And now the notes of anguish start to play
upon my ears; and now I find myself
where sounds on sounds of weeping pound at me.
I came to a place where no light shone at all,
bellowing like the sea racked by a tempest,
when warring winds attack it from both sides.
The infernal storm, eternal in its rage,
sweeps and drives the spirits with its blast:
it whirls them, lashing them with punishment.
When they are swept back past their place of judgement,
then come the shrieks, laments, and anguished cries;
there they blaspheme God’s almighty power.
I learned that to this place of punishment
all those who sin in lust have been condemned,
those who make reason slave to appetite;
and as the wings of starlings in the winter
bear them along in wide-spread, crowded flocks,
so does that wind propel the evil spirits:
now here, then there, and up and down, it drives them
with never any hope to comfort them-
hope not of rest but even of suffering less.
Translation by Mark Musa