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The Divine Comedy, Volume 2, Purgatory [Purgatorio] by Dante Aligheri

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my Leader, "I think that it behoves us to turn our right
shoulders to the outer edge, circling the Mount as we are wont to
do." Thus usage was there our guide, and we took the way with
less doubt because of the assent of that worthy soul.

[1] The first four hours of the day were spent. It was between
ten and eleven o'clock.

[2] Of the car.

They were going on in front, and I solitary behind, and I was
listening to their speech which gave me understanding in poesy.
But soon the pleasant discourse was interrupted by a tree which
we found in the mid road, with apples sweet and pleasant to the
smell. And as a fir-tree tapers upward from branch to branch, so
downwardly did that, I think in order that no one may go up. On
the side on which our way was closed, a clear water fell from
the high rock and spread itself over the heaves above. The two
poets approached the tree, and a voice from within the heaves
cried: "Of this food ye shall have want." Then it said, "Mary
thought more, how the wedding[1] should be honorable and
complete, than of her mouth,[2] which answers now for you; and
the ancient Roman women were content with water for their drink;
and Daniel despised food and gained wisdom. The primal age, which
was beautiful as gold, with hunger made acorns savory, and with
thirst every streamlet nectar. Honey and locusts were the viands
that nourished the Baptist in the desert, wherefore he is in
glory, and so great as by the Gospel is revealed to you.

[1] At Cana.

[2] Than of gratifying her appetite.

CANTO XXIII. Sixth Ledge: the Gluttonous.--Forese
Donati.--Nella.--Rebuke of the women of Florence.

While I was fixing my eyes upon the green leafage, just as he who
wastes his life following the little bird is wont to do, my more
than Father said to me, "Son, come on now, for the time that is
assigned to us must be parcelled out more usefully." I turned my
face, and no less quickly my step after the Sages, who were
speaking so that they made the going of no cost to me; and ho! a
lament and song were heard, "Labia mea, Domine,"[1] in such
fashion that it gave birth to delight and pain. "O sweet Father,
what is that which I hear?" I began, and he, "Shades which go,
perhaps loosing the knot of their debt."

[1] "Lord, open thou my lips." -- Psalm li. 15.

Even as do pilgrims rapt in thought, who, overtaking on the road
unknown folk, turn themselves to them, and stay not; so behind
us, moving more quickly, coming up and passing by, a crowd of
souls, silent and devout, gazed at us. Each was dark and hollow
in the eyes, pallid in the face, and so wasted that the skin took
its shape from the bones. I do not think that Erisichthon[1] was
so dried up to utter rind by hunger, when he had most fear of it.
I said to myself in thought, "Behold the people who lost
Jerusalem, when Mary struck her beak into her son."[2] The
sockets of their eyes seemed rings without gems. Whoso in the
face of men reads OMO,[3] would surely there have recognized the
M. Who would believe that the scent of an apple, begetting
longing, and that of a water, could have such mastery, if he
knew not how?

[1] Punished for sacrilege by Ceres with insatiable hunger, so
that at last he turned his teeth upon himself. See Ovid,
Metam.,viii. 738 sqq.

[2] The story of this wretched woman is told by Josephus in
his narrative of the siege of Jerusalem by Titus: De Bello Jud.,
vi. 3.

[3] Finding in each eye an O, and an M in the lines of the brows
and nose, making the word for "man."

I was now wondering what so famished them, the cause of their
meagreness and of their wretched husk not yet being manifest,
and lo! from the depths of its head, a shade turned his eyes on
me, and looked fixedly, then cried out loudly, "What grace to me
is this!" Never should I have recognized him by his face; but in
his voice that was disclosed to me which his aspect in itself had
suppressed.[1] This spark rekindled in me all my knowledge of the
altered visage, and I recognized the face of Forese.[2]

[1] His voice revealed who he was, which his actual aspect

[2] Brother of the famous Corso Donati, and related to Dante,
whose wife was Gemma de' Donati.

"Ah, strive not [1] with the dry scab that discolors my skin," he
prayed, "nor with my lack of flesh, but tell me the truth about
thyself; and who are these two souls, who yonder make an escort
for thee: stay not thou from speaking to me." "Thy face, which
once I wept for dead, now gives me for weeping no less a grief,"
replied I, "seeing it so disfigured; therefore, tell me, for
God's sake, what so despoils you; make me not speak while I am
marvelling; for ill can he speak who is full of another wish."
And he to me, "From the eternal council falls a power into the
water and into the plant, now left behind, whereby I become so
thin. All this folk who sing weeping, because of following their
appetite beyond measure, here in hunger and in thirst make
themselves holy again. The odour which issues from the apple and
from the spray that spreads over the verdure kindles in us desire
to eat and drink. And not once only as we circle this floor is
our pain renewed; I say pain, and ought to say solace, for that
will leads us to the tree which led Christ gladly to say,
'Eli,'[2] when with his blood he delivered us." And I to him,
"Forese, from that day on which thou didst change world to a
better life, up to this time five years have not rolled round. If
the power of sinning further had ended in thee, ere the hour
supervened of the good grief that to God reweds us, how hast thou
come up hither?[3] I thought to find thee still down there below,
where time is made good by time." And he to me, "My Nella with
her bursting tears has brought me thus quickly to drink of the
sweet wormwood of these torments. With her devout prayers and
with sighs has she drawn me from the shore where one waits, and
has delivered me from the other circles. So much the more dear
and more beloved of God is my little widow, whom I loved so much,
as she is the more solitary in good works; for the Barbagia[4] of
Sardinia is far more modest in its women than the Barbagia where
I left her. O sweet brother, what wouldst thou that I say? A
future time is already in my sight, to which this hour will not
be very old, in which from the pulpit it shall be forbidden to
the brazen-faced dames of Florence to go displaying the bosom
with the paps. What Barbarian, what Saracen women were there ever
who required either spiritual or other discipline to make them go
covered? But if the shameless ones were aware of that which the
swift heaven is preparing for them, already would they have their
mouths open for howling. For if foresight here deceives me not,
they will be sad ere he who is now consoled with the lullaby
covers his cheeks with hair. Ak brother, now no longer conceal
thyself from me; thou seest that not only I but all these people
are gazing there where thou dost veil the sun." Whereon I to him:
"If thou bring back to mind what thou wast with me, and what I
was with thee, the present remembrance will even now be grievous.
From that life he who goes before me turned me the other day,
when the sister of him yonder," and I pointed to the sun, "showed
herself round. Through the deep night, from the truly dead, he
has led me, with this true flesh which follows him. Thence his
counsels have drawn me up, ascending and circling the mountain
that sets you straight whom the world made crooked. So long he
says that he will bear me company till I shall be there where
Beatrice will be; there it behoves that I remain without him.
Virgil is he who says thus to me," and I pointed to him, "and
this other is that shade for whom just now your realm, which from
itself releases him, shook every slope."

[1] Do not, for striving to see me through my changed look, delay
to speak.

[2] Willingly to accept his suffering, even when he exclaimed,
"My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"--Matthew, xxvii. 46.

[3] If thou didst delay repentance until thou couldst sin no
more, how is it that so speedily thou hast arrived here?

[4] A mountainous district in Sardinia, inhabited by people of
barbarous customs.

CANTO XXIV. Sixth Ledge: the Gluttonous.--Forese
Donati.--Bonagiunta of Lucca--Pope Martin IV--Ubaldin dalla Pila.
--Bonifazio.--Messer Marchese.--Prophecy of Bonagiunta concerning
Gentucca, and of Forese concerning Corso de' Donati.--Second
Mystic Tree.--The Angel of the Pass.

Speech made not the going, nor the going made that more slow;
but, talking, we went on apace even as a ship urged by good wind.
And the shades, that seemed things doubly dead, through the pits
of their eyes drew in wonder at me, perceiving that I was alive.

And I, continuing my discourse, said, "He[1] goeth up perchance
for another's sake more slowly than he would do. But, tell me, if
thou knowest, where is Piccarda[2] tell me if I see person of
note among this folk that so gazes at me." "My sister, who,
between fair and good, was I know not which the most, triumphs
rejoicing in her crown already on high Olympus." So he said
first, and then, "Here it is not forbidden to name each other,
since our semblance is so milked away by the diet.[3] This," and
he pointed with his finger, "is Bonagiunta,[4] Bonagiunta of
Lucca; and that face beyond him, more sharpened than the others,
had the Holy Church in his arms:[5]from Tours he was; and by
fasting he purges the eels of Bolsena, and the Vernaccia wine."
Many others he named to me, one by one, and at their naming all
appeared content; so that for this I saw not one dark mien. For
hunger using their teeth on emptiness, I saw Ubaldin dalla Pila,
and Boniface,[6] who shepherded many people with his crook. I saw
Messer Marchese, who once had leisure to drink at Forum with less
thirst, and even so was such that he felt not sated. But as one
does who looks, and then makes account more of one than of
another, did I of him of Lucca, who seemed to have most
cognizance of me. He was murmuring; and I know not what, save
that I heard "Gentucca" there[7] where he felt the chastisement
of the justice which so strips them. "O soul," said I, "who
seemest so desirous to speak with me, do so that I may hear thee,
and satisfy both thyself and me by thy speech." "A woman is born,
and wears not yet the veil,"[8] he began, "who will make my city
pleasant to thee, however men may blame it.[9] Thou shalt go on
with this prevision: if from my murmuring thou hast received
error, the true things will yet clear it up for thee. But say, if
I here see him, who drew forth the new rhymes, beginning, 'Ladies
who have intelligence of Love'?"[10] And I to him, "I am one,
who, when Love inspires me, notes, and in that measure which he
dictates within, I go revealing." "O brother, now I see," said
he, "the knot which held back the Notary,[11] and Guittone,[12]
and me short of the sweet new style that I hear. I see clearly
how your pens go on close following the dictator, which surely
befell not with ours. And he who most sets himself to look
further sees nothing more between one style and the other." [13]
And, as if contented, he was silent.

[1]Statius; more slowly, for the sake of remaining with Virgil.

[2] The sister of Forese, whom Dante meets in Paradise (Canto

[3] Recognition by the looks being thus impossible.

[4] Bonagiunta Urbiciani; he lived and wrote in the last half of
the thirteenth century.

[5] Martin IV., Pope from 1281 to 1284.

[6] Archbishop of Ravenna.

[7] Upon his lips.

[8] Of a married woman.

[9] This honorable and delightful reference to the otherwise
unknown maiden, Gentucca of Lucca, has given occasion to
much worthless and base comment. Dante was at Lucca during
his exile, in 1314. He himself was one of those who blamed the
city; see Hell, Canto XXI.

[10] The first verse of the first canzone of The New Life.

[11] The Sicilian poet, Jacopo da Lentino.

[12] Guittone d' Arezzo, commonly called Fra Guittone, as one of
the order of the Frati Gaudenti. Dante refers to him again in
Canto XXVI.

[13] He who seeks for other reason does not find it.

As the birds that winter along the Nile sometimes make a flock in
the air, then fly in greater haste, and go in file, so all the
folk that were there, light both through leanness and through
will, turning away their faces, quickened again their pace. And
as the man who is weary of running lets his companions go on, and
himself walks, until he vents the panting of his chest, so Forese
let the holy flock pass on and came along behind, with me,
saying, "When shall it be that I see thee again?" "I know not," I
replied to him, "how long I may live; but truly my return will
not be so speedy, that I shall not in desire he sooner at the
shore;[1] because the place where I was set to live, denudes
itself more of good from day to day, and seems ordained to
wretched ruin." "Now go," said he, "for I see him who hath most
fault for this[2] dragged at the tail of a beast, toward the
valley where there is no disculpation ever. The beast at every
step goes faster, increasing always till it strikes him, and
leaves his body vilely undone. Those wheels have not far to
turn," and he raised his eyes to heaven, "for that to become
clear to thee which my speech cannot further declare. Now do thou
stay behind, for time is so precious in this kingdom, that I lose
too much coming thus at even pace with thee."

[1] Of Purgatory.

[2] Corso de' Donati, the leader of the Black Guelphs and chief
cause of the evils of the city. On the 15th September, 1308, his
enemies having risen against him, he was compelled to fly from
Florence. Near the city he was thrown from his horse and dragged
along, till he was overtaken and killed by his pursuers.

As a cavalier sometimes sets forth at a gallop from a troop which
rides, and goes to win the honor of the first encounter, so he
went away from us with greater strides; and I remained on the way
with only those two who were such great marshals of the world.[1]
And when he had entered so far before us that my eyes became such
followers on him as my mind was on his words,[2] there appeared
to me the laden and lusty branches of another apple-tree, and not
far distant, because only then had I turned thitherward.[3] I saw
people beneath it raising their hands and crying, I know not
what, toward the leaves, like eager and fond little children who
pray, and he they pray to answers not, hut, to make their longing
very keen, holds aloft their desire, and conceals it not. Then
they departed as if undeceived:[4] and now we came to the great
tree that rejects so many prayers and tears. "Pass further
onward, without drawing near; the tree[5] is higher up which was
eaten of by Eve, and this plant has been raised from that." Thus
among the branches I know not who was speaking; wherefore Virgil
and Statius and I, drawing close together, went onward along the
side that rises.[6] "Be mindful," the voice was saying, "of the
accursed ones,[7] formed in the clouds, who, when glutted, strove
against Theseus with their double breasts; and of the Hebrews,
who, at the drinking, showed themselves soft,[8] wherefore Gideon
wished them not for companions, when he went down the hills
toward Midian."

[1] "A marshal is a ruler of the court and of the army under the
emperor, and should know how to command what ought to be done, as
those two poets knew what it was befitting to do in the world in
respect to moral and civil life."--Buti.

[2] Could no longer follow him distinctly.

[3] In the circling course around the mountain.

[4] Having found vain the hope of reaching the fruit.

[5] The tree of knowledge, in the Earthly Paradise: Canto XXXII.

[6] On the inner side, by the wall of the mountain.

[7] The centaurs.

[8] Judges, vii. 4-7.

Thus keeping close to one of the two borders, we passed by,
hearing of sins of gluttony followed, in sooth, by wretched
gains. Then going at large along the lonely road, full a thousand
steps and more had borne us onward, each of us in meditation
without a word. "Why go ye thus in thought, ye three alone?" said
a sudden voice; whereat I started as do terrified and timid
beasts. I lifted up my head to see who it might be, and never
were glass or metals seen so shining and ruddy in a furnace as
one I saw who said, "If it please you to mount up, here must a
turn be taken; this way he goes who wishes to go for peace." His
aspect had taken my sight from me, wherefore I turned me behind
my teachers like one who goes according as he hears.[1] And as,
harbinger of the dawn, the breeze of May stirs and smells sweet,
all impregnate with the herbage and with the flowers, such a wind
I felt strike upon the middle of my forehead, and clearly felt
the motion of the plumes which made mime perceive the odor of
ambrosia. And I heard said, "Blessed are they whom so much grace
illumines, that the love of taste inspires not in their breasts
too great desire, hungering always so far as is just."[2]

[1] Blinded for the instant by the dazzling brightness of the
angel,Dante drops behind his teachers, to follow them as one
guided by hearing only.

[2] "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after
righteousness."--Matthew, v.6.

Dante has already cited this Beatitude (Canto XXII.), applying it
to those who are purging themselves from the inordinate desire
for riches; he there omits the word "hunger," as here he omits
the "and thirst."

CANTO XXV. Ascent to the Seventh Ledge.--Discourse of Statius on
generation, the infusion of the Soul into the body, and the
corporeal semblance of Souls after death.--The Seventh Ledge: the
Lustful.--The mode of their Purification.

It was the hour in which the ascent allowed no delay; for the
meridian circle had been left by the Sun to the Bull, and by the
Night to the Scorpion;[1] wherefore as the man doth who, whatever
may appear to him, stops not, but goes on his way, if the goad of
necessity prick him, so did we enter through the gap, one before
the other, taking the stairway which by its narrowness unpairs
the climbers.

[1] Taurus follows on Aries, so that the hour indicated is about
2 P.M. The Night here means the part of the Heavens opposite to
the Sun.

And as the little stork that lifts its wing through will to fly,
and dares not abandon the nest, and down it drops, so was I, with
will to ask, kindled and quenched, coming even to the motion that
he makes who proposes to speak. Nor, though our going was swift,
did my sweet Father forbear, but he said, Discharge the bow of
speech which up to the iron thou hast drawn." Then I opened my
mouth confidently, and began, "How can one become thin, where the
need of nourishment is not felt?" "If thou hadst called to mind
how Meleager was consumed by time consuming of a brand this would
not be," he said, " so difficult to thee; and if thou hadst
thought, how at your quivering your image quivers within the
mirror, that which seems hard would seem easy to thee. But that
thou mayst to thy pleasure be inwardly at ease, lo, here is
Statius, and I call on him and pray that he be now the healer of
thy wounds." "If I explain to him the eternal view," replied
Statius, "where thou art present, let it excuse me that to thee I
cannot snake denial."[1]

[1] Here and elsewhere Statius seems to represent allegorically
human philosophy enlightened by Christian teaching, dealing with
questions of knowledge, not of faith.

Then he began, "If, son, thy mind regards and receives my words,
they will be. for thee a light unto the 'how,' which thou
askest.[1] The perfect blood which is never drunk by the thirsty
veins, but remains like the food which thou removest from time
table, takes in time heart virtue informative of all the human
members; even as that blood does, which passes through the veins
to become those members.[2] Digested yet again, it descends to
the part whereof it is more becoming to be silent than to speak;
and thence, afterwards, it drops upon another's blood in the
natural vessel. There one and the other meet together; the one
ordained to be passive, and the other to be active because of the
perfect place[3] wherefrom it is pressed out; and, conjoined with
the former, the latter begins to operate, first by coagulating,
and then by quickening that to which it gives consistency for its
own material. The active virtue having become a soul, like that
of a plant (in so far different that this is on the way, and that
already arrived),[4] so worketh then, that now it moves and
feels, as a sea-fungus doth; and then it proceeds to organize the
powers of which it is the germ. Now, son, the virtue is
displayed, now it is diffused, which issues from the heart of the
begetter, where nature is intent on all the members.[5] But how
from an animal it becomes a speaking being,[6] thou as yet
seest not; this is such a point that once it made one wiser than
thee to err, so that in his teaching he separated from the soul
the potential intellect, because he saw no organ assumed by
it.[7] Open thy heart unto the truth that is coming, and know
that, so soon as in the foitus the articulation of the brain is
perfect, the Primal Motor turns to it with joy over such art of
nature, and inspires a new spirit replete with virtue, which
draws that which it finds active there into its own substance,
and makes one single soul which lives and feels and circles on
itself. And that thou mayst the less wonder at this doctrine,
consider the warmth of the sun which, combining with the juice
that flows from the vine, becomes wine. And when Lachesis has no
more thread, this soul is loosed from the flesh, and virtually
bears away with itself both the human and the divine; the other
faculties all of them mute,[8] but memory, understanding, and
will[9] far more acute in action than before. Without staying, it
falls of itself, marvelously to one of the banks.[10] Here it
first knows its own roads. Soon as the place there circumscribes
it, the formative virtue rays out around it in like manner, and
as much as in the living members.[11] And as the air when it is
full of rain becomes adorned with divers colors by another's rays
which are reflected in it, so here the neighboring air shapes
itself in that form which is virtually imprinted upon it by the
soul that hath stopped.[12] And then like the flamelet which
follows the fire wherever it shifts, so its new form follows the
spirit. Since thereafter from this it has its aspect, it is
called a shade; and by this it shapes the organ for every sense
even to the sight; by this we speak, and by this we laugh, by
this we make the tears and the sighs, which on the mountain thou
mayst have perceived. According as the desires and the other
affections impress us the shade is shaped; and this is the cause
of that at which thou wonderest."

[1] The doctrine set forth by Statius in the following discourse
is derived from St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theol., i. 118, 119,
who, in his turn, derived it from Aristotle. It is to be found,
more briefly stated, in the Convito, iv. 21.

[2] A portion of the blood remains after the veins are supplied;
in the heart all the blood receives the virtue by which it gives
form to the various organs of the body.

[3] The heart.

[4] The vegetative soul in the plant has attained its full
development, "has arrived;" in the animal is "on the way" to

[5] From the vegetative, the soul has become sensitive,--anima

[6] A being possessed of intellect,--the last stage in the
progress of the soul, when it becomes came intellective.

[7] Averroes asserted the intellect to be impersonal and
undivided in essence; not formally, but instrumentally only,
united with the individual. Hence there was no personal

[8] The faculties of sense mute because their organs no longer

[9]The spiritual faculties.

[10] Of Acheron or of Tiber, according as the soul is damned or

[11] In this account of the formation of the bodily semblance in
the spiritual realms, Statius no longer follows the doctrine of
Aquinas. The conception is derived from Plato; but the form
given to it is peculiar to Dante.

[12] Stopped in the place allotted to it.

And now we had come to the last circuit,[1] and turning to the
right hand, we were intent upon another care. Here the bank
shoots forth flame, and the ledge breathes a blast upward which
drives it back, and sequesters a path from it.[2] Wherefore it
was needful to go one by one along the unenclosed side; and on
the one hand I was afraid of the fire, and on the other I was
afraid of falling off. My Leader said, "Through this place, one
must keep tight the rein upon the eyes, because for little one
might go astray." "Summae Deus clementiae,"[3] in the bosom of
the great burning then I heard singing, which made me care not
less to turn. And I saw spirits going through the flame;
wherefore I looked at them and at my own steps, apportioning to
each my sight from moment to moment. After the end of that hymn,
they loudly cried: "Virum non cognosco;"[4] then began again the
hymn with low voice; this finished, they cried anew, "To the wood
Diana kept herself, and drove therefrom Helice,[5] who had felt
the poison of Venus." Then they turned to singing; then wives
they cried out, and husbands who were chaste, as virtue and
marriage enjoin upon us. And I believe this mode suffices them
through all the time the fire burns them. With such cure it is
needful, and with such food, that the last wound of all should be
closed up.

[1] The word in the original is tortura. Benvenuto's comment is,
"nunc incipiebant torquere et flectere viam, ideo talem
deflectionem appellat torturam." Buti, on the contrary, says,
"tortura cioe tormento."

[2] Secures a safe pathway along the ledge.

[3] "God of clemency supreme," the beginning of a hymn, sung at
Matins, containing a prayer for purity.

[4] "I know not a man," the words of Mary to the angel--Luke, i.

[5] Helice, or Callisto, the nymph who bore a son to Jupiter,
and, having been changed to a bear by Juno, was by Jove
transferred with her child to the heavens, where they are seen as
the Great and Little Bear.

CANTO XXVI. Seventh Ledge: the Lustful.--Sinners in the fire,
going in opposite directions.--Guido Guinicelli.--Arnaut Daniel.

While we were going on thus along the edge, one before the other,
and the good Master was often saying, "Take heed! let it avail
that I warn thee," the sun was striking me on the right shoulder,
and now, raying out, was changing all the west from azure to a
white aspect; and with my shadow I was making the flame appear
more ruddy, and only at such an indication[1] I saw many shades,
as they went on, give attention. This was the occasion which gave
them a beginning to speak of me, and they began to say, "He seems
not a fictitious body;" then toward me, so far as they could do
so, certain of them canine, always with regard not to come out
where they would not be burned.

[1] At this sign that Dante's body was that of a living man.

"O thou! who goest, not from being slower, but perhaps from
reverence, behind the others, reply to me who in thirst and fire
am burning. Nor to me only is thy reply of need, for all these
have a greater thirst for it than Indian or Ethiop of cold water.
Tell us how it is that thou makest of thyself a wall to the sun,
as if thou hadst not yet entered within the net of death." Thus
spoke to me one of them; and I should now have disclosed myself,
if I had not been intent on another new thing which then
appeared; for through the middle of the burning road were coming
people with their faces opposite to these, who made me gaze in
suspense. There I see, on every side, all the shades making haste
and kissing each other, without stopping, content with brief
greeting. Thus within their brown band one ant touches muzzle
with another, perchance to enquire their way and their fortune.

Soon as they end the friendly salutation, before the first step
runs on beyond, each strives to outcry the other; the new-come
folk: "Sodom and Gomorrah," and the other, "Into the cow enters
Pasiphae, that the bull may run to her lust." Then like cranes,
of whom part should fly to the Riphaean mountains,[1] and part
toward the sands,[2] these shunning the frost and those the sun,
one folk goes, the other comes on, and weeping they return to
their first chants, and to the cry which most befits them.

[1] Mountains vaguely placed by the early geographers in the far

[2] The deserts of the South.

And those same who had prayed me drew near to me as before,
intent in their looks to listen. I, who twice had seen their
desire, began, "O souls secure of having, whenever it may he, a
state of peace, neither unripe nor mature have my limbs remained
yonder, but they are here with me with their blood, and with
their joints. I go up in order to be no longer blind. A Lady is
on high who winneth grace for us, whereby I bring my mortal part
through your world. But so may your greater will soon become
satisfied, in such wise that the heaven may harbor you which is
full of love, and most amply spreads, tell me, in order that I
may yet rule the paper for it, who are ye, and who are that crowd
which goes its way behind your backs."

Not otherwise stupefied, the mountaineer is confused, and gazing
round is dumb, when rough and savage he enters the town, than
each shade became in his appearance; but, after they were
unburdened of their bewilderment, which in high hearts is
quickly assuaged, "Blessed thou," began again that one who first
had asked me, "who of our regions dost ship experience for dying
better. The people who do not come with us offended in that for
which once Caesar in his triumph heard 'Queen' cried out against
him; therefore they go off shouting 'Sodom,' reproving
themselves as thou hast heard, and aid the burning by their
shame. Our sin was hermaphrodite; but because we observed not
human law, following our appetite like beasts, when we part from
them, the name of her who bestialized herself in the beast-shaped
planks is uttered by us, in opprobrium of ourselves. Now thou
knowest our deeds, and of what we were guilty; if, perchance,
thou wishest to know by name who we are, there is not time to
tell, and I could not do it. I will indeed make thee short of
wish about myself; I am Guido Guinicelli;[1] and now I purify
myself, because I truly repented before my last hour."

[1] Of Bologna; he was living after the middle of the thirteenth
century. Of his life little is known, but some of his verses
survive and justify Dante's words concerning them.

Such as in the sorrow of Lycurgus her two sons became at seeing
again their mother,[1] such I became, but I rise not so far,[2]
when I heard name himself the father of me, and of my betters
who ever used sweet and gracious rhymes of love; and without
hearing or speaking, full of thought I went on, gazing a long
time upon him; nor, for the fire, did I draw nearer to him. After
I was fed with looking, I offered myself wholly ready for his
service, with the affirmation that makes another believe. And he
to me, "By what I hear thou leavest such trace in me, and so
bright, that Lethe cannot take it away nor make it dim. But if
thy words have now sworn truth, tell me what is time cause why in
speech and look thou showest that thou dost hold me dear?" And I
to him, "The sweet ditties of yours, which, so long as the modern
fashion shall endure, will still make dear their ink." "O
brother," said he, "this one whom I distinguish for thee with my
finger," and he pointed to a spirit in advance,[3] "was a better
smith of the maternal speech. In verses of love, and prose of
romances, he excelled all, and let the foolish talk who think
that he of Limoges[4] surpasses him; to rumor more than to truth
they turn their faces, and thus confirm their own opinion, before
art or reason is listened to by them. Thus did many of old
concerning Guittone,[5] from cry to cry only to him giving the
prize, until the truth has prevailed with more persons. Now if
thou hast such ample privilege that it he permitted thee to go
unto the cloister in which Christ is abbot of the college, say
for me to him one paternoster, so far as needs for us in this
world where power to sin is no longer ours."[6]

[1] "Lycurgus, King of Nemaea, enraged with Hypsipyle for leaving
his infant child, who was killed by a serpent, while she was
showing the river Langia to the Argives (see Canto XXII.), was
about to kill her, when she was found and rescued by her own
suns."--Statius, Thebaid, v. 721 (Pollock).

[2] I was more restrained than they.

[3] Arnaut Daniel, a famous troubadour.

[4] Gerault de Berneil.

[5] Guittone d' Arezzo (see Canto XXIV.).

[6] The words in the Lord's Prayer, "Deliver us from temptation,"
are not needed for the spirits in Purgatory.

Then, perhaps to give place to the other who was near behind him,
he disappeared through the fire, even as through the water a fish
going to the bottom. I moved forward a little to him who had been
pointed out to me, and said, that for his name my desire was
making ready a gracious place. He began graciously to say,[1] "So
pleaseth me your courteous demand that I cannot, and I will not,
hide me from you. I am Arnaut who weep and go singing; contrite I
see my past folly, and joyful I see before me the day I hope for.
Now I pray you by that virtue which guides you to the summit of
the stair, at times be mindful of my pain." Then he hid himself
in the fire that refines them.

[1] The words of Daniel are in the Provencal tongue.

CANTO XXVII. Seventh Ledge: the Lustful.--Passage through the
Flames.--Stairway in the rock.--Night upon the stairs.--Dream of
Dante.--Morning.--Ascent to the Earthly Paradise.--Last words of

As when he darts forth his first rays there where his Maker shed
His blood (Ebro falling under the lofty Scales, and the waves in
the Ganges scorched by noon) so the sun was now standing;[1] so
that the day was departing, when the glad Angel of God appeared
to us. Outside the flame he was standing on the bank, and was
singing, "Beati mundo corde,"[2] in a voice far more living than
ours: then, "No one goes further, ye holy souls, if first the
fire sting not; enter into it, and to the song beyond be ye not
deaf," he said to us, when we were near him. Whereat I became
such, when I heard him, as is he who in the pit is put.[3] With
hands clasped upwards, I stretched forward, looking at the fire,
and imagining vividly human bodies I had once seen burnt. The
good Escorts turned toward me, and Virgil said to me, "My son,
here may be torment, but not death. Bethink thee! bethink thee!
and if I even upon Geryon guided thee safe, what shall I do now
that I am nearer God? Believe for certain that if within the
belly of this flame thou shouldst stand full a thousand years, it
could not make thee bald of one hair. And if thou perchance
believest that I deceive thee, draw near to it, and make trial
for thyself with fine own hands on the hem of thy garments. Put
aside now, put aside every fear; turn hitherward, and come on

[1] It was near sunrise at Jerusalem, and consequently near
sunset in Purgatory, midnight in Spain, and midday at the Ganges.

[2] "Blessed are the pure in heart."

[3] Who is condemned to be buried alive.

And I still motionless and against conscience!

When he saw me still stand motionless and obdurate, he said,
disturbed a little, "Now see, son, between Beatrice and thee is
this wall."

As at the name of Thisbe, Pyramus, at point of death, opened his
eyelids and looked at her, what time the mulberry became
vermilion, so, my obduracy becoming softened, I turned me to the
wise Leader, hearing the name that in my memory is ever welling
up. Whereat he nodded his head, amid said, "How! do we want to
stay on this side?" then he smiled as one doth at a child who is
conquered by an apple.

Then within the fire he set himself before me, praying Statius,
that he would come behind, who previously, on the long road, had
divided us. When I was in, into boiling glass I would have thrown
myself to cool me, so without measure was the burning there. My
sweet Father, to encourage me, went talking ever of Beatrice,
saying, "I seem already to see her eyes. A voice was guiding us,
which was singing on the other side, and we, ever attentive to
it, came forth there where was the ascent. "Venite, benedicti
patris mei,"[1] sounded within a light that was there such that
it overcame me, and I could not look on it. "The sun departs," it
added, "and the evening comes; tarry not, but hasten your steps
so long as the west grows not dark."

[1] "Come, ye blessed of my Father."--Matthew, xxv. 34.

The way mounted straight, through the rock, in such direction[1]
that I cut off in front of me the rays of the sun which was
already low. And of few stairs had we made essay ere, by the
vanishing of the shadow, both I and my Sages perceived behind us
the setting of the sun. And before the horizon in all its immense
regions had become of one aspect, and night had all her
dispensations, each of us made of a stair his bed; for the nature
of the mountain took from us the power more than the delight of

[1] Toward the east.

As goats, who have been swift and wayward on the peaks ere they
are fed, become tranquil as they ruminate, silent in the shade
while the sun is hot, guarded by the herdsman, who on his staff
is leaning and, leaning, watches them; and as the shepherd, who
lodges out of doors, passes the night beside his quiet flock,
watching that the wild beast may not scatter it: such were we all
three then, I like a goat, and they hike shepherds, hemmed in on
this side and on that by the high rock. Little of the outside
could there appear, but through that little I saw the stars both
brighter and larger than their wont. Thus ruminating, and thus
gazing upon them, sleep overcame me, sleep which oft before a
deed be done knows news thereof.

At the hour, I think, when from the east on the mountain first
beamed Cytherea, who with fire of love seems always burning, I
seemed in dream to see a lady, young and beautiful, going through
a meadow gathering flowers, and singing she was saying, "Let him
know, whoso asks my name, that I am Leah, and I go moving my
fair hands around to make myself a garland. To please me at the
glass here I adorn me, but my sister Rachel never withdraws from
her mirror, and sits all day. She is as fain to look with her
fair eyes as I to adorn me with my hands. Her seeing, and me
doing, satisfies."[1]

[1] Leah and Rachel are the types of the active and the
contemplative life.

And now before the splendors which precede the dawn, and rise the
more grateful unto pilgrims as in returning they lodge less
remote,[1] the shadows fled away on every side, and my sleep with
them; whereupon I rose, seeing my great Masters already risen.
That pleasant apple which through so many branches the care of
mortals goes seeking, to-day shall put in peace thy hungerings."
Virgil used words such as these toward me, and never were there
gifts which could be equal in pleasure to these. Such wish upon
wish came to me to be above, that at every step thereafter I felt
the feathers growing for my flight.

[1] As they come nearer home.

When beneath us all the stairway had been run, and we were on the
topmost step, Virgil fixed his eyes on me, and said, "The
temporal fire and the eternal thou hast seen, son, and art come
to a place where of myself no further onward I discern. I have
brought thee here with understanding and with art; thine own
pleasure now take thou for guide: forth art thou from the steep
ways, forth art thou from the narrow. See there the sun, which on
thy front doth shine; see the young grass, the flowers, the
shrubs, which here the earth of itself alone produces. Until
rejoicing come the beautiful eyes which weeping made me come to
thee, thou canst sit down and thou canst go among them. Expect no
more or word or sign from me. Free, upright, and sane is thine
own free will, and it would be wrong not to act according to its
pleasure; wherefore thee over thyself I crown and mitre."

CANTO XXVIII. The Earthly Paradise.--The Forest.--A Lady
gathering flowers on the bank of a little stream.--Discourse with
her concerning the nature of the place.

Fain now to search within and round about the divine forest dense
and living, which tempered the new day to my eyes, without longer
waiting I left the bank, taking the level ground very slowly,
over the soil that everywhere breathes fragrance. A sweet breeze
that had no variation in itself struck me on the brow, not with
heavier blow than a soft wind; at which the branches, readily
trembling, all of them were bending to the quarter where the holy
mountain casts its first shadow; yet not so far parted from their
straightness, that the little birds among the tops would leave
the practice of their every art; but with full joy singing they
received the early breezes among the leaves, which kept a burden
to their rhymes, such as gathers from bough to bough through the
pine forest upon the shore of Chiassi, when Aeolus lets forth

[1] The south-east wind.

Now had my show steps carried me within the ancient wood so far
that I could not see back to where I had entered it: and lo, a
stream took from me further progress, which toward the left with
its little waves was bending the grass that sprang upon its bank.
All the waters, that are purest on the earth, would seem to have
some mixture in them, compared with that which hides nothing,
although it moves along dusky under the perpetual shadow, which
never lets the sun or moon shine there.

With feet I stayed, and with my eyes I passed to the other side
of the streamlet, to gaze at the great variety of the fresh may;
and there appeared to me, even as a thing appears suddenly which
turns aside through wonder every other thought, a solitary lady,
who was going along, singing, and culling flower from flower,
wherewith all her path was painted. "Ah, fair Lady,[1] who
warmest thyself in the rays of love, if I may trust to looks
which are wont to be witnesses of the heart, may the will come to
thee," said I to her, "to draw forward toward this stream, so far
that I can understand what thou art singing. Thou makest me
remember where and what was Proserpine, at the time when her
mother lost her, and she the spring."

[1] This lady is the type of the life of virtuous activity. Her
name, as appears later, is Matilda. Why this name was chosen for
her, and whether she stands for any earthly personage, has been
the subject of vast and still open debate.

As a lady who is dancing turns with feet close to the ground and
to each other, and hardly sets foot before foot, she turned
herself on the red and on the yellow flowerets toward me, not
otherwise than a virgin who lowers her modest eyes, and made my
prayers content, approaching so that the sweet sound came to me
with its meaning. Soon as she was there where the grasses are now
bathed by the waves of the fair stream, she bestowed on me the
gift of lifting her eyes. I do not believe that so great a light
shone beneath the lids of Venus, transfixed by her son, beyond
all his custom. She was smiling upon the opposite right bank,
gathering with her hands more colors which that high land brings
forth without seed. The stream made us three paces apart; but the
Hellespont where Xerxes passed it--a curb still on all human
pride--endured not more hatred from Leander for swelling between
Sestos and Abydos, than that from me because it opened not then.
"Ye are new come," she began, "and, perchance, why I smile mu
this place chosen for human nature as its nest, some doubt holds
you marvelling; but the psalm 'Delectasti'[1] affords light which
may uncloud your understanding.And thou who art in front, and
didst pray to me, say, if else thou wouldst hear, for I came
ready for every question of thine, so far as may suffice." "The
water," said I, "and the sound of the forest, impugn within me
recent faith in something that I heard contrary to this." Whereon
she, "I will tell, how from its own cause proceeds that which
makes thee wonder; and I will clear away the mist which strikes

[1] Psalm xcii. 4. "Delectasti me, Domine, in factura tua, et in
operibus mannuum tuarum exultabo." "For thou, Lord, hast made me
glad through thy work; I will triumph in the works of thy hands."

"The supreme Good, which itself alone is pleasing to itself, made
man good, and for good, and gave this place for earnest to him of
eternal peace. Through his own default he dwelt here little
while; through his own default to tears and to toil he changed
honest laughter and sweet play. In order that the disturbance,
which the exhalations of the water and of the earth (which follow
so far as they can the heat) produce below, might not make any
war on man, this mountain rose so high toward heaven, and is free
from them from the point where it is locked in.[1] Now because
the whole air revolves in circuit with the primal revolution,[2]
if its circle be not broken by some projection, upon this height,
which is wholly disengaged in the living air, this motion
strikes, and makes the wood, since it is dense, resound; and the
plant being struck hath such power that with its virtue it
impregnates the breeze, and this then in its whirling scatters it
around: and the rest of the earth, according as it is fit in
itself, or through its sky, conceives and brings forth divers
trees of divers virtues. It should not seem a marvel then on
earth, this being heard, when some plant, without manifest seed,
there takes hold. And thou must know that the holy plain where
thou art is full of every seed, and has fruit in it which yonder
is not gathered. The water which thou seest rises not from a vein
restored by vapor which the frost condenses, like a stream that
gains and loses breath, but it issues from a fountain constant
and sure, which by the will of God regains as much as, open on
two sides, it pours forth. On this side it descends with virtue
that takes from one the memory of sin; on the other it restores
that of every good deed. Here Lethe, so on the other side Eunoe
it is called; and it works not if first it be not tasted on this
side and on that. To all other savors this is superior.

[1] Above the level of the gate through which Purgatory is
entered, as Statius has already explained (Canto XXI), the vapors
of earth do not rise.

[2] With the movement given to it by the motions of the heavens.

"And, though thy thirst may be fully sated even if I disclose no
more to thee, I will yet give thee a corollary for grace; nor do
I think my speech may be less dear to thee, if beyond promise
it enlarge itself with thee. Those who in ancient time told in
poesy of the Age of Gold, and of its happy state, perchance upon
Parnassus dreamed of this place: here was the root of mankind
innocent; here is always spring, and every fruit; this is the
nectar of which each tells."

I turned me back then wholly to my Poets, and saw that with a
smile they had heard the last sentence; then to the beautiful
Lady I turned my face.

CANTO XXIX. The Earthly Paradise.--Mystic Procession or Triumph
of the Church.

Singing like a lady enamored, she, at the ending of her words,
continued: "Beati, quorum tecta sunt peccata;"[1] and, like
nymphs who were wont to go solitary through the sylvan shades,
this one desiring to see and that to avoid the sun, she moved on
then counter to the stream, going up along the bank, and I at
even pace with her, following her little step with little. Of her
steps and mine were not a hundred, when the banks both like gave
a turn, in such wise that toward the east I faced again. Nor thus
had our way been long, when the lady wholly turned round to me,
saying, "My brother, look and listen." And lo! a sudden lustre
ran from all quarters through the great forest, so that it put me
in suspect of lightning. But because the lightning ceases even as
it comes, and this, hasting, became more and more resplendent, in
my thought I said, "What thing is this?" And a sweet melody ran
through the luminous air; whereupon a righteous zeal caused me to
blame the temerity of Eve, that, there, where time earth and the
heavens were obedient, the woman only, and but just now formed,
did not endure to stay under any veil; under which if she had
devoutly stayed I should have tasted those ineffable delights
before, and for a longer time. While I was going on and such
first fruits of the eternal pleasure, all enrapt, and still
desirous of more joys, in front of us the air under the green
branches became like a blazing fire, and the sweet sound was now
heard as a song.

[1] "Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven."--Psalm
xxxii. 1.

O Virgins sacrosanct, if ever hunger, cold, or vigils I have
endured for you, time occasion spurs me that I claim reward
therefor. Now it behoves that Helicon pour forth for me, and
Urania aid me with her choir to put in verse things difficult to

A little further on, the long tract of space which was still
between us and them presented falsely what seemed seven trees of
gold. But when I had come so near to them that the common object,
which deceives the sense,[1] lost not through distance any of its
attributes, the power which supplies discourse to reason
distinguished them as candlesticks,[2] and in the voices of the
song, "Hosanna." From above the fair array was flaming, brighter
by far than the Moon in the serene of midnight, in the middle of
her month. I turned me round full of wonder to the good Virgil,
and he replied to me with a look charged not less with amazement.
Then I turned back my face to the high things that were moving
toward us so slowly they would have been outstripped by new-made
brides. The lady cried to me, "Why burnest thou only thus with
affection for the living lights, and lookest not at that which
comes behind them?" Then saw I folk coming behind, as if after
their leaders, clothed in white, and such purity there never was
on earth. The water was resplendent on the left flank, and
reflected to me my left side, if I looked in it, even as a
mirror. When on my bank I had such position that only the stream
separated me, in order to see better, I gave halt to my steps.
And I saw the flamelets go forward heaving the air behind them
painted, and they had the semblance of streaming pennons, so that
there above it remained divided by seven stripes all in those
colors whereof the sun makes his bow, and Delia her girdle.[3]
These banners to the rear were longer than my sight, and
according to my judgment the outermost were ten paces apart.
Under so fair a sky as I describe, twenty-four elders,[4] two by
two, were coming crowned with flower-de-luce. All were singing,
"Blessed thou among the daughters of Adam, and blessed forever be
thy beauties."

[1] An object which has properties common to many things, so that
at a distance the sight cannot distinguish its specific nature.

[2] The imagery of the Triumph of the Church here described is
largely taken from this Apocalypse. "And I turned to see the
voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden
candlesticks."--Revelation, i. 12. "And there were seven lamps
of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of
God."--Id., iv. 5. "And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon
him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of
counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the
Lord."--Isiah xi. 2.

[3] Delia, the moon, and her girdle the halo.

[4] "And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and
upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in
white raiment."--Revelation, iv. 4. These four and twenty elders
in white raiment, and crowned with white lilies, white being the
color of faith, symbolize the books of the Old Testament.

After the flowers, and the other fresh herbage opposite to me on
the other bank, were free from those folk elect, even as light
followeth light in heaven, came behind them four living
creatures, crowned each one with green leaves. Every one was
feathered with six wings, the feathers full of eyes; and the eyes
of Argus were they living would be such. To describe their forms
I scatter rhymes no more, Reader; for other spending constrains
me so that in this I cannot be liberal. But read Ezekiel, who
depicts them as he saw them coming from the cold region with
wind, with cloud, and with fire; and such as thou wilt find them
in his pages such were they here, save that as to the wings John
is with me, and differs from him.[1]

[1] These four living creatures symbolize the Gospels. Ezekiel
(i.6) describes the creatures with four wings, but in the
Revelation (iv. 8) John assigns to each of them six wings: "and
they were full of eyes within." They are crowned with green, as
the color of hope.

The space between these four contained a triumphal chariot upon
two wheels, which by the neck of a griffon[1] came drawn along.
And he stretched up one and the other of his wings between the
midmost stripe, and the three and three, so that he did harm to
no one of them by cleaving it. So far they rose that they were
not seen. His members were of gold so far as he was bird, and the
rest were white mixed with red. Not Africanus, or indeed
Augustus, gladdened Rome with so beautiful a chariot; but even
that of the Sun would be poor to it,--that of the Sun which,
going astray,[2] was consumed at the prayer of the devout Earth,
when Jove in his secrecy was just. Three ladies,[3] at the right
wheel, came dancing in a circle; one so ruddy that hardly would
she have been noted in the fire; the next was as if her flesh and
bones had been made of emerald; the third seemed snow just
fallen. And now they seemed led by the white, now by the red, and
from her song the others took their step both slow and swift. On
the left four[4] robed in purple made festival, following the
measure of one of them who had three eyes in her head.

[1] The griffon, half eagle and half lion, represents Christ in
his double nature, divine and human. The car which he draws is
the Church.

[2] When driven by Phaethon.

[3] The theological virtues, Faith, Hope, and Charity, of the
colors respectively appropriate to them.

[4] The four cardinal Virtues, in purple, the imperial color,
typifying their rule over human conduct. Prudence has three eyes,
as looking at the past, the present, and the future.

Next after all the group described, I saw two old men, unlike in
dress, but like in action, both dignified and staid. The one
showed himself one of the familiars of that supreme Hippocrates
whom Nature made for the creatures that she holds most dear[1]
the other showed the contrary care,[2] with a shining and sharp
sword, such that it caused me fear on the hither side of the
stream. Then I saw four humble in appearance, and behind all an
old man solitary coming asleep with lively countenance.[3] And
these seven were robed like the first band; but they made not a
thicket of lilies round their heads, rather of roses, and of
other red flowers. The sight at little distance would have sworn
that all were aflame above their brows. And when the chariot was
opposite to me thunder was heard, and those worthy people seemed
to have further progress interdicted, stopping there with the
first ensigns.

[1] The book of Acts, represented under rho type of its author,
St. Luke, "the beloved physician." Colossians, iv. 14. Man is the
creature whom Nature holds dearest.

[2] The Pauline Epistles, typified by their writer, whose sword
is the symbol of war and martyrdom, a contrary care to the
healing of men.

[3] The four humble in appearance are personifications of the
writers of the minor Epistles, followed by St. John, as the
writer of the Revelation, asleep, and yet with lively
countenance, because he was "in the Spirit" when he beheld his

CANTO XXX. The Earthly Paradise.--Beatrice appears.--Departure of
Virgil.--Reproof of Dante by Beatrice.

When the septentrion of the first heaven[1] which never setting
knew, nor rising, nor veil of other cloud than sin,--and which
was making every one there acquainted with his duty, as the
lower[2] makes whoever turns the helm to come to port,--stopped
still, the truthful people[3] who had come first between the
griffon and it,[4] turned to the chariot as to their peace, and
one of them, as if sent from heaven, singing, cried thrice,
"Veni, sponsa, de Libano,"[5] and all the others after.

[1] The seven candlesticks, symbols of the sevenfold spirit of
the Lord.

[2] The lower septentrion, or the seven stars of the Great Bear.

[3] The personifications of the truthful books of the Old

[4] The septentrion of candlesticks.

[5] "Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse."--The Song of
Solomon, iv. 8.

As time blessed at the last trump will arise swiftly, each from
his tomb, singing hallelujah with recovered voice,[1] so upon the
divine chariot, ad vocem tanti senis,[2] rose up a hundred
ministers and messengers of life eternal. All were saying,
"Benedictus, qui venis,"[3] and, scattering flowers above and
around, "Manibus o date lilia plenis."[4]

[1] "And after these things I heard a great voice of much people
in Heaven, saying, Alleluia-" -- Revelation, xix. 1.

[2] "At the voice of so great an elder;" these words are in Latin
apparently only for the sake of the rhyme.

[3] "Blessed thou that comest."

[4] "Oh, give lilies with full hands;" words from the Aeneid,
vi. 884, sung by the angels.

I have seen ere now at the beginning of the day the eastern
region all rosy, while the rest of heaven was beautiful with fair
clear sky; and the face of the sun rise shaded, so that through
the tempering of vapors the eye sustained it a long while. Thus
within a cloud of flowers, which from the angelic hands was
ascending, and falling down again within and without, a lady,
with olive wreath above a white veil, appeared to me, robed with
the color of living flame beneath a green mantle.[1] And my
spirit that now for so long a time had not been broken down,
trembling with amazement at her presence, without having more
knowledge by the eyes, through occult virtue that proceeded from
her, felt the great potency of ancient love.

[1] The olive is the symbol of wisdom and of peace the three
colors are those of Faith, Charity, and Hope.

Soon as upon my sight the lofty virtue smote, which already had
transfixed me ere I was out of boyhood, I turned me to the left
with the confidence with which the little child runs to his
mother when he is frightened, or when he is troubled, to say to
Virgil, "Less than a drachm of blood remains in me that doth not
tremble; I recognize the signals of the ancient flame,"[1]--but
Virgil had left us deprived of himself; Virgil, sweetest Father,
Virgil to whom I for my salvation gave me. Nor did all which the
ancient mother lost[2] avail unto my cheeks, cleansed with
dew,[3] that they should not turn dark again with tears.

[1] "Agnosco veteris vestigia flammae."--Aeneid, iv. 23.

[2] All the beauty of Paradise which Eve lost.

[3] See Canto I.

"Dante, though Virgil be gone away, weep not yet, weep not yet,
for it behoves thee to weep by another sword."

Like an admiral who, on poop or on prow, comes to see the people
that are serving on the other ships, and encourages them to do
well, upon the left border of the chariot,--when I turned me at
the sound of my own name, which of necessity is registered
here,--I saw the Lady, who had first appeared to me veiled
beneath the angelic festival, directing her eyes toward me across
the stream although the veil, which descended from her head,
circled by the leaf of Minerva, did not allow her to appear
distinctly. Royally, still haughty in her mien, she went on, as
one who speaks, and keeps back his warmest speech: "Look at me
well: I am, indeed, I am, indeed, Beatrice. How hast thou deigned
to approach the mountain? Didst thou know that man is happy
here?" My eyes fell down into the clear fount; but seeing myself
in it I drew them to the grass, such great shame burdened my
brow. As to the son the mother seems proud, so she seemed to me;
for somewhat bitter tasteth the savor of stern pity. She was
silent, and the angels sang of a sudden, "In te, Domine,
speravi;" but beyond "pedes meos"[1] they did not pass. Even as
the snow, among the living rafters upon the back of Italy, is
congealed, blown and packed by Sclavonian winds, then melting
trickles through itself, if only the land that loses shadow
breathe,[2] so that it seems a fire that melts the candle: so was
I without tears and sighs before the song of those who time their
notes after the notes of the eternal circles. But when I heard in
their sweet accords their compassion for me, more than if they
had said, "Lady, why dost thou so confound him?" the ice that was
bound tight around my heart became breath and water, and with
anguish poured from my breast through my mouth and eyes.

[1] "In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed:
deliver me in thy righteousness. Bow down thine ear to me;
deliver me speedily: be thou my strong rock, for an house of
defence to save me. For thou art my rock and my fortress;
therefore for thy name's sake lead me, and guide me. Pull me out
of the net that they have laid privily for me: for thou art my
strength. Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed
me, O Lord God of truth. I have hated them that regard lying
vanities: but I trust in the Lord. I will be glad and rejoice in
thy mercy: for thou hast considered my trouble; thou hast known
my soul in adversities. And hast not shut me up into the hand of
the enemy: thou hast set my feet in a large room."--Psalm xxxi.

[2] If the wind blow from Africa.

She, still standing motionless on the aforesaid side of the
chariot, then turned her words to those pious[1] beings thus: "Ye
watch in the eternal day, so that nor night nor slumber robs from
you one step the world may make along its ways; wherefore my
reply is with greater care, that he who is weeping yonder may
understand me, so that fault and grief may be of one measure. Not
only through the working of the great wheels,[2] which direct
every seed to some end according as the stars are its companions,
but through largess of divine graces, which have for their rain
vapors so lofty that our sight goes not near thereto,--this man
was such in his new life, virtually, that every right habit would
have made admirable proof in him. But so much the more malign
and more savage becomes the land ill-sown and untilled, as it
has more of good terrestrial vigor. Some time did I sustain him
with my face; showing my youthful eyes to him I led him with me
turned in right direction. So soon as I was upon the threshold of
my second age, and had changed life, this one took himself from
me, and gave himself to others. When from flesh to spirit I had
ascended, and beauty and virtue were increased in me, I was less
dear and less pleasing to him; and he turned his steps along a
way not true, following false images of good, which pay no
promise in full. Nor did it avail me to obtain[3] inspirations
with which, both in dream and otherwise, I called him back; so
little did he heed them. So low he fell that all means for his
salvation were already short, save showing him the lost people.
For this I visited the gate of the dead, and to him, who has
conducted him up hither, my prayers were borne with weeping. The
high decree of God would be broken, if Lethe should be passed,
and such viands should be tasted without any scot of repentance
which may pour forth tears."

[1] Both devout and piteous.

[2] The circling heavens.

[3] Through the grace of God.

CANTO XXXI. The Earthly Paradise.--Reproachful discourse of
Beatrice, amid confession of Dante.--Passage of Lethe.--Appeal of
the Virtues to Beatrice.--Her Unveiling.

"O thou who art on the further side of the sacred river," turning
her speech with the point to me, which only by the edge had
seemed to me keen, she began anew, going on without delay, "say,
say, if this is true: to so great an accusation it behoves that
thine own confession be conjoined." My power was so confused,
that the voice moved, and became extinct before it could be
released by its organs. A little she bore it; then she said,
"What thinkest thou? Reply to me; for the sad memories in thee
are not yet injured by the water."[1] Confusion and fear together
mingled forced such a "Yes" from out my mouth, that the eyes were
needed for the understanding of it.

[1] Are still vivid, not yet obliterated by the water of Lethe.

As a cross-bow breaks its cord and its bow when it shoots with
too great tension, and with less force the shaft hits the mark,
so did I burst under that heavy load, pouring forth tears and
sighs, and the voice slackened along its passage. Whereupon she
to me, "Within those desires of mine[1] that were leading thee to
love the Good beyond which there is nothing whereto man may
aspire, what trenches running traverse, or what chains didst thou
find, for which thou wert obliged thus to abandon the hope of
passing onward? And what enticements, or what advantages on the
brow of the others were displayed,[2] for which thou wert obliged
to court them?" After the drawing of a bitter sigh, hardly had I
the voice that answered, and the lips with difficulty gave it
form. Weeping, I said, "The present things with their false
pleasure turned my steps, soon as your face was hidden." And she:
"Hadst thou been silent, or hadst thou denied that which thou
dost confess, thy fault would be not less noted, by such a Judge
is it known. But when the accusation of the sin, bursts from
one's own cheek, in our court the wheel turns itself back against
the edge. But yet, that thou mayst now bear shame for thy error,
and that another time, hearing the Sirens, thou mayst be
stronger, hay aside the seed of weeping, and listen; so shalt
thou hear how in opposite direction my buried flesh ought to have
moved thee. Never did nature or art present to thee pleasure such
as the fair limbs wherein I was enclosed; and they are scattered
in earth. And if the supreme pleasure thus failed thee through
my death, what mortal thing ought then to have drawn thee into
its desire? Forsooth thou oughtest, at the first arrow of things
deceitful, to have risen up, following me who was no longer such.
Nor should thy wings have weighed thee downward to await more
blows, either girl or other vanity of so brief a use. The young
little bird awaits two or three; but before the eyes of the
full-fledged, the net is spread in vain, the arrow shot."

[1] Inspired by me.

[2] The false pleasures of the world.

As children, ashamed, dumb, with eyes upon the ground, stand
listening and conscience-stricken and repentant, so was I
standing. And she said, "Since through hearing thou art grieved,
lift up thy beard, and thou shalt receive more grief in seeing."
With less resistance is a sturdy oak uprooted by a native wind,
or by one from the land of Iarbas,[1] than I raised up my chin at
her command; and when by the beard she asked for my eyes, truly I
recognized the venom of the argument.[2] And as my face stretched
upward, my sight perceived that those primal creatures were
resting from their strewing, and my eyes, still little assured,
saw Beatrice turned toward the animal that is only one person in
two natures.[3] Beneath her veil and beyond the stream she seemed
to me more to surpass her ancient self, than she surpassed the
others here when she was here. So pricked me there the nettle of
repentance, that of all other things the one which most turned me
aside unto its love became most hostile to me.[4]

[1] From Numidia, of which Iarbas was king.

[2] Because indicating the lack of that wisdom which should
pertain to manhood.

[3] The griffon.

[4] That object which had most seduced me from the love of
Beatrice was now the most hateful to me.

Such contrition stung my heart that I fell overcome; and what I
then became she knows who afforded me the cause.

Then, when my heart restored my outward faculties, I saw above me
the lady whom I had found alone,[1] and she was saying, "Hold me,
hold me." She had drawn me into the stream up to the throat, and
dragging me behind was moving upon the water light as a shuttle.
When I was near the blessed shore, "Asperges me"[2] I heard so
sweetly that I cannot remember it, far less can write it. The
beautiful lady opened her arms, clasped my head, and plunged me
in where it behoved that I should swallow the water.[3] Then she
took me, and, thus bathed, brought me within the dance of the
four beautiful ones,[4] and each of them covered me with her arm.
"Here we are nymphs, and in heaven we are stars: ere Beatrice had
descended to the world we were ordained unto her for her
handmaids. We will head thee to her eyes; but in the joyous light
which is within them, the three yonder who deeper gaze shall make
keen thine own."[5] Thus singing, they began; and then to the
breast of the griffon they led me with them, where Beatrice was
standing turned toward us. They said, "See that thou sparest not
thy sight: we have placed thee before the emeralds whence Love of
old drew his arrows upon thee." A thousand desires hotter than
flame bound my eyes to the relucent eyes which only upon the
griffon were standing fixed. As the sun in a mirror, not
otherwise the twofold animal was gleaming therewithin, now with
one, now with another mode.[6] Think, Reader, if I marvelled when
I saw the thing stand quiet in itself, while in its image it was
transmuting itself.

[1] Matilda.

[2] The first words of the seventh verse of the fifty-first
Psalm: "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and
I shall be whiter than snow."

[3] The drinking of the waters of Lethe which obliterate the
memory of sin.

[4] The four Cardinal Virtues.

[5] The Cardinal Virtues lead up to Theology, or the knowledge of
Divine things, but the Evangelic Virtues are needed to penetrate
within them.

[6] Mode of being,--the divine and the human.

While, full of amazement and glad, my soul was tasting that food
which, sating of itself, causes hunger for itself, the other
three, showing themselves in their bearing of loftier order,
came forward dancing to their angelic melody. "Turn, Beatrice,
turn thy holy eyes," was their song, "upon thy faithful one, who
to see thee has taken so many steps. For grace do us the grace
that thou unveil to hum thy mouth, so that he may discern the
second beauty which thou concealest."[1]

[1] "The eyes of Wisdom are her demonstrations by which one sees
the truth most surely; and her smile is her persuasions in which
the interior light of Wisdom is displayed without any veil; and
in these two is felt that loftiest pleasure of Beatitude, which
is the chief good in Paradise."--Convito, iii 15.

Oh splendor of living light eternal! Who hath become so pallid
under the shadow of Parnassus, or hath so drunk at its cistern,
that he would not seem to have his mind encumbered, trying to
represent thee as thou didst appear there where in harmony the
heaven overshadows thee when in the open air thou didst thyself

CANTO XXXII. The Earthly Paradise.--Return of the Triumphal
procession.--The Chariot bound to the Mystic Tree.--Sleep of
Dante.--His waking to find the Triumph departed.--Transformation
of the Chariot.--The Harlot and the Giant.

So fixed and intent were mine eyes to relieve their ten years'
thirst, that my other senses were all extinct: and they
themselves, on one side and the other, had a wall of disregard,
so did the holy smile draw them to itself with the old net; when
perforce my sight was turned toward my left by those
goddesses,[1] because I heard from them a "Too fixedly."[2] And
the condition which exists for seeing in eyes but just now
smitten by the sun caused me to be some time without sight. But
when the sight reshaped itself to the little (I say to the
little, in respect to the great object of the sense wherefrom by
force I had removed myself), I saw that the glorious army had
wheeled upon its right flank, and was returning with the sun and
with the seven flames in its face.

[1] The three heavenly Virtues.

[2] "Thou lookest too fixedly; thou hast yet other duties than

As under its shields to save itself a troop turns and wheels with
its banner, before it all can change about, that soldiery of the
celestial realm which was in advance had wholly gone past us
before its front beam[1] had bent the chariot round. Then to the
wheels the ladies returned, and the griffon moved his blessed
burden, in such wise however that no feather of him shook. The
beautiful lady who had drawn me at the ford, and Statius and I
were following the wheel which made its orbit with the smaller
arc. So walking through the lofty wood, empty through fault of
her who trusted to the serpent, an angelic song set the time to
our steps. Perhaps an arrow loosed from the bow had in three
flights reached such a distance as we had advanced, when Beatrice
descended. I heard "Adam!" murmured by all:[2] then they circled
a plant despoiled of flowers and of other leafage on every
bough.[3] Its branches, which so much the wider spread the higher
up they are,[4] would be wondered at for height by the Indians in
their woods.

[1] Its pole.

[2] In reproach of him who had in disobedience tasted of the
fruit of this tree.

[3] After the sin of Adam the plant was despoiled of virtue till
the coming of Christ.

[4] The branches of the tree of knowledge spread widest as they
are nearest to the Divine Source of truth.

"Blessed art thou, Griffon, that thou dost not break off with thy
beak of this wood sweet to the taste, since the belly is ill
racked thereby."[1] Thus around the sturdy tree the others cried;
and the animal of two natures: "So is preserved the seed of all
righteousness."[2] And turning to the pole that he had drawn, he
dragged it to the foot of the widowed trunk, and that which was
of it[3] he left bound to it.

[1] "For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so
by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous."--Romans,
v. 19.

[2] "That as sin had reigned unto deaths, even so might grace
reign through righteousness unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ,
our Lord."--Id., v. 21.

[3] This pole, the mystic type of the cross of Christ, supposed
to have been made of the wood of this tree.

As our plants, when the great light falls downward mingled with
that which shines behind the celestial Carp,[1] become swollen,
and then renew themselves, each in its own color, ere the sun
yoke his coursers under another star, so disclosing a color less
than of roses and more than of violets, the plant renewed itself,
which first had its boughs so bare.[2] I did not understand the
hymn, and it is not sung here,[3] which that folk then sang, nor
did I hear the melody to the end.

[1] In this spring, when the Sun is in Aries, the sign which
follows that of the Pisces here termed the Carp.

[2] This tree, after the death of Christ, still remains this
symbol of the knowledge of good and of evil, as well as this sign
of obedience to the Divine Will. Its renewal with flowers and
foliage seems to he the image at once of the revelation of Divine
truth through Christ, and of his obedience unto death.

[3] On earth.

If I could portray how the pitiless eyes[1] sank to slumber,
while hearing of Syrinx, the eyes to which too much watching cost
so dear, hike a painter who paints from a model I would depict
how I fell asleep; but whoso would, let him be one who can
picture slumber well.[2] Therefore I pass on to when I awoke, and
say that a splendor rent for me the veil of sleep, and a call,
"Arise, what doest thou?"

[1] The hundred eyes of Argus, who, when watching Io, fell asleep
while listening to the tale of the loves of Pan and Syrinx, and
was then slain by Mercury.

[2] The sleep of Dante may signify the impotency of human reason
to explain the mysteries of redemption.

As, to see some of the flowerets of the apple-tree[1] which makes
the Angels greedy of its fruit,[2] and makes perpetual bridal
feasts in Heaven,[3] Peter and John and James were led,[4] and
being overcome, came to themselves at the word by which greater
slumbers[5] were broken, and saw their band diminished alike by
Moses and Elias, and the raiment of their Master changed, so I
came to myself, and saw that compassionate one standing above me,
who first had been conductress of my steps along the stream; and
all in doubt I said, "Where is Beatrice?" And she, "Behold her
under the new leafage sitting upon its root. Behold the company
that surrounds her; the rest are going on high behind the
griffon, with sweeter song and more profound."[6] And if her
speech was more diffuse I know not, because already in my eyes
was she who from attending to aught else had closed me in. Alone
she was sitting upon the bare ground, like a guard left there of
the chariot which I had seen bound by the biform animal. In a
circle the seven Nymphs were making of themselves an enclosure
for her, with those lights in their hands that are secure from
Aquilo and from Auster.[7]

[1] "As the apple-tree among the trees of the wood, so is my
beloved among the suns."--The Song of Solomon, ii. 3.

[2] The full glory of Christ in Heaven.

[3] The marriage supper of the Lamb--Revelation, xix. 9.

[4] The transfiguration--Matthew, xvii. 1-8.

[5] Those of the dead called back to life by Jesus.

[6] Christ having ascended, Beatrice, this type of Theology, is
left by the chariot, the type of the Church on earth.

[7] From the north wind or the south; that is, from any earthly

"Here shalt thou be short time a forester; and thou shalt be with
me without end a citizen of that Rome whereof Christ is a Roman.
Therefore for profit of the world that lives ill, keep now thine
eyes upon the chariot; amid what thou seest, having returned to
earth, mind that thou write." Thus Beatrice; and I, who at the
feet of her commands was all devout, gave my mind and my eyes
where she willed.

Never with so swift a motion did fire descend from a dense cloud,
when it is raining from that region which stretches most remote,
as I saw the bird of Jove stoop downward through the tree,
breaking the bark, as well as the flowers and new leaves; and he
struck the chariot with all his force, whereat it reeled, like a
ship in a tempest beaten by the waves now to starboard, now to
larboard.[1] Then I saw leap into the body of the triumphal
vehicle a she fox,[2] which seemed fasting from all good food;
but rebuking her for her foul sins my Lady turned her to such
flight as her fleshless bones allowed. Then, from there whence he
had first come, I saw the eagle descend down into the ark of the
chariot and leave it feathered from himself.[3] And a voice such
as issues from a heart that is afflicted issued from Heaven, and
thus spake, "O little bark of mine, how ill art thou laden!" Then
it seemed to me that the earth opened between the two wheels, and
I saw a dragon issue from it, which through the chariot upward
fixed his tail: and, like a wasp that retracts its sting, drawing
to himself his malign tail, drew out part of the bottom, and went
wandering away.[4] That which remained covered itself again, as
lively soil with grass, with the plumage, offered perhaps with
sane and benign intention; and both one and the other wheel and
the pole were again covered with it in such time that a sigh
holds the mouth open longer.[5] Thus transformed, the holy
structure put forth heads upon its parts, three upon the pole,
and one on each corner. The first were horned like oxen, but the
four had a single horn upon the forehead.[6] A like prodigy was
never seen before. Secure, as fortress on a high mountain, there
appeared to me a loose harlot sitting upon it, with eyes roving
around. And, as if in order that she should not be taken from
him, I saw standing at her side a giant, and some while they
kissed each other. But because she turned her lustful and
wandering eye on me that fierce paramour scourged her from head
to foot. Then full of jealousy, and cruel with anger, he loosed
the monster, and drew it through the wood so far that only of
that he made a shield from me for the harlot and for the strange

[1] The descent and the attack of the eagle symbolize the
rejection of Christianity and the persecution of the Church by
the emperors.

[2] The fox denotes the early heresies.

[3] The feathering of the car is the type of the donation of
Constantine,--the temporal endowment of the Church.

[4] The dragging off by the dragon of a part of the car probably
figures the schism of the Greek Church in the 9th century.

[5] This new feathering signifies the fresh and growing
endowments of the Church.

[6] The seven heads have been interpreted as the seven mortal
sins, which grew up in the transformed church, the result of its
wealth and temporal power.

[7] The harlot and the giant stand respectively for the Pope
(both Boniface VIII. and him successor Clement V.) and the kings
of France, especially Philip the Fair. The turning of the eyes of
the harlot upon Dante seems to signify the dealings of Boniface
with the Italians, which awakened the jealousy of Philip; and the
dragging of the car, transformed into a monster, through the
wood, so far as to hide it from the poet, may be taken as
typifying the removal of the seat of the Papacy from Rome to
Avignon, in 1305.

CANTO XXXIII. The Earthly Paradise.--Prophecy of Beatrice
concerning one who shall restore the Empire.--Her discourse with
Dante.--The river Eunoe.--Dante drinks of it, and is fit to
ascend to Heaven.

"Deus, venerunt gentes,"[1] the ladies began, alternating, now
three now four, a sweet psalmody, and weeping. And Beatrice,
sighing and compassionate, was listening to them so moved that
scarce more changed was Mary at the cross. But when the other
virgins gave place to her to speak, risen upright upon her feet,
she answered, colored like fire: "Modicum, et non videbitis me,
et iterum, my beloved Sisters, Modicum, et vos videbitis me."[2]
Then she set all the seven in front of her; and behind her, by a
sign only, she placed me, and the Lady, and the Sage who had
stayed.[3] So she moved on; and I do not think her tenth step had
been set upon the ground, when with her eyes my eyes she smote,
and with tranquil aspect said to me, "Come more quickly, so that
if I speak with thee, to listen to me thou mayst be well placed."
So soon as I was with her as I should be, she said to me,
"Brother, why dost thou not venture to ask of me, now thou art
coming with me?"

[1] Thus first words of the seventy-ninth Psalm: "O God, the
heathen are come into thine inheritance; thy holy temple have
they defiled; they have laid Jerusalem on heaps." The whole
Psalm, picturing the actual desolation of the Church, but closing
with confident prayer to the Lord to restore his people, is sung
by the holy ladies.

[2] "A little while and ye shall not see me: and again, A little
while and ye shall see me."--John, xvi. 16. An answer and promise
corresponding to the complaint and petition of the Psalm.

[3] The lady, Matilda, and the sage, Statius.

Even as befalls those who with excess of reverence are speaking
in presence of their superiors, and drag not their voice living
to the teeth,[1] it befell me that without perfect sound I began,
"My Lady, you know my need, and that which is good for it." And
site to me, "From fear and from shame I wish that thou henceforth
divest thyself, so that thou speak no more like a man who dreams.
Know thou, that the vessel which the serpent[2] broke was, and
is not;[3] but let him who is to blame therefor believe that the
vengeance of God fears not sops.[4] Not for all time shall be
without an heir the eagle that left its feathers on the car,
whereby it became a monster, and then a prey.[5] For I see
surely, and therefore I tell it, stars already close at hand,
secure from every obstacle and from every hindrance, to give to
us a time in which a Five hundred, Ten, and Five sent by God[6]
shall slay the thievish woman[7] and that giant who with her is
delinquent. And perchance my narration, dark as Themis and the
Sphinx,[8] less persuades thee, because after their fashion it
clouds the understanding. But soon the facts will be the
Naiades[9] that shall solve this difficult enigma, without harm
of flocks or of harvest. Do thou note; and even as they are borne
from me, do thou so report these words to those alive with that
life which is a running unto death; and have in mind when thou
writest them, not to conceal what thou hast seen the plant, which
now has been twice plundered here. Whoso robs that, or breaks
it,[10] with blasphemy in act offends God, who only for His own
use created it holy. For biting that, the first soul, in pain and
in desire, five thousand years and more, longed for Him who
punished on Himself the bite. Thy wit sleeps, if it deem not that
for a special reason it is so high and so inverted at its top.
And if thy vain thoughts had not been as water of Elsa[11] round
about thy mind, and their pleasantness as Pyramus to the
mulberry,[12] by so many circumstances only thou hadst recognized
morally the justice of God in the interdict upon the tree. But
since I see thee in thy understanding made of stone, and thus
stony, dark, so that the light of my speech dazzles thee, I would
yet that thou bear it hence within thee,--and if not written, at
least depicted,--for the reason that the pilgrim's staff is
carried wreathed with palm."[13] And I, "Even as by a seal wax
which alters not the imprinted figure, is my brain now stamped by
you. But why does your desired word fly so far above my sight,
that the more it strives the more it loses it?" "In order that
thou mayst know," she said, "that school which thou hast
followed, and mayst see how its doctrine can follow my word [14]
and mayst see your path distant so far from the divine, as the
heaven which highest hastens is remote from earth." Whereon I
replied to her, "I do not remember that I ever estranged myself
from you, nor have I conscience of it that may sting me." "And if
thou canst not remember it," smiling she replied, "now bethink
thee how this day thou hast drunk of Lethe. And if from smoke
fire be inferred, such oblivion clearly proves fault in thy will
elsewhere intent.[15] Truly my words shall henceforth be naked so
far as it shall be befitting to uncover them to thy rude sight."

[1] Are unable to speak with distinct words.

[2] The dragon.

[3] "The beast that thou sawest was, and is not."--Revelation,
xvii. 8.

[4] According to a belief, which the old commentators report as
commonly held by the Florentines, if a murderer could contrive
within nine days of the murder to eat a sop of bread dipped in
wine, above the grave of his victim, he would escape from the
vengeance of the family of the murdered man.

[5] The meaning is that an Emperor shall come, who shall restore
the Church from its captivity, and reestablish the Divine order
upon earth, in rise mutually dependent and severally independent
authority of Church and Empire.

[6] This prophecy is too obscure to admit of a sure
interpretation. Five hundred, ten, and five, in Roman numerals,
give the letters D X V; which by transposition form the word Dux,
a leader.

[7] The harlot, who had no right in the car, but had stolen her
place there, or, in plain words, the Popes who by corruption had
secured this papal throne.

[8] Obscure as the oracles of Thiemis or the enigmas of the

[9] According to a misreading of a verse in Ovid's Metam., vii.
759, the Naiades solved the riddles of the oracles, at which
Themis, offended, sent forth a wild beast to ravage the flocks
and fields.

[10] Robs it as Adam did, splinters it as the Emperors did.

[11] A river of Tuscany, whose waters have a petrifying quality.

[12] Darkening thy mind as the blood of Pyramus dyed the

[13] If not clearly inscribed, at least so imprinted on the mind,
that, like the palm on the pilgrim's staff, it may be a sign of
where thou hast been and of what thou hast seen.

[14] How far its doctrine is from my teaching.

[15] The having been obliged to drink of Lethe is the proof that
thou hadst sin to he forgotten, and that thy will had turned thee
to other things than me.

And more coruscant, and with slower steps, the sun was holding
the circle of the meridian, which is set here or there according
to the aspect,[1] when even as he, who goes before a troop as
guide, stops if he find some strange thing on his track, the
seven ladies stopped at the edge of a pale shade, such as beneath
green leaves and black boughs the Alp casts over its cold
streams. In front of them, it seemed to me I saw Euphrates and
Tigris issue from one fountain, and, like friends, part slow from
one another.

[1] Which shifts as seen from one place or another.

"O light, O glory of the human race, what water is this which
here spreads from one source, and from itself withdraws itself?"
To this prayer it was said to me, "Pray Matilda[1] that she tell
it to thee;" and here the beautiful Lady answered, as one does
who frees himself from blame, "This and other things have been
told him by me; and I am sure that the water of Lethe has not
hidden them from him." And Beatrice, "Perhaps a greater care
which oftentimes deprives the memory has darkened the eyes of his
mind. But see Eunoe,[2] which flows forth yonder, lead him to it,
and, as thou art accustomed, revive his extinct power." As a
gentle soul which makes not excuse, but makes its own will of
another's will, soon as by a sign it is outwardly disclosed, even
so, when I was taken by her, the beautiful Lady moved on, and to
Statius said, with manner of a lady, "Come with him."

[1] Here for the first and only time is the beautiful Lady called
by name.

[2] Eunoe, "the memory of good," which its waters restore to the
purified soul. The poetic conception of this fair stream is
exclusively Dante's own.

If I had, Reader, longer space for writing I would yet partly
sing the sweet draught which never would have sated me. But,
because all the leaves destined for this second canticle are
full, the curb of my art lets me go no further. I returned from
the most holy wave, renovated as new plants renewed with new
foliage, pure and disposed to mount unto the stars.

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