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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.

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CANTO III.

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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 flaning 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.

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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.

60 "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, 65
And thou be steadfast in thy hope, sweet son."

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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 Heaver

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.

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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 aclvance us here."

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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.

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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.

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