Inscription at the Gates of Hell
I AM THE WAY INTO THE CITY OF WOE.
I AM THE WAY TO A FORSAKEN PEOPLE.
I AM THE WAY INTO ETERNAL SORROW.
SACRED JUSTICE MOVED MY ARCHITECT.
I WAS RAISED HERE BY DIVINE OMNIPOTENCE,
PRIMORDIAL LOVE AND ULTIMATE INTELLECT.
ONLY THOSE ELEMENTS TIME CANNOT WEAR
WERE MADE BEFORE ME, AND BEYOND TIME I STAND.
ABANDON ALL HOPE YE WHO ENTER HERE.
“Master, what gnaws at them so hideously
Their lamentation stuns the very air?”
“They have no hope of death,” he answered me,
“and in their blind and unattaining state
Their miserable lives have sunk so low
That they must envy every other fate.”
At once I understood for certain: these
Were of that retrograde and faithless crew
Hateful to God and to His enemies.
These wretches never born and never dear
Ran naked in a swarm of wasps and hornets
That goaded them the more the more they fled,
And made their faces stream with bloody gouts
Of pus and tears that dribbled to their feet
To be swallowed there by loathsome worms and maggots.