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.

We travers’d the deserted plain, as one
Who, wander’d from his track, thinks every step
Trodden in vain till he regain the path.

When we had come, where yet the tender dew
Strove with the sun, and in a place, where fresh
The wind breath’d o’er it, while it slowly dried;
Both hands extended on the watery grass
My master plac’d, in graceful act and kind. 
Whence I of his intent before appriz’d,
Stretch’d out to him my cheeks suffus’d with tears. 
There to my visage he anew restor’d
That hue, which the dun shades of hell conceal’d.

Then on the solitary shore arriv’d,
That never sailing on its waters saw
Man, that could after measure back his course,
He girt me in such manner as had pleas’d
Him who instructed, and O, strange to tell! 
As he selected every humble plant,
Wherever one was pluck’d, another there
Resembling, straightway in its place arose.

CANTO II

Now had the sun to that horizon reach’d,
That covers, with the most exalted point
Of its meridian circle, Salem’s walls,
And night, that opposite to him her orb
Sounds, from the stream of Ganges issued forth,
Holding the scales, that from her hands are dropp’d
When she reigns highest:  so that where I was,
Aurora’s white and vermeil-tinctur’d cheek
To orange turn’d as she in age increas’d.

Meanwhile we linger’d by the water’s brink,
Like men, who, musing on their road, in thought
Journey, while motionless the body rests. 
When lo! as near upon the hour of dawn,
Through the thick vapours Mars with fiery beam
Glares down in west, over the ocean floor;
So seem’d, what once again I hope to view,
A light so swiftly coming through the sea,
No winged course might equal its career. 
From which when for a space I had withdrawn
Thine eyes, to make inquiry of my guide,
Again I look’d and saw it grown in size
And brightness:  thou on either side appear’d
Something, but what I knew not of bright hue,
And by degrees from underneath it came
Another.  My preceptor silent yet
Stood, while the brightness, that we first discern’d,
Open’d the form of wings:  then when he knew
The pilot, cried aloud, “Down, down; bend low
Thy knees; behold God’s angel:  fold thy hands: 
Now shalt thou see true Ministers indeed.

“Lo how all human means he sets at naught! 
So that nor oar he needs, nor other sail
Except his wings, between such distant shores. 
Lo how straight up to heaven he holds them rear’d,
Winnowing the air with those eternal plumes,
That not like mortal hairs fall off or change!”

As more and more toward us came, more bright
Appear’d the bird of God, nor could the eye
Endure his splendor near:  I mine bent down. 
He drove ashore in a small bark so swift
And light, that in its course no wave it drank. 
The heav’nly steersman at the prow was seen,
Visibly written blessed in his looks.

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