Week before last, I spent a lot of quality time with Dante (mostly Inferno), working on a new ten-minute play. I had read The Divine Comedy for a class in college (Dorothy Sayers' translation, which unfortunately is out of print). What impressed me in looking at Dante again is how modern (he was born in 1265) much of his work feels. Here is a brief selection of my favorite quotes from him. I will not attempt writing out the Italian, though pretty much everything sounds better in Italian.
When I had journeyed half our life's way
I found myself within a shadowed forest
for I had lost the path that does not stray. Canto I, lines 1-3.
There is no greater sorrow
Than to be mindful of the happy time
In misery. Canto V, lines 121-123.
He listens well who takes notes. Canto XV, line 99.
Thou shalt prove how salt is the taste
Of another man's bread and how hard
Is the way and down another man's stairs. Canto XVII, lines 58-60
The night that hides hings from us. Canto XXIII, line 3.