Divine Comedy, Cary's Translation, Complete eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 443 pages of information about Divine Comedy, Cary's Translation, Complete.

CANTO VIII

The world was in its day of peril dark
Wont to believe the dotage of fond love
From the fair Cyprian deity, who rolls
In her third epicycle, shed on men
By stream of potent radiance:  therefore they
Of elder time, in their old error blind,
Not her alone with sacrifice ador’d
And invocation, but like honours paid
To Cupid and Dione, deem’d of them
Her mother, and her son, him whom they feign’d
To sit in Dido’s bosom:  and from her,
Whom I have sung preluding, borrow’d they
The appellation of that star, which views,
Now obvious and now averse, the sun. 
     I was not ware that I was wafted up
Into its orb; but the new loveliness
That grac’d my lady, gave me ample proof
That we had entered there.  And as in flame
A sparkle is distinct, or voice in voice
Discern’d, when one its even tenour keeps,
The other comes and goes; so in that light
I other luminaries saw, that cours’d
In circling motion. rapid more or less,
As their eternal phases each impels. 
     Never was blast from vapour charged with cold,
Whether invisible to eye or no,
Descended with such speed, it had not seem’d
To linger in dull tardiness, compar’d
To those celestial lights, that tow’rds us came,
Leaving the circuit of their joyous ring,
Conducted by the lofty seraphim. 
And after them, who in the van appear’d,
Such an hosanna sounded, as hath left
Desire, ne’er since extinct in me, to hear
Renew’d the strain.  Then parting from the rest
One near us drew, and sole began:  “We all
Are ready at thy pleasure, well dispos’d
To do thee gentle service.  We are they,
To whom thou in the world erewhile didst Sing
’O ye! whose intellectual ministry
Moves the third heaven!’ and in one orb we roll,
One motion, one impulse, with those who rule
Princedoms in heaven; yet are of love so full,
That to please thee ’t will be as sweet to rest.” 
     After mine eyes had with meek reverence
Sought the celestial guide, and were by her
Assur’d, they turn’d again unto the light
Who had so largely promis’d, and with voice
That bare the lively pressure of my zeal,
“Tell who ye are,” I cried.  Forthwith it grew
In size and splendour, through augmented joy;
And thus it answer’d:  “A short date below
The world possess’d me.  Had the time been more,
Much evil, that will come, had never chanc’d. 
My gladness hides thee from me, which doth shine . 
Around, and shroud me, as an animal
In its own silk enswath’d.  Thou lov’dst me well,
And had’st good cause; for had my sojourning
Been longer on the earth, the love I bare thee
Had put forth more than blossoms.  The left bank,
That Rhone, when he hath mix’d with Sorga, laves. 
In me its lord expected, and that horn
Of fair Ausonia, with its boroughs old,

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