09
Dante Alighieri - La Divina Commedia - Paradiso
Courtney Langdon - The Divine Comedy

The Third Heaven. Venus. The Happiness of Love.
The Spirits of Lovers

After thy Charles, fair Clemence, had resolved
my doubts, he told me of the treacheries,
his offspring were to undergo; and said:
"Be silent now, and let the years roll by!"
Hence I can only say to you that tears
will justly follow on your people's wrongs.

And now the spirit of that holy light
back to the Sun, which filleth it, had turned,
as to the Good which sateth everything.

Alas, ye souls deceived and impious creatures,
who from such goodness tear your hearts away,
and turn your temples unto vanity!

And hereupon, another of those splendors
in my direction came, and signified,
by brightening outwardly, its wish to please me.
The eyes of Beatrice, which, as before,
were fixed upon me, gave me full assurance
of her beloved assent to my desire.

"Prithee, blest spirit, satisfy my wish
at once," I therefore said, "and give me proof
that what I think, I can reflect in thee."

Whereat the light which still was new to me,
out of its depths, whence it had sung before,
went on, like one whom doing good delights:
"In that part of Italia's evil land,
which 'tween Rialto's island and the Brenta's
and Piave's fountain-heads is situated,
a hill ascends, nor rises very high,
whence once a torch came down, which terribly
assaulted all the country round about.
From one same root both I and it were born;
Cunizza called, I here refulgent am,
because the light of this star vanquished me.
But gladly I forgive myself the cause
of my allotment here, which grieves me not;
which to your common people might seem strange.

Of this dear brilliant jewel of our heaven,
which nearest is to me, a mighty fame
remains behind; and, ere it die away,
this hundredth year will yet quintupled be.
See whether one should excellent become,
so that the first may leave another life!
But thus the present mob, the Adige's
and Tagliamento's streams enclose, thinks not;
nor doth it yet, though scourged by wars, repent.
But at the Marsh 't will happen soon that Padua
will change the waters which Vicenza bathe,
because its folk were restive to their duty.

And where the Sile and Cagnano mate,
one lordeth it and goes with head erect,
for trapping whom even now the net is made.
Feltro will yet bewail the faithlessness
of its bad shepherd, which will be so foul,
that Malta was not entered for the like.
Too large would be the wine-vat which could hold
all the Ferrara blood - and weary one
who tried to weigh it ounce by ounce -
which shall this courteous priest's donation be,
to prove his party loyalty; and gifts
like this will with the country's life conform.

Mirrors there are above, (ye call them Thrones),
whence on us God as Judge reflects His light;
so that these words of ours seem good to us."

She here ceased speaking; then intent she seemed
on something else, because she set herself
to wheel around, as previously she did.

The other joy, already known to me
as something noble, in my sight became
a perfect ruby smitten by the sun.
Splendor up yonder is by joy acquired,
as smiles are here; but down below a shade
outwardly darkens, when the mind grows sad.

"God seeth all," I said, "and thy will so
in-Hims itself, blest spirit, that no wish
can rob thee of itself. Therefore thy voice,
which, with the song of those devoted fires,
who with their six wings make themselves a cowl,
is always charming Heaven, why gives it not
contentment to my wishes? I, indeed,
would not await thy asking me, if I
in-thee'd myself as thou in-me'est thee."

"The greatest valley o'er which water spreads"
thereat his words began, "except the sea
which forms a garland round the earth, extends
counter the sun so far 'tween alien shores,
that it can make meridian of a place,
where it is wont to make horizon first.
On that sea's shore I dwelt, 'tween Ebro's mouth
and Magra's, which, for but a short way, parts
the Tuscan region from the Genoese.
With almost equal set and rise of sun
sits both Bugga and the city whence
I was, which with its blood once warmed its port.
Folco that people called me, unto whom
my name was known; and this heaven is by me
impressed, as I was formerly by it;
for Belus' daughter, when she troubled both
Sichaeus and Cresa, burned no more
than I, as long as it beseemed my hair;
nor did that Rhodopean maid, whose love
Demphon deceived, nor yet Alcides,
while in his heart he kept Iole locked.
Yet we are not repenting here, but smiling,
not for the sin, which to our minds returns not,
but for the Worth which ordered and foresaw.
Here at the art we gaze which beautifies
so great a work, and only see the Goodness
whereby the world above turns that below.

But so that thou mayst bear away with thee
thy wishes all fulfilled, which in this sphere
were born, still further must I needs proceed.
Who is within this light, thou fain wouldst know,
which right here at my very side is sparkling,
as rays of sunlight shine in limpid water.
Know, then, that Rahab finds her rest therein;
and, to our order being joined, with her
it stamps itself in a supreme degree.
By this heaven, where the shadow your world makes
ends in a point, before all other souls
was she received, that triumph with the Christ.
It well behooved to leave her in some heaven
to be a palm of that great victory,
which by both hands was won,
because she favored
Joshua's first glory in the Holy Land,
which little stirs the memory of the Pope.

Thy town, which is a plant once sowed by him,
who first against his Maker turned his back,
and through whose envy many tears are shed,
brings forth and spreads abroad the cursd flower,
which, having of the shepherd made a wolf,
hath caused both sheep and lambs to go astray.
The Gospels and great Doctors are for this
despised; and only the Decretals conned,
as is apparent by their margins' state.
On this are Pope and Cardinals intent;
their thoughts turn not toward Nazareth, where Gabriel
once oped his wings. But both the Vatican
and all the other chosen parts of Rome,
of old the burial place of that militia,
which followed in the path which Peter trod,
will soon be freed from this adultery."

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