Canto X

English Edition, translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

1   LOOKING into his Son with all the Love
2   Which each of them eternally breathes forth
3   The Primal and unutterable Power
 
4   Whate’er before the mind or eye revolves
5   With so much order made, there can be none
6   Who this beholds without enjoying Him.
 
7   Lift up then, Reader, to the lofty wheels
8   With me thy vision straight unto that part
9   Where the one motion on the other strikes,
 
10   And there begin to contemplate with joy
11   ‘That Master’s art, who in himself so loves it
12   That never doth his eye depart therefrom.
 
13   Behold how from that point goes branching off
14   The oblique circle, which conveys the planets,
15   To satisfy the world that calls upon them
 
16   And if their pathway were not thus inflected,
17   Much virtue in the heavens would be in vain,
18   And almost every power below here dead.
 
19   If from the straight line distant more or less
20   Were the departure, much would wanting be
21   Above and underneath of mundane order.
 
22   Remain now, Reader, still upon thy bench,
23   in thought pursuing that which is foretasted,
24   If thou wouldst jocund be instead of weary.
 
25   I’ve set before thee; henceforth feed thyself,
26   For to itself diverteth all my care
27   That theme whereof I have been made the scribe.
 
28   The greatest of the ministers of nature,
29   Who with the power of heaven the world imprints
30   And measures with his light the time for us,
 
31   With that part which above is called to mind
32   Conjoined, along the spirals was revolving,
33   Where each time earlier he presents himself
 
34   And I was with him; but of the ascending
35   I was not conscious, saving as a man
36   Of a first thought is conscious ere it come;
 
37   And Beatrice, she who is seen to pass
38   From good to better, and so suddenly
39   That not by time her action is expressed,
 
40   How lucent in herself must she have been!
41   And what was in the sun, wherein I entered,
42   Apparent not by colour but by light,
 
43   I, though I call on genius, art, and practice,
44   Cannot so tell that it could be imagined;
45   Believe one can, and let him long to see it.
 
46   And if our fantasies too lowly are
47   For altitude so great, it is no marvel,
48   Since o’er the sun was never eye could go.
 
49   Such in this place was the fourth family
50   Of the high Father, who forever sates it,
51   Showing how he breathes forth and how begets
 
52   And Beatrice began: Give thanks, give thanks
53   Unto the Sun of Angels, who to this
54   Sensible one has raised thee by his grace!
 
55   Never was heart of mortal so disposed
56   To worship, nor to give itself to God
57   With all its gratitude was it so ready,
 
58   As at those words did I myself become;
59   And all my love was so absorbed in Him,
60   That in oblivion Beatrice was eclipsed.
 
61   Nor this displeased her; but she smiled at it
62   So that the splendour of her laughing eyes
63   My single mind on many things divided.
 
64   Lights many saw I, vivid and triumphant,
65   Make us a centre and themselves a circle,
66   More sweet in voice than luminous in aspect.
 
67   Thus girt about the daughter of Latona
68   We sometimes see, when pregnant is the air,
69   So that it holds the thread which makes her zone.
 
70   Within the court of Heaven, whence I return,
71   Are many jewels found, so fair and precious
72   They cannot be transported from the realm;
 
73   And of them was the singing of those lights.
74   Who takes not wings that he may fly up thither,
75   The tidings thence may from the dumb await!
 
76   As soon as singing thus those burning suns
77   Had round about us whirled themselves three times,
78   Like unto stars neighbouring the steadfast poles,
 
79   Ladies they seemed, not from the dance released,
80   But who stop short, in silence listening
81   Till they have gathered the new melody.
 
82   And within one I heard beginning: When
83   The radiance of grace, by which is kindled
84   True love, and which thereafter grows by loving,
 
85   Within thee multiplied is so resplendent
86   That it conducts thee upward by that stair,
87   Where without reascending none descends,
 
88   Who should deny the wine out of his vial
89   Unto thy thirst, in liberty were not
90   Except as water which descends not seaward.
 
91   Fain wouldst thou know with what plants is enflowered
92   This garland that encircles with delight
93   The Lady fair who makes thee strong for heaven.
 
94   Of the lambs was I of the holy flock
95   Which Dominic conducteth by a road
96   Where well one fattens if he strayeth not.
 
97   He who is nearest to me on the right
98   My brother and master was; and he Albertus
99   Is of Cologne, I Thomas of Aquinum.
 
100   If thou of all the others wouldst be certain,
101   Follow behind my speaking with thy sight
102   Upward along the blessed garland turning.
 
103   That next effulgence issues from the smile
104   Of Gratian, who assisted both the courts
105   In such wise that it pleased in Paradise.
 
106   The other which near by adorns our choir
107   That Peter was who, e’en as the poor widow,
108   Offered his treasure unto Holy Church.
 
109   The fifth light, that among us is the fairest,
110   Breathes forth from such a love, that all the world
111   Below is greedy to learn tidings of it.
 
112   Within it is the lofty mind, where knowledge
113   So deep was put, that, if the true be true,
114   To see so much there never rose a second.
 
115   Thou seest next the lustre of that taper,
116   Which in the flesh below looked most within
117   The angelic nature and its ministry.
 
118   Within that other little light is smiling
119   The advocate of the Christian centuries,
120   Out of whose rhetoric Augustine was furnished.
 
121   Now if thou trainest thy mind’s eye along
122   From light to light pursuant of my praise,
123   With thirst already of the eighth thou waitest.
 
124   By seeing every good therein exults
125   The sainted soul, which the fallacious world
126   Makes manifest to him who listeneth well;
 
127   The body whence ’twas hunted forth is Iying
128   Down in Cieldauro, and from martyrdom
129   And banishment it came unto this peace.
 
130   See farther onward flame the burning breath
131   Of Isidore, of Beda, and of Richard
132   Who was in contemplation more than man.
 
133   This, whence to me returneth thy regard,
134   The light is of a spirit unto whom
135   In his grave meditations death seemed slow.
 
136   It is the light eternal of Sigier,
137   Who, reading lectures in the Street of Straw,
138   Did syllogize invidious verities.
 
139   Then, as a horologe that calleth us
140   What time the Bride of God is rising up
141   With matins to her Spouse that he may love her,
 
142   Wherein one part the other draws and urges,
143   Ting ! ting ! resounding with so sweet a note,
144   That swells with love the spirit well disposed,
 
145   Thus I beheld the glorious wheel move round,
146   And render voice to voice, in modulation
147   And sweetness that can not be comprehended,
 
148   Excepting there where joy is made eternal.