Paradiso: Canto XXXIII
Mother, daughter of thy Son,
and high beyond all other creature,
The limit fixed of the eternal counsel,
Thou art the one
who such nobility
human nature gave, that its Creator
Did not disdain to make himself its creature.
Within thy womb
rekindled was the love,
heat of which in the eternal peace
After such wise this flower has germinated.
Here unto us thou
art a noonday torch
charity, and below there among mortals
Thou art the living fountain-head of hope.
Lady, thou art so
great, and so prevailing,
he who wishes grace, nor runs to thee,
His aspirations without wings would fly.
Not only thy
benignity gives succour
him who asketh it, but oftentimes
Forerunneth of its own accord the asking.
In thee compassion
is, in thee is pity,
thee magnificence; in thee unites
Whate'er of goodness is in any creature.
Now doth this man,
who from the lowest depth
the universe as far as here has seen
One after one the spiritual lives,
through grace for so much power
with his eyes he may uplift himself
Higher towards the uttermost salvation.
And I, who never
burned for my own seeing
than I do for his, all of my prayers
Proffer to thee, and pray they come not short,
That thou wouldst
scatter from him every cloud
his mortality so with thy prayers,
That the Chief Pleasure be to him displayed.
Still farther do I
pray thee, Queen, who canst
thou wilt, that sound thou mayst preserve
After so great a vision his affections.
Let thy protection
conquer human movements;
Beatrice and all the blessed ones
My prayers to second clasp their hands to thee!"
The eyes beloved
and revered of God,
upon the speaker, showed to us
How grateful unto her are prayers devout;
Then unto the
Eternal Light they turned,
which it is not credible could be
By any creature bent an eye so clear.
And I, who to the
end of all desires
now approaching, even as I ought
The ardour of desire within me ended.
beckoning unto me, and smiling,
I should upward look; but I already
Was of my own accord such as he wished;
Because my sight,
entering more and more into the ray
Of the High Light which of itself is true.
From that time
forward what I saw was greater
our discourse, that to such vision yields,
And yields the memory unto such excess.
Even as he is who
seeth in a dream,
after dreaming the imprinted passion
Remains, and to his mind the rest returns not,
Even such am I, for
my vision, and distilleth yet
Within my heart the sweetness born of it;
Even thus the snow
is in the sun unsealed,
thus upon the wind in the light leaves
Were the soothsayings of the Sibyl lost.
O Light Supreme,
that dost so far uplift thee
the conceits of mortals, to my mind
Of what thou didst appear re-lend a little,
And make my tongue
of so great puissance,
but a single sparkle of thy glory
It may bequeath unto the future people;
For by returning to
my memory somewhat,
by a little sounding in these verses,
More of thy victory shall be conceived!
I think the
keenness of the living ray
I endured would have bewildered me,
If but mine eyes had been averted from it;
And I remember that
I was more bold
this account to bear, so that I joined
My aspect with the Glory Infinite.
O grace abundant,
by which I presumed
fix my sight upon the Light Eternal,
So that the seeing I consumed therein!
I saw that in its
depth far down is lying
up with love together in one volume,
What through the universe in leaves is scattered;
accident, and their operations,
interfused together in such wise
That what I speak of is one simple light.
fashion of this knot
I saw, since more abundantly
In saying this I feel that I rejoice.
One moment is more
lethargy to me,
five and twenty centuries to the emprise
That startled Neptune with the shade of Argo!
My mind in this
wise wholly in suspense,
immovable, attentive gazed,
And evermore with gazing grew enkindled.
In presence of that
light one such becomes,
to withdraw therefrom for other prospect
It is impossible he e'er consent;
Because the good,
which object is of will,
gathered all in this, and out of it
That is defective which is perfect there.
henceforward will my language fall
what I yet remember, than an infant's
Who still his tongue doth moisten at the breast.
Not because more
than one unmingled semblance
in the living light on which I looked,
For it is always what it was before;
But through the
sight, that fortified itself
me by looking, one appearance only
To me was ever changing as I changed.
Within the deep and
the High Light appeared to me three circles,
Of threefold colour and of one dimension,
And by the second
seemed the first reflected
Iris is by Iris, and the third
Seemed fire that equally from both is breathed.
O how all speech is
feeble and falls short
my conceit, and this to what I saw
Is such, 'tis not enough to call it little!
O Light Eterne,
sole in thyself that dwellest,
knowest thyself, and, known unto thyself
And knowing, lovest and smilest on thyself!
which being thus conceived
in thee as a reflected light,
When somewhat contemplated by mine eyes,
Within itself, of
its own very colour
to me painted with our effigy,
Wherefore my sight was all absorbed therein.
geometrician, who endeavours
square the circle, and discovers not,
By taking thought, the principle he wants,
Even such was I at
that new apparition;
wished to see how the image to the circle
Conformed itself, and how it there finds place;
But my own wings
were not enough for this,
it not been that then my mind there smote
A flash of lightning, wherein came its wish.
Here vigour failed
the lofty fantasy:
now was turning my desire and will,
Even as a wheel that equally is moved,
The Love which
moves the sun and the other stars.
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