Paradiso: Canto XVII
As came to Clymene,
to be made certain
that which he had heard against himself,
He who makes fathers chary still to children,
Even such was I,
and such was I perceived
Beatrice and by the holy light
That first on my account had changed its place.
Therefore my Lady
said to me: "Send forth
flame of thy desire, so that it issue
Imprinted well with the internal stamp;
Not that our
knowledge may be greater made
speech of thine, but to accustom thee
To tell thy thirst, that we may give thee drink."
"O my beloved tree,
(that so dost lift thee,
even as minds terrestrial perceive
No triangle containeth two obtuse,
So thou beholdest
the contingent things
in themselves they are, fixing thine eyes
Upon the point in which all times are present,)
While I was with
the mountain that the souls doth heal,
And when descending into the dead world,
Were spoken to me
of my future life
grievous words; although I feel myself
In sooth foursquare against the blows of chance.
On this account my
wish would be content
hear what fortune is approaching me,
Because foreseen an arrow comes more slowly."
Thus did I say unto
that selfsame light
unto me had spoken before; and even
As Beatrice willed was my own will confessed.
Not in vague
phrase, in which the foolish folk
themselves of old, ere yet was slain
The Lamb of God who taketh sins away,
But with clear
words and unambiguous
responded that paternal love,
Hid and revealed by its own proper smile:
outside of the volume
your materiality extends not,
Is all depicted in the eternal aspect.
thence it takes not,
as from the eye, in which 'tis mirrored,
A ship that with the current down descends.
From thence, e'en
as there cometh to the ear
harmony from an organ, comes in sight
To me the time that is preparing for thee.
As forth from
Athens went Hippolytus,
reason of his step-dame false and cruel,
So thou from Florence must perforce depart.
Already this is
willed, and this is sought for;
soon it shall be done by him who thinks it,
Where every day the Christ is bought and sold.
The blame shall
follow the offended party
outcry as is usual; but the vengeance
Shall witness to the truth that doth dispense it.
Thou shalt abandon
tenderly, and this the arrow is
Which first the bow of banishment shoots forth.
Thou shalt have
proof how savoureth of salt
bread of others, and how hard a road
The going down and up another's stairs.
And that which most
shall weigh upon thy shoulders
be the bad and foolish company
With which into this valley thou shalt fall;
For all ingrate,
all mad and impious
they become against thee; but soon after
They, and not thou, shall have the forehead scarlet.
Of their bestiality
their own proceedings
furnish proof; so 'twill be well for thee
A party to have made thee by thyself.
refuge and thine earliest inn
be the mighty Lombard's courtesy,
Who on the Ladder bears the holy bird,
Who such benign
regard shall have for thee
'twixt you twain, in doing and in asking,
That shall be first which is with others last.
With him shalt thou
see one who at his birth
by this star of strength been so impressed,
That notable shall his achievements be.
Not yet the people
are aware of him
his young age, since only nine years yet
Around about him have these wheels revolved.
But ere the Gascon
cheat the noble Henry,
sparkles of his virtue shall appear
In caring not for silver nor for toil.
So recognized shall
hereafter, that his enemies
Will not have power to keep mute tongues about it.
On him rely, and on
him shall many people be transformed,
Changing condition rich and mendicant;
And written in thy
mind thou hence shalt bear
him, but shalt not say it"--and things said he
Incredible to those who shall be present.
Then added: "Son,
these are the commentaries
what was said to thee; behold the snares
That are concealed behind few revolutions;
Yet would I not thy
neighbours thou shouldst envy,
thy life into the future reaches
Beyond the punishment of their perfidies."
When by its silence
showed that sainted soul
it had finished putting in the woof
Into that web which I had given it warped,
Began I, even as he
who yearneth after,
in doubt, some counsel from a person
Who seeth, and uprightly wills, and loves:
"Well see I, father
mine, how spurreth on
time towards me such a blow to deal me
As heaviest is to him who most gives way.
foresight it is well I arm me,
if the dearest place be taken from me,
I may not lose the others by my songs.
Down through the
world of infinite bitterness,
o'er the mountain, from whose beauteous summit
The eyes of my own Lady lifted me,
through heaven from light to light,
have learned that which, if I tell again,
Will be a savour of strong herbs to many.
And if I am a timid
friend to truth,
fear lest I may lose my life with those
Who will hereafter call this time the olden."
The light in which
was smiling my own treasure
there I had discovered, flashed at first
As in the sunshine doth a golden mirror;
Then made reply: "A
with its own or with another's shame,
Will taste forsooth the tartness of thy word;
all falsehood laid aside,
manifest thy vision utterly,
And let them scratch wherever is the itch;
For if thine
utterance shall offensive be
the first taste, a vital nutriment
'Twill leave thereafter, when it is digested.
This cry of thine
shall do as doth the wind,
smiteth most the most exalted summits,
And that is no slight argument of honour.
Therefore are shown
to thee within these wheels,
the mount and in the dolorous valley,
Only the souls that unto fame are known;
Because the spirit
of the hearer rests not,
doth confirm its faith by an example
Which has the root of it unknown and hidden,
Or other reason
that is not apparent."
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