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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 throng

Of souls, that moved their feet in our direction,

And did not seem to move, they came so slowly. “Lift up thine eyes,” I to the Master said ;

“Behold, on this side, who will give us counsel,

If thou of thine own self can have it not.”
Then he looked at me, and with frank expression

Replied: "Let us go there, for they come slowly,
And thou be steadfast in thy hope, sweet son.”

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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 Heaven

Doth he endeavour to surmount this wall." The Master thus; and said those worthy people :

“Return ye then, and enter in before us,”

Making a signal with the back o' the hand. And one of them began : “Whoe'er thou art,

Thus going turn thine eyes, consider well

If e'er thou saw me in the other world.”
I turned me tow'rds him, and looked at him closely;

Blond was he, beautiful, and of noble aspect,

But one of his eyebrows had a blow divided.
When with humility I had disclaimed

E’er having seen him, “ Now behold !” he said,
Ard showed me high upon his breast a wound.

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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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Theseon ourselves we seated both of us

Turned to the East, from which we had ascended,

For all men are delighted to look back. To the low shores mine eyes I first directed,

Then to the sun uplifted them, and wondered

That on the left hand we were smitten by it. The Poet well perceived that I was wholly

Bewildered at the chariot of the light,

Where 'twixt us and the Aquilon it entered. Whereon he said to me: “If Castor and Pollux

Were in the company of yonder mirror,

That up and down conducteth with its light, Thou wouldst behold the zodiac's jagged wheel

Revolving still more near unto the Bears,

Unless it swerved aside from its old track.
How that may be wouldst thou have power to think,

Collected in thyself, imagine Zion

Together with this mount on earth to stand, So that they both one sole horizon have,

And hemispheres diverse ; whereby the road

Which Phaeton, alas ! knew not to drive, Thou'lt see how of necessity must pass

This on one side, when that upon the other,

If thine intelligence right clearly heed.” “ Truly, my Master,” said I,“ never yet

Saw I so clearly as I now discern,

There where my wit appeared incompetent, That the mid-circle of supernal motion,

Which in some art is the Equator called,

And aye remains between the Sun and Winter, For reason which thou sayest, departeth hence

Tow'rds the Septentrion, what time the Hebrews

Beheld it tow'rds the region of the heat. But, if it pleaseth thee, I fain would learn

How far we have to go ; for the hill rises

Higher than eyes of mine have power to rise. And he to me: “This mount is such, that ever

At the beginning down below 'tis tiresome,

And aye the more one climbs, the less it hurts. Therefore, when it shall seem so pleasant to thee,

That going up shall be to thee as easy

As going down the current in a boat,
Then at this pathway's ending thou wilt be;

There to repose thy panting breath expect;
No more I answer; and this I know for true.”

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