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The Divine Comedy, Volume 3, Paradise [Paradiso]
by Dante Alighieri
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The Divine Comedy, Volume 3, Paradise [Paradiso]

by Dante Aligheri

Translated by Charles Eliot Norton



PARADISE

CONTENTS

CANTO I. Proem.—Invocation.—Beatrice and Dante ascend to the Sphere of Fire.—Beatrice explains the cause of their ascent.

CANTO II. Proem.—Ascent to the Moon.—The cause of Spots on the Moon.—Influence of the Heavens.

CANTO III. The Heaven of the Moon.—Spirits whose vows had been broken.—Piccarda Donati.—The Empress Constance.

CANTO IV. Doubts of Dante, respecting the justice of Heaven and the abode of the blessed, solved by Beatrice.—Question of Dante as to the possibility of reparation for broken vows.

CANTO V. The sanctity of vows, and the seriousness with which they are to be made or changed.—Ascent to the Heaven of Mercury.—The shade of Justinian.

CANTO VI. Justinian tells of his own life.—The story of the Roman Eagle.—Spirits in the planet Mercury.—Romeo.

CANTO VII. Discourse of Beatrice.—The Fall of Man.—The scheme of his Redemption.

CANTO VIII. Ascent to the Heaven of Venus.—Spirits of Lovers, Source of the order and the varieties in mortal things.

CANTO IX. The Heaven of Venus.—Conversation of Dante with Cunizza da Romano,—With Folco of Marseilles.—Rahab.—Avarice of the Papal Court.

CANTO X. Ascent to the Sun.—Spirits of the wise, and the learned in theology.—St. Thomas Aquinas.—He names to Dante those who surround him.

CANTO XI. The Vanity of worldly desires,—St. Thomas Aquinas undertakes to solve two doubts perplexing Dante.—He narrates the life of St. Francis of Assisi.

CANTO XII. Second circle of the spirits of wise religious men, doctors of the Church and teachers.—St. Bonaventura narrates the life of St. Dominic, and tells the names of those who form the circle with him.

CANTO XIII. St. Thomas Aquinas speaks again, and explains the relation of the wisdom of Solomon to that of Adam and of Christ, and declares the vanity of human judgment. CANTO XIV. At the prayer of Beatrice, Solomon tells of the glorified body of the blessed after the Last Judgment.—Ascent to the Heaven of Mars.—Souls of the Soldiery of Christ in the form of a Cross with the figure of Christ thereon.—Hymn of the Spirits.

CANTO XV. Dante is welcomed by his ancestor, Cacciaguida.— Cacciaguida tells of his family, and of the simple life of Florence in the old days.

CANTO XVI. The boast of blood.—Cacciaguida continues his discourse concerning the old and the new Florence.

CANTO XVII. Dante questions Cacciaguida as to his fortunes.— Cacciaguida replies, foretelling the exile of Dante, and the renown of his Poem.

CANTO XVIII. The Spirits in the Cross of Mars.—Ascent to the Heaven of Jupiter.—Words shaped in light upon the planet by the Spirits.—Denunciation of the avarice of the Popes.

CANTO XIX. The voice of the Eagle.—It speaks of the mysteries of Divine justice; of the necessity of Faith for salvation; of the sins of certain kings.

CANTO XX. The Song of the Just.—Princes who have loved righteousness, in the eye of the Eagle.—Spirits, once Pagans, in bliss.—Faith and Salvation.—Predestination.

CANTO XXI. Ascent to the Heaven of Saturn.—Spirits of those who had given themselves to devout contemplation.—The Golden Stairway.—St. Peter Damian.—Predestination.—The luxury of modern Prelates.

CANTO XXII. Beatrice reassures Dante.—St. Benedict appears.—He tells of the founding of his Order, and of the falling away of its brethren. Beatrice and Dante ascend to the Starry Heaven.— The constellation of the Twins.—Sight of the Earth.

CANTO XXIII. The Triumph of Christ.

CANTO XXIV. St. Peter examines Dante concerning Faith, and approves his answer.

CANTO XXV. St. James examines Dante concerning Hope.—St. John appears,with a brightness so dazzling as to deprive Dante, for the time, of sight.

CANTO XXVI. St. John examines Dante concerning Love.—Dante's sight restored.—Adam appears, and answers questions put to him by Dante.

CANTO XXVII. Denunciation by St. Peter of his degenerate successors.—Dante gazes upon the Earth.—Ascent of Beatrice and Dante to the Crystalline Heaven.—Its nature.—Beatrice rebukes the covetousness of mortals.

CANTO XXVIII. The Heavenly Hierarchy.

CANTO XXIX. Discourse of Beatrice concerning the creation and nature of the Angels.—She reproves the presumption and foolishness of preachers.

CANTO XXX. Ascent to the Empyrean.—The River of Light.—The celestial Rose.—The seat of Henry VII.—The last words of Beatrice.

CANTO XXXI. The Rose of Paradise.—St. Bernard.—Prayer to Beatrice.—The glory of the Blessed Virgin.

CANTO XXXII. St. Bernard describes the order of the Rose, and points out many of the Saints.—The children in Paradise.—The angelic festival.—The patricians of the Court of Heaven.

CANTO XXXIII. Prayer to the Virgin.—The Beatific Vision.—The Ultimate Salvation.



PARADISE

CANTO I. Proem.—Invocation.—Beatrice and Dante ascend to the Sphere of Fire.—Beatrice explains the cause of their ascent.

The glory of Him who moves everything penetrates through the universe, and shines in one part more and in another less. In the heaven that receives most of its light I have been, and have seen things which he who descends from thereabove neither knows how nor is able to recount; because, drawing near to its own desire,[1] our understanding enters so deep, that the memory cannot follow. Truly whatever of the Holy Realm I could treasure up in my mind shall now be the theme of my song.

[1] The innate desire of the soul is to attain the vision of God.

O good Apollo, for this last labor make me such a vessel of thy power as thou demandest for the gift of the loved laurel.[1] Thus far one summit of Parnassus has been enough for me, but now with both[2] I need to enter the remaining, arena. Enter into my breast, and breathe thou in such wise as when thou drewest Marsyas from out the sheath of his limbs. O divine Power, if thou lend thyself to me so that I may make manifest the image of the Blessed Realm imprinted within my head, thou shalt see me come to thy chosen tree, and crown myself then with those leaves of which the theme and thou will make me worthy. So rarely, Father, are they gathered for triumph or of Caesar or of poet (fault and shame of the human wills), that the Peneian leaf[3] should bring forth joy unto the joyous Delphic deity, whenever it makes any one to long for it. Great flame follows a little spark: perhaps after me prayer shall be made with better voices, whereto Cyrrha[4] may respond.

[1] So inspire me in this labor that I may deserve the gift of the laurel.

[2] The Muses were fabled to dwell on one peak of Parnassus, Apollo on the other. At the opening of the preceding parts of his poem Dante has invoked the Muses only.

[3] Daphne, who was changed to the laurel, was the daughter of Peneus.

[4] Cyrrha, a city sacred to Apollo, not far from the foot of Parnassus, and here used for the name of the god himself.



The lamp of the world rises to mortals through different passages, but from that which joins four circles with three crosses it issues with better course and conjoined with a better star, and it tempers and seals the mundane wax more after its own fashion[1] Almost such a passage had made morning there and evening here;[2] and there all that hemisphere was white, and the other part black, when I saw Beatrice turned upon the left side, and looking into the sun: never did eagle so fix himself upon it. And even as a second ray is wont to issue from the first, and mount upward again, like a pilgrim who wishes to return; thus of her action, infused through the eyes into my imagination, mine was made, and I fixed my eyes upon the sun beyond our use. Much is allowed there which here is not allowed to our faculties, thanks to the place made for the human race as its proper, abode.[3] Not long did I endure it, nor so little that I did not see it sparkling round about, like iron that issues boiling from the fire. And on a sudden,[4] day seemed to be added to day, as if He who is able had adorned the heaven with another sun.

[1] In the spring the sun rises from a point on the horizon, where the four great circles, namely, the horizon, the zodiac, theequator, and the equinoctial colure, meet, and, cutting each other, form three crosses. The sun is in the sign of Aries, "a better star," because the influence of this constellation was supposed to be benignant, and under it the earth reclothes itself. It was the season assigned to the Creation, and to the Annunciation.

[2] There, in the Earthly Paradise; here, on earth. It is the morning of Thursday, April 123. The hours from the mid-day preceding to this dawn are undescribed.

[3] The Earthly Paradise, made for man in his original excellence.

[4] So rapid was his ascent to the sphere of fire, drawn upward by the eyes of Beatrice.

Beatrice was standing with her eyes wholly fixed on the eternal wheels, and on her I fixed my eyes from thereabove removed. Looking at her I inwardly became such as Glaucus[1] became on tasting of the herb which made him consort in the sea of the other gods. Transhumanizing cannot be signified in words; therefore let the example[2] suffice for him to whom grace reserves experience. If I was only what of me thou didst the last create,[3] O Love that governest the heavens, Thou knowest, who with Thy light didst lift me. When the revolution which Thou, being desired, makest eternal,[4] made me attent unto itself with the harmony which Thou attunest and modulatest, so much of the heaven then seemed to me enkindled by the flame of the sun, that rain or river never made so broad a lake.

[1] A fisherman changed to a sea-god. The story is in Ovid (Metamorphoses, xiii.).

[2] Just cited, of Glauens.

[3] In the twenty-fifth Canto of Purgatory, Dante has said that when the articulation of the brain is perfect God breathes into it a new spirit, the living soul; and he means here that, like St. Paul caught up into Paradise, he cannot tell "whether in the body or Out of the body." (2 Corinthians, xii. 3).

[4] The desire to be united with God is the source of the eternal revolution of the heavens. "The Empyrean . . . is the cause of the most swift motion of the Primum Mobile. because of the most ardent desire of every part of the latter to be conjoined with every part of that most divine quiet heaven."—Convito, 14.

The novelty of the sound and the great light kindled in me a desire concerning their cause, never before felt with such acuteness. Whereupon she, who saw me as I see myself, to quiet my perturbed mind opened her mouth, ere I mine to ask, and began, "Thou thyself makest thyself dull with false imagining, so that thou seest not what thou wouldst see, if thou hadst shaken it off. Thou art not on earth, as thou believest; but lightning, flying from its proper site, never ran as thou who thereunto[1] returnest."

[1] To thine own proper site,—Heaven, the true home of the soul.

If I was divested of my first doubt by these brief little smiled- out words, within a new one was I the more enmeshed. And I said, "Already I rested content concerning a great wonder; but now I wonder how I can transcend these light bodies." Whereupon she, after a pitying sigh, directed her eyes toward me, with that look which a mother turns on her delirious son, and she began, "All things whatsoever have order among themselves; and this is the form which makes the universe like to God. Here[1] the high creatures[2] see the imprint of the eternal Goodness, which is the end for which the aforesaid rule is made. In the order of which I speak, all natures are arranged, by diverse lots, more or less near to their source;[3] wherefore they are moved to diverse ports through the great sea of being, and each one with an instinct given to it which may bear it on. This bears the fire upward toward the moon; this is the motive force in mortal hearts; this binds together and unites the earth. Nor does this bow shoot forth.[4] Only the created things which are outside intelligence, but also those which have understanding and love. The Providence that adjusts all this, with its own light makes forever quiet the heaven[5] within which that revolves which hath the greatest speed. And thither now, as to a site decreed, the virtue of that cord bears us on which directs to a joyful mark whatever it shoots. True is it, that as the form often accords not to the intention of the art, because the material is deaf to respond, so the creature sometimes deviates from this course; for it has power, though thus impelled, to incline in another direction (even as the fire of a cloud may be seen to fall[6]), if the first impetus, bent aside by false pleasure, turn it earthwards. Thou shouldst not, if I deem aright, wonder more at thy ascent, than at a stream if from a high mountain it descends to the base. A marvel it would be in thee, if, deprived of hindrance, thou hadst sat below, even as quiet in living fire on earth would be."

[1] In this order of the universe.

[2] The created beings endowed with souls,—angels and men.

[3] The source of their being, God.

[4] This instinct directs to their proper end animate as well as inanimate things, as the bow shoots the arrow to its mark.

[5] The Empyrean, within which the Primum Mobile, the first moving heaven, revolves.

[6] Contrary to its true nature.

Thereon she turned again toward heaven her face.



CANTO II. Proem.—Ascent to the Moon.—The cause of Spots on the Moon.—Influence of the Heavens.

O ye, who are in a little bark, desirous to listen, following behind my craft which singing passes on, turn to see again Your shores; put not out upon the deep; for haply losing me, ye would remain astray. The water that I sail was never crossed. Minerva inspires, and Apollo guides me, and nine Muses point out to me the Bears.

Ye other few, who have lifted tip your necks be. times to the bread of the Angels, oil which one here subsists, but never becomes sated of it, ye may well put forth your vessel over the salt deep, keeping my wake before you on the water which turns smooth again. Those glorious ones who passed over to Colchos wondered not as ye shall do, when they saw Jason become a ploughman.

The concreate and perpetual thirst for the deiform realm was bearing us on swift almost as ye see the heavens. Beatrice was looking upward, and I upon her, and perhaps in such time as a quarrel[1] rests, and flies, and from the notch is unlocked,[2] I saw myself arrived where a wonderful thing drew my sight to itself; and therefore she, from whom the working of my mind could not be hid, turned toward me, glad as beautiful. "Uplift thy grateful mind to God," she said to me, "who with the first star[3] has conjoined us."

[1] The bolt for a cross-bow.

[2] The inverse order indicates the instantaneousness of the act.

[3] The moon.

It seemed to me that a cloud had covered us, lucid, dense, solid, and polished, like a diamond which the sun had struck. Within itself the eternal pearl had received us, even as water receives a ray of light, remaining unbroken. If I was body (and here[1] it is not conceivable how one dimension brooked another, which needs must be if body enter body) the desire ought the more to kindle us to see that Essence, in which is seen how our nature and God were united. There will be seen that which we hold by faith, not demonstrated, but it will be known of itself like the first truth which man believes.[2]

[1] On earth, by mortal faculties.

[2] Not demonstrated by argument, but known by direct cognition, like the intuitive perception of first principles, per se notu.

I replied, "My Lady, devoutly to the utmost that I can, do I thank him who from the mortal world has removed me. But tell me what are the dusky marks of this body, which there below on earth make people fable about Cain?"[1]

[1] Fancying the dark spaces on the surface of the moon to represent Cain carrying a thorn-bush for the fire of his sacrifice.

She smiled somewhat, and then she said, "If the opinion of mortals errs where the key of sense unlocks not, surely the shafts of wonder ought not now to pierce thee, since thou seest that the reason following the senses has short wings. But tell me what thou thyself thinkest of it." And I, "That which here above appears to us diverse, I believe is caused by rare and dense bodies." And she, "Surely enough thou shalt see that thy belief is submerged in error, if then listenest well to the argument that I shall make against it. The eighth sphere[1] displays to you many lights, which may be noted of different aspects in quality and quantity. If rare and dense effected all this,[2] one single virtue, more or less or equally distributed, would be in all. Different virtues must needs be fruits of formal principles;[3] and by thy reckoning, these, all but one, would be destroyed. Further, if rarity were the cause of that darkness of which you ask, either this planet would be thus deficient of its matter through and through, or else as a body distributes the fat and the loan, so this would interchange the leaves in its volume. If the first were the case, it would be manifest in the eclipses of the sun, by the shining through of the light, as when it is poured out upon any other rare body. This is not so; therefore we must look at the other, and if it happen that I quash this other, thy opinion will be falsified. If it be that this rare passes not through,[4] there needs must be a limit, beyond which its contrary allows it not to pass further; and thence the ray from another body is poured back, just as color returns through a glass which hides lead behind itself. Now thou wilt say that the ray shows itself dimmer there than in the other parts, by being there reflected from further back. From this objection experiment, which is wont to be the fountain to the streams of your arts, may deliver thee, if ever thou try it. Thou shalt take three mirrors, and set two of them at an equal distance from thee, and let the other, further removed, meet thine eyes between the first two. Turning toward them, cause a light to be placed behind thy back, which may illumine the three mirrors, and return to thee thrown back front all. Although the more distant image reach thee not so great in quantity, thou wilt then see how it cannot but be of equal brightness.

[1] The heaven of the fixed stars.

[2] If all this difference were caused merely by difference in rarity and density.

[3] The stars exert various influences; hence their differences, from which the variety of their influence proceeds, must be caused by different formal principles or intrinsic causes.

[4] Extends not through the whole substance of the moon.

"Now, as beneath the blows of the warm rays that which lies under the snow remains bare both of the former color[1] and the cold, thee, thus remaining in thy intellect, will I inform with light so living that it shall tremble in its aspect to thee.[2]

[1] The color of the snow.

[2[My argument has removed the error which covered thy mind, and nov I will tell thee the true cause of the variety in the surface of the moon.

"Within the heaven of the divine peace revolves a body, in whose virtue lies the being of all that it contains.[1] The following heaven[2] which has so many sights, distributes that being through divers essences[3] from it distinct, and by it contained. The other spheres, by various differences, dispose the distinctions which they have within themselves unto their ends and their seeds.[4] These organs of the world thus proceed, as thou now seest, from grade to grade; for they receivefrom above, and operate below. Observe me well, how I advance through this place to the truth which thou desirest, so that hereafter thou mayest know to keep the ford alone. The motion and the virtue of the holy spheres must needs be inspired by blessed motors, as the work of the hammer by the smith. And the heaven, which so many lights make beautiful, takes its image from the deep Mind which revolves it, and makes thereof a seal. And as the soul within your dust is diffused through different members, and conformed to divers potencies, so the Intelligence[5] displays its own goodness multiplied through the stars, itself circling upon its own unity. Divers virtue makes divers alloy with the precious body that it quickens, in which, even as life in you, it is bound. Because of the glad nature whence, it flows, the virtue mingled through the body shines,[6] as gladness through the living pupil. From this,[7] comes whatso seems different between light and light, not from dense and rare; this is the formal principle which produces, conformed unto its goodness, the dark and the bright."

[1] Within the motionless sphere of the Empyrean revolves that of the Primum Mobile, from whose virtue, communicated to it from the Empyrean, all the inferior spheres contained within it derive their special mode of being.

[2] The heaven of the Fixed Stars.

[3] Through the planets, called essences because each has a specific mode of being.

[4] "The rays of the heavens are the way by which their virtue descends to the things below."—Convito, ii. 7.

[5] Which moves the heavens.

[6] The brightness of the stars comes from the joy which radiates through them.

[7] From the divers virtue making divers alloy.



CANTO III. The Heaven of the Moon.—Spirits whose vows had been broken.—Piccarda Donati.—The Empress Constance.

That sun which first had heated my breast with love, proving and refuting, had uncovered to me the sweet aspect of fair truth; and I, in order to confess myself corrected and assured so far as was needful, raised my head more erect to speak. But a vision appeared which held me to itself so close in order to be seen, that of my confession I remembered not.

As through transparent and polished glasses, or through clear and tranquil waters, not so deep that their bed be lost, the lineaments of our faces return so feebly that a pearl on a white brow comes not less readily to our eyes, so I saw many faces eager to speak; wherefore I ran into the error contrary to that which kindled love between the man and the fountain.[1] Suddenly, even as I became aware of them, supposing them mirrored semblances, I turned my eyes to see of whom they were; and I saw nothing; and I turned them forward again, straight into the light of the sweet guide who, smiling, was glowing in her holy eyes. "Wonder not because I smile," she said to me, "at thy puerile thought, since thy foot trusts itself not yet upon the truth, but turns thee, as it is wont, to emptiness. True substances are these which thou seest, here relegated through failure in their vows. Therefore speak with them, and hear, and believe; for the veracious light which satisfies them allows them not to turn their feet from itself."

[1] Narcissus conceived the image to be a true face; Dante takes the real faces to be mirrored semblances.

And I directed me to the shade that seemed most eager to speak, and I began, even like a man whom too strong wish confuses, "O well-created spirit, who in the rays of life eternal tastest the sweetness, which untasted never is understood, it will be gracious to me, if thou contentest me with thy name, and with your destiny." Whereon she promptly, and with smiling eyes, "Our charity locks not its door to a just wish, more than that which wills that all its court be like itself. I was in the world a virgin sister,[1] and if thy mind well regards, my being more beautiful will not conceal me from thee; but thou wilt recognize that I am Piccarda,[2] who, placed here with these other blessed Ones, am blessed in the slowest sphere. Our affections, which are inflamed only in the pleasure of the Holy Spirit, rejoice in being formed according to His order;[3] and this allotment, which appears so low, is forsooth given to us, because our vows were neglected or void in some part." Whereon I to her, In your marvellous aspects there shines I know not what divine which transmutes you from our first conceptions; therefore I was not swift in remembering; but now that which you say to me assists me, so that refiguring is plainer to me. But tell me, ye who are happy here, do ye desire a highher place, in order to see more, or to make yourselves more friends?" With those other shades she first smiled a little; then answered me so glad, that she seemed to burn in the first fire of love, "Brother, virtue of charity[4] quiets our will, and makes us wish only for that which we have, and for aught else makes us not thirsty. Should we desire to be higher up, our desires would be discordant with the will of Him who assigns us to this place, which thou wilt see is not possible in these circles, if to be in charity is here necesse,[5] and if its nature thou dost well consider. Nay, it is essential to this blessed existence to hold ourselves within the divine will, whereby our very wills are made one. So that as we are, from stage to stage throughout this realm, to all the realm is pleasing, as to the King who inwills us with His will. And His will is our peace; it is that sea whereunto is moving all that which It creates and which nature makes."

[1] A nun, of the order of St. Clare.

[2] The sister of Corso Donati and of Forese: see Purgatory, Canto XXIII. It may not be without intention that the first blessed spirit whom Dante sees in Paradise is a relative of his own wife, Gemma dei Donati.

[3] Rejoice in whatever grade of bliss is assigned to thern in that order of the universe which is the form that makes it like unto God.

[4] Charity here means love, the love of God.

[5] Of necessity; the Latin word being used for the rhyme's sake. "Mansionem Deus haber non potest ubi charitas non est" B. Alberti Magni, De adhoerendo Deo, c. xii.

Clear was it then to me, how everywhere in Heaven is Paradise, although the grace of the Supreme Good rains not there in one measure.

But even as it happen, if one food sates, and for another the appetite still remains, that this is asked for, and that declined with thanks; so did I, with gesture and with speech, to learn from her, what was the web whereof she did not draw the shuttle to the head.[1] "Perfect life and high merit in-heaven a lady higher up," she said to me, "according to whose rule, in your world below, there are who vest and veil themselves, so that till death they may wake and sleep with that Spouse who accepts every vow which love conforms unto His pleasure. A young girl, I fled from the world to follow her, and in her garb I shut myself, and pledged me to the pathway of her order. Afterward men, more used to ill than good, dragged me forth from the sweet cloister;[2] and God knows what then my life became. And this other splendor, which shows itself to thee at my right side, and which glows with all the light of our sphere, that which I say of me understands of herself.[3] A sister was she; and in like manner from her head the shadow of the sacred veils was taken. But after she too was returned unto the world against her liking and against good usage, from the veil of the heart she was never unbound.[4] This is the light of the great Constance,[5] who from the second wind of Swabia produced the third and the last power."

[1] To learn from her what was the vow which she did not fulfil.

[2] According to the old commentators, her brother Corso forced Piccarda by violence to leave the convent, in order to make a marriage which he desired for her.

[3] Her experience was similar to that of Piccarda.

[4] She remained a nun at heart.

[5] Constance, daughter of the king of Sicily, Roger 1.; married, in 1186, to the Emperor, Henry VI., the son of Frederick Barbarossa, and father of Frederick II, who died in 1250, the last Emperor of his line.

Thus she spoke to me, and then began singing "Ave Maria," and Singing vanished, like a heavy thing through deep water. My sight, that followed her so far as was possible, after it lost her turned to the mark of greater desire, and wholly rendered itself to Beatrice; but she so flashed upon my gaze that at first the sight endured it not: and this made me more slow in questioning.



CANTO IV. Doubts of Dante, respecting the justice of Heaven and the abode of the blessed, solved by Beatrice.—Question of Dante as to the possibility of reparation for broken vows.

Between two viands, distant and attractive in like measure, a free man would die of hunger, before he would bring one of them to his teeth. Thus a lamb would stand between two ravenings of fierce wolves, fearing equally; thus would stand a dog between two does. Hence if, urged by my doubts in like measure, I was silent, I blame not myself; nor, since it was necessary, do I commend.

I was silent, but my desire was depicted on my face, and the questioning with that far more fervent than by distinct speech. Beatrice did what Daniel did, delivering Nebuchadnezzar from anger, which had made him unjustly cruel, and said, "I see clearly how one and the other desire draws thee, so that thy care so binds itself that it breathes not forth. Thou reasonest, 'If the good will endure, by what reckoning doth the violence of others lessen for me the measure of desert?' Further, it gives thee occasion for doubt, that the souls appear to return to the stars, in accordance with the opinion of Plato.[1] These are the questions that thrust equally upon thy wish; and therefore I will treat first of that which hath the most venom.[2]

[1] Plato, in his Timaeus (41, 42), says that the creator of the universe assigned each soul to a star, whence they were to be sown in the vessels of time. " He who lived well during his appointed time was to return to the star which was his habitation, and there he would have a blessed and suitable existence." Dante's doubt has arisen from the words of Piccarda, which implied that her station was in the sphere of the Moon.

[2] The conception that the souls after death had their abode in the stars would be a definite heresy, and hence far more dangerous than a question concerning the justice of Heaven, for such a question might be consistent with entire faith in that justice.

"Of the Seraphim he who is most in God, Moses, Samuel, and whichever John thou wilt take, I say, and even Mary, have not their seats in another heaven than those spirits who just now appeared to thee, nor have they more or fewer years for their existence; but all make beautiful the first circle, and have sweet life in different measure, through feeling more or less the eternal breath.[1] They showed themselves here, not because this sphere is allotted to them, but to afford sign of the celestial condition which is least exalted. To speak thus is befitting to your mind, since only by objects of the sense doth it apprehend that which it then makes worthy of the understanding. For this reason the Scripture condescends to your capacity, and attributes feet and hands to God, while meaning otherwise; and Holy Church represents to you with human aspect Gabriel and Michael and the other who made Tobias whole again.[2] That which Timaeus, reasons of the souls is not like this which is seen here, since it seems that he thinks as he says. He says that the soul returns to its own star, believing it to have been severed thence, when nature gave it as the form.[3] And perchance his opinion is of other guise than his words sound, and may be of a meaning not to be derided. If he means that the honor of their influence and the blame returns to these wheels, perhaps his bow hits on some truth. This principle, ill understood, formerly turned awry almost the whole world, so that it ran astray in naming Jove, Mercury, and Mars.[4]

[1] The abode of all the blessed is the Empyrean,—the first circle, counting from above; but there are degrees in blessedness, each spirit enjoying according to its capacity; no one is conscious of any lack.

[2] The archangel Raphael.

[3] The intellectual soul is united with the body as its substantial form. That by means of which anything performs its functions (operatur) is its form. The soul is that by which the body lives, and hence is its form.—Summa Theol., I. lxxvi. 1, 6, 7.

[4] The belief in the influence of the stars led men to assign to them divine powers, and to name their gods after them.

The other dubitation which disturbs thee has less venom, for its malice could not lead thee from me elsewhere. That our justice seems unjust in the eyes of mortals is argument of faith,[1] and not of heretical iniquity. But in order that your perception may surely penetrate unto this truth, I will make thee content, as thou desirest. Though there be violence when he who suffers nowise consents to him who compels, these souls were not by reason of that excused; for will, unless it wills, is not quenched,[2] but does as nature does in fire, though violence a thousand times may wrest it. Wherefore if it bend much or little, it follows the force; and thus these did, having power to return to the holy place. If their will had been entire, such as held Lawrence on the gridiron, and made Mucius severe unto his hand, it would have urged them back, so soon as they were loosed, along the road on which they had been dragged; but will so firm is too rare. And by these words, if thou hast gathered them up as thou shouldst, is the argument quashed that would have given thee annoy yet many times.

[1] Mortals would not trouble themselves concerning the justice of God, unless they had faith in it. These perplexities are then arguments or proofs of faith; as St. Thomas Aquinas says, "The merit of faith consists in believing what one does not see." But in this case, as Beatrice goes on to show, mere human intelligence if Sufficient to see that the injustice is only apparent.

[2] Violence has no power over the will; the original will may, however, by act of will, be changed.

"But now another path runs traverse before thine eyes, such that by thyself thou wouldst not issue forth therefrom ere thou wert weary. I have put it in thy mind for certain, that a soul in bliss cannot lie, since it is always near to the Primal Truth; and then thou hast heard from Piccarda that Constance retained affection for the veil; so that she seems in this to contradict me. Often ere now, brother, has it happened that, in order to escape peril, that which it was not meet to do has been done against one's liking; even as Alcmaeon (who thereto entreated by his father, slew his own mother), not to lose piety, pitiless became. On this point, I wish thee to think that the violence is mingled with the will, and they so act that the offences cannot be excused. Absolute will consents not to the wrong; but the will in so far consents thereto, as it fears, if it draw back, to fall into greater trouble. Therefore when Piccarda says that, she means it of the absolute will; and I of the other so that we both speak truth alike."

Such was the current of the holy stream which issued from the fount whence every truth flows forth; and such it set at rest one and the other desire.

"O beloved of the First Lover, O divine one," said I then, "whose speech inundates me, and warms me so that more and more it quickens me, my affection is not so profound that it can suffice to render to you grace for grace, but may He who sees and can, respond for this. I clearly see that our intellect is never satisfied unless the Truth illume it, outside of which no truth extends. In that it reposes, as a wild beast in his lair, soon as it has reached it: and it can reach it; otherwise every desire would be in vain. Because of this,[1] the doubt, in likeness of a shoot, springs up at the foot of the truth; and it is nature which urges us to the summit from height to height. This[2] invites me, this gives me assurance, Lady, with reverence to ask you of another truth which is obscure to me. I wish to know if man can make satisfaction to you[3] for defective vows with other goods, so that in your scales they may not be light?" looked at we with such divine eyes, full of the sparks of love, that my power, vanquished, turned its back, and almost I lost myself with eyes cast down.

[1] Of this constant desire for truth.

[2] This natural impulse.

[3] To you, that is, to the court of Heaven.



CANTO V. The sanctity of vows, and the seriousness with which they are to be made or changed.—Ascent to the Heaven of Mercury.—The shade of Justinian.

"If I flame upon thee in the heat of love, beyond the fashion that on earth is seen, go that I vanquish the valor of thine eyes, marvel not, for it proceeds from perfect vision,[1] which according as it apprehends, so moves its feet to the apprehended good. I see clearly how already shines in thy intellect the eternal light, which, being seen, alone ever enkindles love. And if any other thing seduce your love, it is naught but some vestige of that, illrecognized, which therein shines through. Thou wishest to know if for a defective vow so much can be rendered with other service as may secure the soul from suit."

[1] From the brightness of my eyes illuminated by the divine light.

Thus Beatrice began this canto, and even as one who breaks not off his speech, she thus continued her holy discourse. "The greatest gift which God in His largess bestowed in creating, and the most conformed unto His goodness and that which He esteems the most, was the freedom of the will, with which all the creatures of intelligence, and they alone, were and are endowed. Now will appear to thee, if from this thou reasonest, the high worth of the vow, if it be such that God consent when thou consentest;[1] for, in closing the compact between God and man, sacrifice is made of this treasure, which is such as I say, and it is made by its own act. What then can be rendered in compensation? If thou thinkest to make good use of that which thou hast offered, with illgotten gain thou wouldst do good work.[2]

[1] If the vow be valid through its acceptance by God.

[2] The intent to put what had been vowed to another (though good) use, affords no excuse for breaking a vow.

"Thou art now assured of the greater point; but since Holy Church in this gives dispensation, which seems contrary to the truth which I have disclosed to thee, it behoves thee still to sit a little at table, because the tough food which thou hast taken requires still some aid for thy digestion. Open thy mind to that which I reveal to thee, and enclose it therewithin; for to have heard without retaining doth not make knowledge.

"Two things combine in the essence of this sacrifice; the one is that of which it consists, the other is the covenant. This last is never cancelled if it be not kept; and concerning this has my preceding speech been so precise. On this account it was necessary for the Hebrews still to make offering, although some part of the offering might be changed, as thou shouldst know.[1] The other, which as the matter[2] is known to thee, may truly be such that one errs not if for some other matter it be changed. But let not any one shift the load upon his shoulder at his own will, without the turning both of the white and of the yellow key.[3] And let him deem every permutation foolish, if the thing laid down be not included in the thing taken up, as four in six.[4] Therefore whatever thing is, through its own worth, of such great weight that it can draw down every balance, cannot be made good with other spending.

[1] See Leviticus, xxvii., in respect to commutation allowed.

[2] That is, as the subject matter of the vow, the thing of which sacrifice is made.

[3] Without the turning of the keys of St. Peter, that is, without clerical dispensation; the key of gold signifying authority, that of silver, knowledge. Cf. Purgatory, Canto IX.

[4] The matter substituted must exceed in worth that of the original vow, but not necessarily in a definite proportion.

"Let not mortals take a vow in jest; be faithful, and not squint-eyed in doing this, as Jephthah was in his first. offering;[1] to whom it better behoved to say, 'I have done ill,' than, by keeping his vow, to do worse. And thou mayest find the great leader of the Greeks in like manner foolish; wherefore Iphigenia wept for her fair face, and made weep for her both the simple and the wise, who heard speak of such like observance. Be, ye Christians, more grave in moving; be not like a feather on every wind, and think not that every water can wash you. Ye have the Old and the New Testament, and the Shepherd of the Church, who guides you; let this suffice you for your salvation. If evil covetousness cry aught else to you, be ye men, and not silly sheep, so that the Jew among you may not laugh at you. Act not like the lamb, that leaves the milk of his mother, and, simple and wanton, at its own pleasure combats with itself."

[1] See Judges, xi.

Thus Beatrice to me, even as I write; then all desireful turned herself again to that region where the world is most alive.[1] Her silence, and her transmuted countenance imposed silence on my eager mind, which already had new questions in advance. And even as an arrow, that hits the mark before the bowstring is quiet, so we ran into the second realm.[2] Here I saw my lady so joyous as she entered into the light of that heaven, that thereby the planet became more lucent. And if the star war, changed and smiled, what did I become, who even by my nature am transmutable in every wise!

[1] Looking upward, toward the Empyrean.

[2] The Heaven of Mercury, where blessed spirits who have been active in the pursuit of honor and fame show themselves.

As in a fishpond, which is tranquil and pure, the fish draw to that which comes from without in such manner that they deem. it their food, so indeed I saw more than a thousand splendors drawing toward. us, and in each one was heard,—"Lo, one who shall increase our loves!"[1] And as each came to us, the shade was seen full of joy in the bright effulgence that issued from it.

[1] By giving us occasion to manifest our love.

Think, Reader, if that which is here begun should not proceed, how thou wouldst have distressful want of knowing more; and by thyself thou wilt see how desirous I was to hear from these of their conditions, as they became manifest to mine eyes. "O well-born,[1] to whom Grace concedes to see the thrones of the eternal triumph ere the warfare is abandoned,[2] with the light which spreads through the whole heaven we are enkindled, and therefore if thou desirest to make thyself clear concerning us, at thine own pleasure sate thyself." Thus was said to me by one of those pious spirits; and by Beatrice, "Speak, speak securely, and trust even as to gods." "I see clearly, how thou dost nest thyself in thine ownlight, and that by thine eyes thou drawest it, because they sparkle when thou smilest; but I know not who thou art, nor why thou hast, O worthy soul, thy station in the sphere which is veiled to mortals by another's rays."[3] This I said, addressed unto the light which first had spoken to me; whereon it became more lucent far than it had been. Even as the sun, which, when the heat has consumed the tempering of dense vapors, conceals itself by excess of light, so, through greater joy, the holy shape bid itself from me within its own radiance, and thus close enclosed, it answered me in the fashion that the following canto sings.

[1] That is, born to good, to attain blessedness.

[2] Ere thy life on earth, as a member of the Church Militant, is ended.

[3] Mercury is veiled by the Sun.



CANTO VI. Justinian tells of his own life.—The story of the Roman Eagle.—Spirits in the planet Mercury.—Romeo.

After Constantine turned the Eagle counter to the course of the heavens which it had followed behind the ancient who took to wife Lavinia,[1] a hundred and a hundred years and more[2] the bird of God held itself on the verge of Europe, near to the Mountains[3] from which it first came forth, and there governed the world beneath the shadow of the sacred wings, from hand to hand, and thus changing, unto mine own arrived. Caesar I was,[4] and am Justinian, who, through will of the primal Love which I feel, drew out from among the laws what was superfluous and vain.[5] And before I was intent on this work, I believed one nature to be in Christ, not more,[6] and with such faith was content. But the blessed Agapetus, who was the supreme pastor, directed me to the pure faith with his words. I believed him; and that which was in his faith I now see clearly, even as thou seest every contradiction to be both false and true.[7] Soon as with the Church I moved my feet, it pleased God, through grace, to inspire me with the high labor, and I gave myself wholly to it. And I entrusted my armies to my Belisarius, to whom the right hand of Heaven was so joined that it was a sign that I should take repose.

[1] Constantine, transferring the seat of Empire from Rome to Byzantium, carried the Eagle from West to East, counter to the course along which Aeneas had borne it when he went from Troy to found the Roman Empire.

[2] From A. D. 324, when the transfer was begun, to 527, when Justinian became Emperor.

[3] Of the Troad, opposite Byzantium.

[4] On earth Emperor, but in Heaven earthly dignities exist no longer.

[5] The allusion is to Justinian's codification of the Roman Law.

[6] The divine nature only. Dante here follows Brunetto Latini (Li Tresor, I. ii. 87) in an historical error.

[7] Of the two terms of a contradictory proposition one is true, the other false.

"Now here to the first question my answer comes to the stop; but its nature constrains me to add a sequel to it, in order that thou mayst see with how much reason[1] move against the ensign sacrosanct, both he who appropriates it to himself,[2] and he who opposes himself to it.[3] See how great virtue has made it worthy of reverence," and he began from the hour when Pallas[4] died to give it a kingdom. "Thou knowest it made in Alba its abode for three hundred years and move, till at the end the three fought with the three[4] for its sake still. And thou knowest what it did, from the wrong of the Sabine women clown to the sorrow of Lucretia, in seven kings, conquering the neighboring peoples round about. Thou knowest what it did when borne by the illustrious Romans against Brennus, against Pyrrhus, and against the other chiefs and allies; whereby Torquatus, and Quinctius who was named from his neglected locks, the Decii and the Fabii acquired the fame which willingly I embalm. It struck to earth the pride of the Arabs, who, following Hannibal, passed the Alpine rocks from which thou, Po, glidest. Beneath it, in their youth, Scipio and Pompey triumphed, and to that hill beneath which thou wast born, it seemed bitter.[5] Then, near the time when all Heaven willed to bring the world to its own serene mood, Caesar by the will of Rome took it: and what it did from the Var even to the Rhine, the Isere beheld, and the Saone, and the Seine beheld, and every valley whence the Rhone is filled. What afterward it did when it came forth from Ravenna, and leaped the Rubicon, was of such flight that neither tongue nor pen could follow it. Toward Spain it wheeled its troop; then toward Dyrrachium, and smote Pharsalia so that to the warm Nile the pain was felt. It saw again Antandros and Simois, whence it set forth, and there where Hector lies; and ill for Ptolemy then it shook itself. Thence it swooped flashing down on Juba; then wheeled again unto your west, where it heard the Pompeian trumpet. Of what it did with the next standard-bearer,[7] Bruttis and Cassius are barking in Hell; and it made Modena and Perugia woful. Still does the sad Cleopatra weep therefor, who, fleeing before it, took from the asp sudden and black death. With him it ran far as the Red Sea shore; with him it set the world in peace so great that on Janus his temple was locked up. But what the ensign which makes me speak had done before, and after was to do, through the mortal realm that is subject to it, becomes in appearance little and obscure, if in the hand of the third Caesar[8] it be looked at with clear eye, and with pure affection. For the living Justice which inspires me granted to it, in the hand of him of whom I speak, the glory of doing vengeance for Its own ire[9]—now marvel here at that which I unfold to thee,—then with Titus it ran to do vengeance for the avenging of the ancient sin.[2] And when the Lombard tooth bit the Holy Church, under its wings Charlemagne, conquering, succored her.

[1] Ironical. The meaning is, "how wrongly."

[2] The Ghibelline.

[3] The Guelph.

[4] Son of Evander, King of Latium, sent by his father to aid Aeneas. His death in battle against Turnus led to that of Turnus himself, and to the possession of the Latian kingdom by Aeneas.

[5] The Horatii and Curiatii.

[6] According to popular tradition Fiesole was destroyed by the Romans after the defeat of Catiline.

[7] Augustus.

[8] Tiberius.

[9] It was under the authority of Rome that Christ was crucified, whereby the sin of Adam. was avenged.

[10] Vengeance was taken on the Jews, because although the death of Christ was divinely ordained, their crime in it was none the less.

"Now canst thou judge of such as those whom I accused above, and of their crimes, which are the cause of all your ills. To the public ensign one opposes the yellow lilies,[1] and the other appropriates it to a party, so that it is hard to see which is most at fault. Let the Ghibellines practice, let them practice their art under another ensign, for he ever follows it ill who parts justice and it. And let not this new Charles[2] strike it down with his Guelphs, but let him fear its talons, which from a loftier lion have stripped the fell. Often ere now the sons have wept for the sin of the father; and let him not believe that for his lilies Goa win change His arms.

[1] The fleur-de-lys of France.

[2] Charles II., King of Apulia, son of Charles of Anjou.

"This little star is furnished with good spirits who have been active in order that honor and fame may follow them. And when the desires thus straying mount here, it must needs be that the rays of the true love mount upward less living.[1] But in the commeasuring of our wages with our desert is part of our joy, because we see them neither less nor greater. Hereby the living Justice so sweetens the affection in us, that it can never be bent aside to any wrong. Diverse voices make sweet notes; thus in our life diverse benches[2] render sweet harmony among these wheels.

[1] The desire for fame interferes with, though it may not wholly prevent, the true love of God.

[2] The different grades of the blessed.

"And within the present pearl shines the light of Romeo, whose great and beautiful work was ill rewarded. But the Provencals who wrought against him are not smiling; and forsooth he goes an ill road who makes harm for himself of another's good deed.[1] Four daughters, and each a queen, had Raymond Berenger, and Romeo, a humble person and a pilgrim, did this[2] for him. And then crooked words moved him to demand a reckoning of this just man, who rendered to him seven and five for ten. Then he departed, poor and old, and if the world but knew the heart he had, while begging his livelihood bit by bit, much as it lauds him it would laud him more."

[1] According to Giovanni Villani (vi. 90), one Romeo, a pilgrim, came to the court of Raymond Berenger IV., Count of Provence (who died, in 1245), and winning the count's favor, served him with such wisdom and fidelity that by his means his master's revenues were greatly increased, and his four daughters married to four kings,—Margaret, to Louis IX. of France, St. Louis; Eleanor, to Henry III. of England; Sanzia, to Richard, Earl of Cornwall (brother of Henry III.), elected King of the Romans; and Beatrice, to Charles of Anjou (brother of Louis IX.), King of Apulia and Sicily. The Provencal nobles, jealous of Romeo, procured his dismissal, and he departed, with his mule and his pilgrim's staff and scrip, and was never seen more.

[2] The making each a queen.



CANTO VII. Discourse of Beatrice.—The Fall of Man.—The scheme of his Redemption.

"Osanna sanctus Deus Sabaoth, superillustrans claritate tua felices ignes horum malacoth!"[1]—thus, turning to its own melody, this substance,[2] upon which a double light is twinned,[3] was seen by me to sing. And it and the others moved with their dance, and like swiftest sparks veiled themselves to me with sudden distance. I was in doubt, and was saying to myself, "Tell her, tell her," I was saying, "tell her, my Lady, who slakes my thirst with her sweet distillings;" but that reverence which lords it altogether over me, only by BE and by ICE,[4] bowed me again like one who drowses. Little did Beatrice endure me thus, and she began, irradiating me with a smile such as would make a man in the fire happy, "According to my infallible advisement, how a just vengeance could be justly avenged has set thee thinking. But I will quickly loose thy mind: and do thou listen, for my words will make thee a present of a great doctrine.

[1] "Hosanna! Holy God of Sabaoth, beaming with thy brightness upon the blessed fires of these realms."

[2] Substance, as a scholastic term, signifies a being subsisting by itself with a quality of its own. "Substantiae nomen significat essentiam cui competit sic esse, id est per se esse; quod tamen esse non est ipsa ejus essentia."—Summa Theol. I. iii. 5.

[3] The double light of Emperor and compiler of the Laws.

[4] Only by the sound of her name.

"By not enduring for his own good a curb upon the power which wills, that man who was not born,—damning himself, damned all his offspring; wherefore the human race lay sick below for many centuries, in great error, till it pleased the Word of God to descend where He, by the sole act of His eternal love, united with Himself in person the nature which had. removed itself from its Maker.

"Now direct thy sight to the discourse which follows. This nature, united with its Maker, became sincere and good, as it had been created; but by itself it had been banished from Paradise, because it turned aside from the way of truth and from its own life. The punishment therefore which the cross afforded, if it be measured by the nature assumed, none ever so justly stung; and, likewise, none was ever of such great wrong, regarding the Person who suffered, with whom this nature was united. Therefore from one act issued things diverse; for unto God and unto the Jews one death was pleasing: by it earth trembled and the heavens were opened. No more henceforth ought it to seem perplexing to thee, when it is said that a just vengeance was afterward avenged by a just court,

"But I see now thy mind tied up, from thought to thought, within a knot the loosing of which is awaited with great desire, Thou sayest, 'I discern clearly that which I bear; but it is occult to we why God should will only this mode for our redemption.' This decree, brother, stands buried to the eyes of every one whose wit is not full grown in the flame of love. Truly, inasmuch as on this mark there is much gazing, and little is discerned, I will tell why such mode was most worthy. The Divine Goodness, which from Itself spurns all rancor, burning in Itself so sparkles that It displays the eternal beauties. That which distils immediately[1] from It, thereafter has no end, for when It seals, Its imprint is not removed. That which from It immediately rains down is wholly free, because it is not subject unto the power of the new things.[2] It is the most conformed to It, and therefore pleases It the most; for the Holy Ardor which irradiates every thing is most living in what is most resemblance to Itself. With all these things[3] the human creature is advantaged, and if one fail, he needs must fall from his nobility. Sin alone is that which disfranchises him, and makes him unlike the Supreme Good, so that by Its light he is little illumined. And to his dignity he never returns, unless, where sin makes void, he fill up for evil pleasures with just penalties. Your nature, when it sinned totally in its seed,[4] was removed from these dignities, even as from Paradise; nor could they be recovered, if thou considerest full subtly, by any way, without passing by one of these fords:—either that God alone by His courtesy should forgive, or that man by himself should make satisfaction for his folly. Fix now thine eye within the abyss of the eternal counsel, fixed as closely on my speech as thou art able. Man within his own limits could never make satisfaction, through not being able to descend so far with humility in subsequent obedience, as disobeying he intended to ascend; and this is the reason why man was excluded from power to make satisfaction by himself. Therefore it behoved God by His own paths[5] to restore man to his entire life, I mean by one, or else by both. But because the work of the workman is so much the more pleasing, the more it represents of the goodness of the heart whence it issues, the Divine Goodness which imprints the world was content to proceed by all Its paths to lift you up again; nor between the last night and the first day has there been or will there be so lofty and so magnificent a procedure either by one or by the other; for God was more liberal in giving Himself to make man sufficient to lift himself up again, than if only of Himself He had pardoned him. And all the other modes were scanty in respect to justice, if the Son of God had not humbled himself to become incarnate.

[1] Without the intervention of a second cause.

[2] That is, of the heavens, new as compared with the First Cause.

[3] That is, with immediate creation, with immortality, with free will, with likeness to God, and the love of God for it.

[4] Adam.

[5] "All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth."—Psalm xxv. 10. Truth may be here interpreted, according to St. Thomas Aquinas, as justice.

"Now to fill completely every desire of thine, I return to a certain place to clear it up, in order that thou mayest see there even, as I do. Thou sayest, 'I see the water, I see the fire, the air; and the earth, and all their mixtures come to corruption, and endure short while, and yet these things were created;' so that, if what I have said has been true, they ought to be secure against corruption. The Angels, brother, and the sincere[1] country in which thou art, may be called created, even as they are, in their entire being; but the elements which thou hast named, and those things which are made of them, are informed by a created power.[2] The matter of which they consist was created; the informing power in these stars which go round about them was created. The ray and the motion of the holy lights draw out from its potential elements[3] the soul of every brute and of the plants; but the Supreme Benignity inspires your life without intermediary, and enamors it of Itself so that ever after it desires It. And hence[4] thou canst argue further your resurrection, if thou refleetest bow the human flesh was made when the first parents were both made."

[1] Sincere is here used in the sense of incorruptible, or perhaps unspoiled,—the quality of the Heavens as contrasted with the Earth.

[2] The elements axe informed, that is, receive their specific being not immediately from Goa, but mediately through the informing Intelligences.

[3] Literally, "from the potentiate mingling," that is, from the matter endowed with the potentiality of becoming informed by the vegetative and the sensitive soul.

[4] From the principle that what proceeds immediately from Goa is immortal.



CANTO VIII. Ascent to the Heaven of Venus.—Spirits of Lovers, Source of the order and the varieties in mortal things.

The world in its peril[1] was wont to believe that the beautiful Cypriote[2] revolving in the third epicycle rayed out mad love; wherefore the ancient people in their ancient error not only unto her did honor with sacrifice and with votive cry, but they honored Dione[3] also and Cupid, the one as her mother, the other as her son, and they said that he had sat in Dido's lap[4] And from her, from whom I take my beginning, they took the name of the star which the sun wooes, now at her back now at her front.[5] I was not aware of the ascent to it; but of being in it, my Lady, whom I saw become more beautiful, gave me full assurance.

[1] In heathen times.

[2] Venus, so called from her birth in Cyprus.

[3] Dione, daughter of Oceanus and Thetis, mother of Venus.

[4] Under the form of Ascanius, as Virgil tells in the first book of the Aeneid.

[5] According as it is morning or evening star.

And even as in a flame a spark is seen, and as voice from voice is distinguished when one is steady and the other goes and returns, I saw in that light other lamps moving in a circle more and less rapidly, in the measure, I believe, of their inward vision. From a cold cloud winds never descended, or visible or not, go swift, that they would not seem impeded and slow to him who had seen these divine lights coming to us, leaving the circling begun first among the high Seraphim. And within those who appeared most in front was sounding HOSANNA, so that never since have I been without desire of hearing it again. Then one came nearer to us, and alone began, "We all are ready to thy pleasure, that thou mayest joy in us. With one circle, with one circling, and with one thirst,[1] we revolve with the celestial Princes,[2] to whom thou in the world once said: 'Ye who intelligent move the third heaven;' and we are so full of love that, to please thee, a little quiet will not be less sweet to us."

[1] One circle in space, one circling in eternity, one thirst for the vision of God.

[2] The third in ascending order of the hierarchy of the Angels, corresponding with the heaven of Venus.

After my eyes had offered themselves reverently to my Lady, and she had of herself made them contented and assured, they turned again to the light which had promised so much; and, "Tell who ye are," was my utterance, stamped with great affection. And how much greater alike in quantity and quality did I see it become, through the new gladness which was added to its gladnesses when I spoke! Become thus, it said to me,[1] "The world had me below short while; and had it been longer much evil had not been which will be. My joy which rays around me, and hides me like a creature swathed in its own silk, holds me concealed from thee. Much didst thou love me, and thou hadst good reason; for had I stayed below I had showed thee of my love far more than the leaves. That left bank which is bathed by the Rhone, after it has mingled with the Sorgue, awaited me in due time for its lord;[2] and that born of Ansonia[3] which is towned with Bari, with Gaeta, and with Catona,[4] whence the Tronto and the Verde disgorge into the sea. Already was shining on my brow the crown of that land which the Danube waters after it abandons its German banks;[5] and the fair Trinacria[6] (which is darkened, not by Typhoeus but by nascent sulphur, on the gulf between Pachynus and Pelorus which receives greatest annoy from Eurus[7]) would be still awaiting its kings descended through me from Charles and Rudolph,[8] if evil rule, which always embitters the subject people, had not moved Palermo to shout, 'Die! Die!'[9] And if my brother had taken note of this,[10] he would already put to flight the greedy poverty of Catalonia, in order that it might not do him harm: for truly there is need for him or for some other to look to it, so that on his laden bark more load be not put. His own nature, which descended niggardly from a liberal one, would have need of such a soldiery as should not care to put into a chest."[11]

[1] It is Charles Martel, son of Charles II. of Naples, who speaks. He was born about 1270, and in 1294 he was at Florence for more than twenty days, and at this time may have become acquainted with Dante. Great honor was done him by the Florentines, and he showed great love to them, so that he won favor from everybody, says Villani. He died in 1295.

[2] Charles of Anjou, grandfather of Charles Martel, had received this part of Provence as dowry of his wife Beatrice, the youngest daughter of Raymond Berenger.

[3] A name for Italy, used only by the poets.

[4] Bari on the Adriatic, Gaeta on the Mediterranean, and Catons at the too of Italy, together with the two rivers named, give roughly the boundaries of the Kingdom of Naples.

[5] The mother of Charles Martel was sister of Ladislaus IV., King of Hungary. He died without offspring, and Charles II. claimed the kingdom by right of his wife.

[6] Sicily; the gulf darkened by sulphurous fumes is the Bay of Calabria, which lies exposed to Eurus, that is, to winds from the south-east.

[7] The sea between Cape Pachynus, the extreme southeastern point of the island, and Cape Pelorus, the extreme northeastern, lies exposed to the violence of Eurus or the East wind. Clouds of smoke from Etna sometimes darken it. The eruptions of Etna were ascribed by Ovid (Metam. v., 346-353) to the struggles of Typhoeus, one of the rebellious Giants. Ovid's verses suggested this description.

[8] From his father, Charles H., or his grandfather, Charles of Anjou, and from the Emperor Rudolph of Hapsburg, who was the father of Clemence, Charles Martel's wife.

[9] By the insurrection which began at Palermo in 1282,—the famous Sicilian Vespers,—the French were driven from the island.

[10] This brother was Robert, the third son of Charles II. He had been kept as a hostage in Catalonia from 1288 to 1295, and when he became King of Naples in 1309 he introduced into his service many Catalonian officials. The words of Charles Martel are prophetic of the evils wrought by their greed.

[11] Officials who would not, by oppression of the subjects, seek their private gain.

"Because I believe that the deep joy which thy speech, my lord, infuses in me is seen by thee there where every good ends and begins[1] even as I see it in myself, it is the more grateful to me; and this also I hold dear, that thou discernest it, gazing upon God.[2] Thou hast made me glad; and in like wise do thou make clear to me (since in speaking thou bast moved me to doubt) how bitter can issue from sweet seed." This I to him; and he to me, "If I am able to show to thee a truth, thou wilt hold thy face to that which thou askest, as thou dost hold thy back. The Good which turns and contents all the realm which thou ascendest, makes its providence to be a power in these great bodies.[3] And not the natures only are foreseen in the Mind which by itself is perfect, but they together with their salvation.[4] For whatsoever this bow shoots falls disposed to its foreseen end, even as a thing directed to its aim. Were this not so, the heavens through which thou journeyest would produce their effects in such wise that they would not be works of art but ruins; and that cannot be, if the Intelligences which move these stars are not defective, and defective also the prime Intelligence which has not made them perfect.[5] Dost thou wish that this truth be made still clearer to thee?" And I, "No, truly; because I see it to be impossible that Nature should weary in that which is needful."[6] Whereupon he again, "Now say, would it be worse for man on earth if he were not a citizen?"[7] "Yes," answered I, "and here I ask not the reason."[8] "And can he be so, unless he live there below in divers manner through divers offices?[9] No; if your master[10] writes well of this." So he went on deducing far as here; then he concluded, "Hence it behoves that the roots of your works must be diverse.[11] Wherefore one is born Solon, and another Xerxes, another Melchisedech, and another he who, flying through the air, lost his son. The revolving nature, which is the seal of the mortal wax, performs its art well, but does not distinguish one inn from another.[12] Hence it happens that Esau differs in seed from Jacob, and Quirinus comes from so mean a father that he is ascribed to Mars. The generated nature would always make its path like its progenitors, if the divine foresight did not conquer. Now that which was behind thee is before thee, but that thou mayest know that I have joy in thee, I wish that thou cloak thee with a corollary.[13] Nature, if she find fortune discordant with herself, like every other seed out of its region, always makes bad result. And if the world down there would fix attention on the foundation which nature lays, following that, it would have its people good. But ye wrest to religion one who shall be born to gird on the sword, and ye make a king of one who is for preaching; wherefore your track is out of the road."

[1] Is seen in the mind of God.

[2] My own joy is the dearer in that thou seest that it is more grateful to me because known by thee.

[3] The providence of God is fulfilled through the influences of the Heavens acting upon the natures subject to them.

[4] That is, together with the good ends for which they are created and ordained.

[5] Defect in the subordinate Intelligences would imply defect in God, which is impossible.

[6] It is impossible that the order of nature should fail, that order being the design of God in creation.

[7] That is, united with other men in society.

[8] Because man is by nature a social animal, and cannot attain his true end except as a member of a community.

[9] Society cannot exist without diversity in the functions of its members.

[10] Aristotle, "the master of human reason, who treats of this in many places, for instance in his Ethics, i. 7, where he speaks of man as "by nature social," so that his end is accomplished only in society.

[11] Human dispositions, the roots of human works, must be diverse in order to produce diverse effects.

[12] The spheres pour down their various influences without discrimination in the choice of the individual upon whom they fall. Hence sons may differ in their dispositions from their fathers.

[13] This additional statement completes the instruction, as a cloak completes the clothing of a body.



CANTO IX. The Heaven of Venus.—Conversation of Dante with Cunizza da Romano,—With Folco of Marseilles.—Rahab.—Avarice of the Papal Court.

After thy Charles, O beautiful Clemence,[1] had enlightened me, he told to me of the treasons which his seed must suffer. But he said, "Be silent, and let the years revolve:" so that I can tell nothing, save that just lament shall follow on your wrongs.[2]

[1] The widow of Charles Martel.

[2] Those who have done the wrong shall justly lament therefor.

And now the life of that holy light had turned again unto the Sun which fills it, as that Good which suffices for every thing. Ah, souls deceived, and creatures impious, who from such Good turn away your hearts, directing your foreheads unto vanity!

And lo! another of those splendors made towards me, and in brightening outwardly was signifying its will to please me. The eyes of Beatrice, which were fixed upon me, as before, made me assured of dear assent to my desire. "I pray thee give swift quittance to my wish, blessed spirit," I said, "and afford me proof that what think I can reflect on thee."[1] Whereon the light which was still new[2] to me, from out its depth, wherein erst it was singing, proceeded, as one whom doing good delights, "In that part[3] of the wicked Italian land, which lies between Rialto and the founts of the Brenta and the Piave, rises a hill,[4] and mounts not very high, whence a torch descended which made a great assault upon that district. From one root both I and it were born; Cunizza was I called; and I am refulgent here because the light of this star overcame me. But gladly do I pardon to myself the cause of my lot, and it gives me no annoy;[5] which perhaps would seem difficult to your vulgar. Of this resplendent and dear jewel of our kingdom,[6] who is nearest to me, great fame has remained, and ere it die away this hundredth year shall yet come round five times. See if man ought to make himself excellent, so that the first may leave another life! And this the present crowd, which the Tagliameuto and the Adige shut in,[7] considers not; nor yet by being scourged doth it repent. But it will soon come to pass that at the marsh Padua will discolor the water which bathes Vicenza, because her people are stubborn against duty.[8] And where the Sile and the Cagnano unite, one lords it, and goes with his head high, for catching whom the web is already spun.[9] Feltro will yet weep the crime of its impious shepherd, which will be so shameful, that, for a like, none ever entered Malta.[10] Too large would be the vat which would hold the Ferrarese blood, and weary he who should weigh it, ounce by ounce, which this courteous priest will give to show himself a partisan;[11] and such gifts will be conformed to the living of the country. Above are mirrors, ye call them Thrones,[12] wherefrom God shines on us in his judgments, so that these words seem good to us."[13] Here she was silent, and had to me the semblance of being turned elsewhither by the wheel in which she set herself as she was before.[14]

[1] That thou, gazing on the mind of God, seest therein my thoughts.

[2] Still unknown by name.

[3] The March of Treviso, lying between Venice (Rialto) and the Alps.

[4] The hill on which stood the little stronghold of Romano, the birthplace of the tyrant Azzolino, or Ezzolino, whom Dante had seen in Hell (Canto XII.) punished for his cruel misdeeds, in the river of boiling blood. Cunizza was his sister.

[5] The sin which has limited the capacity of bliss, the sin which has determined the low grade in Paradise of Cunizza, is forgiven and forgotten, and she, like Piccarda, wishes only for that blessedness which she has.

[6] Folco, or Foulquet, of Marseilles, once a famous singer of songs of love, then a bishop. He died in 1213.

[7] The people of the region where Cunizza lived.

[8] The Paduan Guelphs, resisting the Emperor, to whom they owed duty, were defeated more than once, near Vicenza, by Can Grande, during the years in which Dante was writing his poem.

[9] The Sile and the Cagnano unite at Treviso, whose lord, Ricciardo da Camino, was assassinated in 1312.

[10] An act of treachery on the part of the Bishop and Lord of Feltro, Alessandro Novello, in delivering up Ghibelline exiles from Ferrara, of whom thirty were beheaded; a treason so vile that in the tower called Malta, where ecclesiastics who committed capital crimes were imprisoned, no such crime as his was ever punished.

[11] That is, of the Guelphs, by whom the designation of The Party was appropriated.

[12] The Thrones were, according to St. Gregory, that order of Angels through whom God executes his judgments.

[13] Because we see reflected from the Thrones the judgment of God above to fall on the guilty.

[14] See Canto VIII., near the beginning.

The next joy, which was already known to me as an illustrious thing,[1] became to my sight like a fine ruby whereon the sun should strike. Through joy effulgence is gained there on high, even as a smile here; but below[2] the shade darkens outwardly, as the mind is sad.

[1] By the words of Cunizza.

[2] In Hell.

"God sees everything, and thy vision, blessed spirit, is in Him," said I, "so that no wish can steal itself away from thee. Thy voice, then, that ever charms the heavens, with the song of those pious fires which make a cowl for themselves with their six wings,[1] why does it not satisfy my desires? Surely I should not wait for thy request if I in-theed myself, as thou thyself in-meest."[2] "The greatest deep in which the water spreads,"[3] began then his words, "except of that sea which garlands the earth, between its discordant shores stretches so far counter to the sun, that it makes a meridian where first it was wont to make the horizon.[4] I was a dweller on the shore of that deep, between the Ebro and the Magra,[5] which, for a short way, divides the Genoese from the Tuscan. With almost the same sunset and the same sunrise sit Buggea and the city whence I was, which once made its harbor warm with its own blood.[6] That people to whom my name was known called me Folco, and this heaven is imprinted by me, as I was by it. For the daughter of Belus,[7] harmful alike to Sichaeus and Creusa, burned not more than I, so long as it befitted my hair;[8] nor she of Rhodopea who was deluded by Demophoon;[9] nor Alcides when he had enclosed Iole in his heart.[10] Yet one repents not here, but smiles, not for the fault which returns not to the memory, but for the power which ordained and foresaw. Here one gazes upon the art which adorns so great a work, and the good is discerned whereby the world above turns that below.

[1] The Seraphim, who with their wings cover their faces. See Isaiah, vi. 2.

[2] If I saw thee inwardly as thou seest me. Dante invents the words he uses here, and they are no less unfamiliar in Italian than in English.

[3] The Mediterranean.

[4] According to the geography of the time the Mediterranean stretched from east to west ninety degrees of longitude.

[5] Between the Ebro in Spain and the Magra in Italy lies Marseilles, under almost the same meridian as Buggea (now Bougie) on the African coast.

[6] When the fleet of Caesar defeated that of Pompey with its contingent of vessels and soldiers of Marseilles, B. C. 49.

[7] Dido.

[8] Till my hair grew thin and gray.

[9] Phyllis, daughter of the king of Thrace, who hung herself when deserted by Demophoon, the son of Theseus.

[10] The excess of the love of Hercules for Iole led to his death.

"But in order that thou mayst bear away satisfied all thy wishes which have been born in this sphere, it behoves me to proceed still further. Thou wouldst know who is in this light, which beside me here so sparkles, as a sunbeam on clear water. Now know that therewithin Rahab[1] is at rest, and being joined with our order it is sealed by her in the supreme degree. By this heaven in which the shadow that your world makes comes to a point[2] she was taken up before any other soul at the triumph of Christ. It was well befitting to leave her in some heaven, as a palm of the high victory which was won with the two hands,[3] because she aided the first glory of Joshua within the Holy Land, which little touches the memory of the Pope.

[1] "By faith the harlot Rabab perished not with them that believed not."—Hebrews, xi. 31. See Joshua, ii. 1-21; vi. 17; James, ii. 25.

[2] The conical shadow of the earth ended, according to Ptolemy, at the heaven of Venus. Philalethes suggests that there may be here an allegorical meaning, the shadow of the earth being shown in feebleness of will, worldly ambition, and inordinate love, which have allotted the souls who appear in these first heavens to the lowest grades in Paradise.

[3] Nailed to the cross. The glory of Joshua was the winning of the Holy Land for the inheritance of the children of Israel.

"Thy city, which is plant of him who first turned his back on his Maker, and whose envy[1] has been so bewept, produces and scatters the accursed flower[2] which has led astray the sheep and the lambs, because it has made a wolf of the shepherd. For this the Gospel and the great Doctors are deserted, and there is study only of the Decretals,[3] as is apparent by their margins. On this the Pope and the Cardinals are intent; their thoughts go not to Nazareth, there where Gabriel spread his wings. But the Vatican, and the other elect parts of Rome, which have been the burial place for the soldiery that followed Peter, shall soon be free from this adultery."[4]

[1] "Through envy of the devil came death into the world."— Wisdom of Solomon, ii. 24.

[2] The lily on its florin.

[3] The books of the Ecclesiastical Law.

[4] By the removal in 1305 of the Papal Court to Avignon.



CANTO X. Ascent to the Sun.—Spirits of the wise, and the learned in theology.—St. Thomas Aquinas.—He names to Dante those who surround him.

Looking upon His Son with the Love which the one and the other eternally breathe forth, the Primal and Ineffable Power made everything which revolves through the mind or through space with such order that he who contemplates it cannot be without taste of Him.[1] Lift then thy sight, Reader, with me to the lofty wheels, straight to that region where the one motion strikes on the other;[2] and there begin to gaze with delight on the art of that Master who within Himself so loves it that His eye never departs from it. See how from that point the oblique circle which bears the planets[3] branches off, to satisfy the world which calls on them;[4] and if their road had not been bent, much virtue in the heavens would be in vain, and well-nigh every potency dead here below.[5] And if from the straight line its departure had been more or less distant, much of the order of the world, both below and above, would be defective. Now do thou remain, Reader, upon thy bench,[6] following in thought that which is fore. tasted, if thou wouldst be glad far sooner than weary. I have set before thee; henceforth feed thee by thyself, for that theme whereof I have been made scribe wrests all my care unto itself.

[1] All things, as well the spiritual and invisible objects of the intelligence as the corporal and visible objects of sense, were made by God the Father, operating through the Son, with the love of the Holy Spirit, and made in such order that he who contemplates the creation beholds the partial image of the Creator.

[2] At the equinox, the season of Dante's journey, the sun in Aries is at the intersection of the ecliptic and the equator of the celestial sphere, and his apparent motion in his annual revolution cuts the apparent diurnal motion of the fixed stars, which is performed in circles parallel to the equator.

[3] The ecliptic.

[4] Which invokes their influence.

[5] Because on the obliquity of their path depends the variety of their influence.

[6] As a scholar.

The greatest minister of nature, which imprints the world with the power of the heavens, and with its light measures the time for us, in conjunction with that region called to mind above, was circling through the spirals in which from day to day he earlier presents himself.[1] And I was with him; but of the ascent I was not aware, otherwise than as a man is aware, before his first thought, of its coming. Beatrice is she who thus conducts from good to better so swiftly that her act extends not through time.

[1] In that spiral course in which, according to the Ptolemaic system, the sun passes from the equator to the tropic of Cancer, rising earlier every day.

How lucent of itself must that have been which, within the sun where I entered, was appareiit not by color but by light! Though I should call on genius, art, and use, I could not tell it so that it could ever be imagined; but it may be believed, and sight of it longed for. And if our fancies are low for such loftiness, it is no marvel, for beyond the sun was never eye could go. Such[1] was here the fourth family of the High Father, who always satisfies it, showing how He breathes forth, and how He begets.[2] And Beatrice began, "Thank, thank thou the Sun of the Angels, who to this visible one has raised thee by His grace." Heart of mortal was never so disposed to devotion, and so ready, with its own entire pleasure, to give itself to God, as I became at those words; and all my love was so set on Him that Beatrice was eclipsed in oblivion. It displeased her not; but she so smiled thereat that the splendor of her smiling eyes divided upon many things my singly intent mind.

[1] So lucent, brighter than the sun.

[2] Showing himself in the Holy Spirit and in the Son.

I saw many living and surpassing effulgences make a centre of us, and make a crown of themselves, more sweet in voice than shining in aspect. Thus girt we sometimes see the daughter of Latona, when the air is pregnant so that it holds the thread which makes the girdle.[1] In the court of Heaven, wherefrom I return, are found many jewels so precious and beautiful that they cannot be brought from the kingdom, and of these was the song of those lights. Who wings not himself so that he may fly up thither, let him await the tidings thence from the dumb.

[1] When the air is so full of vapor that it forms a halo.

After those burning suns, thus singing, had circled three times round about us, like stars near fixed poles, they seemed to me as ladies not loosed from a dance, but who stop silent, listening till they have caught the new notes. And within one I heard begin, "Since the ray of grace, whereby true love is kindled, and which thereafter grows multiplied in loving, so shines on thee that it conducts thee upward by that stair upon which, without reascending, no one descends, he who should deny to thee the wine of his flask for thy thirst, would not be more at liberty than water which descends not to the sea.[1] Thou wishest to know with what plants this garland is enflowered, which, round about her, gazes with delight upon the, beautiful Lady who strengthens thee for heaven. I was of the lambs of the holy flock[2] which Dominic leads along the way where one fattens well if he stray not.[3] This one who is nearest to me on the right was my brother and master; and he was Albert of Cologne,[4] and I Thomas of Aquino. If thus of all the rest thou wishest to be informed, come, following my speech, with thy sight circling around upon the blessed chaplet. That next flaming issues from the smile of Gratian, who so assisted one court and the other that it pleases in Paradise.[5] The next, who at his side adorns our choir, was that Peter who, like the poor woman, offered his treasure to Holy Church.[6] The fifth light, which is most beautiful among us,[7] breathes from such love, that all the world there below is greedy to know tidings of it.[8] Within it is the lofty mind, wherein wisdom so profound was put, that, if the truth is true, to see so much no second has arisen.[9] At his side thou seest the light of that candle, which, below in the flesh, saw most inwardly the angelic nature, and its ministry.[10] In the next little light smiles that advocate of the Christian times, with whose discourse Augustine provided himself.[11] Now if thou leadest the eye of the mind, following my praises, from light to light, thou remainest already thirsting for the eighth. Therewithin, through seeing every good, the holy soul rejoices which makes the deceit of the world manifest to whoso hears him well.[12] The body whence it was hunted out lies below in Cieldauro,[13] and from martyrdom and from exile it came unto this peace. Beyond thou seest flaming the burning breath of Isidore, of Bede, and of Richard who in contemplation was more than man.[14] The one from whom thy look returns to me is the light of a spirit to whom in grave thoughts death seemed to come slow. It is the eternal light of Sigier,[15] who reading in the Street of Straw syllogized truths which were hated."

[1] He would be restrained against his nature, as water prevented from flowing down to the sea.

[2] Of the Order of St. Dominic.

[3] Where one acquires spiritual good, if he be not distracted by the allurement of worldly things.

[4] The learned Doctor, Albertus Magnus.

[5] Gratian was an Italian Benedictine monk, who lived in the 12th century, and compiled the famous work known as the Decretum Gratiani, composed of texts of Scripture, of the Canons of the Church, of Decretals of the Popes, and of extracts from the Fathers, designed to show the agreement of the civil and ecclesiastical law,—a work pleasing in Paradise because promoting concord between the two authorities.

[6] Peter Lombard, a theologian of the 12th century, known as Magister Sententiarum, from his compilation of extracts relating to the doctrines of the Church, under the title of Sententiarum Libri IV. In the proem to his work he says that he desired, "like the poor widow, to cast something from his penury into the treasury of the Lord."

[7] Solomon.

[8] It was matter of debate whether Solomon was among the blessed or the damned.

[9] "Lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee."—1 Kings, iii. 12.

[10] Dionysius the Areopagite, the disciple of St. Paul (Acts, xvii. 34), to whom was falsely ascribed a book of great repute, written in the fourth century, " On the Celestial Hierarchy."

[11] Paulus Orosius, who wrote his History against the Pagans, at the request of St. Augustine, to defend Christianity from the charge brought against it by the Gentiles of being the source of the calamities which had befallen the Roman world. His work might be regarded as a supplement to St. Augustine's De Civitate Dei.

[12] Boethins, statesman and philosopher. whose work, De Consolatione Philosophiae, was one of the books held in highest esteem by Dante.

[13] Boethius, who was put to death in Pavia, in 524, was buried in the church of S. Pietro in Ciel d' Oro—St. Peter's of the Golden Ceiling.

[14] Isidore, bishop of Seville, died 636; the Venerable Bede, died 735; Richard, prior of the Monastery of St. Victor, at Paris, a mystic of the 12th century; all eminent theologians.

[15] Sigier of Brabant, who lectured, applying logic to questions in theology, at Paris, in the 13th century, in the Rue du Fouarre.

Then, as a horologe which calls us at the hour when the Bride of God[1] rises to sing matins to her Bridegroom that he may love her, in which the one part draws and urges the other, sounding ting! ting! with such sweet note that the well-disposed spirit swells with love, so saw I the glorious wheel move, and render voice to voice in concord and in sweetness which cannot be known save there where joy becomes eternal.

[1] The Church.



CANTO XI. The Vanity of worldly desires,—St. Thomas Aquinas undertakes to solve two doubts perplexing Dante.—He narrates the life of St. Francis of Assisi.

O insensate care of mortals, how defective are those syllogisms which make thee downward beat thy wings! One was going after the Laws, and one after the Aphorisms,[1] and one following the priesthood, and one to reign by force or by sophisms, and one to rob, and one to civic business; one, involved in pleasure of the flesh, was wearying himself, and one was giving himself to idleness, when I, loosed from all these things, with Beatrice, was thus gloriously received on high in Heaven.

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