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."