Divine Comedy (Longfellow 1867)/Volume 3/Canto 9

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Beautiful Clemence, after that thy Charles
   Had me enlightened, he narrated to me
   The treacheries his seed should undergo;

But said: "Be still and let the years roll round;"
   So I can only say, that lamentation
   Legitimate shall follow on your wrongs.

And of that holy light the life already
   Had to the Sun which fills it turned again,
   As to that good which for each thing sufficeth.

Ah, souls deceived, and creatures impious,
   Who from such good do turn away your hearts,
   Directing upon vanity your foreheads!

And now, behold, another of those splendours
   Approached me, and its will to pleasure me
   It signified by brightening outwardly.

The eyes of Beatrice, that fastened were
   Upon me, as before, of dear assent
   To my desire assurance gave to me.

"Ah, bring swift compensation to my wish,
   Thou blessed spirit," I said, "and give me proof
   That what I think in thee I can reflect!"

Whereat the light, that still was new to me,
   Out of its depths, whence it before was singing,
   As one delighted to do good, continued:

"Within that region of the land depraved
   Of Italy, that lies between Rialto
   And fountain-heads of Brenta and of Piava,

Rises a hill, and mounts not very high,
   Wherefrom descended formerly a torch
   That made upon that region great assault.

Out of one root were born both I and it;
   Cunizza was I called, and here I shine
   Because the splendour of this star o'ercame me.

But gladly to myself the cause I pardon
   Of my allotment, and it does not grieve me;
   Which would perhaps seem strong unto your vulgar.

Of this so luculent and precious jewel,
   Which of our heaven is nearest unto me,
   Great fame remained; and ere it die away

This hundredth year shall yet quintupled be.
   See if man ought to make him excellent,
   So that another life the first may leave!

And thus thinks not the present multitude
   Shut in by Adige and Tagliamento,
   Nor yet for being scourged is penitent.

But soon 'twill be that Padua in the marsh
   Will change the water that Vicenza bathes,
   Because the folk are stubborn against duty;

And where the Sile and Cagnano join
   One lordeth it, and goes with lofty head,
   For catching whom e'en now the net is making.

Feltro moreover of her impious pastor
   Shall weep the crime, which shall so monstrous be
   That for the like none ever entered Malta.

Ample exceedingly would be the vat
   That of the Ferrarese could hold the blood,
   And weary who should weigh it ounce by ounce,

Of which this courteous priest shall make a gift
   To show himself a partisan; and such gifts
   Will to the living of the land conform.

Above us there are mirrors, Thrones you call them,
   From which shines out on us God Judicant,
   So that this utterance seems good to us."

Here it was silent, and it had the semblance
   Of being turned elsewhither, by the wheel
   On which it entered as it was before.

The other joy, already known to me,
   Became a thing transplendent in my sight,
   As a fine ruby smitten by the sun.

Through joy effulgence is acquired above,
   As here a smile; but down below, the shade
   Outwardly darkens, as the mind is sad.

"God seeth all things, and in Him, blest spirit,
   Thy sight is," said I, "so that never will
   Of his can possibly from thee be hidden;

Thy voice, then, that for ever makes the heavens
   Glad, with the singing of those holy fires
   Which of their six wings make themselves a cowl,

Wherefore does it not satisfy my longings?
   Indeed, I would not wait thy questioning
   If I in thee were as thou art in me."

"The greatest of the valleys where the water
   Expands itself," forthwith its words began,
   "That sea excepted which the earth engarlands,

Between discordant shores against the sun
   Extends so far, that it meridian makes
   Where it was wont before to make the horizon.

I was a dweller on that valley's shore
   'Twixt Ebro and Magra that with journey short
   Doth from the Tuscan part the Genoese.

With the same sunset and same sunrise nearly
   Sit Buggia and the city whence I was,
   That with its blood once made the harbour hot.

Folco that people called me unto whom
   My name was known; and now with me this heaven
   Imprints itself, as I did once with it;

For more the daughter of Belus never burned,
   Offending both Sichaeus and Creusa,
   Than I, so long as it became my locks,

Nor yet that Rodophean, who deluded
   was by Demophoon, nor yet Alcides,
   When Iole he in his heart had locked.

Yet here is no repenting, but we smile,
   Not at the fault, which comes not back to mind,
   But at the power which ordered and foresaw.

Here we behold the art that doth adorn
   With such affection, and the good discover
   Whereby the world above turns that below.

But that thou wholly satisfied mayst bear
   Thy wishes hence which in this sphere are born,
   Still farther to proceed behoveth me.

Thou fain wouldst know who is within this light
   That here beside me thus is scintillating,
   Even as a sunbeam in the limpid water.

Then know thou, that within there is at rest
   Rahab, and being to our order joined,
   With her in its supremest grade 'tis sealed.

Into this heaven, where ends the shadowy cone
   Cast by your world, before all other souls
   First of Christ's triumph was she taken up.

Full meet it was to leave her in some heaven,
   Even as a palm of the high victory
   Which he acquired with one palm and the other,

Because she favoured the first glorious deed
   Of Joshua upon the Holy Land,
   That little stirs the memory of the Pope.

Thy city, which an offshoot is of him
   Who first upon his Maker turned his back,
   And whose ambition is so sorely wept,

Brings forth and scatters the accursed flower
   Which both the sheep and lambs hath led astray
   Since it has turned the shepherd to a wolf.

For this the Evangel and the mighty Doctors
   Are derelict, and only the Decretals
   So studied that it shows upon their margins.

On this are Pope and Cardinals intent;
   Their meditations reach not Nazareth,
   There where his pinions Gabriel unfolded;

But Vatican and the other parts elect
   Of Rome, which have a cemetery been
   Unto the soldiery that followed Peter

Shall soon be free from this adultery."