"... Finally the older worker, a quiet, almost timid railroad clerk-statistician, concluded with vehemence: 'If I had the power?' Then he quoted Dante, an old Italian poet: 'Se fossi foco brucerei il mondo. Were I a fire I'd burn the world.'"
[from the old Seeds in the Snow BR history. Oddly, the line isn't from Dante, far as I can tell. It's a version of the line from Cecco Angiolieri ("S'ì fosse foco, arderei 'l mondo"), who had a had a correspondence with Dante, evidently not on the best terms, i.e.:
Dante Alighier, i' t'averò a stancare
ch'eo so lo pungiglion, e tu se' 'l bue
Dante boy, I'll simply wear you out:
since I'm the cattle-prod that drives your ox.
Whole sonnet worth quoting (not my translation below, bit formal, though still basically a misanthropic rap boast, especially by the end)
If I were fire, I'd burn up the world,
If I were wind, I'd storm it,
If I were water, I'd drown it,
If I were God, I'd hurl it to the depths,
If I were the Pope, I'd be please d
To harass all the Christians,
If I were Emperor, know what I'd do?
I'd cut everyone's head right off.
If I were death, I'd go to my father,
If I were life I'd flee from him,
And I'd do the same for my mother,
If I were Cecco as I am and have been,
I'd take all the young, graceful women,
And leave the ugly and lame to others.