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And thou in truth comest from it. Ye, who live,
Do so each cause refer to Heaven above,
E’en as its motion, of necessity,
Drew with it all that moves. If this were so,
Free choice in you were none; nor justice would
There should be joy for virtue, woe for ill.
Your movements have their primal bent from Heaven;
Not all: yet said I all; what then ensues?
Light have ye still to follow evil or good,
And of the will free power, which, if it stand
Firm and unwearied in Heaven's first assay,
Conquers at last, so it be cherish'd well,
Triumphant over all. To mightier force,
To better nature subject, ye abide
Free, not constrain'd by that which forms in you
The reasoning mind uninfluenced of the stars.
If then the present race of mankind err,
Seek in yourselves the cause, and find it there;
Herein thou shalt confess me no false spy.
“Forth from His plastic hand, who charm'd beholds
Her image ere she yet exist, the soul
Comes like a babe, that wantons sportively,
Weeping and laughing in its wayward moods;
As artless, and as ignorant of aught,
Save that her Maker being one who dwells
With gladness ever, willingly she turns
To whate'er yields her joy. Of some slight good
The flavour soon she tastes; and, snared by that,
With fondness she pursues it; if no guide
Recal, no rein direct her wandering course.
Hence it behoved, the law should be a curb;
A sovereign hence behoved, whose piercing view
Might mark at least the fortress' and main tower
Of the true city. Laws indeed there are:
But who is he observes them? None; not he,
Who goes before, the shepherd of the flock,
Who' chews the cud but doth not cleave the hoof.
Therefore the multitude, who see their guide
Strike at the very good they covet most,
Feed there and look no further. Thus the cause
Is not corrupted nature in yourselves,
But ill-conducting, that hath turn'd the world
To evil. Rome, that turn'd it unto good,
Was wont to boast two suns," whose several beams
Cast light on either way, the world's and God's.
One since hath quench'd the other; and the sword
Is grafted on the crook; and, so conjoin'd,
Each must perforce decline to worse, unawed
By fear of other. If thou doubt me, mark
The blade: each herb is judged of by its seed.
That land, through which Adice and the Po
Their waters roll, was once the residence
Of courtesy and valour, ere the day
That frown'd on Frederick; now secure may pass
Those limits, whosoe'er hath left, for shame,
To talk with good men, or come near their haunts.
Three aged ones are still found there, in whom
The old time chides the new: these deem it long
Ere God restore them to a better world:
The good Gherardo,' of Palazzo he,
Conrad; 8 and Guido of Castello,' named
In Gallic phrase more fitly the plain Lombard.
On this at last conclude. The Church of Rome,
Mixing two governments that ill assort,
Hath miss'd her footing, fallen into the mire,
And there herself and burden much defiled.” 3“ Who.” He compares the Pope, our Poet's “Convito,” p. 173. “Let on account of the union of the tem us suppose that Gherardo da Camino poral with the spiritual power in had been the grandson of the meanhis person, to an unclean beast in est hind that ever drank of the Sile the Levitical law. “The camel, be or the Cagnano, and that his grandcause he cheweth the cud, but di father was not yet forgotten; who videth not the hoof.” Levit. vi. will dare to say that Gherardo da
• The Emperor and Bishop of Rome.
will not agree with me 'in calling 5" That land.”_Lombardy.
him noble?" Before the Emperor Frederick 8 Conrado da Palazzo of Brescia. II was defeated at Parma, in 1248. 9 Of Reggio. All the Italians were
? Gherardo da Camino, of Tre. called Lombards by the French. vigi. He is honorably mentioned in
Camino was a mean man, and who
“O Marco !" I replied, " thine arguments
Convince me: and the cause I now discern,
Why of the heritage no portion came
To Levi's offspring. But resolve me this:
Who that Gherardo is, that as thou say'st
Is left a sample of the perish'd race,
And for rebuke to this untoward age?”
“Either thy words,” said he, "deceive, or else
Are meant to try me; that thou, speaking Tuscan,
Appear'st not to have heard of good Gherardo;
The sole addition that, by which I know him;
Unless I borrow'd from his daughter Gaia 10
Another name to grace him. God be with you.
I bear you company no more. Behold
The dawn with white ray glimmering through the mist.
I must away - the angel comes -ere he
Appear.” He said, and would not hear me more.
CANTO XVII ARGUMENT.-The Poet issues from that thick vapour; and soon after his fancy represents to him in lively portraiture some noted examples of anger. This imagination is dissipated by the appearance of an angel, who marshals them onward to the fourth cornice, on which the sin of gloominess or indifference is purged; and here Virgil shows him that this vice proceeds from a defect of love, and that all love can be only of two sorts, either natural, or of the soul; of which sorts the former is always right, but the latter may err either in respect of object or of degree.
M ALL to remembrance, reader, if thou e'er
Hast on an Alpine height been ta'en by cloud,
Through which thou saw'st no better than the mole Doth through opacous membrane; then, whene'er The watery vapours dense began to melt Into thin air, how faintly the sun's sphere Seem'd wading through them: so thy nimble thought May image, how at first I rebeheld 10 « His daughter Gaia.” A lady perhaps lay claim to the praise of equally admired for her modesty, having been the first among the the beauty of her person, and the Italian ladies, by whom the vernacu. excellency of her talents. Gaia may lar poetry was cultivated.
The sun, that bedward now his couch o'erhung.
Thus, with my leader's feet still equaling pace,
From forth that cloud I came, when now expired
The parting beams from off the nether shores.
O quick and forgetive power! that sometimes dost
So rob us of ourselves, we take no mark
Though round about us thousand trumpets clang;
What moves thee, if the senses stir not? Light
Moves thee from Heaven, spontaneous, self-inform'd;
Or, likelier, gliding down with swift illapse
The traces of her dire impiety,
Whose form was changed into the bird, that most
Delights itself in song:" and here my mind
Was inwardly so wrapt, it gave no place
To aught that ask'd admittance from without.
Next shower'd into my fantasy a shape
As of one crucified, whose visage spake
Fell rancour, malice deep, wherein he died;
And round him Ahasuerus the great king;
Esther his bride; and Mordecai the just,
Blameless in word and deed. As of itself
That unsubstantial coinage of the brain
Burst, like a bubble, when the water fails
That fed it; in my vision straight uprose
A damsel” weeping loud, and cried, “O queen!
O mother! wherefore has intemperate ire
Driven thee to loathe thy being? Not to lose
Lavinia, desperate thou hast slain thyself.
Mourn, ere I fall, a mother's timeless end.”
E’en as a sleep breaks off, if suddenly
New radiance strikes upon the closed lids,
The broken slumber quivering ere it dies;
w * I cannot think, with Vellutello,
that the swallow is here meant. Danté
... probably alludes to the story of
\Philomela, as it is found in Ho-
mer's ...”. b. xix. 518. Philo-
mela intended to slay the son of
her husband's brother Amphion, in-
cited to it by the envy of his wife
, who had six children, while herself
had only two, but through mistake
slew her own son Itylus, and for
her punishment was transformed by
Jupiter into a nightingale.
Lavinia, mourning for her mother
Amata, who, impelled by grief and
indignation for the supposed death
of Turnus, destroyed herself.
Thus, from before me, sunk that imagery,
Vanishing, soon as on my face there struck
The light, outshining far our earthly beam.
As round I turn'd me to survey what place
I had arrived at, “Here ye mount”: exclaim'd
A voice, that other purpose left me none
Save will so eager to behold who spake,
I could not chuse but gaze. As 'fore the sun,
That weighs our vision down, and veils his form
In light transcendent, thus my virtue fail'd
Unequal. “This is Spirit from above,
Who marshals us our upward way, unsought;
And in his own light shrouds him. As a man
Doth for himself, so now is done for us.
For whoso waits imploring, yet sees need
Of his prompt aidance, sets himself prepared
For blunt denial, ere the suit be made.
Refuse we not to lend a ready foot
At such inviting: haste we to ascend,
Before it darken: for we may not then,
Till morn again return.” So spake my guide;
And to one ladder both address'd our steps;
And the first stair approaching, I perceived
Near me as 't were the waving of a wing,
That fann'd my face, and whisper'd: “Blessed they,
The peace-makers: they know not evil wrath."
Now to such height above our heads were raised
The last beams, follow'd close by hooded night,
That many a star on all sides through the gloom
Shone out. “Why partest from me, O my strength ?”
So with myself I communed; for I felt
My o'ertoil'd sinews slacken. We had reach'd
The summit, and were fix'd like to a bark
Arrived at land. And waiting a short space,
If aught should meet mine ear in that new round,
Then to my guide I turn'd, and said: “Loved sire !
Declare what guilt is on this circle purged.
If our feet rest, no need thy speech should pause.”
He thus to me: “ The love of good, whate'er Wanted of just proportion, here fulfils.