Paradiso: Canto XXX
thousand miles remote from us
glowing the sixth hour, and now this world
Inclines its shadow almost to a level,
When the mid-heaven
begins to make itself
deep to us, that here and there a star
Ceases to shine so far down as this depth,
And as advances
handmaid of the sun, the heaven is closed
Light after light to the most beautiful;
Not otherwise the
Triumph, which for ever
round about the point that vanquished me,
Seeming enclosed by what itself encloses,
Little by little
from my vision faded;
to turn mine eyes on Beatrice
My seeing nothing and my love constrained me.
If what has
hitherto been said of her
all concluded in a single praise,
Scant would it be to serve the present turn.
Not only does the
beauty I beheld
ourselves, but truly I believe
Its Maker only may enjoy it all.
Vanquished do I
confess me by this passage
than by problem of his theme was ever
O'ercome the comic or the tragic poet;
For as the sun the
sight that trembles most,
so the memory of that sweet smile
My mind depriveth of its very self.
From the first day
that I beheld her face
this life, to the moment of this look,
The sequence of my song has ne'er been severed;
But now perforce
this sequence must desist
following her beauty with my verse,
As every artist at his uttermost.
Such as I leave her
to a greater fame
any of my trumpet, which is bringing
Its arduous matter to a final close,
With voice and
gesture of a perfect leader
recommenced: "We from the greatest body
Have issued to the heaven that is pure light;
replete with love,
of true good replete with ecstasy,
Ecstasy that transcendeth every sweetness.
Here shalt thou see
the one host and the other
Paradise, and one in the same aspects
Which at the final judgment thou shalt see."
Even as a sudden
lightning that disperses
visual spirits, so that it deprives
The eye of impress from the strongest objects,
Thus round about me
flashed a living light,
left me swathed around with such a veil
Of its effulgence, that I nothing saw.
"Ever the Love
which quieteth this heaven
into itself with such salute,
To make the candle ready for its flame."
No sooner had
within me these brief words
entrance found, than I perceived myself
To be uplifted over my own power,
And I with vision
new rekindled me,
that no light whatever is so pure
But that mine eyes were fortified against it.
And light I saw in
fashion of a river
with its effulgence, 'twixt two banks
Depicted with an admirable Spring.
Out of this river
issued living sparks,
on all sides sank down into the flowers,
Like unto rubies that are set in gold;
And then, as if
inebriate with the odours,
plunged again into the wondrous torrent,
And as one entered issued forth another.
"The high desire,
that now inflames and moves thee
have intelligence of what thou seest,
Pleaseth me all the more, the more it swells.
But of this water
it behoves thee drink
so great a thirst in thee be slaked."
Thus said to me the sunshine of mine eyes;
And added: "The
river and the topazes
in and out, and the laughing of the herbage,
Are of their truth foreshadowing prefaces;
Not that these
things are difficult in themselves,
the deficiency is on thy side,
For yet thou hast not vision so exalted."
There is no babe
that leaps so suddenly
face towards the milk, if he awake
Much later than his usual custom is,
As I did, that I
might make better mirrors
of mine eyes, down stooping to the wave
Which flows that we therein be better made.
And even as the
penthouse of mine eyelids
of it, it forthwith appeared to me
Out of its length to be transformed to round.
Then as a folk who
have been under masks
other than before, if they divest
The semblance not their own they disappeared in,
Thus into greater
pomp were changed for me
flowerets and the sparks, so that I saw
Both of the Courts of Heaven made manifest.
O splendour of God!
by means of which I saw
lofty triumph of the realm veracious,
Give me the power to say how it I saw!
There is a light
above, which visible
the Creator unto every creature,
Who only in beholding Him has peace,
And it expands
itself in circular form
such extent, that its circumference
Would be too large a girdle for the sun.
The semblance of it
is all made of rays
from the top of Primal Motion,
Which takes therefrom vitality and power.
And as a hill in
water at its base
itself, as if to see its beauty
When affluent most in verdure and in flowers,
So, ranged aloft
all round about the light,
I saw in more ranks than a thousand
All who above there have from us returned.
And if the lowest
row collect within it
great a light, how vast the amplitude
Is of this Rose in its extremest leaves!
My vision in the
vastness and the height
not itself, but comprehended all
The quantity and quality of that gladness.
There near and far
nor add nor take away;
there where God immediately doth govern,
The natural law in naught is relevant.
Into the yellow of
the Rose Eternal
spreads, and multiplies, and breathes an odour
Of praise unto the ever-vernal Sun,
As one who silent
is and fain would speak,
Beatrice drew on, and said: "Behold
Of the white stoles how vast the convent is!
Behold how vast the
circuit of our city!
our seats so filled to overflowing,
That here henceforward are few people wanting!
On that great
throne whereon thine eyes are fixed
the crown's sake already placed upon it,
Before thou suppest at this wedding feast
Shall sit the soul
(that is to be Augustus
earth) of noble Henry, who shall come
To redress Italy ere she be ready.
that casts its spell upon you,
made you like unto the little child,
Who dies of hunger and drives off the nurse.
And in the sacred
forum then shall be
Prefect such, that openly or covert
On the same road he will not walk with him.
But long of God he
will not be endured
holy office; he shall be thrust down
Where Simon Magus is for his deserts,
And make him of
Alagna lower go!"