Paradiso: Canto XV
A will benign, in
which reveals itself
the love that righteously inspires,
As in the iniquitous, cupidity,
upon that dulcet lyre,
quieted the consecrated chords,
That Heaven's right hand doth tighten and relax.
How unto just
entreaties shall be deaf
substances, which, to give me desire
Of praying them, with one accord grew silent?
'Tis well that
without end he should lament,
for the love of thing that doth not last
Eternally despoils him of that love!
As through the pure
and tranquil evening air
shoots from time to time a sudden fire,
Moving the eyes that steadfast were before,
And seems to be a
star that changeth place,
that in the part where it is kindled
Nothing is missed, and this endureth little;
So from the horn
that to the right extends
that cross's foot there ran a star
Out of the constellation shining there;
Nor was the gem
dissevered from its ribbon,
down the radiant fillet ran along,
So that fire seemed it behind alabaster.
Thus piteous did
Anchises' shade reach forward,
any faith our greatest Muse deserve,
When in Elysium he his son perceived.
"O sanguis meus, O
Dei, sicut tibi, cui
Bis unquam Coeli janua reclusa?"
effulgence; whence I gave it heed;
round unto my Lady turned my sight,
And on this side and that was stupefied;
For in her eyes was
burning such a smile
with mine own methought I touched the bottom
Both of my grace and of my Paradise!
Then, pleasant to
the hearing and the sight,
spirit joined to its beginning things
I understood not, so profound it spake;
Nor did it hide
itself from me by choice,
by necessity; for its conception
Above the mark of mortals set itself.
And when the bow of
so far slackened, that its speech descended
Towards the mark of our intelligence,
The first thing
that was understood by me
"Benedight be Thou, O Trine and One,
Who hast unto my seed so courteous been!"
And it continued:
"Hunger long and grateful,
from the reading of the mighty volume
Wherein is never changed the white nor dark,
Thou hast appeased,
my son, within this light
which I speak to thee, by grace of her
Who to this lofty flight with plumage clothed thee.
Thou thinkest that
to me thy thought doth pass
Him who is the first, as from the unit,
If that be known, ray out the five and six;
And therefore who I
am thou askest not,
why I seem more joyous unto thee
Than any other of this gladsome crowd.
Thou think'st the
truth; because the small and great
this existence look into the mirror
Wherein, before thou think'st, thy thought thou showest.
But that the sacred
love, in which I watch
sight perpetual, and which makes me thirst
With sweet desire, may better be fulfilled,
Now let thy voice
secure and frank and glad
the wishes, the desire proclaim,
To which my answer is decreed already."
To Beatrice I
turned me, and she heard
I spake, and smiled to me a sign,
That made the wings of my desire increase;
Then in this wise
began I: "Love and knowledge,
on you dawned the first Equality,
Of the same weight for each of you became;
For in the Sun,
which lighted you and burned
heat and radiance, they so equal are,
That all similitudes are insufficient.
But among mortals
will and argument,
reason that to you is manifest,
Diversely feathered in their pinions are.
Whence I, who
mortal am, feel in myself
inequality; so give not thanks,
Save in my heart, for this paternal welcome.
Truly do I entreat
thee, living topaz!
in this precious jewel as a gem,
That thou wilt satisfy me with thy name."
"O leaf of mine, in
whom I pleasure took
while awaiting, I was thine own root!"
Such a beginning he in answer made me.
Then said to me:
"That one from whom is named
race, and who a hundred years and more
Has circled round the mount on the first cornice,
A son of mine and
thy great-grandsire was;
it behoves thee that the long fatigue
Thou shouldst for him make shorter with thy works.
the ancient boundary
which she taketh still her tierce and nones,
Abode in quiet, temperate and chaste.
No golden chain she
had, nor coronal,
ladies shod with sandal shoon, nor girdle
That caught the eye more than the person did.
Not yet the
daughter at her birth struck fear
the father, for the time and dower
Did not o'errun this side or that the measure.
No houses had she
void of families,
yet had thither come Sardanapalus
To show what in a chamber can be done;
Not yet surpassed
had Montemalo been
your Uccellatojo, which surpassed
Shall in its downfall be as in its rise.
saw I go begirt
leather and with bone, and from the mirror
His dame depart without a painted face;
And him of Nerli
saw, and him of Vecchio,
with their simple suits of buff
And with the spindle and the flax their dames.
O fortunate women!
and each one was certain
her own burial-place, and none as yet
For sake of France was in her bed deserted.
One o'er the cradle
kept her studious watch,
in her lullaby the language used
That first delights the fathers and the mothers;
tresses from her distaff,
o'er among her family the tales
Of Trojans and of Fesole and Rome.
As great a marvel
then would have been held
Lapo Salterello, a Cianghella,
As Cincinnatus or Cornelia now.
To such a quiet,
such a beautiful
of the citizen, to such a safe
Community, and to so sweet an inn,
Did Mary give me,
with loud cries invoked,
in your ancient Baptistery at once
Christian and Cacciaguida I became.
Moronto was my
brother, and Eliseo;
Val di Pado came to me my wife,
And from that place thy surname was derived.
afterward the Emperor Conrad,
he begirt me of his chivalry,
So much I pleased him with my noble deeds.
I followed in his
train against that law's
whose people doth usurp
Your just possession, through your Pastor's fault.
There by that
execrable race was I
from bonds of the fallacious world,
The love of which defileth many souls,
And came from
martyrdom unto this peace."