The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri, Volume 3

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Ticknor and Fields, 1867
 

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I have never found Longfellow's translation of Dante's Divine Comedy accessible nor readable, but a complete obstacle of this great work. Longfellow's style spans between the florid and bombastic, with much of the original story lost or rendered meaningless through superfluous ornamentation of language. New readers of this great work might discover the modern translation by Anthony Esolen to be a far easier and enjoyable translation, characterized by a neat, elegant writing style, true to the original Italian manuscript. In many editions the Italian is accompanied alongside the English demonstrating transparency and truth of the translation. I applaud Anthony Esolen for bring this story to the twenty-first century. The story stands on its own. What he has accomplished for Dante's Divine Comedy compares as favorably as to what Robert Fagles has done for the translations of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey. 

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Page 330 - The Sun's rim dips; the stars rush out: At one stride comes the dark; With far-heard whisper, o'er the sea, Off shot the spectre-bark.
Page 277 - Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves : for the workman is worthy of his meat.
Page 356 - And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee : for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.
Page 292 - Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad : for who is able to judge this thy so great a people ? And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing.
Page 246 - But he, her fears to cease, Sent down the meek-eyed Peace; She, crown'd with olive green, came softly sliding Down through the turning sphere, His ready harbinger, With turtle wing the amorous clouds dividing; And waving wide her myrtle wand, She strikes a universal peace through sea and land.
Page 318 - Full little knowest thou, that hast not tried, What hell it is in suing long to bide ; To lose good days that might be better spent ; To waste long nights in pensive discontent; To speed to-day, to be put back to-morrow ; To feed on hope ; to pine with fear and sorrow ; To have thy Prince's grace, yet want her peers...
Page 333 - Nay, but O man, who art thou that repliest against God ? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus...
Page 350 - His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns, and he had a name written that no man knew but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood, and his name is called
Page 231 - Ring out, ye crystal spheres ! Once bless our human ears, If ye have power to touch our senses so; And let your silver chime Move in melodious time ; And let the bass of heaven's deep organ blow; And with your ninefold harmony Make up full consort to the angelic symphony.
Page 337 - And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give : for the labourer is worthy of his hire.

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