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And as to messenger who bears the olive

The people throng to listen to the news,

And no one shows himself afraid of crowding, So at the sight of me stood motionless

Those fortunate spirits, all of them, as if

Oblivious to go and make them fair.
One from among them saw I coming forward,

As to embrace me, with such great affection,

That it incited me to do the like.
O empty shadows, save in aspect only!

Three times behind it did I clasp my hands,

As oft returned with them to my own breast ! I think with wonder I depicted me;

Whereat the shadow smiled and backward drew;

And I, pursuing it, pressed farther forward. Gently it said that I should stay my steps;

Then knew I who it was, and I entreated

That it would stop awhile to speak with me. It made reply to me: “Even as I loved thee

In mortal body, so I love thee free;

Therefore I stop; but wherefore goest thou ?” “ My own Casella ! to return once more

There where I am, I make this journey,” said I;

“But how from thee has so much time be taken ?” And he to me: “No outrage has been done me,

If he who takes both when and whom he pleases

Has many times denied to me this passage, For of a righteous will his own is made.

He, sooth to say, for three months past has taken

Whoever wished to enter with all peace; Whence I, who now had turned unto that shore

Where salt the waters of the Tiber grow,

Benignantly by him have been received. Unto that outlet now his wing is pointed,

Because for evermore assemble there

Those who tow'rds Acheron do not descend.” And I: “ If some new law take not from thee

Memory or practice of the song of love,

Which used to quiet in me all my longings, Thee may it please to comfort therewithal

Somewhat this soul of mine, that with its body

Hitherward coming is so much distressed." - Love, that within my mind discourses with me,"

Forthwith began he so melodiously,
The melody within me still is sounding.

My Master, and myself, and all that people

Which with him were, appeared as satisfied

As if naught else might touch the mind of any. We all of us were moveless and attentive

Unto his notes; and lo! the grave old man,

Exclaiming : “What is this, ye laggard spirits ? What negligence, what standing still is this?

Run to the mountain to strip off the slough,

That lets not God be manifest to you.” Even as when, collecting grain or tares,

The doves, together at their pasture met,

Quiet, nor showing their accustomed pride, If aught appear of which they are afraid,

Upon a sudden leave their food alone,

Because they are assailed by greater care ; So that fresh company did I behold

The song relinquish, and go tow'rds the hill,

As one who goes, and knows not whitherward; Nor was our own departure less in haste.


INASMUCH as the instantaneous flight

Had scattered them asunder o'er the plain,

Turned to the mountain whither reason spurs us, I pressed me close unto my faithful comrade,

And how without him had I kept my course?

Who would have led me up along the mountain ? He seemed to me within himself remorseful ;

O noble conscience, and without a stain,

How sharp a sting is trivial fault to thee ! After his feet had laid aside the haste

Which mars the dignity of every act,

My mind, that hitherto had been restrained, Let loose its faculties as if delighted,

And I my sight directed to the hill

That highest tow'rds the heaven uplifts itself. The sun, that in our rear was flaming red,

Was broken in front of me into the figure

Which had in me the stoppage of its rays;
Unto one side I turned me, with the fear

Of being left alone, when I beheld
Only in front of me the ground obscured.

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“Why dost thou still mistrust ?” my Comforter

Began to say to me turned wholly round;

“Dost thou not think me with thee, and that I guide thee? 'Tis evening there already where is buried

The body within which I cast a shadow;

'Tis from Brundusium ta'en, and Naples has it. Now if in front of me no shadow fall,

Marvel not at it more than at the heavens,

Because one ray impedeth not another. To suffer torments, both of cold and heat,

Bodies like this that Power provides, which wills

That how it works be not unveiled to us. Insane is he who hopeth that our reason

Can traverse the illimitable way,

Which the one Substance in three Persons follows ! Mortals, remain contented at the Quia;

For if ye had been able to see all,

No need there were for Mary to give birth; And ye have seen desiring without fruit,

Those whose desire would have been quieted,

Which evermore is given them for a grief. I speak of Aristotle and of Plato,

And many others";—and here bowed his head,

And more he said not, and remained disturbed. We came meanwhile unto the mountain's foot;

There so precipitate we found the rock,

That nimble legs would there have been in vain. 'Twixt Lerici and Turbia, the most desert,

The most secluded pathway is a stair

Easy and open, if compared with that. “Who knoweth now upon which hand the hill

Slopes down," my Master said, his footsteps staying,

“So that who goeth without wings may mount?”. And while he held his eyes upon the ground

Examining the nature of the path,

And I was looking up around the rock, On the left hand appeared to me a throng

Of souls, that moved their feet in our direction,

And did not seem to move, they came so slowly. “Lift up thine eyes,” I to the Master said ;

“Behold, on this side, who will give us counsel,

If thou of thine own self can have it not.”
Then he looked at me, and with frank expression
Replied : “ Let us go there, for they come slowly,

65 And thou be steadfast in thy hope, sweet son.”

Still was that people as far off from us,

After a thousand steps of ours I say,

As a good thrower with his hand would reach, When they all crowded unto the hard masses

Of the high bank, and motionless stood and close,

As he stands still to look who goes in doubt. “ O happy dead! O spirits elect already!”

Virgilius made beginning, “ by that peace

Which I believe is waiting for you all, Tell us upon what side the mountain slopes,

So that the going up be possible,

For to lose time irks him most who most knows.” As sheep come issuing forth from out the fold

By ones and twos and threes, and the others stand

Timidly, holding down their eyes and nostrils, And what the foremost does the others do,

Huddling themselves against her, if she stop,

Simple and quiet and the wherefore know not ; So moving to approach us thereupon

I saw the leader of that fortunate flock,

Modest in face and dignified in gait. As soon as those in the advance saw broken

The light upon the ground at my right side,

So that from me the shadow reached the rock,
They stopped, and backward drew themselves somewhat;

And all the others, who came after them,

Not knowing why nor wherefore, did the same. “Without your asking, I confess to you

This is a human body which you see,

Whereby the sunshine on the ground is cleft. Marvel ye not thereat, but be persuaded

That not without a power which comes from Heaven

Doth he endeavour to surmount this wall.” The Master thus; and said those worthy people :

“Return ye then, and enter in before us,"

Making a signal with the back o' the hand. And one of them began : “Whoe'er thou art,

Thus going turn thine eyes, consider well

If e'er thou saw me in the other world.”
I turned me tow'rds him, and looked at him closely;

Blond was he, beautiful, and of noble aspect,

But one of his eyebrows had a blow divided.
When with humility I had disclaimed

E’er having seen him, “Now behold !” he said,
And showed me high upon his breast a wound,




Then said he with a smile: “ I am Manfredi,

The grandson of the Empress Costanza;

Therefore, when thou returnest, I beseech thee Go to my daughter beautiful, the mother

Of Sicily's honour and of Aragon's,

And the truth tell her, if aught else be told. After I had my body lacerated

By these two mortal stabs, I gave myself

Weeping to Him, who willingly doth pardon. Horrible my iniquities had been ;

But Infinite Goodness hath such ample arms,

That it receives whatever turns to it. Had but Cosenza's pastor, who in chase

Of me was sent by Clement at that time,

In God read understandingly this page, The bones of my dead body still would be

At the bridge-head, near unto Benevento,

Under the safeguard of the heavy cairn. Now the rain bathes and moveth them the wind,

Beyond the realm, almost beside the Verde,

Where he transported them with tapers quenched. By malison of theirs is not so lost

Eternal Love, that it cannot return,

So long as hope has anything of green. True is it, who in contumacy dies

Of Holy Church, though penitent at last,

Must wait upon the outside this bank Thirty times told the time that he has been

In his presumption, unless such decree

Shorter by means of righteous prayers become. See now if thou hast power to make me happy,

By making known unto my good Costanza

How thou hast seen me, and this ban beside, For those on earth can much advance us here."


WHENEVER by delight or else by pain,

That seizes any faculty of ours,

Wholly to that the soul collects itself,
It seemeth that no other power it heeds;

And this against that error is which thinks
One soul above another kindles in us.

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