« PreviousContinue »
" Thy words, and my sequacious intellect,"
I answered him, “have love revealed to me;
But that has made me more impregned with doubt ;
And with another foot the soul go not,
If right or wrong she go, 'tis not her merit."
Myself can tell thee ; beyond that await
For Beatrice, since 'tis a work of faith.
From matter is, and with it is united,
Specific power has in itself collected,
Nor shows itself except by its effect,
As life does in a plant by the green leaves.
Of the first notions, man is ignorant,
And the affection for the first allurements,
To make its honey; and this first desire
Merit of praise or blame containeth not.
Innate within you is the power that couộsels,
And it should keep the threshold of assent.
Occasion of desert in you, according
As good and guilty loves it takes and winnows.
Were of this innate liberty aware,
Therefore bequeathed they Ethics to the world.
Springs every love that is within you kindled,
Within yourselves the power is to restrain it.
By the free will ; and therefore see that thou
Bear it in mind, if she should speak of it.”
Now made the stars appear to us more rare,
Formed like a bucket, that is all ablaze,
Which the sun sets aflame, when he of Rome
Sees it 'twixt Sardes and Corsicans go down;
Pietola more than any Mantuan town,
Whence I, who reason manifest and plain
In answer to my questions had received,
Stood like a man in drowsy reverie. Bill taken from me was this drowsiness
Suddenly by a people, that behind
Our backs already had come round to us And as, of old, Ismenus and Asopus
Beside them saw at night the rush and throng,
If but the Thebans were in need of Bacchus, So they along that circle curve their step,
From what I saw of those approaching us,
Who by good-will and righteous love are ridden. Full soon they were upon us, because running
Moved onward all that mighty multitude,
And two in the advance cried out, lamenting, “ Mary in haste unto the mountain ran,
And Cæsar, that he might subdue Ilerda,
Thrust at Marseilles, and then ran into Spain.” Quick ! quick! so that the time may not be lost
By little love !" forthwith the others cried,
“For ardour in well-doing freshens grace !" "O folk, in whom an eager fervour now
Supplies perhaps delay and negligence,
Put by you in well-doing, through lukewarmness, This one who lives, and truly I lie not,
Would fain go up, if but the sun relight us;
So tell us where the passage nearest is." These were the words of him who was my Guide ;
And some one of those spirits said : “Come on
Behind us, and the opening shalt thou find; So full of longing are we to move onward,
That stay we cannot ; therefore pardon us,
If thou for churlishness our justice take. I was San Zeno's-Abbot at Verona,
Under the empire of good Barbarossa,
Of whom still sorrowing Milan holds discourse; And he has one foot in the grave already,
Who shall erelong lament that monastery,
And sorry be of having there had power, Because his son, in his whole body sick,
And worse in mind, and who was evil-born,
He put into the place of its true pastor.”
He had already passed so far beyond us ;
And he who was in every need my succour
Said : “ Turn thee hitherward ; see two of them
Come fastening upon slothfulness their teeth."
The people dead to whom the sea was openedl,
Than their inheritors the Jordan saw;
Unto the issue, with Anchises' son,
Themselves to life withouten glory offered.”
Those shades, that they no longer could be seen,
Within me a new thought did entrance find,
And so I lapsed from one into another,
That in a reverie mine eyes I closed,
It was the hour when the diurnal heat
No more can warm the coldness of the moon,
Vanquished by earth, or peradventure Saturn,
See in the orient before the dawn
Rise by a path that long remains not dim,
Squint in her eyes, and in her feet distorted,
With hands dissevered, and of sallow hue.
The frigid members, which the night benumbs,
Even thus my gaze did render voluble
In little while, and the lost countenance
As love desires it so in her did colour.
She 'gan to sing so, that with difficulty
Could I have turned my thoughts away from her. “I am,” she sang, “ I am the Siren sweet
Who mariners amid the main unman
So full am I of pleasantness to hear.
Unto my song, and he who dwells with me
Her mouth was not yet closed again, before
Appeared a Lady saintly and alert
Close at my side to put her to confusion. "Virgilius, ( Virgilius ! who is this?"
Sternly she said ; and he was drawing near
With eyes still fixed upon that modest one. She seized the other and in front laid open,
Rending her garments, and her belly showed me ;
This waked me with the stench that issued from it. I turned mine eyes, and good Virgilius said :
“At least thrice have I called thee; rise and come ;
Find we the opening by which thou mayst enter." I rose ; and full already of high day
Were all the circles of the Sacred Mountain,
And with the new sun at our back we went. Following behind him, I my forehead bore
Like unto one who has it laden with thought,
Who makes himself the half arch of a bridge, When I heard say, “ Come, here the passage is,"
Spoken in a manner gentle and benign,
Such as we hear not in this mortal region. With open wings, which of a swan appeared,
Upward he turned us who thus spake to us,
Between the two walls of the solid granite. He moved his pinions afterwards and fanned us,
Affirming those qui lugent to be blessed,
For they shall have their souls with comfort filled. “What aileth thee, that aye to earth thou gazest ?"
To me my Guide began to say, we both
Somewhat beyond the Angel having mounted. And I : “With such misgiving makes me go
A vision new, which bends me to itself,
So that I cannot from the thought withdraw me.” “ Didst thou behold,” he said, “that old enchantress,
Who sole above us henceforth is lamented ?
Didst thou behold how man is freed from her? Suffice it thee, and smite earth with thy heels,
Thine eyes lift upward to the lure, that whirls
The Eternal King with revolutions vast.” Even as the hawk, that first his feet surveys,
Then turns him to the call and stretches forward,
Through the desire of food that draws him thither,
The rock to give a way to him who mounts,
On the fifth circle when I had come forth,
People I saw upon it who were weeping,
Stretched prone upon the ground, all downward turned. • rúhæsit pavimento anima mea,"
I heard them say with sighings so profound,
That hardly could the words be understood. - () ye elect of God, whose sufferings
Justice and Hope both render less sever:
Direct ye us towards the high ascents.” “ If ye are come secure from this prostration,
And wish to find the way most speedily,
Let your right hands be evermore outside." Thus did the Poet ask, and thus was answered
By them somewhat in front of us; whence I
In what was spoken divined the rest concealed, And unto my Lord's eyes mine eyes I turned;
Whence he assented with a cheerful sign
To what the sight of my desire implored. When of myself I could dispose at will, Above that creature did I draw myself
, Whose words before had caused me to take note, Saying: “O Spirit, in whom weeping ripens
That without which to God we cannot turn,
Suspend awhile for me thy greater care.
Tell me, and if thou wouldst that I procure thee
Anything there whence living I departed.” And he to me: “Wherefore our backs the heaven
Turns to itself, know shalt thou; but beforehar:
Scias quod ego fui successor Petri. Between Siestri and Chiaveri descends
A river beautiful, and of its name
The title of my blood its summit makes. A month and little more essayed I how
Weighs the great cloak on him from mire who keeps it,
For all the other burdens seem a feather. Tardy, ah woe is me! was my conversion ;
But when the Roman Shepherd I was made,
Then I discovered life to be a lie.
Nor farther in that life could one ascend;
Whereby the love of this was kindled in me.
From God was I, and wholly avaricious;