Front Page Titles (by Subject) PARADISO XXXIII - The Divine Comedy, vol. 3 (Paradiso) (English trans.)
PARADISO XXXIII - 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 Empyrean. GOD. St. Bernard’s Prayer to Mary
The Vision of God. Ultimate Salvation
- “O Virgin Mother, Daughter of thy Son,
- humbler and loftier than any creature,
- eternal counsel’s predetermined goal,
- thou art the one that such nobility
- didst lend to human nature, that its Maker
- scorned not to make Himself what He had made.
- Within thy womb rekindled was the Love,
- through whose warm influence in the eternal Peace
- this Flower hath blossomed thus. Here unto us
- thou art a noonday torch of Charity;
- and down below ’mong mortal men, thou art
- a living fount of Hope. Lady, so great
- thou art, and hast such worth, that one who longs
- for Grace, and unto thee hath not recourse,
- wingless would wish to have his longing fly.
- Not only doth thy Kindliness give help
- to him that asketh it, but many times
- it freely runs ahead of his request.
- In thee is Mercy, Pity is in thee,
- in thee Magnificence, and all there is
- of Goodness in a creature meets in thee.
- Now doth this man, who from the lowest drain
- of the Universe hath one by one beheld,
- as far as here, the forms of spirit-life,
- beseech thee, of thy grace, for so much strength
- that with his eyes he may uplift himself
- toward Ultimate Salvation higher still.
- And I, who never for mine own sight burned
- more than I do for his, offer thee all
- my prayers, and pray that they be not too poor,
- that thou with thy prayers so dissolve each cloud
- of his mortality, that unto him
- the Highest Pleasure may unfold Itself.
- And furthermore, I pray to thee, O Queen,
- who canst whate’er thou wilt, that, after such
- a sight, thou keep all his affections sound.
- His human promptings let thy care defeat;
- see with how many blest ones Beatrice
- is clasping for my prayers her hands to thee!”
- The eyes belovèd and revered by God,
- intent on him who prayed, revealed to us
- how grateful unto her are earnest prayers.
- Thence they addressed them to the Eternal Light,
- wherein it may not be believed the eye
- of any creature finds so clear a way.
- And I, who to the End of all desires
- was drawing near, within me, as I ought,
- brought to its goal the ardor of desire.
- Bernard was smiling, and was making signs
- for me to look on high; but, as he wished,
- I was already of mine own accord;
- because my sight, as purer it became,
- was penetrating more and more the radiance
- of that High Light, which of Itself is true.
- From this time onward greater was my sight
- than is our speech, which yields to such a vision,
- and memory also yields to such excess.
- And such as he, who seeth in a dream,
- and after it, the imprinted feeling stays,
- while all the rest returns not to his mind;
- even such am I; for almost wholly fades
- my vision, yet the sweetness which was born
- of it is dripping still into my heart.
- Even thus the snow is in the sun dissolved;
- even thus the Sibyl’s oracles, inscribed
- on flying leaves, were lost adown the wind.
- O Light Supreme, that dost uplift Thyself
- so far from mortal thought, relend my mind
- a little of what Thou didst seem to be,
- and cause my tongue to be so powerful,
- that of Thy Glory it may leave at least
- a spark unto the people still to come;
- for to my mem’ry if it but a while
- return, and speak a little in these lines,
- more of Thy Victory will be conceived.
- I think the keenness of the living Ray
- which I endured would have confounded me,
- if from it I had turned away mine eyes.
- And I recall that I, because of this,
- the bolder was to bear it, till I made
- my vision one with Value Infinite.
- O the abundant Grace, whereby I dared
- to pierce the Light Eternal with my gaze,
- until I had therein exhausted sight!
- I saw that far within its depths there lies,
- by Love together in one volume bound,
- that which in leaves lies scattered through the world;
- substance and accident, and modes thereof,
- fused, as it were, in such a way, that that,
- whereof I speak, is but One Simple Light.
- This union’s general form I think I saw,
- since, saying so, I feel that I the more
- rejoice. Of more forgetfulness for me
- one moment is, than centuries twenty-five
- are for the enterprise which once caused Neptune
- to wonder at the shadow Argo cast.
- My mind, thus wholly in suspense, was gazing
- steadfast and motionless, and all intent,
- and, gazing, grew enkindled more and more.
- Such in that Light doth one at last become,
- that one can never possibly consent
- to turn therefrom for any other sight;
- because the Good, which is the will’s real object,
- is therein wholly gathered, and, outside,
- that is defective which is perfect there.
- Ev’n as to what I do remember, mine
- will now be shorter than an infant’s speech,
- who at the breast still bathes his tongue. ’T was not
- that there was other than a simple semblance
- within the Living Light wherein I gazed,
- which always is what It hath been before;
- but through my sight, which in me, as I looked,
- was gathering strength, because I changed, one sole
- appearance underwent a change for me.
- Within the Lofty Light’s profound and clear
- subsistence there appeared to me three Rings,
- of threefold color and of one content;
- and one, as Rainbow is by Rainbow, seemed
- reflected by the other, while the third
- seemed like a Fire breathed equally from both.
- Oh, how, to my conception, short and weak
- is speech! And this, to what I saw, is such,
- that it is not enough to call it small.
- O Light Eternal, that alone dost dwell
- within Thyself, alone dost understand
- Thyself, and love and smile upon Thyself,
- Self-understanding and Self-understood!
- That Circle which appeared to be conceived
- within Thyself as a Reflected Light,
- when somewhat contemplated by mine eyes,
- within Itself, of Its own very color,
- to me seemed painted with our Human Form;
- whence wholly set upon It was my gaze.
- Like the geometer, who gives himself
- wholly to measuring the circle, nor,
- by thinking, finds the principle he needs;
- ev’n such was I at that new sight. I wished
- to see how to the Ring the Image there
- conformed Itself, and found therein a place;
- but mine own wings were not enough for this;
- had not my mind been smitten by a flash
- of light, wherein what it was willing came.
- Here power failed my high imagining;
- but, like a smoothly moving wheel, that Love
- was now revolving my desire and will,
- which moves the sun and all the other stars.
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