Divine Comedy, Cary's Translation, Paradise eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 104 pages of information about Divine Comedy, Cary's Translation, Paradise.

CANTO XVII

Such as the youth, who came to Clymene
To certify himself of that reproach,
Which had been fasten’d on him, (he whose end
Still makes the fathers chary to their sons),
E’en such was I; nor unobserv’d was such
Of Beatrice, and that saintly lamp,
Who had erewhile for me his station mov’d;
When thus by lady:  “Give thy wish free vent,
That it may issue, bearing true report
Of the mind’s impress; not that aught thy words
May to our knowledge add, but to the end,
That thou mayst use thyself to own thy thirst
And men may mingle for thee when they hear.”

“O plant! from whence I spring! rever’d and lov’d! 
Who soar’st so high a pitch, thou seest as clear,
As earthly thought determines two obtuse
In one triangle not contain’d, so clear
Dost see contingencies, ere in themselves
Existent, looking at the point whereto
All times are present, I, the whilst I scal’d
With Virgil the soul purifying mount,
And visited the nether world of woe,
Touching my future destiny have heard
Words grievous, though I feel me on all sides
Well squar’d to fortune’s blows.  Therefore my will
Were satisfied to know the lot awaits me,
The arrow, seen beforehand, slacks its flight.”

So said I to the brightness, which erewhile
To me had spoken, and my will declar’d,
As Beatrice will’d, explicitly. 
Nor with oracular response obscure,
Such, as or ere the Lamb of God was slain,
Beguil’d the credulous nations; but, in terms
Precise and unambiguous lore, replied
The spirit of paternal love, enshrin’d,
Yet in his smile apparent; and thus spake: 
“Contingency, unfolded not to view
Upon the tablet of your mortal mold,
Is all depictur’d in the’ eternal sight;
But hence deriveth not necessity,
More then the tall ship, hurried down the flood,
Doth from the vision, that reflects the scene. 
From thence, as to the ear sweet harmony
From organ comes, so comes before mine eye
The time prepar’d for thee.  Such as driv’n out
From Athens, by his cruel stepdame’s wiles,
Hippolytus departed, such must thou
Depart from Florence.  This they wish, and this
Contrive, and will ere long effectuate, there,
Where gainful merchandize is made of Christ,
Throughout the livelong day.  The common cry,
Will, as ’t is ever wont, affix the blame
Unto the party injur’d:  but the truth
Shall, in the vengeance it dispenseth, find
A faithful witness.  Thou shall leave each thing
Belov’d most dearly:  this is the first shaft
Shot from the bow of exile.  Thou shalt prove
How salt the savour is of other’s bread,
How hard the passage to descend and climb
By other’s stairs, But that shall gall thee most
Will be the worthless and vile company,
With whom thou must be thrown into these straits. 
For all ungrateful, impious all and mad,
Shall turn ’gainst thee:  but in a little while
Theirs and not thine shall be the crimson’d brow
Their course shall so evince their brutishness
T’ have ta’en thy stand apart shall well become thee.

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