You are reading a translation of The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri -
I've read him twice but never all the way through, once in italian (a beginning italian class, where I, still in high school, went to a local college on Monday afternoons for the school year, me the only student (this was in the late '50's, just around the onset of advanced classes for people in high school). What do I remember of that, just about nothing but that I enjoyed it, as the nun was from Italy and the language was beautiful.
Later, first semester college, small catholic college, we read the Inferno in english. I would still recognize some bits of that now.
That was long ago, and a lot has changed in my views of life, but I still am attracted to Italy, for all its faults and joys.
In the nineties, I took a barrage of university extension italian classes; my teacher was born in Padova and studied in Bologna. We became pals. Maybe it was my miserably written essays that she liked.. not my grasp of grammar, but the opinions I threw around.
She told me about the bars (caffe's) in Bologna, where people would duel at reciting Dante. He is iconic. I think I wouldn't take him as a fast read, more slow and to savor.