"All Hope Abandon, Ye Who Enter Here"

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Last Updated on May 11, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 162

Context: In the thirty-fifth year of his life, the poet Dante finds himself alone and lost in a wood and blocked by strange beasts. Giving up hope of finding his way out alone, he is befriended by the author of the Aeneid, the poet Virgil, who offers to escort him throughout the nether regions of Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise. Taking courage, and after an invocation, Dante agrees to go with the acknowledged "guide, master, and lord," Virgil. The latter holds out his hand and leads the apprehensive stranger through the portals of Hell, whereon is written this legend:

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"Through me you pass into the city of woe:
Through me you pass into eternal pain:
Through me among the people lost for aye.
Justice the founder of my fabric moved:
To rear me was the task of power divine,
Supremest Wisdom, and primeval Love.
Before me things create were none, save things
Eternal, and eternal I endure.
All hope abandon, ye who enter here."

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