Here sighs, plaints, and deep wailings resounded through the starless air: it made me weep at first. Strange tongues, horrible outcries, words of pain, tones of anger, voices deep and hoarse, and sounds of hands amongst them, made a tumult, which turns itself unceasingly in that air for ever dyed, as sand when it eddies in a whirlwind.
That was Dante. Specifically, The Inferno (Canto III, 22-31)
Here is Roger Zelazny in his foreward to Harlan Ellison?s From the Land of Fear, Belmont Books, 1967:
What does it take to be a writer and why? The quotation from Dante?contains the answer. There are these sounds, this tumult, turning in that air for ever dyed, eddying in a neat simile and beginning with that all important word ?Here.? Everybody hears the sounds, some people listen, and a writer, for some damfool reason, wants to put them down on paper and…
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