Quick! quick! so that the time may not be lost by little love!

From Salvador Dali’s series of woodblock prints for the Commedia. This is Purgatory XVIII, the terrace of the slothful. I liked it less than others at first (Inferno 1 and Purgatory 2 are my favorites) but it has grown on me over time.

But taken from me was this drowsiness
Suddenly by a people, that behind
Our backs already had come round to us.

And as, of old, Ismenus and Asopus
Beside them saw at night the rush and throng,
If but the Thebans were in need of Bacchus,

So they along that circle curve their step,
From what I saw of those approaching us,
Who by good-will and righteous love are ridden.

Full soon they were upon us, because running
Moved onward all that mighty multitude,
And two in the advance cried out, lamenting,

“Mary in haste unto the mountain ran,
And Caesar, that he might subdue Ilerda,
Thrust at Marseilles, and then ran into Spain.”

“Quick! quick! so that the time may not be lost
By little love!” forthwith the others cried,
“For ardour in well-doing freshens grace!”

Ma questa sonnolenza mi fu tolta
subitamente da gente che dopo
le nostre spalle a noi era già volta.

E quale Ismeno già vide e Asopo
lungo di sé di notte furia e calca,
pur che i Teban di Bacco avesser uopo,

cotal per quel giron suo passo falca,
per quel ch’io vidi di color, venendo,
cui buon volere e giusto amor cavalca.

Tosto fur sovr’ a noi, perché correndo
si movea tutta quella turba magna;
e due dinanzi gridavan piangendo:

“Maria corse con fretta a la montagna;
e Cesare, per soggiogare Ilerda,
punse Marsilia e poi corse in Ispagna.”

“Ratto, ratto, che ‘l tempo non si perda
per poco amor,” gridavan li altri appresso,
“che studio di ben far grazia rinverda.”