Paradiso: Canto XIV

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From centre unto rim, from rim to centre,
In a round vase the water moves itself,
As from without 'tis struck or from within.

Into my mind upon a sudden dropped
What I am saying, at the moment when
Silent became the glorious life of Thomas,

Because of the resemblance that was born
Of his discourse and that of Beatrice,
Whom, after him, it pleased thus to begin:

"This man has need (and does not tell you so,
Nor with the voice, nor even in his thought)
Of going to the root of one truth more.

Declare unto him if the light wherewith
Blossoms your substance shall remain with you
Eternally the same that it is now;

And if it do remain, say in what manner,
After ye are again made visible,
It can be that it injure not your sight."

As by a greater gladness urged and drawn
They who are dancing in a ring sometimes
Uplift their voices and their motions quicken;

So, at that orison devout and prompt,
The holy circles a new joy displayed
In their revolving and their wondrous song.

Whoso lamenteth him that here we die
That we may live above, has never there
Seen the refreshment of the eternal rain.

The One and Two and Three who ever liveth,
And reigneth ever in Three and Two and One,
Not circumscribed and all things circumscribing,

Three several times was chanted by each one
Among those spirits, with such melody
That for all merit it were just reward;

And, in the lustre most divine of all
The lesser ring, I heard a modest voice,
Such as perhaps the Angel's was to Mary,

Answer: "As long as the festivity
Of Paradise shall be, so long our love
Shall radiate round about us such a vesture.

Its brightness is proportioned to the ardour,
The ardour to the vision; and the vision
Equals what grace it has above its worth.

When, glorious and sanctified, our flesh
Is reassumed, then shall our persons be
More pleasing by their being all complete;

For will increase whate'er bestows on us
Of light gratuitous the Good Supreme,
Light which enables us to look on Him;

Therefore the vision must perforce increase,
Increase the ardour which from that is kindled,
Increase the radiance which from this proceeds.

But even as a coal that sends forth flame,
And by its vivid whiteness overpowers it
So that its own appearance it maintains,

Thus the effulgence that surrounds us now
Shall be o'erpowered in aspect by the flesh,
Which still to-day the earth doth cover up;

Nor can so great a splendour weary us,
For strong will be the organs of the body
To everything which hath the power to please us."

So sudden and alert appeared to me
Both one and the other choir to say Amen,
That well they showed desire for their dead bodies;

Nor sole for them perhaps, but for the mothers,
The fathers, and the rest who had been dear
Or ever they became eternal flames.

And lo! all round about of equal brightness
Arose a lustre over what was there,
Like an horizon that is clearing up.

And as at rise of early eve begin
Along the welkin new appearances,
So that the sight seems real and unreal,

It seemed to me that new subsistences
Began there to be seen, and make a circle
Outside the other two circumferences.

O very sparkling of the Holy Spirit,
How sudden and incandescent it became
Unto mine eyes, that vanquished bore it not!

But Beatrice so beautiful and smiling
Appeared to me, that with the other sights
That followed not my memory I must leave her.

Then to uplift themselves mine eyes resumed
The power, and I beheld myself translated
To higher salvation with my Lady only.

Well was I ware that I was more uplifted
By the enkindled smiling of the star,
That seemed to me more ruddy than its wont.

With all my heart, and in that dialect
Which is the same in all, such holocaust
To God I made as the new grace beseemed;

And not yet from my bosom was exhausted
The ardour of sacrifice, before I knew
This offering was accepted and auspicious;

For with so great a lustre and so red
Splendours appeared to me in twofold rays,
I said: "O Helios who dost so adorn them!"

Even as distinct with less and greater lights
Glimmers between the two poles of the world
The Galaxy that maketh wise men doubt,

Thus constellated in the depths of Mars,
Those rays described the venerable sign
That quadrants joining in a circle make.

Here doth my memory overcome my genius;
For on that cross as levin gleamed forth Christ,
So that I cannot find ensample worthy;

But he who takes his cross and follows Christ
Again will pardon me what I omit,
Seeing in that aurora lighten Christ.

From horn to horn, and 'twixt the top and base,
Lights were in motion, brightly scintillating
As they together met and passed each other;

Thus level and aslant and swift and slow
We here behold, renewing still the sight,
The particles of bodies long and short,

Across the sunbeam move, wherewith is listed
Sometimes the shade, which for their own defence
People with cunning and with art contrive.

And as a lute and harp, accordant strung
With many strings, a dulcet tinkling make
To him by whom the notes are not distinguished,

So from the lights that there to me appeared
Upgathered through the cross a melody,
Which rapt me, not distinguishing the hymn.

Well was I ware it was of lofty laud,
Because there came to me, "Arise and conquer!"
As unto him who hears and comprehends not.

So much enamoured I became therewith,
That until then there was not anything
That e'er had fettered me with such sweet bonds.

Perhaps my word appears somewhat too bold,
Postponing the delight of those fair eyes,
Into which gazing my desire has rest;

But who bethinks him that the living seals
Of every beauty grow in power ascending,
And that I there had not turned round to those,

Can me excuse, if I myself accuse
To excuse myself, and see that I speak truly:
For here the holy joy is not disclosed,

Because ascending it becomes more pure.

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La Divina Commedia di Dante: Paradiso: Canto XIV
Dal centro al cerchio, e si` dal cerchio al centro
  movesi l'acqua in un ritondo vaso,
  secondo ch'e` percosso fuori o dentro:

ne la mia mente fe' subito caso
  questo ch'io dico, si` come si tacque
  la gloriosa vita di Tommaso,

per la similitudine che nacque
  del suo parlare e di quel di Beatrice,
  a cui si` cominciar, dopo lui, piacque:

"A costui fa mestieri, e nol vi dice
  ne' con la voce ne' pensando ancora,
  d'un altro vero andare a la radice.

Diteli se la luce onde s'infiora
  vostra sustanza, rimarra` con voi
  etternalmente si` com'ell'e` ora;

e se rimane, dite come, poi
  che sarete visibili rifatti,
  esser pora` ch'al veder non vi noi".

Come, da piu` letizia pinti e tratti,
  a la fiata quei che vanno a rota
  levan la voce e rallegrano li atti,

cosi`, a l'orazion pronta e divota,
  li santi cerchi mostrar nova gioia
  nel torneare e ne la mira nota.

Qual si lamenta perche' qui si moia
  per viver cola` su`, non vide quive
  lo refrigerio de l'etterna ploia.

Quell'uno e due e tre che sempre vive
  e regna sempre in tre e 'n due e 'n uno,
  non circunscritto, e tutto circunscrive,

tre volte era cantato da ciascuno
  di quelli spirti con tal melodia,
  ch'ad ogne merto saria giusto muno.

E io udi' ne la luce piu` dia
  del minor cerchio una voce modesta,
  forse qual fu da l'angelo a Maria,

risponder: "Quanto fia lunga la festa
  di paradiso, tanto il nostro amore
  si raggera` dintorno cotal vesta.

La sua chiarezza seguita l'ardore;
  l'ardor la visione, e quella e` tanta,
  quant'ha di grazia sovra suo valore.

Come la carne gloriosa e santa
  fia rivestita, la nostra persona
  piu` grata fia per esser tutta quanta;

per che s'accrescera` cio` che ne dona
  di gratuito lume il sommo bene,
  lume ch'a lui veder ne condiziona;

onde la vision crescer convene,
  crescer l'ardor che di quella s'accende,
  crescer lo raggio che da esso vene.

Ma si` come carbon che fiamma rende,
  e per vivo candor quella soverchia,
  si` che la sua parvenza si difende;

cosi` questo folgor che gia` ne cerchia
  fia vinto in apparenza da la carne
  che tutto di` la terra ricoperchia;

ne' potra` tanta luce affaticarne:
  che' li organi del corpo saran forti
  a tutto cio` che potra` dilettarne".

Tanto mi parver subiti e accorti
  e l'uno e l'altro coro a dicer "Amme!",
  che ben mostrar disio d'i corpi morti:

forse non pur per lor, ma per le mamme,
  per li padri e per li altri che fuor cari
  anzi che fosser sempiterne fiamme.

Ed ecco intorno, di chiarezza pari,
  nascere un lustro sopra quel che v'era,
  per guisa d'orizzonte che rischiari.

E si` come al salir di prima sera
  comincian per lo ciel nove parvenze,
  si` che la vista pare e non par vera,

parvemi li` novelle sussistenze
  cominciare a vedere, e fare un giro
  di fuor da l'altre due circunferenze.

Oh vero sfavillar del Santo Spiro!
  come si fece subito e candente
  a li occhi miei che, vinti, nol soffriro!

Ma Beatrice si` bella e ridente
  mi si mostro`, che tra quelle vedute
  si vuol lasciar che non seguir la mente.

Quindi ripreser li occhi miei virtute
  a rilevarsi; e vidimi translato
  sol con mia donna in piu` alta salute.

Ben m'accors'io ch'io era piu` levato,
  per l'affocato riso de la stella,
  che mi parea piu` roggio che l'usato.

Con tutto 'l core e con quella favella
  ch'e` una in tutti, a Dio feci olocausto,
  qual conveniesi a la grazia novella.

E non er'anco del mio petto essausto
  l'ardor del sacrificio, ch'io conobbi
  esso litare stato accetto e fausto;

che' con tanto lucore e tanto robbi
  m'apparvero splendor dentro a due raggi,
  ch'io dissi: "O Elios che si` li addobbi!".

Come distinta da minori e maggi
  lumi biancheggia tra ' poli del mondo
  Galassia si`, che fa dubbiar ben saggi;

si` costellati facean nel profondo
  Marte quei raggi il venerabil segno
  che fan giunture di quadranti in tondo.

Qui vince la memoria mia lo 'ngegno;
  che' quella croce lampeggiava Cristo,
  si` ch'io non so trovare essempro degno;

ma chi prende sua croce e segue Cristo,
  ancor mi scusera` di quel ch'io lasso,
  vedendo in quell'albor balenar Cristo.

Di corno in corno e tra la cima e 'l basso
  si movien lumi, scintillando forte
  nel congiugnersi insieme e nel trapasso:

cosi` si veggion qui diritte e torte,
  veloci e tarde, rinovando vista,
  le minuzie d'i corpi, lunghe e corte,

moversi per lo raggio onde si lista
  talvolta l'ombra che, per sua difesa,
  la gente con ingegno e arte acquista.

E come giga e arpa, in tempra tesa
  di molte corde, fa dolce tintinno
  a tal da cui la nota non e` intesa,

cosi` da' lumi che li` m'apparinno
  s'accogliea per la croce una melode
  che mi rapiva, sanza intender l'inno.

Ben m'accors'io ch'elli era d'alte lode,
  pero` ch'a me venia "Resurgi" e "Vinci"
  come a colui che non intende e ode.

Io m'innamorava tanto quinci,
  che 'nfino a li` non fu alcuna cosa
  che mi legasse con si` dolci vinci.

Forse la mia parola par troppo osa,
  posponendo il piacer de li occhi belli,
  ne' quai mirando mio disio ha posa;

ma chi s'avvede che i vivi suggelli
  d'ogne bellezza piu` fanno piu` suso,
  e ch'io non m'era li` rivolto a quelli,

escusar puommi di quel ch'io m'accuso
  per escusarmi, e vedermi dir vero:
  che' 'l piacer santo non e` qui dischiuso,

perche' si fa, montando, piu` sincero.

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