Paradiso: Canto XI
O Thou insensate
care of mortal men,
inconclusive are the syllogisms
That make thee beat thy wings in downward flight!
One after laws and
one to aphorisms
going, and one following the priesthood,
And one to reign by force or sophistry,
And one in theft,
and one in state affairs,
in the pleasures of the flesh involved
Wearied himself, one gave himself to ease;
When I, from all
these things emancipate,
Beatrice above there in the Heavens
With such exceeding glory was received!
When each one had
returned unto that point
the circle where it was before,
It stood as in a candlestick a candle;
And from within the
effulgence which at first
spoken unto me, I heard begin
Smiling while it more luminous became:
"Even as I am
kindled in its ray,
looking into the Eternal Light,
The occasion of thy thoughts I apprehend.
Thou doubtest, and
wouldst have me to resift
language so extended and so open
My speech, that to thy sense it may be plain,
Where just before I
said, 'where well one fattens,'
where I said, 'there never rose a second;'
And here 'tis needful we distinguish well.
which governeth the world
counsel, wherein all created vision
Is vanquished ere it reach unto the bottom,
(So that towards
her own Beloved might go
bride of Him who, uttering a loud cry,
Espoused her with his consecrated blood,
unto Him more faithful,)
Princes did ordain in her behoof,
Which on this side and that might be her guide.
The one was all
seraphical in ardour;
other by his wisdom upon earth
A splendour was of light cherubical.
One will I speak
of, for of both is spoken
praising one, whichever may be taken,
Because unto one end their labours were.
Between Tupino and
the stream that falls
from the hill elect of blessed Ubald,
A fertile slope of lofty mountain hangs,
From which Perugia
feels the cold and heat
Porta Sole, and behind it weep
Gualdo and Nocera their grievous yoke.
From out that
slope, there where it breaketh most
steepness, rose upon the world a sun
As this one does sometimes from out the Ganges;
Therefore let him
who speaketh of that place,
not Ascesi, for he would say little,
But Orient, if he properly would speak.
He was not yet far
distant from his rising
he had begun to make the earth
Some comfort from his mighty virtue feel.
For he in youth his
father's wrath incurred
certain Dame, to whom, as unto death,
The gate of pleasure no one doth unlock;
And was before his
coram patre' unto her united;
Then day by day more fervently he loved her.
She, reft of her
first husband, scorned, obscure,
thousand and one hundred years and more,
Waited without a suitor till he came.
Naught it availed
to hear, that with Amyclas
her unmoved at sounding of his voice
He who struck terror into all the world;
Naught it availed
being constant and undaunted,
that, when Mary still remained below,
She mounted up with Christ upon the cross.
But that too darkly
I may not proceed,
and Poverty for these two lovers
Take thou henceforward in my speech diffuse.
Their concord and
their joyous semblances,
love, the wonder, and the sweet regard,
They made to be the cause of holy thoughts;
So much so that the
bared his feet, and after so great peace
Ran, and, in running, thought himself too slow.
O wealth unknown!
O veritable good!
bares his feet, and bares his feet Sylvester
Behind the bridegroom, so doth please the bride!
Then goes his way
that father and that master,
and his Lady and that family
Which now was girding on the humble cord;
Nor cowardice of
heart weighed down his brow
being son of Peter Bernardone,
Nor for appearing marvellously scorned;
But regally his
Innocent he opened, and from him
Received the primal seal upon his Order.
After the people
this man, whose admirable life
Better in glory of the heavens were sung,
Incoronated with a
through Honorius by the Eternal Spirit
The holy purpose of this Archimandrite.
And when he had,
through thirst of martyrdom,
the proud presence of the Sultan preached
Christ and the others who came after him,
And, finding for
conversion too unripe
folk, and not to tarry there in vain,
Returned to fruit of the Italic grass,
On the rude rock
'twixt Tiber and the Arno
Christ did he receive the final seal,
Which during two whole years his members bore.
When He, who chose
him unto so much good,
pleased to draw him up to the reward
That he had merited by being lowly,
Unto his friars, as
to the rightful heirs,
most dear Lady did he recommend,
And bade that they should love her faithfully;
And from her bosom
the illustrious soul
to depart, returning to its realm,
And for its body wished no other bier.
Think now what man
was he, who was a fit
over the high seas to keep
The bark of Peter to its proper bearings.
And this man was
our Patriarch; hence whoever
follow him as he commands can see
That he is laden with good merchandise.
But for new
pasturage his flock has grown
greedy, that it is impossible
They be not scattered over fields diverse;
And in proportion
as his sheep remote
vagabond go farther off from him,
More void of milk return they to the fold.
Verily some there
are that fear a hurt,
keep close to the shepherd; but so few,
That little cloth doth furnish forth their hoods.
Now if my utterance
be not indistinct,
thine own hearing hath attentive been,
If thou recall to mind what I have said,
In part contented
shall thy wishes be;
thou shalt see the plant that's chipped away,
And the rebuke that lieth in the words,
'Where well one
fattens, if he strayeth not.'"