Paradiso
Canto XXX
 

Perchance six thousand miles remote from us
    Is glowing the sixth hour, and now this world
    Inclines its shadow almost to a level,

When the mid-heaven begins to make itself
    So deep to us, that here and there a star
    Ceases to shine so far down as this depth,

And as advances bright exceedingly
    The handmaid of the sun, the heaven is closed
    Light after light to the most beautiful;

Not otherwise the Triumph, which for ever
    Plays round about the point that vanquished me,
    Seeming enclosed by what itself encloses,

Little by little from my vision faded;
    Whereat to turn mine eyes on Beatrice
    My seeing nothing and my love constrained me.

If what has hitherto been said of her
    Were all concluded in a single praise,
    Scant would it be to serve the present turn.

Not only does the beauty I beheld
    Transcend ourselves, but truly I believe
    Its Maker only may enjoy it all.

Vanquished do I confess me by this passage
    More than by problem of his theme was ever
    O'ercome the comic or the tragic poet;

For as the sun the sight that trembles most,
    Even so the memory of that sweet smile
    My mind depriveth of its very self.

From the first day that I beheld her face
    In this life, to the moment of this look,
    The sequence of my song has ne'er been severed;

But now perforce this sequence must desist
    From following her beauty with my verse,
    As every artist at his uttermost.

Such as I leave her to a greater fame
    Than any of my trumpet, which is bringing
    Its arduous matter to a final close,

With voice and gesture of a perfect leader
    She recommenced: "We from the greatest body
    Have issued to the heaven that is pure light;

Light intellectual replete with love,
    Love of true good replete with ecstasy,
    Ecstasy that transcendeth every sweetness.

Here shalt thou see the one host and the other
    Of Paradise, and one in the same aspects
    Which at the final judgment thou shalt see."

Even as a sudden lightning that disperses
    The visual spirits, so that it deprives
    The eye of impress from the strongest objects,

Thus round about me flashed a living light,
    And left me swathed around with such a veil
    Of its effulgence, that I nothing saw.

"Ever the Love which quieteth this heaven
    Welcomes into itself with such salute,
    To make the candle ready for its flame."

No sooner had within me these brief words
    An entrance found, than I perceived myself
    To be uplifted over my own power,

And I with vision new rekindled me,
    Such that no light whatever is so pure
    But that mine eyes were fortified against it.

And light I saw in fashion of a river
    Fulvid with its effulgence, 'twixt two banks
    Depicted with an admirable Spring.

Out of this river issued living sparks,
    And on all sides sank down into the flowers,
    Like unto rubies that are set in gold;

And then, as if inebriate with the odours,
    They plunged again into the wondrous torrent,
    And as one entered issued forth another.

"The high desire, that now inflames and moves thee
    To have intelligence of what thou seest,
    Pleaseth me all the more, the more it swells.

But of this water it behoves thee drink
    Before so great a thirst in thee be slaked."
    Thus said to me the sunshine of mine eyes;

And added: "The river and the topazes
    Going in and out, and the laughing of the herbage,
    Are of their truth foreshadowing prefaces;

Not that these things are difficult in themselves,
    But the deficiency is on thy side,
    For yet thou hast not vision so exalted."

There is no babe that leaps so suddenly
    With face towards the milk, if he awake
    Much later than his usual custom is,

As I did, that I might make better mirrors
    Still of mine eyes, down stooping to the wave
    Which flows that we therein be better made.

And even as the penthouse of mine eyelids
    Drank of it, it forthwith appeared to me
    Out of its length to be transformed to round.

Then as a folk who have been under masks
    Seem other than before, if they divest
    The semblance not their own they disappeared in,

Thus into greater pomp were changed for me
    The flowerets and the sparks, so that I saw
    Both of the Courts of Heaven made manifest.

O splendour of God! by means of which I saw
    The lofty triumph of the realm veracious,
    Give me the power to say how it I saw!

There is a light above, which visible
    Makes the Creator unto every creature,
    Who only in beholding Him has peace,

And it expands itself in circular form
    To such extent, that its circumference
    Would be too large a girdle for the sun.

The semblance of it is all made of rays
    Reflected from the top of Primal Motion,
    Which takes therefrom vitality and power.

And as a hill in water at its base
    Mirrors itself, as if to see its beauty
    When affluent most in verdure and in flowers,

So, ranged aloft all round about the light,
    Mirrored I saw in more ranks than a thousand
    All who above there have from us returned.

And if the lowest row collect within it
    So great a light, how vast the amplitude
    Is of this Rose in its extremest leaves!

My vision in the vastness and the height
    Lost not itself, but comprehended all
    The quantity and quality of that gladness.

There near and far nor add nor take away;
    For there where God immediately doth govern,
    The natural law in naught is relevant.

Into the yellow of the Rose Eternal
    That spreads, and multiplies, and breathes an odour
    Of praise unto the ever-vernal Sun,

As one who silent is and fain would speak,
    Me Beatrice drew on, and said: "Behold
    Of the white stoles how vast the convent is!

Behold how vast the circuit of our city!
    Behold our seats so filled to overflowing,
    That here henceforward are few people wanting!

On that great throne whereon thine eyes are fixed
    For the crown's sake already placed upon it,
    Before thou suppest at this wedding feast

Shall sit the soul (that is to be Augustus
    On earth) of noble Henry, who shall come
    To redress Italy ere she be ready.

Blind covetousness, that casts its spell upon you,
    Has made you like unto the little child,
    Who dies of hunger and drives off the nurse.

And in the sacred forum then shall be
    A Prefect such, that openly or covert
    On the same road he will not walk with him.

But long of God he will not be endured
    In holy office; he shall be thrust down
    Where Simon Magus is for his deserts,

And make him of Alagna lower go!"