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!"