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When I heard say: "If I my colour change,

Marvel not at it; for while I am speaking

Thou shalt behold all these their colour change. He who usurps upon the earth my place,

My place, my place, which vacant has become

Before the presence of the Son of God, Has of my cemetery made a sewer

Of blood and stench, whereby the Perverse One,

Who fell from here, below there is appeased !” With the same colour which, through sun adverse,

Painteth the clouds at evening or at morn,

Beheld I then the whole of heaven suffused. And as a modest woman, who abides

Sure of herself, and at another's failing,

From listening only, timorous becomes, Even thus did Beatrice change countenance ;

And I believe in heaven was such eclipse,

When suffered the supreme Omnipotence; Thereafterward proceeded forth his words

With voice so much transmuted from itself,

The very countenance was not more changed. The spouse of Christ has never nurtured been

On blood of mine, of Linus and of Cletus,

To be made use of in acquest of gold ; But in acquest of this delightful life

Sixtus and Pius, Urban and Calixtus,

After much lamentation, shed their blood. Our purpose was not, that on the right hand

Of our successors should in part be seated

The Christian folk, in part upon the other ; Nor that the keys which were to me confided

Should e'er become the escutcheon on a banner,

That should wage war on those who are baptized ; Nor I be made the figure of a seal

To privileges venal and mendacious,

Whereat I often redden and flash with fire. In garb of shepherds the rapacious wolves

Are seen from here above o'er all the pastures!

O wrath of God, why dost tliou slumber still ? To drink our blood the Caorsines and Gascons

Are making ready. Othou good beginning,

Unto how vile an end must thou needs fall !
But the high Providence, that with Scipio

At Rome the glory of the world defended,
Will speedily bring aid, as I conceive;




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And thou, my son, who by thy mortal weight

Shalt down return again, open thy mouth ;

What I conceal not, do not thou conceal.' As with its frozen vapours downward falls

In flakes our atmosphere, what time the horn

Of the celestial Goat doth touch the sun, Upward in such array saw I the ether

Become, and flaked with the triumphant vapours,

Which there together with us had remained. My sight was following up their semblances,

And followed till the medium, by excess,

The passing farther onward took from it ; Whereat the Lady, who beheld me freed .

From gazing upward, said to me: “Cast down

Thy sight, and see how far thou art turned round.” Since the first time that I had downward looked,

I saw that I had moved through the whole arc

Which the first climate makes from midst to end; So that I saw the mad track of Ulysses

Past Gades, and this side, well nigh the shore

Whereon became Europa a sweet burden. And of this threshing-floor the site to me

Were more unveiled, but the sun was proceeding

Under my feet, a sign and more removed. My mind enamoured, which is dallying

At all times with my Lady, to bring back

To her mine eyes was more than ever ardent. And if or Art or Nature has made bait

To catch the eyes and so possess the mind,

In human flesh or in its portraiture,
All joined together would appear as nought

To the divine delight which shone upon me

When to her smiling face I turned me round. The virtue that her look endowed me with

From the fair nest of Leda tore me forth,

And up into the swiftest heaven impelled me. Its parts exceeding full of life and lofty

Are all so uniform, I cannot say

Which Beatrice selected for my place. But she, who was aware of my desire,

Began, the while she smiled so joyously

That God seemed in her countenance to rejoice : “ The nature of that motion, which keeps quiet

The centre, and all the rest about it moves,
From hence begins as from its starting point.

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And in this heaven there is no other Where

Than in the Mind Divine, wherein is kindled

The love that turns it, and the power it rains. Within a circle light and love embrace it,

Even as this doth the others, and that precinct

He who encircles it alone controls. Its motion is not by another meted,

But all the others measured are by this,

As ten is by the half and by the fifth. And in what manner time in such a pot

May have its roots, and in the rest its leaves,

Now unto thee can manifest be made. O Covetousness, that mortals dost ingulf

Beneath thee so, that no one hath the power

Of drawing back his eyes from out thy waves ! Full fairly blossoms in mankind the will;

But the uninterrupted rain converts

Into abortive wildings the true plums. Fidelity and innocence are found

Only in children; afterwards they both

Take flight or e'er the cheeks with down are covered. One, while he prattles still, observes the fasts,

Who, when his tongue is loosed, forthwith devours

Whatever food under whatever moon; Another, while he prattles, loves and listens

Unto his mother, who when speech is perfect

Forthwith desires to see her in her grave. Even thus is swarthy made the skin so white

In its first aspect of the daughter fair

Of him who brings the morn, and leaves the night. Thou, that it may not be a marvel to thee,

Think that on earth there is no one who governs ;

Whence goes astray the human family. Ere January be unwintered wholly

By the centesimal on earth neglected,

Shall these supernal circles roar so loud The tempest that has been so long awaited

Shall whirl the poops about where are the prows;

So that the fleet shall run its course direct, And the true fruit shall follow on the flower.”







AFTER the truth against the present life

Of miserable mortals was unfolded

By her who doth imparadise my mind, As in a looking-glass a taper's flame

He sees who from behind is lighted by it,

Before he has it in his sight or thought, And turns him round to see if so the glass

Tell hirn the truth, and sees that it accords

Therewith as doth a music with its metre, In similar wise my memory recollecteth

That I did, looking into those fair eyes,

Of which Love made the springes to ensnare me And as I turned me round, and mine were touched

By that which is apparent in that volume,

Whenever on its gyre we gaze intent, A point beheld I, that was raying out

Light so acute, the sight which it enkindles

Must close perforce before such great acuteness. And whatsoever star seems smallest here

Would seem to be a moon, if placed beside it

As one star with another star is placed. Perhaps at such a distance as appears

A halo cincturing the light that paints it,

When densest is the vapour that sustains it, Thus distant round the point a circle of fire

So swiftly whirled, that it would have surpassed

Whatever motion soonest girds the world ; And this was by another circumcinct,

That by a third, the third then by a fourth,

By a fifth the fourth, and then by a sixth the fifth ; The seventh followed thereupon in width

So ample now, that Juno's messenger

Entire would be too narrow to contain it. Even so the eighth and ninth; and every one

More slowly moved, according as it was

In number distant farther from the first.
And that one had its flame most crystalline

From which less distant was the stainless spark,
I think because more with its truth imbuedi.




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My Lady, who in my anxiety

Beheld me much perplexed, said : “From that point

Dependent is the heaven and nature all. Behold that circle most conjoined to it,

And know thou, that its motion is so swift

Through burning love whereby it is spurred on." And I to her: “If the world were arranged

In the order which I see in yonder wheels,

What's set before me would have satisfied me; But in the world of sense we can perceive

That evermore the circles are diviner

As they are from the centre more remote Wherefore if my desire is to be ended

In this miraculous and angelic temple,

That has for confines only love and light, To hear behoves me still how the example

And the exemplar go not in one fashion,

Since for myself in vain I contemplate it." “ If thine own fingers unto such a knot

Be insufficient, it is no great wonder,

So hard hath it become for want of trying.” My Lady thus; then said she : “ Do thou take

What I shall tell thee, if thou wouldst be sated,

And exercise on that thy subtlety. The circles corporal are wide and narrow

According to the more or less of virtue

Which is distributed through all their parts. The greater goodness works the greater weal,

The greater weal the greater body holds,

If perfect equally are all its parts. Therefore this one which sweeps along with it

The universe sublime, doth correspond

Unto the circle which most loves and knows. Or which account, if thou unto the virtue

Apply thy measure, not to the appearance

Of substances that unto thee seem round, Thou wilt behold a marvellous agreement,

Of more to greater, and of less to smaller,

In every heaven, with its Intelligence." Even as remaineth splendid and serene

The hemisphere of air, when Boreas

Is blowing from that cheek where he is mildest,
Because is purified and resolved the rack

That erst disturbed it, till the welkin laughs
With all the beauties of its pageantry ;

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