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An Old Man habited like the glorious people. O’erflowing was he in his eyes and cheeks

With joy benign, in attitude of pity

As to a tender father is becoming.
And “ She, where is she ? ” instantly I said;

Whence he: “To put an end to thy desire,

Me Beatrice hath sent from mine own place. And if thou lookest up to the third round

Of the first rank, again shalt thou behold her

Upon the throne her merits have assigned her." Without reply I lifted up mine eyes, ,

And saw her, as she made herself a crown

Reflecting from herself the eternal rays.
Not from that region which the highest thunders

Is any mortal eye so far removed,

In whatsoever sea it deepest sinks,
As there from Beatrice my sight; but this

Was nothing unto me; because her image

Descended not to me by medium blurred. “ O Lady, thou in whom my hope is strong,

And who for my salvation didst endure

In Hell to leave the imprint of thy feet, Of whatsoever things I have beheld,

As coming from thy power and from thy goodness

I recognize the virtue and the grace. Thou from a slave hast brought me unto freedom, 85

By all those ways, by all the expedients,

Whereby thou hadst the power of doing it. Preserve towards me thy magnificence,

So that this soul of mine, which thou hast healed,

Pleasing to thee be loosened from the body.” Thus I implored; and she, so far away,


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Smiled, as it seemed, and looked once more at me ;

Then unto the eternal fountain turned.
And said the Old Man holy: “That thou mayst

Accomplish perfectly thy journeying,

Whereunto prayer and holy love have sent me,
Fly with thine eyes all round about this garden ;

For seeing it will discipline thy sight
Farther to mount along the ray

And she, the Queen of Heaven, for whom I burn

Wholly with love, will grant us every grace,

Because that I her faithful Bernard am.” As he who peradventure from Croatia

Cometh to gaze at our Veronica,

Who through its ancient fame is never sated, But says in thought, the while it is displayed, “ My Lord, Christ Jesus, God of very God,

Now was your semblance made like unto this ? " Even such was I while gazing at the living

Charity of the man, who in this world

By contemplation tasted of that peace. “ Thou son of grace, this jocund life,” began he, “Will not be known to thee by keeping ever

Thine eyes below here on the lowest place; But mark the circles to the most remote,

Until thou shalt behold enthroned the Queen

To whom this realm is subject and devoted.” I lifted mine


and as at morn The oriental part of the horizon

Surpasses that wherein the sun goes down,
Thus, as if going with mine eyes from vale

To mount, I saw a part in the remoteness
Surpass in splendor all the other front.




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And even as there, where we await the pole

That Phaeton drove badly, blazes more

The light, and is on either side diminished, So likewise that pacific oriflamme

Gleamed brightest in the centre, and each side

In equal measure did the flame abate.
And at that centre, with their wings expanded,

More than a thousand jubilant Angels saw I,

Each differing in effulgence and in kind.
I saw there at their sports and at their songs

A beauty smiling, which the gladness was
Within the


of all the other saints ; And if I had in speaking as much wealth

As in imagining, I should not dare

To attempt the smallest part of its delight. Bernard, as soon as he beheld mine eyes

Fixed and intent upon its fervid fervor,

His own with such affection turned to her That it made mine more ardent to behold.

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ABSORBED in his delight, that contemplator

Assumed the willing office of a teacher,

And gave beginning to these holy words: “ The wound that Mary closed up and anointed,

She at her feet who is so beautiful,

She is the one who opened it and pierced it. Within that order which the third seats make

Is seated Rachel, lower than the other,

With Beatrice, in manner as thou seest. Sarah, Rebecca, Judith, and her who was

Ancestress of the Singer, who for dole

Of the misdeed said, Miserere mei,'
Canst thou behold from seat to seat descending

Down in gradation, as with each one's name

I through the Rose go down from leaf to leaf. And downward from the seventh row, even as

Above the same, succeed the Hebrew women,

Dividing all the tresses of the flower; Because, according to the view which Faith

In Christ hath taken, these are the partition

By which the sacred stairways are divided. Upon this side, where perfect is the flower

With each one of its petals, seated are

Those who believed in Christ who was to come. Upon the other side, where intersected With vacant spaces are the semicircles, Line 20. In Christ has taken, these are the partition







Are those who looked to Christ already come. And as, upon this side, the glorious seat

Of the Lady of Heaven, and the other seats

Below it, such a great division make, So opposite doth that of the great John,

Who, ever holy, desert and martyrdom

Endured, and afterwards two years in Hell. And under him thus to divide were chosen

Francis, and Benedict, and Augustine,

And down to us the rest from round to round. Behold now the high providence divine;

For one and other aspect of the Faith

In equal measure shall this garden fill. And know that downward from that rank which

cleaves Midway the sequence of the two divisions,

Not by their proper merit are they seated; But by another's under fixed conditions ;

For these are spirits one and all assoiled

Before they any true election had.
Well canst thou recognize it in their faces,

And also in their voices puerile,

If thou regard them well and hearken to them. Now doubtest thou, and doubting thou art silent;

But I will loosen for thee the strong bond

In which thy subtile fancies hold thee fast. Within the amplitude of this domain

No casual point can possibly find place,

No more than sadness can, or thirst, or hunger; For by eternal law has been established

Whatever thou beholdest, so that closely
The ring is fitted to the finger here.




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