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The grafters: Ciampolo

Circle VIII (Malebolge), bolgia V. The grafters (also the historical Dante was unjustly accused of such crime) are immersed in boiling pitch and tormented by black devils (Malebranche) who tear the flesh of the damned with their hooks

"I in the kingdom of Navarre was born;
My mother placed me servant to a lord,
⁠For she had borne me to a ribald knave,
⁠Destroyer of himself and of his things.
Then I domestic was of good King Thibault;
⁠I set me there to practise barratry,
⁠For which I pay the reckoning in this heat.


I separated
Lately from one who was a neighbor to it;
⁠Would that I still were covered up with him,
⁠For I should fear not either claw nor hook!


It was the Friar Gomita,
He of Gallura, vessel of all fraud,
⁠Who had the enemies of his Lord in hand,
⁠And dealt so with them each exults thereat;
Money he took, and let them smoothly off,
⁠As he says; and in other offices
⁠A barrator was he, not mean but sovereign.
Foregathers with him one Don Michael Zanche
⁠Of Logodoro; and of Sardinia
⁠To gossip never do their tongues feel tired. 
O me! see that one, how he grinds his teeth;
⁠Still farther would I speak, but am afraid
⁠Lest he to scratch my itch be making ready.


Tuscans or Lombards, I will make them come.
But let the Malebranche cease a little,
⁠So that these may not their revenges fear,
⁠And I, down sitting in this very place,
For one that I am will make seven come,
⁠When I shall whistle, as our custom is
⁠To do whenever one of us comes out.


⁠I by far too cunning am, 
⁠When I procure for mine a greater sadness."

Inferno, XXII, 48-54; 66-69; 81-93; 99-105; 110-111.

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