Purgatorio Canto IV 88-96, Virgil to Dante pilgrim on their coming path. The translation is Singleton’s – which one day I will spend hours here justifying against the verse versions more generally in favor but for now I leave it to a half oblique Tristram Shandy quote – “Now this I like;—when we cannot get at the very thing we wish—never to take up with the next best in degree to it:—no; that’s pitiful beyond description”
And he to me, “This mountain is such that ever at the beginning below it is toilsome, but the higher one goes the less it wearies. Therefore, when it shall seem to you so pleasant that the going up is a s easy for you as going downstream in a boat, then will you be at the end of this path: hope there to rest your weariness; no more I answer, and this I know for true.
Ed elli a me: «Questa montagna è tale,
che sempre al cominciar di sotto è grave;
e quant’ om più va sù, e men fa male.
Però, quand’ ella ti parrà soave
tanto, che sù andar ti fia leggero
com’ a seconda giù andar per nave,
allor sarai al fin d’esto sentiero;
quivi di riposar l’affanno aspetta.
Più non rispondo, e questo so per vero».