Saturday, June 6, 2009

Quotations from Dante - The importance of a clear conscience

Faced with a truly shocking, astonishing, horrible sight in the ninth bolge of the eighth circle of Hell (reserved for the Sowers of Discord), Dante writes that he's reluctant even to describe it because it is so unbelievable
Did not a blameless conscience stead me well -
That trusty squire that harnesses a man
In his own virtue like a coat of mail

[xxviii, 115-117]
(I'd link to an online copy of the book, but I didn't like the one I peeked at as well as Sayers' translation)

A man can be paralyzed by an accusing conscience, where he otherwise acts freely and forthrightly when his conscience is clear. I like the turn of phrase here.

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