I. The Shores of Purgatory. The Four Stars. Cato of Utica. The Rush. 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 Violence, but 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 IV, and others. Inquiry into the State of Poetry. XXV. Discourse of Statius on Generation. The Seventh Circle: The Wanton. XXVI. Sodomites. Guido Guinicelli and Arnaldo Daniello. XXVII. The Wall of Fire and the Angel of God. Dante's Sleep upon the Stairway, and 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 Muses, since that I am yours, And here Calliope somewhat ascend,
My song accompanying with that sound, Of which the miserable magpies felt The blow so great, that they despaired of pardon.
Sweet colour of the oriental sapphire, That was upgathered in the cloudless aspect Of the pure air, as 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 planet, that to love incites, Was making all the orient to laugh, Veiling the Fishes that were in her escort.
To the right hand I turned, and fixed my mind Upon the other pole, and 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 wore, in 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 plumes, he 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 words, and 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 descended, at whose prayers I aided this one with my company.
But since it is thy will more be unfolded Of our condition, how 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 said, I unto him was sent To rescue him, and 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 Liberty, which is so dear, As knoweth he who life for her refuses.
Thou know'st it; since, for her, to thee not bitter Was death in Utica, where thou didst leave The vesture, that will shine so, the great day.
By us the eternal edicts are not broken; Since this one lives, and Minos binds not me; But of that circle I, where are the chaste
Eyes of thy Marcia, who in looks still prays thee, O holy breast, to hold her as thine own; For her love, then, incline 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 word, and wholly drew myself Unto my Guide, and turned mine eyes to him.
And he began: "Son, follow thou my steps; Let us turn back, for on this side declines The plain unto its lower boundaries."
The dawn was vanquishing the matin hour Which fled before it, so 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 sun, and, being in a part Where shadow falls, little evaporates,
Both of his hands upon the grass outspread In gentle manner did my Master place; Whence I, who 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 plant, such 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 Aurora, where 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 when, upon 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 eyes, that 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 white, and 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 haste, make 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 wants, nor other sail Than his own wings, between 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 Divine, more 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 vessel, very 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 place, all round about them gazing, As one who in new matters makes essay.
On every side was darting forth the day. The sun, who had with his resplendent shafts From the mid-heaven chased forth the Capricorn,
When the new people lifted up their faces Towards us, saying 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 came, a little while before you, Another way, which was so rough and steep, That mounting will henceforth seem sport to us."
The souls who had, from 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 spirits, all of them, as if Oblivious to go and make them fair.
One from among them saw I coming forward, As to embrace me, with such great affection, That it incited me to do the like.
O empty shadows, save 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 I, pursuing it, pressed farther forward.
Gently it said that I should stay my steps; Then knew I who it was, and I entreated That it would stop awhile to speak with me.
It made reply to me: "Even as I loved thee In mortal body, so 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. He, sooth to say, for three months past has taken Whoever wished to enter with all peace;
Whence I, who 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 mine, that 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 Master, and myself, and all that people Which with him were, appeared 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 this, ye laggard spirits?
What negligence, what standing still is this? Run to the mountain to strip off the slough, That lets not God be manifest to you."
Even as when, collecting grain or tares, The doves, together at their pasture met, Quiet, nor 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 relinquish, and go tow'rds the hill, As one who goes, and 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 conscience, and 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 mind, that 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 sun, that 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 me, with the fear Of being left alone, when 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 not, and 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 Turbia, the most desert, The most secluded pathway is a stair Easy and open, if compared with that.
"Who knoweth now upon which hand the hill Slopes down," my Master said, his 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 souls, that moved their feet in our direction, And did not seem to move, they 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 me, and with frank expression Replied: "Let us go there, for they come slowly, And thou be steadfast in thy hope, sweet 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 bank, and motionless stood and close, As he stands still to look who goes in doubt.
"O happy dead! O spirits elect already!" Virgilius made beginning, "by 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 threes, and the others stand Timidly, holding down their eyes and nostrils,
And what the foremost does the others do, Huddling themselves against her, if 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 stopped, and backward drew themselves somewhat; And all the others, who came after them, Not knowing why nor wherefore, did 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 eyes, consider well If e'er thou saw me in the other world."
I turned me tow'rds him, and looked at him closely; Blond was he, beautiful, and of noble aspect, But one of his eyebrows had a blow divided.
When with humility I had disclaimed E'er having seen him, "Now 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; Therefore, when thou returnest, I beseech thee
Go to my daughter beautiful, the mother Of Sicily's honour and of Aragon's, And the truth tell her, if aught else be told.
After I had my body lacerated By these two mortal stabs, I gave myself Weeping to Him, who 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 pastor, who 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-head, near unto Benevento, Under the safeguard of the heavy cairn.
Now the rain bathes and moveth them the wind, Beyond the realm, almost beside the Verde, Where he transported them with tapers quenched.
By malison of theirs is not so lost Eternal Love, that it cannot return, So long as hope has anything of green.
True is it, who in contumacy dies Of Holy Church, though penitent at last, Must wait upon the outside this bank
Thirty times told the time that he has been In his presumption, unless 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 me, and 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 hence, whenever aught is heard or seen Which keeps the soul intently bent upon it, Time passes on, and we perceive it not,
Because one faculty is that which listens, And other that which the soul keeps entire; This is as if in bonds, and that is free.
Of this I had experience positive In hearing and in gazing at that spirit; For fifty full degrees uprisen was
The sun, and I had not perceived it, when 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 villager, what 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 desire, conducted after him Who gave me hope, and 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 bank, out on the open slope, "My Master," said I, "what 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 I, when I began: "O my sweet Father! turn thee and behold How I remain alone, unless thou stay!"
"O son," he said, "up 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 on, that I Strained every nerve, behind him scrambling up, Until the circle was beneath my feet.
Thereon ourselves we seated both of us Turned to the East, from 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 them, and 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 thyself, imagine Zion Together with this mount on earth to stand,
So that they both one sole horizon have, And hemispheres diverse; whereby the road Which Phaeton, alas! knew not to drive,
Thou'lt see how of necessity must pass This on one side, when that upon the other, If thine intelligence right clearly heed."
"Truly, my Master," said I, "never 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 such, that ever At the beginning down below 'tis tiresome, And aye the more one climbs, the less it hurts.
Therefore, when 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 them, who seemed to me fatigued, Was sitting down, and both his knees embraced, Holding his face low down between them bowed.
"O my sweet Lord," I said, "do turn thine eye On him who shows himself more negligent Then even Sloth herself his sister were."
Then he turned round to us, and he gave heed, Just lifting up his eyes above his thigh, And said: "Now go thou up, for 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: "Belacqua, I grieve not
For thee henceforth; but tell me, wherefore seated In this place art thou? Waitest thou an escort? Or has thy usual habit seized upon thee?"
And he: "O brother, what's the use of climbing? Since to my torment would not let me go The Angel of God, who sitteth at the gate.
First heaven must needs so long revolve me round Outside thereof, as in my life it did, Since the good sighs I to the end postponed,
Unless, e'er that, some 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 Meridian, and 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 behind, pointing his finger at me,
One shouted: "See, it 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 me, but me, and the light which was broken!
"Why doth thy mind so occupy itself," The Master said, "that 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 long, hoarse "Oh!"
And two of them, in form of messengers, Ran forth to meet us, and 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 suppose, enough is answered them; Him let them honour, it may profit them."
Vapours enkindled saw I ne'er so swiftly At early nightfall cleave the air serene, Nor, at the set of sun, the clouds of August,
But upward they returned in briefer time, And, on arriving, with the others wheeled Tow'rds us, like 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 came, "a 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 do, ye well-born spirits,
Speak ye, and I will do it, by that peace Which, following 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 I, who speak alone before the others, Pray thee, if ever thou dost see the land That 'twixt Romagna lies and that of Charles,
Thou be so courteous to me of thy prayers In Fano, that they pray for me devoutly, That I may purge away my grave offences.
From thence was I; but the deep wounds, through 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 done, who 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 lagoon, and reeds and mire Did so entangle me I fell, and saw there A lake made from my veins upon the ground."
Then said another: "Ah, be that desire Fulfilled that draws thee to the lofty mountain, As thou with pious pity aidest mine.
I was of Montefeltro, and am Buonconte; Giovanna, nor 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 replied, "at 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 repeating, and in sadness learns;
The people with the other all depart; One goes in front, and one behind doth pluck him, And at his side one brings himself to mind;
He pauses not, and 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, And, promising, I freed myself therefrom.
There was the Aretine, who 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 Novello, and 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 declared, and 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 mine, expressly 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 there, where I affirmed that proposition, Defect was not amended by a prayer, Because the prayer from God was separate.
Verily, in so deep a questioning Do not decide, unless 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 happy, on this mountain's top."
And I: "Good Leader, let us make more haste, For I no longer tire me as before; And see, e'en now the hill a shadow casts."
"We will go forward with this day" he 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 way, eying us only After the manner of a couchant lion;
Still near to it Virgilius drew, entreating 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 shade, all in itself recluse,
Rose tow'rds him from the place where first it was, Saying: "O Mantuan, I am Sordello Of thine own land!" and one embraced the other.
Ah! servile Italy, grief's hostelry! A ship without a pilot in great tempest! No Lady thou of Provinces, but brothel!
That noble soul was so impatient, only 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 ones, and one doth gnaw the other Of those whom one wall and one fosse shut in!
Search, wretched one, all round about the shores Thy seaboard, and then look within thy bosom, If any part of thee enjoyeth peace!
What boots it, that for thee Justinian The bridle mend, if empty be the saddle? Withouten this the shame would be the less.
Ah! people, thou 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 blood, and 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 Fillippeschi, careless man! Those sad already, and these doubt-depressed!
Come, cruel one! come and behold the oppression Of thy nobility, and cure their wounds, And thou shalt see how safe is Santafiore!
Come and behold thy Rome, that is lamenting, Widowed, alone, and 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 be, O Jove Supreme! Who upon earth for us wast crucified, Are thy just eyes averted otherwhere?
Or preparation is 't, that, in the abyss Of thine own counsel, for some good thou makest From our perception utterly cut off?
For all the towns of Italy are full Of tyrants, and becometh a Marcellus Each peasant churl who plays the partisan!
My Florence! well mayst thou contented be With this digression, which concerns thee not, Thanks to thy people who such forethought take!
Many at heart have justice, but 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 asked, and crieth: "I submit."
Now be thou joyful, for thou hast good reason; Thou affluent, thou in peace, thou full of wisdom! If I speak true, the event conceals it not.
Athens and Lacedaemon, they who made The ancient laws, and were so civilized, Made towards living well a little sign
Compared with thee, who makest such fine-spun Provisions, that to middle of November Reaches not what thou in October spinnest.
How oft, within the time of thy remembrance, Laws, money, offices, and usages Hast thou remodelled, and renewed thy members?
And if thou mind thee well, and 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 said, "Who 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 marvels, who believes And yet does not, saying, "It is! it is not!"
So he appeared; and then bowed down his brow, And with humility returned towards him, And, where inferiors embrace, embraced 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 he, "have 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 go, as 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 finger, saying, "See, 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 Lord, as if in wonder, said: "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 shade, "will 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 silver, and 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 Planted, each 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 seated, singing, spirits 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 sea, and 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 hearing, and to watch one of the souls Uprisen, that begged attention with its hand.
It joined and lifted upward both its palms, Fixing its eyes upon the orient, As if it said to God, "Naught else I care for."
"Te lucis ante" so devoutly issued Forth from its mouth, and with such dulcet notes, It made me issue forth from my own mind.
And then the others, sweetly and devoutly, Accompanied it through all the hymn entire, Having their eyes on the supernal wheels.
Here, Reader, fix 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 expectation, pale 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 were, which, by their verdant pinions Beaten and blown abroad, they 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 said, "as guardians of the valley Against the serpent, that will come anon."
Whereupon I, who knew not by what road, Turned round about, and closely drew myself, Utterly frozen, to the faithful shoulders.
And once again Sordello: "Now descend we 'Mid the grand shades, and 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 below, and saw one who was looking Only at me, as 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 moved, and 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 him, "through 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 Virgilius, and the other turned To one who sat there, crying, "Up, Currado! Come and behold what God in grace has willed!"
Then, turned to me: "By that especial grace Thou owest unto Him, who so conceals His own first wherefore, that 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 she, unhappy, needs 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-field, as would have made Gallura's Cock."
In this wise spake he, with 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: "Son, what 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 speaking, to himself Sordello Drew him, and said, "Lo there our Adversary!" And pointed with his finger to look thither.
Upon the side on which the little valley No barrier hath, a 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 about, and licking Its back like to a beast that smoothes itself.
I did not see, and 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 fled, and round the Angels wheeled, Up to their stations flying back alike.
The shade that to the Judge had near approached When he had called, throughout 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 it, "if 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 him, "through 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 steps, with which she mounts, the Night Had taken two in that place where we were, And now the third was bending down its wings;
When I, who something had of Adam in me, Vanquished by sleep, upon the grass reclined, There were all five of us already sat.
Just at the hour when her sad lay begins The little swallow, near unto the morning, Perchance in memory of her former woes,
And when the mind of man, a wanderer More from the flesh, and less by thought imprisoned, Almost prophetic in its visions is,
In dreams it seemed to me I saw suspended An eagle in the sky, with plumes of gold, With wings wide open, and intent to stoop,
And this, it seemed to me, was where had been By Ganymede his kith and kin abandoned, When to the high consistory he was rapt.
I thought within myself, perchance he strikes From habit only here, and from elsewhere Disdains to bear up any in his feet.
Then wheeling somewhat more, it 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 upstarted, when 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 me, up along the cliff He moved, and I behind him, tow'rd the height.
Reader, thou seest well how I exalt My theme, and therefore if with greater art I fortify it, marvel not thereat.
Nearer approached we, and were in such place, That there, where first appeared to me a rift Like to a crevice that disparts a wall,
I saw a portal, and three stairs beneath, Diverse in colour, to go up to it, And a gate-keeper, who 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 him, "but 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 white, so polished and so smooth, I mirrored myself therein as I appear.
The second, tinct of deeper hue than perse, Was of a calcined and uneven stone, Cracked all asunder lengthwise and across.
The third, that uppermost rests massively, Porphyry seemed to me, as flaming red As blood that from a vein is spirting forth.
Both of his feet was holding upon this The Angel of God, upon the threshold seated, Which seemed to me a stone of diamond.
Along the three stairs upward with good will Did my Conductor draw me, saying: "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 point, and, "Take heed that thou wash These wounds, when thou shalt be within," he said.
Ashes, or 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 gold, and the other was of silver; First with the white, and after with the yellow, Plied he the door, so that I was content.
"Whenever faileth either of these keys So that it turn not rightly in the lock," He said to us, "this 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 metal, massive and sonorous,
Roared not so loud, nor so discordant seemed Tarpeia, when was ta'en from it the good Metellus, wherefore 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 heard, as we are wont to catch, When people singing with the organ stand;
For now we hear, and now hear not, the 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 Leader, "to 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 out, and both of us uncertain About our way, we 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 left, and 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 white, and so adorned With sculptures, that not only Polycletus, But Nature's self, had there been put to shame.
The Angel, who came down to earth with tidings Of peace, that 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 saying, "Ave;" 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 said, who had me standing Upon that side where people have their hearts;
Whereat I moved mine eyes, and I beheld In rear of Mary, and 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 oxen, drawing the holy ark, Wherefore one dreads an office not appointed.
People appeared in front, and all of them In seven choirs divided, of two senses Made one say "No," the other, "Yes, they sing."
Likewise unto the smoke of the frankincense, Which there was imaged forth, the eyes and nose Were in the yes and no discordant made.
Preceded there the vessel benedight, Dancing with girded loins, the humble Psalmist, And more and less than King was he in this.
Opposite, represented at the window Of a great palace, Michal 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 chronicled, whose 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 cavaliers, and 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 vengeance, Lord, For my dead son, for 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 thee, if thou neglect thine own?"
Whence he: "Now comfort thee, for it behoves me That I discharge my duty ere I move; Justice so wills, and pity doth retain me."
He who on no new thing has ever looked Was the creator of this visible language, Novel to us, for 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 murmured, "many people; These will direct us to the lofty stairs."
Mine eyes, that in beholding were intent To see new things, of which they curious are, In turning round towards him were not slow.
But still I wish not, Reader, thou shouldst swerve From thy good purposes, because 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 I, "that 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 fixedly, and disentangle By sight what cometh underneath those stones; Already canst thou see how each is stricken."
O ye proud Christians! wretched, weary ones! Who, in 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 corbel, oftentimes a figure Is seen to join its knees unto its breast,
Which makes of the unreal real anguish Arise in him who sees it, fashioned thus Beheld I those, when I had ta'en good heed.
True is it, they 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 say, "I 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 imploring, went beneath a weight Like unto that of which we sometimes dream,
Unequally in anguish round and round And weary all, upon that foremost cornice, Purging away the smoke-stains of the world.
If there good words are always said for us, What may not here be said and done for them, By those who have a good root to their will?
Well may we help them wash away the marks That hence they carried, so that clean and light They may ascend unto the starry wheels!
"Ah! so may pity and justice you disburden Soon, that ye may have power to move the wing, That shall uplift you after your desire,
Show us on which hand tow'rd the stairs the way Is shortest, and if more than one the passes, Point us out that which least abruptly falls;
For he who cometh with me, through the burden Of Adam's flesh wherewith he is invested, Against his will is chary of his climbing."
The words of theirs which they returned to those That he whom I was following had spoken, It was not manifest from whom they came,
But it was said: "To the right hand come with us Along the bank, and ye shall find a pass Possible for living person to ascend.
And were I not impeded by the stone, Which this proud neck of mine doth subjugate, Whence I am forced to hold my visage down,
Him, who still lives and does not name himself, Would I regard, to see if I may know him And make him piteous unto this burden.
A Latian was I, and born of a great Tuscan; Guglielmo Aldobrandeschi was my father; I know not if his name were ever with you.
The ancient blood and deeds of gallantry Of my progenitors so arrogant made me That, thinking not upon the common mother,
All men I held in scorn to such extent I died therefor, as know the Sienese, And every child in Campagnatico.
I am Omberto; and not to me alone Has pride done harm, but all my kith and kin Has with it dragged into adversity.
And here must I this burden bear for it Till God be satisfied, since I did not Among the living, here among the dead."
Listening I downward bent my countenance; And one of them, not this one who was speaking, Twisted himself beneath the weight that cramps him,
And looked at me, and knew me, and called out, Keeping his eyes laboriously fixed On me, who all bowed down was going with them.
"O," asked I him, "art thou not Oderisi, Agobbio's honour, and honour of that art Which is in Paris called illuminating?"
"Brother," said he, "more laughing are the leaves Touched by the brush of Franco Bolognese; All his the honour now, and mine in part.
In sooth I had not been so courteous While I was living, for the great desire Of excellence, on which my heart was bent.
Here of such pride is paid the forfeiture; And yet I should not be here, were it not That, having power to sin, I turned to God.
O thou vain glory of the human powers, How little green upon thy summit lingers, If't be not followed by an age of grossness!
In painting Cimabue thought that he Should hold the field, now Giotto has the cry, So that the other's fame is growing dim.
So has one Guido from the other taken The glory of our tongue, and he perchance Is born, who from the nest shall chase them both.
Naught is this mundane rumour but a breath Of wind, that comes now this way and now that, And changes name, because it changes side.
What fame shalt thou have more, if old peel off From thee thy flesh, than if thou hadst been dead Before thou left the 'pappo' and the 'dindi,'
Ere pass a thousand years? which is a shorter Space to the eterne, than twinkling of an eye Unto the circle that in heaven wheels slowest.
With him, who takes so little of the road In front of me, all Tuscany resounded; And now he scarce is lisped of in Siena,
Where he was lord, what time was overthrown The Florentine delirium, that superb Was at that day as now 'tis prostitute.
Your reputation is the colour of grass Which comes and goes, and that discolours it By which it issues green from out the earth."
And I: "Thy true speech fills my heart with good Humility, and great tumour thou assuagest; But who is he, of whom just now thou spakest?"
"That," he replied, "is Provenzan Salvani, And he is here because he had presumed To bring Siena all into his hands.
He has gone thus, and goeth without rest E'er since he died; such money renders back In payment he who is on earth too daring."
And I: "If every spirit who awaits The verge of life before that he repent, Remains below there and ascends not hither,
(Unless good orison shall him bestead,) Until as much time as he lived be passed, How was the coming granted him in largess?"
"When he in greatest splendour lived," said he, "Freely upon the Campo of Siena, All shame being laid aside, he placed himself;
And there to draw his friend from the duress Which in the prison-house of Charles he suffered, He brought himself to tremble in each vein.
I say no more, and know that I speak darkly; Yet little time shall pass before thy neighbours Will so demean themselves that thou canst gloss it.
This action has released him from those confines."
Purgatorio: Canto XII
Abreast, like oxen going in a yoke, I with that heavy-laden soul went on, As long as the sweet pedagogue permitted;
But when he said, "Leave him, and onward pass, For here 'tis good that with the sail and oars, As much as may be, each push on his barque;"
Upright, as walking wills it, I redressed My person, notwithstanding that my thoughts Remained within me downcast and abashed.
I had moved on, and followed willingly The footsteps of my Master, and we both Already showed how light of foot we were,
When unto me he said: "Cast down thine eyes; 'Twere well for thee, to alleviate the way, To look upon the bed beneath thy feet."
As, that some memory may exist of them, Above the buried dead their tombs in earth Bear sculptured on them what they were before;
Whence often there we weep for them afresh, From pricking of remembrance, which alone To the compassionate doth set its spur;
So saw I there, but of a better semblance In point of artifice, with figures covered Whate'er as pathway from the mount projects.
I saw that one who was created noble More than all other creatures, down from heaven Flaming with lightnings fall upon one side.
I saw Briareus smitten by the dart Celestial, lying on the other side, Heavy upon the earth by mortal frost.
I saw Thymbraeus, Pallas saw, and Mars, Still clad in armour round about their father, Gaze at the scattered members of the giants.
I saw, at foot of his great labour, Nimrod, As if bewildered, looking at the people Who had been proud with him in Sennaar.
O Niobe! with what afflicted eyes Thee I beheld upon the pathway traced, Between thy seven and seven children slain!
O Saul! how fallen upon thy proper sword Didst thou appear there lifeless in Gilboa, That felt thereafter neither rain nor dew!
O mad Arachne! so I thee beheld E'en then half spider, sad upon the shreds Of fabric wrought in evil hour for thee!
O Rehoboam! no more seems to threaten Thine image there; but full of consternation A chariot bears it off, when none pursues!
Displayed moreo'er the adamantine pavement How unto his own mother made Alcmaeon Costly appear the luckless ornament;
Displayed how his own sons did throw themselves Upon Sennacherib within the temple, And how, he being dead, they left him there;
Displayed the ruin and the cruel carnage That Tomyris wrought, when she to Cyrus said, "Blood didst thou thirst for, and with blood I glut thee!"
Displayed how routed fled the Assyrians After that Holofernes had been slain, And likewise the remainder of that slaughter.
I saw there Troy in ashes and in caverns; O Ilion! thee, how abject and debased, Displayed the image that is there discerned!
Whoe'er of pencil master was or stile, That could portray the shades and traits which there Would cause each subtile genius to admire?
Dead seemed the dead, the living seemed alive; Better than I saw not who saw the truth, All that I trod upon while bowed I went.
Now wax ye proud, and on with looks uplifted, Ye sons of Eve, and bow not down your faces So that ye may behold your evil ways!
More of the mount by us was now encompassed, And far more spent the circuit of the sun, Than had the mind preoccupied imagined,
When he, who ever watchful in advance Was going on, began: "Lift up thy head, 'Tis no more time to go thus meditating.
Lo there an Angel who is making haste To come towards us; lo, returning is From service of the day the sixth handmaiden.
With reverence thine acts and looks adorn, So that he may delight to speed us upward; Think that this day will never dawn again."
I was familiar with his admonition Ever to lose no time; so on this theme He could not unto me speak covertly.
Towards us came the being beautiful Vested in white, and in his countenance Such as appears the tremulous morning star.
His arms he opened, and opened then his wings; "Come," said he, "near at hand here are the steps, And easy from henceforth is the ascent."
At this announcement few are they who come! O human creatures, born to soar aloft, Why fall ye thus before a little wind?
He led us on to where the rock was cleft; There smote upon my forehead with his wings, Then a safe passage promised unto me.
As on the right hand, to ascend the mount Where seated is the church that lordeth it O'er the well-guided, above Rubaconte,
The bold abruptness of the ascent is broken By stairways that were made there in the age When still were safe the ledger and the stave,
E'en thus attempered is the bank which falls Sheer downward from the second circle there; But on this, side and that the high rock graze.
As we were turning thitherward our persons, "Beati pauperes spiritu," voices Sang in such wise that speech could tell it not.
Ah me! how different are these entrances From the Infernal! for with anthems here One enters, and below with wild laments.
We now were hunting up the sacred stairs, And it appeared to me by far more easy Than on the plain it had appeared before.
Whence I: "My Master, say, what heavy thing Has been uplifted from me, so that hardly Aught of fatigue is felt by me in walking?"
He answered: "When the P's which have remained Still on thy face almost obliterate Shall wholly, as the first is, be erased,
Thy feet will be so vanquished by good will, That not alone they shall not feel fatigue, But urging up will be to them delight."
Then did I even as they do who are going With something on the head to them unknown, Unless the signs of others make them doubt,
Wherefore the hand to ascertain is helpful, And seeks and finds, and doth fulfill the office Which cannot be accomplished by the sight;
And with the fingers of the right hand spread I found but six the letters, that had carved Upon my temples he who bore the keys;
Upon beholding which my Leader smiled.
Purgatorio: Canto XIII
We were upon the summit of the stairs, Where for the second time is cut away The mountain, which ascending shriveth all.
There in like manner doth a cornice bind The hill all round about, as does the first, Save that its arc more suddenly is curved.
Shade is there none, nor sculpture that appears; So seems the bank, and so the road seems smooth, With but the livid colour of the stone.
"If to inquire we wait for people here," The Poet said, "I fear that peradventure Too much delay will our election have."
Then steadfast on the sun his eyes he fixed, Made his right side the centre of his motion, And turned the left part of himself about.
"O thou sweet light! with trust in whom I enter Upon this novel journey, do thou lead us," Said he, "as one within here should be led.
Thou warmest the world, thou shinest over it; If other reason prompt not otherwise, Thy rays should evermore our leaders be!"
As much as here is counted for a mile, So much already there had we advanced In little time, by dint of ready will;
And tow'rds us there were heard to fly, albeit They were not visible, spirits uttering Unto Love's table courteous invitations,
The first voice that passed onward in its flight, "Vinum non habent," said in accents loud, And went reiterating it behind us.
And ere it wholly grew inaudible Because of distance, passed another, crying, "I am Orestes!" and it also stayed not.
"O," said I, "Father, these, what voices are they?" And even as I asked, behold the third, Saying: "Love those from whom ye have had evil!"
And the good Master said: "This circle scourges The sin of envy, and on that account Are drawn from love the lashes of the scourge.
The bridle of another sound shall be; I think that thou wilt hear it, as I judge, Before thou comest to the Pass of Pardon.
But fix thine eyes athwart the air right steadfast, And people thou wilt see before us sitting, And each one close against the cliff is seated."
Then wider than at first mine eyes I opened; I looked before me, and saw shades with mantles Not from the colour of the stone diverse.
And when we were a little farther onward, I heard a cry of, "Mary, pray for us!" A cry of, "Michael, Peter, and all Saints!"
I do not think there walketh still on earth A man so hard, that he would not be pierced With pity at what afterward I saw.
For when I had approached so near to them That manifest to me their acts became, Drained was I at the eyes by heavy grief.
Covered with sackcloth vile they seemed to me, And one sustained the other with his shoulder, And all of them were by the bank sustained.
Thus do the blind, in want of livelihood, Stand at the doors of churches asking alms, And one upon another leans his head,
So that in others pity soon may rise, Not only at the accent of their words, But at their aspect, which no less implores.
And as unto the blind the sun comes not, So to the shades, of whom just now I spake, Heaven's light will not be bounteous of itself;
For all their lids an iron wire transpierces, And sews them up, as to a sparhawk wild Is done, because it will not quiet stay.
To me it seemed, in passing, to do outrage, Seeing the others without being seen; Wherefore I turned me to my counsel sage.
Well knew he what the mute one wished to say, And therefore waited not for my demand, But said: "Speak, and be brief, and to the point."
I had Virgilius upon that side Of the embankment from which one may fall, Since by no border 'tis engarlanded;
Upon the other side of me I had The shades devout, who through the horrible seam Pressed out the tears so that they bathed their cheeks.
To them I turned me, and, "O people, certain," Began I, "of beholding the high light, Which your desire has solely in its care,
So may grace speedily dissolve the scum Upon your consciences, that limpidly Through them descend the river of the mind,
Tell me, for dear 'twill be to me and gracious, If any soul among you here is Latian, And 'twill perchance be good for him I learn it."
"O brother mine, each one is citizen Of one true city; but thy meaning is, Who may have lived in Italy a pilgrim."
By way of answer this I seemed to hear A little farther on than where I stood, Whereat I made myself still nearer heard.
Among the rest I saw a shade that waited In aspect, and should any one ask how, Its chin it lifted upward like a blind man.
"Spirit," I said, "who stoopest to ascend, If thou art he who did reply to me, Make thyself known to me by place or name."
"Sienese was I," it replied, "and with The others here recleanse my guilty life, Weeping to Him to lend himself to us.
Sapient I was not, although I Sapia Was called, and I was at another's harm More happy far than at my own good fortune.
And that thou mayst not think that I deceive thee, Hear if I was as foolish as I tell thee. The arc already of my years descending,
My fellow-citizens near unto Colle Were joined in battle with their adversaries, And I was praying God for what he willed.
Routed were they, and turned into the bitter Passes of flight; and I, the chase beholding, A joy received unequalled by all others;
So that I lifted upward my bold face Crying to God, 'Henceforth I fear thee not,' As did the blackbird at the little sunshine.
Peace I desired with God at the extreme Of my existence, and as yet would not My debt have been by penitence discharged,
Had it not been that in remembrance held me Pier Pettignano in his holy prayers, Who out of charity was grieved for me.
But who art thou, that into our conditions Questioning goest, and hast thine eyes unbound As I believe, and breathing dost discourse?"
"Mine eyes," I said, "will yet be here ta'en from me, But for short space; for small is the offence Committed by their being turned with envy.
Far greater is the fear, wherein suspended My soul is, of the torment underneath, For even now the load down there weighs on me."
And she to me: "Who led thee, then, among us Up here, if to return below thou thinkest?" And I: "He who is with me, and speaks not;
And living am I; therefore ask of me, Spirit elect, if thou wouldst have me move O'er yonder yet my mortal feet for thee."
"O, this is such a novel thing to hear," She answered, "that great sign it is God loves thee; Therefore with prayer of thine sometimes assist me.
And I implore, by what thou most desirest, If e'er thou treadest the soil of Tuscany, Well with my kindred reinstate my fame.
Them wilt thou see among that people vain Who hope in Talamone, and will lose there More hope than in discovering the Diana;
But there still more the admirals will lose."
Purgatorio: Canto XIV
"Who is this one that goes about our mountain, Or ever Death has given him power of flight, And opes his eyes and shuts them at his will?"
"I know not who, but know he's not alone; Ask him thyself, for thou art nearer to him, And gently, so that he may speak, accost him."
Thus did two spirits, leaning tow'rds each other, Discourse about me there on the right hand; Then held supine their faces to address me.
And said the one: "O soul, that, fastened still Within the body, tow'rds the heaven art going, For charity console us, and declare
Whence comest and who art thou; for thou mak'st us As much to marvel at this grace of thine As must a thing that never yet has been."
And I: "Through midst of Tuscany there wanders A streamlet that is born in Falterona, And not a hundred miles of course suffice it;
From thereupon do I this body bring. To tell you who I am were speech in vain, Because my name as yet makes no great noise."
"If well thy meaning I can penetrate With intellect of mine," then answered me He who first spake, "thou speakest of the Arno."
And said the other to him: "Why concealed This one the appellation of that river, Even as a man doth of things horrible?"
And thus the shade that questioned was of this Himself acquitted: "I know not; but truly 'Tis fit the name of such a valley perish;
For from its fountain-head (where is so pregnant The Alpine mountain whence is cleft Peloro That in few places it that mark surpasses)
To where it yields itself in restoration Of what the heaven doth of the sea dry up, Whence have the rivers that which goes with them,
Virtue is like an enemy avoided By all, as is a serpent, through misfortune Of place, or through bad habit that impels them;
On which account have so transformed their nature The dwellers in that miserable valley, It seems that Circe had them in her pasture.
'Mid ugly swine, of acorns worthier Than other food for human use created, It first directeth its impoverished way.
Curs findeth it thereafter, coming downward, More snarling than their puissance demands, And turns from them disdainfully its muzzle.
It goes on falling, and the more it grows, The more it finds the dogs becoming wolves, This maledict and misadventurous ditch.
Descended then through many a hollow gulf, It finds the foxes so replete with fraud, They fear no cunning that may master them.
Nor will I cease because another hears me; And well 'twill be for him, if still he mind him Of what a truthful spirit to me unravels.
Thy grandson I behold, who doth become A hunter of those wolves upon the bank Of the wild stream, and terrifies them all.
He sells their flesh, it being yet alive; Thereafter slaughters them like ancient beeves; Many of life, himself of praise, deprives.
Blood-stained he issues from the dismal forest; He leaves it such, a thousand years from now In its primeval state 'tis not re-wooded."
As at the announcement of impending ills The face of him who listens is disturbed, From whate'er side the peril seize upon him;
So I beheld that other soul, which stood Turned round to listen, grow disturbed and sad, When it had gathered to itself the word.
The speech of one and aspect of the other Had me desirous made to know their names, And question mixed with prayers I made thereof,
Whereat the spirit which first spake to me Began again: "Thou wishest I should bring me To do for thee what thou'lt not do for me;
But since God willeth that in thee shine forth Such grace of his, I'll not be chary with thee; Know, then, that I Guido del Duca am.
My blood was so with envy set on fire, That if I had beheld a man make merry, Thou wouldst have seen me sprinkled o'er with pallor.
From my own sowing such the straw I reap! O human race! why dost thou set thy heart Where interdict of partnership must be?
This is Renier; this is the boast and honour Of the house of Calboli, where no one since Has made himself the heir of his desert.
And not alone his blood is made devoid, 'Twixt Po and mount, and sea-shore and the Reno, Of good required for truth and for diversion;
For all within these boundaries is full Of venomous roots, so that too tardily By cultivation now would they diminish.
Where is good Lizio, and Arrigo Manardi, Pier Traversaro, and Guido di Carpigna, O Romagnuoli into bastards turned?
When in Bologna will a Fabbro rise? When in Faenza a Bernardin di Fosco, The noble scion of ignoble seed?
Be not astonished, Tuscan, if I weep, When I remember, with Guido da Prata, Ugolin d' Azzo, who was living with us,
Frederick Tignoso and his company, The house of Traversara, and th' Anastagi, And one race and the other is extinct;
The dames and cavaliers, the toils and ease That filled our souls with love and courtesy, There where the hearts have so malicious grown!
O Brettinoro! why dost thou not flee, Seeing that all thy family is gone, And many people, not to be corrupted?
Bagnacaval does well in not begetting And ill does Castrocaro, and Conio worse, In taking trouble to beget such Counts.
Will do well the Pagani, when their Devil Shall have departed; but not therefore pure Will testimony of them e'er remain.
O Ugolin de' Fantoli, secure Thy name is, since no longer is awaited One who, degenerating, can obscure it!
But go now, Tuscan, for it now delights me To weep far better than it does to speak, So much has our discourse my mind distressed."
We were aware that those beloved souls Heard us depart; therefore, by keeping silent, They made us of our pathway confident.
When we became alone by going onward, Thunder, when it doth cleave the air, appeared A voice, that counter to us came, exclaiming:
"Shall slay me whosoever findeth me!" And fled as the reverberation dies If suddenly the cloud asunder bursts.
As soon as hearing had a truce from this, Behold another, with so great a crash, That it resembled thunderings following fast:
"I am Aglaurus, who became a stone!" And then, to press myself close to the Poet, I backward, and not forward, took a step.
Already on all sides the air was quiet; And said he to me: "That was the hard curb That ought to hold a man within his bounds;
But you take in the bait so that the hook Of the old Adversary draws you to him, And hence availeth little curb or call.
The heavens are calling you, and wheel around you, Displaying to you their eternal beauties, And still your eye is looking on the ground;
Whence He, who all discerns, chastises you."
Purgatorio: Canto XV
As much as 'twixt the close of the third hour And dawn of day appeareth of that sphere Which aye in fashion of a child is playing,
So much it now appeared, towards the night, Was of his course remaining to the sun; There it was evening, and 'twas midnight here;
And the rays smote the middle of our faces, Because by us the mount was so encircled, That straight towards the west we now were going
When I perceived my forehead overpowered Beneath the splendour far more than at first, And stupor were to me the things unknown,
Whereat towards the summit of my brow I raised my hands, and made myself the visor Which the excessive glare diminishes.
As when from off the water, or a mirror, The sunbeam leaps unto the opposite side, Ascending upward in the selfsame measure
That it descends, and deviates as far From falling of a stone in line direct, (As demonstrate experiment and art,)
So it appeared to me that by a light Refracted there before me I was smitten; On which account my sight was swift to flee.
"What is that, Father sweet, from which I cannot So fully screen my sight that it avail me," Said I, "and seems towards us to be moving?"
"Marvel thou not, if dazzle thee as yet The family of heaven," he answered me; "An angel 'tis, who comes to invite us upward.
Soon will it be, that to behold these things Shall not be grievous, but delightful to thee As much as nature fashioned thee to feel."
When we had reached the Angel benedight, With joyful voice he said: "Here enter in To stairway far less steep than are the others."
We mounting were, already thence departed, And "Beati misericordes" was Behind us sung, "Rejoice, thou that o'ercomest!"
My Master and myself, we two alone Were going upward, and I thought, in going, Some profit to acquire from words of his;
And I to him directed me, thus asking: "What did the spirit of Romagna mean, Mentioning interdict and partnership?"
Whence he to me: "Of his own greatest failing He knows the harm; and therefore wonder not If he reprove us, that we less may rue it.
Because are thither pointed your desires Where by companionship each share is lessened, Envy doth ply the bellows to your sighs.
But if the love of the supernal sphere Should upwardly direct your aspiration, There would not be that fear within your breast;
For there, as much the more as one says 'Our,' So much the more of good each one possesses, And more of charity in that cloister burns."
"I am more hungering to be satisfied," I said, "than if I had before been silent, And more of doubt within my mind I gather.
How can it be, that boon distributed The more possessors can more wealthy make Therein, than if by few it be possessed?"
And he to me: "Because thou fixest still Thy mind entirely upon earthly things, Thou pluckest darkness from the very light.
That goodness infinite and ineffable Which is above there, runneth unto love, As to a lucid body comes the sunbeam.
So much it gives itself as it finds ardour, So that as far as charity extends, O'er it increases the eternal valour.
And the more people thitherward aspire, More are there to love well, and more they love there, And, as a mirror, one reflects the other.
And if my reasoning appease thee not, Thou shalt see Beatrice; and she will fully Take from thee this and every other longing.
Endeavour, then, that soon may be extinct, As are the two already, the five wounds That close themselves again by being painful."
Even as I wished to say, "Thou dost appease me," I saw that I had reached another circle, So that my eager eyes made me keep silence.
There it appeared to me that in a vision Ecstatic on a sudden I was rapt, And in a temple many persons saw;
And at the door a woman, with the sweet Behaviour of a mother, saying: "Son, Why in this manner hast thou dealt with us?
Lo, sorrowing, thy father and myself Were seeking for thee;"—and as here she ceased, That which appeared at first had disappeared.
Then I beheld another with those waters Adown her cheeks which grief distils whenever From great disdain of others it is born,
And saying: "If of that city thou art lord, For whose name was such strife among the gods, And whence doth every science scintillate,
Avenge thyself on those audacious arms That clasped our daughter, O Pisistratus;" And the lord seemed to me benign and mild
To answer her with aspect temperate: "What shall we do to those who wish us ill, If he who loves us be by us condemned?"
Then saw I people hot in fire of wrath, With stones a young man slaying, clamorously Still crying to each other, "Kill him! kill him!"