Per me si va (Inferno, canto 3)

1 Per me si va ne la città dolente,
2 per me si va ne l'etterno dolore,
3 per me si va tra la perduta gente.

4 Giustizia mosse il mio alto fattore:
5 fecemi la divina podestate,
6 la somma sapienza e 'l primo amore.

7 Dinanzi a me non fuor cose create
8 se non etterne, e io etterno duro.
9 Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate.

10 Queste parole di colore oscuro
11 vid'io scritte al sommo d'una porta;
12 per ch'io: «Maestro, il senso lor m'è duro».

13 Ed elli a me, come persona accorta:
14 «Qui si convien lasciare ogne sospetto;
15 ogne viltà convien che qui sia morta.

16 Noi siam venuti al loco ov'i' t'ho detto
17 che tu vedrai le genti dolorose
18 c'hanno perduto il ben de l'intelletto».

19 E poi che la sua mano a la mia puose
20 con lieto volto, ond'io mi confortai,
21 mi mise dentro a le segrete cose.

Commentary

1-3 Per me si va....Beckett's "the space of the door"...

3 la perduta gente....note double (positive/negative) meaning....positively, becoming 'lost' in the space of this door is the only way one can go (va) between (per) the realms of being...

1-3 Human beings ('la gente') are defined (ontologically) by the "the space of the door", the 'per'; hence 'per me...per me...per me' leads to 'la per-duta gente'. This same technique is used by Dante in lines 8-12 ('duro'.....'duro') to bring together the same pair (the space of the door and the nature of human being).

3-6 la perduta gente....primo amore....the importance of this canto for Beckett may be seen in the fact that two of his works are named from it (The Lost Ones, First Love).

7 Dinanzi a me non fuor cose create....this space of the door is deeper than created things and is therefore ontological. This space belongs to reality itself (as the way between the competing shapes or realms of the real). But as the space between possibilities, it is not itself one of the possibilities of being, but lies between these. As the im-possibility of being, the space of the door is the darkest space to which human being is exposed....

8-12 e io etterno duro....«Maestro, il senso lor m'è duro»...(and I [= the space of the door] endure forever...«Maestro, the difficulty of the sense/way here is hard for me to endure»). 'Senso' is also 'el camino', 'cammino', 'commedia, 'the way'; this space of the door defines human being ('duro' ... 'duro'), as with 'per me' .... 'per-duta' above. Human beings are the type of finite being which is exposed to the pathway(s) between the realms of being. This is 'hard to endure' ('duro...duro').

9 Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate...again, the double (positive/negative) meaning...the way between possibilities cannot occur while retaining the hopes belonging to some one possibility...each and all must be abandoned if the way of the space of the door is to be ventured...

10 Queste parole di colore oscuro (...) d'una porta: the space of the door is abysmally obscure....

14-16 «Qui si convien lasciare ogne sospetto;
ogne viltà convien che qui sia morta.
Noi siam venuti al loco....»
Again, the way between possibilities, the space of the door, cannot be taken if the notions or fears belonging to some one possibility are retained....

18 il ben de l'intelletto....the good of human intellect belongs to this way, to the space of the door....

21 mi mise dentro a le segrete cose....no human purpose or intention leads to this space (since it itself must be crossed to arrive there). Instead, one must be led 'there' passively, 'among the secret things' - where the most secret of all things is the space of the door itself through which access is available....

September 10, 2003 in Dante, Original difference | Permalink

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