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 XIX

Before my sight appear’d, with open wings,
The beauteous image, in fruition sweet
Gladdening the thronged spirits.  Each did seem
A little ruby, whereon so intense
The sun-beam glow’d that to mine eyes it came
In clear refraction.  And that, which next
Befalls me to portray, voice hath not utter’d,
Nor hath ink written, nor in fantasy
Was e’er conceiv’d.  For I beheld and heard
The beak discourse; and, what intention form’d
Of many, singly as of one express,
Beginning:  “For that I was just and piteous,
l am exalted to this height of glory,
The which no wish exceeds:  and there on earth
Have I my memory left, e’en by the bad
Commended, while they leave its course untrod.”

Thus is one heat from many embers felt,
As in that image many were the loves,
And one the voice, that issued from them all. 
Whence I address them:  “O perennial flowers
Of gladness everlasting! that exhale
In single breath your odours manifold! 
Breathe now; and let the hunger be appeas’d,
That with great craving long hath held my soul,
Finding no food on earth.  This well I know,
That if there be in heav’n a realm, that shows
In faithful mirror the celestial Justice,
Yours without veil reflects it.  Ye discern
The heed, wherewith I do prepare myself
To hearken; ye the doubt that urges me
With such inveterate craving.”  Straight I saw,
Like to a falcon issuing from the hood,
That rears his head, and claps him with his wings,
His beauty and his eagerness bewraying. 
So saw I move that stately sign, with praise
Of grace divine inwoven and high song
Of inexpressive joy.  “He,” it began,
“Who turn’d his compass on the world’s extreme,
And in that space so variously hath wrought,
Both openly, and in secret, in such wise
Could not through all the universe display
Impression of his glory, that the Word
Of his omniscience should not still remain
In infinite excess.  In proof whereof,
He first through pride supplanted, who was sum
Of each created being, waited not
For light celestial, and abortive fell. 
Whence needs each lesser nature is but scant
Receptacle unto that Good, which knows
No limit, measur’d by itself alone. 
Therefore your sight, of th’ omnipresent Mind
A single beam, its origin must own
Surpassing far its utmost potency. 
The ken, your world is gifted with, descends
In th’ everlasting Justice as low down,
As eye doth in the sea; which though it mark
The bottom from the shore, in the wide main
Discerns it not; and ne’ertheless it is,
But hidden through its deepness.  Light is none,
Save that which cometh from the pure serene
Of ne’er disturbed ether:  for the rest,
’Tis darkness all, or shadow of the flesh,
Or else its poison.  Here confess reveal’d

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