Meeting Sordello, in Canto 6

In the slow anticipation of Ante-Purgatory, Virgil and the Pilgrim meet Sordello, an Italian poet and fellow Mantuan of Virgil.

“But see that spirit stationed over there,
all by himself, the one who looks at us;
he will show us the quickest way to go.”

We made our way toward him. (0 Lombard soul,
how stately and disdainful you appeared,
what majesty was in your steady gaze!)

And with one little line, “watching like a couchant lion on guard”, Dante connects Sordello to Judah in Genesis, and the anticipation of King David, building up the expectation of the real Gate of Purgatory. The Italian is: “sguardando a guisa di leon quando si posa.”

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