkened air
Was taking from its toil each animal
That is on earth; I only, alone there,

Essayed to arm my spirit against all
The terror of the journey and pity's plea,
Which memory, that errs not, shall recall." (Dante, Inferno )

--- From the Laurence Binyon translation, which is, sadly, less know than it should be. If you're looking for a Dante that gives you a feel for the poetry, I'd highly recommend this translation, even over Dorothy Sayers'. ---

I plan on, in a forthcoming post, examining a few different translations, setting forth their relative strengths and weaknesses.


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