Literary Quotations
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THE DIVINE COMEDY

by: Dante Alighieri


Why goest thou back to perils which destroy,
Why dost thou not ascent the blissful Mount
Which is the source and cause of every joy?

--Canto I, Inferno

All hope abandon, ye who enter here!

--Canto III, Inferno

Here sighs and lamentations and loud cries were echoing across the starless air, so that, as soon as I set out, I wept. Strange utterances, horrible pronouncements, accents of anger, words of suffering, and voices shrill and faint, and beating hands-all went to make tumult that will whirl forever through that turbid, timeless air, like sand that eddies when a whirlwind swirls.

--Canto III, Inferno

Without hope we live in desire.

--Canto IV, Inferno

When comes the ill-born spirit o'er
To stand before him, all is then confessed;
And this well-practised Judge of sin, therefore,
Selects the place in Hell which suits it best.

--Canto V, Inferno

The hurricane of Hell which knows no wane
Attacks the shades and drives them in its might...
It sweeps them here and there, now high, now low,
And never hope consoles them of a day
When they shall rest or feel les poignant woe.
As cranes when flying chant their plaintive lay
And make a line of blackness in the air,
Of wailing shades I saw a great array
Borne onward by the wind, they knew not where.

--Canto V, Inferno

There is no greater sorrow
Than to be mindful of the happy time
In misery.

--Canto V, Inferno

Avarice, envy, pride,
Three fatal sparks, have set the hearts of all
On Fire.

--Canto VI, Inferno

Ah! Justice of our God! Who else could stow
Such travails new and pains as met my glance!

--Canto VII, Inferno

He listens well who takes notes.

--Canto XV, Inferno

Lying in a featherbed will bring you no fame, nor staying beneath the quilt, and he who uses up his life without achieving fame leaves no more vestige of himself on Earth than smoke in the air or foam upon the water.

--Canto XXIV, Inferno

A fair request should be followed by the deed in silence.

--Canto XXIV, Inferno

Consider your origin; you were not born to live like brutes, but to follow virtue and knowledge.

--Canto XXVI, Inferno

To run over better waters the little vessel of my genius now hoists her sails, as she leaves behind her a sea so cruel.

--Canto I, Purgatorio

One is not so lost that the Eternal Love cannot return, while hope has speck of green.

--Canto III, Purgatorio

Mad is he who hopes that our reason can traverse the infinite way.

--Canto III, Purgatorio

O conscience, upright and stainless, how bitter sting to thee is a little fault!

--Canto III, Purgatorio

For always the man in whom thought springs up over thought sets his mark farther off, for the one thought saps the force of the other.

--Canto V, Purgatorio

If I speak the truth, the fact does not hide it.

--Canto VI, Purgatorio

Many have justice at heart, but shoot slowly, through not coming to the bow without deliberation.

--Canto VI, Purgatorio

Worldly renown is naught but a breath of wind, which now comes this way and now comes that, and changes name because it changes quarter.

--Canto XI, Purgatorio

O human race, born to fly upward, wherefore at a little wind dost thou so fall?

--Canto XII, Purgatorio

To a greater force, and to a better nature, you, free, are subject, and that creates the mind in you, which the heavens have not in their charge. Therefore if the present world go astray, the cause is in you, in you it is to be sought.

--Canto XVI, Purgatorio

Love kindled by virtue always kindles another, provided that its flame appear outwardly.

--Canto XXII, Purgatorio

My son, you've seen the temporary fire and the eternal fire; you have reached the place past which my powers cannot see. I've brought you here through intellect and art; from now on, let your pleasure be your guide; you're past the steep and past the narrow paths. Look at the sun that shines upon your brow; look at the grasses, flowers, and the shrubs born here, spontaneously, of the earth. Among them, you can rest or walk until the coming of the glad and lovely eyes--those eyes that, weeping, sent me to your side. Await no further word or sign from me: your will is free, erect, and whole--to act against that will would be to err: therefore I crown and miter you over yourself.

--Canto XXVII, Purgatorio

The glory of Him who moves everything penetrates through the universe, and is resplendent in one part more and in another less.

--Canto I, Paradiso

A great flame follows a little spark.

--Canto I, Paradiso

And in His will is our peace.

--Canto III, Paradiso

The greatest gift that God in His bounty made in creation, and the most conformable to His goodness, and that which He prizes the most, was the freedom of will, with which the creatures with intelligence, they all and they alone, were and are endowed.

--Canto V, Paradiso

Thou shalt prove how salt is the taste of another's bread and how hard is the way up and down another man's stairs.

--Canto XVII, Paradiso

Therefore the sight that is granted to your world penetrates within the Eternal Justice as the eye into the sea; for though from the shore it sees the bottom, in the open sea it does not, and yet the bottom is there but the depth conceals it.

--Canto XIX, Paradiso

I saw within Its depth how It conceives all things in a single volume bound by Love, of which the universe is the scattered leaves.

--Canto XXXIII, Paradiso

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