Midway upon the journey of our life I found myself within a forest dark, For the straightforward pathway had been lost. Ah me! how hard a thing it is to say What was this forest savage, rough, and stern, Which in the very thought renews the fear. So bitter is it, death is little more; But of the good to treat, which there I found, Speak will I of the other things I saw there. I cannot well repeat how there I entered, So full was I of slumber at the moment In which I had abandoned the true way. But after I had reached a mountain’s foot, At that point where the valley terminated, Which had with consternation pierced my heart, Upward I looked, and I beheld its shoulders, Vested already with that planet’s rays Which leadeth others right by every road. Then was the fear a little quieted That in my heart’s lake had endured throughout The night, which I had passed so piteously. And even as he, who, with distressful breath, Forth issued from the sea upon the shore, Turns to the water perilous and gazes; So did my soul, that still was fleeing onward, Turn itself back to re-behold the pass Which never yet a living person left. After my weary body I had rested, The way resumed I on the desert slope, So that the firm foot ever was the lower. And lo! almost where the ascent began, A panther light and swift exceedingly, Which with a spotted skin was covered o’er! And never moved she from before my face, Nay, rather did impede so much my way, That many times I to return had turned.