Purgatorio: Canto XI
"Our Father, thou
who dwellest in the heavens,
circumscribed, but from the greater love
Thou bearest to the first effects on high,
Praised be thy name
and thine omnipotence
every creature, as befitting is
To render thanks to thy sweet effluence.
Come unto us the
peace of thy dominion,
unto it we cannot of ourselves,
If it come not, with all our intellect.
Even as thine own
Angels of their will
sacrifice to thee, Hosanna singing,
So may all men make sacrifice of theirs.
Give unto us this
day our daily manna,
which in this rough wilderness
Backward goes he who toils most to advance.
And even as we the
trespass we have suffered
in one another, pardon thou
Benignly, and regard not our desert.
Our virtue, which
is easily o'ercome,
not to proof with the old Adversary,
But thou from him who spurs it so, deliver.
This last petition
verily, dear Lord,
for ourselves is made, who need it not,
But for their sake who have remained behind us."
Thus for themselves
and us good furtherance
shades imploring, went beneath a weight
Like unto that of which we sometimes dream,
anguish round and round
weary all, upon that foremost cornice,
Purging away the smoke-stains of the world.
If there good words
are always said for us,
may not here be said and done for them,
By those who have a good root to their will?
Well may we help
them wash away the marks
hence they carried, so that clean and light
They may ascend unto the starry wheels!
"Ah! so may pity
and justice you disburden
that ye may have power to move the wing,
That shall uplift you after your desire,
Show us on which
hand tow'rd the stairs the way
shortest, and if more than one the passes,
Point us out that which least abruptly falls;
For he who cometh
with me, through the burden
Adam's flesh wherewith he is invested,
Against his will is chary of his climbing."
The words of theirs
which they returned to those
he whom I was following had spoken,
It was not manifest from whom they came,
But it was said:
"To the right hand come with us
the bank, and ye shall find a pass
Possible for living person to ascend.
And were I not
impeded by the stone,
this proud neck of mine doth subjugate,
Whence I am forced to hold my visage down,
Him, who still
lives and does not name himself,
I regard, to see if I may know him
And make him piteous unto this burden.
A Latian was I, and
born of a great Tuscan;
Aldobrandeschi was my father;
I know not if his name were ever with you.
The ancient blood
and deeds of gallantry
my progenitors so arrogant made me
That, thinking not upon the common mother,
All men I held in
scorn to such extent
died therefor, as know the Sienese,
And every child in Campagnatico.
I am Omberto; and
not to me alone
pride done harm, but all my kith and kin
Has with it dragged into adversity.
And here must I
this burden bear for it
God be satisfied, since I did not
Among the living, here among the dead."
downward bent my countenance;
one of them, not this one who was speaking,
Twisted himself beneath the weight that cramps him,
And looked at me,
and knew me, and called out,
his eyes laboriously fixed
On me, who all bowed down was going with them.
"O," asked I him,
"art thou not Oderisi,
honour, and honour of that art
Which is in Paris called illuminating?"
"Brother," said he,
"more laughing are the leaves
by the brush of Franco Bolognese;
All his the honour now, and mine in part.
In sooth I had not
been so courteous
I was living, for the great desire
Of excellence, on which my heart was bent.
Here of such pride
is paid the forfeiture;
yet I should not be here, were it not
That, having power to sin, I turned to God.
O thou vain glory
of the human powers,
little green upon thy summit lingers,
If't be not followed by an age of grossness!
In painting Cimabue
thought that he
hold the field, now Giotto has the cry,
So that the other's fame is growing dim.
So has one Guido
from the other taken
glory of our tongue, and he perchance
Is born, who from the nest shall chase them both.
Naught is this
mundane rumour but a breath
wind, that comes now this way and now that,
And changes name, because it changes side.
What fame shalt
thou have more, if old peel off
thee thy flesh, than if thou hadst been dead
Before thou left the 'pappo' and the 'dindi,'
Ere pass a thousand
years? which is a shorter
to the eterne, than twinkling of an eye
Unto the circle that in heaven wheels slowest.
With him, who takes
so little of the road
front of me, all Tuscany resounded;
And now he scarce is lisped of in Siena,
Where he was lord,
what time was overthrown
Florentine delirium, that superb
Was at that day as now 'tis prostitute.
Your reputation is
the colour of grass
comes and goes, and that discolours it
By which it issues green from out the earth."
And I: "Thy true
speech fills my heart with good
and great tumour thou assuagest;
But who is he, of whom just now thou spakest?"
"That," he replied,
"is Provenzan Salvani,
he is here because he had presumed
To bring Siena all into his hands.
He has gone thus,
and goeth without rest
since he died; such money renders back
In payment he who is on earth too daring."
And I: "If every
spirit who awaits
verge of life before that he repent,
Remains below there and ascends not hither,
(Unless good orison
shall him bestead,)
as much time as he lived be passed,
How was the coming granted him in largess?"
"When he in
greatest splendour lived," said he,
upon the Campo of Siena,
All shame being laid aside, he placed himself;
And there to draw
his friend from the duress
in the prison-house of Charles he suffered,
He brought himself to tremble in each vein.
I say no more, and
know that I speak darkly;
little time shall pass before thy neighbours
Will so demean themselves that thou canst gloss it.
This action has
released him from those confines."