Paradiso: Canto XVI
O thou our poor
nobility of blood,
thou dost make the people glory in thee
Down here where our affection languishes,
A marvellous thing
it ne'er will be to me;
there where appetite is not perverted,
I say in Heaven, of thee I made a boast!
Truly thou art a
cloak that quickly shortens,
that unless we piece thee day by day
Time goeth round about thee with his shears!
With 'You,' which
Rome was first to tolerate,
her family less perseveres,)
Yet once again my words beginning made;
who stood somewhat apart,
appeared like unto her who coughed
At the first failing writ of Guenever.
And I began: "You
are my ancestor,
give to me all hardihood to speak,
You lift me so that I am more than I.
So many rivulets
with gladness fill
mind, that of itself it makes a joy
Because it can endure this and not burst.
Then tell me, my
beloved root ancestral,
were your ancestors, and what the years
That in your boyhood chronicled themselves?
Tell me about the
sheepfold of Saint John,
large it was, and who the people were
Within it worthy of the highest seats."
As at the blowing
of the winds a coal
to flame, so I beheld that light
Become resplendent at my blandishments.
And as unto mine
eyes it grew more fair,
voice more sweet and tender, but not in
This modern dialect, it said to me:
"From uttering of
the 'Ave,' till the birth
which my mother, who is now a saint,
Of me was lightened who had been her burden,
Unto its Lion had
this fire returned
hundred fifty times and thirty more,
To reinflame itself beneath his paw.
My ancestors and I
our birthplace had
first is found the last ward of the city
By him who runneth in your annual game.
Suffice it of my
elders to hear this;
who they were, and whence they thither came,
Silence is more considerate than speech.
All those who at
that time were there between
and the Baptist, fit for bearing arms,
Were a fifth part of those who now are living;
But the community,
that now is mixed
Campi and Certaldo and Figghine,
Pure in the lowest artisan was seen.
O how much better
'twere to have as neighbours
folk of whom I speak, and at Galluzzo
And at Trespiano have your boundary,
Than have them in
the town, and bear the stench
Aguglione's churl, and him of Signa
Who has sharp eyes for trickery already.
Had not the folk,
which most of all the world
been a step-dame unto Caesar,
But as a mother to her son benignant,
Some who turn
Florentines, and trade and discount,
have gone back again to Simifonte
There where their grandsires went about as beggars.
At Montemurlo still
would be the Counts,
Cerchi in the parish of Acone,
Perhaps in Valdigrieve the Buondelmonti.
intermingling of the people
been the source of malady in cities,
As in the body food it surfeits on;
And a blind bull
more headlong plunges down
a blind lamb; and very often cuts
Better and more a single sword than five.
If Luni thou
regard, and Urbisaglia,
they have passed away, and how are passing
Chiusi and Sinigaglia after them,
To hear how races
waste themselves away,
seem to thee no novel thing nor hard,
Seeing that even cities have an end.
All things of yours
have their mortality,
as yourselves; but it is hidden in some
That a long while endure, and lives are short;
And as the turning
of the lunar heaven
and bares the shores without a pause,
In the like manner fortune does with Florence.
not appear a marvellous thing
I shall say of the great Florentines
Of whom the fame is hidden in the Past.
I saw the Ughi, saw
Greci, Ormanni, and Alberichi,
Even in their fall illustrious citizens;
And saw, as mighty
as they ancient were,
him of La Sannella him of Arca,
And Soldanier, Ardinghi, and Bostichi.
Near to the gate
that is at present laden
a new felony of so much weight
That soon it shall be jetsam from the bark,
The Ravignani were,
from whom descended
County Guido, and whoe'er the name
Of the great Bellincione since hath taken.
He of La Pressa
knew the art of ruling
and already Galigajo
Had hilt and pommel gilded in his house.
Mighty already was
the Column Vair,
Giuochi, Fifant, and Barucci,
And Galli, and they who for the bushel blush.
The stock from
which were the Calfucci born
great already, and already chosen
To curule chairs the Sizii and Arrigucci.
O how beheld I
those who are undone
their own pride! and how the Balls of Gold
Florence enflowered in all their mighty deeds!
So likewise did the
ancestors of those
evermore, when vacant is your church,
Fatten by staying in consistory.
The insolent race,
that like a dragon follows
flees, and unto him that shows
His teeth or purse is gentle as a lamb,
Already rising was,
but from low people;
that it pleased not Ubertin Donato
That his wife's father should make him their kin.
Caponsacco to the Market
Fesole descended, and already
Giuda and Infangato were good burghers.
I'll tell a thing
incredible, but true;
entered the small circuit by a gate
Which from the Della Pera took its name!
Each one that bears
the beautiful escutcheon
the great baron whose renown and name
The festival of Thomas keepeth fresh,
privilege from him received;
with the populace unites himself
To-day the man who binds it with a border.
Gualterotti and Importuni;
still more quiet would the Borgo be
If with new neighbours it remained unfed.
The house from
which is born your lamentation,
just disdain that death among you brought
And put an end unto your joyous life,
Was honoured in
itself and its companions.
Buondelmonte, how in evil hour
Thou fled'st the bridal at another's promptings!
Many would be
rejoicing who are sad,
God had thee surrendered to the Ema
The first time that thou camest to the city.
But it behoved the
guards the bridge, that Florence should provide
A victim in her latest hour of peace.
With all these
families, and others with them,
beheld I in so great repose,
That no occasion had she whence to weep;
With all these
families beheld so just
glorious her people, that the lily
Never upon the spear was placed reversed,
Nor by division was
This document (last modifiedJanuary 08, 1998) from Believerscafe.com
Home | Bible versions | Bible Dictionary | Christian Classics | Christian Articles | Daily Devotions
Sister Projects: Wikichristian | WikiMD
BelieversCafe is a large collection of christian articles with over 40,000 pages