Purgatorio: Canto XV
As much as 'twixt
the close of the third hour
dawn of day appeareth of that sphere
Which aye in fashion of a child is playing,
So much it now
appeared, towards the night,
of his course remaining to the sun;
There it was evening, and 'twas midnight here;
And the rays smote
the middle of our faces,
by us the mount was so encircled,
That straight towards the west we now were going
When I perceived my
the splendour far more than at first,
And stupor were to me the things unknown,
Whereat towards the
summit of my brow
raised my hands, and made myself the visor
Which the excessive glare diminishes.
As when from off
the water, or a mirror,
sunbeam leaps unto the opposite side,
Ascending upward in the selfsame measure
That it descends,
and deviates as far
falling of a stone in line direct,
(As demonstrate experiment and art,)
So it appeared to
me that by a light
there before me I was smitten;
On which account my sight was swift to flee.
"What is that,
Father sweet, from which I cannot
fully screen my sight that it avail me,"
Said I, "and seems towards us to be moving?"
"Marvel thou not,
if dazzle thee as yet
family of heaven," he answered me;
"An angel 'tis, who comes to invite us upward.
Soon will it be,
that to behold these things
not be grievous, but delightful to thee
As much as nature fashioned thee to feel."
When we had reached the Angel benedight,
joyful voice he said: "Here enter in
To stairway far less steep than are the others."
We mounting were,
already thence departed,
"Beati misericordes" was
Behind us sung, "Rejoice, thou that o'ercomest!"
My Master and
myself, we two alone
going upward, and I thought, in going,
Some profit to acquire from words of his;
And I to him
directed me, thus asking:
did the spirit of Romagna mean,
Mentioning interdict and partnership?"
Whence he to me:
"Of his own greatest failing
knows the harm; and therefore wonder not
If he reprove us, that we less may rue it.
Because are thither
pointed your desires
by companionship each share is lessened,
Envy doth ply the bellows to your sighs.
But if the love of
the supernal sphere
upwardly direct your aspiration,
There would not be that fear within your breast;
For there, as much
the more as one says 'Our,'
much the more of good each one possesses,
And more of charity in that cloister burns."
"I am more
hungering to be satisfied,"
said, "than if I had before been silent,
And more of doubt within my mind I gather.
How can it be, that
more possessors can more wealthy make
Therein, than if by few it be possessed?"
And he to me:
"Because thou fixest still
mind entirely upon earthly things,
Thou pluckest darkness from the very light.
infinite and ineffable
is above there, runneth unto love,
As to a lucid body comes the sunbeam.
So much it gives
itself as it finds ardour,
that as far as charity extends,
O'er it increases the eternal valour.
And the more people
are there to love well, and more they love there,
And, as a mirror, one reflects the other.
And if my reasoning
appease thee not,
shalt see Beatrice; and she will fully
Take from thee this and every other longing.
that soon may be extinct,
are the two already, the five wounds
That close themselves again by being painful."
Even as I wished to
say, "Thou dost appease me,"
saw that I had reached another circle,
So that my eager eyes made me keep silence.
There it appeared
to me that in a vision
on a sudden I was rapt,
And in a temple many persons saw;
And at the door a
woman, with the sweet
of a mother, saying: "Son,
Why in this manner hast thou dealt with us?
Lo, sorrowing, thy
father and myself
seeking for thee;"--and as here she ceased,
That which appeared at first had disappeared.
Then I beheld
another with those waters
her cheeks which grief distils whenever
From great disdain of others it is born,
And saying: "If of
that city thou art lord,
whose name was such strife among the gods,
And whence doth every science scintillate,
Avenge thyself on
those audacious arms
clasped our daughter, O Pisistratus;"
And the lord seemed to me benign and mild
To answer her with
shall we do to those who wish us ill,
If he who loves us be by us condemned?"
Then saw I people
hot in fire of wrath,
stones a young man slaying, clamorously
Still crying to each other, "Kill him! kill him!"
And him I saw bow
down, because of death
weighed already on him, to the earth,
But of his eyes made ever gates to heaven,
Imploring the high
Lord, in so great strife,
he would pardon those his persecutors,
With such an aspect as unlocks compassion.
Soon as my soul had
things external to it which are true,
Did I my not false errors recognize.
My Leader, who
could see me bear myself
to a man that rouses him from sleep,
Exclaimed: "What ails thee, that thou canst not stand?
But hast been
coming more than half a league
thine eyes, and with thy legs entangled,
In guise of one whom wine or sleep subdues?"
"O my sweet Father,
if thou listen to me,
tell thee," said I, "what appeared to me,
When thus from me my legs were ta'en away."
And he: "If thou
shouldst have a hundred masks
thy face, from me would not be shut
Thy cogitations, howsoever small.
What thou hast seen
was that thou mayst not fail
ope thy heart unto the waters of peace,
Which from the eternal fountain are diffused.
I did not ask,
'What ails thee?' as he does
only looketh with the eyes that see not
When of the soul bereft the body lies,
But asked it to
give vigour to thy feet;
must we needs urge on the sluggards, slow
To use their wakefulness when it returns."
We passed along,
athwart the twilight peering
as far as ever eye could stretch
Against the sunbeams serotine and lucent;
And lo! by slow
degrees a smoke approached
our direction, sombre as the night,
Nor was there place to hide one's self therefrom.
This of our eyes
and the pure air bereft us.