The Divine Comedy: Paradiso: Canto VII
Paradiso: Canto VII
"Osanna sanctus Deus Sabaoth, Superillustrans claritate tua Felices ignes horum malahoth!"
In this wise, to his melody returning, This substance, upon which a double light Doubles itself, was seen by me to sing,
And to their dance this and the others moved, And in the manner of swift-hurrying sparks Veiled themselves from me with a sudden distance.
Doubting was I, and saying, "Tell her, tell her," Within me, "tell her," saying, "tell my Lady," Who slakes my thirst with her sweet effluences;
And yet that reverence which doth lord it over The whole of me only by B and ICE, Bowed me again like unto one who drowses.
Short while did Beatrice endure me thus; And she began, lighting me with a smile Such as would make one happy in the fire:
"According to infallible advisement, After what manner a just vengeance justly Could be avenged has put thee upon thinking,
But I will speedily thy mind unloose; And do thou listen, for these words of mine Of a great doctrine will a present make thee.
By not enduring on the power that wills Curb for his good, that man who ne'er was born, Damning himself damned all his progeny;
Whereby the human species down below Lay sick for many centuries in great error, Till to descend it pleased the Word of God
To where the nature, which from its own Maker Estranged itself, he joined to him in person By the sole act of his eternal love.
Now unto what is said direct thy sight; This nature when united to its Maker, Such as created, was sincere and good;
But by itself alone was banished forth From Paradise, because it turned aside Out of the way of truth and of its life.
Therefore the penalty the cross held out, If measured by the nature thus assumed, None ever yet with so great justice stung,
And none was ever of so great injustice, Considering who the Person was that suffered, Within whom such a nature was contracted.
From one act therefore issued things diverse; To God and to the Jews one death was pleasing; Earth trembled at it and the Heaven was opened.
It should no longer now seem difficult To thee, when it is said that a just vengeance By a just court was afterward avenged.
But now do I behold thy mind entangled From thought to thought within a knot, from which With great desire it waits to free itself.
Thou sayest, 'Well discern I what I hear; But it is hidden from me why God willed For our redemption only this one mode.'
Buried remaineth, brother, this decree Unto the eyes of every one whose nature Is in the flame of love not yet adult.
Verily, inasmuch as at this mark One gazes long and little is discerned, Wherefore this mode was worthiest will I say.
Goodness Divine, which from itself doth spurn All envy, burning in itself so sparkles That the eternal beauties it unfolds.
Whate'er from this immediately distils Has afterwards no end, for ne'er removed Is its impression when it sets its seal.
Whate'er from this immediately rains down Is wholly free, because it is not subject Unto the influences of novel things.
The more conformed thereto, the more it pleases; For the blest ardour that irradiates all things In that most like itself is most vivacious.
With all of these things has advantaged been The human creature; and if one be wanting, From his nobility he needs must fall.
'Tis sin alone which doth disfranchise him, And render him unlike the Good Supreme, So that he little with its light is blanched,
And to his dignity no more returns, Unless he fill up where transgression empties With righteous pains for criminal delights.
Your nature when it sinned so utterly In its own seed, out of these dignities Even as out of Paradise was driven,
Nor could itself recover, if thou notest With nicest subtilty, by any way, Except by passing one of these two fords:
Either that God through clemency alone Had pardon granted, or that man himself Had satisfaction for his folly made.
Fix now thine eye deep into the abyss Of the eternal counsel, to my speech As far as may be fastened steadfastly!
Man in his limitations had not power To satisfy, not having power to sink In his humility obeying then,
Far as he disobeying thought to rise; And for this reason man has been from power Of satisfying by himself excluded.
Therefore it God behoved in his own ways Man to restore unto his perfect life, I say in one, or else in both of them.
But since the action of the doer is So much more grateful, as it more presents The goodness of the heart from which it issues,
Goodness Divine, that doth imprint the world, Has been contented to proceed by each And all its ways to lift you up again;
Nor 'twixt the first day and the final night Such high and such magnificent proceeding By one or by the other was or shall be;
For God more bounteous was himself to give To make man able to uplift himself, Than if he only of himself had pardoned;
And all the other modes were insufficient For justice, were it not the Son of God Himself had humbled to become incarnate.
Now, to fill fully each desire of thine, Return I to elucidate one place, In order that thou there mayst see as I do.
Thou sayst: 'I see the air, I see the fire, The water, and the earth, and all their mixtures Come to corruption, and short while endure;
And these things notwithstanding were created;' Therefore if that which I have said were true, They should have been secure against corruption.
The Angels, brother, and the land sincere In which thou art, created may be called Just as they are in their entire existence;
But all the elements which thou hast named, And all those things which out of them are made, By a created virtue are informed.
Created was the matter which they have; Created was the informing influence Within these stars that round about them go.
The soul of every brute and of the plants By its potential temperament attracts The ray and motion of the holy lights;
But your own life immediately inspires Supreme Beneficence, and enamours it So with herself, it evermore desires her.
And thou from this mayst argue furthermore Your resurrection, if thou think again How human flesh was fashioned at that time
When the first parents both of them were made."