Page images

Virtue diverse doth a diverse alloyage

Make with the precious body that it quickens,
In which, as life in you, it is combined.
From the glad nature whence it is derived,

The mingled virtue through the body shines,
Even as gladness through the living pupil.
From this proceeds whate'er from light to light

Appeareth different, not from dense and rare: This is the formal principle that produces, According to its goodness, dark and bright."




THAT Sun, which erst with love my bosom warmed,

Of beauteous truth had unto me discovered,

By proving and reproving, the sweet aspect.
And, that I might confess myself convinced
And confident, so far as was befitting,

I lifted more erect my head to speak.

But there appeared a vision, which withdrew me
So close to it, in order to be seen,

That my confession I remembered not.
Such as through polished and transparent glass,
Or waters crystalline and undisturbed,
But not so deep as that their bed be lost,
Come back again the outlines of our faces

So feeble, that a pearl on forehead white
Comes not less speedily unto our eyes;
Such saw I many faces prompt to speak,

So that I ran in error opposite




To that which kindled love 'twixt man and fountain.

As soon as I became aware of them,

Esteeming them as mirrored semblances,

To see of whom they were, mine eyes I turned, And nothing saw, and once more turned them forward

Direct into the light of my sweet Guide,

Who smiling kindled in her holy eyes. "Marvel thou not," she said to me, "because

I smile at this thy puerile conceit,

Since on the truth it trusts not yet its foot,

But turns thee, as 't is wont, on emptiness.

True substances are these which thou beholdest, Here relegate for breaking of some vow. Therefore speak with them, listen and believe;

For the true light, which giveth peace to them,
Permits them not to turn from it their feet."
And I unto the shade that seemed most wishful

To speak directed me, and I began,
As one whom too great eagerness bewilders:

"O well-created spirit, who in the rays

Of life eternal dost the sweetness taste
Which being untasted ne'er is comprehended,

Grateful 't will be to me, if thou content me

Both with thy name and with your destiny."

Whereat she promptly and with laughing eyes:






"Our charity doth never shut the doors

Against a just desire, except as one

Who wills that all her court be like herself.

I was a virgin sister in the world;

And if thy mind doth contemplate me well,

[ocr errors][merged small]

The being more fair will not conceal me from thee,

But thou shalt recognize I am Piccarda,

Who, stationed here among these other blessed,

Myself am blessed in the slowest sphere.

All our affections, that alone inflamed

Are in the pleasure of the Holy Ghost, Rejoice at being of his order formed; And this allotment, which appears so low,

Therefore is given us, because our vows

Have been neglected and in some part void." Whence I to her: "In your miraculous aspects

There shines I know not what of the divine,



Which doth transform you from our first conceptions.

Therefore I was not swift in my remembrance;

But what thou tellest me now aids me so,

That the refiguring is easier to me.

But tell me, ye who in this place are happy,


you desirous of a higher place,

To see more or to make yourselves more friends?"



First with those other shades she smiled a little

Thereafter answered me so full of gladness, She seemed to burn in the first fire of love: Brother, our will is quieted by virtue

Of charity, that makes us wish alone


For what we have, nor gives us thirst for more.

If to be more exalted we aspired,

Discordant would our aspirations be

Unto the will of Him who here secludes us; Which thou shalt see finds no place in these circles, If being in charity is needful here,

And if thou lookest well into its nature;

Nay, 't is essential to this blest existence

To keep itself within the will divine,
Whereby our very wishes are made one;

So that, as we are station above station




Throughout this realm, to all the realm 't is pleasing, As to the King, who makes his will our will. And his will is our peace; this is the sea

To which is moving onward whatsoever It doth create, and all that nature makes." Then it was clear to me how everywhere

In heaven is Paradise, although the


Of good supreme there rain not in one measure.



« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »