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Thus did I likewise, after that my Lady

Had me provided with her clear response,

And like a star in heaven the truth was seen, And soon as to a stop her words had come,

Not otherwise does iron scintillate

When molten, than those circles scintillated. Their coruscation all the sparks repeated,

And they so many were, their number makes

More millions than the doubling of the chess. I heard them sing hosanna choir by choir

To the fixed point which holds them at the Ubi,

And ever will, where they have ever been. And she, who saw the dubious meditations

Within my mind, “The primal circles," said,

“Have shown thee Seraphim and Cherubim. Thus rapidly they follow their own bonds,

To be as like the point as most they can,

And can as far as they are high in vision. Those other Loves, that round about them go,

Thrones of the countenance divine are called,

Because they terminate the primal Triad.
And thou shouldst know that they all have delight

As much as their own vision penetrates

The Truth, in which all intellect finds rest. From this it may be seen how blessedness

Is founded in the faculty which sees,

And not in that which loves, and follows next; And of this seeing merit is the measure,

Which is brought forth by grace, and by good will;

Thus on from grade to grade doth it proceed. The second Triad, which is germinating

In such wise in this sempiternal spring,

That no nocturnal Aries despoils, Perpetually hosanna warbles forth

With threefold melody, that sounds in three

Orders of joy, with which it is intrined. The three Divine are in this hierarchy,

First the Dominions, and the Virtues next;

And the third order is that of the Powers. Then in the dances twain penultimate

The Principalities and Archangels wheel ;

The last is wholly of angelic sports.
These orders upward all of them are gazing,

And downward so prevail, that unto God
They all attracted are and ali attract.

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And Dionysius with so great desire

To contemplate these Orders set himself,

He named them and distinguished them as I do. But Gregory afterwards dissented from him ;

Wherefore, as soon as he unclosed his eyes

Within this heaven, he at himself did smile, And if so much of secret truth a mortal

Proffered on earth, I would not have thee marvel,

For he who saw it here revealed it to him, With much more of the truth about these circles."

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At what time both the children of Latona,

Surmounted by the Ram and by the Scales,

Together make a zone of the horizon,
As long as from the time the zenith holds them

In equipoise, till from that girdle both

Changing their hemisphere disturb the balance, So long, her face depicted with a smile,

Did Beatrice keep silence while she gazed

Fixedly at the point which had o'ercome me. Then she began : “I say, and I ask not

What thou dost wish to hear, for I have seen it

Where centres every When and every Ubi. Not to acquire some good unto himself,

Which is impossible, but that his splendour

In its resplendency may say, ' Subsisto, In his eternity outside of time,

Outside all other limits, as it pleased him,

Into new Loves the Eternal Love unfolded. Nor as if torpid did he lie before ;

For neither after nor before proceeded

The going forth of God upon these waters. Matter and Form unmingled and conjoined

Came into being that had no defect,

E’en as three arrows from a three-stringed bow. And as in glass, in amber, or in crystal

A sunbeam flashes so, that from its coming

To its full being is no interval,
So from its Lord did the triform effect

Ray forth into its being all together,
Without discrimination of beginning.



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Order was con-created and constructed

In substances, and summit of the world

Were those wherein the pure act was produced. Pure potentiality held the lowest part;

Midway bound potentiality with act

Such bond that it shall never be unbound. Jerome has written unto you of angels

Created a long lapse of centuries

Or ever yet the other world was made ; But written is this truth in many places

By writers of the Holy Ghost, and thou

Shalt see it, if thou lookest well thereat. And even reason seeth it somewhat,

For it would not concede that for so long

Could be the motors without their perfection.
Now dost thou know both where and when these Loves

Created were, and how ; so that extinct

In thy desire already are three fires.
Nor could one reach, in counting, unto twenty

So swiftly, as a portion of these angels
Disturbed the subject of your

elements. The rest remained, and they began this art

Which thou discernest, with so great delight

That never from their circling do they cease. The occasion of the fall was the accursed

Presumption of that One, whom thou hast seen

By all the burden of the world constrained. Those whom thou here beholdest modest were

To recognise themselves as of that goodness

Which made them apt for so much understanding ; On which account their vision was exalted

By the enlightening grace and their own merit,

So that they have a full and steadfast will. I would not have thee doubt, but certain be,

'Tis meritorious to receive this grace,

According as the affection opens to it. Now round about in this consistory

Much mayst thou contemplate, if these my words

Be gathered up, without all further aid.
But since upon the earth, throughout your schools,

They teach that such is the angelic nature

That it doth hear, and recollect, and will,
More will I say, that thou mayst see unmixed

The truth that is confounded there below,
Equivocating in such like prelections.

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These substances, since in God's countenance

They jocund were, turned not away their sight

From that wherefrom not anything is hidden; Hence they have not their vision intercepted

By object new, and hence they do not need

To recollect, through interrupted thought. So that below, not sleeping, people dream,

Believing they speak truth, and not believing ;

And in the last is greater sin and shame. Below

you do not journey by one path Philosophising ; so transporteth you

Love of appearance and the thought thereof. And even this above here is endured

With less disdain, than when is set aside

The Holy Writ, or when it is distorted. They think not there how much of blood costs

To sow it in the world, and how he pleases

Who in humility keeps close to it.
Each striveth for appearance, and doth make

His own inventions; and these treated are

By preachers, and the Evangel holds its peace. One sayeth that the moon did backward turn,

In the Passion of Christ, and interpose herself

So that the sunlight reached not down below; And lies; for of its own accord the light

Hid itself; whence to Spaniards and to Indians,

As to the Jews, did such eclipse respond. Florence has not so many Lapi and Bindi

As fables such as these, that every year

Are shouted from the pulpit back and forth, In such wise that the lambs, who do not know,

Come back from pasture fed upon the wind,

And not to see the harm doth not excuse them. Christ did not to his first disciples say,

'Go forth, and to the world preach idle tales,'

But unto them a true foundation gave ; And this so loudly sounded from their

lips, That, in the warfare to enkindle Faith,

They made of the Evangel shields and lances. Now men go forth with jests and drolleries

To preach, and if but well the people laugh,

The hood puffs out, and nothing more is asked.
But in the cowl there nestles such a bird,

That, if the common people were to see it,
They would perceive what pardons they confide in,

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For which so great on earth has grown the folly,

That, without proof of any testimony,

To each indulgence they would flock together. By this Saint Anthony his pig doth fatten,

And many others, who are worse than pigs,

Paying in money without mark of coinage. But since we have digressed abundantly,

Turn back thine eyes forthwith to the right path,

So that the way be shortened with the time. This nature doth so multiply itself

In numbers, that there never yet was speech

Nor mortal fancy that can go so far. And if thou notest that which is revealed

By Daniel, thou wilt see that in his thousands

Number determinate is kept concealed. The primal light, that all irradiates it,

By modes as many is received therein,

As are the splendours wherewith it is mated. Hence, inasmuch as on the act conceptive

The affection followeth, of love the sweetness

Therein diversely fervid is or tepid. The height behold now and the amplitude

Of the eternal power, since it hath made

Itself so many mirrors, where 'tis broken, One in itself remaining as before."





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PERCHANCE six thousand miles remote from us

Is glowing the sixth hour, and now this world

Inclines its shadow almost to a level, When the mid-heaven begins to make itself

So deep to us, that here and there a star

Ceases to shine so far down as this depth, And as advances bright exceedingly

The handmaid of the sun, the heaven is closed

Light after light to the most beautiful; Not otherwise the Triumph, which for ever

Plays round about the point that vanquished me,

Seeming enclosed by what itself encloses,
Little by little from my vision faded ;

Whereat to turn mine eyes on Beatrice
My seeing nothing and my love constrained me.



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