Paradiso: Canto XXIV
"O company elect to
the great supper
the Lamb benedight, who feedeth you
So that for ever full is your desire,
If by the grace of
God this man foretaste
of that which falleth from your table,
Or ever death prescribe to him the time,
Direct your mind to
his immense desire,
him somewhat bedew; ye drinking are
For ever at the fount whence comes his thought."
Thus Beatrice; and
those souls beatified
themselves to spheres on steadfast poles,
Flaming intensely in the guise of comets.
And as the wheels
in works of horologes
so that the first to the beholder
Motionless seems, and the last one to fly,
So in like manner
did those carols, dancing
different measure, of their affluence
Give me the gauge, as they were swift or slow.
From that one which
I noted of most beauty
I issue forth a fire so happy
That none it left there of a greater brightness;
And around Beatrice
three several times
whirled itself with so divine a song,
My fantasy repeats it not to me;
Therefore the pen
skips, and I write it not,
our imagination for such folds,
Much more our speech, is of a tint too glaring.
"O holy sister
mine, who us implorest
such devotion, by thine ardent love
Thou dost unbind me from that beautiful sphere!"
stopped, the blessed fire
my Lady did direct its breath,
Which spake in fashion as I here have said.
And she: "O light
eterne of the great man
whom our Lord delivered up the keys
He carried down of this miraculous joy,
This one examine on
points light and grave,
good beseemeth thee, about the Faith
By means of which thou on the sea didst walk.
If he love well,
and hope well, and believe,
thee 'tis hid not; for thou hast thy sight
There where depicted everything is seen.
But since this
kingdom has made citizens
means of the true Faith, to glorify it
'Tis well he have the chance to speak thereof."
arms himself, and speaks not
the master doth propose the question,
To argue it, and not to terminate it,
So did I arm myself
with every reason,
she was speaking, that I might be ready
For such a questioner and such profession.
"Say, thou good
Christian; manifest thyself;
is the Faith?" Whereat I raised my brow
Unto that light wherefrom was this breathed forth.
Then turned I round
to Beatrice, and she
signals made to me that I should pour
The water forth from my internal fountain.
"May grace, that
suffers me to make confession,"
I, "to the great centurion,
Cause my conceptions all to be explicit!"
And I continued:
"As the truthful pen,
of thy dear brother wrote of it,
Who put with thee Rome into the good way,
Faith is the
substance of the things we hope for,
evidence of those that are not seen;
And this appears to me its quiddity."
Then heard I: "Very
rightly thou perceivest,
well thou understandest why he placed it
With substances and then with evidences."
thereafterward: "The things profound,
here vouchsafe to me their apparition,
Unto all eyes below are so concealed,
That they exist
there only in belief,
the which is founded the high hope,
And hence it takes the nature of a substance.
And it behoveth us
from this belief
reason without having other sight,
And hence it has the nature of evidence."
Then heard I: "If
whatever is acquired
by doctrine were thus understood,
No sophist's subtlety would there find place."
Thus was breathed
forth from that enkindled love;
added: "Very well has been gone over
Already of this coin the alloy and weight;
But tell me if thou
hast it in thy purse?"
I: "Yes, both so shining and so round
That in its stamp there is no peradventure."
from the light profound
there resplendent was: "This precious jewel,
Upon the which is every virtue founded,
Whence hadst thou
it?" And I: "The large outpouring
Holy Spirit, which has been diffused
Upon the ancient parchments and the new,
A syllogism is,
which proved it to me
such acuteness, that, compared therewith,
All demonstration seems to me obtuse."
And then I heard:
"The ancient and the new
that to thee are so conclusive,
Why dost thou take them for the word divine?"
And I: "The proofs,
which show the truth to me,
the works subsequent, whereunto Nature
Ne'er heated iron yet, nor anvil beat."
'Twas answered me:
"Say, who assureth thee
those works ever were? the thing itself
That must be proved, nought else to thee affirms it."
"Were the world to
said, "withouten miracles, this one
Is such, the rest are not its hundredth part;
Because that poor
and fasting thou didst enter
the field to sow there the good plant,
Which was a vine and has become a thorn!"
finished, the high, holy Court
through the spheres, "One God we praise!"
In melody that there above is chanted.
And then that
Baron, who from branch to branch,
had thus conducted me,
Till the extremest leaves we were approaching,
Again began: "The
Grace that dallying
with thine intellect thy mouth has opened,
Up to this point, as it should opened be,
So that I do
approve what forth emerged;
now thou must express what thou believest,
And whence to thy belief it was presented."
"O holy father,
spirit who beholdest
thou believedst so that thou o'ercamest,
Towards the sepulchre, more youthful feet,"
Began I, "thou dost
wish me in this place
form to manifest of my prompt belief,
And likewise thou the cause thereof demandest.
And I respond: In
one God I believe,
and eterne, who moveth all the heavens
With love and with desire, himself unmoved;
And of such faith
not only have I proofs
and metaphysical, but gives them
Likewise the truth that from this place rains down
through the Prophets and the Psalms,
the Evangel, and through you, who wrote
After the fiery Spirit sanctified you;
In Persons three
eterne believe, and these
essence I believe, so one and trine
They bear conjunction both with 'sunt' and 'est.'
With the profound
condition and divine
now I touch upon, doth stamp my mind
Ofttimes the doctrine evangelical.
This the beginning
is, this is the spark
afterwards dilates to vivid flame,
And, like a star in heaven, is sparkling in me."
Even as a lord who
hears what pleaseth him
servant straight embraces, gratulating
For the good news as soon as he is silent;
So, giving me its
times encircled me, when I was silent,
The apostolic light, at whose command
I spoken had, in
speaking I so pleased him.