Divine Comedy, Cary's Translation, Purgatory eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 107 pages of information about Divine Comedy, Cary's Translation, Purgatory.

What master of the pencil or the style
Had trac’d the shades and lines, that might have made
The subtlest workman wonder?  Dead the dead,
The living seem’d alive; with clearer view
His eye beheld not who beheld the truth,
Than mine what I did tread on, while I went
Low bending.  Now swell out; and with stiff necks
Pass on, ye sons of Eve! veil not your looks,
Lest they descry the evil of your path!

I noted not (so busied was my thought)
How much we now had circled of the mount,
And of his course yet more the sun had spent,
When he, who with still wakeful caution went,
Admonish’d:  “Raise thou up thy head:  for know
Time is not now for slow suspense.  Behold
That way an angel hasting towards us!  Lo! 
Where duly the sixth handmaid doth return
From service on the day.  Wear thou in look
And gesture seemly grace of reverent awe,
That gladly he may forward us aloft. 
Consider that this day ne’er dawns again.”

Time’s loss he had so often warn’d me ’gainst,
I could not miss the scope at which he aim’d.

The goodly shape approach’d us, snowy white
In vesture, and with visage casting streams
Of tremulous lustre like the matin star. 
His arms he open’d, then his wings; and spake: 
“Onward:  the steps, behold! are near; and now
Th’ ascent is without difficulty gain’d.”

A scanty few are they, who when they hear
Such tidings, hasten.  O ye race of men
Though born to soar, why suffer ye a wind
So slight to baffle ye?  He led us on
Where the rock parted; here against my front
Did beat his wings, then promis’d I should fare
In safety on my way.  As to ascend
That steep, upon whose brow the chapel stands
(O’er Rubaconte, looking lordly down
On the well-guided city,) up the right
Th’ impetuous rise is broken by the steps
Carv’d in that old and simple age, when still
The registry and label rested safe;
Thus is th’ acclivity reliev’d, which here
Precipitous from the other circuit falls: 
But on each hand the tall cliff presses close.

As ent’ring there we turn’d, voices, in strain
Ineffable, sang:  “Blessed are the poor
In spirit.”  Ah how far unlike to these
The straits of hell; here songs to usher us,
There shrieks of woe!  We climb the holy stairs: 
And lighter to myself by far I seem’d
Than on the plain before, whence thus I spake: 
“Say, master, of what heavy thing have I
Been lighten’d, that scarce aught the sense of toil
Affects me journeying?” He in few replied: 
“When sin’s broad characters, that yet remain
Upon thy temples, though well nigh effac’d,
Shall be, as one is, all clean razed out,
Then shall thy feet by heartiness of will
Be so o’ercome, they not alone shall feel
No sense of labour, but delight much more
Shall wait them urg’d along their upward way.”

Copyrights
Project Gutenberg
Divine Comedy, Cary's Translation, Purgatory from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.