Paradiso
Canto XXVI
 

While I was doubting for my vision quenched,
    Out of the flame refulgent that had quenched it
    Issued a breathing, that attentive made me,

Saying: "While thou recoverest the sense
    Of seeing which in me thou hast consumed,
    'Tis well that speaking thou shouldst compensate it.

Begin then, and declare to what thy soul
    Is aimed, and count it for a certainty,
    Sight is in thee bewildered and not dead;

Because the Lady, who through this divine
    Region conducteth thee, has in her look
    The power the hand of Ananias had."

I said: "As pleaseth her, or soon or late
    Let the cure come to eyes that portals were
    When she with fire I ever burn with entered.

The Good, that gives contentment to this Court,
    The Alpha and Omega is of all
    The writing that love reads me low or loud."

The selfsame voice, that taken had from me
    The terror of the sudden dazzlement,
    To speak still farther put it in my thought;

And said: "In verity with finer sieve
    Behoveth thee to sift; thee it behoveth
    To say who aimed thy bow at such a target."

And I: "By philosophic arguments,
    And by authority that hence descends,
    Such love must needs imprint itself in me;

For Good, so far as good, when comprehended
    Doth straight enkindle love, and so much greater
    As more of goodness in itself it holds;

Then to that Essence (whose is such advantage
    That every good which out of it is found
    Is nothing but a ray of its own light)

More than elsewhither must the mind be moved
    Of every one, in loving, who discerns
    The truth in which this evidence is founded.

Such truth he to my intellect reveals
    Who demonstrates to me the primal love
    Of all the sempiternal substances.

The voice reveals it of the truthful Author,
    Who says to Moses, speaking of Himself,
    'I will make all my goodness pass before thee.'

Thou too revealest it to me, beginning
    The loud Evangel, that proclaims the secret
    Of heaven to earth above all other edict."

And I heard say: "By human intellect
    And by authority concordant with it,
    Of all thy loves reserve for God the highest.

But say again if other cords thou feelest,
    Draw thee towards Him, that thou mayst proclaim
    With how many teeth this love is biting thee."

The holy purpose of the Eagle of Christ
    Not latent was, nay, rather I perceived
    Whither he fain would my profession lead.

Therefore I recommenced: "All of those bites
    Which have the power to turn the heart to God
    Unto my charity have been concurrent.

The being of the world, and my own being,
    The death which He endured that I may live,
    And that which all the faithful hope, as I do,

With the forementioned vivid consciousness
    Have drawn me from the sea of love perverse,
    And of the right have placed me on the shore.

The leaves, wherewith embowered is all the garden
    Of the Eternal Gardener, do I love
    As much as he has granted them of good."

As soon as I had ceased, a song most sweet
    Throughout the heaven resounded, and my Lady
    Said with the others, "Holy, holy, holy!"

And as at some keen light one wakes from sleep
    By reason of the visual spirit that runs
    Unto the splendour passed from coat to coat,

And he who wakes abhorreth what he sees,
    So all unconscious is his sudden waking,
    Until the judgment cometh to his aid,

So from before mine eyes did Beatrice
    Chase every mote with radiance of her own,
    That cast its light a thousand miles and more.

Whence better after than before I saw,
    And in a kind of wonderment I asked
    About a fourth light that I saw with us.

And said my Lady: "There within those rays
    Gazes upon its Maker the first soul
    That ever the first virtue did create."

Even as the bough that downward bends its top
    At transit of the wind, and then is lifted
    By its own virtue, which inclines it upward,

Likewise did I, the while that she was speaking,
    Being amazed, and then I was made bold
    By a desire to speak wherewith I burned.

And I began: "O apple, that mature
    Alone hast been produced, O ancient father,
    To whom each wife is daughter and daughter-in-law,

Devoutly as I can I supplicate thee
    That thou wouldst speak to me; thou seest my wish;
    And I, to hear thee quickly, speak it not."

Sometimes an animal, when covered, struggles
    So that his impulse needs must be apparent,
    By reason of the wrappage following it;

And in like manner the primeval soul
    Made clear to me athwart its covering
    How jubilant it was to give me pleasure.

Then breathed: "Without thy uttering it to me,
    Thine inclination better I discern
    Than thou whatever thing is surest to thee;

For I behold it in the truthful mirror,
    That of Himself all things parhelion makes,
    And none makes Him parhelion of itself.

Thou fain wouldst hear how long ago God placed me
    Within the lofty garden, where this Lady
    Unto so long a stairway thee disposed.

And how long to mine eyes it was a pleasure,
    And of the great disdain the proper cause,
    And the language that I used and that I made.

Now, son of mine, the tasting of the tree
    Not in itself was cause of so great exile,
    But solely the o'erstepping of the bounds.

There, whence thy Lady moved Virgilius,
    Four thousand and three hundred and two circuits
    Made by the sun, this Council I desired;

And him I saw return to all the lights
    Of his highway nine hundred times and thirty,
    Whilst I upon the earth was tarrying.

The language that I spake was quite extinct
    Before that in the work interminable
    The people under Nimrod were employed;

For nevermore result of reasoning
    (Because of human pleasure that doth change,
    Obedient to the heavens) was durable.

A natural action is it that man speaks;
    But whether thus or thus, doth nature leave
    To your own art, as seemeth best to you.

Ere I descended to the infernal anguish,
    'El' was on earth the name of the Chief Good,
    From whom comes all the joy that wraps me round

'Eli' he then was called, and that is proper,
    Because the use of men is like a leaf
    On bough, which goeth and another cometh.

Upon the mount that highest o'er the wave
    Rises was I, in life or pure or sinful,
    From the first hour to that which is the second,

As the sun changes quadrant, to the sixth."