Front Page Titles (by Subject) PURGATORIO XV - The Divine Comedy, Vol. 2 (Purgatorio) (English only trans.)
PURGATORIO XV - Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy, Vol. 2 (Purgatorio) (English only trans.) 
The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri. The Italian Text with a Translation in English Blank Verse and a Commentary by Courtney Langdon, vol. 2 (Purgatorio) (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1920).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
Purgatory. The Second Ring. Envy. The Angel of
Generosity. The Third Ring. Anger. Instances of Gentleness
- Between the third hour’s close and day’s beginning
- as much as is apparent of the sphere,
- which like a child is ever given to play,
- so much now of its course toward evening seemed
- remaining to the sun; ’t was vespers there,
- and midnight here; and fully on the face
- its rays were striking us, because the Mount
- had so been circled by us, that we now
- were going on directly toward the West;
- when, far more blindingly than e’er before,
- I felt my forehead overcome by splendor,
- and was bewildered by these unknown things;
- over my eyebrows, hence, I raised my hands,
- and made myself the screen which, filing off,
- tempers excessive light in what is seen.
- As when from water, or a looking-glass,
- a ray leaps up in the opposite direction,
- and in the same way mounts that down it came,
- and from the falling of a stone departs
- at equal distance to the same extent,
- as both experiment and art reveal;
- even so it seemed to me that I was smitten
- as by a light, reflected there before me;
- because of which my sight was swift to flee.
- “Dear Father, what is that,” said I, “from which
- I cannot screen my face sufficiently
- to help me, and which toward us seems to come?”
- “Wonder thou not” he answered me, “if still
- Heaven’s family affect thy sight; an Angel
- is this, who comes to ask us to ascend.
- It soon will happen that to see such things
- will be no burden, but as great a joy,
- as Nature hath enabled thee to feel.”
- As soon as we had reached the blessèd Angel,
- with joyful voice he said: “Enter from hence
- a stairway far less steep than were the rest!”
- We were ascending, having thence departed,
- when “Blessèd are the Merciful!” was sung
- behind us, and “Rejoice, O thou that winnest!”
- My Teacher then, and I, we two alone,
- were going up; and, as we went, I thought
- of how I might get profit from his words;
- whereat I turned toward him, and asked: “What meant
- that spirit from Romagna, when he mentioned
- ‘forbidden,’ and ‘companionship’ in things?”
- Hence he: “Of his worst fault he knows the harm;
- hence let it not surprise, if he therefor
- rebuke men, that it be lamented less.
- Because your wishes aim at that, wherein
- each share is lessened through companionship,
- envy fain moves the bellows for your sighs.
- If love, though, for the highest sphere of all
- were upward turning your desires, that fear
- would not be in your breast; because the more
- there are up yonder by whom ‘Ours’ is said,
- so much more good doth each of them possess,
- and so much more love in that cloister burns.”
- “I fast much more from being satisfied,”
- said I, “than had I silent been at first;
- and more of doubt I gather in my mind.
- How can it be, then, that a good that’s shared
- should make more owners richer with itself,
- than if by but a few it be possessed?”
- And he to me: “Because thou fastenest
- thy mind exclusively on earthly things,
- thou drawest darkness out of very light.
- That Good, Ineffable and Infinite,
- which dwells up yonder, runs as fast to love,
- as to bright bodies comes a ray of light.
- So much It gives Itself, as is the warmth
- It findeth; hence, as is the extent of love,
- so much the Eternal Worth spreads over it.
- The more there are up there that love each other,
- the more there are to love, and more the love,
- and, mirror-like, the more of love each sheds
- on each. And if my talk sate not thy hunger,
- thou shalt see Beatrice, and she will fully
- free thee from this and every other want.
- Do thou, then, see to it that speedily
- thou have removed, as two already are,
- the five wounds which are closed by causing pain.”
- Wishing to say: “Thou satisfiest me,”
- I saw that I had reached the following ring;
- my fond eyes, therefore, caused me to keep still.
- There it appeared to me that I was wrapt
- in an ecstatic vision all at once,
- and that within a temple I perceived
- much people; and a Lady at the door,
- who with the sweet mien of a mother said:
- “Wherefore, my Son, hast thou thus dealt with us?
- Behold, thy father and I have sought for thee
- in sorrow!” Here, when she had ceased to speak,
- that disappeared which had before appeared.
- Then there appeared another, o’er whose cheeks
- those tears were streaming down, which grief distills,
- when born of great resentment toward another,
- saying: “If thou art master of the city,
- about whose name there was among the gods
- such strife, and whence all knowledge sparkles forth,
- avenge thyself on those audacious arms,
- Pisìstratus, which dared embrace our daughter!”
- Kindly and gently then that lord appeared
- to answer her with looks of self-control:
- “What shall we do to him who hateth us,
- if he who loves us is by us condemned?”
- Then folk I saw inflamed by anger’s fire
- who, bent on killing a young man with stones,
- cried to each other naught but: “Kill him, kill!”
- And him I saw, bowed to the ground in death
- which now oppressed him; of his eyes he e’er
- made gates of Heaven, and in that anguish prayed
- the Lord on high with looks which unlock pity,
- that He his persecutors would forgive.
- When once my mind returned outside again
- to those things which outside of it are true,
- I recognized my not untruthful errors.
- My Leader, who could see that I was acting
- like one who frees himself from slumber, said:
- “What aileth thee, that thou canst not stand up,
- but hast been coming more than half a league,
- veiling thine eyes, and reeling with thy legs,
- like one o’ercome by either wine or sleep?”
- “O my dear Father, if thou listen to me,
- I ’ll tell thee what it was appeared to me,”
- said I, “when I was thus deprived of legs.”
- And he: “If on thy face a hundred masks
- thou hadst, thy thoughts would not be hid from me,
- however small they were. What thou hast seen
- was lest thou free thyself from opening up
- thy heart unto those waters of thy peace,
- which from the Eternal Fountain are diffused.
- I did not ask ‘What ails thee?’ as would one,
- who looks but with the eye which seeth not,
- when once the body lies inanimate;
- but asked it to endow thy feet with strength;
- so must the indolent be spurred, when slow
- to use their waking time, when it returns.”
- On through the vesper hours we went along,
- forward intent, as far as e’er our eyes
- could reach, against the late and shining rays;
- when lo, a smoke in our direction came
- little by little, and as dark as night;
- nor was there any place of shelter from it;
- this of pure air deprived us and of eyes.