In the first chapter of this treatise the reason which moved me to this Song is so fully discussed that it is no longer necessary to discuss it further, for one can easily enough recall to mind what has been said in this exposition: and therefore, following the divisions made for the Literal meaning, I shall run through the Song, turning back to the sense of the letter where it may be needful. I say, “Love, reasoning of my Lady in my mind.” By Love I mean the labour and pains I took to acquire the love of this Lady. If one wishes to know what labour, it can be here considered in two ways. There is one study which leads the man to the daily use of Art and Science; there is another study which he will employ in the acquired use. The first is that which I call Love, which fills my mind continually with new and most exalted ideas of this Lady: even as the anxious pains which one takes to acquire a friendship are wont to do; for, when desiring that friendship, a man is wont to take anxious thought concerning it. This is that study and that affection which usually precedes in men the begetting of the friendship, when already on one side Love is born, and desires and strives that it may be on the other; for, as is said above, Philosophy is born when the Soul and Wisdom have become friends, so that the one is loved by the other.
Neither is it again needful to discuss that first stanza in the present explanation, which was reasoned out as the Proem in the Literal exposition; since, from the first argument thereof, it is easy enough to make out the meaning in this the second one.
We may proceed, then, to the second part, which begins the treatise, and to that place where I say, “The Sun sees not in travel round the Earth.” Here it is to be known that as, when discoursing of a sensible thing, one handles it suitably by means of an insensible thing, so of an intelligible thing, one fitly argues by means of an unintelligible. In the Literal sense one speaks of the Sun as a substantial and sensible body; so now it is fit, by image of the Sun, to discourse of the Spiritual and Unintelligible, that is, God.
There is no visible thing in all the world more worthy to serve as a type of God than the Sun, which illuminates with visible light itself first, and then all the celestial and elemental bodies. Thus, God illuminates Himself first with intellectual light, and then the celestial and other intelligible beings. The Sun vivifies all things with his heat, and if anything is destroyed thereby, it is not by the intention of the cause, but it is an accidental effect: thus God vivifies all things in His Goodness, and, if any suffer evil, it is not by the Divine intention, but the effect is accidental. For, if God made the Angels good and evil, He did not make both by intention, but He made the good only; there followed afterwards, beyond His intention, the wickedness of the evil ones;