Paradiso: Canto XVI
O thou our poor nobility of blood,
If thou dost make the people glory in thee
Down here where our affection languishes,
A marvellous thing it ne'er will be to me;
For there where appetite is not perverted,
I say in Heaven, of thee I made a boast!
Truly thou art a cloak that quickly shortens,
So that unless we piece thee day by day
Time goeth round about thee with his shears!
With 'You,' which Rome was first to tolerate,
(Wherein her family less perseveres,)
Yet once again my words beginning made;
Whence Beatrice, who stood somewhat apart,
Smiling, appeared like unto her who coughed
At the first failing writ of Guenever.
And I began: "You are my ancestor,
You give to me all hardihood to speak,
You lift me so that I am more than I.
So many rivulets with gladness fill
My mind, that of itself it makes a joy
Because it can endure this and not burst.
Then tell me, my beloved root ancestral,
Who were your ancestors, and what the years
That in your boyhood chronicled themselves?
Tell me about the sheepfold of Saint John,
How large it was, and who the people were
Within it worthy of the highest seats."
As at the blowing of the winds a coal
Quickens to flame, so I beheld that light
Become resplendent at my blandishments.
And as unto mine eyes it grew more fair,
With voice more sweet and tender, but not in
This modern dialect, it said to me:
"From uttering of the 'Ave,' till the birth
In which my mother, who is now a saint,
Of me was lightened who had been her burden,
Unto its Lion had this fire returned
Five hundred fifty times and thirty more,
To reinflame itself beneath his paw.
My ancestors and I our birthplace had
Where first is found the last ward of the city
By him who runneth in your annual game.
Suffice it of my elders to hear this;
But who they were, and whence they thither came,
Silence is more considerate than speech.
All those who at that time were there between
Mars and the Baptist, fit for bearing arms,
Were a fifth part of those who now are living;
But the community, that now is mixed
With Campi and Certaldo and Figghine,
Pure in the lowest artisan was seen.
O how much better 'twere to have as neighbours
The folk of whom I speak, and at Galluzzo
And at Trespiano have your boundary,
Than have them in the town, and bear the stench
Of Aguglione's churl, and him of Signa
Who has sharp eyes for trickery already.
Had not the folk, which most of all the world
Degenerates, been a step-dame unto Caesar,
But as a mother to her son benignant,
Some who turn Florentines, and trade and discount,
Would have gone back again to Simifonte
There where their grandsires went about as beggars.
At Montemurlo still would be the Counts,
The Cerchi in the parish of Acone,
Perhaps in Valdigrieve the Buondelmonti.
Ever the intermingling of the people
Has been the source of malady in cities,
As in the body food it surfeits on;
And a blind bull more headlong plunges down
Than a blind lamb; and very often cuts
Better and more a single sword than five.
If Luni thou regard, and Urbisaglia,
How they have passed away, and how are passing
Chiusi and Sinigaglia after them,
To hear how races waste themselves away,
Will seem to thee no novel thing nor hard,
Seeing that even cities have an end.
All things of yours have their mortality,
Even as yourselves; but it is hidden in some
That a long while endure, and lives are short;
And as the turning of the lunar heaven
Covers and bares the shores without a pause,
In the like manner fortune does with Florence.
Therefore should not appear a marvellous thing
What I shall say of the great Florentines
Of whom the fame is hidden in the Past.
I saw the Ughi, saw the Catellini,
Filippi, Greci, Ormanni, and Alberichi,
Even in their fall illustrious citizens;
And saw, as mighty as they ancient were,
With him of La Sannella him of Arca,
And Soldanier, Ardinghi, and Bostichi.
Near to the gate that is at present laden
With a new felony of so much weight
That soon it shall be jetsam from the bark,
The Ravignani were, from whom descended
The County Guido, and whoe'er the name
Of the great Bellincione since hath taken.
He of La Pressa knew the art of ruling
Already, and already Galigajo
Had hilt and pommel gilded in his house.
Mighty already was the Column Vair,
Sacchetti, Giuochi, Fifant, and Barucci,
And Galli, and they who for the bushel blush.
The stock from which were the Calfucci born
Was great already, and already chosen
To curule chairs the Sizii and Arrigucci.
O how beheld I those who are undone
By their own pride! and how the Balls of Gold
Florence enflowered in all their mighty deeds!
So likewise did the ancestors of those
Who evermore, when vacant is your church,
Fatten by staying in consistory.
The insolent race, that like a dragon follows
Whoever flees, and unto him that shows
His teeth or purse is gentle as a lamb,
Already rising was, but from low people;
So that it pleased not Ubertin Donato
That his wife's father should make him their kin.
Already had Caponsacco to the Market
From Fesole descended, and already
Giuda and Infangato were good burghers.
I'll tell a thing incredible, but true;
One entered the small circuit by a gate
Which from the Della Pera took its name!
Each one that bears the beautiful escutcheon
Of the great baron whose renown and name
The festival of Thomas keepeth fresh,
Knighthood and privilege from him received;
Though with the populace unites himself
To-day the man who binds it with a border.
Already were Gualterotti and Importuni;
And still more quiet would the Borgo be
If with new neighbours it remained unfed.
The house from which is born your lamentation,
Through just disdain that death among you brought
And put an end unto your joyous life,
Was honoured in itself and its companions.
O Buondelmonte, how in evil hour
Thou fled'st the bridal at another's promptings!
Many would be rejoicing who are sad,
If God had thee surrendered to the Ema
The first time that thou camest to the city.
But it behoved the mutilated stone
Which guards the bridge, that Florence should provide
A victim in her latest hour of peace.
With all these families, and others with them,
Florence beheld I in so great repose,
That no occasion had she whence to weep;
With all these families beheld so just
And glorious her people, that the lily
Never upon the spear was placed reversed,
Nor by division was vermilion made."
Paradiso: Canto XVII
As came to Clymene, to be made certain
Of that which he had heard against himself,
He who makes fathers chary still to children,
Even such was I, and such was I perceived
By Beatrice and by the holy light
That first on my account had changed its place.
Therefore my Lady said to me: "Send forth
The flame of thy desire, so that it issue
Imprinted well with the internal stamp;
Not that our knowledge may be greater made
By speech of thine, but to accustom thee
To tell thy thirst, that we may give thee drink."
"O my beloved tree, (that so dost lift thee,
That even as minds terrestrial perceive
No triangle containeth two obtuse,
So thou beholdest the contingent things
Ere in themselves they are, fixing thine eyes
Upon the point in which all times are present,)
While I was with Virgilius conjoined
Upon the mountain that the souls doth heal,
And when descending into the dead world,
Were spoken to me of my future life
Some grievous words; although I feel myself
In sooth foursquare against the blows of chance.
On this account my wish would be content
To hear what fortune is approaching me,
Because foreseen an arrow comes more slowly."
Thus did I say unto that selfsame light
That unto me had spoken before; and even
As Beatrice willed was my own will confessed.
Not in vague phrase, in which the foolish folk
Ensnared themselves of old, ere yet was slain
The Lamb of God who taketh sins away,
But with clear words and unambiguous
Language responded that paternal love,
Hid and revealed by its own proper smile:
"Contingency, that outside of the volume
Of your materiality extends not,
Is all depicted in the eternal aspect.
Necessity however thence it takes not,
Except as from the eye, in which 'tis mirrored,
A ship that with the current down descends.
From thence, e'en as there cometh to the ear
Sweet harmony from an organ, comes in sight
To me the time that is preparing for thee.
As forth from Athens went Hippolytus,
By reason of his step-dame false and cruel,
So thou from Florence must perforce depart.
Already this is willed, and this is sought for;
And soon it shall be done by him who thinks it,
Where every day the Christ is bought and sold.
The blame shall follow the offended party
In outcry as is usual; but the vengeance
Shall witness to the truth that doth dispense it.
Thou shalt abandon everything beloved
Most tenderly, and this the arrow is
Which first the bow of banishment shoots forth.
Thou shalt have proof how savoureth of salt
The bread of others, and how hard a road
The going down and up another's stairs.
And that which most shall weigh upon thy shoulders
Will be the bad and foolish company
With which into this valley thou shalt fall;
For all ingrate, all mad and impious
Will they become against thee; but soon after
They, and not thou, shall have the forehead scarlet.
Of their bestiality their own proceedings
Shall furnish proof; so 'twill be well for thee
A party to have made thee by thyself.
Thine earliest refuge and thine earliest inn
Shall be the mighty Lombard's courtesy,
Who on the Ladder bears the holy bird,
Who such benign regard shall have for thee
That 'twixt you twain, in doing and in asking,
That shall be first which is with others last.
With him shalt thou see one who at his birth
Has by this star of strength been so impressed,
That notable shall his achievements be.
Not yet the people are aware of him
Through his young age, since only nine years yet
Around about him have these wheels revolved.
But ere the Gascon cheat the noble Henry,
Some sparkles of his virtue shall appear
In caring not for silver nor for toil.
So recognized shall his magnificence
Become hereafter, that his enemies
Will not have power to keep mute tongues about it.
On him rely, and on his benefits;
By him shall many people be transformed,
Changing condition rich and mendicant;
And written in thy mind thou hence shalt bear
Of him, but shalt not say it"--and things said he
Incredible to those who shall be present.
Then added: "Son, these are the commentaries
On what was said to thee; behold the snares
That are concealed behind few revolutions;
Yet would I not thy neighbours thou shouldst envy,
Because thy life into the future reaches
Beyond the punishment of their perfidies."
When by its silence showed that sainted soul
That it had finished putting in the woof
Into that web which I had given it warped,
Began I, even as he who yearneth after,
Being in doubt, some counsel from a person
Who seeth, and uprightly wills, and loves:
"Well see I, father mine, how spurreth on
The time towards me such a blow to deal me
As heaviest is to him who most gives way.
Therefore with foresight it is well I arm me,
That, if the dearest place be taken from me,
I may not lose the others by my songs.
Down through the world of infinite bitterness,
And o'er the mountain, from whose beauteous summit
The eyes of my own Lady lifted me,
And afterward through heaven from light to light,
I have learned that which, if I tell again,
Will be a savour of strong herbs to many.
And if I am a timid friend to truth,
I fear lest I may lose my life with those
Who will hereafter call this time the olden."
The light in which was smiling my own treasure
Which there I had discovered, flashed at first
As in the sunshine doth a golden mirror;
Then made reply: "A conscience overcast
Or with its own or with another's shame,
Will taste forsooth the tartness of thy word;
But ne'ertheless, all falsehood laid aside,
Make manifest thy vision utterly,
And let them scratch wherever is the itch;
For if thine utterance shall offensive be
At the first taste, a vital nutriment
'Twill leave thereafter, when it is digested.
This cry of thine shall do as doth the wind,
Which smiteth most the most exalted summits,
And that is no slight argument of honour.
Therefore are shown to thee within these wheels,
Upon the mount and in the dolorous valley,
Only the souls that unto fame are known;
Because the spirit of the hearer rests not,
Nor doth confirm its faith by an example
Which has the root of it unknown and hidden,
Or other reason that is not apparent."
Paradiso: Canto XVIII
Now was alone rejoicing in its word
That soul beatified, and I was tasting
My own, the bitter tempering with the sweet,
And the Lady who to God was leading me
Said: "Change thy thought; consider that I am
Near unto Him who every wrong disburdens."
Unto the loving accents of my comfort
I turned me round, and then what love I saw
Within those holy eyes I here relinquish;
Not only that my language I distrust,
But that my mind cannot return so far
Above itself, unless another guide it.
Thus much upon that point can I repeat,
That, her again beholding, my affection
From every other longing was released.
While the eternal pleasure, which direct
Rayed upon Beatrice, from her fair face
Contented me with its reflected aspect,
Conquering me with the radiance of a smile,
She said to me, "Turn thee about and listen;
Not in mine eyes alone is Paradise."
Even as sometimes here do we behold
The affection in the look, if it be such
That all the soul is wrapt away by it,
So, by the flaming of the effulgence holy
To which I turned, I recognized therein
The wish of speaking to me somewhat farther.
And it began: "In this fifth resting-place
Upon the tree that liveth by its summit,
And aye bears fruit, and never loses leaf,
Are blessed spirits that below, ere yet
They came to Heaven, were of such great renown
That every Muse therewith would affluent be.
Therefore look thou upon the cross's horns;
He whom I now shall name will there enact
What doth within a cloud its own swift fire."
I saw athwart the Cross a splendour drawn
By naming Joshua, (even as he did it,)
Nor noted I the word before the deed;
And at the name of the great Maccabee
I saw another move itself revolving,
And gladness was the whip unto that top.
Likewise for Charlemagne and for Orlando,
Two of them my regard attentive followed
As followeth the eye its falcon flying.
William thereafterward, and Renouard,
And the Duke Godfrey, did attract my sight
Along upon that Cross, and Robert Guiscard.
Then, moved and mingled with the other lights,
The soul that had addressed me showed how great
An artist 'twas among the heavenly singers.
To my right side I turned myself around,
My duty to behold in Beatrice
Either by words or gesture signified;
And so translucent I beheld her eyes,
So full of pleasure, that her countenance
Surpassed its other and its latest wont.
And as, by feeling greater delectation,
A man in doing good from day to day
Becomes aware his virtue is increasing,
So I became aware that my gyration
With heaven together had increased its arc,
That miracle beholding more adorned.
And such as is the change, in little lapse
Of time, in a pale woman, when her face
Is from the load of bashfulness unladen,
Such was it in mine eyes, when I had turned,
Caused by the whiteness of the temperate star,
The sixth, which to itself had gathered me.
Within that Jovial torch did I behold
The sparkling of the love which was therein
Delineate our language to mine eyes.
And even as birds uprisen from the shore,
As in congratulation o'er their food,
Make squadrons of themselves, now round, now long,
So from within those lights the holy creatures
Sang flying to and fro, and in their figures
Made of themselves now D, now I, now L.
First singing they to their own music moved;
Then one becoming of these characters,
A little while they rested and were silent.
O divine Pegasea, thou who genius
Dost glorious make, and render it long-lived,
And this through thee the cities and the kingdoms,
Illume me with thyself, that I may bring
Their figures out as I have them conceived!
Apparent be thy power in these brief verses!
Themselves then they displayed in five times seven
Vowels and consonants; and I observed
The parts as they seemed spoken unto me.
'Diligite justitiam,' these were
First verb and noun of all that was depicted;
'Qui judicatis terram' were the last.
Thereafter in the M of the fifth word
Remained they so arranged, that Jupiter
Seemed to be silver there with gold inlaid.
And other lights I saw descend where was
The summit of the M, and pause there singing
The good, I think, that draws them to itself.
Then, as in striking upon burning logs
Upward there fly innumerable sparks,
Whence fools are wont to look for auguries,
More than a thousand lights seemed thence to rise,
And to ascend, some more, and others less,
Even as the Sun that lights them had allotted;
And, each one being quiet in its place,
The head and neck beheld I of an eagle
Delineated by that inlaid fire.
He who there paints has none to be his guide;
But Himself guides; and is from Him remembered
That virtue which is form unto the nest.
The other beatitude, that contented seemed
At first to bloom a lily on the M,
By a slight motion followed out the imprint.
O gentle star! what and how many gems
Did demonstrate to me, that all our justice
Effect is of that heaven which thou ingemmest!
Wherefore I pray the Mind, in which begin
Thy motion and thy virtue, to regard
Whence comes the smoke that vitiates thy rays;
So that a second time it now be wroth
With buying and with selling in the temple
Whose walls were built with signs and martyrdoms!
O soldiery of heaven, whom I contemplate,
Implore for those who are upon the earth
All gone astray after the bad example!
Once 'twas the custom to make war with swords;
But now 'tis made by taking here and there
The bread the pitying Father shuts from none.
Yet thou, who writest but to cancel, think
That Peter and that Paul, who for this vineyard
Which thou art spoiling died, are still alive!
Well canst thou say: "So steadfast my desire
Is unto him who willed to live alone,
And for a dance was led to martyrdom,
That I know not the Fisherman nor Paul."
Paradiso: Canto XIX
Appeared before me with its wings outspread
The beautiful image that in sweet fruition
Made jubilant the interwoven souls;
Appeared a little ruby each, wherein
Ray of the sun was burning so enkindled
That each into mine eyes refracted it.
And what it now behoves me to retrace
Nor voice has e'er reported, nor ink written,
Nor was by fantasy e'er comprehended;
For speak I saw, and likewise heard, the beak,
And utter with its voice both 'I' and 'My,'
When in conception it was 'We' and 'Our.'
And it began: "Being just and merciful
Am I exalted here unto that glory
Which cannot be exceeded by desire;
And upon earth I left my memory
Such, that the evil-minded people there
Commend it, but continue not the story."
So doth a single heat from many embers
Make itself felt, even as from many loves
Issued a single sound from out that image.
Whence I thereafter: "O perpetual flowers
Of the eternal joy, that only one
Make me perceive your odours manifold,
Exhaling, break within me the great fast
Which a long season has in hunger held me,
Not finding for it any food on earth.
Well do I know, that if in heaven its mirror
Justice Divine another realm doth make,
Yours apprehends it not through any veil.
You know how I attentively address me
To listen; and you know what is the doubt
That is in me so very old a fast."
Even as a falcon, issuing from his hood,
Doth move his head, and with his wings applaud him,
Showing desire, and making himself fine,
Saw I become that standard, which of lauds
Was interwoven of the grace divine,
With such songs as he knows who there rejoices.
Then it began: "He who a compass turned
On the world's outer verge, and who within it
Devised so much occult and manifest,
Could not the impress of his power so make
On all the universe, as that his Word
Should not remain in infinite excess.
And this makes certain that the first proud being,
Who was the paragon of every creature,
By not awaiting light fell immature.
And hence appears it, that each minor nature
Is scant receptacle unto that good
Which has no end, and by itself is measured.
In consequence our vision, which perforce
Must be some ray of that intelligence
With which all things whatever are replete,
Cannot in its own nature be so potent,
That it shall not its origin discern
Far beyond that which is apparent to it.
Therefore into the justice sempiternal
The power of vision that your world receives,
As eye into the ocean, penetrates;
Which, though it see the bottom near the shore,
Upon the deep perceives it not, and yet
'Tis there, but it is hidden by the depth.
There is no light but comes from the serene
That never is o'ercast, nay, it is darkness
Or shadow of the flesh, or else its poison.
Amply to thee is opened now the cavern
Which has concealed from thee the living justice
Of which thou mad'st such frequent questioning.
For saidst thou: 'Born a man is on the shore
Of Indus, and is none who there can speak
Of Christ, nor who can read, nor who can write;
And all his inclinations and his actions
Are good, so far as human reason sees,
Without a sin in life or in discourse:
He dieth unbaptised and without faith;
Where is this justice that condemneth him?
Where is his fault, if he do not believe?'
Now who art thou, that on the bench wouldst sit
In judgment at a thousand miles away,
With the short vision of a single span?
Truly to him who with me subtilizes,
If so the Scripture were not over you,
For doubting there were marvellous occasion.
O animals terrene, O stolid minds,
The primal will, that in itself is good,
Ne'er from itself, the Good Supreme, has moved.
So much is just as is accordant with it;
No good created draws it to itself,
But it, by raying forth, occasions that."
Even as above her nest goes circling round
The stork when she has fed her little ones,
And he who has been fed looks up at her,
So lifted I my brows, and even such
Became the blessed image, which its wings
Was moving, by so many counsels urged.
Circling around it sang, and said: "As are
My notes to thee, who dost not comprehend them,
Such is the eternal judgment to you mortals."
Those lucent splendours of the Holy Spirit
Grew quiet then, but still within the standard
That made the Romans reverend to the world.
It recommenced: "Unto this kingdom never
Ascended one who had not faith in Christ,
Before or since he to the tree was nailed.
But look thou, many crying are, 'Christ, Christ!'
Who at the judgment shall be far less near
To him than some shall be who knew not Christ.
Such Christians shall the Ethiop condemn,
When the two companies shall be divided,
The one for ever rich, the other poor.
What to your kings may not the Persians say,
When they that volume opened shall behold
In which are written down all their dispraises?
There shall be seen, among the deeds of Albert,
That which ere long shall set the pen in motion,
For which the realm of Prague shall be deserted.
There shall be seen the woe that on the Seine
He brings by falsifying of the coin,
Who by the blow of a wild boar shall die.
There shall be seen the pride that causes thirst,
Which makes the Scot and Englishman so mad
That they within their boundaries cannot rest;
Be seen the luxury and effeminate life
Of him of Spain, and the Bohemian,
Who valour never knew and never wished;
Be seen the Cripple of Jerusalem,
His goodness represented by an I,
While the reverse an M shall represent;
Be seen the avarice and poltroonery
Of him who guards the Island of the Fire,
Wherein Anchises finished his long life;
And to declare how pitiful he is
Shall be his record in contracted letters
Which shall make note of much in little space.
And shall appear to each one the foul deeds
Of uncle and of brother who a nation
So famous have dishonoured, and two crowns.
And he of Portugal and he of Norway
Shall there be known, and he of Rascia too,
Who saw in evil hour the coin of Venice.
O happy Hungary, if she let herself
Be wronged no farther! and Navarre the happy,
If with the hills that gird her she be armed!
And each one may believe that now, as hansel
Thereof, do Nicosia and Famagosta
Lament and rage because of their own beast,
Who from the others' flank departeth not."
Paradiso: Canto XX
When he who all the world illuminates
Out of our hemisphere so far descends
That on all sides the daylight is consumed,
The heaven, that erst by him alone was kindled,
Doth suddenly reveal itself again
By many lights, wherein is one resplendent.
And came into my mind this act of heaven,
When the ensign of the world and of its leaders
Had silent in the blessed beak become;
Because those living luminaries all,
By far more luminous, did songs begin
Lapsing and falling from my memory.
O gentle Love, that with a smile dost cloak thee,
How ardent in those sparks didst thou appear,
That had the breath alone of holy thoughts!
After the precious and pellucid crystals,
With which begemmed the sixth light I beheld,
Silence imposed on the angelic bells,
I seemed to hear the murmuring of a river
That clear descendeth down from rock to rock,
Showing the affluence of its mountain-top.
And as the sound upon the cithern's neck
Taketh its form, and as upon the vent
Of rustic pipe the wind that enters it,
Even thus, relieved from the delay of waiting,
That murmuring of the eagle mounted up
Along its neck, as if it had been hollow.
There it became a voice, and issued thence
From out its beak, in such a form of words
As the heart waited for wherein I wrote them.
"The part in me which sees and bears the sun
In mortal eagles," it began to me,
"Now fixedly must needs be looked upon;
For of the fires of which I make my figure,
Those whence the eye doth sparkle in my head
Of all their orders the supremest are.
He who is shining in the midst as pupil
Was once the singer of the Holy Spirit,
Who bore the ark from city unto city;
Now knoweth he the merit of his song,
In so far as effect of his own counsel,
By the reward which is commensurate.
Of five, that make a circle for my brow,
He that approacheth nearest to my beak
Did the poor widow for her son console;
Now knoweth he how dearly it doth cost
Not following Christ, by the experience
Of this sweet life and of its opposite.
He who comes next in the circumference
Of which I speak, upon its highest arc,
Did death postpone by penitence sincere;
Now knoweth he that the eternal judgment
Suffers no change, albeit worthy prayer
Maketh below to-morrow of to-day.
The next who follows, with the laws and me,
Under the good intent that bore bad fruit
Became a Greek by ceding to the pastor;
Now knoweth he how all the ill deduced
From his good action is not harmful to him,
Although the world thereby may be destroyed.
And he, whom in the downward arc thou seest,
Guglielmo was, whom the same land deplores
That weepeth Charles and Frederick yet alive;
Now knoweth he how heaven enamoured is
With a just king; and in the outward show
Of his effulgence he reveals it still.
Who would believe, down in the errant world,
That e'er the Trojan Ripheus in this round
Could be the fifth one of the holy lights?
Now knoweth he enough of what the world
Has not the power to see of grace divine,
Although his sight may not discern the bottom."
Like as a lark that in the air expatiates,
First singing and then silent with content
Of the last sweetness that doth satisfy her,
Such seemed to me the image of the imprint
Of the eternal pleasure, by whose will
Doth everything become the thing it is.
And notwithstanding to my doubt I was
As glass is to the colour that invests it,
To wait the time in silence it endured not,
But forth from out my mouth, "What things are these?"
Extorted with the force of its own weight;
Whereat I saw great joy of coruscation.
Thereafterward with eye still more enkindled
The blessed standard made to me reply,
To keep me not in wonderment suspended:
"I see that thou believest in these things
Because I say them, but thou seest not how;
So that, although believed in, they are hidden.
Thou doest as he doth who a thing by name
Well apprehendeth, but its quiddity
Cannot perceive, unless another show it.
'Regnum coelorum' suffereth violence
From fervent love, and from that living hope
That overcometh the Divine volition;
Not in the guise that man o'ercometh man,
But conquers it because it will be conquered,
And conquered conquers by benignity.
The first life of the eyebrow and the fifth
Cause thee astonishment, because with them
Thou seest the region of the angels painted.
They passed not from their bodies, as thou thinkest,
Gentiles, but Christians in the steadfast faith
Of feet that were to suffer and had suffered.
For one from Hell, where no one e'er turns back
Unto good will, returned unto his bones,
And that of living hope was the reward,--
Of living hope, that placed its efficacy
In prayers to God made to resuscitate him,
So that 'twere possible to move his will.
The glorious soul concerning which I speak,
Returning to the flesh, where brief its stay,
Believed in Him who had the power to aid it;
And, in believing, kindled to such fire
Of genuine love, that at the second death
Worthy it was to come unto this joy.
The other one, through grace, that from so deep
A fountain wells that never hath the eye
Of any creature reached its primal wave,
Set all his love below on righteousness;
Wherefore from grace to grace did God unclose
His eye to our redemption yet to be,
Whence he believed therein, and suffered not
From that day forth the stench of paganism,
And he reproved therefor the folk perverse.
Those Maidens three, whom at the right-hand wheel
Thou didst behold, were unto him for baptism
More than a thousand years before baptizing.
O thou predestination, how remote
Thy root is from the aspect of all those
Who the First Cause do not behold entire!
And you, O mortals! hold yourselves restrained
In judging; for ourselves, who look on God,
We do not know as yet all the elect;
And sweet to us is such a deprivation,
Because our good in this good is made perfect,
That whatsoe'er God wills, we also will."
After this manner by that shape divine,
To make clear in me my short-sightedness,
Was given to me a pleasant medicine;
And as good singer a good lutanist
Accompanies with vibrations of the chords,
Whereby more pleasantness the song acquires,
So, while it spake, do I remember me
That I beheld both of those blessed lights,
Even as the winking of the eyes concords,
Moving unto the words their little flames.
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