Front Page Titles (by Subject) PARADISO XXXI - The Divine Comedy, vol. 3 (Paradiso) (English trans.)
PARADISO XXXI - 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).
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.
The Empyrean. GOD. The Angels and the Blest. St. Bernard
Dante’s Last Words with Beatrice. The Glory of Mary
- In semblance, therefore, of a pure white Rose
- the sacred soldiery which with His blood
- Christ made His Bride, revealed itself to me;
- meanwhile the other host, which, flying, sees
- the glory of Him who wins its love, and sings
- the goodness which had made them all so great,
- was, like a swarm of bees, which now inflowers
- itself, and now returns to where its toil
- is sweetened, ever coming down to enter
- the spacious Flower, which with so many leaves
- adorns itself, and reascending thence
- to where its Love forever makes His home.
- The faces of them all were living flames,
- their wings were golden, and the rest so white,
- that never is such whiteness reached by snow.
- When down into the Flower they came, they spread
- from bench to bench the peace and ardent love,
- which by the fanning of their sides they won.
- Nor did so vast a host of flying forms
- between the flower and that which o’er it lies,
- hinder the sight, or dim the splendor seen;
- because the Light Divine so penetrates
- the Universe, according to its worth,
- that naught can be an obstacle thereto.
- And this secure and joyous Kingdom, thronged
- by people of the ages old and new,
- wholly on one Mark set its looks and love.
- O Trinal Light, that in a Single Star,
- sparkling before their eyes, dost so appease them,
- look down upon our tempest here below!
- If the Barbarians — coming from a region,
- above which Helicë looms every day,
- while circling with the son who is her joy,
- on seeing Rome and all her lofty buildings,
- what time the Lateran rose eminent
- o’er every mortal thing — were wonderstruck;
- how overwhelmed with awe must I have been,
- I, who from human things, to things divine,
- from time, into eternity had come,
- from Florence — to a people just and sane!
- Because of this, indeed, and of my joy,
- it pleased me to be mute and hear no sound.
- And ev’n as in the temple of his vow,
- when hoping to describe it all some day,
- a pilgrim looks around him, and is cheered;
- ev’n so, while wandering through the living Light,
- I turned mine eyes on all the graded ranks,
- circling now up, now down, and now around.
- There love-persuasive faces I beheld,
- decked by Another’s light and their own smiles,
- and gestures fraught with grace and dignity.
- My look now as a whole had comprehended
- the general form of Paradise, but had not yet
- settled especially on any part;
- and I was longing with rekindled wish
- to ask my Lady as to many things,
- concerning which my mind was in suspense.
- Though one thing I had meant, another answered;
- thinking to look at Beatrice, an elder
- I saw arrayed as are the glorious folk.
- His eyes and cheeks were all suffused with joy
- and kindliness, and such his pious mien,
- as fitting is a father’s tenderness.
- Hence “Where is she?” I said impulsively;
- and he: “To bring thy longing to an end,
- was I by Beatrice from mine own place
- withdrawn; and if upon the highest rank’s
- third round thou look, thou shalt again behold her
- enthroned where her deserts allotted her.”
- Without reply I lifted up mine eyes,
- and saw her, as, reflecting from herself
- the eternal rays, she made herself a crown.
- Not from the tract whence highest thunders peal
- is any mortal eye so far removed
- from whatsoever sea it fathoms most.
- as Beatrice was distant from mine eyes;
- but naught was that to me, because her face
- came down to me unblurred by aught between.
- “O Lady, thou in whom my hope is strong,
- and who for my salvation didst endure
- to leave the traces of thy feet in Hell,
- I recognize the virtue and the grace
- of all the many things which I have seen,
- as coming from thy power and kindliness.
- From slavery to freedom thou hast drawn me
- in every way, and over every path,
- within thy power to achieve that end.
- Guard thou in me the fruitage of thy bounty,
- that thus my soul, restored to health by thee,
- may, when it leaves my body, please thee still!”
- I thus implored; and she, though so far off
- she seemed, looked down at me and smiled;
- then to the Eternal Fount she turned again.
- Thereat the holy elder said: “That thou
- mayst bring thy journey to its perfect end,
- for which both prayers and holy love have sent me,
- hover about this Garden with thine eyes,
- for to have seen it will prepare thy look
- to rise still higher through the Ray Divine.
- The Queen of Heaven, for whom I wholly burn
- with love, will grant us this and very grace,
- for I her faithful servant Bernard am.”
- As he who from Croatia comes, perchance,
- to look at our Veronica, and who,
- because of its old fame, is never sated,
- but says in thought, as long as it is shown:
- “My Lord, Christ Jesus, God in very truth,
- was, then, your countenance like unto this?”
- even such was I, as on the living love
- I gazed on him, who in this world received
- a taste, in contemplation, of that Peace.
- “This glad existence, son of Grace,” he then
- began, “will not be known to thee, if fixed
- at this low level only are thine eyes.
- Look at the circles, to the most remote,
- till yonder thou behold that Queen enthroned,
- to whom devoutly subject is this Realm.”
- I raised mine eyes; and as at early morn
- the horizon’s eastern parts excel in light
- the regions where the sun is setting; so,
- as with mine eyes from vale to mount I moved,
- I saw a region at the utmost verge
- vanquish in light all other parts before me.
- And as the skies where one awaits the car
- which Phaethon badly drove, more brightly gleam,
- while pale the light on either side becomes;
- so likewise, brilliant in the middle loomed
- that peaceful Oriflamme, and on each side
- the fire in equal measure burned less bright.
- And clustered there with wings outspread I saw
- more than a thousand Angels jubilant,
- and each distinct in splendor and in speed;
- while smiling down upon their sports and songs
- a Beauty I beheld, who was the joy
- within the eyes of all the other Saints.
- And even if I in utterance were as rich
- as in imagination, I ’d not dare
- attempt to tell the least of its delight.
- When Bernard saw mine eyes intently fixed
- upon the object of his ardent love,
- he turned to it his own with such affection,
- that mine more eager grew to look again.