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They all of them were singing : “Blessed thou

Among the daughters of Adam art, and blessed

For evermore shall be thy loveliness." After the flowers and other tender grasses

In front of me upon the other margin

Were disencumbered of that race elect, Even as in heaven star followeth after star,

There came close after them four animals,

Incoronate each one with verdant leaf. Plumed with six wings was every one of them,

The plumage full of eyes; the eyes of Argus

If they were living would be such as these. Reader! to trace their forms no more I waste

My rhymes ; for other spendings press me so,

That I in this cannot be prodigal. But read Ezekiel, who depicteth them

As he beheld them from the region cold

Coming with cloud, with whirlwind, and with fire ; And such as thou shalt find them in his pages,

Such were they here ; saving that in their plumage

John is with me, and differeth from him. The interval between these four contained

A chariot triumphal on two wheels,

Which by a Griffin's neck came drawn along; And upward he extended both his wings

Between the middle list and three and three,

So that he injured none by cleaving it.
So high they rose that they were lost to sight;

His limbs were gold, so far as he was bird,

And white the others with vermilion mingled. Not only Rome with no such splendid car

E’er gladdened Africanus, or Augustus,

But poor to it that of the Sun would be,That of the Sun, which swerving was burnt up

At the importunate orison of Earth,

When Jove was so mysteriously just. Three maidens at the right wheel in a circle

Came onward dancing ; one so very red

That in the fire she hardly had been noted. The second was as if her flesh and bones

Had all been fashioned out of emerald ;

The third appeared as snow but newly fallen.
And now they seemed conducted by the white,

Now by the red, and from the song of her
The others took their step, or slow or swift.

Upon the left hand four made holiday

Vested in purple, following the measure

Of one of them with three eyes in her head. In rear of all the group here treated of

Two old men I beheld, unlike in habit,

But like in gait, each dignified and grave. One showed himself as one of the disciples

Of that supreme Hippocrates, whom nature

Made for the animals she holds most dear; Contrary care the other manifested,

With sword so shining and so sharp, it caused

Terror to me on this side of the river. Thereafter four I saw of humble aspect,

And behind all an aged man alone

Walking in sleep with countenance acute. And like the foremost company these seven

Were habited; yet of the flower-de-luce

No garland round about the head they wore, But of the rose, and other flowers vermilion ;

At little distance would the sight have sworn

That all were in a flame above their brows. And when the car was opposite to me

Thunder was heard ; and all that folk august

Seemed to have further progress interdicted, There with the vanward ensigns standing still.


WHEN the Septentrion of the highest heaven

(Which never either setting knew or rising,

Nor veil of other cloud than that of sin, And which made every one therein aware

Of his own duty, as the lower makes

Whoever turns the helm to come to port) Motionless halted, the veracious people,

That came at first between it and the Griffin,

Turned themselves to the car, as to their peace. And one of them, as if by Heaven commissioned,

Singing, “ Veni, sponsa, de Libano.

Shouted three times, and all the others after.
Even as the Blessed at the final summons

Shall rise up quickened each one from his cavern,
Uplifting light the reinvested flesh,


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So upon that celestial chariot

A hundred rose ad vocem tanti senis,

Ministers and messengers of life eternal. They all were saying, “Benedictus qui venis,"

And, scattering flowers above and round about,

Manibus o date lilia plenis.Ere now have I beheld, as day began,

The eastern hemisphere all tinged with rose,

And the other heaven with fair serene adorned ; And the sun's face, uprising, overshadowed

So that by tempering influence of vapours

For a long interval the eye sustained it; Thus in the bosom of a cloud of flowers

Which from those hands angelical ascended,

And downward fell again inside and out, Over her snow-white veil with olive cinct

Appeared a lady under a green mantle,

Vested in colour of the living flame. And my own spirit, that already now

So long a time had been, that in her presence

Trembling with awe it had not stood abashed, Without more knowledge having by mine eyes,

Through occult virtue that from her proceeded

Of ancient love the mighty influence felt. As soon as on my vision smote the power

Sublime, that had already pierced me through

Ere from my boyhood I had yet come forth, To the left hand I turned with that reliance

With which the little child runs to his mother,

When he has fear, or when he is afflicted, To say unto Virgilius: “Not a drachm

Of blood remains in me, that does not tremble ;

I know the traces of the ancient flame.” But us Virgilius of himself deprived

Had left, Virgilius, sweetest of all fathers,

Virgilius, to whom I for safety gave me : Nor whatsoever lost the ancient mother

Availed my cheeks now purified from dew,

That weeping they should not again be darkened. “ Dante, because Virgilius has departed

Do not weep yet, do not weep yet awhile ;

For by another sword thou need'st must weep."
E'en as an admiral, who on poop and prow

Comes to behold the people that are working
In other ships, and cheers them to well-doing,

Upon the left hand border of the car,

When at the sound I turned of my own name,

Which of necessity is here recorded, I saw the Lady, who erewhile appeared

Veiled underneath the angelic festival,

Direct her eyes to me across the river. Although the veil, that from her head descended,

Encircled with the foliage of Minerva,

Did not permit her to appear distinctly, In attitude still royally majestic

Continued she, like unto one who speaks,

And keeps his warmest utterance in reserve : “ Look at me well; in sooth I'm Beatrice !

How didst thou deign to come unto the Mountain ?

Didst thou not know that man is happy here ?" Mine eyes fell downward into the clear fountain,

But, seeing myself therein, I sought the grass,

So great a shame did weigh my forehead down. As to the son the mother seems superb,

So she appeared to me; for somewhat bitter

Tasteth the savour of severe compassion. Silent became she, and the Angels sang

Suddenly, In te, Domine, speravi : "

But beyond pedes meos did not pass. Even as the snow among the living rafters

Upon the back of Italy congeals,

Blown on and drifted by Sclavonian winds, And then, dissolving, trickles through itself

Whene'er the land that loses shadow breathes,

So that it seems a fire that melts a taper; E'en thus was I without a tear or sigh,

Before the song of those who sing for ever

After the music of the eternal spheres. But when I heard in their sweet melodies

Compassion for me, more than had they said,

“O wherefore, lady, dost thou thus upbraid him ?”. The ice, that was about my heart congealed,

To air and water changed, and in my anguish

Through mouth and eyes came gushing from my breast. She, on the right-hand border of the car

Still firmly standing, to those holy beings

Thus her discourse directed afterwards : “Ye keep your watch in the eternal day,

So that nor night nor sleep can steal from you
One step the ages make upon their path;


Therefore my answer is with greater care,

That he may hear me who is weeping yonder,

So that the sin and dole be of one measure. Not only by the work of those great wheels,

That destine every seed unto some end,

According as the stars are in conjunction, But by the largess of celestial graces,

Which have such lofty vapours for their rain

That near to them our sight approaches not, Such had this man become in his new life

Potentially, that every righteous habit

Would have made admirable proof in him ; But so much more malignant and more savage

Becomes the land untilled and with bad seed,

The more good earthly vigour it possesses. Some time did I sustain him with my look ;

Revealing unto him my youthful eyes,

I led him with me turned in the right way. As soon as ever of my second age

I was upon the threshold and changed life,

Himself from me he took and gave to others. When from the flesh to spirit I ascended,

And beauty and virtue were in me increased,

I was to him less dear and less delightful ; And into ways untrue he turned his steps,

Pursuing the false images of good,

That never any promises fulfil ; Nor prayer for inspiration me availed,

By means of which in dreams and otherwise

I called him back, so little did he heed them. So low he fell, that all appliances

For his salvation were already short,

Save showing him the people of perdition. For this I visited the gates of death,

And unto him, who so far up has led him,

My intercessions were with weeping borne. God's lofty fiat would be violated,

If Lethe should be passed, and if such viands

Should tasted be, withouten any scot Of penitence, that gushes forth in tears.”

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