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Francesca. Caina (in line 107) is the lowest but one of the four divisions of the traitors' circle, devoted to the punishment of fratricides, among whom Malatesta would take his place after death. Dante explains elsewhere that the damned, though not aware of what is at the time passing upon the earth, are yet able to foretell the future; a power liable to be made use of by witches and sorcerers while the world lasts, but one which of course will cease, together with futurity itself, at the Day of Judgment, when with the resumption of their bodies the measure of their suffering will be complete.

THE INFERNO.—CANTO V.

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FROM the first circle down I thus descended

To the second, which a lesser region binding

More pain includes, with bitter cries attended.
There Minos stands, his teeth in frenzy grinding,

There on the threshold his assize he holdeth,

Dooms and adjudges by his tail's dread winding.
I say, that when the ill-born soul unfoldeth

At his tribunal all her past demerit,

Then that inquisitor of sin beholdeth
What place of Hell she meetly should inherit;

And then his tail so oft is round him curled

As marks the circle lier misdoings merit.
Many before him stand: with coils unfurled

He summons each in turn to judgment; quailing
They speak and hear, and then below are hurled.
O thou who visitest this house of wailing,'
Cried Minos, and suspended the appliance

Of his dread office, my appearance hailing,
'Look how thou come, in whom thou place reliance;

Let not the broad road lure thee.' Then returned

My guide for answer, “Why this loud defiance?
He from his destined path must not be spurned ;

So it is there willed where the power remaineth

The will to accomplish : more may not be learned.'
And now the voice of lamentation gaineth

An entrance at mine ear, and I am taken

Where many a note of woe upon me raineth.
It was a region of all light forsaken,

Which like the ocean when the tempest waxes,

Bellows and roars, by winds contrary shaken.
The infernal hurricane, which ne'er relaxes,

Sweeps on the spirits in its wild careering,
With gust and smiting their endurance taxes.

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Then they, the rocky precipices nearing,

There utter shriek and plaint and lamentation,

There they blaspheme the Power divine unfearing. Such was, I learnt, the woe and degradation

To which the carnal sinners' souls are given

Who yield their reason to their inclination. And like as starlings through the wintry heaven

Form on the wing flights full and wide extended,

So those ill spirits up and down are driven, Hither and thither, on that blast suspended :

No comfort have they: every hope is wanting

Even of pain diminished, much less ended. And like as cranes in one long line go chanting

Athwart the sky their melancholy dirges,

So I beheld the shades with moan and panting Borne by the force the woeful tempest urges.

Then I, “O Master, give me information

Concerning these whom the black air so scourges.' The first of those whose histories' narration

Thou ask'st,” he said, with answer not deferred,

‘Was empress o'er full many a tongue and nation. She to such wantonness of vice was spurred,

That liking she made law without restriction,

To take away the blame she had incurred. She is Semiramis; nor is it fiction

That she was Ninus' spouse and his successor,

And ruled where now the Turk has jurisdiction. The next, for love 'gainst her own life transgressor,

Wrought to the dead Sicheus' memory treason ;

Cleopatra next, of wanton thoughts possessor.' Helen I saw, through whom so long a season

Of evil rolled; Achilles then, who waged

War to the end for love unchecked by reason. Paris and Tristram next my sight engaged;

And full a thousand he with finger showed me,

And named, in whom death-working lust had raged. Then I, who on my master's words bestowed me,

Hearing of olden dames and heroes knightly,

Felt lost in the great pity which o'erflowed me. Then I began, 'O Poet, may I rightly

Speak with those two, who go together wailing,

And seem to rise before the wind so lightly?'
And he to me, 'Thy words are unavailing

Till they come nearer us; then call them hither
By that their guiding love; and they unfailing

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Will come.' And when the wind had swept them whither

My voice could reach, I cry, 'O souls distressed,

Come, speak with us, if none forbid it.' Thither As doves, by summons of true love addressed,

With wings firm opened, from their airy wheeling

Fly to the sweet nest with desire impressed ;
So from the ranks where bideth Dido, stealing

They came toward us through the air malignant;
So urgent was my passionate appealing.
O living soul, most gracious and benignant,
Who us dost visit in this dark position,

Who with our blood stained earth ; were not indignant
Heaven's King against us, we would make petition

Unto him for the grace which thou desirest,

Who hast had pity of our sad condition. Whate'er to hear or speak of thou aspirest,

That will we hear and speak to thee, while tarries

As now it doth, the blast of vengeance direst. Our land upon its seaward margin carries

The place where I was born, where Po descendeth

There to have quiet with its tributaries. Love, that so quick the tender spirit bendeth,

Seized him for that fair form, which was removed

From me, whereof the manner yet offendeth. Love, that from love excuseth no one loved,

Me with his pleasant looks so fascinated

That as thou seest, it constant still hath proved. Love brought us both unto one death; awaited

By dark Caina is our life-blood's waster.'

Such was the story she to us related.
But when I heard those wronged souls' disaster

I bowed my head, in such a posture lowly

That soon, "What thinkest thou ?' inquired my Master. And when I answer made, ‘O melancholy !

I said, What sweet thoughts, what endearments winning

Did bring them unto this sad step unholy ! And then I turned towards them, thus beginning,

• The woe, Francesca, that thou hast revealed

Moves me to tears of sorrow for thy sinning. But tell me; when sweet sigh to sigh appealed,

At what, and how did love grant recognition

Of your desires, till then in doubt concealed ?'
And she, “Our sorrow hath no worse addition

Than to remember here mid our distresses,
The happy time whereof we had fruition.

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That knows thy guide. But since thy wish so presses

To learn the root whence grew our love exceeding,

I speak, as one who weeps and yet confesses.
One day we two for pleasure's sake were reading

Of Lancelot's true love in story famous ;

Alone we were, nor aught of danger heeding.
With mutual glance our lesson did inflame us

Full oft, and paleness o'er our faces glided ;

But one point only that which overcame us.
When we read how the ardent lover guided

His kiss toward the smile for which he longed,

Then he, who ne'er shall be from me divided,
All trembling kissed my lips : so were we wronged

By book and writer, tempters both ensnaring.

That day we read no more.' Ere she prolonged
Her words yet further, the other spirit hearing

Wailed so, that I became through pure compassion

All faint, as if death's mark upon me bearing:
And as a dead man falls, fell in like fashion.

(To be continued.)

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MUSINGS OVER THE CHRISTIAN YEAR

AND LYRA INNOCENTIUM.

FIRST SUNDAY AFTER EASTER.

The first Sunday after Easter has no less than three poems by Mr. Keble, if we reckon with the others one in the Child's Christian Year, which we believe is really one of his earliest poems. The subject of both this and of that in the Lyra is Faith-both alike being in accordance with the Epistle for the day, with its · Victory that overcometh the world, even our Faith ;' and the proclamation of that Faith in the words, “There are Three that bear witness in Heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these Three are One: and there are three that bear witness on earth, the Spirit, the Water, and the Blood.'

The analogy between the Witness in Heaven and Earth, is the subject of the early poem we mentioned.

Our God in glory sits on high ;

Man may not see and live :
But witness of Himself on earth

For ever doth He give.' That witness is the Holy Spirit in man's heart, the Water of Baptism, and the cleansing Blood by which the Holy Spirit purifies the soul

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Will come. And when the wind had swept them whither

My voice could reach, I cry, 'O souls distressed,

Come, speak with us, if none forbid it.' Thither As doves, by summons of true love addressed,

With wings firm opened, from their airy wheeling

Fly to the sweet nest with desire impressed ; So from the ranks where bideth Dido, stealing

They came toward us through the air malignant;

So urgent was my passionate appealing.
O living soul, most gracious and benignant,

Who us dost visit in this dark position,

Who with our blood stained earth; were not indignant Heaven's King against us, we would make petition

Unto him for the grace which thou desirest,

Who hast had pity of our sad condition. Whate'er to hear or speak of thou aspirest,

That will we hear and speak to thee, while tarries

As now it doth, the blast of vengeance direst. Our land upon its seaward margin carries

The place where I was born, where Po descendeth

There to have quiet with its tributaries. Love, that so quick the tender spirit bendeth,

Seized him for that fair form, which was removed

From me, whereof the manner yet offendeth. Love, that from love excuseth no one loved,

Me with his pleasant looks so fascinated

That as thou seest, it constant still hath proved. Love brought us both unto one death ; awaited

By dark Caina is our life-blood's waster.'

Such was the story she to us related.
But when I heard those wronged souls' disaster

I bowed my head, in such a posture lowly

That soon, 'What thinkest thou ? inquired my Master. And when I answer made, O melancholy !

I said, 'What sweet thoughts, what endearments winning

Did bring them unto this sad step unholy!' And then I turned towards them, thus beginning,

• The woe, Francesca, that thou hast revealed

Moves me to tears of sorrow for thy sinning. But tell me; when sweet sigh to sigh appealed,

At what, and how did love grant recognition

Of your desires, till then in doubt concealed ?'
And she, Our sorrow hath no worse addition

Than to remember here mid our distresses,
The happy time whereof we had fruition.

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