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The Divine Comedy, Volume 3, Paradise [Paradiso] by Dante Aligheri

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The Divine Comedy, Volume 3, Paradise [Paradiso]

by Dante Aligheri

Translated by Charles Eliot Norton



CANTO I. Proem.--Invocation.--Beatrice and Dante ascend to the
Sphere of Fire.--Beatrice explains the cause of their ascent.

CANTO II. Proem.--Ascent to the Moon.--The cause of Spots on the
Moon.--Influence of the Heavens.

CANTO III. The Heaven of the Moon.--Spirits whose vows had been
broken.--Piccarda Donati.--The Empress Constance.

CANTO IV. Doubts of Dante, respecting the justice of Heaven and
the abode of the blessed, solved by Beatrice.--Question of Dante
as to the possibility of reparation for broken vows.

CANTO V. The sanctity of vows, and the seriousness with which
they are to be made or changed.--Ascent to the Heaven of
Mercury.--The shade of Justinian.

CANTO VI. Justinian tells of his own life.--The story of the
Roman Eagle.--Spirits in the planet Mercury.--Romeo.

CANTO VII. Discourse of Beatrice.--The Fall of Man.--The scheme
of his Redemption.

CANTO VIII. Ascent to the Heaven of Venus.--Spirits of Lovers,
Source of the order and the varieties in mortal things.

CANTO IX. The Heaven of Venus.--Conversation of Dante with
Cunizza da Romano,--With Folco of Marseilles.--Rahab.--Avarice of
the Papal Court.

CANTO X. Ascent to the Sun.--Spirits of the wise, and the learned
in theology.--St. Thomas Aquinas.--He names to Dante those who
surround him.

CANTO XI. The Vanity of worldly desires,--St. Thomas Aquinas
undertakes to solve two doubts perplexing Dante.--He narrates the
life of St. Francis of Assisi.

CANTO XII. Second circle of the spirits of wise religious men,
doctors of the Church and teachers.--St. Bonaventura narrates the
life of St. Dominic, and tells the names of those who form the
circle with him.

CANTO XIII. St. Thomas Aquinas speaks again, and explains the
relation of the wisdom of Solomon to that of Adam and of Christ,
and declares the vanity of human judgment.
CANTO XIV. At the prayer of Beatrice, Solomon tells of the
glorified body of the blessed after the Last Judgment.--Ascent to
the Heaven of Mars.--Souls of the Soldiery of Christ in the form
of a Cross with the figure of Christ thereon.--Hymn of the

CANTO XV. Dante is welcomed by his ancestor, Cacciaguida.--
Cacciaguida tells of his family, and of the simple life of
Florence in the old days.

CANTO XVI. The boast of blood.--Cacciaguida continues his
discourse concerning the old and the new Florence.

CANTO XVII. Dante questions Cacciaguida as to his fortunes.--
Cacciaguida replies, foretelling the exile of Dante, and the
renown of his Poem.

CANTO XVIII. The Spirits in the Cross of Mars.--Ascent to the
Heaven of Jupiter.--Words shaped in light upon the planet by the
Spirits.--Denunciation of the avarice of the Popes.

CANTO XIX. The voice of the Eagle.--It speaks of the mysteries of
Divine justice; of the necessity of Faith for salvation; of the
sins of certain kings.

CANTO XX. The Song of the Just.--Princes who have loved
righteousness, in the eye of the Eagle.--Spirits, once Pagans, in
bliss.--Faith and Salvation.--Predestination.

CANTO XXI. Ascent to the Heaven of Saturn.--Spirits of those who
had given themselves to devout contemplation.--The Golden
Stairway.--St. Peter Damian.--Predestination.--The luxury of
modern Prelates.

CANTO XXII. Beatrice reassures Dante.--St. Benedict appears.--He
tells of the founding of his Order, and of the falling away of
its brethren. Beatrice and Dante ascend to the Starry Heaven.--
The constellation of the Twins.--Sight of the Earth.

CANTO XXIII. The Triumph of Christ.

CANTO XXIV. St. Peter examines Dante concerning Faith, and
approves his answer.

CANTO XXV. St. James examines Dante concerning Hope.--St. John
appears,with a brightness so dazzling as to deprive Dante, for
the time, of sight.

CANTO XXVI. St. John examines Dante concerning Love.--Dante's
sight restored.--Adam appears, and answers questions put to him
by Dante.

CANTO XXVII. Denunciation by St. Peter of his degenerate
successors.--Dante gazes upon the Earth.--Ascent of Beatrice and
Dante to the Crystalline Heaven.--Its nature.--Beatrice rebukes
the covetousness of mortals.

CANTO XXVIII. The Heavenly Hierarchy.

CANTO XXIX. Discourse of Beatrice concerning the creation and
nature of the Angels.--She reproves the presumption and
foolishness of preachers.

CANTO XXX. Ascent to the Empyrean.--The River of Light.--The
celestial Rose.--The seat of Henry VII.--The last words of

CANTO XXXI. The Rose of Paradise.--St. Bernard.--Prayer to
Beatrice.--The glory of the Blessed Virgin.

CANTO XXXII. St. Bernard describes the order of the Rose, and
points out many of the Saints.--The children in Paradise.--The
angelic festival.--The patricians of the Court of Heaven.

CANTO XXXIII. Prayer to the Virgin.--The Beatific Vision.--The
Ultimate Salvation.


CANTO I. Proem.--Invocation.--Beatrice and Dante ascend to the
Sphere of Fire.--Beatrice explains the cause of their ascent.

The glory of Him who moves everything penetrates through the
universe, and shines in one part more and in another less. In the
heaven that receives most of its light I have been, and have seen
things which he who descends from thereabove neither knows how
nor is able to recount; because, drawing near to its own
desire,[1] our understanding enters so deep, that the memory
cannot follow. Truly whatever of the Holy Realm I could treasure
up in my mind shall now be the theme of my song.

[1] The innate desire of the soul is to attain the vision of

O good Apollo, for this last labor make me such a vessel of thy
power as thou demandest for the gift of the loved laurel.[1] Thus
far one summit of Parnassus has been enough for me, but now with
both[2] I need to enter the remaining, arena. Enter into my
breast, and breathe thou in such wise as when thou drewest
Marsyas from out the sheath of his limbs. O divine Power, if thou
lend thyself to me so that I may make manifest the image of the
Blessed Realm imprinted within my head, thou shalt see me come to
thy chosen tree, and crown myself then with those leaves of which
the theme and thou will make me worthy. So rarely, Father, are
they gathered for triumph or of Caesar or of poet (fault and
shame of the human wills), that the Peneian leaf[3] should bring
forth joy unto the joyous Delphic deity, whenever it makes any
one to long for it. Great flame follows a little spark: perhaps
after me prayer shall be made with better voices, whereto
Cyrrha[4] may respond.

[1] So inspire me in this labor that I may deserve the gift of
the laurel.

[2] The Muses were fabled to dwell on one peak of Parnassus,
Apollo on the other. At the opening of the preceding parts of his
poem Dante has invoked the Muses only.

[3] Daphne, who was changed to the laurel, was the daughter of

[4] Cyrrha, a city sacred to Apollo, not far from the foot of
Parnassus, and here used for the name of the god himself.

The lamp of the world rises to mortals through different
passages, but from that which joins four circles with three
crosses it issues with better course and conjoined with a better
star, and it tempers and seals the mundane wax more after its own
fashion[1] Almost such a passage had made morning there and
evening here;[2] and there all that hemisphere was white, and the
other part black, when I saw Beatrice turned upon the left side,
and looking into the sun: never did eagle so fix himself upon it.
And even as a second ray is wont to issue from the first, and
mount upward again, like a pilgrim who wishes to return; thus of
her action, infused through the eyes into my imagination, mine
was made, and I fixed my eyes upon the sun beyond our use. Much
is allowed there which here is not allowed to our faculties,
thanks to the place made for the human race as its proper,
abode.[3] Not long did I endure it, nor so little that I did not
see it sparkling round about, like iron that issues boiling from
the fire. And on a sudden,[4] day seemed to be added to day, as
if He who is able had adorned
the heaven with another sun.

[1] In the spring the sun rises from a point on the horizon,
where the four great circles, namely, the horizon, the zodiac,
theequator, and the equinoctial colure, meet, and, cutting each
other, form three crosses. The sun is in the sign of Aries, "a
better star," because the influence of this constellation was
supposed to be benignant, and under it the earth reclothes
itself. It was the season assigned to the Creation, and to the

[2] There, in the Earthly Paradise; here, on earth. It is the
morning of Thursday, April 123. The hours from the mid-day
preceding to this dawn are undescribed.

[3] The Earthly Paradise, made for man in his original

[4] So rapid was his ascent to the sphere of fire, drawn upward
by the eyes of Beatrice.

Beatrice was standing with her eyes wholly fixed on the eternal
wheels, and on her I fixed my eyes from thereabove removed.
Looking at her I inwardly became such as Glaucus[1] became on
tasting of the herb which made him consort in the sea of the
other gods. Transhumanizing cannot be signified in words;
therefore let the example[2] suffice for him to whom grace
reserves experience. If I was only what of me thou didst the last
create,[3] O Love that governest the heavens, Thou knowest, who
with Thy light didst lift me. When the revolution which Thou,
being desired, makest eternal,[4] made me attent unto itself with
the harmony which Thou attunest and modulatest, so much of the
heaven then seemed to me enkindled by the flame of the sun, that
rain or river never made so broad a lake.

[1] A fisherman changed to a sea-god. The story is in Ovid
(Metamorphoses, xiii.).

[2] Just cited, of Glauens.

[3] In the twenty-fifth Canto of Purgatory, Dante has said that
when the articulation of the brain is perfect God breathes into
it a new spirit, the living soul; and he means here that, like
St. Paul caught up into Paradise, he cannot tell "whether in the
body or Out of the body." (2 Corinthians, xii. 3).

[4] The desire to be united with God is the source of the eternal
revolution of the heavens. "The Empyrean . . . is the cause of
the most swift motion of the Primum Mobile. because of the most
ardent desire of every part of the latter to be conjoined with
every part of that most divine quiet heaven."--Convito, 14.

The novelty of the sound and the great light kindled in me a
desire concerning their cause, never before felt with such
acuteness. Whereupon she, who saw me as I see myself, to quiet my
perturbed mind opened her mouth, ere I mine to ask, and began,
"Thou thyself makest thyself dull with false imagining, so that
thou seest not what thou wouldst see, if thou hadst shaken it
off. Thou art not on earth, as thou believest; but lightning,
flying from its proper site, never ran as thou who thereunto[1]

[1] To thine own proper site,--Heaven, the true home of the soul.

If I was divested of my first doubt by these brief little smiled-
out words, within a new one was I the more enmeshed. And I said,
"Already I rested content concerning a great wonder; but now I
wonder how I can transcend these light bodies." Whereupon she,
after a pitying sigh, directed her eyes toward me, with that look
which a mother turns on her delirious son, and she began, "All
things whatsoever have order among themselves; and this is the
form which makes the universe like to God. Here[1] the high
creatures[2] see the imprint of the eternal Goodness, which is
the end for which the aforesaid rule is made. In the order of
which I speak, all natures are arranged, by diverse lots, more or
less near to their source;[3] wherefore they are moved to diverse
ports through the great sea of being, and each one with an
instinct given to it which may bear it on. This bears the fire
upward toward the moon; this is the motive force in mortal
hearts; this binds together and unites the earth. Nor does this
bow shoot forth.[4] Only the created things which are outside
intelligence, but also those which have understanding and love.
The Providence that adjusts all this, with its own light makes
forever quiet the heaven[5] within which that revolves which hath
the greatest speed. And thither now, as to a site decreed, the
virtue of that cord bears us on which directs to a joyful mark
whatever it shoots. True is it, that as the form often accords
not to the intention of the art, because the material is deaf to
respond, so the creature sometimes deviates from this course; for
it has power, though thus impelled, to incline in another
direction (even as the fire of a cloud may be seen to fall[6]),
if the first impetus, bent aside by false pleasure, turn it
earthwards. Thou shouldst not, if I deem aright, wonder more at
thy ascent, than at a stream if from a high mountain it descends
to the base. A marvel it would be in thee, if, deprived of
hindrance, thou hadst sat below, even as quiet in living fire on
earth would be."

[1] In this order of the universe.

[2] The created beings endowed with souls,--angels and men.

[3] The source of their being, God.

[4] This instinct directs to their proper end animate as well as
inanimate things, as the bow shoots the arrow to its mark.

[5] The Empyrean, within which the Primum Mobile, the first
moving heaven, revolves.

[6] Contrary to its true nature.

Thereon she turned again toward heaven her face.

CANTO II. Proem.--Ascent to the Moon.--The cause of Spots on the
Moon.--Influence of the Heavens.

O ye, who are in a little bark, desirous to listen, following
behind my craft which singing passes on, turn to see again Your
shores; put not out upon the deep; for haply losing me, ye would
remain astray. The water that I sail was never crossed. Minerva
inspires, and Apollo guides me, and nine Muses point out to me
the Bears.

Ye other few, who have lifted tip your necks be. times to the
bread of the Angels, oil which one here subsists, but never
becomes sated of it, ye may well put forth your vessel over the
salt deep, keeping my wake before you on the water which turns
smooth again. Those glorious ones who passed over to Colchos
wondered not as ye shall do, when they saw Jason become a

The concreate and perpetual thirst for the deiform realm was
bearing us on swift almost as ye see the heavens. Beatrice was
looking upward, and I upon her, and perhaps in such time as a
quarrel[1] rests, and flies, and from the notch is unlocked,[2] I
saw myself arrived where a wonderful thing drew my sight to
itself; and therefore she, from whom the working of my mind could
not be hid, turned toward me, glad as beautiful. "Uplift thy
grateful mind to God," she said to me, "who with the first
star[3] has conjoined us."

[1] The bolt for a cross-bow.

[2] The inverse order indicates the instantaneousness of the act.

[3] The moon.

It seemed to me that a cloud had covered us, lucid, dense, solid,
and polished, like a diamond which the sun had struck. Within
itself the eternal pearl had received us, even as water receives
a ray of light, remaining unbroken. If I was body (and here[1]
it is not conceivable how one dimension brooked another, which
needs must be if body enter body) the desire ought the more to
kindle us to see that Essence, in which is seen how our nature
and God were united. There will be seen that which we hold by
faith, not demonstrated, but it will be known of itself like the
first truth which man believes.[2]

[1] On earth, by mortal faculties.

[2] Not demonstrated by argument, but known by direct cognition,
like the intuitive perception of first principles, per se notu.

I replied, "My Lady, devoutly to the utmost that I can, do I
thank him who from the mortal world has removed me. But tell me
what are the dusky marks of this body, which there below on earth
make people fable about Cain?"[1]

[1] Fancying the dark spaces on the surface of the moon to
represent Cain carrying a thorn-bush for the fire of his

She smiled somewhat, and then she said, "If the opinion of
mortals errs where the key of sense unlocks not, surely the
shafts of wonder ought not now to pierce thee, since thou seest
that the reason following the senses has short wings. But tell me
what thou thyself thinkest of it." And I, "That which here above
appears to us diverse, I believe is caused by rare and dense
bodies." And she, "Surely enough thou shalt see that thy belief
is submerged in error, if then listenest well to the argument
that I shall make against it. The eighth sphere[1] displays to
you many lights, which may be noted of different aspects in
quality and quantity. If rare and dense effected all this,[2] one
single virtue, more or less or equally distributed, would be in
all. Different virtues must needs be fruits of formal
principles;[3] and by thy reckoning, these, all but one, would
be destroyed. Further, if rarity were the cause of that darkness
of which you ask, either this planet would be thus deficient of
its matter through and through, or else as a body distributes the
fat and the loan, so this would interchange the leaves in its
volume. If the first were the case, it would be manifest in the
eclipses of the sun, by the shining through of the light, as when
it is poured out upon any other rare body. This is not so;
therefore we must look at the other, and if it happen that I
quash this other, thy opinion will be falsified. If it be that
this rare passes not through,[4] there needs must be a limit,
beyond which its contrary allows it not to pass further; and
thence the ray from another body is poured back, just as color
returns through a glass which hides lead behind itself. Now thou
wilt say that the ray shows itself dimmer there than in the other
parts, by being there reflected from further back. From this
objection experiment, which is wont to be the fountain to the
streams of your arts, may deliver thee, if ever thou try it. Thou
shalt take three mirrors, and set two of them at an equal
distance from thee, and let the other, further removed, meet
thine eyes between the first two. Turning toward them, cause a
light to be placed behind thy back, which may illumine the three
mirrors, and return to thee thrown back front all. Although the
more distant image reach thee not so great in quantity, thou wilt
then see how it cannot but be of equal brightness.

[1] The heaven of the fixed stars.

[2] If all this difference were caused merely by difference in
rarity and density.

[3] The stars exert various influences; hence their differences,
from which the variety of their influence proceeds, must be
caused by different formal principles or intrinsic causes.

[4] Extends not through the whole substance of the moon.

"Now, as beneath the blows of the warm rays that which lies under
the snow remains bare both of the former color[1] and the cold,
thee, thus remaining in thy intellect, will I inform with light
so living that it shall tremble in its aspect to thee.[2]

[1] The color of the snow.

[2[My argument has removed the error which covered thy mind, and
nov I will tell thee the true cause of the variety in the
surface of the moon.

"Within the heaven of the divine peace revolves a body, in whose
virtue lies the being of all that it contains.[1] The following
heaven[2] which has so many sights, distributes that being
through divers essences[3] from it distinct, and by it
contained. The other spheres, by various differences, dispose the
distinctions which they have within themselves unto their ends
and their seeds.[4] These organs of the world thus proceed, as
thou now seest, from grade to grade; for they receivefrom above,
and operate below. Observe me well, how I advance through this
place to the truth which thou desirest, so that hereafter thou
mayest know to keep the ford alone. The motion and the virtue of
the holy spheres must needs be inspired by blessed motors, as the
work of the hammer by the smith. And the heaven, which so many
lights make beautiful, takes its image from the deep Mind which
revolves it, and makes thereof a seal. And as the soul within
your dust is diffused through different members, and conformed to
divers potencies, so the Intelligence[5] displays its own
goodness multiplied through the stars, itself circling upon its
own unity. Divers virtue makes divers alloy with the precious
body that it quickens, in which, even as life in you, it is
bound. Because of the glad nature whence, it flows, the virtue
mingled through the body shines,[6] as gladness through the
living pupil. From this,[7] comes whatso seems different between
light and light, not from dense and rare; this is the formal
principle which produces, conformed unto its goodness, the dark
and the bright."

[1] Within the motionless sphere of the Empyrean revolves that
of the Primum Mobile, from whose virtue, communicated to it from
the Empyrean, all the inferior spheres contained within it derive
their special mode of being.

[2] The heaven of the Fixed Stars.

[3] Through the planets, called essences because each has a
specific mode of being.

[4] "The rays of the heavens are the way by which their virtue
descends to the things below."--Convito, ii. 7.

[5] Which moves the heavens.

[6] The brightness of the stars comes from the joy which radiates
through them.

[7] From the divers virtue making divers alloy.

CANTO III. The Heaven of the Moon.--Spirits whose vows had been
broken.--Piccarda Donati.--The Empress Constance.

That sun which first had heated my breast with love, proving and
refuting, had uncovered to me the sweet aspect of fair truth; and
I, in order to confess myself corrected and assured so far as was
needful, raised my head more erect to speak. But a vision
appeared which held me to itself so close in order to be seen,
that of my confession I remembered not.

As through transparent and polished glasses, or through clear and
tranquil waters, not so deep that their bed be lost, the
lineaments of our faces return so feebly that a pearl on a white
brow comes not less readily to our eyes, so I saw many faces
eager to speak; wherefore I ran into the error contrary to that
which kindled love between the man and the fountain.[1] Suddenly,
even as I became aware of them, supposing them mirrored
semblances, I turned my eyes to see of whom they were; and I saw
nothing; and I turned them forward again, straight into the light
of the sweet guide who, smiling, was glowing in her holy eyes.
"Wonder not because I smile," she said to me, "at thy puerile
thought, since thy foot trusts itself not yet upon the truth, but
turns thee, as it is wont, to emptiness. True substances are
these which thou seest, here relegated through failure in their
vows. Therefore speak with them, and hear, and believe; for the
veracious light which satisfies them allows them not to turn
their feet from itself."

[1] Narcissus conceived the image to be a true face; Dante takes
the real faces to be mirrored semblances.

And I directed me to the shade that seemed most eager to speak,
and I began, even like a man whom too strong wish confuses, "O
well-created spirit, who in the rays of life eternal tastest the
sweetness, which untasted never is understood, it will be
gracious to me, if thou contentest me with thy name, and with
your destiny." Whereon she promptly, and with smiling eyes, "Our
charity locks not its door to a just wish, more than that which
wills that all its court be like itself. I was in the world a
virgin sister,[1] and if thy mind well regards, my being more
beautiful will not conceal me from thee; but thou wilt recognize
that I am Piccarda,[2] who, placed here with these other blessed
Ones, am blessed in the slowest sphere. Our affections, which are
inflamed only in the pleasure of the Holy Spirit, rejoice in
being formed according to His order;[3] and this allotment, which
appears so low, is forsooth given to us, because our vows
were neglected or void in some part." Whereon I to her, In your
marvellous aspects there shines I know not what divine which
transmutes you from our first conceptions; therefore I was not
swift in remembering; but now that which you say to
me assists me, so that refiguring is plainer to me. But tell
me, ye who are happy here, do ye desire a highher place, in
order to see more, or to make yourselves more friends?"
With those other shades she first smiled a little; then
answered me so glad, that she seemed to burn in the first
fire of love, "Brother, virtue of charity[4] quiets our will,
and makes us wish only for that which we have, and for
aught else makes us not thirsty. Should we desire to be
higher up, our desires would be discordant with the will of
Him who assigns us to this place, which thou wilt see is
not possible in these circles, if to be in charity is here
necesse,[5] and if its nature thou dost well consider. Nay, it is
essential to this blessed existence to hold ourselves within the
divine will, whereby our very wills are made one. So that as we
are, from stage to stage throughout this realm, to all the realm
is pleasing, as to the King who inwills us with His will. And His
will is our peace; it is that sea whereunto is moving all that
which It creates and which nature makes."

[1] A nun, of the order of St. Clare.

[2] The sister of Corso Donati and of Forese: see Purgatory,
Canto XXIII. It may not be without intention that the first
blessed spirit whom Dante sees in Paradise is a relative of his
own wife, Gemma dei Donati.

[3] Rejoice in whatever grade of bliss is assigned to thern in
that order of the universe which is the form that makes it like
unto God.

[4] Charity here means love, the love of God.

[5] Of necessity; the Latin word being used for the
rhyme's sake. "Mansionem Deus haber non potest ubi
charitas non est" B. Alberti Magni, De adhoerendo Deo, c.

Clear was it then to me, how everywhere in Heaven is Paradise,
although the grace of the Supreme Good rains not there in one

But even as it happen, if one food sates, and for another the
appetite still remains, that this is asked for, and that declined
with thanks; so did I, with gesture and with speech, to learn
from her, what was the web whereof she did not draw the shuttle
to the head.[1] "Perfect life and high merit in-heaven a lady
higher up," she said to me, "according to whose rule, in your
world below, there are who vest and veil themselves, so that till
death they may wake and sleep with that Spouse who accepts every
vow which love conforms unto His pleasure. A young girl, I fled
from the world to follow her, and in her garb I shut myself, and
pledged me to the pathway of her order. Afterward men, more used
to ill than good, dragged me forth from the sweet cloister;[2]
and God knows what then my life became. And this other splendor,
which shows itself to thee at my right side, and which glows with
all the light of our sphere, that which I say of me understands
of herself.[3] A sister was she; and in like manner from her head
the shadow of the sacred veils was taken. But after she too was
returned unto the world against her liking and against good
usage, from the veil of the heart she was never unbound.[4] This
is the light of the great Constance,[5] who from the second
wind of Swabia produced the third and the last power."

[1] To learn from her what was the vow which she did not

[2] According to the old commentators, her brother Corso forced
Piccarda by violence to leave the convent, in order to make a
marriage which he desired for her.

[3] Her experience was similar to that of Piccarda.

[4] She remained a nun at heart.

[5] Constance, daughter of the king of Sicily, Roger 1.; married,
in 1186, to the Emperor, Henry VI., the son of Frederick
Barbarossa, and father of Frederick II, who died in 1250, the
last Emperor of his line.

Thus she spoke to me, and then began singing "Ave Maria," and
Singing vanished, like a heavy thing through deep water. My
sight, that followed her so far as was possible, after it lost
her turned to the mark of greater desire, and wholly rendered
itself to Beatrice; but she so flashed upon my gaze that at first
the sight endured it not: and this made me more slow in

CANTO IV. Doubts of Dante, respecting the justice of Heaven and
the abode of the blessed, solved by Beatrice.--Question of Dante
as to the possibility of reparation for broken vows.

Between two viands, distant and attractive in like measure, a
free man would die of hunger, before he would bring one of them
to his teeth. Thus a lamb would stand between two ravenings of
fierce wolves, fearing equally; thus would stand a dog between
two does. Hence if, urged by my doubts in like measure, I was
silent, I blame not myself; nor, since it was necessary, do I

I was silent, but my desire was depicted on my face, and the
questioning with that far more fervent than by distinct speech.
Beatrice did what Daniel did, delivering Nebuchadnezzar from
anger, which had made him unjustly cruel, and said, "I see
clearly how one and the other desire draws thee, so that thy care
so binds itself that it breathes not forth. Thou reasonest, 'If
the good will endure, by what reckoning doth the violence of
others lessen for me the measure of desert?' Further, it gives
thee occasion for doubt, that the souls appear to return to the
stars, in accordance with the opinion of Plato.[1] These are the
questions that thrust equally upon thy wish; and therefore I will
treat first of that which hath the most venom.[2]

[1] Plato, in his Timaeus (41, 42), says that the creator of the
universe assigned each soul to a star, whence they were to be
sown in the vessels of time. " He who lived well during his
appointed time was to return to the star which was his
habitation, and there he would have a blessed and suitable
existence." Dante's doubt has arisen from the words of Piccarda,
which implied that her station was in the sphere of the Moon.

[2] The conception that the souls after death had their abode in
the stars would be a definite heresy, and hence far more
dangerous than a question concerning the justice of Heaven, for
such a question might be consistent with entire faith in that

"Of the Seraphim he who is most in God, Moses, Samuel, and
whichever John thou wilt take, I say, and even Mary, have not
their seats in another heaven than those spirits who just now
appeared to thee, nor have they more or fewer years for their
existence; but all make beautiful the first circle, and have
sweet life in different measure, through feeling more or less the
eternal breath.[1] They showed themselves here, not because this
sphere is allotted to them, but to afford sign of the celestial
condition which is least exalted. To speak thus is befitting to
your mind, since only by objects of the sense doth it apprehend
that which it then makes worthy of the understanding. For this
reason the Scripture condescends to your capacity, and attributes
feet and hands to God, while meaning otherwise; and Holy Church
represents to you with human aspect Gabriel and Michael and the
other who made Tobias whole again.[2] That which Timaeus, reasons
of the souls is not like this which is seen here, since it seems
that he thinks as he says. He says that the soul returns to its
own star, believing it to have been severed thence, when nature
gave it as the form.[3] And perchance his opinion is of other
guise than his words sound, and may be of a meaning not to be
derided. If he means that the honor of their influence and the
blame returns to these wheels, perhaps his bow hits on some
truth. This principle, ill understood, formerly turned awry
almost the whole world, so that it ran astray in naming Jove,
Mercury, and Mars.[4]

[1] The abode of all the blessed is the Empyrean,--the first
circle, counting from above; but there are degrees in
blessedness, each spirit enjoying according to its capacity; no
one is conscious of any lack.

[2] The archangel Raphael.

[3] The intellectual soul is united with the body as its
substantial form. That by means of which anything performs its
functions (operatur) is its form. The soul is that by which the
body lives, and hence is its form.--Summa Theol., I. lxxvi. 1,
6, 7.

[4] The belief in the influence of the stars led men to assign
to them divine powers, and to name their gods after them.

The other dubitation which disturbs thee has less venom, for
its malice could not lead thee from me elsewhere. That our
justice seems unjust in the eyes of mortals is argument of
faith,[1] and not of heretical iniquity. But in order that your
perception may surely penetrate unto this truth, I will make thee
content, as thou desirest. Though there be violence when he who
suffers nowise consents to him who compels, these souls were not
by reason of that excused; for will, unless it wills, is not
quenched,[2] but does as nature does in fire, though violence a
thousand times may wrest it. Wherefore if it bend much or little,
it follows the force; and thus these did, having power to return
to the holy place. If their will had been entire, such as held
Lawrence on the gridiron, and made Mucius severe unto his hand,
it would have urged them back, so soon as they were loosed, along
the road on which they had been dragged; but will so firm is too
rare. And by these words, if thou hast gathered them up as thou
shouldst, is the argument quashed that would have given thee
annoy yet many times.

[1] Mortals would not trouble themselves concerning the justice
of God, unless they had faith in it. These perplexities are then
arguments or proofs of faith; as St. Thomas Aquinas says, "The
merit of faith consists in believing what one does not see." But
in this case, as Beatrice goes on to show, mere human
intelligence if Sufficient to see that the injustice is only

[2] Violence has no power over the will; the original will may,
however, by act of will, be changed.

"But now another path runs traverse before thine eyes, such that
by thyself thou wouldst not issue forth therefrom ere thou wert
weary. I have put it in thy mind for certain, that a soul in
bliss cannot lie, since it is always near to the Primal Truth;
and then thou hast heard from Piccarda that Constance retained
affection for the veil; so that she seems in this to contradict
me. Often ere now, brother, has it happened that, in order to
escape peril, that which it was not meet to do has been done
against one's liking; even as Alcmaeon (who thereto entreated by
his father, slew his own mother), not to lose piety, pitiless
became. On this point, I wish thee to think that the violence is
mingled with the will, and they so act that the offences cannot
be excused. Absolute will consents not to the wrong; but the will
in so far consents thereto, as it fears, if it draw back, to fall
into greater trouble. Therefore when Piccarda says that, she
means it of the absolute will; and I of the other so that we both
speak truth alike."

Such was the current of the holy stream which issued from the
fount whence every truth flows forth; and such it set at rest one
and the other desire.

"O beloved of the First Lover, O divine one," said I then, "whose
speech inundates me, and warms me so that more and more it
quickens me, my affection is not so profound that it can suffice
to render to you grace for grace, but may He who sees and can,
respond for this. I clearly see that our intellect is never
satisfied unless the Truth illume it, outside of which no truth
extends. In that it reposes, as a wild beast in his lair, soon as
it has reached it: and it can reach it; otherwise every desire
would be in vain. Because of this,[1] the doubt, in likeness of a
shoot, springs up at the foot of the truth; and it is nature
which urges us to the summit from height to height. This[2]
invites me, this gives me assurance, Lady, with reverence to ask
you of another truth which is obscure to me. I wish to know if
man can make satisfaction to you[3] for defective vows with other
goods, so that in your scales they may not be light?" looked at
we with such divine eyes, full of the sparks of love, that my
power, vanquished, turned its back, and almost I lost myself with
eyes cast down.

[1] Of this constant desire for truth.

[2] This natural impulse.

[3] To you, that is, to the court of Heaven.

CANTO V. The sanctity of vows, and the seriousness with which
they are to be made or changed.--Ascent to the Heaven of
Mercury.--The shade of Justinian.

"If I flame upon thee in the heat of love, beyond the fashion
that on earth is seen, go that I vanquish the valor of thine
eyes, marvel not, for it proceeds from perfect vision,[1] which
according as it apprehends, so moves its feet to the apprehended
good. I see clearly how already shines in thy intellect the
eternal light, which, being seen, alone ever enkindles love. And
if any other thing seduce your love, it is naught but some
vestige of that, illrecognized, which therein shines through.
Thou wishest to know if for a defective vow so much can be
rendered with other service as may secure the soul from suit."

[1] From the brightness of my eyes illuminated by the divine

Thus Beatrice began this canto, and even as one who breaks not
off his speech, she thus continued her holy discourse. "The
greatest gift which God in His largess bestowed in creating, and
the most conformed unto His goodness and that which He esteems
the most, was the freedom of the will, with which all the
creatures of intelligence, and they alone, were and are endowed.
Now will appear to thee, if from this thou reasonest, the high
worth of the vow, if it be such that God consent when thou
consentest;[1] for, in closing the compact between God and man,
sacrifice is made of this treasure, which is such as I say, and
it is made by its own act. What then can be rendered in
compensation? If thou thinkest to make good use of that which
thou hast offered, with illgotten gain thou wouldst do good

[1] If the vow be valid through its acceptance by God.

[2] The intent to put what had been vowed to another (though
good) use, affords no excuse for breaking a vow.

"Thou art now assured of the greater point; but since Holy Church
in this gives dispensation, which seems contrary to the truth
which I have disclosed to thee, it behoves thee still to sit a
little at table, because the tough food which thou hast taken
requires still some aid for thy digestion. Open thy mind to that
which I reveal to thee, and enclose it therewithin; for to have
heard without retaining doth not make knowledge.

"Two things combine in the essence of this sacrifice; the one is
that of which it consists, the other is the covenant. This last
is never cancelled if it be not kept; and concerning this has
my preceding speech been so precise. On this account it was
necessary for the Hebrews still to make offering, although some
part of the offering might be changed, as thou shouldst know.[1]
The other, which as the matter[2] is known to thee, may truly be
such that one errs not if for some other matter it be changed.
But let not any one shift the load upon his shoulder at his own
will, without the turning both of the white and of the yellow
key.[3] And let him deem every permutation foolish, if the thing
laid down be not included in the thing taken up, as four in
six.[4] Therefore whatever thing is, through its own worth, of
such great weight that it can draw down every balance, cannot be
made good with other spending.

[1] See Leviticus, xxvii., in respect to commutation allowed.

[2] That is, as the subject matter of the vow, the thing of which
sacrifice is made.

[3] Without the turning of the keys of St. Peter, that is,
without clerical dispensation; the key of gold signifying
authority, that of silver, knowledge. Cf. Purgatory, Canto IX.

[4] The matter substituted must exceed in worth that of the
original vow, but not necessarily in a definite proportion.

"Let not mortals take a vow in jest; be faithful, and not
squint-eyed in doing this, as Jephthah was in his first.
offering;[1] to whom it better behoved to say, 'I have done ill,'
than, by keeping his vow, to do worse. And thou mayest find the
great leader of the Greeks in like manner foolish; wherefore
Iphigenia wept for her fair face, and made weep for her both the
simple and the wise, who heard speak of such like observance. Be,
ye Christians, more grave in moving; be not like a feather on
every wind, and think not that every water can wash you. Ye have
the Old and the New Testament, and the Shepherd of the Church,
who guides you; let this suffice you for your salvation. If evil
covetousness cry aught else to you, be ye men, and not silly
sheep, so that the Jew among you may not laugh at you. Act not
like the lamb, that leaves the milk of his mother, and, simple
and wanton, at its own pleasure combats with itself."

[1] See Judges, xi.

Thus Beatrice to me, even as I write; then all desireful turned
herself again to that region where the world is most alive.[1]
Her silence, and her transmuted countenance imposed silence on my
eager mind, which already had new questions in advance. And even
as an arrow, that hits the mark before the bowstring is quiet, so
we ran into the second realm.[2] Here I saw my lady so joyous as
she entered into the light of that heaven, that thereby the
planet became more lucent. And if the star war, changed and
smiled, what did I become, who even by my nature am transmutable
in every wise!

[1] Looking upward, toward the Empyrean.

[2] The Heaven of Mercury, where blessed spirits who have been
active in the pursuit of honor and fame show themselves.

As in a fishpond, which is tranquil and pure, the fish draw to
that which comes from without in such manner that they deem. it
their food, so indeed I saw more than a thousand splendors
drawing toward. us, and in each one was heard,--"Lo, one who
shall increase our loves!"[1] And as each came to us, the shade
was seen full of joy in the bright effulgence that issued from

[1] By giving us occasion to manifest our love.

Think, Reader, if that which is here begun should not proceed,
how thou wouldst have distressful want of knowing more; and by
thyself thou wilt see how desirous I was to hear from these of
their conditions, as they became manifest to mine eyes. "O
well-born,[1] to whom Grace concedes to see the thrones of the
eternal triumph ere the warfare is abandoned,[2] with the light
which spreads through the whole heaven we are enkindled, and
therefore if thou desirest to make thyself clear concerning us,
at thine own pleasure sate thyself." Thus was said to me by one
of those pious spirits; and by Beatrice, "Speak, speak securely,
and trust even as to gods." "I see clearly, how thou dost nest
thyself in thine ownlight, and that by thine eyes thou drawest
it, because they sparkle when thou smilest; but I know not who
thou art, nor why thou hast, O worthy soul, thy station in the
sphere which is veiled to mortals by another's rays."[3] This I
said, addressed unto the light which first had spoken to me;
whereon it became more lucent far than it had been. Even as the
sun, which, when the heat has consumed the tempering of dense
vapors, conceals itself by excess of light, so, through greater
joy, the holy shape bid itself from me within its own radiance,
and thus close enclosed, it answered me in the fashion that the
following canto sings.

[1] That is, born to good, to attain blessedness.

[2] Ere thy life on earth, as a member of the Church Militant, is

[3] Mercury is veiled by the Sun.

CANTO VI. Justinian tells of his own life.--The story of the
Roman Eagle.--Spirits in the planet Mercury.--Romeo.

After Constantine turned the Eagle counter to the course of the
heavens which it had followed behind the ancient who took to wife
Lavinia,[1] a hundred and a hundred years and more[2] the bird of
God held itself on the verge of Europe, near to the Mountains[3]
from which it first came forth, and there governed the world
beneath the shadow of the sacred wings, from hand to hand, and
thus changing, unto mine own arrived. Caesar I was,[4] and am
Justinian, who, through will of the primal Love which I feel,
drew out from among the laws what was superfluous and vain.[5]
And before I was intent on this work, I believed one nature to be
in Christ, not more,[6] and with such faith was content. But the
blessed Agapetus, who was the supreme pastor, directed me to the
pure faith with his words. I believed him; and that which was in
his faith I now see clearly, even as thou seest every
contradiction to be both false and true.[7] Soon as with the
Church I moved my feet, it pleased God, through grace, to inspire
me with the high labor, and I gave myself wholly to it. And I
entrusted my armies to my Belisarius, to whom the right hand of
Heaven was so joined that it was a sign that I should take

[1] Constantine, transferring the seat of Empire from Rome to
Byzantium, carried the Eagle from West to East, counter to the
course along which Aeneas had borne it when he went from Troy to
found the Roman Empire.

[2] From A. D. 324, when the transfer was begun, to 527, when
Justinian became Emperor.

[3] Of the Troad, opposite Byzantium.

[4] On earth Emperor, but in Heaven earthly dignities exist no

[5] The allusion is to Justinian's codification of the Roman Law.

[6] The divine nature only. Dante here follows Brunetto Latini
(Li Tresor, I. ii. 87) in an historical error.

[7] Of the two terms of a contradictory proposition one is true,
the other false.

"Now here to the first question my answer comes to the stop; but
its nature constrains me to add a sequel to it, in order that
thou mayst see with how much reason[1] move against the ensign
sacrosanct, both he who appropriates it to himself,[2] and he who
opposes himself to it.[3] See how great virtue has made it worthy
of reverence," and he began from the hour when Pallas[4] died to
give it a kingdom. "Thou knowest it made in Alba its abode for
three hundred years and move, till at the end the three fought
with the three[4] for its sake still. And thou knowest what it
did, from the wrong of the Sabine women clown to the sorrow of
Lucretia, in seven kings, conquering the neighboring
peoples round about. Thou knowest what it did when borne by the
illustrious Romans against Brennus, against Pyrrhus, and against
the other chiefs and allies; whereby Torquatus, and Quinctius who
was named from his neglected locks, the Decii and the Fabii
acquired the fame which willingly I embalm. It struck to earth
the pride of the Arabs, who, following Hannibal, passed the
Alpine rocks from which thou, Po, glidest. Beneath it, in their
youth, Scipio and Pompey triumphed, and to that hill beneath
which thou wast born, it seemed bitter.[5] Then, near the time
when all Heaven willed to bring the world to its own serene
mood, Caesar by the will of Rome took it: and what it did from
the Var even to the Rhine, the Isere beheld, and the Saone, and
the Seine beheld, and every valley whence the Rhone is filled.
What afterward it did when it came forth from Ravenna, and leaped
the Rubicon, was of such flight that neither tongue nor pen
could follow it. Toward Spain it wheeled its troop; then
toward Dyrrachium, and smote Pharsalia so that to the
warm Nile the pain was felt. It saw again Antandros and
Simois, whence it set forth, and there where Hector lies; and
ill for Ptolemy then it shook itself. Thence it swooped
flashing down on Juba; then wheeled again unto your west,
where it heard the Pompeian trumpet. Of what it did with the
next standard-bearer,[7] Bruttis and Cassius are barking in
Hell; and it made Modena and Perugia woful. Still does the
sad Cleopatra weep therefor, who, fleeing before it, took
from the asp sudden and black death. With him it ran far as
the Red Sea shore; with him it set the world in peace so
great that on Janus his temple was locked up. But what the
ensign which makes me speak had done before, and after
was to do, through the mortal realm that is subject to it,
becomes in appearance little and obscure, if in the hand of
the third Caesar[8] it be looked at with clear eye, and with
pure affection. For the living Justice which inspires me
granted to it, in the hand of him of whom I speak, the glory
of doing vengeance for Its own ire[9]--now marvel here at that
which I unfold to thee,--then with Titus it ran to do vengeance
for the avenging of the ancient sin.[2] And when the Lombard
tooth bit the Holy Church, under its wings Charlemagne,
conquering, succored her.

[1] Ironical. The meaning is, "how wrongly."

[2] The Ghibelline.

[3] The Guelph.

[4] Son of Evander, King of Latium, sent by his father to aid
Aeneas. His death in battle against Turnus led to that of Turnus
himself, and to the possession of the Latian kingdom by Aeneas.

[5] The Horatii and Curiatii.

[6] According to popular tradition Fiesole was destroyed by the
Romans after the defeat of Catiline.

[7] Augustus.

[8] Tiberius.

[9] It was under the authority of Rome that Christ was crucified,
whereby the sin of Adam. was avenged.

[10] Vengeance was taken on the Jews, because although the death
of Christ was divinely ordained, their crime in it was none the

"Now canst thou judge of such as those whom I accused above, and
of their crimes, which are the cause of all your ills. To the
public ensign one opposes the yellow lilies,[1] and the other
appropriates it to a party, so that it is hard to see which is
most at fault. Let the Ghibellines practice, let them practice
their art under another ensign, for he ever follows it ill who
parts justice and it. And let not this new Charles[2] strike it
down with his Guelphs, but let him fear its talons, which from a
loftier lion have stripped the fell. Often ere now the sons have
wept for the sin of the father; and let him not believe that for
his lilies Goa win change His arms.

[1] The fleur-de-lys of France.

[2] Charles II., King of Apulia, son of Charles of Anjou.

"This little star is furnished with good spirits who have been
active in order that honor and fame may follow them. And when the
desires thus straying mount here, it must needs be that the rays
of the true love mount upward less living.[1] But in the
commeasuring of our wages with our desert is part of our joy,
because we see them neither less nor greater. Hereby the living
Justice so sweetens the affection in us, that it can never
be bent aside to any wrong. Diverse voices make sweet notes; thus
in our life diverse benches[2] render sweet harmony among these

[1] The desire for fame interferes with, though it may not wholly
prevent, the true love of God.

[2] The different grades of the blessed.

"And within the present pearl shines the light of Romeo, whose
great and beautiful work was ill rewarded. But the Provencals who
wrought against him are not smiling; and forsooth he goes an ill
road who makes harm for himself of another's good deed.[1] Four
daughters, and each a queen, had Raymond Berenger, and Romeo, a
humble person and a pilgrim, did this[2] for him. And then
crooked words moved him to demand a reckoning of this just man,
who rendered to him seven and five for ten. Then he departed,
poor and old, and if the world but knew the heart he had, while
begging his livelihood bit by bit, much as it lauds him it would
laud him more."

[1] According to Giovanni Villani (vi. 90), one Romeo, a pilgrim,
came to the court of Raymond Berenger IV., Count of Provence (who
died, in 1245), and winning the count's favor, served him with
such wisdom and fidelity that by his means his master's revenues
were greatly increased, and his four daughters married to four
kings,--Margaret, to Louis IX. of France, St. Louis; Eleanor, to
Henry III. of England; Sanzia, to Richard, Earl of Cornwall
(brother of Henry III.), elected King of the Romans; and
Beatrice, to Charles of Anjou (brother of Louis IX.), King of
Apulia and Sicily. The Provencal nobles, jealous of Romeo,
procured his dismissal, and he departed, with his mule and his
pilgrim's staff and scrip, and was never seen more.

[2] The making each a queen.

CANTO VII. Discourse of Beatrice.--The Fall of Man.--The scheme
of his Redemption.

"Osanna sanctus Deus Sabaoth, superillustrans claritate tua
felices ignes horum malacoth!"[1]--thus, turning to its own
melody, this substance,[2] upon which a double light is
twinned,[3] was seen by me to sing. And it and the others moved
with their dance, and like swiftest sparks veiled themselves to
me with sudden distance. I was in doubt, and was saying to
myself, "Tell her, tell her," I was saying, "tell her, my Lady,
who slakes my thirst with her sweet distillings;" but that
reverence which lords it altogether over me, only by BE and by
ICE,[4] bowed me again like one who drowses. Little did Beatrice
endure me thus, and she began, irradiating me with a smile such
as would make a man in the fire happy, "According to my
infallible advisement, how a just vengeance could be justly
avenged has set thee thinking. But I will quickly loose thy mind:
and do thou listen, for my words will make thee a present of a
great doctrine.

[1] "Hosanna! Holy God of Sabaoth, beaming with thy brightness
upon the blessed fires of these realms."

[2] Substance, as a scholastic term, signifies a being subsisting
by itself with a quality of its own. "Substantiae nomen
significat essentiam cui competit sic esse, id est per se esse;
quod tamen esse non est ipsa ejus essentia."--Summa Theol. I.
iii. 5.

[3] The double light of Emperor and compiler of the Laws.

[4] Only by the sound of her name.

"By not enduring for his own good a curb upon the power which
wills, that man who was not born,--damning himself, damned all
his offspring; wherefore the human race lay sick below for many
centuries, in great error, till it pleased the Word of God to
descend where He, by the sole act of His eternal love, united
with Himself in person the nature which had. removed itself from
its Maker.

"Now direct thy sight to the discourse which follows. This
nature, united with its Maker, became sincere and good, as it had
been created; but by itself it had been banished from Paradise,
because it turned aside from the way of truth and from its own
life. The punishment therefore which the cross afforded, if it be
measured by the nature assumed, none ever so justly stung; and,
likewise, none was ever of such great wrong, regarding the Person
who suffered, with whom this nature was united. Therefore from
one act issued things diverse; for unto God and unto the Jews one
death was pleasing: by it earth trembled and the heavens were
opened. No more henceforth ought it to seem perplexing to thee,
when it is said that a just vengeance was afterward avenged by a
just court,

"But I see now thy mind tied up, from thought to thought, within
a knot the loosing of which is awaited with great desire, Thou
sayest, 'I discern clearly that which I bear; but it is occult to
we why God should will only this mode for our redemption.' This
decree, brother, stands buried to the eyes of every one whose wit
is not full grown in the flame of love. Truly, inasmuch as on
this mark there is much gazing, and little is discerned, I will
tell why such mode was most worthy. The Divine Goodness, which
from Itself spurns all rancor, burning in Itself so sparkles that
It displays the eternal beauties. That which distils
immediately[1] from It, thereafter has no end, for when It
seals, Its imprint is not removed. That which from It immediately
rains down is wholly free, because it is not subject unto the
power of the new things.[2] It is the most conformed to It, and
therefore pleases It the most; for the Holy Ardor which
irradiates every thing is most living in what is most resemblance
to Itself. With all these things[3] the human creature is
advantaged, and if one fail, he needs must fall from his
nobility. Sin alone is that which disfranchises him, and makes
him unlike the Supreme Good, so that by Its light he is little
illumined. And to his dignity he never returns, unless, where sin
makes void, he fill up for evil pleasures with just penalties.
Your nature, when it sinned totally in its seed,[4] was removed
from these dignities, even as from Paradise; nor could they be
recovered, if thou considerest full subtly, by any way, without
passing by one of these fords:--either that God alone by His
courtesy should forgive, or that man by himself
should make satisfaction for his folly. Fix now thine eye within
the abyss of the eternal counsel, fixed as closely on my speech
as thou art able. Man within his own limits could never make
satisfaction, through not being able to descend so far with
humility in subsequent obedience, as disobeying he intended to
ascend; and this is the reason why man was excluded from power
to make satisfaction by himself. Therefore it behoved God by His
own paths[5] to restore man to his entire life, I mean by one, or
else by both. But because the work of the workman is so much the
more pleasing, the more it represents of the goodness of the
heart whence it issues, the Divine Goodness which imprints the
world was content to proceed by all Its paths to lift you up
again; nor between the last night and the first day has there
been or will there be so lofty and so magnificent a procedure
either by one or by the other; for God was more liberal in giving
Himself to make man sufficient to lift himself up again, than if
only of Himself He had pardoned him. And all the other modes were
scanty in respect to justice, if the Son of God had not humbled
himself to become incarnate.

[1] Without the intervention of a second cause.

[2] That is, of the heavens, new as compared with the First

[3] That is, with immediate creation, with immortality, with free
will, with likeness to God, and the love of God for it.

[4] Adam.

[5] "All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth."--Psalm
xxv. 10. Truth may be here interpreted, according to St. Thomas
Aquinas, as justice.

"Now to fill completely every desire of thine, I return to a
certain place to clear it up, in order that thou mayest see there
even, as I do. Thou sayest, 'I see the water, I see the fire,
the air; and the earth, and all their mixtures come to
corruption, and endure short while, and yet these things were
created;' so that, if what I have said has been true, they ought
to be secure against corruption. The Angels, brother, and the
sincere[1] country in which thou art, may be called created, even
as they are, in their entire being; but the elements which thou
hast named, and those things which are made of them, are informed
by a created power.[2] The matter of which they consist was
created; the informing power in these stars which go round about
them was created. The ray and the motion of the holy lights draw
out from its potential elements[3] the soul of every brute and of
the plants; but the Supreme Benignity inspires your life without
intermediary, and enamors it of Itself so that ever after it
desires It. And hence[4] thou canst argue further your
resurrection, if thou refleetest bow the human flesh was made
when the first parents were both made."

[1] Sincere is here used in the sense of incorruptible, or
perhaps unspoiled,--the quality of the Heavens as contrasted with
the Earth.

[2] The elements axe informed, that is, receive their specific
being not immediately from Goa, but mediately through the
informing Intelligences.

[3] Literally, "from the potentiate mingling," that is, from the
matter endowed with the potentiality of becoming informed by the
vegetative and the sensitive soul.

[4] From the principle that what proceeds immediately from Goa is

CANTO VIII. Ascent to the Heaven of Venus.--Spirits of Lovers,
Source of the order and the varieties in mortal things.

The world in its peril[1] was wont to believe that the beautiful
Cypriote[2] revolving in the third epicycle rayed out mad love;
wherefore the ancient people in their ancient error not only unto
her did honor with sacrifice and with votive cry, but they
honored Dione[3] also and Cupid, the one as her mother, the other
as her son, and they said that he had sat in Dido's lap[4] And
from her, from whom I take my beginning, they took the name of
the star which the sun wooes, now at her back now at her
front.[5] I was not aware of the ascent to it; but of being in
it, my Lady, whom I saw become more beautiful, gave me full

[1] In heathen times.

[2] Venus, so called from her birth in Cyprus.

[3] Dione, daughter of Oceanus and Thetis, mother of Venus.

[4] Under the form of Ascanius, as Virgil tells in the first book
of the Aeneid.

[5] According as it is morning or evening star.

And even as in a flame a spark is seen, and as voice from voice
is distinguished when one is steady and the other goes and
returns, I saw in that light other lamps moving in a circle more
and less rapidly, in the measure, I believe, of their inward
vision. From a cold cloud winds never descended, or visible or
not, go swift, that they would not seem impeded and slow to him
who had seen these divine lights coming to us, leaving the
circling begun first among the high Seraphim. And within those
who appeared most in front was sounding HOSANNA, so that never
since have I been without desire of hearing it again. Then one
came nearer to us, and alone began, "We all are ready to thy
pleasure, that thou mayest joy in us. With one circle, with one
circling, and with one thirst,[1] we revolve with the celestial
Princes,[2] to whom thou in the world once said: 'Ye who
intelligent move the third heaven;' and we are so full of love
that, to please thee, a little quiet will not be less sweet to

[1] One circle in space, one circling in eternity, one thirst for
the vision of God.

[2] The third in ascending order of the hierarchy of the Angels,
corresponding with the heaven of Venus.

After my eyes had offered themselves reverently to my Lady, and
she had of herself made them contented and assured, they turned
again to the light which had promised so much; and, "Tell who ye
are," was my utterance, stamped with great affection. And how
much greater alike in quantity and quality did I see it become,
through the new gladness which was added to its gladnesses when I
spoke! Become thus, it said to me,[1] "The world had me below
short while; and had it been longer much evil had not been which
will be. My joy which rays around me, and hides me like a
creature swathed in its own silk, holds me concealed from thee.
Much didst thou love me, and thou hadst good reason; for had I
stayed below I had showed thee of my love far more than the
leaves. That left bank which is bathed by the Rhone, after it has
mingled with the Sorgue, awaited me in due time for its lord;[2]
and that born of Ansonia[3] which is towned with Bari, with
Gaeta, and with Catona,[4] whence the Tronto and the Verde
disgorge into the sea. Already was shining on my brow the crown
of that land which the Danube waters after it abandons its German
banks;[5] and the fair Trinacria[6] (which is darkened, not by
Typhoeus but by nascent sulphur, on the gulf between Pachynus and
Pelorus which receives greatest annoy from Eurus[7]) would be
still awaiting its kings descended through me from Charles and
Rudolph,[8] if evil rule, which always embitters the subject
people, had not moved Palermo to shout, 'Die! Die!'[9] And if my
brother had taken note of this,[10] he would already put to
flight the greedy poverty of Catalonia, in order that it might
not do him harm: for truly there is need for him or for some
other to look to it, so that on his laden bark more load be not
put. His own nature, which descended niggardly from a liberal
one, would have need of such a soldiery as should not care to put
into a chest."[11]

[1] It is Charles Martel, son of Charles II. of Naples, who
speaks. He was born about 1270, and in 1294 he was at Florence
for more than twenty days, and at this time may have become
acquainted with Dante. Great honor was done him by the
Florentines, and he showed great love to them, so that he won
favor from everybody, says Villani. He died in 1295.

[2] Charles of Anjou, grandfather of Charles Martel, had received
this part of Provence as dowry of his wife Beatrice, the youngest
daughter of Raymond Berenger.

[3] A name for Italy, used only by the poets.

[4] Bari on the Adriatic, Gaeta on the Mediterranean, and Catons
at the too of Italy, together with the two rivers named, give
roughly the boundaries of the Kingdom of Naples.

[5] The mother of Charles Martel was sister of Ladislaus IV.,
King of Hungary. He died without offspring, and Charles II.
claimed the kingdom by right of his wife.

[6] Sicily; the gulf darkened by sulphurous fumes is the Bay of
Calabria, which lies exposed to Eurus, that is, to winds from the

[7] The sea between Cape Pachynus, the extreme southeastern
point of the island, and Cape Pelorus, the extreme northeastern,
lies exposed to the violence of Eurus or the East wind. Clouds of
smoke from Etna sometimes darken it. The eruptions of Etna were
ascribed by Ovid (Metam. v., 346-353) to the struggles of
Typhoeus, one of the rebellious Giants. Ovid's verses suggested
this description.

[8] From his father, Charles H., or his grandfather, Charles of
Anjou, and from the Emperor Rudolph of Hapsburg, who was the
father of Clemence, Charles Martel's wife.

[9] By the insurrection which began at Palermo in 1282,--the
famous Sicilian Vespers,--the French were driven from the island.

[10] This brother was Robert, the third son of Charles II. He had
been kept as a hostage in Catalonia from 1288 to 1295, and when
he became King of Naples in 1309 he introduced into his service
many Catalonian officials. The words of Charles Martel are
prophetic of the evils wrought by their greed.

[11] Officials who would not, by oppression of the subjects, seek
their private gain.

"Because I believe that the deep joy which thy speech, my lord,
infuses in me is seen by thee there where every good ends and
begins[1] even as I see it in myself, it is the more grateful to
me; and this also I hold dear, that thou discernest it, gazing
upon God.[2] Thou hast made me glad; and in like wise do thou
make clear to me (since in speaking thou bast moved me to doubt)
how bitter can issue from sweet seed." This I to him; and he to
me, "If I am able to show to thee a truth, thou wilt hold thy
face to that which thou askest, as thou dost hold thy back. The
Good which turns and contents all the realm which thou ascendest,
makes its providence to be a power in these great bodies.[3] And
not the natures only are foreseen in the Mind which by itself is
perfect, but they together with their salvation.[4] For
whatsoever this bow shoots falls disposed to its foreseen end,
even as a thing directed to its aim. Were this not so, the
heavens through which thou journeyest would produce
their effects in such wise that they would not be works of art
but ruins; and that cannot be, if the Intelligences which move
these stars are not defective, and defective also the prime
Intelligence which has not made them perfect.[5] Dost thou wish
that this truth be made still clearer to thee?" And I, "No,
truly; because I see it to be impossible that Nature should weary
in that which is needful."[6] Whereupon he again, "Now say, would
it be worse for man on earth if he were not a citizen?"[7] "Yes,"
answered I, "and here I ask not the reason."[8] "And can he be
so, unless he live there below in divers manner through divers
offices?[9] No; if your master[10] writes well of this." So he
went on deducing far as here; then he concluded, "Hence it
behoves that the roots of your works must be diverse.[11]
Wherefore one is born Solon, and another Xerxes, another
Melchisedech, and another he who, flying through the air, lost
his son. The revolving nature, which is the seal of the mortal
wax, performs its art well, but does not distinguish one inn from
another.[12] Hence it happens that Esau differs in seed from
Jacob, and Quirinus comes from so mean a father that he is
ascribed to Mars. The generated nature would always make its path
like its progenitors, if the divine foresight did not conquer.
Now that which was behind thee is before thee, but that
thou mayest know that I have joy in thee, I wish that thou cloak
thee with a corollary.[13] Nature, if she find fortune discordant
with herself, like every other seed out of its region, always
makes bad result. And if the world down there would fix attention
on the foundation which nature lays, following that, it would
have its people good. But ye wrest to religion one who shall be
born to gird on the sword, and ye make a king of one who is for
preaching; wherefore your track is out of the road."

[1] Is seen in the mind of God.

[2] My own joy is the dearer in that thou seest that it is more
grateful to me because known by thee.

[3] The providence of God is fulfilled through the influences of
the Heavens acting upon the natures subject to them.

[4] That is, together with the good ends for which they are
created and ordained.

[5] Defect in the subordinate Intelligences would imply defect in
God, which is impossible.

[6] It is impossible that the order of nature should fail, that
order being the design of God in creation.

[7] That is, united with other men in society.

[8] Because man is by nature a social animal, and cannot attain
his true end except as a member of a community.

[9] Society cannot exist without diversity in the functions of
its members.

[10] Aristotle, "the master of human reason, who treats of this
in many places, for instance in his Ethics, i. 7, where he speaks
of man as "by nature social," so that his end is accomplished
only in society.

[11] Human dispositions, the roots of human works, must be
diverse in order to produce diverse effects.

[12] The spheres pour down their various influences without
discrimination in the choice of the individual upon whom they
fall. Hence sons may differ in their dispositions from their

[13] This additional statement completes the instruction, as a
cloak completes the clothing of a body.

CANTO IX. The Heaven of Venus.--Conversation of Dante with
Cunizza da Romano,--With Folco of Marseilles.--Rahab.--Avarice of
the Papal Court.

After thy Charles, O beautiful Clemence,[1] had enlightened me,
he told to me of the treasons which his seed must suffer. But he
said, "Be silent, and let the years revolve:" so that I can tell
nothing, save that just lament shall follow on your wrongs.[2]

[1] The widow of Charles Martel.

[2] Those who have done the wrong shall justly lament therefor.

And now the life of that holy light had turned again unto the Sun
which fills it, as that Good which suffices for every thing. Ah,
souls deceived, and creatures impious, who from such Good turn
away your hearts, directing your foreheads unto vanity!

And lo! another of those splendors made towards me, and in
brightening outwardly was signifying its will to please me. The
eyes of Beatrice, which were fixed upon me, as before, made me
assured of dear assent to my desire. "I pray thee give swift
quittance to my wish, blessed spirit," I said, "and afford me
proof that what think I can reflect on thee."[1] Whereon the
light which was still new[2] to me, from out its depth, wherein
erst it was singing, proceeded, as one whom doing good delights,
"In that part[3] of the wicked Italian land, which lies between
Rialto and the founts of the Brenta and the Piave, rises a
hill,[4] and mounts not very high, whence a torch descended which
made a great assault upon that district. From one root both I and
it were born; Cunizza was I called; and I am refulgent here
because the light of this star overcame me. But gladly do I
pardon to myself the cause of my lot, and it gives me no
annoy;[5] which perhaps would seem difficult to your vulgar. Of
this resplendent and dear jewel of our kingdom,[6] who is nearest
to me, great fame has remained, and ere it die away this
hundredth year shall yet come round five times. See if man ought
to make himself excellent, so that the first may leave another
life! And this the present crowd, which the Tagliameuto and the
Adige shut in,[7] considers not; nor yet by being scourged doth
it repent. But it will soon come to pass that at the marsh Padua
will discolor the water which bathes Vicenza, because her people
are stubborn against duty.[8] And where the Sile and the Cagnano
unite, one lords it, and goes with his head high, for catching
whom the web is already spun.[9] Feltro will yet weep the crime
of its impious shepherd, which will be so shameful, that, for a
like, none ever entered Malta.[10] Too large would be the vat
which would hold the Ferrarese blood, and weary he who should
weigh it, ounce by ounce, which this courteous priest will give
to show himself a partisan;[11] and such gifts will be conformed
to the living of the country. Above are mirrors, ye call them
Thrones,[12] wherefrom God shines on us in his judgments, so
that these words seem good to us."[13] Here she was silent, and
had to me the semblance of being turned elsewhither by the wheel
in which she set herself as she was before.[14]

[1] That thou, gazing on the mind of God, seest therein my

[2] Still unknown by name.

[3] The March of Treviso, lying between Venice (Rialto) and the

[4] The hill on which stood the little stronghold of Romano, the
birthplace of the tyrant Azzolino, or Ezzolino, whom Dante had
seen in Hell (Canto XII.) punished for his cruel misdeeds, in the
river of boiling blood. Cunizza was his sister.

[5] The sin which has limited the capacity of bliss, the sin
which has determined the low grade in Paradise of Cunizza, is
forgiven and forgotten, and she, like Piccarda, wishes only for
that blessedness which she has.

[6] Folco, or Foulquet, of Marseilles, once a famous singer of
songs of love, then a bishop. He died in 1213.

[7] The people of the region where Cunizza lived.

[8] The Paduan Guelphs, resisting the Emperor, to whom they owed
duty, were defeated more than once, near Vicenza, by Can Grande,
during the years in which Dante was writing his poem.

[9] The Sile and the Cagnano unite at Treviso, whose lord,
Ricciardo da Camino, was assassinated in 1312.

[10] An act of treachery on the part of the Bishop and Lord of
Feltro, Alessandro Novello, in delivering up Ghibelline exiles
from Ferrara, of whom thirty were beheaded; a treason so vile
that in the tower called Malta, where ecclesiastics who committed
capital crimes were imprisoned, no such crime as his was ever

[11] That is, of the Guelphs, by whom the designation of The
Party was appropriated.

[12] The Thrones were, according to St. Gregory, that order of
Angels through whom God executes his judgments.

[13] Because we see reflected from the Thrones the judgment of
God above to fall on the guilty.

[14] See Canto VIII., near the beginning.

The next joy, which was already known to me as an illustrious
thing,[1] became to my sight like a fine ruby whereon the sun
should strike. Through joy effulgence is gained there on high,
even as a smile here; but below[2] the shade darkens outwardly,
as the mind is sad.

[1] By the words of Cunizza.

[2] In Hell.

"God sees everything, and thy vision, blessed spirit, is in Him,"
said I, "so that no wish can steal itself away from thee. Thy
voice, then, that ever charms the heavens, with the song of those
pious fires which make a cowl for themselves with their six
wings,[1] why does it not satisfy my desires? Surely I should not
wait for thy request if I in-theed myself, as thou thyself
in-meest."[2] "The greatest deep in which the water spreads,"[3]
began then his words, "except of that sea which garlands the
earth, between its discordant shores stretches so far counter to
the sun, that it makes a meridian where first it was wont to make
the horizon.[4] I was a dweller on the shore of that deep,
between the Ebro and the Magra,[5] which, for a short way,
divides the Genoese from the Tuscan. With almost the same sunset
and the same sunrise sit Buggea and the city whence I was, which
once made its harbor warm with its own blood.[6] That people to
whom my name was known called me Folco, and this heaven is
imprinted by me, as I was by it. For the daughter of Belus,[7]
harmful alike to Sichaeus and Creusa, burned not more than I, so
long as it befitted my hair;[8] nor she of Rhodopea who was
deluded by Demophoon;[9] nor Alcides when he had enclosed Iole in
his heart.[10] Yet one repents not here, but smiles, not for the
fault which returns not to the memory, but for the power which
ordained and foresaw. Here one gazes upon the art which adorns so
great a work, and the good is discerned whereby the world above
turns that below.

[1] The Seraphim, who with their wings cover their faces. See
Isaiah, vi. 2.

[2] If I saw thee inwardly as thou seest me. Dante invents the
words he uses here, and they are no less unfamiliar in Italian
than in English.

[3] The Mediterranean.

[4] According to the geography of the time the Mediterranean
stretched from east to west ninety degrees of longitude.

[5] Between the Ebro in Spain and the Magra in Italy lies
Marseilles, under almost the same meridian as Buggea (now Bougie)
on the African coast.

[6] When the fleet of Caesar defeated that of Pompey with its
contingent of vessels and soldiers of Marseilles, B. C. 49.

[7] Dido.

[8] Till my hair grew thin and gray.

[9] Phyllis, daughter of the king of Thrace, who hung herself
when deserted by Demophoon, the son of Theseus.

[10] The excess of the love of Hercules for Iole led to his

"But in order that thou mayst bear away satisfied all thy wishes
which have been born in this sphere, it behoves me to proceed
still further. Thou wouldst know who is in this light, which
beside me here so sparkles, as a sunbeam on clear water. Now know
that therewithin Rahab[1] is at rest, and being joined with our
order it is sealed by her in the supreme degree. By this heaven
in which the shadow that your world makes comes to a point[2] she
was taken up before any other soul at the triumph of Christ. It
was well befitting to leave her in some heaven, as a palm of the
high victory which was won with the two hands,[3] because she
aided the first glory of Joshua within the Holy Land, which
little touches the memory of the Pope.

[1] "By faith the harlot Rabab perished not with them that
believed not."--Hebrews, xi. 31. See Joshua, ii. 1-21; vi. 17;
James, ii. 25.

[2] The conical shadow of the earth ended, according to Ptolemy,
at the heaven of Venus. Philalethes suggests that there may be
here an allegorical meaning, the shadow of the earth being shown
in feebleness of will, worldly ambition, and inordinate love,
which have allotted the souls who appear in these first heavens
to the lowest grades in Paradise.

[3] Nailed to the cross. The glory of Joshua was the winning of
the Holy Land for the inheritance of the children of Israel.

"Thy city, which is plant of him who first turned his back on his
Maker, and whose envy[1] has been so bewept, produces and
scatters the accursed flower[2] which has led astray the sheep
and the lambs, because it has made a wolf of the shepherd. For
this the Gospel and the great Doctors are deserted, and there is
study only of the Decretals,[3] as is apparent by their margins.
On this the Pope and the Cardinals are intent; their thoughts go
not to Nazareth, there where Gabriel spread his wings. But the
Vatican, and the other elect parts of Rome, which have been the
burial place for the soldiery that followed Peter, shall soon be
free from this adultery."[4]

[1] "Through envy of the devil came death into the world."--
Wisdom of Solomon, ii. 24.

[2] The lily on its florin.

[3] The books of the Ecclesiastical Law.

[4] By the removal in 1305 of the Papal Court to Avignon.

CANTO X. Ascent to the Sun.--Spirits of the wise, and the learned
in theology.--St. Thomas Aquinas.--He names to Dante those who
surround him.

Looking upon His Son with the Love which the one and the other
eternally breathe forth, the Primal and Ineffable Power made
everything which revolves through the mind or through space with
such order that he who contemplates it cannot be without taste of
Him.[1] Lift then thy sight, Reader, with me to the lofty wheels,
straight to that region where the one motion strikes on the
other;[2] and there begin to gaze with delight on the art of that
Master who within Himself so loves it that His eye never departs
from it. See how from that point the oblique circle which bears
the planets[3] branches off, to satisfy the world which calls on
them;[4] and if their road had not been bent, much virtue in the
heavens would be in vain, and well-nigh every potency dead here
below.[5] And if from the straight line its departure had been
more or less distant, much of the order of the world, both below
and above, would be defective. Now do thou remain, Reader, upon
thy bench,[6] following in thought that which is fore. tasted, if
thou wouldst be glad far sooner than weary. I have set before
thee; henceforth feed thee by thyself, for that theme whereof I
have been made scribe wrests all my care unto itself.

[1] All things, as well the spiritual and invisible objects of
the intelligence as the corporal and visible objects of sense,
were made by God the Father, operating through the Son, with the
love of the Holy Spirit, and made in such order that he who
contemplates the creation beholds the partial image of the

[2] At the equinox, the season of Dante's journey, the sun in
Aries is at the intersection of the ecliptic and the equator of
the celestial sphere, and his apparent motion in his annual
revolution cuts the apparent diurnal motion of the fixed stars,
which is performed in circles parallel to the equator.

[3] The ecliptic.

[4] Which invokes their influence.

[5] Because on the obliquity of their path depends the variety of
their influence.

[6] As a scholar.

The greatest minister of nature, which imprints the world with
the power of the heavens, and with its light measures the time
for us, in conjunction with that region called to mind above, was
circling through the spirals in which from day to day he earlier
presents himself.[1] And I was with him; but of the ascent I was
not aware, otherwise than as a man is aware, before his first
thought, of its coming. Beatrice is she who thus conducts from
good to better so swiftly that her act extends not through time.

[1] In that spiral course in which, according to the Ptolemaic
system, the sun passes from the equator to the tropic of Cancer,
rising earlier every day.

How lucent of itself must that have been which, within the sun
where I entered, was appareiit not by color but by light! Though
I should call on genius, art, and use, I could not tell it so
that it could ever be imagined; but it may be believed, and sight
of it longed for. And if our fancies are low for such loftiness,
it is no marvel, for beyond the sun was never eye could go.
Such[1] was here the fourth family of the High Father, who always
satisfies it, showing how He breathes forth, and how He
begets.[2] And Beatrice began, "Thank, thank thou the Sun of
the Angels, who to this visible one has raised thee by His
grace." Heart of mortal was never so disposed to devotion, and so
ready, with its own entire pleasure, to give itself to God, as I
became at those words; and all my love was so set on Him that
Beatrice was eclipsed in oblivion. It displeased her not; but she
so smiled thereat that the splendor of her smiling eyes divided
upon many things my singly intent mind.

[1] So lucent, brighter than the sun.

[2] Showing himself in the Holy Spirit and in the Son.

I saw many living and surpassing effulgences make a centre of
us, and make a crown of themselves, more sweet in voice than
shining in aspect. Thus girt we sometimes see the daughter of
Latona, when the air is pregnant so that it holds the thread
which makes the girdle.[1] In the court of Heaven, wherefrom I
return, are found many jewels so precious and beautiful that they
cannot be brought from the kingdom, and of these was the song of
those lights. Who wings not himself so that he may fly up
thither, let him await the tidings thence from the dumb.

[1] When the air is so full of vapor that it forms a halo.

After those burning suns, thus singing, had circled three times
round about us, like stars near fixed poles, they seemed to me as
ladies not loosed from a dance, but who stop silent, listening
till they have caught the new notes. And within one I heard
begin, "Since the ray of grace, whereby true love is kindled, and
which thereafter grows multiplied in loving, so shines on thee
that it conducts thee upward by that stair upon which, without
reascending, no one descends, he who should deny to thee the wine
of his flask for thy thirst, would not be more at liberty than
water which descends not to the sea.[1] Thou wishest to know with
what plants this garland is enflowered, which, round about her,
gazes with delight upon the, beautiful Lady who strengthens thee
for heaven. I was of the lambs of the holy flock[2] which Dominic
leads along the way where one fattens well if he stray not.[3]
This one who is nearest to me on the right was my brother and
master; and he was Albert of Cologne,[4] and I Thomas of Aquino.
If thus of all the rest thou wishest to be informed, come,
following my speech, with thy sight circling around upon the
blessed chaplet. That next flaming issues from the smile of
Gratian, who so assisted one court and the other that it pleases
in Paradise.[5] The next, who at his side adorns our choir, was
that Peter who, like the poor woman, offered his treasure to Holy
Church.[6] The fifth light, which is most beautiful among us,[7]
breathes from such love, that all the world there below is greedy
to know tidings of it.[8] Within it is the lofty mind, wherein
wisdom so profound was put, that, if the truth is true, to see so
much no second has arisen.[9] At his side thou seest the light of
that candle, which, below in the flesh, saw most inwardly the
angelic nature, and its ministry.[10] In the next little light
smiles that advocate of the Christian times, with whose discourse
Augustine provided himself.[11] Now if thou leadest the eye of
the mind, following my praises, from light to light, thou
remainest already thirsting for the eighth. Therewithin, through
seeing every good, the holy soul rejoices which makes the deceit
of the world manifest to whoso hears him well.[12] The body
whence it was hunted out lies below in Cieldauro,[13] and from
martyrdom and from exile it came unto this peace. Beyond thou
seest flaming the burning breath of Isidore, of Bede, and of
Richard who in contemplation was more than man.[14] The one from
whom thy look returns to me is the light of a spirit to whom in
grave thoughts death seemed to come slow. It is the eternal light
of Sigier,[15] who reading in the Street of Straw syllogized
truths which were hated."

[1] He would be restrained against his nature, as water prevented
from flowing down to the sea.

[2] Of the Order of St. Dominic.

[3] Where one acquires spiritual good, if he be not
distracted by the allurement of worldly things.

[4] The learned Doctor, Albertus Magnus.

[5] Gratian was an Italian Benedictine monk, who lived in
the 12th century, and compiled the famous work known
as the Decretum Gratiani, composed of texts of Scripture,
of the Canons of the Church, of Decretals of the Popes,
and of extracts from the Fathers, designed to show the
agreement of the civil and ecclesiastical law,--a work
pleasing in Paradise because promoting concord between
the two authorities.

[6] Peter Lombard, a theologian of the 12th century,
known as Magister Sententiarum, from his compilation of
extracts relating to the doctrines of the Church, under the
title of Sententiarum Libri IV. In the proem to his work he
says that he desired, "like the poor widow, to cast
something from his penury into the treasury of the Lord."

[7] Solomon.

[8] It was matter of debate whether Solomon was among
the blessed or the damned.

[9] "Lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding
heart; so that there was none like thee before thee,
neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee."--1 Kings,
iii. 12.

[10] Dionysius the Areopagite, the disciple of St. Paul
(Acts, xvii. 34), to whom was falsely ascribed a book of
great repute, written in the fourth century, " On the
Celestial Hierarchy."

[11] Paulus Orosius, who wrote his History against the
Pagans, at the request of St. Augustine, to defend
Christianity from the charge brought against it by the
Gentiles of being the source of the calamities which had
befallen the Roman world. His work might be regarded as
a supplement to St. Augustine's De Civitate Dei.

[12] Boethins, statesman and philosopher. whose work,
De Consolatione Philosophiae, was one of the books held in
highest esteem by Dante.

[13] Boethius, who was put to death in Pavia, in 524, was buried
in the church of S. Pietro in Ciel d' Oro--St. Peter's of the
Golden Ceiling.

[14] Isidore, bishop of Seville, died 636; the Venerable Bede,
died 735; Richard, prior of the Monastery of St. Victor, at
Paris, a mystic of the 12th century; all eminent theologians.

[15] Sigier of Brabant, who lectured, applying logic to questions
in theology, at Paris, in the 13th century, in the Rue du

Then, as a horologe which calls us at the hour when the
Bride of God[1] rises to sing matins to her Bridegroom
that he may love her, in which the one part draws and
urges the other, sounding ting! ting! with such sweet
note that the well-disposed spirit swells with love, so saw
I the glorious wheel move, and render voice to voice in
concord and in sweetness which cannot be known save
there where joy becomes eternal.

[1] The Church.

CANTO XI. The Vanity of worldly desires,--St. Thomas Aquinas
undertakes to solve two doubts perplexing Dante.--He narrates the
life of St. Francis of Assisi.

O insensate care of mortals, how defective are those syllogisms
which make thee downward beat thy wings! One was going after the
Laws, and one after the Aphorisms,[1] and one following the
priesthood, and one to reign by force or by sophisms, and one to
rob, and one to civic business; one, involved in pleasure of the
flesh, was wearying himself, and one was giving himself to
idleness, when I, loosed from all these things, with Beatrice,
was thus gloriously received on high in Heaven.

[1] The Aphorisms of Hippocrates, meaning here, the study of

When each[1] had returned unto that point of the circle at which

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