Purgatorio: Canto XXIV

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Nor speech the going, nor the going that
Slackened; but talking we went bravely on,
Even as a vessel urged by a good wind.

And shadows, that appeared things doubly dead,
From out the sepulchres of their eyes betrayed
Wonder at me, aware that I was living.

And I, continuing my colloquy,
Said: "Peradventure he goes up more slowly
Than he would do, for other people's sake.

But tell me, if thou knowest, where is Piccarda;
Tell me if any one of note I see
Among this folk that gazes at me so."

"My sister, who, 'twixt beautiful and good,
I know not which was more, triumphs rejoicing
Already in her crown on high Olympus."

So said he first, and then: "'Tis not forbidden
To name each other here, so milked away
Is our resemblance by our dieting.

This," pointing with his finger, "is Buonagiunta,
Buonagiunta, of Lucca; and that face
Beyond him there, more peaked than the others,

Has held the holy Church within his arms;
From Tours was he, and purges by his fasting
Bolsena's eels and the Vernaccia wine."

He named me many others one by one;
And all contented seemed at being named,
So that for this I saw not one dark look.

I saw for hunger bite the empty air
Ubaldin dalla Pila, and Boniface,
Who with his crook had pastured many people.

I saw Messer Marchese, who had leisure
Once at Forli for drinking with less dryness,
And he was one who ne'er felt satisfied.

But as he does who scans, and then doth prize
One more than others, did I him of Lucca,
Who seemed to take most cognizance of me.

He murmured, and I know not what Gentucca
From that place heard I, where he felt the wound
Of justice, that doth macerate them so.

"O soul," I said, "that seemest so desirous
To speak with me, do so that I may hear thee,
And with thy speech appease thyself and me."

"A maid is born, and wears not yet the veil,"
Began he, "who to thee shall pleasant make
My city, howsoever men may blame it.

Thou shalt go on thy way with this prevision;
If by my murmuring thou hast been deceived,
True things hereafter will declare it to thee.

But say if him I here behold, who forth
Evoked the new-invented rhymes, beginning,
'Ladies, that have intelligence of love?'"

And I to him: "One am I, who, whenever
Love doth inspire me, note, and in that measure
Which he within me dictates, singing go."

"O brother, now I see," he said, "the knot
Which me, the Notary, and Guittone held
Short of the sweet new style that now I hear.

I do perceive full clearly how your pens
Go closely following after him who dictates,
Which with our own forsooth came not to pass;

And he who sets himself to go beyond,
No difference sees from one style to another;"
And as if satisfied, he held his peace.

Even as the birds, that winter tow'rds the Nile,
Sometimes into a phalanx form themselves,
Then fly in greater haste, and go in file;

In such wise all the people who were there,
Turning their faces, hurried on their steps,
Both by their leanness and their wishes light.

And as a man, who weary is with trotting,
Lets his companions onward go, and walks,
Until he vents the panting of his chest;

So did Forese let the holy flock
Pass by, and came with me behind it, saying,
"When will it be that I again shall see thee?"

"How long," I answered, "I may live, I know not;
Yet my return will not so speedy be,
But I shall sooner in desire arrive;

Because the place where I was set to live
From day to day of good is more depleted,
And unto dismal ruin seems ordained."

"Now go," he said, "for him most guilty of it
At a beast's tail behold I dragged along
Towards the valley where is no repentance.

Faster at every step the beast is going,
Increasing evermore until it smites him,
And leaves the body vilely mutilated.

Not long those wheels shall turn," and he uplifted
His eyes to heaven, "ere shall be clear to thee
That which my speech no farther can declare.

Now stay behind; because the time so precious
Is in this kingdom, that I lose too much
By coming onward thus abreast with thee."

As sometimes issues forth upon a gallop
A cavalier from out a troop that ride,
And seeks the honour of the first encounter,

So he with greater strides departed from us;
And on the road remained I with those two,
Who were such mighty marshals of the world.

And when before us he had gone so far
Mine eyes became to him such pursuivants
As was my understanding to his words,

Appeared to me with laden and living boughs
Another apple-tree, and not far distant,
From having but just then turned thitherward.

People I saw beneath it lift their hands,
And cry I know not what towards the leaves,
Like little children eager and deluded,

Who pray, and he they pray to doth not answer,
But, to make very keen their appetite,
Holds their desire aloft, and hides it not.

Then they departed as if undeceived;
And now we came unto the mighty tree
Which prayers and tears so manifold refuses.

"Pass farther onward without drawing near;
The tree of which Eve ate is higher up,
And out of that one has this tree been raised."

Thus said I know not who among the branches;
Whereat Virgilius, Statius, and myself
Went crowding forward on the side that rises.

"Be mindful," said he, "of the accursed ones
Formed of the cloud-rack, who inebriate
Combated Theseus with their double breasts;

And of the Jews who showed them soft in drinking,
Whence Gideon would not have them for companions
When he tow'rds Midian the hills descended."

Thus, closely pressed to one of the two borders,
On passed we, hearing sins of gluttony,
Followed forsooth by miserable gains;

Then set at large upon the lonely road,
A thousand steps and more we onward went,
In contemplation, each without a word.

"What go ye thinking thus, ye three alone?"
Said suddenly a voice, whereat I started
As terrified and timid beasts are wont.

I raised my head to see who this might be,
And never in a furnace was there seen
Metals or glass so lucent and so red

As one I saw who said: "If it may please you
To mount aloft, here it behoves you turn;
This way goes he who goeth after peace."

His aspect had bereft me of my sight,
So that I turned me back unto my Teachers,
Like one who goeth as his hearing guides him.

And as, the harbinger of early dawn,
The air of May doth move and breathe out fragrance,
Impregnate all with herbage and with flowers,

So did I feel a breeze strike in the midst
My front, and felt the moving of the plumes
That breathed around an odour of ambrosia;

And heard it said: "Blessed are they whom grace
So much illumines, that the love of taste
Excites not in their breasts too great desire,

Hungering at all times so far as is just."

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La Divina Commedia di Dante: Purgatorio: Canto XXIV

Ne' 'l dir l'andar, ne' l'andar lui piu` lento
  facea, ma ragionando andavam forte,
  si` come nave pinta da buon vento;

e l'ombre, che parean cose rimorte,
  per le fosse de li occhi ammirazione
  traean di me, di mio vivere accorte.

E io, continuando al mio sermone,
  dissi: "Ella sen va su` forse piu` tarda
  che non farebbe, per altrui cagione.

Ma dimmi, se tu sai, dov'e` Piccarda;
  dimmi s'io veggio da notar persona
  tra questa gente che si` mi riguarda".

"La mia sorella, che tra bella e buona
  non so qual fosse piu`, triunfa lieta
  ne l'alto Olimpo gia` di sua corona".

Si` disse prima; e poi: "Qui non si vieta
  di nominar ciascun, da ch'e` si` munta
  nostra sembianza via per la dieta.

Questi", e mostro` col dito, "e` Bonagiunta,
  Bonagiunta da Lucca; e quella faccia
  di la` da lui piu` che l'altre trapunta

ebbe la Santa Chiesa in le sue braccia:
  dal Torso fu, e purga per digiuno
  l'anguille di Bolsena e la vernaccia".

Molti altri mi nomo` ad uno ad uno;
  e del nomar parean tutti contenti,
  si` ch'io pero` non vidi un atto bruno.

Vidi per fame a voto usar li denti
  Ubaldin da la Pila e Bonifazio
  che pasturo` col rocco molte genti.

Vidi messer Marchese, ch'ebbe spazio
  gia` di bere a Forli` con men secchezza,
  e si` fu tal, che non si senti` sazio.

Ma come fa chi guarda e poi s'apprezza
  piu` d'un che d'altro, fei a quel da Lucca,
  che piu` parea di me aver contezza.

El mormorava; e non so che "Gentucca"
  sentiv'io la`, ov'el sentia la piaga
  de la giustizia che si` li pilucca.

"O anima", diss'io, "che par si` vaga
  di parlar meco, fa si` ch'io t'intenda,
  e te e me col tuo parlare appaga".

"Femmina e` nata, e non porta ancor benda",
  comincio` el, "che ti fara` piacere
  la mia citta`, come ch'om la riprenda.

Tu te n'andrai con questo antivedere:
  se nel mio mormorar prendesti errore,
  dichiareranti ancor le cose vere.

Ma di` s'i' veggio qui colui che fore
  trasse le nove rime, cominciando
  'Donne ch'avete intelletto d'amore'".

E io a lui: "I' mi son un che, quando
  Amor mi spira, noto, e a quel modo
  ch'e' ditta dentro vo significando".

"O frate, issa vegg'io", diss'elli, "il nodo
  che 'l Notaro e Guittone e me ritenne
  di qua dal dolce stil novo ch'i' odo!

Io veggio ben come le vostre penne
  di retro al dittator sen vanno strette,
  che de le nostre certo non avvenne;

e qual piu` a gradire oltre si mette,
  non vede piu` da l'uno a l'altro stilo";
  e, quasi contentato, si tacette.

Come li augei che vernan lungo 'l Nilo,
  alcuna volta in aere fanno schiera,
  poi volan piu` a fretta e vanno in filo,

cosi` tutta la gente che li` era,
  volgendo 'l viso, raffretto` suo passo,
  e per magrezza e per voler leggera.

E come l'uom che di trottare e` lasso,
  lascia andar li compagni, e si` passeggia
  fin che si sfoghi l'affollar del casso,

si` lascio` trapassar la santa greggia
  Forese, e dietro meco sen veniva,
  dicendo: "Quando fia ch'io ti riveggia?".

"Non so", rispuos'io lui, "quant'io mi viva;
  ma gia` non fia il tornar mio tantosto,
  ch'io non sia col voler prima a la riva;

pero` che 'l loco u' fui a viver posto,
  di giorno in giorno piu` di ben si spolpa,
  e a trista ruina par disposto".

"Or va", diss'el; "che quei che piu` n'ha colpa,
  vegg'io a coda d'una bestia tratto
  inver' la valle ove mai non si scolpa.

La bestia ad ogne passo va piu` ratto,
  crescendo sempre, fin ch'ella il percuote,
  e lascia il corpo vilmente disfatto.

Non hanno molto a volger quelle ruote",
  e drizzo` li ochi al ciel, "che ti fia chiaro
  cio` che 'l mio dir piu` dichiarar non puote.

Tu ti rimani omai; che' 'l tempo e` caro
  in questo regno, si` ch'io perdo troppo
  venendo teco si` a paro a paro".

Qual esce alcuna volta di gualoppo
  lo cavalier di schiera che cavalchi,
  e va per farsi onor del primo intoppo,

tal si parti` da noi con maggior valchi;
  e io rimasi in via con esso i due
  che fuor del mondo si` gran marescalchi.

E quando innanzi a noi intrato fue,
  che li occhi miei si fero a lui seguaci,
  come la mente a le parole sue,

parvermi i rami gravidi e vivaci
  d'un altro pomo, e non molto lontani
  per esser pur allora volto in laci.

Vidi gente sott'esso alzar le mani
  e gridar non so che verso le fronde,
  quasi bramosi fantolini e vani,

che pregano, e 'l pregato non risponde,
  ma, per fare esser ben la voglia acuta,
  tien alto lor disio e nol nasconde.

Poi si parti` si` come ricreduta;
  e noi venimmo al grande arbore adesso,
  che tanti prieghi e lagrime rifiuta.

"Trapassate oltre sanza farvi presso:
  legno e` piu` su` che fu morso da Eva,
  e questa pianta si levo` da esso".

Si` tra le frasche non so chi diceva;
  per che Virgilio e Stazio e io, ristretti,
  oltre andavam dal lato che si leva.

"Ricordivi", dicea, "d'i maladetti
  nei nuvoli formati, che, satolli,
  Teseo combatter co' doppi petti;

e de li Ebrei ch'al ber si mostrar molli,
  per che no i volle Gedeon compagni,
  quando inver' Madian discese i colli".

Si` accostati a l'un d'i due vivagni
  passammo, udendo colpe de la gola
  seguite gia` da miseri guadagni.

Poi, rallargati per la strada sola,
  ben mille passi e piu` ci portar oltre,
  contemplando ciascun sanza parola.

"Che andate pensando si` voi sol tre?".
  subita voce disse; ond'io mi scossi
  come fan bestie spaventate e poltre.

Drizzai la testa per veder chi fossi;
  e gia` mai non si videro in fornace
  vetri o metalli si` lucenti e rossi,

com'io vidi un che dicea: "S'a voi piace
  montare in su`, qui si convien dar volta;
  quinci si va chi vuole andar per pace".

L'aspetto suo m'avea la vista tolta;
  per ch'io mi volsi dietro a' miei dottori,
  com'om che va secondo ch'elli ascolta.

E quale, annunziatrice de li albori,
  l'aura di maggio movesi e olezza,
  tutta impregnata da l'erba e da' fiori;

tal mi senti' un vento dar per mezza
  la fronte, e ben senti' mover la piuma,
  che fe' sentir d'ambrosia l'orezza.

E senti' dir: "Beati cui alluma
  tanto di grazia, che l'amor del gusto
  nel petto lor troppo disir non fuma,

esuriendo sempre quanto e` giusto!".

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