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Therefore I pass to what time I awoke,

And say a splendour rent from me the veil

Of slumber, and a calling : “Rise, what dost thou ?" As to behold the apple-tree in blossom

Which makes the Angels greedy for its fruit,

And keeps perpetual bridals in the Heaven, Peter and John and James conducted were,

And, overcome, recovered at the word

By which still greater slumbers have been broken, And saw their school diminished by the loss

Not only of Elias, but of Moses,

And the apparel of their Master changed ; So I revived, and saw that piteous one

Above me standing, who had been conductress

Aforetime of my steps beside the river, And all in doubt I said, “Where's Beatrice?"

And she: “ Behold her seated underneath

The leafage new, upon the root of it. Behold the company that circles her ;

The rest behind the Griffin are ascending

With more melodious song, and more profound.” And if her speech were more diffuse I know not,

Because already in my sight was she

Who from the hearing of aught else had shut me. Alone she sat upon the very earth,

Left there as guardian of the chariot

Which I had seen the biform monster fasten. Encircling her, a cloister made themselves

The seven Nymphs, with those lights in their hands

Which are secure from Aquilon and Auster. “Short while shalt thou be here a forester,

And thou shalt be with me for evermore

A citizen of that Rome where Christ is Roman. Therefore, for that world's good which liveth ill,

Fix on the car thine eyes, and what thou seest,

Having returned to earth, take heed thou write." Thus Beatrice; and I, who at the feet

Of her commandments all devoted was,

My mind and eyes directed where she willed. Never descended with so swift a motion

Fire from a heavy cloud, when it is raining

From out the region which is most remote,
As I beheld the bird of Jove descend

Down through the tree, rending away the bark,
As well as blossoms and the foliage new,





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And he with all his might the chariot smote,

Whereat it reeled, like vessel in a tempest

Tossed by the waves, now starboard and now larboard. Thereafter saw I leap into the body

Of the triumphal vehicle a Fox,

That seemed unfed with any wholesome food. But for his hideous sins upbraiding him,

My Lady put him to as swift a flight

As such a fleshless skeleton could bear. Then by the way that it before had come,

Into the chariot's chest I saw the Eagle

Descend, and leave it feathered with his plumes. And such as issues from a heart that mourns,

A voice from Heaven there issued, and it said :

“My little bark, how badly 'art thou freighted !" Methought, then, that the earth did yawn between

Both wheels, and I saw rise from it a Dragon,

Who through the chariot upward fixed his tail, And as a wasp that draweth back its sting,

Drawing unto himself his tail malign,

Drew out the floor, and went his way rejoicing. That which remained behind, even as with grass

A fertile region, with the feathers, offered

Perhaps with pure intention and benign, Reclothed itself, and with them were reclothed

The pole and both the wheels so speedily,

A sigh doth longer keep the lips apart. Transfigured thus the holy edifice

Thrust forward heads upon the parts of it,

Three on the pole and one at either corner. The first were horned like oxen ; but the four

Had but a single horn upon the forehead ;

A monster such had never yet been seen! Firm as a rock upon a mountain high,

Seated upon it, there appeared to me

A shameless whore, with eyes swift glancing round, And, as if not to have her taken from him,

Upright beside her I beheld a giant ;

And ever and anon they kissed each other. But because she her wanton, roving eye

Turned upon me, her angry paramour

Did scourge her from her head unto her feet. Then full of jealousy, and fierce with wrath,

He loosed the monster, and across the forest

Dragged it so far, he made of that alone
A shield unto the whore and the strange beast.







Deus, venerunt gentes," alternating

Now three, now four, melodious psalmody

The maidens in the midst of tears began; And Beatrice, compassionate and sighing,

Listened to them with such a countenance,

That scarce more changed was Mary at the cross. But when the other virgins place had given

For her to speak, uprisen to her feet

With colour as of fire, she made response : " Modicum, et non videbitis me;

Et iterum, my sisters predilect,

Modicum, et vos videbitis me."
Then all the seven in front of her she placed ;

And after her, by beckoning only, moved

Me and the lady and the sage who stayed. So she moved onward ; and I do not think

That her tenth step was placed upon the ground,

When with her eyes upon mine eyes she smote, And with a tranquil aspect, “Come more quickly,"

To me she said, “ that, if I speak with thee,

To listen to me thou mayst be well placed." As soon as I was with her as I should be,

She said to me : “Why, brother, dost thou not

Venture to question now, in coming with me?” As unto those who are too reverential,

Speaking in presence of superiors,

Who drag no living utterance to their teeth, It me befell, that without perfect sound

Began I : “ My necessity, Madonna,

You know, and that which thereunto is good.” And she to me : “Of fear and bashfulness

Henceforward I will have thee strip thyself,

So that thou speak no more as one who dreams. Know that the vessel which the serpent broke

Was, and is not; but let him who is guilty

Think that God's vengeance does not fear a sop. Without an heir shall not for ever be

The Eagle that left his plumes upon the car,
Whence it became a monster, then a prey ;


For verily I see, and hence narrate it,

The stars already near to bring the time,

From every hindrance safe, and every bar, Within which a Five-hundred, Ten, and Five,

One sent from God, shall slay the thievish woman

And that same giant who is sinning with her. And peradventure my dark utterance,

Like Themis and the Sphinx, may less persuade thee,

Since, in their mode, it clouds the intellect; But soon the facts shall be the Naiades

Who shall this difficult enigma solve,

Without destruction of the flocks and harvests. Note thou; and even as by me are uttered

These words, so teach them unto those who live

That life which is a running unto death; And bear in mind, whene'er thou writest them,

Not to conceal what thou hast seen the plant,

That twice already has been pillaged here. Whoever pillages or shatters it,

With blasphemy of deed offendeth God,

Who made it holy for his use alone. For biting that, in pain and in desire

Five thousand years and more the first-born soul

Craved Him, who punished in himself the bite. Thy genius slumbers, if it deem it not

For special reason so pre-eminent

In height, and so inverted in its summit. And if thy vain imaginings had not been

Water of Elsa round about thy mind,

And Pyramus to the mulberry, their pleasure, Thou by so many circumstances only

The justice of the interdict of God

Morally in the tree wouldst recognize. But since I see thee in thine intellect

Converted into stone and stained with sin,

So that the light of my discourse doth daze thee, I will too, if not written, at least painted,

Thou bear it back within thee, for the reason

That cinct with palm the pilgrim's staff is borne.” And I: “As by a signet is the wax

Which does not change the figure stamped upon it,

My brain is now imprinted by yourself.
But wherefore so beyond my power of sight

Soars your desirable discourse, that aye
The more I strive, so much the more I lose it ?"




“ That thou mayst recognize," she said, “ the school

Which thou hast followed, and mayst see how far

Its doctrine follows after my discourse, And mayst behold your path from the divine

Distant as far as separated is

From earth the heaven that highest hastens on." Whence her I answered: “I do not remember

That ever I estranged myself from you,

Nor have I conscience of it that reproves me.” “And if thou art not able to remember,"

Smiling she answered, “recollect thee now

That thou this very day hast drunk of Lethe ; And if from smoke a fire may be inferred,

Such an oblivion clearly demonstrates

Some error in thy will elsewhere intent. Truly from this time forward shall my words

Be naked, so far as it is befitting

To lay them open unto thy rude gaze." And more coruscant and with slower steps

The sun was holding the meridian circle,

Which, with the point of view, shifts here and there, When halted (as he cometh to a halt,

Who goes before a squadron as its escort,

If something new he find upon his way) The ladies seven at a dark shadow's edge,

Such as, beneath green leaves and branches black,

The Alp upon its frigid border wears. In front of them the Tigris and Euphrates

Methought I saw forth issue from one fountain,

And slowly part, like friends, from one another. “ O light, O glory of the human race !

What stream is this which here unfolds itself

From out one source, and from itself withdraws ?" For such a prayer, 'twas said unto me, “ Pray

Matilda that she tell thee;" and here answered,

As one does who doth free himself from blame, The beautiful lady: “ This and other things

Were told to him by me; and sure I am

The water of Lethe has not hid them from him.” And Beatrice: “ Perhaps a greater care,

Which oftentimes our memory takes away,

Has made the vision of his mind obscure.
But Eunoë behold, that yonder rises;

Lead him to it, and, as thou art accustomed,
Revive again the half-dead virtue in him.”

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