Paradiso
Canto XXII
 

Oppressed with stupor, I unto my guide
    Turned like a little child who always runs
    For refuge there where he confideth most;

And she, even as a mother who straightway
    Gives comfort to her pale and breathless boy
    With voice whose wont it is to reassure him,

Said to me: "Knowest thou not thou art in heaven,
    And knowest thou not that heaven is holy all
    And what is done here cometh from good zeal?

After what wise the singing would have changed thee
    And I by smiling, thou canst now imagine,
    Since that the cry has startled thee so much,

In which if thou hadst understood its prayers
    Already would be known to thee the vengeance
    Which thou shalt look upon before thou diest.

The sword above here smiteth not in haste
    Nor tardily, howe'er it seem to him
    Who fearing or desiring waits for it.

But turn thee round towards the others now,
    For very illustrious spirits shalt thou see,
    If thou thy sight directest as I say."

As it seemed good to her mine eyes I turned,
    And saw a hundred spherules that together
    With mutual rays each other more embellished.

I stood as one who in himself represses
    The point of his desire, and ventures not
    To question, he so feareth the too much.

And now the largest and most luculent
    Among those pearls came forward, that it might
    Make my desire concerning it content.

Within it then I heard: "If thou couldst see
    Even as myself the charity that burns
    Among us, thy conceits would be expressed;

But, that by waiting thou mayst not come late
    To the high end, I will make answer even
    Unto the thought of which thou art so chary.

That mountain on whose slope Cassino stands
    Was frequented of old upon its summit
    By a deluded folk and ill-disposed;

And I am he who first up thither bore
    The name of Him who brought upon the earth
    The truth that so much sublimateth us.

And such abundant grace upon me shone
    That all the neighbouring towns I drew away
    From the impious worship that seduced the world.

These other fires, each one of them, were men
    Contemplative, enkindled by that heat
    Which maketh holy flowers and fruits spring up.

Here is Macarius, here is Romualdus,
    Here are my brethren, who within the cloisters
    Their footsteps stayed and kept a steadfast heart."

And I to him: "The affection which thou showest
    Speaking with me, and the good countenance
    Which I behold and note in all your ardours,

In me have so my confidence dilated
    As the sun doth the rose, when it becomes
    As far unfolded as it hath the power.

Therefore I pray, and thou assure me, father,
    If I may so much grace receive, that I
    May thee behold with countenance unveiled."

He thereupon: "Brother, thy high desire
    In the remotest sphere shall be fulfilled,
    Where are fulfilled all others and my own.

There perfect is, and ripened, and complete,
    Every desire; within that one alone
    Is every part where it has always been;

For it is not in space, nor turns on poles,
    And unto it our stairway reaches up,
    Whence thus from out thy sight it steals away.

Up to that height the Patriarch Jacob saw it
    Extending its supernal part, what time
    So thronged with angels it appeared to him.

But to ascend it now no one uplifts
    His feet from off the earth, and now my Rule
    Below remaineth for mere waste of paper.

The walls that used of old to be an Abbey
    Are changed to dens of robbers, and the cowls
    Are sacks filled full of miserable flour.

But heavy usury is not taken up
    So much against God's pleasure as that fruit
    Which maketh so insane the heart of monks;

For whatsoever hath the Church in keeping
    Is for the folk that ask it in God's name,
    Not for one's kindred or for something worse.

The flesh of mortals is so very soft,
    That good beginnings down below suffice not
    From springing of the oak to bearing acorns.

Peter began with neither gold nor silver,
    And I with orison and abstinence,
    And Francis with humility his convent.

And if thou lookest at each one's beginning,
    And then regardest whither he has run,
    Thou shalt behold the white changed into brown.

In verity the Jordan backward turned,
    And the sea's fleeing, when God willed were more
    A wonder to behold, than succour here."

Thus unto me he said; and then withdrew
    To his own band, and the band closed together;
    Then like a whirlwind all was upward rapt.

The gentle Lady urged me on behind them
    Up o'er that stairway by a single sign,
    So did her virtue overcome my nature;

Nor here below, where one goes up and down
    By natural law, was motion e'er so swift
    That it could be compared unto my wing.

Reader, as I may unto that devout
    Triumph return, on whose account I often
    For my transgressions weep and beat my breast,--

Thou hadst not thrust thy finger in the fire
    And drawn it out again, before I saw
    The sign that follows Taurus, and was in it.

O glorious stars, O light impregnated
    With mighty virtue, from which I acknowledge
    All of my genius, whatsoe'er it be,

With you was born, and hid himself with you,
    He who is father of all mortal life,
    When first I tasted of the Tuscan air;

And then when grace was freely given to me
    To enter the high wheel which turns you round,
    Your region was allotted unto me.

To you devoutly at this hour my soul
    Is sighing, that it virtue may acquire
    For the stern pass that draws it to itself.

"Thou art so near unto the last salvation,"
    Thus Beatrice began, "thou oughtest now
    To have thine eves unclouded and acute;

And therefore, ere thou enter farther in,
    Look down once more, and see how vast a world
    Thou hast already put beneath thy feet;

So that thy heart, as jocund as it may,
    Present itself to the triumphant throng
    That comes rejoicing through this rounded ether."

I with my sight returned through one and all
    The sevenfold spheres, and I beheld this globe
    Such that I smiled at its ignoble semblance;

And that opinion I approve as best
    Which doth account it least; and he who thinks
    Of something else may truly be called just.

I saw the daughter of Latona shining
    Without that shadow, which to me was cause
    That once I had believed her rare and dense.

The aspect of thy son, Hyperion,
    Here I sustained, and saw how move themselves
    Around and near him Maia and Dione.

Thence there appeared the temperateness of Jove
    'Twixt son and father, and to me was clear
    The change that of their whereabout they make;

And all the seven made manifest to me
    How great they are, and eke how swift they are,
    And how they are in distant habitations.

The threshing-floor that maketh us so proud,
    To me revolving with the eternal Twins,
    Was all apparent made from hill to harbour!

Then to the beauteous eyes mine eyes I turned.