Fraud, which so gnaweth at all men’s conscience,
A man may use on one who trusts him best
And on him also who risks no confidence.
This latter mode seems only to arrest
The love which Nature meaneth to endure;
Hence in the second circle huddled nest
Hypocrisy, flattery; they who would conjure
By spells; and simony; the thief, the cheat,
Pandars and barrators, and the like ordure.

[La frode, ond’ogne coscïenza è morsa,
può l’omo usare in colui che ‘n lui fida
e in quel che fidanza non imborsa.
Questo modo di retro par ch’incida
pur lo vinco d’amor che fa natura;
onde nel cerchio secondo s’annida
ipocresia, lusinghe e chi affattura,
falsità, ladroneccio e simonia,
ruffian, baratti e simile lordura.]

Dante Alighieri the poet
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) Italian poet
The Divine Comedy [Divina Commedia], Book 1 “Inferno,” Canto 11, l. 52ff (11.52-60) [Virgil] (1309) [tr. Binyon (1943)]

On the punishment of common fraudsters, who do not betray a personal trust but only the natural love of humanity. This is still deemed worse, in Dante's cosmology, than deadly "bestial" violence.

Barratry is the sale of justice, employment, or public offices, going alongside simony, the sale of holy offices.

(Source (Italian)). Alternate translations:

That Fraud of which each Conscience feels the pangs
Man may commit 'gainst those who do confide
In him, as well as those who trust him not.
The first unhappily destroys the Bond
In general by Nature form'd: from whence
Confined in the second Circle are
The Hypocrites, the Flatterers, and they
Who practice Coz'ning, Sorcery, and Theft,
Base Simony, procuring with a smile,
Masked Deceit, and all such filthy tricks.
[tr. Rogers (1782), l. 53ff]

Fraud skulks below with all her various brood,
There darkling dwell the foes of public good.
The pilf'rer, and the cheat, his dark ally:
With those, whose felon hand their trust betray'd,
Hypocrisy in faintly garb array'd.
Corruption foul, and frontless Perjury.
[tr. Boyd (1802), st. 8]

Fraud, that in every conscience leaves a sting,
May be by man employ’d on one, whose trust
He wins, or on another who withholds
Strict confidence. Seems as the latter way
Broke but the bond of love which Nature makes.
Whence in the second circle have their nest
Dissimulation, witchcraft, flatteries,
Theft, falsehood, simony, all who seduce
To lust, or set their honesty at pawn,
With such vile scum as these.
[tr. Cary (1814)]

Fraud, to the stricken conscience inly known,
Might man devise on him who faith disbursed,
And eke on him who credence had not shown.
The bond of love which nature framed at first.
But only that, the latter mode hath slain,
Whence nesting in the second orb lie curst
Hypocrites, and flatterers, and the wizard train,
Falseness, and simonies, and pilferers' trade,
Panders, and cheats, and all of foulest stain.
[tr. Dayman (1843)]

Fraud, which gnaws every conscience, a man may practice upon one who confides in him; and upon him who reposes no confidence.
This latter mode seems only to cut off the bond of love which Nature makes: hence in the second circle nests
hypocrisy, flattery, sorcerers, cheating, theft and simony, pandars, barrators, and like filth.
[tr. Carlyle (1849)]

And fraud, that every conscience can corrode --
Fraud may be practiced against them who trust,
And those who put no confidence in dust.
This seems to come behind, it only slays
The kindly chains of love that nature binds
Hence, in the lower circle, station finds
Hypocrisy, flattery and sorcery;
Falsification, robbery, simony,
Seduction, quarrels, and brutality.
[tr. Bannerman (1850)]

That fraud, which sharply, ev'ry conscience bites,
Man against those who trust in him may use,
Or against those by whom no trust is giv'n.
This latter seems to rend in twain the bond
Which Nature in her love for us hath made;
Whence in the second circle such are held;
Magic, hypocrisy, and flatters,
Vile falsehood, robbery and simony,
Panders and Userers, and such foul stuff.
[tr. Johnston (1867)]

Fraud, wherewithal is every conscience stung,
A man may practise upon him who trusts,
And him who doth no confidence imburse.
This latter mode, it would appear, dissevers ⁠
Only the bond of love which Nature makes;
Wherefore within the second circle nestle
Hypocrisy, flattery, and who deals in magic,
Falsification, theft, and simony,
Panders, and barrators, and the like filth.
[tr. Longfellow (1867)]

The fraud, wherewith every conscience is pricked, man can practise towards the one who trusts him, and towards him who has no confidence in store. This latter mode seems to destroy only the bond of love that nature makes; whence in the second circle have their nests hypocrisy, flatteries, and whoso uses arts; forgery, robbery, and simony; pandars, jobbers, and suchlike filth.
[tr. Butler (1885)]

Such fraud, for which all must compunction feel.
Can man exert 'gainst him whose trust he shares,
And him whose thoughts no confidence reveal.
This latter fashion all unseemly tears
The golden chain of love which Nature weaves.
Whence gather in the second circle's lairs
Hypocrisy, all flattery that deceives,
Witchcraft, lies, thefts, the Simoniac blot.
Panders, chicaners, and all similar thieves.
[tr. Minchin (1885)]

Fraud, by which every conscience is bitten, man may practice on one that confides in him, or on one that owns no confidence. This latter mode seemeth to destroy only the bond of love that nature makes; wherefore in the second circle nestle hypocrisy, flatteries, and sorcerers, falsity, robbery, and simony, panders, barrators, and such like filth.
[tr. Norton (1892)]

Fraud, with which there is no conscience but is bitten, a man may practise upon one who putteth his trust in him; and upon one who giveth no credit for fidelity. This last kind seemeth only to sever the bond of love which nature weaveth; and therefore is it that in the second circle there nestle hypocrisy, flattery, workers of sorcery, treachery, robbery and simony, panders, barrators, and such-like refuse.
[tr. Sullivan (1893)]

Fraud, wherewithal is bitten every conscience,
A man may use regarding one who trusts him,
Or one who has no store of trust to deal with.
This latter way, as it would seem, slays only
The tie of love that nature itself fashions;
Whence make their nest within the second circle
Hypocrisy, smooth speeches, and bewitchment,
Forgery, thieving, and the sin of Simon,
Panders, and jobbers, and the like offscouring.
[tr. Griffith (1908)]

Fraud, which always stings the conscience, a man may practice on one who confides in him or on one who does not so place his confidence; it is evident that this latter way destroys simply the bond of love which nature makes, so that in the next circle, hypocrisy, flatteries, sorceries, falsifications, theft, and simony, panders, jobbers, and like filth have their nest.
[tr. Sinclair (1939)]

Fraud, which gnaws at every conscience, may be a breach
Of trust against the confiding, or deceive
Such as repose no confidence; though each
Is fraud, the latter sort seems but to cleave
The general bond of love and Nature's tie;
So the second circle opens to receive
Hypocrites, flatterers, dealers in sorcery,
Panders and cheats, and all such filthy stuff,
With theft, and simony and barratry.
[tr. Sayers (1949)]

Fraud, which is a canker to every conscience,
may be practiced by a man on those who trust him,
and on those who have reposed no confidence.
This latter mode seems only to deny
the bond of love which all men have from Nature;
therefore within the second circle lie
simoniacs, sycophants, and hypocrites,
falsifiers, thieves, and sorcerers,
grafters, pimps, and all such filthy cheats.
[tr. Ciardi (1954)]

Fraud, which gnaws at every conscience, a man may practice upon one who trusts in him, or upon one who reposes no condifence. This altter way seems to sever only the bond of love which nature makes; wherefore in the second circle hypocrisy, flatteries, sorcerers, falsity, theft, simony, panders, barratry, and like filth have their nest.
[tr. Singleton (1970)]

Fraud, that gnaws the conscience of its servants,
can be used on one who puts his trust in you
or else on one who has no trust invested.
This latter sort seems only to destroy
the bond of love that Nature gives to man;
so in the second circle there are nests
of hypocrites, flatterers, dabblers in sorcery,
falsifiers, thieves and simonists,
panders, seducers, grafters and like filth.
[tr. Musa (1971)]

Now fraud, that eats away at every conscience,
is praticed by a man against another
who trusts in him, or one who has no trust.
This latter way seems only to cut off
the bond of love that nature forges; thus,
nestled within the second circle are:
hypocrisy and flattery, sorcerers,
and falsifiers, simony, and theft,
and barrators and panders and like trash.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1980)]

Fraud, by which every conscience is bitten,
A man may practice on a person who trusts him
Or upon one who has no confidence in him.
This latter mode cuts only the bond of love
Which nature itself establishes;
And so there are, lodged in the second circle,
Hypocrisy, flatterers, and those who delude,
Falsity, thieving and simony,
Pimps, trouble-makers, and all such-like scum.
[tr. Sisson (1981)]

Fraud, which bites every conscience, a man may play
Either on one who trusts him, or one who does not.
The latter of the two is seen to destroy
Only those bonds of love that nature makes:
So in the second circle hypocrisy,
Flatterers, sorcery, larceny, simoniacs,
With pimps, barrators, and such filth have their nest.
[tr. Pinsky (1994), ll. 53-59]

Fraud, which bites at every mind, a man can use against one who trusts in him or against one who has in his purse no cause for trust.
This latter mode seems to cut solely into the bond of love that Nature makes; thus in the second circle find their nest
hypocrisy, flattery, casters of spells, impersonators, thievery and simony, panders, embezzlers, and similar filth.
[tr. Durling (1996)]

Human beings may practise deceit, which gnaws at every conscience, on one who trusts them, or on one who places no trust. This latter form of fraud only severs the bond of love that Nature created, and so, in the eighth circle, are nested hypocrisy; sorcery; flattery; cheating; theft and selling of holy orders; pimps; corrupters of public office; and similar filth.
[tr. Kline (2002)]

As for deceit -- which gnaws all rational minds --
we practise this on those who trust in us,
or those whose pockets have no room for trust.
Fraud of the second kind will only gash
the ligature of love that Nature forms:
and therefore in great Circle Two there nests
smarm and hypocrisy, the casting-up of spells,
impersonation, thievery, crooked priests,
embezzlement and pimping, such like scum.
[tr. Kirkpatrick (2006)]

Fraud gnaws at every conscience,
whether used on him who trusted
or on one who lacked such faith.
Fraud against the latter only severs
the bond of love that nature makes.
Thus in the second circle nest
hypocrisy, flatteries, and sorcerers;
lies, theft, and simony;
panders, barrators, and all such filth.[tr. Hollander/Hollander (2007)]

Fraud will gnaw at the conscience, but a man may bury
His heart and cheat the people who believe in him --
But trust's not needed, just opportunity.
This sinning slices away the soft-tied tether
Of love, prepared for us by Nature. The second
Circle is therefore a nest for flatterers
And hypocrites and liars, and those who press
Illiterate fools for high Church office, well-paid
For their filthy work, and bawds, and all such festering
[tr. Raffel (2010)]

Fraud eats the conscience, whether used against
Those who trust us, or those who trust us not.
In the latter case, the bonds of love dispensed
By nature are undone. Thus you have got,
In Circle Eight, toadies and hypocrites,
Magicians, forgers, thieves, thugs, dealers in
Holy preferment, everything that fits
The definition of sheer filth.
[tr. James (2013)]

Added on 17-Mar-23 | Last updated 22-Mar-24
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