Paradiso: Canto XVII

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As came to Clymene, to be made certain
Of that which he had heard against himself,
He who makes fathers chary still to children,

Even such was I, and such was I perceived
By Beatrice and by the holy light
That first on my account had changed its place.

Therefore my Lady said to me: "Send forth
The flame of thy desire, so that it issue
Imprinted well with the internal stamp;

Not that our knowledge may be greater made
By speech of thine, but to accustom thee
To tell thy thirst, that we may give thee drink."

"O my beloved tree, (that so dost lift thee,
That even as minds terrestrial perceive
No triangle containeth two obtuse,

So thou beholdest the contingent things
Ere in themselves they are, fixing thine eyes
Upon the point in which all times are present,)

While I was with Virgilius conjoined
Upon the mountain that the souls doth heal,
And when descending into the dead world,

Were spoken to me of my future life
Some grievous words; although I feel myself
In sooth foursquare against the blows of chance.

On this account my wish would be content
To hear what fortune is approaching me,
Because foreseen an arrow comes more slowly."

Thus did I say unto that selfsame light
That unto me had spoken before; and even
As Beatrice willed was my own will confessed.

Not in vague phrase, in which the foolish folk
Ensnared themselves of old, ere yet was slain
The Lamb of God who taketh sins away,

But with clear words and unambiguous
Language responded that paternal love,
Hid and revealed by its own proper smile:

"Contingency, that outside of the volume
Of your materiality extends not,
Is all depicted in the eternal aspect.

Necessity however thence it takes not,
Except as from the eye, in which 'tis mirrored,
A ship that with the current down descends.

From thence, e'en as there cometh to the ear
Sweet harmony from an organ, comes in sight
To me the time that is preparing for thee.

As forth from Athens went Hippolytus,
By reason of his step-dame false and cruel,
So thou from Florence must perforce depart.

Already this is willed, and this is sought for;
And soon it shall be done by him who thinks it,
Where every day the Christ is bought and sold.

The blame shall follow the offended party
In outcry as is usual; but the vengeance
Shall witness to the truth that doth dispense it.

Thou shalt abandon everything beloved
Most tenderly, and this the arrow is
Which first the bow of banishment shoots forth.

Thou shalt have proof how savoureth of salt
The bread of others, and how hard a road
The going down and up another's stairs.

And that which most shall weigh upon thy shoulders
Will be the bad and foolish company
With which into this valley thou shalt fall;

For all ingrate, all mad and impious
Will they become against thee; but soon after
They, and not thou, shall have the forehead scarlet.

Of their bestiality their own proceedings
Shall furnish proof; so 'twill be well for thee
A party to have made thee by thyself.

Thine earliest refuge and thine earliest inn
Shall be the mighty Lombard's courtesy,
Who on the Ladder bears the holy bird,

Who such benign regard shall have for thee
That 'twixt you twain, in doing and in asking,
That shall be first which is with others last.

With him shalt thou see one who at his birth
Has by this star of strength been so impressed,
That notable shall his achievements be.

Not yet the people are aware of him
Through his young age, since only nine years yet
Around about him have these wheels revolved.

But ere the Gascon cheat the noble Henry,
Some sparkles of his virtue shall appear
In caring not for silver nor for toil.

So recognized shall his magnificence
Become hereafter, that his enemies
Will not have power to keep mute tongues about it.

On him rely, and on his benefits;
By him shall many people be transformed,
Changing condition rich and mendicant;

And written in thy mind thou hence shalt bear
Of him, but shalt not say it"--and things said he
Incredible to those who shall be present.

Then added: "Son, these are the commentaries
On what was said to thee; behold the snares
That are concealed behind few revolutions;

Yet would I not thy neighbours thou shouldst envy,
Because thy life into the future reaches
Beyond the punishment of their perfidies."

When by its silence showed that sainted soul
That it had finished putting in the woof
Into that web which I had given it warped,

Began I, even as he who yearneth after,
Being in doubt, some counsel from a person
Who seeth, and uprightly wills, and loves:

"Well see I, father mine, how spurreth on
The time towards me such a blow to deal me
As heaviest is to him who most gives way.

Therefore with foresight it is well I arm me,
That, if the dearest place be taken from me,
I may not lose the others by my songs.

Down through the world of infinite bitterness,
And o'er the mountain, from whose beauteous summit
The eyes of my own Lady lifted me,

And afterward through heaven from light to light,
I have learned that which, if I tell again,
Will be a savour of strong herbs to many.

And if I am a timid friend to truth,
I fear lest I may lose my life with those
Who will hereafter call this time the olden."

The light in which was smiling my own treasure
Which there I had discovered, flashed at first
As in the sunshine doth a golden mirror;

Then made reply: "A conscience overcast
Or with its own or with another's shame,
Will taste forsooth the tartness of thy word;

But ne'ertheless, all falsehood laid aside,
Make manifest thy vision utterly,
And let them scratch wherever is the itch;

For if thine utterance shall offensive be
At the first taste, a vital nutriment
'Twill leave thereafter, when it is digested.

This cry of thine shall do as doth the wind,
Which smiteth most the most exalted summits,
And that is no slight argument of honour.

Therefore are shown to thee within these wheels,
Upon the mount and in the dolorous valley,
Only the souls that unto fame are known;

Because the spirit of the hearer rests not,
Nor doth confirm its faith by an example
Which has the root of it unknown and hidden,

Or other reason that is not apparent."

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La Divina Commedia di Dante: Paradiso: Canto XVII
Qual venne a Climene', per accertarsi
  di cio` ch'avea incontro a se' udito,
  quei ch'ancor fa li padri ai figli scarsi;

tal era io, e tal era sentito
  e da Beatrice e da la santa lampa
  che pria per me avea mutato sito.

Per che mia donna "Manda fuor la vampa
  del tuo disio", mi disse, "si` ch'ella esca
  segnata bene de la interna stampa;

non perche' nostra conoscenza cresca
  per tuo parlare, ma perche' t'ausi
  a dir la sete, si` che l'uom ti mesca".

"O cara piota mia che si` t'insusi,
  che, come veggion le terrene menti
  non capere in triangol due ottusi,

cosi` vedi le cose contingenti
  anzi che sieno in se', mirando il punto
  a cui tutti li tempi son presenti;

mentre ch'io era a Virgilio congiunto
  su per lo monte che l'anime cura
  e discendendo nel mondo defunto,

dette mi fuor di mia vita futura
  parole gravi, avvegna ch'io mi senta
  ben tetragono ai colpi di ventura;

per che la voglia mia saria contenta
  d'intender qual fortuna mi s'appressa;
  che' saetta previsa vien piu` lenta".

Cosi` diss'io a quella luce stessa
  che pria m'avea parlato; e come volle
  Beatrice, fu la mia voglia confessa.

Ne' per ambage, in che la gente folle
  gia` s'inviscava pria che fosse anciso
  l'Agnel di Dio che le peccata tolle,

ma per chiare parole e con preciso
  latin rispuose quello amor paterno,
  chiuso e parvente del suo proprio riso:

"La contingenza, che fuor del quaderno
  de la vostra matera non si stende,
  tutta e` dipinta nel cospetto etterno:

necessita` pero` quindi non prende
  se non come dal viso in che si specchia
  nave che per torrente giu` discende.

Da indi, si` come viene ad orecchia
  dolce armonia da organo, mi viene
  a vista il tempo che ti s'apparecchia.

Qual si partio Ipolito d'Atene
  per la spietata e perfida noverca,
  tal di Fiorenza partir ti convene.

Questo si vuole e questo gia` si cerca,
  e tosto verra` fatto a chi cio` pensa
  la` dove Cristo tutto di` si merca.

La colpa seguira` la parte offensa
  in grido, come suol; ma la vendetta
  fia testimonio al ver che la dispensa.

Tu lascerai ogne cosa diletta
  piu` caramente; e questo e` quello strale
  che l'arco de lo essilio pria saetta.

Tu proverai si` come sa di sale
  lo pane altrui, e come e` duro calle
  lo scendere e 'l salir per l'altrui scale.

E quel che piu` ti gravera` le spalle,
  sara` la compagnia malvagia e scempia
  con la qual tu cadrai in questa valle;

che tutta ingrata, tutta matta ed empia
  si fara` contr'a te; ma, poco appresso,
  ella, non tu, n'avra` rossa la tempia.

Di sua bestialitate il suo processo
  fara` la prova; si` ch'a te fia bello
  averti fatta parte per te stesso.

Lo primo tuo refugio e 'l primo ostello
  sara` la cortesia del gran Lombardo
  che 'n su la scala porta il santo uccello;

ch'in te avra` si` benigno riguardo,
  che del fare e del chieder, tra voi due,
  fia primo quel che tra li altri e` piu` tardo.

Con lui vedrai colui che 'mpresso fue,
  nascendo, si` da questa stella forte,
  che notabili fier l'opere sue.

Non se ne son le genti ancora accorte
  per la novella eta`, che' pur nove anni
  son queste rote intorno di lui torte;

ma pria che 'l Guasco l'alto Arrigo inganni,
  parran faville de la sua virtute
  in non curar d'argento ne' d'affanni.

Le sue magnificenze conosciute
  saranno ancora, si` che ' suoi nemici
  non ne potran tener le lingue mute.

A lui t'aspetta e a' suoi benefici;
  per lui fia trasmutata molta gente,
  cambiando condizion ricchi e mendici;

e portera'ne scritto ne la mente
  di lui, e nol dirai"; e disse cose
  incredibili a quei che fier presente.

Poi giunse: "Figlio, queste son le chiose
  di quel che ti fu detto; ecco le 'nsidie
  che dietro a pochi giri son nascose.

Non vo' pero` ch'a' tuoi vicini invidie,
  poscia che s'infutura la tua vita
  vie piu` la` che 'l punir di lor perfidie".

Poi che, tacendo, si mostro` spedita
  l'anima santa di metter la trama
  in quella tela ch'io le porsi ordita,

io cominciai, come colui che brama,
  dubitando, consiglio da persona
  che vede e vuol dirittamente e ama:

"Ben veggio, padre mio, si` come sprona
  lo tempo verso me, per colpo darmi
  tal, ch'e` piu` grave a chi piu` s'abbandona;

per che di provedenza e` buon ch'io m'armi,
  si` che, se loco m'e` tolto piu` caro,
  io non perdessi li altri per miei carmi.

Giu` per lo mondo sanza fine amaro,
  e per lo monte del cui bel cacume
  li occhi de la mia donna mi levaro,

e poscia per lo ciel, di lume in lume,
  ho io appreso quel che s'io ridico,
  a molti fia sapor di forte agrume;

e s'io al vero son timido amico,
  temo di perder viver tra coloro
  che questo tempo chiameranno antico".

La luce in che rideva il mio tesoro
  ch'io trovai li`, si fe' prima corusca,
  quale a raggio di sole specchio d'oro;

indi rispuose: "Coscienza fusca
  o de la propria o de l'altrui vergogna
  pur sentira` la tua parola brusca.

Ma nondimen, rimossa ogne menzogna,
  tutta tua vision fa manifesta;
  e lascia pur grattar dov'e` la rogna.

Che' se la voce tua sara` molesta
  nel primo gusto, vital nodrimento
  lascera` poi, quando sara` digesta.

Questo tuo grido fara` come vento,
  che le piu` alte cime piu` percuote;
  e cio` non fa d'onor poco argomento.

Pero` ti son mostrate in queste rote,
  nel monte e ne la valle dolorosa
  pur l'anime che son di fama note,

che l'animo di quel ch'ode, non posa
  ne' ferma fede per essempro ch'aia
  la sua radice incognita e ascosa,

ne' per altro argomento che non paia".

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