Dante’s Inferno as limericks and comics

Nine circles of hell

Harry Cochrane, Leonardo Cardini
February 26, 2020 - 10:19

Good Friday, 1300. Dante wakes up in the middle of a dark wood, and is found by the Roman poet Virgil, who has been tasked with showing him what happens to the souls who stray. Dante and Virgil enter the gates of hell and pass the Apathetic, who were neither enough for God nor bad enough for the Devil. They then cross the River Acheron to enter the Inferno proper, which descends through nine concentric circles to the centre of the Earth.

 

 

 

CIRCLE I
(the unbaptised)

 

 

 

Underway with the underworld herewith,

and I’m with - no, you’re with - fine, we’re with

the dwellers of Hades

born BCs, not ADs -

not all, but the ones you’d have beer with.

 

 

 

 

CIRCLE II
(the lustful)

 

 

A cartwheeling, heartreeling gust

corkscrews the guilty of lust.

Invented to whisk the

excessively frisky -

like Dante, I don't think it’s just.

 

 

 

 

CIRCLE III
(the gluttonous)

 

 

 

Sharp on the back of those gales

it rains and it pours and it hails.

These deluges flummox

the slaves to their stomachs,

who think they’re in Ireland or Wales.

 

 

 

 

CIRCLE IV
(the hoarders + spendthrifts)

 

 

And now for the sinners who knew

how neither to spend nor accrue.

But all that each soul does

is push some great boulders –

the point here is lost on me too.

 

 

 

 

CIRCLE V
(the wrathful)

 

 

 

This once, I pronounce the word wrath

to rhyme with this sludginal bath.

Women, men it’s replete with

and none can compete with

the fury that hell, it seems, hath.

 

 

 

 

CIRCLE VI
(the heretics)

 

 

A Tuscan July couldn’t beat

this heretic-shrivelling heat.

The remoaning of boffins

melts away in the coffins

of the bothersome liberal élite.

 

 

 

 

CIRCLE VII
(the violent)

 

 

“By these treestumps, my Master, what’s signified?”

“These souls are eternally lignified.

We saw others scream

in an ichorous stream:

for the violent, no ending is dignified.”

 

 

 

 

CIRCLE VIII
(the fraudulent)

 

 

The fraudsters inhabit these cum-pits,

the forgers and classical strumpets.

And going down levels

we stumble on devils

whose derrières double as trumpets.

 

 

 

 

CIRCLE IX
(the treacherous)

 

 

Now witness the Enemy sate his

Satanic three mouths with three traitors.

Three sets of teeth tweezer

two killers of Caesar

and the man who sold Christ to His haters.

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