Paradiso: Canto I
The glory of Him who moveth everything
Doth penetrate the universe, and shine
In one part more and in another less.
Within that heaven which most his light receives
Was I, and things beheld which to repeat
Nor knows, nor can, who from above descends;
Because in drawing near to its desire
Our intellect ingulphs itself so far,
That after it the memory cannot go.
Truly whatever of the holy realm
I had the power to treasure in my mind
Shall now become the subject of my song.
O good Apollo, for this last emprise
Make of me such a vessel of thy power
As giving the beloved laurel asks!
One summit of Parnassus hitherto
Has been enough for me, but now with both
I needs must enter the arena left.
Enter into my bosom, thou, and breathe
As at the time when Marsyas thou didst draw
Out of the scabbard of those limbs of his.
O power divine, lend'st thou thyself to me
So that the shadow of the blessed realm
Stamped in my brain I can make manifest,
Thou'lt see me come unto thy darling tree,
And crown myself thereafter with those leaves
Of which the theme and thou shall make me worthy.
So seldom, Father, do we gather them
For triumph or of Caesar or of Poet,
(The fault and shame of human inclinations,)
That the Peneian foliage should bring forth
Joy to the joyous Delphic deity,
When any one it makes to thirst for it.
A little spark is followed by great flame;
Perchance with better voices after me
Shall prayer be made that Cyrrha may respond!
To mortal men by passages diverse
Uprises the world's lamp; but by that one
Which circles four uniteth with three crosses,
With better course and with a better star
Conjoined it issues, and the mundane wax
Tempers and stamps more after its own fashion.
Almost that passage had made morning there
And evening here, and there was wholly white
That hemisphere, and black the other part,
When Beatrice towards the left-hand side
I saw turned round, and gazing at the sun;
Never did eagle fasten so upon it!
And even as a second ray is wont
To issue from the first and reascend,
Like to a pilgrim who would fain return,
Thus of her action, through the eyes infused
In my imagination, mine I made,
And sunward fixed mine eyes beyond our wont.
There much is lawful which is here unlawful
Unto our powers, by virtue of the place
Made for the human species as its own.
Not long I bore it, nor so little while
But I beheld it sparkle round about
Like iron that comes molten from the fire;
And suddenly it seemed that day to day
Was added, as if He who has the power
Had with another sun the heaven adorned.
With eyes upon the everlasting wheels
Stood Beatrice all intent, and I, on her
Fixing my vision from above removed,
Such at her aspect inwardly became
As Glaucus, tasting of the herb that made him
Peer of the other gods beneath the sea.
To represent transhumanise in words
Impossible were; the example, then, suffice
Him for whom Grace the experience reserves.
If I was merely what of me thou newly
Createdst, Love who governest the heaven,
Thou knowest, who didst lift me with thy light!
When now the wheel, which thou dost make eternal
Desiring thee, made me attentive to it
By harmony thou dost modulate and measure,
Then seemed to me so much of heaven enkindled
By the sun's flame, that neither rain nor river
E'er made a lake so widely spread abroad.
The newness of the sound and the great light
Kindled in me a longing for their cause,
Never before with such acuteness felt;
Whence she, who saw me as I saw myself,
To quiet in me my perturbed mind,
Opened her mouth, ere I did mine to ask,
And she began: "Thou makest thyself so dull
With false imagining, that thou seest not
What thou wouldst see if thou hadst shaken it off.
Thou art not upon earth, as thou believest;
But lightning, fleeing its appropriate site,
Ne'er ran as thou, who thitherward returnest."
If of my former doubt I was divested
By these brief little words more smiled than spoken,
I in a new one was the more ensnared;
And said: "Already did I rest content
From great amazement; but am now amazed
In what way I transcend these bodies light."
Whereupon she, after a pitying sigh,
Her eyes directed tow'rds me with that look
A mother casts on a delirious child;
And she began: "All things whate'er they be
Have order among themselves, and this is form,
That makes the universe resemble God.
Here do the higher creatures see the footprints
Of the Eternal Power, which is the end
Whereto is made the law already mentioned.
In the order that I speak of are inclined
All natures, by their destinies diverse,
More or less near unto their origin;
Hence they move onward unto ports diverse
O'er the great sea of being; and each one
With instinct given it which bears it on.
This bears away the fire towards the moon;
This is in mortal hearts the motive power
This binds together and unites the earth.
Nor only the created things that are
Without intelligence this bow shoots forth,
But those that have both intellect and love.
The Providence that regulates all this
Makes with its light the heaven forever quiet,
Wherein that turns which has the greatest haste.
And thither now, as to a site decreed,
Bears us away the virtue of that cord
Which aims its arrows at a joyous mark.
True is it, that as oftentimes the form
Accords not with the intention of the art,
Because in answering is matter deaf,
So likewise from this course doth deviate
Sometimes the creature, who the power possesses,
Though thus impelled, to swerve some other way,
(In the same wise as one may see the fire
Fall from a cloud,) if the first impetus
Earthward is wrested by some false delight.
Thou shouldst not wonder more, if well I judge,
At thine ascent, than at a rivulet
From some high mount descending to the lowland.
Marvel it would be in thee, if deprived
Of hindrance, thou wert seated down below,
As if on earth the living fire were quiet."
Thereat she heavenward turned again her face.
Paradiso: Canto II
O Ye, who in some pretty little boat,
Eager to listen, have been following
Behind my ship, that singing sails along,
Turn back to look again upon your shores;
Do not put out to sea, lest peradventure,
In losing me, you might yourselves be lost.
The sea I sail has never yet been passed;
Minerva breathes, and pilots me Apollo,
And Muses nine point out to me the Bears.
Ye other few who have the neck uplifted
Betimes to th' bread of Angels upon which
One liveth here and grows not sated by it,
Well may you launch upon the deep salt-sea
Your vessel, keeping still my wake before you
Upon the water that grows smooth again.
Those glorious ones who unto Colchos passed
Were not so wonder-struck as you shall be,
When Jason they beheld a ploughman made!
The con-created and perpetual thirst
For the realm deiform did bear us on,
As swift almost as ye the heavens behold.
Upward gazed Beatrice, and I at her;
And in such space perchance as strikes a bolt
And flies, and from the notch unlocks itself,
Arrived I saw me where a wondrous thing
Drew to itself my sight; and therefore she
From whom no care of mine could be concealed,
Towards me turning, blithe as beautiful,
Said unto me: "Fix gratefully thy mind
On God, who unto the first star has brought us."
It seemed to me a cloud encompassed us,
Luminous, dense, consolidate and bright
As adamant on which the sun is striking.
Into itself did the eternal pearl
Receive us, even as water doth receive
A ray of light, remaining still unbroken.
If I was body, (and we here conceive not
How one dimension tolerates another,
Which needs must be if body enter body,)
More the desire should be enkindled in us
That essence to behold, wherein is seen
How God and our own nature were united.
There will be seen what we receive by faith,
Not demonstrated, but self-evident
In guise of the first truth that man believes.
I made reply: "Madonna, as devoutly
As most I can do I give thanks to Him
Who has removed me from the mortal world.
But tell me what the dusky spots may be
Upon this body, which below on earth
Make people tell that fabulous tale of Cain?"
Somewhat she smiled; and then, "If the opinion
Of mortals be erroneous," she said,
"Where'er the key of sense doth not unlock,
Certes, the shafts of wonder should not pierce thee
Now, forasmuch as, following the senses,
Thou seest that the reason has short wings.
But tell me what thou think'st of it thyself."
And I: "What seems to us up here diverse,
Is caused, I think, by bodies rare and dense."
And she: "Right truly shalt thou see immersed
In error thy belief, if well thou hearest
The argument that I shall make against it.
Lights many the eighth sphere displays to you
Which in their quality and quantity
May noted be of aspects different.
If this were caused by rare and dense alone,
One only virtue would there be in all
Or more or less diffused, or equally.
Virtues diverse must be perforce the fruits
Of formal principles; and these, save one,
Of course would by thy reasoning be destroyed.
Besides, if rarity were of this dimness
The cause thou askest, either through and through
This planet thus attenuate were of matter,
Or else, as in a body is apportioned
The fat and lean, so in like manner this
Would in its volume interchange the leaves.
Were it the former, in the sun's eclipse
It would be manifest by the shining through
Of light, as through aught tenuous interfused.
This is not so; hence we must scan the other,
And if it chance the other I demolish,
Then falsified will thy opinion be.
But if this rarity go not through and through,
There needs must be a limit, beyond which
Its contrary prevents the further passing,
And thence the foreign radiance is reflected,
Even as a colour cometh back from glass,
The which behind itself concealeth lead.
Now thou wilt say the sunbeam shows itself
More dimly there than in the other parts,
By being there reflected farther back.
From this reply experiment will free thee
If e'er thou try it, which is wont to be
The fountain to the rivers of your arts.
Three mirrors shalt thou take, and two remove
Alike from thee, the other more remote
Between the former two shall meet thine eyes.
Turned towards these, cause that behind thy back
Be placed a light, illuming the three mirrors
And coming back to thee by all reflected.
Though in its quantity be not so ample
The image most remote, there shalt thou see
How it perforce is equally resplendent.
Now, as beneath the touches of warm rays
Naked the subject of the snow remains
Both of its former colour and its cold,
Thee thus remaining in thy intellect,
Will I inform with such a living light,
That it shall tremble in its aspect to thee.
Within the heaven of the divine repose
Revolves a body, in whose virtue lies
The being of whatever it contains.
The following heaven, that has so many eyes,
Divides this being by essences diverse,
Distinguished from it, and by it contained.
The other spheres, by various differences,
All the distinctions which they have within them
Dispose unto their ends and their effects.
Thus do these organs of the world proceed,
As thou perceivest now, from grade to grade;
Since from above they take, and act beneath.
Observe me well, how through this place I come
Unto the truth thou wishest, that hereafter
Thou mayst alone know how to keep the ford
The power and motion of the holy spheres,
As from the artisan the hammer's craft,
Forth from the blessed motors must proceed.
The heaven, which lights so manifold make fair,
From the Intelligence profound, which turns it,
The image takes, and makes of it a seal.
And even as the soul within your dust
Through members different and accommodated
To faculties diverse expands itself,
So likewise this Intelligence diffuses
Its virtue multiplied among the stars.
Itself revolving on its unity.
Virtue diverse doth a diverse alloyage
Make with the precious body that it quickens,
In which, as life in you, it is combined.
From the glad nature whence it is derived,
The mingled virtue through the body shines,
Even as gladness through the living pupil.
From this proceeds whate'er from light to light
Appeareth different, not from dense and rare:
This is the formal principle that produces,
According to its goodness, dark and bright."
Paradiso: Canto III
That Sun, which erst with love my bosom warmed,
Of beauteous truth had unto me discovered,
By proving and reproving, the sweet aspect.
And, that I might confess myself convinced
And confident, so far as was befitting,
I lifted more erect my head to speak.
But there appeared a vision, which withdrew me
So close to it, in order to be seen,
That my confession I remembered not.
Such as through polished and transparent glass,
Or waters crystalline and undisturbed,
But not so deep as that their bed be lost,
Come back again the outlines of our faces
So feeble, that a pearl on forehead white
Comes not less speedily unto our eyes;
Such saw I many faces prompt to speak,
So that I ran in error opposite
To that which kindled love 'twixt man and fountain.
As soon as I became aware of them,
Esteeming them as mirrored semblances,
To see of whom they were, mine eyes I turned,
And nothing saw, and once more turned them forward
Direct into the light of my sweet Guide,
Who smiling kindled in her holy eyes.
"Marvel thou not," she said to me, "because
I smile at this thy puerile conceit,
Since on the truth it trusts not yet its foot,
But turns thee, as 'tis wont, on emptiness.
True substances are these which thou beholdest,
Here relegate for breaking of some vow.
Therefore speak with them, listen and believe;
For the true light, which giveth peace to them,
Permits them not to turn from it their feet."
And I unto the shade that seemed most wishful
To speak directed me, and I began,
As one whom too great eagerness bewilders:
"O well-created spirit, who in the rays
Of life eternal dost the sweetness taste
Which being untasted ne'er is comprehended,
Grateful 'twill be to me, if thou content me
Both with thy name and with your destiny."
Whereat she promptly and with laughing eyes:
"Our charity doth never shut the doors
Against a just desire, except as one
Who wills that all her court be like herself.
I was a virgin sister in the world;
And if thy mind doth contemplate me well,
The being more fair will not conceal me from thee,
But thou shalt recognise I am Piccarda,
Who, stationed here among these other blessed,
Myself am blessed in the slowest sphere.
All our affections, that alone inflamed
Are in the pleasure of the Holy Ghost,
Rejoice at being of his order formed;
And this allotment, which appears so low,
Therefore is given us, because our vows
Have been neglected and in some part void."
Whence I to her: "In your miraculous aspects
There shines I know not what of the divine,
Which doth transform you from our first conceptions.
Therefore I was not swift in my remembrance;
But what thou tellest me now aids me so,
That the refiguring is easier to me.
But tell me, ye who in this place are happy,
Are you desirous of a higher place,
To see more or to make yourselves more friends?"
First with those other shades she smiled a little;
Thereafter answered me so full of gladness,
She seemed to burn in the first fire of love:
"Brother, our will is quieted by virtue
Of charity, that makes us wish alone
For what we have, nor gives us thirst for more.
If to be more exalted we aspired,
Discordant would our aspirations be
Unto the will of Him who here secludes us;
Which thou shalt see finds no place in these circles,
If being in charity is needful here,
And if thou lookest well into its nature;
Nay, 'tis essential to this blest existence
To keep itself within the will divine,
Whereby our very wishes are made one;
So that, as we are station above station
Throughout this realm, to all the realm 'tis pleasing,
As to the King, who makes his will our will.
And his will is our peace; this is the sea
To which is moving onward whatsoever
It doth create, and all that nature makes."
Then it was clear to me how everywhere
In heaven is Paradise, although the grace
Of good supreme there rain not in one measure.
But as it comes to pass, if one food sates,
And for another still remains the longing,
We ask for this, and that decline with thanks,
E'en thus did I; with gesture and with word,
To learn from her what was the web wherein
She did not ply the shuttle to the end.
"A perfect life and merit high in-heaven
A lady o'er us," said she, "by whose rule
Down in your world they vest and veil themselves,
That until death they may both watch and sleep
Beside that Spouse who every vow accepts
Which charity conformeth to his pleasure.
To follow her, in girlhood from the world
I fled, and in her habit shut myself,
And pledged me to the pathway of her sect.
Then men accustomed unto evil more
Than unto good, from the sweet cloister tore me;
God knows what afterward my life became.
This other splendour, which to thee reveals
Itself on my right side, and is enkindled
With all the illumination of our sphere,
What of myself I say applies to her;
A nun was she, and likewise from her head
Was ta'en the shadow of the sacred wimple.
But when she too was to the world returned
Against her wishes and against good usage,
Of the heart's veil she never was divested.
Of great Costanza this is the effulgence,
Who from the second wind of Suabia
Brought forth the third and latest puissance."
Thus unto me she spake, and then began
"Ave Maria" singing, and in singing
Vanished, as through deep water something heavy.
My sight, that followed her as long a time
As it was possible, when it had lost her
Turned round unto the mark of more desire,
And wholly unto Beatrice reverted;
But she such lightnings flashed into mine eyes,
That at the first my sight endured it not;
And this in questioning more backward made me.
Paradiso: Canto IV
Between two viands, equally removed
And tempting, a free man would die of hunger
Ere either he could bring unto his teeth.
So would a lamb between the ravenings
Of two fierce wolves stand fearing both alike;
And so would stand a dog between two does.
Hence, if I held my peace, myself I blame not,
Impelled in equal measure by my doubts,
Since it must be so, nor do I commend.
I held my peace; but my desire was painted
Upon my face, and questioning with that
More fervent far than by articulate speech.
Beatrice did as Daniel had done
Relieving Nebuchadnezzar from the wrath
Which rendered him unjustly merciless,
And said: "Well see I how attracteth thee
One and the other wish, so that thy care
Binds itself so that forth it does not breathe.
Thou arguest, if good will be permanent,
The violence of others, for what reason
Doth it decrease the measure of my merit?
Again for doubting furnish thee occasion
Souls seeming to return unto the stars,
According to the sentiment of Plato.
These are the questions which upon thy wish
Are thrusting equally; and therefore first
Will I treat that which hath the most of gall.
He of the Seraphim most absorbed in God,
Moses, and Samuel, and whichever John
Thou mayst select, I say, and even Mary,
Have not in any other heaven their seats,
Than have those spirits that just appeared to thee,
Nor of existence more or fewer years;
But all make beautiful the primal circle,
And have sweet life in different degrees,
By feeling more or less the eternal breath.
They showed themselves here, not because allotted
This sphere has been to them, but to give sign
Of the celestial which is least exalted.
To speak thus is adapted to your mind,
Since only through the sense it apprehendeth
What then it worthy makes of intellect.
On this account the Scripture condescends
Unto your faculties, and feet and hands
To God attributes, and means something else;
And Holy Church under an aspect human
Gabriel and Michael represent to you,
And him who made Tobias whole again.
That which Timaeus argues of the soul
Doth not resemble that which here is seen,
Because it seems that as he speaks he thinks.
He says the soul unto its star returns,
Believing it to have been severed thence
Whenever nature gave it as a form.
Perhaps his doctrine is of other guise
Than the words sound, and possibly may be
With meaning that is not to be derided.
If he doth mean that to these wheels return
The honour of their influence and the blame,
Perhaps his bow doth hit upon some truth.
This principle ill understood once warped
The whole world nearly, till it went astray
Invoking Jove and Mercury and Mars.
The other doubt which doth disquiet thee
Less venom has, for its malevolence
Could never lead thee otherwhere from me.
That as unjust our justice should appear
In eyes of mortals, is an argument
Of faith, and not of sin heretical.
But still, that your perception may be able
To thoroughly penetrate this verity,
As thou desirest, I will satisfy thee.
If it be violence when he who suffers
Co-operates not with him who uses force,
These souls were not on that account excused;
For will is never quenched unless it will,
But operates as nature doth in fire
If violence a thousand times distort it.
Hence, if it yieldeth more or less, it seconds
The force; and these have done so, having power
Of turning back unto the holy place.
If their will had been perfect, like to that
Which Lawrence fast upon his gridiron held,
And Mutius made severe to his own hand,
It would have urged them back along the road
Whence they were dragged, as soon as they were free;
But such a solid will is all too rare.
And by these words, if thou hast gathered them
As thou shouldst do, the argument is refuted
That would have still annoyed thee many times.
But now another passage runs across
Before thine eyes, and such that by thyself
Thou couldst not thread it ere thou wouldst be weary.
I have for certain put into thy mind
That soul beatified could never lie,
For it is near the primal Truth,
And then thou from Piccarda might'st have heard
Costanza kept affection for the veil,
So that she seemeth here to contradict me.
Many times, brother, has it come to pass,
That, to escape from peril, with reluctance
That has been done it was not right to do,
E'en as Alcmaeon (who, being by his father
Thereto entreated, his own mother slew)
Not to lose pity pitiless became.
At this point I desire thee to remember
That force with will commingles, and they cause
That the offences cannot be excused.
Will absolute consenteth not to evil;
But in so far consenteth as it fears,
If it refrain, to fall into more harm.
Hence when Piccarda uses this expression,
She meaneth the will absolute, and I
The other, so that both of us speak truth."
Such was the flowing of the holy river
That issued from the fount whence springs all truth;
This put to rest my wishes one and all.
"O love of the first lover, O divine,"
Said I forthwith, "whose speech inundates me
And warms me so, it more and more revives me,
My own affection is not so profound
As to suffice in rendering grace for grace;
Let Him, who sees and can, thereto respond.
Well I perceive that never sated is
Our intellect unless the Truth illume it,
Beyond which nothing true expands itself.
It rests therein, as wild beast in his lair,
When it attains it; and it can attain it;
If not, then each desire would frustrate be.
Therefore springs up, in fashion of a shoot,
Doubt at the foot of truth; and this is nature,
Which to the top from height to height impels us.
This doth invite me, this assurance give me
With reverence, Lady, to inquire of you
Another truth, which is obscure to me.
I wish to know if man can satisfy you
For broken vows with other good deeds, so
That in your balance they will not be light."
Beatrice gazed upon me with her eyes
Full of the sparks of love, and so divine,
That, overcome my power, I turned my back
And almost lost myself with eyes downcast.
Paradiso: Canto V
"If in the heat of love I flame upon thee
Beyond the measure that on earth is seen,
So that the valour of thine eyes I vanquish,
Marvel thou not thereat; for this proceeds
From perfect sight, which as it apprehends
To the good apprehended moves its feet.
Well I perceive how is already shining
Into thine intellect the eternal light,
That only seen enkindles always love;
And if some other thing your love seduce,
'Tis nothing but a vestige of the same,
Ill understood, which there is shining through.
Thou fain wouldst know if with another service
For broken vow can such return be made
As to secure the soul from further claim."
This Canto thus did Beatrice begin;
And, as a man who breaks not off his speech,
Continued thus her holy argument:
"The greatest gift that in his largess God
Creating made, and unto his own goodness
Nearest conformed, and that which he doth prize
Most highly, is the freedom of the will,
Wherewith the creatures of intelligence
Both all and only were and are endowed.
Now wilt thou see, if thence thou reasonest,
The high worth of a vow, if it he made
So that when thou consentest God consents:
For, closing between God and man the compact,
A sacrifice is of this treasure made,
Such as I say, and made by its own act.
What can be rendered then as compensation?
Think'st thou to make good use of what thou'st offered,
With gains ill gotten thou wouldst do good deed.
Now art thou certain of the greater point;
But because Holy Church in this dispenses,
Which seems against the truth which I have shown thee,
Behoves thee still to sit awhile at table,
Because the solid food which thou hast taken
Requireth further aid for thy digestion.
Open thy mind to that which I reveal,
And fix it there within; for 'tis not knowledge,
The having heard without retaining it.
In the essence of this sacrifice two things
Convene together; and the one is that
Of which 'tis made, the other is the agreement.
This last for evermore is cancelled not
Unless complied with, and concerning this
With such precision has above been spoken.
Therefore it was enjoined upon the Hebrews
To offer still, though sometimes what was offered
Might be commuted, as thou ought'st to know.
The other, which is known to thee as matter,
May well indeed be such that one errs not
If it for other matter be exchanged.
But let none shift the burden on his shoulder
At his arbitrament, without the turning
Both of the white and of the yellow key;
And every permutation deem as foolish,
If in the substitute the thing relinquished,
As the four is in six, be not contained.
Therefore whatever thing has so great weight
In value that it drags down every balance,
Cannot be satisfied with other spending.
Let mortals never take a vow in jest;
Be faithful and not blind in doing that,
As Jephthah was in his first offering,
Whom more beseemed to say, 'I have done wrong,
Than to do worse by keeping; and as foolish
Thou the great leader of the Greeks wilt find,
Whence wept Iphigenia her fair face,
And made for her both wise and simple weep,
Who heard such kind of worship spoken of.'
Christians, be ye more serious in your movements;
Be ye not like a feather at each wind,
And think not every water washes you.
Ye have the Old and the New Testament,
And the Pastor of the Church who guideth you
Let this suffice you unto your salvation.
If evil appetite cry aught else to you,
Be ye as men, and not as silly sheep,
So that the Jew among you may not mock you.
Be ye not as the lamb that doth abandon
Its mother's milk, and frolicsome and simple
Combats at its own pleasure with itself."
Thus Beatrice to me even as I write it;
Then all desireful turned herself again
To that part where the world is most alive.
Her silence and her change of countenance
Silence imposed upon my eager mind,
That had already in advance new questions;
And as an arrow that upon the mark
Strikes ere the bowstring quiet hath become,
So did we speed into the second realm.
My Lady there so joyful I beheld,
As into the brightness of that heaven she entered,
More luminous thereat the planet grew;
And if the star itself was changed and smiled,
What became I, who by my nature am
Exceeding mutable in every guise!
As, in a fish-pond which is pure and tranquil,
The fishes draw to that which from without
Comes in such fashion that their food they deem it;
So I beheld more than a thousand splendours
Drawing towards us, and in each was heard:
"Lo, this is she who shall increase our love."
And as each one was coming unto us,
Full of beatitude the shade was seen,
By the effulgence clear that issued from it.
Think, Reader, if what here is just beginning
No farther should proceed, how thou wouldst have
An agonizing need of knowing more;
And of thyself thou'lt see how I from these
Was in desire of hearing their conditions,
As they unto mine eyes were manifest.
"O thou well-born, unto whom Grace concedes
To see the thrones of the eternal triumph,
Or ever yet the warfare be abandoned
With light that through the whole of heaven is spread
Kindled are we, and hence if thou desirest
To know of us, at thine own pleasure sate thee."
Thus by some one among those holy spirits
Was spoken, and by Beatrice: "Speak, speak
Securely, and believe them even as Gods."
"Well I perceive how thou dost nest thyself
In thine own light, and drawest it from thine eyes,
Because they coruscate when thou dost smile,
But know not who thou art, nor why thou hast,
Spirit august, thy station in the sphere
That veils itself to men in alien rays."
This said I in direction of the light
Which first had spoken to me; whence it became
By far more lucent than it was before.
Even as the sun, that doth conceal himself
By too much light, when heat has worn away
The tempering influence of the vapours dense,
By greater rapture thus concealed itself
In its own radiance the figure saintly,
And thus close, close enfolded answered me
In fashion as the following Canto sings.
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