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So hard hath it become for want of trying.” My Lady thus; then said she : « Do thou take

What I shall tell thee, if thou wouldst be sated,

And exercise on that thy subtlety.
The circles corporal are wide and narrow

According to the more or less of virtue

Which is distributed through all their parts. The greater goodness works the greater weal,

The greater weal the greater body holds,

If perfect equally are all its parts.
Therefore this one which sweeps along with it

The universe sublime, doth correspond

Unto the circle which most loves and knows. On which account, if thou unto the virtue

Apply thy measure, not to the appearance

Of substances that unto thee seem round, Thou wilt behold a marvellous agreement,

Of more to greater, and of less to smaller,

In every heaven, with its Intelligence." Even as remaineth splendid and serene

The hemisphere of air, when Boreas

Is blowing from that cheek where he is mildest, Because is purified and resolved the rack

That erst disturbed it, till the welkin laughs

With all the beauties of its pageantry; Thus did I likewise, after that my Lady

Had me provided with her clear response,

And like a star in heaven the truth was seen. And soon as to a stop her words had come,

Not otherwise does iron scintillate

When molten, than those circles scintillated. Their coruscation all the sparks repeated,





And they so many were, their number makes

More millions than the doubling of the chess. I heard them sing hosanna choir by choir

To the fixed point which holds them at the Ubi, 95

And ever will, where they have ever been. And she, who saw the dubious meditations

Within my mind, “ The primal circles," said, “ Have shown thee Seraphim and Cherubim. Thus rapidly they follow their own bonds,

To be as like the point as most they can,

And can as far as they are high in vision. Those other Loves, that round about them go,

Thrones of the countenance divine are called,

Because they terminate the primal Triad.
And thou shouldst know that they all have delight

As much as their own vision penetrates

The Truth, in which all intellect finds rest. From this it


be seen how blessedness Is founded in the faculty which sees,

And not in that which loves, and follows next; And of this seeing merit is the measure,

Which is brought forth by grace, and by good will;

Thus on from grade to grade doth it proceed. The second Triad, which is germinating

In such wise in this sempiternal spring,

That no nocturnal Aries despoils, Perpetually hosanna warbles forth

With threefold melody, that sounds in three

Orders of joy, with which it is intrined.
The three Divine are in this hierarchy,

First the Dominions, and the Virtues next;
And the third order is that of the Powers.






Then in the dances twain penultimate

The Principalities and Archangels wheel;

The last is wholly of angelic sports.
These orders upward all of them are gazing,

And downward so prevail, that unto God

They all attracted are and all attract. And Dionysius with so great desire

To contemplate these Orders set himself,

He named them and distinguished them as I do. But Gregory afterwards dissented from him ;

Wherefore, as soon as he unclosed his eyes

Within this heaven, he at himself did smile. And if so much of secret truth a mortal

Proffered on earth, I would not have thee marvel,

For he who saw it here revealed it to him, With much more of the truth about these circles.”




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At what time both the children of Latona,

Surmounted by the Ram and by the Scales,

Together make a zone of the horizon,
As long as from the time the zenith holds them

In equipoise, till from that girdle both

Changing their hemisphere disturb the balance, So long, her face depicted with a smile,

Did Beatrice keep silence while she gazed

Fixedly at the point which had o'ercome me. Then she began : say,

and I ask not What thou dost wish to hear, for I have seen it Where centres every

When and every Ubi. Not to acquire some good unto himself,

Which is impossible, but that his splendor

In its resplendency may say, “Subsisto, In his eternity outside of time,

Outside all other limits, as it pleased him,

Into new Loves the Eternal Love unfolded. Nor as if torpid did he lie before;

For neither after nor before proceeded

The going forth of God upon these waters. Matter and form unmingled and conjoined

Came into being that had no defect,

E’en as three arrows from a three-stringed bow. And as in glass, in amber, or in crystal

A sunbeam flashes so, that from its coming
To its full being is no interval,




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