Purgatorio: Canto VII
After the gracious
and glad salutations
three and four times been reiterated,
Sordello backward drew and said, "Who are you?"
"Or ever to this
mountain were directed
souls deserving to ascend to God,
My bones were buried by Octavian.
I am Virgilius; and
for no crime else
I lose heaven, than for not having faith;"
In this wise then my Leader made reply.
As one who suddenly
before him sees
whereat he marvels, who believes
And yet does not, saying, "It is! it is not!"
So he appeared; and
then bowed down his brow,
with humility returned towards him,
And, where inferiors embrace, embraced him.
"O glory of the
Latians, thou," he said,
whom our language showed what it could do
O pride eternal of the place I came from,
What merit or what
grace to me reveals thee?
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,"
he, "have I come hitherward;
Heaven's power impelled me, and with that I come.
I by not doing, not
by doing, lost
sight of that high sun which thou desirest,
And which too late by me was recognized.
A place there is
below not sad with torments,
darkness only, where the lamentations
Have not the sound of wailing, but are sighs.
There dwell I with
the little innocents
by the teeth of Death, or ever they
Were from our human sinfulness exempt.
There dwell I among
those who the three saintly
did not put on, and without vice
The others knew and followed all of them.
But if thou know
and can, some indication
us by which we may the sooner come
Where Purgatory has its right beginning."
He answered: "No
fixed place has been assigned us;
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,
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the right hand here withdrawn;
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
mount by night would he prevented be
By others? or mayhap would not have power?"
And on the ground
the good Sordello drew
finger, saying, "See, this line alone
Thou couldst not pass after the sun is gone;
Not that aught else
would hindrance give, however,
going up, save the nocturnal darkness;
This with the want of power the will perplexes.
We might indeed
therewith return below,
wandering, walk the hill-side round about,
While the horizon holds the day imprisoned."
Thereon my Lord, as
if in wonder, said:
thou conduct us thither, where thou sayest
That we can take delight in tarrying."
Little had we
withdrawn us from that place,
I perceived the mount was hollowed out
In fashion as the valleys here are hollowed.
that shade, "will we repair,
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 path
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,
Indian wood resplendent and serene,
Fresh emerald the moment it is broken,
By herbage and by
flowers within that hollow
each one in colour would be vanquished,
As by its greater vanquished is the less.
Nor in that place
had nature painted only,
of the sweetness of a thousand odours
Made there a mingled fragrance and unknown.
"Salve Regina," on
the green and flowers
seated, singing, spirits I beheld,
Which were not visible outside the valley.
"Before the scanty
sun now seeks his nest,"
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
all of them will you discriminate,
Than in the plain below received among them.
He who sits
highest, and the semblance bears
having what he should have done neglected,
And to the others' song moves not his lips,
Rudolph the Emperor
was, who had the power
heal the wounds that Italy have slain,
So that through others slowly she revives.
The other, who in
look doth comfort him,
the region where the water springs,
The Moldau bears the Elbe, and Elbe the sea.
His name was
Ottocar; and in swaddling-clothes
better he than bearded Winceslaus
His son, who feeds in luxury and ease.
small-nosed, who close in council seems
him that has an aspect so benign,
Died fleeing and disflowering the lily;
Look there, how he
is beating at his breast!
the other one, who for his cheek
Sighing has made of his own palm a bed;
father-in-law of France's Pest
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,
with that one of the manly nose,
The cord of every valour wore begirt;
And if as King had
after him remained
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.
and Jacomo possess the realms,
But none the better heritage possesses.
upriseth through the branches
probity of man; and this He wills
Who gives it, so that we may ask of Him.
Eke to the
large-nosed reach my words, no less
to the other, Pier, who with him sings;
Whence Provence and Apulia grieve already
The plant is as
inferior to its seed,
more than Beatrice and Margaret
Costanza boasteth of her husband still.
Behold the monarch
of the simple life,
of England, sitting there alone;
He in his branches has a better issue.
He who the lowest
on the ground among them
looking upward, is the Marquis William,
For whose sake Alessandria and her war
Make Monferrat and
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