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The honor of their influence and the blame,

Perhaps his bow doth hit upon some truth. This principle ill understood once warped

The whole world nearly, till it went astray

Invoking Jove and Mercury and Mars. The other doubt which doth disquiet thee

Less venom has, for its malevolence

Could never lead thee otherwhere from me. That as unjust our justice should appear

In eyes of mortals, is an argument

Of faith, and not of sin heretical.
But still, that your perception may be able

To thoroughly penetrate this verity,

As thou desirest, I will satisfy thee. If it be violence when he who suffers

Coöperates not with him who uses force,

These souls were not on that account excused; 75 For will is never quenched unless it will,

But operates as nature doth in fire,

If violence a thousand times distort it. Hence, if it yieldeth more or less, it seconds

The force; and these have done so, having power

Of turning back unto the holy place. If their will had been perfect, like to that

Which Lawrence fast upon his gridiron held,

And Mutius made severe to his own hand, It would have urged them back along the road

Whence they were dragged, as soon as they were




But such a solid will is all too rare.
And by these words, if thou hast gathered them

As thou shouldst do, the argument is refuted




That would have still annoyed thee many times. . But now another passage runs across

Before thine eyes, and such that by thyself
Thou couldst not thread it ere thou wouldst be

I have for certain put into thy mind

That soul beatified could never lie,

For it is ever near the primal Truth,
And then thou from Piccarda might'st have heard

Costanza kept affection for the veil,

So that she seemeth here to contradict me. Many times, brother, has it come to pass,

That, to escape from peril, with reluctance

That has been done it was not right to do, E'en as Alcmxon (who, being by his father

Thereto entreated, his own mother slew)

Not to lose pity pitiless became.
At this point I desire thee to remember

That force with will commingles, and they cause

That the offences cannot be excused. Will absolute consenteth not to evil ;

But in so far consenteth as it fears,

If it refrain, to fall into more harm. Hence when Piccarda uses this expression,

She meaneth the will absolute, and I

The other, so that both of us speak truth.” Such was the flowing of the holy river

That issued from the fount whence springs all


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This put to rest my wishes one and all. " O love of the first lover; O divine,” Said I forthwith, “ whose speech inundates me

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And warms me so, it more and more revives me, My own affection is not so profound

As to suffice in rendering grace for grace;

Let Him, who sees and can, thereto respond. Well I perceive that never sated is

Our intellect unless the Truth illume it,

Beyond which nothing true expands itself. It rests therein, as wild beast in his lair,

When it attains it; and it can attain it;

If not, then each desire would frustrate be. Therefore springs up, in fashion of a shoot,

Doubt at the foot of truth; and this is nature,

Which to the top from height to height impels us. This doth invite me, this assurance give me

With reverence, Lady, to inquire of you

Another truth, which is obscure to me. I wish to know if man can satisfy you

For broken vows with other good deeds, so

That in your balance they will not be light.”
Beatrice gazed upon me with her eyes

Full of the sparks of love, and so divine,
That, overcome my power,

I turned


back And almost lost myself with eyes downcast.






« If in the heat of love I flame upon thee

Beyond the measure that on earth is seen,

So that the valor of thine eyes I vanquish, Marvel thou not thereat; for this proceeds

From perfect sight, which as it apprehends

To the good apprehended moves its feet. Well I perceive how is already shining

Into thine intellect the eternal light,

That only seen enkindles always love; And if some other thing your love seduce,

'T is nothing but a vestige of the same,

Ill understood, which there is shining through. Thou fain wouldst know if with another service

For broken vow can such return be made

As to secure the soul from further claim.” This Canto thus did Beatrice begin;

And, as a man who breaks not off his speech,

Continued thus her holy argument : “The greatest gift that in his largess God

Creating made, and unto his own goodness

Nearest conformed, and that which he doth prize Most highly, is the freedom of the will,

Wherewith the creatures of intelligence

Both all and only were and are endowed.
Now wilt thou see, if thence thou reasonest,

The high worth of a vow, if it be made
So that when thou consentest God consents;







For, closing between God and man the compact,

A sacrifice is of this treasure made,
Such as


and made by its own act. What can be rendered then as compensation ? Think'st thou to make good use of what thou 'st

offered, With gains ill gotten thou wouldst do good deed. Now art thou certain of the greater point ;

But because Holy Church in this dispenses,
Which seems against the truth which I have shown

Behoves thee still to sit awhile at table,

Because the solid food which thou hast taken

Requireth further aid for thy digestion. Open thy mind to that which I reveal,

And fix it there within ; for 't is not knowledge,

The having heard without retaining it. In the essence of this sacrifice two things

Convene together; and the one is that

Of which 't is made, the other is the agreement. 45 This last for evermore is cancelled not

Unless complied with, and concerning this

With such precision has above been spoken. Therefore it was enjoined upon the Hebrews

To offer still, though sometimes what was offered

Might be commuted, as thou ought'st to know. 51 The other, which is known to thee as matter,

May well indeed be such that one errs not

If it for other matter be exchanged.
But let none shift the burden on his shoulder

At his arbitrament, without the turning
Both of the white and of the yellow key;


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