Paradiso: Canto XXXIII

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"Thou Virgin Mother, daughter of thy Son,
Humble and high beyond all other creature,
The limit fixed of the eternal counsel,

Thou art the one who such nobility
To human nature gave, that its Creator
Did not disdain to make himself its creature.

Within thy womb rekindled was the love,
By heat of which in the eternal peace
After such wise this flower has germinated.

Here unto us thou art a noonday torch
Of charity, and below there among mortals
Thou art the living fountain-head of hope.

Lady, thou art so great, and so prevailing,
That he who wishes grace, nor runs to thee,
His aspirations without wings would fly.

Not only thy benignity gives succour
To him who asketh it, but oftentimes
Forerunneth of its own accord the asking.

In thee compassion is, in thee is pity,
In thee magnificence; in thee unites
Whate'er of goodness is in any creature.

Now doth this man, who from the lowest depth
Of the universe as far as here has seen
One after one the spiritual lives,

Supplicate thee through grace for so much power
That with his eyes he may uplift himself
Higher towards the uttermost salvation.

And I, who never burned for my own seeing
More than I do for his, all of my prayers
Proffer to thee, and pray they come not short,

That thou wouldst scatter from him every cloud
Of his mortality so with thy prayers,
That the Chief Pleasure be to him displayed.

Still farther do I pray thee, Queen, who canst
Whate'er thou wilt, that sound thou mayst preserve
After so great a vision his affections.

Let thy protection conquer human movements;
See Beatrice and all the blessed ones
My prayers to second clasp their hands to thee!"

The eyes beloved and revered of God,
Fastened upon the speaker, showed to us
How grateful unto her are prayers devout;

Then unto the Eternal Light they turned,
On which it is not credible could be
By any creature bent an eye so clear.

And I, who to the end of all desires
Was now approaching, even as I ought
The ardour of desire within me ended.

Bernard was beckoning unto me, and smiling,
That I should upward look; but I already
Was of my own accord such as he wished;

Because my sight, becoming purified,
Was entering more and more into the ray
Of the High Light which of itself is true.

From that time forward what I saw was greater
Than our discourse, that to such vision yields,
And yields the memory unto such excess.

Even as he is who seeth in a dream,
And after dreaming the imprinted passion
Remains, and to his mind the rest returns not,

Even such am I, for almost utterly
Ceases my vision, and distilleth yet
Within my heart the sweetness born of it;

Even thus the snow is in the sun unsealed,
Even thus upon the wind in the light leaves
Were the soothsayings of the Sibyl lost.

O Light Supreme, that dost so far uplift thee
From the conceits of mortals, to my mind
Of what thou didst appear re-lend a little,

And make my tongue of so great puissance,
That but a single sparkle of thy Glory
It may bequeath unto the future people;

For by returning to my memory somewhat,
And by a little sounding in these verses,
More of thy victory shall be conceived!

I think the keenness of the living ray
Which I endured would have bewildered me,
If but mine eyes had been averted from it;

And I remember that I was more bold
On this account to bear, so that I joined
My aspect with the Glory Infinite.

O grace abundant, by which I presumed
To fix my sight upon the Light Eternal,
So that the seeing I consumed therein!

I saw that in its depth far down is lying
Bound up with love together in one volume,
What through the universe in leaves is scattered;

Substance, and accident, and their operations,
All interfused together in such wise
That what I speak of is one simple light.

The universal fashion of this knot
Methinks I saw, since more abundantly
In saying this I feel that I rejoice.

One moment is more lethargy to me,
Than five and twenty centuries to the emprise
That startled Neptune with the shade of Argo!

My mind in this wise wholly in suspense,
Steadfast, immovable, attentive gazed,
And evermore with gazing grew enkindled.

In presence of that light one such becomes,
That to withdraw therefrom for other prospect
It is impossible he e'er consent;

Because the good, which object is of will,
Is gathered all in this, and out of it
That is defective which is perfect there.

Shorter henceforward will my language fall
Of what I yet remember, than an infant's
Who still his tongue doth moisten at the breast.

Not because more than one unmingled semblance
Was in the living light on which I looked,
For it is always what it was before;

But through the sight, that fortified itself
In me by looking, one appearance only
To me was ever changing as I changed.

Within the deep and luminous subsistence
Of the High Light appeared to me three circles,
Of threefold colour and of one dimension,

And by the second seemed the first reflected
As Iris is by Iris, and the third
Seemed fire that equally from both is breathed.

O how all speech is feeble and falls short
Of my conceit, and this to what I saw
Is such, 'tis not enough to call it little!

O Light Eterne, sole in thyself that dwellest,
Sole knowest thyself, and, known unto thyself
And knowing, lovest and smilest on thyself!

That circulation, which being thus conceived
Appeared in thee as a reflected light,
When somewhat contemplated by mine eyes,

Within itself, of its own very colour
Seemed to me painted with our effigy,
Wherefore my sight was all absorbed therein.

As the geometrician, who endeavours
To square the circle, and discovers not,
By taking thought, the principle he wants,

Even such was I at that new apparition;
I wished to see how the image to the circle
Conformed itself, and how it there finds place;

But my own wings were not enough for this,
Had it not been that then my mind there smote
A flash of lightning, wherein came its wish.

Here vigour failed the lofty fantasy:
But now was turning my desire and will,
Even as a wheel that equally is moved,

The Love which moves the sun and the other stars.

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La Divina Commedia di Dante: Paradiso: Canto XXXIII
"Vergine Madre, figlia del tuo figlio,
  umile e alta piu` che creatura,
  termine fisso d'etterno consiglio,

tu se' colei che l'umana natura
  nobilitasti si`, che 'l suo fattore
  non disdegno` di farsi sua fattura.

Nel ventre tuo si raccese l'amore,
  per lo cui caldo ne l'etterna pace
  cosi` e` germinato questo fiore.

Qui se' a noi meridiana face
  di caritate, e giuso, intra ' mortali,
  se' di speranza fontana vivace.

Donna, se' tanto grande e tanto vali,
  che qual vuol grazia e a te non ricorre
  sua disianza vuol volar sanz'ali.

La tua benignita` non pur soccorre
  a chi domanda, ma molte fiate
  liberamente al dimandar precorre

In te misericordia, in te pietate,
  in te magnificenza, in te s'aduna
  quantunque in creatura e` di bontate.

Or questi, che da l'infima lacuna
  de l'universo infin qui ha vedute
  le vite spiritali ad una ad una,

supplica a te, per grazia, di virtute
  tanto, che possa con li occhi levarsi
  piu` alto verso l'ultima salute.

E io, che mai per mio veder non arsi
  piu` ch'i' fo per lo suo, tutti miei prieghi
  ti porgo, e priego che non sieno scarsi,

perche' tu ogne nube li disleghi
  di sua mortalita` co' prieghi tuoi,
  si` che 'l sommo piacer li si dispieghi.

Ancor ti priego, regina, che puoi
  cio` che tu vuoli, che conservi sani,
  dopo tanto veder, li affetti suoi.

Vinca tua guardia i movimenti umani:
  vedi Beatrice con quanti beati
  per li miei prieghi ti chiudon le mani!"

Li occhi da Dio diletti e venerati,
  fissi ne l'orator, ne dimostraro
  quanto i devoti prieghi le son grati;

indi a l'etterno lume s'addrizzaro,
  nel qual non si dee creder che s'invii
  per creatura l'occhio tanto chiaro.

E io ch'al fine di tutt'i disii
  appropinquava, si` com'io dovea,
  l'ardor del desiderio in me finii.

Bernardo m'accennava, e sorridea,
  perch'io guardassi suso; ma io era
  gia` per me stesso tal qual ei volea:

che' la mia vista, venendo sincera,
  e piu` e piu` intrava per lo raggio
  de l'alta luce che da se' e` vera.

Da quinci innanzi il mio veder fu maggio
  che 'l parlar mostra, ch'a tal vista cede,
  e cede la memoria a tanto oltraggio.

Qual e` colui che sognando vede,
  che dopo 'l sogno la passione impressa
  rimane, e l'altro a la mente non riede,

cotal son io, che' quasi tutta cessa
  mia visione, e ancor mi distilla
  nel core il dolce che nacque da essa.

Cosi` la neve al sol si disigilla;
  cosi` al vento ne le foglie levi
  si perdea la sentenza di Sibilla.

O somma luce che tanto ti levi
  da' concetti mortali, a la mia mente
  ripresta un poco di quel che parevi,

e fa la lingua mia tanto possente,
  ch'una favilla sol de la tua gloria
  possa lasciare a la futura gente;

che', per tornare alquanto a mia memoria
  e per sonare un poco in questi versi,
  piu` si concepera` di tua vittoria.

Io credo, per l'acume ch'io soffersi
  del vivo raggio, ch'i' sarei smarrito,
  se li occhi miei da lui fossero aversi.

E' mi ricorda ch'io fui piu` ardito
  per questo a sostener, tanto ch'i' giunsi
  l'aspetto mio col valore infinito.

Oh abbondante grazia ond'io presunsi
  ficcar lo viso per la luce etterna,
  tanto che la veduta vi consunsi!

Nel suo profondo vidi che s'interna
  legato con amore in un volume,
  cio` che per l'universo si squaderna:

sustanze e accidenti e lor costume,
  quasi conflati insieme, per tal modo
  che cio` ch'i' dico e` un semplice lume.

La forma universal di questo nodo
  credo ch'i' vidi, perche' piu` di largo,
  dicendo questo, mi sento ch'i' godo.

Un punto solo m'e` maggior letargo
  che venticinque secoli a la 'mpresa,
  che fe' Nettuno ammirar l'ombra d'Argo.

Cosi` la mente mia, tutta sospesa,
  mirava fissa, immobile e attenta,
  e sempre di mirar faceasi accesa.

A quella luce cotal si diventa,
  che volgersi da lei per altro aspetto
  e` impossibil che mai si consenta;

pero` che 'l ben, ch'e` del volere obietto,
  tutto s'accoglie in lei, e fuor di quella
  e` defettivo cio` ch'e` li` perfetto.

Omai sara` piu` corta mia favella,
  pur a quel ch'io ricordo, che d'un fante
  che bagni ancor la lingua a la mammella.

Non perche' piu` ch'un semplice sembiante
  fosse nel vivo lume ch'io mirava,
  che tal e` sempre qual s'era davante;

ma per la vista che s'avvalorava
  in me guardando, una sola parvenza,
  mutandom'io, a me si travagliava.

Ne la profonda e chiara sussistenza
  de l'alto lume parvermi tre giri
  di tre colori e d'una contenenza;

e l'un da l'altro come iri da iri
  parea reflesso, e 'l terzo parea foco
  che quinci e quindi igualmente si spiri.

Oh quanto e` corto il dire e come fioco
  al mio concetto! e questo, a quel ch'i' vidi,
  e` tanto, che non basta a dicer 'poco'.

O luce etterna che sola in te sidi,
  sola t'intendi, e da te intelletta
  e intendente te ami e arridi!

Quella circulazion che si` concetta
  pareva in te come lume reflesso,
  da li occhi miei alquanto circunspetta,

dentro da se', del suo colore stesso,
  mi parve pinta de la nostra effige:
  per che 'l mio viso in lei tutto era messo.

Qual e` 'l geometra che tutto s'affige
  per misurar lo cerchio, e non ritrova,
  pensando, quel principio ond'elli indige,

tal era io a quella vista nova:
  veder voleva come si convenne
  l'imago al cerchio e come vi s'indova;

ma non eran da cio` le proprie penne:
  se non che la mia mente fu percossa
  da un fulgore in che sua voglia venne.

A l'alta fantasia qui manco` possa;
  ma gia` volgeva il mio disio e 'l velle,
  si` come rota ch'igualmente e` mossa,

l'amor che move il sole e l'altre stelle.

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