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Upon the left hand four made holiday 130

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. ijs

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 , Mc

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 »<s

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. 's>

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,

So upon that celestial chariot

A hundred rose ad voccm tanii scnis,
Ministers and messengers of life eternal.

They all were saying, "Benedictus qui zwtis,"

And, scattering flowers above and round about, "Manibus o date liliet 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.

\nd 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, «j

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 jo

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?" 75

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 «c

Tasteth the savour of severe compassion.
Silent became she, and the Angels sang
Suddenly, "In te, Domine, spcravi:"
But beyond pedes mcos 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, v

"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 ux

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."


"O Thou who art beyond the sacred river,"
Turning to me the point of her discourse,
That edgewise even had seemed to me so keen,

She recommenced, continuing without pause,
"Say, say if this be true; to such a charge,
Thy own confession needs must be conjoined."

My faculties were in so great confusion,

That the voice moved, but sooner was extinct
Than by its organs it was set at large.

Awhile she waited; then she said: "What thinkest?
Answer me; for the mournful memories
In thee not yet are by the waters injured."

Confusion and dismay together mingled

Forced such a Yes! from out my mouth, that sight
Was needful to the understanding of it.

Even as a cross-bow breaks, when 'tis discharged
Too tensely drawn the bowstring and the bow,
And with less force the arrow hits the mark,

So I gave way beneath that heavy burden,
Outpouring in a torrent tears and sighs,
And the voice flagged upon its passage forth.

Whence she to me: "In those desires of mine
Which led thee to the loving of that good,
Beyond which there is nothing to aspire to,

What trenches lying traverse or what chains

Didst thou discover, that of passing onward

Thou shouldst have thus despoiled thee of the hope?

And what allurements or what vantages

Upon the forehead of the others showed,

That thou shouldst turn thy footsteps unto them?"

After the heaving of a bitter sigh,

Hardly had I the voice to make response,
And with fatigue my lips did fashion it.

Weeping I said: "The things that present were

With their false pleasure turned aside my steps,
Soon as your countenance concealed itself."

And she: "Shouldst thou be silent, or deny
What thou confessest, not less manifest
Would be thy fault, by such a Judge 'tis known.

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