Page images
PDF
EPUB

90

95

100

Filippi, Greci, Ormanni, and Alberichi,

Even in their fall illustrious citizens; And saw, as mighty as they ancient were,

With him of La Sannella him of Arca,

And Soldanier, Ardinghi, and Bostichi. Near to the gate that is at present laden

With a new felony of so much weight

That soon it shall be jetsam from the bark, The Ravignani were, from whom descended

The County Guido, and whoe'er the name

Of the great Bellincione since hath taken. He of La Pressa knew the art of ruling

Already, and already Galigajo

Had hilt and pommel gilded in his house. Mighty already was the Column Vair,

Sacchetti, Giuochi, Fifant, and Barucci,

And Galli, and they who for the bushel blush. The stock from which were the Calfucci born

Was great already, and already chosen

To curule chairs the Sizii and Arrigucci. Oh how beheld I those who are undone

By their own pride! and how the Balls of Gold 110

Florence enflowered in all their mighty deeds! So likewise did the ancestors of those

Who evermore, when vacant is your church,

Fatten by staying in consistory.
The insolent race, that like a dragon follows

Whoever fees, and unto him that shows

His teeth or purse is gentle as a lamb,
Already rising was, but from low people ;

So that it pleased not Ubertin Donato
That his wife's father should make him their kin.

105

115

121

125

130

135

Already had Caponsacco to the Market

From Fesole descended, and already

Giuda and Infangato were good burghers. I'll tell a thing incredible, but true;

One entered the small circuit by a gate

Which from the Della Pera took its name! Each one that bears the beautiful escutcheon

Of the great baron whose renown and name

The festival of Thomas keepeth fresh, Knighthood and privilege from him received;

Though with the populace unites himself

To-day the man who binds it with a border. Already were Gualterotti and Importuni;

And still more quiet would the Borgo be

If with new neighbors it remained unfed. The house from which is born your lamentation, Through just disdain that death among you

brought And put an end unto your joyous life, Was honored in itself and its companions.

O Buondelmonte, how in evil hour

Thou fled’st the bridal at another's promptings ! Many would be rejoicing who are sad,

If God had thee surrendered to the Ema

The first time that thou camest to the city.
But it behoved the mutilated stone
Which guards the bridge, that Florence should

provide
A victim in her latest hour of peace.
With all these families, and others with them,

140

145

150

Florence beheld I in so great repose,

That no occasion had she whence to weep; With all these families beheld so just

And glorious her people, that the lily

Never upon the spear was placed reversed, Nor by division was vermilion made.”

CANTO XVII

5

IO

As came to Clymene, to be made certain

Of that which he had heard against himself,

He who makes fathers chary still to children, Even such was I, and such was I perceived

By Beatrice and by the holy light

That first on my account had changed its place. Therefore my Lady said to me: “Send forth

The flame of thy desire, so that it issue

Imprinted well with the internal stamp; Not that our knowledge may be greater made

By speech of thine, but to accustom thee

To tell thy thirst, that we may give thee drink.” “O my beloved tree (that so dost lift thee,

That even as minds terrestrial perceive

No triangle containeth two obtuse, So thou beholdest the contingent things

Ere in themselves they are, fixing thine eyes

Upon the point in which all times are present), While I was with Virgilius conjoined

Upon the mountain that the souls doth heal,

And when descending into the dead world, Were spoken to me of my future life

Some grievous words; although I feel myself

In sooth foursquare against the blows of chance. On this account my wish would be content

To hear what fortune is approaching me,
Because foreseen an arrow comes more slowly.”

15

20

25

30

35

40

Thus did I say unto that selfsame light

That unto me had spoken before ; and even

As Beatrice willed was my own will confessed.
Not in vague phrase, in which the foolish folk

Ensnared themselves of old, ere yet was slain
The Lamb of God who taketh sins

away, But with clear words and unambiguous

Language responded that paternal love,

Hid and revealed by its own proper smile : “ Contingency, that outside of the volume Of your materiality extends not,

, Is all depicted in the eternal aspect. Necessity however thence it takes not,

Except as from the eye, in which 't is mirrored,

A ship that with the current down descends. From thence, e'en as there cometh to the ear

Sweet harmony from an organ, comes in sight

To me the time that is preparing for thee. As forth from Athens went Hippolytus,

By reason of his step-dame false and cruel,

So thou from Florence must perforce depart. Already this is willed, and this is sought for;

And soon it shall be done by him who thinks it, 50

Where every day the Christ is bought and sold. The blame shall follow the offended party

In outcry as is usual; but the vengeance

Shall witness to the truth that doth dispense it. Thou shalt abandon everything beloved

Most tenderly, and this the arrow is

Which first the bow of banishment shoots forth. Thou shalt have proof how savoreth of salt The bread of others, and how hard a road

45

55

« PreviousContinue »