Front Page Titles (by Subject) PARADISO XIII - The Divine Comedy, vol. 3 (Paradiso) (English trans.)
PARADISO XIII - Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy, vol. 3 (Paradiso) (English trans.) 
The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri. The Italian Text with a Translation in English Blank Verse and a Commentary by Courtney Langdon, Vol. 3 Paradiso (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1921).
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The Fourth Heaven. The Sun. Intellectual Happiness
Spirits of Theologians and Philosophers. Solomon’s Wisdom
- Let him imagine, who would understand
- aright what now I saw, (and let him hold
- the image like a steadfast rock, the while
- I speak), the fifteen stars which vivify
- the sky at different points with such clear light,
- that vanquished is all denseness in the air;
- let him imagine next that Wain, whereto
- the bosom of our sky suffices so
- both night and day, that, as its pole revolves,
- it never disappears; and let him then
- imagine furthermore that trumpet’s mouth,
- which at the axle’s point begins, whereon
- the first wheel turns; and that all these had made
- two constellations of themselves, like that
- which Minos’ daughter fashioned when she felt
- the cold of death; and one to have its rays
- within the other, and both to so revolve,
- that one moved forward, and the other back;
- and he will of the actual constellation
- a shadow have, and of the double dance,
- which circled round the place where I then was;
- for it as far surpasses our experience,
- as swifter than the Chiana moves the heaven
- which outspeeds all the others. There they praised
- nor Bacchus nor Apollo, but three Persons
- in one sole nature, the divine, and that,
- in but one Person with the human joined.
- The song and dance completed each its measure;
- whereat those holy lights gave heed to us,
- rejoicing thus to pass from care to care.
- And then the light, wherein the wondrous life
- of God’s dear pauper had been told to me,
- of those harmonious gods the silence broke,
- and said: “Whereas one straw has now been threshed,
- and as its seed hath now been stored away,
- sweet love inviteth me to beat the other.
- Thou think’st that in the breast from which the rib
- was drawn, which went to form the lovely cheek,
- whose palate cost so much to all the world,
- and that in that one which, before and after
- the lance had pierced it, made such satisfaction,
- as to outweigh all sins,
- whatever light
- our human nature is allowed, the whole,
- was by that Power infused, which made them both;
- thou, hence, art marvelling at what above
- I said, when I narrated that the good
- enclosed within the fifth light had no second.
- Ope now thine eyes to what I answer thee;
- and thou ’lt see that my words and thy belief
- grow one in truth, as in a ring its center.
- That which dies not, and that which mortal is,
- are naught but that Idea’s reflected light,
- to which our Sire, by loving, giveth birth;
- for that Bright Light, which from its Lucent Source
- so flows, that It is not divided from Him,
- nor from the Love which with Them is intrined,
- out of Its goodness gathers up Its radiance,
- mirrored, as ’t were, in nine subsistences,
- Itself eternally remaining one.
- Thence to the lowest creatures It descends
- from act to act, and such becomes, that naught
- It makes but brief contingencies; and these
- contingencies I understand to be
- those generated things the moving heavens
- produce by means of seed and without seed.
- Of these the wax, and that which mouldeth it,
- are not of one same kind; hence, underneath
- the ideal stamp, they more or less reflect it;
- it hence results that, after its own kind,
- one selfsame plant bears better fruit and worse;
- and that with different natures ye are born.
- If tempered to perfection were the wax,
- and if the heavens were at their height of power,
- the whole light of the seal would be revealed;
- but Nature, working as an artist doth,
- who hath, though skilled and toward his art disposed,
- a trembling hand, e’er gives it with a flaw.
- Hence, if the Flaming Love dispose and stamp
- the Lucid Vision of the Primal Power,
- complete perfection is therein acquired.
- Thus rendered worthy of an animal’s
- complete perfection was the earth of old;
- thus also was the Virgin rendered pregnant;
- hence thine opinion I as true commend,
- that human nature never was, nor will be,
- such as it once in those two persons was.
- And now, if I no further went, ‘How, then,
- could he be peerless?’ would thy words begin.
- But, that what seems not so may now seem clear,
- think who he was, and what the cause which moved him
- in his request, when ‘Ask’ was said to him.
- I have not spoken so, that thou shouldst not
- see clearly that a king he was, who asked
- wisdom to be a worthy king; and not
- to know the number of the Angels here;
- nor whether from a necessary premise,
- with one contingent, a necessity
- e’er followed as result; nor yet to know
- if a first motion needs must granted be,
- nor whether a triangle could be made,
- with no right angle, in a semicircle.
- Hence, if thou note both what I said and this,
- a royal wisdom is that peerless vision,
- on which the shaft of my intention strikes;
- and if to ‘hath arisen’ thou direct
- clear eyes, thou ’lt see that it refers to kings
- alone, who many are, and few the good.
- With this distinction take thou what I said;
- for it can stand with that which thou believ’st
- of man’s first father, and of our Delight.
- And let this e’er be lead unto thy feet,
- to make thee, like one weary, slowly move
- to both the Yea and Nay thou seest not;
- for very low among the fools is he,
- who affirms without distinction, or denies,
- in one, as in the other, case; because
- it happens that a quickly formed opinion
- is often in a wrong direction turned;
- and then the feelings bind the intellect.
- For worse than vainly leaveth he the shore,
- who fishes for the truth and hath no skill,
- since, such as he set out, he comes not back;
- and in the world are patent proofs of this
- Parmenides, Melissus, Bryson, aye,
- and many who advanced, but knew not whither.
- So did Sabellius, Arius and those fools
- who to the Scriptures were as sword-blades are,
- in making faces crooked, which were straight.
- In judging, let not people be too sure,
- like him who in the field computes the ears,
- or ever they are ripe;
- for I have seen
- a thorn-bush seem all winter stiff and wild,
- and later bear a rose upon its top;
- and once I saw a vessel running straight
- and swiftly o’er the sea through all her course,
- and end by sinking at the harbor’s mouth.
- Let not dame Bertha or sir Martin think,
- on seeing one man rob, and one give alms,
- that they behold them as they seem to God;
- for that one may get up, and this one fall.”