Purgatorio: Canto XXXII

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So steadfast and attentive were mine eyes
In satisfying their decennial thirst,
That all my other senses were extinct,

And upon this side and on that they had
Walls of indifference, so the holy smile
Drew them unto itself with the old net

When forcibly my sight was turned away
Towards my left hand by those goddesses,
Because I heard from them a "Too intently!"

And that condition of the sight which is
In eyes but lately smitten by the sun
Bereft me of my vision some short while;

But to the less when sight re-shaped itself,
I say the less in reference to the greater
Splendour from which perforce I had withdrawn,

I saw upon its right wing wheeled about
The glorious host returning with the sun
And with the sevenfold flames upon their faces.

As underneath its shields, to save itself,
A squadron turns, and with its banner wheels,
Before the whole thereof can change its front,

That soldiery of the Celestial kingdom
Which marched in the advance had wholly passed us
Before the chariot had turned its pole.

Then to the wheels the maidens turned themselves,
And the Griffin moved his burden benedight,
But so that not a feather of him fluttered.

The lady fair who drew me through the ford
Followed with Statius and myself the wheel
Which made its orbit with the lesser arc.

So passing through the lofty forest, vacant
By fault of her who in the serpent trusted,
Angelic music made our steps keep time.

Perchance as great a space had in three flights
An arrow loosened from the string o'erpassed,
As we had moved when Beatrice descended.

I heard them murmur altogether, "Adam!"
Then circled they about a tree despoiled
Of blooms and other leafage on each bough.

Its tresses, which so much the more dilate
As higher they ascend, had been by Indians
Among their forests marvelled at for height.

"Blessed art thou, O Griffin, who dost not
Pluck with thy beak these branches sweet to taste,
Since appetite by this was turned to evil."

After this fashion round the tree robust
The others shouted; and the twofold creature:
"Thus is preserved the seed of all the just."

And turning to the pole which he had dragged,
He drew it close beneath the widowed bough,
And what was of it unto it left bound.

In the same manner as our trees (when downward
Falls the great light, with that together mingled
Which after the Celestial Lasca shines)

Begin to swell, and then renew themselves,
Each one with its own colour, ere the Sun
Harness his steeds beneath another star:

Less than of rose and more than violet
A hue disclosing, was renewed the tree
That had erewhile its boughs so desolate.

I never heard, nor here below is sung,
The hymn which afterward that people sang,
Nor did I bear the melody throughout.

Had I the power to paint how fell asleep
Those eyes compassionless, of Syrinx hearing,
Those eyes to which more watching cost so dear,

Even as a painter who from model paints
I would portray how I was lulled asleep;
He may, who well can picture drowsihood.

Therefore I pass to what time I awoke,
And say a splendour rent from me the veil
Of slumber, and a calling: "Rise, what dost thou?"

As to behold the apple-tree in blossom
Which makes the Angels greedy for its fruit,
And keeps perpetual bridals in the Heaven,

Peter and John and James conducted were,
And, overcome, recovered at the word
By which still greater slumbers have been broken,

And saw their school diminished by the loss
Not only of Elias, but of Moses,
And the apparel of their Master changed;

So I revived, and saw that piteous one
Above me standing, who had been conductress
Aforetime of my steps beside the river,

And all in doubt I said, "Where's Beatrice?"
And she: "Behold her seated underneath
The leafage new, upon the root of it.

Behold the company that circles her;
The rest behind the Griffin are ascending
With more melodious song, and more profound."

And if her speech were more diffuse I know not,
Because already in my sight was she
Who from the hearing of aught else had shut me.

Alone she sat upon the very earth,
Left there as guardian of the chariot
Which I had seen the biform monster fasten.

Encircling her, a cloister made themselves
The seven Nymphs, with those lights in their hands
Which are secure from Aquilon and Auster.

"Short while shalt thou be here a forester,
And thou shalt be with me for evermore
A citizen of that Rome where Christ is Roman.

Therefore, for that world's good which liveth ill,
Fix on the car thine eyes, and what thou seest,
Having returned to earth, take heed thou write."

Thus Beatrice; and I, who at the feet
Of her commandments all devoted was,
My mind and eyes directed where she willed.

Never descended with so swift a motion
Fire from a heavy cloud, when it is raining
From out the region which is most remote,

As I beheld the bird of Jove descend
Down through the tree, rending away the bark,
As well as blossoms and the foliage new,

And he with all his might the chariot smote,
Whereat it reeled, like vessel in a tempest
Tossed by the waves, now starboard and now larboard.

Thereafter saw I leap into the body
Of the triumphal vehicle a Fox,
That seemed unfed with any wholesome food.

But for his hideous sins upbraiding him,
My Lady put him to as swift a flight
As such a fleshless skeleton could bear.

Then by the way that it before had come,
Into the chariot's chest I saw the Eagle
Descend, and leave it feathered with his plumes.

And such as issues from a heart that mourns,
A voice from Heaven there issued, and it said:
"My little bark, how badly art thou freighted!"

Methought, then, that the earth did yawn between
Both wheels, and I saw rise from it a Dragon,
Who through the chariot upward fixed his tail,

And as a wasp that draweth back its sting,
Drawing unto himself his tail malign,
Drew out the floor, and went his way rejoicing.

That which remained behind, even as with grass
A fertile region, with the feathers, offered
Perhaps with pure intention and benign,

Reclothed itself, and with them were reclothed
The pole and both the wheels so speedily,
A sigh doth longer keep the lips apart.

Transfigured thus the holy edifice
Thrust forward heads upon the parts of it,
Three on the pole and one at either corner.

The first were horned like oxen; but the four
Had but a single horn upon the forehead;
A monster such had never yet been seen!

Firm as a rock upon a Mountain high,
Seated upon it, there appeared to me
A shameless whore, with eyes swift glancing round,

And, as if not to have her taken from him,
Upright beside her I beheld a giant;
And ever and anon they kissed each other.

But because she her wanton, roving eye
Turned upon me, her angry paramour
Did scourge her from her head unto her feet.

Then full of jealousy, and fierce with wrath,
He loosed the monster, and across the forest
Dragged it so far, he made of that alone

A shield unto the whore and the strange beast.

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La Divina Commedia di Dante: Purgatorio: Canto XXXII

Tant'eran li occhi miei fissi e attenti
  a disbramarsi la decenne sete,
  che li altri sensi m'eran tutti spenti.

Ed essi quinci e quindi avien parete
  di non caler - cosi` lo santo riso
  a se' traeli con l'antica rete! -;

quando per forza mi fu volto il viso
  ver' la sinistra mia da quelle dee,
  perch'io udi' da loro un "Troppo fiso!";

e la disposizion ch'a veder ee
  ne li occhi pur teste' dal sol percossi,
  sanza la vista alquanto esser mi fee.

Ma poi ch'al poco il viso riformossi
  (e dico 'al poco' per rispetto al molto
  sensibile onde a forza mi rimossi),

vidi 'n sul braccio destro esser rivolto
  lo glorioso essercito, e tornarsi
  col sole e con le sette fiamme al volto.

Come sotto li scudi per salvarsi
  volgesi schiera, e se' gira col segno,
  prima che possa tutta in se' mutarsi;

quella milizia del celeste regno
  che procedeva, tutta trapassonne
  pria che piegasse il carro il primo legno.

Indi a le rote si tornar le donne,
  e 'l grifon mosse il benedetto carco
  si`, che pero` nulla penna crollonne.

La bella donna che mi trasse al varco
  e Stazio e io seguitavam la rota
  che fe' l'orbita sua con minore arco.

Si` passeggiando l'alta selva vota,
  colpa di quella ch'al serpente crese,
  temprava i passi un'angelica nota.

Forse in tre voli tanto spazio prese
  disfrenata saetta, quanto eramo
  rimossi, quando Beatrice scese.

Io senti' mormorare a tutti "Adamo";
  poi cerchiaro una pianta dispogliata
  di foglie e d'altra fronda in ciascun ramo.

La coma sua, che tanto si dilata
  piu` quanto piu` e` su`, fora da l'Indi
  ne' boschi lor per altezza ammirata.

"Beato se', grifon, che non discindi
  col becco d'esto legno dolce al gusto,
  poscia che mal si torce il ventre quindi".

Cosi` dintorno a l'albero robusto
  gridaron li altri; e l'animal binato:
  "Si` si conserva il seme d'ogne giusto".

E volto al temo ch'elli avea tirato,
  trasselo al pie` de la vedova frasca,
  e quel di lei a lei lascio` legato.

Come le nostre piante, quando casca
  giu` la gran luce mischiata con quella
  che raggia dietro a la celeste lasca,

turgide fansi, e poi si rinovella
  di suo color ciascuna, pria che 'l sole
  giunga li suoi corsier sotto altra stella;

men che di rose e piu` che di viole
  colore aprendo, s'innovo` la pianta,
  che prima avea le ramora si` sole.

Io non lo 'ntesi, ne' qui non si canta
  l'inno che quella gente allor cantaro,
  ne' la nota soffersi tutta quanta.

S'io potessi ritrar come assonnaro
  li occhi spietati udendo di Siringa,
  li occhi a cui pur vegghiar costo` si` caro;

come pintor che con essempro pinga,
  disegnerei com'io m'addormentai;
  ma qual vuol sia che l'assonnar ben finga.

Pero` trascorro a quando mi svegliai,
  e dico ch'un splendor mi squarcio` 'l velo
  del sonno e un chiamar: "Surgi: che fai?".

Quali a veder de' fioretti del melo
  che del suo pome li angeli fa ghiotti
  e perpetue nozze fa nel cielo,

Pietro e Giovanni e Iacopo condotti
  e vinti, ritornaro a la parola
  da la qual furon maggior sonni rotti,

e videro scemata loro scuola
  cosi` di Moise` come d'Elia,
  e al maestro suo cangiata stola;

tal torna' io, e vidi quella pia
  sovra me starsi che conducitrice
  fu de' miei passi lungo 'l fiume pria.

E tutto in dubbio dissi: "Ov'e` Beatrice?".
  Ond'ella: "Vedi lei sotto la fronda
  nova sedere in su la sua radice.

Vedi la compagnia che la circonda:
  li altri dopo 'l grifon sen vanno suso
  con piu` dolce canzone e piu` profonda".

E se piu` fu lo suo parlar diffuso,
  non so, pero` che gia` ne li occhi m'era
  quella ch'ad altro intender m'avea chiuso.

Sola sedeasi in su la terra vera,
  come guardia lasciata li` del plaustro
  che legar vidi a la biforme fera.

In cerchio le facean di se' claustro
  le sette ninfe, con quei lumi in mano
  che son sicuri d'Aquilone e d'Austro.

"Qui sarai tu poco tempo silvano;
  e sarai meco sanza fine cive
  di quella Roma onde Cristo e` romano.

Pero`, in pro del mondo che mal vive,
  al carro tieni or li occhi, e quel che vedi,
  ritornato di la`, fa che tu scrive".

Cosi` Beatrice; e io, che tutto ai piedi
  d'i suoi comandamenti era divoto,
  la mente e li occhi ov'ella volle diedi.

Non scese mai con si` veloce moto
  foco di spessa nube, quando piove
  da quel confine che piu` va remoto,

com'io vidi calar l'uccel di Giove
  per l'alber giu`, rompendo de la scorza,
  non che d'i fiori e de le foglie nove;

e feri` 'l carro di tutta sua forza;
  ond'el piego` come nave in fortuna,
  vinta da l'onda, or da poggia, or da orza.

Poscia vidi avventarsi ne la cuna
  del triunfal veiculo una volpe
  che d'ogne pasto buon parea digiuna;

ma, riprendendo lei di laide colpe,
  la donna mia la volse in tanta futa
  quanto sofferser l'ossa sanza polpe.

Poscia per indi ond'era pria venuta,
  l'aguglia vidi scender giu` ne l'arca
  del carro e lasciar lei di se' pennuta;

e qual esce di cuor che si rammarca,
  tal voce usci` del cielo e cotal disse:
  "O navicella mia, com'mal se' carca!".

Poi parve a me che la terra s'aprisse
  tr'ambo le ruote, e vidi uscirne un drago
  che per lo carro su` la coda fisse;

e come vespa che ritragge l'ago,
  a se' traendo la coda maligna,
  trasse del fondo, e gissen vago vago.

Quel che rimase, come da gramigna
  vivace terra, da la piuma, offerta
  forse con intenzion sana e benigna,

si ricoperse, e funne ricoperta
  e l'una e l'altra rota e 'l temo, in tanto
  che piu` tiene un sospir la bocca aperta.

Trasformato cosi` 'l dificio santo
  mise fuor teste per le parti sue,
  tre sovra 'l temo e una in ciascun canto.

Le prime eran cornute come bue,
  ma le quattro un sol corno avean per fronte:
  simile mostro visto ancor non fue.

Sicura, quasi rocca in alto monte,
  seder sovresso una puttana sciolta
  m'apparve con le ciglia intorno pronte;

e come perche' non li fosse tolta,
  vidi di costa a lei dritto un gigante;
  e baciavansi insieme alcuna volta.

Ma perche' l'occhio cupido e vagante
  a me rivolse, quel feroce drudo
  la flagello` dal capo infin le piante;

poi, di sospetto pieno e d'ira crudo,
  disciolse il mostro, e trassel per la selva,
  tanto che sol di lei mi fece scudo

a la puttana e a la nova belva.

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