As this strange and straitened year draws to a close, we could do with some fresh openings. These lines are from the end of Dante’s Inferno, as he takes a step away from the torments of Hell towards Purgatory.
In other words, he isn’t yet out of the woods, but he has been through the worst of it and things are already looking up. Could we be in the same place, as emerging vaccine plans start to hint at a possible return to less isolated times?
And up we went, he first, I second, to
The point where I could see an opening.
And it was there I saw, when I looked through,
A sight more wonderful than anything –
Some of the loveliness revealed to men
By Heaven. We could see the stars again. (Inferno, Canto 34)
… salimmo su, el primo e io secondo,
tanto ch’ i’ vidi delle cose belle
che porta ‘l ciel, per un pertugio tondo;
e quindi uscimmo a riveder le stelle.
Source: Dante, The Divine Comedy, trans. Clive James (New York: Liveright Publishing, 2013), p. 171
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