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by Dante Alighieri
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The first of the 3 canticles in La divina commedia (The Divine Comedy), this 14th-century allegorical poem begins Dante's imaginary journey from Hell to Purgatory to Paradise with his sojourn among the damned. There he encounters historical and mythological creatures — each symbolic of a particular vice or crime. Translated beautifully by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
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