Clearly, sitting on the fence, hedging your bets, watching which way the wind blows, is a sin which leads to hell and a suitably inverted punishment.

For having never run in one direction or another in your life (‘never-living sprinters’), you are condemned to an eternity of being spurred to run by the stinging torments of flies and wasps.

‘Rooted to the spot,

I saw and knew for certain that this race

Of never-living sprinters were the ones

Who once believed fence-sitting no disgrace,

But now they sit no more. The whole bunch runs

Naked, with flies and wasps to stimulate

Their actions at long last…’

See also our illustrated quote-rich celebration of Dante’s Divine Comedy in Clive James’ superb translation. 


Source: Dante, The Divine Comedy (Inferno, Canto 3), trans. Clive James (New York: Liveright Publishing, 2013), p. 17


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