Paradiso: Canto XVIII

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Now was alone rejoicing in its word
That soul beatified, and I was tasting
My own, the bitter tempering with the sweet,

And the Lady who to God was leading me
Said: "Change thy thought; consider that I am
Near unto Him who every wrong disburdens."

Unto the loving accents of my comfort
I turned me round, and then what love I saw
Within those holy eyes I here relinquish;

Not only that my language I distrust,
But that my mind cannot return so far
Above itself, unless another guide it.

Thus much upon that point can I repeat,
That, her again beholding, my affection
From every other longing was released.

While the eternal pleasure, which direct
Rayed upon Beatrice, from her fair face
Contented me with its reflected aspect,

Conquering me with the radiance of a smile,
She said to me, "Turn thee about and listen;
Not in mine eyes alone is Paradise."

Even as sometimes here do we behold
The affection in the look, if it be such
That all the soul is wrapt away by it,

So, by the flaming of the effulgence holy
To which I turned, I recognized therein
The wish of speaking to me somewhat farther.

And it began: "In this fifth resting-place
Upon the tree that liveth by its summit,
And aye bears fruit, and never loses leaf,

Are blessed spirits that below, ere yet
They came to Heaven, were of such great renown
That every Muse therewith would affluent be.

Therefore look thou upon the cross's horns;
He whom I now shall name will there enact
What doth within a cloud its own swift fire."

I saw athwart the Cross a splendour drawn
By naming Joshua, (even as he did it,)
Nor noted I the word before the deed;

And at the name of the great Maccabee
I saw another move itself revolving,
And gladness was the whip unto that top.

Likewise for Charlemagne and for Orlando,
Two of them my regard attentive followed
As followeth the eye its falcon flying.

William thereafterward, and Renouard,
And the Duke Godfrey, did attract my sight
Along upon that Cross, and Robert Guiscard.

Then, moved and mingled with the other lights,
The soul that had addressed me showed how great
An artist 'twas among the heavenly singers.

To my right side I turned myself around,
My duty to behold in
Either by words or gesture signified;

And so translucent I beheld her eyes,
So full of pleasure, that her countenance
Surpassed its other and its latest wont.

And as, by feeling greater delectation,
A man in doing good from day to day
Becomes aware his virtue is increasing,

So I became aware that my gyration
With heaven together had increased its arc,
That miracle beholding more adorned.

And such as is the change, in little lapse
Of time, in a pale woman, when her face
Is from the load of bashfulness unladen,

Such was it in mine eyes, when I had turned,
Caused by the whiteness of the temperate star,
The sixth, which to itself had gathered me.

Within that Jovial torch did I behold
The sparkling of the love which was therein
Delineate our language to mine eyes.

And even as birds uprisen from the shore,
As in congratulation o'er their food,
Make squadrons of themselves, now round, now long,

So from within those lights the holy creatures
Sang flying to and fro, and in their figures
Made of themselves now D, now I, now L.

First singing they to their own music moved;
Then one becoming of these characters,
A little while they rested and were silent.

O divine Pegasea, thou who genius
Dost glorious make, and render it long-lived,
And this through thee the cities and the kingdoms,

Illume me with thyself, that I may bring
Their figures out as I have them conceived!
Apparent be thy power in these brief verses!

Themselves then they displayed in five times seven
Vowels and consonants; and I observed
The parts as they seemed spoken unto me.

'Diligite justitiam,' these were
First verb and noun of all that was depicted;
'Qui judicatis terram' were the last.

Thereafter in the M of the fifth word
Remained they so arranged, that Jupiter
Seemed to be silver there with gold inlaid.

And other lights I saw descend where was
The summit of the M, and pause there singing
The good, I think, that draws them to itself.

Then, as in striking upon burning logs
Upward there fly innumerable sparks,
Whence fools are wont to look for auguries,

More than a thousand lights seemed thence to rise,
And to ascend, some more, and others less,
Even as the Sun that lights them had allotted;

And, each one being quiet in its place,
The head and neck beheld I of an eagle
Delineated by that inlaid fire.

He who there paints has none to be his guide;
But Himself guides; and is from Him remembered
That virtue which is form unto the nest.

The other beatitude, that contented seemed
At first to bloom a lily on the M,
By a slight motion followed out the imprint.

O gentle star! what and how many gems
Did demonstrate to me, that all our justice
Effect is of that heaven which thou ingemmest!

Wherefore I pray the Mind, in which begin
Thy motion and thy virtue, to regard
Whence comes the smoke that vitiates thy rays;

So that a second time it now be wroth
With buying and with selling in the temple
Whose walls were built with signs and martyrdoms!

O soldiery of heaven, whom I contemplate,
Implore for those who are upon the earth
All gone astray after the bad example!

Once 'twas the custom to make war with swords;
But now 'tis made by taking here and there
The bread the pitying Father shuts from none.

Yet thou, who writest but to cancel, think
That Peter and that Paul, who for this vineyard
Which thou art spoiling died, are still alive!

Well canst thou say: "So steadfast my desire
Is unto him who willed to live alone,
And for a dance was led to martyrdom,

That I know not the Fisherman nor Paul."

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La Divina Commedia di Dante: Paradiso: Canto XVIII
Gia` si godeva solo del suo verbo
  quello specchio beato, e io gustava
  lo mio, temprando col dolce l'acerbo;

e quella donna ch'a Dio mi menava
  disse: "Muta pensier; pensa ch'i' sono
  presso a colui ch'ogne torto disgrava".

Io mi rivolsi a l'amoroso suono
  del mio conforto; e qual io allor vidi
  ne li occhi santi amor, qui l'abbandono:

non perch'io pur del mio parlar diffidi,
  ma per la mente che non puo` redire
  sovra se' tanto, s'altri non la guidi.

Tanto poss'io di quel punto ridire,
  che, rimirando lei, lo mio affetto
  libero fu da ogne altro disire,

fin che 'l piacere etterno, che diretto
  raggiava in Beatrice, dal bel viso
  mi contentava col secondo aspetto.

Vincendo me col lume d'un sorriso,
  ella mi disse: "Volgiti e ascolta;
  che' non pur ne' miei occhi e` paradiso".

Come si vede qui alcuna volta
  l'affetto ne la vista, s'elli e` tanto,
  che da lui sia tutta l'anima tolta,

cosi` nel fiammeggiar del folgor santo,
  a ch'io mi volsi, conobbi la voglia
  in lui di ragionarmi ancora alquanto.

El comincio`: "In questa quinta soglia
  de l'albero che vive de la cima
  e frutta sempre e mai non perde foglia,

spiriti son beati, che giu`, prima
  che venissero al ciel, fuor di gran voce,
  si` ch'ogne musa ne sarebbe opima.

Pero` mira ne' corni de la croce:
  quello ch'io nomero`, li` fara` l'atto
  che fa in nube il suo foco veloce".

Io vidi per la croce un lume tratto
  dal nomar Iosue`, com'el si feo;
  ne' mi fu noto il dir prima che 'l fatto.

E al nome de l'alto Macabeo
  vidi moversi un altro roteando,
  e letizia era ferza del paleo.

Cosi` per Carlo Magno e per Orlando
  due ne segui` lo mio attento sguardo,
  com'occhio segue suo falcon volando.

Poscia trasse Guiglielmo e Rinoardo
  e 'l duca Gottifredi la mia vista
  per quella croce, e Ruberto Guiscardo.

Indi, tra l'altre luci mota e mista,
  mostrommi l'alma che m'avea parlato
  qual era tra i cantor del cielo artista.

Io mi rivolsi dal mio destro lato
  per vedere in Beatrice il mio dovere,
  o per parlare o per atto, segnato;

e vidi le sue luci tanto mere,
  tanto gioconde, che la sua sembianza
  vinceva li altri e l'ultimo solere.

E come, per sentir piu` dilettanza
  bene operando, l'uom di giorno in giorno
  s'accorge che la sua virtute avanza,

si` m'accors'io che 'l mio girare intorno
  col cielo insieme avea cresciuto l'arco,
  veggendo quel miracol piu` addorno.

E qual e` 'l trasmutare in picciol varco
  di tempo in bianca donna, quando 'l volto
  suo si discarchi di vergogna il carco,

tal fu ne li occhi miei, quando fui volto,
  per lo candor de la temprata stella
  sesta, che dentro a se' m'avea ricolto.

Io vidi in quella giovial facella
  lo sfavillar de l'amor che li` era,
  segnare a li occhi miei nostra favella.

E come augelli surti di rivera,
  quasi congratulando a lor pasture,
  fanno di se' or tonda or altra schiera,

si` dentro ai lumi sante creature
  volitando cantavano, e faciensi
  or D, or I, or L in sue figure.

Prima, cantando, a sua nota moviensi;
  poi, diventando l'un di questi segni,
  un poco s'arrestavano e taciensi.

O diva Pegasea che li 'ngegni
  fai gloriosi e rendili longevi,
  ed essi teco le cittadi e ' regni,

illustrami di te, si` ch'io rilevi
  le lor figure com'io l'ho concette:
  paia tua possa in questi versi brevi!

Mostrarsi dunque in cinque volte sette
  vocali e consonanti; e io notai
  le parti si`, come mi parver dette.

  fur verbo e nome di tutto 'l dipinto;
  'QUI IUDICATIS TERRAM', fur sezzai.

Poscia ne l'emme del vocabol quinto
  rimasero ordinate; si` che Giove
  pareva argento li` d'oro distinto.

E vidi scendere altre luci dove
  era il colmo de l'emme, e li` quetarsi
  cantando, credo, il ben ch'a se' le move.

Poi, come nel percuoter d'i ciocchi arsi
  surgono innumerabili faville,
  onde li stolti sogliono agurarsi,

resurger parver quindi piu` di mille
  luci e salir, qual assai e qual poco,
  si` come 'l sol che l'accende sortille;

e quietata ciascuna in suo loco,
  la testa e 'l collo d'un'aguglia vidi
  rappresentare a quel distinto foco.

Quei che dipinge li`, non ha chi 'l guidi;
  ma esso guida, e da lui si rammenta
  quella virtu` ch'e` forma per li nidi.

L'altra beatitudo, che contenta
  pareva prima d'ingigliarsi a l'emme,
  con poco moto seguito` la 'mprenta.

O dolce stella, quali e quante gemme
  mi dimostraro che nostra giustizia
  effetto sia del ciel che tu ingemme!

Per ch'io prego la mente in che s'inizia
  tuo moto e tua virtute, che rimiri
  ond'esce il fummo che 'l tuo raggio vizia;

si` ch'un'altra fiata omai s'adiri
  del comperare e vender dentro al templo
  che si muro` di segni e di martiri.

O milizia del ciel cu' io contemplo,
  adora per color che sono in terra
  tutti sviati dietro al malo essemplo!

Gia` si solea con le spade far guerra;
  ma or si fa togliendo or qui or quivi
  lo pan che 'l pio Padre a nessun serra.

Ma tu che sol per cancellare scrivi,
  pensa che Pietro e Paulo, che moriro
  per la vigna che guasti, ancor son vivi.

Ben puoi tu dire: "I' ho fermo 'l disiro
  si` a colui che volle viver solo
  e che per salti fu tratto al martiro,

ch'io non conosco il pescator ne' Polo".

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