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In the land laved by Pe and Adige,
Valour and courtesy used to be found,
Before that Frederick had his controversy; Now in security can pass that way
Whoever will abstain, through sense of shaiac,
From speaking with the good, or drawing near them. True, three old men are left, in whom upbraids
The ancient age the new, and late they deem it
That God restore them to the better life : Currado da Palazzo, and good Gherardo,
And Guido da Castel, who better named is,
In fashion of the French, the simple Lombard : Say thou henceforward that the Church of Rome,
Confounding in itself two governments,
Falls in the mire, and soils itself and burden.” “O Marco mine,” I said, “thou reasonest well ;
And now discern I why the sons of Levi
Have been excluded from the heritage. But what Gherardo is it, who, as sample
Of a lost race, thou sayest has remained
In reprobation of the barbarous age?" “ Either thy speech deceives me, or it tempts me,”
He answered me; "for speaking Tuscan to me,
It seems of good Gherardo naught thou knowest. By other surname do I know him not,
Unless I take it from his daughter Gaia.
May God be with you, for I come no farther. Behold the dawn, that through the smoke rays out,
Already whitening; and I must depart
Yonder the Angel is—ere he appear.”
REMEMBEK, Reader, if e'er in the Alps
A mist o'ertook thee, through which thou couldst see
Not otherwise than through its membrane mole, How, when the vapours humid and condensed
Begin to dissipate themselves. he sphere
Oi the sun feebly enters in aniong them,
In coming to perceive how I re-saw
'Thus, to the faithful footsteps of my Master
Mating mine own, I issued from that cloud
To rays already dead on the low shores.
So from without sometimes, that man perceives not,
Although around may sound a thousand trumpets,
Moves thee a light, which in the heaven takes forni,
By self, or by a will that downward guides it.
Into the bird that most delights in singing,
In my imagining appeared the trace ;
Within itself, that from without there came
Nothing that then might be received by it.
One crucified, disdainful and ferocious
In countenance, and even thus was dying.
Esther his wife, and the just Mordecai,
Who was in word and action so entire.
Of its own self, in fashion of a bubble
In which the water it was made of fails,
Bitterly weeping, and she said : “O queen,
Why hast thou wished in anger to be naught?
Now hast thou lost me; I am she who mourns,
Mother, at thine ere at another's ruin.”
New light strikes in upon the eyelids closed,
And broken quivers ere it dieth wholly,
As soon as the effulgence smote my face,
Greater by far than what is in our wont.
When said a voice, “Here is the passage up ;"
Which from all other purposes removed me,
To look and see who was it that was speaking,
It never rests till meeting face to face,
And in its own excess its figure veils,
" This is a spirit divine, who in the way
Of going up directs us without asking,
And who with his own light himself conceals. lle does with us as man doth with himself;
For he who sees the need, and waits the asking,
Malignly leans already tow'rds denial. Accord we now our feet to such inviting,
Let us make haste to mount ere it grow dark;
For then we could not till the day return." Thus my Conductor said ; and I and he
Together turned our footsteps to a stairway;
And I, as soon as the first step I reached, Near me perceived a motion as of wings,
And fanning in the face, and saying, “ Beati
Pacifici, who are without ill anger.” Already over us were so uplifted
The latest sunbeams, which the night pursues,
That upon many sides the stars appeared. "O) manhood mine, why dost thou vanish so ?”
I said within myself; for I perceived
The vigour of my legs was put in truce. We at the point were where no more ascends
The stairway upward, and were motionless,
Even as a ship, which at the shore arrives; And I gave heed a little, if I might hear
Aught whatsoever in the circle new;
Then to my Master turned me round and said : “Say, my sweet Father, what delinquency
Is purged here in the circle where we are ?
Although our feet may pause, pause not thy speech." And he to me: “The love of good, remiss
In what it should have done, is here restored;
Here plied again the ill-belated oar ; But still more openly to understand,
Turn unto me thy mind, and thou shalt gather
Some profitable fruit from our delay. Neither Creator nor a creature ever,
Son," he began, “was destitute of love
Natural or spiritual ; and thou knowest it. The natural was ever without error;
But err the other may by evil object,
Or by too much, or by too little vigour.
And in the second moderates itself,
But when to ill it turns, and, with more care
Or lesser than it ought, runs after good,
'Gainst the Creator works his own creation. Hence thou mayst comprehend that love must be
The seed within yourselves of every virtue,
And every act that merits punishment. Now inasmuch as never from the welfare
Of its own subject can love turn its sight,
From their own hatred all things are secure; And since we cannot think of any being
Standing alone, nor from the First divided,
Of hating Him is all desire cut off. Hence if, discriminating, I judge well,
The evil that one loves is of one's neighbour,
And this is born in three modes in your clay. There are, who, by abasement of their neighbour,
Hope to excel, and therefore only long
That from his greatness he may be cast down; There are, who power, grace, honour, and renown
Fear they may lose because another rises,
Thence are so sad that the reverse they love; And there are those whom injury seems to chafe,
So that it makes them greedy for revenge,
And such must needs shape out another's harm. This threefold love is wept for down below;
Now of the other will I have thee hear,
That runneth after good with measure faulty. Each one confusedly a good conceives
Wherein the mind may rest, and longeth for it;
Therefore to overtake it each one strives. If languid love to look on this attract you,
Or in attaining unto it, this cornice,
After just penitence, torments you for it. There's other good that does not make man harpy;
'Tis not felicity, 'tis not the good
Essence, of every good the fruit and root. The love that yields itself too much to this
Above us is lamented in three circles;
But how tripartite it may be described, I say not, that thou seek it for thyself.”.
An end had put unto his reasoning
The lofty Teacher, and attent was looking
Into my face, if I appeared content;
Without was mute, and said within : “ Perchance
The too much questioning I make annoys him.'
The timid wish, that opened not itself,
Whate'er thy speech importeth or describes.
To teach me love, to which thou dost refer
Every good action and its contrary.'
Of intellect, and clear will be to thee
The error of the blind, who would be leaders.
Is mobile unto everything that pleases,
Soon as by pleasure she is waked to action.
An image draws, and in yourselves displays it
So that it makes the soul turn unto it. And if, when turned, towards it she incline,
Love is that inclination ; it is nature,
Which is by pleasure bound in you anew Then even as the fire doth upward move
By its own form, which to ascend is born,
Where longest in its matter it endures, So comes the captive soul into desire,
Which is a motion spiritual, and ne'er rests
Until she doth enjoy the thing beloved. Now may apparent be to thee how hidden
The truth is from those people, who aver
All love is in itself a laudable thing ;
Aye to be good ; but yet not each impression