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.

As when the lightning, in a sudden spleen
Unfolded, dashes from the blinding eyes
The visive spirits dazzled and bedimm’d;
So, round about me, fulminating streams
Of living radiance play’d, and left me swath’d
And veil’d in dense impenetrable blaze. 
Such weal is in the love, that stills this heav’n;
For its own flame the torch this fitting ever!

No sooner to my list’ning ear had come
The brief assurance, than I understood
New virtue into me infus’d, and sight
Kindled afresh, with vigour to sustain
Excess of light, however pure.  I look’d;
And in the likeness of a river saw
Light flowing, from whose amber-seeming waves
Flash’d up effulgence, as they glided on
’Twixt banks, on either side, painted with spring,
Incredible how fair; and, from the tide,
There ever and anon, outstarting, flew
Sparkles instinct with life; and in the flow’rs
Did set them, like to rubies chas’d in gold;
Then, as if drunk with odors, plung’d again
Into the wondrous flood; from which, as one
Re’enter’d, still another rose.  “The thirst
Of knowledge high, whereby thou art inflam’d,
To search the meaning of what here thou seest,
The more it warms thee, pleases me the more. 
But first behooves thee of this water drink,
Or ere that longing be allay’d.”  So spake
The day-star of mine eyes; then thus subjoin’d: 
“This stream, and these, forth issuing from its gulf,
And diving back, a living topaz each,
With all this laughter on its bloomy shores,
Are but a preface, shadowy of the truth
They emblem:  not that, in themselves, the things
Are crude; but on thy part is the defect,
For that thy views not yet aspire so high.” 
Never did babe, that had outslept his wont,
Rush, with such eager straining, to the milk,
As I toward the water, bending me,
To make the better mirrors of mine eyes
In the refining wave; and, as the eaves
Of mine eyelids did drink of it, forthwith
Seem’d it unto me turn’d from length to round,
Then as a troop of maskers, when they put
Their vizors off, look other than before,
The counterfeited semblance thrown aside;
So into greater jubilee were chang’d
Those flowers and sparkles, and distinct I saw
Before me either court of heav’n displac’d.

O prime enlightener! thou who crav’st me strength
On the high triumph of thy realm to gaze! 
Grant virtue now to utter what I kenn’d,
    There is in heav’n a light, whose goodly shine
Makes the Creator visible to all
Created, that in seeing him alone
Have peace; and in a circle spreads so far,
That the circumference were too loose a zone
To girdle in the sun.  All is one beam,
Reflected from the summit of the first,
That moves, which being hence and vigour takes,
And as some cliff, that from the bottom eyes
Its image mirror’d in the crystal flood,
As if ’t admire its brave appareling

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