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 XXIV

“O ye! in chosen fellowship advanc’d
To the great supper of the blessed Lamb,
Whereon who feeds hath every wish fulfill’d! 
If to this man through God’s grace be vouchsaf’d
Foretaste of that, which from your table falls,
Or ever death his fated term prescribe;
Be ye not heedless of his urgent will;
But may some influence of your sacred dews
Sprinkle him.  Of the fount ye alway drink,
Whence flows what most he craves.”  Beatrice spake,
And the rejoicing spirits, like to spheres
On firm-set poles revolving, trail’d a blaze
Of comet splendour; and as wheels, that wind
Their circles in the horologe, so work
The stated rounds, that to th’ observant eye
The first seems still, and, as it flew, the last;
E’en thus their carols weaving variously,
They by the measure pac’d, or swift, or slow,
Made me to rate the riches of their joy.

From that, which I did note in beauty most
Excelling, saw I issue forth a flame
So bright, as none was left more goodly there. 
Round Beatrice thrice it wheel’d about,
With so divine a song, that fancy’s ear
Records it not; and the pen passeth on
And leaves a blank:  for that our mortal speech,
Nor e’en the inward shaping of the brain,
Hath colours fine enough to trace such folds.

“O saintly sister mine! thy prayer devout
Is with so vehement affection urg’d,
Thou dost unbind me from that beauteous sphere.”

Such were the accents towards my lady breath’d
From that blest ardour, soon as it was stay’d: 
To whom she thus:  “O everlasting light
Of him, within whose mighty grasp our Lord
Did leave the keys, which of this wondrous bliss
He bare below! tent this man, as thou wilt,
With lighter probe or deep, touching the faith,
By the which thou didst on the billows walk. 
If he in love, in hope, and in belief,
Be steadfast, is not hid from thee:  for thou
Hast there thy ken, where all things are beheld
In liveliest portraiture.  But since true faith
Has peopled this fair realm with citizens,
Meet is, that to exalt its glory more,
Thou in his audience shouldst thereof discourse.”

Like to the bachelor, who arms himself,
And speaks not, till the master have propos’d
The question, to approve, and not to end it;
So I, in silence, arm’d me, while she spake,
Summoning up each argument to aid;
As was behooveful for such questioner,
And such profession:  “As good Christian ought,
Declare thee, What is faith?” Whereat I rais’d
My forehead to the light, whence this had breath’d,
Then turn’d to Beatrice, and in her looks
Approval met, that from their inmost fount
I should unlock the waters.  “May the grace,
That giveth me the captain of the church
For confessor,” said I, “vouchsafe to me
Apt utterance for my thoughts!” then added: 

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