Midway this way of life we're bound upon,
     I woke to find myself in a dark wood,
     Where the right road was wholly lost and gone.

Ay me! How hard to speak of it that rude
     And rough and stubborn forest! The mere breath
     Of memory stirs the old fear in the blood;

It is so bitter, it goes nigh to death;
     Yet there I gained such good, that, to convey
     The tale, I'll write what else I found therewith . . . .


so begins
The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri
Cantica I (L'INFERNO)
Translated by Dorothy L. Sayers, 1949