What I have said shows clearly enough the Literal meaning of the first part. In the second, there is to be understood how it makes manifest what I experienced from the struggle within me; and this part has two divisions. In the first place it describes the quality of these oppositions, according as their cause was within me. Then I narrate what the one and the other voice of opposition said; and upon that firstly which described what was being lost, in the passage which is the second of that part and the third of the Song. In evidence, then, of the meaning of the first division, it is to be known that things must be named by that part of their form which is the noblest and best, as Man by Reason, and not by Sense, nor by aught else which is less noble; therefore, when one speaks of the living man, one should understand the man using Reason, which is his especial Life, and is the action of his noblest part. And, therefore, whoso departs from Reason and uses only the Senses is not a living man, but a living beast, as says that most excellent Boethius, “Let the Ass live.”
Rightly I speak, because thought is the right act of reason, wherefore the beasts who have it not do not think; and I speak not only of the lesser beasts, but of those who have a human appearance with the spirit of a sheep or of some other abominable beast. I say then: “Thought that once fed my grieving heart”—thought, that is, of the inner life—“was sweet” (sweet, insomuch as it is persuasive, that is, pleasing, or beautiful, gentle, delightful); this thought often sped away to the feet of the Father of those Spirits to whom I speak, that is, God; that is to say, that I in thought contemplated the realm of the Blessed. “Thought that once fled up to the Father’s feet.” And I name the final cause immediately, because I ascended there above in thought when I say, “There I beheld a Lady glorified,” to let you understand that I was certain, and am certain by its gracious revelation, that she was in Heaven; wherefore I, thinking many times how this was possible for me, went thither, rapt, as it were. Then subsequently I speak of the effect of this thought, in order to let you understand its sweetness, which was such that it made me desirous of Death, that I also might go where she was gone.