Canto 26.06. Dante uses the metaphor of the prophet Elijah carried to Heaven in a firry chariot to characterize the sinners in Hell consumed by flames. [Second Kings, chapter 2, verse 11: “behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into Heaven.”] If Dante can play with the firry metaphor, then I can too—this is version # 3.

And just as he who avenged himself with bears
Beheld Elijah’s chariot departing
With the rearing horses rising up to heaven,

But never could have followed it with his eyes
Except for the one flame that he kept watching
Just like a little cloud sailing skyward:

In this way each flame moved through the throat
Of that deep ditch, none showing what it stole,
Though every flame secreted its own sinner.
[Canto 26, lines 34-42, translated by James Finn Cotter.]
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