Canto IX

English Edition, translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

1   BEAUTIFUL Clemence, after that thy Charles
2   Had me enlightened, he narrated to me
3   The treacheries his seed should undergo;
 
4   But said: Be still and let the years roll round;
5   So I can only say, that lamentation
6   Legitimate shall follow on your wrongs.
 
7   And of that holy light the life already
8   Had to the Sun which fills it turned again,
9   As to that good which for each thing sufficeth.
 
10   Ah, souls deceived, and creatures impious,
11   Who from such good do turn away your hearts,
12   Directing upon vanity your foreheads!
 
13   And now, behold, another of those splendours
14   Approached me, and its will to pleasure me
15   It signified by brightening outwardly.
 
16   The eyes of Beatrice, that fastened were
17   Upon me, as before, of dear assent
18   To my desire assurance gave to me.
 
19   Ah, bring swift compensation to my wish,
20   Thou blessed spirit, I said, and give me proof
21   That what I think in thee I can reflect !
 
22   Whereat the light, that still was new to me,
23   Out of its depths, whence it before was singing,
24   As one delighted to do good, continued:
 
25   Within that region of the land depraved
26   Of Italy, that lies between Rialto
27   And fountain heads of Brenta and of Piava,
 
28   Rises a hill, and mounts not very high,
29   Wherefrom descended formerly a torch
30   That made upon that region great assault.
 
31   Out of one root were born both I and it;
32   Cunizza was I called, and here I shine
33   Because the splendour of this star o’ercame me.
 
34   But gladly to myself the cause I pardon
35   Of my allotment, and it does not grieve me,
36   Which would perhaps seem strong unto your vulgar.
 
37   Of this so luculent and precious jewel,
38   Which of our heaven is nearest unto me,
39   Great fame remained; and ere it die away
 
40   This hundredth year shall yet quintupled be.
41   See if man ought to make him excellent,
42   So that another life the first may leave!
 
43   And thus thinks not the present multitude
44   Shut in by Adige and Tagliamento,
45   Nor yet for being scourged is penitent.
 
46   But soon ’twill be that Padua in the marsh
47   Will change the water that Vicenza bathes,
48   Because the folk are stubborn against duty;
 
49   And where the Sile and Cagnano join
50   One lordeth it, and goes with lofty head,
51   For catching whom e’en now the net is making.
 
52   Feltro moreover of her impious pastor
53   Shall weep the crime, which shall so monstrous be
54   That for the like none ever entered Malta.
 
55   Ample exceedingly would be the vat
56   That of the Ferrarese could hold the blood,
57   And weary who should weigh it ounce by ounce,
 
58   Of which this courteous priest shall make a gift
59   To show himself a partisan; and such gifts
60   Will to the living of the land conform.
 
61   Above us there are mirrors, Thrones you call them,
62   From which shines out on us God Judicant,
63   So that this utterance seems good to us.
 
64   Here it was silent, and it bad the semblance
65   Of being turned elsewhither, by the wheel
66   On which it entered as it was before.
 
67   The other joy, already known to me,
68   Became a thing transplendent in my sight,
69   As a fine ruby smitten by the sun.
 
70   Through joy effulgence is acquired above,
71   As here a smile; but down below, the shade
72   Outwardly darkens, as the mind is sad.
 
73   God seeth all things, and in Him, blest spirit,
74   Thy sight is, said I, so that never will
75   Of his can possibly from thee be hidden;
 
76   Thy voice, then, that for ever makes the heavens
77   Glad, with the singing of those holy fires
78   Which of their six wings make themselves a
 
79   Wherefore does it not satisfy my longings?
80   Indeed, I would not wait thy questioning
81   If I in thee were as thou art in me.
 
82   The greatest of the valleys where the water
83   Expands itself, forthwith its words began,
84   That sea excepted which the earth engarlands,
 
85   Between discordant shores against the sun
86   Extends so far, that it meridian makes
87   Where it was wont before to make the horizon.
 
88   I was a dweller on that valley’s shore
89   ‘Twixt Ebro and Magra that with journey short
90   Doth from the Tuscan part the Genoese.
 
91   With the same sunset and same sunrise nearly
92   Sit Buggia and the city whence I was,
93   That with its blood once made the harbour hot.
 
94   Folco that people called me unto whom
95   My name was known; and now with me this heaven
96   Imprints itself, as I did once with it;
 
97   For more the daughter of Belus never burned,
98   Offending both Sichaeus and Creusa,
99   Than I, so long as it became my locks,
 
100   Nor yet that Rodophean, who deluded
101   was by Demophoon, nor yet Alcides,
102   When Iole he in his heart had locked.
 
103   Yet here is no repenting, but we smile,
104   Not at the fault, which comes not back to mind,
105   But at the power which ordered and foresaw.
 
106   Here we behold the art that doth adorn
107   With such affection, and the good discover
108   Whereby the world above turns that below.
 
109   But that thou wholly satisfied mayst bear
110   Thy wishes hence which in this sphere are born,
111   Still farther to proceed behoveth me.
 
112   Thou fain wouldst know who is within this light
113   That here beside me thus is scintillating,
114   Even as a sunbeam in the limpid water.
 
115   Then know thou, that within there is at rest
116   Rahab, and being to our order joined,
117   With her in its supremest grade ’tis sealed.
 
118   Into this heaven, where ends the shadowy cone
119   Cast by your world, before all other souls
120   First of Christ’s triumph was she taken up.
 
121   Full meet it was to leave her in some heaven,
122   Even as a palm of the high victory
123   Which he acquired with one palm and the other,
 
124   Because she favoured the first glorious deed
125   Of Joshua upon the Holy Land,
126   That little stirs the memory of the Pope.
 
127   Thy city, which an offshoot is of him
128   Who first upon his Maker turned his back,
129   And whose ambition is so sorely wept,
 
130   Brings forth and scatters the accursed flower
131   Which both the sheep and lambs hath led a.
132   Since it has turned the shepherd to a wolf
 
133   For this the Evangel and the mighty Doctors
134   Are derelict, and only the Decretals
135   So studied that it shows upon their margins.
 
136   On this are Pope and Cardinals intent;
137   Their meditations reach not Nazareth,
138   There where his pinions Gabriel unfolded
 
139   But Vatican and the other parts elect
140   Of Rome, which have a cemetery been
141   Unto the soldiery that followed Peter
 
142   Shall soon be free from this adultery.