Purgatorio: Canto XV

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As much as 'twixt the close of the third hour
And dawn of day appeareth of that sphere
Which aye in fashion of a child is playing,

So much it now appeared, towards the night,
Was of his course remaining to the sun;
There it was evening, and 'twas midnight here;

And the rays smote the middle of our faces,
Because by us the mount was so encircled,
That straight towards the west we now were going

When I perceived my forehead overpowered
Beneath the splendour far more than at first,
And stupor were to me the things unknown,

Whereat towards the summit of my brow
I raised my hands, and made myself the visor
Which the excessive glare diminishes.

As when from off the water, or a mirror,
The sunbeam leaps unto the opposite side,
Ascending upward in the selfsame measure

That it descends, and deviates as far
From falling of a stone in line direct,
(As demonstrate experiment and art,)

So it appeared to me that by a light
Refracted there before me I was smitten;
On which account my sight was swift to flee.

"What is that, Father sweet, from which I cannot
So fully screen my sight that it avail me,"
Said I, "and seems towards us to be moving?"

"Marvel thou not, if dazzle thee as yet
The family of heaven," he answered me;
"An angel 'tis, who comes to invite us upward.

Soon will it be, that to behold these things
Shall not be grievous, but delightful to thee
As much as Nature fashioned thee to feel."

When we had reached the Angel benedight,
With joyful voice he said: "Here enter in
To stairway far less steep than are the others."

We mounting were, already thence departed,
And "Beati misericordes" was
Behind us sung, "Rejoice, thou that o'ercomest!"

My Master and myself, we two alone
Were going upward, and I thought, in going,
Some profit to acquire from words of his;

And I to him directed me, thus asking:
"What did the spirit of Romagna mean,
Mentioning interdict and partnership?"

Whence he to me: "Of his own greatest failing
He knows the harm; and therefore wonder not
If he reprove us, that we less may rue it.

Because are thither pointed your desires
Where by companionship each share is lessened,
Envy doth ply the bellows to your sighs.

But if the love of the supernal sphere
Should upwardly direct your aspiration,
There would not be that fear within your breast;

For there, as much the more as one says 'Our,'
So much the more of good each one possesses,
And more of charity in that cloister burns."

"I am more hungering to be satisfied,"
I said, "than if I had before been silent,
And more of doubt within my mind I gather.

How can it be, that boon distributed
The more possessors can more wealthy make
Therein, than if by few it be possessed?"

And he to me: "Because thou fixest still
Thy mind entirely upon earthly things,
Thou pluckest darkness from the very light.

That goodness infinite and ineffable
Which is above there, runneth unto love,
As to a lucid body comes the sunbeam.

So much it gives itself as it finds ardour,
So that as far as charity extends,
O'er it increases the eternal valour.

And the more people thitherward aspire,
More are there to love well, and more they love there,
And, as a mirror, one reflects the other.

And if my reasoning appease thee not,
Thou shalt see Beatrice; and she will fully
Take from thee this and every other longing.

Endeavour, then, that soon may be extinct,
As are the two already, the five wounds
That close themselves again by being painful."

Even as I wished to say, "Thou dost appease me,"
I saw that I had reached another circle,
So that my eager eyes made me keep silence.

There it appeared to me that in a vision
Ecstatic on a sudden I was rapt,
And in a temple many persons saw;

And at the door a woman, with the sweet
Behaviour of a mother, saying: "Son,
Why in this manner hast thou dealt with us?

Lo, sorrowing, thy father and myself
Were seeking for thee;"--and as here she ceased,
That which appeared at first had disappeared.

Then I beheld another with those waters
Adown her cheeks which grief distils whenever
From great disdain of others it is born,

And saying: "If of that city thou art lord,
For whose name was such strife among the gods,
And whence doth every science scintillate,

Avenge thyself on those audacious arms
That clasped our daughter, O Pisistratus;"
And the lord seemed to me benign and mild

To answer her with aspect temperate:
"What shall we do to those who wish us ill,
If he who loves us be by us condemned?"

Then saw I people hot in fire of wrath,
With stones a young man slaying, clamorously
Still crying to each other, "Kill him! Kill him!"

And him I saw bow down, because of death
That weighed already on him, to the earth,
But of his eyes made ever gates to heaven,

Imploring the high Lord, in so great strife,
That he would pardon those his persecutors,
With such an aspect as unlocks compassion.

Soon as my soul had outwardly returned
To things external to it which are true,
Did I my not false errors recognize.

My Leader, who could see me bear myself
Like to a man that rouses him from sleep,
Exclaimed: "What ails thee, that thou canst not stand?

But hast been coming more than half a league
Veiling thine eyes, and with thy legs entangled,
In guise of one whom wine or sleep subdues?"

"O my sweet Father, if thou listen to me,
I'll tell thee," said I, "what appeared to me,
When thus from me my legs were ta'en away."

And he: "If thou shouldst have a hundred masks
Upon thy face, from me would not be shut
Thy cogitations, howsoever small.

What thou hast seen was that thou mayst not fail
To ope thy heart unto the waters of peace,
Which from the eternal fountain are diffused.

I did not ask, 'What ails thee?' as he does
Who only looketh with the eyes that see not
When of the soul bereft the body lies,

But asked it to give vigour to thy feet;
Thus must we needs urge on the sluggards, slow
To use their wakefulness when it returns."

We passed along, athwart the twilight peering
Forward as far as ever eye could stretch
Against the sunbeams serotine and lucent;

And lo! by slow degrees a smoke approached
In our direction, sombre as the night,
Nor was there place to hide one's self therefrom.

This of our eyes and the pure air bereft us.

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La Divina Commedia di Dante: Purgatorio: Canto XV

Quanto tra l'ultimar de l'ora terza
  e 'l principio del di` par de la spera
  che sempre a guisa di fanciullo scherza,

tanto pareva gia` inver' la sera
  essere al sol del suo corso rimaso;
  vespero la`, e qui mezza notte era.

E i raggi ne ferien per mezzo 'l naso,
  perche' per noi girato era si` 'l monte,
  che gia` dritti andavamo inver' l'occaso,

quand'io senti' a me gravar la fronte
  a lo splendore assai piu` che di prima,
  e stupor m'eran le cose non conte;

ond'io levai le mani inver' la cima
  de le mie ciglia, e fecimi 'l solecchio,
  che del soverchio visibile lima.

Come quando da l'acqua o da lo specchio
  salta lo raggio a l'opposita parte,
  salendo su per lo modo parecchio

a quel che scende, e tanto si diparte
  dal cader de la pietra in igual tratta,
  si` come mostra esperienza e arte;

cosi` mi parve da luce rifratta
  quivi dinanzi a me esser percosso;
  per che a fuggir la mia vista fu ratta.

"Che e` quel, dolce padre, a che non posso
  schermar lo viso tanto che mi vaglia",
  diss'io, "e pare inver' noi esser mosso?".

"Non ti maravigliar s'ancor t'abbaglia
  la famiglia del cielo", a me rispuose:
  "messo e` che viene ad invitar ch'om saglia.

Tosto sara` ch'a veder queste cose
  non ti fia grave, ma fieti diletto
  quanto natura a sentir ti dispuose".

Poi giunti fummo a l'angel benedetto,
  con lieta voce disse: "Intrate quinci
  ad un scaleo vie men che li altri eretto".

Noi montavam, gia` partiti di linci,
  e 'Beati misericordes!' fue
  cantato retro, e 'Godi tu che vinci!'.

Lo mio maestro e io soli amendue
  suso andavamo; e io pensai, andando,
  prode acquistar ne le parole sue;

e dirizza'mi a lui si` dimandando:
  "Che volse dir lo spirto di Romagna,
  e 'divieto' e 'consorte' menzionando?".

Per ch'elli a me: "Di sua maggior magagna
  conosce il danno; e pero` non s'ammiri
  se ne riprende perche' men si piagna.

Perche' s'appuntano i vostri disiri
  dove per compagnia parte si scema,
  invidia move il mantaco a' sospiri.

Ma se l'amor de la spera supprema
  torcesse in suso il disiderio vostro,
  non vi sarebbe al petto quella tema;

che', per quanti si dice piu` li` 'nostro',
  tanto possiede piu` di ben ciascuno,
  e piu` di caritate arde in quel chiostro".

"Io son d'esser contento piu` digiuno",
  diss'io, "che se mi fosse pria taciuto,
  e piu` di dubbio ne la mente aduno.

Com'esser puote ch'un ben, distributo
  in piu` posseditor, faccia piu` ricchi
  di se', che se da pochi e` posseduto?".

Ed elli a me: "Pero` che tu rificchi
  la mente pur a le cose terrene,
  di vera luce tenebre dispicchi.

Quello infinito e ineffabil bene
  che la` su` e`, cosi` corre ad amore
  com'a lucido corpo raggio vene.

Tanto si da` quanto trova d'ardore;
  si` che, quantunque carita` si stende,
  cresce sovr'essa l'etterno valore.

E quanta gente piu` la` su` s'intende,
  piu` v'e` da bene amare, e piu` vi s'ama,
  e come specchio l'uno a l'altro rende.

E se la mia ragion non ti disfama,
  vedrai Beatrice, ed ella pienamente
  ti torra` questa e ciascun'altra brama.

Procaccia pur che tosto sieno spente,
  come son gia` le due, le cinque piaghe,
  che si richiudon per esser dolente".

Com'io voleva dicer 'Tu m'appaghe',
  vidimi giunto in su l'altro girone,
  si` che tacer mi fer le luci vaghe.

Ivi mi parve in una visione
  estatica di subito esser tratto,
  e vedere in un tempio piu` persone;

e una donna, in su l'entrar, con atto
  dolce di madre dicer: "Figliuol mio
  perche' hai tu cosi` verso noi fatto?

Ecco, dolenti, lo tuo padre e io
  ti cercavamo".  E come qui si tacque,
  cio` che pareva prima, dispario.

Indi m'apparve un'altra con quell'acque
  giu` per le gote che 'l dolor distilla
  quando di gran dispetto in altrui nacque,

e dir: "Se tu se' sire de la villa
  del cui nome ne' dei fu tanta lite,
  e onde ogni scienza disfavilla,

vendica te di quelle braccia ardite
  ch'abbracciar nostra figlia, o Pisistrato".
  E 'l segnor mi parea, benigno e mite,

risponder lei con viso temperato:
  "Che farem noi a chi mal ne disira,
  se quei che ci ama e` per noi condannato?",

Poi vidi genti accese in foco d'ira
  con pietre un giovinetto ancider, forte
  gridando a se' pur: "Martira, martira!".

E lui vedea chinarsi, per la morte
  che l'aggravava gia`, inver' la terra,
  ma de li occhi facea sempre al ciel porte,

orando a l'alto Sire, in tanta guerra,
  che perdonasse a' suoi persecutori,
  con quello aspetto che pieta` diserra.

Quando l'anima mia torno` di fori
  a le cose che son fuor di lei vere,
  io riconobbi i miei non falsi errori.

Lo duca mio, che mi potea vedere
  far si` com'om che dal sonno si slega,
  disse: "Che hai che non ti puoi tenere,

ma se' venuto piu` che mezza lega
  velando li occhi e con le gambe avvolte,
  a guisa di cui vino o sonno piega?".

"O dolce padre mio, se tu m'ascolte,
  io ti diro`", diss'io, "cio` che m'apparve
  quando le gambe mi furon si` tolte".

Ed ei: "Se tu avessi cento larve
  sovra la faccia, non mi sarian chiuse
  le tue cogitazion, quantunque parve.

Cio` che vedesti fu perche' non scuse
  d'aprir lo core a l'acque de la pace
  che da l'etterno fonte son diffuse.

Non dimandai "Che hai?" per quel che face
  chi guarda pur con l'occhio che non vede,
  quando disanimato il corpo giace;

ma dimandai per darti forza al piede:
  cosi` frugar conviensi i pigri, lenti
  ad usar lor vigilia quando riede".

Noi andavam per lo vespero, attenti
  oltre quanto potean li occhi allungarsi
  contra i raggi serotini e lucenti.

Ed ecco a poco a poco un fummo farsi
  verso di noi come la notte oscuro;
  ne' da quello era loco da cansarsi.

Questo ne tolse li occhi e l'aere puro.

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