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As far unfolded as it hath the power. Therefore I pray, and thou assure me, father,

If I may so much grace receive, that I

May thee behold with countenance unveiled.” He thereupon : “Brother, thy high desire

In the remotest sphere shall be fulfilled,

Where are fulfilled all others and my own.' There perfect is, and ripened, and complete,

Every desire; within that one alone

Is every part where it has always been ; For it is not in space, nor turns on poles,

And unto it our stairway reaches up,

Whence thus from out thy sight it steals away. Up to that height the Patriarch Jacob saw it

Extending its supernal part, what time

So thronged with angels it appeared to him. But to ascend it now no one uplifts

His feet from off the earth, and now my Rule

Below remaineth for mere waste of paper. The walls that used of old to be an Abbey

Are changed to dens of robbers, and the cowls

Are sacks filled full of miserable four. But heavy usury is not taken up

So much against God's pleasure as that fruit

Which maketh so insane the heart of monks; For whatsoever hath the Church in keeping

Is for the folk that ask it in God's name,

Not for one's kindred or for something worse. The flesh of mortals is so very soft,

That good beginnings down below suffice not

From springing of the oak to bearing acorns. Peter began with neither gold nor silver,

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And I with orison and abstinence,

And Francis with humility his convent. And if thou lookest at each one's beginning,

And then regardest whither he has run,

Thou shalt behold the white changed into brown. In verity the Jordan backward turned,

And the sea's Aeeing, when God willed, were



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A wonder to behold, than succor here.Thus unto me he said ; and then withdrew

To his own band, and the band closed together;

Then like a whirlwind all was upward rapt. The gentle Lady urged me on behind them

Up o'er that stairway by a single sign,

So did her virtue overcome my nature;
Nor here below, where one goes up and down

By natural law, was motion e'er so swift

That it could be compared unto my wing. Reader, as I may unto that devout

Triumph return, on whose account I often

For my transgressions weep and beat my breast, Thou hadst not thrust thy finger in the fire

And drawn it out again, before I saw

The sign that follows Taurus, and was in it. O glorious stars, O light impregnated

With mighty virtue, from which I acknowledge

All of my genius, whatsoe'er it be, With you was born, and hid himself with

you, He who is father of all mortal life,

When first I tasted of the Tuscan air ; And then when grace was freely given to me To enter the high wheel which turns you round,







Your region was allotted unto me. To you devoutly at this hour my soul

Is sighing, that it virtue may acquire

For the stern pass that draws it to itself. “ Thou art so near unto the last salvation,”

Thus Beatrice began, “thou oughtest now
To have thine


unclouded and acute; And therefore, ere thou enter farther in,

Look down once more, and see how vast a world

Thou hast already put beneath thy feet; So that thy heart, as jocund as it may,

Present itself to the triumphant throng

That comes rejoicing through this rounded ether.” I with my sight returned through one and all

The sevenfold spheres, and I beheld this globe

Such that I smiled at its ignoble semblance ; And that opinion I approve as best

Which doth account it least; and he who thinks

Of something else may truly be called just. I saw the daughter of Latona shining

Without that shadow, which to me was cause

That once I had believed her rare and dense. The aspect of thy son, Hyperion,

Here I sustained, and saw how move themselves

Around and near him Maia and Dione. Thence there appeared the temperateness of Jove 145

'Twixt son and father, and to me was clear

The change that of their whereabout they make ; And all the seven made manifest to me How great they are, and eke how swift they

are, And how they are in distant habitations.



The threshing-floor that maketh us so proud,

To me revolving with the eternal Twins,

Was all apparent made from hill to harbor ! Then to the beauteous eyes mine eyes I turned.




Even as a bird, 'mid the beloved leaves,

Quiet upon the nest of her sweet brood

Throughout the night, that hideth all things from us, Who, that she may behold their longed-for looks

And find the food wherewith to nourish them,

In which, to her, grave labors grateful are, Anticipates the time on open spray

And with an ardent longing waits the sun,

Gazing intent as soon as breaks the dawn : Even thus my Lady standing was, erect

And vigilant, turned round towards the zone

Underneath which the sun displays less haste ; So that beholding her suspense and wistful,

Such I became as he is who desiring

For something yearns, and hoping is appeased. But brief the space from one When to the other;

Of my awaiting, say I, and the seeing

The welkin grow resplendent more and more. And Beatrice exclaimed : Behold the hosts

Of Christ's triumphal march, and all the fruit

Harvested by the rolling of these spheres !” It seemed to me her face was all aflame;

And eyes she had so full of ecstasy

That I must needs pass on without describing.
As when in nights serene of the full moon

Smiles Trivia among the nymphs eternal
Who paint the firmament through all its gulfs,




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