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"[Translation from Dante, Inferno Canto xxxiii 1-78]"

"[Translation from Dante, Inferno Canto xxxiii 1-78]"


1 From his dire food the grisly felon raised
2 His gore-dyed lips, which on the clottered locks
3 Of the half-devoured head he wiped, and thus
4 Began: 'Would'st thou revive the deep despair,
5 The anguish, that, unuttered, natheless wrings
6 My inmost heart? Yet if the telling may
7 Beget the traitor's infamy, whom thus
8 I ceaseless gnaw insatiate, thou shalt see me
9 At once give loose to utterance and to tears.

10 'I know not who thou art nor on what errand
11 Sent hither; but a Florentine my ear,
12 Won by thy tongue, declares thee. Know, thou see'st
13 In me Count Ugolino, and Ruggieri,
14 Pisa's perfidious prelate, this: now hear
15 My wrongs and from them judge of my revenge.

16 'That I did trust him, that I was betrayed
17 By trusting, and by treachery slain, it recks not
18 That I advise thee; that which yet remains
19 To thee and all unknown (a horrid tale),
20 The bitterness of death, I shall unfold.
21 Attend, and say if he have injured me.

22 'Through a small crevice opening, what scant light
23 That grim and antique tower admitted (since
24 Of me the Tower of Famine hight, and known
25 To many a wretch) already 'gan the dawn
26 To send. The whilst I slumbering lay, a sleep
27 Prophetic of my woes with direful hand
28 Oped the dark veil of fate. I saw methought
29 Toward Pisa's mount, that intercepts the view
30 Of Lucca, chased by hell-hounds gaunt and bloody
31 A wolf full-grown; with fleet and equal speed
32 His young ones ran beside him. Lanfranc there
33 And Sigismundo and Gualandi rode
34 Amain, my deadly foes, headed by this
35 The deadliest: he their chief, the foremost he
36 Flashed to pursue and cheer the eager cry.
37 Nor long endured the chase: the panting sire,
38 Of strength bereft, his helpless offspring soon
39 O'erta'en beheld, and in their trembling flanks
40 The hungry pack their sharp-set fangs embrued.

41 'The morn had scarce commenced when I awoke:
42 My children (they were with me) sleep as yet
43 Gave not to know their sum of misery,
44 But yet in low and uncompleted sounds
45 I heard 'em wail for bread. Oh! thou art cruel,
46 Or thou dost mourn to think what my poor heart
47 Foresaw, foreknew; oh! if thou weep not now,
48 Where are thy tears? Too soon they had aroused them,
49 Sad with the fears of sleep, and now the hour
50 Of timely food approached; when, at the gate
51 Below, I heard the dreadful clank of bars
52 And fastening bolts. Then on my children's eyes
53 Speechless my sight I fixed, nor wept, for all
54 Within was stone. They wept, unhappy boys,
55 They wept; and first my little dear Anselmo
56 Cried, 'Father, why do you gaze so sternly?
57 What would you have?' Yet wept I not or answered
58 All that whole day or the succeeding night,
59 Till a new sun arose with weakly gleam
60 And wan, such as mought entrance find within
61 That house of woe. But oh! when I beheld
62 My sons, and in four faces saw my own
63 Despair reflected, either hand I gnawed
64 For anguish, which they construed hunger. Straight
65 Arising all they cried, 'Far less shall be
66 Our sufferings, sir, if you resume your gift;
67 These miserable limbs with flesh you clothed;
68 Take back what once was yours.' I swallowed down
69 My struggling sorrow, nor to heighten theirs.
70 That day and yet another, mute we sat
71 And motionless. O earth, could'st thou not gape
72 Quick to devour me? Yet a fourth day came,
73 When Gaddo, at my feet outstretched, imploring
74 In vain my help, expired; ere the sixth morn
75 Had dawned, my other three before my eyes
76 Died one by one. I saw 'em fall; I heard
77 Their doleful cries. For three days more I groped
78 About among their cold remains (for then
79 Hunger had reft my eyesight), often calling
80 On their dear names, that heard me now no more;
81 The fourth, what sorrow could not, famine did.'

82 He finished; then with unrelenting eye
83 Askance he turned him, hasty to renew
84 The hellish feast, and rent his trembling prey.

Expanding the poem lines (+) shows the results of a computationally facilitated analysis of the text. These results should be considered as a basis for deeper interpretative enquiry such as can be found in the notes and queries.

0 "[Translation from Dante, Inferno Canto xxxiii 1-78]"

Metrical notation:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/
Metrical foot type:  iambic (-+)
Metrical foot number:  pentameter (5 feet)
Syllable pattern:  10
Genre(s):  blank verse

Notation symbols: | (foot boundary), || (caesura), / (metrical line boundary), + (metrically prominent), - (metrically non-prominent)


1 From his dire food the grisly felon raised    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): From/food/felon /f/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): his/grisly /ɪ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): From/food/felon /f/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): his/grisly/raised /z/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): dire/food /d/

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2 His gore-dyed lips, which on the clottered locks    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): lips/locks /l/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): His/lips/which /ɪ/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): on/clottered/locks /ɒ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): lips/locks /l/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): clottered/locks /k/

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3 Of the half-devoured head he wiped, and thus    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): half-devoured/head/he /h/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): Of/half-devoured /v/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): half-devoured/head/he /h/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): half-devoured/head /d/

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4 Began: 'Would'st thou revive the deep despair,    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): deep/despair /d/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): Began/revive/despair /ɪ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): Would'st/deep/despair /d/
Figure:  syncope (morphological): Would'st

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5 The anguish, that, unuttered, natheless wrings    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  assonance (phonological): anguish/that /æ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): anguish/wrings /ŋ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): that/unuttered /t/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): unuttered/natheless /n/

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6 My inmost heart? Yet if the telling may    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): My/may /m/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): inmost/if /ɪ/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): Yet/telling /e/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): My/inmost/may /m/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): heart/Yet/telling /t/

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7 Beget the traitor's infamy, whom thus    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  assonance (phonological): Beget/infamy /ɪ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): Beget/traitor's /t/

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8 I ceaseless gnaw insatiate, thou shalt see me    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): ceaseless/see /s/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): ceaseless/see/me /iː/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): ceaseless/insatiate/see /s/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): gnaw/insatiate /n/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): insatiate/shalt /ʃ/

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9 At once give loose to utterance and to tears.    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  assonance (phonological): At/and /æ/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): once/utterance /ʌ/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): loose/to/to /uː/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): At/utterance/tears /t/

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10 'I know not who thou art nor on what errand    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): know/not/nor /n/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): not/on/what /ɒ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): know/not/nor/on /n/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): not/art/what /t/

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11 Sent hither; but a Florentine my ear,    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10

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12 Won by thy tongue, declares thee. Know, thou see'st    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): thy/thee/thou /ð/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): Won/tongue /ʌ/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): by/thy /aɪ/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): thee/see'st /iː/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): Won/Know /n/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): thy/thee/thou /ð/
Figure:  polyptoton (morphological): thee/thou
Figure:  syncope (morphological): see'st

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13 In me Count Ugolino, and Ruggieri,    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  assonance (phonological): In/Ruggieri /ɪ/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): me/Ugolino /iː/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): In/Count/Ugolino /n/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): Ugolino/Ruggieri /g/

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14 Pisa's perfidious prelate, this: now hear    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): Pisa's/perfidious/prelate /p/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): perfidious/this /ɪ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): Pisa's/perfidious/prelate /p/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): Pisa's/this /s/

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15 My wrongs and from them judge of my revenge.    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): My/my /m/
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): wrongs/revenge /r/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): My/my /aɪ/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): wrongs/from/of /ɒ/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): them/revenge /e/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): My/from/them/my /m/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): wrongs/revenge /r/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): of/revenge /v/
Figure:  diacope (morphological): My/my

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16 'That I did trust him, that I was betrayed    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): That/that /ð/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): That/that /æ/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): I/I /aɪ/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): did/him /ɪ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): That/that /ð/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): That/trust/that/betrayed /t/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): did/betrayed /d/
Figure:  diacope (morphological): I/I

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17 By trusting, and by treachery slain, it recks not    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): By/by /b/
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): trusting/treachery /t/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): By/by /aɪ/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): treachery/recks /e/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): By/by /b/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): trusting/slain /s/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): trusting/treachery/it/not /t/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): slain/not /n/
Figure:  diacope (morphological): By/by

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18 That I advise thee; that which yet remains    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): That/thee/that /ð/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): That/that /æ/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): I/advise /aɪ/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): which/remains /ɪ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): That/thee/that /ð/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): That/that/yet /t/

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19 To thee and all unknown (a horrid tale),    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  consonance (phonological): all/tale /l/

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20 The bitterness of death, I shall unfold.    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  consonance (phonological): shall/unfold /l/

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21 Attend, and say if he have injured me.    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): he/have /h/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): and/have /æ/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): if/injured /ɪ/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): he/me /iː/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): Attend/injured /n/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): he/have /h/

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22 'Through a small crevice opening, what scant light    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): small/scant /s/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): small/light /l/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): small/scant /s/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): what/light /t/

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23 That grim and antique tower admitted (since    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  assonance (phonological): That/and/antique /æ/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): grim/admitted/since /ɪ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): That/antique/tower/admitted /t/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): grim/admitted /m/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): antique/since /n/

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24 Of me the Tower of Famine hight, and known    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  assonance (phonological): Of/of /ɒ/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): Famine/and /æ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): Of/of /v/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): me/Famine /m/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): Tower/hight /t/
Figure:  diacope (morphological): Of/of

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25 To many a wretch) already 'gan the dawn    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  assonance (phonological): many/wretch/already /e/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): already/dawn /ɔː/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): many/'gan/dawn /n/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): wretch/already /r/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): already/dawn /d/
Figure:  anaphora (morphological): To
Figure:  aphaeresis (morphological): 'gan

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26 To send. The whilst I slumbering lay, a sleep    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): send/slumbering/sleep /s/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): whilst/I /aɪ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): send/slumbering/sleep /s/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): whilst/lay /l/
Figure:  anaphora (morphological): To

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27 Prophetic of my woes with direful hand    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  assonance (phonological): my/direful /aɪ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): Prophetic/direful /f/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): woes/with /w/

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28 Oped the dark veil of fate. I saw methought    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  assonance (phonological): veil/fate /eɪ/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): saw/methought /ɔː/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): veil/of /v/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): fate/methought /t/

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29 Toward Pisa's mount, that intercepts the view    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  consonance (phonological): Toward/that /t/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): Pisa's/intercepts /p/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): Pisa's/intercepts /s/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): mount/intercepts /n/

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30 Of Lucca, chased by hell-hounds gaunt and bloody    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): by/bloody /b/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): Lucca/hell-hounds /l/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): by/bloody /b/

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31 A wolf full-grown; with fleet and equal speed    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): full-grown/fleet /f/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): wolf/full-grown /ʊ/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): fleet/equal/speed /iː/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): wolf/full-grown /l/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): wolf/with /w/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): full-grown/fleet /f/

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32 His young ones ran beside him. Lanfranc there    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): His/him /h/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): His/beside/him /ɪ/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): young/ones /ʌ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): His/him /h/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): ones/ran/Lanfranc /n/

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33 And Sigismundo and Gualandi rode    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  assonance (phonological): And/and /æ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): Sigismundo/Gualandi /n/

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34 Amain, my deadly foes, headed by this    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  assonance (phonological): my/by /aɪ/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): deadly/headed /e/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): Amain/my /m/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): deadly/headed /d/

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35 The deadliest: he their chief, the foremost he    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): he/he /h/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): he/chief/he /iː/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): he/he /h/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): chief/foremost /f/
Figure:  diacope (morphological): he/he

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36 Flashed to pursue and cheer the eager cry.    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  assonance (phonological): Flashed/and /æ/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): to/pursue /uː/

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37 Nor long endured the chase: the panting sire,    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  consonance (phonological): Nor/endured/panting /n/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): chase/sire /s/

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38 Of strength bereft, his helpless offspring soon    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): strength/soon /s/
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): his/helpless /h/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): Of/offspring /ɒ/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): strength/bereft/helpless /e/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): bereft/his/offspring /ɪ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): strength/offspring /ŋ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): strength/offspring/soon /s/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): bereft/offspring /f/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): his/helpless /h/

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39 O'erta'en beheld, and in their trembling flanks    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  assonance (phonological): beheld/trembling /e/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): beheld/in /ɪ/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): and/flanks /æ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): O'erta'en/trembling /t/
Figure:  syncope (morphological): O'erta'en

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40 The hungry pack their sharp-set fangs embrued.    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  assonance (phonological): pack/fangs /æ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): hungry/fangs /ŋ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): pack/sharp-set /p/

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41 'The morn had scarce commenced when I awoke:    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  assonance (phonological): commenced/when /e/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): commenced/awoke /ə/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): morn/commenced/when /n/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): morn/commenced /m/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): commenced/awoke /k/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): when/awoke /w/

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42 My children (they were with me) sleep as yet    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): My/me /m/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): children/with /ɪ/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): me/sleep /iː/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): My/me /m/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): they/with /ð/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): were/with /w/
Figure:  simile (semantic): as...

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43 Gave not to know their sum of misery,    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): not/know /n/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): not/of /ɒ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): Gave/of /v/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): not/know /n/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): sum/misery /m/

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44 But yet in low and uncompleted sounds    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  assonance (phonological): But/uncompleted /ʌ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): But/yet/uncompleted /t/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): in/uncompleted/sounds /n/

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45 I heard 'em wail for bread. Oh! thou art cruel,    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  consonance (phonological): heard/bread /d/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): wail/cruel /l/
Figure:  aphaeresis (morphological): 'em
Figure:  ecphonesis (pragmatic): Oh...

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46 Or thou dost mourn to think what my poor heart    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): mourn/my /m/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): Or/mourn /ɔː/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): mourn/my /m/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): what/heart /t/

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47 Foresaw, foreknew; oh! if thou weep not now,    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): Foresaw/foreknew /f/
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): not/now /n/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): Foresaw/foreknew /ɔː/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): thou/now /aʊ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): Foresaw/foreknew/if /f/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): foreknew/not/now /n/
Figure:  ecphonesis (pragmatic): oh...

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48 Where are thy tears? Too soon they had aroused them,    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): thy/they/them /ð/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): Too/soon /uː/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): thy/they/them /ð/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): tears/aroused /z/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): tears/Too /t/

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49 Sad with the fears of sleep, and now the hour    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): Sad/sleep /s/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): Sad/and /æ/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): now/hour /aʊ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): Sad/sleep /s/

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50 Of timely food approached; when, at the gate    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  consonance (phonological): timely/at/gate /t/

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51 Below, I heard the dreadful clank of bars    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): Below/bars /b/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): Below/bars /b/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): heard/dreadful /d/

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52 And fastening bolts. Then on my children's eyes    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  assonance (phonological): my/eyes /aɪ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): bolts/children's /l/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): Then/on /n/

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53 Speechless my sight I fixed, nor wept, for all    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): Speechless/sight /s/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): my/sight/I /aɪ/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): nor/for/all /ɔː/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): Speechless/sight /s/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): fixed/for /f/

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54 Within was stone. They wept, unhappy boys,    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): Within/wept /w/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): Within/was/wept /w/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): Within/stone/unhappy /n/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): Within/They /ð/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): was/boys /z/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): wept/unhappy /p/

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55 They wept; and first my little dear Anselmo    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  assonance (phonological): wept/Anselmo /e/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): little/Anselmo /l/

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56 Cried, 'Father, why do you gaze so sternly?    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  assonance (phonological): Cried/why /aɪ/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): do/you /uː/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): Cried/do /d/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): so/sternly /s/
Figure:  pysma (pragmatic)

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57 What would you have?' Yet wept I not or answered    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): What/would/wept /w/
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): you/Yet /j/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): What/not /ɒ/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): Yet/wept /e/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): What/would/wept /w/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): What/Yet/not /t/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): you/Yet /j/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): not/answered /n/
Figure:  pysma (pragmatic)

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58 All that whole day or the succeeding night,    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  assonance (phonological): All/or /ɔː/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): All/whole /l/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): that/night /t/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): day/succeeding /d/

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59 Till a new sun arose with weakly gleam    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  assonance (phonological): Till/with /ɪ/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): weakly/gleam /iː/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): new/sun /n/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): with/weakly /w/

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60 And wan, such as mought entrance find within    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): wan/within /w/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): And/as /æ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): wan/within /w/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): wan/entrance/find/within /n/

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61 That house of woe. But oh! when I beheld    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): woe/when /w/
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): But/beheld /b/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): woe/oh /əʊ/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): when/beheld /e/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): That/But /t/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): house/beheld /h/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): woe/when /w/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): But/beheld /b/
Figure:  ecphonesis (pragmatic): oh...

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62 My sons, and in four faces saw my own    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): My/my /m/
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): sons/saw /s/
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): four/faces /f/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): My/my /aɪ/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): four/saw /ɔː/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): My/my /m/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): sons/in/own /n/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): sons/faces/saw /s/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): four/faces /f/
Figure:  diacope (morphological): My/my

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63 Despair reflected, either hand I gnawed    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  assonance (phonological): either/I /aɪ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): Despair/gnawed /d/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): hand/gnawed /n/

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64 For anguish, which they construed hunger. Straight    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  assonance (phonological): they/Straight /eɪ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): anguish/hunger /ŋ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): construed/Straight /s/

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65 Arising all they cried, 'Far less shall be    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  assonance (phonological): Arising/cried /aɪ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): all/less/shall /l/

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66 Our sufferings, sir, if you resume your gift;    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): sufferings/sir /s/
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): you/your /j/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): if/resume/gift /ɪ/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): you/resume /uː/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): sufferings/if/gift /f/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): sufferings/sir /s/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): you/your /j/

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67 These miserable limbs with flesh you clothed;    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  assonance (phonological): miserable/limbs/with /ɪ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): These/with/clothed /ð/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): These/miserable /z/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): miserable/limbs /m/

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68 Take back what once was yours.' I swallowed down    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): what/once /w/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): what/was/swallowed /ɒ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): Take/back /k/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): Take/what /t/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): what/once/was /w/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): once/down /n/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): was/yours /z/

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69 My struggling sorrow, nor to heighten theirs.    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): struggling/sorrow /s/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): My/heighten /aɪ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): struggling/sorrow /s/

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70 That day and yet another, mute we sat    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  assonance (phonological): That/and/sat /æ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): That/another /ð/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): That/yet/mute/sat /t/

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71 And motionless. O earth, could'st thou not gape    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  assonance (phonological): motionless/O /əʊ/
Figure:  syncope (morphological): could'st
Figure:  ecphonesis (pragmatic): O...

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72 Quick to devour me? Yet a fourth day came,    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): Quick/came /k/
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): devour/day /d/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): Quick/devour /ɪ/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): day/came /eɪ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): Quick/came /k/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): devour/day /d/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): me/came /m/

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73 When Gaddo, at my feet outstretched, imploring    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  assonance (phonological): When/outstretched /e/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): at/feet/outstretched /t/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): my/imploring /m/

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74 In vain my help, expired; ere the sixth morn    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): my/morn /m/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): In/expired/sixth /ɪ/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): my/expired /aɪ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): In/vain/morn /n/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): my/morn /m/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): expired/sixth /k/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): expired/sixth /s/

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75 Had dawned, my other three before my eyes    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): my/my /m/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): dawned/before /ɔː/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): my/my/eyes /aɪ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): Had/dawned /d/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): my/my /m/
Figure:  diacope (morphological): my/my

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76 Died one by one. I saw 'em fall; I heard    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): one/one /w/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): Died/by/I/I /aɪ/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): one/one /ʌ/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): saw/fall /ɔː/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): Died/heard /d/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): one/one /w/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): one/one /n/
Figure:  diacope (morphological): one/one
Figure:  diacope (morphological): I/I
Figure:  aphaeresis (morphological): 'em

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77 Their doleful cries. For three days more I groped    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): doleful/days /d/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): doleful/groped /əʊ/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): cries/I /aɪ/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): For/more /ɔː/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): doleful/days /d/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): cries/days /z/

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78 About among their cold remains (for then    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): their/then /ð/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): About/among /ə/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): among/remains /m/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): their/then /ð/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): remains/then /n/

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79 Hunger had reft my eyesight), often calling    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): Hunger/had /h/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): my/eyesight /aɪ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): Hunger/had /h/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): reft/often /f/

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80 On their dear names, that heard me now no more;    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): their/that /ð/
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): names/now/no /n/
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): me/more /m/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): On/names/now/no /n/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): their/that /ð/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): dear/heard /d/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): names/me/more /m/

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81 The fourth, what sorrow could not, famine did.'    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): fourth/famine /f/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): what/sorrow/not /ɒ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): fourth/famine /f/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): what/not /t/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): could/did /d/

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82 He finished; then with unrelenting eye    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  assonance (phonological): finished/with /ɪ/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): then/unrelenting /e/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): finished/then/unrelenting /n/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): then/with /ð/

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83 Askance he turned him, hasty to renew    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): he/him/hasty /h/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): him/renew /ɪ/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): to/renew /uː/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): Askance/turned/renew /n/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): Askance/hasty /s/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): he/him/hasty /h/

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84 The hellish feast, and rent his trembling prey.    
Metre:  -+|-+|-+|-+|-+/   |   Syllables:  10
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): hellish/his /h/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): hellish/rent/trembling /e/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): hellish/his /h/

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Expanding the poem lines (+) shows notes and queries taken from various critical editions of Gray's works, as well as those contributed by users of the Archive. There are 0 textual and 1 explanatory notes/queries.

All notes and queries are shown by default.

0 "[Translation from Dante, Inferno Canto xxxiii 1-78]" 1 Explanatory

Title/Paratext] "Ugolino della Gherardesca, count of [...]" H.W. Starr/J.R. Hendrickson, 1966.

"Ugolino della Gherardesca, count of Donoratico, was involved in the Guelf-Ghibelline struggles of thirteenth-century Italy and finally became the Guelf governor of Pisa. In 1288 the Ghibellines led by Archbishop Ruggieri degli Ubaldini revolted and during a parley which had been arranged with Ugolino incited a riot and treacherously seized him, his sons Gaddo and Uguccione, and his grandsons Ugolino and Anselmuccio. They were imprisoned and left to starve. When the bodies were examined they were found to be badly bitten by rats; in fact it was also suggested that the family had practised cannibalism, especially on the hands and arms. The theory has been advanced that Dante either attempted to explain the mutilations by Ugolino's biting his own hands (ll. 63-64) or wished to suggest cannibalism directly (l. 81). The translation is a rather free one: many adjectives are added and the dream sequence has been enlarged. The only indication of the date of the translation is the comment prefixed to the Mitford version, but Gray had started to learn Italian late in 1736 or early in 1737 [...] and made the translation of Tasso in 1738. It seems probable that this poem was written at about the same time or a little later."

The Complete Poems of Thomas Gray: English, Latin and Greek. Edited by Herbert W. Starr and J. R. Hendrickson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1966, 231-232.

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1 From his dire food the grisly felon raised
2 His gore-dyed lips, which on the clottered locks
3 Of the half-devoured head he wiped, and thus
4 Began: 'Would'st thou revive the deep despair,
5 The anguish, that, unuttered, natheless wrings
6 My inmost heart? Yet if the telling may
7 Beget the traitor's infamy, whom thus
8 I ceaseless gnaw insatiate, thou shalt see me
9 At once give loose to utterance and to tears.

10 'I know not who thou art nor on what errand
11 Sent hither; but a Florentine my ear,
12 Won by thy tongue, declares thee. Know, thou see'st
13 In me Count Ugolino, and Ruggieri,
14 Pisa's perfidious prelate, this: now hear
15 My wrongs and from them judge of my revenge.

16 'That I did trust him, that I was betrayed
17 By trusting, and by treachery slain, it recks not
18 That I advise thee; that which yet remains
19 To thee and all unknown (a horrid tale),
20 The bitterness of death, I shall unfold.
21 Attend, and say if he have injured me.

22 'Through a small crevice opening, what scant light
23 That grim and antique tower admitted (since
24 Of me the Tower of Famine hight, and known
25 To many a wretch) already 'gan the dawn
26 To send. The whilst I slumbering lay, a sleep
27 Prophetic of my woes with direful hand
28 Oped the dark veil of fate. I saw methought
29 Toward Pisa's mount, that intercepts the view
30 Of Lucca, chased by hell-hounds gaunt and bloody
31 A wolf full-grown; with fleet and equal speed
32 His young ones ran beside him. Lanfranc there
33 And Sigismundo and Gualandi rode
34 Amain, my deadly foes, headed by this
35 The deadliest: he their chief, the foremost he
36 Flashed to pursue and cheer the eager cry.
37 Nor long endured the chase: the panting sire,
38 Of strength bereft, his helpless offspring soon
39 O'erta'en beheld, and in their trembling flanks
40 The hungry pack their sharp-set fangs embrued.

41 'The morn had scarce commenced when I awoke:
42 My children (they were with me) sleep as yet
43 Gave not to know their sum of misery,
44 But yet in low and uncompleted sounds
45 I heard 'em wail for bread. Oh! thou art cruel,
46 Or thou dost mourn to think what my poor heart
47 Foresaw, foreknew; oh! if thou weep not now,
48 Where are thy tears? Too soon they had aroused them,
49 Sad with the fears of sleep, and now the hour
50 Of timely food approached; when, at the gate
51 Below, I heard the dreadful clank of bars
52 And fastening bolts. Then on my children's eyes
53 Speechless my sight I fixed, nor wept, for all
54 Within was stone. They wept, unhappy boys,
55 They wept; and first my little dear Anselmo
56 Cried, 'Father, why do you gaze so sternly?
57 What would you have?' Yet wept I not or answered
58 All that whole day or the succeeding night,
59 Till a new sun arose with weakly gleam
60 And wan, such as mought entrance find within
61 That house of woe. But oh! when I beheld
62 My sons, and in four faces saw my own
63 Despair reflected, either hand I gnawed
64 For anguish, which they construed hunger. Straight
65 Arising all they cried, 'Far less shall be
66 Our sufferings, sir, if you resume your gift;
67 These miserable limbs with flesh you clothed;
68 Take back what once was yours.' I swallowed down
69 My struggling sorrow, nor to heighten theirs.
70 That day and yet another, mute we sat
71 And motionless. O earth, could'st thou not gape
72 Quick to devour me? Yet a fourth day came,
73 When Gaddo, at my feet outstretched, imploring
74 In vain my help, expired; ere the sixth morn
75 Had dawned, my other three before my eyes
76 Died one by one. I saw 'em fall; I heard
77 Their doleful cries. For three days more I groped
78 About among their cold remains (for then
79 Hunger had reft my eyesight), often calling
80 On their dear names, that heard me now no more;
81 The fourth, what sorrow could not, famine did.'

82 He finished; then with unrelenting eye
83 Askance he turned him, hasty to renew
84 The hellish feast, and rent his trembling prey.

Works cited

  • The Complete Poems of Thomas Gray: English, Latin and Greek. Edited by Herbert W. Starr and J. R. Hendrickson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1966.

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Spelling has been modernized throughout, except in case of conscious archaisms. Contractions, italics and initial capitalization have been largely eliminated, except where of real import. Obvious errors have been silently corrected, punctuation has been supplied. The editor would like to express his gratitude to the library staff of the Göttingen State and University Library (SUB Göttingen) for their invaluable assistance.