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“O soul,” I said, “ that seemest so desirous

To speak with me, do so that I may hear thee,

And with thy speech appease thyself and me.” "A maid is born, and wears not yet the veil,"

Began he, “who to thee shall pleasant make

My city, howsoever men may blame it.
Thou shalt go on thy way with this prevision ;

If by my murmuring thou hast been deceived,

True things hereafter will declare it to thee.
But say if him I here behold, who forth

Evoked the new-invented rhymes, beginning,

Ladies, that have intelligence of love ?"
And I to him: “One am I, who, whenever

Love doth inspire me, note, and in that measure

Which he within me dictates, singing go.' “ O brother, now I see,” he said, “the knot

Which me, the Notary, and Guittone held

Short of the sweet new style that now I hear.
I do perceive full clearly how your pens

Go closely following after him who dictates,

Which with our own forsooth came not to pass ;
And he who sets himself to go beyond,

No difference sees from one style to another ;"

And as if satisfied, he held his peace.
Even as the birds, that winter tow'rds the Nile,

Sometimes into a phalanx form themselves,

Then fly in greater haste, and go in file ;
In such wise all the people who were there,

Turning their faces, hurried on their steps.

Both by their leanness and their wishes light. And as a man, who weary is with trotting,

Lets his companions onward go, and walks,

Until he vents the panting of his chest; So did Forese let the holy flock

Pass by, and came with me behind it, saying,

“When will it be that I again shall see thee?" “How long," I answered, “I may live, I know not;

Yet my return will not so speedy be,

But I shall sooner in desire arrive ; Because the place where I was set to live

From day to day of good is more depleted,

And unto dismal ruin seems ordained."
Now go,” he said, " for him most guilty of it

At a beast's tail behold I dragged along
Towards the valley where is no repentance.

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Faster at every step the beast is going,

Increasing evermore until it smites him,

And leaves the body vilely mutilated.
Not long those wheels shall turn," and he uplifted

His eyes to heaven, “ ere hall be clear to thee

That which my speech no farther can declare. Now stay behind ; because the time so precious

Is in this kingdom, that I lose too much

By coming onward thus abreast with thee." As sometimes issues forth upon a gallop

A cavalier from out a troop that ride,

And seeks the honour of the first encounter, So he with greater strides departed from us ;

And on the road remained I with those two,

Who were such mighty marshals of the world. And when before us he had gone so far

Mine eyes became to him such pursuivants

As was my understanding to his words, Appeared to me with laden and living boughs

Another apple-tree, and not far distant,

From having but just then turned thitherward. People I saw beneath it lift their hands,

And cry I know not what towards the leaves,

Like little children eager and deluded, Who pray, and he they pray to doth not answer,

Buit, to make very keen their appetite,

Holds their desire aloft, and hides it not.
Then they departed as if undeceived ;

And now we came unto the mighty tree
Which
prayers

and tears so manifold resuses. « Pass farther onward without drawing near ;

The tree of which Eve ate is higher up,

And out of that one has this tree been raised." Thus said I know not who among the branches;

Whereat Virgilius, Statius, and myself

Went crowding forward on the side that rises. “ Be mindful,” said he, “ of the accursed ones

Formed of the cloud-rack, who inebriate

Combated Theseus with their double breasts; And of the Jews who showed them soft in drinking:

Whence Gideon would not have them for companions

When he tow'rds Midian the hills descended."
Thus, closely pressed to one of the two borders,

On passed we, hearing sins of gluttony,
Followed forsooth by miserable gains;

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135

Then set at large upon the lonely road,

A thousand steps and more we onward went,

In contemplation, each without a word. “What go ye thinking thus, ye three alone ? ”

Said suddenly a voice, whereat I started

As terrified and timid beasts are wont. I raised my head to see who this might be,

And never in a furnace was there seen

Metals or glass so lucent and so red
As one I saw who said : “ If it may please you

To mount alost, here it behoves you turn;

This way goes he who goeth after peace." His aspect had bereft me of my sight,

So that I turned me back unto my Teachers,

Like one who goeth as his hearing guides him. And as, the harbinger of early dawn,

The air of May doth move and breathe out fragrance,

Impregnate all with herbage and with flowers, So did I feel a breeze strike in the midst

My front, and felt the moving of the plumes

That breathed around an odour of ambrosia ; And heard it said: “Blessed are they whom grace

So much illumines, that the love of taste

Excites not in their breasts too great desire, Hungering at all times so far as is just."

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CANTO XXV.

Now was it the ascent no hindrance brooked,

Because the sun had his meridian circle

To Taurus left, and night to Scorpio ; Wherefore as doth a man who tarries not, But goes his way,

whate'er to him appear, If of necessity the sting transfix him, In this wise did we enter through the gap,

Taking the stairway, one before the other,

Which by its narrowness divides the climbers. And as the little stork that lifts its wing

With a desire to fly, and does not venture

To leave the nest, and lets it downward droop,
Even such was I, with the desire of asking

Kindled and quenched, unto the motion coming
He makes who doth address himself to speak.

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35

Not for our pace, though rapid it might be,

My father sweet forbore, but said : “Let fly

The bow of speech thou to the barb hast drawn.” With confidence I opened then my mouth,

And I began : “How can one meagre grow

There where the need of nutriment applies not ?" “If thou wouldst call to mind how Meleager

Was wasted by the wasting of a brand,

This would not,” said he, “be to thee so sour ; And wouldst thou think how at each tremulous motion

Trembles within a mirror your own image ;

That which seems hard would mellow seem to thee. But that thou mayst content thee in thy wish

Lo Statius here; and him I call and pray

He now will be the healer of thy wounds." “If I unfold to him the eternal vengeance,"

Responded Statius, "where thou present art,

Be my excuse that I can naught deny thee." Then he began : “Son, if these words of mine

Thy mind doth contemplate and doth receive,

They'll be thy light unto the How thou sayest. The perfect blood, which never is drunk up

Into the thirsty veins, and which remaineth

Like food that from the table thou removest, Takes in the heart for all the human members

Virtue informative, as being that

Which to be changed to them goes through the veins Again digest, descends it where 'tis better

Silent to be than say; and then drops thence

Upon another's blood in natural vase. There one together with the other mingles,

One to be passive meant, the other active

By reason of the perfect place it springs from; And being conjoined, begins to operate,

Coagulating first, then vivifying

What for its matter it had made consistent. The active virtue, being made a soul

As of a plant, (in so far different,

This on the way is, that arrived already,) Then works so much, that now it moves and feels

Like a sea-fungus, and then undertakes

To organize the powers whose seed it is.
Now, Son, dilates and now distends itself

The virtue from the generator's heart,
Where nature is intent on all the members

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But how from animal it man becomes

Thou dost not see as yet ; this is a point

Which made a wiser man than thou once cir So far, that in his doctrine separate

He made the soul from possible intellect,

For he no organ saw by this assumed. Open thy breast unto the truth that's coming,

And know that, just as soon as in the fætus

The articulation of the brain is perfect, The primal Motor turns to it well pleased

At so great art of nature, and inspires

A spirit new with virtue all replete, Which what it finds there active doth attract

Into its substance, and becomes one soul,

Which lives, and feels, and on itself revolves. And that thou less may wonder at my word,

Behold the sun's heat, which becometh wine,

Joined to the juice that from the vine distils. Whenever Lachesis has no more thread,

It separates from the flesh, and virtually

Bears with itself the human and divine; The other faculties are voiceless all ;

The memory, the intelligence, and the will

In action far more vigorous than before. Without a pause it falleth of itself

In marvellous way on one shore or the other;

There of its roads it first is cognizant. Soon as the place there circumscribeth it,

The virtue informative rays round about,

As, and as much as, in the living members. And even as the air, when full of rain,

By alien rays that are therein reflected,

With divers colours shows itself adorned, So there the neighbouring air doth shape itself

Into that form which doth impress upon it

Virtually the soul that has stood still. And then in manner of the little flame,

Which followeth the fire where'er it shifts,

After the spirit followeth its new form.
Since afterwards it takes from this its semblance,

It is called shade ; and thence it organizes

Thereafter every sense, even to the sight.
Thence is it that we speak, and thence we laugh;

Thence is it that we form the tears and sighs,
That on the mountain thou mayhap hast heard.

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