The Atlantic Monthly/Volume 18/Number 109/On Translating the Divina Commedia
ON TRANSLATING THE DIVINA COMMEDIA.
How strange the sculptures that adorn these towers!
This crowd of statues, in whose folded sleeves
Birds build their nests; while canopied with leaves
Parvis and portal bloom like trellised bowers,
And the vast minster seems a cross of flowers!
But fiends and dragons from the gargoyled eaves
Watch the dead Christ between the living thieves,
And underneath the traitor Judas lowers!
Ah! from what agonies of heart and brain,
What exultations trampling on despair,
What tenderness, what tears, what hate of wrong,
What passionate outcry of a soul in pain,
Uprose this poem of the earth and air,
This mediæval miracle of song!