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

The Fourth Heaven. The Sun. Intellectual Happiness
The Spirits of Theologians and Philosophers. St. Dominic

As soon as e'er the blessčd flame had voiced
its final word, the holy wheel began
to whirl; and in its circling had not moved
around completely, ere another wheel
enclosed it in a ring, and each to each
matched with its own its motions and its songs;
songs which, in those sweet pipes, as far surpass
our Muses and our Sirens, as a primal
splendor surpasses one reflected from it.

As when, both parallel and like in hue,
two rainbows o'er a tender cloud are drawn,
when Juno issues orders to her maid,
the outer being from the inner born,
as is the speaking of that wandering nymph,
whom love consumed as mists are by the sun;
and cause folk here, by reason of the pact
which God with Noah made, to prophesy
about the world, that it will not again
be flooded; so, of those eternal roses
the two wreaths turned around us there, and so
the outer with the inmost harmonized.

After the dance and great high feast of song,
and flaming interplay of light with light
in joyful happiness and tender love,
had of a sudden and with one accord
grown quiet, even as eyes do, which must close
and open at the will of what attracts them;
out of the heart of one of those new lights
a voice came forth, as to its 'where' I turned,
which made me seem a needle to its star.

And it began: "The love which lends me beauty,
draws me to talk about that other Leader,
for whose sake mine is so well talked of here.
Where one is, right it is to introduce
the other; so that, since they fought together,
their glories likewise may together shine.

Christ's host, which cost so much to arm anew,
was slowly, timidly, and small in numbers
moving behind its Standard, when the Emperor
who ever reigns, provided, of His Grace
alone, for His endangered host, and not
because of its deserts; and helped His Bride,
as it hath here been said, with champions twain,
through whom, because of what they did and said,
the people who had strayed away returned.

In those parts where sweet Zephyr's breezes rise
to open spring-time's foliage, wherewithal
Europe is seen to clothe herself again,
not very distant from the beating waves,
behind which, through his long career, the sun
conceals himself at times from every one,
fortunate Calaroga hath her seat,
guarded by that great shield, in which the lion
both subjugates, and is subdued. Therein
the amorous lover of the Christian Faith
was born, the holy athlete, well disposed
toward those he loved, and toward his foes severe;
and even at its creation was his mind
with such live virtue filled, that in his mother
it caused her to become a prophetess.
After the spousal 'tween the Faith and him
had at the sacred font been held, where each
with mutual health had dowered each, the lady
who answered for him in a dream, beheld
the wondrous fruit, that was to come from him
and from his heirs. And that he might by name
be what he was, a spirit went from hence,
to give him the possessive of the One
who wholly owned him.
Dominic he was called;
and of him as the husbandman I speak,
whom Christ, to help him in His garden, chose.
He truly seemed Christ's messenger and servant,
because the first love which appeared in him,
was for the primal counsel given by Christ.
Often was he discovered by his nurse
lying awake and silent on the ground,
as if he meant thereby: 'I came for this.'
O Felix, of a truth, his father was!
O truly Joan, his mother, if it mean
what it is said to, when interpreted!
Not for the world's sake, for which men now toil,
following the man of Ostia, and Taddčo,
but for the love of spirit-food, so great
a teacher did he shortly make himself,
that he began to go about the vineyard,
which withers soon, if idle be the vintner;
and of the Chair, which to the righteous poor
was formerly more kind, not through its own,
but through the fault of him who, sitting there,
degenerates, he asked not for the right
to give or two or three for six, nor yet
the income of the earliest vacancy,
nor even the tithes, which to God's poor belong;
but leave to fight against the erring world
for that seed's sake, whereof plants twenty-four
are girding thee. With doctrine thereupon,
and will, to apostolic sanction joined,
he started, like a torrent by a high
source urged, and on all stocks heretical
his onset smote, and ever there most strongly,
where strongest the resistance was. From him
there afterward flowed divers streams, wherewith
the garden Catholic is watered so,
that all the fresher are its tender shrubs.

If such was one wheel of the Car, whereby
the Holy Church, herself defending, won
the civil struggle in her own domain,
the other's excellence should certainly
be very plain to thee, concerning whom
Thomas so courteous was, ere I appeared.
And yet the rut, formed by the highest part
of its circumference, so forsaken is,
that there where crust was, now is mould. His household,
which started out aright, and kept their feet
upon his footprints, hath so turned around,
that that which is in front now treads on what
was once behind; and this will soon be seen
by the bad culture's harvest, when the tares
will of their loss of granaries complain.
And yet I say that one who, page by page,
should search our book, would still some paper find,
where he could read: 'What I was wont to be,
I am;' but from Casale he 'll not come,
nor yet from Acquasparta, whence such men
approach the rule, that one evades, and one
contracts its scope. Bonaventura's life
am I, of Bagnoregio, who in great
positions set sinister cares behind.
Here are Illuminąto and Ałgustin,
who were among the first bare-footed poor,
and, corded, made themselves the friends of God.
Hugh of St. Victor here among them is,
and Peter Mangiadņr, and Peter of Spain,
who in a dozen books still shines on earth;
Nathan the prophet, and metropolitan
Chrysņstom, Anselm, aye, and that Donatus,
who to the first art deigned to set his hand;
Raban is here; and at my side is shining
the abbot of Calabria, Joachim,
who with prophetic spirit was endowed.

The flaming courtesy of brother Thomas
and his discerning speech have moved me thus
to celebrate so great a paladin,
and with me likewise moved this company."

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