Paradiso: Canto XXV
If e'er it happen
that the Poem Sacred,
which both heaven and earth have set their hand,
So that it many a year hath made me lean,
cruelty that bars me out
the fair sheepfold, where a lamb I slumbered,
An enemy to the wolves that war upon it,
With other voice
forthwith, with other fleece
will I return, and at my font
Baptismal will I take the laurel crown;
Because into the
Faith that maketh known
souls to God there entered I, and then
Peter for her sake thus my brow encircled.
towards us moved a light
of that band whence issued the first-fruits
Which of his vicars Christ behind him left,
And then my Lady,
full of ecstasy,
unto me: "Look, look! behold the Baron
For whom below Galicia is frequented."
In the same way as,
when a dove alights
his companion, both of them pour forth,
Circling about and murmuring, their affection,
So one beheld I by
the other grand
glorified to be with welcome greeted,
Lauding the food that there above is eaten.
But when their
gratulations were complete,
'coram me' each one stood still,
So incandescent it o'ercame my sight.
thereafterwards, said Beatrice:
life, by whom the benefactions
Of our Basilica have been described,
Make Hope resound
within this altitude;
knowest as oft thou dost personify it
As Jesus to the three gave greater clearness."--
"Lift up thy head,
and make thyself assured;
what comes hither from the mortal world
Must needs be ripened in our radiance."
This comfort came
to me from the second fire;
mine eyes I lifted to the hills,
Which bent them down before with too great weight.
"Since, through his
grace, our Emperor wills that thou
find thee face to face, before thy death,
In the most secret chamber, with his Counts,
So that, the truth
beholden of this court,
which below there rightfully enamours,
Thereby thou strengthen in thyself and others,
Say what it is, and
how is flowering with it
mind, and say from whence it came to thee."
Thus did the second light again continue.
Compassionate, who piloted
plumage of my wings in such high flight,
Did in reply anticipate me thus:
"No child whatever
the Church Militant
greater hope possesses, as is written
In that Sun which irradiates all our band;
Therefore it is
conceded him from Egypt
come into Jerusalem to see,
Or ever yet his warfare be completed.
The two remaining
points, that not for knowledge
been demanded, but that he report
How much this virtue unto thee is pleasing,
To him I leave; for
hard he will not find them,
of self-praise; and let him answer them;
And may the grace of God in this assist him!"
As a disciple, who
his teacher follows,
and willing, where he is expert,
That his proficiency may be displayed,
"Hope," said I, "is
the certain expectation
future glory, which is the effect
Of grace divine and merit precedent.
From many stars
this light comes unto me;
he instilled it first into my heart
Who was chief singer unto the chief captain.
'Sperent in te,' in
the high Theody
sayeth, 'those who know thy name;' and who
Knoweth it not, if he my faith possess?
Thou didst instil
me, then, with his instilling
the Epistle, so that I am full,
And upon others rain again your rain."
While I was
speaking, in the living bosom
that combustion quivered an effulgence,
Sudden and frequent, in the guise of lightning;
Then breathed: "The
love wherewith I am inflamed
the virtue still which followed me
Unto the palm and issue of the field,
Wills that I
breathe to thee that thou delight
her; and grateful to me is thy telling
Whatever things Hope promises to thee."
And I: "The ancient
Scriptures and the new
mark establish, and this shows it me,
Of all the souls whom God hath made his friends.
Isaiah saith, that
each one garmented
his own land shall be with twofold garments,
And his own land is this delightful life.
Thy brother, too,
far more explicitly,
where he treateth of the robes of white,
This revelation manifests to us."
And first, and near
the ending of these words,
in te" from over us was heard,
To which responsive answered all the carols.
light among them brightened,
that, if Cancer one such crystal had,
Winter would have a month of one sole day.
And as uprises,
goes, and enters the dance
winsome maiden, only to do honour
To the new bride, and not from any failing,
Even thus did I
behold the brightened splendour
the two, who in a wheel revolved
As was beseeming to their ardent love.
Into the song and
music there it entered;
fixed on them my Lady kept her look,
Even as a bride silent and motionless.
"This is the one
who lay upon the breast
him our Pelican; and this is he
To the great office from the cross elected."
My Lady thus; but
therefore none the more
move her sight from its attentive gaze
Before or afterward these words of hers.
Even as a man who
gazes, and endeavours
see the eclipsing of the sun a little,
And who, by seeing, sightless doth become,
So I became before
that latest fire,
it was said, "Why dost thou daze thyself
To see a thing which here hath no existence?
Earth in the earth
my body is, and shall be
all the others there, until our number
With the eternal proposition tallies.
With the two
garments in the blessed cloister
the two lights alone that have ascended:
And this shalt thou take back into your world."
And at this
utterance the flaming circle
quiet, with the dulcet intermingling
Of sound that by the trinal breath was made,
As to escape from
danger or fatigue
oars that erst were in the water beaten
Are all suspended at a whistle's sound.
Ah, how much in my
mind was I disturbed,
I turned round to look on Beatrice,
That her I could not see, although I was
Close at her side
and in the Happy World!