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And that he might be construed as he was,

A spirit from this place went forth to name him

With His possessive whose he wholly was. Dominic was he called ; and him I speak of

Even as of the husbandman whom Christ

Elected to his garden to assist him. Envoy and servant sooth he seemed of Christ,

For the first love made manifest in him

Was the first counsel that was given by Christ. Silent and wakeful many a time was he

Discovered by his nurse upon the ground,

As if he would have said, “For this I came.' O thou his father, Felix verily !

O thou his mother, verily Joanna,

If this, interpreted, means as is said ! Not for the world which people toil for now

In following Ostiense and Taddeo,

But through his longing after the true manna, He in short time became so great a teacher,

That he began to go about the vineyard,

Which fadeth soon, if faithless be the dresser; And of the See, (that once was more benignant

Unto the righteous poor, not through itself,

But him who sits there and degenerates,) Not to dispense or two or three for six,

Not any fortune of first vacancy,

Non decimas quæ sunt pauperum Dei, He asked for, but against the errant world

Permission to do battle for the seed,

Of which these four and twenty plants surround thee Then with the doctrine and the will together,

With office apostolical he moved,

Like torrent which some lofty vein out-presses ; And in among the shoots heretical

His impetus with greater fury smote,

Wherever the resistance was the greatest. Of him were made thereafter divers runnels,

Whereby the garden catholic is watered,

So that more living its plantations stand. If such the one wheel of the Biga was,

In which the Holy Church itself defended

And in the field its civic battle won,
Truly full manifest should be to thee

The excellence of the other, unto whom
Thomas so courteous was before my coning.




But still the orbit, which the highest part

Of its circumference made, is derelict,

So that the mould is where was once the crust. His family, that had straight forward moved

With feet upon his footprints, are turned round

So that they set the point upon the heel. And soon aware they will be of the harvest

Of this bad husbandry, when shall the tares

Complain the granary is taken from them. Yet say I, he who searcheth leaf by leaf

Our volume through, would still some page discover

Where he could read, 'I am as I am wont.' 'Twill not be from Casal nor Acquasparta,

From whence come such unto the written word

That one avoids it, and the other narrows. Bonaventura of Bagnoregio's life

Am I, who always in great offices

Postponed considerations sinister. Here are Illuminato and Agostino,

Who of the first barefooted beggars were

That with the cord the friends of God became. Hugh of Saint Victor is among them here,

And Peter Mangiador, and Peter of Spain,

Who down below in volumes twelve is shining ; Nathan the seer, and metropolitan

Chrysostom, and Anselmus, and Donatus

Who deigned to lay his hand to the first art; Here is Rabanus, and beside me here

Shines the Calabrian Abbot Joachim,

He with the spirit of prophecy endowed. To celebrate so great a paladin

Have moved me the impassioned courtesy

And the discreet discourses of Friar Thomas, And with me they have moved this company."


LET him imagine, who would well conceive

What now I saw, and let him while I speak

Retain the image as a steadfast rock,
The fifteen stars, that in their divers regions

The sky enliven with a light so great
That it'transcends all clusters of the air ;

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Let him the Wain imagine unto which

Our vault of heaven sufficeth night and day,

So that in turning of its pole it fails not ; Let him the mouth imagine of the horn

That in the point beginneth of the axis

Round about which the primal wheel revolves To have fashioned of themselves two sigrs in heaven,

Like unto that which Minos' daughter made,

The moment when she felt the frost of death ; And one to have its rays within the other,

And both to whirl themselves in such a manner

That one should forward go, the other backward ; And he will have some shadowing forth of that

True constellation and the double dance

That circled round the point at which I was; Because it is as much beyond our wont,

As swister than the motion of the Chiana

Moveth the heaven that all the rest outspecds. There sang they neither Bacchus, nor Apollo,

But in the divine nature Persons three,

And in one person the divine and human. The singing and the dance fulfilled their measure,

And unto us those holy lights gave need,

Growing in happiness from care to care. Then broke the silence of those saints concordant

The light in which the admirable life

Of God's own mendicant was told to me, And said : “Now that one straw is trodden out

Now that its seed is garnered up already,

Sweet love invites me to thresh out the other. Into that bosom, thou believest, whence

Was drawn the rib to form the beauteous cheek

Whose taste to all the world is costing dear, And into that which, by the lance transfixed,

Before and since, such satisfaction made

That it weighs down the balance of all sin, Whate'er of light it has to human nature

Been lawful to possess was all infused

By the same power that both of them created ; And hence at what I said above dost wonder,

When I narrated that no second had

The good which in the fifth light is enclosed.
Now ope thine eyes to what I answer thee,

And thou shalt see thy creed and my discourse
Fit in the truth as centre in a circle.

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That which can die, and that which dieth not,

Are nothing but the splendour of the idea

Which by his love our Lord brings into being; Because that living Light, which from its fount

Effulgent flows, so that it disunites not

From Him nor from the Love in them intrined, Through its own goodness reunites its rays

In nine subsistences, as in a mirror,

Itself eternally remaining One. Thence it descends to the last potencies,

Downward from act to act becoming such

That only brief contingencies it makes ; And these contingencies I hold to be

Things generated, which the heaven produces

By its own motion, with seed and without. Neither their wax, nor that which tempers it,

Remains immutable, and hence beneath

The ideal signet more and less shines through ; Therefore it happens, that the selfsame tree

After its kind bears worse and better fruit,

And ye are born with characters diverse. If in perfection tempered were the wax,

And were the heaven in its supremest virtue,

The brilliance of the seal would all appear; But nature gives it evermore deficient,

In the like manner working as the artist,

Who has the skill of art and hand that trembles. If then the fervent Love, the Vision clear,

Of primal Virtue do dispose and seal,

Perfection absolute is there acquired. Thus was of old the earth created worthy

Of all and every animal perfection;

And thus the Virgin was impregnate made ; So that thine own opinion I commend,

That human nature never yet has been,

Nor will be, what it was in those two persons. Now if no farther forth I should proceed,

• Then in what way was he without a peer?'

Would be the first beginning of thy words. But, that may well appear what now appears not,

Think who he was, and what occasion moved bii

To make request, when it was told him, “Ask.'
I've not so spoken that thou canst not see

Clearly he was a king who asked for wisdom
That he might be sufficiently a king :

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"Twas not to know the number in which are

The motors here above, or if necesse

With a contingent e'er necesse make, Non si est dare primum motum esse,

Or if in semicircle can be made

Triangle so that it have no right angle. Whence, if thou notest this and what I said,

A regal prudence is that peerless seeing

In which the shaft of my intention strikes And if on 'rose' thou turnest thy clear eyes,

Thou'lt see that it has reference alone

To kings who're many, and the good are rare. With this distinction take thou what I said,

And thus it can consist with thy belief

Of the first father and of our Delight. And lead shall this be always to thy feet,

To make thee, like a weary man, move slowly

Both to the Yes and No thou seest not; For very low among the fools is he

Who affirms without distinction, or denies,

As well in one as in the other case ; Because it happens that full often bends

Current opinion in the false direction,

And then the feelings bind the intellect. Far more than uselessly he leaves the shore,

(Since he returneth not the same he went,)

Who fishes for the truth, and has no skill; And in the world proofs manifest thereof

Parmenides, Melissus, Brissus are,

And many who went on and knew not whither; Thus did Sabellius, Arius, and those fools

Who have been even as swords unto the Scriptures

In rendering distorted their straight faces. Nor yet shall people be too confident

In judging, even as he is who doth count

The corn in field or ever it be ripe. For I have seen all winter long the thorn

First show itself intractable and fierce,

And after bear the rose upon its top; And I have seen a ship direct and swift

Run o'er the sea throughout its course entire,

To perish at the harbour's mouth at last. Let not Dame Bertha nor Ser Martin think,

Seeing one steal, another offering make,

To see them in the arbitrament divine; For one may rise, and fall the other may."

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