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THE DIVINE COMEDY
OF DANTE ALIGHIERI
HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW
CANTICLE II: PURGATORIO
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other editions or translations of 'The Divine Comedy.' For this three part
edition of 'The Divine Comedy' please refer to the end of the Paradiso for
Dennis McCarthyJuly 1997
I. The Shores of Purgatory. The Four Stars. Cato of Utica.
II. The Celestial Pilot. Casella. The Departure.
III. Discourse on the Limits of Reason. The Foot of the Mountain.
Those who died in Contumacy of Holy Church. Manfredi.
IV. Farther Ascent. Nature of the Mountain. The Negligent
who postponed Repentance till the last Hour. Belacqua.
V. Those who died by Violencebut repentant.
Buonconte di Monfeltro. La Pia.
VI. Dante's Inquiry on Prayers for the Dead. Sordello. Italy.
VII. The Valley of Flowers. Negligent Princes.
VIII. The Guardian Angels and the Serpent. Nino di Gallura.
The Three Stars. Currado Malaspina.
IX. Dante's Dream of the Eagle. The Gate of Purgatory and
the Angel. Seven P's. The Keys.
X. The Needle's Eye. The First Circle: The Proud.
The Sculptures on the Wall.
XI. The Humble Prayer. Omberto di Santafiore.
Oderisi d' Agobbio. Provenzan Salvani.
XII. The Sculptures on the Pavement. Ascent to the Second Circle.
XIII. The Second Circle: The Envious. Sapia of Siena.
XIV. Guido del Duca and Renier da Calboli. Cities of
the Arno Valley. Denunciation of Stubbornness.
XV. The Third Circle: The Irascible. Dante's Visions. The Smoke.
XVI. Marco Lombardo. Lament over the State of the World.
XVII. Dante's Dream of Anger. The Fourth Circle: The Slothful.
Virgil's Discourse of Love.
XVIII. Virgil further discourses of Love and Free Will.
The Abbot of San Zeno.
XIX. Dante's Dream of the Siren. The Fifth Circle:
The Avaricious and Prodigal. Pope Adrian V.
XX. Hugh Capet. Corruption of the French Crown.
Prophecy of the Abduction of Pope Boniface VIII and
the Sacrilege of Philip the Fair. The Earthquake.
XXI. The Poet Statius. Praise of Virgil.
XXII. Statius' Denunciation of Avarice. The Sixth Circle:
The Gluttonous. The Mystic Tree.
XXIII. Forese. Reproof of immodest Florentine Women.
XXIV. Buonagiunta da Lucca. Pope Martin IVand others.
Inquiry into the State of Poetry.
XXV. Discourse of Statius on Generation. The Seventh Circle:
XXVI. Sodomites. Guido Guinicelli and Arnaldo Daniello.
XXVII. The Wall of Fire and the Angel of God. Dante's Sleep
upon the Stairwayand his Dream of Leah and Rachel.
Arrival at the Terrestrial Paradise.
XXVIII. The River Lethe. Matilda. The Nature of
the Terrestrial Paradise.
XXIX. The Triumph of the Church.
XXX. Virgil's Departure. Beatrice. Dante's Shame.
XXXI. Reproaches of Beatrice and Confession of Dante.
The Passage of Lethe. The Seven Virtues. The Griffon.
XXXII. The Tree of Knowledge. Allegory of the Chariot.
XXXIII. Lament over the State of the Church. Final Reproaches
of Beatrice. The River Eunoe.
The Divine Comedy
translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
(e-text courtesy ILT's Digital Dante Project)
Purgatorio: Canto I
To run o'er better waters hoists its sail
The little vessel of my genius now
That leaves behind itself a sea so cruel;
And of that second kingdom will I sing
Wherein the human spirit doth purge itself
And to ascend to heaven becometh worthy.
But let dead Poesy here rise again
O holy Musessince that I am yours
And here Calliope somewhat ascend
My song accompanying with that sound
Of which the miserable magpies felt
The blow so greatthat they despaired of pardon.
Sweet colour of the oriental sapphire
That was upgathered in the cloudless aspect
Of the pure airas far as the first circle
Unto mine eyes did recommence delight
Soon as I issued forth from the dead air
Which had with sadness filled mine eyes and breast.
The beauteous planetthat to love incites
Was making all the orient to laugh
Veiling the Fishes that were in her escort.
To the right hand I turnedand fixed my mind
Upon the other poleand saw four stars
Ne'er seen before save by the primal people.
Rejoicing in their flamelets seemed the heaven.
O thou septentrional and widowed site
Because thou art deprived of seeing these!
When from regarding them I had withdrawn
Turning a little to the other pole
There where the Wain had disappeared already
I saw beside me an old man alone
Worthy of so much reverence in his look
That more owes not to father any son.
A long beard and with white hair intermingled
He worein semblance like unto the tresses
Of which a double list fell on his breast.
The rays of the four consecrated stars
Did so adorn his countenance with light
That him I saw as were the sun before him.
Who are you? ye who, counter the blind river,
Have fled away from the eternal prison?
Moving those venerable plumeshe said:
Who guided you? or who has been your lamp
In issuing forth out of the night profound,
That ever black makes the infernal valley?
The laws of the abyss, are they thus broken?
Or is there changed in heaven some council new,
That being damned ye come unto my crags?
Then did my Leader lay his grasp upon me
And with his wordsand with his hands and signs
Reverent he made in me my knees and brow;
Then answered him: "I came not of myself;
A Lady from Heaven descendedat whose prayers
I aided this one with my company.
But since it is thy will more be unfolded
Of our conditionhow it truly is
Mine cannot be that this should be denied thee.
This one has never his last evening seen
But by his folly was so near to it
That very little time was there to turn.
As I have saidI unto him was sent
To rescue himand other way was none
Than this to which I have myself betaken.
I've shown him all the people of perdition
And now those spirits I intend to show
Who purge themselves beneath thy guardianship.
How I have brought him would be long to tell thee.
Virtue descendeth from on high that aids me
To lead him to behold thee and to hear thee.
Now may it please thee to vouchsafe his coming;
He seeketh Libertywhich is so dear
As knoweth he who life for her refuses.
Thou know'st it; sincefor herto thee not bitter
Was death in Uticawhere thou didst leave
The vesturethat will shine sothe great day.
By us the eternal edicts are not broken;
Since this one livesand Minos binds not me;
But of that circle Iwhere are the chaste
Eyes of thy Marciawho in looks still prays thee
O holy breastto hold her as thine own;
For her lovethenincline thyself to us.
Permit us through thy sevenfold realm to go;
I will take back this grace from thee to her
If to be mentioned there below thou deignest."
Marcia so pleasing was unto mine eyes
While I was on the other side,then said he
That every grace she wished of me I granted;
Now that she dwells beyond the evil river,
She can no longer move me, by that law
Which, when I issued forth from there, was made.
But if a Lady of Heaven do move and rule thee,
As thou dost say, no flattery is needful;
Let it suffice thee that for her thou ask me.
Go, then, and see thou gird this one about
With a smooth rush, and that thou wash his face,
So that thou cleanse away all stain therefrom,
For 'twere not fitting that the eye o'ercast
By any mist should go before the first
Angel, who is of those of Paradise.
This little island round about its base
Below there, yonder, where the billow beats it,
Doth rushes bear upon its washy ooze;
No other plant that putteth forth the leaf,
Or that doth indurate, can there have life,
Because it yieldeth not unto the shocks.
Thereafter be not this way your return;
The sun, which now is rising, will direct you
To take the mount by easier ascent.
With this he vanished; and I raised me up
Without a wordand wholly drew myself
Unto my Guideand turned mine eyes to him.
And he began: "Sonfollow thou my steps;
Let us turn backfor on this side declines
The plain unto its lower boundaries."
The dawn was vanquishing the matin hour
Which fled before itso that from afar
I recognised the trembling of the sea.
Along the solitary plain we went
As one who unto the lost road returns
And till he finds it seems to go in vain.
As soon as we were come to where the dew
Fights with the sunandbeing in a part
Where shadow fallslittle evaporates
Both of his hands upon the grass outspread
In gentle manner did my Master place;
Whence Iwho of his action was aware
Extended unto him my tearful cheeks;
There did he make in me uncovered wholly
That hue which Hell had covered up in me.
Then came we down upon the desert shore
Which never yet saw navigate its waters
Any that afterward had known return.
There he begirt me as the other pleased;
O marvellous! for even as he culled
The humble plantsuch it sprang up again
Suddenly there where he uprooted it.
Purgatorio: Canto II
Already had the sun the horizon reached
Whose circle of meridian covers o'er
Jerusalem with its most lofty point
And night that opposite to him revolves
Was issuing forth from Ganges with the Scales
That fall from out her hand when she exceedeth;
So that the white and the vermilion cheeks
Of beautiful Aurorawhere I was
By too great age were changing into orange.
We still were on the border of the sea
Like people who are thinking of their road
Who go in heart and with the body stay;
And lo! as whenupon the approach of morning
Through the gross vapours Mars grows fiery red
Down in the West upon the ocean floor
Appeared to me--may I again behold it!-A
light along the sea so swiftly coming
Its motion by no flight of wing is equalled;
From which when I a little had withdrawn
Mine eyesthat I might question my Conductor
Again I saw it brighter grown and larger.
Then on each side of it appeared to me
I knew not what of whiteand underneath it
Little by little there came forth another.
My Master yet had uttered not a word
While the first whiteness into wings unfolded;
But when he clearly recognised the pilot
He cried: "Make hastemake haste to bow the knee!
Behold the Angel of God! fold thou thy hands!
Henceforward shalt thou see such officers!
See how he scorneth human arguments
So that nor oar he wantsnor other sail
Than his own wingsbetween so distant shores.
See how he holds them pointed up to heaven
Fanning the air with the eternal pinions
That do not moult themselves like mortal hair!"
Then as still nearer and more near us came
The Bird Divinemore radiant he appeared
So that near by the eye could not endure him
But down I cast it; and he came to shore
With a small vesselvery swift and light
So that the water swallowed naught thereof.
Upon the stern stood the Celestial Pilot;
Beatitude seemed written in his face
And more than a hundred spirits sat within.
In exitu Israel de Aegypto!
They chanted all together in one voice
With whatso in that psalm is after written.
Then made he sign of holy rood upon them
Whereat all cast themselves upon the shore
And he departed swiftly as he came.
The throng which still remained there unfamiliar
Seemed with the placeall round about them gazing
As one who in new matters makes essay.
On every side was darting forth the day.
The sunwho had with his resplendent shafts
From the mid-heaven chased forth the Capricorn
When the new people lifted up their faces
Towards ussaying to us: "If ye know
Show us the way to go unto the mountain."
And answer made Virgilius: "Ye believe
Perchance that we have knowledge of this place
But we are strangers even as yourselves.
Just now we camea little while before you
Another waywhich was so rough and steep
That mounting will henceforth seem sport to us."
The souls who hadfrom seeing me draw breath
Become aware that I was still alive
Pallid in their astonishment became;
And as to messenger who bears the olive
The people throng to listen to the news
And no one shows himself afraid of crowding
So at the sight of me stood motionless
Those fortunate spiritsall of themas if
Oblivious to go and make them fair.
One from among them saw I coming forward
As to embrace mewith such great affection
That it incited me to do the like.
O empty shadowssave in aspect only!
Three times behind it did I clasp my hands
As oft returned with them to my own breast!
I think with wonder I depicted me;
Whereat the shadow smiled and backward drew;
And Ipursuing itpressed farther forward.
Gently it said that I should stay my steps;
Then knew I who it wasand I entreated
That it would stop awhile to speak with me.
It made reply to me: "Even as I loved thee
In mortal bodyso I love thee free;
Therefore I stop; but wherefore goest thou?"
My own Casella! to return once more
There where I am, I make this journey,said I;
But how from thee has so much time be taken?
And he to me: "No outrage has been done me
If he who takes both when and whom he pleases
Has many times denied to me this passage
For of a righteous will his own is made.
Hesooth to sayfor three months past has taken
Whoever wished to enter with all peace;
Whence Iwho now had turned unto that shore
Where salt the waters of the Tiber grow
Benignantly by him have been received.
Unto that outlet now his wing is pointed
Because for evermore assemble there
Those who tow'rds Acheron do not descend."
And I: "If some new law take not from thee
Memory or practice of the song of love
Which used to quiet in me all my longings
Thee may it please to comfort therewithal
Somewhat this soul of minethat with its body
Hitherward coming is so much distressed."
Love, that within my mind discourses with me,
Forthwith began he so melodiously
The melody within me still is sounding.
My Masterand myselfand all that people
Which with him wereappeared as satisfied
As if naught else might touch the mind of any.
We all of us were moveless and attentive
Unto his notes; and lo! the grave old man
Exclaiming: "What is thisye laggard spirits?
What negligencewhat standing still is this?
Run to the mountain to strip off the slough
That lets not God be manifest to you."
Even as whencollecting grain or tares
The dovestogether at their pasture met
Quietnor showing their accustomed pride
If aught appear of which they are afraid
Upon a sudden leave their food alone
Because they are assailed by greater care;
So that fresh company did I behold
The song relinquishand go tow'rds the hill
As one who goesand knows not whitherward;
Nor was our own departure less in haste.
Purgatorio: Canto III
Inasmuch as the instantaneous flight
Had scattered them asunder o'er the plain
Turned to the mountain whither reason spurs us
I pressed me close unto my faithful comrade
And how without him had I kept my course?
Who would have led me up along the mountain?
He seemed to me within himself remorseful;
O noble conscienceand without a stain
How sharp a sting is trivial fault to thee!
After his feet had laid aside the haste
Which mars the dignity of every act
My mindthat hitherto had been restrained
Let loose its faculties as if delighted
And I my sight directed to the hill
That highest tow'rds the heaven uplifts itself.
The sunthat in our rear was flaming red
Was broken in front of me into the figure
Which had in me the stoppage of its rays;
Unto one side I turned mewith the fear
Of being left alonewhen I beheld
Only in front of me the ground obscured.
Why dost thou still mistrust?my Comforter
Began to say to me turned wholly round;
Dost thou not think me with thee, and that I guide thee?
'Tis evening there already where is buried
The body within which I cast a shadow;
'Tis from Brundusium ta'en, and Naples has it.
Now if in front of me no shadow fall,
Marvel not at it more than at the heavens,
Because one ray impedeth not another
To suffer torments, both of cold and heat,
Bodies like this that Power provides, which wills
That how it works be not unveiled to us.
Insane is he who hopeth that our reason
Can traverse the illimitable way,
Which the one Substance in three Persons follows!
Mortals, remain contented at the 'Quia;'
For if ye had been able to see all,
No need there were for Mary to give birth;
And ye have seen desiring without fruit,
Those whose desire would have been quieted,
Which evermore is given them for a grief.
I speak of Aristotle and of Plato,
And many others;--and here bowed his head
And more he said notand remained disturbed.
We came meanwhile unto the mountain's foot;
There so precipitate we found the rock
That nimble legs would there have been in vain.
'Twixt Lerici and Turbiathe most desert
The most secluded pathway is a stair
Easy and openif compared with that.
Who knoweth now upon which hand the hill
Slopes down,my Master saidhis footsteps staying
So that who goeth without wings may mount?
And while he held his eyes upon the ground
Examining the nature of the path
And I was looking up around the rock
On the left hand appeared to me a throng
Of soulsthat moved their feet in our direction
And did not seem to movethey came so slowly.
Lift up thine eyes,I to the Master said;
Behold, on this side, who will give us counsel,
If thou of thine own self can have it not.
Then he looked at meand with frank expression
Replied: "Let us go therefor they come slowly
And thou be steadfast in thy hopesweet son."
Still was that people as far off from us
After a thousand steps of ours I say
As a good thrower with his hand would reach
When they all crowded unto the hard masses
Of the high bankand motionless stood and close
As he stands still to look who goes in doubt.
O happy dead! O spirits elect already!
Virgilius made beginningby that peace
Which I believe is waiting for you all,
Tell us upon what side the mountain slopes,
So that the going up be possible,
For to lose time irks him most who most knows.
As sheep come issuing forth from out the fold
By ones and twos and threesand the others stand
Timidlyholding down their eyes and nostrils
And what the foremost does the others do
Huddling themselves against herif she stop
Simple and quiet and the wherefore know not;
So moving to approach us thereupon
I saw the leader of that fortunate flock
Modest in face and dignified in gait.
As soon as those in the advance saw broken
The light upon the ground at my right side
So that from me the shadow reached the rock
They stoppedand backward drew themselves somewhat;
And all the otherswho came after them
Not knowing why nor whereforedid the same.
Without your asking, I confess to you
This is a human body which you see,
Whereby the sunshine on the ground is cleft.
Marvel ye not thereat, but be persuaded
That not without a power which comes from Heaven
Doth he endeavour to surmount this wall.
The Master thus; and said those worthy people:
Return ye then, and enter in before us,
Making a signal with the back o' the hand
And one of them began: "Whoe'er thou art
Thus going turn thine eyesconsider well
If e'er thou saw me in the other world."
I turned me tow'rds himand looked at him closely;
Blond was hebeautifuland of noble aspect
But one of his eyebrows had a blow divided.
When with humility I had disclaimed
E'er having seen himNow behold!he said
And showed me high upon his breast a wound.
Then said he with a smile: "I am Manfredi
The grandson of the Empress Costanza;
Thereforewhen thou returnestI beseech thee
Go to my daughter beautifulthe mother
Of Sicily's honour and of Aragon's
And the truth tell herif aught else be told.
After I had my body lacerated
By these two mortal stabsI gave myself
Weeping to Himwho willingly doth pardon.
Horrible my iniquities had been;
But Infinite Goodness hath such ample arms
That it receives whatever turns to it.
Had but Cosenza's pastorwho in chase
Of me was sent by Clement at that time
In God read understandingly this page
The bones of my dead body still would be
At the bridge-headnear unto Benevento
Under the safeguard of the heavy cairn.
Now the rain bathes and moveth them the wind
Beyond the realmalmost beside the Verde
Where he transported them with tapers quenched.
By malison of theirs is not so lost
Eternal Lovethat it cannot return
So long as hope has anything of green.
True is itwho in contumacy dies
Of Holy Churchthough penitent at last
Must wait upon the outside this bank
Thirty times told the time that he has been
In his presumptionunless such decree
Shorter by means of righteous prayers become.
See now if thou hast power to make me happy
By making known unto my good Costanza
How thou hast seen meand this ban beside
For those on earth can much advance us here."
Purgatorio: Canto IV
Whenever by delight or else by pain
That seizes any faculty of ours
Wholly to that the soul collects itself
It seemeth that no other power it heeds;
And this against that error is which thinks
One soul above another kindles in us.
And hencewhenever aught is heard or seen
Which keeps the soul intently bent upon it
Time passes onand we perceive it not
Because one faculty is that which listens
And other that which the soul keeps entire;
This is as if in bondsand that is free.
Of this I had experience positive
In hearing and in gazing at that spirit;
For fifty full degrees uprisen was
The sunand I had not perceived itwhen
We came to where those souls with one accord
Cried out unto us: "Here is what you ask."
A greater opening ofttimes hedges up
With but a little forkful of his thorns
The villagerwhat time the grape imbrowns
Than was the passage-way through which ascended
Only my Leader and myself behind him
After that company departed from us.
One climbs Sanleo and descends in Noli
And mounts the summit of Bismantova
With feet alone; but here one needs must fly;
With the swift pinions and the plumes I say
Of great desireconducted after him
Who gave me hopeand made a light for me.
We mounted upward through the rifted rock
And on each side the border pressed upon us
And feet and hands the ground beneath required.
When we were come upon the upper rim
Of the high bankout on the open slope
My Master,said Iwhat way shall we take?
And he to me: "No step of thine descend;
Still up the mount behind me win thy way
Till some sage escort shall appear to us."
The summit was so high it vanquished sight
And the hillside precipitous far more
Than line from middle quadrant to the centre.
Spent with fatigue was Iwhen I began:
O my sweet Father! turn thee and behold
How I remain alone, unless thou stay!
O son,he saidup yonder drag thyself,
Pointing me to a terrace somewhat higher
Which on that side encircles all the hill.
These words of his so spurred me onthat I
Strained every nervebehind him scrambling up
Until the circle was beneath my feet.
Thereon ourselves we seated both of us
Turned to the Eastfrom which we had ascended
For all men are delighted to look back.
To the low shores mine eyes I first directed
Then to the sun uplifted themand wondered
That on the left hand we were smitten by it.
The Poet well perceived that I was wholly
Bewildered at the chariot of the light
Where 'twixt us and the Aquilon it entered.
Whereon he said to me: "If Castor and Pollux
Were in the company of yonder mirror
That up and down conducteth with its light
Thou wouldst behold the zodiac's jagged wheel
Revolving still more near unto the Bears
Unless it swerved aside from its old track.
How that may be wouldst thou have power to think
Collected in thyselfimagine Zion
Together with this mount on earth to stand
So that they both one sole horizon have
And hemispheres diverse; whereby the road
Which Phaetonalas! knew not to drive
Thou'lt see how of necessity must pass
This on one sidewhen that upon the other
If thine intelligence right clearly heed."
Truly, my Master,said Inever yet
Saw I so clearly as I now discern,
There where my wit appeared incompetent,
That the mid-circle of supernal motion,
Which in some art is the Equator called,
And aye remains between the Sun and Winter,
For reason which thou sayest, departeth hence
Tow'rds the Septentrion, what time the Hebrews
Beheld it tow'rds the region of the heat.
But, if it pleaseth thee, I fain would learn
How far we have to go; for the hill rises
Higher than eyes of mine have power to rise.
And he to me: "This mount is suchthat ever
At the beginning down below 'tis tiresome
And aye the more one climbsthe less it hurts.
Thereforewhen it shall seem so pleasant to thee
That going up shall be to thee as easy
As going down the current in a boat
Then at this pathway's ending thou wilt be;
There to repose thy panting breath expect;
No more I answer; and this I know for true."
And as he finished uttering these words
A voice close by us sounded: "Peradventure
Thou wilt have need of sitting down ere that."
At sound thereof each one of us turned round
And saw upon the left hand a great rock
Which neither I nor he before had noticed.
Thither we drew; and there were persons there
Who in the shadow stood behind the rock
As one through indolence is wont to stand.
And one of themwho seemed to me fatigued
Was sitting downand both his knees embraced
Holding his face low down between them bowed.
O my sweet Lord,I saiddo turn thine eye
On him who shows himself more negligent
Then even Sloth herself his sister were.
Then he turned round to usand he gave heed
Just lifting up his eyes above his thigh
And said: "Now go thou upfor thou art valiant."
Then knew I who he was; and the distress
That still a little did my breathing quicken
My going to him hindered not; and after
I came to him he hardly raised his head
Saying: "Hast thou seen clearly how the sun
O'er thy left shoulder drives his chariot?"
His sluggish attitude and his curt words
A little unto laughter moved my lips;
Then I began: "BelacquaI grieve not
For thee henceforth; but tell mewherefore seated
In this place art thou? Waitest thou an escort?
Or has thy usual habit seized upon thee?"
And he: "O brotherwhat's the use of climbing?
Since to my torment would not let me go
The Angel of Godwho sitteth at the gate.
First heaven must needs so long revolve me round
Outside thereofas in my life it did
Since the good sighs I to the end postponed
Unlesse'er thatsome prayer may bring me aid
Which rises from a heart that lives in grace;
What profit others that in heaven are heard not?"
Meanwhile the Poet was before me mounting
And saying: "Come now; see the sun has touched
Meridianand from the shore the night
Covers already with her foot Morocco."
Purgatorio: Canto V
I had already from those shades departed
And followed in the footsteps of my Guide
When from behindpointing his finger at me
One shouted: "Seeit seems as if shone not
The sunshine on the left of him below
And like one living seems he to conduct him."
Mine eyes I turned at utterance of these words
And saw them watching with astonishment
But mebut meand the light which was broken!
Why doth thy mind so occupy itself,
The Master saidthat thou thy pace dost slacken?
What matters it to thee what here is whispered?
Come after me, and let the people talk;
Stand like a steadfast tower, that never wags
Its top for all the blowing of the winds;
For evermore the man in whom is springing
Thought upon thought, removes from him the mark,
Because the force of one the other weakens.
What could I say in answer but "I come"?
I said it somewhat with that colour tinged
Which makes a man of pardon sometimes worthy.
Meanwhile along the mountain-side across
Came people in advance of us a little
Singing the Miserere verse by verse.
When they became aware I gave no place
For passage of the sunshine through my body
They changed their song into a longhoarse "Oh!"
And two of themin form of messengers
Ran forth to meet usand demanded of us
Of your condition make us cognisant.
And said my Master: "Ye can go your way
And carry back again to those who sent you
That this one's body is of very flesh.
If they stood still because they saw his shadow
As I supposeenough is answered them;
Him let them honourit may profit them."
Vapours enkindled saw I ne'er so swiftly
At early nightfall cleave the air serene
Norat the set of sunthe clouds of August
But upward they returned in briefer time
Andon arrivingwith the others wheeled
Tow'rds uslike troops that run without a rein.
This folk that presses unto us is great,
And cometh to implore thee,said the Poet;
So still go onward, and in going listen.
O soul that goest to beatitude
With the same members wherewith thou wast born,
Shouting they camea little stay thy steps,
Look, if thou e'er hast any of us seen,
So that o'er yonder thou bear news of him;
Ah, why dost thou go on? Ah, why not stay?
Long since we all were slain by violence,
And sinners even to the latest hour;
Then did a light from heaven admonish us,
So that, both penitent and pardoning, forth
From life we issued reconciled to God,
Who with desire to see Him stirs our hearts.
And I: "Although I gaze into your faces
No one I recognize; but if may please you
Aught I have power to doye well-born spirits
Speak yeand I will do itby that peace
Whichfollowing the feet of such a Guide
From world to world makes itself sought by me."
And one began: "Each one has confidence
In thy good offices without an oath
Unless the I cannot cut off the I will;
Whence Iwho speak alone before the others
Pray theeif ever thou dost see the land
That 'twixt Romagna lies and that of Charles
Thou be so courteous to me of thy prayers
In Fanothat they pray for me devoutly
That I may purge away my grave offences.
From thence was I; but the deep woundsthrough which
Issued the blood wherein I had my seat
Were dealt me in bosom of the Antenori
There where I thought to be the most secure;
'Twas he of Este had it donewho held me
In hatred far beyond what justice willed.
But if towards the Mira I had fled
When I was overtaken at Oriaco
I still should be o'er yonder where men breathe.
I ran to the lagoonand reeds and mire
Did so entangle me I felland saw there
A lake made from my veins upon the ground."
Then said another: "Ahbe that desire
Fulfilled that draws thee to the lofty mountain
As thou with pious pity aidest mine.
I was of Montefeltroand am Buonconte;
Giovannanor none other cares for me;
Hence among these I go with downcast front."
And I to him: "What violence or what chance
Led thee astray so far from Campaldino
That never has thy sepulture been known?"
Oh,he repliedat Casentino's foot
A river crosses named Archiano, born
Above the Hermitage in Apennine.
There where the name thereof becometh void
Did I arrive, pierced through and through the throat,
Fleeing on foot, and bloodying the plain;
There my sight lost I, and my utterance
Ceased in the name of Mary, and thereat
I fell, and tenantless my flesh remained.
Truth will I speak, repeat it to the living;
God's Angel took me up, and he of hell
Shouted: 'O thou from heaven, why dost thou rob me?
Thou bearest away the eternal part of him,
For one poor little tear, that takes him from me;
But with the rest I'll deal in other fashion!'
Well knowest thou how in the air is gathered
That humid vapour which to water turns,
Soon as it rises where the cold doth grasp it.
He joined that evil will, which aye seeks evil,
To intellect, and moved the mist and wind
By means of power, which his own nature gave;
Thereafter, when the day was spent, the valley
From Pratomagno to the great yoke covered
With fog, and made the heaven above intent,
So that the pregnant air to water changed;
Down fell the rain, and to the gullies came
Whate'er of it earth tolerated not;
And as it mingled with the mighty torrents,
Towards the royal river with such speed
It headlong rushed, that nothing held it back.
My frozen body near unto its outlet
The robust Archian found, and into Arno
Thrust it, and loosened from my breast the cross
I made of me, when agony o'ercame me;
It rolled me on the banks and on the bottom,
Then with its booty covered and begirt me.
Ah, when thou hast returned unto the world,
And rested thee from thy long journeying,
After the second followed the third spirit
Do thou remember me who am the Pia;
Siena made me, unmade me Maremma;
He knoweth it, who had encircled first,
Espousing me, my finger with his gem.
Purgatorio: Canto VI
Whene'er is broken up the game of Zara
He who has lost remains behind despondent
The throws repeatingand in sadness learns;
The people with the other all depart;
One goes in frontand one behind doth pluck him
And at his side one brings himself to mind;
He pauses notand this and that one hears;
They crowd no more to whom his hand he stretches
And from the throng he thus defends himself.
Even such was I in that dense multitude
Turning to them this way and that my face
AndpromisingI freed myself therefrom.
There was the Aretinewho from the arms
Untamed of Ghin di Tacco had his death
And he who fleeing from pursuit was drowned.
There was imploring with his hands outstretched
Frederick Novelloand that one of Pisa
Who made the good Marzucco seem so strong.
I saw Count Orso; and the soul divided
By hatred and by envy from its body
As it declaredand not for crime committed
Pierre de la Brosse I say; and here provide
While still on earth the Lady of Brabant
So that for this she be of no worse flock!
As soon as I was free from all those shades
Who only prayed that some one else may pray
So as to hasten their becoming holy
Began I: "It appears that thou deniest
O light of mineexpressly in some text
That orison can bend decree of Heaven;
And ne'ertheless these people pray for this.
Might then their expectation bootless be?
Or is to me thy saying not quite clear?"
And he to me: "My writing is explicit
And not fallacious is the hope of these
If with sane intellect 'tis well regarded;
For top of judgment doth not vail itself
Because the fire of love fulfils at once
What he must satisfy who here installs him.
And therewhere I affirmed that proposition
Defect was not amended by a prayer
Because the prayer from God was separate.
Verilyin so deep a questioning
Do not decideunless she tell it thee
Who light 'twixt truth and intellect shall be.
I know not if thou understand; I speak
Of Beatrice; her shalt thou see above
Smiling and happyon this mountain's top."
And I: "Good Leaderlet us make more haste
For I no longer tire me as before;
And seee'en now the hill a shadow casts."
We will go forward with this dayhe answered
As far as now is possible for us;
But otherwise the fact is than thou thinkest.
Ere thou art up there, thou shalt see return
Him, who now hides himself behind the hill,
So that thou dost not interrupt his rays.
But yonder there behold! a soul that stationed
All, all alone is looking hitherward;
It will point out to us the quickest way.
We came up unto it; O Lombard soul
How lofty and disdainful thou didst bear thee
And grand and slow in moving of thine eyes!
Nothing whatever did it say to us
But let us go our wayeying us only
After the manner of a couchant lion;
Still near to it Virgilius drewentreating
That it would point us out the best ascent;
And it replied not unto his demand
But of our native land and of our life
It questioned us; and the sweet Guide began:
Mantua,--and the shadeall in itself recluse
Rose tow'rds him from the place where first it was
Saying: "O MantuanI am Sordello
Of thine own land!" and one embraced the other.
Ah! servile Italygrief's hostelry!
A ship without a pilot in great tempest!
No Lady thou of Provincesbut brothel!
That noble soul was so impatientonly
At the sweet sound of his own native land
To make its citizen glad welcome there;
And now within thee are not without war
Thy living onesand one doth gnaw the other
Of those whom one wall and one fosse shut in!
Searchwretched oneall round about the shores
Thy seaboardand then look within thy bosom
If any part of thee enjoyeth peace!
What boots itthat for thee Justinian
The bridle mendif empty be the saddle?
Withouten this the shame would be the less.
Ah! peoplethou that oughtest to be devout
And to let Caesar sit upon the saddle
If well thou hearest what God teacheth thee
Behold how fell this wild beast has become
Being no longer by the spur corrected
Since thou hast laid thy hand upon the bridle.
O German Albert! who abandonest
Her that has grown recalcitrant and savage
And oughtest to bestride her saddle-bow
May a just judgment from the stars down fall
Upon thy bloodand be it new and open
That thy successor may have fear thereof;
Because thy father and thyself have suffered
By greed of those transalpine lands distrained
The garden of the empire to be waste.
Come and behold Montecchi and Cappelletti
Monaldi and Fillippeschicareless man!
Those sad alreadyand these doubt-depressed!
Comecruel one! come and behold the oppression
Of thy nobilityand cure their wounds
And thou shalt see how safe is Santafiore!
Come and behold thy Romethat is lamenting
Widowedaloneand day and night exclaims
My Caesar, why hast thou forsaken me?
Come and behold how loving are the people;
And if for us no pity moveth thee
Come and be made ashamed of thy renown!
And if it lawful beO Jove Supreme!
Who upon earth for us wast crucified
Are thy just eyes averted otherwhere?
Or preparation is 'tthatin the abyss
Of thine own counselfor some good thou makest
From our perception utterly cut off?
For all the towns of Italy are full
Of tyrantsand becometh a Marcellus
Each peasant churl who plays the partisan!
My Florence! well mayst thou contented be
With this digressionwhich concerns thee not
Thanks to thy people who such forethought take!
Many at heart have justicebut shoot slowly
That unadvised they come not to the bow
But on their very lips thy people have it!
Many refuse to bear the common burden;
But thy solicitous people answereth
Without being askedand crieth: "I submit."
Now be thou joyfulfor thou hast good reason;
Thou affluentthou in peacethou full of wisdom!
If I speak truethe event conceals it not.
Athens and Lacedaemonthey who made
The ancient lawsand were so civilized
Made towards living well a little sign
Compared with theewho makest such fine-spun
Provisionsthat to middle of November
Reaches not what thou in October spinnest.
How oftwithin the time of thy remembrance
Hast thou remodelledand renewed thy members?
And if thou mind thee welland see the light
Thou shalt behold thyself like a sick woman
Who cannot find repose upon her down
But by her tossing wardeth off her pain.
Purgatorio: Canto VII
After the gracious and glad salutations
Had three and four times been reiterated
Sordello backward drew and saidWho are you?
Or ever to this mountain were directed
The souls deserving to ascend to God,
My bones were buried by Octavian.
I am Virgilius; and for no crime else
Did I lose heaven, than for not having faith;
In this wise then my Leader made reply.
As one who suddenly before him sees
Something whereat he marvelswho believes
And yet does notsayingIt is! it is not!
So he appeared; and then bowed down his brow
And with humility returned towards him
Andwhere inferiors embraceembraced him.
O glory of the Latians, thou,he said
Through whom our language showed what it could do
O pride eternal of the place I came from,
What merit or what grace to me reveals thee?
If I to hear thy words be worthy, tell me
If thou dost come from Hell, and from what cloister.
Through all the circles of the doleful realm,
Responded hehave I come hitherward;
Heaven's power impelled me, and with that I come.
I by not doing, not by doing, lost
The sight of that high sun which thou desirest,
And which too late by me was recognized.
A place there is below not sad with torments,
But darkness only, where the lamentations
Have not the sound of wailing, but are sighs.
There dwell I with the little innocents
Snatched by the teeth of Death, or ever they
Were from our human sinfulness exempt.
There dwell I among those who the three saintly
Virtues did not put on, and without vice
The others knew and followed all of them.
But if thou know and can, some indication
Give us by which we may the sooner come
Where Purgatory has its right beginning.
He answered: "No fixed place has been assigned us;
'Tis lawful for me to go up and round;
So far as I can goas guide I join thee.
But see already how the day declines
And to go up by night we are not able;
Therefore 'tis well to think of some fair sojourn.
Souls are there on the right hand here withdrawn;
If thou permit me I will lead thee to them
And thou shalt know them not without delight."
How is this?was the answer; "should one wish
To mount by night would he prevented be
By others? or mayhap would not have power?"
And on the ground the good Sordello drew
His fingersayingSee, this line alone
Thou couldst not pass after the sun is gone;
Not that aught else would hindrance give, however,
To going up, save the nocturnal darkness;
This with the want of power the will perplexes.
We might indeed therewith return below,
And, wandering, walk the hill-side round about,
While the horizon holds the day imprisoned.
Thereon my Lordas if in wondersaid:
Do thou conduct us thither, where thou sayest
That we can take delight in tarrying.
Little had we withdrawn us from that place
When I perceived the mount was hollowed out
In fashion as the valleys here are hollowed.
Thitherward,said that shadewill we repair,
Where of itself the hill-side makes a lap,
And there for the new day will we await.
'Twixt hill and plain there was a winding path
Which led us to the margin of that dell
Where dies the border more than half away.
Gold and fine silverand scarlet and pearl-white
The Indian wood resplendent and serene
Fresh emerald the moment it is broken
By herbage and by flowers within that hollow
Plantedeach one in colour would be vanquished
As by its greater vanquished is the less.
Nor in that place had nature painted only
But of the sweetness of a thousand odours
Made there a mingled fragrance and unknown.
Salve Regina,on the green and flowers
There seatedsingingspirits I beheld
Which were not visible outside the valley.
Before the scanty sun now seeks his nest,
Began the Mantuan who had led us thither
Among them do not wish me to conduct you.
Better from off this ledge the acts and faces
Of all of them will you discriminate,
Than in the plain below received among them.
He who sits highest, and the semblance bears
Of having what he should have done neglected,
And to the others' song moves not his lips,
Rudolph the Emperor was, who had the power
To heal the wounds that Italy have slain,
So that through others slowly she revives.
The other, who in look doth comfort him,
Governed the region where the water springs,
The Moldau bears the Elbe, and Elbe the sea.
His name was Ottocar; and in swaddling-clothes
Far better he than bearded Winceslaus
His son, who feeds in luxury and ease.
And the small-nosed, who close in council seems
With him that has an aspect so benign,
Died fleeing and disflowering the lily;
Look there, how he is beating at his breast!
Behold the other one, who for his cheek
Sighing has made of his own palm a bed;
Father and father-in-law of France's Pest
Are they, and know his vicious life and lewd,
And hence proceeds the grief that so doth pierce them.
He who appears so stalwart, and chimes in,
Singing, with that one of the manly nose,
The cord of every valour wore begirt;
And if as King had after him remained
The stripling who in rear of him is sitting,
Well had the valour passed from vase to vase,
Which cannot of the other heirs be said.
Frederick and Jacomo possess the realms,
But none the better heritage possesses.
Not oftentimes upriseth through the branches
The probity of man; and this He wills
Who gives it, so that we may ask of Him.
Eke to the large-nosed reach my words, no less
Than to the other, Pier, who with him sings;
Whence Provence and Apulia grieve already
The plant is as inferior to its seed,
As more than Beatrice and Margaret
Costanza boasteth of her husband still.
Behold the monarch of the simple life,
Harry of England, sitting there alone;
He in his branches has a better issue.
He who the lowest on the ground among them
Sits looking upward, is the Marquis William,
For whose sake Alessandria and her war
Make Monferrat and Canavese weep.
Purgatorio: Canto VIII
'Twas now the hour that turneth back desire
In those who sail the seaand melts the heart
The day they've said to their sweet friends farewell
And the new pilgrim penetrates with love
If he doth hear from far away a bell
That seemeth to deplore the dying day
When I began to make of no avail
My hearingand to watch one of the souls
Uprisenthat begged attention with its hand.
It joined and lifted upward both its palms
Fixing its eyes upon the orient
As if it said to GodNaught else I care for.
Te lucis anteso devoutly issued
Forth from its mouthand with such dulcet notes
It made me issue forth from my own mind.
And then the otherssweetly and devoutly
Accompanied it through all the hymn entire
Having their eyes on the supernal wheels.
HereReaderfix thine eyes well on the truth
For now indeed so subtile is the veil
Surely to penetrate within is easy.
I saw that army of the gentle-born
Thereafterward in silence upward gaze
As if in expectationpale and humble;
And from on high come forth and down descend
I saw two Angels with two flaming swords
Truncated and deprived of their points.
Green as the little leaflets just now born
Their garments werewhichby their verdant pinions
Beaten and blown abroadthey trailed behind.
One just above us came to take his station
And one descended to the opposite bank
So that the people were contained between them.
Clearly in them discerned I the blond head;
But in their faces was the eye bewildered
As faculty confounded by excess.
From Mary's bosom both of them have come,
Sordello saidas guardians of the valley
Against the serpent, that will come anon.
Whereupon Iwho knew not by what road
Turned round aboutand closely drew myself
Utterly frozento the faithful shoulders.
And once again Sordello: "Now descend we
'Mid the grand shadesand we will speak to them;
Right pleasant will it be for them to see you."
Only three steps I think that I descended
And was belowand saw one who was looking
Only at meas if he fain would know me.
Already now the air was growing dark
But not so that between his eyes and mine
It did not show what it before locked up.
Tow'rds me he movedand I tow'rds him did move;
Noble Judge Nino! how it me delighted
When I beheld thee not among the damned!
No greeting fair was left unsaid between us;
Then asked he: "How long is it since thou camest
O'er the far waters to the mountain's foot?"
Oh!said I to himthrough the dismal places
I came this morn; and am in the first life,
Albeit the other, going thus, I gain.
And on the instant my reply was heard
He and Sordello both shrank back from me
Like people who are suddenly bewildered.
One to Virgiliusand the other turned
To one who sat therecryingUp, Currado!
Come and behold what God in grace has willed!
Thenturned to me: "By that especial grace
Thou owest unto Himwho so conceals
His own first whereforethat it has no ford
When thou shalt be beyond the waters wide
Tell my Giovanna that she pray for me
Where answer to the innocent is made.
I do not think her mother loves me more
Since she has laid aside her wimple white
Which sheunhappyneeds must wish again.
Through her full easily is comprehended
How long in woman lasts the fire of love
If eye or touch do not relight it often.
So fair a hatchment will not make for her
The Viper marshalling the Milanese
A-fieldas would have made Gallura's Cock."
In this wise spake hewith the stamp impressed
Upon his aspect of that righteous zeal
Which measurably burneth in the heart.
My greedy eyes still wandered up to heaven
Still to that point where slowest are the stars
Even as a wheel the nearest to its axle.
And my Conductor: "Sonwhat dost thou gaze at
Up there?" And I to him: "At those three torches
With which this hither pole is all on fire."
And he to me: "The four resplendent stars
Thou sawest this morning are down yonder low
And these have mounted up to where those were."
As he was speakingto himself Sordello
Drew himand saidLo there our Adversary!
And pointed with his finger to look thither.
Upon the side on which the little valley
No barrier hatha serpent was; perchance
The same which gave to Eve the bitter food.
'Twixt grass and flowers came on the evil streak
Turning at times its head aboutand licking
Its back like to a beast that smoothes itself.
I did not seeand therefore cannot say
How the celestial falcons 'gan to move
But well I saw that they were both in motion.
Hearing the air cleft by their verdant wings
The serpent fledand round the Angels wheeled
Up to their stations flying back alike.
The shade that to the Judge had near approached
When he had calledthroughout that whole assault
Had not a moment loosed its gaze on me.
So may the light that leadeth thee on high
Find in thine own free-will as much of wax
As needful is up to the highest azure,
Began itif some true intelligence
Of Valdimagra or its neighbourhood
Thou knowest, tell it me, who once was great there.
Currado Malaspina was I called;
I'm not the elder, but from him descended;
To mine I bore the love which here refineth.
O,said I unto himthrough your domains
I never passed, but where is there a dwelling
Throughout all Europe, where they are not known?
That fame, which doeth honour to your house,
Proclaims its Signors and proclaims its land,
So that he knows of them who ne'er was there.
And, as I hope for heaven, I swear to you
Your honoured family in naught abates
The glory of the purse and of the sword.
It is so privileged by use and nature,
That though a guilty head misguide the world,
Sole it goes right, and scorns the evil way.
And he: "Now go; for the sun shall not lie
Seven times upon the pillow which the Ram
With all his four feet covers and bestrides
Before that such a courteous opinion
Shall in the middle of thy head be nailed
With greater nails than of another's speech
Unless the course of justice standeth still."
Purgatorio: Canto IX
The concubine of old Tithonus now
Gleamed white upon the eastern balcony
Forth from the arms of her sweet paramour;
With gems her forehead all relucent was
Set in the shape of that cold animal
Which with its tail doth smite amain the nations
And of the stepswith which she mountsthe Night
Had taken two in that place where we were
And now the third was bending down its wings;
When Iwho something had of Adam in me
Vanquished by sleepupon the grass reclined
There were all five of us already sat.
Just at the hour when her sad lay begins
The little swallownear unto the morning
Perchance in memory of her former woes
And when the mind of mana wanderer
More from the fleshand less by thought imprisoned
Almost prophetic in its visions is
In dreams it seemed to me I saw suspended
An eagle in the skywith plumes of gold
With wings wide openand intent to stoop
And thisit seemed to mewas where had been
By Ganymede his kith and kin abandoned
When to the high consistory he was rapt.
I thought within myselfperchance he strikes
From habit only hereand from elsewhere
Disdains to bear up any in his feet.
Then wheeling somewhat moreit seemed to me
Terrible as the lightning he descended
And snatched me upward even to the fire.
Therein it seemed that he and I were burning
And the imagined fire did scorch me so
That of necessity my sleep was broken.
Not otherwise Achilles started up
Around him turning his awakened eyes
And knowing not the place in which he was
What time from Chiron stealthily his mother
Carried him sleeping in her arms to Scyros
Wherefrom the Greeks withdrew him afterwards
Than I upstartedwhen from off my face
Sleep fled away; and pallid I became
As doth the man who freezes with affright.
Only my Comforter was at my side
And now the sun was more than two hours high
And turned towards the sea-shore was my face.
Be not intimidated,said my Lord
Be reassured, for all is well with us;
Do not restrain, but put forth all thy strength.
Thou hast at length arrived at Purgatory;
See there the cliff that closes it around;
See there the entrance, where it seems disjoined.
Whilom at dawn, which doth precede the day,
When inwardly thy spirit was asleep
Upon the flowers that deck the land below,
There came a Lady and said: 'I am Lucia;
Let me take this one up, who is asleep;
So will I make his journey easier for him.'
Sordello and the other noble shapes
Remained; she took thee, and, as day grew bright,
Upward she came, and I upon her footsteps.
She laid thee here; and first her beauteous eyes
That open entrance pointed out to me;
Then she and sleep together went away.
In guise of one whose doubts are reassured
And who to confidence his fear doth change
After the truth has been discovered to him
So did I change; and when without disquiet
My Leader saw meup along the cliff
He movedand I behind himtow'rd the height.
Readerthou seest well how I exalt
My themeand therefore if with greater art
I fortify itmarvel not thereat.
Nearer approached weand were in such place
That therewhere first appeared to me a rift
Like to a crevice that disparts a wall
I saw a portaland three stairs beneath
Diverse in colourto go up to it
And a gate-keeperwho yet spake no word.
And as I opened more and more mine eyes
I saw him seated on the highest stair
Such in the face that I endured it not.
And in his hand he had a naked sword
Which so reflected back the sunbeams tow'rds us
That oft in vain I lifted up mine eyes.
Tell it from where you are, what is't you wish?
Began he to exclaim; "where is the escort?
Take heed your coming hither harm you not!"
A Lady of Heaven, with these things conversant,
My Master answered himbut even now
Said to us, 'Thither go; there is the portal.'
And may she speed your footsteps in all good,
Again began the courteous janitor;
Come forward then unto these stairs of ours.
Thither did we approach; and the first stair
Was marble whiteso polished and so smooth
I mirrored myself therein as I appear.
The secondtinct of deeper hue than perse
Was of a calcined and uneven stone
Cracked all asunder lengthwise and across.
The thirdthat uppermost rests massively
Porphyry seemed to meas flaming red
As blood that from a vein is spirting forth.
Both of his feet was holding upon this
The Angel of Godupon the threshold seated
Which seemed to me a stone of diamond.
Along the three stairs upward with good will
Did my Conductor draw mesaying: "Ask
Humbly that he the fastening may undo."
Devoutly at the holy feet I cast me
For mercy's sake besought that he would open
But first upon my breast three times I smote.
Seven P's upon my forehead he described
With the sword's pointandTake heed that thou wash
These wounds, when thou shalt be within,he said.
Ashesor earth that dry is excavated
Of the same colour were with his attire
And from beneath it he drew forth two keys.
One was of goldand the other was of silver;
First with the whiteand after with the yellow
Plied he the doorso that I was content.
Whenever faileth either of these keys
So that it turn not rightly in the lock,
He said to usthis entrance doth not open.
More precious one is, but the other needs
More art and intellect ere it unlock,
For it is that which doth the knot unloose.
From Peter I have them; and he bade me err
Rather in opening than in keeping shut,
If people but fall down before my feet.
Then pushed the portals of the sacred door
Exclaiming: "Enter; but I give you warning
That forth returns whoever looks behind."
And when upon their hinges were turned round
The swivels of that consecrated gate
Which are of metalmassive and sonorous
Roared not so loudnor so discordant seemed
Tarpeiawhen was ta'en from it the good
Metelluswherefore meagre it remained.
At the first thunder-peal I turned attentive
And "Te Deum laudamus" seemed to hear
In voices mingled with sweet melody.
Exactly such an image rendered me
That which I heardas we are wont to catch
When people singing with the organ stand;
For now we hearand now hear notthe words.
Purgatorio: Canto X
When we had crossed the threshold of the door
Which the perverted love of souls disuses
Because it makes the crooked way seem straight
Re-echoing I heard it closed again;
And if I had turned back mine eyes upon it
What for my failing had been fit excuse?
We mounted upward through a rifted rock
Which undulated to this side and that
Even as a wave receding and advancing.
Here it behoves us use a little art,
Began my Leaderto adapt ourselves
Now here, now there, to the receding side.
And this our footsteps so infrequent made
That sooner had the moon's decreasing disk
Regained its bed to sink again to rest
Than we were forth from out that needle's eye;
But when we free and in the open were
There where the mountain backward piles itself
I wearied outand both of us uncertain
About our waywe stopped upon a plain
More desolate than roads across the deserts.
From where its margin borders on the void
To foot of the high bank that ever rises
A human body three times told would measure;
And far as eye of mine could wing its flight
Now on the leftand on the right flank now
The same this cornice did appear to me.
Thereon our feet had not been moved as yet
When I perceived the embankment round about
Which all right of ascent had interdicted
To be of marble whiteand so adorned
With sculpturesthat not only Polycletus
But Nature's selfhad there been put to shame.
The Angelwho came down to earth with tidings
Of peacethat had been wept for many a year
And opened Heaven from its long interdict
In front of us appeared so truthfully
There sculptured in a gracious attitude
He did not seem an image that is silent.
One would have sworn that he was sayingAve;
For she was there in effigy portrayed
Who turned the key to ope the exalted love
And in her mien this language had impressed
Ecce ancilla Dei,as distinctly
As any figure stamps itself in wax.
Keep not thy mind upon one place alone,
The gentle Master saidwho had me standing
Upon that side where people have their hearts;
Whereat I moved mine eyesand I beheld
In rear of Maryand upon that side
Where he was standing who conducted me
Another story on the rock imposed;
Wherefore I passed Virgilius and drew near
So that before mine eyes it might be set.
There sculptured in the self-same marble were
The cart and oxendrawing the holy ark
Wherefore one dreads an office not appointed.
People appeared in frontand all of them
In seven choirs dividedof two senses
Made one say "No the other, Yesthey sing."
Likewise unto the smoke of the frankincense
Which there was imaged forththe eyes and nose
Were in the yes and no discordant made.
Preceded there the vessel benedight
Dancing with girded loinsthe humble Psalmist
And more and less than King was he in this.
Oppositerepresented at the window
Of a great palaceMichal looked upon him
Even as a woman scornful and afflicted.
I moved my feet from where I had been standing
To examine near at hand another story
Which after Michal glimmered white upon me.
There the high glory of the Roman Prince
Was chronicledwhose great beneficence
Moved Gregory to his great victory;
'Tis of the Emperor Trajan I am speaking;
And a poor widow at his bridle stood
In attitude of weeping and of grief.
Around about him seemed it thronged and full
Of cavaliersand the eagles in the gold
Above them visibly in the wind were moving.
The wretched woman in the midst of these
Seemed to be saying: "Give me vengeanceLord
For my dead sonfor whom my heart is breaking."
And he to answer her: "Now wait until
I shall return." And she: "My Lord like one
In whom grief is impatient, shouldst thou not
Return?" And he: "Who shall be where I am
Will give it thee." And she: "Good deed of others
What boots it theeif thou neglect thine own?"
Whence he: "Now comfort theefor it behoves me
That I discharge my duty ere I move;
Justice so willsand pity doth retain me."
He who on no new thing has ever looked
Was the creator of this visible language
Novel to usfor here it is not found.
While I delighted me in contemplating
The images of such humility
And dear to look on for their Maker's sake
Behold, upon this side, but rare they make
Their steps,the Poet murmuredmany people;
These will direct us to the lofty stairs.
Mine eyesthat in beholding were intent
To see new thingsof which they curious are
In turning round towards him were not slow.
But still I wish notReaderthou shouldst swerve
From thy good purposesbecause thou hearest
How God ordaineth that the debt be paid;
Attend not to the fashion of the torment
Think of what follows; think that at the worst
It cannot reach beyond the mighty sentence.
Master,began Ithat which I behold
Moving towards us seems to me not persons,
And what I know not, so in sight I waver.
And he to me: "The grievous quality
Of this their torment bows them so to earth
That my own eyes at first contended with it;
But look there fixedlyand disentangle
By sight what cometh underneath those stones;
Already canst thou see how each is stricken."
O ye proud Christians! wretchedweary ones!
Whoin the vision of the mind infirm
Confidence have in your backsliding steps
Do ye not comprehend that we are worms
Born to bring forth the angelic butterfly
That flieth unto judgment without screen?
Why floats aloft your spirit high in air?
Like are ye unto insects undeveloped
Even as the worm in whom formation fails!
As to sustain a ceiling or a roof
In place of corbeloftentimes a figure
Is seen to join its knees unto its breast
Which makes of the unreal real anguish
Arise in him who sees itfashioned thus
Beheld I thosewhen I had ta'en good heed.
True is itthey were more or less bent down
According as they more or less were laden;
And he who had most patience in his looks
Weeping did seem to sayI can no more!
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 imploringwent beneath a weight
Like unto that of which we sometimes dream
Unequally in anguish round and round
And weary allupon 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 carriedso 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 bankand 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
Himwho still lives and does not name himself
Would I regardto see if I may know him
And make him piteous unto this burden.
A Latian was Iand 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
Thatthinking not upon the common mother
All men I held in scorn to such extent
I died thereforas know the Sienese
And every child in Campagnatico.
I am Omberto; and not to me alone
Has pride done harmbut all my kith and kin
Has with it dragged into adversity.
And here must I this burden bear for it
Till God be satisfiedsince I did not
Among the livinghere among the dead."
Listening I downward bent my countenance;
And one of themnot this one who was speaking
Twisted himself beneath the weight that cramps him
And looked at meand knew meand called out
Keeping his eyes laboriously fixed
On mewho all bowed down was going with them.
O,asked I himart thou not Oderisi,
Agobbio's honour, and honour of that art
Which is in Paris called illuminating?
Brother,said hemore 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
Humilityand great tumour thou assuagest;
But who is heof whom just now thou spakest?"
That,he repliedis 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
Abreastlike oxen going in a yoke
I with that heavy-laden soul went on
As long as the sweet pedagogue permitted;
But when he saidLeave him, and onward pass,
For here 'tis good that with the sail and oars,
As much as may be, each push on his barque;
Uprightas walking wills itI redressed
My personnotwithstanding that my thoughts
Remained within me downcast and abashed.
I had moved onand followed willingly
The footsteps of my Masterand we both
Already showed how light of foot we were
When unto me he said: "Cast down thine eyes;
'Twere well for theeto alleviate the way
To look upon the bed beneath thy feet."
Asthat 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 remembrancewhich alone
To the compassionate doth set its spur;
So saw I therebut of a better semblance
In point of artificewith figures covered
Whate'er as pathway from the mount projects.
I saw that one who was created noble
More than all other creaturesdown from heaven
Flaming with lightnings fall upon one side.
I saw Briareus smitten by the dart
Celestiallying on the other side
Heavy upon the earth by mortal frost.
I saw ThymbraeusPallas sawand Mars
Still clad in armour round about their father
Gaze at the scattered members of the giants.
I sawat foot of his great labourNimrod
As if bewilderedlooking 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 spidersad 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 offwhen 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 howhe being deadthey left him there;
Displayed the ruin and the cruel carnage
That Tomyris wroughtwhen 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! theehow 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 deadthe living seemed alive;
Better than I saw not who saw the truth
All that I trod upon while bowed I went.
Now wax ye proudand on with looks uplifted
Ye sons of Eveand 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 hewho ever watchful in advance
Was going onbegan: "Lift up thy head
'Tis no more time to go thus meditating.
Lo there an Angel who is making haste
To come towards us; loreturning 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 whiteand in his countenance
Such as appears the tremulous morning star.
His arms he openedand opened then his wings;
Come,said henear at hand here are the steps,
And easy from henceforth is the ascent.
At this announcement few are they who come!
O human creaturesborn 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 handto ascend the mount
Where seated is the church that lordeth it
O'er the well-guidedabove 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 thisside 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 entersand 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 Mastersaywhat heavy thing
Has been uplifted from meso 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 whollyas the first isbe 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 findsand 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 lettersthat 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 mountainwhich ascending shriveth all.
There in like manner doth a cornice bind
The hill all round aboutas does the first
Save that its arc more suddenly is curved.
Shade is there nonenor sculpture that appears;
So seems the bankand so the road seems smooth
With but the livid colour of the stone.
If to inquire we wait for people here,
The Poet saidI 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 heas 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 timeby dint of ready will;
And tow'rds us there were heard to flyalbeit
They were not visiblespirits 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 distancepassed anothercrying
I am Orestes!and it also stayed not.
O,said IFather, these, what voices are they?
And even as I askedbehold the third
Saying: "Love those from whom ye have had evil!"
And the good Master said: "This circle scourges
The sin of envyand 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 itas 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 meand saw shades with mantles
Not from the colour of the stone diverse.
And when we were a little farther onward
I heard a cry ofMary, pray for us!
A cry ofMichael, Peter, and all Saints!
I do not think there walketh still on earth
A man so hardthat 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 blindin 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 aspectwhich no less implores.
And as unto the blind the sun comes not
So to the shadesof 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 upas to a sparhawk wild
Is donebecause it will not quiet stay.
To me it seemedin passingto 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: "Speakand be briefand 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 devoutwho through the horrible seam
Pressed out the tears so that they bathed their cheeks.
To them I turned meandO people, certain,
Began Iof 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 aspectand should any one ask how
Its chin it lifted upward like a blind man.
Spirit,I saidwho 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 repliedand 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 saidwill 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 theethenamong us
Up hereif to return below thou thinkest?"
And I: "He who is with meand speaks not;
And living am I; therefore ask of me
Spirit electif thou wouldst have me move
O'er yonder yet my mortal feet for thee."
O, this is such a novel thing to hear,
She answeredthat 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 spiritsleaning 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 soulthatfastened still
Within the bodytow'rds the heaven art going
For charity console usand 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 spakethou 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 allas is a serpentthrough misfortune
Of placeor 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 swineof acorns worthier
Than other food for human use created
It first directeth its impoverished way.
Curs findeth it thereaftercoming downward
More snarling than their puissance demands
And turns from them disdainfully its muzzle.
It goes on fallingand 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 himif still he mind him
Of what a truthful spirit to me unravels.
Thy grandson I beholdwho doth become
A hunter of those wolves upon the bank
Of the wild streamand terrifies them all.
He sells their fleshit being yet alive;
Thereafter slaughters them like ancient beeves;
Many of lifehimself of praisedeprives.
Blood-stained he issues from the dismal forest;
He leaves it sucha 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 soulwhich stood
Turned round to listengrow 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 hisI'll not be chary with thee;
Knowthenthat 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 Calboliwhere no one since
Has made himself the heir of his desert.
And not alone his blood is made devoid
'Twixt Po and mountand sea-shore and the Reno
Of good required for truth and for diversion;
For all within these boundaries is full
Of venomous rootsso that too tardily
By cultivation now would they diminish.
Where is good Lizioand Arrigo Manardi
Pier Traversaroand 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 astonishedTuscanif I weep
When I rememberwith Guido da Prata
Ugolin d' Azzowho was living with us
Frederick Tignoso and his company
The house of Traversaraand th' Anastagi
And one race and the other is extinct;
The dames and cavaliersthe 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 peoplenot to be corrupted?
Bagnacaval does well in not begetting
And ill does Castrocaroand Conio worse
In taking trouble to beget such Counts.
Will do well the Paganiwhen their Devil
Shall have departed; but not therefore pure
Will testimony of them e'er remain.
O Ugolin de' Fantolisecure
Thy name issince no longer is awaited
One whodegeneratingcan obscure it!
But go nowTuscanfor 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; thereforeby keeping silent
They made us of our pathway confident.
When we became alone by going onward
Thunderwhen it doth cleave the airappeared
A voicethat counter to us cameexclaiming:
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 anotherwith so great a crash
That it resembled thunderings following fast:
I am Aglaurus, who became a stone!
And thento press myself close to the Poet
I backwardand not forwardtook 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 youand wheel around you
Displaying to you their eternal beauties
And still your eye is looking on the ground;
Whence Hewho all discernschastises 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 appearedtowards the night
Was of his course remaining to the sun;
There it was eveningand '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 handsand made myself the visor
Which the excessive glare diminishes.
As when from off the wateror a mirror
The sunbeam leaps unto the opposite side
Ascending upward in the selfsame measure
That it descendsand 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 Iand 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 werealready thence departed
And "Beati misericordes" was
Behind us sungRejoice, thou that o'ercomest!
My Master and myselfwe two alone
Were going upwardand I thoughtin going
Some profit to acquire from words of his;
And I to him directed methus 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 usthat 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 thereas 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 saidthan 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 thererunneth 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 welland more they love there
Andas a mirrorone 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.
Endeavourthenthat soon may be extinct
As are the two alreadythe five wounds
That close themselves again by being painful."
Even as I wished to sayThou 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 womanwith the sweet
Behaviour of a mothersaying: "Son
Why in this manner hast thou dealt with us?
Losorrowingthy 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 daughterO 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 slayingclamorously
Still crying to each otherKill him! kill him!
And him I saw bow downbecause of death
That weighed already on himto the earth
But of his eyes made ever gates to heaven
Imploring the high Lordin 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 Leaderwho could see me bear myself
Like to a man that rouses him from sleep
Exclaimed: "What ails theethat thou canst not stand?
But hast been coming more than half a league
Veiling thine eyesand 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 Iwhat appeared to me,
When thus from me my legs were ta'en away.
And he: "If thou shouldst have a hundred masks
Upon thy facefrom me would not be shut
Thy cogitationshowsoever 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 sluggardsslow
To use their wakefulness when it returns."
We passed alongathwart 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 directionsombre as the night
Nor was there place to hide one's self therefrom.
This of our eyes and the pure air bereft us.
Purgatorio: Canto XVI
Darkness of helland 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 escortfaithful and sagacious
Drew near to me and offered me his shoulder.
E'en as a blind man goes behind his guide
Lest he should wanderor should strike against
Aught that may harm or peradventure kill him
So went I through the bitter and foul air
Listening unto my Leaderwho said only
Look that from me thou be not separated.
Voices I heardand 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 alland metre one
So that all harmony appeared among them.
Master,I saidare 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 meand tell me if I go
Right for the passand 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 answerand 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 doubtunless I rid me of it.
First it was simpleand is now made double
By thy opinionwhich makes certain to me
Here and elsewherethat which I couple with it.
The world forsooth is utterly deserted
By every virtueas thou tellest me
And with iniquity is big and covered;
But I beseech thee point me out the cause
That I may see itand to others show it;
For one in the heavensand here below one puts it."
A sigh profoundthat grief forced into Ai!
He first sent forthand then began he: "Brother
The world is blindand sooth thou comest from it!
Ye who are living every cause refer
Still upward to the heavensas if all things
They of necessity moved with themselves.
If this were soin you would be destroyed
Free willnor any justice would there be
In having joy for goodor 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; whichif some fatigue
In the first battles with the heavens it suffers
Afterwards conquers allif well 'tis nurtured.
To greater force and to a better nature
Though freeye subject areand that creates
The mind in you the heavens have not in charge.
Henceif the present world doth go astray
In you the cause isbe it sought in you;
And I therein will now be thy true spy.
Forth from the hand of Himwho fondles it
Before it islike to a little girl
Weeping and laughing in her childish sport
Issues the simple soulthat nothing knows
Save thatproceeding 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 itand 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 havewho at the least
Of the true city should discern the tower.
The laws existbut who sets hand to them?
No one; because the shepherd who precedes
Can ruminatebut cleaveth not the hoof;
Wherefore the people that perceives its guide
Strike only at the good for which it hankers
Feeds upon thatand 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.
Romethat reformed the worldaccustomed was
Two suns to havewhich one road and the other
Of God and of the worldmade manifest.
One has the other quenchedand to the crosier
The sword is joinedand ill beseemeth it
That by main force one with the other go
Becausebeing joinedone feareth not the other;
If thou believe notthink 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 abstainthrough sense of shame
From speaking with the goodor drawing near them.
Truethree old men are leftin whom upbraids
The ancient age the newand late they deem it
That God restore them to the better life:
Currado da Palazzoand good Gherardo
And Guido da Castelwho better named is
In fashion of the Frenchthe simple Lombard:
Say thou henceforward that the Church of Rome
Confounding in itself two governments
Falls in the mireand soils itself and burden."
O Marco mine,I saidthou 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 youfor I come no farther.
Behold the dawnthat through the smoke rays out
Already whitening; and I must depart-Yonder
the Angel is--ere he appear."
Thus did he speakand would no farther hear me.
Purgatorio: Canto XVII
RememberReaderif e'er in the Alps
A mist o'ertook theethrough which thou couldst see
Not otherwise than through its membrane mole
Howwhen the vapours humid and condensed
Begin to dissipate themselvesthe 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 firstthat was already setting.
Thusto the faithful footsteps of my Master
Mating mine ownI issued from that cloud
To rays already dead on the low shores.
O thouImaginationthat dost steal us
So from without sometimesthat man perceives not
Although around may sound a thousand trumpets
Who moveth theeif sense impel thee not?
Moves thee a lightwhich in the heaven takes form
By selfor by a will that downward guides it.
Of her impietywho 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 itselfthat from without there came
Nothing that then might be received by it.
Then reigned within my lofty fantasy
One crucifieddisdainful and ferocious
In countenanceand even thus was dying.
Around him were the great Ahasuerus
Esther his wifeand the just Mordecai
Who was in word and action so entire.
And even as this image burst asunder
Of its own selfin fashion of a bubble
In which the water it was made of fails
There rose up in my vision a young maiden
Bitterly weepingand she said: "O queen
Why hast thou wished in anger to be naught?
Thou'st slain thyselfLavinia not to lose;
Now hast thou lost me; I am she who mourns
Motherat thine ere at another's ruin."
As sleep is brokenwhen 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 voiceHere 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 sunwhich 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 Ias soon as the first step I reached
Near me perceived a motion as of wings
And fanning in the faceand saying'Beati
Pacifici,' who are without ill anger.
Already over us were so uplifted
The latest sunbeamswhich 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 upwardand were motionless
Even as a shipwhich at the shore arrives;
And I gave heed a littleif 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 goodremiss
In what it should have doneis here restored;
Here plied again the ill-belated oar;
But still more openly to understand
Turn unto me thy mindand 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 muchor 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 turnsandwith more care
Or lesser than it oughtruns 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 alonenor from the First divided
Of hating Him is all desire cut off.
Hence ifdiscriminatingI judge well
The evil that one loves is of one's neighbour
And this is born in three modes in your clay.
There arewhoby abasement of their neighbour
Hope to exceland therefore only long
That from his greatness he may be cast down;
There arewho powergracehonourand 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 restand longeth for it;
Therefore to overtake it each one strives.
If languid love to look on this attract you
Or in attaining unto itthis cornice
After just penitencetorments you for it.
There's other good that does not make man happy;
'Tis not felicity'tis not the good
Essenceof 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 notthat thou seek it for thyself."
Purgatorio: Canto XVIII
An end had put unto his reasoning
The lofty Teacherand attent was looking
Into my faceif I appeared content;
And Iwhom a new thirst still goaded on
Without was muteand said within: "Perchance
The too much questioning I make annoys him."
But that true Fatherwho had comprehended
The timid wishthat opened not itself
By speaking gave me hardihood to speak.
Whence I: "My sight isMastervivified
So in thy lightthat clearly I discern
Whate'er thy speech importeth or describes.
Therefore I thee entreatsweet Father dear
To teach me loveto which thou dost refer
Every good action and its contrary."
Direct,he saidtowards 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 himhave 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 Beatricesince 'tis a work of faith.
Every substantial formthat segregate
From matter isand 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 stillwhence cometh the intelligence
Of the first notionsman 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.
Nowthat 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 principlefrom which is taken
Occasion of desert in youaccording
As good and guilty loves it takes and winnows.
Those whoin reasoningto the bottom went
Were of this innate liberty aware
Therefore bequeathed they Ethics to the world.
Supposingthenthat 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 mindif she should speak of it."
The moonbelated almost unto midnight
Now made the stars appear to us more rare
Formed like a bucketthat is all ablaze
And counter to the heavens ran through those paths
Which the sun sets aflamewhen he of Rome
Sees it 'twixt Sardes and Corsicans go down;
And that patrician shadefor whom is named
Pietola more than any Mantuan town
Had laid aside the burden of my lading;
Whence Iwho 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 peoplethat behind
Our backs already had come round to us.
And asof oldIsmenus 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 usbecause running
Moved onward all that mighty multitude
And two in the advance cried outlamenting
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 usand 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 sonin his whole body sick
And worse in mindand who was evil-born
He put into the place of its true pastor."
If more he saidor silent wasI know not
He had already passed so far beyond us;
But this I heardand 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 issuewith Anchises' son
Themselves to life withouten glory offered."
Then when from us so separated were
Those shadesthat 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 earthor 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 eyesand 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 tongueand made her all erect thereafter
In little whileand 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 sothat with difficulty
Could I have turned my thoughts away from her.
I am,she sangI 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 againbefore
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 garmentsand her belly showed me;
This waked me with the stench that issued from it.
I turned mine eyesand 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 himI my forehead bore
Like unto one who has it laden with thought
Who makes himself the half arch of a bridge
When I heard sayCome, here the passage is,
Spoken in a manner gentle and benign
Such as we hear not in this mortal region.
With open wingswhich 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 saywe both
Somewhat beyond the Angel having mounted.
And I: "With such misgiving makes me go
A vision newwhich bends me to itself
So that I cannot from the thought withdraw me."
Didst thou behold,he saidthat 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 hawkthat first his feet surveys
Then turns him to the call and stretches forward
Through the desire of food that draws him thither
Such I becameand suchas 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 groundall 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 askand 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 Spiritin whom weeping ripens
That without which to God we cannot turn
Suspend awhile for me thy greater care.
Who wast thouand why are your backs turned upwards
Tell meand if thou wouldst that I procure thee
Anything there whence living I departed."
And he to me: "Wherefore our backs the heaven
Turns to itselfknow shalt thou; but beforehand
'Scias quod ego fui successor Petri.'
Between Siestri and Chiaveri descends
A river beautifuland 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.
Tardyah 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 Iand wholly avaricious;
Nowas thou seestI 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
Aloftbeing fastened upon earthly things
So justice here has merged it in the earth.
As avarice had extinguished our affection
For every goodwhereby 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 fallenand wished to speak;
But even as I beganand he was 'ware
Only by listeningof my reverence
What cause,he saidhas downward bent thee thus?
And I to him: "For your own dignity
Standingmy conscience stung me with remorse."
Straighten thy legs, and upward raise thee, brother,
He answered: "Err notfellow-servant am I
With thee and with the others to one power.
If e'er that holyevangelic 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 herselfunless 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;
Thereforeto pleasure himagainst my pleasure
I drew the sponge not saturate from the water.
Onward I movedand onward moved my Leader
Through vacant placesskirting 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 bethou old she-wolf
That more than all the other beasts hast prey
Because of hunger infinitely hollow!
O heavenin 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 Iand 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 theenot for any comfort
I may expect from earthbut 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 Ghentand Lille and Bruges
Had Powersoon 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 onecontrite in cloth of gray.
I found me grasping in my hands the rein
Of the realm's governmentand so great power
Of new acquestand so with friends abounding
That to the widowed diadem promoted
The head of mine own offspring wasfrom 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 worthbut still it did no harm.
Then it began with falsehood and with force
Its rapine; and thereafterfor amends
Took PonthieuNormandyand Gascony.
Charles came to Italyand for amends
A victim made of Conradinand then
Thrust Thomas back to heavenfor amends.
A time I seenot very distant now
Which draweth forth another Charles from France
The better to make known both him and his.
Unarmed he goesand only with the lance
That Judas jousted with; and that he thrusts
So that he makes the paunch of Florence burst.
He thence not landbut sin and infamy
Shall gainso much more grievous to himself
As the more light such damage he accounts.
The othernow gone forthta'en in his ship
See I his daughter selland chaffer for her
As corsairs do with other female slaves.
What moreO Avaricecanst 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 himbut without decretal
He to the temple bears his sordid sails!
WhenO my Lord! shall I be joyful made
By looking on the vengeance whichconcealed
Makes sweet thine anger in thy secrecy?
What I was saying of that only bride
Of the Holy Ghostand 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 traitorthiefand 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 Crassustell us
For thou dost knowwhat is the taste of gold?'
Sometimes we speakone loudanother low
According to desire of speechthat 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 perceivedlike something that is falling
The mountain tremblewhence 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
SayingFear not, while I am guiding thee.
Gloria in excelsis Deo,all
Were sayingfrom 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 ceasedand 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.
Purgatorio: Canto XXI
The natural thirstthat ne'er is satisfied
Excepting with the water for whose grace
The woman of Samaria besought
Put me in travailand 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 usand came behind us
Down gazing on the prostrate multitude
Nor were we ware of ituntil it spake
SayingMy brothers, may God give you peace!
We turned us suddenlyand 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 heand 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 bearsand 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 soulwhich 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 guideand I shall guide him
As far on as my school has power to lead.
But tell usif thou knowestwhy such a shudder
Erewhile the mountain gaveand why together
All seemed to cryas far as its moist feet?"
In asking he so hit the very eye
Of my desirethat merely with the hope
My thirst became the less unsatisfied.
Naught is there,he beganthat 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 hereand how ye are set free
Why the earth quakesand wherefore ye rejoice.
Now who thou wast be pleased that I may know;
And why so many centuries thou hast here
Been lyinglet 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 saidBe 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 smiledas one who gives the wink;
Whereat the shade was silentand it gazed
Into mine eyeswhere most expression dwells;
AndAs thou well mayst consummate a labour
So great,it saidwhy 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 silentone to speak conjures me
Wherefore I sighand I am understood.
Speak,said my Masterand 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 spiritat the smile I gave;
But I will have more wonder seize upon thee.
This onewho guides on high these eyes of mine
Is that Virgiliusfrom whom thou didst learn
To sing aloud of men and of the Gods.
If other cause thou to my smile imputedst
Abandon it as falseand 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 artand 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 usBeati,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 meand 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 Parnassusin its grots to drink
And first concerning God didst me enlighten.
Thou didst as he who walketh in the night
Who bears his light behindwhich helps him not
But wary makes the persons after him
When thou didst say: 'The age renews itself
Justice returnsand man's primeval time
And a new progeny descends from heaven.'
Through thee I Poet wasthrough 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 creeddisseminated
By messengers of the eternal kingdom;
And thy assertionspoken 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
Thatwhen Domitian persecuted them
Not without tears of mine were their laments;
And all the while that I on earth remained
Them I befriendedand their upright customs
Made me disparage all the other sects.
And ere I led the Greeks unto the rivers
Of Thebesin poetryI 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.
Thouthereforewho hast raised the covering
That hid from me whatever good I speak of
While in ascending we have time to spare
Tell mein what place is our friend Terentius
CaeciliusPlautusVarroif thou knowest;
Tell me if they are damnedand in what alley."
These, Persius and myself, and others many,
Replied my Leaderwith 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 behindand 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 onand I alone
Behind themand 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 boughso 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 foodand 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 gloriousand so magnified
As by the Evangel is revealed to you."
Purgatorio: Canto XXIII
The while among the verdant leaves mine eyes
I rivetedas 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 Sageswho 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
Whounknown people on the road o'ertaking
Turn themselves round to themand do not stop
Even thusbehind us with a swifter motion
Coming and passing onwardgazed upon us
A crowd of spirits silent and devout.
Each in his eyes was dark and cavernous
Pallid in faceand 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 faminewhen 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 longingcould consume them so
And that of waterwithout 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 meand 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 hewhich 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 himbeholding 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 leftwhereby 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 alonethis ground
Encompassingis refreshed our pain-I
say our painand 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: "Foresefrom 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 morethan 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 widowwhom 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 sweetwhat 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'erwhat Saracens
Who stood in needto make them covered go
Of spiritual or other discipline?
But if the shameless women were assured
Of what swift Heaven prepares for themalready
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 brothernow no longer hide thee from me;
See that not only Ibut all these people
Are gazing therewhere 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 metwo 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 fleshthat follows after him.
Thence his encouragements have led me up
Ascending and still circling round the mount
That you doth straightenwhom 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 Virgiliuswho thus says to me
And him I pointed at; the other is
That shade for whom just now shook every slope
Your realmthat from itself discharges him."
Purgatorio: Canto XXIV
Nor speech the goingnor the going that
Slackened; but talking we went bravely on
Even as a vessel urged by a good wind.
And shadowsthat appeared things doubly dead
From out the sepulchres of their eyes betrayed
Wonder at meaware that I was living.
And Icontinuing my colloquy
Said: "Peradventure he goes up more slowly
Than he would dofor other people's sake.
But tell meif thou knowestwhere 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 firstand then: "'Tis not forbidden
To name each other hereso milked away
Is our resemblance by our dieting.
This pointing with his finger, is Buonagiunta
Buonagiuntaof Lucca; and that face
Beyond him theremore peaked than the others
Has held the holy Church within his arms;
From Tours was heand 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 Pilaand Boniface
Who with his crook had pastured many people.
I saw Messer Marchesewho had leisure
Once at Forli for drinking with less dryness
And he was one who ne'er felt satisfied.
But as he does who scansand then doth prize
One more than othersdid I him of Lucca
Who seemed to take most cognizance of me.
He murmuredand I know not what Gentucca
From that place heard Iwhere he felt the wound
Of justicethat doth macerate them so.
O soul,I saidthat 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 hewho 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 Iwhowhenever
Love doth inspire menoteand in that measure
Which he within me dictatessinging go."
O brother, now I see,he saidthe 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 satisfiedhe held his peace.
Even as the birdsthat winter tow'rds the Nile
Sometimes into a phalanx form themselves
Then fly in greater hasteand go in file;
In such wise all the people who were there
Turning their faceshurried on their steps
Both by their leanness and their wishes light.
And as a manwho weary is with trotting
Lets his companions onward goand walks
Until he vents the panting of his chest;
So did Forese let the holy flock
Pass byand came with me behind itsaying
When will it be that I again shall see thee?
How long,I answeredI 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 saidfor 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 heavenere 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-treeand 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 prayand he they pray to doth not answer
Butto make very keen their appetite
Holds their desire aloftand 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 VirgiliusStatiusand myself
Went crowding forward on the side that rises.
Be mindful,said heof 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.
Thusclosely pressed to one of the two borders
On passed wehearing 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 contemplationeach without a word.
What go ye thinking thus, ye three alone?
Said suddenly a voicewhereat 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 alofthere 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 asthe 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 frontand felt the moving of the plumes
That breathed around an odour of ambrosia;
And heard it said: "Blessed are they whom grace
So much illuminesthat 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 leftand night to Scorpio;
Wherefore as doth a man who tarries not
But goes his waywhate'er to him appear
If of necessity the sting transfix him
In this wise did we enter through the gap
Taking the stairwayone before the other
Which by its narrowness divides the climbers.
And as the little stork that lifts its wing
With a desire to flyand does not venture
To leave the nestand lets it downward droop
Even such was Iwith the desire of asking
Kindled and quenchedunto the motion coming
He makes who doth address himself to speak.
Not for our pacethough rapid it might be
My father sweet forborebut 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 hebe 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 Statiuswhere thou present art,
Be my excuse that I can naught deny thee.
Then he began: "Sonif these words of mine
Thy mind doth contemplate and doth receive
They'll be thy light unto the How thou sayest.
The perfect bloodwhich never is drunk up
Into the thirsty veinsand which remaineth
Like food that from the table thou removest
Takes in the heart for all the human members
Virtue informativeas being that
Which to be changed to them goes through the veins
Again digestdescends 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 meantthe other active
By reason of the perfect place it springs from;
And being conjoinedbegins to operate
Coagulating firstthen vivifying
What for its matter it had made consistent.
The active virtuebeing made a soul
As of a plant(in so far different
This on the way isthat arrived already)
Then works so muchthat now it moves and feels
Like a sea-fungusand then undertakes
To organize the powers whose seed it is.
NowSondilates 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 farthat 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 thatjust 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 natureand inspires
A spirit new with virtue all replete
Which what it finds there active doth attract
Into its substanceand becomes one soul
Which livesand feelsand on itself revolves.
And that thou less may wonder at my word
Behold the sun's heatwhich becometh wine
Joined to the juice that from the vine distils.
Whenever Lachesis has no more thread
It separates from the fleshand virtually
Bears with itself the human and divine;
The other faculties are voiceless all;
The memorythe intelligenceand 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
Asand as much asin the living members.
And even as the airwhen 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 senseeven to the sight.
Thence is it that we speakand 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 affectionsso the shade is shaped
And this is cause of what thou wonderest at."
And now unto the last of all the circles
Had we arrivedand 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 backand from itself sequesters.
Hence we must needs go on the open side
And one by one; and I did fear the fire
On this sideand 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 lookedto my own steps and theirs
Apportioning my sight from time to time.
After the close which to that hymn is made
Aloud they shoutedVirum non cognosco;
Then recommenced the hymn with voices low.
This also endedcried they: "To the wood
Diana ranand drove forth Helice
Therefromwho had of Venus felt the poison."
Then to their song returned they; then the wives
They shoutedand 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 needfuland such food
That the last wound of all should be closed up.
Purgatorio: Canto XXVI
While on the brink thus one before the other
We went upon our wayoft the good Master
Said: "Take thou heed! suffice it that I warn thee."
On the right shoulder smote me now the sun
Thatraying outalready 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 manyas they wentgive 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 meas far as they could come
Came certain of themalways 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 meand I straight
Should have revealed myselfwere 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 shadesand kissing one another
Without a pausecontent 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 cranesthat to Riphaean mountains
Might fly in partand part towards the sands
These of the frostthose of the sun avoidant
One folk is goingand the other coming
And weeping they return to their first songs
And to the cry that most befitteth them;
And close to me approachedeven as before
The very same who had entreated me
Attent to listen in their countenance.
Iwho their inclination twice had seen
Began: "O souls secure in the possession
Whene'er it may beof a state of peace
Neither unripe nor ripened have remained
My members upon earthbut here are with me
With their own blood and their articulations.
I go up here to be no longer blind;
A Lady is abovewho wins this grace
Whereby the mortal through your world I bring.
But as your greatest longing satisfied
May soon becomeso that the Heaven may house you
Which full of love isand most amply spreads
Tell methat I again in books may write it
Who are youand what is that multitude
Which goes upon its way behind your backs?"
Not otherwise with wonder is bewildered
The mountaineerand 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 becametheir mother re-beholding
Such I becamebut rise not to such height
The moment I heard name himself the father
Of me and of my betterswho had ever
Practised the sweet and gracious rhymes of love;
And without speech and hearing thoughtfully
For a long time I wentbeholding him
Nor for the fire did I approach him nearer.
When I was fed with lookingutterly
Myself I offered ready for his service
With affirmation that compels belief.
And he to me: "Thou leavest footprints such
In mefrom what I hearand so distinct
Lethe cannot efface themnor 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
Whichlong as shall endure our modern fashion
Shall make for ever dear their very ink!"
O brother,said hehe 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.
Thento give place perchance to one behind
Whom he had nearhe 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 Arnautque 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 Arnautwho 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 youby 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 forthBeati mundo corde,
In voice by far more living than our own.
Then: "No one farther goessouls 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 Iwhen I heard him
As he is who is put into the grave.
Upon my clasped hands I straightened me
Scanning the fireand 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 tormentbut not death.
Remember theeremember! and if I
On Geryon have safely guided thee
What shall I do now I am nearer God?
Believe for certainshouldst 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 itand put it to the proof
With thine own hands upon thy garment's hem.
Now lay asidenow lay aside all fear
Turn hitherwardand onward come securely;"
And I still motionlessand 'gainst my conscience!
Seeing me stand still motionless and stubborn
Somewhat disturbed he said: "Now look thouSon
'Twixt Beatrice and thee there is this wall."
As at the name of Thisbe oped his lids
The dying Pyramusand gazed upon her
What time the mulberry became vermilion
Even thusmy obduracy being softened
I turned to my wise Guidehearing the name
That in my memory evermore is welling.
Whereat he wagged his headand 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 itinto molten glass
I would have cast me to refresh myself
So without measure was the burning there!
And my sweet Fatherto encourage me
Discoursing still of Beatrice went on
Saying: "Her eyes I seem to see already!"
A voicethat on the other side was singing
Directed usand weattent alone
On thatcame forth where the ascent began.
Venite, benedicti Patris mei,
Sounded within a splendourwhich was there
Such it o'ercame meand I could not look.
The sun departs,it addedand 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 sunthat now was low.
And of few stairs we yet had made assay
Ere by the vanished shadow the sun's setting
Behind us we perceivedI 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 climbingmore than the delight.
Even as in ruminating passive grow
The goatswho have been swift and venturesome
Upon the mountain-tops ere they were fed
Hushed in the shadowwhile the sun is hot
Watched by the herdsmanwho upon his staff
Is leaningand in leaning tendeth them;
And as the shepherdlodging out of doors
Passes the night beside his quiet flock
Watching that no wild beast may scatter it
Such at that hour were weall three of us
I like the goatand 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 ruminatingand beholding these
Sleep seized upon me--sleepthat oftentimes
Before a deed is done has tidings of it.
It was the hourI thinkwhen 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
Ashome-returningless 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 meVirgilius 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 abovethat at each step thereafter
For flight I felt in me the pinions growing.
When underneath us was the stairway all
Run o'erand we were on the highest step
Virgilius fastened upon me his eyes
And said: "The temporal fire and the eternal
Sonthou hast seenand 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 sunthat shines upon thy forehead;
Behold the grassthe floweretsand 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 downand 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 forestdense and living-green
Which tempered to the eyes the new-born day
Withouten more delay I left the bank
Taking the level country slowlyslowly
Over the soil that everywhere breathes fragrance.
A softly-breathing airthat no mutation
Had in itselfupon the forehead smote me
No heavier blow than of a gentle wind
Whereat the brancheslightly 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
Singingreceived 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 farthat 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 brownbrown current
Under the shade perpetualthat never
Ray of the sun lets innor of the moon.
With feet I stayedand with mine eyes I passed
Beyond the rivuletto 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 alonewho 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 herselfwith feet together pressed
And to the grounda lady who is dancing
And hardly puts one foot before the other
On the vermilion and the yellow flowerets
She turned towards menot in other wise
Than maiden who her modest eyes casts down;
And my entreaties made to be content
So near approachingthat 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 Venuswhen transfixed
By her own sonbeyond 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 Hellespontwhere 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 mebecause it oped not then.
Ye are new-comers; and because I smile,
Began sheperadventure, 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 Iand 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 Supremesole in itself delighting
Created man goodand 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 exemptfrom 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 heightthat all is disengaged
In living etherdoth this motion strike
And make the forest soundfor it is dense;
And so much power the stricken plant possesses
That with its virtue it impregns the air
And thisrevolvingscatters it around;
And yonder earthaccording as 'tis worthy
In self or in its climeconceives and bears
Of divers qualities the divers trees;
It should not seem a marvel then on earth
This being heardwhenever any plant
Without seed manifest there taketh root.
And thou must knowthis 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 dischargesopen on two sides.
Upon this side with virtue it descends
Which takes away all memory of sin;
On thatof every good deed done restores it.
Here Letheas upon the other side
Eunoeit 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 thirstthat 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 Springand every fruit;
This is the nectar of which each one speaks."
Then backward did I turn me wholly round
Unto my Poetsand 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
Shewith the ending of her wordscontinued:
Beati quorum tecta sunt peccata.
And even as Nymphsthat wandered all alone
Among the sylvan shadowssedulous
One to avoid and one to see the sun
She then against the stream moved onwardgoing
Along the bankand 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 waythat to the East I faced.
Nor even thus our way continued far
Before the lady wholly turned herself
Unto mesayingBrother, 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 saidWhat thing is this?
And a delicious melody there ran
Along the luminous airwhence holy zeal
Made me rebuke the hardihood of Eve;
For there where earth and heaven obedient were
The woman onlyand but just created
Could not endure to stay 'neath any veil;
Underneath which had she devoutly stayed
I sooner should have tasted those delights
Ineffableand 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
Vigilsor 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 onseven 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 objectwhich 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 midnightat the middle of her month.
I turned me roundwith admiration filled
To good Virgiliusand 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 peopleas behind their leaders
Coming behind themgarmented 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 mirrorif 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 listsall of them of the colours
Whence the sun's bow is madeand Delia's girdle.
These standards to the rearward longer were
Than was my sight; andas it seemed to me
Ten paces were the outermost apart.
Under so fair a heaven as I describe
The four and twenty Elderstwo by two
Came on incoronate with flower-de-luce.
They all of them were singing: "Blessed thou
Among the daughters of Adam artand 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 Ezekielwho depicteth them
As he beheld them from the region cold
Coming with cloudwith whirlwindand with fire;
And such as thou shalt find them in his pages
Such were they here; saving that in their plumage
John is with meand 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 goldso far as he was bird
And white the others with vermilion mingled.
Not only Rome with no such splendid car
E'er gladdened Africanusor Augustus
But poor to it that of the Sun would be--
That of the Sunwhich 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 redand from the song of her
The others took their stepor slow or swift.
Upon the left hand four made holiday
Vested in purplefollowing 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 beheldunlike in habit
But like in gaiteach dignified and grave.
One showed himself as one of the disciples
Of that supreme Hippocrateswhom nature
Made for the animals she holds most dear;
Contrary care the other manifested
With sword so shining and so sharpit 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 roseand 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 dutyas the lower makes
Whoever turns the helm to come to port)
Motionless haltedthe veracious people
That came at first between it and the Griffin
Turned themselves to the caras to their peace.
And one of themas if by Heaven commissioned
SingingVeni, sponsa, de Libano
Shouted three timesand 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 sayingBenedictus qui venis,
Andscattering flowers above and round about
Manibus o date lilia plenis.
Ere now have I beheldas day began
The eastern hemisphere all tinged with rose
And the other heaven with fair serene adorned;
And the sun's faceuprisingovershadowed
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 spiritthat already now
So long a time had beenthat 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
Sublimethat 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 fearor when he is afflicted
To say unto Virgilius: "Not a drachm
Of blood remains in methat does not tremble;
I know the traces of the ancient flame."
But us Virgilius of himself deprived
Had leftVirgiliussweetest of all fathers
Virgiliusto 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 admiralwho on poop and prow
Comes to behold the people that are working
In other shipsand 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 Ladywho erewhile appeared
Veiled underneath the angelic festival
Direct her eyes to me across the river.
Although the veilthat from her head descended
Encircled with the foliage of Minerva
Did not permit her to appear distinctly
In attitude still royally majestic
Continued shelike 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
Butseeing myself thereinI 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 sheand the Angels sang
SuddenlyIn 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 thendissolvingtrickles 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 memore than had they said
O wherefore, lady, dost thou thus upbraid him?
The icethat was about my heart congealed
To air and water changedand in my anguish
Through mouth and eyes came gushing from my breast.
Sheon the right-hand border of the car
Still firmly standingto 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.
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 recommencedcontinuing 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 movedbut 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 mouththat sight
Was needful to the understanding of it.
Even as a cross-bow breakswhen '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 discoverthat 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 silentor deny
What thou confessestnot less manifest
Would be thy faultby such a Judge 'tis known.
But when from one's own cheeks comes bursting forth
The accusal of the sinin our tribunal
Against the edge the wheel doth turn itself.
But stillthat thou mayst feel a greater shame
For thy transgressionand another time
Hearing the Sirens thou mayst be more strong
Cast down the seed of weeping and attend;
So shalt thou hearhow 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 enclosedwhich scattered are in earth.
And if the highest pleasure thus did fail thee
By reason of my deathwhat 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 mewho was no longer such.
Thou oughtest not to have stooped thy pinions downward
To wait for further blowsor 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 faultand penitent;
So was I standing; and she said: "If thou
In hearing sufferest painlift up thy beard
And thou shalt feel a greater pain in seeing."
With less resistance is a robust holm
Uprootedeither 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;
Andstill but little reassuredmine eyes
Saw Beatrice turned round towards the monster
That is one person only in two natures.
Beneath her veilbeyond the margent green
She seemed to me far more her ancient self
To excelthan others herewhen 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 felland what I then became
She knoweth who had furnished me the cause.
Thenwhen the heart restored my outward sense
The lady I had found aloneabove me
I sawand she was sayingHold me, hold me.
Up to my throat she in the stream had drawn me
Anddragging me behind hershe 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 cannotmuch less write it.
The beautiful lady opened wide her arms
Embraced my headand plunged me underneath
Where I was forced to swallow of the water.
Then forth she drew meand all dripping brought
Into the dance of the four beautiful
And each one with her arm did cover me.
'We here are Nymphsand 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 isshall sharpen thine
The three beyondwho more profoundly look.'
Thus singing they began; and afterwards
Unto the Griffin's breast they led me with them
Where Beatrice was standingturned 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 longingshotter than the flame
Fastened mine eyes upon those eyes relucent
That still upon the Griffin steadfast stayed.
As in a glass the sunnot otherwise
Within them was the twofold monster shining
Now with the onenow with the other nature.
ThinkReaderif 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 foodthat while
It satisfies us makes us hunger for it
Themselves revealing of the highest rank
In bearingdid the other three advance
Singing to their angelic saraband.
Turn, Beatrice, O turn thy holy eyes,
Such was their songunto 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 paleor 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 indifferenceso 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 shieldsto save itself
A squadron turnsand 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 forestvacant
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 altogetherAdam!
Then circled they about a tree despoiled
Of blooms and other leafage on each bough.
Its tresseswhich so much the more dilate
As higher they ascendhad 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 lightwith that together mingled
Which after the celestial Lasca shines)
Begin to swelland then renew themselves
Each one with its own colourere the Sun
Harness his steeds beneath another star:
Less than of rose and more than violet
A hue disclosingwas renewed the tree
That had erewhile its boughs so desolate.
I never heardnor 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 compassionlessof 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 maywho well can picture drowsihood.
Therefore I pass to what time I awoke
And say a splendour rent from me the veil
Of slumberand a calling: "Risewhat 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
Andovercomerecovered at the word
By which still greater slumbers have been broken
And saw their school diminished by the loss
Not only of Eliasbut of Moses
And the apparel of their Master changed;
So I revivedand saw that piteous one
Above me standingwho had been conductress
Aforetime of my steps beside the river
And all in doubt I saidWhere's Beatrice?
And she: "Behold her seated underneath
The leafage newupon the root of it.
Behold the company that circles her;
The rest behind the Griffin are ascending
With more melodious songand 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 hera cloister made themselves
The seven Nymphswith 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 Iwho 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 cloudwhen it is raining
From out the region which is most remote
As I beheld the bird of Jove descend
Down through the treerending away the bark
As well as blossoms and the foliage new
And he with all his might the chariot smote
Whereat it reeledlike vessel in a tempest
Tossed by the wavesnow 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
Descendand leave it feathered with his plumes.
And such as issues from a heart that mourns
A voice from Heaven there issuedand it said:
My little bark, how badly art thou freighted!
Methoughtthenthat the earth did yawn between
Both wheelsand 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 floorand went his way rejoicing.
That which remained behindeven as with grass
A fertile regionwith the feathersoffered
Perhaps with pure intention and benign
Reclothed itselfand 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 itthere appeared to me
A shameless whorewith eyes swift glancing round
Andas 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 wantonroving eye
Turned upon meher angry paramour
Did scourge her from her head unto her feet.
Then full of jealousyand fierce with wrath
He loosed the monsterand across the forest
Dragged it so farhe made of that alone
A shield unto the whore and the strange beast.
Purgatorio: Canto XXXIII
Deus venerunt gentes,alternating
Now threenow fourmelodious psalmody
The maidens in the midst of tears began;
And Beatricecompassionate 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 speakuprisen to her feet
With colour as of fireshe 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 herby beckoning onlymoved
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 aspectCome more quickly,
To me she saidthat, 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: "Whybrotherdost thou not
Venture to question nowin 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 befellthat without perfect sound
Began I: "My necessityMadonna
You knowand 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
Wasand 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 monsterthen a prey;
For verily I seeand hence narrate it
The stars already near to bring the time
From every hindrance safeand every bar
Within which a Five-hundredTenand Five
One sent from Godshall slay the thievish woman
And that same giant who is sinning with her.
And peradventure my dark utterance
Like Themis and the Sphinxmay less persuade thee
Sincein their modeit 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 wordsso teach them unto those who live
That life which is a running unto death;
And bear in mindwhene'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 thatin pain and in desire
Five thousand years and more the first-born soul
Craved Himwho punished in himself the bite.
Thy genius slumbersif it deem it not
For special reason so pre-eminent
In heightand so inverted in its summit.
And if thy vain imaginings had not been
Water of Elsa round about thy mind
And Pyramus to the mulberrytheir 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 tooif not writtenat least painted
Thou bear it back within theefor 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 discoursethat aye
The more I striveso much the more I lose it?"
That thou mayst recognize,she saidthe 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 answeredrecollect 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
Whichwith the point of viewshifts 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 asbeneath 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 partlike friendsfrom 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 mePray
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 beholdthat yonder rises;
Lead him to itandas thou art accustomed
Revive again the half-dead virtue in him."
Like gentle soulthat maketh no excuse
But makes its own will of another's will
As soon as by a sign it is disclosed
Even sowhen she had taken hold of me
The beautiful lady movedand unto Statius
Saidin her womanly mannerCome with him.
IfReaderI possessed a longer space
For writing itI 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
Regeneratein the manner of new trees
That are renewed with a new foliage
Pure and disposed to mount unto the stars.