William Bell Scott

(1811-1890 / Scotland)

The Inferno - Poem by William Bell Scott

A celtic Saint this tale first told,
Ere Dante's birth the saint was cold,
But he in faith with mortal eyes
Had been uplifted through the skies
And seen the winged in Paradise.

Then was he hand-led down the stair
Where Purgatorial sulphurs flare,
And round the furthest confines there
Had seen the copeless walls of Hell,
But not even angel-guides could tell
What horrors Satan might prepare
For sinners at the Judgment knell.
At that time 'twas a waste, no soul
Till the last day could reach that goal!

But Dante forestalled time, too well
He loved the pits, and loved the spell
Of friends and foes foredoomed to hell.
Alas! must we, at this late time,
Make our good God act Satan's part,

Accepting that accursed rhyme,
Forgiving blasphemy for art?
Is our paternal God displayed
In these vile cruelties arrayed?
Or is the poet before heaven,
Guilty of that sin ne'er forgiven?

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 22, 2010

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