Front Page Titles (by Subject) PURGATORIO XXVII - The Divine Comedy, Vol. 2 (Purgatorio) (English only trans.)
PURGATORIO XXVII - 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).
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Purgatory. The Seventh Ring. Lust. The Angel of Purity
Dante’s Third Dream. Virgil’s Last Words
- As when he sends his earliest quivering beams
- where his Creator shed his blood, while Ebro
- ’neath lofty Libra falls, and Ganges’ waves
- are being scalded by the heat of noon,
- so stood the sun; daylight was, hence, departing,
- when God’s glad Messenger appeared to us.
- Outside the flames upon the bank he stood,
- and, in a voice far clearer than is ours
- was singing: “Blessèd are the pure in heart!”
- “No further may ye go, ye holy souls,
- until the fire have burned you; enter it,
- and be not deaf unto the song beyond!”
- he told us next, when we were near to him;
- hence I, on hearing him, became like one
- who in the grave is laid. Clasping my hands
- together, over them I bowed, and watched
- the fire, while vivid images I formed
- of human bodies I had once seen burned.
- Toward me my kindly Escorts turned around;
- and Virgil said to me: “There may, my son,
- be pain here, but not death. Recall to mind,
- recall to mind! . . . if even on Geryon’s back
- I safely led thee, what shall I do now,
- that nearer God I am? Assuredly believe
- that, if within the center of this flame
- thou shouldst for ev’n a thousand years remain,
- it could not make thee lose a single hair;
- and if, perchance, thou think that I deceive thee,
- draw near to it, and make thyself believe
- with thine own hands upon thy garment’s hem.
- Lay now aside, lay now aside all fear!
- Turn round toward me, and come ahead, assured!”
- And yet, though ’gainst my conscience, I moved not.
- On seeing me still motionless and firm,
- somewhat disturbed, he said: “Now see, my son;
- this wall remains ’tween Beatrice and thee.”
- As Pyramus, when dying, at the name
- of Thisbe, oped his eyes, and looked at her,
- what time the mulberry became vermilion;
- ev’n so, my stubbornness becoming weak,
- I turned to my wiser Leader, when I heard
- the name that ever wells up in my heart.
- Thereat he shook his head, and said: “What ’s this?
- Do we on this side wish to stay?” then smiled,
- as one does at a child an apple wins.
- Then, entering the fire in front of me,
- Statius he begged to come behind, who erst
- had over a long road divided us.
- When once inside, I would have thrown myself,
- that I might cool me, into boiling glass,
- so without measure was the burning there.
- My tender Father, to encourage me,
- talked, as we moved, of Beatrice alone,
- and said: “I seem to see her eyes already.”
- A voice that sang upon the further side,
- was guiding us; and we, on it alone
- intent, came forth to where the ascent began.
- “Ye blessèd of my Father, come!” was said
- within a light there, such that I thereby
- was overcome, and could not look at it.
- “The sun is setting, and the evening comes;”
- it added, “tarry not, but hasten on,
- while yet the western sky has not grown dark.”
- Straight upward went the pathway through the rock
- in such direction, that in front of me
- I cut the low sun’s rays; not many stairs
- had we yet tried, when I and my wise Leaders
- were, by my shadow’s vanishing, aware
- that back of us the sun had gone to rest.
- And ere in all of its unmeasured range
- the horizon had assumed one single tone,
- and night had everywhere diffused itself,
- each of a step had made himself a bed;
- because the nature of the Mount deprived us
- rather of power to climb than of desire.
- Like goats which, swift of foot and wanton once
- when on the mountain heights, ere being fed,
- grow tamely quiet when they ruminate,
- all silent in the shade, while yet the sun
- is hot, and guarded by a herd who leans
- upon his staff, and serves them as he leans;
- and like the shepherd in the open living,
- who calmly spends the night beside his flock,
- and keepeth watch lest some wild animal
- should scatter it; ev’n such all three of us
- were then, I like a goat, and they like shepherds,
- by the high rock hemmed in on either side.
- But little of the outer world could there
- be seen; but through that little I perceived
- the stars more bright and larger than their wont.
- While I was ruminating thus, and thus
- was gazing at them, sleep o’ertook me; sleep,
- which oft receiveth news of future things
- before they are. At that same hour, methinks,
- when Cytherèa, who, it seems, e’er burns
- with fires of love, beamed first upon the Mount
- from out the East, dreaming I seemed to see
- a Lady, young and fair, who, gathering flowers,
- was walking through a field, and as she sang,
- said: “Know, who asks my name, that I am Leah,
- and that I move my lovely hands about
- to make myself a wreath. To please myself
- when at my mirror, I adorn me here;
- but never doth my sister Rachel leave
- her looking-glass, but sits there all day long.
- Her pleasure is to see her lovely eyes,
- as mine is to adorn me with my hands;
- seeing contenteth her, and doing, me.”
- And now, before the splendid beams of dawn,
- which rise with greater thanks from travelers,
- as, coming home, they lodge less far away,
- the shades of night were fleeing everywhere,
- and with them sleep; hence I arose and saw
- that my great Teachers had already risen.
- “That pleasant fruit, which on so many boughs
- the care of men is ever looking for,
- shall give thine every hunger peace today.”
- These were the very words which Virgil used,
- when turned toward me; and never were there gifts,
- which in their sweetness could have equaled these.
- Such longing upon longing overcame me
- to be above, that at each step thereafter,
- I felt my pinions growing for the flight.
- When all the stairway had beneath us passed,
- and we were standing on its topmost step,
- on me then Virgil fixed his eyes, and said:
- “The temporal and the eternal fire, my son,
- thou now hast seen, and to a place art come,
- where I can, of myself, no further see.
- I ’ve brought thee here by genius and by art;
- henceforth as leader thine own pleasure take;
- forth art thou from both steep and narrow paths.
- Behold the sun there shining on thy brow;
- behold the tender grass, the flowers and shrubs,
- which here the soil yields of itself alone.
- Until in happiness those lovely eyes
- appear, which, weeping, made me come to thee,
- thou mayst be seated, or among them walk.
- From me expect no further word or sign.
- Free, right and sound is thine own will, and wrong
- were not to act according to its hest;
- hence o’er thyself I crown and mitre thee.”