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.

“How!” he exclaim’d, nor from his speed meanwhile
Desisting, “If that ye be spirits, whom God
Vouchsafes not room above, who up the height
Has been thus far your guide?” To whom the bard: 
“If thou observe the tokens, which this man
Trac’d by the finger of the angel bears,
’Tis plain that in the kingdom of the just
He needs must share.  But sithence she, whose wheel
Spins day and night, for him not yet had drawn
That yarn, which, on the fatal distaff pil’d,
Clotho apportions to each wight that breathes,
His soul, that sister is to mine and thine,
Not of herself could mount, for not like ours
Her ken:  whence I, from forth the ample gulf
Of hell was ta’en, to lead him, and will lead
Far as my lore avails.  But, if thou know,
Instruct us for what cause, the mount erewhile
Thus shook and trembled:  wherefore all at once
Seem’d shouting, even from his wave-wash’d foot.”

That questioning so tallied with my wish,
The thirst did feel abatement of its edge
E’en from expectance.  He forthwith replied,
“In its devotion nought irregular
This mount can witness, or by punctual rule
Unsanction’d; here from every change exempt. 
Other than that, which heaven in itself
Doth of itself receive, no influence
Can reach us.  Tempest none, shower, hail or snow,
Hoar frost or dewy moistness, higher falls
Than that brief scale of threefold steps:  thick clouds
Nor scudding rack are ever seen:  swift glance
Ne’er lightens, nor Thaumantian Iris gleams,
That yonder often shift on each side heav’n. 
Vapour adust doth never mount above
The highest of the trinal stairs, whereon
Peter’s vicegerent stands.  Lower perchance,
With various motion rock’d, trembles the soil: 
But here, through wind in earth’s deep hollow pent,
I know not how, yet never trembled:  then
Trembles, when any spirit feels itself
So purified, that it may rise, or move
For rising, and such loud acclaim ensues. 
Purification by the will alone
Is prov’d, that free to change society
Seizes the soul rejoicing in her will. 
Desire of bliss is present from the first;
But strong propension hinders, to that wish
By the just ordinance of heav’n oppos’d;
Propension now as eager to fulfil
Th’ allotted torment, as erewhile to sin. 
And I who in this punishment had lain
Five hundred years and more, but now have felt
Free wish for happier clime.  Therefore thou felt’st
The mountain tremble, and the spirits devout
Heard’st, over all his limits, utter praise
To that liege Lord, whom I entreat their joy
To hasten.”  Thus he spake:  and since the draught
Is grateful ever as the thirst is keen,
No words may speak my fullness of content.

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