And thou hadst seen there,
If thou hadst had a hankering for such scurf,
That one, who by the Servant of the Servants
From Arno was transferred to Bacchiglione,
Where he has left his sin-excited nerves.
s’avessi avuto di tal tigna brama,
colui potei che dal servo de’ servi
fu trasmutato d’Arno in Bacchiglione,
dove lasciò li mal protesi nervi.]
The Divine Comedy [Divina Commedia], Book 1 “Inferno,” Canto 15, l. 110ff (15.110-114) [Brunetto] (1320) [tr. Longfellow (1867)]
Referring to Bishop Andrea de'Mozzi, one of the damned in the 7th Circle. In order to cover up de'Mozzi's continuous sexual scandals, Dante's enemy, Pope Boniface VIII (the "Servant of the Servants of God"), shuffled him from the See of Florence to that of Vicenza; he died there a year later.
There's also wordplay here around de'Mozzi's "unnatural vices" hidden in the last line of the Italian: "mal protesti nervi," which can mean "dissolute nerves" -- or, more suggestively, "ill-stretched muscles," or even "wrongly erect penis". Different translators vary as they (or the times) see fit. See Ciardi and Singleton for more commentary.
(Source (Italian)). Alternate translations:
And, of such odious sights if fond, you him
May see, who by the Servants Servant was
To that which laves Vicenza's walls transferr'd
From Arno's river where he died contemn'd.
[tr. Rogers (1782), l. 108]
He too is there, who late at Rome's request,
Forsook proud Florence for Vicenza's plain.
The living scandal of the hallow'd train,
'Till the kind clay his tainted limbs opprest.
[tr. Boyd (1802), st. 20]
And, if the wish of so impure a blotch
Possess’d thee, him thou also might’st have seen,
Who by the servants’ servant was transferr’d
From Arno’s seat to Bacchiglione, where
His ill-strain’d nerves he left.
[tr. Cary (1814)]
and, couldst thou crave
So leprous scab to see, was sight allowed
Of him to whom the servants' servant gave
Arno's to change for Bacchiglione's vale,
Wherein his ill-strung sinews found a grave.
[tr. Dayman (1843)]
Also, if thou hadst had any longing for such scurf, thou mightest have seen
him there, who by the Servant of servants was translated from Arno to the Bacchiglionne, where he left his ill-strained nerves.
[tr. Carlyle (1849)]
Even him you might have see, by servants' servant
From Arno taken to Bacchilion --
Abused, corrupted nerves to leave alone.
[tr. Bannerman (1850)]
I could shew
If thou wouldst more of this uncleanness see,
Him by the servant's servant from the banks
Of Arno to Bacchiglione sent,
His foul-stretched members there in death to leave.
[tr. Johnston (1867)]
And thou canst also see there, if thou hadst had a desire of such scurf, him who by the servant of servants was translated from Arno to Bacchiglione, where he left his nerves stretched to sin.
[tr. Butler (1885)]
Thou might'st see
(If though hadst any whish to see such blame)
Him whom the slave of slaves translated free
From Arno's until Bacchiglione's tide,
Where all his rotten nerves he left in fee.
[tr. Minchin (1885)]
And thou mightest also have seen, hadst thou had desire of such scurf, him who by the Servant of Servants was translated from Arno to Bacchiglione, where he left his ill-strained nerves.
[tr. Norton (1892)]
And furthermore, thou mightest have looked, if thou hadst any care for suchlike scurf, on him who by the Servant of Servants was translated from the Arno to Bacchiglione, where he left his vice-warped senses.
[tr. Sullivan (1893)]
And, if to see such scabs hadst had a craving,
Thou might'st see him who by the servants' servant
From Arno to Bacchilion was translated;
And there he left behind his sin-strained sinew.
[tr. Griffith (1908)]
And if thou hast a craving for such scurf, him thou mightest see there that was translated by the Servant of Servants from the Arno to the Bacchiglione, where he left his sin-strained nerves behind.
[tr. Sinclair (1939)]
And didst thou crave
Such scurf, thou mightest have seen and spoken to
Him who from Arno to Bacchiglon's wave
By the servant of God's servants was transferred,
And there his sinfully spent nerves outgave.
[tr. Binyon (1943)]
Could thy hunger have been sated
By such scabbed meat, thou mightest have seen also
Him whom the Servant of servants once translated
From Arno to Bacchiglione, where he left
The body he'd unstrung and enervated.
[tr. Sayers (1949)]
And also there,
if you had any longing for such scum,
you might have seen that one the Servant of Servants
send from the Arnot to the Bacchiglione
where he left his unnatural organ wrapped in cerements.
[tr. Ciardi (1954)]
And you could also have seen there, had you hankered for such scurf, him who was transferred by the Servant of Servants form Arno to Bacchiglione, where he left his sinfully displayed muscles.
[tr. Singleton (1970)]
And also there,
if you could have stomached such repugnancy,
you might have seen the one the Servant of Servants
transferred to the Bacchiglione from the Arno
where his sinfully-erected nerves were buried.
[tr. Musa (1971)]
And among them you can see,
if you have any longing for such scurf,
the one the Servant of His Servants sent
from the Arno to the Bacchiglione's banks,
and there he left his tendons strained by sin.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1980)]
And you might have seen,
If you had any taste for such pestilence,
Him who, by the servant of the servants,
Was translated from the Arno to the Bacchiglione,
Where he at last left his ill-stretched nerves.
[tr. Sisson (1981)]
And if you crave
To see such scurf, among them you can find
One whom the Servant of Servants asked to leave
The Arno for Bacchiglione; and there
He left his body, distended in its nerve
[tr. Pinsky (1994)]
And, if you had desired such scurf, you could see there
him who by the Servant of servants was transmuted from Arno to Bacchiglione, where he left his ill-protended muscles.
[tr. Durling (1996)]
And if you had any desire for such scum, you might have seen Andrea di Mozzi there, who by Boniface, the Pope, servus servorum Dei, servant of servants, was translated from the Arno to Vicenza’s Bacchiglione, where he departed from his ill-strained body.
[tr. Kline (2002)]
And if you yearn
to set your eyes on such-like mangy scabs,
you could. That bishop there! The Slave of Slaves
transferred him to Vicenza from the Arno.
He left his muscles, ill-distended, there.
[tr. Kirkpatrick (2006)]
And, had you had
a hankering for such filth, you might have seen
the one transferred by the Servant of Servants
from the Arno to the Bacchiglione,
where he left his sin-stretched sinews.
[tr. Hollander/Hollander (2007)]
And if you longed for
The company of such holy, but scurvy slime,
There's also Andrea de Mozzi, a bishop so strongly
Warped that the Servant of Servants was finally forced
To ship him off to Bacchiglione: he belonged there,
And died, left it his sin-stained body.
[tr. Raffel (2010)]
And if you like scum you might see the man
Sent to Vicenza by the Pope, before
Florence should see his sin-worn nerves collapse:
Andrea de'Mozzi. Bishop, in your youth.
[tr. James (2013), l. 111ff]
Added on 5-May-23 | Last updated 5-May-23
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