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.