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From that one which I noted of most beauty

Beheld I issue forth a fire so happy

That none is left there of a greater splendour;
*And about Beatrice three several times

It whirled itself with so divine a song,
My fantasy repeats it not to me;
Therefore the pen skips, and I write it not,

Since our imagination for such folds,
Much more our speech, is of a tint too glaring.t
IO holy sister mine, who us implorest
With such devotion, by thine ardent love

Thou dost unbind me from that beautiful sphere."
Thus, having stopped, the beatific fire
Unto my Lady did direct its breath,

Which spake in fashion as I here have said.
And she: “ O light eterne of the great man

To whom our Lord delivered up the keys

He carried down of this miraculous joy,
This one examine on points light and grave,

As good beseemeth thee, about the Faith

By means of which thou on the sea didst walk,
If he loves well, and hopes well, and believes,

Is hid not from thee; for thou hast thy sight

SWhere everything beholds itself depicted.
But since this kingdom has made citizens

By means of the true Faith, to glorify it

"Tis well he have the chance to speak thereof." As baccalaureate arms himself, and speaks not

Until the master doth propose the question,

To argue it and not to terminate it,
So I did arm myself with every reason,

While she was speaking, that I might be ready

For such a questioner and such profession.
“ ||Speak on, good Christian; manifest thyself;
"Say, what is Faith?” whereat I raised my brow

Unto that light from which this was breathed forth,
Then turned I round to Beatrice, and she

Prompt signals made to me that I should pour

The water forth from my internal fountain.
“May grace, that suffers me to make confession,”

Began I, “ to the great Centurioni

Cause my conceptions all to be explicit!”
And I continued: “As the truthful pen,

Father, of thy dear brother wrote of it,

Who put with thee Rome into the good way, * St. Peter thrice encircles Beatrice, as the Angel Gabriel did the Virgin Mary in the preceding canto.

+ Too glaring for painting such delicate draperies of song.
i St. Peter speaks to Beatrice.
& Fixed upon God, in whom are all things reflected.
| St. Peter speaks to Dante.

The great Head of the Church

Faith is the substance of the things we hope for,

And evidence of those that are not seen;

And this appears to me its quiddity."*
Then heard I: “Very rightly thou perceivest,

If well thou understandest why he placed it

With substances and then with evidences."
And I thereafterward: “The things profound,

That here vouchsafe to me their outward show,
Unto all eyes below are so concealed,
That they exist there only in belief,
Upon the which is founded the high hope,

And therefore takes the nature of a substance.
And it behoveth us from this belief

To reason without having other views,

And hence it has the nature of evidence."
Then heard I: “If whatever is acquired

Below as doctrine were thus understood,

No sophist's subtlety would there find place."
Thus was breathed forth from that enkindled love;

Then added : "Thoroughly has been gone over

Already of this coin the alloy and weight;
But tell me if thou hast it in thy purse ?"

And I: “Yes, both so shining and so round,

That in its stamp there is no peradventure.”
Thereafter issued from the light profound

That there resplendent was: “This precious jewel,
Upon the which is every virtue founded,
Whence hadst thou it ?" And I: “ The large outpouring

Of the Holy Spirit, which has been diffused
Upon the ancient parchments and the new,t
A syllogism is, which demonstrates it
With such acuteness, that, compared therewith,

All demonstration seems to me obtuse."
And then I heard : “The ancient and the new

Postulates, that to thee are so conclusive,
Why dost thou take them for the word divine ?"
And I: “The proof, which shows the truth to me,

Are the works subsequent, whereunto Nature

Ne'er heated iron yet, nor anvil beat."
'Twas answered me: “Say, who assureth thee

That those works ever were ? the thing itself
We wish to prove, nought else to thee affirms it."
“ Were the world to Christianity converted,”

I said, "withouten miracles, this one

Is such, the rest are not its hundredth part;
For thou didst enter destitute and fasting

• In the Scholastic Philosophy the essence of a thing distinguishing it from all other things, was called its Quiddity; an answer to the question, Quid est ?

+ The Old and New Testaments,

Into the field to plant there the good plant, Which was a vine, and has become a thorn!" This being finished, the high, holy Court

Resounded through the spheres, “ One God we praise !

In melody that there above is chanted.
And then that Baron,* who from branch to branch,

Examining, had thus conducted me,

Till the remotest leaves we were approaching, Did recommence once more: “ The Grace that lords it

Over thy intellect thy mouth has opened,

Up to this point, as it should opened be, So that I do approve what forth emerged;

But now thou must express what thou believest,

And whence to thy belief it was presented.” "O holy father, O thou spirit, who seest

What thou believedst, so that thou o'ercamest,

Towards the sepulchre, more youthful feet,"'+ Began I, “thou dost wish me to declare

Forthwith the manner of my prompt belief,

And likewise thou the cause thereof demandest, And I respond: In one God I believe,

Sole and eterne, who all the heaven doth move,

Himself unmoved, with love and with desire; And of such faith not only have I proofs

Physical and metaphysical, but gives them

Likewise the truth that from this place rains down Through Moses, through the Prophets, and the Psalms,

Through the Evangel, and through you, who wrote

After the fiery spirit sanctified you; I
In Persons three eterne believe I, and these

One essence I believe, so one and trine,

They bear conjunction both with sunt and est. With the profound conjunction and divine,

Which now I touch upon, doth stamp my mind

Ofttimes the doctrine evangelical."
This the beginning is, this is the spark
Which afterwards dilates to vivid flame,

And, like a star in heaven, is sparkling in me.”
Even as a lord, who hears what pleases him,

His servant straight embraces, giving thanks

For the good news, as soon as he is silent; So, giving me its benediction, singing,

Three times encircled me, when I was silent,

The apostolic light at whose command
I spoken had, in speaking I so pleased him.

* In the Middle Ages earthly titles were sometimes given to the saints. Thus Boecaccio speaks of Baron Messer San Antonio.

St. John, xx. 3-8. St. John was the first to reach the sepulchre, b ut St. Peter the first to enter it.

1 St. Peter and the other Apostles, after Pentecost.


If it e'er happen that the Poem Sacred, *

To which both heaven and earth have set their hand

Till it hath made me meagre many a year,
O'ercome the cruelty that bars me out

+From the fair sheepfold where a lamb I slumbered,

Obnoxious to the wolves that war upon it,
With other voice henceforth, with other fleece

Will I return as poet, and at my fonti

Baptismal will I take the laurel crown;
Because into the faith that maketh known

All souls to God there entered I, and then

Peter for her sake so my brow encircled.
Thereafterward towards us moved a light

Out of that band whence issued the first fruits

Which of his vicars Christ behind hinı left,
And then my Lady, full of ecstacy,

Said unto me: “Look, look ! behold the Baron,

For whom below Galicia is frequented.”
In the same way as, when a dove alights

Near his companion, both of them pour forth,

Circling about and murmuring, their affection,
So I beheld one by the other grand

Prince glorified to be with welcome greeted,

Landing the food that there above is eaten.
But when their gratulations were completed,

Silently coram me each one stood still,

So incandescent it o'ercame my sight.
Smiling thereafterwards, said Beatrice:

“ Spirit august, by whom the benefactions

Of our Basilica || have been described,
Make Hope reverberate in this altitude;

* This “Divina Commedia," in which human science or Philosophy is symbolized in Virgil, and divine science or Theology in Beatrice. 7°"Fiorenza la Bella," Florence the Fair. In one of his canzoni Dante says :

O mountain song of mine, thou goest thy way;

Florence my town thou shalt perchance behold,
Which bars me from itself,

Devoid of love and naked of compassion." 1 This allusion to the Church of San Giovanni: "Il mio bel San Giovanni,” as Dante calls it elsewhere (Inf. xix. 17) is a fitting prelude to the canto in which St. John is to appear. Like the laughing of the grass canto xxx. 77, it is a foreshadowing preface, ombrifero prefazio of what follows.

& St. James. Pilgrimages were made to his tomb at Compostella, in Galicia.

|| The general epistle of St. James, called the Epistola Cattolica, i. 17: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of Lights." Vur Basilica; the Church Triumphant, Paradise.

Thou knowest as oft thou dost personify it

As Jesus to the three* gave greater light."-
“Lift up thy head, and make tŁyself assured;

For what comes hither from the mortal world
Must needs be ripened in our radiance."
This exhortation from the second firet

Came; and mine eyes I lifted to the hills, I

Which bent them down before with too gieat weight. “ Since through his grace, our Emperor decrees

Thou shouldst confronted be, before thy death,

In the most secret chamber, with his Counts,||
So that, the truth beholding of this court,

Hope, which below there rightly fascinates

In thee, and others may thereby be strengthened;
Say what it is, and how is flowering with it

Thy mind, and say from whence it came to thee;"

Thus did the second light continue still
And the Compassionate, who piloted

The plumage of my wings in such high flight,

In the reply did thus anticipate me;
“No child whatever the Church Militant

Of greater hope possesses, as is written

In that Sun ** which irradiates all our band;
Therefore it is conceded him from Egypt

# To come into Jerusalem to see,

Or ever get his warfare is completed.
The other points, that not for knowledge' sake
Have been demanded, II but that he report

How much this virtue unto thee is pleasing,
To him I leave; for hard he will not find them,
Nor to be boasted of; them let him answer;

And may the Grace of God in this assist him!”
As a disciple, who obeys his teacher,

Ready and willing, where he is expert,

So that his excellence may be revealed,
$$“ Hope,” said I, “is the certain expectation

Of glory in the hereafter, which proceedeth
From grace divine and merit precedent.

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* Peter, James, and John, representing the three theological virtues, Faith, Hope, and Charity, and distinguished above the other Apostles by clearer manifestations of their Master's favour.

St. James speaks. “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.” Psalm cxxi. 1.

& The three Apostles, luminous above him overwhelming him with light. | The most august spirits of the celestial city.

Beatrice. ** In God, “Where everything beholds itself depicted."

Canto xxiv. 42. # To come from earth to heaven. 1t “Say what it is,” and “whence it cometh to thee."

$$ Est spes certa expectatio futura beatitudinis, veniens ex Dei gratia et meritis precedentibus." Petrus Lombardus, Magister Sententiarum.

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