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My Master and myself, we two alone

Were going upward, and I thought, in going,

Some profit to acquire from words of his; And I to him directed me, thus asking :

“What did the spirit of Romagna mean,

Mentioning interdict and partnership ?” Whence he to me: “Of his own greatest failing

He knows the harm; and therefore wonder not

If he reprove us, that we less may rue it. Because are thither pointed your desires

Where by companionship each share is lessened,

Envy doth ply the bellows to your sighs. But if the love of the supernal sphere

Should upwardly direct your aspiration,

There would not be that fear within your breas! ; For there, as much the more as one says Our,

So much the more of good each one possesses,

And more of charity in that cloister burns.” “I am more hungering to be satisfied,"

I said, “than if I had before been silent,

And more of doubt within my mind I gather. How can it be, that boon distributed

The more possessors can more wealthy make

Therein, than if by few it be possessed?" And he to me: “ Because thou fixest still

Thy mind entirely upon earthly things,

Thou pluckest darkness from the very light. That goodness infinite and ineffable

Which is above there, runneth unto love,

As to a lucid body comes the sunbeam. So much it gives itself as it finds ardour,

So that as far as charity extends,

O’er it increases the eternal valour. And the more people thitherward aspire,

More are there to love well, and more they love there,

And, as a mirror, one reflects the other. And if my reasoning appease thee not,

Thou shalt see Beatrice ; and she will fully

Take from thee this and every other longing. Endeavour, then, that soon may be extinct,

As are the two already, the five wounds

That close themselves again by being painful."
Even as I wished to say, “ Thou dost appease me,”

I saw that I had reached another circle,
So that my eager eyes made me keep silence.

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There it appeared to me that in a vision

Ecstatic on a sudden I was rapt,

And in a temple many persons saw ; And at the door a woman, with the sweet

Behaviour of a mother, saying: “Son,

Why in this manner hast thou dealt with us? Lo, sorrowing, thy father and myself

Were seeking for thee;"—and as here she ceased,

That which appeared at first had disappeared. Then I beheld another with those waters

Adown her cheeks which grief distils whenever

From great disdain of others it is born, And saying: “If of that city thou art lord,

For whose name was such strife among the gods,

And whence doth every science scintillate, Avenge thyself on those audacious arms

That clasped our daughter, O Pisistratus ;"

And the lord seemed to me benign and mild To answer her with aspect temperate :

“What shall we do to those who wish us ill,

If he who loves us be by us condemned ?" Then saw I people hot in fire of wrath,

With stones a young man slaying, clamorously

Still crying to each other, “ Kill him ! kill him !" And him I saw bow down, because of death

That weighed already on him, to the earth,

But of his eyes made ever gates to heaven, Imploring the high Lord, in so great strife,

That he would pardon those his persecutors,

With such an aspect as unlocks compassion. Soon as my soul had outwardly returned

To things external to it which are true,

Did I my not false errors recognize. My Leader, who could see me bear myself

Like to a man that rouses him from sleep,

Exclaimed: “What ails thee, that thou canst not stand? But hast been coming more than half a league

Veiling thine eyes, and with thy legs entangled,

In guise of one whom wine or sleep subdues ?” "O my sweet Father, if thou listen to me,

I'll tell thee,” said I, “what appeared to me,

When thus from me my legs-were ta’en away.”
And he: “If thou shouldst have a hundred masks

Upon thy face, from me would not be shut
Thy cogitations, howsoever small.


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What thou hast seen was that thou mayst not fail

To ope thy heart unto the waters of peace,

Which from the eternal fountain are diffused.
I did not ask, “What ails thee ?' as he does

Who only looketh with the eyes that see not

When of the soul bereft the body lies,
But asked it to give vigour to thy feet;

Thus must we needs urge on the sluggards, slow

To use their wakefulness when it returns."
We passed along, athwart the twilight peering

Forward as far as ever eye could stretch

Against the sunbeams serotine and lucent;
And lo ! by slow degrees a smoke approached

In our direction, sombre as the night,

Nor was there place to hide one's self therefrom.
This of our eyes and the pure air bereft us.



DARKNESS of hell, and of a night deprived

Of every planet under a poor sky,

As much as may be tenebrous with cloud,
Ne'er made unto my sight so thick a veil,

As did that smoke which there enveloped us,

Nor to the feeling of so rough a texture;
For not an eye it suffered to stay open ;

Whereat mine escort, faithful and sagacious,

Drew near to me and offered me his shoulder.
E'en as a blind man goes behind his guide,

Lest he should wander, or should strike against

Aught that may harm or peradventure kill him,
So went I through the bitter and foul air,

Listening unto my Leader, who said only,

“Look that from me thou be not separated.” Voices I heard, and every one appeared

To supplicate for peace and misericord

The Lamb of God who takes away our sins.
Still “ Agnus Dei” their exordium was;

One word there was in all, and metre one,

So that all harmony appeared among them.
Master,” I said, “are spirits those I hear?”

And he to me: “Thou apprehendest truly,
And they the knot of anger go unloosing."



"Now who art thou, that cleavest through our smoke,

And art discoursing of us even as though

Thou didst by calends still divide the time?” After this manner by a voice was spoken;

Whereon my Master said : “Do thou reply,

And ask if on this side the way go upward.” And I: “O creature that dost cleanse thyself

To return beautiful to Him who made thee,

Thou shalt hear marvels if thou follow me.” “Thec will I follow far as is allowed me,”

He answered ; “ and if smoke prevent our seeing,

Hearing shall keep us joined instead thereof." Thereon began I: “With that swathing band

Which death unwindeth am I going upward,

And hither came I through the infernal anguish. And if God in his grace has me infolded,

So that he wills that I behold his court

By method wholly out of modern usage, Conceal not from me who ere death thou wast,

But tell it me, and tell me if I go

Right for the pass, and be thy words our escort.” " Lombard was I, and I was Marco called ;

The world I knew, and loved that excellence,

At which has each one now unbent his bow. For mounting upward, thou art going right."

Thus he made answer, and subjoined: “I pray thee

To pray for me when thou shalt be above." And I to him: “My faith I pledge to thee

To do what thou dost ask me; but am bursting

Inly with doubt, unless I rid me of it. First it was simple, and is now made double

By thy opinion, which makes certain to me,

Here and elsewhere, that which I couple with it. The world forsooth is utterly deserted

By every virtue, as thou tellest me,

And with iniquity is big and covered ; But I beseech thee point me out the cause,

That I may see it, and to others show it;

For one in the heavens, and here below one puts it." A sigh profound, that grief forced into Ai!

He first sent forth, and then began he: “ Brother,

The world is blind, and sooth thou comest from it ! l'e who are living every cause refer

Still upward to the heavens, as if all things
They of necessity moved with themselves.

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If this were so, in you would be destroyed

Free will, nor any justice would there be

In having joy for good, or grief for evi!.
The heavens your movements do initiate,

I say not all; but granting that I say it,

Light has been given you for good and evil,
And free volition ; which, if some fatigue

In the first battles with the heavens it suffers,

Afterwards conquers all, if well 'tis nurtured.
To greater force and to a better nature,

Though free, ye subject are, and that creates

The mind in you the heavens have not in charge.
Hence, if the present world doth go astray,

In you the cause is, be it sought in you;

And I therein will now be thy true spy.
Forth from the hand of Him, who fondles it

Before it is, like to a little girl

Weeping and laughing in her childish sport,
Issues the simple soul, that nothing knows,

Save that, proceeding from a joyous Maker,

Gladly it turns to that which gives it pleasure.
Of trivial good at first it tastes the savour;

Is cheated by it, and runs after it,

If guide or rein turn not aside its love.
Hence it behoved laws for a rein to place,

Behoved a king to have, who at the least

Of the true city should discern the tower.
The laws exist, but who sets hand to them?

No one; because the shepherd who precedes

Can ruminate, but cleaveth not the hoof;
Wherefore the people that perceives its guide

Strike only at the good for which it hankers,

Feeds upon that, and farther seeketh not.
Clearly canst thou perceive that evil guidance

The cause is that has made the world depraveil,

And not that nature is corrupt in you.
Rome, that reformed the world, accustomed was

Two suns to have, which one road and the other,

Of God and of the world, made manifest.
One has the other quenched, and to the crosier

The sword is joined, and ill beseemeth it

That by main force one with the other go,
Because, being joined, one feareth not the other;

If thou believe not, think upon the grain,
For by its seed each herb is recognized.


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