Purgatorio: Canto VII
Previous Contents Next
After the gracious and glad salutations
Had three and four times been reiterated
backward drew and said, "Who are you?"
"Or ever to this Mountain
The souls deserving to ascend to God,
My bones were buried by Octavian.
I am Virgilius
; and for no crime else
Did I lose heaven, than for not having faith;"
In this wise then my Leader
As one who suddenly before him sees
Something whereat he marvels, who believes
And yet does not, saying, "It is! it is not!"
So he appeared; and then bowed down his brow,
And with humility returned towards him,
And, where inferiors embrace, embraced him.
"O glory of the Latians
, thou," he said,
"Through whom our language
showed what it could do
eternal of the place I came from,
What merit or what grace to me reveals thee?
If I to hear thy words be worthy, tell me
If thou dost come from Hell
, and from what cloister
"Through all the circles of the doleful realm,"
Responded he, "have I come hitherward
Heaven's power impelled me, and with that I come.
I by not doing, not by doing, lost
The sight of that high sun which thou desirest,
And which too late by me was recognized.
A place there is below not sad
But darkness only, where the lamentations
Have not the sound of wailing, but are sighs.
There dwell I with the little innocents
Snatched by the teeth of Death
, or ever they
Were from our human sinfulness exempt.
There dwell I among those who the three saintly
Virtues did not put on, and without vice
The others knew and followed all of them.
But if thou know and can, some indication
Give us by which we may the sooner come
has its right beginning."
He answered: "No fixed place has been assigned us;
'Tis lawful for me to go up and round;
So far as I can go, as guide I join thee.
But see already how the day declines
And to go up by night we are not able;
Therefore 'tis well to think of some fair sojourn
Souls are there on the right hand here withdrawn;
If thou permit me I will lead thee to them,
And thou shalt know them not without delight."
"How is this?" was the answer; "should one wish
To mount by night would he prevented be
By others? or mayhap would not have power?"
And on the ground the good Sordello
His finger, saying, "See, this line alone
Thou couldst not pass after the sun is gone;
Not that aught else would hindrance
To going up, save the nocturnal darkness
This with the want of power the will perplexes
We might indeed therewith return below,
And, wandering, walk the hill-side round about,
While the horizon
holds the day imprisoned."
Thereon my Lord
, as if in wonder, said:
"Do thou conduct us thither, where thou sayest
That we can take delight in tarrying."
Little had we withdrawn us from that place,
When I perceived the mount was hollowed out
In fashion as the valleys here are hollowed.
"Thitherward," said that shade
, "will we repair,
Where of itself the hill-side makes a lap
And there for the new day will we await."
'Twixt hill and plain there was a winding
Which led us to the margin of that dell,
Where dies the border more than half away.
Gold and fine silver, and scarlet and pearl-white
wood resplendent and serene,
Fresh emerald the moment it is broken,
By herbage and by flowers within that hollow
Planted, each one in colour
would be vanquished
As by its greater vanquished
is the less.
Nor in that place had Nature
But of the sweetness of a thousand odours
Made there a mingled fragrance
," on the green and flowers
There seated, singing, spirits I beheld,
Which were not visible outside the valley.
"Before the scanty sun now seeks his nest,"
Began the Mantuan
who had led us thither,
"Among them do not wish me to conduct you.
Better from off this ledge
the acts and faces
Of all of them will you discriminate
Than in the plain below received among them.
He who sits highest, and the semblance
Of having what he should have done neglected,
And to the others' song moves not his lips,
Rudolph the Emperor
was, who had the power
To heal the wounds that Italy
So that through others slowly she revives.
The other, who in look doth comfort him,
Governed the region where the water springs,
bears the Elbe
, and Elbe
His name was Ottocar; and in swaddling-clothes
Far better he than bearded Winceslaus
His son, who feeds in luxury
And the small-nosed, who close in council seems
With him that has an aspect so benign,
Died fleeing and disflowering
Look there, how he is beating at his breast!
Behold the other one, who for his cheek
Sighing has made of his own palm a bed;
Father and father-in-law of France's Pest
Are they, and know his vicious life and lewd,
And hence proceeds the grief that so doth pierce them.
He who appears so stalwart, and chimes in,
Singing, with that one of the manly nose,
The cord of every valour wore begirt;
And if as King had after him remained
The stripling who in rear of him is sitting,
Well had the valour passed from vase to vase,
Which cannot of the other heirs be said.
possess the realms,
But none the better heritage possesses.
Not oftentimes upriseth through the branches
The probity of man; and this He wills
Who gives it, so that we may ask of Him.
to the large-nosed reach my words, no less
Than to the other, Pier
, who with him sings;
The plant is as inferior to its seed,
As more than Beatrice
boasteth of her husband still.
Behold the monarch of the simple life,
Harry of England
, sitting there alone;
He in his branches has a better issue.
He who the lowest on the ground among them
Sits looking upward, is the Marquis William
For whose sake Alessandria
and her war
Previous Contents Next