The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri

That's French for "the ancient system," as in the ancient system of feudal privileges and the exercise of autocratic power over the peasants. The ancien regime never goes away, like vampires and dinosaur bones they are always hidden in the earth, exercising a mysterious influence. It is not paranoia to believe that the elites scheme against the common man. Inform yourself about their schemes here.

Re: The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri

Postby admin » Fri Feb 16, 2018 2:56 am

Purgatorio: Canto XI

"Our Father, thou who dwellest in the heavens,
Not circumscribed, but from the greater love
Thou bearest to the first effects on high,

Praised be thy name and thine omnipotence
By every creature, as befitting is
To render thanks to thy sweet effluence.

Come unto us the peace of thy dominion,
For unto it we cannot of ourselves,
If it come not, with all our intellect.

Even as thine own Angels of their will
Make sacrifice to thee, Hosanna singing,
So may all men make sacrifice of theirs.

Give unto us this day our daily manna,
Withouten which in this rough wilderness
Backward goes he who toils most to advance.

And even as we the trespass we have suffered
Pardon in one another, pardon thou
Benignly, and regard not our desert.

Our virtue, which is easily o'ercome,
Put not to proof with the old Adversary,
But thou from him who spurs it so, deliver.

This last petition verily, dear Lord,
Not for ourselves is made, who need it not,
But for their sake who have remained behind us."

Thus for themselves and us good furtherance
Those shades imploring, went beneath a weight
Like unto that of which we sometimes dream,

Unequally in anguish round and round
And weary all, upon that foremost cornice,
Purging away the smoke-stains of the world.

If there good words are always said for us,
What may not here be said and done for them,
By those who have a good root to their will?

Well may we help them wash away the marks
That hence they carried, so that clean and light
They may ascend unto the starry wheels!

"Ah! so may pity and justice you disburden
Soon, that ye may have power to move the wing,
That shall uplift you after your desire,

Show us on which hand tow'rd the stairs the way
Is shortest, and if more than one the passes,
Point us out that which least abruptly falls;

For he who cometh with me, through the burden
Of Adam's flesh wherewith he is invested,
Against his will is chary of his climbing."

The words of theirs which they returned to those
That he whom I was following had spoken,
It was not manifest from whom they came,

But it was said: "To the right hand come with us
Along the bank, and ye shall find a pass
Possible for living person to ascend.

And were I not impeded by the stone,
Which this proud neck of mine doth subjugate,
Whence I am forced to hold my visage down,

Him, who still lives and does not name himself,
Would I regard, to see if I may know him
And make him piteous unto this burden.

A Latian was I, and born of a great Tuscan;
Guglielmo Aldobrandeschi was my father;
I know not if his name were ever with you.

The ancient blood and deeds of gallantry
Of my progenitors so arrogant made me
That, thinking not upon the common mother,

All men I held in scorn to such extent
I died therefor, as know the Sienese,
And every child in Campagnatico.

I am Omberto; and not to me alone
Has pride done harm, but all my kith and kin
Has with it dragged into adversity.

And here must I this burden bear for it
Till God be satisfied, since I did not
Among the living, here among the dead."

Listening I downward bent my countenance;
And one of them, not this one who was speaking,
Twisted himself beneath the weight that cramps him,

And looked at me, and knew me, and called out,
Keeping his eyes laboriously fixed
On me, who all bowed down was going with them.

"O," asked I him, "art thou not Oderisi,
Agobbio's honour, and honour of that art
Which is in Paris called illuminating?"

"Brother," said he, "more laughing are the leaves
Touched by the brush of Franco Bolognese;
All his the honour now, and mine in part.

In sooth I had not been so courteous
While I was living, for the great desire
Of excellence, on which my heart was bent.

Here of such pride is paid the forfeiture;
And yet I should not be here, were it not
That, having power to sin, I turned to God.

O thou vain glory of the human powers,
How little green upon thy summit lingers,
If't be not followed by an age of grossness!

In painting Cimabue thought that he
Should hold the field, now Giotto has the cry,
So that the other's fame is growing dim.

So has one Guido from the other taken
The glory of our tongue, and he perchance
Is born, who from the nest shall chase them both.

Naught is this mundane rumour but a breath
Of wind, that comes now this way and now that,
And changes name, because it changes side.

What fame shalt thou have more, if old peel off
From thee thy flesh, than if thou hadst been dead
Before thou left the 'pappo' and the 'dindi,'

Ere pass a thousand years? which is a shorter
Space to the eterne, than twinkling of an eye
Unto the circle that in heaven wheels slowest.

With him, who takes so little of the road
In front of me, all Tuscany resounded;
And now he scarce is lisped of in Siena,

Where he was lord, what time was overthrown
The Florentine delirium, that superb
Was at that day as now 'tis prostitute.

Your reputation is the colour of grass
Which comes and goes, and that discolours it
By which it issues green from out the earth."

And I: "Thy true speech fills my heart with good
Humility, and great tumour thou assuagest;
But who is he, of whom just now thou spakest?"

"That," he replied, "is Provenzan Salvani,
And he is here because he had presumed
To bring Siena all into his hands.

He has gone thus, and goeth without rest
E'er since he died; such money renders back
In payment he who is on earth too daring."

And I: "If every spirit who awaits
The verge of life before that he repent,
Remains below there and ascends not hither,

(Unless good orison shall him bestead,)
Until as much time as he lived be passed,
How was the coming granted him in largess?"

"When he in greatest splendour lived," said he,
"Freely upon the Campo of Siena,
All shame being laid aside, he placed himself;

And there to draw his friend from the duress
Which in the prison-house of Charles he suffered,
He brought himself to tremble in each vein.

I say no more, and know that I speak darkly;
Yet little time shall pass before thy neighbours
Will so demean themselves that thou canst gloss it.

This action has released him from those confines."

Purgatorio: Canto XII

Abreast, like oxen going in a yoke,
I with that heavy-laden soul went on,
As long as the sweet pedagogue permitted;

But when he said, "Leave him, and onward pass,
For here 'tis good that with the sail and oars,
As much as may be, each push on his barque;"

Upright, as walking wills it, I redressed
My person, notwithstanding that my thoughts
Remained within me downcast and abashed.

I had moved on, and followed willingly
The footsteps of my Master, and we both
Already showed how light of foot we were,

When unto me he said: "Cast down thine eyes;
'Twere well for thee, to alleviate the way,
To look upon the bed beneath thy feet."

As, that some memory may exist of them,
Above the buried dead their tombs in earth
Bear sculptured on them what they were before;

Whence often there we weep for them afresh,
From pricking of remembrance, which alone
To the compassionate doth set its spur;

So saw I there, but of a better semblance
In point of artifice, with figures covered
Whate'er as pathway from the mount projects.

I saw that one who was created noble
More than all other creatures, down from heaven
Flaming with lightnings fall upon one side.

I saw Briareus smitten by the dart
Celestial, lying on the other side,
Heavy upon the earth by mortal frost.

I saw Thymbraeus, Pallas saw, and Mars,
Still clad in armour round about their father,
Gaze at the scattered members of the giants.

I saw, at foot of his great labour, Nimrod,
As if bewildered, looking at the people
Who had been proud with him in Sennaar.

O Niobe! with what afflicted eyes
Thee I beheld upon the pathway traced,
Between thy seven and seven children slain!

O Saul! how fallen upon thy proper sword
Didst thou appear there lifeless in Gilboa,
That felt thereafter neither rain nor dew!

O mad Arachne! so I thee beheld
E'en then half spider, sad upon the shreds
Of fabric wrought in evil hour for thee!

O Rehoboam! no more seems to threaten
Thine image there; but full of consternation
A chariot bears it off, when none pursues!

Displayed moreo'er the adamantine pavement
How unto his own mother made Alcmaeon
Costly appear the luckless ornament;

Displayed how his own sons did throw themselves
Upon Sennacherib within the temple,
And how, he being dead, they left him there;

Displayed the ruin and the cruel carnage
That Tomyris wrought, when she to Cyrus said,
"Blood didst thou thirst for, and with blood I glut thee!"

Displayed how routed fled the Assyrians
After that Holofernes had been slain,
And likewise the remainder of that slaughter.

I saw there Troy in ashes and in caverns;
O Ilion! thee, how abject and debased,
Displayed the image that is there discerned!

Whoe'er of pencil master was or stile,
That could portray the shades and traits which there
Would cause each subtile genius to admire?

Dead seemed the dead, the living seemed alive;
Better than I saw not who saw the truth,
All that I trod upon while bowed I went.

Now wax ye proud, and on with looks uplifted,
Ye sons of Eve, and bow not down your faces
So that ye may behold your evil ways!

More of the mount by us was now encompassed,
And far more spent the circuit of the sun,
Than had the mind preoccupied imagined,

When he, who ever watchful in advance
Was going on, began: "Lift up thy head,
'Tis no more time to go thus meditating.

Lo there an Angel who is making haste
To come towards us; lo, returning is
From service of the day the sixth handmaiden.

With reverence thine acts and looks adorn,
So that he may delight to speed us upward;
Think that this day will never dawn again."

I was familiar with his admonition
Ever to lose no time; so on this theme
He could not unto me speak covertly.

Towards us came the being beautiful
Vested in white, and in his countenance
Such as appears the tremulous morning star.

His arms he opened, and opened then his wings;
"Come," said he, "near at hand here are the steps,
And easy from henceforth is the ascent."

At this announcement few are they who come!
O human creatures, born to soar aloft,
Why fall ye thus before a little wind?

He led us on to where the rock was cleft;
There smote upon my forehead with his wings,
Then a safe passage promised unto me.

As on the right hand, to ascend the mount
Where seated is the church that lordeth it
O'er the well-guided, above Rubaconte,

The bold abruptness of the ascent is broken
By stairways that were made there in the age
When still were safe the ledger and the stave,

E'en thus attempered is the bank which falls
Sheer downward from the second circle there;
But on this, side and that the high rock graze.

As we were turning thitherward our persons,
"Beati pauperes spiritu," voices
Sang in such wise that speech could tell it not.

Ah me! how different are these entrances
From the Infernal! for with anthems here
One enters, and below with wild laments.

We now were hunting up the sacred stairs,
And it appeared to me by far more easy
Than on the plain it had appeared before.

Whence I: "My Master, say, what heavy thing
Has been uplifted from me, so that hardly
Aught of fatigue is felt by me in walking?"

He answered: "When the P's which have remained
Still on thy face almost obliterate
Shall wholly, as the first is, be erased,

Thy feet will be so vanquished by good will,
That not alone they shall not feel fatigue,
But urging up will be to them delight."

Then did I even as they do who are going
With something on the head to them unknown,
Unless the signs of others make them doubt,

Wherefore the hand to ascertain is helpful,
And seeks and finds, and doth fulfill the office
Which cannot be accomplished by the sight;

And with the fingers of the right hand spread
I found but six the letters, that had carved
Upon my temples he who bore the keys;

Upon beholding which my Leader smiled.

Purgatorio: Canto XIII

We were upon the summit of the stairs,
Where for the second time is cut away
The mountain, which ascending shriveth all.

There in like manner doth a cornice bind
The hill all round about, as does the first,
Save that its arc more suddenly is curved.

Shade is there none, nor sculpture that appears;
So seems the bank, and so the road seems smooth,
With but the livid colour of the stone.

"If to inquire we wait for people here,"
The Poet said, "I fear that peradventure
Too much delay will our election have."

Then steadfast on the sun his eyes he fixed,
Made his right side the centre of his motion,
And turned the left part of himself about.

"O thou sweet light! with trust in whom I enter
Upon this novel journey, do thou lead us,"
Said he, "as one within here should be led.

Thou warmest the world, thou shinest over it;
If other reason prompt not otherwise,
Thy rays should evermore our leaders be!"

As much as here is counted for a mile,
So much already there had we advanced
In little time, by dint of ready will;

And tow'rds us there were heard to fly, albeit
They were not visible, spirits uttering
Unto Love's table courteous invitations,

The first voice that passed onward in its flight,
"Vinum non habent," said in accents loud,
And went reiterating it behind us.

And ere it wholly grew inaudible
Because of distance, passed another, crying,
"I am Orestes!" and it also stayed not.

"O," said I, "Father, these, what voices are they?"
And even as I asked, behold the third,
Saying: "Love those from whom ye have had evil!"

And the good Master said: "This circle scourges
The sin of envy, and on that account
Are drawn from love the lashes of the scourge.

The bridle of another sound shall be;
I think that thou wilt hear it, as I judge,
Before thou comest to the Pass of Pardon.

But fix thine eyes athwart the air right steadfast,
And people thou wilt see before us sitting,
And each one close against the cliff is seated."

Then wider than at first mine eyes I opened;
I looked before me, and saw shades with mantles
Not from the colour of the stone diverse.

And when we were a little farther onward,
I heard a cry of, "Mary, pray for us!"
A cry of, "Michael, Peter, and all Saints!"

I do not think there walketh still on earth
A man so hard, that he would not be pierced
With pity at what afterward I saw.

For when I had approached so near to them
That manifest to me their acts became,
Drained was I at the eyes by heavy grief.

Covered with sackcloth vile they seemed to me,
And one sustained the other with his shoulder,
And all of them were by the bank sustained.

Thus do the blind, in want of livelihood,
Stand at the doors of churches asking alms,
And one upon another leans his head,

So that in others pity soon may rise,
Not only at the accent of their words,
But at their aspect, which no less implores.

And as unto the blind the sun comes not,
So to the shades, of whom just now I spake,
Heaven's light will not be bounteous of itself;

For all their lids an iron wire transpierces,
And sews them up, as to a sparhawk wild
Is done, because it will not quiet stay.

To me it seemed, in passing, to do outrage,
Seeing the others without being seen;
Wherefore I turned me to my counsel sage.

Well knew he what the mute one wished to say,
And therefore waited not for my demand,
But said: "Speak, and be brief, and to the point."

I had Virgilius upon that side
Of the embankment from which one may fall,
Since by no border 'tis engarlanded;

Upon the other side of me I had
The shades devout, who through the horrible seam
Pressed out the tears so that they bathed their cheeks.

To them I turned me, and, "O people, certain,"
Began I, "of beholding the high light,
Which your desire has solely in its care,

So may grace speedily dissolve the scum
Upon your consciences, that limpidly
Through them descend the river of the mind,

Tell me, for dear 'twill be to me and gracious,
If any soul among you here is Latian,
And 'twill perchance be good for him I learn it."

"O brother mine, each one is citizen
Of one true city; but thy meaning is,
Who may have lived in Italy a pilgrim."

By way of answer this I seemed to hear
A little farther on than where I stood,
Whereat I made myself still nearer heard.

Among the rest I saw a shade that waited
In aspect, and should any one ask how,
Its chin it lifted upward like a blind man.

"Spirit," I said, "who stoopest to ascend,
If thou art he who did reply to me,
Make thyself known to me by place or name."

"Sienese was I," it replied, "and with
The others here recleanse my guilty life,
Weeping to Him to lend himself to us.

Sapient I was not, although I Sapia
Was called, and I was at another's harm
More happy far than at my own good fortune.

And that thou mayst not think that I deceive thee,
Hear if I was as foolish as I tell thee.
The arc already of my years descending,

My fellow-citizens near unto Colle
Were joined in battle with their adversaries,
And I was praying God for what he willed.

Routed were they, and turned into the bitter
Passes of flight; and I, the chase beholding,
A joy received unequalled by all others;

So that I lifted upward my bold face
Crying to God, 'Henceforth I fear thee not,'
As did the blackbird at the little sunshine.

Peace I desired with God at the extreme
Of my existence, and as yet would not
My debt have been by penitence discharged,

Had it not been that in remembrance held me
Pier Pettignano in his holy prayers,
Who out of charity was grieved for me.

But who art thou, that into our conditions
Questioning goest, and hast thine eyes unbound
As I believe, and breathing dost discourse?"

"Mine eyes," I said, "will yet be here ta'en from me,
But for short space; for small is the offence
Committed by their being turned with envy.

Far greater is the fear, wherein suspended
My soul is, of the torment underneath,
For even now the load down there weighs on me."

And she to me: "Who led thee, then, among us
Up here, if to return below thou thinkest?"
And I: "He who is with me, and speaks not;

And living am I; therefore ask of me,
Spirit elect, if thou wouldst have me move
O'er yonder yet my mortal feet for thee."

"O, this is such a novel thing to hear,"
She answered, "that great sign it is God loves thee;
Therefore with prayer of thine sometimes assist me.

And I implore, by what thou most desirest,
If e'er thou treadest the soil of Tuscany,
Well with my kindred reinstate my fame.

Them wilt thou see among that people vain
Who hope in Talamone, and will lose there
More hope than in discovering the Diana;

But there still more the admirals will lose."

Purgatorio: Canto XIV

"Who is this one that goes about our mountain,
Or ever Death has given him power of flight,
And opes his eyes and shuts them at his will?"

"I know not who, but know he's not alone;
Ask him thyself, for thou art nearer to him,
And gently, so that he may speak, accost him."

Thus did two spirits, leaning tow'rds each other,
Discourse about me there on the right hand;
Then held supine their faces to address me.

And said the one: "O soul, that, fastened still
Within the body, tow'rds the heaven art going,
For charity console us, and declare

Whence comest and who art thou; for thou mak'st us
As much to marvel at this grace of thine
As must a thing that never yet has been."

And I: "Through midst of Tuscany there wanders
A streamlet that is born in Falterona,
And not a hundred miles of course suffice it;

From thereupon do I this body bring.
To tell you who I am were speech in vain,
Because my name as yet makes no great noise."

"If well thy meaning I can penetrate
With intellect of mine," then answered me
He who first spake, "thou speakest of the Arno."

And said the other to him: "Why concealed
This one the appellation of that river,
Even as a man doth of things horrible?"

And thus the shade that questioned was of this
Himself acquitted: "I know not; but truly
'Tis fit the name of such a valley perish;

For from its fountain-head (where is so pregnant
The Alpine mountain whence is cleft Peloro
That in few places it that mark surpasses)

To where it yields itself in restoration
Of what the heaven doth of the sea dry up,
Whence have the rivers that which goes with them,

Virtue is like an enemy avoided
By all, as is a serpent, through misfortune
Of place, or through bad habit that impels them;

On which account have so transformed their nature
The dwellers in that miserable valley,
It seems that Circe had them in her pasture.

'Mid ugly swine, of acorns worthier
Than other food for human use created,
It first directeth its impoverished way.

Curs findeth it thereafter, coming downward,
More snarling than their puissance demands,
And turns from them disdainfully its muzzle.

It goes on falling, and the more it grows,
The more it finds the dogs becoming wolves,
This maledict and misadventurous ditch.

Descended then through many a hollow gulf,
It finds the foxes so replete with fraud,
They fear no cunning that may master them.

Nor will I cease because another hears me;
And well 'twill be for him, if still he mind him
Of what a truthful spirit to me unravels.

Thy grandson I behold, who doth become
A hunter of those wolves upon the bank
Of the wild stream, and terrifies them all.

He sells their flesh, it being yet alive;
Thereafter slaughters them like ancient beeves;
Many of life, himself of praise, deprives.

Blood-stained he issues from the dismal forest;
He leaves it such, a thousand years from now
In its primeval state 'tis not re-wooded."

As at the announcement of impending ills
The face of him who listens is disturbed,
From whate'er side the peril seize upon him;

So I beheld that other soul, which stood
Turned round to listen, grow disturbed and sad,
When it had gathered to itself the word.

The speech of one and aspect of the other
Had me desirous made to know their names,
And question mixed with prayers I made thereof,

Whereat the spirit which first spake to me
Began again: "Thou wishest I should bring me
To do for thee what thou'lt not do for me;

But since God willeth that in thee shine forth
Such grace of his, I'll not be chary with thee;
Know, then, that I Guido del Duca am.

My blood was so with envy set on fire,
That if I had beheld a man make merry,
Thou wouldst have seen me sprinkled o'er with pallor.

From my own sowing such the straw I reap!
O human race! why dost thou set thy heart
Where interdict of partnership must be?

This is Renier; this is the boast and honour
Of the house of Calboli, where no one since
Has made himself the heir of his desert.

And not alone his blood is made devoid,
'Twixt Po and mount, and sea-shore and the Reno,
Of good required for truth and for diversion;

For all within these boundaries is full
Of venomous roots, so that too tardily
By cultivation now would they diminish.

Where is good Lizio, and Arrigo Manardi,
Pier Traversaro, and Guido di Carpigna,
O Romagnuoli into bastards turned?

When in Bologna will a Fabbro rise?
When in Faenza a Bernardin di Fosco,
The noble scion of ignoble seed?

Be not astonished, Tuscan, if I weep,
When I remember, with Guido da Prata,
Ugolin d' Azzo, who was living with us,

Frederick Tignoso and his company,
The house of Traversara, and th' Anastagi,
And one race and the other is extinct;

The dames and cavaliers, the toils and ease
That filled our souls with love and courtesy,
There where the hearts have so malicious grown!

O Brettinoro! why dost thou not flee,
Seeing that all thy family is gone,
And many people, not to be corrupted?

Bagnacaval does well in not begetting
And ill does Castrocaro, and Conio worse,
In taking trouble to beget such Counts.

Will do well the Pagani, when their Devil
Shall have departed; but not therefore pure
Will testimony of them e'er remain.

O Ugolin de' Fantoli, secure
Thy name is, since no longer is awaited
One who, degenerating, can obscure it!

But go now, Tuscan, for it now delights me
To weep far better than it does to speak,
So much has our discourse my mind distressed."

We were aware that those beloved souls
Heard us depart; therefore, by keeping silent,
They made us of our pathway confident.

When we became alone by going onward,
Thunder, when it doth cleave the air, appeared
A voice, that counter to us came, exclaiming:

"Shall slay me whosoever findeth me!"
And fled as the reverberation dies
If suddenly the cloud asunder bursts.

As soon as hearing had a truce from this,
Behold another, with so great a crash,
That it resembled thunderings following fast:

"I am Aglaurus, who became a stone!"
And then, to press myself close to the Poet,
I backward, and not forward, took a step.

Already on all sides the air was quiet;
And said he to me: "That was the hard curb
That ought to hold a man within his bounds;

But you take in the bait so that the hook
Of the old Adversary draws you to him,
And hence availeth little curb or call.

The heavens are calling you, and wheel around you,
Displaying to you their eternal beauties,
And still your eye is looking on the ground;

Whence He, who all discerns, chastises you."

Purgatorio: Canto XV

As much as 'twixt the close of the third hour
And dawn of day appeareth of that sphere
Which aye in fashion of a child is playing,

So much it now appeared, towards the night,
Was of his course remaining to the sun;
There it was evening, and 'twas midnight here;

And the rays smote the middle of our faces,
Because by us the mount was so encircled,
That straight towards the west we now were going

When I perceived my forehead overpowered
Beneath the splendour far more than at first,
And stupor were to me the things unknown,

Whereat towards the summit of my brow
I raised my hands, and made myself the visor
Which the excessive glare diminishes.

As when from off the water, or a mirror,
The sunbeam leaps unto the opposite side,
Ascending upward in the selfsame measure

That it descends, and deviates as far
From falling of a stone in line direct,
(As demonstrate experiment and art,)

So it appeared to me that by a light
Refracted there before me I was smitten;
On which account my sight was swift to flee.

"What is that, Father sweet, from which I cannot
So fully screen my sight that it avail me,"
Said I, "and seems towards us to be moving?"

"Marvel thou not, if dazzle thee as yet
The family of heaven," he answered me;
"An angel 'tis, who comes to invite us upward.

Soon will it be, that to behold these things
Shall not be grievous, but delightful to thee
As much as nature fashioned thee to feel."

When we had reached the Angel benedight,
With joyful voice he said: "Here enter in
To stairway far less steep than are the others."

We mounting were, already thence departed,
And "Beati misericordes" was
Behind us sung, "Rejoice, thou that o'ercomest!"

My Master and myself, we two alone
Were going upward, and I thought, in going,
Some profit to acquire from words of his;

And I to him directed me, thus asking:
"What did the spirit of Romagna mean,
Mentioning interdict and partnership?"

Whence he to me: "Of his own greatest failing
He knows the harm; and therefore wonder not
If he reprove us, that we less may rue it.

Because are thither pointed your desires
Where by companionship each share is lessened,
Envy doth ply the bellows to your sighs.

But if the love of the supernal sphere
Should upwardly direct your aspiration,
There would not be that fear within your breast;

For there, as much the more as one says 'Our,'
So much the more of good each one possesses,
And more of charity in that cloister burns."

"I am more hungering to be satisfied,"
I said, "than if I had before been silent,
And more of doubt within my mind I gather.

How can it be, that boon distributed
The more possessors can more wealthy make
Therein, than if by few it be possessed?"

And he to me: "Because thou fixest still
Thy mind entirely upon earthly things,
Thou pluckest darkness from the very light.

That goodness infinite and ineffable
Which is above there, runneth unto love,
As to a lucid body comes the sunbeam.

So much it gives itself as it finds ardour,
So that as far as charity extends,
O'er it increases the eternal valour.

And the more people thitherward aspire,
More are there to love well, and more they love there,
And, as a mirror, one reflects the other.

And if my reasoning appease thee not,
Thou shalt see Beatrice; and she will fully
Take from thee this and every other longing.

Endeavour, then, that soon may be extinct,
As are the two already, the five wounds
That close themselves again by being painful."

Even as I wished to say, "Thou dost appease me,"
I saw that I had reached another circle,
So that my eager eyes made me keep silence.

There it appeared to me that in a vision
Ecstatic on a sudden I was rapt,
And in a temple many persons saw;

And at the door a woman, with the sweet
Behaviour of a mother, saying: "Son,
Why in this manner hast thou dealt with us?

Lo, sorrowing, thy father and myself
Were seeking for thee;"--and as here she ceased,
That which appeared at first had disappeared.

Then I beheld another with those waters
Adown her cheeks which grief distils whenever
From great disdain of others it is born,

And saying: "If of that city thou art lord,
For whose name was such strife among the gods,
And whence doth every science scintillate,

Avenge thyself on those audacious arms
That clasped our daughter, O Pisistratus;"
And the lord seemed to me benign and mild

To answer her with aspect temperate:
"What shall we do to those who wish us ill,
If he who loves us be by us condemned?"

Then saw I people hot in fire of wrath,
With stones a young man slaying, clamorously
Still crying to each other, "Kill him! kill him!"

And him I saw bow down, because of death
That weighed already on him, to the earth,
But of his eyes made ever gates to heaven,

Imploring the high Lord, in so great strife,
That he would pardon those his persecutors,
With such an aspect as unlocks compassion.

Soon as my soul had outwardly returned
To things external to it which are true,
Did I my not false errors recognize.

My Leader, who could see me bear myself
Like to a man that rouses him from sleep,
Exclaimed: "What ails thee, that thou canst not stand?

But hast been coming more than half a league
Veiling thine eyes, and with thy legs entangled,
In guise of one whom wine or sleep subdues?"

"O my sweet Father, if thou listen to me,
I'll tell thee," said I, "what appeared to me,
When thus from me my legs were ta'en away."

And he: "If thou shouldst have a hundred masks
Upon thy face, from me would not be shut
Thy cogitations, howsoever small.

What thou hast seen was that thou mayst not fail
To ope thy heart unto the waters of peace,
Which from the eternal fountain are diffused.

I did not ask, 'What ails thee?' as he does
Who only looketh with the eyes that see not
When of the soul bereft the body lies,

But asked it to give vigour to thy feet;
Thus must we needs urge on the sluggards, slow
To use their wakefulness when it returns."

We passed along, athwart the twilight peering
Forward as far as ever eye could stretch
Against the sunbeams serotine and lucent;

And lo! by slow degrees a smoke approached
In our direction, sombre as the night,
Nor was there place to hide one's self therefrom.

This of our eyes and the pure air bereft us.
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Re: The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri

Postby admin » Fri Feb 16, 2018 2:56 am

Purgatorio: Canto XVI

Darkness of hell, and of a night deprived
Of every planet under a poor sky,
As much as may be tenebrous with cloud,

Ne'er made unto my sight so thick a veil,
As did that smoke which there enveloped us,
Nor to the feeling of so rough a texture;

For not an eye it suffered to stay open;
Whereat mine escort, faithful and sagacious,
Drew near to me and offered me his shoulder.

E'en as a blind man goes behind his guide,
Lest he should wander, or should strike against
Aught that may harm or peradventure kill him,

So went I through the bitter and foul air,
Listening unto my Leader, who said only,
"Look that from me thou be not separated."

Voices I heard, and every one appeared
To supplicate for peace and misericord
The Lamb of God who takes away our sins.

Still "Agnus Dei" their exordium was;
One word there was in all, and metre one,
So that all harmony appeared among them.

"Master," I said, "are spirits those I hear?"
And he to me: "Thou apprehendest truly,
And they the knot of anger go unloosing."

"Now who art thou, that cleavest through our smoke
And art discoursing of us even as though
Thou didst by calends still divide the time?"

After this manner by a voice was spoken;
Whereon my Master said: "Do thou reply,
And ask if on this side the way go upward."

And I: "O creature that dost cleanse thyself
To return beautiful to Him who made thee,
Thou shalt hear marvels if thou follow me."

"Thee will I follow far as is allowed me,"
He answered; "and if smoke prevent our seeing,
Hearing shall keep us joined instead thereof."

Thereon began I: "With that swathing band
Which death unwindeth am I going upward,
And hither came I through the infernal anguish.

And if God in his grace has me infolded,
So that he wills that I behold his court
By method wholly out of modern usage,

Conceal not from me who ere death thou wast,
But tell it me, and tell me if I go
Right for the pass, and be thy words our escort."

"Lombard was I, and I was Marco called;
The world I knew, and loved that excellence,
At which has each one now unbent his bow.

For mounting upward, thou art going right."
Thus he made answer, and subjoined: "I pray thee
To pray for me when thou shalt be above."

And I to him: "My faith I pledge to thee
To do what thou dost ask me; but am bursting
Inly with doubt, unless I rid me of it.

First it was simple, and is now made double
By thy opinion, which makes certain to me,
Here and elsewhere, that which I couple with it.

The world forsooth is utterly deserted
By every virtue, as thou tellest me,
And with iniquity is big and covered;

But I beseech thee point me out the cause,
That I may see it, and to others show it;
For one in the heavens, and here below one puts it."

A sigh profound, that grief forced into Ai!
He first sent forth, and then began he: "Brother,
The world is blind, and sooth thou comest from it!

Ye who are living every cause refer
Still upward to the heavens, as if all things
They of necessity moved with themselves.

If this were so, in you would be destroyed
Free will, nor any justice would there be
In having joy for good, or grief for evil.

The heavens your movements do initiate,
I say not all; but granting that I say it,
Light has been given you for good and evil,

And free volition; which, if some fatigue
In the first battles with the heavens it suffers,
Afterwards conquers all, if well 'tis nurtured.

To greater force and to a better nature,
Though free, ye subject are, and that creates
The mind in you the heavens have not in charge.

Hence, if the present world doth go astray,
In you the cause is, be it sought in you;
And I therein will now be thy true spy.

Forth from the hand of Him, who fondles it
Before it is, like to a little girl
Weeping and laughing in her childish sport,

Issues the simple soul, that nothing knows,
Save that, proceeding from a joyous Maker,
Gladly it turns to that which gives it pleasure.

Of trivial good at first it tastes the savour;
Is cheated by it, and runs after it,
If guide or rein turn not aside its love.

Hence it behoved laws for a rein to place,
Behoved a king to have, who at the least
Of the true city should discern the tower.

The laws exist, but who sets hand to them?
No one; because the shepherd who precedes
Can ruminate, but cleaveth not the hoof;

Wherefore the people that perceives its guide
Strike only at the good for which it hankers,
Feeds upon that, and farther seeketh not.

Clearly canst thou perceive that evil guidance
The cause is that has made the world depraved,
And not that nature is corrupt in you.

Rome, that reformed the world, accustomed was
Two suns to have, which one road and the other,
Of God and of the world, made manifest.

One has the other quenched, and to the crosier
The sword is joined, and ill beseemeth it
That by main force one with the other go,

Because, being joined, one feareth not the other;
If thou believe not, think upon the grain,
For by its seed each herb is recognized.

In the land laved by Po and Adige,
Valour and courtesy used to be found,
Before that Frederick had his controversy;

Now in security can pass that way
Whoever will abstain, through sense of shame,
From speaking with the good, or drawing near them.

True, three old men are left, in whom upbraids
The ancient age the new, and late they deem it
That God restore them to the better life:

Currado da Palazzo, and good Gherardo,
And Guido da Castel, who better named is,
In fashion of the French, the simple Lombard:

Say thou henceforward that the Church of Rome,
Confounding in itself two governments,
Falls in the mire, and soils itself and burden."

"O Marco mine," I said, "thou reasonest well;
And now discern I why the sons of Levi
Have been excluded from the heritage.

But what Gherardo is it, who, as sample
Of a lost race, thou sayest has remained
In reprobation of the barbarous age?"

"Either thy speech deceives me, or it tempts me,"
He answered me; "for speaking Tuscan to me,
It seems of good Gherardo naught thou knowest.

By other surname do I know him not,
Unless I take it from his daughter Gaia.
May God be with you, for I come no farther.

Behold the dawn, that through the smoke rays out,
Already whitening; and I must depart--
Yonder the Angel is--ere he appear."

Thus did he speak, and would no farther hear me.

Purgatorio: Canto XVII

Remember, Reader, if e'er in the Alps
A mist o'ertook thee, through which thou couldst see
Not otherwise than through its membrane mole,

How, when the vapours humid and condensed
Begin to dissipate themselves, the sphere
Of the sun feebly enters in among them,

And thy imagination will be swift
In coming to perceive how I re-saw
The sun at first, that was already setting.

Thus, to the faithful footsteps of my Master
Mating mine own, I issued from that cloud
To rays already dead on the low shores.

O thou, Imagination, that dost steal us
So from without sometimes, that man perceives not,
Although around may sound a thousand trumpets,

Who moveth thee, if sense impel thee not?
Moves thee a light, which in the heaven takes form,
By self, or by a will that downward guides it.

Of her impiety, who changed her form
Into the bird that most delights in singing,
In my imagining appeared the trace;

And hereupon my mind was so withdrawn
Within itself, that from without there came
Nothing that then might be received by it.

Then reigned within my lofty fantasy
One crucified, disdainful and ferocious
In countenance, and even thus was dying.

Around him were the great Ahasuerus,
Esther his wife, and the just Mordecai,
Who was in word and action so entire.

And even as this image burst asunder
Of its own self, in fashion of a bubble
In which the water it was made of fails,

There rose up in my vision a young maiden
Bitterly weeping, and she said: "O queen,
Why hast thou wished in anger to be naught?

Thou'st slain thyself, Lavinia not to lose;
Now hast thou lost me; I am she who mourns,
Mother, at thine ere at another's ruin."

As sleep is broken, when upon a sudden
New light strikes in upon the eyelids closed,
And broken quivers ere it dieth wholly,

So this imagining of mine fell down
As soon as the effulgence smote my face,
Greater by far than what is in our wont.

I turned me round to see where I might be,
When said a voice, "Here is the passage up;"
Which from all other purposes removed me,

And made my wish so full of eagerness
To look and see who was it that was speaking,
It never rests till meeting face to face;

But as before the sun, which quells the sight,
And in its own excess its figure veils,
Even so my power was insufficient here.

"This is a spirit divine, who in the way
Of going up directs us without asking,
And who with his own light himself conceals.

He does with us as man doth with himself;
For he who sees the need, and waits the asking,
Malignly leans already tow'rds denial.

Accord we now our feet to such inviting,
Let us make haste to mount ere it grow dark;
For then we could not till the day return."

Thus my Conductor said; and I and he
Together turned our footsteps to a stairway;
And I, as soon as the first step I reached,

Near me perceived a motion as of wings,
And fanning in the face, and saying, "'Beati
Pacifici,' who are without ill anger."

Already over us were so uplifted
The latest sunbeams, which the night pursues,
That upon many sides the stars appeared.

"O manhood mine, why dost thou vanish so?"
I said within myself; for I perceived
The vigour of my legs was put in truce.

We at the point were where no more ascends
The stairway upward, and were motionless,
Even as a ship, which at the shore arrives;

And I gave heed a little, if I might hear
Aught whatsoever in the circle new;
Then to my Master turned me round and said:

"Say, my sweet Father, what delinquency
Is purged here in the circle where we are?
Although our feet may pause, pause not thy speech."

And he to me: "The love of good, remiss
In what it should have done, is here restored;
Here plied again the ill-belated oar;

But still more openly to understand,
Turn unto me thy mind, and thou shalt gather
Some profitable fruit from our delay.

Neither Creator nor a creature ever,
Son," he began, "was destitute of love
Natural or spiritual; and thou knowest it.

The natural was ever without error;
But err the other may by evil object,
Or by too much, or by too little vigour.

While in the first it well directed is,
And in the second moderates itself,
It cannot be the cause of sinful pleasure;

But when to ill it turns, and, with more care
Or lesser than it ought, runs after good,
'Gainst the Creator works his own creation.

Hence thou mayst comprehend that love must be
The seed within yourselves of every virtue,
And every act that merits punishment.

Now inasmuch as never from the welfare
Of its own subject can love turn its sight,
From their own hatred all things are secure;

And since we cannot think of any being
Standing alone, nor from the First divided,
Of hating Him is all desire cut off.

Hence if, discriminating, I judge well,
The evil that one loves is of one's neighbour,
And this is born in three modes in your clay.

There are, who, by abasement of their neighbour,
Hope to excel, and therefore only long
That from his greatness he may be cast down;

There are, who power, grace, honour, and renown
Fear they may lose because another rises,
Thence are so sad that the reverse they love;

And there are those whom injury seems to chafe,
So that it makes them greedy for revenge,
And such must needs shape out another's harm.

This threefold love is wept for down below;
Now of the other will I have thee hear,
That runneth after good with measure faulty.

Each one confusedly a good conceives
Wherein the mind may rest, and longeth for it;
Therefore to overtake it each one strives.

If languid love to look on this attract you,
Or in attaining unto it, this cornice,
After just penitence, torments you for it.

There's other good that does not make man happy;
'Tis not felicity, 'tis not the good
Essence, of every good the fruit and root.

The love that yields itself too much to this
Above us is lamented in three circles;
But how tripartite it may be described,

I say not, that thou seek it for thyself."

Purgatorio: Canto XVIII

An end had put unto his reasoning
The lofty Teacher, and attent was looking
Into my face, if I appeared content;

And I, whom a new thirst still goaded on,
Without was mute, and said within: "Perchance
The too much questioning I make annoys him."

But that true Father, who had comprehended
The timid wish, that opened not itself,
By speaking gave me hardihood to speak.

Whence I: "My sight is, Master, vivified
So in thy light, that clearly I discern
Whate'er thy speech importeth or describes.

Therefore I thee entreat, sweet Father dear,
To teach me love, to which thou dost refer
Every good action and its contrary."

"Direct," he said, "towards me the keen eyes
Of intellect, and clear will be to thee
The error of the blind, who would be leaders.

The soul, which is created apt to love,
Is mobile unto everything that pleases,
Soon as by pleasure she is waked to action.

Your apprehension from some real thing
An image draws, and in yourselves displays it
So that it makes the soul turn unto it.

And if, when turned, towards it she incline,
Love is that inclination; it is nature,
Which is by pleasure bound in you anew

Then even as the fire doth upward move
By its own form, which to ascend is born,
Where longest in its matter it endures,

So comes the captive soul into desire,
Which is a motion spiritual, and ne'er rests
Until she doth enjoy the thing beloved.

Now may apparent be to thee how hidden
The truth is from those people, who aver
All love is in itself a laudable thing;

Because its matter may perchance appear
Aye to be good; but yet not each impression
Is good, albeit good may be the wax."

"Thy words, and my sequacious intellect,"
I answered him, "have love revealed to me;
But that has made me more impregned with doubt;

For if love from without be offered us,
And with another foot the soul go not,
If right or wrong she go, 'tis not her merit."

And he to me: "What reason seeth here,
Myself can tell thee; beyond that await
For Beatrice, since 'tis a work of faith.

Every substantial form, that segregate
From matter is, and with it is united,
Specific power has in itself collected,

Which without act is not perceptible,
Nor shows itself except by its effect,
As life does in a plant by the green leaves.

But still, whence cometh the intelligence
Of the first notions, man is ignorant,
And the affection for the first allurements,

Which are in you as instinct in the bee
To make its honey; and this first desire
Merit of praise or blame containeth not.

Now, that to this all others may be gathered,
Innate within you is the power that counsels,
And it should keep the threshold of assent.

This is the principle, from which is taken
Occasion of desert in you, according
As good and guilty loves it takes and winnows.

Those who, in reasoning, to the bottom went,
Were of this innate liberty aware,
Therefore bequeathed they Ethics to the world.

Supposing, then, that from necessity
Springs every love that is within you kindled,
Within yourselves the power is to restrain it.

The noble virtue Beatrice understands
By the free will; and therefore see that thou
Bear it in mind, if she should speak of it."

The moon, belated almost unto midnight,
Now made the stars appear to us more rare,
Formed like a bucket, that is all ablaze,

And counter to the heavens ran through those paths
Which the sun sets aflame, when he of Rome
Sees it 'twixt Sardes and Corsicans go down;

And that patrician shade, for whom is named
Pietola more than any Mantuan town,
Had laid aside the burden of my lading;

Whence I, who reason manifest and plain
In answer to my questions had received,
Stood like a man in drowsy reverie.

But taken from me was this drowsiness
Suddenly by a people, that behind
Our backs already had come round to us.

And as, of old, Ismenus and Asopus
Beside them saw at night the rush and throng,
If but the Thebans were in need of Bacchus,

So they along that circle curve their step,
From what I saw of those approaching us,
Who by good-will and righteous love are ridden.

Full soon they were upon us, because running
Moved onward all that mighty multitude,
And two in the advance cried out, lamenting,

"Mary in haste unto the mountain ran,
And Caesar, that he might subdue Ilerda,
Thrust at Marseilles, and then ran into Spain."

"Quick! quick! so that the time may not be lost
By little love!" forthwith the others cried,
"For ardour in well-doing freshens grace!"

"O folk, in whom an eager fervour now
Supplies perhaps delay and negligence,
Put by you in well-doing, through lukewarmness,

This one who lives, and truly I lie not,
Would fain go up, if but the sun relight us;
So tell us where the passage nearest is."

These were the words of him who was my Guide;
And some one of those spirits said: "Come on
Behind us, and the opening shalt thou find;

So full of longing are we to move onward,
That stay we cannot; therefore pardon us,
If thou for churlishness our justice take.

I was San Zeno's Abbot at Verona,
Under the empire of good Barbarossa,
Of whom still sorrowing Milan holds discourse;

And he has one foot in the grave already,
Who shall erelong lament that monastery,
And sorry be of having there had power,

Because his son, in his whole body sick,
And worse in mind, and who was evil-born,
He put into the place of its true pastor."

If more he said, or silent was, I know not,
He had already passed so far beyond us;
But this I heard, and to retain it pleased me.

And he who was in every need my succour
Said: "Turn thee hitherward; see two of them
Come fastening upon slothfulness their teeth."

In rear of all they shouted: "Sooner were
The people dead to whom the sea was opened,
Than their inheritors the Jordan saw;

And those who the fatigue did not endure
Unto the issue, with Anchises' son,
Themselves to life withouten glory offered."

Then when from us so separated were
Those shades, that they no longer could be seen,
Within me a new thought did entrance find,

Whence others many and diverse were born;
And so I lapsed from one into another,
That in a reverie mine eyes I closed,

And meditation into dream transmuted.

Purgatorio: Canto XIX

It was the hour when the diurnal heat
No more can warm the coldness of the moon,
Vanquished by earth, or peradventure Saturn,

When geomancers their Fortuna Major
See in the orient before the dawn
Rise by a path that long remains not dim,

There came to me in dreams a stammering woman,
Squint in her eyes, and in her feet distorted,
With hands dissevered and of sallow hue.

I looked at her; and as the sun restores
The frigid members which the night benumbs,
Even thus my gaze did render voluble

Her tongue, and made her all erect thereafter
In little while, and the lost countenance
As love desires it so in her did colour.

When in this wise she had her speech unloosed,
She 'gan to sing so, that with difficulty
Could I have turned my thoughts away from her.

"I am," she sang, "I am the Siren sweet
Who mariners amid the main unman,
So full am I of pleasantness to hear.

I drew Ulysses from his wandering way
Unto my song, and he who dwells with me
Seldom departs so wholly I content him."

Her mouth was not yet closed again, before
Appeared a Lady saintly and alert
Close at my side to put her to confusion.

"Virgilius, O Virgilius! who is this?"
Sternly she said; and he was drawing near
With eyes still fixed upon that modest one.

She seized the other and in front laid open,
Rending her garments, and her belly showed me;
This waked me with the stench that issued from it.

I turned mine eyes, and good Virgilius said:
"At least thrice have I called thee; rise and come;
Find we the opening by which thou mayst enter."

I rose; and full already of high day
Were all the circles of the Sacred Mountain,
And with the new sun at our back we went.

Following behind him, I my forehead bore
Like unto one who has it laden with thought,
Who makes himself the half arch of a bridge,

When I heard say, "Come, here the passage is,"
Spoken in a manner gentle and benign,
Such as we hear not in this mortal region.

With open wings, which of a swan appeared,
Upward he turned us who thus spake to us,
Between the two walls of the solid granite.

He moved his pinions afterwards and fanned us,
Affirming those 'qui lugent' to be blessed,
For they shall have their souls with comfort filled.

"What aileth thee, that aye to earth thou gazest?"
To me my Guide began to say, we both
Somewhat beyond the Angel having mounted.

And I: "With such misgiving makes me go
A vision new, which bends me to itself,
So that I cannot from the thought withdraw me."

"Didst thou behold," he said, "that old enchantress,
Who sole above us henceforth is lamented?
Didst thou behold how man is freed from her?

Suffice it thee, and smite earth with thy heels,
Thine eyes lift upward to the lure, that whirls
The Eternal King with revolutions vast."

Even as the hawk, that first his feet surveys,
Then turns him to the call and stretches forward,
Through the desire of food that draws him thither,

Such I became, and such, as far as cleaves
The rock to give a way to him who mounts,
Went on to where the circling doth begin.

On the fifth circle when I had come forth,
People I saw upon it who were weeping,
Stretched prone upon the ground, all downward turned.

"Adhaesit pavimento anima mea,"
I heard them say with sighings so profound,
That hardly could the words be understood.

"O ye elect of God, whose sufferings
Justice and Hope both render less severe,
Direct ye us towards the high ascents."

"If ye are come secure from this prostration,
And wish to find the way most speedily,
Let your right hands be evermore outside."

Thus did the Poet ask, and thus was answered
By them somewhat in front of us; whence I
In what was spoken divined the rest concealed,

And unto my Lord's eyes mine eyes I turned;
Whence he assented with a cheerful sign
To what the sight of my desire implored.

When of myself I could dispose at will,
Above that creature did I draw myself,
Whose words before had caused me to take note,

Saying: "O Spirit, in whom weeping ripens
That without which to God we cannot turn,
Suspend awhile for me thy greater care.

Who wast thou, and why are your backs turned upwards,
Tell me, and if thou wouldst that I procure thee
Anything there whence living I departed."

And he to me: "Wherefore our backs the heaven
Turns to itself, know shalt thou; but beforehand
'Scias quod ego fui successor Petri.'

Between Siestri and Chiaveri descends
A river beautiful, and of its name
The title of my blood its summit makes.

A month and little more essayed I how
Weighs the great cloak on him from mire who keeps it,
For all the other burdens seem a feather.

Tardy, ah woe is me! was my conversion;
But when the Roman Shepherd I was made,
Then I discovered life to be a lie.

I saw that there the heart was not at rest,
Nor farther in that life could one ascend;
Whereby the love of this was kindled in me.

Until that time a wretched soul and parted
From God was I, and wholly avaricious;
Now, as thou seest, I here am punished for it.

What avarice does is here made manifest
In the purgation of these souls converted,
And no more bitter pain the Mountain has.

Even as our eye did not uplift itself
Aloft, being fastened upon earthly things,
So justice here has merged it in the earth.

As avarice had extinguished our affection
For every good, whereby was action lost,
So justice here doth hold us in restraint,

Bound and imprisoned by the feet and hands;
And so long as it pleases the just Lord
Shall we remain immovable and prostrate."

I on my knees had fallen, and wished to speak;
But even as I began, and he was 'ware,
Only by listening, of my reverence,

"What cause," he said, "has downward bent thee thus?"
And I to him: "For your own dignity,
Standing, my conscience stung me with remorse."

"Straighten thy legs, and upward raise thee, brother,"
He answered: "Err not, fellow-servant am I
With thee and with the others to one power.

If e'er that holy, evangelic sound,
Which sayeth 'neque nubent,' thou hast heard,
Well canst thou see why in this wise I speak.

Now go; no longer will I have thee linger,
Because thy stay doth incommode my weeping,
With which I ripen that which thou hast said.

On earth I have a grandchild named Alagia,
Good in herself, unless indeed our house
Malevolent may make her by example,

And she alone remains to me on earth."

Purgatorio: Canto XX

Ill strives the will against a better will;
Therefore, to pleasure him, against my pleasure
I drew the sponge not saturate from the water.

Onward I moved, and onward moved my Leader,
Through vacant places, skirting still the rock,
As on a wall close to the battlements;

For they that through their eyes pour drop by drop
The malady which all the world pervades,
On the other side too near the verge approach.

Accursed mayst thou be, thou old she-wolf,
That more than all the other beasts hast prey,
Because of hunger infinitely hollow!

O heaven, in whose gyrations some appear
To think conditions here below are changed,
When will he come through whom she shall depart?

Onward we went with footsteps slow and scarce,
And I attentive to the shades I heard
Piteously weeping and bemoaning them;

And I by peradventure heard "Sweet Mary!"
Uttered in front of us amid the weeping
Even as a woman does who is in child-birth;

And in continuance: "How poor thou wast
Is manifested by that hostelry
Where thou didst lay thy sacred burden down."

Thereafterward I heard: "O good Fabricius,
Virtue with poverty didst thou prefer
To the possession of great wealth with vice."

So pleasurable were these words to me
That I drew farther onward to have knowledge
Touching that spirit whence they seemed to come.

He furthermore was speaking of the largess
Which Nicholas unto the maidens gave,
In order to conduct their youth to honour.

"O soul that dost so excellently speak,
Tell me who wast thou," said I, "and why only
Thou dost renew these praises well deserved?

Not without recompense shall be thy word,
If I return to finish the short journey
Of that life which is flying to its end."

And he: "I'll tell thee, not for any comfort
I may expect from earth, but that so much
Grace shines in thee or ever thou art dead.

I was the root of that malignant plant
Which overshadows all the Christian world,
So that good fruit is seldom gathered from it;

But if Douay and Ghent, and Lille and Bruges
Had Power, soon vengeance would be taken on it;
And this I pray of Him who judges all.

Hugh Capet was I called upon the earth;
From me were born the Louises and Philips,
By whom in later days has France been governed.

I was the son of a Parisian butcher,
What time the ancient kings had perished all,
Excepting one, contrite in cloth of gray.

I found me grasping in my hands the rein
Of the realm's government, and so great power
Of new acquest, and so with friends abounding,

That to the widowed diadem promoted
The head of mine own offspring was, from whom
The consecrated bones of these began.

So long as the great dowry of Provence
Out of my blood took not the sense of shame,
'Twas little worth, but still it did no harm.

Then it began with falsehood and with force
Its rapine; and thereafter, for amends,
Took Ponthieu, Normandy, and Gascony.

Charles came to Italy, and for amends
A victim made of Conradin, and then
Thrust Thomas back to heaven, for amends.

A time I see, not very distant now,
Which draweth forth another Charles from France,
The better to make known both him and his.

Unarmed he goes, and only with the lance
That Judas jousted with; and that he thrusts
So that he makes the paunch of Florence burst.

He thence not land, but sin and infamy,
Shall gain, so much more grievous to himself
As the more light such damage he accounts.

The other, now gone forth, ta'en in his ship,
See I his daughter sell, and chaffer for her
As corsairs do with other female slaves.

What more, O Avarice, canst thou do to us,
Since thou my blood so to thyself hast drawn,
It careth not for its own proper flesh?

That less may seem the future ill and past,
I see the flower-de-luce Alagna enter,
And Christ in his own Vicar captive made.

I see him yet another time derided;
I see renewed the vinegar and gall,
And between living thieves I see him slain.

I see the modern Pilate so relentless,
This does not sate him, but without decretal
He to the temple bears his sordid sails!

When, O my Lord! shall I be joyful made
By looking on the vengeance which, concealed,
Makes sweet thine anger in thy secrecy?

What I was saying of that only bride
Of the Holy Ghost, and which occasioned thee
To turn towards me for some commentary,

So long has been ordained to all our prayers
As the day lasts; but when the night comes on,
Contrary sound we take instead thereof.

At that time we repeat Pygmalion,
Of whom a traitor, thief, and parricide
Made his insatiable desire of gold;

And the misery of avaricious Midas,
That followed his inordinate demand,
At which forevermore one needs but laugh.

The foolish Achan each one then records,
And how he stole the spoils; so that the wrath
Of Joshua still appears to sting him here.

Then we accuse Sapphira with her husband,
We laud the hoof-beats Heliodorus had,
And the whole mount in infamy encircles

Polymnestor who murdered Polydorus.
Here finally is cried: 'O Crassus, tell us,
For thou dost know, what is the taste of gold?'

Sometimes we speak, one loud, another low,
According to desire of speech, that spurs us
To greater now and now to lesser pace.

But in the good that here by day is talked of,
Erewhile alone I was not; yet near by
No other person lifted up his voice."

From him already we departed were,
And made endeavour to o'ercome the road
As much as was permitted to our power,

When I perceived, like something that is falling,
The mountain tremble, whence a chill seized on me,
As seizes him who to his death is going.

Certes so violently shook not Delos,
Before Latona made her nest therein
To give birth to the two eyes of the heaven.

Then upon all sides there began a cry,
Such that the Master drew himself towards me,
Saying, "Fear not, while I am guiding thee."

"Gloria in excelsis Deo," all
Were saying, from what near I comprehended,
Where it was possible to hear the cry.

We paused immovable and in suspense,
Even as the shepherds who first heard that song,
Until the trembling ceased, and it was finished.

Then we resumed again our holy path,
Watching the shades that lay upon the ground,
Already turned to their accustomed plaint.

No ignorance ever with so great a strife
Had rendered me importunate to know,
If erreth not in this my memory,

As meditating then I seemed to have;
Nor out of haste to question did I dare,
Nor of myself I there could aught perceive;

So I went onward timorous and thoughtful.
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Re: The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri

Postby admin » Fri Feb 16, 2018 2:57 am

Purgatorio: Canto XXI

The natural thirst, that ne'er is satisfied
Excepting with the water for whose grace
The woman of Samaria besought,

Put me in travail, and haste goaded me
Along the encumbered path behind my Leader
And I was pitying that righteous vengeance;

And lo! in the same manner as Luke writeth
That Christ appeared to two upon the way
From the sepulchral cave already risen,

A shade appeared to us, and came behind us,
Down gazing on the prostrate multitude,
Nor were we ware of it, until it spake,

Saying, "My brothers, may God give you peace!"
We turned us suddenly, and Virgilius rendered
To him the countersign thereto conforming.

Thereon began he: "In the blessed council,
Thee may the court veracious place in peace,
That me doth banish in eternal exile!"

"How," said he, and the while we went with speed,
"If ye are shades whom God deigns not on high,
Who up his stairs so far has guided you?"

And said my Teacher: "If thou note the marks
Which this one bears, and which the Angel traces
Well shalt thou see he with the good must reign.

But because she who spinneth day and night
For him had not yet drawn the distaff off,
Which Clotho lays for each one and compacts,

His soul, which is thy sister and my own,
In coming upwards could not come alone,
By reason that it sees not in our fashion.

Whence I was drawn from out the ample throat
Of Hell to be his guide, and I shall guide him
As far on as my school has power to lead.

But tell us, if thou knowest, why such a shudder
Erewhile the mountain gave, and why together
All seemed to cry, as far as its moist feet?"

In asking he so hit the very eye
Of my desire, that merely with the hope
My thirst became the less unsatisfied.

"Naught is there," he began, "that without order
May the religion of the mountain feel,
Nor aught that may be foreign to its custom.

Free is it here from every permutation;
What from itself heaven in itself receiveth
Can be of this the cause, and naught beside;

Because that neither rain, nor hail, nor snow,
Nor dew, nor hoar-frost any higher falls
Than the short, little stairway of three steps.

Dense clouds do not appear, nor rarefied,
Nor coruscation, nor the daughter of Thaumas,
That often upon earth her region shifts;

No arid vapour any farther rises
Than to the top of the three steps I spake of,
Whereon the Vicar of Peter has his feet.

Lower down perchance it trembles less or more,
But, for the wind that in the earth is hidden
I know not how, up here it never trembled.

It trembles here, whenever any soul
Feels itself pure, so that it soars, or moves
To mount aloft, and such a cry attends it.

Of purity the will alone gives proof,
Which, being wholly free to change its convent,
Takes by surprise the soul, and helps it fly.

First it wills well; but the desire permits not,
Which divine justice with the self-same will
There was to sin, upon the torment sets.

And I, who have been lying in this pain
Five hundred years and more, but just now felt
A free volition for a better seat.

Therefore thou heardst the earthquake, and the pious
Spirits along the mountain rendering praise
Unto the Lord, that soon he speed them upwards."

So said he to him; and since we enjoy
As much in drinking as the thirst is great,
I could not say how much it did me good.

And the wise Leader: "Now I see the net
That snares you here, and how ye are set free,
Why the earth quakes, and wherefore ye rejoice.

Now who thou wast be pleased that I may know;
And why so many centuries thou hast here
Been lying, let me gather from thy words."

"In days when the good Titus, with the aid
Of the supremest King, avenged the wounds
Whence issued forth the blood by Judas sold,

Under the name that most endures and honours,
Was I on earth," that spirit made reply,
"Greatly renowned, but not with faith as yet.

My vocal spirit was so sweet, that Rome
Me, a Thoulousian, drew unto herself,
Where I deserved to deck my brows with myrtle.

Statius the people name me still on earth;
I sang of Thebes, and then of great Achilles;
But on the way fell with my second burden.

The seeds unto my ardour were the sparks
Of that celestial flame which heated me,
Whereby more than a thousand have been fired;

Of the Aeneid speak I, which to me
A mother was, and was my nurse in song;
Without this weighed I not a drachma's weight.

And to have lived upon the earth what time
Virgilius lived, I would accept one sun
More than I must ere issuing from my ban."

These words towards me made Virgilius turn
With looks that in their silence said, "Be silent!"
But yet the power that wills cannot do all things;

For tears and laughter are such pursuivants
Unto the passion from which each springs forth,
In the most truthful least the will they follow.

I only smiled, as one who gives the wink;
Whereat the shade was silent, and it gazed
Into mine eyes, where most expression dwells;

And, "As thou well mayst consummate a labour
So great," it said, "why did thy face just now
Display to me the lightning of a smile?"

Now am I caught on this side and on that;
One keeps me silent, one to speak conjures me,
Wherefore I sigh, and I am understood.

"Speak," said my Master, "and be not afraid
Of speaking, but speak out, and say to him
What he demands with such solicitude."

Whence I: "Thou peradventure marvellest,
O antique spirit, at the smile I gave;
But I will have more wonder seize upon thee.

This one, who guides on high these eyes of mine,
Is that Virgilius, from whom thou didst learn
To sing aloud of men and of the Gods.

If other cause thou to my smile imputedst,
Abandon it as false, and trust it was
Those words which thou hast spoken concerning him."

Already he was stooping to embrace
My Teacher's feet; but he said to him: "Brother,
Do not; for shade thou art, and shade beholdest."

And he uprising: "Now canst thou the sum
Of love which warms me to thee comprehend,
When this our vanity I disremember,

Treating a shadow as substantial thing."

Purgatorio: Canto XXII

Already was the Angel left behind us,
The Angel who to the sixth round had turned us,
Having erased one mark from off my face;

And those who have in justice their desire
Had said to us, "Beati," in their voices,
With "sitio," and without more ended it.

And I, more light than through the other passes,
Went onward so, that without any labour
I followed upward the swift-footed spirits;

When thus Virgilius began: "The love
Kindled by virtue aye another kindles,
Provided outwardly its flame appear.

Hence from the hour that Juvenal descended
Among us into the infernal Limbo,
Who made apparent to me thy affection,

My kindliness towards thee was as great
As ever bound one to an unseen person,
So that these stairs will now seem short to me.

But tell me, and forgive me as a friend,
If too great confidence let loose the rein,
And as a friend now hold discourse with me;

How was it possible within thy breast
For avarice to find place, 'mid so much wisdom
As thou wast filled with by thy diligence?"

These words excited Statius at first
Somewhat to laughter; afterward he answered:
"Each word of thine is love's dear sign to me.

Verily oftentimes do things appear
Which give fallacious matter to our doubts,
Instead of the true causes which are hidden!

Thy question shows me thy belief to be
That I was niggard in the other life,
It may be from the circle where I was;

Therefore know thou, that avarice was removed
Too far from me; and this extravagance
Thousands of lunar periods have punished.

And were it not that I my thoughts uplifted,
When I the passage heard where thou exclaimest,
As if indignant, unto human nature,

'To what impellest thou not, O cursed hunger
Of gold, the appetite of mortal men?'
Revolving I should feel the dismal joustings.

Then I perceived the hands could spread too wide
Their wings in spending, and repented me
As well of that as of my other sins;

How many with shorn hair shall rise again
Because of ignorance, which from this sin
Cuts off repentance living and in death!

And know that the transgression which rebuts
By direct opposition any sin
Together with it here its verdure dries.

Therefore if I have been among that folk
Which mourns its avarice, to purify me,
For its opposite has this befallen me."

"Now when thou sangest the relentless weapons
Of the twofold affliction of Jocasta,"
The singer of the Songs Bucolic said,

"From that which Clio there with thee preludes,
It does not seem that yet had made thee faithful
That faith without which no good works suffice.

If this be so, what candles or what sun
Scattered thy darkness so that thou didst trim
Thy sails behind the Fisherman thereafter?"

And he to him: "Thou first directedst me
Towards Parnassus, in its grots to drink,
And first concerning God didst me enlighten.

Thou didst as he who walketh in the night,
Who bears his light behind, which helps him not,
But wary makes the persons after him,

When thou didst say: 'The age renews itself,
Justice returns, and man's primeval time,
And a new progeny descends from heaven.'

Through thee I Poet was, through thee a Christian;
But that thou better see what I design,
To colour it will I extend my hand.

Already was the world in every part
Pregnant with the true creed, disseminated
By messengers of the eternal kingdom;

And thy assertion, spoken of above,
With the new preachers was in unison;
Whence I to visit them the custom took.

Then they became so holy in my sight,
That, when Domitian persecuted them,
Not without tears of mine were their laments;

And all the while that I on earth remained,
Them I befriended, and their upright customs
Made me disparage all the other sects.

And ere I led the Greeks unto the rivers
Of Thebes, in poetry, I was baptized,
But out of fear was covertly a Christian,

For a long time professing paganism;
And this lukewarmness caused me the fourth circle
To circuit round more than four centuries.

Thou, therefore, who hast raised the covering
That hid from me whatever good I speak of,
While in ascending we have time to spare,

Tell me, in what place is our friend Terentius,
Caecilius, Plautus, Varro, if thou knowest;
Tell me if they are damned, and in what alley."

"These, Persius and myself, and others many,"
Replied my Leader, "with that Grecian are
Whom more than all the rest the Muses suckled,

In the first circle of the prison blind;
Ofttimes we of the mountain hold discourse
Which has our nurses ever with itself.

Euripides is with us, Antiphon,
Simonides, Agatho, and many other
Greeks who of old their brows with laurel decked.

There some of thine own people may be seen,
Antigone, Deiphile and Argia,
And there Ismene mournful as of old.

There she is seen who pointed out Langia;
There is Tiresias' daughter, and there Thetis,
And there Deidamia with her sisters."

Silent already were the poets both,
Attent once more in looking round about,
From the ascent and from the walls released;

And four handmaidens of the day already
Were left behind, and at the pole the fifth
Was pointing upward still its burning horn,

What time my Guide: "I think that tow'rds the edge
Our dexter shoulders it behoves us turn,
Circling the mount as we are wont to do."

Thus in that region custom was our ensign;
And we resumed our way with less suspicion
For the assenting of that worthy soul

They in advance went on, and I alone
Behind them, and I listened to their speech,
Which gave me lessons in the art of song.

But soon their sweet discourses interrupted
A tree which midway in the road we found,
With apples sweet and grateful to the smell.

And even as a fir-tree tapers upward
From bough to bough, so downwardly did that;
I think in order that no one might climb it.

On that side where our pathway was enclosed
Fell from the lofty rock a limpid water,
And spread itself abroad upon the leaves.

The Poets twain unto the tree drew near,
And from among the foliage a voice
Cried: "Of this food ye shall have scarcity."

Then said: "More thoughtful Mary was of making
The marriage feast complete and honourable,
Than of her mouth which now for you responds;

And for their drink the ancient Roman women
With water were content; and Daniel
Disparaged food, and understanding won.

The primal age was beautiful as gold;
Acorns it made with hunger savorous,
And nectar every rivulet with thirst.

Honey and locusts were the aliments
That fed the Baptist in the wilderness;
Whence he is glorious, and so magnified

As by the Evangel is revealed to you."

Purgatorio: Canto XXIII

The while among the verdant leaves mine eyes
I riveted, as he is wont to do
Who wastes his life pursuing little birds,

My more than Father said unto me: "Son,
Come now; because the time that is ordained us
More usefully should be apportioned out."

I turned my face and no less soon my steps
Unto the Sages, who were speaking so
They made the going of no cost to me;

And lo! were heard a song and a lament,
"Labia mea, Domine," in fashion
Such that delight and dolence it brought forth.

"O my sweet Father, what is this I hear?"
Began I; and he answered: "Shades that go
Perhaps the knot unloosing of their debt."

In the same way that thoughtful pilgrims do,
Who, unknown people on the road o'ertaking,
Turn themselves round to them, and do not stop,

Even thus, behind us with a swifter motion
Coming and passing onward, gazed upon us
A crowd of spirits silent and devout.

Each in his eyes was dark and cavernous,
Pallid in face, and so emaciate
That from the bones the skin did shape itself.

I do not think that so to merest rind
Could Erisichthon have been withered up
By famine, when most fear he had of it.

Thinking within myself I said: "Behold,
This is the folk who lost Jerusalem,
When Mary made a prey of her own son."

Their sockets were like rings without the gems;
Whoever in the face of men reads 'omo'
Might well in these have recognised the 'm.'

Who would believe the odour of an apple,
Begetting longing, could consume them so,
And that of water, without knowing how?

I still was wondering what so famished them,
For the occasion not yet manifest
Of their emaciation and sad squalor;

And lo! from out the hollow of his head
His eyes a shade turned on me, and looked keenly;
Then cried aloud: "What grace to me is this?"

Never should I have known him by his look;
But in his voice was evident to me
That which his aspect had suppressed within it.

This spark within me wholly re-enkindled
My recognition of his altered face,
And I recalled the features of Forese.

"Ah, do not look at this dry leprosy,"
Entreated he, "which doth my skin discolour,
Nor at default of flesh that I may have;

But tell me truth of thee, and who are those
Two souls, that yonder make for thee an escort;
Do not delay in speaking unto me."

"That face of thine, which dead I once bewept,
Gives me for weeping now no lesser grief,"
I answered him, "beholding it so changed!

But tell me, for God's sake, what thus denudes you?
Make me not speak while I am marvelling,
For ill speaks he who's full of other longings."

And he to me: "From the eternal council
Falls power into the water and the tree
Behind us left, whereby I grow so thin.

All of this people who lamenting sing,
For following beyond measure appetite
In hunger and thirst are here re-sanctified.

Desire to eat and drink enkindles in us
The scent that issues from the apple-tree,
And from the spray that sprinkles o'er the verdure;

And not a single time alone, this ground
Encompassing, is refreshed our pain,--
I say our pain, and ought to say our solace,--

For the same wish doth lead us to the tree
Which led the Christ rejoicing to say 'Eli,'
When with his veins he liberated us."

And I to him: "Forese, from that day
When for a better life thou changedst worlds,
Up to this time five years have not rolled round.

If sooner were the power exhausted in thee
Of sinning more, than thee the hour surprised
Of that good sorrow which to God reweds us,

How hast thou come up hitherward already?
I thought to find thee down there underneath,
Where time for time doth restitution make."

And he to me: "Thus speedily has led me
To drink of the sweet wormwood of these torments,
My Nella with her overflowing tears;

She with her prayers devout and with her sighs
Has drawn me from the coast where one where one awaits,
And from the other circles set me free.

So much more dear and pleasing is to God
My little widow, whom so much I loved,
As in good works she is the more alone;

For the Barbagia of Sardinia
By far more modest in its women is
Than the Barbagia I have left her in.

O brother sweet, what wilt thou have me say?
A future time is in my sight already,
To which this hour will not be very old,

When from the pulpit shall be interdicted
To the unblushing womankind of Florence
To go about displaying breast and paps.

What savages were e'er, what Saracens,
Who stood in need, to make them covered go,
Of spiritual or other discipline?

But if the shameless women were assured
Of what swift Heaven prepares for them, already
Wide open would they have their mouths to howl;

For if my foresight here deceive me not,
They shall be sad ere he has bearded cheeks
Who now is hushed to sleep with lullaby.

O brother, now no longer hide thee from me;
See that not only I, but all these people
Are gazing there, where thou dost veil the sun."

Whence I to him: "If thou bring back to mind
What thou with me hast been and I with thee,
The present memory will be grievous still.

Out of that life he turned me back who goes
In front of me, two days agone when round
The sister of him yonder showed herself,"

And to the sun I pointed. "Through the deep
Night of the truly dead has this one led me,
With this true flesh, that follows after him.

Thence his encouragements have led me up,
Ascending and still circling round the mount
That you doth straighten, whom the world made crooked.

He says that he will bear me company,
Till I shall be where Beatrice will be;
There it behoves me to remain without him.

This is Virgilius, who thus says to me,"
And him I pointed at; "the other is
That shade for whom just now shook every slope

Your realm, that from itself discharges him."

Purgatorio: Canto XXIV

Nor speech the going, nor the going that
Slackened; but talking we went bravely on,
Even as a vessel urged by a good wind.

And shadows, that appeared things doubly dead,
From out the sepulchres of their eyes betrayed
Wonder at me, aware that I was living.

And I, continuing my colloquy,
Said: "Peradventure he goes up more slowly
Than he would do, for other people's sake.

But tell me, if thou knowest, where is Piccarda;
Tell me if any one of note I see
Among this folk that gazes at me so."

"My sister, who, 'twixt beautiful and good,
I know not which was more, triumphs rejoicing
Already in her crown on high Olympus."

So said he first, and then: "'Tis not forbidden
To name each other here, so milked away
Is our resemblance by our dieting.

This," pointing with his finger, "is Buonagiunta,
Buonagiunta, of Lucca; and that face
Beyond him there, more peaked than the others,

Has held the holy Church within his arms;
From Tours was he, and purges by his fasting
Bolsena's eels and the Vernaccia wine."

He named me many others one by one;
And all contented seemed at being named,
So that for this I saw not one dark look.

I saw for hunger bite the empty air
Ubaldin dalla Pila, and Boniface,
Who with his crook had pastured many people.

I saw Messer Marchese, who had leisure
Once at Forli for drinking with less dryness,
And he was one who ne'er felt satisfied.

But as he does who scans, and then doth prize
One more than others, did I him of Lucca,
Who seemed to take most cognizance of me.

He murmured, and I know not what Gentucca
From that place heard I, where he felt the wound
Of justice, that doth macerate them so.

"O soul," I said, "that seemest so desirous
To speak with me, do so that I may hear thee,
And with thy speech appease thyself and me."

"A maid is born, and wears not yet the veil,"
Began he, "who to thee shall pleasant make
My city, howsoever men may blame it.

Thou shalt go on thy way with this prevision;
If by my murmuring thou hast been deceived,
True things hereafter will declare it to thee.

But say if him I here behold, who forth
Evoked the new-invented rhymes, beginning,
'Ladies, that have intelligence of love?'"

And I to him: "One am I, who, whenever
Love doth inspire me, note, and in that measure
Which he within me dictates, singing go."

"O brother, now I see," he said, "the knot
Which me, the Notary, and Guittone held
Short of the sweet new style that now I hear.

I do perceive full clearly how your pens
Go closely following after him who dictates,
Which with our own forsooth came not to pass;

And he who sets himself to go beyond,
No difference sees from one style to another;"
And as if satisfied, he held his peace.

Even as the birds, that winter tow'rds the Nile,
Sometimes into a phalanx form themselves,
Then fly in greater haste, and go in file;

In such wise all the people who were there,
Turning their faces, hurried on their steps,
Both by their leanness and their wishes light.

And as a man, who weary is with trotting,
Lets his companions onward go, and walks,
Until he vents the panting of his chest;

So did Forese let the holy flock
Pass by, and came with me behind it, saying,
"When will it be that I again shall see thee?"

"How long," I answered, "I may live, I know not;
Yet my return will not so speedy be,
But I shall sooner in desire arrive;

Because the place where I was set to live
From day to day of good is more depleted,
And unto dismal ruin seems ordained."

"Now go," he said, "for him most guilty of it
At a beast's tail behold I dragged along
Towards the valley where is no repentance.

Faster at every step the beast is going,
Increasing evermore until it smites him,
And leaves the body vilely mutilated.

Not long those wheels shall turn," and he uplifted
His eyes to heaven, "ere shall be clear to thee
That which my speech no farther can declare.

Now stay behind; because the time so precious
Is in this kingdom, that I lose too much
By coming onward thus abreast with thee."

As sometimes issues forth upon a gallop
A cavalier from out a troop that ride,
And seeks the honour of the first encounter,

So he with greater strides departed from us;
And on the road remained I with those two,
Who were such mighty marshals of the world.

And when before us he had gone so far
Mine eyes became to him such pursuivants
As was my understanding to his words,

Appeared to me with laden and living boughs
Another apple-tree, and not far distant,
From having but just then turned thitherward.

People I saw beneath it lift their hands,
And cry I know not what towards the leaves,
Like little children eager and deluded,

Who pray, and he they pray to doth not answer,
But, to make very keen their appetite,
Holds their desire aloft, and hides it not.

Then they departed as if undeceived;
And now we came unto the mighty tree
Which prayers and tears so manifold refuses.

"Pass farther onward without drawing near;
The tree of which Eve ate is higher up,
And out of that one has this tree been raised."

Thus said I know not who among the branches;
Whereat Virgilius, Statius, and myself
Went crowding forward on the side that rises.

"Be mindful," said he, "of the accursed ones
Formed of the cloud-rack, who inebriate
Combated Theseus with their double breasts;

And of the Jews who showed them soft in drinking,
Whence Gideon would not have them for companions
When he tow'rds Midian the hills descended."

Thus, closely pressed to one of the two borders,
On passed we, hearing sins of gluttony,
Followed forsooth by miserable gains;

Then set at large upon the lonely road,
A thousand steps and more we onward went,
In contemplation, each without a word.

"What go ye thinking thus, ye three alone?"
Said suddenly a voice, whereat I started
As terrified and timid beasts are wont.

I raised my head to see who this might be,
And never in a furnace was there seen
Metals or glass so lucent and so red

As one I saw who said: "If it may please you
To mount aloft, here it behoves you turn;
This way goes he who goeth after peace."

His aspect had bereft me of my sight,
So that I turned me back unto my Teachers,
Like one who goeth as his hearing guides him.

And as, the harbinger of early dawn,
The air of May doth move and breathe out fragrance,
Impregnate all with herbage and with flowers,

So did I feel a breeze strike in the midst
My front, and felt the moving of the plumes
That breathed around an odour of ambrosia;

And heard it said: "Blessed are they whom grace
So much illumines, that the love of taste
Excites not in their breasts too great desire,

Hungering at all times so far as is just."

Purgatorio: Canto XXV

Now was it the ascent no hindrance brooked,
Because the sun had his meridian circle
To Taurus left, and night to Scorpio;

Wherefore as doth a man who tarries not,
But goes his way, whate'er to him appear,
If of necessity the sting transfix him,

In this wise did we enter through the gap,
Taking the stairway, one before the other,
Which by its narrowness divides the climbers.

And as the little stork that lifts its wing
With a desire to fly, and does not venture
To leave the nest, and lets it downward droop,

Even such was I, with the desire of asking
Kindled and quenched, unto the motion coming
He makes who doth address himself to speak.

Not for our pace, though rapid it might be,
My father sweet forbore, but said: "Let fly
The bow of speech thou to the barb hast drawn."

With confidence I opened then my mouth,
And I began: "How can one meagre grow
There where the need of nutriment applies not?"

"If thou wouldst call to mind how Meleager
Was wasted by the wasting of a brand,
This would not," said he, "be to thee so sour;

And wouldst thou think how at each tremulous motion
Trembles within a mirror your own image;
That which seems hard would mellow seem to thee.

But that thou mayst content thee in thy wish
Lo Statius here; and him I call and pray
He now will be the healer of thy wounds."

"If I unfold to him the eternal vengeance,"
Responded Statius, "where thou present art,
Be my excuse that I can naught deny thee."

Then he began: "Son, if these words of mine
Thy mind doth contemplate and doth receive,
They'll be thy light unto the How thou sayest.

The perfect blood, which never is drunk up
Into the thirsty veins, and which remaineth
Like food that from the table thou removest,

Takes in the heart for all the human members
Virtue informative, as being that
Which to be changed to them goes through the veins

Again digest, descends it where 'tis better
Silent to be than say; and then drops thence
Upon another's blood in natural vase.

There one together with the other mingles,
One to be passive meant, the other active
By reason of the perfect place it springs from;

And being conjoined, begins to operate,
Coagulating first, then vivifying
What for its matter it had made consistent.

The active virtue, being made a soul
As of a plant, (in so far different,
This on the way is, that arrived already,)

Then works so much, that now it moves and feels
Like a sea-fungus, and then undertakes
To organize the powers whose seed it is.

Now, Son, dilates and now distends itself
The virtue from the generator's heart,
Where nature is intent on all the members.

But how from animal it man becomes
Thou dost not see as yet; this is a point
Which made a wiser man than thou once err

So far, that in his doctrine separate
He made the soul from possible intellect,
For he no organ saw by this assumed.

Open thy breast unto the truth that's coming,
And know that, just as soon as in the foetus
The articulation of the brain is perfect,

The primal Motor turns to it well pleased
At so great art of nature, and inspires
A spirit new with virtue all replete,

Which what it finds there active doth attract
Into its substance, and becomes one soul,
Which lives, and feels, and on itself revolves.

And that thou less may wonder at my word,
Behold the sun's heat, which becometh wine,
Joined to the juice that from the vine distils.

Whenever Lachesis has no more thread,
It separates from the flesh, and virtually
Bears with itself the human and divine;

The other faculties are voiceless all;
The memory, the intelligence, and the will
In action far more vigorous than before.

Without a pause it falleth of itself
In marvellous way on one shore or the other;
There of its roads it first is cognizant.

Soon as the place there circumscribeth it,
The virtue informative rays round about,
As, and as much as, in the living members.

And even as the air, when full of rain,
By alien rays that are therein reflected,
With divers colours shows itself adorned,

So there the neighbouring air doth shape itself
Into that form which doth impress upon it
Virtually the soul that has stood still.

And then in manner of the little flame,
Which followeth the fire where'er it shifts,
After the spirit followeth its new form.

Since afterwards it takes from this its semblance,
It is called shade; and thence it organizes
Thereafter every sense, even to the sight.

Thence is it that we speak, and thence we laugh;
Thence is it that we form the tears and sighs,
That on the mountain thou mayhap hast heard.

According as impress us our desires
And other affections, so the shade is shaped,
And this is cause of what thou wonderest at."

And now unto the last of all the circles
Had we arrived, and to the right hand turned,
And were attentive to another care.

There the embankment shoots forth flames of fire,
And upward doth the cornice breathe a blast
That drives them back, and from itself sequesters.

Hence we must needs go on the open side,
And one by one; and I did fear the fire
On this side, and on that the falling down.

My Leader said: "Along this place one ought
To keep upon the eyes a tightened rein,
Seeing that one so easily might err."

"Summae Deus clementiae," in the bosom
Of the great burning chanted then I heard,
Which made me no less eager to turn round;

And spirits saw I walking through the flame;
Wherefore I looked, to my own steps and theirs
Apportioning my sight from time to time.

After the close which to that hymn is made,
Aloud they shouted, "Virum non cognosco;"
Then recommenced the hymn with voices low.

This also ended, cried they: "To the wood
Diana ran, and drove forth Helice
Therefrom, who had of Venus felt the poison."

Then to their song returned they; then the wives
They shouted, and the husbands who were chaste.
As virtue and the marriage vow imposes.

And I believe that them this mode suffices,
For all the time the fire is burning them;
With such care is it needful, and such food,

That the last wound of all should be closed up.
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Re: The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri

Postby admin » Fri Feb 16, 2018 2:58 am

Purgatorio: Canto XXVI

While on the brink thus one before the other
We went upon our way, oft the good Master
Said: "Take thou heed! suffice it that I warn thee."

On the right shoulder smote me now the sun,
That, raying out, already the whole west
Changed from its azure aspect into white.

And with my shadow did I make the flame
Appear more red; and even to such a sign
Shades saw I many, as they went, give heed.

This was the cause that gave them a beginning
To speak of me; and to themselves began they
To say: "That seems not a factitious body!"

Then towards me, as far as they could come,
Came certain of them, always with regard
Not to step forth where they would not be burned.

"O thou who goest, not from being slower
But reverent perhaps, behind the others,
Answer me, who in thirst and fire am burning.

Nor to me only is thine answer needful;
For all of these have greater thirst for it
Than for cold water Ethiop or Indian.

Tell us how is it that thou makest thyself
A wall unto the sun, as if thou hadst not
Entered as yet into the net of death."

Thus one of them addressed me, and I straight
Should have revealed myself, were I not bent
On other novelty that then appeared.

For through the middle of the burning road
There came a people face to face with these,
Which held me in suspense with gazing at them.

There see I hastening upon either side
Each of the shades, and kissing one another
Without a pause, content with brief salute.

Thus in the middle of their brown battalions
Muzzle to muzzle one ant meets another
Perchance to spy their journey or their fortune.

No sooner is the friendly greeting ended,
Or ever the first footstep passes onward,
Each one endeavours to outcry the other;

The new-come people: "Sodom and Gomorrah!"
The rest: "Into the cow Pasiphae enters,
So that the bull unto her lust may run!"

Then as the cranes, that to Riphaean mountains
Might fly in part, and part towards the sands,
These of the frost, those of the sun avoidant,

One folk is going, and the other coming,
And weeping they return to their first songs,
And to the cry that most befitteth them;

And close to me approached, even as before,
The very same who had entreated me,
Attent to listen in their countenance.

I, who their inclination twice had seen,
Began: "O souls secure in the possession,
Whene'er it may be, of a state of peace,

Neither unripe nor ripened have remained
My members upon earth, but here are with me
With their own blood and their articulations.

I go up here to be no longer blind;
A Lady is above, who wins this grace,
Whereby the mortal through your world I bring.

But as your greatest longing satisfied
May soon become, so that the Heaven may house you
Which full of love is, and most amply spreads,

Tell me, that I again in books may write it,
Who are you, and what is that multitude
Which goes upon its way behind your backs?"

Not otherwise with wonder is bewildered
The mountaineer, and staring round is dumb,
When rough and rustic to the town he goes,

Than every shade became in its appearance;
But when they of their stupor were disburdened,
Which in high hearts is quickly quieted,

"Blessed be thou, who of our border-lands,"
He recommenced who first had questioned us,
"Experience freightest for a better life.

The folk that comes not with us have offended
In that for which once Caesar, triumphing,
Heard himself called in contumely, 'Queen.'

Therefore they separate, exclaiming, 'Sodom!'
Themselves reproving, even as thou hast heard,
And add unto their burning by their shame.

Our own transgression was hermaphrodite;
But because we observed not human law,
Following like unto beasts our appetite,

In our opprobrium by us is read,
When we part company, the name of her
Who bestialized herself in bestial wood.

Now knowest thou our acts, and what our crime was;
Wouldst thou perchance by name know who we are,
There is not time to tell, nor could I do it.

Thy wish to know me shall in sooth be granted;
I'm Guido Guinicelli, and now purge me,
Having repented ere the hour extreme."

The same that in the sadness of Lycurgus
Two sons became, their mother re-beholding,
Such I became, but rise not to such height,

The moment I heard name himself the father
Of me and of my betters, who had ever
Practised the sweet and gracious rhymes of love;

And without speech and hearing thoughtfully
For a long time I went, beholding him,
Nor for the fire did I approach him nearer.

When I was fed with looking, utterly
Myself I offered ready for his service,
With affirmation that compels belief.

And he to me: "Thou leavest footprints such
In me, from what I hear, and so distinct,
Lethe cannot efface them, nor make dim.

But if thy words just now the truth have sworn,
Tell me what is the cause why thou displayest
In word and look that dear thou holdest me?"

And I to him: "Those dulcet lays of yours
Which, long as shall endure our modern fashion,
Shall make for ever dear their very ink!"

"O brother," said he, "he whom I point out,"
And here he pointed at a spirit in front,
"Was of the mother tongue a better smith.

Verses of love and proses of romance,
He mastered all; and let the idiots talk,
Who think the Lemosin surpasses him.

To clamour more than truth they turn their faces,
And in this way establish their opinion,
Ere art or reason has by them been heard.

Thus many ancients with Guittone did,
From cry to cry still giving him applause,
Until the truth has conquered with most persons.

Now, if thou hast such ample privilege
'Tis granted thee to go unto the cloister
Wherein is Christ the abbot of the college,

To him repeat for me a Paternoster,
So far as needful to us of this world,
Where power of sinning is no longer ours."

Then, to give place perchance to one behind,
Whom he had near, he vanished in the fire
As fish in water going to the bottom.

I moved a little tow'rds him pointed out,
And said that to his name my own desire
An honourable place was making ready.

He of his own free will began to say:
'Tan m' abellis vostre cortes deman,
Que jeu nom' puesc ni vueill a vos cobrire;

Jeu sui Arnaut, que plor e vai chantan;
Consiros vei la passada folor,
E vei jauzen lo jorn qu' esper denan.

Ara vus prec per aquella valor,
Que vus condus al som de la scalina,
Sovenga vus a temprar ma dolor.'*

Then hid him in the fire that purifies them.

_______________

* So pleases me your courteous demand,
I cannot and I will not hide me from you.
I am Arnaut, who weep and singing go;
Contrite I see the folly of the past,
And joyous see the hoped-for day before me.
Therefore do I implore you, by that power
Which guides you to the summit of the stairs,
Be mindful to assuage my suffering!

Purgatorio: Canto XXVII

As when he vibrates forth his earliest rays,
In regions where his Maker shed his blood,
(The Ebro falling under lofty Libra,

And waters in the Ganges burnt with noon,)
So stood the Sun; hence was the day departing,
When the glad Angel of God appeared to us.

Outside the flame he stood upon the verge,
And chanted forth, "Beati mundo corde,"
In voice by far more living than our own.

Then: "No one farther goes, souls sanctified,
If first the fire bite not; within it enter,
And be not deaf unto the song beyond."

When we were close beside him thus he said;
Wherefore e'en such became I, when I heard him,
As he is who is put into the grave.

Upon my clasped hands I straightened me,
Scanning the fire, and vividly recalling
The human bodies I had once seen burned.

Towards me turned themselves my good Conductors,
And unto me Virgilius said: "My son,
Here may indeed be torment, but not death.

Remember thee, remember! and if I
On Geryon have safely guided thee,
What shall I do now I am nearer God?

Believe for certain, shouldst thou stand a full
Millennium in the bosom of this flame,
It could not make thee bald a single hair.

And if perchance thou think that I deceive thee,
Draw near to it, and put it to the proof
With thine own hands upon thy garment's hem.

Now lay aside, now lay aside all fear,
Turn hitherward, and onward come securely;"
And I still motionless, and 'gainst my conscience!

Seeing me stand still motionless and stubborn,
Somewhat disturbed he said: "Now look thou, Son,
'Twixt Beatrice and thee there is this wall."

As at the name of Thisbe oped his lids
The dying Pyramus, and gazed upon her,
What time the mulberry became vermilion,

Even thus, my obduracy being softened,
I turned to my wise Guide, hearing the name
That in my memory evermore is welling.

Whereat he wagged his head, and said: "How now?
Shall we stay on this side?" then smiled as one
Does at a child who's vanquished by an apple.

Then into the fire in front of me he entered,
Beseeching Statius to come after me,
Who a long way before divided us.

When I was in it, into molten glass
I would have cast me to refresh myself,
So without measure was the burning there!

And my sweet Father, to encourage me,
Discoursing still of Beatrice went on,
Saying: "Her eyes I seem to see already!"

A voice, that on the other side was singing,
Directed us, and we, attent alone
On that, came forth where the ascent began.

"Venite, benedicti Patris mei,"
Sounded within a splendour, which was there
Such it o'ercame me, and I could not look.

"The sun departs," it added, "and night cometh;
Tarry ye not, but onward urge your steps,
So long as yet the west becomes not dark."

Straight forward through the rock the path ascended
In such a way that I cut off the rays
Before me of the sun, that now was low.

And of few stairs we yet had made assay,
Ere by the vanished shadow the sun's setting
Behind us we perceived, I and my Sages.

And ere in all its parts immeasurable
The horizon of one aspect had become,
And Night her boundless dispensation held,

Each of us of a stair had made his bed;
Because the nature of the mount took from us
The power of climbing, more than the delight.

Even as in ruminating passive grow
The goats, who have been swift and venturesome
Upon the mountain-tops ere they were fed,

Hushed in the shadow, while the sun is hot,
Watched by the herdsman, who upon his staff
Is leaning, and in leaning tendeth them;

And as the shepherd, lodging out of doors,
Passes the night beside his quiet flock,
Watching that no wild beast may scatter it,

Such at that hour were we, all three of us,
I like the goat, and like the herdsmen they,
Begirt on this side and on that by rocks.

Little could there be seen of things without;
But through that little I beheld the stars
More luminous and larger than their wont.

Thus ruminating, and beholding these,
Sleep seized upon me,--sleep, that oftentimes
Before a deed is done has tidings of it.

It was the hour, I think, when from the East
First on the mountain Citherea beamed,
Who with the fire of love seems always burning;

Youthful and beautiful in dreams methought
I saw a lady walking in a meadow,
Gathering flowers; and singing she was saying:

"Know whosoever may my name demand
That I am Leah, and go moving round
My beauteous hands to make myself a garland.

To please me at the mirror, here I deck me,
But never does my sister Rachel leave
Her looking-glass, and sitteth all day long.

To see her beauteous eyes as eager is she,
As I am to adorn me with my hands;
Her, seeing, and me, doing satisfies."

And now before the antelucan splendours
That unto pilgrims the more grateful rise,
As, home-returning, less remote they lodge,

The darkness fled away on every side,
And slumber with it; whereupon I rose,
Seeing already the great Masters risen.

"That apple sweet, which through so many branches
The care of mortals goeth in pursuit of,
To-day shall put in peace thy hungerings."

Speaking to me, Virgilius of such words
As these made use; and never were there guerdons
That could in pleasantness compare with these.

Such longing upon longing came upon me
To be above, that at each step thereafter
For flight I felt in me the pinions growing.

When underneath us was the stairway all
Run o'er, and we were on the highest step,
Virgilius fastened upon me his eyes,

And said: "The temporal fire and the eternal,
Son, thou hast seen, and to a place art come
Where of myself no farther I discern.

By intellect and art I here have brought thee;
Take thine own pleasure for thy guide henceforth;
Beyond the steep ways and the narrow art thou.

Behold the sun, that shines upon thy forehead;
Behold the grass, the flowerets, and the shrubs
Which of itself alone this land produces.

Until rejoicing come the beauteous eyes
Which weeping caused me to come unto thee,
Thou canst sit down, and thou canst walk among them.

Expect no more or word or sign from me;
Free and upright and sound is thy free-will,
And error were it not to do its bidding;

Thee o'er thyself I therefore crown and mitre!"

Purgatorio: Canto XXVIII

Eager already to search in and round
The heavenly forest, dense and living-green,
Which tempered to the eyes the new-born day,

Withouten more delay I left the bank,
Taking the level country slowly, slowly
Over the soil that everywhere breathes fragrance.

A softly-breathing air, that no mutation
Had in itself, upon the forehead smote me
No heavier blow than of a gentle wind,

Whereat the branches, lightly tremulous,
Did all of them bow downward toward that side
Where its first shadow casts the Holy Mountain;

Yet not from their upright direction swayed,
So that the little birds upon their tops
Should leave the practice of each art of theirs;

But with full ravishment the hours of prime,
Singing, received they in the midst of leaves,
That ever bore a burden to their rhymes,

Such as from branch to branch goes gathering on
Through the pine forest on the shore of Chiassi,
When Eolus unlooses the Sirocco.

Already my slow steps had carried me
Into the ancient wood so far, that I
Could not perceive where I had entered it.

And lo! my further course a stream cut off,
Which tow'rd the left hand with its little waves
Bent down the grass that on its margin sprang.

All waters that on earth most limpid are
Would seem to have within themselves some mixture
Compared with that which nothing doth conceal,

Although it moves on with a brown, brown current
Under the shade perpetual, that never
Ray of the sun lets in, nor of the moon.

With feet I stayed, and with mine eyes I passed
Beyond the rivulet, to look upon
The great variety of the fresh may.

And there appeared to me (even as appears
Suddenly something that doth turn aside
Through very wonder every other thought)

A lady all alone, who went along
Singing and culling floweret after floweret,
With which her pathway was all painted over.

"Ah, beauteous lady, who in rays of love
Dost warm thyself, if I may trust to looks,
Which the heart's witnesses are wont to be,

May the desire come unto thee to draw
Near to this river's bank," I said to her,
"So much that I might hear what thou art singing.

Thou makest me remember where and what
Proserpina that moment was when lost
Her mother her, and she herself the Spring."

As turns herself, with feet together pressed
And to the ground, a lady who is dancing,
And hardly puts one foot before the other,

On the vermilion and the yellow flowerets
She turned towards me, not in other wise
Than maiden who her modest eyes casts down;

And my entreaties made to be content,
So near approaching, that the dulcet sound
Came unto me together with its meaning

As soon as she was where the grasses are.
Bathed by the waters of the beauteous river,
To lift her eyes she granted me the boon.

I do not think there shone so great a light
Under the lids of Venus, when transfixed
By her own son, beyond his usual custom!

Erect upon the other bank she smiled,
Bearing full many colours in her hands,
Which that high land produces without seed.

Apart three paces did the river make us;
But Hellespont, where Xerxes passed across,
(A curb still to all human arrogance,)

More hatred from Leander did not suffer
For rolling between Sestos and Abydos,
Than that from me, because it oped not then.

"Ye are new-comers; and because I smile,"
Began she, "peradventure, in this place
Elect to human nature for its nest,

Some apprehension keeps you marvelling;
But the psalm 'Delectasti' giveth light
Which has the power to uncloud your intellect.

And thou who foremost art, and didst entreat me,
Speak, if thou wouldst hear more; for I came ready
To all thy questionings, as far as needful."

"The water," said I, "and the forest's sound,
Are combating within me my new faith
In something which I heard opposed to this."

Whence she: "I will relate how from its cause
Proceedeth that which maketh thee to wonder,
And purge away the cloud that smites upon thee.

The Good Supreme, sole in itself delighting,
Created man good, and this goodly place
Gave him as hansel of eternal peace.

By his default short while he sojourned here;
By his default to weeping and to toil
He changed his innocent laughter and sweet play.

That the disturbance which below is made
By exhalations of the land and water,
(Which far as may be follow after heat,)

Might not upon mankind wage any war,
This mount ascended tow'rds the heaven so high,
And is exempt, from there where it is locked.

Now since the universal atmosphere
Turns in a circuit with the primal motion
Unless the circle is broken on some side,

Upon this height, that all is disengaged
In living ether, doth this motion strike
And make the forest sound, for it is dense;

And so much power the stricken plant possesses
That with its virtue it impregns the air,
And this, revolving, scatters it around;

And yonder earth, according as 'tis worthy
In self or in its clime, conceives and bears
Of divers qualities the divers trees;

It should not seem a marvel then on earth,
This being heard, whenever any plant
Without seed manifest there taketh root.

And thou must know, this holy table-land
In which thou art is full of every seed,
And fruit has in it never gathered there.

The water which thou seest springs not from vein
Restored by vapour that the cold condenses,
Like to a stream that gains or loses breath;

But issues from a fountain safe and certain,
Which by the will of God as much regains
As it discharges, open on two sides.

Upon this side with virtue it descends,
Which takes away all memory of sin;
On that, of every good deed done restores it.

Here Lethe, as upon the other side
Eunoe, it is called; and worketh not
If first on either side it be not tasted.

This every other savour doth transcend;
And notwithstanding slaked so far may be
Thy thirst, that I reveal to thee no more,

I'll give thee a corollary still in grace,
Nor think my speech will be to thee less dear
If it spread out beyond my promise to thee.

Those who in ancient times have feigned in song
The Age of Gold and its felicity,
Dreamed of this place perhaps upon Parnassus.

Here was the human race in innocence;
Here evermore was Spring, and every fruit;
This is the nectar of which each one speaks."

Then backward did I turn me wholly round
Unto my Poets, and saw that with a smile
They had been listening to these closing words;

Then to the beautiful lady turned mine eyes.

Purgatorio: Canto XXIX

Singing like unto an enamoured lady
She, with the ending of her words, continued:
"Beati quorum tecta sunt peccata."

And even as Nymphs, that wandered all alone
Among the sylvan shadows, sedulous
One to avoid and one to see the sun,

She then against the stream moved onward, going
Along the bank, and I abreast of her,
Her little steps with little steps attending.

Between her steps and mine were not a hundred,
When equally the margins gave a turn,
In such a way, that to the East I faced.

Nor even thus our way continued far
Before the lady wholly turned herself
Unto me, saying, "Brother, look and listen!"

And lo! a sudden lustre ran across
On every side athwart the spacious forest,
Such that it made me doubt if it were lightning.

But since the lightning ceases as it comes,
And that continuing brightened more and more,
Within my thought I said, "What thing is this?"

And a delicious melody there ran
Along the luminous air, whence holy zeal
Made me rebuke the hardihood of Eve;

For there where earth and heaven obedient were,
The woman only, and but just created,
Could not endure to stay 'neath any veil;

Underneath which had she devoutly stayed,
I sooner should have tasted those delights
Ineffable, and for a longer time.

While 'mid such manifold first-fruits I walked
Of the eternal pleasure all enrapt,
And still solicitous of more delights,

In front of us like an enkindled fire
Became the air beneath the verdant boughs,
And the sweet sound as singing now was heard.

O Virgins sacrosanct! if ever hunger,
Vigils, or cold for you I have endured,
The occasion spurs me their reward to claim!

Now Helicon must needs pour forth for me,
And with her choir Urania must assist me,
To put in verse things difficult to think.

A little farther on, seven trees of gold
In semblance the long space still intervening
Between ourselves and them did counterfeit;

But when I had approached so near to them
The common object, which the sense deceives,
Lost not by distance any of its marks,

The faculty that lends discourse to reason
Did apprehend that they were candlesticks,
And in the voices of the song "Hosanna!"

Above them flamed the harness beautiful,
Far brighter than the moon in the serene
Of midnight, at the middle of her month.

I turned me round, with admiration filled,
To good Virgilius, and he answered me
With visage no less full of wonderment.

Then back I turned my face to those high things,
Which moved themselves towards us so sedately,
They had been distanced by new-wedded brides.

The lady chid me: "Why dost thou burn only
So with affection for the living lights,
And dost not look at what comes after them?"

Then saw I people, as behind their leaders,
Coming behind them, garmented in white,
And such a whiteness never was on earth.

The water on my left flank was resplendent,
And back to me reflected my left side,
E'en as a mirror, if I looked therein.

When I upon my margin had such post
That nothing but the stream divided us,
Better to see I gave my steps repose;

And I beheld the flamelets onward go,
Leaving behind themselves the air depicted,
And they of trailing pennons had the semblance,

So that it overhead remained distinct
With sevenfold lists, all of them of the colours
Whence the sun's bow is made, and Delia's girdle.

These standards to the rearward longer were
Than was my sight; and, as it seemed to me,
Ten paces were the outermost apart.

Under so fair a heaven as I describe
The four and twenty Elders, two by two,
Came on incoronate with flower-de-luce.

They all of them were singing: "Blessed thou
Among the daughters of Adam art, and blessed
For evermore shall be thy loveliness."

After the flowers and other tender grasses
In front of me upon the other margin
Were disencumbered of that race elect,

Even as in heaven star followeth after star,
There came close after them four animals,
Incoronate each one with verdant leaf.

Plumed with six wings was every one of them,
The plumage full of eyes; the eyes of Argus
If they were living would be such as these.

Reader! to trace their forms no more I waste
My rhymes; for other spendings press me so,
That I in this cannot be prodigal.

But read Ezekiel, who depicteth them
As he beheld them from the region cold
Coming with cloud, with whirlwind, and with fire;

And such as thou shalt find them in his pages,
Such were they here; saving that in their plumage
John is with me, and differeth from him.

The interval between these four contained
A chariot triumphal on two wheels,
Which by a Griffin's neck came drawn along;

And upward he extended both his wings
Between the middle list and three and three,
So that he injured none by cleaving it.

So high they rose that they were lost to sight;
His limbs were gold, so far as he was bird,
And white the others with vermilion mingled.

Not only Rome with no such splendid car
E'er gladdened Africanus, or Augustus,
But poor to it that of the Sun would be,--

That of the Sun, which swerving was burnt up
At the importunate orison of Earth,
When Jove was so mysteriously just.

Three maidens at the right wheel in a circle
Came onward dancing; one so very red
That in the fire she hardly had been noted.

The second was as if her flesh and bones
Had all been fashioned out of emerald;
The third appeared as snow but newly fallen.

And now they seemed conducted by the white,
Now by the red, and from the song of her
The others took their step, or slow or swift.

Upon the left hand four made holiday
Vested in purple, following the measure
Of one of them with three eyes m her head.

In rear of all the group here treated of
Two old men I beheld, unlike in habit,
But like in gait, each dignified and grave.

One showed himself as one of the disciples
Of that supreme Hippocrates, whom nature
Made for the animals she holds most dear;

Contrary care the other manifested,
With sword so shining and so sharp, it caused
Terror to me on this side of the river.

Thereafter four I saw of humble aspect,
And behind all an aged man alone
Walking in sleep with countenance acute.

And like the foremost company these seven
Were habited; yet of the flower-de-luce
No garland round about the head they wore,

But of the rose, and other flowers vermilion;
At little distance would the sight have sworn
That all were in a flame above their brows.

And when the car was opposite to me
Thunder was heard; and all that folk august
Seemed to have further progress interdicted,

There with the vanward ensigns standing still.

Purgatorio: Canto XXX

When the Septentrion of the highest heaven
(Which never either setting knew or rising,
Nor veil of other cloud than that of sin,

And which made every one therein aware
Of his own duty, as the lower makes
Whoever turns the helm to come to port)

Motionless halted, the veracious people,
That came at first between it and the Griffin,
Turned themselves to the car, as to their peace.

And one of them, as if by Heaven commissioned,
Singing, "Veni, sponsa, de Libano"
Shouted three times, and all the others after.

Even as the Blessed at the final summons
Shall rise up quickened each one from his cavern,
Uplifting light the reinvested flesh,

So upon that celestial chariot
A hundred rose 'ad vocem tanti senis,'
Ministers and messengers of life eternal.

They all were saying, "Benedictus qui venis,"
And, scattering flowers above and round about,
"Manibus o date lilia plenis."

Ere now have I beheld, as day began,
The eastern hemisphere all tinged with rose,
And the other heaven with fair serene adorned;

And the sun's face, uprising, overshadowed
So that by tempering influence of vapours
For a long interval the eye sustained it;

Thus in the bosom of a cloud of flowers
Which from those hands angelical ascended,
And downward fell again inside and out,

Over her snow-white veil with olive cinct
Appeared a lady under a green mantle,
Vested in colour of the living flame.

And my own spirit, that already now
So long a time had been, that in her presence
Trembling with awe it had not stood abashed,

Without more knowledge having by mine eyes,
Through occult virtue that from her proceeded
Of ancient love the mighty influence felt.

As soon as on my vision smote the power
Sublime, that had already pierced me through
Ere from my boyhood I had yet come forth,

To the left hand I turned with that reliance
With which the little child runs to his mother,
When he has fear, or when he is afflicted,

To say unto Virgilius: "Not a drachm
Of blood remains in me, that does not tremble;
I know the traces of the ancient flame."

But us Virgilius of himself deprived
Had left, Virgilius, sweetest of all fathers,
Virgilius, to whom I for safety gave me:

Nor whatsoever lost the ancient mother
Availed my cheeks now purified from dew,
That weeping they should not again be darkened.

"Dante, because Virgilius has departed
Do not weep yet, do not weep yet awhile;
For by another sword thou need'st must weep."

E'en as an admiral, who on poop and prow
Comes to behold the people that are working
In other ships, and cheers them to well-doing,

Upon the left hand border of the car,
When at the sound I turned of my own name,
Which of necessity is here recorded,

I saw the Lady, who erewhile appeared
Veiled underneath the angelic festival,
Direct her eyes to me across the river.

Although the veil, that from her head descended,
Encircled with the foliage of Minerva,
Did not permit her to appear distinctly,

In attitude still royally majestic
Continued she, like unto one who speaks,
And keeps his warmest utterance in reserve:

"Look at me well; in sooth I'm Beatrice!
How didst thou deign to come unto the Mountain?
Didst thou not know that man is happy here?"

Mine eyes fell downward into the clear fountain,
But, seeing myself therein, I sought the grass,
So great a shame did weigh my forehead down.

As to the son the mother seems superb,
So she appeared to me; for somewhat bitter
Tasteth the savour of severe compassion.

Silent became she, and the Angels sang
Suddenly, "In te, Domine, speravi:"
But beyond 'pedes meos' did not pass.

Even as the snow among the living rafters
Upon the back of Italy congeals,
Blown on and drifted by Sclavonian winds,

And then, dissolving, trickles through itself
Whene'er the land that loses shadow breathes,
So that it seems a fire that melts a taper;

E'en thus was I without a tear or sigh,
Before the song of those who sing for ever
After the music of the eternal spheres.

But when I heard in their sweet melodies
Compassion for me, more than had they said,
"O wherefore, lady, dost thou thus upbraid him?"

The ice, that was about my heart congealed,
To air and water changed, and in my anguish
Through mouth and eyes came gushing from my breast.

She, on the right-hand border of the car
Still firmly standing, to those holy beings
Thus her discourse directed afterwards:

"Ye keep your watch in the eternal day,
So that nor night nor sleep can steal from you
One step the ages make upon their path;

Therefore my answer is with greater care,
That he may hear me who is weeping yonder,
So that the sin and dole be of one measure.

Not only by the work of those great wheels,
That destine every seed unto some end,
According as the stars are in conjunction,

But by the largess of celestial graces,
Which have such lofty vapours for their rain
That near to them our sight approaches not,

Such had this man become in his new life
Potentially, that every righteous habit
Would have made admirable proof in him;

But so much more malignant and more savage
Becomes the land untilled and with bad seed,
The more good earthly vigour it possesses.

Some time did I sustain him with my look;
Revealing unto him my youthful eyes,
I led him with me turned in the right way.

As soon as ever of my second age
I was upon the threshold and changed life,
Himself from me he took and gave to others.

When from the flesh to spirit I ascended,
And beauty and virtue were in me increased,
I was to him less dear and less delightful;

And into ways untrue he turned his steps,
Pursuing the false images of good,
That never any promises fulfil;

Nor prayer for inspiration me availed,
By means of which in dreams and otherwise
I called him back, so little did he heed them.

So low he fell, that all appliances
For his salvation were already short,
Save showing him the people of perdition.

For this I visited the gates of death,
And unto him, who so far up has led him,
My intercessions were with weeping borne.

God's lofty fiat would be violated,
If Lethe should be passed, and if such viands
Should tasted be, withouten any scot

Of penitence, that gushes forth in tears."
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Re: The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri

Postby admin » Fri Feb 16, 2018 2:58 am

Purgatorio: Canto XXXI

"O thou who art beyond the sacred river,"
Turning to me the point of her discourse,
That edgewise even had seemed to me so keen,

She recommenced, continuing without pause,
"Say, say if this be true; to such a charge,
Thy own confession needs must be conjoined."

My faculties were in so great confusion,
That the voice moved, but sooner was extinct
Than by its organs it was set at large.

Awhile she waited; then she said: "What thinkest?
Answer me; for the mournful memories
In thee not yet are by the waters injured."

Confusion and dismay together mingled
Forced such a Yes! from out my mouth, that sight
Was needful to the understanding of it.

Even as a cross-bow breaks, when 'tis discharged
Too tensely drawn the bowstring and the bow,
And with less force the arrow hits the mark,

So I gave way beneath that heavy burden,
Outpouring in a torrent tears and sighs,
And the voice flagged upon its passage forth.

Whence she to me: "In those desires of mine
Which led thee to the loving of that good,
Beyond which there is nothing to aspire to,

What trenches lying traverse or what chains
Didst thou discover, that of passing onward
Thou shouldst have thus despoiled thee of the hope?

And what allurements or what vantages
Upon the forehead of the others showed,
That thou shouldst turn thy footsteps unto them?"

After the heaving of a bitter sigh,
Hardly had I the voice to make response,
And with fatigue my lips did fashion it.

Weeping I said: "The things that present were
With their false pleasure turned aside my steps,
Soon as your countenance concealed itself."

And she: "Shouldst thou be silent, or deny
What thou confessest, not less manifest
Would be thy fault, by such a Judge 'tis known.

But when from one's own cheeks comes bursting forth
The accusal of the sin, in our tribunal
Against the edge the wheel doth turn itself.

But still, that thou mayst feel a greater shame
For thy transgression, and another time
Hearing the Sirens thou mayst be more strong,

Cast down the seed of weeping and attend;
So shalt thou hear, how in an opposite way
My buried flesh should have directed thee.

Never to thee presented art or nature
Pleasure so great as the fair limbs wherein
I was enclosed, which scattered are in earth.

And if the highest pleasure thus did fail thee
By reason of my death, what mortal thing
Should then have drawn thee into its desire?

Thou oughtest verily at the first shaft
Of things fallacious to have risen up
To follow me, who was no longer such.

Thou oughtest not to have stooped thy pinions downward
To wait for further blows, or little girl,
Or other vanity of such brief use.

The callow birdlet waits for two or three,
But to the eyes of those already fledged,
In vain the net is spread or shaft is shot."

Even as children silent in their shame
Stand listening with their eyes upon the ground,
And conscious of their fault, and penitent;

So was I standing; and she said: "If thou
In hearing sufferest pain, lift up thy beard
And thou shalt feel a greater pain in seeing."

With less resistance is a robust holm
Uprooted, either by a native wind
Or else by that from regions of Iarbas,

Than I upraised at her command my chin;
And when she by the beard the face demanded,
Well I perceived the venom of her meaning.

And as my countenance was lifted up,
Mine eye perceived those creatures beautiful
Had rested from the strewing of the flowers;

And, still but little reassured, mine eyes
Saw Beatrice turned round towards the monster,
That is one person only in two natures.

Beneath her veil, beyond the margent green,
She seemed to me far more her ancient self
To excel, than others here, when she was here.

So pricked me then the thorn of penitence,
That of all other things the one which turned me
Most to its love became the most my foe.

Such self-conviction stung me at the heart
O'erpowered I fell, and what I then became
She knoweth who had furnished me the cause.

Then, when the heart restored my outward sense,
The lady I had found alone, above me
I saw, and she was saying, "Hold me, hold me."

Up to my throat she in the stream had drawn me,
And, dragging me behind her, she was moving
Upon the water lightly as a shuttle.

When I was near unto the blessed shore,
"Asperges me," I heard so sweetly sung,
Remember it I cannot, much less write it.

The beautiful lady opened wide her arms,
Embraced my head, and plunged me underneath,
Where I was forced to swallow of the water.

Then forth she drew me, and all dripping brought
Into the dance of the four beautiful,
And each one with her arm did cover me.

'We here are Nymphs, and in the Heaven are stars;
Ere Beatrice descended to the world,
We as her handmaids were appointed her.

We'll lead thee to her eyes; but for the pleasant
Light that within them is, shall sharpen thine
The three beyond, who more profoundly look.'

Thus singing they began; and afterwards
Unto the Griffin's breast they led me with them,
Where Beatrice was standing, turned towards us.

"See that thou dost not spare thine eyes," they said;
"Before the emeralds have we stationed thee,
Whence Love aforetime drew for thee his weapons."

A thousand longings, hotter than the flame,
Fastened mine eyes upon those eyes relucent,
That still upon the Griffin steadfast stayed.

As in a glass the sun, not otherwise
Within them was the twofold monster shining,
Now with the one, now with the other nature.

Think, Reader, if within myself I marvelled,
When I beheld the thing itself stand still,
And in its image it transformed itself.

While with amazement filled and jubilant,
My soul was tasting of the food, that while
It satisfies us makes us hunger for it,

Themselves revealing of the highest rank
In bearing, did the other three advance,
Singing to their angelic saraband.

"Turn, Beatrice, O turn thy holy eyes,"
Such was their song, "unto thy faithful one,
Who has to see thee ta'en so many steps.

In grace do us the grace that thou unveil
Thy face to him, so that he may discern
The second beauty which thou dost conceal."

O splendour of the living light eternal!
Who underneath the shadow of Parnassus
Has grown so pale, or drunk so at its cistern,

He would not seem to have his mind encumbered
Striving to paint thee as thou didst appear,
Where the harmonious heaven o'ershadowed thee,

When in the open air thou didst unveil?

Purgatorio: Canto XXXII

So steadfast and attentive were mine eyes
In satisfying their decennial thirst,
That all my other senses were extinct,

And upon this side and on that they had
Walls of indifference, so the holy smile
Drew them unto itself with the old net

When forcibly my sight was turned away
Towards my left hand by those goddesses,
Because I heard from them a "Too intently!"

And that condition of the sight which is
In eyes but lately smitten by the sun
Bereft me of my vision some short while;

But to the less when sight re-shaped itself,
I say the less in reference to the greater
Splendour from which perforce I had withdrawn,

I saw upon its right wing wheeled about
The glorious host returning with the sun
And with the sevenfold flames upon their faces.

As underneath its shields, to save itself,
A squadron turns, and with its banner wheels,
Before the whole thereof can change its front,

That soldiery of the celestial kingdom
Which marched in the advance had wholly passed us
Before the chariot had turned its pole.

Then to the wheels the maidens turned themselves,
And the Griffin moved his burden benedight,
But so that not a feather of him fluttered.

The lady fair who drew me through the ford
Followed with Statius and myself the wheel
Which made its orbit with the lesser arc.

So passing through the lofty forest, vacant
By fault of her who in the serpent trusted,
Angelic music made our steps keep time.

Perchance as great a space had in three flights
An arrow loosened from the string o'erpassed,
As we had moved when Beatrice descended.

I heard them murmur altogether, "Adam!"
Then circled they about a tree despoiled
Of blooms and other leafage on each bough.

Its tresses, which so much the more dilate
As higher they ascend, had been by Indians
Among their forests marvelled at for height.

"Blessed art thou, O Griffin, who dost not
Pluck with thy beak these branches sweet to taste,
Since appetite by this was turned to evil."

After this fashion round the tree robust
The others shouted; and the twofold creature:
"Thus is preserved the seed of all the just."

And turning to the pole which he had dragged,
He drew it close beneath the widowed bough,
And what was of it unto it left bound.

In the same manner as our trees (when downward
Falls the great light, with that together mingled
Which after the celestial Lasca shines)

Begin to swell, and then renew themselves,
Each one with its own colour, ere the Sun
Harness his steeds beneath another star:

Less than of rose and more than violet
A hue disclosing, was renewed the tree
That had erewhile its boughs so desolate.

I never heard, nor here below is sung,
The hymn which afterward that people sang,
Nor did I bear the melody throughout.

Had I the power to paint how fell asleep
Those eyes compassionless, of Syrinx hearing,
Those eyes to which more watching cost so dear,

Even as a painter who from model paints
I would portray how I was lulled asleep;
He may, who well can picture drowsihood.

Therefore I pass to what time I awoke,
And say a splendour rent from me the veil
Of slumber, and a calling: "Rise, what dost thou?"

As to behold the apple-tree in blossom
Which makes the Angels greedy for its fruit,
And keeps perpetual bridals in the Heaven,

Peter and John and James conducted were,
And, overcome, recovered at the word
By which still greater slumbers have been broken,

And saw their school diminished by the loss
Not only of Elias, but of Moses,
And the apparel of their Master changed;

So I revived, and saw that piteous one
Above me standing, who had been conductress
Aforetime of my steps beside the river,

And all in doubt I said, "Where's Beatrice?"
And she: "Behold her seated underneath
The leafage new, upon the root of it.

Behold the company that circles her;
The rest behind the Griffin are ascending
With more melodious song, and more profound."

And if her speech were more diffuse I know not,
Because already in my sight was she
Who from the hearing of aught else had shut me.

Alone she sat upon the very earth,
Left there as guardian of the chariot
Which I had seen the biform monster fasten.

Encircling her, a cloister made themselves
The seven Nymphs, with those lights in their hands
Which are secure from Aquilon and Auster.

"Short while shalt thou be here a forester,
And thou shalt be with me for evermore
A citizen of that Rome where Christ is Roman.

Therefore, for that world's good which liveth ill,
Fix on the car thine eyes, and what thou seest,
Having returned to earth, take heed thou write."

Thus Beatrice; and I, who at the feet
Of her commandments all devoted was,
My mind and eyes directed where she willed.

Never descended with so swift a motion
Fire from a heavy cloud, when it is raining
From out the region which is most remote,

As I beheld the bird of Jove descend
Down through the tree, rending away the bark,
As well as blossoms and the foliage new,

And he with all his might the chariot smote,
Whereat it reeled, like vessel in a tempest
Tossed by the waves, now starboard and now larboard.

Thereafter saw I leap into the body
Of the triumphal vehicle a Fox,
That seemed unfed with any wholesome food.

But for his hideous sins upbraiding him,
My Lady put him to as swift a flight
As such a fleshless skeleton could bear.

Then by the way that it before had come,
Into the chariot's chest I saw the Eagle
Descend, and leave it feathered with his plumes.

And such as issues from a heart that mourns,
A voice from Heaven there issued, and it said:
"My little bark, how badly art thou freighted!"

Methought, then, that the earth did yawn between
Both wheels, and I saw rise from it a Dragon,
Who through the chariot upward fixed his tail,

And as a wasp that draweth back its sting,
Drawing unto himself his tail malign,
Drew out the floor, and went his way rejoicing.

That which remained behind, even as with grass
A fertile region, with the feathers, offered
Perhaps with pure intention and benign,

Reclothed itself, and with them were reclothed
The pole and both the wheels so speedily,
A sigh doth longer keep the lips apart.

Transfigured thus the holy edifice
Thrust forward heads upon the parts of it,
Three on the pole and one at either corner.

The first were horned like oxen; but the four
Had but a single horn upon the forehead;
A monster such had never yet been seen!

Firm as a rock upon a mountain high,
Seated upon it, there appeared to me
A shameless whore, with eyes swift glancing round,

And, as if not to have her taken from him,
Upright beside her I beheld a giant;
And ever and anon they kissed each other.

But because she her wanton, roving eye
Turned upon me, her angry paramour
Did scourge her from her head unto her feet.

Then full of jealousy, and fierce with wrath,
He loosed the monster, and across the forest
Dragged it so far, he made of that alone

A shield unto the whore and the strange beast.

Purgatorio: Canto XXXIII

"Deus venerunt gentes," alternating
Now three, now four, melodious psalmody
The maidens in the midst of tears began;

And Beatrice, compassionate and sighing,
Listened to them with such a countenance,
That scarce more changed was Mary at the cross.

But when the other virgins place had given
For her to speak, uprisen to her feet
With colour as of fire, she made response:

"'Modicum, et non videbitis me;
Et iterum,' my sisters predilect,
'Modicum, et vos videbitis me.'"

Then all the seven in front of her she placed;
And after her, by beckoning only, moved
Me and the lady and the sage who stayed.

So she moved onward; and I do not think
That her tenth step was placed upon the ground,
When with her eyes upon mine eyes she smote,

And with a tranquil aspect, "Come more quickly,"
To me she said, "that, if I speak with thee,
To listen to me thou mayst be well placed."

As soon as I was with her as I should be,
She said to me: "Why, brother, dost thou not
Venture to question now, in coming with me?"

As unto those who are too reverential,
Speaking in presence of superiors,
Who drag no living utterance to their teeth,

It me befell, that without perfect sound
Began I: "My necessity, Madonna,
You know, and that which thereunto is good."

And she to me: "Of fear and bashfulness
Henceforward I will have thee strip thyself,
So that thou speak no more as one who dreams.

Know that the vessel which the serpent broke
Was, and is not; but let him who is guilty
Think that God's vengeance does not fear a sop.

Without an heir shall not for ever be
The Eagle that left his plumes upon the car,
Whence it became a monster, then a prey;

For verily I see, and hence narrate it,
The stars already near to bring the time,
From every hindrance safe, and every bar,

Within which a Five-hundred, Ten, and Five,
One sent from God, shall slay the thievish woman
And that same giant who is sinning with her.

And peradventure my dark utterance,
Like Themis and the Sphinx, may less persuade thee,
Since, in their mode, it clouds the intellect;

But soon the facts shall be the Naiades
Who shall this difficult enigma solve,
Without destruction of the flocks and harvests.

Note thou; and even as by me are uttered
These words, so teach them unto those who live
That life which is a running unto death;

And bear in mind, whene'er thou writest them,
Not to conceal what thou hast seen the plant,
That twice already has been pillaged here.

Whoever pillages or shatters it,
With blasphemy of deed offendeth God,
Who made it holy for his use alone.

For biting that, in pain and in desire
Five thousand years and more the first-born soul
Craved Him, who punished in himself the bite.

Thy genius slumbers, if it deem it not
For special reason so pre-eminent
In height, and so inverted in its summit.

And if thy vain imaginings had not been
Water of Elsa round about thy mind,
And Pyramus to the mulberry, their pleasure,

Thou by so many circumstances only
The justice of the interdict of God
Morally in the tree wouldst recognize.

But since I see thee in thine intellect
Converted into stone and stained with sin,
So that the light of my discourse doth daze thee,

I will too, if not written, at least painted,
Thou bear it back within thee, for the reason
That cinct with palm the pilgrim's staff is borne."

And I: "As by a signet is the wax
Which does not change the figure stamped upon it,
My brain is now imprinted by yourself.

But wherefore so beyond my power of sight
Soars your desirable discourse, that aye
The more I strive, so much the more I lose it?"

"That thou mayst recognize," she said, "the school
Which thou hast followed, and mayst see how far
Its doctrine follows after my discourse,

And mayst behold your path from the divine
Distant as far as separated is
From earth the heaven that highest hastens on."

Whence her I answered: "I do not remember
That ever I estranged myself from you,
Nor have I conscience of it that reproves me."

"And if thou art not able to remember,"
Smiling she answered, "recollect thee now
That thou this very day hast drunk of Lethe;

And if from smoke a fire may be inferred,
Such an oblivion clearly demonstrates
Some error in thy will elsewhere intent.

Truly from this time forward shall my words
Be naked, so far as it is befitting
To lay them open unto thy rude gaze."

And more coruscant and with slower steps
The sun was holding the meridian circle,
Which, with the point of view, shifts here and there

When halted (as he cometh to a halt,
Who goes before a squadron as its escort,
If something new he find upon his way)

The ladies seven at a dark shadow's edge,
Such as, beneath green leaves and branches black,
The Alp upon its frigid border wears.

In front of them the Tigris and Euphrates
Methought I saw forth issue from one fountain,
And slowly part, like friends, from one another.

"O light, O glory of the human race!
What stream is this which here unfolds itself
From out one source, and from itself withdraws?"

For such a prayer, 'twas said unto me, "Pray
Matilda that she tell thee;" and here answered,
As one does who doth free himself from blame,

The beautiful lady: "This and other things
Were told to him by me; and sure I am
The water of Lethe has not hid them from him."

And Beatrice: "Perhaps a greater care,
Which oftentimes our memory takes away,
Has made the vision of his mind obscure.

But Eunoe behold, that yonder rises;
Lead him to it, and, as thou art accustomed,
Revive again the half-dead virtue in him."

Like gentle soul, that maketh no excuse,
But makes its own will of another's will
As soon as by a sign it is disclosed,

Even so, when she had taken hold of me,
The beautiful lady moved, and unto Statius
Said, in her womanly manner, "Come with him."

If, Reader, I possessed a longer space
For writing it, I yet would sing in part
Of the sweet draught that ne'er would satiate me;

But inasmuch as full are all the leaves
Made ready for this second canticle,
The curb of art no farther lets me go.

From the most holy water I returned
Regenerate, in the manner of new trees
That are renewed with a new foliage,

Pure and disposed to mount unto the stars.
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Re: The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri

Postby admin » Fri Feb 16, 2018 2:59 am

Paradiso: Canto I

The glory of Him who moveth everything
Doth penetrate the universe, and shine
In one part more and in another less.

Within that heaven which most his light receives
Was I, and things beheld which to repeat
Nor knows, nor can, who from above descends;

Because in drawing near to its desire
Our intellect ingulphs itself so far,
That after it the memory cannot go.

Truly whatever of the holy realm
I had the power to treasure in my mind
Shall now become the subject of my song.

O good Apollo, for this last emprise
Make of me such a vessel of thy power
As giving the beloved laurel asks!

One summit of Parnassus hitherto
Has been enough for me, but now with both
I needs must enter the arena left.

Enter into my bosom, thou, and breathe
As at the time when Marsyas thou didst draw
Out of the scabbard of those limbs of his.

O power divine, lend'st thou thyself to me
So that the shadow of the blessed realm
Stamped in my brain I can make manifest,

Thou'lt see me come unto thy darling tree,
And crown myself thereafter with those leaves
Of which the theme and thou shall make me worthy.

So seldom, Father, do we gather them
For triumph or of Caesar or of Poet,
(The fault and shame of human inclinations,)

That the Peneian foliage should bring forth
Joy to the joyous Delphic deity,
When any one it makes to thirst for it.

A little spark is followed by great flame;
Perchance with better voices after me
Shall prayer be made that Cyrrha may respond!

To mortal men by passages diverse
Uprises the world's lamp; but by that one
Which circles four uniteth with three crosses,

With better course and with a better star
Conjoined it issues, and the mundane wax
Tempers and stamps more after its own fashion.

Almost that passage had made morning there
And evening here, and there was wholly white
That hemisphere, and black the other part,

When Beatrice towards the left-hand side
I saw turned round, and gazing at the sun;
Never did eagle fasten so upon it!

And even as a second ray is wont
To issue from the first and reascend,
Like to a pilgrim who would fain return,

Thus of her action, through the eyes infused
In my imagination, mine I made,
And sunward fixed mine eyes beyond our wont.

There much is lawful which is here unlawful
Unto our powers, by virtue of the place
Made for the human species as its own.

Not long I bore it, nor so little while
But I beheld it sparkle round about
Like iron that comes molten from the fire;

And suddenly it seemed that day to day
Was added, as if He who has the power
Had with another sun the heaven adorned.

With eyes upon the everlasting wheels
Stood Beatrice all intent, and I, on her
Fixing my vision from above removed,

Such at her aspect inwardly became
As Glaucus, tasting of the herb that made him
Peer of the other gods beneath the sea.

To represent transhumanise in words
Impossible were; the example, then, suffice
Him for whom Grace the experience reserves.

If I was merely what of me thou newly
Createdst, Love who governest the heaven,
Thou knowest, who didst lift me with thy light!

When now the wheel, which thou dost make eternal
Desiring thee, made me attentive to it
By harmony thou dost modulate and measure,

Then seemed to me so much of heaven enkindled
By the sun's flame, that neither rain nor river
E'er made a lake so widely spread abroad.

The newness of the sound and the great light
Kindled in me a longing for their cause,
Never before with such acuteness felt;

Whence she, who saw me as I saw myself,
To quiet in me my perturbed mind,
Opened her mouth, ere I did mine to ask,

And she began: "Thou makest thyself so dull
With false imagining, that thou seest not
What thou wouldst see if thou hadst shaken it off.

Thou art not upon earth, as thou believest;
But lightning, fleeing its appropriate site,
Ne'er ran as thou, who thitherward returnest."

If of my former doubt I was divested
By these brief little words more smiled than spoken,
I in a new one was the more ensnared;

And said: "Already did I rest content
From great amazement; but am now amazed
In what way I transcend these bodies light."

Whereupon she, after a pitying sigh,
Her eyes directed tow'rds me with that look
A mother casts on a delirious child;

And she began: "All things whate'er they be
Have order among themselves, and this is form,
That makes the universe resemble God.

Here do the higher creatures see the footprints
Of the Eternal Power, which is the end
Whereto is made the law already mentioned.

In the order that I speak of are inclined
All natures, by their destinies diverse,
More or less near unto their origin;

Hence they move onward unto ports diverse
O'er the great sea of being; and each one
With instinct given it which bears it on.

This bears away the fire towards the moon;
This is in mortal hearts the motive power
This binds together and unites the earth.

Nor only the created things that are
Without intelligence this bow shoots forth,
But those that have both intellect and love.

The Providence that regulates all this
Makes with its light the heaven forever quiet,
Wherein that turns which has the greatest haste.

And thither now, as to a site decreed,
Bears us away the virtue of that cord
Which aims its arrows at a joyous mark.

True is it, that as oftentimes the form
Accords not with the intention of the art,
Because in answering is matter deaf,

So likewise from this course doth deviate
Sometimes the creature, who the power possesses,
Though thus impelled, to swerve some other way,

(In the same wise as one may see the fire
Fall from a cloud,) if the first impetus
Earthward is wrested by some false delight.

Thou shouldst not wonder more, if well I judge,
At thine ascent, than at a rivulet
From some high mount descending to the lowland.

Marvel it would be in thee, if deprived
Of hindrance, thou wert seated down below,
As if on earth the living fire were quiet."

Thereat she heavenward turned again her face.

Paradiso: Canto II

O Ye, who in some pretty little boat,
Eager to listen, have been following
Behind my ship, that singing sails along,

Turn back to look again upon your shores;
Do not put out to sea, lest peradventure,
In losing me, you might yourselves be lost.

The sea I sail has never yet been passed;
Minerva breathes, and pilots me Apollo,
And Muses nine point out to me the Bears.

Ye other few who have the neck uplifted
Betimes to th' bread of Angels upon which
One liveth here and grows not sated by it,

Well may you launch upon the deep salt-sea
Your vessel, keeping still my wake before you
Upon the water that grows smooth again.

Those glorious ones who unto Colchos passed
Were not so wonder-struck as you shall be,
When Jason they beheld a ploughman made!

The con-created and perpetual thirst
For the realm deiform did bear us on,
As swift almost as ye the heavens behold.

Upward gazed Beatrice, and I at her;
And in such space perchance as strikes a bolt
And flies, and from the notch unlocks itself,

Arrived I saw me where a wondrous thing
Drew to itself my sight; and therefore she
From whom no care of mine could be concealed,

Towards me turning, blithe as beautiful,
Said unto me: "Fix gratefully thy mind
On God, who unto the first star has brought us."

It seemed to me a cloud encompassed us,
Luminous, dense, consolidate and bright
As adamant on which the sun is striking.

Into itself did the eternal pearl
Receive us, even as water doth receive
A ray of light, remaining still unbroken.

If I was body, (and we here conceive not
How one dimension tolerates another,
Which needs must be if body enter body,)

More the desire should be enkindled in us
That essence to behold, wherein is seen
How God and our own nature were united.

There will be seen what we receive by faith,
Not demonstrated, but self-evident
In guise of the first truth that man believes.

I made reply: "Madonna, as devoutly
As most I can do I give thanks to Him
Who has removed me from the mortal world.

But tell me what the dusky spots may be
Upon this body, which below on earth
Make people tell that fabulous tale of Cain?"

Somewhat she smiled; and then, "If the opinion
Of mortals be erroneous," she said,
"Where'er the key of sense doth not unlock,

Certes, the shafts of wonder should not pierce thee
Now, forasmuch as, following the senses,
Thou seest that the reason has short wings.

But tell me what thou think'st of it thyself."
And I: "What seems to us up here diverse,
Is caused, I think, by bodies rare and dense."

And she: "Right truly shalt thou see immersed
In error thy belief, if well thou hearest
The argument that I shall make against it.

Lights many the eighth sphere displays to you
Which in their quality and quantity
May noted be of aspects different.

If this were caused by rare and dense alone,
One only virtue would there be in all
Or more or less diffused, or equally.

Virtues diverse must be perforce the fruits
Of formal principles; and these, save one,
Of course would by thy reasoning be destroyed.

Besides, if rarity were of this dimness
The cause thou askest, either through and through
This planet thus attenuate were of matter,

Or else, as in a body is apportioned
The fat and lean, so in like manner this
Would in its volume interchange the leaves.

Were it the former, in the sun's eclipse
It would be manifest by the shining through
Of light, as through aught tenuous interfused.

This is not so; hence we must scan the other,
And if it chance the other I demolish,
Then falsified will thy opinion be.

But if this rarity go not through and through,
There needs must be a limit, beyond which
Its contrary prevents the further passing,

And thence the foreign radiance is reflected,
Even as a colour cometh back from glass,
The which behind itself concealeth lead.

Now thou wilt say the sunbeam shows itself
More dimly there than in the other parts,
By being there reflected farther back.

From this reply experiment will free thee
If e'er thou try it, which is wont to be
The fountain to the rivers of your arts.

Three mirrors shalt thou take, and two remove
Alike from thee, the other more remote
Between the former two shall meet thine eyes.

Turned towards these, cause that behind thy back
Be placed a light, illuming the three mirrors
And coming back to thee by all reflected.

Though in its quantity be not so ample
The image most remote, there shalt thou see
How it perforce is equally resplendent.

Now, as beneath the touches of warm rays
Naked the subject of the snow remains
Both of its former colour and its cold,

Thee thus remaining in thy intellect,
Will I inform with such a living light,
That it shall tremble in its aspect to thee.

Within the heaven of the divine repose
Revolves a body, in whose virtue lies
The being of whatever it contains.

The following heaven, that has so many eyes,
Divides this being by essences diverse,
Distinguished from it, and by it contained.

The other spheres, by various differences,
All the distinctions which they have within them
Dispose unto their ends and their effects.

Thus do these organs of the world proceed,
As thou perceivest now, from grade to grade;
Since from above they take, and act beneath.

Observe me well, how through this place I come
Unto the truth thou wishest, that hereafter
Thou mayst alone know how to keep the ford

The power and motion of the holy spheres,
As from the artisan the hammer's craft,
Forth from the blessed motors must proceed.

The heaven, which lights so manifold make fair,
From the Intelligence profound, which turns it,
The image takes, and makes of it a seal.

And even as the soul within your dust
Through members different and accommodated
To faculties diverse expands itself,

So likewise this Intelligence diffuses
Its virtue multiplied among the stars.
Itself revolving on its unity.

Virtue diverse doth a diverse alloyage
Make with the precious body that it quickens,
In which, as life in you, it is combined.

From the glad nature whence it is derived,
The mingled virtue through the body shines,
Even as gladness through the living pupil.

From this proceeds whate'er from light to light
Appeareth different, not from dense and rare:
This is the formal principle that produces,

According to its goodness, dark and bright."

Paradiso: Canto III

That Sun, which erst with love my bosom warmed,
Of beauteous truth had unto me discovered,
By proving and reproving, the sweet aspect.

And, that I might confess myself convinced
And confident, so far as was befitting,
I lifted more erect my head to speak.

But there appeared a vision, which withdrew me
So close to it, in order to be seen,
That my confession I remembered not.

Such as through polished and transparent glass,
Or waters crystalline and undisturbed,
But not so deep as that their bed be lost,

Come back again the outlines of our faces
So feeble, that a pearl on forehead white
Comes not less speedily unto our eyes;

Such saw I many faces prompt to speak,
So that I ran in error opposite
To that which kindled love 'twixt man and fountain.

As soon as I became aware of them,
Esteeming them as mirrored semblances,
To see of whom they were, mine eyes I turned,

And nothing saw, and once more turned them forward
Direct into the light of my sweet Guide,
Who smiling kindled in her holy eyes.

"Marvel thou not," she said to me, "because
I smile at this thy puerile conceit,
Since on the truth it trusts not yet its foot,

But turns thee, as 'tis wont, on emptiness.
True substances are these which thou beholdest,
Here relegate for breaking of some vow.

Therefore speak with them, listen and believe;
For the true light, which giveth peace to them,
Permits them not to turn from it their feet."

And I unto the shade that seemed most wishful
To speak directed me, and I began,
As one whom too great eagerness bewilders:

"O well-created spirit, who in the rays
Of life eternal dost the sweetness taste
Which being untasted ne'er is comprehended,

Grateful 'twill be to me, if thou content me
Both with thy name and with your destiny."
Whereat she promptly and with laughing eyes:

"Our charity doth never shut the doors
Against a just desire, except as one
Who wills that all her court be like herself.

I was a virgin sister in the world;
And if thy mind doth contemplate me well,
The being more fair will not conceal me from thee,

But thou shalt recognise I am Piccarda,
Who, stationed here among these other blessed,
Myself am blessed in the slowest sphere.

All our affections, that alone inflamed
Are in the pleasure of the Holy Ghost,
Rejoice at being of his order formed;

And this allotment, which appears so low,
Therefore is given us, because our vows
Have been neglected and in some part void."

Whence I to her: "In your miraculous aspects
There shines I know not what of the divine,
Which doth transform you from our first conceptions.

Therefore I was not swift in my remembrance;
But what thou tellest me now aids me so,
That the refiguring is easier to me.

But tell me, ye who in this place are happy,
Are you desirous of a higher place,
To see more or to make yourselves more friends?"

First with those other shades she smiled a little;
Thereafter answered me so full of gladness,
She seemed to burn in the first fire of love:

"Brother, our will is quieted by virtue
Of charity, that makes us wish alone
For what we have, nor gives us thirst for more.

If to be more exalted we aspired,
Discordant would our aspirations be
Unto the will of Him who here secludes us;

Which thou shalt see finds no place in these circles,
If being in charity is needful here,
And if thou lookest well into its nature;

Nay, 'tis essential to this blest existence
To keep itself within the will divine,
Whereby our very wishes are made one;

So that, as we are station above station
Throughout this realm, to all the realm 'tis pleasing,
As to the King, who makes his will our will.

And his will is our peace; this is the sea
To which is moving onward whatsoever
It doth create, and all that nature makes."

Then it was clear to me how everywhere
In heaven is Paradise, although the grace
Of good supreme there rain not in one measure.

But as it comes to pass, if one food sates,
And for another still remains the longing,
We ask for this, and that decline with thanks,

E'en thus did I; with gesture and with word,
To learn from her what was the web wherein
She did not ply the shuttle to the end.

"A perfect life and merit high in-heaven
A lady o'er us," said she, "by whose rule
Down in your world they vest and veil themselves,

That until death they may both watch and sleep
Beside that Spouse who every vow accepts
Which charity conformeth to his pleasure.

To follow her, in girlhood from the world
I fled, and in her habit shut myself,
And pledged me to the pathway of her sect.

Then men accustomed unto evil more
Than unto good, from the sweet cloister tore me;
God knows what afterward my life became.

This other splendour, which to thee reveals
Itself on my right side, and is enkindled
With all the illumination of our sphere,

What of myself I say applies to her;
A nun was she, and likewise from her head
Was ta'en the shadow of the sacred wimple.

But when she too was to the world returned
Against her wishes and against good usage,
Of the heart's veil she never was divested.

Of great Costanza this is the effulgence,
Who from the second wind of Suabia
Brought forth the third and latest puissance."

Thus unto me she spake, and then began
"Ave Maria" singing, and in singing
Vanished, as through deep water something heavy.

My sight, that followed her as long a time
As it was possible, when it had lost her
Turned round unto the mark of more desire,

And wholly unto Beatrice reverted;
But she such lightnings flashed into mine eyes,
That at the first my sight endured it not;

And this in questioning more backward made me.

Paradiso: Canto IV

Between two viands, equally removed
And tempting, a free man would die of hunger
Ere either he could bring unto his teeth.

So would a lamb between the ravenings
Of two fierce wolves stand fearing both alike;
And so would stand a dog between two does.

Hence, if I held my peace, myself I blame not,
Impelled in equal measure by my doubts,
Since it must be so, nor do I commend.

I held my peace; but my desire was painted
Upon my face, and questioning with that
More fervent far than by articulate speech.

Beatrice did as Daniel had done
Relieving Nebuchadnezzar from the wrath
Which rendered him unjustly merciless,

And said: "Well see I how attracteth thee
One and the other wish, so that thy care
Binds itself so that forth it does not breathe.

Thou arguest, if good will be permanent,
The violence of others, for what reason
Doth it decrease the measure of my merit?

Again for doubting furnish thee occasion
Souls seeming to return unto the stars,
According to the sentiment of Plato.

These are the questions which upon thy wish
Are thrusting equally; and therefore first
Will I treat that which hath the most of gall.

He of the Seraphim most absorbed in God,
Moses, and Samuel, and whichever John
Thou mayst select, I say, and even Mary,

Have not in any other heaven their seats,
Than have those spirits that just appeared to thee,
Nor of existence more or fewer years;

But all make beautiful the primal circle,
And have sweet life in different degrees,
By feeling more or less the eternal breath.

They showed themselves here, not because allotted
This sphere has been to them, but to give sign
Of the celestial which is least exalted.

To speak thus is adapted to your mind,
Since only through the sense it apprehendeth
What then it worthy makes of intellect.

On this account the Scripture condescends
Unto your faculties, and feet and hands
To God attributes, and means something else;

And Holy Church under an aspect human
Gabriel and Michael represent to you,
And him who made Tobias whole again.

That which Timaeus argues of the soul
Doth not resemble that which here is seen,
Because it seems that as he speaks he thinks.

He says the soul unto its star returns,
Believing it to have been severed thence
Whenever nature gave it as a form.

Perhaps his doctrine is of other guise
Than the words sound, and possibly may be
With meaning that is not to be derided.

If he doth mean that to these wheels return
The honour of their influence and the blame,
Perhaps his bow doth hit upon some truth.

This principle ill understood once warped
The whole world nearly, till it went astray
Invoking Jove and Mercury and Mars.

The other doubt which doth disquiet thee
Less venom has, for its malevolence
Could never lead thee otherwhere from me.

That as unjust our justice should appear
In eyes of mortals, is an argument
Of faith, and not of sin heretical.

But still, that your perception may be able
To thoroughly penetrate this verity,
As thou desirest, I will satisfy thee.

If it be violence when he who suffers
Co-operates not with him who uses force,
These souls were not on that account excused;

For will is never quenched unless it will,
But operates as nature doth in fire
If violence a thousand times distort it.

Hence, if it yieldeth more or less, it seconds
The force; and these have done so, having power
Of turning back unto the holy place.

If their will had been perfect, like to that
Which Lawrence fast upon his gridiron held,
And Mutius made severe to his own hand,

It would have urged them back along the road
Whence they were dragged, as soon as they were free;
But such a solid will is all too rare.

And by these words, if thou hast gathered them
As thou shouldst do, the argument is refuted
That would have still annoyed thee many times.

But now another passage runs across
Before thine eyes, and such that by thyself
Thou couldst not thread it ere thou wouldst be weary.

I have for certain put into thy mind
That soul beatified could never lie,
For it is near the primal Truth,

And then thou from Piccarda might'st have heard
Costanza kept affection for the veil,
So that she seemeth here to contradict me.

Many times, brother, has it come to pass,
That, to escape from peril, with reluctance
That has been done it was not right to do,

E'en as Alcmaeon (who, being by his father
Thereto entreated, his own mother slew)
Not to lose pity pitiless became.

At this point I desire thee to remember
That force with will commingles, and they cause
That the offences cannot be excused.

Will absolute consenteth not to evil;
But in so far consenteth as it fears,
If it refrain, to fall into more harm.

Hence when Piccarda uses this expression,
She meaneth the will absolute, and I
The other, so that both of us speak truth."

Such was the flowing of the holy river
That issued from the fount whence springs all truth;
This put to rest my wishes one and all.

"O love of the first lover, O divine,"
Said I forthwith, "whose speech inundates me
And warms me so, it more and more revives me,

My own affection is not so profound
As to suffice in rendering grace for grace;
Let Him, who sees and can, thereto respond.

Well I perceive that never sated is
Our intellect unless the Truth illume it,
Beyond which nothing true expands itself.

It rests therein, as wild beast in his lair,
When it attains it; and it can attain it;
If not, then each desire would frustrate be.

Therefore springs up, in fashion of a shoot,
Doubt at the foot of truth; and this is nature,
Which to the top from height to height impels us.

This doth invite me, this assurance give me
With reverence, Lady, to inquire of you
Another truth, which is obscure to me.

I wish to know if man can satisfy you
For broken vows with other good deeds, so
That in your balance they will not be light."

Beatrice gazed upon me with her eyes
Full of the sparks of love, and so divine,
That, overcome my power, I turned my back

And almost lost myself with eyes downcast.

Paradiso: Canto V

"If in the heat of love I flame upon thee
Beyond the measure that on earth is seen,
So that the valour of thine eyes I vanquish,

Marvel thou not thereat; for this proceeds
From perfect sight, which as it apprehends
To the good apprehended moves its feet.

Well I perceive how is already shining
Into thine intellect the eternal light,
That only seen enkindles always love;

And if some other thing your love seduce,
'Tis nothing but a vestige of the same,
Ill understood, which there is shining through.

Thou fain wouldst know if with another service
For broken vow can such return be made
As to secure the soul from further claim."

This Canto thus did Beatrice begin;
And, as a man who breaks not off his speech,
Continued thus her holy argument:

"The greatest gift that in his largess God
Creating made, and unto his own goodness
Nearest conformed, and that which he doth prize

Most highly, is the freedom of the will,
Wherewith the creatures of intelligence
Both all and only were and are endowed.

Now wilt thou see, if thence thou reasonest,
The high worth of a vow, if it he made
So that when thou consentest God consents:

For, closing between God and man the compact,
A sacrifice is of this treasure made,
Such as I say, and made by its own act.

What can be rendered then as compensation?
Think'st thou to make good use of what thou'st offered,
With gains ill gotten thou wouldst do good deed.

Now art thou certain of the greater point;
But because Holy Church in this dispenses,
Which seems against the truth which I have shown thee,

Behoves thee still to sit awhile at table,
Because the solid food which thou hast taken
Requireth further aid for thy digestion.

Open thy mind to that which I reveal,
And fix it there within; for 'tis not knowledge,
The having heard without retaining it.

In the essence of this sacrifice two things
Convene together; and the one is that
Of which 'tis made, the other is the agreement.

This last for evermore is cancelled not
Unless complied with, and concerning this
With such precision has above been spoken.

Therefore it was enjoined upon the Hebrews
To offer still, though sometimes what was offered
Might be commuted, as thou ought'st to know.

The other, which is known to thee as matter,
May well indeed be such that one errs not
If it for other matter be exchanged.

But let none shift the burden on his shoulder
At his arbitrament, without the turning
Both of the white and of the yellow key;

And every permutation deem as foolish,
If in the substitute the thing relinquished,
As the four is in six, be not contained.

Therefore whatever thing has so great weight
In value that it drags down every balance,
Cannot be satisfied with other spending.

Let mortals never take a vow in jest;
Be faithful and not blind in doing that,
As Jephthah was in his first offering,

Whom more beseemed to say, 'I have done wrong,
Than to do worse by keeping; and as foolish
Thou the great leader of the Greeks wilt find,

Whence wept Iphigenia her fair face,
And made for her both wise and simple weep,
Who heard such kind of worship spoken of.'

Christians, be ye more serious in your movements;
Be ye not like a feather at each wind,
And think not every water washes you.

Ye have the Old and the New Testament,
And the Pastor of the Church who guideth you
Let this suffice you unto your salvation.

If evil appetite cry aught else to you,
Be ye as men, and not as silly sheep,
So that the Jew among you may not mock you.

Be ye not as the lamb that doth abandon
Its mother's milk, and frolicsome and simple
Combats at its own pleasure with itself."

Thus Beatrice to me even as I write it;
Then all desireful turned herself again
To that part where the world is most alive.

Her silence and her change of countenance
Silence imposed upon my eager mind,
That had already in advance new questions;

And as an arrow that upon the mark
Strikes ere the bowstring quiet hath become,
So did we speed into the second realm.

My Lady there so joyful I beheld,
As into the brightness of that heaven she entered,
More luminous thereat the planet grew;

And if the star itself was changed and smiled,
What became I, who by my nature am
Exceeding mutable in every guise!

As, in a fish-pond which is pure and tranquil,
The fishes draw to that which from without
Comes in such fashion that their food they deem it;

So I beheld more than a thousand splendours
Drawing towards us, and in each was heard:
"Lo, this is she who shall increase our love."

And as each one was coming unto us,
Full of beatitude the shade was seen,
By the effulgence clear that issued from it.

Think, Reader, if what here is just beginning
No farther should proceed, how thou wouldst have
An agonizing need of knowing more;

And of thyself thou'lt see how I from these
Was in desire of hearing their conditions,
As they unto mine eyes were manifest.

"O thou well-born, unto whom Grace concedes
To see the thrones of the eternal triumph,
Or ever yet the warfare be abandoned

With light that through the whole of heaven is spread
Kindled are we, and hence if thou desirest
To know of us, at thine own pleasure sate thee."

Thus by some one among those holy spirits
Was spoken, and by Beatrice: "Speak, speak
Securely, and believe them even as Gods."

"Well I perceive how thou dost nest thyself
In thine own light, and drawest it from thine eyes,
Because they coruscate when thou dost smile,

But know not who thou art, nor why thou hast,
Spirit august, thy station in the sphere
That veils itself to men in alien rays."

This said I in direction of the light
Which first had spoken to me; whence it became
By far more lucent than it was before.

Even as the sun, that doth conceal himself
By too much light, when heat has worn away
The tempering influence of the vapours dense,

By greater rapture thus concealed itself
In its own radiance the figure saintly,
And thus close, close enfolded answered me

In fashion as the following Canto sings.
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Re: The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri

Postby admin » Fri Feb 16, 2018 3:00 am

Paradiso: Canto VI

"After that Constantine the eagle turned
Against the course of heaven, which it had followed
Behind the ancient who Lavinia took,

Two hundred years and more the bird of God
In the extreme of Europe held itself,
Near to the mountains whence it issued first;

And under shadow of the sacred plumes
It governed there the world from hand to hand,
And, changing thus, upon mine own alighted.

Caesar I was, and am Justinian,
Who, by the will of primal Love I feel,
Took from the laws the useless and redundant;

And ere unto the work I was attent,
One nature to exist in Christ, not more,
Believed, and with such faith was I contented.

But blessed Agapetus, he who was
The supreme pastor, to the faith sincere
Pointed me out the way by words of his.

Him I believed, and what was his assertion
I now see clearly, even as thou seest
Each contradiction to be false and true.

As soon as with the Church I moved my feet,
God in his grace it pleased with this high task
To inspire me, and I gave me wholly to it,

And to my Belisarius I commended
The arms, to which was heaven's right hand so joined
It was a signal that I should repose.

Now here to the first question terminates
My answer; but the character thereof
Constrains me to continue with a sequel,

In order that thou see with how great reason
Men move against the standard sacrosanct,
Both who appropriate and who oppose it.

Behold how great a power has made it worthy
Of reverence, beginning from the hour
When Pallas died to give it sovereignty.

Thou knowest it made in Alba its abode
Three hundred years and upward, till at last
The three to three fought for it yet again.

Thou knowest what it achieved from Sabine wrong
Down to Lucretia's sorrow, in seven kings
O'ercoming round about the neighboring nations;

Thou knowest what it achieved, borne by the Romans
Illustrious against Brennus, against Pyrrhus,
Against the other princes and confederates.

Torquatus thence and Quinctius, who from locks
Unkempt was named, Decii and Fabii,
Received the fame I willingly embalm;

It struck to earth the pride of the Arabians,
Who, following Hannibal, had passed across
The Alpine ridges, Po, from which thou glidest;

Beneath it triumphed while they yet were young
Pompey and Scipio, and to the hill
Beneath which thou wast born it bitter seemed;

Then, near unto the time when heaven had willed
To bring the whole world to its mood serene,
Did Caesar by the will of Rome assume it.

What it achieved from Var unto the Rhine,
Isere beheld and Saone, beheld the Seine,
And every valley whence the Rhone is filled;

What it achieved when it had left Ravenna,
And leaped the Rubicon, was such a flight
That neither tongue nor pen could follow it.

Round towards Spain it wheeled its legions; then
Towards Durazzo, and Pharsalia smote
That to the calid Nile was felt the pain.

Antandros and the Simois, whence it started,
It saw again, and there where Hector lies,
And ill for Ptolemy then roused itself.

From thence it came like lightning upon Juba;
Then wheeled itself again into your West,
Where the Pompeian clarion it heard.

From what it wrought with the next standard-bearer
Brutus and Cassius howl in Hell together,
And Modena and Perugia dolent were;

Still doth the mournful Cleopatra weep
Because thereof, who, fleeing from before it,
Took from the adder sudden and black death.

With him it ran even to the Red Sea shore;
With him it placed the world in so great peace,
That unto Janus was his temple closed.

But what the standard that has made me speak
Achieved before, and after should achieve
Throughout the mortal realm that lies beneath it,

Becometh in appearance mean and dim,
If in the hand of the third Caesar seen
With eye unclouded and affection pure,

Because the living Justice that inspires me
Granted it, in the hand of him I speak of,
The glory of doing vengeance for its wrath.

Now here attend to what I answer thee;
Later it ran with Titus to do vengeance
Upon the vengeance of the ancient sin.

And when the tooth of Lombardy had bitten
The Holy Church, then underneath its wings
Did Charlemagne victorious succor her.

Now hast thou power to judge of such as those
Whom I accused above, and of their crimes,
Which are the cause of all your miseries.

To the public standard one the yellow lilies
Opposes, the other claims it for a party,
So that 'tis hard to see which sins the most.

Let, let the Ghibellines ply their handicraft
Beneath some other standard; for this ever
Ill follows he who it and justice parts.

And let not this new Charles e'er strike it down,
He and his Guelfs, but let him fear the talons
That from a nobler lion stripped the fell.

Already oftentimes the sons have wept
The father's crime; and let him not believe
That God will change His scutcheon for the lilies.

This little planet doth adorn itself
With the good spirits that have active been,
That fame and honour might come after them;

And whensoever the desires mount thither,
Thus deviating, must perforce the rays
Of the true love less vividly mount upward.

But in commensuration of our wages
With our desert is portion of our joy,
Because we see them neither less nor greater.

Herein doth living Justice sweeten so
Affection in us, that for evermore
It cannot warp to any iniquity.

Voices diverse make up sweet melodies;
So in this life of ours the seats diverse
Render sweet harmony among these spheres;

And in the compass of this present pearl
Shineth the sheen of Romeo, of whom
The grand and beauteous work was ill rewarded.

But the Provencals who against him wrought,
They have not laughed, and therefore ill goes he
Who makes his hurt of the good deeds of others.

Four daughters, and each one of them a queen,
Had Raymond Berenger, and this for him
Did Romeo, a poor man and a pilgrim;

And then malicious words incited him
To summon to a reckoning this just man,
Who rendered to him seven and five for ten.

Then he departed poor and stricken in years,
And if the world could know the heart he had,
In begging bit by bit his livelihood,

Though much it laud him, it would laud him more."

Paradiso: Canto VII

"Osanna sanctus Deus Sabaoth,
Superillustrans claritate tua
Felices ignes horum malahoth!"

In this wise, to his melody returning,
This substance, upon which a double light
Doubles itself, was seen by me to sing,

And to their dance this and the others moved,
And in the manner of swift-hurrying sparks
Veiled themselves from me with a sudden distance.

Doubting was I, and saying, "Tell her, tell her,"
Within me, "tell her," saying, "tell my Lady,"
Who slakes my thirst with her sweet effluences;

And yet that reverence which doth lord it over
The whole of me only by B and ICE,
Bowed me again like unto one who drowses.

Short while did Beatrice endure me thus;
And she began, lighting me with a smile
Such as would make one happy in the fire:

"According to infallible advisement,
After what manner a just vengeance justly
Could be avenged has put thee upon thinking,

But I will speedily thy mind unloose;
And do thou listen, for these words of mine
Of a great doctrine will a present make thee.

By not enduring on the power that wills
Curb for his good, that man who ne'er was born,
Damning himself damned all his progeny;

Whereby the human species down below
Lay sick for many centuries in great error,
Till to descend it pleased the Word of God

To where the nature, which from its own Maker
Estranged itself, he joined to him in person
By the sole act of his eternal love.

Now unto what is said direct thy sight;
This nature when united to its Maker,
Such as created, was sincere and good;

But by itself alone was banished forth
From Paradise, because it turned aside
Out of the way of truth and of its life.

Therefore the penalty the cross held out,
If measured by the nature thus assumed,
None ever yet with so great justice stung,

And none was ever of so great injustice,
Considering who the Person was that suffered,
Within whom such a nature was contracted.

From one act therefore issued things diverse;
To God and to the Jews one death was pleasing;
Earth trembled at it and the Heaven was opened.

It should no longer now seem difficult
To thee, when it is said that a just vengeance
By a just court was afterward avenged.

But now do I behold thy mind entangled
From thought to thought within a knot, from which
With great desire it waits to free itself.

Thou sayest, 'Well discern I what I hear;
But it is hidden from me why God willed
For our redemption only this one mode.'

Buried remaineth, brother, this decree
Unto the eyes of every one whose nature
Is in the flame of love not yet adult.

Verily, inasmuch as at this mark
One gazes long and little is discerned,
Wherefore this mode was worthiest will I say.

Goodness Divine, which from itself doth spurn
All envy, burning in itself so sparkles
That the eternal beauties it unfolds.

Whate'er from this immediately distils
Has afterwards no end, for ne'er removed
Is its impression when it sets its seal.

Whate'er from this immediately rains down
Is wholly free, because it is not subject
Unto the influences of novel things.

The more conformed thereto, the more it pleases;
For the blest ardour that irradiates all things
In that most like itself is most vivacious.

With all of these things has advantaged been
The human creature; and if one be wanting,
From his nobility he needs must fall.

'Tis sin alone which doth disfranchise him,
And render him unlike the Good Supreme,
So that he little with its light is blanched,

And to his dignity no more returns,
Unless he fill up where transgression empties
With righteous pains for criminal delights.

Your nature when it sinned so utterly
In its own seed, out of these dignities
Even as out of Paradise was driven,

Nor could itself recover, if thou notest
With nicest subtilty, by any way,
Except by passing one of these two fords:

Either that God through clemency alone
Had pardon granted, or that man himself
Had satisfaction for his folly made.

Fix now thine eye deep into the abyss
Of the eternal counsel, to my speech
As far as may be fastened steadfastly!

Man in his limitations had not power
To satisfy, not having power to sink
In his humility obeying then,

Far as he disobeying thought to rise;
And for this reason man has been from power
Of satisfying by himself excluded.

Therefore it God behoved in his own ways
Man to restore unto his perfect life,
I say in one, or else in both of them.

But since the action of the doer is
So much more grateful, as it more presents
The goodness of the heart from which it issues,

Goodness Divine, that doth imprint the world,
Has been contented to proceed by each
And all its ways to lift you up again;

Nor 'twixt the first day and the final night
Such high and such magnificent proceeding
By one or by the other was or shall be;

For God more bounteous was himself to give
To make man able to uplift himself,
Than if he only of himself had pardoned;

And all the other modes were insufficient
For justice, were it not the Son of God
Himself had humbled to become incarnate.

Now, to fill fully each desire of thine,
Return I to elucidate one place,
In order that thou there mayst see as I do.

Thou sayst: 'I see the air, I see the fire,
The water, and the earth, and all their mixtures
Come to corruption, and short while endure;

And these things notwithstanding were created;'
Therefore if that which I have said were true,
They should have been secure against corruption.

The Angels, brother, and the land sincere
In which thou art, created may be called
Just as they are in their entire existence;

But all the elements which thou hast named,
And all those things which out of them are made,
By a created virtue are informed.

Created was the matter which they have;
Created was the informing influence
Within these stars that round about them go.

The soul of every brute and of the plants
By its potential temperament attracts
The ray and motion of the holy lights;

But your own life immediately inspires
Supreme Beneficence, and enamours it
So with herself, it evermore desires her.

And thou from this mayst argue furthermore
Your resurrection, if thou think again
How human flesh was fashioned at that time

When the first parents both of them were made."

Paradiso: Canto VIII

The world used in its peril to believe
That the fair Cypria delirious love
Rayed out, in the third epicycle turning;

Wherefore not only unto her paid honour
Of sacrifices and of votive cry
The ancient nations in the ancient error,

But both Dione honoured they and Cupid,
That as her mother, this one as her son,
And said that he had sat in Dido's lap;

And they from her, whence I beginning take,
Took the denomination of the star
That woos the sun, now following, now in front.

I was not ware of our ascending to it;
But of our being in it gave full faith
My Lady whom I saw more beauteous grow.

And as within a flame a spark is seen,
And as within a voice a voice discerned,
When one is steadfast, and one comes and goes,

Within that light beheld I other lamps
Move in a circle, speeding more and less,
Methinks in measure of their inward vision.

From a cold cloud descended never winds,
Or visible or not, so rapidly
They would not laggard and impeded seem

To any one who had those lights divine
Seen come towards us, leaving the gyration
Begun at first in the high Seraphim.

And behind those that most in front appeared
Sounded "Osanna!" so that never since
To hear again was I without desire.

Then unto us more nearly one approached,
And it alone began: "We all are ready
Unto thy pleasure, that thou joy in us.

We turn around with the celestial Princes,
One gyre and one gyration and one thirst,
To whom thou in the world of old didst say,

'Ye who, intelligent, the third heaven are moving;'
And are so full of love, to pleasure thee
A little quiet will not be less sweet."

After these eyes of mine themselves had offered
Unto my Lady reverently, and she
Content and certain of herself had made them,

Back to the light they turned, which so great promise
Made of itself, and "Say, who art thou?" was
My voice, imprinted with a great affection.

O how and how much I beheld it grow
With the new joy that superadded was
Unto its joys, as soon as I had spoken!

Thus changed, it said to me: "The world possessed me
Short time below; and, if it had been more,
Much evil will be which would not have been.

My gladness keepeth me concealed from thee,
Which rayeth round about me, and doth hide me
Like as a creature swathed in its own silk.

Much didst thou love me, and thou hadst good reason;
For had I been below, I should have shown thee
Somewhat beyond the foliage of my love.

That left-hand margin, which doth bathe itself
In Rhone, when it is mingled with the Sorgue,
Me for its lord awaited in due time,

And that horn of Ausonia, which is towned
With Bari, with Gaeta and Catona,
Whence Tronto and Verde in the sea disgorge.

Already flashed upon my brow the crown
Of that dominion which the Danube waters
After the German borders it abandons;

And beautiful Trinacria, that is murky
'Twixt Pachino and Peloro, (on the gulf
Which greatest scath from Eurus doth receive,)

Not through Typhoeus, but through nascent sulphur,
Would have awaited her own monarchs still,
Through me from Charles descended and from Rudolph,

If evil lordship, that exasperates ever
The subject populations, had not moved
Palermo to the outcry of 'Death! death!'

And if my brother could but this foresee,
The greedy poverty of Catalonia
Straight would he flee, that it might not molest him;

For verily 'tis needful to provide,
Through him or other, so that on his bark
Already freighted no more freight be placed.

His nature, which from liberal covetous
Descended, such a soldiery would need
As should not care for hoarding in a chest."

"Because I do believe the lofty joy
Thy speech infuses into me, my Lord,
Where every good thing doth begin and end

Thou seest as I see it, the more grateful
Is it to me; and this too hold I dear,
That gazing upon God thou dost discern it.

Glad hast thou made me; so make clear to me,
Since speaking thou hast stirred me up to doubt,
How from sweet seed can bitter issue forth."

This I to him; and he to me: "If I
Can show to thee a truth, to what thou askest
Thy face thou'lt hold as thou dost hold thy back.

The Good which all the realm thou art ascending
Turns and contents, maketh its providence
To be a power within these bodies vast;

And not alone the natures are foreseen
Within the mind that in itself is perfect,
But they together with their preservation.

For whatsoever thing this bow shoots forth
Falls foreordained unto an end foreseen,
Even as a shaft directed to its mark.

If that were not, the heaven which thou dost walk
Would in such manner its effects produce,
That they no longer would be arts, but ruins.

This cannot be, if the Intelligences
That keep these stars in motion are not maimed,
And maimed the First that has not made them perfect.

Wilt thou this truth have clearer made to thee?"
And I: "Not so; for 'tis impossible
That nature tire, I see, in what is needful."

Whence he again: "Now say, would it be worse
For men on earth were they not citizens?"
"Yes," I replied; "and here I ask no reason."

"And can they be so, if below they live not
Diversely unto offices diverse?
No, if your master writeth well for you."

So came he with deductions to this point;
Then he concluded: "Therefore it behoves
The roots of your effects to be diverse.

Hence one is Solon born, another Xerxes,
Another Melchisedec, and another he
Who, flying through the air, his son did lose.

Revolving Nature, which a signet is
To mortal wax, doth practise well her art,
But not one inn distinguish from another;

Thence happens it that Esau differeth
In seed from Jacob; and Quirinus comes
From sire so vile that he is given to Mars.

A generated nature its own way
Would always make like its progenitors,
If Providence divine were not triumphant.

Now that which was behind thee is before thee;
But that thou know that I with thee am pleased,
With a corollary will I mantle thee.

Evermore nature, if it fortune find
Discordant to it, like each other seed
Out of its region, maketh evil thrift;

And if the world below would fix its mind
On the foundation which is laid by nature,
Pursuing that, 'twould have the people good.

But you unto religion wrench aside
Him who was born to gird him with the sword,
And make a king of him who is for sermons;

Therefore your footsteps wander from the road."

Paradiso: Canto IX

Beautiful Clemence, after that thy Charles
Had me enlightened, he narrated to me
The treacheries his seed should undergo;

But said: "Be still and let the years roll round;"
So I can only say, that lamentation
Legitimate shall follow on your wrongs.

And of that holy light the life already
Had to the Sun which fills it turned again,
As to that good which for each thing sufficeth.

Ah, souls deceived, and creatures impious,
Who from such good do turn away your hearts,
Directing upon vanity your foreheads!

And now, behold, another of those splendours
Approached me, and its will to pleasure me
It signified by brightening outwardly.

The eyes of Beatrice, that fastened were
Upon me, as before, of dear assent
To my desire assurance gave to me.

"Ah, bring swift compensation to my wish,
Thou blessed spirit," I said, "and give me proof
That what I think in thee I can reflect!"

Whereat the light, that still was new to me,
Out of its depths, whence it before was singing,
As one delighted to do good, continued:

"Within that region of the land depraved
Of Italy, that lies between Rialto
And fountain-heads of Brenta and of Piava,

Rises a hill, and mounts not very high,
Wherefrom descended formerly a torch
That made upon that region great assault.

Out of one root were born both I and it;
Cunizza was I called, and here I shine
Because the splendour of this star o'ercame me.

But gladly to myself the cause I pardon
Of my allotment, and it does not grieve me;
Which would perhaps seem strong unto your vulgar.

Of this so luculent and precious jewel,
Which of our heaven is nearest unto me,
Great fame remained; and ere it die away

This hundredth year shall yet quintupled be.
See if man ought to make him excellent,
So that another life the first may leave!

And thus thinks not the present multitude
Shut in by Adige and Tagliamento,
Nor yet for being scourged is penitent.

But soon 'twill be that Padua in the marsh
Will change the water that Vicenza bathes,
Because the folk are stubborn against duty;

And where the Sile and Cagnano join
One lordeth it, and goes with lofty head,
For catching whom e'en now the net is making.

Feltro moreover of her impious pastor
Shall weep the crime, which shall so monstrous be
That for the like none ever entered Malta.

Ample exceedingly would be the vat
That of the Ferrarese could hold the blood,
And weary who should weigh it ounce by ounce,

Of which this courteous priest shall make a gift
To show himself a partisan; and such gifts
Will to the living of the land conform.

Above us there are mirrors, Thrones you call them,
From which shines out on us God Judicant,
So that this utterance seems good to us."

Here it was silent, and it had the semblance
Of being turned elsewhither, by the wheel
On which it entered as it was before.

The other joy, already known to me,
Became a thing transplendent in my sight,
As a fine ruby smitten by the sun.

Through joy effulgence is acquired above,
As here a smile; but down below, the shade
Outwardly darkens, as the mind is sad.

"God seeth all things, and in Him, blest spirit,
Thy sight is," said I, "so that never will
Of his can possibly from thee be hidden;

Thy voice, then, that for ever makes the heavens
Glad, with the singing of those holy fires
Which of their six wings make themselves a cowl,

Wherefore does it not satisfy my longings?
Indeed, I would not wait thy questioning
If I in thee were as thou art in me."

"The greatest of the valleys where the water
Expands itself," forthwith its words began,
"That sea excepted which the earth engarlands,

Between discordant shores against the sun
Extends so far, that it meridian makes
Where it was wont before to make the horizon.

I was a dweller on that valley's shore
'Twixt Ebro and Magra that with journey short
Doth from the Tuscan part the Genoese.

With the same sunset and same sunrise nearly
Sit Buggia and the city whence I was,
That with its blood once made the harbour hot.

Folco that people called me unto whom
My name was known; and now with me this heaven
Imprints itself, as I did once with it;

For more the daughter of Belus never burned,
Offending both Sichaeus and Creusa,
Than I, so long as it became my locks,

Nor yet that Rodophean, who deluded
was by Demophoon, nor yet Alcides,
When Iole he in his heart had locked.

Yet here is no repenting, but we smile,
Not at the fault, which comes not back to mind,
But at the power which ordered and foresaw.

Here we behold the art that doth adorn
With such affection, and the good discover
Whereby the world above turns that below.

But that thou wholly satisfied mayst bear
Thy wishes hence which in this sphere are born,
Still farther to proceed behoveth me.

Thou fain wouldst know who is within this light
That here beside me thus is scintillating,
Even as a sunbeam in the limpid water.

Then know thou, that within there is at rest
Rahab, and being to our order joined,
With her in its supremest grade 'tis sealed.

Into this heaven, where ends the shadowy cone
Cast by your world, before all other souls
First of Christ's triumph was she taken up.

Full meet it was to leave her in some heaven,
Even as a palm of the high victory
Which he acquired with one palm and the other,

Because she favoured the first glorious deed
Of Joshua upon the Holy Land,
That little stirs the memory of the Pope.

Thy city, which an offshoot is of him
Who first upon his Maker turned his back,
And whose ambition is so sorely wept,

Brings forth and scatters the accursed flower
Which both the sheep and lambs hath led astray
Since it has turned the shepherd to a wolf.

For this the Evangel and the mighty Doctors
Are derelict, and only the Decretals
So studied that it shows upon their margins.

On this are Pope and Cardinals intent;
Their meditations reach not Nazareth,
There where his pinions Gabriel unfolded;

But Vatican and the other parts elect
Of Rome, which have a cemetery been
Unto the soldiery that followed Peter

Shall soon be free from this adultery."

Paradiso: Canto X

Looking into his Son with all the Love
Which each of them eternally breathes forth,
The Primal and unutterable Power

Whate'er before the mind or eye revolves
With so much order made, there can be none
Who this beholds without enjoying Him.

Lift up then, Reader, to the lofty wheels
With me thy vision straight unto that part
Where the one motion on the other strikes,

And there begin to contemplate with joy
That Master's art, who in himself so loves it
That never doth his eye depart therefrom.

Behold how from that point goes branching off
The oblique circle, which conveys the planets,
To satisfy the world that calls upon them;

And if their pathway were not thus inflected,
Much virtue in the heavens would be in vain,
And almost every power below here dead.

If from the straight line distant more or less
Were the departure, much would wanting be
Above and underneath of mundane order.

Remain now, Reader, still upon thy bench,
In thought pursuing that which is foretasted,
If thou wouldst jocund be instead of weary.

I've set before thee; henceforth feed thyself,
For to itself diverteth all my care
That theme whereof I have been made the scribe.

The greatest of the ministers of nature,
Who with the power of heaven the world imprints
And measures with his light the time for us,

With that part which above is called to mind
Conjoined, along the spirals was revolving,
Where each time earlier he presents himself;

And I was with him; but of the ascending
I was not conscious, saving as a man
Of a first thought is conscious ere it come;

And Beatrice, she who is seen to pass
From good to better, and so suddenly
That not by time her action is expressed,

How lucent in herself must she have been!
And what was in the sun, wherein I entered,
Apparent not by colour but by light,

I, though I call on genius, art, and practice,
Cannot so tell that it could be imagined;
Believe one can, and let him long to see it.

And if our fantasies too lowly are
For altitude so great, it is no marvel,
Since o'er the sun was never eye could go.

Such in this place was the fourth family
Of the high Father, who forever sates it,
Showing how he breathes forth and how begets.

And Beatrice began: "Give thanks, give thanks
Unto the Sun of Angels, who to this
Sensible one has raised thee by his grace!"

Never was heart of mortal so disposed
To worship, nor to give itself to God
With all its gratitude was it so ready,

As at those words did I myself become;
And all my love was so absorbed in Him,
That in oblivion Beatrice was eclipsed.

Nor this displeased her; but she smiled at it
So that the splendour of her laughing eyes
My single mind on many things divided.

Lights many saw I, vivid and triumphant,
Make us a centre and themselves a circle,
More sweet in voice than luminous in aspect.

Thus girt about the daughter of Latona
We sometimes see, when pregnant is the air,
So that it holds the thread which makes her zone.

Within the court of Heaven, whence I return,
Are many jewels found, so fair and precious
They cannot be transported from the realm;

And of them was the singing of those lights.
Who takes not wings that he may fly up thither,
The tidings thence may from the dumb await!

As soon as singing thus those burning suns
Had round about us whirled themselves three times,
Like unto stars neighbouring the steadfast poles,

Ladies they seemed, not from the dance released,
But who stop short, in silence listening
Till they have gathered the new melody.

And within one I heard beginning: "When
The radiance of grace, by which is kindled
True love, and which thereafter grows by loving,

Within thee multiplied is so resplendent
That it conducts thee upward by that stair,
Where without reascending none descends,

Who should deny the wine out of his vial
Unto thy thirst, in liberty were not
Except as water which descends not seaward.

Fain wouldst thou know with what plants is enflowered
This garland that encircles with delight
The Lady fair who makes thee strong for heaven.

Of the lambs was I of the holy flock
Which Dominic conducteth by a road
Where well one fattens if he strayeth not.

He who is nearest to me on the right
My brother and master was; and he Albertus
Is of Cologne, I Thomas of Aquinum.

If thou of all the others wouldst be certain,
Follow behind my speaking with thy sight
Upward along the blessed garland turning.

That next effulgence issues from the smile
Of Gratian, who assisted both the courts
In such wise that it pleased in Paradise.

The other which near by adorns our choir
That Peter was who, e'en as the poor widow,
Offered his treasure unto Holy Church.

The fifth light, that among us is the fairest,
Breathes forth from such a love, that all the world
Below is greedy to learn tidings of it.

Within it is the lofty mind, where knowledge
So deep was put, that, if the true be true,
To see so much there never rose a second.

Thou seest next the lustre of that taper,
Which in the flesh below looked most within
The angelic nature and its ministry.

Within that other little light is smiling
The advocate of the Christian centuries,
Out of whose rhetoric Augustine was furnished.

Now if thou trainest thy mind's eye along
From light to light pursuant of my praise,
With thirst already of the eighth thou waitest.

By seeing every good therein exults
The sainted soul, which the fallacious world
Makes manifest to him who listeneth well;

The body whence 'twas hunted forth is lying
Down in Cieldauro, and from martyrdom
And banishment it came unto this peace.

See farther onward flame the burning breath
Of Isidore, of Beda, and of Richard
Who was in contemplation more than man.

This, whence to me returneth thy regard,
The light is of a spirit unto whom
In his grave meditations death seemed slow.

It is the light eternal of Sigier,
Who, reading lectures in the Street of Straw,
Did syllogize invidious verities."

Then, as a horologe that calleth us
What time the Bride of God is rising up
With matins to her Spouse that he may love her,

Wherein one part the other draws and urges,
Ting! ting! resounding with so sweet a note,
That swells with love the spirit well disposed,

Thus I beheld the glorious wheel move round,
And render voice to voice, in modulation
And sweetness that can not be comprehended,

Excepting there where joy is made eternal.
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Re: The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri

Postby admin » Fri Feb 16, 2018 3:00 am

Paradiso: Canto XI

O Thou insensate care of mortal men,
How inconclusive are the syllogisms
That make thee beat thy wings in downward flight!

One after laws and one to aphorisms
Was going, and one following the priesthood,
And one to reign by force or sophistry,

And one in theft, and one in state affairs,
One in the pleasures of the flesh involved
Wearied himself, one gave himself to ease;

When I, from all these things emancipate,
With Beatrice above there in the Heavens
With such exceeding glory was received!

When each one had returned unto that point
Within the circle where it was before,
It stood as in a candlestick a candle;

And from within the effulgence which at first
Had spoken unto me, I heard begin
Smiling while it more luminous became:

"Even as I am kindled in its ray,
So, looking into the Eternal Light,
The occasion of thy thoughts I apprehend.

Thou doubtest, and wouldst have me to resift
In language so extended and so open
My speech, that to thy sense it may be plain,

Where just before I said, 'where well one fattens,'
And where I said, 'there never rose a second;'
And here 'tis needful we distinguish well.

The Providence, which governeth the world
With counsel, wherein all created vision
Is vanquished ere it reach unto the bottom,

(So that towards her own Beloved might go
The bride of Him who, uttering a loud cry,
Espoused her with his consecrated blood,

Self-confident and unto Him more faithful,)
Two Princes did ordain in her behoof,
Which on this side and that might be her guide.

The one was all seraphical in ardour;
The other by his wisdom upon earth
A splendour was of light cherubical.

One will I speak of, for of both is spoken
In praising one, whichever may be taken,
Because unto one end their labours were.

Between Tupino and the stream that falls
Down from the hill elect of blessed Ubald,
A fertile slope of lofty mountain hangs,

From which Perugia feels the cold and heat
Through Porta Sole, and behind it weep
Gualdo and Nocera their grievous yoke.

From out that slope, there where it breaketh most
Its steepness, rose upon the world a sun
As this one does sometimes from out the Ganges;

Therefore let him who speaketh of that place,
Say not Ascesi, for he would say little,
But Orient, if he properly would speak.

He was not yet far distant from his rising
Before he had begun to make the earth
Some comfort from his mighty virtue feel.

For he in youth his father's wrath incurred
For certain Dame, to whom, as unto death,
The gate of pleasure no one doth unlock;

And was before his spiritual court
'Et coram patre' unto her united;
Then day by day more fervently he loved her.

She, reft of her first husband, scorned, obscure,
One thousand and one hundred years and more,
Waited without a suitor till he came.

Naught it availed to hear, that with Amyclas
Found her unmoved at sounding of his voice
He who struck terror into all the world;

Naught it availed being constant and undaunted,
So that, when Mary still remained below,
She mounted up with Christ upon the cross.

But that too darkly I may not proceed,
Francis and Poverty for these two lovers
Take thou henceforward in my speech diffuse.

Their concord and their joyous semblances,
The love, the wonder, and the sweet regard,
They made to be the cause of holy thoughts;

So much so that the venerable Bernard
First bared his feet, and after so great peace
Ran, and, in running, thought himself too slow.

O wealth unknown! O veritable good!
Giles bares his feet, and bares his feet Sylvester
Behind the bridegroom, so doth please the bride!

Then goes his way that father and that master,
He and his Lady and that family
Which now was girding on the humble cord;

Nor cowardice of heart weighed down his brow
At being son of Peter Bernardone,
Nor for appearing marvellously scorned;

But regally his hard determination
To Innocent he opened, and from him
Received the primal seal upon his Order.

After the people mendicant increased
Behind this man, whose admirable life
Better in glory of the heavens were sung,

Incoronated with a second crown
Was through Honorius by the Eternal Spirit
The holy purpose of this Archimandrite.

And when he had, through thirst of martyrdom,
In the proud presence of the Sultan preached
Christ and the others who came after him,

And, finding for conversion too unripe
The folk, and not to tarry there in vain,
Returned to fruit of the Italic grass,

On the rude rock 'twixt Tiber and the Arno
From Christ did he receive the final seal,
Which during two whole years his members bore.

When He, who chose him unto so much good,
Was pleased to draw him up to the reward
That he had merited by being lowly,

Unto his friars, as to the rightful heirs,
His most dear Lady did he recommend,
And bade that they should love her faithfully;

And from her bosom the illustrious soul
Wished to depart, returning to its realm,
And for its body wished no other bier.

Think now what man was he, who was a fit
Companion over the high seas to keep
The bark of Peter to its proper bearings.

And this man was our Patriarch; hence whoever
Doth follow him as he commands can see
That he is laden with good merchandise.

But for new pasturage his flock has grown
So greedy, that it is impossible
They be not scattered over fields diverse;

And in proportion as his sheep remote
And vagabond go farther off from him,
More void of milk return they to the fold.

Verily some there are that fear a hurt,
And keep close to the shepherd; but so few,
That little cloth doth furnish forth their hoods.

Now if my utterance be not indistinct,
If thine own hearing hath attentive been,
If thou recall to mind what I have said,

In part contented shall thy wishes be;
For thou shalt see the plant that's chipped away,
And the rebuke that lieth in the words,

'Where well one fattens, if he strayeth not.'"

Paradiso: Canto XII

Soon as the blessed flame had taken up
The final word to give it utterance,
Began the holy millstone to revolve,

And in its gyre had not turned wholly round,
Before another in a ring enclosed it,
And motion joined to motion, song to song;

Song that as greatly doth transcend our Muses,
Our Sirens, in those dulcet clarions,
As primal splendour that which is reflected.

And as are spanned athwart a tender cloud
Two rainbows parallel and like in colour,
When Juno to her handmaid gives command,

(The one without born of the one within,
Like to the speaking of that vagrant one
Whom love consumed as doth the sun the vapours,)

And make the people here, through covenant
God set with Noah, presageful of the world
That shall no more be covered with a flood,

In such wise of those sempiternal roses
The garlands twain encompassed us about,
And thus the outer to the inner answered.

After the dance, and other grand rejoicings,
Both of the singing, and the flaming forth
Effulgence with effulgence blithe and tender,

Together, at once, with one accord had stopped,
(Even as the eyes, that, as volition moves them,
Must needs together shut and lift themselves,)

Out of the heart of one of the new lights
There came a voice, that needle to the star
Made me appear in turning thitherward.

And it began: "The love that makes me fair
Draws me to speak about the other leader,
By whom so well is spoken here of mine.

'Tis right, where one is, to bring in the other,
That, as they were united in their warfare,
Together likewise may their glory shine.

The soldiery of Christ, which it had cost
So dear to arm again, behind the standard
Moved slow and doubtful and in numbers few,

When the Emperor who reigneth evermore
Provided for the host that was in peril,
Through grace alone and not that it was worthy;

And, as was said, he to his Bride brought succour
With champions twain, at whose deed, at whose word
The straggling people were together drawn.

Within that region where the sweet west wind
Rises to open the new leaves, wherewith
Europe is seen to clothe herself afresh,

Not far off from the beating of the waves,
Behind which in his long career the sun
Sometimes conceals himself from every man,

Is situate the fortunate Calahorra,
Under protection of the mighty shield
In which the Lion subject is and sovereign.

Therein was born the amorous paramour
Of Christian Faith, the athlete consecrate,
Kind to his own and cruel to his foes;

And when it was created was his mind
Replete with such a living energy,
That in his mother her it made prophetic.

As soon as the espousals were complete
Between him and the Faith at holy font,
Where they with mutual safety dowered each other,

The woman, who for him had given assent,
Saw in a dream the admirable fruit
That issue would from him and from his heirs;

And that he might be construed as he was,
A spirit from this place went forth to name him
With His possessive whose he wholly was.

Dominic was he called; and him I speak of
Even as of the husbandman whom Christ
Elected to his garden to assist him.

Envoy and servant sooth he seemed of Christ,
For the first love made manifest in him
Was the first counsel that was given by Christ.

Silent and wakeful many a time was he
Discovered by his nurse upon the ground,
As if he would have said, 'For this I came.'

O thou his father, Felix verily!
O thou his mother, verily Joanna,
If this, interpreted, means as is said!

Not for the world which people toil for now
In following Ostiense and Taddeo,
But through his longing after the true manna,

He in short time became so great a teacher,
That he began to go about the vineyard,
Which fadeth soon, if faithless be the dresser;

And of the See, (that once was more benignant
Unto the righteous poor, not through itself,
But him who sits there and degenerates,)

Not to dispense or two or three for six,
Not any fortune of first vacancy,
'Non decimas quae sunt pauperum Dei,'

He asked for, but against the errant world
Permission to do battle for the seed,
Of which these four and twenty plants surround thee.

Then with the doctrine and the will together,
With office apostolical he moved,
Like torrent which some lofty vein out-presses;

And in among the shoots heretical
His impetus with greater fury smote,
Wherever the resistance was the greatest.

Of him were made thereafter divers runnels,
Whereby the garden catholic is watered,
So that more living its plantations stand.

If such the one wheel of the Biga was,
In which the Holy Church itself defended
And in the field its civic battle won,

Truly full manifest should be to thee
The excellence of the other, unto whom
Thomas so courteous was before my coming.

But still the orbit, which the highest part
Of its circumference made, is derelict,
So that the mould is where was once the crust.

His family, that had straight forward moved
With feet upon his footprints, are turned round
So that they set the point upon the heel.

And soon aware they will be of the harvest
Of this bad husbandry, when shall the tares
Complain the granary is taken from them.

Yet say I, he who searcheth leaf by leaf
Our volume through, would still some page discover
Where he could read, 'I am as I am wont.'

'Twill not be from Casal nor Acquasparta,
From whence come such unto the written word
That one avoids it, and the other narrows.

Bonaventura of Bagnoregio's life
Am I, who always in great offices
Postponed considerations sinister.

Here are Illuminato and Agostino,
Who of the first barefooted beggars were
That with the cord the friends of God became.

Hugh of Saint Victor is among them here,
And Peter Mangiador, and Peter of Spain,
Who down below in volumes twelve is shining;

Nathan the seer, and metropolitan
Chrysostom, and Anselmus, and Donatus
Who deigned to lay his hand to the first art;

Here is Rabanus, and beside me here
Shines the Calabrian Abbot Joachim,
He with the spirit of prophecy endowed.

To celebrate so great a paladin
Have moved me the impassioned courtesy
And the discreet discourses of Friar Thomas,

And with me they have moved this company."

Paradiso: Canto XIII

Let him imagine, who would well conceive
What now I saw, and let him while I speak
Retain the image as a steadfast rock,

The fifteen stars, that in their divers regions
The sky enliven with a light so great
That it transcends all clusters of the air;

Let him the Wain imagine unto which
Our vault of heaven sufficeth night and day,
So that in turning of its pole it fails not;

Let him the mouth imagine of the horn
That in the point beginneth of the axis
Round about which the primal wheel revolves,--

To have fashioned of themselves two signs in heaven,
Like unto that which Minos' daughter made,
The moment when she felt the frost of death;

And one to have its rays within the other,
And both to whirl themselves in such a manner
That one should forward go, the other backward;

And he will have some shadowing forth of that
True constellation and the double dance
That circled round the point at which I was;

Because it is as much beyond our wont,
As swifter than the motion of the Chiana
Moveth the heaven that all the rest outspeeds.

There sang they neither Bacchus, nor Apollo,
But in the divine nature Persons three,
And in one person the divine and human.

The singing and the dance fulfilled their measure,
And unto us those holy lights gave need,
Growing in happiness from care to care.

Then broke the silence of those saints concordant
The light in which the admirable life
Of God's own mendicant was told to me,

And said: "Now that one straw is trodden out
Now that its seed is garnered up already,
Sweet love invites me to thresh out the other.

Into that bosom, thou believest, whence
Was drawn the rib to form the beauteous cheek
Whose taste to all the world is costing dear,

And into that which, by the lance transfixed,
Before and since, such satisfaction made
That it weighs down the balance of all sin,

Whate'er of light it has to human nature
Been lawful to possess was all infused
By the same power that both of them created;

And hence at what I said above dost wonder,
When I narrated that no second had
The good which in the fifth light is enclosed.

Now ope thine eyes to what I answer thee,
And thou shalt see thy creed and my discourse
Fit in the truth as centre in a circle.

That which can die, and that which dieth not,
Are nothing but the splendour of the idea
Which by his love our Lord brings into being;

Because that living Light, which from its fount
Effulgent flows, so that it disunites not
From Him nor from the Love in them intrined,

Through its own goodness reunites its rays
In nine subsistences, as in a mirror,
Itself eternally remaining One.

Thence it descends to the last potencies,
Downward from act to act becoming such
That only brief contingencies it makes;

And these contingencies I hold to be
Things generated, which the heaven produces
By its own motion, with seed and without.

Neither their wax, nor that which tempers it,
Remains immutable, and hence beneath
The ideal signet more and less shines through;

Therefore it happens, that the selfsame tree
After its kind bears worse and better fruit,
And ye are born with characters diverse.

If in perfection tempered were the wax,
And were the heaven in its supremest virtue,
The brilliance of the seal would all appear;

But nature gives it evermore deficient,
In the like manner working as the artist,
Who has the skill of art and hand that trembles.

If then the fervent Love, the Vision clear,
Of primal Virtue do dispose and seal,
Perfection absolute is there acquired.

Thus was of old the earth created worthy
Of all and every animal perfection;
And thus the Virgin was impregnate made;

So that thine own opinion I commend,
That human nature never yet has been,
Nor will be, what it was in those two persons.

Now if no farther forth I should proceed,
'Then in what way was he without a peer?'
Would be the first beginning of thy words.

But, that may well appear what now appears not,
Think who he was, and what occasion moved him
To make request, when it was told him, 'Ask.'

I've not so spoken that thou canst not see
Clearly he was a king who asked for wisdom,
That he might be sufficiently a king;

'Twas not to know the number in which are
The motors here above, or if 'necesse'
With a contingent e'er 'necesse' make,

'Non si est dare primum motum esse,'
Or if in semicircle can be made
Triangle so that it have no right angle.

Whence, if thou notest this and what I said,
A regal prudence is that peerless seeing
In which the shaft of my intention strikes.

And if on 'rose' thou turnest thy clear eyes,
Thou'lt see that it has reference alone
To kings who're many, and the good are rare.

With this distinction take thou what I said,
And thus it can consist with thy belief
Of the first father and of our Delight.

And lead shall this be always to thy feet,
To make thee, like a weary man, move slowly
Both to the Yes and No thou seest not;

For very low among the fools is he
Who affirms without distinction, or denies,
As well in one as in the other case;

Because it happens that full often bends
Current opinion in the false direction,
And then the feelings bind the intellect.

Far more than uselessly he leaves the shore,
(Since he returneth not the same he went,)
Who fishes for the truth, and has no skill;

And in the world proofs manifest thereof
Parmenides, Melissus, Brissus are,
And many who went on and knew not whither;

Thus did Sabellius, Arius, and those fools
Who have been even as swords unto the Scriptures
In rendering distorted their straight faces.

Nor yet shall people be too confident
In judging, even as he is who doth count
The corn in field or ever it be ripe.

For I have seen all winter long the thorn
First show itself intractable and fierce,
And after bear the rose upon its top;

And I have seen a ship direct and swift
Run o'er the sea throughout its course entire,
To perish at the harbour's mouth at last.

Let not Dame Bertha nor Ser Martin think,
Seeing one steal, another offering make,
To see them in the arbitrament divine;

For one may rise, and fall the other may."

Paradiso: Canto XIV

From centre unto rim, from rim to centre,
In a round vase the water moves itself,
As from without 'tis struck or from within.

Into my mind upon a sudden dropped
What I am saying, at the moment when
Silent became the glorious life of Thomas,

Because of the resemblance that was born
Of his discourse and that of Beatrice,
Whom, after him, it pleased thus to begin:

"This man has need (and does not tell you so,
Nor with the voice, nor even in his thought)
Of going to the root of one truth more.

Declare unto him if the light wherewith
Blossoms your substance shall remain with you
Eternally the same that it is now;

And if it do remain, say in what manner,
After ye are again made visible,
It can be that it injure not your sight."

As by a greater gladness urged and drawn
They who are dancing in a ring sometimes
Uplift their voices and their motions quicken;

So, at that orison devout and prompt,
The holy circles a new joy displayed
In their revolving and their wondrous song.

Whoso lamenteth him that here we die
That we may live above, has never there
Seen the refreshment of the eternal rain.

The One and Two and Three who ever liveth,
And reigneth ever in Three and Two and One,
Not circumscribed and all things circumscribing,

Three several times was chanted by each one
Among those spirits, with such melody
That for all merit it were just reward;

And, in the lustre most divine of all
The lesser ring, I heard a modest voice,
Such as perhaps the Angel's was to Mary,

Answer: "As long as the festivity
Of Paradise shall be, so long our love
Shall radiate round about us such a vesture.

Its brightness is proportioned to the ardour,
The ardour to the vision; and the vision
Equals what grace it has above its worth.

When, glorious and sanctified, our flesh
Is reassumed, then shall our persons be
More pleasing by their being all complete;

For will increase whate'er bestows on us
Of light gratuitous the Good Supreme,
Light which enables us to look on Him;

Therefore the vision must perforce increase,
Increase the ardour which from that is kindled,
Increase the radiance which from this proceeds.

But even as a coal that sends forth flame,
And by its vivid whiteness overpowers it
So that its own appearance it maintains,

Thus the effulgence that surrounds us now
Shall be o'erpowered in aspect by the flesh,
Which still to-day the earth doth cover up;

Nor can so great a splendour weary us,
For strong will be the organs of the body
To everything which hath the power to please us."

So sudden and alert appeared to me
Both one and the other choir to say Amen,
That well they showed desire for their dead bodies;

Nor sole for them perhaps, but for the mothers,
The fathers, and the rest who had been dear
Or ever they became eternal flames.

And lo! all round about of equal brightness
Arose a lustre over what was there,
Like an horizon that is clearing up.

And as at rise of early eve begin
Along the welkin new appearances,
So that the sight seems real and unreal,

It seemed to me that new subsistences
Began there to be seen, and make a circle
Outside the other two circumferences.

O very sparkling of the Holy Spirit,
How sudden and incandescent it became
Unto mine eyes, that vanquished bore it not!

But Beatrice so beautiful and smiling
Appeared to me, that with the other sights
That followed not my memory I must leave her.

Then to uplift themselves mine eyes resumed
The power, and I beheld myself translated
To higher salvation with my Lady only.

Well was I ware that I was more uplifted
By the enkindled smiling of the star,
That seemed to me more ruddy than its wont.

With all my heart, and in that dialect
Which is the same in all, such holocaust
To God I made as the new grace beseemed;

And not yet from my bosom was exhausted
The ardour of sacrifice, before I knew
This offering was accepted and auspicious;

For with so great a lustre and so red
Splendours appeared to me in twofold rays,
I said: "O Helios who dost so adorn them!"

Even as distinct with less and greater lights
Glimmers between the two poles of the world
The Galaxy that maketh wise men doubt,

Thus constellated in the depths of Mars,
Those rays described the venerable sign
That quadrants joining in a circle make.

Here doth my memory overcome my genius;
For on that cross as levin gleamed forth Christ,
So that I cannot find ensample worthy;

But he who takes his cross and follows Christ
Again will pardon me what I omit,
Seeing in that aurora lighten Christ.

From horn to horn, and 'twixt the top and base,
Lights were in motion, brightly scintillating
As they together met and passed each other;

Thus level and aslant and swift and slow
We here behold, renewing still the sight,
The particles of bodies long and short,

Across the sunbeam move, wherewith is listed
Sometimes the shade, which for their own defence
People with cunning and with art contrive.

And as a lute and harp, accordant strung
With many strings, a dulcet tinkling make
To him by whom the notes are not distinguished,

So from the lights that there to me appeared
Upgathered through the cross a melody,
Which rapt me, not distinguishing the hymn.

Well was I ware it was of lofty laud,
Because there came to me, "Arise and conquer!"
As unto him who hears and comprehends not.

So much enamoured I became therewith,
That until then there was not anything
That e'er had fettered me with such sweet bonds.

Perhaps my word appears somewhat too bold,
Postponing the delight of those fair eyes,
Into which gazing my desire has rest;

But who bethinks him that the living seals
Of every beauty grow in power ascending,
And that I there had not turned round to those,

Can me excuse, if I myself accuse
To excuse myself, and see that I speak truly:
For here the holy joy is not disclosed,

Because ascending it becomes more pure.

Paradiso: Canto XV

A will benign, in which reveals itself
Ever the love that righteously inspires,
As in the iniquitous, cupidity,

Silence imposed upon that dulcet lyre,
And quieted the consecrated chords,
That Heaven's right hand doth tighten and relax.

How unto just entreaties shall be deaf
Those substances, which, to give me desire
Of praying them, with one accord grew silent?

'Tis well that without end he should lament,
Who for the love of thing that doth not last
Eternally despoils him of that love!

As through the pure and tranquil evening air
There shoots from time to time a sudden fire,
Moving the eyes that steadfast were before,

And seems to be a star that changeth place,
Except that in the part where it is kindled
Nothing is missed, and this endureth little;

So from the horn that to the right extends
Unto that cross's foot there ran a star
Out of the constellation shining there;

Nor was the gem dissevered from its ribbon,
But down the radiant fillet ran along,
So that fire seemed it behind alabaster.

Thus piteous did Anchises' shade reach forward,
If any faith our greatest Muse deserve,
When in Elysium he his son perceived.

"O sanguis meus, O superinfusa
Gratia Dei, sicut tibi, cui
Bis unquam Coeli janua reclusa?"

Thus that effulgence; whence I gave it heed;
Then round unto my Lady turned my sight,
And on this side and that was stupefied;

For in her eyes was burning such a smile
That with mine own methought I touched the bottom
Both of my grace and of my Paradise!

Then, pleasant to the hearing and the sight,
The spirit joined to its beginning things
I understood not, so profound it spake;

Nor did it hide itself from me by choice,
But by necessity; for its conception
Above the mark of mortals set itself.

And when the bow of burning sympathy
Was so far slackened, that its speech descended
Towards the mark of our intelligence,

The first thing that was understood by me
Was "Benedight be Thou, O Trine and One,
Who hast unto my seed so courteous been!"

And it continued: "Hunger long and grateful,
Drawn from the reading of the mighty volume
Wherein is never changed the white nor dark,

Thou hast appeased, my son, within this light
In which I speak to thee, by grace of her
Who to this lofty flight with plumage clothed thee.

Thou thinkest that to me thy thought doth pass
From Him who is the first, as from the unit,
If that be known, ray out the five and six;

And therefore who I am thou askest not,
And why I seem more joyous unto thee
Than any other of this gladsome crowd.

Thou think'st the truth; because the small and great
Of this existence look into the mirror
Wherein, before thou think'st, thy thought thou showest.

But that the sacred love, in which I watch
With sight perpetual, and which makes me thirst
With sweet desire, may better be fulfilled,

Now let thy voice secure and frank and glad
Proclaim the wishes, the desire proclaim,
To which my answer is decreed already."

To Beatrice I turned me, and she heard
Before I spake, and smiled to me a sign,
That made the wings of my desire increase;

Then in this wise began I: "Love and knowledge,
When on you dawned the first Equality,
Of the same weight for each of you became;

For in the Sun, which lighted you and burned
With heat and radiance, they so equal are,
That all similitudes are insufficient.

But among mortals will and argument,
For reason that to you is manifest,
Diversely feathered in their pinions are.

Whence I, who mortal am, feel in myself
This inequality; so give not thanks,
Save in my heart, for this paternal welcome.

Truly do I entreat thee, living topaz!
Set in this precious jewel as a gem,
That thou wilt satisfy me with thy name."

"O leaf of mine, in whom I pleasure took
E'en while awaiting, I was thine own root!"
Such a beginning he in answer made me.

Then said to me: "That one from whom is named
Thy race, and who a hundred years and more
Has circled round the mount on the first cornice,

A son of mine and thy great-grandsire was;
Well it behoves thee that the long fatigue
Thou shouldst for him make shorter with thy works.

Florence, within the ancient boundary
From which she taketh still her tierce and nones,
Abode in quiet, temperate and chaste.

No golden chain she had, nor coronal,
Nor ladies shod with sandal shoon, nor girdle
That caught the eye more than the person did.

Not yet the daughter at her birth struck fear
Into the father, for the time and dower
Did not o'errun this side or that the measure.

No houses had she void of families,
Not yet had thither come Sardanapalus
To show what in a chamber can be done;

Not yet surpassed had Montemalo been
By your Uccellatojo, which surpassed
Shall in its downfall be as in its rise.

Bellincion Berti saw I go begirt
With leather and with bone, and from the mirror
His dame depart without a painted face;

And him of Nerli saw, and him of Vecchio,
Contented with their simple suits of buff
And with the spindle and the flax their dames.

O fortunate women! and each one was certain
Of her own burial-place, and none as yet
For sake of France was in her bed deserted.

One o'er the cradle kept her studious watch,
And in her lullaby the language used
That first delights the fathers and the mothers;

Another, drawing tresses from her distaff,
Told o'er among her family the tales
Of Trojans and of Fesole and Rome.

As great a marvel then would have been held
A Lapo Salterello, a Cianghella,
As Cincinnatus or Cornelia now.

To such a quiet, such a beautiful
Life of the citizen, to such a safe
Community, and to so sweet an inn,

Did Mary give me, with loud cries invoked,
And in your ancient Baptistery at once
Christian and Cacciaguida I became.

Moronto was my brother, and Eliseo;
From Val di Pado came to me my wife,
And from that place thy surname was derived.

I followed afterward the Emperor Conrad,
And he begirt me of his chivalry,
So much I pleased him with my noble deeds.

I followed in his train against that law's
Iniquity, whose people doth usurp
Your just possession, through your Pastor's fault.

There by that execrable race was I
Released from bonds of the fallacious world,
The love of which defileth many souls,

And came from martyrdom unto this peace."
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Re: The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri

Postby admin » Fri Feb 16, 2018 3:01 am

Paradiso: Canto XVI

O thou our poor nobility of blood,
If thou dost make the people glory in thee
Down here where our affection languishes,

A marvellous thing it ne'er will be to me;
For there where appetite is not perverted,
I say in Heaven, of thee I made a boast!

Truly thou art a cloak that quickly shortens,
So that unless we piece thee day by day
Time goeth round about thee with his shears!

With 'You,' which Rome was first to tolerate,
(Wherein her family less perseveres,)
Yet once again my words beginning made;

Whence Beatrice, who stood somewhat apart,
Smiling, appeared like unto her who coughed
At the first failing writ of Guenever.

And I began: "You are my ancestor,
You give to me all hardihood to speak,
You lift me so that I am more than I.

So many rivulets with gladness fill
My mind, that of itself it makes a joy
Because it can endure this and not burst.

Then tell me, my beloved root ancestral,
Who were your ancestors, and what the years
That in your boyhood chronicled themselves?

Tell me about the sheepfold of Saint John,
How large it was, and who the people were
Within it worthy of the highest seats."

As at the blowing of the winds a coal
Quickens to flame, so I beheld that light
Become resplendent at my blandishments.

And as unto mine eyes it grew more fair,
With voice more sweet and tender, but not in
This modern dialect, it said to me:

"From uttering of the 'Ave,' till the birth
In which my mother, who is now a saint,
Of me was lightened who had been her burden,

Unto its Lion had this fire returned
Five hundred fifty times and thirty more,
To reinflame itself beneath his paw.

My ancestors and I our birthplace had
Where first is found the last ward of the city
By him who runneth in your annual game.

Suffice it of my elders to hear this;
But who they were, and whence they thither came,
Silence is more considerate than speech.

All those who at that time were there between
Mars and the Baptist, fit for bearing arms,
Were a fifth part of those who now are living;

But the community, that now is mixed
With Campi and Certaldo and Figghine,
Pure in the lowest artisan was seen.

O how much better 'twere to have as neighbours
The folk of whom I speak, and at Galluzzo
And at Trespiano have your boundary,

Than have them in the town, and bear the stench
Of Aguglione's churl, and him of Signa
Who has sharp eyes for trickery already.

Had not the folk, which most of all the world
Degenerates, been a step-dame unto Caesar,
But as a mother to her son benignant,

Some who turn Florentines, and trade and discount,
Would have gone back again to Simifonte
There where their grandsires went about as beggars.

At Montemurlo still would be the Counts,
The Cerchi in the parish of Acone,
Perhaps in Valdigrieve the Buondelmonti.

Ever the intermingling of the people
Has been the source of malady in cities,
As in the body food it surfeits on;

And a blind bull more headlong plunges down
Than a blind lamb; and very often cuts
Better and more a single sword than five.

If Luni thou regard, and Urbisaglia,
How they have passed away, and how are passing
Chiusi and Sinigaglia after them,

To hear how races waste themselves away,
Will seem to thee no novel thing nor hard,
Seeing that even cities have an end.

All things of yours have their mortality,
Even as yourselves; but it is hidden in some
That a long while endure, and lives are short;

And as the turning of the lunar heaven
Covers and bares the shores without a pause,
In the like manner fortune does with Florence.

Therefore should not appear a marvellous thing
What I shall say of the great Florentines
Of whom the fame is hidden in the Past.

I saw the Ughi, saw the Catellini,
Filippi, Greci, Ormanni, and Alberichi,
Even in their fall illustrious citizens;

And saw, as mighty as they ancient were,
With him of La Sannella him of Arca,
And Soldanier, Ardinghi, and Bostichi.

Near to the gate that is at present laden
With a new felony of so much weight
That soon it shall be jetsam from the bark,

The Ravignani were, from whom descended
The County Guido, and whoe'er the name
Of the great Bellincione since hath taken.

He of La Pressa knew the art of ruling
Already, and already Galigajo
Had hilt and pommel gilded in his house.

Mighty already was the Column Vair,
Sacchetti, Giuochi, Fifant, and Barucci,
And Galli, and they who for the bushel blush.

The stock from which were the Calfucci born
Was great already, and already chosen
To curule chairs the Sizii and Arrigucci.

O how beheld I those who are undone
By their own pride! and how the Balls of Gold
Florence enflowered in all their mighty deeds!

So likewise did the ancestors of those
Who evermore, when vacant is your church,
Fatten by staying in consistory.

The insolent race, that like a dragon follows
Whoever flees, and unto him that shows
His teeth or purse is gentle as a lamb,

Already rising was, but from low people;
So that it pleased not Ubertin Donato
That his wife's father should make him their kin.

Already had Caponsacco to the Market
From Fesole descended, and already
Giuda and Infangato were good burghers.

I'll tell a thing incredible, but true;
One entered the small circuit by a gate
Which from the Della Pera took its name!

Each one that bears the beautiful escutcheon
Of the great baron whose renown and name
The festival of Thomas keepeth fresh,

Knighthood and privilege from him received;
Though with the populace unites himself
To-day the man who binds it with a border.

Already were Gualterotti and Importuni;
And still more quiet would the Borgo be
If with new neighbours it remained unfed.

The house from which is born your lamentation,
Through just disdain that death among you brought
And put an end unto your joyous life,

Was honoured in itself and its companions.
O Buondelmonte, how in evil hour
Thou fled'st the bridal at another's promptings!

Many would be rejoicing who are sad,
If God had thee surrendered to the Ema
The first time that thou camest to the city.

But it behoved the mutilated stone
Which guards the bridge, that Florence should provide
A victim in her latest hour of peace.

With all these families, and others with them,
Florence beheld I in so great repose,
That no occasion had she whence to weep;

With all these families beheld so just
And glorious her people, that the lily
Never upon the spear was placed reversed,

Nor by division was vermilion made."

Paradiso: Canto XVII

As came to Clymene, to be made certain
Of that which he had heard against himself,
He who makes fathers chary still to children,

Even such was I, and such was I perceived
By Beatrice and by the holy light
That first on my account had changed its place.

Therefore my Lady said to me: "Send forth
The flame of thy desire, so that it issue
Imprinted well with the internal stamp;

Not that our knowledge may be greater made
By speech of thine, but to accustom thee
To tell thy thirst, that we may give thee drink."

"O my beloved tree, (that so dost lift thee,
That even as minds terrestrial perceive
No triangle containeth two obtuse,

So thou beholdest the contingent things
Ere in themselves they are, fixing thine eyes
Upon the point in which all times are present,)

While I was with Virgilius conjoined
Upon the mountain that the souls doth heal,
And when descending into the dead world,

Were spoken to me of my future life
Some grievous words; although I feel myself
In sooth foursquare against the blows of chance.

On this account my wish would be content
To hear what fortune is approaching me,
Because foreseen an arrow comes more slowly."

Thus did I say unto that selfsame light
That unto me had spoken before; and even
As Beatrice willed was my own will confessed.

Not in vague phrase, in which the foolish folk
Ensnared themselves of old, ere yet was slain
The Lamb of God who taketh sins away,

But with clear words and unambiguous
Language responded that paternal love,
Hid and revealed by its own proper smile:

"Contingency, that outside of the volume
Of your materiality extends not,
Is all depicted in the eternal aspect.

Necessity however thence it takes not,
Except as from the eye, in which 'tis mirrored,
A ship that with the current down descends.

From thence, e'en as there cometh to the ear
Sweet harmony from an organ, comes in sight
To me the time that is preparing for thee.

As forth from Athens went Hippolytus,
By reason of his step-dame false and cruel,
So thou from Florence must perforce depart.

Already this is willed, and this is sought for;
And soon it shall be done by him who thinks it,
Where every day the Christ is bought and sold.

The blame shall follow the offended party
In outcry as is usual; but the vengeance
Shall witness to the truth that doth dispense it.

Thou shalt abandon everything beloved
Most tenderly, and this the arrow is
Which first the bow of banishment shoots forth.

Thou shalt have proof how savoureth of salt
The bread of others, and how hard a road
The going down and up another's stairs.

And that which most shall weigh upon thy shoulders
Will be the bad and foolish company
With which into this valley thou shalt fall;

For all ingrate, all mad and impious
Will they become against thee; but soon after
They, and not thou, shall have the forehead scarlet.

Of their bestiality their own proceedings
Shall furnish proof; so 'twill be well for thee
A party to have made thee by thyself.

Thine earliest refuge and thine earliest inn
Shall be the mighty Lombard's courtesy,
Who on the Ladder bears the holy bird,

Who such benign regard shall have for thee
That 'twixt you twain, in doing and in asking,
That shall be first which is with others last.

With him shalt thou see one who at his birth
Has by this star of strength been so impressed,
That notable shall his achievements be.

Not yet the people are aware of him
Through his young age, since only nine years yet
Around about him have these wheels revolved.

But ere the Gascon cheat the noble Henry,
Some sparkles of his virtue shall appear
In caring not for silver nor for toil.

So recognized shall his magnificence
Become hereafter, that his enemies
Will not have power to keep mute tongues about it.

On him rely, and on his benefits;
By him shall many people be transformed,
Changing condition rich and mendicant;

And written in thy mind thou hence shalt bear
Of him, but shalt not say it"--and things said he
Incredible to those who shall be present.

Then added: "Son, these are the commentaries
On what was said to thee; behold the snares
That are concealed behind few revolutions;

Yet would I not thy neighbours thou shouldst envy,
Because thy life into the future reaches
Beyond the punishment of their perfidies."

When by its silence showed that sainted soul
That it had finished putting in the woof
Into that web which I had given it warped,

Began I, even as he who yearneth after,
Being in doubt, some counsel from a person
Who seeth, and uprightly wills, and loves:

"Well see I, father mine, how spurreth on
The time towards me such a blow to deal me
As heaviest is to him who most gives way.

Therefore with foresight it is well I arm me,
That, if the dearest place be taken from me,
I may not lose the others by my songs.

Down through the world of infinite bitterness,
And o'er the mountain, from whose beauteous summit
The eyes of my own Lady lifted me,

And afterward through heaven from light to light,
I have learned that which, if I tell again,
Will be a savour of strong herbs to many.

And if I am a timid friend to truth,
I fear lest I may lose my life with those
Who will hereafter call this time the olden."

The light in which was smiling my own treasure
Which there I had discovered, flashed at first
As in the sunshine doth a golden mirror;

Then made reply: "A conscience overcast
Or with its own or with another's shame,
Will taste forsooth the tartness of thy word;

But ne'ertheless, all falsehood laid aside,
Make manifest thy vision utterly,
And let them scratch wherever is the itch;

For if thine utterance shall offensive be
At the first taste, a vital nutriment
'Twill leave thereafter, when it is digested.

This cry of thine shall do as doth the wind,
Which smiteth most the most exalted summits,
And that is no slight argument of honour.

Therefore are shown to thee within these wheels,
Upon the mount and in the dolorous valley,
Only the souls that unto fame are known;

Because the spirit of the hearer rests not,
Nor doth confirm its faith by an example
Which has the root of it unknown and hidden,

Or other reason that is not apparent."

Paradiso: Canto XVIII

Now was alone rejoicing in its word
That soul beatified, and I was tasting
My own, the bitter tempering with the sweet,

And the Lady who to God was leading me
Said: "Change thy thought; consider that I am
Near unto Him who every wrong disburdens."

Unto the loving accents of my comfort
I turned me round, and then what love I saw
Within those holy eyes I here relinquish;

Not only that my language I distrust,
But that my mind cannot return so far
Above itself, unless another guide it.

Thus much upon that point can I repeat,
That, her again beholding, my affection
From every other longing was released.

While the eternal pleasure, which direct
Rayed upon Beatrice, from her fair face
Contented me with its reflected aspect,

Conquering me with the radiance of a smile,
She said to me, "Turn thee about and listen;
Not in mine eyes alone is Paradise."

Even as sometimes here do we behold
The affection in the look, if it be such
That all the soul is wrapt away by it,

So, by the flaming of the effulgence holy
To which I turned, I recognized therein
The wish of speaking to me somewhat farther.

And it began: "In this fifth resting-place
Upon the tree that liveth by its summit,
And aye bears fruit, and never loses leaf,

Are blessed spirits that below, ere yet
They came to Heaven, were of such great renown
That every Muse therewith would affluent be.

Therefore look thou upon the cross's horns;
He whom I now shall name will there enact
What doth within a cloud its own swift fire."

I saw athwart the Cross a splendour drawn
By naming Joshua, (even as he did it,)
Nor noted I the word before the deed;

And at the name of the great Maccabee
I saw another move itself revolving,
And gladness was the whip unto that top.

Likewise for Charlemagne and for Orlando,
Two of them my regard attentive followed
As followeth the eye its falcon flying.

William thereafterward, and Renouard,
And the Duke Godfrey, did attract my sight
Along upon that Cross, and Robert Guiscard.

Then, moved and mingled with the other lights,
The soul that had addressed me showed how great
An artist 'twas among the heavenly singers.

To my right side I turned myself around,
My duty to behold in Beatrice
Either by words or gesture signified;

And so translucent I beheld her eyes,
So full of pleasure, that her countenance
Surpassed its other and its latest wont.

And as, by feeling greater delectation,
A man in doing good from day to day
Becomes aware his virtue is increasing,

So I became aware that my gyration
With heaven together had increased its arc,
That miracle beholding more adorned.

And such as is the change, in little lapse
Of time, in a pale woman, when her face
Is from the load of bashfulness unladen,

Such was it in mine eyes, when I had turned,
Caused by the whiteness of the temperate star,
The sixth, which to itself had gathered me.

Within that Jovial torch did I behold
The sparkling of the love which was therein
Delineate our language to mine eyes.

And even as birds uprisen from the shore,
As in congratulation o'er their food,
Make squadrons of themselves, now round, now long,

So from within those lights the holy creatures
Sang flying to and fro, and in their figures
Made of themselves now D, now I, now L.

First singing they to their own music moved;
Then one becoming of these characters,
A little while they rested and were silent.

O divine Pegasea, thou who genius
Dost glorious make, and render it long-lived,
And this through thee the cities and the kingdoms,

Illume me with thyself, that I may bring
Their figures out as I have them conceived!
Apparent be thy power in these brief verses!

Themselves then they displayed in five times seven
Vowels and consonants; and I observed
The parts as they seemed spoken unto me.

'Diligite justitiam,' these were
First verb and noun of all that was depicted;
'Qui judicatis terram' were the last.

Thereafter in the M of the fifth word
Remained they so arranged, that Jupiter
Seemed to be silver there with gold inlaid.

And other lights I saw descend where was
The summit of the M, and pause there singing
The good, I think, that draws them to itself.

Then, as in striking upon burning logs
Upward there fly innumerable sparks,
Whence fools are wont to look for auguries,

More than a thousand lights seemed thence to rise,
And to ascend, some more, and others less,
Even as the Sun that lights them had allotted;

And, each one being quiet in its place,
The head and neck beheld I of an eagle
Delineated by that inlaid fire.

He who there paints has none to be his guide;
But Himself guides; and is from Him remembered
That virtue which is form unto the nest.

The other beatitude, that contented seemed
At first to bloom a lily on the M,
By a slight motion followed out the imprint.

O gentle star! what and how many gems
Did demonstrate to me, that all our justice
Effect is of that heaven which thou ingemmest!

Wherefore I pray the Mind, in which begin
Thy motion and thy virtue, to regard
Whence comes the smoke that vitiates thy rays;

So that a second time it now be wroth
With buying and with selling in the temple
Whose walls were built with signs and martyrdoms!

O soldiery of heaven, whom I contemplate,
Implore for those who are upon the earth
All gone astray after the bad example!

Once 'twas the custom to make war with swords;
But now 'tis made by taking here and there
The bread the pitying Father shuts from none.

Yet thou, who writest but to cancel, think
That Peter and that Paul, who for this vineyard
Which thou art spoiling died, are still alive!

Well canst thou say: "So steadfast my desire
Is unto him who willed to live alone,
And for a dance was led to martyrdom,

That I know not the Fisherman nor Paul."

Paradiso: Canto XIX

Appeared before me with its wings outspread
The beautiful image that in sweet fruition
Made jubilant the interwoven souls;

Appeared a little ruby each, wherein
Ray of the sun was burning so enkindled
That each into mine eyes refracted it.

And what it now behoves me to retrace
Nor voice has e'er reported, nor ink written,
Nor was by fantasy e'er comprehended;

For speak I saw, and likewise heard, the beak,
And utter with its voice both 'I' and 'My,'
When in conception it was 'We' and 'Our.'

And it began: "Being just and merciful
Am I exalted here unto that glory
Which cannot be exceeded by desire;

And upon earth I left my memory
Such, that the evil-minded people there
Commend it, but continue not the story."

So doth a single heat from many embers
Make itself felt, even as from many loves
Issued a single sound from out that image.

Whence I thereafter: "O perpetual flowers
Of the eternal joy, that only one
Make me perceive your odours manifold,

Exhaling, break within me the great fast
Which a long season has in hunger held me,
Not finding for it any food on earth.

Well do I know, that if in heaven its mirror
Justice Divine another realm doth make,
Yours apprehends it not through any veil.

You know how I attentively address me
To listen; and you know what is the doubt
That is in me so very old a fast."

Even as a falcon, issuing from his hood,
Doth move his head, and with his wings applaud him,
Showing desire, and making himself fine,

Saw I become that standard, which of lauds
Was interwoven of the grace divine,
With such songs as he knows who there rejoices.

Then it began: "He who a compass turned
On the world's outer verge, and who within it
Devised so much occult and manifest,

Could not the impress of his power so make
On all the universe, as that his Word
Should not remain in infinite excess.

And this makes certain that the first proud being,
Who was the paragon of every creature,
By not awaiting light fell immature.

And hence appears it, that each minor nature
Is scant receptacle unto that good
Which has no end, and by itself is measured.

In consequence our vision, which perforce
Must be some ray of that intelligence
With which all things whatever are replete,

Cannot in its own nature be so potent,
That it shall not its origin discern
Far beyond that which is apparent to it.

Therefore into the justice sempiternal
The power of vision that your world receives,
As eye into the ocean, penetrates;

Which, though it see the bottom near the shore,
Upon the deep perceives it not, and yet
'Tis there, but it is hidden by the depth.

There is no light but comes from the serene
That never is o'ercast, nay, it is darkness
Or shadow of the flesh, or else its poison.

Amply to thee is opened now the cavern
Which has concealed from thee the living justice
Of which thou mad'st such frequent questioning.

For saidst thou: 'Born a man is on the shore
Of Indus, and is none who there can speak
Of Christ, nor who can read, nor who can write;

And all his inclinations and his actions
Are good, so far as human reason sees,
Without a sin in life or in discourse:

He dieth unbaptised and without faith;
Where is this justice that condemneth him?
Where is his fault, if he do not believe?'

Now who art thou, that on the bench wouldst sit
In judgment at a thousand miles away,
With the short vision of a single span?

Truly to him who with me subtilizes,
If so the Scripture were not over you,
For doubting there were marvellous occasion.

O animals terrene, O stolid minds,
The primal will, that in itself is good,
Ne'er from itself, the Good Supreme, has moved.

So much is just as is accordant with it;
No good created draws it to itself,
But it, by raying forth, occasions that."

Even as above her nest goes circling round
The stork when she has fed her little ones,
And he who has been fed looks up at her,

So lifted I my brows, and even such
Became the blessed image, which its wings
Was moving, by so many counsels urged.

Circling around it sang, and said: "As are
My notes to thee, who dost not comprehend them,
Such is the eternal judgment to you mortals."

Those lucent splendours of the Holy Spirit
Grew quiet then, but still within the standard
That made the Romans reverend to the world.

It recommenced: "Unto this kingdom never
Ascended one who had not faith in Christ,
Before or since he to the tree was nailed.

But look thou, many crying are, 'Christ, Christ!'
Who at the judgment shall be far less near
To him than some shall be who knew not Christ.

Such Christians shall the Ethiop condemn,
When the two companies shall be divided,
The one for ever rich, the other poor.

What to your kings may not the Persians say,
When they that volume opened shall behold
In which are written down all their dispraises?

There shall be seen, among the deeds of Albert,
That which ere long shall set the pen in motion,
For which the realm of Prague shall be deserted.

There shall be seen the woe that on the Seine
He brings by falsifying of the coin,
Who by the blow of a wild boar shall die.

There shall be seen the pride that causes thirst,
Which makes the Scot and Englishman so mad
That they within their boundaries cannot rest;

Be seen the luxury and effeminate life
Of him of Spain, and the Bohemian,
Who valour never knew and never wished;

Be seen the Cripple of Jerusalem,
His goodness represented by an I,
While the reverse an M shall represent;

Be seen the avarice and poltroonery
Of him who guards the Island of the Fire,
Wherein Anchises finished his long life;

And to declare how pitiful he is
Shall be his record in contracted letters
Which shall make note of much in little space.

And shall appear to each one the foul deeds
Of uncle and of brother who a nation
So famous have dishonoured, and two crowns.

And he of Portugal and he of Norway
Shall there be known, and he of Rascia too,
Who saw in evil hour the coin of Venice.

O happy Hungary, if she let herself
Be wronged no farther! and Navarre the happy,
If with the hills that gird her she be armed!

And each one may believe that now, as hansel
Thereof, do Nicosia and Famagosta
Lament and rage because of their own beast,

Who from the others' flank departeth not."

Paradiso: Canto XX

When he who all the world illuminates
Out of our hemisphere so far descends
That on all sides the daylight is consumed,

The heaven, that erst by him alone was kindled,
Doth suddenly reveal itself again
By many lights, wherein is one resplendent.

And came into my mind this act of heaven,
When the ensign of the world and of its leaders
Had silent in the blessed beak become;

Because those living luminaries all,
By far more luminous, did songs begin
Lapsing and falling from my memory.

O gentle Love, that with a smile dost cloak thee,
How ardent in those sparks didst thou appear,
That had the breath alone of holy thoughts!

After the precious and pellucid crystals,
With which begemmed the sixth light I beheld,
Silence imposed on the angelic bells,

I seemed to hear the murmuring of a river
That clear descendeth down from rock to rock,
Showing the affluence of its mountain-top.

And as the sound upon the cithern's neck
Taketh its form, and as upon the vent
Of rustic pipe the wind that enters it,

Even thus, relieved from the delay of waiting,
That murmuring of the eagle mounted up
Along its neck, as if it had been hollow.

There it became a voice, and issued thence
From out its beak, in such a form of words
As the heart waited for wherein I wrote them.

"The part in me which sees and bears the sun
In mortal eagles," it began to me,
"Now fixedly must needs be looked upon;

For of the fires of which I make my figure,
Those whence the eye doth sparkle in my head
Of all their orders the supremest are.

He who is shining in the midst as pupil
Was once the singer of the Holy Spirit,
Who bore the ark from city unto city;

Now knoweth he the merit of his song,
In so far as effect of his own counsel,
By the reward which is commensurate.

Of five, that make a circle for my brow,
He that approacheth nearest to my beak
Did the poor widow for her son console;

Now knoweth he how dearly it doth cost
Not following Christ, by the experience
Of this sweet life and of its opposite.

He who comes next in the circumference
Of which I speak, upon its highest arc,
Did death postpone by penitence sincere;

Now knoweth he that the eternal judgment
Suffers no change, albeit worthy prayer
Maketh below to-morrow of to-day.

The next who follows, with the laws and me,
Under the good intent that bore bad fruit
Became a Greek by ceding to the pastor;

Now knoweth he how all the ill deduced
From his good action is not harmful to him,
Although the world thereby may be destroyed.

And he, whom in the downward arc thou seest,
Guglielmo was, whom the same land deplores
That weepeth Charles and Frederick yet alive;

Now knoweth he how heaven enamoured is
With a just king; and in the outward show
Of his effulgence he reveals it still.

Who would believe, down in the errant world,
That e'er the Trojan Ripheus in this round
Could be the fifth one of the holy lights?

Now knoweth he enough of what the world
Has not the power to see of grace divine,
Although his sight may not discern the bottom."

Like as a lark that in the air expatiates,
First singing and then silent with content
Of the last sweetness that doth satisfy her,

Such seemed to me the image of the imprint
Of the eternal pleasure, by whose will
Doth everything become the thing it is.

And notwithstanding to my doubt I was
As glass is to the colour that invests it,
To wait the time in silence it endured not,

But forth from out my mouth, "What things are these?"
Extorted with the force of its own weight;
Whereat I saw great joy of coruscation.

Thereafterward with eye still more enkindled
The blessed standard made to me reply,
To keep me not in wonderment suspended:

"I see that thou believest in these things
Because I say them, but thou seest not how;
So that, although believed in, they are hidden.

Thou doest as he doth who a thing by name
Well apprehendeth, but its quiddity
Cannot perceive, unless another show it.

'Regnum coelorum' suffereth violence
From fervent love, and from that living hope
That overcometh the Divine volition;

Not in the guise that man o'ercometh man,
But conquers it because it will be conquered,
And conquered conquers by benignity.

The first life of the eyebrow and the fifth
Cause thee astonishment, because with them
Thou seest the region of the angels painted.

They passed not from their bodies, as thou thinkest,
Gentiles, but Christians in the steadfast faith
Of feet that were to suffer and had suffered.

For one from Hell, where no one e'er turns back
Unto good will, returned unto his bones,
And that of living hope was the reward,--

Of living hope, that placed its efficacy
In prayers to God made to resuscitate him,
So that 'twere possible to move his will.

The glorious soul concerning which I speak,
Returning to the flesh, where brief its stay,
Believed in Him who had the power to aid it;

And, in believing, kindled to such fire
Of genuine love, that at the second death
Worthy it was to come unto this joy.

The other one, through grace, that from so deep
A fountain wells that never hath the eye
Of any creature reached its primal wave,

Set all his love below on righteousness;
Wherefore from grace to grace did God unclose
His eye to our redemption yet to be,

Whence he believed therein, and suffered not
From that day forth the stench of paganism,
And he reproved therefor the folk perverse.

Those Maidens three, whom at the right-hand wheel
Thou didst behold, were unto him for baptism
More than a thousand years before baptizing.

O thou predestination, how remote
Thy root is from the aspect of all those
Who the First Cause do not behold entire!

And you, O mortals! hold yourselves restrained
In judging; for ourselves, who look on God,
We do not know as yet all the elect;

And sweet to us is such a deprivation,
Because our good in this good is made perfect,
That whatsoe'er God wills, we also will."

After this manner by that shape divine,
To make clear in me my short-sightedness,
Was given to me a pleasant medicine;

And as good singer a good lutanist
Accompanies with vibrations of the chords,
Whereby more pleasantness the song acquires,

So, while it spake, do I remember me
That I beheld both of those blessed lights,
Even as the winking of the eyes concords,

Moving unto the words their little flames.
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Re: The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri

Postby admin » Fri Feb 16, 2018 3:02 am

Paradiso: Canto XXI

Already on my Lady's face mine eyes
Again were fastened, and with these my mind,
And from all other purpose was withdrawn;

And she smiled not; but "If I were to smile,"
She unto me began, "thou wouldst become
Like Semele, when she was turned to ashes.

Because my beauty, that along the stairs
Of the eternal palace more enkindles,
As thou hast seen, the farther we ascend,

If it were tempered not, is so resplendent
That all thy mortal power in its effulgence
Would seem a leaflet that the thunder crushes.

We are uplifted to the seventh splendour,
That underneath the burning Lion's breast
Now radiates downward mingled with his power.

Fix in direction of thine eyes the mind,
And make of them a mirror for the figure
That in this mirror shall appear to thee."

He who could know what was the pasturage
My sight had in that blessed countenance,
When I transferred me to another care,

Would recognize how grateful was to me
Obedience unto my celestial escort,
By counterpoising one side with the other.

Within the crystal which, around the world
Revolving, bears the name of its dear leader,
Under whom every wickedness lay dead,

Coloured like gold, on which the sunshine gleams,
A stairway I beheld to such a height
Uplifted, that mine eye pursued it not.

Likewise beheld I down the steps descending
So many splendours, that I thought each light
That in the heaven appears was there diffused.

And as accordant with their natural custom
The rooks together at the break of day
Bestir themselves to warm their feathers cold;

Then some of them fly off without return,
Others come back to where they started from,
And others, wheeling round, still keep at home;

Such fashion it appeared to me was there
Within the sparkling that together came,
As soon as on a certain step it struck,

And that which nearest unto us remained
Became so clear, that in my thought I said,
"Well I perceive the love thou showest me;

But she, from whom I wait the how and when
Of speech and silence, standeth still; whence I
Against desire do well if I ask not."

She thereupon, who saw my silentness
In the sight of Him who seeth everything,
Said unto me, "Let loose thy warm desire."

And I began: "No merit of my own
Renders me worthy of response from thee;
But for her sake who granteth me the asking,

Thou blessed life that dost remain concealed
In thy beatitude, make known to me
The cause which draweth thee so near my side;

And tell me why is silent in this wheel
The dulcet symphony of Paradise,
That through the rest below sounds so devoutly."

"Thou hast thy hearing mortal as thy sight,"
It answer made to me; "they sing not here,
For the same cause that Beatrice has not smiled.

Thus far adown the holy stairway's steps
Have I descended but to give thee welcome
With words, and with the light that mantles me;

Nor did more love cause me to be more ready,
For love as much and more up there is burning,
As doth the flaming manifest to thee.

But the high charity, that makes us servants
Prompt to the counsel which controls the world,
Allotteth here, even as thou dost observe."

"I see full well," said I, "O sacred lamp!
How love unfettered in this court sufficeth
To follow the eternal Providence;

But this is what seems hard for me to see,
Wherefore predestinate wast thou alone
Unto this office from among thy consorts."

No sooner had I come to the last word,
Than of its middle made the light a centre,
Whirling itself about like a swift millstone.

When answer made the love that was therein:
"On me directed is a light divine,
Piercing through this in which I am embosomed,

Of which the virtue with my sight conjoined
Lifts me above myself so far, I see
The supreme essence from which this is drawn.

Hence comes the joyfulness with which I flame,
For to my sight, as far as it is clear,
The clearness of the flame I equal make.

But that soul in the heaven which is most pure,
That seraph which his eye on God most fixes,
Could this demand of thine not satisfy;

Because so deeply sinks in the abyss
Of the eternal statute what thou askest,
From all created sight it is cut off.

And to the mortal world, when thou returnest,
This carry back, that it may not presume
Longer tow'rd such a goal to move its feet.

The mind, that shineth here, on earth doth smoke;
From this observe how can it do below
That which it cannot though the heaven assume it?"

Such limit did its words prescribe to me,
The question I relinquished, and restricted
Myself to ask it humbly who it was.

"Between two shores of Italy rise cliffs,
And not far distant from thy native place,
So high, the thunders far below them sound,

And form a ridge that Catria is called,
'Neath which is consecrate a hermitage
Wont to be dedicate to worship only."

Thus unto me the third speech recommenced,
And then, continuing, it said: "Therein
Unto God's service I became so steadfast,

That feeding only on the juice of olives
Lightly I passed away the heats and frosts,
Contented in my thoughts contemplative.

That cloister used to render to these heavens
Abundantly, and now is empty grown,
So that perforce it soon must be revealed.

I in that place was Peter Damiano;
And Peter the Sinner was I in the house
Of Our Lady on the Adriatic shore.

Little of mortal life remained to me,
When I was called and dragged forth to the hat
Which shifteth evermore from bad to worse.

Came Cephas, and the mighty Vessel came
Of the Holy Spirit, meagre and barefooted,
Taking the food of any hostelry.

Now some one to support them on each side
The modern shepherds need, and some to lead them,
So heavy are they, and to hold their trains.

They cover up their palfreys with their cloaks,
So that two beasts go underneath one skin;
O Patience, that dost tolerate so much!"

At this voice saw I many little flames
From step to step descending and revolving,
And every revolution made them fairer.

Round about this one came they and stood still,
And a cry uttered of so loud a sound,
It here could find no parallel, nor I

Distinguished it, the thunder so o'ercame me.

Paradiso: Canto XXII

Oppressed with stupor, I unto my guide
Turned like a little child who always runs
For refuge there where he confideth most;

And she, even as a mother who straightway
Gives comfort to her pale and breathless boy
With voice whose wont it is to reassure him,

Said to me: "Knowest thou not thou art in heaven,
And knowest thou not that heaven is holy all
And what is done here cometh from good zeal?

After what wise the singing would have changed thee
And I by smiling, thou canst now imagine,
Since that the cry has startled thee so much,

In which if thou hadst understood its prayers
Already would be known to thee the vengeance
Which thou shalt look upon before thou diest.

The sword above here smiteth not in haste
Nor tardily, howe'er it seem to him
Who fearing or desiring waits for it.

But turn thee round towards the others now,
For very illustrious spirits shalt thou see,
If thou thy sight directest as I say."

As it seemed good to her mine eyes I turned,
And saw a hundred spherules that together
With mutual rays each other more embellished.

I stood as one who in himself represses
The point of his desire, and ventures not
To question, he so feareth the too much.

And now the largest and most luculent
Among those pearls came forward, that it might
Make my desire concerning it content.

Within it then I heard: "If thou couldst see
Even as myself the charity that burns
Among us, thy conceits would be expressed;

But, that by waiting thou mayst not come late
To the high end, I will make answer even
Unto the thought of which thou art so chary.

That mountain on whose slope Cassino stands
Was frequented of old upon its summit
By a deluded folk and ill-disposed;

And I am he who first up thither bore
The name of Him who brought upon the earth
The truth that so much sublimateth us.

And such abundant grace upon me shone
That all the neighbouring towns I drew away
From the impious worship that seduced the world.

These other fires, each one of them, were men
Contemplative, enkindled by that heat
Which maketh holy flowers and fruits spring up.

Here is Macarius, here is Romualdus,
Here are my brethren, who within the cloisters
Their footsteps stayed and kept a steadfast heart."

And I to him: "The affection which thou showest
Speaking with me, and the good countenance
Which I behold and note in all your ardours,

In me have so my confidence dilated
As the sun doth the rose, when it becomes
As far unfolded as it hath the power.

Therefore I pray, and thou assure me, father,
If I may so much grace receive, that I
May thee behold with countenance unveiled."

He thereupon: "Brother, thy high desire
In the remotest sphere shall be fulfilled,
Where are fulfilled all others and my own.

There perfect is, and ripened, and complete,
Every desire; within that one alone
Is every part where it has always been;

For it is not in space, nor turns on poles,
And unto it our stairway reaches up,
Whence thus from out thy sight it steals away.

Up to that height the Patriarch Jacob saw it
Extending its supernal part, what time
So thronged with angels it appeared to him.

But to ascend it now no one uplifts
His feet from off the earth, and now my Rule
Below remaineth for mere waste of paper.

The walls that used of old to be an Abbey
Are changed to dens of robbers, and the cowls
Are sacks filled full of miserable flour.

But heavy usury is not taken up
So much against God's pleasure as that fruit
Which maketh so insane the heart of monks;

For whatsoever hath the Church in keeping
Is for the folk that ask it in God's name,
Not for one's kindred or for something worse.

The flesh of mortals is so very soft,
That good beginnings down below suffice not
From springing of the oak to bearing acorns.

Peter began with neither gold nor silver,
And I with orison and abstinence,
And Francis with humility his convent.

And if thou lookest at each one's beginning,
And then regardest whither he has run,
Thou shalt behold the white changed into brown.

In verity the Jordan backward turned,
And the sea's fleeing, when God willed were more
A wonder to behold, than succour here."

Thus unto me he said; and then withdrew
To his own band, and the band closed together;
Then like a whirlwind all was upward rapt.

The gentle Lady urged me on behind them
Up o'er that stairway by a single sign,
So did her virtue overcome my nature;

Nor here below, where one goes up and down
By natural law, was motion e'er so swift
That it could be compared unto my wing.

Reader, as I may unto that devout
Triumph return, on whose account I often
For my transgressions weep and beat my breast,--

Thou hadst not thrust thy finger in the fire
And drawn it out again, before I saw
The sign that follows Taurus, and was in it.

O glorious stars, O light impregnated
With mighty virtue, from which I acknowledge
All of my genius, whatsoe'er it be,

With you was born, and hid himself with you,
He who is father of all mortal life,
When first I tasted of the Tuscan air;

And then when grace was freely given to me
To enter the high wheel which turns you round,
Your region was allotted unto me.

To you devoutly at this hour my soul
Is sighing, that it virtue may acquire
For the stern pass that draws it to itself.

"Thou art so near unto the last salvation,"
Thus Beatrice began, "thou oughtest now
To have thine eves unclouded and acute;

And therefore, ere thou enter farther in,
Look down once more, and see how vast a world
Thou hast already put beneath thy feet;

So that thy heart, as jocund as it may,
Present itself to the triumphant throng
That comes rejoicing through this rounded ether."

I with my sight returned through one and all
The sevenfold spheres, and I beheld this globe
Such that I smiled at its ignoble semblance;

And that opinion I approve as best
Which doth account it least; and he who thinks
Of something else may truly be called just.

I saw the daughter of Latona shining
Without that shadow, which to me was cause
That once I had believed her rare and dense.

The aspect of thy son, Hyperion,
Here I sustained, and saw how move themselves
Around and near him Maia and Dione.

Thence there appeared the temperateness of Jove
'Twixt son and father, and to me was clear
The change that of their whereabout they make;

And all the seven made manifest to me
How great they are, and eke how swift they are,
And how they are in distant habitations.

The threshing-floor that maketh us so proud,
To me revolving with the eternal Twins,
Was all apparent made from hill to harbour!

Then to the beauteous eyes mine eyes I turned.

Paradiso: Canto XXIII

Even as a bird, 'mid the beloved leaves,
Quiet upon the nest of her sweet brood
Throughout the night, that hideth all things from us,

Who, that she may behold their longed-for looks
And find the food wherewith to nourish them,
In which, to her, grave labours grateful are,

Anticipates the time on open spray
And with an ardent longing waits the sun,
Gazing intent as soon as breaks the dawn:

Even thus my Lady standing was, erect
And vigilant, turned round towards the zone
Underneath which the sun displays less haste;

So that beholding her distraught and wistful,
Such I became as he is who desiring
For something yearns, and hoping is appeased.

But brief the space from one When to the other;
Of my awaiting, say I, and the seeing
The welkin grow resplendent more and more.

And Beatrice exclaimed: "Behold the hosts
Of Christ's triumphal march, and all the fruit
Harvested by the rolling of these spheres!"

It seemed to me her face was all aflame;
And eyes she had so full of ecstasy
That I must needs pass on without describing.

As when in nights serene of the full moon
Smiles Trivia among the nymphs eternal
Who paint the firmament through all its gulfs,

Saw I, above the myriads of lamps,
A Sun that one and all of them enkindled,
E'en as our own doth the supernal sights,

And through the living light transparent shone
The lucent substance so intensely clear
Into my sight, that I sustained it not.

O Beatrice, thou gentle guide and dear!
To me she said: "What overmasters thee
A virtue is from which naught shields itself.

There are the wisdom and the omnipotence
That oped the thoroughfares 'twixt heaven and earth,
For which there erst had been so long a yearning."

As fire from out a cloud unlocks itself,
Dilating so it finds not room therein,
And down, against its nature, falls to earth,

So did my mind, among those aliments
Becoming larger, issue from itself,
And that which it became cannot remember.

"Open thine eyes, and look at what I am:
Thou hast beheld such things, that strong enough
Hast thou become to tolerate my smile."

I was as one who still retains the feeling
Of a forgotten vision, and endeavours
In vain to bring it back into his mind,

When I this invitation heard, deserving
Of so much gratitude, it never fades
Out of the book that chronicles the past.

If at this moment sounded all the tongues
That Polyhymnia and her sisters made
Most lubrical with their delicious milk,

To aid me, to a thousandth of the truth
It would not reach, singing the holy smile
And how the holy aspect it illumed.

And therefore, representing Paradise,
The sacred poem must perforce leap over,
Even as a man who finds his way cut off;

But whoso thinketh of the ponderous theme,
And of the mortal shoulder laden with it,
Should blame it not, if under this it tremble.

It is no passage for a little boat
This which goes cleaving the audacious prow,
Nor for a pilot who would spare himself.

"Why doth my face so much enamour thee,
That to the garden fair thou turnest not,
Which under the rays of Christ is blossoming?

There is the Rose in which the Word Divine
Became incarnate; there the lilies are
By whose perfume the good way was discovered."

Thus Beatrice; and I, who to her counsels
Was wholly ready, once again betook me
Unto the battle of the feeble brows.

As in the sunshine, that unsullied streams
Through fractured cloud, ere now a meadow of flowers
Mine eyes with shadow covered o'er have seen,

So troops of splendours manifold I saw
Illumined from above with burning rays,
Beholding not the source of the effulgence.

O power benignant that dost so imprint them!
Thou didst exalt thyself to give more scope
There to mine eyes, that were not strong enough.

The name of that fair flower I e'er invoke
Morning and evening utterly enthralled
My soul to gaze upon the greater fire.

And when in both mine eyes depicted were
The glory and greatness of the living star
Which there excelleth, as it here excelled,

Athwart the heavens a little torch descended
Formed in a circle like a coronal,
And cinctured it, and whirled itself about it.

Whatever melody most sweetly soundeth
On earth, and to itself most draws the soul,
Would seem a cloud that, rent asunder, thunders,

Compared unto the sounding of that lyre
Wherewith was crowned the sapphire beautiful,
Which gives the clearest heaven its sapphire hue.

"I am Angelic Love, that circle round
The joy sublime which breathes from out the womb
That was the hostelry of our Desire;

And I shall circle, Lady of Heaven, while
Thou followest thy Son, and mak'st diviner
The sphere supreme, because thou enterest there."

Thus did the circulated melody
Seal itself up; and all the other lights
Were making to resound the name of Mary.

The regal mantle of the volumes all
Of that world, which most fervid is and living
With breath of God and with his works and ways,

Extended over us its inner border,
So very distant, that the semblance of it
There where I was not yet appeared to me.

Therefore mine eyes did not possess the power
Of following the incoronated flame,
Which mounted upward near to its own seed.

And as a little child, that towards its mother
Stretches its arms, when it the milk has taken,
Through impulse kindled into outward flame,

Each of those gleams of whiteness upward reached
So with its summit, that the deep affection
They had for Mary was revealed to me.

Thereafter they remained there in my sight,
'Regina coeli' singing with such sweetness,
That ne'er from me has the delight departed.

O, what exuberance is garnered up
Within those richest coffers, which had been
Good husbandmen for sowing here below!

There they enjoy and live upon the treasure
Which was acquired while weeping in the exile
Of Babylon, wherein the gold was left.

There triumpheth, beneath the exalted Son
Of God and Mary, in his victory,
Both with the ancient council and the new,

He who doth keep the keys of such a glory.

Paradiso: Canto XXIV

"O company elect to the great supper
Of the Lamb benedight, who feedeth you
So that for ever full is your desire,

If by the grace of God this man foretaste
Something of that which falleth from your table,
Or ever death prescribe to him the time,

Direct your mind to his immense desire,
And him somewhat bedew; ye drinking are
For ever at the fount whence comes his thought."

Thus Beatrice; and those souls beatified
Transformed themselves to spheres on steadfast poles,
Flaming intensely in the guise of comets.

And as the wheels in works of horologes
Revolve so that the first to the beholder
Motionless seems, and the last one to fly,

So in like manner did those carols, dancing
In different measure, of their affluence
Give me the gauge, as they were swift or slow.

From that one which I noted of most beauty
Beheld I issue forth a fire so happy
That none it left there of a greater brightness;

And around Beatrice three several times
It whirled itself with so divine a song,
My fantasy repeats it not to me;

Therefore the pen skips, and I write it not,
Since our imagination for such folds,
Much more our speech, is of a tint too glaring.

"O holy sister mine, who us implorest
With such devotion, by thine ardent love
Thou dost unbind me from that beautiful sphere!"

Thereafter, having stopped, the blessed fire
Unto my Lady did direct its breath,
Which spake in fashion as I here have said.

And she: "O light eterne of the great man
To whom our Lord delivered up the keys
He carried down of this miraculous joy,

This one examine on points light and grave,
As good beseemeth thee, about the Faith
By means of which thou on the sea didst walk.

If he love well, and hope well, and believe,
From thee 'tis hid not; for thou hast thy sight
There where depicted everything is seen.

But since this kingdom has made citizens
By means of the true Faith, to glorify it
'Tis well he have the chance to speak thereof."

As baccalaureate arms himself, and speaks not
Until the master doth propose the question,
To argue it, and not to terminate it,

So did I arm myself with every reason,
While she was speaking, that I might be ready
For such a questioner and such profession.

"Say, thou good Christian; manifest thyself;
What is the Faith?" Whereat I raised my brow
Unto that light wherefrom was this breathed forth.

Then turned I round to Beatrice, and she
Prompt signals made to me that I should pour
The water forth from my internal fountain.

"May grace, that suffers me to make confession,"
Began I, "to the great centurion,
Cause my conceptions all to be explicit!"

And I continued: "As the truthful pen,
Father, of thy dear brother wrote of it,
Who put with thee Rome into the good way,

Faith is the substance of the things we hope for,
And evidence of those that are not seen;
And this appears to me its quiddity."

Then heard I: "Very rightly thou perceivest,
If well thou understandest why he placed it
With substances and then with evidences."

And I thereafterward: "The things profound,
That here vouchsafe to me their apparition,
Unto all eyes below are so concealed,

That they exist there only in belief,
Upon the which is founded the high hope,
And hence it takes the nature of a substance.

And it behoveth us from this belief
To reason without having other sight,
And hence it has the nature of evidence."

Then heard I: "If whatever is acquired
Below by doctrine were thus understood,
No sophist's subtlety would there find place."

Thus was breathed forth from that enkindled love;
Then added: "Very well has been gone over
Already of this coin the alloy and weight;

But tell me if thou hast it in thy purse?"
And I: "Yes, both so shining and so round
That in its stamp there is no peradventure."

Thereafter issued from the light profound
That there resplendent was: "This precious jewel,
Upon the which is every virtue founded,

Whence hadst thou it?" And I: "The large outpouring
Of Holy Spirit, which has been diffused
Upon the ancient parchments and the new,

A syllogism is, which proved it to me
With such acuteness, that, compared therewith,
All demonstration seems to me obtuse."

And then I heard: "The ancient and the new
Postulates, that to thee are so conclusive,
Why dost thou take them for the word divine?"

And I: "The proofs, which show the truth to me,
Are the works subsequent, whereunto Nature
Ne'er heated iron yet, nor anvil beat."

'Twas answered me: "Say, who assureth thee
That those works ever were? the thing itself
That must be proved, nought else to thee affirms it."

"Were the world to Christianity converted,"
I said, "withouten miracles, this one
Is such, the rest are not its hundredth part;

Because that poor and fasting thou didst enter
Into the field to sow there the good plant,
Which was a vine and has become a thorn!"

This being finished, the high, holy Court
Resounded through the spheres, "One God we praise!"
In melody that there above is chanted.

And then that Baron, who from branch to branch,
Examining, had thus conducted me,
Till the extremest leaves we were approaching,

Again began: "The Grace that dallying
Plays with thine intellect thy mouth has opened,
Up to this point, as it should opened be,

So that I do approve what forth emerged;
But now thou must express what thou believest,
And whence to thy belief it was presented."

"O holy father, spirit who beholdest
What thou believedst so that thou o'ercamest,
Towards the sepulchre, more youthful feet,"

Began I, "thou dost wish me in this place
The form to manifest of my prompt belief,
And likewise thou the cause thereof demandest.

And I respond: In one God I believe,
Sole and eterne, who moveth all the heavens
With love and with desire, himself unmoved;

And of such faith not only have I proofs
Physical and metaphysical, but gives them
Likewise the truth that from this place rains down

Through Moses, through the Prophets and the Psalms,
Through the Evangel, and through you, who wrote
After the fiery Spirit sanctified you;

In Persons three eterne believe, and these
One essence I believe, so one and trine
They bear conjunction both with 'sunt' and 'est.'

With the profound condition and divine
Which now I touch upon, doth stamp my mind
Ofttimes the doctrine evangelical.

This the beginning is, this is the spark
Which afterwards dilates to vivid flame,
And, like a star in heaven, is sparkling in me."

Even as a lord who hears what pleaseth him
His servant straight embraces, gratulating
For the good news as soon as he is silent;

So, giving me its benediction, singing,
Three times encircled me, when I was silent,
The apostolic light, at whose command

I spoken had, in speaking I so pleased him.

Paradiso: Canto XXV

If e'er it happen that the Poem Sacred,
To which both heaven and earth have set their hand,
So that it many a year hath made me lean,

O'ercome the cruelty that bars me out
From the fair sheepfold, where a lamb I slumbered,
An enemy to the wolves that war upon it,

With other voice forthwith, with other fleece
Poet will I return, and at my font
Baptismal will I take the laurel crown;

Because into the Faith that maketh known
All souls to God there entered I, and then
Peter for her sake thus my brow encircled.

Thereafterward towards us moved a light
Out of that band whence issued the first-fruits
Which of his vicars Christ behind him left,

And then my Lady, full of ecstasy,
Said unto me: "Look, look! behold the Baron
For whom below Galicia is frequented."

In the same way as, when a dove alights
Near his companion, both of them pour forth,
Circling about and murmuring, their affection,

So one beheld I by the other grand
Prince glorified to be with welcome greeted,
Lauding the food that there above is eaten.

But when their gratulations were complete,
Silently 'coram me' each one stood still,
So incandescent it o'ercame my sight.

Smiling thereafterwards, said Beatrice:
"Illustrious life, by whom the benefactions
Of our Basilica have been described,

Make Hope resound within this altitude;
Thou knowest as oft thou dost personify it
As Jesus to the three gave greater clearness."--

"Lift up thy head, and make thyself assured;
For what comes hither from the mortal world
Must needs be ripened in our radiance."

This comfort came to me from the second fire;
Wherefore mine eyes I lifted to the hills,
Which bent them down before with too great weight.

"Since, through his grace, our Emperor wills that thou
Shouldst find thee face to face, before thy death,
In the most secret chamber, with his Counts,

So that, the truth beholden of this court,
Hope, which below there rightfully enamours,
Thereby thou strengthen in thyself and others,

Say what it is, and how is flowering with it
Thy mind, and say from whence it came to thee."
Thus did the second light again continue.

And the Compassionate, who piloted
The plumage of my wings in such high flight,
Did in reply anticipate me thus:

"No child whatever the Church Militant
Of greater hope possesses, as is written
In that Sun which irradiates all our band;

Therefore it is conceded him from Egypt
To come into Jerusalem to see,
Or ever yet his warfare be completed.

The two remaining points, that not for knowledge
Have been demanded, but that he report
How much this virtue unto thee is pleasing,

To him I leave; for hard he will not find them,
Nor of self-praise; and let him answer them;
And may the grace of God in this assist him!"

As a disciple, who his teacher follows,
Ready and willing, where he is expert,
That his proficiency may be displayed,

"Hope," said I, "is the certain expectation
Of future glory, which is the effect
Of grace divine and merit precedent.

From many stars this light comes unto me;
But he instilled it first into my heart
Who was chief singer unto the chief captain.

'Sperent in te,' in the high Theody
He sayeth, 'those who know thy name;' and who
Knoweth it not, if he my faith possess?

Thou didst instil me, then, with his instilling
In the Epistle, so that I am full,
And upon others rain again your rain."

While I was speaking, in the living bosom
Of that combustion quivered an effulgence,
Sudden and frequent, in the guise of lightning;

Then breathed: "The love wherewith I am inflamed
Towards the virtue still which followed me
Unto the palm and issue of the field,

Wills that I breathe to thee that thou delight
In her; and grateful to me is thy telling
Whatever things Hope promises to thee."

And I: "The ancient Scriptures and the new
The mark establish, and this shows it me,
Of all the souls whom God hath made his friends.

Isaiah saith, that each one garmented
In his own land shall be with twofold garments,
And his own land is this delightful life.

Thy brother, too, far more explicitly,
There where he treateth of the robes of white,
This revelation manifests to us."

And first, and near the ending of these words,
"Sperent in te" from over us was heard,
To which responsive answered all the carols.

Thereafterward a light among them brightened,
So that, if Cancer one such crystal had,
Winter would have a month of one sole day.

And as uprises, goes, and enters the dance
A winsome maiden, only to do honour
To the new bride, and not from any failing,

Even thus did I behold the brightened splendour
Approach the two, who in a wheel revolved
As was beseeming to their ardent love.

Into the song and music there it entered;
And fixed on them my Lady kept her look,
Even as a bride silent and motionless.

"This is the one who lay upon the breast
Of him our Pelican; and this is he
To the great office from the cross elected."

My Lady thus; but therefore none the more
Did move her sight from its attentive gaze
Before or afterward these words of hers.

Even as a man who gazes, and endeavours
To see the eclipsing of the sun a little,
And who, by seeing, sightless doth become,

So I became before that latest fire,
While it was said, "Why dost thou daze thyself
To see a thing which here hath no existence?

Earth in the earth my body is, and shall be
With all the others there, until our number
With the eternal proposition tallies.

With the two garments in the blessed cloister
Are the two lights alone that have ascended:
And this shalt thou take back into your world."

And at this utterance the flaming circle
Grew quiet, with the dulcet intermingling
Of sound that by the trinal breath was made,

As to escape from danger or fatigue
The oars that erst were in the water beaten
Are all suspended at a whistle's sound.

Ah, how much in my mind was I disturbed,
When I turned round to look on Beatrice,
That her I could not see, although I was

Close at her side and in the Happy World!
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