Paradiso: Canto XXII
stupor, I unto my guide
like a little child who always runs
For refuge there where he confideth most;
And she, even as a
mother who straightway
comfort to her pale and breathless boy
With voice whose wont it is to reassure him,
Said to me:
"Knowest thou not thou art in heaven,
knowest thou not that heaven is holy all
And what is done here cometh from good zeal?
After what wise the
singing would have changed thee
I by smiling, thou canst now imagine,
Since that the cry has startled thee so much,
In which if thou
hadst understood its prayers
would be known to thee the vengeance
Which thou shalt look upon before thou diest.
The sword above
here smiteth not in haste
tardily, howe'er it seem to him
Who fearing or desiring waits for it.
But turn thee round
towards the others now,
very illustrious spirits shalt thou see,
If thou thy sight directest as I say."
As it seemed good
to her mine eyes I turned,
saw a hundred spherules that together
With mutual rays each other more embellished.
I stood as one who
in himself represses
point of his desire, and ventures not
To question, he so feareth the too much.
And now the largest
and most luculent
those pearls came forward, that it might
Make my desire concerning it content.
Within it then I
heard: "If thou couldst see
as myself the charity that burns
Among us, thy conceits would be expressed;
But, that by
waiting thou mayst not come late
the high end, I will make answer even
Unto the thought of which thou art so chary.
That mountain on
whose slope Cassino stands
frequented of old upon its summit
By a deluded folk and ill-disposed;
And I am he who
first up thither bore
name of Him who brought upon the earth
The truth that so much sublimateth us.
And such abundant
grace upon me shone
all the neighbouring towns I drew away
From the impious worship that seduced the world.
These other fires,
each one of them, were men
enkindled by that heat
Which maketh holy flowers and fruits spring up.
Here is Macarius,
here is Romualdus,
are my brethren, who within the cloisters
Their footsteps stayed and kept a steadfast heart."
And I to him: "The
affection which thou showest
with me, and the good countenance
Which I behold and note in all your ardours,
In me have so my
the sun doth the rose, when it becomes
As far unfolded as it hath the power.
Therefore I pray,
and thou assure me, father,
I may so much grace receive, that I
May thee behold with countenance unveiled."
"Brother, thy high desire
the remotest sphere shall be fulfilled,
Where are fulfilled all others and my own.
There perfect is,
and ripened, and complete,
desire; within that one alone
Is every part where it has always been;
For it is not in
space, nor turns on poles,
unto it our stairway reaches up,
Whence thus from out thy sight it steals away.
Up to that height
the Patriarch Jacob saw it
its supernal part, what time
So thronged with angels it appeared to him.
But to ascend it
now no one uplifts
feet from off the earth, and now my Rule
Below remaineth for mere waste of paper.
The walls that used
of old to be an Abbey
changed to dens of robbers, and the cowls
Are sacks filled full of miserable flour.
But heavy usury is
not taken up
much against God's pleasure as that fruit
Which maketh so insane the heart of monks;
For whatsoever hath
the Church in keeping
for the folk that ask it in God's name,
Not for one's kindred or for something worse.
The flesh of
mortals is so very soft,
good beginnings down below suffice not
From springing of the oak to bearing acorns.
Peter began with
neither gold nor silver,
I with orison and abstinence,
And Francis with humility his convent.
And if thou lookest
at each one's beginning,
then regardest whither he has run,
Thou shalt behold the white changed into brown.
In verity the
Jordan backward turned,
the sea's fleeing, when God willed were more
A wonder to behold, than succour here."
Thus unto me he
said; and then withdrew
his own band, and the band closed together;
Then like a whirlwind all was upward rapt.
The gentle Lady
urged me on behind them
o'er that stairway by a single sign,
So did her virtue overcome my nature;
Nor here below,
where one goes up and down
natural law, was motion e'er so swift
That it could be compared unto my wing.
Reader, as I may
unto that devout
return, on whose account I often
For my transgressions weep and beat my breast,--
Thou hadst not
thrust thy finger in the fire
drawn it out again, before I saw
The sign that follows Taurus, and was in it.
O glorious stars, O
mighty virtue, from which I acknowledge
All of my genius, whatsoe'er it be,
With you was born,
and hid himself with you,
who is father of all mortal life,
When first I tasted of the Tuscan air;
And then when grace
was freely given to me
enter the high wheel which turns you round,
Your region was allotted unto me.
To you devoutly at
this hour my soul
sighing, that it virtue may acquire
For the stern pass that draws it to itself.
"Thou art so near
unto the last salvation,"
Beatrice began, "thou oughtest now
To have thine eves unclouded and acute;
And therefore, ere
thou enter farther in,
down once more, and see how vast a world
Thou hast already put beneath thy feet;
So that thy heart,
as jocund as it may,
itself to the triumphant throng
That comes rejoicing through this rounded ether."
I with my sight
returned through one and all
sevenfold spheres, and I beheld this globe
Such that I smiled at its ignoble semblance;
And that opinion I
approve as best
doth account it least; and he who thinks
Of something else may truly be called just.
I saw the daughter
of Latona shining
that shadow, which to me was cause
That once I had believed her rare and dense.
The aspect of thy
I sustained, and saw how move themselves
Around and near him Maia and Dione.
appeared the temperateness of Jove
son and father, and to me was clear
The change that of their whereabout they make;
And all the seven
made manifest to me
great they are, and eke how swift they are,
And how they are in distant habitations.
that maketh us so proud,
me revolving with the eternal Twins,
Was all apparent made from hill to harbour!
Then to the
beauteous eyes mine eyes I turned.