Blind greed! Brainless rage!
In our brief lives they drive us beyond sense
And leave us misery for a heritage
Throughout eternity!

[Oh cieca cupidigia e ira folle,
che sì ci sproni ne la vita corta,
e ne l’etterna poi sì mal c’immolle!]

Dante Alighieri the poet
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) Italian poet
The Divine Comedy [Divina Commedia], Book 1 “Inferno,” Canto 12, l. 49ff (12.49-51) (1309) [tr. James (2013)]

On seeing Phlegethon, the river of boiling blood, in which those who violently injured others (through greed or wrath) are forced to stand for all eternity.

Some versions have this as something Virgil says; most make it an exclamation of Dante's.

(Source (Italian)). Alternate translations:

O foolish Rage, O blind desire,
That spurs you on, in the short life above,
To such dire Acts as to eternity
Will keep you in this wretched bath below!
[tr. Rogers (1782), l. 45ff]

O blind lust!
O foolish wrath! who so dost goad us on
In the brief life, and in the eternal then
Thus miserably o’erwhelm us.
[tr. Cary (1814)]

Oh blinded lust! oh anger void of sense!
To spur us o'er the shorter life so bold,
So fell to steep us in the life immense!
[tr. Dayman (1843)]

Oh blind cupidity [both wicked and foolish],
which so incites us in the short life, and then,
in the eternal, steeps us so bitterly!
[tr. Carlyle (1849)]

O blind cupidity! O foolish wrath!
Thorough this short life, that spurs them to the sleep,
Eternally in tide like this to steep.
[tr. Bannerman (1850), from Virgil]

Oh, blinded greediness! oh, foolish rage!
Which spur us so in the short world of life,
And then in death so drown us in despair!
[tr. Johnston (1867)]

O blind cupidity, O wrath insane,
⁠That spurs us onward so in our short life,
⁠ ⁠And in the eternal then so badly steeps us!
[tr. Longfellow (1867)]

O blind covetousness! O foolish wrath! that dost so spur us in our short life, and afterward in the life eternal dost in such evil wise steep us!
[tr. Butler (1885)]

O blind cupidity, O foolish ire,
Which spurs us on so in our life's short day,
And soaks us till Eternity expire!
[tr. Minchin (1885)]

Oh blind cupidity, both guilty and mad, that so spurs us in the brief life, and then, in the eternal, steeps us so ill!
[tr. Norton (1892)]

O sightless greed! O foolish wrath! that dost in our short life, so goad us; and after, in the life that hath no end, dost sink us in such evil plight.
[tr. Sullivan (1893), from Virgil]

Oh, blind cupidity! Oh, senseless anger,
Which in the brief life spurs us on so hotly.
And in the eternal then so sadly dips us !
[tr. Griffith (1908)]

O blind covetousness and foolish anger, which in the brief life so goad us on and then, in the eternal, steep us in such misery!
[tr. Sinclair (1939)]

O blind greed and mad anger, all astray
That in the short life goad us onward so,
And in the eternal with such plungings pay!
[tr. Binyon (1943)]

O blind, O rash and wicked lust of spoil,
That drives our short life with so keen a goad
And steeps our life eternal in such broil!
[tr. Sayers (1949)]

Oh blind!
Oh ignorant, self-seeking cupidity
which spurs us so in the short mortal life
and steeps us so through all eternity!
[tr. Ciardi (1954)]

O blind cupidity and mad rage, which in the brief life so goad us on, and then, in the eternal, steep us so bitterly!
[tr. Singleton (1970)]

O blind cupidity and insane wrath,
spurring us on through our short life on earth
to steep us then forever in such misery!
[tr. Musa (1971)]

O blind cupidity and insane anger,
which goad us on so much in our short life,
then steep us in such grief eternally!
[tr. Mandelbaum (1980)]

O blind cupidity and senseless anger,
Which so goads us in our short life here
And, in the eternal life, drenches us miserably!
[tr. Sisson (1981)]

O blind desire
Of covetousness, O anger gone insane --
That goad us on through life, which is so brief,
to steep in eternal woe when life is done.
[tr. Pinsky (1994)]

Oh blind cupidity and mad rage, that so spur us in this short life, and then in the eternal one cook us so evilly!
[tr. Durling (1996)]

O blind desires, evil and foolish, which so goad us in our brief life, and then, in the eternal one, ruin us so bitterly!
[tr. Kline (2002)]

O blind cupidity, that brew of bile
and foolishness, which bubbles our brief lives,
before it steeps us in eternal gall!
[tr. Carson (2002)]

What blind cupidity, what crazy rage
impels us onwards in our little lives --
then dunks us in this stew to all eternity!
[tr. Kirkpatrick (2006)]

O blind covetousness, insensate wrath,
which in this brief life goad us on and then,
in the eternal, steep us in such misery!
[tr. Hollander/Hollander (2007)]

O greedy blindness and rage, insane and senseless,
Spurring us on in this, our so short life,
Then immolating us forever and ever!
[tr. Raffel (2010)]

Added on 8-Sep-23 | Last updated 22-Mar-24
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