The possibility of having both heaven and hell open to us, and enabling us, therefore, to define our own existence underscores the importance Dante placed on the human project; to achieve our potential through a process of active enquiry leading to greater self-knowledge. A mission that many — particularly within higher education — would espouse today. The stature of the Divine Comedy caused a battle between Florence and Venice — both great rival centres of cultural patronage during the Renaissance — to claim Dante. This was waged through rival editions of the Divine Comedy — with academic commentaries, everyman versions and in pocket format, to name but a few variations — and several of these owned by UCL Library Special Collections dating from the late 15 th century onwards were introduced by Tabitha Tuckett.
Filed under Arts and Humanities. Name required. Mail will not be published required. Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. The Vision of Hell viii, iII. Yet we are not repenting here, but smiling, not for the sin, which to our minds returns not, but for the Worth which ordered and foresaw. Here at the art we gaze which beautifies so great a work, and only see the Goodness whereby the world above turns that below. But so that thou mayst bear away with thee thy wishes all fulfilled, which in this sphere were born, still further must I needs proceed.
Who is within this light, thou fain wouldst know, which right here at my very side is sparkling, as rays of sunlight shine in limpid water. Know, then, that Rahab finds her rest therein; and, to our order being joined, with her it stamps itself in a supreme degree. By this heaven, where the shadow your world makes ends in a point, before all other souls was she received, that triumph with the Christ.
Thy town, which is a plant once sowed by him, who first against his Maker turned his back, and through whose envy many tears are shed,. On this are Pope and Cardinals intent; their thoughts turn not toward Nazareth, where Gabriel once oped his wings. But both the Vatican and all the other chosen parts of Rome, of old the burial place of that militia, which followed in the path which Peter trod, will soon be freed from this adultery. And now see how from thence the oblique ring, which bears the planets with it, branches off, to please the world which calls upon them; how, in case their path were not thus bent aside, in vain would be much virtue in the heavens, and dead well nigh all potencies down here; and how, if from the straight line, more or less removed, it swerved, much in the mundane order would lacking be below and up above.
The greatest of the ministers of Nature, which with the power of Heaven imprints the world, and with its light measures our time for us, joined with the section touched upon above, was circling now around the spiral rings, wherein it earlier shows itself each day; and I was in it, but was not aware of my ascent, except as one, before a thought has come, is conscious of its coming. In its own self how bright must that have been, which in the Sun, which I had entered, was not visible by color, but by light!
And for such heights if low be our imagination, is no wonder; for no eye ever reached beyond the sun. Such the fourth family here of that Exalted Father, who ever states it by revealing how He breathes forth, and how He generates. And she disliked it not, but smiled at it, so that the splendor of her laughing eyes shared with more things my undivided mind. I many keen and dazzling splendors saw, who, sweeter voiced than in appearance bright, made us a center and themselves a crown. Within the court of Heaven, whence I return, are many jewels found, so fair and precious, that from the Kingdom they may not be moved; and of these was the singing of those lights.
Let him who doth not feather him to fly up there, await the dumb for news from thence. Thou fain wouldst know what blooms this wreath enflowers itself withal, which, circling round her, woos the Lady fair who makes thee strong for Heaven. The nearest on my right here was my brother and teacher; he was Albert of Cologne, and Thomas of Aquinum I. That other flaming issues from the smile of Gratian, who to both the courts of law was such a help, that Paradise is pleased. The next, who at his side adorns our choir, that Peter was, who, like the needy widow, offered his treasure up to Holy Church.
The fifth light, which is fairest in our midst, is with such love inspired, that all the world down there is hungry to have news of it. In it is that great mind, wherein was placed wisdom so deep, that if the truth be true, no second hath arisen to see so much. In the next little light that advocate of Christian times is smiling, of whose work in Latin Augustine availed himself. Because it sees all good things, therewithin that holy soul rejoices, which reveals the cheating world to one who hears him well. Flaming beyond it see the burning breath of Isidore, of Bede, and of Riccardo, who was in speculation more than man.
And this, from whom thy glance returns to me, the light is of a spirit, unto whom, in deep thoughts lost, it seemed that death came slowly. O foolish care of mortal men, how full of fallacies the syllogisms, which cause thee over a nether course to beat thy wings! One given to legal learning went his way, one medicine, the priesthood one pursued, and lordship one, by force or sophistry; one practised theft, and public business one, one, in the pleasures of the flesh involved, was growing weary, one to idleness and ease was giving up his life, while I, from all these things set free, was up in Heaven with Beatrice so gloriously received.
When each had to the point returned again, where in the ring he was before, he stayed there, still as a candle in a candle-stick. One, in his burning love, was all Seraphic; the other, by his wisdom, was on earth a splendor of Cherubic light. Out of this hillside, where it breaketh most its steepness, to the world a sun was born, as out of Ganges this one is at times; therefore let him who talks about that place not say Ascesi, which were not enough; but Orient say, if he would rightly speak.
But now, lest in my long talk I proceed too darkly, take Poverty and Francis as these lovers. O wealth unrealized, O fertile goodness! Egidio bares his feet, Sylvester his, behind the groom, so pleasing is the bride! Thereafter, when, by reason of his thirst for martyrdom, Christ and the rest, His followers, he had preached before the haughty Soldan; and, on finding.
When Him it pleased, who granted him such weal, to draw him up to that reward, which he, by making himself lowly, had deserved, to his own brethren, as to rightful heirs, he recommended his most precious Lady, and ordered them to love her faithfully; then from her bosom his illustrious soul willed to depart, and to its realm returned, and for its body wished no other bier. Think now what he was, who, as his companion, was worthy deemed to keep the bark of Peter true to its course, when sailing on the deep!
That was our Patriarch; thou, hence, canst see that he who follows him as he commands, loadeth his vessel with good merchandise. And yet his flock, so greedy for new food hath grown, that it can hardly fail to scatter through various wood and mountain pasture lands; and hence, the more his sheep like vagabonds wander away, and further go from him, emptier of milk do they regain the fold. Yet surely some there are, who, dreading harm, cling to their shepherd; but so few are these, that little cloth will furnish them with cowls. Where one is, right it is to introduce the other; so that, since they fought together, their glories likewise may together shine.
Therein the amorous lover of the Christian Faith was born, the holy athlete, well disposed toward those he loved, and toward his foes severe; and even at its creation was his mind with such live virtue filled, that in his mother it caused her to become a prophetess. And that he might by name be what he was, a spirit went from hence, to give him the possessive of the One who wholly owned him.
Dominic he was called; and of him as the husbandman I speak, whom Christ, to help him in His garden, chose. O truly Joan, his mother, if it mean what it is said to, when interpreted! With doctrine thereupon, and will, to apostolic sanction joined, he started, like a torrent by a high source urged, and on all stocks heretical his onset smote, and ever there most strongly, where strongest the resistance was. From him. And yet the rut, formed by the highest part of its circumference, so forsaken is, that there where crust was, now is mould.
Hugh of St. The flaming courtesy of brother Thomas and his discerning speech have moved me thus to celebrate so great a paladin, and with me likewise moved this company. Intellectual Happiness Spirits of Theologians and Philosophers. There they praised nor Bacchus nor Apollo, but three Persons in one sole nature, the divine, and that, in but one Person with the human joined.
The song and dance completed each its measure; whereat those holy lights gave heed to us, rejoicing thus to pass from care to care. Thence to the lowest creatures It descends from act to act, and such becomes, that naught It makes but brief contingencies; and these contingencies I understand to be those generated things the moving heavens produce by means of seed and without seed. Of these the wax, and that which mouldeth it, are not of one same kind; hence, underneath the ideal stamp, they more or less reflect it; it hence results that, after its own kind, one selfsame plant bears better fruit and worse; and that with different natures ye are born.
If tempered to perfection were the wax, and if the heavens were at their height of power, the whole light of the seal would be revealed;. Hence, if the Flaming Love dispose and stamp the Lucid Vision of the Primal Power, complete perfection is therein acquired. For worse than vainly leaveth he the shore, who fishes for the truth and hath no skill, since, such as he set out, he comes not back; and in the world are patent proofs of this Parmenides, Melissus, Bryson, aye, and many who advanced, but knew not whither.
So did Sabellius, Arius and those fools who to the Scriptures were as sword-blades are, in making faces crooked, which were straight. Let not dame Bertha or sir Martin think, on seeing one man rob, and one give alms, that they behold them as they seem to God; for that one may get up, and this one fall. The Fifth Heaven Mars. In rounded vessels water moves from rim to center, and from center so to rim, according as one strikes it from without or from within. Tell him, then, if the light, wherewith your substance is flowering, will remain with you the same eternally as even now it is; and if it still remain so, tell him how, when ye have been made visible again, it can be such as not to hurt your sight.
He that lamenteth that we die down here to live up yonder, hath not seen up there the comfort of the eternal rain. Its clarity is patterned on our ardor, and our ardor upon our vision, and as keen is that, as is the grace it hath above its worth. O thou true sparkling of the Holy Spirit! How suddenly and glowingly it flashed before mine eyes, which, vanquished, stood it not! I hence gained strength to raise mine eyes again; and with my Lady alone I saw myself borne to a higher grade of blessedness. My memory overcomes my genius here; because that Cross so lightened forth the Christ, that I can find therefor no fit example; but whosoever taketh up his cross and follows Christ, will pardon me again for what I leave, when in that glow he sees the Christ flash forth.
Thus we here see, straight and crooked, swift and slow, and ever renewing their appearance, particles of bodies long and short, as through a ray they move, whereby at times that shade is streaked, which folk, to shield them, make with skill and art. And as a viol or a harp, attuned with many strings, a pleasant tinkling makes for one by whom the music is not caught; so from the lights which there appeared to me, a melody was gathered through the Cross, which rapt me, though I made not out the hymn.
So much in love with it did I become, that naught had ever fettered me before with such sweet bonds. My words, perhaps,.
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How shall those substances to righteous prayers be deaf, who ceased from song with one accord, to give me the desire to pray to them? Thou deemest that to me thy thoughts flow down from Him who Primal is, as from a one, if known it be, proceeds a five and six; yet who I am, thou dost not ask of me, nor wherefore I appear to thee more glad than any other in this joyous throng. But that the holy love, wherewith I watch with sight perpetual, and which causes me to thirst with sweet desire, may be fulfilled the better, let thy voice, firm, bold, and glad, proclaim the will, proclaim the wish, whereto my answer has already been decreed!
But in the case of mortals, will and speech, because of reasons manifest to you, are differently feathered in their wings; hence I, who mortal am, now realize this inequality, and render thanks with heart alone to thy paternal greeting. I earnestly beseech thee, living topaz, set in this precious jewel like a gem, that with thy name thou make me satisfied.
Florence, within the ancient ring of walls, from which she still receives her tierce and nones, sober and modest still, abode in peace. No bracelets had she then, nor coronets, nor dames with ornamented shoes, or belts more likely to be looked at than themselves;. Not yet had Montemalo been surpassed by your Uccellatoio, which, outdone in its ascent, will be so in its fall.
O lucky women! Sure of her burial place was each, and none as yet deserted in her bed for France. As great a marvel then would a Cianghella, or Lapo Salterello have been held, as Cincinnatus or Cornelia now. The Emperor Conrad afterward I followed, and among his chivalry he belted me a knight, by my good deeds I so obtained his favor. There by that vile folk was I released from that deceitful world, the love of which debases many souls, and from my martyrdom attained this peace.
O thou our small nobility of blood! Thou truly art a cloak which soon grows short; so that from day to day, if thou be not patched out, time goes around thee with its shears.
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My mind is by so many brooklets filled with joy, that it congratulates itself that, without breaking, it can stand the strain. John, how large it was, and who were in it then, that in the highest seats deserved to sit. Let of my forebears this suffice to hear; for as to who they were, and whence came hither, silence is more commendable than speech. If those who in the world are lowest fallen, had not step-mother-like to Caesar been, but kind, as to her son a mother is; one such is now a Florentine, and barters and trades, who would have turned to Semifonti, where formerly his grandsire mounted guard.
If thou consider Luni and Urbisaglia how they have gone, and how now in their wake Chiusi and Sinigaglia go their way,. All your creations die, as well as you; but death conceals itself in some that long endure, while individual lives are short! The stock whence the Calfucci sprang was great already; while already were the Sizii and Arigucci raised to curule chairs. And oh, how great I saw those now undone through arrogance! Then, too, the golden balls decked Florence forth in all her mighty deeds.
So likewise fared the ancestors of those, who, when your church is vacant, always fatten by staying in consistory together. Already had the Caponsacco dropped from Fiesole into the Market, while, as townsmen, good were Guida and Infangato. Both the Gualterotti and Importuni were already there; and now their Borgo would more quiet be, if from new neighbors it were fasting still. The family, which to your tears gave birth, through the just scorn which brought about your death, and put an end to your once happy life, was honored, in itself and in its kin.
How, Buondelmonte, ill-advised thou wast to flee their marriage, counselled by another! Many would happy be, who now are sad, if God had to the Ema granted thee, when coming for the first time into town; but Florence to that mutilated stone which guards the bridge, must needs a sacrifice afford, when in her final hour of peace. With these same families, and others with them Florence I saw in such a state of rest, that no occasion had she then for tears; with these same families I saw her then so glorious and so righteous, that the Lily was never set upon a staff reversed, nor made, because of her divisions, red.
The Happiness of Heroism Foreknowledge and Freedom. As through his false and cruel step-mother Hippolytus left Athens, so must thou leave Florence.
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This is willed already, this. As usually, the blame will be imputed to the wronged in public outcry; but revenge for it will witness to the truth dispensing it. Its deeds will furnish proof of its bestiality; hence well-becoming will it be for thee to have made thyself a party by thyself. By reason of his youth, the nations are not yet aware of him, for only nine years have these wheels revolved around him; but, before the Gascon cheat the noble Henry, sparks of his character will manifest themselves by disregard for money or for toil.
And yet I would not have thee envious toward thy neighbors, because thy life far longer will extend than will the punishment of their bad faith. For if, when tasted first, thy voice shall prove offensive, it will after leave behind it, when once digested, vital nourishment. This cry of thine will do as doth the wind, which strikes the loftiest summits most; and this will no slight honor prove.
Hence only souls well known to fame were shown thee in these Heavens, upon the Mount, and in the woeful Vale; because the mind of him who hears rests not, nor strengthens its belief by illustrations based upon what is hidden and unknown, or by an argument that is not clear. This only of that moment can I tell, that my affection, while I gazed at her, was freed from longing for all other things, as long as Joy Eternal, which directly shone on Beatrice, with its reflected aspect was from her lovely face contenting me. As our affection here is seen at times upon our countenance, if such it be that our whole spirit is thereby absorbed; so, in the flaming of the blest effulgence to whom I turned, I recognized his wish to have a little further talk with me.
And then,. Round to my right I turned me to behold in Beatrice my duty, signified by speech or act; and I beheld her eyes so joyous and so clear, that what she seemed surpassed her other and her latest wont. Each singing to its note, they moved at first; then, on becoming one of these same letters, they stopped a little while, and silent kept.
They then displayed themselves in consonants and vowels five times seven; and as their parts seemed to be said to me, I noted them. Diligite Justitiam were first verb and noun of all that was depicted there; Qui Judicatis Terram were the last. And other lights I saw descend upon the summit of the M, and rest there, singing, I believe, the Good which draws them to Itself. Then, as when logs are struck while burning, endless sparks fly up, whence fools are wont to draw their auguries;.
He who paints there hath none to be His guide, but is His own guide; and from Him derives the instinct which is formative in nests. O soldiers of the heaven I contemplate, pray ye for those that are on earth, all gone astray behind the bad example there! War was once carried on with swords; but now by taking here and there that bread away, the Pitying Father keepeth locked from none. But thou, that writest but to cancel, think that Peter and Paul, who for that vineyard died, which thou art laying waste, are still alive!
Before me now, with wings outspread, appeared the lovely image, which in sweet fruition those joyous interwoven spirits made. Each one of them a little ruby seemed, wherein a ray of sunlight burned so brightly, that it was mirrored back into mine eyes. Well do I know that, even if in Heaven Justice Divine makes of another realm its looking-glass, yours apprehends it not through any veil.
Ye know with what attention I gird myself to listen; and ye know the doubt which is so old a fast for me. And this assures one that the first proud being who greater was than all created spirits, through not awaiting light, untimely fell;. The vision, therefore, which your world receives, into Eternal Justice penetrates as doth an eye into the sea; because, though it perceive its bottom near the shore, when on the deep it sees it not; yet there it is, but its great depth conceals it. That is not light, which comes not from the Sky which never clouds itself; but rather darkness, a shadow of the flesh, or else its poison.
Wherein consists the Justice which condemns him? Where is his fault, if he believeth not? Surely for him who subtly strives with me, were not the Scriptures ruling over you, wondrous occasions would there be for doubt. O earthly creatures! O uncultured minds! That much is just, which is therewith accordant; no good created draws It to itself, but It by radiating causes it.
But many, lo! What will the Persians to your rulers say, when lying open they shall see the Book, wherein all their dispraises are inscribed? There will be seen the pride and thirsty greed, which makes the Scot and Englishman so mad, that neither can remain within his bounds. One will see there the easy life and lust of him of Spain, and of Bohemia, too, who neither of them knew, nor cared for, valor. And, to explain his insignificance, his record will consist of shortened words, which in a little space will notice much. And there to each and all will be revealed the foul deeds of his uncle and his brother, who two crowns and a noble line disgraced.
O happy Hungary, if she no more shall let herself be wronged! Happy Navarre, if with her girding hills she arm herself! The Happiness of Justice Just Princes. O thou sweet Love, that with a smile dost cloak thee, how ardent in those flutes didst thou appear, whose only breath was that of holy thoughts! After those precious and pellucid jewels wherewith I saw the sixth great light engemmed, had brought to silence their angelic chimes, I seemed to hear the murmur of a brook, which, flowing limpid down from rock to rock, reveals the abundance of its mountain-springs.
A voice it there became, and through its beak it issued forth in words, such as the heart whereon I wrote them down, was longing for. He that as pupil in the middle shines, was once the singer of the Holy Spirit, who bore the Ark about from town to town; he now knows how deserving was his song, so far as it resulted from his will, by the reward proportioned to its merit.
Of five that make a circle for my brow, the spirit nearest to my beak was he, who comforted the widow for her son; he now knows by his personal experience of this sweet life and of its opposite, how dear it costs one not to follow Christ. The one who follows, with the laws and me, with good intentions which produced bad fruits, made himself Greek by ceding to the Shepherd; he now knows that the ill, from his good deed derived, is not a cause of harm to him, although thereby the world may be destroyed.
He now knows many of the things the world is impotent to see in Grace Divine, although his sight discerneth not its depths. Like a young lark which, as it soars through space, first sings, and then is silent, satisfied with the last sweetness which contented her;. Thou dost as one who fully knows a thing by name, but cannot see just what it is, unless another make it manifest.
They did not issue Gentiles from their bodies, as thou dost think, but Christians, with firm faith, one in the Feet that were to suffer, one, in those that had. For one, to claim his bones, came back from Hell, where no one ever wills the good again; and this was the reward of living hope; of living hope which put its trust in prayers addressed to God to raise him, that thus his will might have a chance to act. The glorious soul I speak of, when the flesh had been regained, wherein he stayed not long, believed in Him, who had the power to help him; and through belief so warmed to genuine love, that he was worthy at his second death to come to this festivity.
The other, through grace from so profound a spring distilled, that never hath the eye of any creature reached its first wave, set all his love below on righteousness; hence God, from grace to grace, to our redemption which is still to be, opened his eyes; he hence believed in it, and afterward endured no more the stench of Paganism; and for it he rebuked those who perverted were.
And those three Ladies thou sawest at the right wheel of the Car, in lieu of baptism, were as sponsors for him more than a thousand years ere baptism was. O thou Predestination, how remote are thy foundations from the sight of those who do not see the First Cause as a whole!
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And ye, O mortals, keep yourselves in check, when judging men; for we, who God behold, know not as yet all those that are elect; and pleasant is such ignorance to us, because our good is in this good refined, that what is willed by God, we also will. Intently fix thy mind behind thine eyes, and cause them to be mirrors of the figure which in this mirror will appear to thee.
I saw, moreover, coming down its steps so many glowing splendors, that I thought that every star seen shining in the sky had been poured out of it. And to the mortal world, on thy return, carry this charge, that it presume no more to move its feet toward such a distant goal. The mind which shineth here, on earth is smoky; consider, hence, how it can do down there what, though assumed to Heaven, it cannot do. So all-conclusive were his words to me, that, giving up the question, I confined me to asking humbly of him who he was. But little mortal life remained to me, when I was sought, and forced to take the hat, which always passes on from bad to worse.
They cover so their palfreys with their cloaks, that two beasts walk beneath a single hide. O Patience, that dost tolerate so much! Benedict The Eighth or Starry Heaven. The Twins. To what extent the song, as well as I by smiling, would have changed thee, thou canst now imagine, since the cry has shocked thee so; in it, if thou hadst understood its prayers, already were that vengeance known to thee, which thou shalt see before thou die.
Our sword up here cuts nor in haste nor tardily, save as to one it seems, who waits for it with either apprehension or desire. But turn thyself around toward others now; for many illustrious spirits shalt thou see, if, as I tell thee, thou direct thine eyes. Mine eyes I then directed as she pleased, and saw a hundred little spheres which, gathering, by mutual rays each other fairer made.
Like one I was, who checks within himself the goad of his desire, and dares not ask, so great his fear lest he may ask too much. The largest and most lustrous of those pearls came forward thereupon, to sate my wish concerning it. That mountain on whose slope Casino stands, was once frequented on its top by folk, who both deluded were and ill-disposed.
And he am I, who first up yonder bore the name of Him, who carried down to earth the truth which here exalteth us so much; and such abundant grace upon me shone, that I withdrew the neighboring villages from that vain worship which seduced the world. These other fires were all contemplatives, men who were kindled by the heat which brings the flowers and fruits of holiness to birth. Here is Macarius, Romuald is here, and here are those my brethren, who remained in cloisters, and who steadfast kept their hearts.
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Because of this I pray thee, father; do thou, then, inform me if I am worthy to receive such grace, as to behold thee with thy face unveiled. Every desire is perfect there, mature and whole; in that sphere only is each part where it has always been; for it is not in space, nor turns on poles, and up to it our Ladder reaches; and because of this it steals itself away beyond thy ken. Jacob, the patriarch, beheld it stretch thus far its upper portion, when of old laden with Angels it appeared to him.
But from the earth, to climb it, no one now removes his feet, and my monastic rule remains but as a means of wasting paper. Walls which of old an abbey used to be, have now become the dens of thieves, and cowls are sacks now, filled with naught but wretched meal. Peter began with neither gold nor silver, and I, with prayers and fasts began my convent, as Francis, with humility, did his. Jordan turned backward, and the water fleeing when God so willed, were much more wonderful to see, in fact, than succor would be here.
So may I, Reader, once again return to that celestial triumph, for whose sake I oft bewail my sins and smite my breast; thou hadst not drawn away and put thy finger as quickly into fire, as I beheld the sign which follows Taurus, and was in it. To you my sighing soul devoutly prays, that it may now acquire the power it needs for that hard task, which draws her to itself.
Therefore, ere further thou in-it thyself, look downward, and behold how great a world I have already set beneath thy feet;. And after this, the temperance of Jove appeared to me, between his son and sire; and clear the reason for their change of place. All seven of them were thus revealed to me, how great they are, how swift, and far apart in their abodes. The little threshing-floor which maketh us so fierce, was as a whole revealed to me, from hills to river-mouths, while I was circling with the eternal Twins.
Back to the lovely eyes I then turned mine. The Fixed Stars. The Twins Triumphant Spirits. To me her countenance seemed all on fire, and so replete with happiness her eyes, that I must pass without describing them. O Beatrice, thou dear and gentle Guide! Such things hast thou perceived, that thou art now equipped with power to look upon my smile. I was like one who, when aroused from sleep, is of a dream aware which he forgets, and tries in vain to bring it back to mind, when I had heard a bidding which deserves such gratitude, that never from the book which holds past records will it be effaced.
No waters for a little boat are these, my daring plow goes cleaving on its way, nor for a pilot who would spare himself. Here is the Rose, in which the Word Divine became incarnate; here the Lilies are, whose scent led men to take the righteous path. Thus Beatrice; and I, who for her counsels was wholly ready, gave myself again to fight the battle of the feeble brows. As once my overshadowed eyes beheld a field of flowers in a ray of sunlight which through a riven cloud was shining clear; thus many a throng of splendors saw I now, illumined from on high by burning rays, but not the source of their refulgent light.
O Kindly Virtue, who dost thus impress them, thou didst uplift thyself, to give mine eyes, which were not strong yet, greater room to see. The name of that fair Flower which I invoke each morn and evening, too, forced all my mind to turn its gaze upon the greatest fire; but when in both mine eyes the magnitude and splendor of that living Star was painted, which vanquishes up there, as once down here; a torch, formed ring-wise like a crown, descended from midmost heaven, and girdling her about, around her whirled. Whatever melody sounds sweetest here on earth, and to itself most strongly draws the soul, would seem a peal of thunder breaking from a cloud, if measured by the music of the lyre, with which that lovely Sapphire crowned itself, whereby ensapphired glows the brightest heaven.
The royal robe of all the convolutions of the world, which burneth most, and by the breath and ways of God is quickened with the greatest life, had its internal shore so far above us, that, where I was, its semblance was not yet revealed to me; mine eyes, hence, could not follow the Flame which, crowned, behind its Offspring rose.
And as a child, who, having had its milk, stretches its little arms up toward its mother, urged by the love which outwardly flames forth; thus each of those white spirits with its flame stretched up in such a way, that its deep love for Mary was made manifest to me. Oh, how abundant is the store heaped up in those most wealthy coffers, which were once good husbandmen for sowing seed below!
Here, living on it, they enjoy the treasure, which, weeping in their exile, they acquired in Babylon, where gold was left untouched. Here triumphs, subject to the Exalted Son of God and Mary, in His victory, together with the councils old and new, he who of such great glory holds the Keys. The Twins St. Peter examines Dante on Faith. Ye from the Source forever drink, whence cometh what he thinks.
From that one which I deemed of greatest beauty, I saw a fire so happy issue forth, that none it left of greater brightness there;. The very thing which calls for proof, none other, tells thee so. And I reply: In One God I believe, Sole and Eternal, who, Himself unmoved, moves all the heavens with Love and with Desire; and I, for so believing, have not only proofs physical and metaphysical, but that truth also yieldeth me its proof, which hence rains down through Moses, psalms and prophets, and through the Gospel, and through you, who wrote after the Flaming Spirit made you shepherds.
And I believe in three Eternal Persons, and these to be one Essence, so both one and trine, that they can be conjoined by are and is. Of the divine profound estate whereto I now refer, the teaching of the Gospel sets many times the seal upon my mind. This is the fountain-head, and this the spark, which after spreads into a living flame, and in me glows, as stars do in the sky.
Behold the Baron, for whose sake men go to see Galicia down on earth! But when their mutual gratulations ceased, before me each in silence stopped, and flamed so brightly, that my face was forced to bow. Then, thou with his instilling, didst so greatly instill that hope in me with thine epistle, that, filled with it, I pour your rain on others. Isaiah says that each in his own land will in a double garment be arrayed; and his own land is this sweet life of ours; and, in a more explicit way, thy brother makes this same revelation manifest to us, where of the snow white robes the treats.
And as a happy maiden, rising, goes, in honor of the bride, to join the dance, and not for any failing on her part; even so I saw the splendor, brighter grown, approach the two, who in a wheel were turning, as it behooved the ardor of their love. Into the song and music then it entered; and on the three my Lady kept her gaze, silent and motionless as would a bride. Earth is my body on the earth, and there will with the others stay, until our number shall with the eternal purpose correspond.
Ah, how disturbed in mind I then became, when I turned round to look at Beatrice, because I could not see her now, though close to her I was, and in the happy world! John examines Dante on Love. The Good which sates this court is alpha and omega of all scriptures Love reads to me in tones or low or loud. Hence to that Being who so perfect is, that every good which lies outside of Him is nothing but a beam of His own radiance, more than to any other must the mind in love be moved, of all who recognize the truth on which this argument is based.
I love the several leaves wherewith enleaved is all the garden of the Eternal Gardener, according to the good He giveth each. Then it breathed:. Thou fain wouldst hear how long it is since God in that high garden placed me, where this Lady prepared thee for so long a flight of stairs; how long it was a pleasure to mine eyes; the real occasion for the mighty wrath; and what the tongue, which I both used and made. Now, son, the tasting of the tree was not itself the cause of such a banishment, but only the transgression of the bound.
That mankind speaks, a work of Nature is, but if in this or that way, Nature then leaves you to do according to your pleasure. Ere I descended to the grieving place below, the Highest Good, from whom proceeds the joy which swathes me, was on earth called I; EL was He called thereafter; this must be, for human custom is, as on a bough a leaf, which goeth as another comes. What I was seeing seemed to me a smile as of the Universe; for through both sight and hearing my intoxication entered. O joy! O gladness inexpressible! O life by love and peace completely filled! O wealth no longer longed for, but assured!
Before mine eyes the torches four remained on fire, and that which was the first to come, began to grow more luminous; and such in its appearance it became, as Jove would come to be, if he and Mars were birds, and interchanged the plumage of their wings. Vengeance of God, why art thou quiet still? Men of Cahors and Gascons even now prepare to drink our blood.
O good beginning, to what vile ending thou art doomed to fall! My sight was following their forms, and followed, till the mid space, by reason of its vastness, prevented it from passing further on. And of this little threshing-floor, much more would have been shown me; but the sun was circling beneath my feet, a sign or more removed. And my enamored mind, which in my Lady always takes pleasure, more than ever now was burning to restore mine eyes to her. Its nearest and its most exalted parts are all so uniform, I cannot tell which Beatrice selected as my place.
Its motion is not measured by another, but all the others are by this, as ten is measured by its half and by its fifth.
And now how time in such a flowerport can have its hidden roots, and in the rest its leaves, hereafter can be manifest to thee. The will in human beings blossoms well, but constant rains turn into blighted fruit the genuine plums. And faith and innocence are found in children only, but take flight, before their cheeks are covered up with hair. While still a prattler, one observeth fasts, who later, when his tongue is free, devours, under whatever moon, whatever food; and one who, while still lisping, loves and harkens to his mother, later on when speaking well, would see her in her grave.
Thus in the Primal Sight becometh black the white face of the lovely child of him, who brings the morn and leaves the eventide. And that thou marvel not at this, recall that there is none on earth who rules; and hence the human family goes thus astray. The Angelic Hierarchies The Point. Look at the circle most conjoined to It; and know thou that it moves so rapidly because spurred onward by its burning love. The embodied circles wide or narrow are, according to the more or less of virtue distributed through all their several parts. A greater goodness makes for greater weal; a greater body greater weal bespeaks, if all its parts are perfect equally.
Hence that which with itself sweeps onward all the universe remaining, corresponds to yonder circle which most loves and knows. If, then, thou stretch thy measure round the virtue, not round the appearance, of the substances which seem arranged in circles to thy sight,. And when her words had ceased, not otherwise doth iron when still boiling scintillate, than yonder circles sparkled.
Every spark followed its Kindler; and so many were they, that their whole number far more thousands counts, than ever did the doubling of the chess. Thus swiftly do they heed their bonds, to make them as like the Point as may be, and as like It they can be, as their vision is sublime. Those other loves that round about them move, Thrones of the Countenance Divine are called, and for this reason end the primal triad. And thou shouldst know that all of them are happy, according as their vision plumbs the Truth, wherein all understanding is at rest.
From this it may be seen how blessedness is founded on the faculty which sees, and not on that which loves and follows after; the measure of this vision is the merit, which both of Grace and of good will is born; such, then, is their advance from grade to grade. The second triad which, like that above, produces buds in this eternal spring, whose foliage no nocturnal Aries spoils, sings endlessly its vernal song of praise to three sweet melodies, which sound in three orders of joy, wherewith it trines itself. Three goddesses are in that hierarchy; the Dominations first, the Virtues next; the third one is the Order of the Powers.
Then, in the last two dancing choirs but one, with Principalities Archangels whirl; the last is wholly of Angelic Joys. All these Angelic orders upward look, and downward so prevail, that all to God attracted are, and all in turn attract. And Dionysius with such great desire gave himself up to contemplate these orders, that he both named and graded them as I; but with him, later, Gregory disagreed, and hence, as soon as ever in this heaven he oped his eyes, at his own self he smiled.
Nor would I have thee wonder that on earth a mortal should disclose a truth so secret, for he who saw it here, revealed it to him, with many other truths about these rings. Both form and matter, simple and conjoined, came into being which had no defect, even as three arrows from a three-stringed bow; and as in glass, in amber or in crystal, a ray so shines, that from the time it comes till its completion, is no interval; thus from its Lord did that triform effect ray forth into its being all at once, without distinction as to its beginning.
Order was concreate, and for the substances ordained; and highest in the world were those in whom activity was brought forth pure. And now thou knowest where and when these loves created were, and how; hence in thy longing three ardors have already been extinguished.
Nor, counting, would one reach as far as twenty, as quickly as a portion of the Angels disturbed the lowest of your elements. The rest remained; and with such great delight began the art, which thou beholdest here, that never from their circling have they ceased. Those whom thou here beholdest, modest were, and recognized themselves as from that Goodness sprung, which apt had made them for such great intelligence. And therefore by illuminating Grace, and by their merit, was their sight so raised, that now a full and steadfast will is theirs.
And now concerning this consistory, much canst thou contemplate without more help, if thou hast apprehended well my words. And ye down yonder follow not one path, when ye philosophize; so much doth love of show, and being famed for it, transport you. And yet with even less disdain is this endured up here, than when the Holy Scripture is set aside, or turned to wrong account. No one considers there how much it costs to sow it in the world, or how much he, who humbly clings to it, gives pleasure here. Florence hath not so many Lapi and Bindi as fables such as these, which all year long are shouted from the pulpits everywhere; hence the poor sheep, who do not know, return from pasture fed on wind; nor doth the fact that they see not that they are harmed, excuse them.
Men now go forth to preach with jests and tricks, and so, if but a hearty laugh is raised, the cowl puffs up, and nothing more is asked. But in its tail there nestles such a bird, that if the crowd perceived it, it would see what that forgiveness is, in which it trusts; therefore such folly hath increased on earth, that without proof or other attestation, to any kind of promise men would flock. Saint Anthony is fattening thus his pig, and others also fouler far than his, by paying money void of coinage stamp. But since a great digression we have made, turn thine eyes backward to the straight road now, that thus our way be shortened with our time.
This nature so exceedingly extends in number, that there never was or speech, or mortal thought, that could extend so far. And now see how exceeding high and broad is that Eternal Worth, which makes Itself so many mirrors, whereupon It breaks, while in Itself, as erst, remaining One! The sixth hour glows perhaps six thousand miles away from us, and now our world inclines its shadow to a nearly level bed; mid-heaven the while, which lies so deep above us, is growing such, that now and then a star is lost to our perception here below; till, as the brightest handmaid of the sun advances further, star by star, the sky, even to the fairest, closes to our view.
Not otherwise the Triumph, which forever plays round about the Point which vanquished me, and seems contained by what Itself contains, little by little faded from my sight; my seeing nothing, therefore, and my love forced me to look again at Beatrice. If what has hitherto been said of her were all included in a single praise, but little would it serve my present turn.
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The beauty which I then beheld, transcends not us alone, but truly I believe its Maker only can enjoy it all. Here both the soldieries of Paradise shalt thou behold, and one in that array, which at the Final Judgment thou shalt see. And from this River issued living sparks, which settled everywhere among the flowers, and looked like rubies set in gold; and then, as if intoxicated by its odors, into the wondrous River plunged again, another coming out, if one went in. But of this water it behooves thee drink, before so great a thirst as thine is slaked. There is a Light up yonder, which allows its Maker to be seen by every creature which only hath its peace in seeing Him;.
Its whole appearance from a ray proceeds reflected from the summit of the First Moved Sphere, which from it takes its life and potency.