Ah, God’s avenging justice! who could heap up
suffering and pain as strange as I saw here?
How can we let our guilt bring us to this?

[Ahi giustizia di Dio! tante chi stipa
nove travaglie e pene quant’io viddi?
e perché nostra colpa sì ne scipa?]

Dante Alighieri the poet
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) Italian poet
The Divine Comedy [Divina Commedia], Book 1 “Inferno,” Canto 7, l. 19ff (7.19-21) (1309) [tr. Musa (1971)]

(Source (Italian)). Alternate translations:

Great is God's Justice; as increase with Crimes
Their Punishments, which here I many saw:
But why do we encourage this increase?
[tr. Rogers (1782)]

Justice of Heav'n, from thine avenging hand
What nameless toils and tortures fill the strand!
Ah! why on mortal failings so severe!
[tr. Boyd (1802), st. 4]

Almighty Justice! in what store thou heap’st
New pains, new troubles, as I here beheld!
Wherefore doth fault of ours bring us to this?
[tr. Cary (1814)]

Justice of God! who might such travail heap,
Such unimagined pangs as there I saw?
And wherefore drains our guilt the cup so deep?
[tr. Dayman (1843)]

Ah, Justice Divine! who shall tell in few the many fresh pains and travails that I saw? and why does guilt of ours thus waste us?
[tr. Carlyle (1849)]

Ah! justice of our God! how it heaps up
New troubles and new punishments I saw,
And fault of ours such penalty to draw!
[tr. Bannerman (1850)]

Oh, God's great justice! who heaps up the mass
Of pains and labors new which meet mine eye?
Why does our crime so tear and torture us?
[tr. Johnston (1867)]

Justice of God, ah! who heaps up so many
New toils and sufferings as I beheld?
And why doth our transgression waste us so?
[tr. Longfellow (1867)]

Ah justice of God! who crowds all the new labours and pains that I saw? and wherefore does our sin so bring us low?
[tr. Butler (1885)]

Justice of God! who heapeth up such store
Of novel toils and pains which I have seen!
And why doth sin in such profusion pour?
[tr. Minchin (1885)]

Ah, Justice of God! Who heapeth up so many new travails and penalties as I saw? And why doth our sin so waste us?
[tr. Norton (1892)]

Ah me! Justice of God, that heapeth up un-heard-of toils and tortures in numbers such as I beheld! And why doth man's transgression scourge man so?
[tr. Sullivan (1893)]

Justice of God! that it can pack together
Such novel pains and travails as I witnessed!
And why is our own fault thus our destruction?
[tr. Griffith (1908)]

Ah, Justice of God, who crams together
all the new toils and pains that I saw?
And why does our sin so lay us waste?
[tr. Sinclair (1939)]

Ah! Divine Justice! Who crowds throe on throe,
Toil upon toil, such as mine eyes now met?
And why doth guilt of ours consume us so?
[tr. Binyon (1943)]

God's justice! Who shall tell the agonies,
Heaped thick and new before my shuddering glance?
Why must our guilt smite us with strokes like this?
[tr. Sayers (1949)]

O Holy Justice,
who could relate the agonies I saw!
What guilt is man that he can come to this?
[tr. Ciardi (1954)]

Ah, justice of God! who crams together so many new travails and penalties as I saw? And why does our guilt so waste us?
[tr. Singleton (1970)]

Justice of God! Who has amassed as many
strange tortures and travails as I have seen?
Why do we let our guilt consume us so?
[tr. Mandelbaum (1980)]

Justice of God! Who except you could gather
As many pains and punishments as I saw?
And why is it our faults must so devour us?
[tr. Sisson (1981)]

Justice of God! Who is it hat heaps together
So much peculiar torture and travail?
How is it that we choose to sin and wither?
[tr. Pinsky (1994), ll. 17-19]

Ah, justice of God! who stuffs in so many strange
travails and punishments as I saw? and why does
our own guilt so destroy us?
[tr. Durling (1996)]

O Divine Justice! Who can tell the many new pains and troubles, that I saw, and why our guilt so destroys us?
[tr. Kline (2002)]

God in all justice! I saw there so many
new forms of travail, so tightly crammed. By whom?
How can our guilt so rend and ruin us?
[tr. Kirkpatrick (2006)]

Ah, Justice of God, who heaps up
such strange punishment and pain as I saw there?
And why do our sins so waste us?
[tr. Hollander/Hollander (2007)]

Ah, God of Justice, Who does this, scraping
Together the brand-new pains and punishments
I saw? And why should sinning cause such wastage?
[tr. Raffel (2010)]

Merciful God! Who gets it in,
This wretched harvest? What accounts for it?
And why to such pain are we led by sin?
[tr. James (2013), ll. 18-20]

Added on 10-Feb-23 | Last updated 22-Mar-24
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Dante Alighieri

Thoughts? Comments? Corrections? Feedback?