Front Page Titles (by Subject) PURGATORIO XXXIII - The Divine Comedy, Vol. 2 (Purgatorio) (English only trans.)
PURGATORIO XXXIII - 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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Terrestrial Paradise. Beatrice’s Prophecy
Dante’s Final Purification in the River Eunoë
- “O God, the heathen folk are come,” now three,
- now four, alternately, and shedding tears,
- the Ladies a sweet psalmody began;
- and Beatrice with sighs of sympathy
- was listening to their words with such a look,
- that Mary at the cross changed little more.
- But when the other maids had given way
- that she might speak, she rose upon her feet,
- and, colored with the hue of fire, replied;
- “A little while, and ye shall not behold me;
- and then again, belovèd sisters mine,
- a little while, and me ye shall behold.”
- All seven she thereupon before her placed,
- and, merely by a nod, behind her moved
- me and the Lady, and the Sage who stayed.
- She thus was going on, nor do I think
- her tenth step had been set upon the ground,
- when with her eyes she forcibly met mine;
- then with a tranquil face she said to me:
- “More quickly come, that, if I speak to thee,
- for listening to me thou mayst be well placed.”
- As soon as I was with her as I ought,
- she said to me: “Why, brother, dost not venture
- to question me, now that thou comest with me?”
- As unto those who show excessive reverence,
- when speaking in the presence of their elders,
- and therefore draw no clear voice to their teeth,
- to me it happed that with imperfect tones
- “Madonna,” I began, “my welfare’s needs
- you know, and that which may be good for it.”
- And she to me: “From fear and bashfulness
- I wish thee now to extricate thyself,
- that thou mayst speak no more like one who dreams.
- Know that the Vessel which the Serpent broke,
- was, and is not; but let whose fault it is,
- believe God’s vengeance fears not human sops.
- Nor shall the Eagle heirless for all time
- remain, who left his feathers on the Car,
- whence monstrous it became, and then a prey;
- for I see well, and therefore tell it, stars
- now near, and from all checks and obstacles
- secure, which for us shall a time obtain,
- within which a Five Hundred Ten and Five,
- sent forth by God, shall kill the female Thief,
- and that great Giant who with her is guilty.
- And my prediction, which is dark, perhaps,
- as Themis and the Sphinx, persuades thee less,
- because, as theirs did, it beclouds thy mind;
- but facts will soon become the Naiades,
- which shall this difficult enigma solve,
- without the loss of either sheep or grain.
- Give heed; and ev’n as uttered by myself,
- see that thou teach these words of mine to those
- that live the life which is a race toward death;
- and bear in mind, when thou art writing them,
- not to conceal in what state thou hast seen
- the Tree, which twice now hath been here despoiled.
- Whoever robs or teareth that apart,
- with blasphemy of deed offendeth God,
- who for His own use only made it holy.
- For biting it, in pain and in desire
- the first soul longed for Him five thousand years
- and more, who punished in Himself the bite.
- Thy mind is sleeping, if it deemeth not
- that for a special cause it soars so high,
- and at its summit so inverted is.
- And if the vain thoughts which surround thy mind
- had not been Elsa water, and their pleasure
- as to the mulberry a Pyramus,
- thou, by so many circumstances only,
- wouldst in the interdict upon the Tree
- see morally God’s Justice. But, since made
- of stone I see thee in thine understanding,
- and, being petrified, so dark in mind
- that thou art blinded by my speech’s light,
- I also, if not written, wish that painted,
- at least, thou bear it in thee, for the reason
- the pilgrim’s staff is carried wreathed with palm.”
- And I: “As sealing-wax, which changes not
- the shape imprinted on it by the seal,
- so likewise is my brain now stamped by you.
- But why so far above my mental sight
- are your desired words now flying up,
- it loses them the more, the more it strives?”
- “That thou,” she said, “mayst thus appraise the school
- which thou hast followed, and perceive how able
- its teaching is to carry out my word;
- and also see that your ways are removed
- as far from the divine, as e’er the heaven
- which speeds most high is distant from the earth.”
- Whence her I answered: “I do not recall
- that I have e’er estranged myself from you,
- nor am I conscious of remorse therefor.”
- “And if thou canst not call it to thy mind,”
- she answered with a smile, “remember now
- that this same day thou hast of Lethe drunk;
- and if from smoke a fire may be inferred,
- this thy forgetfulness but clearly proves
- a fault in thy desire intent elsewhere.
- Truly my words shall naked be henceforth,
- as much at least as it shall needful seem
- to make them clear to thine untutored sight.”
- Both more refulgent and with slower steps
- the sun was holding now the noonday circle,
- which, with each point of view, moves here and there;
- when, even as he, who as a leader goes
- ahead of people, stops, if something new
- he find upon his path, the Ladies seven
- stopped at a death-pale shadow’s edge,
- like that which ’neath green leaves and darkling boughs
- the Alps cast o’er their icy mountain-streams.
- In front of them I seemed to see Euphrates
- and Tigris from one fountain issue forth,
- and from each other slowly part as friends.
- “O Light and Glory of the human race,
- what stream is this which from one source unfolds,
- and then from its own self itself withdraws?”
- In answer to this question I was told:
- “Pray that Matelda tell thee.” Whereupon,
- like one who frees himself from blame, replied
- the lovely Lady: “This, with other things,
- hath he been told by me; and I am sure
- that Lethe’s water hath not hid it from him.”
- And Beatrice: “Perhaps a greater care
- which oft deprives one’s memory of its power,
- hath made the vision of his mind’s eye dark.
- But Eunoë behold, which yonder now
- is flowing forth; conduct him to its bank,
- and, as thou ’rt wont, revive his lifeless power.”
- Even as a noble soul makes no excuse,
- but to another’s will its own conforms,
- as soon as e’er by outward signs disclosed;
- even so, when she had taken hold of me,
- the lovely Lady moved, and then to Statius
- said with a lady’s manner: “Come with him.”
- If, Reader, I had now more space for writing,
- I’d sing, at least in part, of that sweet drink,
- which never would have satisfied my thirst;
- but inasmuch as filled are all the pages
- planned warp-like for this second Canticle,
- no further doth art’s bridle let me go.
- From that most holy water I returned
- made young again, as new trees are in spring,
- when with new foliage they renew themselves,
- pure, and disposed to rise up to the stars.
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