Front Page Titles (by Subject) PARADISO XVIII - The Divine Comedy, vol. 3 (Paradiso) (English trans.)
PARADISO XVIII - 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 Fifth Heaven. Mars. The Spirits of Heroes
The Sixth Heaven. Jupiter. The Happiness of Justice
- That blessèd mirror was enjoying now
- its thoughts alone, and I was tasting mine,
- tempering their sweetness with their bitterness;
- when that same Lady who was leading me
- to God, said: “Change thy thought; recall that near
- I am to Who unburdens every wrong.”
- I turned me at my Comfort’s loving voice;
- and in her holy eyes what kind of love
- I then beheld, I here refrain from saying;
- not only since mine own words I distrust,
- but since my mind can not return so far
- above itself, unless Another guide it.
- This only of that moment can I tell,
- that my affection, while I gazed at her,
- was freed from longing for all other things,
- as long as Joy Eternal, which directly shone
- on Beatrice, with its reflected aspect
- was from her lovely face contenting me.
- Conquering me with the splendor of a smile,
- she said: “Turn round and hark; for Paradise
- is not exclusively within my eyes.”
- As our affection here is seen at times
- upon our countenance, if such it be
- that our whole spirit is thereby absorbed;
- so, in the flaming of the blest effulgence
- to whom I turned, I recognized his wish
- to have a little further talk with me.
- “In this fifth threshold of the Tree,” it then
- began, “which from its summit draws its life,
- always bears fruit, and never loses leaves,
- are blessèd spirits, who, before they came
- to Heaven, enjoyed so great a fame below,
- that every Muse would be thereby enriched.
- Gaze, therefore, at the Cross’s arms; and he,
- whom I shall name, will there perform the act,
- which in a cloud its own swift fire performs.”
- I saw a splendor drawn along the Cross
- at Joshua’s name, the moment it was uttered,
- nor did I note the name before the deed.
- And at great Maccabaeus’ name, I saw
- another spirit whirling as he moved;
- and gladness was the whip that turned the top.
- Likewise, at Charlemagne’s and Roland’s names,
- my gaze intently followed two of them,
- as doth a falconer’s eye his flying bird.
- Then William afterward, and Renoart,
- Duke Godfrey next, and Robert Guiscard drew
- my sight along that Cross. And then,
- moving and mingling with the other lights,
- the soul which had addressed me, showed how great
- an artist ’mong Heaven’s choristers he was.
- Round to my right I turned me to behold
- in Beatrice my duty, signified
- by speech or act;
- and I beheld her eyes
- so joyous and so clear, that what she seemed
- surpassed her other and her latest wont.
- And as, because of feeling more delight
- in doing good, a man from day to day
- perceiveth that his virtue is increasing;
- ev’n so, on seeing that that miracle
- was fairer now, I noticed that the arc
- of my revolving with the heavens had grown.
- And as within a little space of time
- a lady turneth white, whene’er her face
- rids itself of the burden of its shame;
- such to mine eyes the change, when I had turned,
- through the white color of the temperate
- sixth star, which had received me in itself.
- I saw within that Jovial torch of light
- the sparkling of the love contained in it,
- shaping our language forth before mine eyes;
- and even as birds on rising from the shore,
- as if in gratulation at the food they’ve found,
- form groups, now round, and now of other shapes;
- thus holy creatures in those lights were singing,
- as here and there they flew, and with their forms
- made of themselves now D, now I, now L.
- Each singing to its note, they moved at first;
- then, on becoming one of these same letters,
- they stopped a little while, and silent kept.
- O thou divine Pegàsean Muse, that glorious
- dost make men’s genius, and dost render it
- long-lived, as it through thee doth towns and realms,
- so shed thy light on me, that I may here
- describe their figures ev’n as I perceived them;
- in these brief verses let thy power appear!
- They then displayed themselves in consonants
- and vowels five times seven; and as their parts
- seemed to be said to me, I noted them.
- Diligite Justitiam were first verb
- and noun of all that was depicted there;
- Qui Judicatis Terram were the last.
- Then in the fifth word’s M they so remained
- arranged, that Jupiter seemed silver there
- pricked out with gold.
- And other lights I saw
- descend upon the summit of the M,
- and rest there, singing, I believe, the Good
- which draws them to Itself. Then, as when logs
- are struck while burning, endless sparks fly up,
- whence fools are wont to draw their auguries;
- more than a thousand lights appeared to rise,
- and upward move, some much, and some a little,
- even as the Sun, which setteth them on fire,
- allotted them; and when they quiet were,
- each in its place, an Eagle’s head and neck
- I saw portrayed by that outstanding fire.
- He who paints there hath none to be His guide,
- but is His own guide; and from Him derives
- the instinct which is formative in nests.
- The other blest ones, who at first appeared
- content to form a Lily on the M,
- went slowly on to shape the Eagle’s form.
- O gentle star, what and how many gems
- proved to me that our justice here results
- from that heaven’s influence which is gemmed by thee!
- I therefore pray the Mind, wherein thy motion
- and virtue start, that It may so regard
- the source, whence comes the smoke which spoils thy rays,
- that It may now a second time be wroth
- with sale and purchase in that temple’s court,
- whose walls were built with blood and martyrdom.
- O soldiers of the heaven I contemplate,
- pray ye for those that are on earth, all gone
- astray behind the bad example there!
- War was once carried on with swords; but now
- by taking here and there that bread away,
- the Pitying Father keepeth locked from none.
- But thou, that writest but to cancel, think
- that Peter and Paul, who for that vineyard died,
- which thou art laying waste, are still alive!
- Well mayst thou say: “So set is my desire
- on him, whose will it was to live alone,
- and for a dance was led to martyrdom,
- that I know neither Fisherman nor Paul.”