An illustration of the poet Pier della Vigna in the forest of suicides. His name ironically means "of the vineyard" in Italian. This is an excellent example of the name evoking the destiny of the person (in nomen ist omen in Latin). Having refused life, Pier is turned into a tree, a lower form of existence. Here is a stanza from the Inferno at the point when Dante comes into contact with the unfortunate (he was lead to this by envious colleagues) Pier:
There at a little stretching forth my hand,
From a great wilding gather'd I a branch,
And straight the trunk exclaim'd: "Why pluck'st thou me?"
Then, as the dark blood trickled down its side,
These words it added: "Wherefore tear'st me thus?
Is there no touch of mercy in thy breast?
Men once were we, that now are rooted here.
Thy hand might well have spared us, had we been
The souls of serpents." As a brand yet green,
That burning at one end from the other sends
A groaning sound, and hisses with the wind
That forces out its way, so burst at once
Forth from the broken splinter words and blood.
Just a few lines from the original for equal measure:
« Non fronda verde, ma di color fosco;
non rami schietti, ma nodosi e 'nvolti;
non pomi v'eran, ma stecchi con tòsco. »
Trans. "Not verdant fronds but of colour dark
not normal branches but knotted and tangled
not bearing fruit, but twigs of poison."
The word 'tosco' can mean both poison and Tuscan, Pier's background.
It should be remembered too that Pier della Vigna, poetic precursor of Dante's contributed to the birth of the "sweet new style", the dolce stilnovo, which characterized Dante's poetry before the Commedia.
The 'not' thrice repeated attests to and emphasizes the negation of life and salvation.