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The ardor of sacrifice, before I knew

This offering was accepted and auspicious; For with so great a lustre and so red

Splendors appeared to me in twofold rays,

I said: “O Helios, who dost so adorn them !” Even as distinct with less and greater lights

Glimmers between the two poles of the world

The Galaxy that maketh wise men doubt, Thus constellated in the depths of Mars,

Those rays described the venerable sign

That quadrants joining in a circle make. Here doth my memory overcome my genius;

For on that cross as levin gleamed forth Christ,

So that I cannot find ensample worthy ;
But he who takes his cross and follows Christ

Again will pardon me what I omit,

Seeing in that aurora lighten Christ.
From horn to horn, and 'twixt the top and base,

Lights were in motion, brightly scintillating

As they together met and passed each other ; Thus level and aslant and swift and slow

We here behold, renewing still the sight,

The particles of bodies long and short, Across the sunbeam move, wherewith is listed

Sometimes the shade, which for their own defence

People with cunning and with art contrive. And as a lute and harp, accordant strung

With many strings, a dulcet tinkling make

To him by whom the notes are not distinguished, So from the lights that there to me appeared

Upgathered through the cross a melody,
Which rapt me, not distinguishing the hymn.

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Well was I ware it was of lofty laud,

Because there came to me, “ Arise and conquer !”

As unto him who hears and comprehends not. So much enamored I became therewith,

That until then there was not anything

That e'er had fettered me with such sweet bonds. Perhaps my word appears somewhat too bold,

Postponing the delight of those fair eyes,

Into which gazing my desire hath rest; But who bethinks him that the living seals

Of every beauty grow in power ascending,

And that I there had not turned round to those, 135 Can me excuse, if I myself accuse

To excuse myself, and see that I speak truly :

For here the holy joy is not disclosed, Because it grows, ascending, more sincere.

Line 132. Into which gazing my desire has rest;

CANTO XV

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A will benign, in which reveals itself

Ever the love that righteously inspires,

As in the iniquitous, cupidity, Silence imposed upon that dulcet lyre,

And quieted the consecrated chords,

That Heaven's right hand doth tighten and relax. How unto just entreaties shall be deaf

Those substances, which, to give me desire

Of praying them, with one accord grew silent ? 'Tis well that without end he should lament,

Who for the love of thing that doth not last

Eternally despoils him of that love!
As through the pure and tranquil evening air

There shoots from time to time a sudden fire,

Moving the eyes that steadfast were before, And seems to be a star that changeth place,

Except that in the part where it is kindled

Nothing is missed, and this endureth little ; So from the horn that to the right extends

Unto that cross's foot there ran a star

Out of the constellation shining there; Nor was the gem dissevered from its ribbon,

But down the radiant fillet ran along,

So that fire seemed it behind alabaster.
Thus piteous did Anchises' shade reach forward,

If any faith our greatest Muse deserve,
When in Elysium he his son perceived.

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O sanguis meus, O super infusa

Gratia Dei, sicut tibi, cui

Bis unquam Coeli janua reclusa ?
Thus that effulgence; whence I gave it heed;

Then round unto my Lady turned my sight,

And on this side and that was stupefied; For in her eyes was burning such a smile That with mine own methought I touched the

bottom Both of my grace

and of

my

Paradise ! Then, pleasant to the hearing and the sight,

The spirit joined to its beginning things

I understood not, so profound it spake; Nor did it hide itself from me by choice,

But by necessity; for its conception

Above the mark of mortals set itself. And when the bow of burning sympathy.

Was so far slackened, that its speech descended

Towards the mark of our intelligence,
The first thing that was understood by me

Was, “ Benedight be Thou, O Trine and One,
Who hast unto my seed

courteous been !” And it continued: “Hunger long and grateful,

Drawn from the reading of the mighty volume

Wherein is never changed the white or dark, Thou hast appeased, my son, within this light

In which I speak to thee, by grace of her

Who to this lofty Aight with plumage clothed thee. Thou thinkest that to me thy thought doth pass

From Him who is the first, as from the unit,
If that be known, ray out the five and six;
Line 51. Wherein is never changed the white nor dark,

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And therefore who I am thou askest not,

And why I seem more joyous unto thee

Than any other of this gladsome crowd.
Thou think'st the truth; because the small and great

Of this existence look into the mirror
Wherein, before thou think'st, thy thought thou

showest.
But that the sacred love, in which I watch

With sight perpetual, and which makes me thirst 65

With sweet desire, may better be fulfilled, Now let thy voice secure and frank and glad

Proclaim the wishes, the desire proclaim,

To which my answer is decreed already." To Beatrice I turned me, and she heard

Before I spake, and smiled to me a sign,

That made the wings of my desire increase ; Then in this wise began I: “Love and knowledge,

When on you dawned the first Equality,

Of the same weight for each of you became; For in the Sun, which lighted you and burned

With heat and radiance, they so equal are,

That all similitudes are insufficient. But among mortals will and argument,

For reason that to you is manifest,

Diversely feathered in their pinions are. Whence I, who mortal am, feel in myself

This inequality ; so give not thanks,

Save in my heart, for this paternal welcome. Truly do I entreat thee, living topaz!

Set in this precious jewel as a gem,

That thou wilt satisfy me with thy name. “ O leaf of mine, in whom I pleasure took

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