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Israel's sweet harper: in that hap he seem'd
Less, and yet more, than kingly. Opposite
At a great palace, from the lattice forth
Look'd Michol, like a lady full of scorn
And sorrow. To behold the tablet next,
Which, at the back of Michol, whitely shone,
I moved me. There, was storied on the rock
The exalted glory of the Roman prince,
Whose mighty worth moved Gregory to earn
His mighty conquest, Trajan the Emperor.
A widow at his bridle stood, attired
In tears and mourning. Round about them troop'd
Full throng of knights; and overhead in gold
The eagles floated, struggling with the wind.
The wretch appear'd amid all these to say:
“ Grant vengeance, Sire! for, woe beshrew this
My son is murder'd.” He replying seem'd:
“Wait now till I return." And she, as one
Made hasty by her grief: “O Sire! if thou
Dost not return? "-"Where I am, who then is,
May right thee."-"What to thee is other's good,
If thou neglect thy own?”-“Now comfort thee;"
At length he answers. “It beseemeth well
My duty be perform’d, ere I move hence:
So justice wills; and pity bids me stay."
He, whose ken nothing new surveys, produced
That visible speaking, new to us and strange,
The like not found on earth. Fondly I gazed
Upon those patterns of meek humbleness,
Shapes yet more precious for their artist's sake;
When “Lo!” the poet whisper'd," where this way
(But slack their pace) a multitude advance.
These to the lofty steps shall guide us on.”
Mine eyes, though bent on view of novel sights,
Their loved allurement, were not slow to turn.
Reader! I would not that amazed thou miss Of thy good purpose, hearing how just God 1 “ Gregory.” St. Gregory's prayers are said to have delivered Tra
Decrees our debts be cancel'd. Ponder not
The form of suffering. Think on what succeeds:
Think that, at worst, beyond the mighty doom
It cannot pass. “Instructor !” I began,
“ What I see hither tending, bears no trace
Of human semblance, nor of aught beside
That my foild sight can guess." He answering thus:
“So curb’d to earth, beneath their heavy terms
Of torment stoop they, that mine eye at first
Struggled as thine. But look intently thither;
And disentangle with thy laboring view,
What, underneath those stones, approacheth: now,
E’en now, mayst thou discern the pangs of each.”
Christians and proud! O poor and wretched ones!
That, feeble in the mind's eye, lean your trust
Upon unstaid perverseness: know ye not
That we are worms, yet made at last to form
The winged insect, imp'd with angel plumes,
That to Heaven's justice unobstructed soars?
Why buoy ye up aloft your unfledged souls ?
Abortive then and shapeless ye remain,
Like the untimely embryon of a worm.
As, to support incumbent floor or roof,
For corbel, is a figure sometimes seen,
That crumples up its knees unto its breast;
With the feign'd posture, stirring ruth unfeign'd
In the beholder's fancy; so I saw
These fashion'd, when I noted well their guise.
Each, as his back was laden, came indeed
Or more or less contracted; and it seem'd
As he, who show'd most patience in his look,
Wailing exclaim'd: “I can endure no more.”
ARGUMENT.-After a prayer uttered by the spirits, who were spoken of in the last Canto, Virgil inquires the way upward, and is answered by one, who declares himself to have been Omberto, son of the Count of Santafiore. Next our Poet distinguishes Oderigi, the illuminator, who discourses on the vanity of worldly fame, and points out to him the soul of Provenzano Salvani.
46 THOU Almighty Fatherl who dost make
O The heavens Thy dwelling, not in bounds confined,
But that, with love intenser, there Thou view'st
Thy primal effluence; hallow'd be Thy name:
Join, each created being, to extol
Thy might; for worthy humblest thanks and praise
Is Thy blest Spirit. May Thy kingdom's peace
Come unto us; for we, unless it come,
With all our striving, thither tend in vain.
As, of their will, the Angels unto Thee
Tender meet sacrifice, circling Thy throne
With loud hosannas; so of theirs be done
By saintly men on earth. Grant us, this day,
Our daily manna, without which he roams
Through this rough desert retrograde, who most
Toils to advance his steps. As we to each
Pardon the evil done us, pardon Thou
Benign, and of our merit take no count.
'Gainst the old adversary, prove Thou not
Our virtue, easily subdued; but free
From his incitements, and defeat his wiles.
This last petition, dearest Lord! is made
Not for ourselves; since that were needless now ;
But for their sakes who after us remain.”
Thus for themselves and us good speed imploring,
Those spirits went beneath a weight like that
We sometimes feel in dreams; all, sore beset,
But with unequal anguish; wearied all;
Round the first circuit; purging as they go
The world's gross darkness off. In our behoof
If their vows still be offer'd, what can here
For them be vow'd and done by such, whose wills
Have root of goodness in them? Well beseems
That we should help them wash away the stains
They carried hence; that so, made pure and light,
They may spring upward to the starry spheres.
"Ah! so may mercy-temper'd justice rid
Your burdens speedily; that ye have power
To stretch your wing, which e'en to your desire
Shall lift you; as ye show us on which hand
Toward the ladder leads the shortest way.
And if there be more passages than one,
Instruct us of that easiest to ascend:
For this man, who comes with me, and bears yet
The charge of fleshly raiment Adam left him,
Despite his better will, but slowly mounts."
From whom the answer came unto these words,
Which my guide spake, appear'd not; but 'twas said:
“ Along the bank to rightward come with us;
And ye shall find a pass that mocks not toil
Of living man to climb: and were it not
That I am hinder'd by the rock, wherewith
This arrogant neck is tamed, whence needs I stoop
My visage to the ground; him, who yet lives,
Whose name thou speak'st not, him I fain would view;
To mark if e'er I knew him, and to crave
His pity for the fardel that I bear.
I was of Latium;' of a Tuscan born,
A mighty one: Aldobrandesco's name
My sire's, I know not if ye e'er have heard.
My old blood and forefathers' gallant deeds
Made me so haughty, that I clean forgot
The common mother; and to such excess
Wax'd in my scorn of all men, that I fell,
Fell therefore; by what fate, Siena's sons.
Each child in Campagnatico, can tell.
I am Omberto: not me, only, pride
Hath injured, but my kindred all involved
In mischief with her. Here my lot ordains I“ I was of Latium." Omberto, his countrymen to such a pitch of the son of Guglielmo Aldobrandesco, fury against him that he was mur. Count of Santafiore, in the territory dered by them at Campagnatico. of Siena. His arrogance provoked
Under this weight to groan, till I appease
God's angry justice, since I did it not
Amongst the living, here amongst the dead."
Listening I bent my visage down: and one
(Not he who spake) twisted beneath the weight
That urged him, saw me, knew me straight, and callid;
Holding his eyes with difficulty fix'd
Intent upon me, stooping as I went
Companion of their way. “O!” I exclaim'd,
“ Art thou not Oderigi ?' art not thou
Agobbio's glory, glory of that art
Which they of Paris call the limner's skill ?”
“Brother!” said he, “with tints, that gayer smile, Bolognian Franco's & pencil lines the leaves. His all the honour now; my light obscured. In truth, I had not been thus courteous to him The whilst I lived, through eagerness of zeal For that pre-eminence my heart was bent on. Here, of such pride, the forfeiture is paid. Nor were I even here, if, able still To sin, I had not turn'd me unto God. O powers of man! how vain your glory, nipt E’en in its height of verdure, if an age Less bright succeed not. Cimabue thought To lord it over painting's field; and now The cry is Giotto's,' and his name eclipsed. Thus hath one Guido from the other snatch'd The letter'd prize: and he, perhaps, is born, Who shall drive either from their nest. The noise Of worldly fame is but a blast of wind, That blows from diverse points, and shifts its name, Shifting the point it blows from. Shalt thou more Live in the mouths of mankind, if thy flesh