Paradiso: Canto II
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O Ye, who in some pretty little boat
Eager to listen, have been following
Behind my ship
, that singing sails
Turn back to look again upon your shores;
Do not put out to sea, lest peradventure
In losing me, you might yourselves be lost.
The sea I sail has never yet been passed;
breathes, and pilots me Apollo
nine point out to me the Bears
Ye other few who have the neck uplifted
Betimes to th' bread of Angels upon which
One liveth here and grows not sated by it,
Well may you launch upon the deep salt-sea
Your vessel, keeping still my wake before you
Upon the water
that grows smooth again.
ones who unto Colchos
Were not so wonder-struck as you shall be,
they beheld a ploughman made!
The con-created and perpetual thirst
For the realm deiform
did bear us on,
As swift almost as ye the heavens behold.
Upward gazed Beatrice
, and I at her;
And in such space perchance as strikes a bolt
And flies, and from the notch unlocks itself,
Arrived I saw me where a wondrous thing
Drew to itself my sight; and therefore she
From whom no care of mine could be concealed
Towards me turning, blithe as beautiful,
Said unto me: "Fix gratefully
, who unto the first star has brought us."
It seemed to me a cloud encompassed
, dense, consolidate
As adamant on which the sun is striking
Into itself did the eternal pearl
Receive us, even as water doth receive
A ray of light, remaining still unbroken.
If I was body
, (and we here conceive not
How one dimension tolerates
Which needs must be if body enter body,)
More the desire should be enkindled in us
That essence to behold, wherein is seen
and our own nature
There will be seen what we receive by faith
Not demonstrated, but self-evident
In guise of the first truth that man believes
I made reply: "Madonna
, as devoutly
As most I can do I give thanks to Him
Who has removed me from the mortal world
But tell me what the dusky spots may be
Upon this body, which below on earth
Make people tell that fabulous tale
Somewhat she smiled; and then, "If the opinion
Of mortals be erroneous
," she said,
"Where'er the key of sense doth not unlock,
Certes, the shafts of wonder should not pierce thee
Now, forasmuch as, following the senses,
Thou seest that the reason has short wings.
But tell me what thou think'st of it thyself."
And I: "What seems to us up here diverse,
Is caused, I think, by bodies rare
And she: "Right truly shalt thou see immersed
In error thy belief, if well thou hearest
that I shall make against it.
Lights many the eighth sphere displays to you
Which in their quality and quantity
May noted be of aspects different
If this were caused by rare
One only virtue
would there be in all
Or more or less diffused, or equally.
diverse must be perforce the fruits
Of formal principles
; and these, save one,
Of course would by thy reasoning
Besides, if rarity were of this dimness
The cause thou askest, either through and through
This planet thus attenuate were of matter,
Or else, as in a body is apportioned
, so in like manner this
Would in its volume interchange the leaves.
Were it the former, in the sun's eclipse
It would be manifest by the shining through
Of light, as through aught tenuous interfused
This is not so; hence we must scan the other,
And if it chance the other I demolish
will thy opinion be.
But if this rarity go not through and through,
There needs must be a limit, beyond which
Its contrary prevents the further passing,
And thence the foreign radiance
Even as a colour
cometh back from glass,
The which behind itself concealeth lead
Now thou wilt say the sunbeam shows itself
More dimly there than in the other parts,
By being there reflected
From this reply experiment will free thee
If e'er thou try it, which is wont to be
to the rivers
of your arts
s shalt thou take, and two remove
Alike from thee, the other more remote
Between the former two shall meet thine eyes.
Turned towards these, cause that behind thy back
Be placed a light, illuming the three mirrors
And coming back to thee by all reflected.
Though in its quantity be not so ample
The image most remote
, there shalt thou see
How it perforce is equally resplendent
Now, as beneath the touches
of warm rays
Naked the subject of the snow remains
Both of its former colour
and its cold,
Thee thus remaining
in thy intellect
Will I inform with such a living light,
That it shall tremble in its aspect to thee.
Within the heaven of the divine repose
Revolves a body
, in whose virtue
The being of whatever it contains.
The following heaven, that has so many eyes,
Divides this being by essences diverse,
from it, and by it contained.
The other spheres, by various differences,
All the distinctions
which they have within them
Dispose unto their ends and their effects.
Thus do these organs of the world proceed,
As thou perceivest now, from grade to grade
Since from above they take, and act beneath
Observe me well
, how through this place I come
Unto the truth thou wishest, that hereafter
Thou mayst alone know how to keep the ford
The power and motion of the holy
As from the artisan
Forth from the blessed motors must proceed.
The heaven, which lights so manifold make fair,
From the Intelligence
profound, which turns it,
The image takes, and makes of it a seal.
And even as the soul within your dust
Through members different and accommodated
diverse expands itself,
So likewise this Intelligence
Its virtue multiplied
among the stars.
Itself revolving on its unity
doth a diverse alloyage
Make with the precious body that it quickens,
In which, as life in you, it is combined
From the glad nature whence it is derived,
virtue through the body shines,
Even as gladness through the living pupil.
From this proceeds whate'er from light to light
Appeareth different, not from dense and rare:
This is the formal principle that produces,
According to its goodness
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