– The Three Beasts (4:58) –
Dante sees a hill crowned with sunlight. He tries to climb the hill breathless, but three sinister beasts (a leopard, a lion, and a she-wolf) stand in his way, driving him back down into the darkness of the forest. Dante is rescued by the poet Virgil. The two poets then start their journey into Hell.
Canto I, 22-27
And even as he, who, with distressful breath,
Forth issued from the sea upon the shore,
Turns to the water perilous and gazes;
So did my soul, that still was fleeing onward,
Turn itself back to re-behold the pass
Which never yet a living person left.