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.

A ladder, which my ken pursued in vain,
So lofty was the summit; down whose steps
I saw the splendours in such multitude
Descending, ev’ry light in heav’n, methought,
Was shed thence.  As the rooks, at dawn of day
Bestirring them to dry their feathers chill,
Some speed their way a-field, and homeward some,
Returning, cross their flight, while some abide
And wheel around their airy lodge; so seem’d
That glitterance, wafted on alternate wing,
As upon certain stair it met, and clash’d
Its shining.  And one ling’ring near us, wax’d
So bright, that in my thought:  said:  “The love,
Which this betokens me, admits no doubt.”

Unwillingly from question I refrain,
To her, by whom my silence and my speech
Are order’d, looking for a sign:  whence she,
Who in the sight of Him, that seeth all,
Saw wherefore I was silent, prompted me
T’ indulge the fervent wish; and I began: 
“I am not worthy, of my own desert,
That thou shouldst answer me; but for her sake,
Who hath vouchsaf’d my asking, spirit blest! 
That in thy joy art shrouded! say the cause,
Which bringeth thee so near:  and wherefore, say,
Doth the sweet symphony of Paradise
Keep silence here, pervading with such sounds
Of rapt devotion ev’ry lower sphere?”
“Mortal art thou in hearing as in sight;”
Was the reply:  “and what forbade the smile
Of Beatrice interrupts our song. 
Only to yield thee gladness of my voice,
And of the light that vests me, I thus far
Descend these hallow’d steps:  not that more love
Invites me; for lo! there aloft, as much
Or more of love is witness’d in those flames: 
But such my lot by charity assign’d,
That makes us ready servants, as thou seest,
To execute the counsel of the Highest.” 
“That in this court,” said I, “O sacred lamp! 
Love no compulsion needs, but follows free
Th’ eternal Providence, I well discern: 
This harder find to deem, why of thy peers
Thou only to this office wert foredoom’d.” 
I had not ended, when, like rapid mill,
Upon its centre whirl’d the light; and then
The love, that did inhabit there, replied: 
“Splendour eternal, piercing through these folds,
Its virtue to my vision knits, and thus
Supported, lifts me so above myself,
That on the sov’ran essence, which it wells from,
I have the power to gaze:  and hence the joy,
Wherewith I sparkle, equaling with my blaze
The keenness of my sight.  But not the soul,
That is in heav’n most lustrous, nor the seraph
That hath his eyes most fix’d on God, shall solve
What thou hast ask’d:  for in th’ abyss it lies
Of th’ everlasting statute sunk so low,
That no created ken may fathom it. 
And, to the mortal world when thou return’st,
Be this reported; that none henceforth dare
Direct his footsteps to so dread a bourn. 
The mind, that here is radiant, on the earth

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